There are about, oh, 900 things I could write about right now. But I'm putting it all on hold right now for the sake of the topic that keeps coming back. It's the one that's missing from my book: faking it.
I was talking to my therapist today, and amidst discussions of repairing fractured friendships, being confident in alone time, and writing for me, I brought up the subject without really knowing where I was going (usually, I don't start to talk without a firm idea of where I'm going... that's not to say I don't very frequently lose that train along the way, but... at least I start out solidly).
First, the disclaimer: This is not unique to autism. Not by any means. However, I think that there is a specific kind of "faking it" that many (at least female) autistics learn to do to function.
Not real or "faking it": Engaged, verbally fluent, calm, understanding, self aware, mature, making "eye" contact.
Real: Spacey, losing my train of thought and stumbling over my words, anxious, self absorbed, childlike, emotionally unstable.
Before you think that it's best to always be real, consider the fact that the "real" me inevitably drives everyone away. At least, to date, it has. Secondly, consider that I would never make any progress in therapy if I continued in this state all the time, because I wouldn't be able to take in the skills or apply them. In order to have friends and in order to find a livable life and heck, in order to be able to blog, I absolutely must learn to use my "faking it" skills sometimes. Maybe "faking it" isn't the best way to put it.. maybe it's simply a different level of myself to which I must become more attuned in order to progress.
But it doesn't feel comfortable nor natural. I think, even when in therapy and thus functioning in a fully "fake" state, it's important to let bits of reality come through. My therapist told me today not to try to fake it when I get stuck on my words; simply say, "I'm stuck" and stop. I'm pretty good, though not perfect, at continuing to talk to through the stuckness until I can pick up again. She asked me not to do that... I hope she realizes how often I get stuck!
Sometimes, I envy the little ones who haven't yet learned to fake it. They just get to be 100% them, all the time. It's absolutely exhausting work trying to be older than you are, more together than you are, calmer than you are. That's the part that I think most everyone can understand, though, right?