Throughout the years, my self-image has changed a lot.
Up until I was in my 20s, I pretended I was 'better than people' because I am fairly intelligent, good at programming and computery stuff, and completely ignored the obvious fact that I was emotionally and socially slightly less able than a dandelion.
Amusing to look at but generally unwanted.
School was rough. Bullying and never really fitting in has left its mark on my mind. I had to give myself *some* kind of worth and focusing on the things I could do well gave me value. It wasn't really enough, as I always doubted myself even then. Always wanting to prove myself that I was good at something which didn't help my overall behavior.
I felt alone. I never felt understood. I felt wrong. Not allowed to be myself.
A lot has happened since. I can't even begin to name all the people that have helped me. Parents, work (yes, really!), friends, strangers. I'm incredibly grateful for the many people that have been patient with me and helped me improve myself immensely. Lots of reading, lots of reflecting. And I'm nowhere near done.
It's the things you're worst at that are the most important to work on. Especially if it hurts to admit it.
Generally, I'm not too forward with the fact that I'm autistic. Most people know before I tell them, especially if they're familiar with a lot of the signs. I'm over-enthusiastic about way too many things. I don't shut up when I should, I forget to give people space (because of enthusiasm). I used to be so blind to a lot of social queues that are much more obvious to others. And yes, I will take things way too literal, almost always. "Potty break" still makes me smirk.
My journey with hypnosis, long before it became my kink, kind of started because I wanted to understand how other people worked. A manual to better integrate with society. Of course it didn't work like that at all (go figure), but it did teach me a lot. And the community, now so much more healthy than it was 10 years ago, has helped me a lot as well.
I still feel wrong sometimes, but it’s not all the time anymore.
I still feel alone sometimes, but I do feel understood.
Improving myself and growing has been so very rewarding.
I wanted to share this, because I know now that I'm not alone.
And neither are you.