BIG anxiety

A huge adventure yesterday. We were at the Big Anxiety Project discussion at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sydney has been wrapped inside a massive storm over the weekend. Not the kind of weather for a sensory-anxious autist and a rain-averse Greyhound to be out and about. But we had an important mission, and so, in true autist and Greyhound fashion, we persevered! Continue reading

a little clement space

Yesterday. Before the whipping storm arrived, there was a tiny moment where Lucy and I enjoyed a little clement space. Just the two of us, without interjection or intrusion. A bit of lunch – I cooked a nostalgic pot of ‘muichoy’ (a kind of salted preserved Chinese vegetable) soy sauce pork belly with tofu. A spot of tea – ginger and lemongrass. A chunk of fruitcake – Coles brand $3.50, not particularly lofty but good enough for the situation. There was some sunshine for awhile, but then the sun disappeared into the rolling heavy clouds. The air was still and thick, and my legs were aching from the humidity, but the moment in space and time was ours to savour, and we did just that. Continue reading

hide inside

Too much to process. Assaulted on all sides at multiple dimensions. Sensory attacks from the environment. Confusing shenanigans from certain quarters that even my non-autistic, neurotypical friends shake their heads at. Discombobulation. Distress. Chaos. Disorganisation. Changes, one following another, tripping over in clumsy stretto. Fever. Smarting eyes. Ringing ears. Inflammation everywhere. Tired, tired, exhaustion. Continue reading

not just a dog

 

No dog that is loved is “just a dog.” Someone I lived with in the past used to say of her own dogs, “they’re just dogs.” She treated them well when they were delightful and healthy, but the moment illness struck, she euthanised them, even the one that was healthy, because she couldn’t be bothered to deal with the burden of caring for a sick dog or an aging dog. This echoes the attitude of people in the Greyhound racing industry, who swear blue that they “love” their dogs, “like family” or “like royalty,” but have no qualms in killing them when they are unable to run for money. Yes, the official figures are admitted by the industry – 17,000 are killed a year in Australia, by the Greyhound racing industry… people who say they “love” their dogs.

A beloved pet dog is not “just a dog.” They are family. I know people who truly love their pets, not just when it is convenient and easy. Pets are companions who bring us joy and comfort. The emotional support that pets give to us, and what we can learn from them are immeasurable. I know that, because I grew up with pets – dogs, bunnies, chickens, ducks etc.

And assistance dogs are very special angels that do tasks beyond and above the already wonderful things that beloved pets do. Assistance animals help keep some of us alive and functioning. They do specific tasks that alleviate our disabilities and open up an otherwise inaccessible world to us. This video is about these special angels. Doogle, Buddy and Lucy are just three of many, many assistance animals that help people with disabilities, visible and invisible, to live fuller and richer lives. They help us in ways that humans cannot.

I am so grateful for my Lucy. And to mindDog Australia.

MindDog Australia is a wonderful organisation. They have helped many of us to live better, fuller and enabled lives. Thank you, mindDog!

no goodbyes

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Lucy & Janette @ Sonata in Z 10 Nov 2015- the very last time I saw my friend.

Throughout the tumult of the last four months – betrayal of trust, instability and almost not completing the PhD as a result – I had been thinking of her. My friend Janette. A beautiful soul, so gentle, intense, refined and deeply kind. Our last communication was a hastily written email about my traumatic hurried return to homeland to write up my thesis. She wished me good luck, and we planned to catch up after my submission. Janette died a few days afterwards. Caught in the flurry of fear, anxiety and desperation of PhD dissertation writing, I did not email Janette, until early this morning. I had been thinking of her throughout, but that email never was sent, just like the other important email to the university library (see below) – everything got swallowed up and lost inside the terrifying whorl of survival… and now, I shall never see her again. Continue reading

documenting the maelstrom

 

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Documenting the maelstrom through comestibles.

Movement. Moving.

PhD submission deadline. Stretto-crescendo. Nearer and nearer.

Being (re)moved just 4 weeks before deadline.

Finding grace – saved from self-destruction by a Greyhound gaze… a kind offer, Lucy is safe, a cheap airticket, and a trip home.

Clement space. Familial grace. Old friends. Rally round for Bunny.

Work, work, work – at last! Phew!

More grace – a 3 week extension and a new deadline. Continue reading

accommodations

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Accommodating grace, graciously accommodating.

This post is in response to yet another powerful piece of thinking by Judy Endow. Read it here: Autism, Accommodation and Differential Expectations.

Ah, accommodations… Sometimes, people make accommodations for me, announced with a warm fuzzy glow, and then suddenly withdraw them because it’s no longer comfortable for them to continue, and leave me to fend for myself without offering me any other alternatives. In the meantime, I am making accommodations for them all the time, being grateful, showing gratitude as best as I can, taking into account their own neurodiversity quirks, and, yes, even in the way I do not rant and scream when said promised accommodations are abruptly withdrawn. It is very very tiring, making accommodations for anyone, but the Endeavour of Empathy is important. We must not stop endeavouring, though let’s not forget that the endeavour is to Self as much as to Other. We autists struggling to survive this terrain need to remember that empathy is for Self too, because so often the demands of normative social constructs say we must do otherwise, and so we do. Continue reading