The Seen & The Unseen ~ a mind-wandering tale of magic eye pictures, paint jobs, …and autism

Part of me wants to be seen.  Part of me wants to remain unseen.  Actually, I should say that parts of me want to be seen and parts of me want to remain unseen.

My Asperger’s/autistic lovelies probably caught the distinction fairly quickly; my NT lovelies may need to absorb it again.

See me.  See what I work so hard to do.  See what I work so hard to be.  Peer into my world.  Experience life as I do.  See the good in my soul, the genuineness in my intentions, the honesty in my face.  See my creations.  See my contributions.

Don’t see me.  Don’t see the unwashed hair.  Don’t see the day-old jeans.  Don’t see the ripped sweatshirt.  Don’t see the crooked teeth.  Don’t see the unusual gait.  Don’t see the pimple on my chin.  It will fade in a few days anyway.  Everything is temporary if you give it enough time.

Please see what I want you to see.  To do that, you have to stop letting the surface attributes distract you.  Because that’s all they really are: distractions.  They hold you back, circling the perimeter, confining you to the gate at the edge, preventing you from seeing the reality inside.

And the real reality is inside.  I know that the phrase “real reality” sounds redundant, but in today’s world, it’s a necessary distinction.  Because what most people consider reality, actually is not; rather, it’s an illusion.  It’s not merely a hologram; you can see it, touch it, and feel it.  You can smell it.  Anyone can verify that yes, my jeans are old and yes, my shirt might have a stain on it, and my hair might need a good brushing (especially in the back).  You can even capture it on film. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s reality.  The surface is only a shell.  And the shell doesn’t necessarily coincide with the core.  The core may be unseen, but that is what’s real.

Human beings are like those Magic Eye pictures, the kind that appear only to be indistinct, nonsensical, repeating patterns that appear not to have any point or serve any purpose.  The kind that, in order to see their true image, to “get” their point, it is the viewer who must alter their perspective.  They must approach the picture in a different way from the way they approach other pictures.  They must invert and contort their vision somewhat, using eye muscles they don’t usually use, focusing deeper and beyond the repeating pattern, ignoring the pattern itself.  Only then is the true picture, the secret inside, revealed.

My Aspie brain approaches people in the same way.  I couldn’t tell you if they had a stain on their shirt or a manicure or a haircut.  I’m probing deeper, with tentacles they don’t see and probably don’t sense.  I skip past the surface attributes because after all, they’re just the costume we present to the world.  The body is the vehicle that moves us around each day to carry out the brain-determined agenda, and the clothing and accessorizing are merely the proverbial paint job, covering the surface with a paper-thin layer.  It’s not the message or its meaning; it’s the envelope at best.  When you get a letter in the mail, you don’t decide whether or not to open it based on the envelope it arrived in.

The same is true for people.  I know that people on the spectrum already know this instinctively; it’s the neurotypical world that sometimes needs a little pep-talk.  😉


  1. A lot of what you write seems to cover human beings in general. Some look deeper and think about what they see and don’t see. And others are happy to look no further than the surface and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. It’s easy to be distracted by surface. I think maybe as detail-spotters ASD among us may be more likely to dig deeper & see more. Ask different questions maybe and also hold back a moment before padding judgement because (dataset incomplete).

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    1. Agreed👏🏼👏🏼 It’s true that humans make judgments as part of the survival mechanism. But it’s also true that the dataset we have on another person is always incomplete. 💙💜

      Despite growing up in a right-wing, bigotry-prone environment, I’ve worked hard through the years to overcome my formative environment, unlearn what I’d been taught, and restrict all judgment to behavior only, and even then, not behavior that may simply be chocked up to a bad day/week/month. I’ve tried to become much more reserved over the years, but as always, it’s a work in progress 😊❤️

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  3. Yup I am very opinionated & yet have found ways to interact & enjoy company of people I totally disagree with. Once I reframe it as learning/listening it becomes useful & mind-opening.

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    1. Amen to that! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. I can definitely relate to this. It’s why I appear to sit on the fence so often (“on one hand, it’s This way; on the other hand, it’s That (opposite) way” lol 😉💞🌺

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  4. For sure. If we suspend certainty a little we can explore interesting alternatives. Don’t have to subscribe to them, ultimately, but can see others’ point of view as rational but different rather than just ‘wrong’. Great brain / empathy exercise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! I love how you said that, and that’s a really fascinating (not to mention beneficial) concept👏🏼👏🏼. I’m a fan of suspending certainty 😉💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

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