The price to pay is small, this detachment, I am not lonely, not even alone – because the universe holds such infinity in its richly textured, fragrant and abundantly threaded tapestry. Always connected, always embraced.
But this human shell… this navel-gazing, glazed, muffled, bleary-eyed sightedness.
Such exquisite pain. Excruciating beauty. Always just out of reach.
Incarcerated by my humanity.
Lowest of life forms – barbaric viciousness, swirling toxicity.
Lucy has a Fan Boy. His name is Maxi. He is a ten year old Shitzu, completely blind but full of vim and vigour, and he loves stalking of her. He follows Lucy wherever she goes, and he has a cute ‘bump-bump’ game where he’ll bump into her on purpose (he can smell her) and she’ll let out a squeal or yelp to tell him to back off, then he’ll meander away for awhile, before making his way back to lie down quietly beside her. Maxi belongs to my sister’s best friend, and he comes over for playdates and staycations quite often. He brings a lot of jolliness to sleepy lazy old Lucy. They’re not exactly a ‘loving’ pair, but they’re full of surprises, and such a joy to just observe. If only I could fathom the mind of a dog, it’d answer so many questions about my own humanity that no human can answer satisfactorily. No human is able to bring such unadulterated joy to my heart. How can humans still insist they must be the superior specie?
We celebrated Nula’s birthday recently. Just us five in the family. We had takeaway from our favourite Thai restaurant, Diandin Leluk. Eating at home is so much better anyway, comfy and relaxed, no sensory overwhelm. Nula is from a state in the far north of Myanmar. She’s been my mum’s helper and part of our family for five years now.
On the subject of ‘family’… It’s been a rough familial ride, but I am happy at last, with my ‘real’ family now, and so glad to be spending time getting to know mum in a new way, unobstructed by other people’s hand-me-down bitterness influencing my gullible socially-clueless Autistic mind and all the gaslighting that contributed to a rocky one for mum and me in the past. We’ve had our huge fights, we struggled in the beginning when I first returned home, while the evil elements tried their best to stir the already murky waters with added poison, but we’ve both emerged stronger and our vision is clear now. Mum and I have arrived at our special Clement Space – truthfulness and honesty is our way forward. Indeed, truth sets free. Only then can we learn love. Lockdown – being cooped up with mum 24 x 7 for months – has been surprisingly pleasant too. Well done, gals!
I have lovely neighbours. They like to cook, and the smells wafting over are always pleasing, which is really a blessing (and a relief) for me. I’ve lived in apartments in Hong Kong where the cooking smells were pretty horrid, especially when the Chinese old aunties were frying up pork lard! My neighbour here is Indonesian Chinese, so there’s tangy, spicy stuff wafting over. She does the kueh kueh (cakes and pastries) really well. Since the lockdown, she’s been cooking up many storms, and sharing the goodies most generously with us. It is another privilege to have good neighbours, one among many other luxuries that I am most grateful for.
We’ve all been reading about nature ‘blossoming’ all over the world since us humans have been in various states of lockdown. Here in Singapore, there’s not much that is really natural in or about our seemingly gleaming glossy shiny city. Or is there?
The otters have been about, but some humans were not pleased, fussing about some pet koi that the otters helped themselves too. Other more disgusting humans want to cull the poor critters, just because. Humans are that way. This is why, more and more, I am beginning to want out of this grand fiasco called the human social system. Anyway, that’s for another day’s rant.
All the beautiful greenery around where I live has been cut down, merciless incursions on what was once a peaceful, genteel and unassuming locale. Nothing ostentatious about this place, a good mix of old money, new money and no money. Until massive developments rocked the equilibrium.
My heart ached when the big tree sheltering the cockatoo colony was hacked down. Where did the birds go? Lucy and I used to love visiting them at 5.30am in the morning and standing for awhile underneath the tree to listen to their vocalising. Now, there’s nothing but ugly concrete and the sound of vehicles trundling or whizzing past.
Now, we just look for small patches of straggly green stuff – grass, weeds etc – so Lucy can do her petite toilette. That’s about it. Oh, and the tiny little park – if one can call that a park at all – up the hill.
Since lockdown, nobody has been cutting the grass, so they’re now overgrown, nice and bushy-like, and the wild flowers have sprung up all over. The downside? Picking up Lucy’s poop – I have to dig deep to find it and bag it. Profound, innit?
Who was it who said that Autistic people have poor global comprehension and can only perform detail-focused processing? (OK, I know who, but I am trying to be wryly humorous, here, so humour me being humouring ok?)
I’ve been noticing far too many of those teeny-weeny-wriggly-squiggly details lately, what with COVID19 kicking the entire world into massive turmoil and showing humanity and our systems up in its truest, clearest, worst possible light, compounded with yet more and more revelations (as if I didn’t already know) of massive calculated cruelty towards innocent animals – the internet is an amazing thing, really, it throws up so many details for detail-focused folks to devour, analyse, recognise all the threads and patterns, feel the vibrating rhythms of the cosmic swirl that is wailing in concentric circles round and round, through and above and under the Grand Human Circus – such an indescribable massive, overwhelming deluge – that I am spent. Exhausted. Burnt out. Shrivelled up. Ashamed and disgusted at my being a member of the evil human specie. Crushed because I know I am powerless to end all this suffering. And I don’t mean human suffering – I mean the suffering of the truly innocent among us. The non-human world that we have colonised.
I do so love my Autistic brain. It has kept me alive through some of the worst times in my life. But there are times when I wish I could just hang a “pause” sign over it and retreat into the gentle arms of sensory engagement without the relentless pondering, picking up patterns that 90% of people are happily unaware of and being crushed by the Behemoth of Too Much Information. A terrifying annihilating force is released each and every time my brain decides to examine humans and human structures. Now more than before. Every morning, when I look at my newsfeed, I see a human world that is unravelling at its poorly sewn seams. and my brain goes into a kind of wailing that is so loud in its hapless silence, it hurts every part of my corporeal mass and my mind bleeds excruciatingly.
All I really want now – what I really really want – what I really really really want – is to fizzle out comfortably into obscurity, spend my days drawing, painting, making things deemed inconsequential to the world but appreciated and approved by Lucy. Knit warm jumpers for skinny dogs in cold climes. Crochet granny square coasters for I don’t know what purpose and I don’t care. Take out my canvas and easel and start painting again. Rip up all my old designer clothing and create new wearable art from them. Make Lucy a few more collars just because she makes any adornment look beautiful (and not the other way around). In fact, I’ve already got sketches and all the material I need. Take Lucy to the beach, to the Botanical Gardens, on staycation at dog-friendly hotels, curl up with her for old-lady arvo naps, and just luxuriate in her wordless, quiet, serene company.
I don’t want to spend arduous hours explaining to other people why my ideas are so brilliant, I simply know they are (my ideas, that is). I don’t want to have to water down my Autistic Joy in the painful process of preparing ponderous, worded sales pitches (don’t you just love my bizarre penchant for alliteration?). I’m slowly withering in this desert landscape of human-centric to-ing and fro-ing for the sole purpose of paying my bills. A never ending slavery to mediocrity and banality that is wrapped in brightly coloured artificial silk, bearing the label “Made in China” for good measure.
I told my doctor that I want quality of life, not necessarily quantity, when we discussed my medication strategies. The irony is, I am being propped up so I can spend whatever energies I have on dreary, soul crushing activity. From 6.30am to 10.30pm, I am slave to the flickering assaultive screen. Lucy has been complaining, and right she is too. This is no quality of life, it is literally obliterating. And what kind of Art can one really make in this environment of spiritual destruction?
MyAutistic brain is tired. It wants to do the Autistic brain thing – you know, that intense focus, the pursuit of passion to the exclusion of almost all else – but in a different space, in a Clement Space. But there is no Clement Space – no oasis, no respite – from the Grand Circus of frivolous arbitrary human-centric pursuits.
Oh, and guess what? Them bills have gone up, up, up while jobs have all but disappeared since the dreadful COVID19 descended upon the entire world, after China let out a itty bitty China-sized sneeze. So, there’s no rest for the wicked like me, and Tally Ho-ing is the only option available.
Well, at least I still have the blessed privilege of Tally Ho-ing, eh? I am grateful. But I am also exhausted, so wilted from this seemingly endless cycle of Autistic Joy deprevation that I feel like a bedraggled wispy shred of salted vegetable slowly disintegrating, rancid in the harsh dry glare of a malevolent sun.
Thank you for reading this word-swimming waffle. If you’ve come this far to the end, do please give yourself a pat on the back (or whatever part you wish to pat). You’re probably either in full empathic sympathetic resonance with what I am saying, or you’re quite entertained by my photos, and/or you’re clueless and have just wasted your time trying to read this.
So, here in Singapore, there was some ridiculous poll, with around 70% of 1,000 people rating artists as the top non-essential people and healthcare workers the top essential. Well, I am not even going to get into the grand churning seething arguments being thrown around with theatrical rabid hysteria – artists making a great almighty fuss, and superior sounding others mocking that almighty fuss, and round and round we go in the Grand Human Circus, because nobody seems to even see the hilarious yet sad farce this thing is. This is a reflection, a small sampling, of the mentality and attitude of the general population. Only the tip of a huge iceberg. A huge, festering, rotting one that speaks of our humanity.
I had a huge surprise today. Nothing prepared me for this. Not even the gentle reassurance of the dentist surgeon during our prior consultation and X-ray session, a few days ago. In the days between, I was vigorously psyching myself up, struggling to quell the rising anxiety, but not succeeding too well. Last night was the worst, horrible anxiety and panic swells, falling in and out of restless sleep. Poor Lucy, she couldn’t sleep well either because I was writhing away next to her all night.
Well, what happened after I settled into the dentist’s chair, stretched out, mouth open, like a hapless animal waiting to be slaughtered?
One of my typical Autistic traits is that I can eat the same food that I like over and over and over again. They also go on a kind of rotation, according to category. In the last two months of my stay home adventure, the family have been having a lot of Japanese fare. We want to be safe, so we’ve not had much raw sushi lately. I also like to go to the same food places – I am risk averse in that way – so our favourite is the Ichiban Sushi / Boshi / Bento, and Kuriya food market, all part of the large RE&S group. I am a happy Autie Foodie Bunny. And always, always, I never take food for granted, so each photo capture is a gesture of gratitude.
There’s only one thing missing from all my recent amazing foodie-ness: my friend Rick. I wish I could share all this with him, and inundate him with my non-stop waffling too.