You ever wonder, truly wonder, how much of your life to this precise point has been pissed away and wasted trying to be liked? How many hours, if you had to guess, would you say you’ve spent altering your natural state of being, your behavior, your words, your interests, your passions, your time, all in the pursuit of fitting in or acquiescing, in the desperate attempt to make sure you don’t ruffle any feathers, you don’t turn any heads, you don’t give anyone any reason to do anything other than think you’re a perfectly agreeable sort of person? Unless you’re a neurodivergent like me, a Spectrum Dweller, chances are, every single one of you would probably raise your hand, if being honest, and admit that it’s far more hours than we’d ever want to actually fess up to. Autism is a blessing in some ways, and in the pursuit of full disclosure (as always), I will say that I’ve never done this, never known how to do this, and never understood this truly, as it comes so foreign to me. I was the oddball that never cared, despite knowing, that he was an oddball. I never followed the trends, the fads, the phases, and I never bothered to pay a single mind to if I was liked or not. Most often, I knew precisely when I wasn’t and no, it never upset me. Saying this, what I DO understand, is that this is not “Normal” and yes I’m doing real quotes and air quotes for all you listeners not readers, because normal is just majority rules and is a load of bullshit anyway, and I in no way expect anyone else to have this same experience.
While my neurodivergent experience may not be the universal one, I have come to believe over these four decades, that it damn well should be. Sitting where I sit, with the mind and hurdles (and yeah, some cool quirks that can be kinda fun sometimes), is like being that old guy in the mall that sits on the bench eating Dippin Dots just constantly surveying the scene, not really saying anything, but you just know he’s soaking it all in and has something really wise or profound to say about what he’s seeing. It’s like that, except I’m not old, malls don’t really exist much anymore, probably Dippin Dots don’t really either but who knows, and I say a lot, oh, and I’m not particularly wise or profound. So yeah, just the observational part really. Whatever the case may be, I see, a lot, and I observe, a lot, and I absorb what I observe, and then try to spit it back out to you in this Signal Fire in a way that makes some sort of sense.
Here’s what I see, plain and simple, and I hope this lands in a way that makes you see what I see too:
So very nearly all of you (and yes I’m generalizing, and yes it’s really still accurate), so very nearly all of you, are so wildly-distortedly-heartbreakingly wrong about the person that you see. You’re all, 100% all, stunning, and beautiful, and quirky, and brilliant, and hilarious, and magic, and VITAL to the tapestry of this strange, strange place we call Earth, we call home. You waste so many hours in some twisted dysphoria, towards your own bodies, your own personalities, your own self-worth, you roll around and coat yourself in misconception and doubt, you punish yourself for things that absolutely no one but you sees, believes, or pays attention to. You starve yourself in the pursuit of some fanatical ideal that doesn’t even exist outside of photoshop and CGI, magazine covers or movie screens, you hide yourself away and soften your voices and sand down the edges of your own unique quirkiness in some attempt to fit a little better in with the thousands of other people doing exactly the same. You shift your confidence, you quell your own instinct, and in doing so, you stop being you, and start being a mirror of those around you, as they become a mirror to you. A psychomanteum, we become, a reflection of a reflection of a reflection that extends on to infinity, showing nothing but the nothing it’s already showing. We turn into shells, and we wonder softly inside why we feel so tired, so alone, so disconnected from the rest. You’re perfect, dammit, as is, as was, as will be, you’re perfect and the only thing you owe to yourself, to the rest of us, is to be kind, to do your very best to love everyone, and to love yourself with the same compassion. This is it, and this is all.
I know, all this is easier said than done, it’s easier heard than put into practice. I know it’s far simpler for someone who is not burdened with the Sisyphean task of not allowing ourselves to become that mirror to say these words, but it doesn’t mean they are not true. If we’re honest, if we are TRULY honest, I still believe that we fritter away our precious time trying so very valiantly, hopelessly, to fit in. Fit in to what, I scream out, fit in to what?
Stand out, stand up, fight for the good fights, highlight the strangenesses of your own soul. Become a monument to your own uniqueness, become the signpost, the glowing neon signpost that helps direct others to doing the same. If those you’re with don’t support this version of you, find new people to surround yourself with. If those you say you love, make you love yourself less, have the strength, the courage, the belief in your own value, to move on, and find those that will. You deserve the best of all things, deserve to shatter the mirror you became, to make disco balls of the image you once fought so hard to preserve, and to dance in the shine when all that new light finds you.
Start now. Give fewer f*$@s, grow comfortable NOT being liked by everyone, understanding all the while that if you’re liked by all, you’re not a real person at all, you’re just their own reflection, staring back at them, and they probably don’t like what they see much anyway.
I may be an old man eating those Dippin Dots after a powerwalk around some half-full food court, I may be desperately searching for the nearest Sam Goody, or JC Penny, or Annie’s Pretzels, and that’s ok, because it doesn’t mean I am wrong. We become mirrors when we care more of what they think than who we are, a sentence, the haiku for today, and a little sliver of truth that I hope you see as such.
Be you, and be good. That is all I wish to say. You’re perfect, after all.
We become mirrors
we care more of what they think
than of who we are.