There’s been a lot of discussion these days about masks, why autistic people use them, and how bad they are for us. Let’s take a look at what masking is not, and how good it is for us to take them off.
Masking is not being someone we aren’t because we don’t like who we are, it’s being someone we aren’t because other people don’t like who we are. While trying to fit into a culture that feels foreign and uncomfortable – many autistic people, me included, were willing to hide our true selves to belong.
It’s not copying other people because we want to be like them; it’s learning how to socialize in a way that is accepted by non-autistic people so we don’t stand out as odd or different.
It’s not something anyone taught us to do, yet we all figured it out as we experienced the difference between our autistic selves being rejected or being accepted if we put a mask on.
As more autistic adults are being diagnosed, and meeting other autistic people, the more we are able to experience our own culture. Wearing masks no longer serves us.
Now the masks are coming off. We may not know who we are right away because we wore a mask for so long, but as we liberate ourselves… dang it feels good!
Masking who we are is denying the world a culture rich in creativity, unique perceptions, authentic friendships, interesting passions, and some pretty awesome people!
Finally, I’ve gotten to the point where the risk of being me feels better than pretending to be someone I’m not. Goodbye Mask. Hello Me. Hello You.