Sunday, 9 June 2013

Who am I, really?

I read this blog post this morning. It was shared in the AS Mothers group that I help run. I was amazed at how much I related to it.

I really liked this quote:

"If you look at famous men and women who display autistic traits, our perceptions of them are often completely different. Such men are viewed as geniuses and leaders, whereas the women are viewed as unfriendly loners with mental health problems."

Throughout my life I have tried on many different guises trying to figure out what I like, what it's like to be someone else and to learn how to socialise properly as it really does not come naturally to me. My natural instinct is to stay at home, living at a pace which suits me, following my normal routine, writing, being creative, basically a simple, predictable life. But I do like to try on personas and pretend to be different people. Not to mention that when I am in social situations my natural tendency is to either be selectively mute or to talk way too much and majorly overshare. I have since discovered that talking is a stim for me. A way of keeping myself calm to stop myself from freaking out too much about the fact that I am actually socialising. 

I remember in my teens going through various stages of trying out different styles of clothing, speaking, walking, dressing, facial expressions, poses. All in an attempt to figure out what I liked, who I was and how to hold my body/face. I have since realised that all the posing I did in front the mirror and all the self-portraits I have taken of myself are in fact me learning how my body feels while I hold myself in different poses and do different facial expressions. Otherwise, I have a fairly blank face and don't show much emotion on my face unless I feel an intense emotion. I still enjoy a self-portrait camera session. To me, it is all about experimentation, learning how poses feel and how my face feels. It is not vanity. Not at all. I also like creating fun and creative portraits to look back on laugh at myself. It is all in the name of art and learning.

I remember watching movies and closely studying characters I identified with and trying to imitate them. I would even imitate the accents of these characters. I would do the same with friends and various people in my life. I would observe them and imitate them. I often found myself terribly confused because I had a strong sense of self but found myself naturally copying people. Even though I didn't want to, I still copied them. I now realise it came from a need to learn how to cope in the social world as I really have no idea how to adeptly socialise. This does not mean I was losing who I was and not a strong personality. Not at all. I am still my own person with my own uniqueness.

I like playing dress up. I like acting. It is a lot of fun. Even though I have never done any formal acting. I feel drawn to acting. To putting on a performance. To pretending to be someone I am not. I have a huge wardrobe of fun, crazy dress up clothes which I rarely wear. I like collecting unique clothes and fashions. I keep telling myself, 'one day I will wear them'. But then I don't. The occasion is never quite right. I am getting the place where I am going to start wearing them when I go out. It is for this reason my husband and I are hoping to get involved with the local Medieval re-enactment community. So I can dress up for a reason, learn history, be someone else and have fun! There is great power in acting and being able to act out parts of oneself that you wouldn't normally do because your real self is too scared to.

This is one of my good Aspie friend's response to the blog post:

"I basically relate really well to the whole thing. I have always been a mimicker and have actually struggled a lot trying to figure out what my own "self" identity is because I tend to mimic others so much.

I tend not to worry about it so much anymore, and just see my identity as being something that I'm allowed to change if I feel like it, and I'm allowed to be sort of a magpie and mimic when I feel like it or not if I don't feel like it.

Sometimes the mimicking can actually be very helpful in that it can help me find out things I really like and wouldn't have known that I liked otherwise."

Further reading:

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