The more I converse with non-autistic people, the less I want to.
I know the social rules, but I struggle to stick with them despite everything. It’s 2022. Why is eye contact still pushed? Why are interviewers still asking questions that have little to do with how well someone can do a job and everything to do with how well they kiss ass?
The show I’m currently binge-watching: Switched at Birth. I keep dreaming of a day when my primary communication method will be sign language. I keep imagining myself with Deaf friends or a life partner, and life going swell that way because I don’t have to force myself to speak.
I don’t think non-autistic people realize that even the speaking autistic people struggle with speech in a way that is difficult to articulate. For me, speaking doesn’t feel natural. It takes a lot of effort, like holding your breath while swimming from one side to another without holding your nose. I never know when to breathe and am way out of breath when I do.
Did I start speaking because doing it came naturally, or did I do it because everyone around me forced me to? I always heard things like use your words and I can’t hear your voice when you write instead.
I heard you have to speak up, with your voice, if you want me to listen to you.
I can’t hear your words on paper.
I only listen to people who speak up, use their VOICE.
I feel like I became this unnatural version of myself so I could obtain a semblance of autonomy, even though it was all based on a lie.
In high school, I wanted to take American Sign Language. My mom talked me out of it and my grandmother said I would never use ASL in real life — that it wasn’t job-worthy. I wanted to learn ASL so I could learn an alternative form of communication, so I could sign instead of speaking during the times I hadn’t the energy to put words out verbally.
I don’t know how to explain to people who don’t understand this experience.
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