Asperger’s and Invisibilityby spectrumscribe, postcardsfromtheedgeofthespectrum.wordpress.com
My main and almost only social memories of school, are of relentless ostracism.
The verb ostracize has its origin in Ancient Greece.
- It was an act of banishment from a city
- for 5 or 10 years!
- decided by a vote!
Banishment describes perfectly how I felt for most of my school life.
There are worse things than dying and there are worse things than banishment.
At school I was ostracized by children who knew me.
- It was personal and spiteful
- And it wasn’t just the banishment/exclusion
- There was the relentless taunting, the name calling
- It was a deliberate, conscious choice
At least the ostracized ranks of Ancient Greece did not have to face their tormentors every day.
But invisibility takes ostracism to a whole new level.
When meeting new people, after the initial pleasantries and tap dancing around, I generally become……invisible.
This happens in work settings.
- People may exchange pleasantries with me
- But beyond that they will take no interest in me
- I won’t be invited to participate in out of work activities
- They won’t ask me what my plans are at the weekend
Sometimes this happens immediately.
- Sometimes it takes a little longer
- But eventually I find myself in that familiar place, outside, looking in
This isn’t just familiarity breeding contempt either.
The same thing happens with people who don’t know me, at social events and parties.
- Usually the conversation ends up drifting away from me
- A bit like a tennis match being played on the other side of the net
- Often times they will physically drift away from me too
The difference here is that these are NOT deliberate acts of unkindness, spitefulness or unpleasantness.
Something else is in play here.
- They can sense that I am ‘different’
- This is intuition at work
- The bringer of invisibility
It’s easy to see that my experiences of ostracism and invisibility are a big driver in my Autism Advocacy work.
Advocates help give people a voice, or a louder voice and make sure that no one is treated as invisible.
This was a big part of my inspiration for setting up the World Autism Project
- That and my love of maps
- and other cultures
The Invisible Man
To see the Invisible Man, was an episode of the Twilight zone, which first aired in 1986.
- Mitchell Chaplin is sentenced to 1 year of invisibility
- ‘For the crime of Coldness and not opening up his emotions to his fellow citizens’
- Testimony had been given by Chaplin’s family of his lack of caring and concern for others
A mark is applied to his forehead, signalling to and requiring others to treat him as invisible.
- Chaplin makes light of this
To see the Invisible Man (1/3)
To see the Invisible Man (2/3)
To see the Invisible Man (3/3)
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