The real, real, real you. No, not that one, the other one.

People are guilty of saying they want to get to know you better, to know the real you, as if the one they have been talking to all this time was a pale copy and the real one was in a cupboard somewhere. You can feel you have shown your best, most honest face to the world and then still have it pushed away, refused in favour of the 'real' one.

Why do people so readily believe they are not seeing the real person? Is it the aspie nature to disguise and hide beneath multiple facades? Or is the brutally blunt persona so different from what people expect, they refuse to believe it's the right one?

To have someone say they want to really get to know you is tantamount to them poking you in the gut or pulling you on the nose and saying, 'It's a costume, isn't it? Go on, where's the zip? Let's see what you really look like!'

This wouldn't be so bad if we always got to see the real them in return. Assuming we are up for this kind of revelation, if a person wants to see the real us then how about showing us the real them too? Let's see what lies behind the pretence at understanding, let's see the full face to go with the impatient eyes.

Part of being on the spectrum is often feeling like you are on the outside or that you have to wear a mask to fit in. Unfortunately, this is the mask of normality so if someone wants to see the real you, they had better hold onto their socks. Except, and I know I'm not alone here, if I am to reveal my real self to someone, then it's unlikely to be to someone who has to ask.

The real me is no mask and no button-up costume, it is the very heart of me, the essence of what keeps me awake at night and takes me away during the day. This face you see is unfamiliar to me, I can look in the mirror and stare back, as if we just met. This hand twirling the pencil on the desk is somewhere else, engaged in world-changing, universe-shaking mishappenings that have nothing to do with the reality between us.

The real me is not here, not looking at you, not talking to you and not even thinking about you. The real me isn't even thinking about me. It is thinking about that other place where there are no pretences, no masks, no words spoken in a different tongue.

And here is the crux of the matter: as far as I want, I already show you as much of me as I want you to know. There is usually a good reason that the rest is hidden. I have a suspicion that most people we meet in life have an image of what is within us and if we deviate too far from that, they turn away.

The ones who rush to meet us, in sudden surprise at seeing us, here, in this place together, are the ones who see the real face and already knew it was there.


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