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.