Last night I hid under a table in a pub and watched postman pat as a big group of my friends ate a meal before a birthday party.
I’m proud I was brave enough to be myself.
I was struggling in the pub. Loud, bright and busy. I was overwhelmed. It was going wrong.
My friend suggested I hide under the table. There were 14 people around a table for 10.
I said no at first thinking ‘can’t do that, too autie. To childish. Can’t be that naughty’. Then as I got more spaced out, it was offered again. So I did it.
Accepting the autism takes practice. My friends suggestion was entirely correct. I recharged for a while under the table watching pat and toy story cuddling the Lion. I then went to the party recharged and able to enjoy myself.
If I hadn’t hidden I would have needed to have gone home. I can’t travel in the city alone so leaving would mean at least one friend coming with me if not more. A horrible situation.
Likewise stepping outside for a break would have made me feel guilty while also being less effective. I couldn’t do it alone so would have also interrupted a friends evening.
This morning I am a little mixed in feeling. The logical part of my brain is proud I was pragmatic. My emotions are less sure. I’ve spent years trying to hide the autism to some degree. Fitting in. It’s what I had always been told to do. Being myself was naughty and wrong.
The thing is I can’t fit in. I never have and it’s now even more obvious than ever. So why hurt myself in situations where I don’t need too.
My friend read the situation better than I did and no one minded at all. A few people commented they’d like to join me and few others said it was cute and fun.
This is practical autism acceptance. It’s hard but the rewards are massive.
I’m glad I took the decision to do what worked for me and I am grateful my friends are so supportive.