It’s time for beans. Crunchy munchy things. Again, not my favourite food, but there was a very good bunch in my Thoughtful Foods box and we mustn’t waste anything, must we? Sliced thinly, they actually add some zest to the textural experience, not to mention sonic variation and proprioceptive energy, when one chews! Here are the beans in fried rice vermicelli and with egg and Chinese preserved veggies on a bed of rice. Simple pleasures on a tight budget.
I have been wondering lately about the comparative naiveté of individuals with autism when juxtaposed with the worldly social skills of the average neurotypical. I suppose this perceived social neoteny has much to do with our innate concrete and literal cognitive functioning, which does not fit into the liquid, inconstant and fluctuating tenets of the neurotypical social constructs. Vulnerability is a common trait we share with the very young. Does this make us look or feel younger than our peers? In my case, I guess I will have to say yes. People do comment that I look younger than my chronological age, though I have little absolute idea what they actually mean. I’ve had strangers my age calling me, “Young lady,” and much younger people mistaking me for their contemporary. I neither feel flattered nor insulted, it is just something that has been happening to me since my youth, i.e. being mistaken for being much younger than I actually am. There are pros and cons, of course, but I don’t think much about this. What I do ruminate about is the perception of Self, because it affects the way we view the wider context of our existences. It also makes us more prone to being abused and manipulated by Other, and we are none the wiser until it is often too late.
The most recent example for me being the Wagnerian Blonde Brunhilde, of course. My neurotypical friends have asked me repeatedly why I didn’t just throw her out much early on, and how could I have just stood by and allowed her to make off with my property. Ah, a myriad complex reasons, which will fill a conference paper, but I won’t go into that in this post.
However, the flipside is that this lack of worldliness can also help to preserve a sense of optimism and drive to pursue the unconventional pathways, spurred on by our indomitable passion for our purposes and interests. It also opens the doors and windows to embracing creativity.
Well, apart from embarking on a brand new life direction and journey at middle age, I also do enjoy the most ridiculously simple activities. I find calm and pleasure in mundane processes, just because I relish the process rather than focusing on the result. For example, making a new batch of dehydrated kangaroo jerky for my Princess Lucy can be such a fun task. I notice the smells, the textures, the effects of handling meat on my fingers and hands. I navigate the effects of the processes in my mind, the ways my senses and intellect react to this innocuous performance, and I love the look of Lucy’s face as she lays nearby in her classic Sphinx position, watching me intently. The interaction with my baby girl during these little sessions is precious to me, even though the jaded neurotypicals may say I am crazy, it’s the little details that matter to the autistic mind.