What does it feel like to be in an inclusive as well as embracing milieu? Yesterday, Lucy and I spent six hours in the company of people who demonstrated what open hearts and minds mean. My instinctive reading of the group told me they were a mixed bag of neurotypical and neurodiverse from all walks of life. It was a grueling two day workshop for art educators, but to me, on the very simple basic level, we were just earnest humans sharing experiences and insights, inspiring one another to develop professional and personal skills, strategies and perceptions. Artistic practice is truly a cogent agency for empathic edification. Continue reading
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.
A busy week. Where did the time go? How do we sense the passage of time in place and space? I feel through my fingertips the liquid dust slipping, sliding, seeping inexorably towards, then past, and away from me. So much tiredness. Bursts of frenetic scrambling scrunching engaging with mind and concrete materiality. Body and mind in a grumbling atonal dissonant Call and Response. The dishes pile up as I plunge into work. I need a Jeeves – I can feel the grittiness of the floor under my feet. Washed and dried laundry waiting for me in an impatient mess. Boxes of ‘things’ still unresolved. Visual discomfort. I need shelves. And a Jeeves. Continue reading
This post is inspired by today’s piece on Emma’s Hope Book about sensory assaults. I love Emma’s thoughts, and Ariane’s insightful and empathic writings. They bring me much comfort, and a feeling that I am not alone in this grand cosmic struggle.
Thunderstorm through the night. Roaring vacuum cleaner outside. Yapping small dog next door. My floor is littered with tiny particles of dust, spicks and specks that get caught in my bare soles, they feel like shards of cutting glass to my hypersenses. Then there is the whorly-whirly mess of things, little pieces of work material, scattered around my home, screaming out to be organised but I am submerged in physical fatigue. The perennial chicken-and-egg conundrum, is it the autoimmune or sensory overload that is triggering these physical symptoms? Head spinning. Eyes blurring. Shadows and translucent blobs dancing around the perimeters of my vision. Dull throbbing rhythmic pounding punctuated by sharp stabs of pain. The silent scream slowly grows. I need to work. I have to work. I yearn to work. But I need a sensorially clement space in which to work. And there is no respite. The volume knob is missing. It is a very very overwhelming world outside, and the insidious assault heaves, froths and seethes, seeping through the cracks, creeping inside, taking over my little sanctuary. Every day is a battle. But some days are better than others. Today is not a better day. It is a “Fight the Elements to Survive” day. Continue reading
The song that looped in my mind this morning while out walking with Lucy was Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You.” I was thinking about Lucy, and how she has made such a tremendous difference to my life. People often stop us and ask me what Lucy does for me, as my service dog. Most of the time, they are polite and genuinely curious to know. I take it as part of advocacy, not just for autism and how service animals can improve our lives, but also for Greyhounds as companions and the human-dog bond. I do not only focus on what service dogs can do for us human, but also on what our responsibilities are towards our close animal friends. It is a symbiotic, synergetic relationship. Continue reading
A picture speaks a thousand words, they say? Here are a few thousand of those words, in that case. And if you’d like more, then carry on reading… If not, it’s ok too. This blog isn’t an ego trip, really, so feel free to just enjoy the visuals!
I have been in non-verbal modality lately, but happily indulging in the pleasures of work. A beloved friend is moving house, and she has bequeathed a vast amount of material that I need for my upcoming exhibition. What blessedness! I have been sorting, touching, engaging with concrete substances in the sensory didactic, and being in that milieu is calming and pleasurable. However, at the back of my mind, the anxiety monster is reminding me that I have a lot of text to read, assimilate, ponder, philosophise, analyse, and words of my own to write. Semanticity is a cogent entrenchment. That is the reality. But I do my best to meander, skip, hop, and dance around it.
When babble fails, only then do we reach for our senses. Yet, many are unaware that our senses have been actively sending messages in a complex network of communication, regardless. Continue reading
Today’s lunch was unplanned, though I had been wanting to tuck into some Thai tom yum noodles for some time. This particular brand from Thailand is the best of the instant ones that I’ve tried thus far, and it is available only at Asian grocery shops around here. Coles, Woolworths and IGA don’t stock this brand. Right, so you may well ask me, “Why don’t you just go and get it then?” The answer may be strange, but it is a regular feature in my thought life. I needed processing time – to strategise, plan and concretise the act. Especially because of the unique situation presented to me in this case, trying to juggle the internal juxtapositional projections of Self and Other. Continue reading
We went to the imaging centre again this morning. It was the same centre where I had had a number of Xrays not so long ago. The staff on duty at the time were very friendly, and Lucy was welcomed as an essential part of my presence, just as a wheelchair user and her wheelchair, or a blind person with his guide dog. This morning, however, we were met with a disapproving scowl from the radiologist, and I was told I wasn’t allowed to bring my dog in. She then turned her back to me, and walked on ahead towards the door leading to the imaging rooms. I followed behind, and explained (speaking to her back) that Lucy is my service dog, but she cut me short, and rambled on like an annoyed school teacher that this was a “sterile environment” etc. At that point, I just stopped in my tracks and said, “Well… if it is a problem…” as calmly and clearly as I could, even though my head had begun to pound and my heart felt like it was falling into a greasy pit of cheap cheddar cheese. Continue reading
5am, my Angel wakes me with a soft, gentle enquiring noise. A baby whimper. That is my alarm clock. An angel, bringing kisses and cuddles to open up the day.
But Anxiety reached into our idyllic space and battled to engulf me, swallow whole my mind and soul. My angel fought alongside, sensing my fear yet remaining unchanged, her love and trust anchoring me always in the present, wrapping me inside her unflinching fidelity.
Breakfast. I need a hearty breakfast to help me get through the morning. Mashed banana, oatmeal, egg – pancakes! Coconut milk and marmalade topping. Gobbled up in haste, I don’t really remember the taste, except that I don’t like the crumbly texture.
My iCal buzzed a warning. I had remembered the time wrongly. My appointment at the hospital for the test is an hour earlier than I thought. Anxiety mounts. I rush to get ready. I worry about leaving my Angel behind, I worry about bringing her along. What if? What if? Continue reading
Doggy heatpad wrapped in an old beanie warming and easing the pain in my back. Coffee with milo and marshmallows to keep awake on a drowsy, wet, sensorially depressing day. I do like the taste and texture of melty marshmallows! I am pleased, because I managed to get a bit more work done than yesterday. That makes it a better day. Yes! Also, we were twice lucky today, we escaped both episodes of massive downpours. First in the morning, and then later in the afternoon.
Lucy asked to be taken downstairs an hour ahead of our normal schedule for the afternoon walk. I did think it strange, but she was quite vocal about it, and she is seldom very vocal at all. Continue reading