Sunday was a strangely quiet day. A day without my Princess. I woke up at 5.30am, and the silence was deafening – my alarm clock was missing. There was no dark, warm shadow on the left, no silhouette of perky ears and long face staring intently at me, no wet nosed gentle nudging or licking of my hand, no sweet little whiny sounds to say, “Wake up, mumma!” I fell back into the series of restless dreams I had all night. I was dreaming about Lucy, in various settings. One of my dreams was particularly disturbing. I dreamed I was back home with Lucy, and we were not well received in public at all. Yes, my homeland has an appalling lack of tolerance for pets in public places. Even Guide Dogs for the Blind are ostracised, there is no space or place for Lucy, a service dog for anxiety, none whatsoever! Although there is a growing body of people with pets who are very precious to them, as well as increasing lobbying for better awareness and acceptance in this area, the general situation is a sad one. For all its pomp and ceremonial show of wealth, the country still lacks social progress in so many areas. There are well heeled newly middle class couple with horribly behaved brats running amok in public, polluting the environment not only with noise but with filth as they leave their bits and bobs behind. Sometimes these include bodily fluids of a most disgusting kind. This is well tolerated, but a pet, sitting quietly in a carrier, or a serene and elegant big dog minding its own business, will suddenly cause a different kind of hell to break lose. I am ashamed. Yes.
Anyway. I digress. Back to yesterday’s (by now) surreal experience.
I woke up late, at 8am, and began a slow and easy day, a very laboriously, achingly, heavily quiet day. However, that said, my body needed that stark contrast, the few little stolen, forcibly readjusted minutes, the minutes in time and space that are usually commandeered by the Princess’s larger than life presence. I needed to be shut in, imprisoned even, by the four walls of my own ‘disability’ – the depression, the anxiety, the fear, the autistic isolation (negative isolation, not the positive kind, there exists different kinds of isolations) and the sinking completely into oneself – in order to repair the tattered body.
You may well ask, would you not then prefer more ‘rest’ and be without Lucy? The answer is a vehement, “No!” I would shout it too, if you were able to hear it in person!
I need her to fill my space – physical, mental and emotional – with her wordless communion, with her sensory calm, with her purity, simplicity, gentleness, exuberance, and her warmth. No man is an island, and not even autistic people are. We do not choose absolute aloneness, even though for centuries this is what your neurotypical world has thought of us. We merely communicate in different modalities, which only now some more enlightened ones in your realm are beginning to glimpse the existence of. My Angel’s resonant breathing, tiny whimpers, delicate licks and gestures, these are enough conversation for me. I look into her eyes, and I can hear things that words cannot describe. It is not an instant process, I have had to learn her language, and I am still struggling with its grammar and syntax, but it is a companionship that enriches my solitude, rather than devours the energy therein. It is not that I eschew human relationships, don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to have friends who care for me and support me at all, being such an unwilling participant of social contact. I do very much enjoy it too, when meeting up with good friends and people I like. That said, the fact remains that relating is taxing. Even to the neurotypical. Energy is expanded. In the case of the hypersensory autistic, this is an even more demanding exercise. After every pleasant social encounter, I feel as if my life blood has been drained, and I need to shut myself in to recuperate. And that is if these are pleasant events. I shall not bother to detail in this already far too longwinded post what the effects are if the occasions were less than pleasant.
Lucy is home. I am filled with gratitude towards my friend who gave my baby a much needed change in scenery and a thoroughly fun filled sleepover. Lucy needed it. As much as I needed the shutdown.
We are back up again. I have found some strength to write today. Not just this lengthy babbling post, but my not enough rambling dissertation. Thank you Godmama Rose!
Tally ho, Bunny!