Eve: Christian, imaginative, gender non-conforming, queer, and #Aspergers

Eve Waterside

Autism Unveiled Week 1

Who am I?

This is a hard question to answer, since the self is a slippery subject matter.

How is autism part of me?

It isn’t a part of me, it is the way that my self is oriented. It isn’t an add on, it is the way I experience the world.

Tales of a Human Tree (me!)

Silence is gentle and soothing. It envelopes my cells and keeps me safe. With silence, I would probably know if a lion were about to leap out of a bush and eat me. Silence gives a chance to get away. It sits close to peace and extends a hand out as if to say: “it’s ok, you are welcome here”. My love of silence touches my deep-down humanity, and swishes it around in circles of joy until, giggling inwardly, silence rocks like a weighted ball, and rests.

Noises are booming and penetrating. They jump out of loudmouths, machines, and beasts and they – whoooooosh! – whack the air out of my lungs, out of the spaces between my cells. Loud sounds vibrate me, and scare me.

To call me thin-skinned would be both right and wrong. I have the skin I have. To call me deep rooted would be more accurate. I am deeply rooted in this experience. So much so that my fear can push my mind upwards, at times entirely – I flap my mind-wings hard against the downward currents to avoid the stressful matter being pumped in through my roots by a humanity who thinks it owns the earth it stands on. Yes, I am rooted. I will cry if I don’t understand, I will laugh if I think it is funny. Sometimes I am asked very loudly to lift up my roots and move them into shapes like the hockey-cokey: people tell me this is called ‘being flexible’. For me it feels like ‘being self-destructive’ because it means I have to disconnect from the life-giving earth. When I disconnect, I wilt, and the next day there is no bounce in my leaves, and the day after my leaves go a bit brown: people tell me this is called ‘mental illness’. For me it feels like ‘peer pressure’,because if I were not often told to pull up my roots then my leaves would always be green. So I have decided to honour my roots – these roots currently 28 years alive – to rock and sway in the wind, to only lift up my roots when the soil has gone bad, or I don’t have enough light.

I will continue to dance deeply into branches of silence and safety. I will continue to offer my shade or my bark. I will not kill myself for a dance with a noisy dog or a multi-headed goose. I will be the human I am, not the human that wilts and lifts up his roots as the noisiness shouts: “be less, be more, be better!”.

Eve is part of the six-week advocacy project Autism Unveiled Project ending on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2015.

4 Comments

  • Alex Clarke says:

    Beautifully written – beautifully beautiful.

  • Elle Pierman says:

    You are a poet. You said (and I completely agree) that “the self is a slippery subject matter,” and yet the way you describe yourself and your world seems to me to hold more understanding of yourself and your humanity than most people I have met. When I read your post, I was able to put myself in your shoes and try to understand how you experience the world, and a lot of that had to do with how beautifully written your post was. I loved when you described that you “will continue to dance deeply into branches of silence and safety” – to me it seems that you will not let any “peer pressure” hold you back and prevent you from thriving. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Sean says:

    You have turned the label of “think-skinned” on its ear for me. Deep roots, what a beautiful idea.

    I think I needed to read your post — it’s given me a perspective I was sorely missing. Thank you.

  • Greg says:

    Your idea of a gentle soothing silence resonates with me. So often people fill their lives with hectic sounds and busy schedules. I love times where I am able to craft silence and weave it into my day. The comfort of the silence allows me to “root” myself, to use your words. Beautiful.

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