A note on unfitting
This is out of our reach and it’s grown, this is getting to be drone, I’m a negative creep. Nirvana, 1989.
The feeling of not fitting has been with me for as long as I can remember, and I don’t mean (at least in this note) about not fitting within society’s standards as a woman, not fitting as an immigrant, or not fitting within preferences or likings. Today, I’m talking about the unfitting sensation I get for how I feel and say things.
From very early in my life I noticed that I had difficulties when sharing my thoughts with others, I’d often experience rejection from them, and most of the time I was told that I was wrong. As a teenager, I can remember being told that my points of view were too negative, and people tended to disregard them as if they were less valid. All these situations, made me grow up thinking that my opinions, feelings, and ways of saying things were wrong and I should basically just hide them. This has permeated my behavior up to these days. What came later in my life was understanding that my way of thinking and seeing things was part of my neurodiverse brain. So, it’s not wrong, it’s just different.
I’ll illustrate this with an example: A good and close friend of mine comes and tells me all about this new job they got, how excited they are about this new place and how the people there are so great, and how “this one is different” from the former ones. My reaction would be not as excited as they expect it (imagine a person saying “congrats” in a monotonous tone), and immediately asking them to remain conservative about this job, probably by reminding them the resuts of their pasts choices. The reaction of my friend would be something like “Why can’t you be happy about it? Why do you immediately need to point out the negative?”. It may be even, that they tell me things like “just because you have experienced this or that, doesn’t mean it’s the same for me” or “the problem with you is that you never seem to see the good”.
The context in my head, when such a situation happens, is that my friend changed thier job with arguments like “people there don’t care about others” or “I can’t believe my manager did this to me, we were like family”, and this is mainly because they are very friendly and have the tendency to get too attached and close to people they work with, which in principle is great, except they get hurt very often.
My logic behind the skepticism comes (from my point of view) from a good-intentioned heart, worried that my friend may end up hurt again. It probably also comes from my anxious brain, trying to stay alert while facing life. Also, my capabilities to display excitement are different, I’m not a yelling jumpy type that will say things so loud, but this in no way means that I’m not feeling it.
Over the years I have learned to “show more enthusiasm”, at least to fit the standard of what others expect to see. I have also learned to moderate how I say things, to think how could I tell my friend that “employers are just employers”, and that rarely they would see you as a family, and that “they should be more careful when giving themselves out there” because people are often not as nice as they seem. But all this using the words that they are more open to accept and that they don’t refuse to hear arguing I’m being too negative about life.
At this point in my life, I have no idea how many times I have been judged as negative, pessimistic or even a hater, just because I put my feelings and thoughts out there as raw as they are. In the last years, I had the luck to learn that this is a personality trait of people with a neurodiverse brain, most of the time is seen as “being too honest” for some, but in my case is something called “being too realistic”.
The difference in world views between people with autistic traits and those without them has been studied, showing a tendency of autistic folks to be more realistic and, somewhat ironically, than their non-autistic counterparts.
Apparently, this idea of people: “When believing the world is just, the future appears to be more controllable if acting according to accepted standards”, is not something that is part of my brain. This very notion of not believing that there’s some form of “automatic justice” in the world, and that it doesn’t matter how good or just one behaves as a reflection of how good you get things in life, has made me loose friends. It has also made me entering unwanted arguments and discussions, but above all it made me stay in the quiet to avoid being hurt. And apparently, it has also made me a person who can’t just say “everything will be fine” or “this is wonderful” without thinking what comes next?. I’ll always be the person who thinks of having plans A to Z for all possible scenarios.
Having the knowledge of why I say things the way I do, or why I feel this need to always think on “the negative side”, is comforting and alleviates my guilt. However, it certainly doesn’t make it better to not feel rejected (even from my very close people), and it also doesn’t change the fact that I still need to hide what I want to say, and always choose the option to stay quiet but not isolated.