July 15, 2021

Anyone who sees me only in a group setting will tell you I’m the happiest person they’ve ever met. They may be correct, but for the wrong reasons.

It’s true that I have a deep-seated contentment, rooted in reflection. My day-to-day emotions range from euphoria to defeat, and everything in between, but the overall narrative of my life is satisfying.

I don’t think that’s why people call me happy, though. I think they do it because I smile, and bounce, and celebrate the little things. It’s partly caused by genuine delight, but also by adrenaline. I find people overstimulating, and more so if there are more of them.

In a crowd of strangers I shrink to preserve my energy, but in a crowd of friends the opposite happens – I expand my stance, express my feelings, and expend my energy. Their energy rises to match mine, and it creates a snowball effect.

The happier I look, the more likely it is that something inside me is sparkling and scraping, chafing and churning, finding moments to burst forth in sweet release.

It’s fun. It’s me. But it’s also a direct effect of the environment, not an accurate image of my average state.

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.