The trials of being nice.

One thought I have been trying desperately to quash of late is the gnawing doubt as to whether I actually fit in even amongst my fellow autistics. I have read all the blogs by other autistic people as to how they found the online autistic community and suddenly felt a sense of belonging: like they had come home.

It hasn’t been like that for me.

Yes, the community is awesome! Full of vibrant and interesting individuals, from whom I am learning so much. The problem isn’t you my friends.

It is me.

I see all these people full of passion for their beliefs and engaged in all their diverse interests and I feel lost. I can barely remember what my special interests are, I have no idea what my personality is, I can’t find within myself any sustained will to fight for a cause. I have spent the past 28 years trying desperately to squash my individual, autistic self into a neurotypical mould so I can look just like everybody else.

I have tried to dress like I should, I have tried to love what I should, I have tried to have the opinions I should.

I have tried to not rock the boat.

I have tried to be bland, I have tried to be beige, I have tried to be nice.

What does that even mean: ‘nice’. Really what does it look like?

Smiling? Agreeing? Complimenting?Submitting? All fine in themselves, but I think the key point to really being nice is that you do those things: ALL THE TIME.

Just take a moment to consider that. I am.

I am asking myself to do that all the time. Of course I have lost my identity! I have put not just my needs and wants, but my whole self, below everyone else; not on occasion, but the whole time. And now I am afraid of what will happen if I let myself out of this crippling box I have constrained myself to.

I might offend people. I might be argued with. I might be called names. I might be disliked. I might be ostracised.

But I might also lose this perpetual knot in my stomach brought on by the constant need to censor myself. I might be seen. I might be heard. I might be at peace with myself. I might be passionate. I might be joyful.

It’s a chance. It’s a choice. It is one I must and will make soon.

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9 thoughts on “The trials of being nice.

  1. This is such an awesome post in so many ways. I think fully being yourself (autistic or not) is a huge act of bravery.

    I relate to the permanent knot in the stomach. Which is ironic, because people have been calling me on my odd behaviour for years. Why is it so risky to fly the freak flag loud and proud?

    I think as recently diagnosed people we have a huge amount of re-evaluation to do, we need a lot of gentleness and self care. We’ve spent our lives as ugly ducklings and suddenly woken up to being swans. It’s going to take some adjustment to what the heck it means to be a swan, and how comfortable or dangerous that feels.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have had times of passionate interests, extreme clothing and behaving in a way not in keeping with societal norms. And I have had times of blandness, beigeness and boringness. Honestly? They were all costumes I tried on to fit in. And I am (age 44; and 6 months after realising I was autistic) still floundering about trying to work out who I am. Because I invested so long

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oops, hit send too early!

      Because I invested so long in trying to be liked. I don’t like to argue, don’t like to stand out, don’t like to have to argue my view. So, I don’t think you are alone. Sometimes we have to pick bland in order to survive.

      I’ve got a new small but perfect set of autistic friends and through them I’m finding a “me” that I think is probably more authentic. But I still think it’s going to take a while.

      I reckon you’ll get there too! 😊

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Your definition of nice is an artificial, neurotypical construct. If you stop censoring yourself and drop the veil, you will still be nice. The inability of neurotypicals to recognize, on your terms, that you are nice, is their disability, not yours.

    Embrace your autistic self. You find many people in the autistic / neurodivergent community who will appreciate you exactly as you are, much more than a facsimile of a neurotypical.

    Like

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