I wanted write something that perhaps made us think again and consider appearances twice before passing judgement or assumption. It is one of those things that is definitely easier said than done for all of us. Yes it might be part of human nature, yet through saying this we can almost imply it as an excuse for doing, saying or thinking these things so I would always be on the cautious side when using the "human nature" phrase. I wanted to share one of the number one things people never guess about me:
I would have never guessed you're autistic
Queue me wanting to face palm the nearest wall. I'm never quite sure what people are implying to be honest when I get told this... I mean like many memes and autistic voices have stated themselves autism has no look. But I don't think this is what people are getting at in all honesty. I know this is to do in part with how I appear and carry myself - oh but you're not stereotypical, you're doing a good job - placing a value on "normative" (normal) behaviour and stigmatising anything which is basically, not. I'm going to say this straight: through this valuing, however inadvertent you might mean it, it cuts and divides into groups who can "hide" and who can't, therefore saying if you can fit in, you're OK. Echoes and harps back to 1930s Germany, seems relevant in today's Tory Britain to mention this. Since you're on the computer, I'm sure you can put two and two together (hint: Aktion T-4) and realise the quagmire that has been stepped into here. It goes against the notion of all humans as valued, rather only those who can fit certain requirements, which is abhorrent. Also incredibly against all of my theology, as you may have seen in other posts. From this, God valuing and loving all, I cannot abide by anything which devalues (or worse) people. I don't tolerate it quite simply, especially when linking it to this.
Although I am a keen observer of people and very good at throwing smoke screens to divert things away from me, it's not always an active and recognised thing I do. I don't calculate and plan in a manipulative manner, rather it is something that I do now without me even realising it. In fact the older I have become, the more undercover this seems to go, but still the same level of effort is required. I have to admit since I chose to not squeeze myself into a box that does not fit me anymore in December 2015, I have made it part of my agenda to put myself into environments where I do not have to hide; so I can excavate what's actually going on.
I never used to want to "be autistic". I remember after many days out or evening birthday parties being in tears, being broken, wanting to no longer be here and being confused yet no one else would see this - certainly not those who might have been in the run up involved, whether their actions were intentional to causing upset or not. A lot of the time, it was not. I can see that now, yet as a young teenager I did not want to be me and I certainly did not want people to think I was broken. I used to patch everything together so people would not guess, not to be manipulative or popular, rather to not get attention (spoiler - did not always work, I was pretty vulnerable). Being autistic was not understood - there was no immediate link to me. It is stigmatising concept to "carry" and I certainly felt that as a teenager. With little understanding of what was going on, denial, self-hatred and being autistic - through all that into a pan and you get a nice cocktail of disaster there. The only information for autistic people was that of people getting "better" that I could access - very little on self-acceptance. It was my agenda to go unnoticed: a measure of self-protection withdrawing into a shell. The shell was an illusion and a decoy. Having had time to figure out what is going on, I can now see this.
It's only in the last 2 and a bit years I have really accepted who I am and learnt it is actually OK to be me. Being autistic is not something to be ashamed of. Unravelling an intensely internal ball of knots takes time and a vast amount of self-discovery. Therefore not "looking autistic" implies that I ought to carry shame for the way I am: the way my brain is wired and the manner in which I perceive the world. The word perception in itself is a perception - your perception is merely a perception in that vain too, except yours is generally more validated and "socially acceptable". I know mine is true and I've had to fight, tactfully and at other times not so tactfully, for it to be listened to and not washed over or minimised through a lens that might have not experienced the path I walk along in all its vibrancy. The world and I do not always agree.
Through not putting myself into the constraints of a box that bound me and injured me for 24 years, I'd be appreciative of acknowledgement of who I am. I still get hurt from time to time - it's an ongoing process - but seeing being autistic as an important part of my life experience, perception and wiring that is smattered through me and ought to be as valued, without condition of ability, as much as the next brain or perception. That unconditional love Jesus meant - very relevant here, challenging you.