I understand you left a comment because you want me to connect with you over your thoughts, perspectives, insights, and opinions. As a writer, I respect that. I also write to connect with people over the same things.
I am writing you this letter to let you know that I cannot connect with you over your comment.
There are many reasons I may not respond to comments:
Time. As a human, we all have limited time. As an autistic adult, my energy capacity is especially limited. Since my body is taking in far more senses and observations, then processing a higher volume of thoughts, I’m often emotionally and mentally spent by the end of the day. I have to capitalize on the times that I do have energy, which means focusing on what I want to be creating and putting out into the world. There simply isn’t sufficient time to respond to all comments.
Human Error. I like to check in on comments when I can, but frequently I find that a comment slips by me. Sometimes, I don’t respond to comments because I simply did not see them. Other times, I see a comment but decide I’ll circle back to respond when I have time. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget to circle back.
Repeated Argument. I often receive comments that express a concern that I hear regularly on many of my essays. The concern is usually something similar to, “Hey, just wanted to let you know that it’s not just autistics that feel that way.” I’m aware of that and have written an entire essay on the topic: Your Autistic Experience Sounds Just Like My Neurotypical One. As a writer, I do not want to devote my valuable energy to repeating myself.
Answered in Body of Work. Sometimes people leave questions or concerns that are answered in another essay I have written. Other times, people are concerned about the narrow scope of my essay. A single essay cannot capture all of my thoughts and opinions. It takes a body of work to do that, which I have. If individuals review my essays across time, they will have a more accurate sense of my perspectives and opinions. You can read more about the freedom of a body of work here.
Complexity of Response. Some individuals leave long, complex comments on my essays. I’m not always sure I fully understand the comment. I often feel like it would take a conversation across an hour with lots of clarifying questions. A written response simply would not do. In these instances, I choose not to engage.
Misunderstanding. Sometimes individuals misunderstand my main points in my essays. I articulate things to the best of my ability in my essays. I understand that my logical reasoning and style of writing may not work for everyone. I have come to accept that not everyone will understand. If my best effort already doesn’t make sense to someone, it is unlikely that I will be able to provide any further understanding or clarification. I choose not to respond in these instances.
Concern for Safety. Rarely, I receive comments that are hostile or make me uncomfortable. I choose not to respond to these.
I am writing you this letter so that you know not to take my lack of response personally. I hope you now understand that I am a human operating within my own environment and structure. Sometimes, peoples’ comments simply do not fit that.
I sincerely hope there are other people in your life with whom you can deeply connect on the topics you care about. And if there aren’t, that you can build those friendships over time.
Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more, sign up for my FUNletter.