sensory expedition

 

Lucy seemed restless this morning. She was lying in bed, watching me work at my desk, and suddenly did a little bounce and let out a mini yelp in my direction. I turned to look at her and she held my gaze, nodding her head, bounced again and made that same yelping sound. Lucy does that when she wants to communicate – she doesn’t bark at all in any other ‘normal doggy’ circumstances. When I first heard her bark, it was two months after she came to live with me, and out of the blue, one afternoon, she did that bounce + yelp thing, asking me to play with her. I’ve learned to recognise that. Continue reading

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stew

Festive seasons are to me like stew. I love food. I love eating. But I am wary of stew. Things get thrown willy nilly into a large pot, stirred, cooked and cooked, and then poured out in a chunky, goopy, mass. The sound it makes when a scoop of the stuff hits the plate or bowl? Quite nauseating, like a soft belching blended and layered with thick, dull, stretched out staccato. I do not much like stew. And I do not much like festivities.

Regardless, it was a goodly Christmas and New Year over here for this Autistic Foodie Bunny, and I am beginning to learn how to actually enjoy these things.  Continue reading

sensescape

After the foggy, damp start, the sun broke through with a forceful brilliance. A great day for washing, washing, and washing! A mission it was, after all, to breathe and touch cleanliness once more. So here, today, the full languid process unfurls.

How glorious is a gentle, warm shower, twice shampoo-ed hair, conditioned,  soaped and scrubbed down all over, turning slowly, touching cool smooth tiles, toes wriggling, and twirling carefully inside happy space. An old bathroom, just like the other one, but scrubbed and maintained. No cloying stink of rancid human embedded in threads of unkempt soggy towels, no dust or grime smeared across floor tiles, and no running out of water mid-way through. A little luxury too much taken for granted – basic, unhindered access to hygienic practice. Ah, the wonderment of squeaky clean hair! 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.

voicing the voice

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Off to face the world!

It began foggy, damp and cold. We lay in bed, unwilling to emerge from under our warm cocoon. Angel alarm has not been working for some time now. Is it her age? No matter, mumma’s turn to take over the waking up process.

All quiet, apart from the whirring of traffic and birdsong – absolute bliss. No anxious listening out for grating vocalisations and cling-clang-slam of doors etc, planning the morning dash to kitchen and bathroom to avoid having our morning peace cruelly interrupted. Or destroyed. 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

my love

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Till a’ the seas gang dry…

Collected my baby girl from the emergency vet this morning. Back home, fed a bland diet of cooked turkey mince. She is now sleeping in bed. We are waiting for her regular vet to come and pick us up, because Lucy is too weak to jump in and out of a taxi. Dr. Ivor is a wonderful vet, and he has been ever so kind to us. It seems like a long road ahead for us both, but I owe it to Lucy to do all I can for her wellbeing. Right now, our immediate goal is to stabilize her, before we head on towards a plethora of tests and explorations. Not a good time at all, I am in the throes of completing my Ph.D dissertation, and have (as it is) blown apart two whole months running around doing all kinds of things – moving house, packing & unpacking, dealing with Lucy’s accidents, battling my own monsters of meltdown and physical pain, fighting the bullying of the Evil Twins (real estate agents) etc blah – just about everything but proper work. Not much time left, and I face an impossibility. But we have come this far, we now have no other choice but to rely on the great cosmic clemency that has carried us through, to propel us forward. And thusly we shall go!

A Robert Burns poem that I like to sing to her… as we wait… I am trying not to overwhelm her with my anxiety and singing helps us both at times like these.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie, 
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns

voiceless

Dogs are wonderful creatures. In terms of comfortable, clement interactivity, they rank higher than humans for me. Well, animals in general, but in my case, specifically, it’s dogs. And more distinctly, Greyhounds. Umm, ok, narrow that down to one Greyhound: Lucy.

I grew up with a healthy respect for dogs. Dad believed in rescue and adoption, he despised the practice of buying a dog. Some of the rescued dogs were quite feral when they first arrived. I’ve been bitten by a few, our own and the free roaming dogs that lived in the nearby village (our family home was a large brick semi-detached in a modern residential estate, perched at the edge of a traditional Chinese kampong).

Long before the new science of canine behaviour emerged, in the relatively ‘ignorant’ days, there were nevertheless fundamental tenets of respect embedded in our mindscapes about living with dogs.

Simple Wisdom from dad: dogs have different ways of showing affection, different comfort thresholds and different communicative styles from humans. Do not taunt a dog. Do not rush head/face first at a dog. Do not touch the tail, pull ears, pinch, smack etc. Do not surprise the dog. Do not disturb the dog when he/she is eating. If the dog nips you, it is probably your fault. The dog cannot speak in words.

Simple Wisdom from dogs: dogs tolerate a whole lot from humans. Dogs try very hard to communicate with humans. Dogs tolerate a lot of rubbish behaviour from humans. Dogs are wonderful creatures that ought to be respected and treasured, because they can teach you much about how to be a better human.

Lucy has opened up amazing trajectories and dimensions to me, and inspired not only the desire and determination to love and care for her, but also much of my research and practice. To me, she is my non-verbal parallel embodied companion, a living sentience of my own theory and praxis.

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wordless repartee

Verbality is not superior to non-verbality. Affection and love has many systemic structures and are evinced in myriad configurations. Just because an autistic child/adult does not enjoy hugging or kissing you, or looking in your eyes, does not mean the autist feels no elemental empathic resonance for and with you. Learn to speak our language, especially the silent one, since we are making great effort to learn to speak your verbal one.

windows

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Windows. Spaces. Tiny perforations.

Fissures dynamic always shifting melding moving without punctuation.

Crevices of grace.

Fleeting portals.

Once grasped, hold fast.

Breathe. Continue reading

Mother’s Day again

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It is Mother’s Day today in Australia and many other parts of the world. The media is having a field day, of course. Though not as rabidly frenzied as during Christmas, social media is literally cluttered with cute-cute love-love sweet-sweet Mother’s Day posts, shops are awash with Mummy Love paraphernalia, and well, you know the scenario – a literal pyrotechnic bombardment of the Greatness of Motherhood fills the mental, emotional and physical landscape.

Here, in our tiny microcosmic corner of the vast universe, Lucy and I have enjoyed yet another beautiful day together. Continue reading