Foreword: I love you, friend.
I have a lot of days where I fight with feeling like being on the spectrum interferes with my relationships and I feel worried a lot that how I am online is improperly representing who I am on the other side of the screen. I know I’m youthful in chat. I emote a lot. I’m silly. I’m bubbly. Which are good things usually, but I often feel like I’m being perceived as young or childlike. I struggle sometimes in communication though I try my best. Anxiety often blankets over me.
Well, for what it’s worth, I’m not on the spectrum. Yet I recognized myself in almost all the doubts, thoughts, worries you mention. And, as much as it’s important to take autism in account, how much your own mindset is influenced because of it, it’s also a good reminder to say that you’re not just on the spectrum. As you shared here, you have a story. You are a person as a whole. With your own doubts, fears, struggles. Which have all a reason to be. You are not less capable than anyone. You know that already. But indeed, sometimes the fears are stronger and it certainly makes you doubt about yourself.
I delete a lot of things when I speak. I’m sure some of you have noticed this. Some people thought it was me not trusting them or me trying to hide what I say. I promise you it’s not that at all. It’s a struggle with feeling like I don’t deserve to express myself and a struggle of me feeling stupid in how I talk. Later I go back and think “ugh I could have said that better” or “ugh I sound like a child” and I delete it so that I don’t have to keep looking at it.
@Daisy Ok, let’s be honest about it: we could open a club for those who know the famous “You deleted a message” from Dan. This should even be a meme.
More seriously, I discussed with some members of the community about this struggle of deleting our messages. You send it, then you overthink it and enter in a panic mode. I do that too. With everyone. Online but also IRL (quite a huge struggle at work when you have a lot of emails to send). Most of the time, if I send a message to someone that makes me anxious, I even have to close the conversation and do something else. I can blame myself for days, even weeks, for something I said and considered as being stupid/inappropriate or anything else. While obviously the other person doesn’t even noticed it.
So if it can be reassuring, know that you’re absolutely not alone to struggle with that. I think it’s totally okay to talk about it. And also, sometimes, it feels good to just laugh about ourselves. Nothing wrong happen in this situation. It’s just frustrating and stressful. But in the end, the best outcome is to realize that we are loved, no matter what.
It goes even beyond DMs. I know for me that interacting during streams is very stressful. If I start to write a long message, I feel like I’m in the middle of a room and everyone is just looking at me. Which is obviously wrong, just a feeling, but a very powerful one. Also why I mostly interact through emotes, lol. I’m even insanely stressed just to think about the idea of having a vocal conversation, just because I have so many fears to sound stupid, not interesting, not XXX enough - the list is endless. But there’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s okay to take our time. To learn to be more comfortable, step by step, at our own pace. I see at least HS as a great place to actually work on that without being judged.
Ive been really anxious lately. I’ve had a lot of melt downs. A part of my heart wishes I could “start over” - clean slate and just retry.
I’m sorry for that… I’ve been feeling that you needed some privacy and want to respect that, always. You know you are loved and cared for, and you can count on those who love you. Whether it’s here or in your life. Obviously you can’t just “start over”. But it sounds that you are thinking a lot and, based on how I know you, I’m 100% sure that you’ll find some growth through this moment. Without a doubt.
I want to be a good friend. I want to be a good influence. I want to be a good leader. I want to be a good role model. But I don’t mean specifically here in Heart support. I don’t mean specifically as an official titled role “leader” as I am here. I mean as a whole, as a person, I want to grow and learn how to naturally be these things. I want to do good things in this world. I want to be an encourager.
I sometimes feel like being on the spectrum or my limitations take away from me fulfilling that.
Being on the spectrum will never prevent you to be the person you want to be. But thinking that it does can become a limitation in itself. (Not saying it’s not important. Just that you are seen and loved beyond this). Though, the way I see you at least in this community makes me think that you are a positive inspiration to many. So… for what it’s worth: I hear your doubts, but I can assure you, it doesn’t play a role on this matter.
You are not just an inspiring person. You are, before everything else, a listening, understanding friend. A human with a lot of strengths and qualities that no one else holds… because you are you and you carry your own story. I feel privileged to know you, to interact with you. There are many areas of our lives in which we can relate to each other. I always appreciate our conversations. And I love you. Period. You are an inspiration to me, whether it’s when you are bubbly or less comfortable. Because you have a personality, a story, a unique perspective about life, but also interests, passions that you share. It’s a privilege to know you. Not “you” in a week, a month or 2 years. But you right here and right now. You are inspiring for who you are and for allowing the people around you to know you. I know this can sound a bit vague or hard to understand, especially when you’re holding high standards for yourself or struggling to see yourself as loveable. But that’s the truth that comes from the heart of someone who see you right now and keep growing thanks to our interactions.
I hear that being a role model is something that drives you. Maybe you can ask yourself what does it mean to you, practically. Is it about your attitude? Your inner values? How you present yourself? Your capacity to overcome the obstacles of life? The words you chose? Just very random examples, as it can be a lot of different things. And maybe, starting from that, you can see if being on the spectrum is really an obstacle or not. And if yes, how to overcome it.
Maybe also discussing with people you consider as being role models to you, or great inspirations, could be helpful. Personally, I have a hard time with the idea of people being “leaders” or role models. I understand what it implies, but I believe that we all have to learn from each other experiences. I like to see everyone as apprentice of life. And the people who inspire me in particular areas are also learning on others. Just like I can be both at the same time, depending on the relationships and circumstances at the moment. But it’s a personal perspective, and there’s certainly as many as there are just… people. I guess what I just want to say here is that discussing about this specific topic with others can be a good start. At least to reflect on your own standards and representations.
I’m really sorry if I have ever come off wrong to people. Gossip is something I do not handle well. I’ve seen a lot of gossip lately and I am terrified that people will not come to me if they struggle with my person and instead just spread hurtful words. And I know that I have myself got caught up in gossip on accident. I make it a point to try not to. I want to spread kindness around this community. And want to make sure that if what I’m saying isn’t productive, helpful or good to just not say it at all.
Again I can only talk for myself, but I want to reassure you, with all my heart, that I never saw any gossips through our interactions. Only sometimes the need to clear our mind in times when it was needed for both of us. I think it’s healthy, and a proof of humility. Nothing wrong at all.
All the things you say doesn’t have to be helpful, productive or good. You are allowed to be. Without any judgment. From others, but also from yourself. It takes time. And a certain amount of discomfort to actually allow yourself to be who you are, without hurtful limitation, without overthinking - trust me, I understand that. Kindness is a thing, a good one, but like everything else, it can be a burden and a real limitation. I think it’s important not to make it a trap to yourself.
I’ve seen some changes in how people act towards me and I let it get to my head. I over think it and I need not to. I need to accept that not everyone will like each other. I need to accept that we can’t all mesh. But it still hurts when someone doesn’t like you, especially if based on what someone else says about you.
You know my DMs are always open to you, anytime. I don’t know if something triggered that precisely, here or IRL. And it’s not my role to ask about it. It’s private. Just know that if you ever need to talk or vent, I’m always willing to listen (and if not, I’ll say it anyway). You can send a message, delete it, resend it, edit it, no matter how you feel more comfortable at the moment.
But I know that a lot of what I am feeling are lies my mind is trying to tell me. I know that I have good friends. I have a wonderful partner that supports and loves me and encourages me to grow everyday. Who doesn’t judge me for my faults but helps me overcome them. I have a lot of good in my life.
That’s a very powerful and beautiful statement. Keep it in your beautiful heart and soul. That’s where the truth holds.
Conclusion: I love you.