November 12, 2020

A conversation with my past self:

Me: “You look kind of grumpy.”

Little me: “Yeah, a teacher was mean to me.”

Me: “What happened?”

Little me: “I was using my hula hoop as a jump rope, and he said: STOP THAT.”

Me: “Wait… as a jump rope?”

Little me: “I mean, holding it in front of me, and stepping through, and then flipping it back over my head so I can step through again.”

Me: “Sounds fun.”

Little me: “I do it all the time at recess, but he wouldn’t let me do it in the hallway.”

Me: “Ah, see, that makes sense. Because you could hit someone.”

Little me: “But he acted like I broke a rule! Nobody told me it was a rule.”

Me: “There are a bunch of rules that no one will ever tell you. They’re called unspoken rules.”

Little me: “Well, if it was unspoken, people shouldn’t get mad at me for not knowing it.”

Me: “Yeah, they shouldn’t. But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t as mad as he sounded. He just wanted you to stop right away.”

Little me: “I think he was mad. I think he doesn’t like me.”

Me: “He doesn’t understand you, so he doesn’t know how much you care about understanding the reasons for things.”

Little me: “Unspoken reasons?”

Me: “Unspoken reasons for unspoken rules.”

Little me: “Those aren’t fair.”

Me: “They’re not, but you’ll get better at figuring them out over time. It’s even kind of fun to find the patterns behind them.”

Little me: “Patterns?”

Me: “Like, anything that might hurt someone is usually a bad idea.”

Little me: “I know that already.”

Me: “But there’s a million ways to apply it. And no one has listed all of them.”

Little me: “I could! That sounds fun.”

Me: “You could, but the list would never be finished. It’s better to learn how people think. Most of them think very differently than you do.”

Little me: “I know.”

Me: “You mean you know the fact that it’s different. Someday you’ll learn how – and why.”

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.