You should thank me, after all, I’m pretty relaxed and easy going on the outside. I can hold a conversation and appear friendly. You wouldn’t guess I’m Autistic or that I’m stressed. You can’t tell when I feel I’m about to explode or want to say or do something rude. You should thank me for being so considerate of your needs.
If I wasn’t thinking of you, dear public stranger, I would appear moody and rude, I wouldn’t smile at all. I’d be brisk in my verbal interactions or ignore you completely. If you spoke I’d stare right through you then carry on with what I’m doing. But I don’t do that, because I care, because I’m considerate, so you should thank me.
If I wasn’t being nice, I wouldn’t ignore the sensory issues that bother me. I’d turn the lights up high regardless of your headache and throw out your flowers, because they smell. I’d turn the music in the supermarket up loud and sing along in my bad tone of voice. But I don’t do that, because that’s not very considerate and people don’t like my signing.
If I wasn’t good, I would yell at you for daring to sit in ‘my’ spot, I’d kick you until you moved away from me, at the distance I prefer. I’d take half an hour just to choose a cake in the cafe, smelling each and every one and um-ing and ah-ing until I make the ‘right’ choice. I’d shout at you to get out of my way and push you aside when you walk too slow. I’d insult anyone who makes me have to change my pace. But I don’t do that, because it’s not the ‘done thing’.
If I wasn’t learned in the social norms I would tell you to ‘f-ing figure it out yourself’ or ‘get off your lazy a** and do it’, but I am learned, so I say please and thank you.
If I wasn’t aware of what people think of me I wouldn’t care about getting angry or crying or shouting or kicking or being ‘blue’ or feeling numb. I’d just be. But I am, and I know people prefer a certain ‘way’, so I try to squash all the ‘wrong’ feelings down and only show the ‘right’ ones.
If I didn’t care I wouldn’t bother with eye contact, I’d tell people to speak louder and clearer so I can understand or tell them to shut up. I wouldn’t care to listen to you waffle on about something that bores me, or make small talk about nothing. I’d order you to only tell me the things I want to hear and I’d talk about what I want to talk about instead of what you want to know. But I don’t, because that’s not co-operative.
If I didn’t want people to think nicely of me I would dress however I want, loose clothes and comfy shoes. I’d go for style, my style rather than what society thinks is acceptable. I’d dress like a kid from a Manga and wouldn’t give a damn if you liked it or not. But people don’t like it, so I don’t wear it.
If I didn’t know better, I would pick my nose in public, scratch my bum and burp. I’d eat food with my fingers and lick the plate. I’d eat 5 desserts in one go and ask for more. I’d smell my breasts and not care. I’d scratch all the itchy parts of me in full view of everyone instead of trying to do it surreptitiously. I’d rock back and forth whilst concentrating and move around a lot. I’d get up and walk around restaurants and peer at what everyone else is eating. I’d taste other people’s food and take what I want and get angry if someone touches my stuff. I’d voice my opinions even if that’s ‘urgh!’ and’that’s stupid!’. But I don’t, because there are unwritten rules.
I don’t have meltdowns in public because no one wants to see ‘that’.
I don’t voice my opinion in public because no one wants to hear ‘that’.
I don’t stim in public because no one wants ‘that’.
I don’t show emotions in public because no one wants to deal with ‘that’.
I’m not me in public because no one wants ‘that’.
So you should thank me.
You should thank me. I do all this for you. But you don’t, and it’s still not enough.
I’m Autistic, I would do all that.
But I don’t because I’m Autistic and you don’t want that.
So thank me, for hiding me, for being who you want me to be. I’m considerate like that. Even if it hurts me, even if it kills me. As long as you, dear complete stranger, are happy, then that’s all that matters, right?