Escaping the reality of now

Imaginary friends are the best ones. They don’t abandon you, mistreat you, or take advantage of you. They don’t promise friendship knowing it won’t last, just for whatever short-term gain they have in mind. Imaginary friends won’t ruin your life just so they don’t have to be slightly embarrassed for their mistakes.

Imaginary friends are the best ones because they are safe.

I’ve been going through pictures of people from years ago, and I’m realizing I’m sorting out people I know from college. I don’t want to actually see them again, but I’m enjoying the memories that I once had with people I considered friends.

In a way, it’s like everyone has died, and I’m fondly remembering them. Partly, being off social media, for the most part, I can’t connect the way most people do. Well, I don’t, except briefly and for specific reasons.

I see almost nobody I’d consider a friend anymore. Outside of my family, I think I’m closest to the nurses who give me an allergy shot every week. I look forward to it. I get excited when they call my name to go back. Someone wants to see me! Three minutes, maybe five, a few shots, and someone who will grab my arm gently while I’m about to have a sharp object put in me.

The irony is that I’m largely doing what I was a year ago, just without the benefit of a salary. I’m still planning how I would do the work and interact with people. But, I just won’t actually do them. Well, I have a plan to simulate them, but that takes almost more effort. It takes more time to simulate people, but you can make them nice, honest, and loyal. Good luck finding real people with those qualities. Many people are, but it only takes one “bad apple” to isolate you from the good ones. And, “bad apples” are hard to identify for some of us, apparently.

There are no bad apples in my reality now. They are all in the real world, doing whatever bad apples do, together, but without me.

People keep saying to “live in the moment,” “forget the past,” and so forth. But, I don’t really like the reality of now, and there are too many bad, dishonest, and scary people out in the real world for me to want to be part of it. Some of them still enjoy taunting me from a distance or by proxy, even though I am no longer around them. They still like teasing me, pretending to be my friend, like nothing ever happened, but then they change instantly on a whim. At least I don’t have to wonder if I was “imagining things” when I was in the real world.

My boss, my brother, and several others at my job were right in calling out the “bad apples,” but I doubted my intuition, and I believed those who told me I was imagining things. Tip: If people tell you that you are imagining things – without any clear evidence – there is a good chance they don’t want to you to figure out reality. Or, they want you to forget what you’ve figured out already. Mind games are not fun. Perhaps, someone will convince me that I have a place in the herd, but that’s not easy as long as people want to hurt me.

But, even those bad apples, in my world, are good. Everyone is welcome here. It’s not just a slogan. It’s an actual thing. Nobody hurts anyone else, nobody lies, and nobody takes advantage of autistic people just because they think it’s some kind of sport. I’m done with people mistreating me, but I’m not done with people. My workaround is to imagine them (and myself) as they could have been, not as they actually were.

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