inside clement space

Dogs are amazing creatures. I never wish to anthropomorphise them, because they are more beautiful than human beings in my eyes, so why make them into inferior entities by ‘humanising’ them? No. There they are, inside clement space, the way anyone should be when enveloped in tranquility and equilibrium – around them there may be a hundred thousand different things clashing, crashing, turning, pivoting, whirling and reverberating, yet, there, inside their little cocoons of grace, they lay quietly resting. Renewing. Refreshing. Replenishing.

Lucy Like-a-Charm and her two ‘cousins’ Bizcuit and Tiny. Blessedness.

little gems

Today is the last full day of sensory peace. We return tomorrow at mid-day to swirling, whirling, churning, gurgling, belching chaos and fetor. Barely settled into our blessed tranquility, time propels us once again into the fetid da capo.

It rained all day today. Lucy does not like the rain, and we stayed most of the day indoors, snuggling in the day bed while I worked on some writing. 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

ants!

Lucy didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. It wasn’t until 7.30am that I managed to persuade her to unwrap from the blankies.

When I coined the term ‘Clement Space’ in my research, and began working on the concept expressed via my material practice, I had an inkling that I was on the verge of something extremely cogent. However, I did not at the time anticipate the palpable impact that this will have on my own daily life. As in the case of a great deal of potent research and artistic praxis, ‘the work’ takes on a life of its own and traverses inexorable pathways, leading the researcher and artist along, sometimes hurtling through psychedelic, iridescent multitextural-sonic-olfactory extravaganzas, and other times crawling through asphyxiating, oppressive tunnels that seem to lead nowhere into infinity.

Day 3 of my sensory retreat. De-sensitising from the grip of hapless overload, delighting in little teaspoons of honeyed grace, the mind is still scrambling desperately to revive, while the body continues to demand rest and respite. Continue reading

reboot

Four months of chaos, disorder, sensory assault and social dissonance. The autistic constitution can only be this much resilient. I wonder often how much an average neurotypical is able to endure the same dimensions, levels and consistent torture – and do so with the panache and persistence that many of us autistics execute on a daily basis?

Time to retreat and reboot. If only for a mere four and a half days.

Saturday bruncheon with Rick at our favourite Not Just Coffee – nourishing noshment and conversation, providing vim and vigour for the adventure ahead. It was so good to be back in our old neighbourhood of Paddington too.

Continue reading

soffit

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Standing under the arch. A looming foreboding. A comforting covering. An oxymoronic juxtaposition. Trundling along towards an end that is far too near, autumnal chants that incite the demons of fear… Yet, dancing underneath the sheets of toxic foam, spring is valiant and defiant.

The Sensory Gremlins are at it again. Not merely the insistent neuropathic pain, but the indefatigable Dust Bunny Mob, the Grime Spectres that lurk in kitchen and bathroom, the endless loads of laundry, and dishes to attack – these monsters demand a battle spirit of intense vim and vigour, which I sadly and frustratingly lack.

I just want to focus my limited resources on my work. It is distressing. Not being able to direct the strength of my innate autistic focus upon what matter most to me. Well, alongside Lucy, my work is of utmost importance to me – oases of rest, regeneration, inspiration and tranquility. Lucy and work, that is. But I have scant time and physical fuel left for the two, because I am frantically chasing tiny leviathans. Yes. Tiny Leviathans!

In the meantime… the deadline looms nearer and nearer. The nausea sitting just beneath my diaphragm like a sinister black statue is growing, the curl of its mocking smile lifts higher as the time draws nigh – and laundry, dishes, Dust Bunny Mob, Grime Spectres join forces in a deafening roaring silent Dies Irae chorus.

Food is a temporary solace. But cooking and eating also means more dishes to wash.

Lucy is my only sensory clemency for the moment. The happiest time of my life. Yet, the dichotomy is cogent in its own tangible material parallel existence.

clement shutdown

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Shutdown. What is non-verbal modality like, actually? It is different for everyone. There is no one-description-fits-all scenario. Even in the same person, verbal shutdown can present in myriad ways, with eclectic triggers. That is the difficulty in the study of the mind.

For me, non-verbality may not always indicate an inability to speak, but rather more a reluctance to formulate in the mind and then expel with physical force, what is socially-acceptable, grammatical, prosaic babble. I am still verbalising in my mind, with word stims, truncated sentences, symbolic visual images. I am still able to communicate on the superficial level, but not with much intellectual depth (though this doesn’t seem to bother most people much, and I am the only one suffering from this temporary ‘handicap’). Other times, non-verbal mode means total shutdown of speech and verbal semantic thought. During these times, I prefer to be on my own. Well, actually most times I prefer to be on my own, but there are times I actually do enjoy some interaction with people I like. 🙂 But in total shutdown modality, the isolation becomes an absolute necessity. There are other scenarios, but I am too tired now to elaborate further. Continue reading

a date with Lucy

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Every day is a special day, another date, with Beautiful Lucy. Even the low days. In fact, Lucy has made every single bad day that much more bearable because she is in it.

Today was a sensorially challenging day. I am rambling now, I can feel the words just dribbling down without much cohesive control. It feels as if the gear box has broken and the steering wheel is spinning in my hands. So be forewarned, this is a babbling post. I am in incoherent mode.

I had to go to my art studio to get some work sorted out. We both dislike the bus ride to and from my studio at the other campus. I love living in this apartment, but I miss our old neighbourhood, and I really miss being able to walk to my art studio. It doesn’t help at all that the friendly and kind bus driver has left the job, and the new driver dislikes Lucy. He shows it too. He mumbled something about disliking dogs, but then quickly corrected himself by saying he is actually allergic to dogs. When he sees us, he gets out of the bus, makes a point to stand a distance away, and looks at us disapprovingly. He will not get back into the bus until it is time to move off. When we arrive at our destination, he quickly exits, stands away again, looking at us in that way, as if we were diseased. I make it a point to be pleasant, regardless. I always smile at him, wave at him and thank him. But it is unpleasant. Add to that, the loud music he plays while driving, the jerky movements, bouncing, and zooming round corners, Lucy becomes agitated and I break into cold sweat holding on to Lucy. She even slipped and fell on one trip. Continue reading

denouement

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Yes, the saga is behind me now. The last communication I sent to the woman was to frankly but gently express my disappointment at her betrayal of my trust and kindness. I did that for myself, not that I expect someone like her to ever pay me any money. Anyhow, I have said what I needed to express to her, as a closure. Time to move on from here. No more toxic personalities in my life, I hope. I have to teach my brain to form the connections henceforth.

Today, my friend Rick came over to Kensington for bruncheon. We are no longer separated by a mere few steps and a street. We are two bus rides away. I shall miss our weekly tête-à-têtes, but life goes on, and good friends stay strong regardless of distance. It was fun regaling him with the nitty gritties of my dramatic experiences. And of course who does not enjoy the opportunity to use properly illustrative language in a conversation? Always quality time with this Rick, I daresay! Continue reading

room with a view

good morning, paddo!

good morning, paddo!

Still exhausted. Suddenly the loud noises are even louder. I’ve closed the windows as tightly as I can. The noise is still driving me insane. Amazing how I have endured this for a year already. It was terrifying in the beginning but I trained myself to put up with it. Now, after a year and a month, I am tired and worn, I want to rest, no, I yearn for rest – and the noise is once more becoming terrifying and deafening. Continue reading