hello?

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Self Portrait circa 2007 by Dawn-joy Leong

It’s Autistics Speaking Day. I didn’t know there even was such a thing, until I saw my Facebook feed flooded with it, by various Autism advocacy groups and pages that I’ve subscribed to.

Righto. So. Speaking of speaking. I posted this long ramble the other day, about my struggle with a certain person regarding respecting my preferred mode of communication, “gaseous exudations.” While it does seem on the surface as if nothing but an angry rant, and perhaps some of you NT folk may be even slightly (or more than slightly? who knows?) offended by the blunt-speak, it’s actually a very serious issue, and a deeply painful yet far too common feature of Autistic life. Continue reading

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gaseous exudations

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Respectful social communication 101: In this day and age of technological advancement, there are multiple ways to communicate. If a person (with or without disability) tells you their preferred mode of social communication, please respect it, that is, if you wish to communicate with the person. Insisting on your own way and disregarding that person’s repeated requests is nothing but utter contempt and disrespect. Simple.

Communication is a complex effort. However, respect can be a really simple thing.

Sadly, there are people who just cannot connect in a straight-forward way, with mutual regard, across respectful space. I’ve come across many such folk along my more than half a century of traversing the hazardous human social-scape.  Continue reading

teamwork

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It isn’t true that autistic people do not know how to work in a team. We just need clear instructions about what is expected of us, and consistency in interactions. The autistic person is just as willing as any other to perform as a team, it’s just that the autistic mind functions somewhat differently, so better understanding all round is necessary.

Today, I was reminded again how amazing the people I work with really are. Continue reading

fail

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The dark despair of failure. Those depths of acrid, rancid, dissonant putridity. Purple – thick, viscid, slimy, clammy, choking and Stygian – swirling manic whirlpool inside corporeal core.

That feeling that one has failed a precious Parallel Embodied child. Closest companion. Most faithful entity who walks alongside without questioning.

Each and every decision affects this beautiful being – such cogent reverberations – in ways no human mind will ever fully grasp. Yet, just sensing the very peripheral waves, catching those soft crying top notes or unheard vibrating bass notes, is enough to thrust the human soul into the vortex of forlorn, hapless gloom. That is, if the human possesses just a sliver of empathic resonance for Other, and a tiny beam of light shining onto Self. Many, sadly, do not. Yet… Some humans really do. Some humans truly try.

What would one give to understand in full the abundance that thrives within the Canine Angel’s inner world?

What may this human proffer in exchange for this harmonic-rhythmic enlightenment  beneath the mantle of verisimilitude?

Would the knowledge and the weight of its pulchritude and agony annihilate the tenuous human fragility?

No words. No answers. The silence deafens, as the senses listen intently, skimming the surface of myriad textures, smells, tastes, vibrations, images, sounds… Ebbing, flowing, undulating…

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.  Continue reading

bff or wtf?

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Are you offended by my expressions and paradigms of love? Have you ever stopped to wonder if I may be hurt by yours too? What are the different paradigms for connectivity and forming interpersonal bonds? How do we each express attachment and intimacy? Do we ever ask ourselves these question when we interact with friends? How about friends we have known for decades? Continue reading

escape!

Four months inside sensory hell. Enough is enough. Time to exit. Escape.

Packing. Sorting. Throwing out. Selling. More packing. Ordering food and treats for Lucy. Oh, a new bed of her own, and don’t forget the supplements too! Packing for Lucy as well.

Finally, it’s time to say goodbye.

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Exiting Hell

Continue reading

forbearance

Lucy teaches me forbearance. Underneath soft, gentle, wordless eloquence, there is a strength of tolerant composure, like a determined, relentless spring, flowing inexorable. How much or little cognisant she may be about the goings on of my humanity? Her demeanour remains steadfast in graceful and gracious equanimity. Upon what is based such sangfroid? I have little intellectual grasp, despite musing endlessly upon this pulchritude.

No matter where I go with her. She remains Lucy Like-a-Charm.

Rushing to an appointment at the UNSW Galleries. In our Uber ride, she lies beside me all the way. At the cafe, a hurried lunch. Lucy waits on her rug, her eyes focused on me, despite the busy feet walking back and forth around her. The cafe owner, wonderful kind Massimo, offers us a quieter space, but I am in a hurry, so I decline. I’ll just gobble down my food pronto! When I have finished, her eyes tell me she is ready and waiting. How is this so? Continue reading

quest

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Lucy Like-a-Charm, my Canine Angel & Muse

Yesterday, I received the wonderful news that my PhD award is confirmed! The above photograph was taken a few seconds after reading the congratulatory email from my supervisor. I wanted to capture in a little visual document a snippet of the much larger and cogent moment embedded inside our very ordinarily extraordinary co-existence. Just Lucy and me, inside a cocoon of Clement Space.

I am extremely relieved, and grateful. Yes. Gratitude is the overwhelming emotion right now. Where I am at present is merely yet another part of an intimate adventure that I hope somehow manages to emanate some oases of ‘shared wonderment’ along the way. Continue reading

sticky notes

A grey, damp morning for Day 4 of our little retreat.

Some ‘sticky notes’ to remind me of life, and little clemencies…

Someone to watch over me. Lucy by my side.

Muesli. Yes. The ability to eat this crunchy, texturally eclectic and considerably challenging concoction is testament to being alive.

The view of green by my temporary workspace. It is not spectacular, unlike the “million-dollar-view” of the bay and the water, but it represents respite to me.

And Lucy. Always. Lucy.