I Tried to Find Answers in Personality Quizzes … When I Just Needed to Know I’m Autistic
I just came across the book “What Story Are You Living?” It describes itself as a “self-improvement guide for discovering and directing the unconscious influences that drive your life story.” That’s a pretty hefty promise.
I bought the book when I was still in graduate school for expressive art therapy. A presenter at the National American Art Therapy Conference presented about how she used the book in her work.
I went home and gleefully completed the quiz at the beginning. It has then sat on my bookshelf ever since.
As an autistic individual, I’ve had a conflicted relationship with quizzes and self-assessments. On the one hand, the thought of them is always exciting. On the other hand, they’re usually disappointing.
I didn’t always know I was autistic. As a kid, it left me with a distinct feeling that I was “different” and “weird” in some way, but I couldn’t quite figure out how. I think this is why personality quizzes were always so appealing. I felt like they could maybe provide me with the answers I was so desperately seeking.
But when I would take the quizzes, I was always confused by their questions. I felt they were unclear. Furthermore, I always wanted more context. I am not consistent in all environments and situations, so I needed to know more to accurately understand their question.
I didn’t know this is a very autistic way of approaching quizzes. Autistic minds crave clarity and understanding. We also want to make sure we do things the “right” way. Furthermore, our autistic sensitives DOES mean we are different in different environments.
This is another reason that quizzes and assessments were never accurate. They only captured one component of who I was in one particular area. I was always left feeling constrained and misrepresented. Truncated in a sense.
Learning I was autistic was the most freeing thing to ever happen in my life. It helped me to finally understand myself.
I no longer crave personality quizzes and assessments the way I used to. I don’t have a deep desire to seek answers to myself, because I largely have them. My autism identification led me to the understanding and identity that I craved. I didn’t instantaneously understand myself, but it gave me the guidemap to start that journey in a way that would be fruitful. All of my essays about autism reflect my journey towards self-understanding as an autistic.
I also know that personality quizzes and assessments will never provide me with much insight. How could they when they are designed to reduce us into neat little packages? How could they when they are created with a neurotypical audience in mind?
So I’m donating my book. Maybe it will make its way to the hands of someone who will benefit. But that person isn’t me.
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