Involuntarily Closeted

I wrote on Twitter that I’m getting depressed and since depression means that I isolate myself I want to explain a bit about what’s going on. This is probably not very interesting to most readers, but to those of you who know me and wonder why I’m not very good at replying to your messages, this is an explanation. There should probably be a couple of content warnings on this but I’m having a hard time pinpointing exactly what that would be. I can tell you as much as that this is not a nice post. This is a post about identity crisis and the lived experiences of ableism and oppression of queer people.

My life is full of real threats. My future income, the school situation for my autistic kid, all my healthcare contacts and probably something else. These are all things that are serious threats to me and my family, because my health is now so fragile that for instance one Capability For Work-assessment would make me so ill that my partner would have to choose between neglecting me or neglecting our kid. I’m scared to the point where I’ve told my partner that I want an autopsy if I die (and yes, I’ve made official documents about it). I think this could be enough to make me depressed, but that’s actually not the only thing that makes everything seem hopeless.

I’ve been living with this fear for years, and maybe all this accumulated fear is the major reason. Maybe there’s a limit to how much fear I can handle. But there is one more thing, and I don’t really know how to describe it but here it goes:

I feel like I’m living a lie. I don’t know exactly what authenticity is for me, but I know it’s not present in my life. I feel like people relate to me as somebody I’m not, and it feels like a small animal is eating me from inside (yes, I mean that literally. I have an image in my head where a small mouse is nibbling on my intestines, that’s how it feels). I know this experience from before, and that was what made me come out as a person with eating disorders and as bisexual. But it’s like I’m closeted again, closeted to the point where I don’t even know how to relate to other people anymore.

Who am I? I’m a bisexual, queer, polyamorous, autistic enby/genderfluid/womanish with ADHD, Complex PTSD, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, POTS, Hypermobility Joint Syndrome/EDS. I’m a parent. I’m somebody’s partner.

Who most people see me like? A straight woman, mom, somebody who is constantly tired, a fragile person.

I’m closeted partly because I have to in order to protect my kid, but also because when I try to tell people, most people don’t believe me. My partner believes me but admits to not truly understanding most of my autistic experiences. He really tries but he can’t, and honestly – it hurts. I don’t blame him because he is really making an effort and doing the best he can, but not having my autistic experiences validated by the person I share my everyday life with hurts like hell.

When it comes to being bisexual and queer – it gets so complicated that I don’t know where to begin. I’m bisexual, yes, but when it comes to love… I don’t have any words to explain what I feel. I love my partner very much but I’m not romantically in love with him. For long periods, I avoid books, movies and TV shows with queer characters because it hurts too much to be reminded of the lie my life feels like, but that means feeling like a freak in my own life because I get no representation to mirror myself in. Then, when I listen to an audiobook or watch a movie with queer characters, I fall. I fall hard and end up where I am right now.

This is probably a messy post. The bottom line is that I’m mostly not seen as the person I feel like I am and it’s making me so sad and disoriented that I don’t know how to interact with people. I’m too ill to change my life, but I’m paralyzed by the thought of keeping this lie up for the rest of my life. I feel guilty and ashamed for being so affected by things that are minor compared to the threats I mentioned in the beginning, but the guilt and shame doesn’t make it go away.

It will probably pass.

 

P.S. As usual, please refrain from telling me that “I have to seek professional help”. No I don’t. In fact, I can’t.

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Falling

Content Warning: This post deals with internalized ableism.

 

My bed is soft
my bedroom dark
my weighted duvet hugging me
and I – I am falling

The biggest, deepest, darkest secret
planted deep
its essence tangled in my roots
permeating everything
invading me

There is no me
without the false becoming the truth
the faulty becoming the real
the obvious demanding unraveling

Longing for confirmation and comfort

I’m kind of ashamed to admit this but sometimes I find myself in this really desperate longing for confirmation of my autistic identity. Very few people that know me behind the anonymity know that I’m autistic, and I feel like I’m fooling people, or being deceptive and manipulative. I don’t want to live in the closet like this, but I have to for my kid’s safety. I guess that’s why I sometimes long so hard for somebody to acknowledge my identity. For somebody to see that certain things that I can’t do or do in a specific way is because of me being autistic, and not because of my other disabilities.

There are people in my life who know that I’m autistic and respect it, but most of them aren’t autistic themselves. To be honest, I don’t know why that matters so much to me. But it does. Maybe I just wish I had a context, or an autistic community of people where I could stop the passing act. Where I could LEARN to stop the passing act, because right now I don’t really know how to stop it. Not that I always pass, because I do come off as weird, but my weirdness is perceived as being rude, shy, too intense or a bunch of other things that tend to be ableist with a touch of misogyni. That’s not a confirmation of my identity.

On top of longing for confirmation I’m longing for something else. This is even harder to admit but I need to state it: I want comfort. I’m not very good at being comforted by other people but right now that’s what I want. I want someone to hold me and help me carrying this mourning because it’s too much for me. A couple of months ago I wrote that I won’t mourn forever, but right now I’m wondering if it will ever stop.

My relationship status

Sometimes I write stuff about my love life that may seem confusing. As a matter of fact, it is confusing even to me. My relationships to other people are complicated. All of them (except for the relationship to my kid). I will probably never spell out exactly what kind of relationship I have with the one I call my partner, because I can’t. I know what I have, but just like most things regarding identity and sexuality it doesn’t match the relationship logics that I have a language for.

At some point I hope I can write a bit more about how I feel about relationships to other people. How hard I often find it to make the clear distinction between romantic love and friendship love. But right now, I need to rest. I’ve had an emotionally intense weekend and my head is boiling.

The intersection of sexual orientation and being an autistic woman: The normalizing project

Content Warning: The following text includes internalized ableism.

 

I want to tell you a story. It’s about an autistic girl growing up without a diagnosis or any other word to accurately describe herself. By the time she’s five, she’s well aware of that she isn’t like girls are supposed to be. She’s loud when she’s happy, she can’t control her impulses and interrupts people and she responds to unfairness with a great load of emotions. She’s kind of a pain in the ass to stressed teachers who tell kids lies in order to make them obey.

As she grows up, our girl’s life tends go from one extreme to the other. One day her teachers are praising her for being so smart, the next day she scores zero on her math test. Somehow she manages to get kind of good grades, despite struggling so hard to just attend classes in school. By the time she’s thirteen, she sees herself as arrogant and unintelligent.

On top of this, she has become aware that her sexuality doesn’t seem to follow the logic it’s supposed to. She has a secret crush on another girl in school, but she has a hard time knowing if she’s bisexual or a lesbian. The whole concept is kind of hard to relate to. It’s kind of hard to understand her friends too, to be honest. She doesn’t like most of them, the only reason she spends so much time with her friends is because her parents has told her to. Our girl really wants to belong and some of her friends are actually nice, but most of the other people in her school are annoying.

When our girl is fourteen, she hardly goes to school anymore. She’s too tired in the morning, too overwhelmed to be able to stay in school the few times she actually manages to drag herself there. She’s depressed because something is wrong with her but she has no clue what it is. She’s just wrong. She’s just a bad person. This escalated abscence leads to a phonecall to her parents. When they find out that she’s not going to school, they are angry. Since she doesn’t have an obvious problem with drugs or bad parents or anything else that counts as a real reason for needing help, she’s being told to get herself together. This lazy attitude has to stop.

Our girl pulls herself together. In order to force herself to school, she has to stop being this generally kind of faulty person who obviously can’t do anything right. Her life turns into the project: To Become Normal. She writes lists on what to say and how to act. One of her friends, a guy that she actually likes to have as a friend, becomes her boyfriend. Not because she’s in love with him, but because she has to push all the weird things about herself away. She attends school as much as possible, hangs out with her boyfriend and a few other friends, does most of her homework, and plays the part as the normal girl. In fact, she plays it so well that she suddenly becomes popular. It lasts for a year, then she can’t keep it up anymore.

The interesting thing about this story, is that the pattern will continue. This was the first fifteen years of my life and the following fifteen years followed the same pattern. I try to play the part as normal, fail after a while and collapse. Every time I try to pull myself together, I end up in a relationship with a cisman for while. After a couple of months I can’t do it anymore, end the relationship, engage in different kind of queer arrangements, mostly with women while still trying to make my life work, collapse, starts dating a cisman and repeat.

I’m not saying that I’ve never really wanted any of the cismen, because I was very much in love with one of them. I’m just noticing that the idea of a traditional relationship with a cisman seems to be a part of my desperate claim to pull myself together every time I have collapsed. It has been a part of trying to become normal, again and again.