You Might Be Masking If…Part 2

Woman with pale skin and dark shadows beneath her eyes holding up a drawing of a smile in front of her mouth.
20 More examples of masking in real life.

Round two

Here’s another round of “you might be masking if…” posts from Twitter. You can find the first 20 here, along with some preliminary info on autistic masking, for those interested. 

You might be masking if…

(BTW, the pics are embedded links to Twitter, so you can click on them to like, comment, or read the comments if you choose.)

You might be masking if you follow the conversational advice to ask about others as a way to keep the conversation away from you.

You might be masking if you practice people interactions in front of the mirror. Or avoid mirrors altogether.

You might be masking if you have an escape plan for a different life in case “they find out about the real you.”

You might be masking if you are with someone who isn’t talking to you, and spend the whole time inwardly shouting at them, “don’t talk, don’t talk, don’t talk!”

You might be masking if you felt it wasn’t okay to be, act, or talk your natural way while growing up. Masking is a protective strategy, and sometimes it is/was exactly what you need.

You might be masking if a technician comes to your home, at your request, to fix sth you want fixed, and you chatter politely while forcing yourself not to yell at them to get out.

You might be masking if you say how much you’re looking forward to the holiday get-together while silently planning last minute cancellation excuses (which you may or may not use).

You might be masking if social conversations feel like minefields.

You might be masking if you keep the camera off when entering Zoom meetings so you won’t get caught making an awkward facial expression when it starts.

You might be masking if you often pay attention to your own facial expressions and body language to make them look “right” for the given circumstance.

You might be masking if you have one thing scheduled in the day and it feels like the whole day is shot.

You might be masking if you go to the doctor or dentist and force yourself to dress and talk and act “normal” in hopes they’ll take you seriously.

You might be masking if being around people feels like a performance, or like being “on.”

You might be masking if you feel like getting by from moment to moment really isn’t this hard for most people.

You might be masking if you could explain the mechanics of socializing in detail, but would never do that in front of “normal people.”

You might be masking if routine emails cause significant worry, checking and rechecking, fretting over word choice and grammar, how it might be read, procrastination, and dread.

You might be masking if you exaggerate facial features to ensure people will know what you are projecting.

You might be masking if you hold yourself unnaturally still while talking to people, in meetings, or over zoom calls.

You might be masking if you use/d selfies or Zoom to practice facial expressions to get them right.

Masking makes autism a sort of ‘friendly disability,’ where I suffer so my friend (etc.) doesn’t have to. I go out of my way to be “not a problem,” so others aren’t inconvenienced. It’s exhausting.

Which of these do you resonate with? More in part 3 here.

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Heather Cook

Hi, I’m Heather. I’m an Autistic writer, advocate, and life coach, and I'm building a life I love. I help other Autistics to build their own autism-positive life. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, just about every -ology, and Star Trek!

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