by Lisa Morgan
There’s been a lot of discussion these days about masks, why autistic people use them, and how bad they are for us. Let’s take a look at what masking is not, and how good it is for us to take them off.
Masking is not being someone we aren’t because we don’t like who we are, it’s being someone we aren’t because other people don’t like who we are. While trying to fit into a culture that feels foreign and uncomfortable – many autistic people, me included, were willing to hide our true selves to belong.
It’s not copying other people because we want to be like them; it’s learning how to socialize in a way that is accepted by non-autistic people so we don’t stand out as odd or different.
It’s not something anyone taught us to do, yet we all figured it out as we experienced the difference between our autistic selves being rejected or being accepted if we put a mask on.
As more autistic adults are being diagnosed, and meeting other autistic people, the more we are able to experience our own culture. Wearing masks no longer serves us.
Now the masks are coming off. We may not know who we are right away because we wore a mask for so long, but as we liberate ourselves… dang it feels good!
Masking who we are is denying the world a culture rich in creativity, unique perceptions, authentic friendships, interesting passions, and some pretty awesome people!
Finally, I’ve gotten to the point where the risk of being me feels better than pretending to be someone I’m not. Goodbye Mask. Hello Me. Hello You.
About Lisa Morgan
After working as a software engineer for a few years in the mid-eighties, Lisa stayed home after her first child was born for the next thirteen years homeschooling her kids. Now, four kids later and a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching, she has taught in different school settings for 15 more years. After experiencing the loss of her husband of 29 years to suicide, Lisa authored, Living Through Suicide Loss with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Now, Lisa, an autistic adult diagnosed late in life, has become an advocate for other autistic adults who have had similar experiences. She has started a conversation with several nonprofit organizations in the US to help enhance the suicide prevention and postvention resources to be a better fit for autistic adults, as well as, to spread awareness of the resources available to the autism community