I have always been a keen observer. Perpetually on the edge of things, at one time it was a survival strategy. An attempt to make sure I didn’t say or do the wrong thing, that thing that would make my parents or my neurotypical peers look at me strangely, laugh, or get upset. I wasn’t very successful at this, and I still get nervous in unfamiliar situations. The worst thing possible would be to get it wrong, and hurt someone I care about.
Later, I hid behind the lens of a camera, taking photo after photo of everyone else in order to have a familiar role during events and gatherings. So much easier to be the photographer than to come up with small talk. So much easier to read faces through a lens than directly.
Then it became my career. What was once hypervigilance and over-sensitivity became instead an ability to read and empathise with others, an integral part of my job as a therapist.
I still enjoy people watching. I am still a voyeur (only now it is MUCH more fun!) But the lens I have turned towards myself.