Amanda Jolley

Reflection on pattern and abstraction of the subconscious

Finding Ascension

Autism
Encaustic
8×8 encaustic collage

The process of growth is so very layered and nuanced. I find myself in spaces of feeling so healthy, that I’m finally exiting my burnout, and I’ll be hit with another reminder of cPTSD related coping through years of not knowing I’m autistic.

Most recently I found myself revisiting social trauma. I was in the eerily familiar situation of realizing that I am unable to truly determine when friendship is reciprocated.

When I find myself in an environment that I see the same people over and over, especially if we communicate on a regular basis in that space, I feel the person is a friend. We greet each other with smiles, happy to see one another, and with a sense that we care how the other is doing.

So the hard thing for me is realizing that a ‘casual friend’ (someone I don’t know well, but still care about) does not actually have reciprocal feelings, that they were just being nice and I missed the subtle social cues that would have told me otherwise.

My autism gives me an amazing ability to perceive patterns of behavior, body language, and speech. I can sense the energy in a space in a very intuitive way. And at exact the same time, I am unable to determine who is really a friend. Do you know how dangerous the world is without that ability? I often feel very unsafe in social situations. 

Because of some pretty mortifying experiences surrounding this, when I sense it happening again, my body goes into extreme anxiety mode. I want to burst in tears. I want to flee the space and really have a difficult time feeling safe there again. And, oh yea, it’s meltdown time. Once I’m outta the space, I freak.

This happened again two weeks ago and I am still feeling deep repercussions in my body from the embedded layers of trauma emerging. Healing is hard work. Knowing I’m autistic helps me make more sense of my own experience, but it doesn’t erase the past 52 years of not understanding why these things kept happening.

#encaustic #collage #amandajolley #socialanxiety #autisticexperience #actuallyautistic 

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