The Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made

The question “how are you?” has always annoyed me.

Recently, it enrages me, because I cannot begin to process—let alone express—the way I’m feeling. Nor can I feed it back to you in an unbiased, fair format. My emotions are raw, jagged enough to cut, not that I mean them to. I just can’t hold them back or I have no idea what will happen. I might implode; I might explode. I might dissolve into a puddle and eat through the floor.

So if you’ve been asking me this, thinking that you’re being pleasant and polite, congratulations. You’ve succeeded in striking one of the most inflamed nerves in my body. It’s nothing personal, it’s the way I’m wired. I wish more people understood that, so I didn’t always have to feel like a square chipping my corners off to fit in a circular hole trying to understand social conventions.

Someone suggested talking in hopes of “coaxing something out”, but I sensed that my words were only being analyzed. It felt dirty, like I was either someone’s experiment or they were waiting for me to say something incriminating. “Keep digging yourself a hole, thats why you’ll never succeed” said someone else, who either took issue with my tone, or was committed to misunderstanding anyway. I can’t tell. Landmines are invisible until they detonate, and the damage is done. Apologies are useless to the ignored, and you’re left with guilt you don’t even understand.

I started to shut these people out, because whatever vibes they put out (I don’t even know if they realized they were putting out any?) sapped my spirit. I suddenly wasn’t good enough. I needed to try harder—even though YEARS of experience has taught me that I cannot function that way. Why was I suddenly so hyper-critical? Why did I NEED to be better?

Suddenly, I no longer wanted to.

Right now, I alternate between periods of “lucidity”, in which I begin to think, “When I get home, I can do <x> thing no problem!” and much longer periods of feeling like I don’t matter. Nothing I do matters or will ever matter. I can just wake up one day and that’s how I feel. I hate it, because there are things I want to do—things I want to want to do—but I become a depleted waste.

One change I’ve committed to making is being more critical of the information I take in. I no longer look to mainstream information written by neurotypicals to understand what I’m feeling, and have begun to consume data put out by those on the spectrum (seriously, fuck wikihow). I can’t contribute much though, not yet, and it’s not as simple as volunteering time or money to a charity. There are charities in the autism community who represent people on the spectrum in ways that leave us feeling invisible. I can’t get behind that.

It’s also not as simple as starting my own, because if I could do that, I could probably have put to bed a lot of the personal projects I’m still working on a long time ago.

Helping others isn’t my calling, either. It still is creating, even if I have trouble doing that lately.

The last thing I (or anyone needs), though, is to believe constant accusations that this makes me selfish, because my mind is wired in such a way that makes me believe I cannot be truly selfless unless I don’t exist. I will henceforth reject those unhelpful people, until such time that I can distinguish helpful and unhelpful information without becoming lost in the process. I’ve wasted years trying to follow advice that was not made for me, and believing I was always the one who was doing it wrong. No more!

I don’t want to hurt anymore, but I also don’t know how to “turn off” emotions, or turn my lens towards others, like people often say to do. They say “thinking of others makes you feel better”. I know thinking about others makes me feel like a worse person, and strengthens my self-hatred. I start to hate my flaws, like ungratefulness or whatever. I hate that I’m not bubbly and pleasant 24/7, which everyone seems to want.

However, this is not the point. The point is, I need to come to terms with my different-thinking, rather than listen to people who insist I only need to change the way I look at the world, as if that were possible. The whole reason I’m in this mess is because I see the world differently, and have been trying to give other viewpoints a fair chance, to my own ultimate detriment. You can’t give everyone a fair chance. It’s just not possible for one person.

Anyway, I’m leaving this off here. I probably overshared, but at this point I’m like a tap that can’t turn off anyway. Fuck it.

~Niki

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