Today I talk about a topic that Is quite close to me personally because it has developed over the last few years or so and maybe discussing it will shed some slight onto it, perhaps other people do the same and can relate. I refer to putting on another personality in front of other people but when alone, I let the real me loose…so to say. Visibly, I can mostly be honest with the close ones in my life but 100%? that’s a little tricky.

Is one really happy with how they are honestly in front of the world? I often ask myself if the person I portray to others is the real deal when I go to work or see friends or family, or just a mask that I want them to see because I might be too angry, embarrassed or upset at the time and I don’t want others to see, to pry or even mock…Is the real me only known to myself is something that I think about quite often but do others have these thoughts as well? Do we all portray and masquerade in front of the world for these reasons, only to ‘come out of our shells’ once we feel safe to?

I often say that I keep my true feelings and thoughts to myself, not letting anyone else really know what I think or feel about a matter, keep my cards close to my chest so to say and It’s something that I doubt I will ever cease doing in my lifetime. My reasons for thinking like this? Pain. When I was learning to accept that I had Autism and had a new way of looking at the world, I made myself very vulnerable and many people took advantage of that and I found myself isolated and mocked because I said silly things without thinking and would often be afraid to lie if someone asked for an opinion (I still somewhat do) I was left with no friends and I lost trust in other people for a few years, causing me to one day decide to masquerade, be what they wanted me to be but deep down, keep what I really thought all to myself, because I don’t want to go back to that place where others were taking advantage of my feelings and actions because they thought it was funny.

Over the years after my childhood, my found my confidence returning to me once my found myself with people that accepted me for who I was and I became less bitter for it, I had friends and a partner…life was good once more but the pain of the past often keeps me on edge and I have a few times nearly reached a breaking point or as many with Autism call it, a meltdown but with time, they became less frequent and nowadays, it’s once a year if any at all but why is that? Autism isn’t something that can just be switched off but for me, it’s learning from mistakes in the past and using what I had learned to prevent them happening in the future and many call me the mature one of the group. In University, I was told I was often one of the most mature ones of the course which was a little strange at first as many of them were bright, intelligent and amazing people but others at home were starting to say it as well so I guess some truth must be in it.

Of course you can’t turn Autism off, I’ll have it throughout my life and I accept that but it doesn’t say anywhere that you can dumb down the effects through experience, acceptance and of course support from loved ones. All of these things make it seem that I don’t even have Autism, I have forgotten from time to time that I have it and many will disagree that I should be able to dim how it affects me but I can only say what I have experienced in my life and that I use my past as a motivation to make my future better.

Yet when I think about it, if I do have a good set of friends, a loving partner and family…do I need to hide away like I state that I do…I don’t know, maybe I don’t need to anymore but perhaps it is still necessary to, just in case I feel the need to…not even my partner or parents truly know how I feel, only myself and I feel safer if I keep it that way because If I’m honest with others about my true feelings, they might have a hold over me and I know I shouldn’t say that because if I love them, I should trust them and I do but to a certain extent that goes up to my thoughts….it’s complicated.

Perhaps one day in the future I could concede and realise that I no longer need to keep my cards so close, I can let the close ones in because I know they are always there for me, to love and support me but not today…I don’t feel completely ready yet…maybe it’s just that not enough time has passed yet for me to let it go…maybe when I become a parent and look my baby in the eyes…I could let go and understand that I do have to be afraid anymore but until that day comes, I had best put my mask back on.

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