Yesterday, for breakfast, I made pancakes from the last egg I had left in the fridge.
Living from day to day, week to week, has taught me a great deal. Not just about budgeting or merely how to stretch the dollar as far as it would go, but perseverance as well. It is a different kind of perseverance, though, from that of creative perseverance, i.e. pursuing an idea from germination, to realisation and to execution. Rather, it is a kind of stubborn doggedness, a kind of indefatigable will to survive and not break down from frustration and stress of not having enough to eat, and not having the ability even to save any money and/or spend wisely (see “special price conundrum,” my previous post on the irony of poverty). This is what, to me, represents a tenacity of spirit, something that I never knew I possessed, because it is a situation I have never had to face before.
Throughout my life, I have had to pay very ‘special’ prices, sometimes excruciatingly costly ones, to achieve the things I really desire, what the rest of the world calls our “dreams.” For many autistic individuals, this is the inexorable compulsion that vibrates very strongly, though not often recognised or developed, because, just as no man is an island, no autistic individual can succeed entirely unaided along the way. Sometimes, we are even thwarted by the people who profess to ‘love’ us, because they understand so little about us, and perhaps are so limited and selfish that they do not wish to find out, in case they fail us or they lose us (some of us can be pretty useful!). My journey has been in fits and starts, but creativity has always been the driving force and the saving factor.
The pancakes didn’t turn out very well, just like almost every fledgling attempt at a skill, the conceptual knowledge is just not enough. But I saved the soggy, sad blobs by cutting out cheerful shapes with cookie cutters. Hearts and Hello Kitties. What is it about these two shapes that bring a smile to almost anyone’s face? Well, even if not Hello Kitty, definitely hearts. There is something mutlicultural about the shape of the heart, it is, in some way, a visual agency for the sharing of a commonly understood suspended, shared symbol of warmth, goodness – nice stuff, anyway. I will win no prizes for this creative effort, but it made me happy to eat the failed attempt.
And who can resist Vegemite?