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 suppose, Evan, a lot depends on the kind of life you've been able to make for yourself as an autistic person. How well you've weathered the storms and come through to make what feels like a satisfying and fulfilling life for yourself. Some people can find their niche early on, work away in it, carve a successful and rewarding career doing what they love and enjoy - whatever it might be. So much of a sense of 'self' is bound up in that, I think.
I didn't do well at school, in any regard. When I left, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn't have any special talents (or I hadn't noticed any at the time) or skills. I didn't have any qualifications, either - and wasn't particularly interested at that time in trying to get some. I was glad to get away from education and be able to go out and earn some money. I took whatever unskilled job I could find - going from job to job to job for the next twelve years. During that whole time, I felt - for want of a better word - lost. Adrift in a life that made no sense to me. At 28, I finally managed to scrape into university. It was, and remains, the single most important thing I've ever done in my life. It reoriented me. It didn't so much change the way I looked at the world but gave credence to it and refined it. Validated it. It enabled me, too, to develop the confidence to think for myself for the first time. Afterwards, to the disappointment of all around me (except, bless them, my parents, who never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do), I 'dropped out' of the mainstream. I rejected the career path (teaching or the Civil Service were the main paths I could have taken) and went instead to work in a wholefood shop - an environment that was the encapsulation of everything I felt in my head and my heart. I downsized my life, got rid of my car, became vegan, went hunt sabbing and road protesting. For the first time in my life, I was mixing with people who had the same view of life that I did: artists, musicians, writers, college drop-outs, anarchists, intellectuals, radicals. Square pegs, as I'd always felt myself to be. At last, I felt like I'd found something I fitted into.
At around this time, I started to have some successes at last with writing (the only thing I'd really ever wanted to do since about 6 or 7). I won some minor competitions, had some stuff published, did readings and started to get a small following. The world seemed to be opening up for me. At last, I was getting respect from others for doing something that I'd discovered I was good at. I worked away at it - very much, of course, as a spare time activity: very few writers can make a decent living out of their work. The ones we all hear about are very, very rare. For every J K Rowling, there are hundreds of thousands - more likely millions - who barely get by. It's a very precarious thing to go into, and no one ever goes into it primarily to make money. If they do, they usually end up extremely disappointed. You have to be dogged, and never give up, because you are going to experience the frustration of failure (however you want to think of it) much more than in just about any other field. And it's harder now than ever. I've published some poetry, a few short stories, one novel. I've had some short stage pieces performed. But I have nothing to show for it in financial terms. Not even, really, in 'name' terms. But I keep plugging away - perhaps with a little more disillusionment than I had before, and it accumulates over the years. But it's never too late, as they love to say...
Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way, of course, and defining 'success' and 'failure' in terms of how society generally, and NTs in particular, would define it. I'm not a writer who works at a day job. I'm a day job worker who writes in my spare time. I'd love to be able to make enough of a living from it - however meagre - to manage on that income alone. That would be my dream. I personally know of two writers who have managed to live that dream - spending all day doing the thing they love, encouraged along by their success and the respect they've garnered. That would be my ideal life. That would truly give me a proper sense of 'self'. An identity, if you like. Maybe it's sad and unfortunate that I can't seem to find it in any other way. But there it is.
Meantime, at least I'm doing a job that brings many rewards. Not money. But some satisfaction. Seeing someone smile, hearing them laugh, encouraging them to achieve something against enormous odds. They're reward enough. And I suppose those things are a reflection of the 'self' I project. They're responses that I've brought about in some way.
It still doesn't enable me, though, to be able to answer your question. Not completely. Not with any real conviction.
I know we say 'nt' world, but you do know it's not 'their' world don't you and we have as much right to be on this planet as they do and that we are just the same as them in that we're all human beings, so in Truth, it's not 'their' world. And no, of course we don't fit into the nt model of society, that's why it's our responsibility to create our own way of living etc so they can benefit from our minds and we can benefit from theirs.
You say you know who you are but you speak only about your motivations, likes and dislikes etc, so are you saying you're essentially a body of flesh and bones and a mind with no spiritual nature? I'm not saying you're wrong, by the way, just incase I'm not clear on that, I'm just interested to know if you do just think you're a body and a mind.
It IS an NT world. We are a tiny minority - you can kick & scream all you want, you can claim to be spritual and demand your place - but you ain't going to get squat. NTs do not care about anything 'different'. Some people on here appear to just be treading water in their life and whinging about it or claiming they are peace with it all. I don't believe it.
I know what I want and I'm taking steps to get it.
I don't live in an nt world and I wouldn't be here (meaning alive) if it wasn't for nt's. It was an nt who referred me for my autism assessment, an nt who conducted my assessment and gave me my diagnosis and it was two nt's who have been supporting me ever since. So I am eternally grateful to nt's.
I don't mind being different, I've accepted my diagnosis which means I think, see and experience the world differently to most people, nt's as well as autistic people, and that's perfectly ok.
Why would you think people on here are not telling the truth?
And what do you mean that I'm not going to get squat? I have no idea what you mean. It seems to suggest I want something from life, which I don't, so I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Also, don't you think it's a bit of a long shot to say all nt people are exactly the same?
I love that you've got goals ~ I've got them for the first time in my life this year. What are your goals? I'm curious to know what your goals are when you don't even feel like you belong on this earth.
It only depends on what kind of life you've had if you subscribe to the nt theory that your worth is measured by how much money you earn or your achievements etc, which as an autistic person, I've never bought into, not ever, it actually seems insane to me.
So NTs selected you to be told you don't fit in their world?
I know exactly the environment I need and I should be ready to go in a couple of years.
Things are being put in place so I can remove all stress from my life. I can create MY world.
That's what I did, I removed all stress from my life and created my world according to my needs, now I know what they are.
And no, nt's didn't select me but they gave me the diagnosis which was my rubber stamp that I do have a place on this earth, that I do fit in, that I do belong. Prioit to diagnosis, I didn't fit in because I didn't think I belonged here, I thought I was an alien from a different planet but as soon as I found out I wasn't, that I was a human being after all, I've never felt out of place since.
Come on then, tell us your goals, don't keep us in suspense? It sounds like you're going to another planet seeing as how you think this one belongs to nt's. I travel the world and some countries are definitely more autism friendly than others. Bali, for instance, is very autistic friendly. In fact, I'm sure that island was built by autistic people, and they're different from all the other Indonesian islands.
I know who I am, but no one else sees me how I see me because of my autism. It's like "does the tree that falls in the forest make a sound if no one is around to hear it?" Does it matter who I think I am, if no one else sees me that way?
All I'm looking for is low stress - UK will do for me - I can cash-up and downsize and move to somewhere much quieter.
My brother lives in the country - too far from civilisation for me - but I'm looking something similar but probably near mid wales borders - away from most people with the ability to do my own thing.
I want a house with a very large garden and surrounded by fields - I have many outdoor hobbies.
Yes... I was kind of making that point by saying it depends on how you define it.