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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knife

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knife

This was lunch. A late lunch. At one of my favourite cafes. The whole work of art came as photographed. Not my design, but that of its creator. In the midst of making contact with this delicious looking and fragrantly enticing installation, as if by yet another cosmic libretto of tragi-comedic farce, came spears and arrows from the deep, dark, unspeakable Abyss. In real time, the Bunny’s mindscape became a multi-dimensional stage – enter the surreal hyper-real oxymoronic characters and what have you. Wagner and Artaud, do your very best yet again! (And no, sadly, I did not manage to finish my lunch.) Continue reading

thugs, fools and salad

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Fragmenting. Imploding fissures. Tiny… tiny… very tiny… bits of gravel… rubbing against one another… producing contrapuntal friction that even nakedness cannot hear. Yet, it is felt. Like a thunderous tsunami. The soul shudders, staring at engulfing waves in wide-eyed petrification, rooted, transfixed by the shining brilliance of terror.

Thugs rule the world. Perhaps they always have? Perhaps we just live in an age where the camouflage of pretty adornment doesn’t anymore matter?  Continue reading

celebrate!

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Good morning!

Celebrating without fuss. No fake smiles and crackly tin-foil laughter. No feigning delight at awkward gifts. No social kisses to endure. Just a little fluffy visitor at 5.30am, tiny docked-tail waggles: “May I come in and share the air-conditioning, please?” Up he goes into a lonely, Lucy-less bed. The empty space is too vast, no little fur-ball can fill it. No, not anything or anyone. But the little tyke is a sweetheart anyway. Continue reading

humanity

Possible trigger here.

I read this piece of news today. Mother kills disabled child. 18 years in prison. The comments on Facebook reflect widespread outrage. Many say she should’ve got a life sentence.

I have no opinion re. the sentence. I empathize only with the child. Heinous. But would he have had a better life with this woman, resenting his existence and overwhelmed by and wrapped inside her own self-centric focus? Social services will not take away a child from the mother until there is irrefutable proof of abuse. And even then, so many times, children are returned to their abusive environments. My immediate reaction on reading this piece of news? As a person with disabilities (autism as well as other physical challenges), as a person who has witnessed first hand the utter evil of insidious subtle abuse, the kind that nobody outside of the Holy Circle of Horror would see, the kind that even if the victim were to tell about, friends and the wider society would scoff at and make light of – what were my initial reactions to this, what are my triggered thoughts whenever I read such reports?

I saw a lifetime of slow torture for any child trapped inside the swirling nebulous vortex of unwantedness – mental, emotional, and physical violence. Many other disabled children suffer this instead of death, until they manage to break free, or never in most cases of more severe disability. Dependent forever on the very persons who are torturing them.

The above was my own immediate reaction, born out of my own personal life experiences. Not everyone will see the same scene inside their intimate mindscape.

Then, there are the brave parents who persevere no matter what. They are not the conquering warriors in storybooks, they do not wield swords or sashay around clad in white linen, they are ordinary folk doing extraordinary things. The challenges are great, mistakes are made, but they valiantly soldier on, often alone and isolated from the very society that is supposed to help and support them. Raising a child is not easy, not even a ‘normal’ child. I have immense admiration and respect for these humans. And for some strange reason, I feel a deep gratitude towards them. Even though they are not my parents. I am grateful that they exist at all. To these, I say a humble, “Thank you!” Thank you for sticking to your commitment. Childbearing is a decision (in most cases), but the child concerned has had no choice in the narrative. I am grateful to these brave parents who stand by their choice even when the result falls far from their dreams and expectations, even when life can be a constant deluge of pain and frustration. And yes, I do have empathy, much more than is visible to the senses of normality, for those – parents and children, and children grown up – how have fallen and broken from the sheer immensity of the burden that human life presents.

Postscript:

A friend rightly pointed out that parents are human too. Yes, we all are. So are children. There is no ready answer. Just terrible sadness. At the state of humanity.

unable to look away

I have been looking into the Empathy-Theory of Mind conundrum again. This time, for research purposes. Writer Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has done a lot of work in this area. Here is an excellent article to provoke more thought on the issue. I am posting the link here because it rang a bell in my head, and I don’t want to forget it. A five note phrase on a glockenspiel. My own personal experience in this area warrants some self-investigation: I am definitely slower on the uptake to figure out other people’s intentions, and very often, masterful manipulators get the better of me because of this. Is that a lack of Theory of Mind specific to my autistic condition? I don’t yet know for sure. However, I have no lack of empathy, quite the opposite. I shall have to leave the pondering to another day when my mental faculties return to me. In the meantime, I am reading and re-reading Rachel’s piece, with an instinctive ‘feeling’ that there is a lot in there to wrap my brain around. Continue reading

if only

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I wrote a love song when I was 19, too many decades ago now. “If Only” – I recorded this in 2000, more than a decade later (click on title to listen on Soundcloud). It was a young woman’s musing on what might have been. Now, looking back, I am glad nothing came of that particular “if only” heart-mind-doodle. The objet trouvé in that song is definitely not what I want in my life now, and I am where I want to be, doing what I have always wanted to do but never thought I could. Life is a journey, a grand epic performance, and things happen in different dramatic, theatrical sequences, segments, on varied settings and physical platforms, different costumes and audiences. At this point in time, in this particular frame, anyone else in my life for now apart from Lucy would be a hindrance and interference. Continue reading

attend

Attention. Attend. Attune.

This morning, Lucy reminded me of the importance of attending. Really finely tuned, sensitive, attention.

There are no photographs of food in this post. But if you want to know about the senses, about autism, about attentiveness, and a very lovely, special dog, please read this to the end. With all your senses. Continue reading