Perhaps, for every human being, the experience can often feel somewhat solitary, which is why we yearn to be close to one another — to alleviate the solitude of being individual people. When one is autistic, this reality becomes even more pronounced, as comprehending and communicating with others can prove exceedingly challenging.
I've always yearned to be comprehended, yet finding ways to effectively convey my thoughts to others has posed a continuous struggle. It's as though there's an abundance I wish to articulate, yet when I endeavor to write or speak, the intended message remains elusive. This is a shared obstacle that many autistics encounter when attempting to express themselves through language.
In numerous aspects, being autistic has equated to existing as an outsider within all my interpersonal connections. Numerous nuances remain beyond my grasp, leading to misunderstandings. Much about me becomes lost in translation. I operate from a distinct framework compared to the majority, yet I am evaluated based on the neurotypical standard, so to speak.
Misinterpretations of my behavior and incorrect readings between my words and facial expressions abound. Consequently, I'm left with a sense that no one can genuinely "know" me, intensifying the sense of isolation.
However, this experience is not mine alone. Countless other autistic individuals also grapple with the struggle for authentic comprehension. For those of us who were diagnosed later in life, the situation can grow even more perplexing, as many of us have masked for years, peeling back those layers to realize the extent of misunderstanding we've faced from both others and ourselves can be challenging.
Unmasking is the journey toward embracing our true selves. It involves rediscovering the delicate, exposed facets of our identities that we've concealed in our effort to assimilate into a society not designed for us. We've simulated an understanding of cultural norms that often make little sense, causing us to become detached from our authentic selves. Unmasking entails reconnecting with those parts of us that have long been misconstrued and cast aside.