Greetings, fellow humanoid beings. I, too, am a humanoid being. Have you ever heard the term “Planet Asperger’s” or “Wrong Planet Syndrome”? It’s a common way to phrase how we autists feel. I know from my own personal experience, since I was just a wee little lass picking my nose and biting the heads off snakes and asking my parents for books on evolution and the paranormal, I was not what would be considered normal. I always felt different. I couldn’t grasp why I was different when I was a child. I didn’t know why the other kids would exclude me from activities or treat me poorly. I didn’t even realize they were treating me poorly for the most part. I’ve always felt like something not quite human. I’ve always been treated like something not quite human.
Disclaimer, I was abused as a child. But it wasn’t just my parents who treated me like the shit on the bottom of new shoes, it was teachers, my peers, the random people I encountered while I was having a melt down in public with my parents. I was always given these puzzling (to me) looks. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get my shit together and just act like my brother. It made my heart hurt and it made me depressed. I wanted to be like other kids. I didn’t care if I was in advanced classes in school or not, I just wanted to have a friend who didn’t make me feel bad.
When I was growing up, the internet was taking off. In high school, it was the gate-way drug for me to start searching for other ways to describe myself. I discovered a few websites that explained my behavior as vampirism, so I took that idea and ran with it. Up until I was 23, honestly. I know that I’m not a vampire, but it was the only way that I could explain my differentness. Now, I call myself a cyborg.
I’m not a cyborg. I have most of my body parts, minus a few organs. I have glasses/contacts and an IUD, but no awesome bionic limbs or eyes. I don’t even wear a wig. It’s just another less insane and delusional way of describing how I see my place in the world. I’m someone who looks humanish, but upon further inspection, there’s something not quite right with me. I have glitches (the stims/spazzing), I have a point-of-fact view of reality. I need careful instructions or I can’t function. And I need to recharge every now and then. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a cyborg to me.
Dear reader, do you know how heart breaking it is for me to sit in the waiting room, studying the behaviors of the other people present and realize that they are sitting still or maybe just jittering their leg, while I’m full on bouncing in my seat and rocking back and forth and randomly touching myself? (For the record, I mean touching my hair, pulling on my top’s collar, rubbing my face, not pleasuring myself in public. Get your minds out of the gutter.) I see them make eye contact with each other, they talk without needing to use their entire body, they have a regulated volume of voice and a steady tone.
I know social skills can be learned. I know that it’s okay for me to need to learn things and it’s okay that voice control has to be a conscious effort on my part. I know it’s okay that I’m different and that it’s okay that I’m 25 and still play dress up. And I know that it’s okay for me to feel sad and lonely and depressed and heart broken that I’m like this. I can change my behavior if I try hard enough, I know I can. I just don’t know how. How does a non-autistic individual know how loud their voice is? How does one know how to read the facial expressions of people? How does one make eye contact and not stare and not have their mind go blank? How does one get over the crushing despair of having people say that they’re silly or stupid or retarded because they say “I don’t understand”?
I’m a cyborg because I have emotions. I’m a cyborg because I bleed when I get a cut. I cry when I get sad. I laugh and I dance and I sing and I feel and I can’t get it out without looking like a mad man and having people stare at me and whisper and point and pull their children away. I’m a cyborg because I am not completely human. I need careful instructions and clear explanations and detailed lists and reminders to do things that most others I’ve met have claimed were common-sense things. I’m a cyborg because I want to belong but the only people who will have me only exist on the internet or are abusive or liars or users. I’m a cyborg because I’m autistic.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change who I am for the world. I am smart, funny, incredibly adorkable, and easy to get along with. I’m told that I’m an inspiration for some people, a good friend to another. I just can’t fathom or figure out why. Maybe people like me because of my quirkiness or my bluntness with my words. Maybe people like me because I always have a smile for them. I don’t know.
I just hate who I am. I hate that I can’t do all these things I see other people doing. I hate that I need help doing chores and making shopping lists and even remembering to eat. I hate that if I don’t have water by me at all times, I’ll forget that I need to drink. I hate that when I try to talk out loud about things I stumble or stutter or the words get lodged my my throat or taste all wrong or I get too anxious or overwhelmed and I go non-verbal.
I just don’t understand and that kills me inside.
I don’t understand.
-The Sarcastic Autist