#GrowingUpAutistic Memoir (Pt 1): Different, I wanted to wake up different | Eve Reiland


Different. That’s how I wanted to wake up.

Dear God, make me wake up a different. Keep my face the same. My hair the same. I don’t care about that. Better to keep it that way anyhow, and then at school they won’t notice the change. Make me more like them, the others.

I’m not asking for friends. Just to be left alone. Let me read. Let me think. Ignore me. Confuse me with the wall and walk on. Just please, fucking walk on.

Don’t stop. Blink and I’m not here. God, make me just about as noticeable as a library book-end. Make me a good student. Make me be better. I am somehow bad and I can not figure this out. So, God, just make me different inside. I’ll do everything I can to be good.


Just make me wake up and be someone else. Someone else entirely.


Eve Reiland, Madera High, sometime late, late 80s


Eve Reiland, about 7 yrs old

Yaz played from the boombox in response. Posters of Gene Loves Jezebel, Boy George, Dead or Alive, and Duran Duran were nailed everywhere on the plaster walls. Somehow, I connected with them more than anyone else human. Their eyes didn’t judge me and their mouths didn’t hate.

The fashion, colors and creativity with the music were an elixir. A balm to my pain. An identity I could relate and imitate. Outcasts united through music and style. The next morning I showered, dressed and checked for signs of difference in my eyes, the windows to the soul, while I crimped my hair.

It all looked the same, just like the day before.

Final Net for the hairspray and topped with a beret – all appeared usual. Well, I didn’t ask to look different, right? Just to be different. Now the complication was, how would I know if I was indeed actually different? Now made to be a likable person? At least enough to blend in, and be left alone?

There was only one way to find out. Time to leave the familiarity of home and venture into the harshness – time to put on shoes and walk to the bus stop. . . .


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