Though there were years where I was awkward, or perhaps acted out a lot, I chalked it up to being "nerd girl" stuff, a sensitive kid who didn't fit in because I sucked at sports and preferred to be off alone, reading a book. But there were other traits there too - my mother said that when I was a baby, I couldn't make eye contact, and would squirm if I was held for too long. (She has mused in the past about me being autistic, but I was never diagnosed, because I wasn't so out of control that I needed a childhood shrink). I would do peculiar stuff like collect coloured pencil leads and keep them in a plastic case, demand low lighting, obsess over traffic lights and junction boxes, and in general be the kind of delightful little nerd who would fit right in as a guest on an episode of SNL's "Sprockets". Mom and Dad thought of it more as the peculiarities of an artist, but I did have trouble making friends, and my first close friend wasn't until junior high. (Apparently, I spoke somewhat monotone until a certain age, and then I got a bit more expressive in speech.)
There are things that make sense now. Bondage is not exactly interesting to me sexually, but confinement is a comfort, and so are restraints - I like restrictive clothing, weighted blankets, things like that, because of security, not anything truly kinky. I used to lie under the crash mat in gym class and get the other kids to jump on it because it felt nice to be sandwiched and compressed. I can put on the facade of a proud, confident woman and navigate the world with a strong sense of self, but when I get home I retreat to my room and go into my head and explore the mind. I still smack myself around a bit, which I need to learn to stop doing, but at least I don't cut myself anymore. I am in control of my emotions but will need to go off to be with myself to talk through things, I hide any oddness from society. There is still something peculiar about me, but I do a kind of "owning it" thing, where I have taken awkward qualities, polished them, and presented something much more attractive, in the end. I liken my presentation to the hem of a garment - one side, the side you see, is pristine stitching, the other side is frayed threads that nobody sees. But I also feel these threads can be trimmed with my spirituality, and cleaned up. Any qualities that were truly awkward or difficult about me in the past have been unlearned, and now that I am seeing this might be a real trait that I have, I can concentrate on my spiritual work to refine anything else that needs adjustment. One thing that is definitely not autistic about me is that I am even finer than the average person at picking up on subtle queues, I have many friends, and I am excellent at character analysis - I guess that's why I thought I can't be autistic. But there is enough there that suggests that perhaps I have some variant of it. I don't do well with romance at all, finding dating daunting, and I suffer heartache harder than anyone else. I don't marry well with modern living in some ways, preferring not to be too ambitious in the work force, finding classroom learning impossible to tolerate, and yet with things like COVID-19 upon us, I cope better than most, taking comfort in the fact that I see the world for what it is - illusion.
I'm using a picture of Sir Anthony Hopkins here because he's an autistic spectrum person who was diagnosed later in life, and yet is so brilliant at hiding it because he's a remarkable actor. I am actually a finer conversationalist than most in social settings, I can be the life of the party, I will use charm and wit to show a person what they want to see to win them over, so that nothing gets awkward in conversation. But if a chat goes bad on my account, I secretly punish myself for it later. I have learned to exude great charisma in person, but I am still painfully camera shy on video. I am in some ways like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, but with a sly persona like the Cheshire Cat.
I talked to my mother about this today, and she thinks I am onto something, so I texted my analyst and hope to converse with him as well. If I have mild autism, doctors should know about this, so that my treatment can be framed differently. I reject the schizoaffective disorder label completely, my "psychotic" problems were spiritual in nature, but perhaps if autism is a factor, it made things that much more challenging. I will likely explore this again on here, depending on what happens.
And now, for a song I wish I knew about at age 3: