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As an autistic, I often feel as though my authored narrative is one of telepresence. My dual existence as an autistic/normate poseur lends me to believe that issues of transparency, passing, telepresence, and diagnosis are intricately connected—so connected and transparently structured that we (or I and my many authors) must unstructure them, must high-beam them into opaqueness. When I force my retinas into eye contact—a difficult, thought-draining process—I become the telepresent me, a text authored into a narrative of passing, a virtual reality projected upon my hidden autistic body. Likewise, when I do not make eye contact—a process seemingly normal for me, yet slightly uncomfortable because I realize that it is not a “norm” for others—I am still a telepresent me, authored by autistic narratives that are largely authored by a normative medical establishment. My propensity toward avoiding eye contact is only recognized as deviant because it has been catalogued, along with several other symptom clusters, into a neurodivergent diagnosis. Additionally, being that I’ve been trained in “appropriate” social conventions, refusing eye contact no longer seems like my own inherent norm, nor does it seem like my own authored autistic norm—it has become a rhetorical choice, so much so that I no longer can recognize whether I’m more comfortable making or avoiding eye contact, because both rhetorical moves evoke anxiety, evoke the thought chain in this paragraph. Consequently, I frequently ascertain my audience—perhaps another marker of my rhetorical gullibility—deciding whether they would rather author me as normal or other, as eccentric or Aspergian. I let others author my facial expressions, and because my bodily moves are so textually engrained in the authorial decisions of others, I am a walking, breathing incarnation of telepresence, a virtual construction of a bodily reality.

This telepresent existence probably sounds depressing, but since I don’t experience “the” full emotional gamut, there’s no need to waste Prozac on me.

[That last paragraph was my attempt at sarcasm. Hopefully I was successful.]