I used to think it would be good to mingle and manage normal life and be accepted as a real person, like all the other real people you see walking about, doing things without any effort. I wanted to be seeeeen, instead of by-passed, ignored or, worse than anything, treated like a nobody.
When I was a teenager, I thought this respect would happen naturally, as if it was something that matured along with the rest of you. After being sneered at by a middle-aged shop assistant or similar I used to think that when I was older, people would treat me with more respect. It was just being young that was the problem.
Yes, I was an idiot about this. What I didn't realise was that some people show no respect unless they think you have earned it and earning it seems to be one of the more mysterious aspects of life. It has little to do with age, either yours or the jerky person treating you like dirt and more to do with that element of human nature that only sees what it wants to see.
So the sneery shop assistant might have been nasty to me because I was young, but more than likely she'd be nasty to me if I was the same age as her too. What I didn't quite get was that she looked at me and found me wanting, so gave herself permission to be horrible.
This still happens now. People look at me and see someone just outside the norm on a good day or way off centre on an aspie day. Depending on what type of person they are, they either accept the me they see or treat me as they think I deserve.
This is a truly scary side of society and humanity (I use the word ironically). To look at someone and then decide how to treat them is only one step away from rushing out with burning torches and pitchforks. It relies on the belief that the mob, the mass, the heaving cauldron of humankind, is designed along a certain type and if that type is deviated from then the person is wrong.
There is no discussion with this belief, no chance to redeem yourself, Without the aid of a magic wand we are unlikely to do a ta-daa! and become what people would rather see. And if we did, it would be a lie.
But you know, they don't mind a lie. They don't mind if people seem normal and behave normally and are perpetually astonished that serial killers and multi-billionaires can look like everyone else. They are equally astounded that people who don't look like everyone else may not be serial killers and may, in fact, lead exemplary lives working a wide variety of jobs and bringing up families. Amazing!
Readers, I have discovered with the passing of time that it becomes harder to pass for an 'everyone else' type of person. It doesn't seem to matter what clothes I wear these days. I can dress like the next mumsy woman in the queue and still I give off this air of aspie-phere.
The difference these days is that I am rarely plagued with sneery shop assistants and hardly anyone tries to take my place in the queue. I am not ignored for long either. You see, as the years passed I did gain a way of helping people to treat me better and to show some respect, even if they were wary of giving it.
As life went on and I grew into my aspieness, I developed A Look, often over the top of my glasses or piercing through the lens into the very soul of the wrongdoer. It is the look of a wrathful aspie, an all-seeing, action-packed aspie who may not only look different but will act differently too, if you don't behave yourself.
Yes, I have found the only way to get respect from people who feel they don't need to give it is to demand it. And if they still misbehave, then do something about it.
It is up to those of us who might find ourselves at the wrong end of a pitchfork to turn around and change the status quo. Don't wait until the whole castle is burning and all your experiments are in ruins - put out the flame, right now. Storm out of that door and strike down the leader of the mob. Take their twisted little brains and turn them into something more pleasing (I expect you can imagine a few uses for them without me making myself look any more disturbed).
Take up the challenge, readers and take it up for others as well as yourself. Never be afraid to stand your ground and challenge the way other people think. Then walk away leaving them to wonder about the strangeness of the human race, not realising that they are the ones who are strange because they see other people as beneath themselves.
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