Being Social is Overrated!
Some people can embrace being social like a duck can take to water, it’s the most natural thing to perform in so far as a task and is as easy as taking breath. They love nothing more than being followed and allowing themselves to become totally enveloped in people. They thrive on the hustle bustle of everyday life; revel in the brilliance of the colours of a vibrant society. It is almost like they were born into being the life and soul of a party, any party!
Indeed the only times they may consider donning masks might well be for pageants, or masquerade balls and the concept of literally disguising who they are to their world is terrifying! To them life is a wonderful stage to be seen for their performances!
But of course, NOT everyone can do that naturally, some of us have to hone our drama skills and live a life of pretence and we do this to survive. Not all of us can take to sociality with ease and some of us must become selective in our societal communications.
I am of this persuasion myself these days, l prefer to not mix unnecessarily with unknown people’s but prefer the company of known persons – it is by and far less stressful, reduces anxieties and keeps my mental health in check. Sadly however, not everyone can live the hermit styled life l do, they have to endeavour to blend in with their environment and that of course means they have to integrate against their natural will with other human beings!
I ‘don’t’ not socialise, l just don’t pretend to be able to manage crowds any more, but l can achieve success with ‘persons’ over people! I have a few close friends and l keep them forever in my six [a term l use a lot] and if they stray too far from that perimeter then l forget them.
A lot of society cannot abide their own company, and l believe feel compelled to honour some kind of hidden obligation to be seen constantly fraternising within their social order! I have no such call of duty or a yearning of communicative responsibility, thank goodness!
Years ago, when l was a different man to one who pens the post today, l was engaged in the throng of camaraderie – not by choice, but by survival only – l worked and as such l HAD to fit in, for failure to achieve that would result in being seen as the alien l believed myself to be!
It’s not easy to be social, not easy at all, some crave the attention of affection, and others see it as an infection to be avoided at all costs! Some need people in their lives to avoid becoming lonely, which is an insidious evil of its own. Luckily l don’t suffer from that, but l know many who do – so it is a horrific inner conflict for them – to want to be with others, but unknowing how to fit in without feeling terrified.
Alienation is a morbid emotion to experience and it is usually accompanied by exclusion another Machiavellian nasty filled with treachery! So in order for many to avoid this, they ‘mask up’ and become another person. Camouflaging who they are through concealment – it is NOT trickery or falsehood, it is survival – it is a way to be accepted by a demanding constant otherwise known as society!
The problem with this kind of pseudonym is that eventually it catches up with the host, and this can lead to a series of troublesome problems – stress – mood swings – tempers – meltdowns – burnouts and breakdowns! I so wish l could say this wasn’t the case, but l know this through bitter experiences sadly!
Being social is NOT just about conversation with people but it is about the people themselves and this can lead to the sensation of being overwhelmed! Not all bodies and minds are suitable vessels for taking on board vast amounts of human clutter – chatter, banter, idle nothingness, smells, useless noises and non-sensible logic that being social seemingly encompasses with ease!
During my travels within autism l have met and been introduced to many mask wearers and all with their own stories to tell. For me, back in the day, l was in the fashion industry and so l `took to wearing items that would take people away from looking at my face – animated and colourful ties, spinning bow ties and lapel bling – anything that took a person’s eyes away from mine – l could never look another person in their eyes it was always above, below or over the shoulder – for me my masks were used to hide the ‘real me’.
But masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and guises – some wear full body armour, others like l used to, wear eye candy distractions and for some it may be facial hair or ink art. Blending into our environment is not an easy thing for us to achieve because we are having to try and imagine the acceptable society style and impersonate it.
By far life on the spectrum is much easier than it used to be when quirkiness was viewed completely as inappropriate behaviour and if one didn’t conform to normality then one wasn’t welcome! That is of course the beauty of awareness – but it is not saying that the stigma attached to unusual has gone for it hasn’t and many still choose to not ‘come out’ or deny that they are actually ‘in’ to begin with and so the requirement for masks is still very much a common practice.
Life as we know it is filled to the brim with an over powering of at times paralysing catalysts and stimulants that can cause us to become run down very quickly. Remaining dedicated to your path can be fraught with perils – it can be totally gruelling, draining and debilitating – which is what others don’t see of us when we are masquerading around as them!
I don’t follow the crowds anymore, l walk my own path and allow me to be me. Not everyone can do that sadly, as society doesn’t allow it, despite awareness, they still want to coerce us to be like everyone else, they don’t want unique or individuality or even imagination, they want follow the crowd behaviour.
I wish we lived in a society when autism like mental health wasn’t a taboo that had stigma attached to it and where employees felt no threat by informing others of their social dispositions, where their foibles were not challenged as odd and where they could be themselves.
We are closer to those days, but sadly still not out of the woods, not just yet.
Things Take Time.
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.