Navigating the world with an autistic mind has always been a dance between masking and coping for me. As an ex-professional dancer, performing is second nature; but off-stage, the performance evolves into a different form. It’s a fine balance, one where masking and coping intertwine yet reveal a journey towards self-mastery.
Masking: A Mastery and a Choice
From a young age, masking was a survival tactic, a way to blend in and navigate the world around me. However, as I’ve grown and embraced my autism diagnosis, my perspective on masking has transformed. Now, I “super mask” not to conceal but to fully engage with life. This intentional masking is not about hiding but about choosing to present the version of myself I aspire to be, authentically and with joy. It’s a mask I wear proudly, a curated expression of my ideal self, refined by self-awareness and unhampered by the challenges of autism.
Coping: A Journey to Unshakeable Self-Confidence
Coping has evolved from merely managing to thriving. Understanding myself better has shifted how I navigate social interactions, turning once-exhausting encounters into opportunities for genuine connection. Mastery over social cues, like eye contact, which used to be a struggle, now comes with ease, showcasing the power of self-awareness and the growth beyond my diagnosis.
The Impact of Awareness
The diagnosis was a pivotal moment in my life. It allowed me to understand my behaviors, embrace my unique perspective on the world, and communicate more effectively. Without this self-awareness, I might still be grappling with identity and mental health challenges without the foundation or strategies to overcome them. Now, I stand with unshakeable, unstoppable confidence and self-belief. I know who I am, and I’m proud to share not just my challenges but my victories. Each year, I learn more about myself, but it’s the knowledge of my autism that has been the key to truly unlocking my potential.
Raising Awareness and Understanding
For parents navigating the journey of raising children with autism, know this: diagnosis and self-awareness can transform masking from a survival strategy to a chosen form of expression. It’s crucial for young people to understand themselves, to learn that they can control how they present to the world in a way that’s authentic and true to their inner self.
This blog is more than just a glimpse into my world; it’s a declaration of the power of self-awareness and the mastery of masking in an authentic way. It celebrates the resilience of the autistic spirit and underscores the importance of living authentically in a world that wasn’t designed for us. The journey from masking for survival to coping for growth shows our greatest strength: the ability to adapt, to learn, and to thrive, mask and all, while maintaining an unstoppable belief in ourselves.