This is something I've always puzzled over... even back as a child. Yet, I've only recently begun to get curious as to whether it's an autistic thing, or just me. So, who better to ask than you wonderfully resourceful individuals?!
It concerns the idea of 'me'. Constantly looking out at NT's, it's always struck me as odd the complete, utter and rigid faith they have in their own sense of self. They say such things as:
"I'm a right character me!"
"I'm a good person."
"I deserve more... I deserve that promotion / marriage / expensive car etc"
"I want a baby"
"I'm confident / intelligent / switched on / funny etc"
For me, individuals are all things at some point in their ever-fluctuating lives. But for NT's they seem to feel whatever they're saying or self-identifying with as absolute, irrefutable concrete 'truth'. They seem to posses a sense of self and inner confidence that I both fear and envy.
A good example of this is their names. I of course have a name. But, whilst I use the name 'Evan' for forms and social interaction, it's never felt like 'me'. To me, it's an label used for convenience, but I don't feel attached to it. Yet discussing this with friends, the topic came up because of one transgendered person who changed their first name, so I asked if the cis-gendered NT's would ever consider the same. They seemed completely aghast and affronted by the idea of changing their first names. Several of them admitted to disliking their given name, but said "... but it's still me!" They disliked the name that was randomly assigned to them decades ago by a complete stranger (i.e. their parents they had only just met after being born), yet still saw that name as intrinsically 'them'. To me, that seemed strange. Personally, the name of 'Evan' is considered like a piece of clothing... a superficial layer. There's no significant attachment to my name. I honestly have no idea what my 'real' name is (maybe that's just the Buddhist in me talking).
Another thing that undermined this 'dissociation' of mine concerns being diagnosed as autistic. I really had no clue. Nearly four decades had passed on this sweet earth without my having the slightest inkling that I was autistic. So, receiving the diagnosis came as a devastating and utterly unexpected blow. Whilst I'm (slowly) coming to terms with that now, the longer-term negative effect is that it's completely undermined my sense of 'self' - of any assuredness or confidence in my own resources, traits or being. After all, who can be that stupid and naïve to have absolutely no idea they're autistic?! How can I claim any sense of self-ownership about any aspect of me when I didn't even know something so utterly profound? (and now, with hindsight and education, seems so blatantly obvious)
Ultimately, I don't know what my character is. I'm bemused by who I am. I don't trust my self identity. I question and double-guess everything I do. My real motivations make me suspicious of myself. I don't have any idea as to what my self worth is... what I inherently 'deserve'. I can't tell you (like others seem to) just what sort of person I'm attracted to. I have no ambitions or goals that I'm aware of (other than my habitual stress-evasion).
I am a complete mystery to myself.
So, I thought I'd check in with you fine guys n gals to see if anyone else experiences this 'schism'?
Do you know who you are?...
I'm not sure I really do, although I think I'm starting to get a bit of an idea. As for many others, the realisation I had some degree of autism has been an eye-opener for me, even if not a very comfortable one so far, but a breakthrough nonetheless.
Can I put it another way?
I often feel in awe of actors who seem to be able to construct and portray these believable other selves. It's something I don't feel I could (currently at least) do because I often feel I'm struggling to even be myself, let alone trying to be someone else. Often I find myself wondering who I am?
Does that add to the discussion?
Absolutely it adds to the discussion. Maybe it’s amateur dramatics you could try? They are usually really great places, with several undiagnosed/unaware autistic people and they help you progress slowly.
It's not really my thing. I don't like to stand up in the limelight, I'm happy for someone else to do that. I used to enjoy doing stage lighting, set design and building and things like that at school. Also I'm incredibly hopeless at learning lines if I actually have to try and do it. Whereas if I'm not trying, just turning up to rehearsals, working out lighting cues or sets needed etc. then I used to know all the lines of the play by heart by the time of the dress rehearsals.
My brain does my head in sometimes :-D.
The very fact that it’s not your thing, that you don’t like to stand up in the limelight is the very reason I suggested it. We have to step out of our comforts zones if we want anything about our life to change so if you’re happy for someone else to always get on stage, maybe it’s time for you to give it a try.
You sound like you’ve got a very unique and sound way of learning the lines. Many actors use different methods. A friend of mine learns his while he’s sleeping. He simply records them then plays them back whilst he’s asleep. It sounds like not only could it get you out of your comfort zone, which in itself opens up opportunities, but you could actually enjoy it and be really good at it as well.
If nothing changes nothing changes but of course, if you’re perfectly happy with yourself and therefore your life, then I can see why you might not want to give it a try.
Thanks, I appreciate the suggestion, and what you say is very fair. I'm reasonably confident though that whatever I am, I'm not an actor. But you're right about if you always stay in your comfort zone you'll always be stuck where you are. I starting to get the inkling that I need to start moving away from my "hide in the background" preferences to head in the direction I feel I need to go, I just need to work out how I can make that work for me.
Make sure it’s doing something you definitely don’t want to do otherwise you’re just slightly pushing out your comfort zone ~ this can delude some people and make them think they’ve gone outside of their comfort zone, but really they’ve just done something a bit different and widened the comfort zone a little.
Get clear on your goal then write down (brain storm) all the ways in which you could achieve your goal then pick the one that attracts you the least, the one you think you’ll never be able to do, the one you really don’t fancy, the total opposite of you. And if you fail, so what, it got you out of your comfort zone and the inner confidence and rewards you get from that are priceless, so it’s worth failing at things now and again just to achieve the inner confidence. Plus, learning to love failing is a great gift, it’s very freeing and bulldozers over many obstacles which would stop a person who had a fear of failure.