Lyric Rivera, an Autistic self-advocate from Texas, runs the the internationally recognized neurodiversity lifestyle blog Neurodivergent Rebel.
Neurodivergent Rebel was opened in 2016, as a way to introduce people unfamiliar with autism to neurodiversity. The blog, which is sometimes released in written format and also via YouTube video, explores the ideology of neurodiversity and the creative expressions of autistic people. Riveras’ blog pushes for acceptance of neurological differences and respect for the autonomy of neurodivergent people.
Lyric is also known as the pioneer of the #AskingAutistics hashtag, which is often accompanied by a short question about everyday autistic experiences. This simple hashtag connects neurodiverse people who would not otherwise have a reason to engage with each other to foster understanding of the autistic experience.
View all posts by Lyric Holmans
5 thoughts on “Why #TakeTheMaskOff is Important”
I discovered your website recently and I want to tell you that I like it very much.
I am 37 years old, live in Europe and I was diagnosed with autism two years ago, although I suspected it for a very long time.
Thanks to reading testimonies, some studies on the theme of camouflage, and a going through a psychotherapy, I have been able to figure out that I “fake and hide” as soon as I leave my apartment (I leave alone) – as many of us are. I fake and hide to integrate myself, to conform to the so-called “normality”. I have faked and hidden so much that I don’t know how to come back to the “real me” if any.
Over the last few months, I have spent some time with man with whom I was feeling pretty confortable. He was aware I have autism. I naturally started to take the mask off until it totally dropped. This means that I could do my stimming in front of him, that I had some shutdowns as well as emotional meltdowns (sometimes linked to him, sometimes independent).
Although he sometimes did some comments that were tough to me (like “don’t do this in public, they will send you to psychiatric hospital”), he tried with good faith to understand what was happening to me. I tried to explain to him, again and again. He was very patient. I felt confident. But recently, I had a meltdown bigger than the previous ones, and he (very politely) put an end to the relationship, justifying his decision by the fact that I have very strong expectations. I could write further but I will stop here because…
…my point is : yes, taking the mask off is important, for all the reasons you mention in this video and the other one on the same topic.
But how do you know that the people around will not judge you ? that they will not reject you ? that they will not make fun of you ? that they will not make comments that will make you feel unadapted or deviant ?
When you are alone and psychologically fragile, I find it tough to take the risks.
Thanks again for your work.
And please forgive me if my English is so-so.
I think it is a hard lesson, some people will not be happy with or accept the real you. The next lesson is also hard – those people are NOT YOUR PEOPLE. The people who we can safely be our real selves with are our people.
Thanks for this, as ever, Christa. And thanks for answering the question I was waiting to ask as I watched the video. Except I didn’t quite catch where your spinner was from: the name wasn’t familiar to me.
You are very welcome and the spinner is from WeFidget. 🙂