wobbly

Musing on a puff.

Uncertainty is wobbly. It tastes like stale reflux from mushrooms. A purplish-brown. An insistent low howl in the ear. Not pleasant at all. Wobbly. With no known cadential resolution in sight. Even the seemingly random reflections of nature contain discernible patterns, and comforting pulsations of regularity, order and organisation.

The autistic brain is not bosom friends with uncertainty. In fact, this quivering gelatinous dynamic mass often creates unnecessary mental, emotional and physical grief for the autist. It is a contentious point that creates friction between the autistic and non-autistic neurocultures. 

The tapestry of neuro-normative social interaction is thick with threads of fluidity. For example, surprise birthday gifts, parties etc are welcome delights and even highlights in the normative realm. Many an autist has admitted to feigning glee when treated to benevolent surprises by their neuro-normative friends and relations. Accusations of ingratitude and lack of a sense of fun or humour usually follow when due dramatics of rapture are not properly expressed. The autist becomes skilled in the art of pretext, performing the unnatural with aplomb, while suppressing the native urge to flinch, recoil or even scream out loud.

Working inside neuro-normative configurations is often fraught with intrinsic and extrinsic tension. Even in a more-than-usual atmosphere of efficiency, the amorphous trilling of uncertainty can crescendo into a disconcerting roar, one which only the hapless autistic is able to hear.

It isn’t only that the autist fails to understand and operate within the framework of neuro-normativity, but the anomaly lies also in the neuro-normative’s seemingly impaired ability, or reluctance, to create and operate within formal order and system. In fact, the autist spends inordinate amounts of effort and time trying to dance around moving poles  dodging random projectiles, struggling far more with the disturbing and energy-sapping echoes of uncertainty, than the neuro-normative with the effort of order and clarity.

What defines a “team player”?  Autists are frequently maligned as being poor “team-players”. Does the normative concept of “teamwork” demand chit-chatting around tea and cakes on irrelevant topics? Drinks after work? Going-with-the-flow (whatever that means)? ‘Bonding’ (whatever that means too)? If so, then yes, these are not natural modus operandi of many an autist. For this autistic Bunny, an ideal team mate is one who is able to focus intently on the work at hand, resonate and echo the excitement and passion for the task, and constantly create organised, clear frameworks and signposts for movement and development. The social camaraderie revolves thus around the central nucleus of ‘the work’. This is the ‘bonding’ – not tea, coffee and chitchat, not going-with-the-(unknown)-flow in a merry mess.

Uncertainty triggers extreme anxiety. Anxiety impedes optimal function. Optimal function is needed, in fact prized, by the autist to address the holistic entirety of Being and Doing.

What to do? Such a muffly-fluffy conundrum.

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One thought on “wobbly

  1. Great insights here. Now I won’t claim introverts like myself are anywhere close to understanding the experience of autism. But some aspects jump out at me in their similarities – the dislike of idle chitchat, surprises and other social norms. (I do fine with an unstructured daily routine though.)

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