Confession time, my loyal followers. I hate bacon. I hate the way it smells. I hate the way it tastes, the way it looks, the way it permeates the air and makes everything greasy and bacon smelling and makes it all smokey. It’s a huge issue for me, especially since I live with my mother and she’s a cow who loves bacon and I have pretty bad asthma. All I ask is that she let’s me cook my food first and open the windows, because bacon is not just a food, it’s a pork-ogeist. Even the walls feel greasy and gross. I feel greasy and gross. She just cooked bacon and it’s really upsetting to me that she completely ignored the rules for cooking bacon. I have my inhaler on hand and my chest feels tight. So what does this have to do with my spazzing?
Well, if you recall, I call it spazzing instead of stimming. It’s something that is really calming and helps me release some of that pent up emotion. Mother ignored the rules for cooking bacon and ignoring rules and upsetting my routine really exasperates my spazzing. Even as I’m typing, I am rocking back and forth and keep having to shake my arms and hands in order to stay still long enough to type a sentence. This is one of those times where I hate spazzing.
If I don’t allow myself to rock back and forth and to flap my hands to twiddle my fingers and rub my head and crack my jaw, it feels like I have little lines of electricity running through my limbs that I’m supposed to be moving. If I force out a burp or a “mlep” it feels like a pressure is building inside that makes me want to explode.
The other day, I attended a friend of mine’s master’s presentation. I will call her Wheels, because she’s in a Wheelchair and I can be awfully insensitive. I’ll see if I can get her permission to write about her presentation on a later date, but today, I want to talk about how I was a complete spaz at one point.
You see, dear reader, I don’t have a lot of interaction with people outside a handful. So when I’m at a semi-fancy event, I try to hide my more autistic features. Despite my assertion that we should be able to be our awesome spazzy selves, I am a hypocrite and didn’t want to make random strangers think poorly of Wheels through association with that spazzy Autistic girl. It was especially worse since Wheels is a distant relative of mine and more distant relatives had shown up. In Asian culture, you need to be super respectful of people, and that includes being perfectly still with your hands either in your lap or taking notes while making eye contact with a presenter. One mustn’t rock, flap hands, wriggle fingers, run fingers through hair, pull on one’s clothes, or fidget in any manner except maybe crossing or uncrossing legs.
As you can imagine, the first presentation was a living hell of an hour of having to sit still. Once there was an intermission for me to get up and use the toilet (which, Obaasan also said “have to use the toilet”, so I guess it’s culturally acceptable for me to say such a thing around these relatives), I got up, walked into the hall, and started doing anything I could to get rid of that pent up energy. I made fists and hit them against each other, I shook my arms and went on my tip toes and sort of skipped. I actually did have to pee, which was good, because as soon as I got into the stall, I had to hit myself on the head a couple of times with my fists and palms. I am slightly ashamed I made a little groaning noise doing so. I really hope people didn’t hear it and think I was constipated.
During the second presentation, I doodled and wrote notes in Japanese so I wouldn’t feel so pent up. The second presentation was more scientific and wordy, so I had to pay a bit more attention to it as well, and that helped a bit. It was a lot easier to not look like a complete nutter after spazzing so hard in the bathroom. Presenting as non-autistic, as ‘neurotypical’, is a lot easier for me if I get all the jitterbugs out of my system. I won’t lie, I do enjoy my spazzing. It helps me concentrate and it helps me get rid of all the emotions I can’t handle or understand, especially my anxiety.
I just really hate it when I’m in public. I hate being treated like an invalid. I’m perfectly capable of things other high functioning autists can do. I can go to the store, I can manage public transportation on occasion, and I can do adult job type stuffs. Okay, not like “adult” jobs, like being a stripper, but I can sit in a cubicle for an hour or so. On the outside, I look like your stereotypical teenager. I’m in my 20’s, but hey, whatever makes me look normal, right? However, as soon as I start to twist my wrists or rock back and forth or pull at my ear or rub my face, people look at me like I’m mental. I don’t like that. I’m a humanoid person. I want to be treated like you would any normal person.
Yeah yeah, I can practically hear you saying “but Autist-sama-chan, isn’t normal relative?”. Yes, yes it is. But it still hurts to suddenly have people treat me different because I slip up and spaz in front of them. Heaven forbid I actually let myself do what I need to do in order to function. I’m supposed to act as neurotypical, as non-autistic as possible. People don’t like seeing someone who looks normal act so…un-normal. In my experience, people like to talk about how much they help those who are ‘different’, but when faced with an opportunity to actually be friends and deal face to face with us different folk, they balk and back track. They don’t like different people.
I may not believe in a lot of the Tumblrina terminology, but I do think that this so called “able-ism”, this treating someone like they’re less than human because they don’t fit into the neurotypical mold, it’s a very real thing. It’s a very emotionally and psychologically damaging thing that occurs on a daily basis for me, and I’m sure for a lot of my neurodivergent subset.
Yeah, I love my spazzing and I love the way it makes me feel. I just wish I didn’t feel ashamed and isolated when I do it in public. I wish others could accept it as part of me instead of thinking of it as something I can help. I wish others could just accept me.
And I wish my own mother could too.
The Sarcastic Autist