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There’s a feeling of coming out, of revealing something.
And then to have that person turn round and say you aren’t autistic — well, that’s difficult, too.
My boyfriend called me “adorably awkward,” but in earlier years at school, my awkwardness had never been adorable.
I didn’t rock in anxiety, I didn’t speak in a monotone, I laughed and danced and engaged with people, showing interest in their work and passions.
Here the common misconceptions about autism were both my ally and my enemy: they allowed me to hide, and to embrace a status as “off-key yet normal,” but they also damaged me by giving fuel to the lie that I was just a bit odd, making it all the more difficult when it blew up in my face with someone yelling: “What the hell is wrong with you?
Still, as a nineteen-year-old, newly at University, I could for the first time in my life “pass” for normal, or neurotypical.
I felt a bit like a fraud, but it was also exciting to move among my peers and feel, for the first time, fully accepted as one of them.
I wanted to keep my other side secret, or at least attempt to play it down.