accommodating Self

 

Yesterday afternoon, a friend took me to a little nooky cafe, tucked inside an industrial estate. A former hardware shop, the entrance decorated with eclectic vintage clutter served as a thematic introduction to the atmosphere within. As soon as we pushed open the creaky door, I felt a draft of musty, humid, cool air blow directly into my face, then wrap around me like a nebulous mouldy snake. My skin tingled, as my olfactory senses picked up the various miasmic odours emanating from each visually charming piece of history on display.

The waiter ushered us towards the back. Slipping within a split second into a bubble of wordlessness, I followed obediently, semi-somnambulant, my sensory system already engaged in a (routine) contrapuntal wrestling match with the onslaught of smells, sights, and sounds. As we were about to sit down at the allocated table, speech suddenly returned, and words fell out of my mouth like marbles, tumbling down and bouncing sharply against the concrete floor.

“I don’t want to sit here, it smells funny. I don’t like the smell here.”

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dehydration

Yesterday, I tried valiantly, and with great determination, to return a faulty dishwasher. The person on the other end remained stolid. It was I, not the dishwasher, that was the anathema, the malfunctioning entity. There was much spewing of verbiage completely irrelevant to my pleas, throwing of sparkly dust hither-thither and blowing of bizarre smelling fumes into my face. Exhausted and worn out to the very crisp core, I finally threw in the proverbial towel, recognising this as an exercise of futility.  I threw out the dishwasher. It now sits, sad and forlorn, in the junk heap. I swear, when I walked past this morning, I saw a malevolent snigger painted across its glass face.

This morning, Lucy woke me up at 6am, asking to be taken outside for our morning walky. Without her, I am not sure I would have the strength to get out of bed, even though sleep, most of the time, is pretty much like the spawn from a trashy, poorly written novel and an elusive goblet of sweet wine.

My eyes hurt. A stabbing pain. My skull throbs. A vice across the front squeezing intermittently. My brain is screeching a high pitched, dehydrated and incomprehensible sprechstimme.

It’s still April. Yes, I did check.

This Autism Awareness thingy, and the chorus of dissent from the actually Autistic community (justified and worthy of support), has already kicked a deep dent into my fragile construction of Clement Space.

Today, I just want to celebrate April as Adopt a Greyhound Month. Please.

Here, I present to you, Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose. A collection of photos I created in 2015, about her innate ability to identify, take possession of, and craft intimate spaces of comfort and calm, wherever she may go. A skill I very much want to learn.

Lucy Like-a-Charm in Sonorous Repose 2015

Available as limited edition prints. Enquiries welcome.

Greyhounds are such pulchritudinous creatures. Adopt a Greyhound this April! Bring back beauty into your life, Oh, Weary Soul!

(Or, perhaps you might want to bring one of these limited edition prints into your home? It would help an Autistic Bunny and her Greyhound Angel to procure much needed rations for survival of April BlahBlah Month!)

Autism Acceptance?

IMG_5762Lucy@AutismMeetUp

Autism MeetUp 2016, UNSW Art & Design

Community service announcement:

Dear organisations jumping on the Autism Bandwagon. You really need to do better than “everyone else” if you wish to win the trust and confidence of Actually Autistic people. That is IF you truly wish to be inclusive (as you so claim) and learn about intrinsic autistic modalities and paradigms, in order to properly support autistic people in respectful ways. This is the ‘homework’ you need to do BEFORE asking autistic people to do freebie work for your ’cause’. Show us that you are worthy of our efforts. Any other is at best mere tokenism, and at worst exploitation. Add to that, spreading harmful misinformation.

#actuallyautistic #autismacceptance #nothingaboutuswithoutus

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bump!

20161109_080817lucy-meltdown

Meltdown

It’s Wednesday. Midweek. Lucy and I hit a few bumps along the road today.

This morning, as if she somehow had an inkling of what lay ahead, Lucy was less happy than usual to get out of bed for her early morning breakfast. During our little walk around the block, she was sniffing around a familiar patch of grass, when she stopped, walked very deliberately to the gate leading to a gallery where I had held my first exhibition, and stood at the gate. She resolutely refused to move from that position, even turning away from her favourite lamb puff treat when I tried to persuade her. “It’s locked, honey, we can’t go in from here.” She usually understands this, and will follow me thereafter, but Lucy stood frozen to the spot, as if in a mini, silent meltdown. Her nose began to drip, another sign of distress. I checked her all over to make sure she hadn’t suffered any injury, or stepped on glass shards etc. All ok. Something must have triggered in her mind. A sensory issue? An olfactory memory? She seemed insistent on going inside via that particular gate. Or perhaps she was just reacting to the big change of being back with me after 2 months at ‘holiday camp’ with my lovely friends Jan and Pete, and their five dogs?  Continue reading

vomitus

KatFury painting

“Portrait of Dawn-joy” by Kateryna Fury

(Photograph: Work-in-progress for 2013 exhibition, “Roaring Whispers,” featuring digital painting by Kateryna Fury, autistic paraplegic artist with Ehlas Danlos Syndrome, framed and installed by Dawn-joy Leong.)

This post may be incoherent. Babbly. Erratic. That is because wordedness is failing me right now, there is a huge chunk of festering goop hurtling around in rabid mockery inside my verbal brain. Forgive me. I hope the message somehow transcends my lack of worded ability.

Disabilities is becoming a cute little pop-up-trend for inspiration porn these days. Take a look at this article, “We are not here for your inspiration.

It’s been weighing on my mind for a few days now, ever since that day, that horribly disappointing experience, which sent me into a spiral of despair. A thick, glutinous blob of nausea wedged between diaphragm and stomach. And a sinking feeling… Continue reading

all about me without me

photo-2

silent sonnet

A music symposium about music and disability, but no musician with disability represented. No voice of our own.

A prestigious art-work about disabilities, for people with disabilities, but not a single artist with disability in sight. All very ‘high-quality’ mind you, as if to say that disabled artists do not and cannot produce works of similar ‘high quality’ to serve our own community? No voice of our own. Continue reading

a name I call myself

There does not seem to be an equally heated (and ferociously foolish) argument in any other context within the normative social sphere about what people wish to call themselves, so why is identity-first vs. person-first preference in autism such a ridiculously aggrandised and dramatic squabble among non-autistic persons?

All in the name of political correctness, which is such an irony that the non-autistic PC (politically correct) police do not seem to understand – or just stubbornly do not wish to acknowledge. (The latter is far more sinister than the former.) Surely it is more politically incorrect to insist on calling someone by a name they DO NOT wish to be called by? Is this a conspiracy of the deficits-focused overground social colonialists fearing an eventual autistic world domination (should they as much as acknowledge us for what we wish to be recognised for), or is it just plain and simple flabbergasting ludicrousness?

Right… why the rant? Well, it sort of builds up every now and then, like those giant cyst-like pimples that come and go, as nature’s way of blighting your life, you know those? Usually the culprit is my terrible penchant for reading comments on FB or blogposts, and getting caught up in the horrific pompous ignorance displayed by the general non-autistic populace about autism. Sometimes I do try to put in my two cents’ worth of advocacy / education, but mostly, I just become upset and do this babble-rant thing.

Here’s my most recent one (rant, that is):

Hear ye! Hear ye!!!! People! People! People! EDUCATED people! Educated people who work in the disabilities field! Educated people who work with autistic people! HEED THIS PLEASE!!!

We are autistic. We are not ‘persons-with-autism.’ Unless the individual specifically tells you they do not wish to identify as autistic (and I do have a view on this but it’s not part of my rant), then PLEASE do try your very best not to impose your preconceived notions of what is respectful or politically correct on us. Give us that amount of respect to know what we wish to be referred to, please, please very kindly.

If you really wish to be politically correct, then PLEASE go do some research on current political correctness!!! The internet is available to you, the information is free and readily accessible! From ASAN, autism advocates’ webpages, to (yes, gasp!) recent research studies in neuroscience (check out Michelle Dawson – an actually autistic researcher – gasp gasp gasp!!!) !!!!!!

Non-autistic people claiming to be experts/professionals working in the field of autism can often (not always but often) be the MOST annoying know-it-alls. Next up are the self-styled ‘educated’ folk who try to tell me, an autistic person and researcher in the field of autism with an almost PhD, what I should want to be called!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

—- Rant brought to you courtesy of the wonderful internet and my silly tendency to even bother to read the comments that people vomit out as a by-way-of reflex activity (not unlike burping and belching) underneath some really wonderful FB posts about autistic persons —-

Oh hey, here too is my own take on the grand circus that should not be: Identity First by Dawn-joy Leong.

The video clip? Well, that’s just a stim that stuck in my head, added here for whimsical weird effect, ala Bunnyhopscotch twisty humour. Enjoy! 🙂

installing grace

 

Food – and the entire process of sourcing, preparing, arranging and imbibing – is a material entity that engages itself with my attempts at installing grace.

Especially when situated within a graceless space, an inclement situation, or as a gesture of self preservation on multiple dimensions which cannot be better expressed via other structural forms.

There are times when I create to address emotional excitement, other times merely a primitive sensorial response of the moment, and then there are the “doing-ness” when in out-of-body forms of catatonia (brought on by trauma). Food provides a physical, concrete and palpable elemental anchor, not merely for the taste buds, but on dimensions that my addled brain is at the moment unable to string words on behalf of.

Today, lunch was a deliberate, even laboured and determined installation of grace. Self administered Grace. In the midst of shock and momentary devastation.

What happens when people representing organisations listed as “help” agencies and “advocates” attack and abuse the very people they purport to be “helping” and “advocating” for?

Today, I called one such establishment. I was actually acting according to instructions by another legal authority to pursue this line of action, specifically on account of disability. Dutifully, obediently, the Aspie Brain executed the action.

“Shock”is too mild a word for this encounter. But it will have to suffice.

I was summarily told…

We are not here to make you feel more comfortable, you know?

No words.

Back to my installation. That does make me feel more comforted, even if not more comfortable.

There is something about installing grace…

let’s twist

Not succumbing to subtly sinister forms of discrimination, refusing to acquiesce to the persistent compulsion of bullying, and standing in the glaring sensorially triggering light, daring to make a stand for one’s Being: an extremely exhausting and debilitating exercise.

But it must be done. And so I shall do it.

The Oppressors know that, of course. I have learned, by now (what took me this long?), that it is for them a perverted form of ‘entertainment’ and ‘invigoration.’ A delicious morbid game of chance, in the casino of tyranny.

And so… the saga continues… for now anyway…

The actual scenes shift and change, like a never ending Theatre of Menacing Absurdities. Wherever there are bullies, there will be brutality in some form or other.

Currently showing in nickelodeon nearby: The Twisted Evil Twins Circus (otherwise known as the UnHoly Duo).

Some of the more ‘sticky’ snippets of the bizarre libretto that lend themselves to looping echoing effects:

“Well, you should have declared your autism in the rental application!”

“Well, let me tell you, in the future, if you ever wish to rent in Australia again, you must remember to state that you are autistic, as a polite courtesy to the property agent.

“You’re not the only person with problems, you know! My husband is dying! Do you understand, DYING!!! Do you want me to cry in front of you? Do you? Huh? Do you?????”

“Well, everything that is said inside this room is inadmissible in the court of law, so I can say whatever I want!”

Prancing in the shadows

Boxing in the dark

Breathing veiled threats

Murder in the park

Arhythmic Disorder

Screeching Chaos

Tangled Perplexity

Round and round and round and round…

This is not poetry

Just in case you ask

…Stayed tuned for the wrapping up of this episode… 27th January 2016.