Seasonal social pressure, guilt trip and me, a weirdo
The winter holidays season usually brings up a lot of social and family duties. Anyone who knows me knows that i'm not big on family stuff! My autistic a** has social anxiety and although I do very well at small parties, I tend to have a hard time at the mall for instance... I can only deal with so long of a conversation and sometimes I can barely get myself to deal with anything but dark and silence. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me! I know that, it's already hard to live, I wish people saw that.
The season is like a marathon of small-ish parties though, it gets overwhelming to constantly be stimulated and pushing my boundaries... I am forced into social interactions I don't want to have and sometimes even robbed from those I'd like to have.
I do much better at online interactions than IRL anyways.
Online gatherings are so much more casual and involve so much less pressure.
It is more acceptable to come and go whenever you can, need, want in the online event context.
It's much less awkward to arrive late or depart early or not at all.
Most people I am close to, I am actually geographically far from anyways.
It's much less stressful parameters: no transportation stress, no costs stress, no physical discomfort stress, no choice of menu/venue/tenue, less chance of disappointment.
More control over the image I project: how I globally look, smell, act etc... isn't as much of an anxiety source on zoom (or other means of video chat). I can mute myself, control the framing, the angle, the light and the background or even turn off my camera. No one sees me fidgeting, doing two things at once or else if I don't let them.
Absolute control of my environment: I can do it from the safety and comfort of my own home. I choose where i sit or stand. There isn't anyone around me that I cannot have my eyes on and fear. I know this place like the back of my hands, I know where the knives are ;) and where the exits are.
The funny thing is this year, physical gatherings are very limited...Thank Goat! So, technically, I shouldn't be too bothered, right? With a pandemic raging out there, thanks Rona, I can avoid dealing with too many people/ physical interactions.
This year I don't have to feel sad and lonely in the middle of a happy crowd.
I'm gonna speak for myself here but I suspect it goes the same for many:
Forcing me into something I know I cannot deal with, especially by guilting me, gaslighting me, blackmailing me, making me feel selfish or, straight up telling me I'm selfish/ inconsiderate, is never going to result in me wanting to do that very thing you want me to do at all...
Human interactions are inevitable but relationships are a privilege,
they should not be considered a right or a duty.
Either you can deal with who I am and my choices, my personality, my boundaries, my needs and my ways to handle my own life and self ....or I am severing ties, period. I don't care if you bought me chocolate, a pair of red sole shoes or counted an extra piece of cake or an extra ounce of meat. It has become way to toxic for me to have to explain, justify myself, doubt myself, self loath...etc
I am not saying I am completely closed to hearing what it is you are bothered by in my behavior or words. I don't think I am flawless, nor do I think no fault is mine. I think I am patient, empathetic, compassionate enough to proceed with reasonable doubt and I have enough humility to introspect, apologize and change if I think it necessary.
I'm saying: I am ME, and I am never going to be who you want me to be. I have needs, desires, feelings, opinions and I don't have to sit on them because you don't think they are right or they don't fit you and your own choices.
My life is mine to live, my choices are mine to make, my heart is mine to give, my steps are mine to take, my goods are mine to enjoy as i see fit and my body is inviolable and
subject to my will alone.
Now if I say I don't want to party, come to dinner or go see Granny, NO means NO. I don't have to justify myself on why, especially not repeatedly! I might if I want to and I don't want to hurt you. I understand that according to social norms it can be worrisome that I don't want to do what most people do... Since when am I normal though?
Why is it still expected of me, a famously nonconformist gal to conform?
Forcingly being at a party everyone is happy to be at actually makes me feel worse, being forced into small talks annoys me, being served food my host knows I don't care for or choose not to eat is disrespectful, imposing my dietary needs and choices on a menu is embarrassing and usually leads to others being fussy, having to accept traditions and customs that are not mine and exclude minorities (including me), dealing with double standards and refusing (imposed/forced) "generosity" considered is bad... I already feel like a villain here, why would you want me around? Can I get a diplomatic pass on cultural differences, let's avoid incidents heh?Or maybe a medical waiver since it's due to neurology and psychology?
hypocrisy is one of my biggest pet peeves...
I appreciate the thought, I appreciate the invitation, I sooooo appreciate the affection you have for me, I appreciate people offering and I appreciate feeling loved, I do like nice things and presents, I adore food and drinks... but please, realize this time is hard for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons and I have a ton of reasons to have a hard time. Although I am not "alone for christmas" and I am not as much in need as some are, it doesn't make it easier.
Emotionally and Psychologically there are so many reasons I can't celebrate the season the way you do, but winter, family, friends i still love you
I know it might come as a surprise to people who I used to celebrate and party with, guess what, I grew!Life happened! I accepted and learnt things about myself I had no idea about in the past. I am done with being told what to do, especially when I don't want to, and compromising on things i can simply avoid. My capacity to patience and my tolerance level have evolved. I get tired faster. My body cannot take as much and nor can my brain or heart. I am very sorry if you miss me and you wish we could do whatever we used to do or whatever you planned when I felt differently. I sincerely hope we can get over this and find ways to make everyone happy, but don't try and guilt trip me!
I hope you had happy holidays and my best wishes!