the sick mandarin

The Unwell Mandarin Breakfast

I do think that hypersenses become even more acute when one is feeling generally ‘down.’ Lucy and I have been a little low lately. She was lethargic and constipated yesterday, but hopefully all was resolved after a deworming tablet and yoghurt – yes, there were some encouraging results thereafter! ūüôā For me, it is the same old battle with the autoimmune condition. This morning, my breakfast was spoiled by two factors: pain (yes the ugly autoimmune ulcers have decided to kick around a bit again, despite the colchicine), and a sick mandarin.¬†The fruit, I mean. Or is it a tangerine? I get confused here. Anyway, it tasted decidedly unwell. That is the best and most accurate description I can give, from the sensory point of view. It was definitely not rotten or even slightly ‘off’ in the conventional sense of the word.Actually, it seemed fresh, juicy and bouncy in texture and consistency, but it just tasted unwell and smelled ‘flat’ in the tonal sense of the word.

Do I need to explain myself further here? OK, for the benefit of my neurotypical friends who may not exist profoundly in the realm of the sensorial: my¬†autistic sensory-based functioning means that I¬†mostly identify our world through the senses, with far less human-social-centricity as your NT world. That means I am more given to the perspective that materiality is vibrant and dynamic, with a kind of ‘viability’ of its own, which features depend of course on the nature of the matter itself. [Ralph Savarese mentioned a kind of ‘animistic perception,’ in “Toward a Postcolonial Neurology,” and ¬†my own analogy is that of ‘sonorous corporeality.’ The same thing from different angles. Perhaps, while I am an intensely spiritual person, and I feel synergistically¬†linked to Lucy, I may nevertheless have a slightly less transcendent¬†connection¬†to physical¬†substance¬†than some of my fellow autistics.]¬†I know a few non-autistic people who also have acute¬†senses, but interestingly, they tend to be less consciously deeply connected to alternative and parallel existential dimensions, and their hypersensory reactions are more straight forward ’cause and effect’ responses.

To me, everything has a resonance, a ‘voice,’ pulse, and rhythm. In the case of this mandarin, its vocality is out of sync. Was it merely an echo of my own delicate state? Perhaps. There is an interconnectedness that many are ignorant of, purely because they do not notice the subtle pulsations of what they deem ‘inanimate.’ (Many don’t even give a thought to the animate, apart from themselves and extensions of self.)

No, I didn’t finish my breakfast. Nowadays, I am trying not to force myself to eat things that my senses recoil from. I’ve had enough of that kind of ‘corrective therapy’ in my lifetime, and though not all of it brought evil results, nevertheless, much of the forcefulness was just cruelly contrary to my natural functioning and delivered poor returns at best. I removed the remaining slices of unwell mandarin, and valiantly tried to attack the rest of the inoffensive cereal, but I only managed to down two thirds of it. I am learning from Lucy how to return to my own realm of sensory harmony, by simply not eating what my senses recoil from at the moment that they speak to me thusly. It seems such an elementary function, but if you look at it from the perspective of a lifetime (almost 50 years now) spent¬†subject to¬†dominant and powerful ‘correctional’ compulsion, geared towards making me more neurotypical-compliant and hence acceptable, you will, if you have any empathy at all, understand why such a fundamental natural impulse is now something I need to relearn to allow myself access to. Without guilt. The last is the most difficult task.

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