• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
  • This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Why are we still wearing masks?

Does anyone remember why I began writing?  Do I?

I began writing to connect with people in a real and honest way, and to find those who were like myself (although I didn’t know it at the time).  First, I wrote for me.  I wrote about what I was learning about myself during my early days of discovery and diagnosis.  I wrote when no one was listening.  But what happened?

I’ve been contemplating lately what has been going on with me.  Why I write less, post less, and sometimes nothing at all for months on end—or longer.  Do I have nothing to say?

I no longer share when I struggle (I should have this figured out by now–) I no longer share when I am sad, or upset, or frustrated—adhering desperately to the old adage if you have nothing nice/good/positive/powerful/helpful to say, then don’t say anything.  So, as I stress, as I struggle, as I am continually overwhelmed with activities of everyday day living—I say nothing.  And, I am sorry.

Thinking on this issue a lot lately made me realize that when I am at a loss for something constructive, positive, enlightening, or educational to share, I share nothing. My work has been successful, my book—successful, and I am proud of how much I’ve accomplished.  However, with those accomplishments came a few things that I never expected.  Fear. And, pressure.

Fear that what I do next will not be as successful, and ultimately will fail.  That I won’t be good enough in another endeavor.  Fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, or giving the wrong impression.

Pressure to always have answers, to always “look” like I have it all together, to please those who read my work, and not upset anyone with my words.  Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.  What have I become, and how exactly did this happen to me?  In a quest to learn about myself, to understand, and to BE myself, did I wind up putting up another façade? Could it be why I am so exhausted?  Can we be real without anonymity?  I don’t know.

How do we talk about the hard times, while trying to “look” like everything is all right—while trying to be encouraging, engaging, and insightful? Is this not just another social pressure now?  Another instance in which we need to pretend, instead of an opportunity to be ourselves?

I am struggling right now.  I am overwhelmed.  I am having an emotionally raw day for some reasons that I know and understand, and for others that I can’t quite put my finger on. But, what I do know is that this needs more discussion. I need to find more courage to write the raw truth, good, bad or indifferent, without filters, without masks. They are too heavy to wear.





Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.


  1. Fascinating. As I see it, there is definitely a stigma about showing a “down” side when your general situation is upward.

    It takes courage to be truthful when something is wrong, but that is a strength that you might be able to leverage…

  2. I’m not sure why anyone does it. I think it has something to do with being socially acceptable, but that attitude forced me into being silent when I was abused as a child and worse. I try not to do it anymore. I am still dealing with a health crisis, and decided to talk about it and the grieving stuff on my public blog. It’s probably not popular, it’s definitely not pretty, but it is just things that I had to say.

    • That is exactly how it was when I first began, and it somehow changed. NO I let it change, and I need help finding my way back now. I somehow started to worry (LOL big surprise there since I worry about EVERYTHING!) about being positive, and helpful, and maybe even worthwhile, if that makes any sense. Perhaps fear, and insececurty, but there are probably much deeper things lurking in there too! I’m hoping to explore them.

  3. love it@ i feel it too, the overwhelming stress of being unable to write something for mine too. tho im probably less serious about it thn you are anyway…

    • I am going to try again…I might need some help, a quick kick in the butt…help me? When you think of it…send me a message and yell at me to tell you something ridiculous that is going on! There are so many ridiculous things, and I need to start sharing them but…. it is so easy to avoid doing so.

  4. Dear Jeannie D-R,

    this post of yours is so overwhelmingly honest, so warmhearted in a baffled way, that I am feeling deeply touched.
    I am in a kind of very similar situation in my own life, which is so far away and so different of yours – but you managed to put down in words what I was not capable of writing down.
    For so many months I have been failing in ex-pressing myself, that sometimes I am afraid of drowning in my own unspoken feelings.

    Would you allow me to translate this post into German language and publish the text on my blog Büro für besondere Maßnahmen”?
    Of course I’d add the appropriate references and introduce your book as well …

Comments are closed

  • Autism Family Travels at Passportsandpushpins.com