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To kill a mockingbird

"I know sometimes things may not

Always make sense to you right now

But hey, what daddy always tell you?

Straighten up little soldier

Stiffen up that upper lip

What you crying about?

You got me..."

Eminem, in Mockingbird

To Kill a mockingbird, translated into Portuguese Killed the lark, is a classic of American literature written by Harper Lee. Among several topics covered in this book we find racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. But also issues of class, courage, compassion and gender roles, as experienced by the writer at the time in question, in 1936 in the extreme south of the United States.

And why did I remember this book? Partly because of the bird in question. The Mockingbird, in Portuguese the Elbow, also sometimes called a pampering bird. That is, this bird is known to imitate the sound of other birds, insects and even amphibians. But the main reason is the way some, perhaps many autistic people, use social camouflage to integrate socially.

Social camouflage has often been mentioned as a competence. And this is mainly linked to women. Although I understand the designation of competence, I confess that I do not like it and do not agree. Not least because I see this behaviour as a response to the distressing need to integrate, for many autistic people. But also to redeem themselves from what they think they are doing wrong for so many other autistic people.

That's why I remembered the book They killed the lark. The story narrated by Jean Louise, also called Scout, refers to the fact that he does not understand the evil and hypocrisy of the adult world. To a large extent, as many autistic people throughout their lives, they will make sense of non-autistic people, whether they are children, adolescents or adults.

And because they do not often understand and feel that non-autistic people also do not understand them and often do not even make an effort to understand them, they seek to imitate them. Just as lark does in its habitat. Autistic people seek to study human behaviour in a more or less academic and intense way. Take notes from behaviour in different social and other situations. Especially those where they seem to be more important to you and your daily life, so that you feel that you can do similar. And with the present idea of making themselves equal to non-autistic people will not have social reprisals and will be more easily accepted.

But that doesn't always happen. Which leads many autistic people to wonder what will have failed in the process. And to frustrate them in the countless attempts to do more and better. And with the difficulty in understanding why they continue to do this or that. And perhaps mainly lead autistic people to feel defragmented in their identity. After years of seeking to be someone else, they begin to question who they truly are or even want to be.

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!

Bird thou never wert!

Avé, alegre espírito!

Tu que nunca foste pássaro!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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