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  • Writer's pictureTobey Alexander

Embracing My Quirks: Navigating the Social Maze with a Neurodivergent Twist

Hey there wonderful people welcome back to my infrequent autism awareness blog! So, I've been ruminating on life's rollercoaster, specifically my journey as a neurodivergent individual. Buckle up because we're diving into the whirlwind of experiences, and trust me, it's been a wild ride!


Picture this: the last ten years, a sea of change in how we view neurodivergence. But guess what? Some age-old challenges are still kicking around like that one sock you can never find. It's taken me a while, but I'm finally throwing off the cloak of conformity and just being, well, me. It's liberating, but let me tell you, it's not without its share of eyebrow-raising moments.


Now, let's talk about the world – it's a social beast, isn't it? I mean, introversion is cool now, but it's like we're all in on this cosmic joke, and only some of us got the punchline. Life's script seems to be written around socialising – job interviews, gatherings, parties, dinners – you name it. But here's the kicker: while the world was busy partying, my brain was throwing its own soirée.


Back in the early career days, it was all about the team outings. I vividly remember sweating bullets on my way to meet my future wife, pushing my comfort zone like it was a stubborn shopping cart. Little did I know that night marked the birth of the "extrovert" me – the life of the party, or at least a good imitation. Spoiler alert: inside, I was Sherlock Holmes-ing everything, planning my great escape.


Fast forward, and the struggle continued. I'd either pull a Houdini without saying goodbye or pull a last-minute "Sorry, can't make it" act. The result? Accusations of promise-breaking and a barrage of concerned questions. The unspoken truth? I just didn't enjoy it. But hey, back then, it was easier to keep the peace, play along, and endure the mental acrobatics.


Cut to now. I've found my voice to say, "Thanks, but no thanks," and yet, the passive-aggressive responses persist. "That's weird" or "You must be such a blast at parties." Oh, the joy! And my personal favourite – "Come on, you need to push yourself more." Newsflash: I push myself every day. Writing books, editing, designing, fitness training – the works. Just not in the "Let's socialise for hours on end" direction.


It took a good chunk of my career to say a firm "no, thank you." But here's the kicker – job ads still seem to favour the social butterflies. I get it, social skills matter, but so does my downtime. My team gets it, and they know that when I'm off the clock, it's a strict no-work zone.


Friendships, too, have their unique dance. When a chapter ends, I pack it away, not because I don't care but because it feels complete. Call it exclusionary if you want, but it's just my way of navigating the social seas.


So, why spill this virtual tea? It's not to alienate but to give you a sneak peek into my world. In a job market that often rates socialising above skills, my journey might raise a few eyebrows. But guess what? I'm not broken, odd, or an outcast. I'm just a guy who's finally comfortable in his own skin.


And there you have it – my unfiltered thoughts on navigating the social maze. Stay fab, stay quirky, and never forget to embrace your own unique brand of awesome!

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