torment

Unable to sleep. Haunted by images I should not have looked at on social media, of humans taunting and laughing, mocking the suffering of the very animals they are supposed to be caring for. I am thrown into an ominous swirl by conversations (or should I say slugging matches) between two divided camps, all of which I ought never to have read. I can sense my blood vessels dilating, pounding, and my empathic resonance with the poor animals caught in the midst of the twisted farce is causing an aching pain in my abdomen. I am literally sick to the core.

I do not have the energy to enter into the kind of energetic ‘debate’ that is now raging: people defending and condemning humans being humans in an age where the world is encapsulated and dissected inside a glowing screen.

Humans are humans. This is what humans do. They squabble, they gobble, they screech and they bleat in chaotic cacophony. And when humans behave badly – regardless of explanation and excuse – it is always the voiceless animals who suffer the most.

I know. (Because I am human too, although many in the normative world do not consider Autistics human enough – but that is a different topic altogether.) I still, to this day, berate myself for all that happened to my beloved Lucy in that horrible nightmare where she lost part of her beautiful tail. It all happened within a matter of hours – I left her in the care of someone I thought I could trust – and I found out how foolish I was in the hardest way possible. Lucy paid the price of my indiscretion. You see, the animals that come near us, those beautiful innocent creatures who inhabit our sphere, always pay the highest price that way.

Humans tell me nice things, that I am not to blame etc etc blah blah blahditty blah, to the point where I am afraid or embarrassed to give voice to my utter devastation and lingering trauma. Us humans are like that. We stir things up, we fight, we sling mud, we wallow, we gyrate around our own flickering campfires. Everything is about us. Our consciousness is all we really care about. Meanwhile, sentient beings around us – some we claim to love, and others we are oblivious to – are put through excruciating torture by the systems we have created, the mess we’ve made (and we really have no idea how to unravel it all). We are appallingly incognisant of our own callous human insensitivity to the Beings who do not or cannot enunciate according to our worded deliration, you know, that thing we call “language”.

Lucy sleeps next to me. I am listening to her breathing, the rhythm, pattern, tonality and harmonics – my mind is struggling to keep up, I want to remember it all, as vividly as possible, while my heart feels as if it is disintegrating, imploding, melting.

While humans rage against humans, and humans make excuses for one another and themselves, the silent ones are roaring in the universe. I cannot even begin to transcribe what I hear. It is too  painful, too horrifying, to put into limited human vocabulary. We humans just do not have enough language for suffering.

And the to-ing and fro-ing continues… I really shouldn’t look at or read any more of this rot. My soul is writhing in the mire of my humanity, and Lucy has just woken from her sleep, she looks at me with such luscious, rich meaning in her gaze, my heart wants to burst because it is unable to contain this wondrous honour she has bestowed upon me.

If there is one miserable, paltry human lesson to learn from this particular cruel and bizarre circus, it is this: never ever let your animal out of your sight when you bring them to the veterinarian for any procedure whatsoever. The only one time I did this was when I left Lucy with that person, and as the tragedy unfolded, my soul was almost sucked out of me as a consequence. If your vet doesn’t allow you to watch over every little procedure, go to another one who will. All arguments thereafter are mere puffs of smoke, vapid and feeble.

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connected

There’s a lot of talk swirling and churning around the idea of “isolation” lately on social media. Everyone seems to be weighing in about how harmful it is, and for many, isolation is indeed terrible. Everyone needs connection in some way or other.

Autism was so named because of what non-autistic observers deemed as unhealthy or unnatural self isolation.

Autism ‘expert’, Bryna Siegel, once said of autistics:

“It is as if they are missing a core aspect of what it is to be human”…

“Their worlds are more barren, their social world is very distorted, and they come out of their world not when you want them to but when they want to.”

BrynaSiegel Quote

Continue reading

gaseous emissions

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The yellow stuff in the photo above is durian. A tropical fruit that is either loved or hated for its pungent smell and strong after-taste. I love durian, though I am sensitive to olfactory stimuli, that is one kind of gas that I am strangely attracted to (but only if I am eating the fruit, and not after the leftovers are discarded in the trash heap.)

To be brutally honest, most of what constitutes interaction with humans is to me gaseous emissions – some pleasant, like that of the durian, but mostly fatuous and then some ominously foul.

(I apologise for the awkward sentence construction, though I guess being in a state of high Anxiety, near meltdown and whatnot else is not really an excuse for poor writing, or is it? I don’t really know. There’s too much gas around me.)

This morning, while engaging in some “reading-stimming” (where I read, read, read all kinds of articles online to try and relieve the intense pressure that is building in mind and body due to some trigger or other) I stumbled upon and re-read this blog post by Riah Person, “Gaslighting: what it is and what it does to you.”

It is a simple, straightforward, non-academic piece, expressing thoughts about a crucially important subject. Continue reading

making clemency

How does this Autistic Bunny deal with autistic burnout from too much to-ing and fro-ing in the Grand Autism Circus?

I cut, tear, rip, shake, turn, flip, shred and poke many many holes. Sounds violent? Actually the opposite. These are necessary actions in the process of making clemency.

Recycling and repurposing is an activity that has followed me since childhood – both my parents were creatives in their own fields, with fascinating hobbies. I owe a lot of my own artistic approaches to my parents.

This one took me a day. Its still amazing to me, even though I’ve been at it for five decades already, that an old pair of jeans, some old scraps of fabric, trimmings, buttons, yarn and silk flowers can give me so much comfort and joy. The best part of it all? I have Lucy by my side. I don’t want or need a circus. I have Clement Space and a Canine Angel.

savouring pulchritude

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Spending time with Lucy, just us both, nobody else, is both precious and renewing. What she gives me is more than I deserve, really. How can I not place her right up high on top, in my list of priorities? My life is so busy with this and that, but I am all she has. The inequality between Canine Angel and Mere Human is absurd. So much Beauty in the hands of a weak, confused, distracted and faltering human.

It was hot and steamy – not the kind of weather we like for walking – but we both love the Botanical Gardens. There is always something new to discover, yet so much that is comfortable and familiar.

No rain for awhile, and the grass was losing its deep green colour. There wasn’t any cooling breeze this time, I felt my body cutting through the thick moisture in the air, and I could literally sense the droplets cooking in the heat, my skin tingling with the subtle minuscule movements.

I was once told by a forestry expert that there were some really old tropical hard wood trees in the gardens. What I do know is that this place is very well cared for, the rangers, cleaners etc are very kind and friendly, and dogs are welcome here, though they must be on leash. It makes sense to have dogs on leash here, because there is vulnerable wildlife, and to keep the dogs safe from snakes. Yes, we have cobras here in Singapore.

We were too hot – I was drenched in perspiration and Lucy was panting heavily – and so we headed to the cafe for respite. I had a coffee, which I mixed with my iced milo in the bottle I brought with me. I settled Lucy on her mat with her water bowl and a huge length of Chewy Roo from our favourite Loyalty Pet Treats, which we order direct from Australia. The owners are wonderful folk, and we’ve become friends through the years. We’re lucky to have good friends, though I think it is Lucy who attracts the good people to us. I have her to thank for this.

The Princess was remarkably calm and collected, even when the chickens came to check her out! And there I was, feeling nervous about them chooks coming too close. Silly me.

We spent just over two hours at the gardens. It wasn’t a big day out, only a slice of the morning, but these little moments means so much to me, and I hope to Lucy too.

hope & hatred

Everyone wants to be a hero these days, it seems. Or maybe not just these days, but as long as humans have existed? With social media and the internet, things are of course speeded up and magnified, because the world can just burst through your computer or mobile phone or tablet screen right there into your living room (or wherever you may be at whichever moment).

Greta Thunberg is making news now – probably going to be a far more prominent autistic figure than Temple Grandin ever was. And she is attracting far more bullies, haters, jealous critics etc than Grandin did during her time-in-the-sun.

Why are so many people up in arms about Greta Thunberg? Here’s just one little article in a sea of articles trying to figure out this phenomenon: “Much Ado About Greta.”

I can understand and even expect the ableist haters, bullies and naysayers. It’s sort of a ‘regular’ thing in the autism world for us autistics who dare to speak out about anything at all to be spat on, chewed upon, derided and mocked with vigourous venom by loud non-autistics. (Or to be tokenised.) What I find intriguing and sad, are the autistic voices mumbling and grumbling along the sidelines. Continue reading

not alone

Not alone, never lonely – when I am with Lucy. I have never liked to ‘share’ my mental, emotional and physical space when I am deep inside my creating, building, making realm. Yet, sharing this sacred space with Lucy is so comfortable, seamless, and even joyful. And she has taught me how to (sometimes) tolerate other humans inside this interstice of clemency too.

I’ve been finding renewal and restoration for frayed nerves and burnout inside this space lately. Coincidentally, renewing and restoring some of my old clothes – accompanied by Lucy. The above photos show my latest execution: modified a pair of very old Roberto Cavalli jeans and transformed it into a long skirt. Lucy approves, methinks? ❤

transformation

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Lucy does not tolerate other dogs in her face, pressing onto her, stepping on her or touching her. She politely backs away, and if the other dog advances, she will issue a soft growl as warning.

Yesterday, however, something unusual happened in the car on the way home. Lucy allowed Mini-B to step on her, push her face, wriggle over her and there was not a single growl or backing away. In fact, on the contrary, Lucy remained resolutely in position, wearing a determined Greyhound look on her decidedly sleepy face. Continue reading

empathy

Autistic people do not lack empathy any more or less than non-autistic people. Humans in general just lack empathy for anyone or anything that isn’t operating within their specific realm of ‘knowingness’. Most autistics, however, do tend to try much harder to empathise with the non-autistic than vice versa, hence, some may claim that we posses more empathy. Yet, from my personal experience, humanity is just a churning, swirling, heaving, frothing, chaotic mess.

Lucy, however, grasps my Beingness in such an elegant, encompassing, empathic way that I wonder how we humans can even claim to be ‘higher-order’ sentient entities?

She knows when I am tired, she even tells me when I am on the brink of crashing, and with such gentleness, such poise, that if I am not mindful, I fail to notice her indications. Lucy is never gruff, rough, loud or crass. She never encroaches upon my personal space in the way humans do that is suffocating and pushy – autistic or not. Even when she wants something, she is always polite, and because she expresses herself so harmoniously with my state of mind at the moment, she usually gets what she wants (unless it is harmful, of course).

Humans, humans, humans! Teaching empathy? Talking about understanding? We are at best clumsy though well intentioned, and at worst we just plough our way through and claim victory. Continue reading

every time we say goodbye

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I hate leaving her. Each and every time. This is her face, when I say goodbye. I always promise her I will be back, but the truth is, I can only do my best. My prayer for safety is only for Lucy, that I make it back to her, to fulfil my promise. No, it is not ridiculous at all to love a dog far far more than I love any human, including myself. This is a kind of empathic resonance that is pure pulchritude. I am honoured to have found it – or rather, to have grace visit upon me in this way. Autistic or not, this is pure unadulterated Joy.

Every time we say goodbye, I die a little. Always. Every single time.