Still Waters – #Autistic December 5/31

Still Waters – #Autistic December 5/31

Still waters run deep

If I had a penny for every time I heard that phrase growing up…

My school reports are year after year of consistently high academic performance and hopes that I might participate more and develop socially. I was lucky to have a natural inclination and ability for learning: it compensated for and allowed me to “get away with” being socially awkward.

…consistently impressing with her quiet, conscientious approach and with the high standard of all her work.

Form Master, Midsummer Term 1989

A first-class report. […] She is very modest about her ability and must make sure she does not under-sell herself at interview next year.

Form Master, Midsummer Term 1990

Her consistent performances are exceptional. If she can develop her inter-personal skills more fully she will do very well indeed.

Headmaster, Midsummer Term 1991

You see, if I’d not been so capable academically my poor social skills would likely have been seen as more significant. As it was, doing well in my studies meant that my difficulties in other areas were overlooked or glossed over.

I said I was lucky, but the fact is that the highly-structured world of school masked the significant trouble I had navigating an environment like university that relied much more heavily on interactions with other people. My lack of a social network left me isolated and lacking the support I needed, and because I’d not been in any similar situations before I had no idea how to cope.

It left me with deep feelings of failure and shame: everyone had expected me to do well because that is what I had always done. I had tied my own measurement of my worth to that feedback, to those reports of how well I performed.

I let them all down.

I expected to face rejection: after all, I was valued for how well I did and I had just failed. It’s hard to explain how powerful the fear of rejection was, how ashamed I felt of failing.

How worthless I felt.

The echoes of that are still present, still affect me to this day. That was the point at which I shattered into the broken pieces that I work so hard to hold together.

I can mouth the empty words, say that I am worth something, but I don’t believe it. At heart I know I’m a failure: the proof’s there plain to see.

Those still waters, they really do run as deep as they say. And who knows what truly lies beneath that calm surface? For me it’s the wreck of the promise I once showed.

One thought on “Still Waters – #Autistic December 5/31

  1. I actually relate a lot to the feeling of not being worth something.
    But maybe there can only ever be a wreck, because by the past or present being one thing, it is at the same time not many, many other things.

    Like

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.