Liar (Trigger Warning)

I learned long ago that telling anyone about my life merited being dubbed a liar. As a child, if I mentioned the abuse at home, my way of thinking, pain, or my conversations with the neighborhood cats and how much I wished I could get down on my paws but I had no paws then I was told I was lying. I do think that had I been diagnosed with Autism it would have been a death sentence, but a part of me wonders what wasn’t? Even people I trust like M at times have trouble with how much I know and have done.

Recently my doctor broached the topic of savant with me, but I think I am normal with in the Autism spectrum and I said no. I am not sure what all that would mean, I just replied with No. That was the end of it. I may eventually look into what Savant means because to me it only brings up a still shot of a silent horror film called the “Sleeping Savant”. I look back down the room of memory where the picture frames of moments sit, it’s a bit like the pictures in Hogwarts but the images cannot talk back. In every moment of lost friendship, there is the word Liar. In every moment of psychological experience, there is the word liar. My mother? Liar. My siblings? Liar. It haunts me.

Yes, I did manage to lie as a child, most often to preserve my life. I also learned to take the blame for others because it was my duty. If we were caught I would be punished for lying. It’s always there. Lately a lot of Nuerotypical folk, or even people who have never even had a bad date have accused me of lying about my Autism, and about my ex husband. I am told because I willingly gave up careers that I could ostensibly make a “bucket of money” under my old name, that I am a liar.

It bothers me. Why would anyone LIE about the things I share here? Why would I lie? Someone can come quiz me about what I know and even when I get the answers right, I am a liar. I stopped trying to prove myself a few years ago when the know it all geek came head to head with me and lost, and that was just not enough because “Girls can’t know about batman!” Cause girls can’t read comic books? They magically fall apart if we touch them?

The term Liar also was used in institutions. “I made my bed.” To their eyes it was substandard, “For lying you get the quiet room.”  “But my mommy is coming.” “Well that’s just too bad. Until you apologize for lying you can sit in there, and no lights for you.” I told my mother, or someone. Someone outside the walls. I cannot recall a face or shape just outside. They said I was lying, such things never happen.

The cost of being called a Liar all my life, from my ability to understand animals on to being beaten has had a heavy toll. Not only did it take a long time for me to learn to trust people, but, I would lie and say everything was fine when I just wanted to rest. I gave up some ability and health. I also have hidden from mental health professionals since my escape from the last one. Yes it was a legal release but the sensation of escape has never left me. I feel like any moment the staff will find me, this life will all be a dream, and I will be tied up.

My imagination was called pathological. I was lying if I said that it was better there, in the world of fantasy. It was. No one there called me a liar, no one there laughed at me for being too fat too thin too white too me. There, I could be a princess, a super hero, and have a magical unicorncat pony. The land of imagination was one thing I have always had in spades, it became my escape. I do this still, and lied about stopping even to my mother. When I can, usually at bed time, I close my eyes and immerse myself in a visual landscape. It’s dimensional, I can explore it. People talk to me. I fight crime mostly now, or if I am extremely horny it melts into some interesting masterbation material (Wolverine is super hairy). My imagination comes with a tactile and sensory awareness. I feel texture, I feel light. It’s like walking into a movie. Yet even so there is always conflict in my personal bed time stories, there is grit and drama. There always has been. I was told that this is a bad thing. It is inherently bad, to seek escape from endless suffering. By not wanting to “face the real world” I was failing myself and my mother.

I look back now, knowing that others have had experiences like mine, or far worse at the institutions and I know that I was not bad. I don’t know that others have their own video games cum movies in their minds, but, I think this may be frequent with in Autism. As we think in pictures, why would we not imagine in them as well? A still shot is a memory, my thoughts as I try and interpret a stream of words are a bunch of little silent flickers and swirls of color and light, but thinking in my language I can fluently grasp things, I can feel the weight of clothing, the warmth of a fictitious sun.

I was told this is impossible. This is also what made my fiction writing “pop” for an editor. I can paint the words so that you are there, and you can perhaps sense filtered light from my fictional sun. I wonder at times, if even one person had believed me before the magic age of not a liar aka 18? You see the moment I turned 18 doctors didn’t tell me I couldn’t KNOW I hurt, instead it was “This is serious, why didn’t you say something before.” This makes them liars of course, I said something over and over until I was shamed into stopping out of fear of being thrown away.

When I talk about my abuse, I am always afraid someone is going to say I am crazy, a liar, and making it up. I always have this gaping wound that can bring me to my knees or used to. I am not sure it can anymore. I am no longer a blind fish swimming in a poison river, I can see and I found clean water where there are other fish with my sort of scales and needs. I am not bordering on extinction but instead my people are in the process of proliferation.

There are people who never once called me a liar. Each one is Autistic. This is in face to face conversations. There are more people who haven’t via the route of our current communication. Most of them are Autistic. When I hear how a child with any disability suddenly can’t, and see how they are medicalized, psychiatrized or somehow othered even in their home, I wait for them to find the school, I flash as brightly as I can, hoping that some day their labels wash off and they see that they are wonderful. Autistics need each other. We may not be super social in the ways of the normals, but we have our own culture to build. Our culture may need a symbiotic grasp with the culture of the normals but we DO have things to offer each other, and when we damned feel like it the world.

No child should ever be told their pain is fiction. No child should ever be told they can’t. No child should ever be devalued. When these fish swim to us, I hope that they can I dream they will and I am waiting. I believe you. I want you. I love you.

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2 Comments

  1. *nods* There are things that I have quit telling people because I can always see a glimmer of disbelief, of wondering if I am just exaggerating or trying to “get attention” somehow.

    And I’m so sorry that you have had to go through that, that you have been called a liar so many times. If it helps at all, I believe you, every word of it.

  2. I was crying after reading this post. I wasn’t ever institutionalized or abused at the level you were, but I have been emotionally abused by my mom and people at programs she sent me to. I was told that I couldn’t possibly be feeling any pain if I was in pain and it was inconvenient for the people in charge at the programs I went to. When I told my mom about the bad time I had, I was told that I was lying as well as that it was good for me. It hurt so much to have my experiences invalidated like that.


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