I have written about masking before, but after learning the term “Kayfabe”, this is how it feels. It doesn’t feel like I only put on a mask, or change my facial expression or become more of a sociable person. It really feels that, to those not in the know about my autism, I really become a very different person. I really become someone else, a different character. A different person. It happens so quickly it is weird. It feels weird, because it is weird, and it is exhausting, but it happens unconcious at this point. I know I only recently wrote an article about this.
But I don’t think that masking really encompasses what we go through. When I am at home or nobody is here, I can be me. I can be me totally. I don’t have to make eye-contact, I don’t have to cuddle (if I don’t move or am not ambushed by my girlfriend), I don’t have to do anything that makes me uncomfortable. I can be completely me.
The moment somebody else steps in, I have to be different. I have to become a different, more sociable person. There aren’t many people that I feel comfortable enough with to show the real me. Like for example, nobody outside my really close friends and girlfriends or family, has ever seen my upper torso. I don’t usually walk with my bare chest exposed, not even when it is 30 degrees celcius. I will always wear a black t-shirt.
The same goes for my real me. I used to tell my psychologist that I hid the real me behind a brick wall, and only those close enough to me, were allowed behind this brick wall, to see the real me. I really had to learn to not show this brick wall, to show my facial expression, to laugh, to smile, to let people come close to me. Wicca has done this for me, in a part. It really helped me blossom up to a certain extent. It really helped me become a different person, by pushing me out of my comfortzone in a way not a lot of people would do, would even dare to do.
Kayfabe is how it feels to become a more sociable version of myself. I can talk for hours at a speed that would baffle you (even more so when I have an energy drink in my system). On my diagnose it says that I talk “excessively much” as I have written about before, but at home I hardly talk, only to explain things I read or when I am gaming to gather my thoughts so I do the right things at the right moments.
Kayfabe describes best how it feels, and I have been thinking about a mentalist/magic character for so long, as it feels dishonest to me to never disclose that I am actually using techniques, to not disclose that I can’t really do those things that I portray in my mentalism, but I can’t really socialise either. I have learned certain patterns, certain sentences that work and discarded the millions of times I failed. I learned to pick up on what women like or how they show when they like you. The same goes with other people, I know what fascinates them, I learned how to do smalltalk (a popular thing to talk about is music, books or movies, because anyone has their favourites: free tip of the day btw).
I became a master at seeming sociable. I have talked about my strategies in stores, how I make storeclerks like me. One of my other things is that I am genuinely interested in people. I love to know what makes them tick, what makes them interesting. Once I had a conversation with a guy on the bus, because he had cool looking glasses on. I wanted to know where he got them, because they seemed interesting and eventually we started talking about his job. Apparantly he worked for Studio 100, a famous production company for kids shows and the like. I wouldn’t have known that if I wasnt interested in his glasses.
I could write a book on how to become more sociable from the things I picked up over the years, and maybe I will, because it seems that a lot of autistics are struggling with this. It won’t be perfect, but it will bring you closer to becoming more of a social animal, to mask better. To kayfabe more efficiently.
Back to magic (I know my mind jumps from here to there, thank you adhd). Would it be fair to do mentalism effects in real life, never disclosing that they are mentalism effects, but telling them I am learning to read people because I am training my autistic perception? Would that be fair? This is a question I have been struggling with for so many years now. Would love an answer.