Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Neck Deep in the Knowing

I hadn't planned to write a part II for my last post The Curse of Knowing, but it became evident that I only covered one side of the coin.  This "knowing thing" has another, darker side.  It is in bringing this darker side to light that the "real confession" occurs.

I apply the same observation and analysis to myself.  It is unceasing and unyielding. 

Those of us who are non-neurotypical know that we don't interface with "the natives" as seamlessly and easily as they do with each other.   Our observational powers place this under constant scrutiny and analysis.  Ever word, every action, every reaction is played and replayed in my mind and picked apart.  Decisions and reactions that occurred in a split second are subjected to extreme scrutiny with an almost endless supply of time and no deadline.

Have I been friendly?  Was I "too friendly"?  Have I been kind?  Did I come off as "too willing" and therefore somehow creepy?  Was I harsh?  Did my reaction level match the level of the situation?  The questions seem endless.  The questions are high-octane fuel for OCD.  It loves them.  The constant procession of questions, queries, and doubts becomes maddening, but feels as necessary as breathing. 

The effort to pass as "one of you" is down right exhausting at times.  If I choose to abandon it and just be who and what my brain drives me to be I risk isolation.  The group of natives who have seen me in my uncut form and have chosen to stick around is extremely small.  Make no mistake.  There are acquired skills at play here. 

I do it, Nathan does it, I suspect all "aliens" do as well.  We expend massive amounts of mental and emotional resources trying to understand and shape how you see us.  We see the  risk of being seen only through the lens of our differences as far greater than the expense of attempting to mitigate it.


  1. So I ask myself some of the same questions.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for reading. Every reader honors me with every read. I am humbled to have you all.