Feminist Aspie

When You’re Out, Loneliness, It Crawls Up In The Ground…

on October 3, 2013

I’m trying to get back into blogging regularly, so the current plan is to blog about feminism one week then autism the next, or maybe increase that to one post from each category per week, I don’t know. Either way, that means I’m due to write an autism post, and there’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. Except, well, I’m not really sure where to start. So instead I’ll begin by linking you to other relevant things.

  1. At the risk of shoehorning my special-interest-du-jour into my “serious” blog, Sleepsong by Bastille helped me recognise and at least vaguely attempt to describe the feeling I’m going to write about. Lyrics can be found here, that’s where the title (and entire structure of this post, as it turns out) came from, and I think it sums up the whole lonely-in-a-crowd thing quite well.
  2. There’s also this post by autistic blogger Alex Forshaw on obsessive relationships. The comments on that post are really worth reading too. I really recognised myself in that post and the subsequent comments. I’m also beginning to understand why my ex (who is also autistic) behaved in the way he did during the final months of our relationship; not that that excuses it, of course, but I can at least see the reasoning behind the possessiveness.

Anyway, time to attempt some words.

When you’re out, loneliness, it crawls up in the ground…

It’s, for want of a better phrase, the language barrier. I’ll miss most of the neurotypical body language, facial/vocal expressions and whatever else; likewise, I imagine most people don’t pick up on any of that stuff from me. It’s the rhetoric surrounding who’s to blame for the language barrier, because autistic body language is seen as weird and wrong and all the advice that gets thrown at you about how to make friends all boils down to “Have you tried not being autistic?”

It’s not just that, though. It’s also the memories from when I was younger and how horrible other people could be sometimes, often people who barely knew me, people whose names I never knew. It’s learning not to trust people straight away, if ever, because they’re probably either laughing at me behind my back or about to start laughing at me to my face. It’s learning to assume that if people are whispering or laughing near you, they’re whispering or laughing about you; to this day I even assume this about friends, because, well, you never know.

“It’s funny when she gets angry.”

It’s never quite being in sync, even when you realise that not all people are going to push you into meltdowns for fun, and some are actually really friendly and supportive, in fact that probably goes for the majority of people. That’s nice to think about, but it doesn’t really solve the problem.

It’s showing up, saying “hi” and barely saying another word.

It’s being the awkward third person walking behind the other two, unless there’s four people, in which case suddenly there’s room for three people in a line and I become the awkward fourth person.

It’s all the worrying about being clingy and possessive and jealous, all the actually being clingy and possessive and jealous. It’s bugging people with either far too many Facebook messages or one that’s far too long. It’s freaking out when that silly Facebook messenger “seen” thing is removed only by a completely unrelated message from someone else, and when that actually gets some sort of response.

It’s the feeling, probably unfounded but still there nonetheless, that I’m in the group but not actually in the group, just sort of tagging along for the ride. It’s the realisation that this sentence applies to basically any group of people I could ever have vaguely been considered a part of.

…It’s what you feel, but can’t articulate out loud.

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17 responses to “When You’re Out, Loneliness, It Crawls Up In The Ground…

  1. emeramchugh says:

    I thought you did a great job of articulating that. It’s exactly how I feel at times: you’re included, but at the same time you’re actually not. You never feel *intrinsically* part of it.

  2. bjforshaw says:

    You sum up the feeling of not fitting in very well. Of having to guess what’s the right way to behave around people, of always worrying that you’re getting it wrong. And that nagging feeling that everybody else is part of some group that you’ll never get invited into.

  3. Reblogged this on Living otherwise and commented:
    The last paragraph of this post summarises perfectly how I feel in groups.

  4. Petra says:

    Yes, very recognizable. Always just out of sync, never quite comfortable, never really part of a group. Although I now do feel a lot better in small groups of autistic people, specifically women. (it was so dispiriting at first, after the diagnosis, to learn I didn’t quite fit in there, too, because everything is so male-oriented)

    And, yes, the bullying. “It’s learning to assume that if people are whispering or laughing near you, they’re whispering or laughing about you; to this day I even assume this about friends, because, well, you never know.”
    I keep telling myself “other people have better things to do than to whisper about me”, but this is so deeply entrenched it still pops up, if even for a fraction of a second.

  5. autisticook says:

    I’m going to answer with lyrics.

    I have no friends, no-one to see
    And I am never invited
    Now I am here, talking to you
    No wonder I get excited

    Your smile, and the sound of your voice
    And the way you see through me
    Got a feeling, you give me no choice
    But it means a lot to me
    So I wanna know…

    What’s the name of the game?
    Does it mean anything to you?
    What’s the name of the game?
    Can you feel it the way I do?
    Tell me please, ’cause I have to know
    I’m a bashful child, beginning to grow

    And you make me talk
    And you make me feel
    And you make me show
    What I’m trying to conceal
    If I trust in you, would you let me down?
    Would you laugh at me, if I said I care for you?

    So yes. THAT.

  6. […] When You’re Out, Loneliness, It Crawls Up In The Ground… Oct […]

  7. ap says:

    “I found out I did ‘nt need any friends” someone in a tv show somewhere. You do it alone=2*good as if you did it with others!!! I prefer the word solitude….I lov e it and look forward to the day I’ll never have to face someone again.You’re young: do not ever try to be otherwisee than autistic.No you don’t …

  8. ap says:

    pretend you like people who placate you for doing once in a while what they’re doing all the time and then pretend to educate you”like a cat or a dog”.I thought everything I posted on the web. You don’t like it: sod of!!!I will not apologize.

  9. lior says:

    It’s funny how young people with Aspergers are people pleasers.,Have you ever considered those friends may not be real friends?Because if they feel the need to do that kind of thing; you don’t need enemies.REAL FRIENDS DONT DO THAT. Period.I know you are young, but what you are doing here is dragging millstones around your neck.And if you worry about meltdowns, do not worry they disappear as you grow older.

  10. […] Except, well, I actually can people, I’m just not very good with that one situation that’s usually the only option for people-ing. Last week, having gone to law drinks to catch up with everyone and meet the new freshers, only to spend the entire time focusing on just barely coping and intermittently screaming and despairing at the inevitability of it all, a friend and I ended up leaving after an hour, but on returning home we inadvertently ended up sitting on the stairs (she lives on the floor above me) and talking for hours. (And I don’t just mean infodumping about Doctor Who, either!!) It really made me think. This is far from a new occurrence. That post I wrote the other week in which I mentioned a party that night? As it turned out, I didn’t actually even make it there, because everyone had already gone for pre-drinks somewhere, but not where I guessed they would be, and nobody could hear their phones, and usually I keep being told to arrive later than the stated time because people logic but then pre-drinks are also a thing and they’re earlier and it’s all massively confusing, and I felt horrible about it afterwards because it genuinely seems like everyone else has telepathic communication, but then I thought – would it really kill you to just be a bit more clear about what’s going on beforehand? That issue is probably more autism-specific that the first one (literal-minded and all that), but there’s just so much that isn’t accessible to a lot of people. And when that’s all that there is, taking the sensible route and just not going leaves you feeling massively lonely. […]

  11. […] I first wrote about neurotypical privilege back in February 2013 but can also be seen here, here, here and […]

  12. […] This reflects real-life attitudes toward autism. We are often made invisible except when affecting other people. Many autistic people I know express frustration at being spoken over: family members’ voices are consistently prioritized over those of autistic people, and are even taken as more accurate descriptions of our inner experiences than our own voices. The most well-known autism organization, Autism Speaks, was founded in 2005 but included no autistic people on their Board of Directors, despite widespread criticism, until a decade later, following a round of negative publicity not in response to activists but in response to a non-autistic author whose voice was heard in a way our own was not. Autism Speaks fundraises by advertising our existence, but only 3% of that goes to providing services for autistic people. We are also used for goodness points: Some parenting communities characterize mothers of autistic children as heroes, where the autistic child’s role is to be the burden that makes the mother heroic. Parents may video or live-tweet our meltdowns to get sympathy or support or media attention. Finally, both our social mistakes and people’s amusement at our expense often cause us shame and anxiety, and may remind us of frequent past instances of being laughed at. […]

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