The Whole Thing

I’m having one of those days where I am a bit lost.

Like most neurodiverse people, I’ve been masking to survive for a very long time. The question is… how do you stop? And of course, the ever present, “Who am I?”

I wrote a post about inventorying your identity from time to time, with the obvious title of Identity Inventory. I also wrote a post called Who Am I? Same idea. What parts of me are mirrors and what parts are me?

The truth is, it’s technically all me.

I’ve started doing these Venn diagrams of the versions of myself. There’s the me that I am with John, the me that I am with my mom, the me that I am with strangers, with students, with my psychiatrist, etc. etc. And part of that is just social survival, like I said. Neural linguistics. All that.

But it still leaves me a little confused. I’ve seen this fantastic phrase on shirts and stickers-

“I refuse to make myself smaller for you to digest. From now on, you can choke.”

Now, I don’t really need anyone to choke on me. That’s a lot of conflict that I am not ready for… maybe ever…

But I do want to take up more space. I want to be myself, and I want more people to get me for me. Not the digestible version I’ve made for them.

Even writing that was scary. Conflicted, to say the least. I’ve lived a full life making myself smaller. Full, in time, I suppose. But full?

That question opens the door to all kinds of scary things.

And neurodivergent people are not good with scary. Not usually.

But I want more. Maybe, that’s the start to being both full and whole.