Autism Unveiled Week 3
Who Am I?
Like the many sides or facets of a gem, we all have myriad facets, labels, identities that catch the light; throughout our lifetimes. I’ve been the class mute, the weirdo, the target of bullies, the unique best friend, the loner, the head-banger, the learner, the dreamer, the avoider, the quiet one, the art student who won awards, the straight-A student, the one who gazed into nothingness, collected pencil shavings in plastic yellow boxes , and collected erasers, sailor and cat figurines, rocks, tidbits from the gutter, and facts. I have been the one they sent to look at inkblots. I’ve been the journal keeper, the researcher, the cashier , the mother, the keeper of the rescued animal menagerie, the student of mime, woodcarving, Buddhism, rocks, the brain, dust motes. I am the grandmother, the avid reader, the blogger, the punster, the widow, the pet guardian, the artist, the mural painter, the mime, the author, the ghostwriter, the poet, the good listener, the loyal friend, the paid caregiver and the unpaid one.
My favorite quote:
“You must do the very thing you think you cannot do.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
My favorite artist’s painting: Crows Over a Wheatfield (the paint was not yet dry on this, Van Gogh’s last painting, as he lay dying of a self inflicted gunshot wound)
My favorite line from a poem:
I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers. And not pick one!”-Edna St. Vincent Millay
How Is Autism Part Of Me?
It is in my sideways glances, my slouch, my laughter when I’m heartbroken, my tears when I’m happy. It is the invisible air pocket I trip over, the horror in the sounds like toilet flushing, that send me running from the bathroom. It’s in my too-loud voice and it’s in my barely-there voice. It’s in the room with my one-word answers and it’s there with my rambling rants. It’s in my so-called irrational fears, like stepping on bumpy things and it is in my appreciation of little things. It talks with my meltdowns, with my hands, my written words, my paint, and my silence. It is rigid in my lone stance, my selectiveness with people, my nonconformity, my inability to express myself audibly. It is inside my hug-hesitancy, and my need for it. It colors my stiffness and my expressionless face with powerful emotions wriggling underneath. It feels deeply, as if life is a labyrinth; it understands the world of colors inside grey and it delights in patterns. It is mute, and it screams. It is a lifetime of ordinary needs as real as anyone else’s. It is my avoidance of people, parties, and the phone and it is in my need to communicate, express, and nurture. It is rude and it is as flippant as it is kind, and sincere with the ability to see the true nature of people. It drives my brain to exhaust a subject, to excel at Jeopardy, to amass trivia, facts, scientific concepts, and creative art uses for everyday objects. It is resting comfortably in ritual, and seeing details. It doesn’t participate in pop culture, slang, or social niceties, dismissing these as wastes of valuable time. It finds meaning, interest, joy in the veins of leaves, in the cracks of sidewalks, in intellectual and whimsical pursuits. It puzzles others. It has its own point of view, perspective, and carries overflowing baskets of goals, activities, and purpose. It is never bored. It is part of me that blogs at ravenambition.wordpress.com. It is the sliver in my foot, the boulder on my back, the misunderstood, overlooked invisible difference. It’s also the truth in my character, the yellow in my gloom, the texture on my canvas, the sideways-growing pine tree on a golf course adapting itself to better feel the sun. It can define itself because it is self-aware but will not tolerate being defined by others. For these reasons, and skillions more, it is not part of me. It IS me.
Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Kimberly is author of Under the Banana Moon, Living, Loving Loss and Aspergers with a forward by Donna Williams. When Kim’s husband was diagnosed with the terminal illness ALS, their roles reversed. She found her voice as he literally lost his.
Kimberly is part of the Autism Unveiled Project – Six weeks of blogs from Autistic people commencing on April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day.
I like YOUR poetry here, along with those you cite – thank you!
You demonstrate how autism is very much a part of you–as you say, “it is me”. I wonder how you would respond to someone (with autism, or a caretaker of someone with autism) who says autism is a characteristic, like a loud laugh or a great cook. Could that be the case for other people? Or does that not acknowledge the impact that autism has on the self?
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