Thursday, February 24, 2011

The introverted, pessimistic and/or awkwardly social need not apply.

During times in my life, I have been at least one of the above.  All right, if you must know, there have been times when I’ve been ALL of the above.  And it seems to me that sometimes there is no lonelier existence in America than being someone who is not perennially happy, positive, optimistic, social, outgoing and just so darn cute.

What IS it about our society that struggles to see the value in being pensive, that penalizes those who prefer quiet evenings and one on one conversation to a bawdy, riotous party? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen my fair share of frat parties and man, are they fun.  People actually do get drunk, strip naked and dance on the bar.  I know--I’ve seen it with my own eyes!  (OMG, so hilarious, seriously.)  But really? Should it be a requirement for inclusion in our society that a person be the life of the party 24 hours a day, to always see the glass half full, to natter on about the silver lining in a chamber pot we’ve just been handed? 

I actually had a performance review at a former job that lowered my overall score (and don’t you just love that your co-workers get to rate you, what sadomasochist came up with THAT) because I wasn’t “social” enough.  Huh?  They knew my relationship status, pre-Facebook, mind you.  They knew where I grew up, how many sisters I had, what I liked for lunch, and the town I lived in. They met my fiancée and saw my vacation photos. We went to lunch together, and had meetings together, and swapped recipes.  But since I didn’t go to happy hours, football games, and weekend parties with these people, it actually affected the perception of my work performance. 

So no, I’m not one of those absolutely wonderful moms-of-a-disabled-kid women who always look at the bright side, can’t stop talking about how great it is that my kid is “differently-abled”, and that, “gosh darn it I wouldn’t change a thing-autism is a gift” folks. I know how hard it is to just be a quiet, somewhat shy, somewhat awkward typical person in our society. It has to be torturous for people with autism. And no, I'm not happy that my son will be tortured with that.

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