The Normal Game
Let's play the Normal Game! It's like pretend, only all day long, and you can't let anyone know you are playing. There's lots of rules, but don't worry. I'll help you learn them all. I'm a master at the Normal Game. I've played as long as I can remember and I've gotten pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Rule number one: absolutely no stimming. Don't wring your hands or chew your lip or tap your fingers, especially not on yourself. Don't rock or shudder or make weird noises, and definitely don't curl yourself up into a little ball like you like to. Sit up straight and tall and still, but not too still, and not too straight. You can't be stiff. You have to look relaxed, no matter how much you aren't. Got it? Okay.
Rule number two: smile and make eye contact. But not too much. Don't show your teeth too much; it's scary. And make sure your eyes crinkle at the edges or it will look fake. And don't stare. Meet their eyes, count to three, then look away. Make sure they don't notice you counting though.
Rule number three: talk. Don't be too quiet. But don't be too loud. And don't talk too much. And only talk about what they want to talk about. They don't want to listen to you go on about your weird hobbies or thoughts or worse, your feelings. (EWWW!) Just listen and tell them what they want to hear. It's tricky at first, but with lots of practice, you'll get the hang of it. Under NO circumstances should you say what you really think. It will be wrong somehow, no matter how you mean it.
This part of the game is the most tiring, but make sure you don't show it. Just keep it up until you're alone. Alone time is safe, just like the base in tag. If anyone catches you acting weird off base, you're "it". You don't want to be it. Everyone runs away from you and points and laughs and it's not fun.
Rule number four: Don't cry off base. EVER. This one is really important. Just don't do it. People will make fun of you or wonder what is wrong with you, or worse, you'll make them feel bad and then you'll have to comfort them else you'll feel even more horrible.
Rule number five: This is the hard one. You have to act like every one else, do what they do, but only if it isn't weird or obnoxious or, I don't know, different. It's hard to know which things to copy, but if you watch people every chance you get, and practice in front of a mirror, you'll get it.
So that's it! That's how you play the Normal Game! Sounds fun, right? No? Well, you'll never win acting like that...