The Author

The prevailing emotion to those who have held a controlling role in my life, once they’ve gotten past my public mask and realized the way I am put together, is this roiling disgust. Along X, Y, or Z vector they assure me they have never met anyone as repulsive as I.

Part of getting to grips with myself has been accepting that much of what they’ve accused me of, actually, yeah, it’s true. And what of it.

Yeah, I am autistic. Yeah, I am asexual. Yeah, I have no connection to my assigned gender and in fact am actively averse to it.

You bigot.

Some fifteen years ago a partner seethed at me, demanded to know if I was autistic. I had not then been diagnosed or looked into it very deeply, but in the abstract I took the defense of autistic people, explaining how it was just another way of thinking, not inherently wrong. I wasn’t thinking of myself; I just didn’t think that was a fair way to talk about people.

This, uh, only made them angrier. Like, how dare I. Who would stand up for autistic people? The notion that I considered they were anything like was okay was, like—well.

I think in hindsight that may have been the turning point in that relationship.

My ex-spouse was so distressed with the way I walked, with the way I moved my arms, with the clothes I wore, with my hair, the words I chose, my lack of muscle mass, my lack of interest in culturally “manly” things. I was this tremendous embarrassment, that they had to manage.

If I shaved my face, they grew so upset with me. I looked like an alien. Like a child. Like a girl. They couldn’t look at me without feeling grossed out. The biggest crime: to them it made me unfuckable. And how dare I. They had to control my presentation to make sure I turned them on.

One time I objected, is that so important? And boy howdy, that was not the right thing to ask. How could I say such a thing. What kind of a question was that. The contempt and the control only deepened from there. Like, what if by looking at me, people started to wonder about them? What then? How dare I put them in that position.

Every time I left the house they had to check my clothes. There would be something wrong, even if I dressed exactly how they specified last time, and they’d send me back two, three times before they let me leave. If I showed resistance, they may as well have let out a hiss.

I am so used to being a thing, to people. Anyone who gets close to me, they project these ideas on me and treat me like a doll. If I should contradict them, threaten their complete ownership over me by showing agency of my own… it’s like you took away a Gamer’s upskirt camera.

And the thing is, I am so used to being wrong, to knowing I’m fucking up, to stepping on toes without knowing, to dropping every ball I’m holding, to misreading every situation I’m in, I’ve always just taken it. Oh, my mistake. Yes, I’ll try to be better. I’m sorry I disgust you.

It’s a real weight off to just say, yeah. You’re right. And fuck you for judging. How dare you, actually.

You have no right. None of you have ever.

The person who I am, who I would be without all this damage, is actually pretty cool. And they may yet forgive me.

I want to be friends with that person. I want them to trust me, though until recently I’ve given them little reason to, and ultimately I want to be them. How dare anyone get in the way of this relationship.

I deserve to love myself.

Itch in my head, that’s telling me somewhere

I really can’t get enough of this cliffhanger.

This is the kind of situation I’m always afraid I’ll find myself in if I don’t pay attention. This is what my nightmares are like. His look at the end, there — that self-realization. On top of the confused, not altogether intentional comedy there’s a layer of existential terror. I remember a discussion with my phenomenology professor at Orono, where she described her fear of railings, lest she happen to fling herself over them. Not that she wanted to; that was the point!

It’s not exactly the same, but when I was maybe six I dreamed that my older sister and I were walking along a ledge above a deep chasm, and I knew that if she kept telling jokes we’d fall. I tried to tell her that, but she, well, laughed it off. And we fell, and I died. That lacks the crucial lack of self possession on my part, but the logic is similarly surreal.

I keep hearing that, for some reason, you can’t die in dreams. I wonder who made up that rule, because I’ve been dying since I was little. Usually with a loud crunch, and a sharp pain, and darkness. Then things move on…