I am invisibly slogging through a mire of cissexist bullshit.
I am talking to a psychologist to accomplish this. It is not his mire, thankfully.
We are sitting in a small room with 4 chairs, me on the opposite side to him and my mother.
My hand, with fingers in a white-knuckled tangle to make it smaller, less obvious, and to eliminate the noise of my ring finger striking my middle finger, has been flapping at the end of my stiff arm for about 20 seconds.
I, who has never noticed furious glares, glazed eyes of boredom or bewildered stares, notice the psychologist looking at it. Playing my part, a voice brightly says “What are you looking at?”, although I know. But it’s routine to play the part of unaware autistic.
It helps me seem more stereotypically autistic, so people will believe me.
He makes a comment about how I seem unaware of my hand, or that it looks disconnected from me, or something. Later, I will think that it sums up the things neurotypical psychologists miss about autistics.
You see, I am aware of that hand. I didn’t used to be. Before, I flapped my hands all the time. That’s hands, plural. I flapped my hand*s*. Hands
I want to repeat that for the rest of the next few paragraphs so that you can truly understand that.
That I flapped my hands.
Because it doesn’t seem like a very big deal until the remarks start. *You look ridiculous when you do that* is the one that really stuck in my mind. I got them every time I flapped, but I kept on.
Then they started imitating it whenever I did it.
You really have no idea what it’s like to have your self expression, the thing that makes you feel better, made into an obscene mockery until someone does it.
You’d like to say something fierce and defiant, somewhere in the back of your mind.
But if you could talk, you’d probably just whisper-plead *Please stop it. It’s awful. Please. I want to cry. It’s awful. Please.* when you meant to bluster a protest.
I only flap one hand now.
Unless I’m so gleeful that all I can think of is flapping and make birdlike, high-pitched noises. Even then, I hardly ever do it where anyone can see me.
To correct you, doctor, I am aware of that hand like a stone I’m straining to lift.
I am aware of your gaze pushing that hand down like I am aware of the precise, fluctuating levels of strength and pain tolerance remaining in me as I hyperfocus on forcing barb wire to be unravelled from a fence post with my bare hands, kneeling in the dirt.
I am aware of the *Please stop. It’s awful* that never came out, the precise look on my mother’s face as she gently corrupted my coping method, the straining individuality of each digit.
I think I’m more aware of that hand than you’ll ever be aware of anything, doctor.