Monday, December 10, 2018

Could You Just Love Me Like This?

When you're autistic, you find that a lot of people think it's okay to criticize you for existing as yourself. Even when you do things right, you'll often be criticized because you didn't do them the way they wanted you to. And if you're like me and you're good at passing and get things right most of the time, for some reason your failures get amplified to some people. As a result, any unprompted criticism I receive now feels incredibly intense even if it's not meant to be so.

A lot of people are simply just sharing their feelings - which isn't a bad thing! - or offering advice, but when a person is trying as hard as they can just to stay level and exist in a society not meant for them, it hurts. I've always been sensitive to criticism, likely because in my life it's mostly come from judgmental people questioning my way of being. I'm so used to people criticizing me for existing that any time someone says they want to talk with me I'm flooded with anxiety and can't function because it automatically makes my brain think they're going to toss me out. I've had enough friends drop me in the past that my brain's default reaction to doing something "bad" is that I'm going to lose a friend, be fired, or something else of that ilk. I end up living in a near-constant state of anxiety, worrying daily that I'm going to ruin everything good in my life by being myself.

I saw a poem by Hollie Holden recently making the rounds on the internet that hit me particularly hard. It's about body positivity, but the final line just keeps popping into my head lately: "Could you just love me like this?"

This particular image of the poem was found here.

That line is exactly how I feel about myself with relation to the rest of the world. That's all I've ever wanted. It's such a simple thing, really, to just be loved as I am. That doesn't mean I'm not working on improving myself, of course, since I'm doing that every day and I'm always working on growing as a person, but I just want, more than anything, to just exist in a world where I'm not subject to criticism for existing. I want my family and friends - and anyone I encounter in life -  to know I'm always trying my best no matter what and that I appreciate them for loving me as I am, but that I'm not perfect and I'm going to make mistakes sometimes and to not hold me to a standard that's unrealistic for me (or any human being) to live up to. I actually do feel like as the so-called "responsible friend" that I'm not allowed to make as many mistakes as my other friends are, and it's actually really exhausting to have to be like that all the time. I need to be allowed to fail and be forgiven when I do so and apologize for it. Sometimes, I'm going to mess up, and I need to be allowed to do so in order to grow as a person. I need that room and holding me to an impossible standard where I'm not allowed to fail isn't going to get me there.

Please, could you just love me like this?