As women, we are taught from a very young age that we have to be okay.
We are taught that we must shoulder the emotional burden of okayness, or face the wrath of societal judgement – ‘bitchy’, ‘waspish’, ‘nagging’or, that worst of all condemnations ‘overemotional and irrational’. We smile around the words, I’m fine, hoping that by twitching the right muscles we can fool the world and, maybe, ourselves as well.
As autistic women, the burden of okayness becomes even heavier.
Many of us have lived our lives desperately trying to cling to a semblance of neurotypicality, pushing down on what we really feel and how we are naturally compelled to act. We have learnt to wear a mask of ‘not autistic’ – forcing a smile, forcing socialisation, forcing everything else to bubble away below the surface facade of coping and quiet hands and culturally acceptable normality.
We are women…
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