look me in the eye

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Looking in the eye

Demon of Anxiety

Not with a kiss

Nor with a sigh

Soft steady gaze

Resigned

If all hope should die

Inside inevitable tragedy

I have come this far

I should still be

Proud

of Me.

———

There is much talk about autism not being a disability. I respectfully disagree. It is a strength, it is a different functionality, it is a wonderful way of seeing, and a unique way of being. However, it is nevertheless also a grave disability, especially when juxtaposed with the Other ways of being, the neurotypical constructs that rule the wider world with that iron grip. An orange in an apple orchard, a bright yellow balloon inside a ball park, a racehorse in a field of cattle. The differently abled is disabled, where ability demands high standards of adherence to sameness, while having to juggle the differences.

And that demon called anxiety? For me, it stems from having to deal with this stark juxtapositioning of Self and Other, performing the Otherness as expertly as I possibly can, because it is expected of all us ‘high-functioning’ autists, while still displaying the Self as brilliantly as possible, because this too is expected of us.

One year of setbacks and the entire course is crumpled. The high speed train trying to run on an antique track. There is something gravely and terribly amiss, but the race has begun and there is no way to stop, no pause button, because these are the rules of the Other, and Self has no choice but to cower in submission and subjugation. Unless Self can find a way through this screaming silence to once more out run Other. Regardless, it is still a game devised and executed by Other. It is the world belonging to Other.

And life goes on. Second by second, tick-tock-tick-tock, minutes, hours, days, and years. Until the clock strikes TIME OUT. Till then, I am transfixed… looking into the eye of Anxiety, and floating in the sea, bobbing, tossing, frothing, but just keeping on keeping on.

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