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A garbled ramble on the theme of sustenance. Staying alive.

I love cooking. I love food. But lately, conjuring sustenance has been a wearying and fraught activity. The washing up itself triggers uncontrollable waves of despair. How does one explain executive dysfunction and sensory breakdown? How can the excruciating agony of separation anxiety from one’s intense passion be unfolded in mere words? The terrible flogging of that silent howling… every minute spent labouring over the laundry, vacuuming, chasing never ending armies of dust bunnies, attacking greasy dishes, wiping kitchen surfaces and then doing it all over again, and again, and again… precious physical energy sucked out from an already precariously limited reservoir… Too little left for the important tasks, the crucial agenda of passion: my work.

And then there is the deadline looming… as the stretto gathers speed and volume, so does the scream of financial instability. Unfortunately, the nearer I am to the finishing line and the more I am needing desperately to focus unhindered, the more the distractions of basic sustenance weigh upon me. Worrying over the latter is transmogrifying into an overwhelming corporeal legion of angry fire ants, marching with a purposeful vengeance, as if on a mission to annihilate me, as I struggle to stay alive, scrambling each day for those few minutes and if lucky, then a few hours, to spend with my beloved work.

Another Aspie quirk. I am lousy at asking for help. But perhaps I should not blame this anomaly entirely on the autistic mind. I was conditioned from childhood by ‘elders and betters’ to believe that my different needs are a bane and a burden, that keeping me alive was an unworthy exercise, and if I did not enslave myself to my benefactor, then I was a useless “bum” sucking upon the familial welfare system.

But I am learning, thanks to the wisdom, patience and fortitude of a few very upstanding and supportive friends, the clemency of asking for and receiving help.

Cent by cent. Dollar by dollar. With each load of laundry, and each conquest of dust bunnies. I am slowly coming to terms with the complexity of sustenance. And, the beauty of imbibing gifts of grace… every photograph of my victuals is a symbolic emblem of the living waters. My photos of my food represent much more than the physical content of my meal. Embedded in each image is a sliver of hope, a gesture of friendship. And unheard prayers of gratitude.

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