Being autistic isn’t always ‘cute, quirky things’, like knowing a hundred random facts about forensic pathology because it was my special interest in the sixth grade; or not knowing pop culture references because I didn’t watch that tv show, I was too busy reading books on forensic pathology.
But it’s always, constantly, that near panic fear of -
Oh no, they’re looking at me, why are they looking at me?
It’s my turn to talk!
What do I say?
Is this the right speaking volume?
Am I talking too fast?
Are these the right words?
Do I sound intelligent enough for the people I’m talking to?
Am I using too many big words?
Am I over explaining?
Wait, how’s my volume?
Oh shoot, I was distracted by my volume and I used a big word and now everyone’s laughing at me.
Why is their forehead creased? Are they mad? Is that a happy crease?
Why am I waving my hands so much?
I need to stop waving my hands.
Great, now everyone is staring at my hands.
Okay, great, I think this conversation is over!
Oh, no, wait, they’re talking again.
Look them in the eye.
No, wait, that’s too much eye contact.
We’re done, whew. Another social interaction over.