Sometimes in your lifespan, there are very short but surprising things that can occur.
From the external, it can appear casual but for you and your insight it can be shocking. Something so shocking to you, you are far from forgetting about it for a long time. This image sticks into your mind with such a grip you’ll eventually end up finding the time to write about it because this short event inspired you into attempting to explain a social phenomenon which is way more important than people may think.This is what happened with me and it drove me to write about the not-so-talked about topic of alienation while disabled and in that case Neurodivergent.
It happened back in June, I was in the corridors of the former center used by the charity group “Asperger Amitié” for its “social skills” group activities and so on.After finishing an activity there, I was about to leave. I had this habit of hanging out with other autistic friends. We used to get on a small trip through the streets and parks of Paris all together and eventually end up in a bar. I was eager to leave just waiting for one of my chap to get out of the toilets. And then it happened. This boy came to me. This teenage lanky autistic boy I’ve never ever seen in the groups before.He was nearly as tall as I am and had a non-blinking straight staring gaze. I saw that from beginning to the end as he was walking slowly straight to me, he was maintaining this stare. He took a few more steps to finally stop right in front of me at just 2 feets away from my body as if his stop was driven in an extremely automatic and calculated manner. Keeping up with his straight stare, he extended his harm to shake my hand, still in a very mechanical way as if he was following a protocol check list. He then said “Hello how are you? What’s your name?” to me, still with his straight look locked into my eyes.
It was something that immediately shook me up form my bowels to my spine. I knew exactly that this boy wasn’t doing all this in a genuine and instinctive way. It was unnatural. It was just a pushed-to-the-extreme mascarade. For the first time I experienced “Masking” from an external sight as I never did before. And it was shocking, because I was asking myself: « What did this boy have endured? What was pushed into him? What was he forced to learn? And even internalize to act in a way that is incompatible with his Neurodivergent functionning? Did he was forced to learn all this the “Hard way” thanks to peers bullying? Did his parents shoved him up to his mouth months and years of conversion training to act in a NT-centered socially appropriate way? Was he shaped by people who still hold illusory faiths in making out a ND boy an NT kid they always dreamed of and this using the worst damaging methods? »
All these questions flashing up to my mind drove me to write for my page and latter for the Aspergian blog about this concept I at first struggled to name even though it always existed nonetheless. This whole mascarade. Alienation. Being driven to believe you can only exist by giving up your natural ND body-language and expression for the benefit of a mechanical unnatural NT-acceptable body-language and communication. This boy as I saw him was just half of a person, in the sense that he was certainly forced to sacrifice and give up his true side to accommodate the confort of NTs. Perhaps, the most disturbing thing about this experience is that unless I’m lucky enough, I’ll probably never have the opportunity to interact with this boy again. Just having the time to talk to him and putting my efforts into telling him about what he deserves and with a little more time for self-reflexion, aim him onto the right path to unlearn internalized BS and finally learn to be himself. His true autistic self. This is not only about this teenage boy, but it is a story shared by way too many autistics who don’t even realize they don’t have to pretend at high levels to be like this to exist because this society doesn’t benefit and put forwards the tools to learn about this alienation spiral and unlearn it in order to finally be yourself and begin to cultivate a true sense of self, which is something that thanks again to alienation, is lacking a lot in ND lives.