Visual Snippets of Grace…
I woke up this morning to a soft, silken velvet head on my belly, deep amber eyes watching me as I stirred. I reached to stroke and revel in the luxurious texture and a glorious multidimensional warmth soaked upwards, through my cold fingers and hands, inexorably inhabiting my entire being.
Having to live on a very meagre scholarship stipend in one of the most expensive cities in the world, in one of its most expensive locales, has been a journey of intense struggle, yet truly a beautiful orchestral embodiment of Amazing Grace.
Since March, I am down to only one scholarship, which meant that the struggle to feed myself and Lucy became an impossible quest. This is when Grace is ever more evident in the support from my wonderful friends and my one loving sister.
I have agonised over this “lack of independence” all my life. In the past, I lived a luxurious lifestyle, as a Subaltern to a Colonial Mistress, since childhood. It was never an equal relationship, my talents and abilities were recognised and encouraged in order to serve my mistress. For as long as I played the obedient serf, I was wrapped in a cocoon, but If I so much as inched away in an attempt to take back Self from Other, there were dire consequences. So insidious was this dependency, that I was groomed from childhood to believe that my own parents did not love me, and only my Colonial Mistress cared for me. It was not difficult to believe her – she had a plethora of very real and convincing examples to point out to me. An extremely intelligent person, skilled in the art of social manipulation – my autistic mind was no match for her in that arena of her choice. Homeground for her, alien landscape for me. It was only in the bloody aftermath that the thought flashed through my mind: my parents were wealthy, they were not perfect, but they cared enough for me so that I could have easily been dependent on them instead of the Colonial Mistress, with fewer emotional-mental-physical demands upon me, and still live in the lap of relative luxury. Why did I not choose this other option? Instead, I chose to throw half my life at the feet of the Mistress. Brainwashing has that effect on even the most intellectually sound persons. I just did not think. I believed. Without questioning the lie. Because I was brought up to think she was superior, and always right. The Chicken and Egg conundrum.
When I finally broke away, the Mistress, of course, cut off all the goodies that she had lavished upon me in the name of “love,” and by then, my parents were old, and also very convinced by her cogent grooming that I was nothing but a useless burden. (What’s love got to do with it? – I learned this at last, silly slow autistic brain!) She has now commandeered the loyalty of all those I used to call ‘friends,’ a subtle but very effective strategy indeed, and the last one to fall was in some ways the most painful betrayal. The one who should have known better. Yet, it matters little. A part of my heart did break. I shed some tears. I felt nauseous for a few weeks. But breaking is part of the creative process of growing and making new wonderment. I reiterate the reality: I have more than enough friends, the sad person who was my mistress can have those ones who now eat out of her hand, I give them all to her. She needs them more than I do now. (I do not blame my former friends, they are mere puppets in a masterful theatre of insidious farce – after all, I was willing performer in her dramaturge for so many years. Walking away is my dispensation of forgiveness.)
My journey has led me to Self – and I am happier and more fulfilled than I ever have been, but financially poorer than I could ever have imagined. The kind of independence I yearned for did not come to me. I am still ponderously dependent. Financial dependency is not the only thing I battle. Executive dysfunction and subsequent distraction (as result of trying to cope with it all) is a monumental conflict. Daily. My autistic embodiment strains towards intensity of passionate focus – my work and Lucy – but the demands of living and staying alive mock me with cogent, raucous alacrity. Simple chores – washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, housecleaning, keeping track of bills etc – are overwhelming steam rollers that crush me mentally and physically, dragging me trashing and screaming away from the rest and repose of my passions, leaving me spent and unable to attend to what is fundamentally important and even essential to my Beingness.
I am dependent on my friends to help me even with these litlte things. A shocking utility bill – because I needed some heating during the bitter cold of this winter. A kitchen clean up, because I collapsed mentally. A $50 gift so I could use my neighbour’s washing machine without feeling sick with fear, and no longer need to either burden my friend Rick with giant bags of laundry every weekend, or lug the laundry across to the Social Avalanche nightmare who allowed me to use her washing machine but demanded social enslavement in return. Help with Lucy’s food bills. Help with grocery shopping, because I am too spent to even make the trip to the shops, and do not have enough to buy to meet the minimum amount for online delivery. Emergency help with Lucy’s vet bills from her wonderful Godmama. The list goes on and on…
The agony of depency has seemed to follow me like a giggling plague. But the Grace that has been shown to me has marked the huge difference between this dependency and the past dependency. The support from my friends and my one good sister is Clemency: without enslavement. Their only encouragement – not a stipulation but merely a hope from them – is that I find, cherish and grow my BEINGNESS.
This succinct and penetrating blog post in Tiny Grace Notes, “I Am Not Independent,” brought it home to me this morning, as I chewed on my breakfast of cheap Aldi bread and homemade peanut butter, sipping an aromatic coffee with coconut cream… the dancing appoggiatura and acciaccatura are settling gently, softly, respectfully and with dignity upon my subconscious, emanating a tranquil, serene and reverential perfume, gradually reaching my consciousness. At last! My friend Rick will be glad to know of this dawning. Over many weekend bruncheons, we have been in wrangling conversations unravelling this knotty issue, Rick patiently expounding this dimensional truth to me, while my brain writhed and wriggled like an oily sponge unable to soak up the essence of living waters.
Thank you, Ibby Grace, for your poignant blog post! And thank you, my wonderful friends, and my lovely, brave and generous little sister, for your Grace.
I see it now. I am not independent. And now, I never want to be. But my dream is to someday be as supportive to others as all you good people have been to me!