Autistics and Unmasking

If we as autistics mask, who are we really under that mask?

Perhaps we can know by looking at what is revealed when the mask slips for a short time.

Perhaps how we look is - all at once - distressed, liberated, in pain, explosive.

Perhaps it is the very moment we enter emotional overload ('meltdown', colloquially) that our true self surfaces from the seemingly endless drowning of self, and then we are gasping for air.

In our minds we might make assumptions that lead to masking. We might think that is the way to be 'normal', 'good enough', 'loved by others', 'safer', 'able to live with ourself'.

Every time we allow ourselves to peek out from behind the mask, or find the security to surface and breathe, we get an inkling of how that is all a lie.  Soon there is no going back.  We know we are not being who we are, and the internal conflict heats-up.  How much of myself should I show?  At what cost?  To whom?  Can I safely postpone this process?

Whether we like it or not, over time such revelations and conflicts will erode our ability to hide our wondrous authenticity with such a veneer of slavish unbeing.

It might hurt if I was to say "I wish you many more cracks in your facade, I hope you lose the struggle to keep the mask, may the snapping point come quickly."  So I won't.

In a world that silently yet brazenly (at the same time can you believe!) teaches everyone to not have empathy towards your real autistic self, that teaches you personally that rejection awaits the unmasked you, that even were you to unmask this world would brand you 'a woke fraud hamming it up, manufacturing stims and sensory requirements, full of teary special pleadings'... we would have to rebel in order to stop operating on the basis of fear and anxiety - our big killers - and switch to assertion and celebration to get anywhere.

You need what you need, and your masked self cannot reach it.

You might want what you want, and believe your masked self can attain that. But at what cost?

A need remains a need, and a want doesn't rank beside even one such need... especially the need to be you.

What you need might not be what others want for you, but it remains a <need> and there needs to be a day of reckoning for them, not you.

You need to surface, breathe.  It can't be that you only present yourself when slumped and broken.

~ ʎllɐǝɹƃ uɥoɾ