(Re)Discovering Me (Part 1: The Journey of Unmasking)

Masking is when someone changes their personality to fit societal norms. People of all genders mask their emotions because “boys don’t cry” and “successful women aren’t emotional.” People know the advice “Be yourself!” fails because being yourself could lead to bullying or teasing. Many neurodiverse people mask to avoid bullying or to try to fit in with popular or neurotypical peers. For example, autistic people may mask their symptoms by forcing themselves to have eye contact or force themselves to not stim. As a possibly-autistic (not formally diagnosed since no one here is doing neuropsych evaluations during this pandemic) person who has been confirmed to be neurodiverse, I will talk about masking through a neurodiverse lens and how I have been masking so I can start my journey of not wearing my mask all the time.

Even though I have suspected myself to be autistic over 5 years ago, I was unfamiliar with the concept of masking. Probably because I didn’t start REALLY suspecting myself to be autistic until February of last year when I almost lost my job over social inappropriateness. I didn’t fully have my “A-HA!” moment until August when I switched to a new therapy center and I was asked if anyone has mentioned the possibility of being on the autism spectrum. Since then, I have been working on learning about my gifts and challenges that come along with my differing neurological makeup. After watching a Purple Ella video with my mom, I started understanding that I have masked more than once in my life without realizing it. I didn’t have many friends at my second high school and at one point I had my mom buy me clothes from American Eagle and Hollister because those were the brands almost everyone wore at school and I thought that I’d get more friends if I dressed like them. While it didn’t work, more people talked to me. I was bullied at work years ago, so I now make sure not to do the things that caused me to be bullied. Autistic people are often bullied at school or work. I have tried to hide my anxiety disorder from partners, but that would fail when I experience noticeable anxiety in front of other people. I try not to act weird so I don’t get called weird.

Now that I’m learning about my neurodiverse traits and no longer live with my parents who have denied anything being wrong with me, I want to start unmasking with the goal of not hiding my neurodiverse traits all the time. I want to feel like I can be free to be myself without judgment, though that won’t be completely possible since humans are judgmental. I no longer feel the need to fit in through my clothes since people wear whatever after they finish high school, so that’s one mask I was able to throw away in 2010. However, I still try not to act “weird” because I have been told that people are turned off by me being weird. Being myself has caused guys to not like me (my mom told me that my negativity is what drives men away. Sorry I’m a pessimistic-leaning realist who thinks optimists are stupid). Being myself has social consequences. All I really need to do to occasionally take my “Not Weird Person” mask off is to be around people who like my brand of weirdness, but I don’t do well in social situations and there are barely any online meetup groups that pique my interest.

Autistic people can have a weak sense of self due to the masks and this very well explains me not knowing who I am, so come along in my journey to figure things out as I gain more knowledge about how I fit into the neurodiverse universe.


YouTube Videos I Never Made

So I was going to do another blog post about neurodiversity and the things I’m learning about myself, but I don’t want to post one neurodiversity blog after another after another. When I started this blog, I didn’t want to solely use this to journal about figuring out who I am. I wanted to post things about my views, reviews, recommendations, and other fun stuff. However, a lot of my posts from my first year were about other people so I reigned it back in.

When I was in high school, I started a YouTube channel. YouTube was used for fun back then and was not used as people’s sole source of income. I could rant about how we are now in a society where people are quitting jobs that have a steady income and are building their own brands on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, but that’s not what I’m here for. My YouTube channel started out as a rant channel since my favorite YouTubers at the time did rants on the 4Kids dub and how much Disney celebrity music sucks. My channel turned into rants, anime discussions, and whatever. I later lost interest in YouTube once my later videos were barely getting any views (like, 13 views). This was during a time when some people’s views weren’t getting counted and it was right before YouTube’s new algorithm was put into place. If you didn’t have thousands or millions of subscribers and your videos didn’t have tens of thousands of views, your videos weren’t going to show up in the search results. So I said goodbye to doing videos after my final video that was made in 2017 (you can find it in one of my very early blog posts). Heck, how many of my subscribers still use the account they made to subscribe to me?

There were many videos I wanted to make, but didn’t get to make them for whatever reason. Since I’m bored at the moment, I thought I’d give my readers a break from my usual topics and talk about videos I did not get to make. This list may be updated in the future if I think about them.

Videos I Never Made: Yep, I was going to have this as a YouTube video instead of a blog post. It was going to discuss the videos that I want to make that never ended up being made. However, I was losing interest in making videos at this point so I dropped the idea. Now I’ve brought it back in blog form.

Transgender 101: Do’s and Don’t’s: The inspiration from this video came from something that happened in university back in 2013. In October 2012, one of my friends came out to me as a guy and was starting to come out to people at our university. The next semester, he was mad at another of my friends because my friend from marching band kept talking about my friend’s vagina and when I was told what happened, I had to tell my marching band friend that you’re not supposed to talk about trans people’s genitals. I was going to make this video where I first talk about proper terminology (which some of it is probably outdated now) and talk about what to do and what not to do after someone comes out to you as transgender. However, one reason why this didn’t come to fruition is because I became busy with other stuff. Another reason why I didn’t do the video is because I’m not transgender. All of the videos I saw with the same topic were made by trans people. I saw a comment on one video where a cisgender person wanted to do a video with the same topic, but was told not to do it because he was going to speak on behalf of trans people. This sealed the deal that I should not do this video.

Advice to Programmers: This video was mainly going to be for my cousin, who wanted to be a programmer because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to make much money as a musician. It was going to be an advice video based on things that I learned during my first year as a software developer. However, I didn’t make the video because I was losing interest in YouTube. I got rid of the list of advice, but I only remember one: “You will say ‘fuck’ a lot”. That advice came from hearing a former co-worker at my first job out of university dropping f-bombs whenever his program didn’t work. This was also during a time when me saying “fuck” sounded very uncomfortable so you would have heard the awkwardness in my voice if I recorded that piece of advice.

Anime Convention Etiquette: After watching many videos on this topic, I was going to make my own video with the help of my childhood friend who has no idea that I wanted to make this video. Our first (and her only) anime convention was Otakon 2008 when she dressed up as Sakura from Naruto (when Sakura had long hair before the Chuunin exams) and I was Midori Kasugano from Midori Days. In this video, we would talk about and act out rules. We would mention the 6-2-1 rule that applies to conventions (get at least 6 hours of sleep per night, eat at least 2 full meals per day, and shower or bathe at least 1 time per day) because people get so excited about conventions that they don’t get enough sleep, live off of ramen cups, and then there’s the dreaded “con funk” that occurs when people don’t wash themselves. Another rule we would discuss is reading the convention rule book each year because rules can change each year without warning. For example, 2008 was the first year that Otakon banned yaoi and yuri paddles. They were probably still being sold in the Dealer’s Room, but had the same rule as live weapons: once you buy it, take it immediately to your car or hotel room. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t make this video. Probably ended up not feeling like it.

CN Real Rant: Back in 2009, Cartoon Network decided to have some live-action shows in a block called CN Real, which luckily only lasted less than a year although some of the live action shows still lasted after the block ended. Seeing as how I was a ranter on YouTube at the time and the channel is called Cartoon Network, I was going to do a rant about it. However, someone had mentioned that unless you had a different point to make that the hundreds of other YouTubers didn’t make in their rants, don’t make the video. So I didn’t. Really, the only point people were making was “It’s called Cartoon Network! No live action!” Looking now, you can still find some YouTube videos ranting about CN Real from 2009, but a lot of the videos you’d see now if you search “CN Real Rant” are analyses of the past.

One Piece Discussion (whatever number I left off at): Post-Timeskip Appearances: I did some One Piece Discussion videos in my past where I would discuss and not rant about things in One Piece. I think my favorite One Piece Discussion video was about Zoro’s non-existent sense of direction. In 2011, I became aware that One Piece had their timeskip happen in the manga (the anime had its timeskip later in 2011) and I was going to comment on everyone’s new appearances based on the images from the manga. However, I didn’t do the video because the anime had its timeskip and it didn’t feel like breaking news anymore. However, let me tell you the things I would have said if I made the aforementioned “Videos I Never Made Video” with some additional explanations:

  • Usopp became hot! While he, Ace, Zoro, Luffy, and Sanji were my One Piece crushes back in high school, Usopp suddenly built up a lot of muscle during the two years when everyone separated to train
  • Sanji has a left eye! Pre-timeskip, Sanji always had his left eye covered, which made some fans theorize that Sanji didn’t have a left eye. After the timeskip, his hair has grown out a bit and now his right eye is covered instead of the left. Also, Sanji definitely became a lot more handsome
  • Brook looks like Slash
  • Zoro’s a lot more muscular and seems to no longer have a left eye. A former co-worker theorizes that he never lost his left eye, but it now looks like Mihawk’s eye
  • Chopper’s so cute!

My Second Reaction Video: So I made a reaction video in 2012, but I was forced to delete it, which is why I never made a second reaction video. This video was going to take more work and was going to use the same reaction source that was used in my deleted reaction video. However, this was going to take some more work in editing as I was going to use multiple camera angles and multiple zooms. Like my deleted reaction video, my best friend from undergrad was going to be involved, but this time, she was going to be in front of the camera for part of it instead of being behind the camera the whole time.

Having an Interest in your Co-Worker: I never came up with an official title for this. This video was inspired by me developing an interest in this guy at my first job out of university. I was going to make a video about navigating that world, because developing an interest in a co-worker happens more often than people want to acknowledge. Heck, my matron of honor, my parents, and I met our spouses at work. I had started recording some things for the video, like a webcam video of me reading my company handbook (company name hidden with a piece of paper) for the advice to read your handbook and then read it again to see if there are restrictions on dating in the workplace. There was also advice I got from the person acting as HR. However, I started dating a different person at work and ended up not doing the video for some reason.

A Video of Randomness!: I had started losing interest in making videos at this point, but I had some footage recorded from videos I never made and other random ideas in my head. I was going to re-purpose the footage and do mini videos within this one video. I thought it was stupid so I never made it. The era of “LOL, so random!” had started declining years before I planned to make this video, and there was a YouTuber who would complain about shows in his reviews that had episodes or entire series that were “Random for the sake of being random”.

Vlog with my Best Friend: I was going to do my very first blog about spending the weekend with my best friend from undergrad. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to spend the weekend with me so that canceled this video. It’s weird that I wanted to do a vlog, because I didn’t like vlogs.

Book Reviews for I Can’t Think Straight and Harmony: A long time ago, I tried to do a YouTube review video. It sucked. I was going to try again with reviewing these books. However, around the time I got the book I Can’t Think Straight, YouTube was starting to restrict LGBT videos due to not being “family-friendly”. This meant I couldn’t review any of the LGBT books I read. Instead, I wrote reviews in this blog. I Can’t Think Straight review and Harmony review.

This blog may be updated later if I think of other videos that have never seen the light of day. I should be less busy once November hits, but not by much. Expect some more neurodiversity blogs about me learning more about this piece of myself and my neurological difference, but this won’t turn into a blog about neurodiversity.