I do not usually like self diagnosis, as a lot of people use it as a way to excuse themselves and their actions, but with autism being so underdiagnosed in women, I believe there is an exception. This is the case for why I think I have ASD.

A lot of my friends who are diagnosed genuinely belive me to be autistic. When I first met Clover, I left his house, and his brother said, "Is she like us?". I asked Clover recently if he thought I had autism and he took 2 seconds and said yes. Actually just glanced to the side for one moment and said yes very quickly. I think that the first anecdote is funny. I used to feel extremely freakish and outcasted in a way that distressed me, until about a year ago, which is coincidentally when I started hanging out with almost exclusively neurodivergent people. I saw an article stating that there may very well be a link between undiagnosed autism and the development of Avoidant Personality. When I got diagnosed, I felt at my lowest about shame of who I was, feeling like an "other", like I was below society, that I was fundementally flawed, like I was just different. And I felt shame about expressing this due feeling like I was that Jughead meme, where he said he was just different than other people and made fun of himself, which was heavily made fun of online. Feeling like you are different is seen as "not like other girls", and I was made fun of a lot by my friend group in highschool by them calling me "quirky". I would say or do something and be called that, I think I was usually trying to make other people laugh. I feel like I can only really connect with neurodivergent people, in that I don't really like to adhere to all of the social norms, and enjoy a flow of conversation that is kind of jumbled, interrupted with excitement on both ends. There is a limit to this, in serious conversation I do not interrupt people, or at least, try my best to not. I think I do good at it.

I recently still felt "weird". I still do. Recently I was trying so hard to seem normal, to not be looked at differently in fear, that after I got out of the psych ward I decided to just do what made me feel good. Yesterday I wore makeup, and was scared to wear it outside, but I forced myself. And then I was able to do it. It was like a panic, I didn't want to be called slurs again, and I didn't want to be seen as weird. But you can't control if people think you're weird. At my job a few years back, some guy expressed that I was weird. I asked what smoothie I would be if he were to pick one. He picked the grossest that we had on our menu. For another person, he picked a normal one, and said that she was chill or cool or something. I asked why he picked mine, and he said, "Because you get it, and you're like, 'wtf is this'". A few years ago I read something about autsitic play and placing things out and imagining a scene, rather than acting it out (pretend play). I was thinking of it as I was organizing and re-organizing my bedside table to look perfect, to look like a way that wasn't overwhelming or cluttered, rather something that would make me a little joyous inside every time I looked at it. I still feel "weird". I feel fundementally different, insecure, not like a person that you see in day to day life. I can't force myself to smile at customers, I can't force my voice to feel kind, it feels awful. Unnatural. I tried to make myself. It didn't last. And by didn't last, I mean about an hour. If that. It lasted a few customers, and then I forgot to do it. The awareness that it takes to force yourself to do things that are "normal" is grand. It is hypervigilance, it is being aware at every moment, of every movement, of everything you do, so that you do it "right". And that is exhausting. I am looking to see how to unmask. I feel because the feeling of "oddity" within me is so large, that this will be hard to do. I play different music based on who is around to do what they will like, I only mention activities that may be recieved well, I do everything in my power to not seem "cringy" by others, and in believing that, I have to try my best to not judge others, to see them like myself, because I AM a little weird. And that is okay. I am not beneath the dirt, but I am a little different. And that is okay. I think I have to really understand that I am a little odd, in order to not want to be grouped in that category. It is okay to be.

I really like old lady things. I like antique things, I like old perfumes, I like old-timey things, items, pieces, clothing, makeup, decor. I think this ties into my hatered for modern technology. I could go on a rant about my hatered for Mark Zuckerberg, but to spare you, just know that it is there.

I used to feel undeniably weird. I used to feel I was beneath other people in a fundemental, undeniable, way. I didn't know why. I think if I was diagnosed with autism at a young age, I would not feel such a way. I wouldn't feel freakish, because I would have reasoning for it. I would probably still feel weird or off in some way, but I don't think it would be so strong. Because I would have a place of reference, a place to understand, a reason to it. In highschool I would get overwhelmed with the school meetings in the stadiums. I forget what they are called. But they were rallies, loud, everyone, isolating. I asked near the end of highschool if there was a way that I could not go. There was a room with other ND people in it that opted out of the gatherings. It felt nice, safe, secure, a haven. In church I would get overwhelmed. I didn't agree with the teachings, I didn't want to be there, it was loud, it was hot, I felt I would faint, I felt awful. Each Sunday I would go to the bathroom and cry and try to calm down. The bathroom was a safe space for me to calm down. In school I would do it a lot towards the end of the year. I went to Disney once as the first big family vacation. It was so fast paced, so planned, so "on a whim", so fast, so much much much. Zoom zoom zoom. Hot, sweaty, dehydrated, socially drained, tiring. Pulled every way, no room to breathe, just activity after activity. No alone time, no time to decompress. I cried every night in the shower.

I feel I would not feel so fundementally freakish if I had a reasoning for, "Actually, you aren't just weird! There is a reason for this!". It might not be autism, and I might not have it, but identifying with it and finding community in it helps me, being around autistic people helps me, adhd, neurodivergent people. It helps me feel welcomed, not weird, not made fun of, understood, seen. I feel I have room to do as I please, to be a little off-putting.

I have a large feer of being off-putting. My dad is off-putting and inappropriate. I used to not understand boundaries, not understood the unspoken rules, not understand what other people meant when they didn't really say it. I can see the undertones, I can understand there is something off, but it still doesn't feel fair that people don't just say it aloud. I am so diligent in reading and making sure that I am not doing something wrong, that I assume silence to be signal. I assume a lack of reaction to mean that I am actually being unsettling, that I am being creepy or off-putting. And I still can't really tell. There is no mind-reading in real life, there is no telling unless people communicate. And a lot of people don't communicate, don't just say it how it is. And it frustrates me. I used to fully believe I would rather people be honest than be kind. To be seen as kind, people don't say how they feel for fear of being mean, to beat around the bush, to not be blunt. Bluntness is a sign of meanness, of cruelty. There is a nicer way to put it! But being kind to me, for other people to be kind to me specifically, I would so much rather people just tell me. But avoidance is taught in our society. It is taught that people should need to know to read social cues, to know the unspoken, to assume what might not be there. And I get an inkling, I get a feeling, but I cannot tell. I can't tell if it is anxiety, or if it is real. I make assumptions, and am wrong. I make assumptions, and am hurt. I don't know how to navigate a lot of things, and it frustrates me.

There is a high comorbidity between female autism and substance abuse, eating disorders, and OCD. A large percentage of people with OCD have autism, and a smaller percentage of people with autism have OCD. Maybe it is not restricted to female autism, but eating disorders are almost exclusively diagnosed in women. AFAB Autism is highly masked, is a face that you put on so that you seem normal, is mimicking behaviors to seem normal, is trying to look or present in a way that wouldn't get you called "weird". It is said to be exhausting, and to likely cause mental health issues, or at least a cognitive dissonance of some sort. I am really into DBT because it feels like a set of rules that you have, a list to follow in order to cope. A while ago I genuinely considered home decoration as a hobby, and I still think that I do. I really like arranging and organizing my items to look nice and to be functional, to have places for things and to make things look "perfect". I used to freak out and melt down if my items that I liked looking at were broken or ruined in some way. I still do, but I don't think it's to that big of an extent. I think I said this before, but the same thing happened when I got out of the psych ward, one of the days I was in it the cats knocked over a table and broke a few things, but I didn't care as much. Maybe it was because most of the things weren't completely broken. A picture frame of an old couple that I really like and think is really cute is cracked, and I almost got really upset until I told myself that it isn't completely broken and I can still enjoy it. So I do.

This is an aside, but I really like the earth. That was a broad statement. I like feeling connected to the earth, to feel like my soul is intertwined with the heavens in some sense, that there are angelic beings looking out for me. I used to have a delusion that I was an angel, but I stopped taking lexapro and then told my therapist about it, so I think both of those things helped. She said "you are human", and her saying that made me angry, but I didn't express it. It faded away eventually. It just felt invalidating, even though she said her job was to keep me grounded. I do believe there is a connection between neurodivergency and neuroticism. I saw a lot of ND people in the psych ward, which felt like it tipped me off. A lot of the people I do know IRL that are autistic are also neurotic in some sense. That isn't a word that I am using in judgement, none of them are, I think that they both have negative social connotations, but I use them as statements rather emotional words against someone. Anyways, as I was saying, I got a book from half priced books yesterday that is called "The Magic Of Precious Stones" by Mellie Uyldert, and reading it felt like my brain was being opened and my mind was being called. It felt like it was speaking to my very being. I haven't finished the book, but I am excited to read. In the past, I was never able to play pretend fully. I tried to make myself, but I couldn't believe in it at all, because I knew it wasn't real. I used to not believe in subliminals, but I do think that if they work for other people, then it is a good thing. I am able to delve into spirituality now, because I feel connected to.. I don't know. I just feel connected to something on a deep level, but I can't identify what that is. I think it might be being, being alive, being able to look at the sky and to eat and to sleep. I just like it a lot at times. I like to just be mindful, and mindfulness is really enjoyable. I think that she writes in a way that makes me feel excited and indulged. I don't feel I could read modern books, because the language just doesn't feel as connected... it feels kind of "showey" because of the modern terminology. To state it as, "yeah, totally, these things do this", doesn't ring as true as "In writing this book on precious stones and their powers I have put together everything I thought might interest and benefit readers". I used to get really into angel numbers, but I still really like the number 333. It just feels right. I like that people say it is about the mind, body and spirit. Like everything is aligned. It just feels right. I can feel it in my bones, to my core. I am excited to see where this journey takes me.

Okay, I think I have said everything that I could. If it happens to be, or doesn't happen to be, then that is okay. I don't want to be diagnosed, because I would be denied opportunities and HRT and be welcomed exclusion and ableism. But, if I am, knowing at a younger age would've been much nicer than having to piece things together myself, and figure out, "Oh, I am not fundementally flawed". Because I am not. I am just a person. I think that autistic people are cool. Goodnight america.

Written 05/18/2023