For me, autism is like living in a personal bubble. Everything inside the bubble is colourful. And everything outside of it is muted greys. And sometimes it gets really noisy.
When people enter my bubble I become aware of them. I will notice their likes and dislikes. And after getting to know them I can emotionally connect. Sometimes it gets really noisy and crowded and I’ll forcefully disconnect.
I don’t often let people hang out in my bubble tho, I’ve been hurt far too often and getting attached only to realise it was one-sided just isn’t really worth the time and effort it takes me to open up. I do get attached quickly, but I learned to let go just as easily.
I can’t connect to the world outside of the bubble unless I expend a certain effort to focus on the world outside the bubble. And unfortunately I get overwhelmed rather quickly so I’m very reluctant to expend energy I can use for other things.
I don’t know how much sense this makes to others. It’s a hard to explain concept when I haven’t thought it over fully yet. But for me, living in my personal bubble is the safest place I can be without getting overwhelmed.