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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Lucy creates clement space

Photograph description: Lucy Like-a-Charm creates Clement Space wherever she goes. The above three photos show how she appropriates her Bichon-poodle cousin, Bizcuit’s, bed, which is a tad too small to contain her massive Greyhound body. In the first photo, she tries to pour into the bed, but her Greyhound butt falls off the edge. In the second photo, she lays her head down, she decides that she is content, and settles down for a snooze. The third photo shows Lucy sleeping, butt on floor, legs and head on the bed.

Lucy is a major influence on my concept of Clement Space, especially the idea that we can create mental and physical spaces of grace wherever we may be. Momentary respite. A place in which to repair and replenish sensory equilibrium.

Sometimes, to the casual observer, it may look awkward, seem uncomfortable even, or appear bizarre. However, Clement Space is ours, it is intimate, and we should feel safe to own it.

creating clement space

 

As the BIG Anxiety festival draws ever nearer, I am plunged into a flurry of making, musing, more making and more musing. While crafting the installations for Clement Space in the City, contemplating the concept itself, and trying to find spaces of clemency along the way, an old song of mine wove its way into my consciousness.

The road is long and the dark night is lonely“… A line from one of my songs, “To Touch the Edge” written and recorded 1998/1999. I did not realise it at the time, but it was a plea to find Clement Space: a place – mental and/or physical – where mind, soul and body may dwell, even for a few brief moments, without threat or assault to intrinsic Beingness. (Click on title of song to access on SoundCloud.)

Days are now filled with the sensory textures of netting, organza, cotton, linen, yarn, thread, pinpricks on fingers, and the whirring gargling rattling of my mother’s trusty old Singer sewing machine. Continue reading

crafting clement space

Lucy has been busy inspiring this autistic Bunny yet again. We are crafting “Clement Space in the City (2017)” – getting ready for the Neurodiverse-city exhibition at the Customs House, Sydney, opening 20 September 2017! All part of a huge and amazing project, the BIG Anxiety festival 2017.

(Sorry, all Lucy-fans out there, I will not be taking her to the festival – not unless someone is willing to sponsor a return Business Class ticket on Qantas and the preparation costs.)

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

beads

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we traverse…

Anxiety is a demon, roaring fury echoing in mocking silence, dancing tentacles teasing and mutilating quivering raw flesh. Shortness of breath and throbbing heart escalating into blazing fury, gasping for breath under thick smoking dusty throws, pearly beads of toxic pain oozing from unseen frantic pores.

The Canine Angel is a mysterious entity. One does not need her the way air is exigency for life’s breath. In fact, many inconveniences present incorrigible upon such Angelic visitation. The Angel does not wait for opportune time and space, her Beingness occupies your entire ecology. She creates calm from chaos, yet stirring waves so gently disruptive the heavens chortle in cruel delight. Continue reading

foul

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rose, rose… beware those¬†insidious piercing thorns

“Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the foul and filthy air.” – Macbeth.
The normative social world is at best a confusing nightmare for a straight-thinking autist, and at worst a cesspool of toxic madness. What is to my mind a maelstrom of twisted and bizarre social drama, is “normal” to the players in this neurotic theatre, where too few are capable of speaking directly and honestly as a matter of habit. People say one thing in private, and a completely different thing in public. They promise one set of parameters, but once inside their frame of charity, they change their minds and proceed to do as they please.¬†Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that autistic people are capable of causing great offence too. But in my experience, they do so in a much more direct and predictable (to me) way, making it easier for me to deal with.

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tea for two

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HK Street Bites

Just the two of us. It’s been some time. My baby sister and me. A hot, humid tropical Friday. A mini outing. Nothing fancy. Hopped¬†onto the shuttle bus to the nearby shopping mall. Popped into the pharmacy for my panadol. And then Tea for Two.

I originally wanted local Singaporean fare at Han’s Cafe, but when we got there, it was teeming with the lunch-time crowd. The¬†sound of clattering cutlery, trays and buzzing chattering voices, the human bodies shuffling in and out, and the strong smells of cheap perfume, cooked food and sweaty bodies created sensory havoc.

My sister is ever so resourceful: she knows where to go and when. She led me upstairs to this little nook, where they sell Hong Kong style mini-bites and desserts. Phew! Continue reading

sentient towels

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No, it’s not Pokemon.

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Can you hear them sing?

Sentient Towels. My friend Brad coined the term. I think it is brilliant.

These insidiously malodorous entities have a life of their own. Each one energised by a buzzing, bustling eco-system of bacteria chowing down on decaying micro-flakes of human skin, sweat and whatnot embedded in its thick fibrous tapestry. The entire bathroom reeks from the cacophony of activity, a raucous macabre Dies Irae in elaborate counterpoint. And yes, the merry village and inhabitants, remain there for weeks Рsights, sounds, smells and lively jiving Рunless I take them to the laundry room myself. Rightful owner of these beings either cannot be bothered (simply to lazy) or, perhaps, actually likes his little critters that way?

My own thought processes have short-circuited, contemplating the various possibilities behind this frightening phenomenon.

Someday, I shall write about the serious repercussions of Inclement Space upon the mental and physical wellbeing. For now, these little babbly ramblings are all I can muster.

Dinner tonight – two panadols and half a glass of warm water. This foodie has stopped fooding. A neighbour remarked to me, “How can you even live in there, let alone actually eat in that kind of condition?” What can I say? I merely smiled, shrugged, and shuddered alongside her.

The Sentient Towels are roaring in their stolid, stubborn silence.

 


 

Another delayed post. Written awhile ago. The roaring olfactory oppression helped to propel me into action – I have left this hell. Never to return.