I called this blog “I’m Not What You Think” because I think that many who know me may be surprised to find out that I am Autistic. I don’t have Asperger’s Syndrome but the “classical” Autism. I was diagnosed when I was 5 and I had some of the typical problems that Autistic children have with learning language, including parroting phrases when I started to be able to speak without being able to parse and understand them. The usual reaction I get to revealing this fact is “huh, I wouldn’t have figured that out if you hadn’t told me.” So, to many people, I may seem like an ordinary, introverted geek, generally keeping to myself and fumbling through day-to-day social interactions. But it goes deeper than that; if we’ve ever met offline, I may not be what you think I am.

However you found me, I hope you’ll enjoy reading the things I’m about to write here. This is my outlet for the thoughts, observations, and rants that I don’t want to connect to my offline identity. Why? Because I am proud of the fact that in many ways I can pass for a neurotypical person, albeit sometimes a very odd one. People place the same expectations on me that they would on anybody else and do not assume me incapable of communicating effectively or understanding them. Minus my closest friends, my friends who are also on the Autism spectrum, and my family, I’d really rather keep it that way.

I just feel like I needed to add my voice to all of the voices out there, talking about their personal experiences with Autism, how their interactions with other people cause them to feel, what they think about the world around them. I hope that you’ll find these writings both insightful and entertaining.

A few things it might be useful to know about me, for context: I’m in my mid-twenties, have a bachelor’s degree, and a permanent full-time job in my chosen career that nets me more than enough money to get by on my own. I’ve got a little two-bedroom apartment in a city not too far from Toronto, occupied by me and my cat. I’ve fallen in (and out) of love a couple of times, to this point always with people who aren’t on the spectrum. I program computers, play video games, get together with friends for role-playing games, write for a couple of blogs, and torment my cat with constant cuddling — I think she likes it a lot more than her complaining suggests.

Sometimes life feels impossibly difficult. Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone. Sometimes I feel like I’m battling other people’s expectations when I don’t even know the rules of engagement. But sometimes I surprise myself by scoring a victory I didn’t expect. Sometimes I learn something incredibly valuable that enriches my life and improves my relationships with other people.

This is my world. Let me tell you about it.