Self Confidence + Confusion

Hello all,

First off, I don't really know if this is the place for me (in terms of posting in a forums). I was diagnosed with autism at a very young age and I'm now 18. The whole subject of it makes me feel weird and even when writing this I feel a mix of strong emotions with my hands shaking. The reason I'm writing this post is recently I have felt alienated and feel like I'm not happy myself from a 3rd person perspective. I have had this throughout my life but it keeps coming and going at certain times and the older I become the more I learn about how I behave and socialize. If I take a step back and look at my thoughts throughout life on self confidence and self identity I'm so damn confused.

I have some cool friends and around them I feel like a cool person I'd like to meet but when I carry on with daily life (talking to people in public, making new friends, etc) I feel like a weirdo and idiot. To cut to the chase, the main reason I'm asking for advice on this matter is because of my progress within martial arts. I have been doing martial arts for around a year and a half and I'm lucky to have some really nice and influential people in my class. I do have to note that they are all older than me and the youngest being 21. I idolize my teacher and want to be like him so much. When I go to my class my personality completely shifts (it feels like it does) and I become more timid and shy. Even my voice feels higher. When I say something to my teacher I feel like an idiot no matter what it was because I look up to him so much I want him to be impressed.

An example of this strange behavior, the reason why I'm addressing it and writing this post, about 4 hours ago I had my class. We were doing a sparing/demonstration type lesson in which you would test your stance and core movements to block a simple punch in different ways. Whether I'm throwing the punches or receiving them I'm doing them in a timid fashion and occasionally will retract my arms and legs when I should be holding position. (which is not good! I honestly think it's due to low self esteem in that environment!). Anyway I don't want to bore you with more martial art stories, the desired result is to be less shy when practicing in that environment.

My martial arts class is just a small snippet of what life can feel like most of the time, me being an idiot. For the first time in my life I feel like I want to be a cool person who can offer a lot of personality and charisma. I've destined to try and develop my character more over this year and I want to start by asking you readers, how can I become more confident and charismatic? Even after writing this up I feel like not sending it but at the same time I want to find a solution.

Sorry to write so much,

If this is not a suitable place to ask these questions please tell me.