Effigy by Natalie Merchant.
Like a lot of women with Asperger’s Syndrome, I struggle with the reality of having to present myself in ways that are acceptable, preferable or pleasing to others.
I understand that there is a need for me to look a certain way when I leave the house and that appearances are very important in this day and age to most people.
The thing is though, to me, appearances are just not that important.
I’m much more at ease with my inner being than the outer persona I’m forced to create, every day, just to blend in.
In all honesty, I like to wear clothes that make me feel comfortable, safe and secure.
Heck I’d be happy to wear PJ’s everywhere and I probably would if it weren’t for the fact that people would stop and stare at me and never be able to take anything I’d have to say seriously ever again.
Yet even though I understand the social requirement of having to look “nice and normal” to others in order to be treated well, I still have problems understanding how it is that I’m supposed to conform to and create this so-called “nice/normal” look.
Oh sure, when I was younger I could plaster my face with makeup and style my hair with the best of them and somehow pull off the whole passing as ‘normal’ thing.
Mind you, I was a bit of an Emo/Punk back in those days so basically I could have worn nappy pins in my ears and no one would have dared look twice at me.
Apparently dressing differently is considered ‘normal’ when you’re younger but dressing differently when you’re older is just considered sad and a sign of maladaptive-ness.
So I find it somewhat ironic that these days, even though I’m trying so hard to fit in and look “normal’, that I still always seem to get it, if not entirely wrong, then at least wrong enough to make people , shall we say, just a tad bit wary.
Well, that’s how it feels anyway.
For example, if I have a meeting to go to or some other important occasion to attend I find that I can spend hours agonizing over the right choice of top to wear with the right trousers, only to discover once I’m out and about that most people would never deliberately put together the unique combination of colors or styles of clothing that I’ve so carefully chosen.
In short, I just never seem to get it right.
And because I know how much effort I go to just to try and fit in, when really I’d much rather be wearing my PJ’s and being accepted for who I am on the inside instead of having my worth rated by my outer appearance , I often feel like I’m being forced to betray who I really am by giving in to this societal need for constructing an artificial outer shell, in order to get by.
So no matter how carefully I draw on my outer shell, the effigy that I present so ineptly to the outside world, the inner me still wishes to reside in a world in which the comfort of acceptance provides all the safety and security required for a human being to thrive.
“I’m an effigy,
Of who I appear to be
Put your flaming torches under me”
Effigy by Natalie Merchant.