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Oh…I’m autistic

Greetings, everyone! Today is apparently the day for a long(ish) post about things on my mind.

In late January, I was formally diagnosed with autism, and it’s taken me a while to fully process it. Though I knew I had many traits and spent last year writing things down while I was on the waiting list for assessment, it still came as a bit of a shock to me.

I think I still had that small nugget of doubt, and when that was finally snuffed out, it sent me into a bit of a self-analytical spiral. I also had a massive meltdown where I simply couldn’t stop screaming — it’s an odd thing to have your body doing one thing while your mind is observing everything from a 3rd person view. And I was highly impressed at the sheer range of my voice. Honestly, I think I could give a banshee a run for their money, or a Camaar fish wife (if anyone gets that reference, I’ll give them a cookie).

I think the meltdown was not only realisation, but sheer frustration that it’s taken 28 years for people to see it, and one of my main thoughts was what would my life have been like if I’d known earlier? Would I have been bullied at school so much? Would I have even attended the schools that I did? Would I have had better advice on relationships and more understanding of why I can’t handle certain situations? Would I have felt so pressured to get a ‘real’ job that I accepted the first offer I got and spent three years struggling and pretending to be perfectly fine when I felt like hiding away and covering my hands over my ears through every shift?

But what I realised was that it doesn’t matter, because you can’t change the past. All you can do is look to the future. And I’m now in the process of getting the support I need.

I’ve also been suffering with anxiety and depression due to various other personal situations, and the whole lot combined has left me completely drained. However, I can’t live life as a complete recluse, and as much as I find it extremely difficult to talk to people — whether I know them or not — and experience a lot of sensory overload whenever I go out, I still have to do ‘basic’ things like going to the doctors or buying food.

I also know that as my poetry collection and my latest book are now out, I should be trying to promote them as much as I can, which includes going to spoken word nights. Which are nice in theory, as I get to listen to a lot of other artists, but not always so great in practice due to the sheer social nature of them.

Last night was one of those occasions, and not only was I uncomfortable the whole time, but after it was over, I felt like a group of bulbasaur had leechseeded me. I could barely walk properly, and my mind had died completely. Don’t get me wrong, I did hear some great poetry and got good encouragement for my own, but I honestly have to ask myself if that level of exhaustion, and the week or so of anxiety leading up to it, was really worth it.

Thing is, I don’t have an answer. I doubt I ever will. All I know is that one side of me wants to get up and perform at every one, while the other wants to stay home and play scrabble with my partner (who is a significant rock in my life and does all he can to keep me grounded when I feel like everything is beyond my control).

One of the definitely positive things I took away from last night was that I wasn’t the only one struggling to do what I do, as one of the other performers has autism too. There was also a spoken word artist with ADHD and one who is Dyslexic. So the sheer amount of creativity neurodiverse people are capable of despite their struggles is something truly inspiring.

Anyway, thank you for continuing to support this little blog and my creative efforts. This post has been quite therapeutic, not only as a way of recovering from yesterday and other stuff, but also because I’m enormously anxious about a phone call I’m expecting (I wish people would give specific times for these things). But I’m sure I have rambled on long enough, so…

Kate out!

 

 

Poetry

Say it

Say it. Let the sound fill your mouth

like curry, full on flavour and spicy

enough to set your breath on fire.

Then spit it out. Let them know

the wine is sour,

and the alcohol content cannot make up for it.

Bottle their gasps for later,

you can use them at the lightshow

when they try to blot you out.

And, with their retorts,

take off your cloak and mask

so their ice-words melt from your brightness.

Show them the spectrum,

not the gradient.

Poetry

Moon song

It’s tough work, drawing enough of yourself

up from the well

that has grown brambles and roses all over

to prevent anyone snatching it away.

No longer can an echo bring up droplets from its depths

to sprinkle as greetings

when greeting is the last thing you want to do.

Even the sun offering its hand

can sway you only so much,

but the moon is the one who whispers to you

urging the water inside

to be spilt only when necessary

and fully charged by its silver.

Poetry

3am

It’s 3am and there’s a glow in the room –

or rather, there isn’t. Not tonight.

Tonight there are shadows, there are whispers,

hums through the house

bringing out the dust from the floorboards.

It’s the restlessness of emptiness,

the hours wondering when there will be movement,

when that glow will return

to lie beside you and sing slumber into your cells.

You wonder if you should catch it next time,

and propose it stay and watch over you

not for hours, but years

in return for you actively recharging

to hold back the dark.

Poetry

Grove hands

It cloaks me sometimes, the dark particles of ether.

A life stream in reverse, doll eyes reflect the world but not within.

 

The trees whisper my name, leaves touching my fingertips

to call me back from where I am, the sun aiding them with warmth.

 

The clouds are bright.

I feel the air and hear the movement.

There is so much life around me.

 

It tinkles like a bell, and when it’s sweet enough,

I can stand.

 

Poetry

Bog marching

It’s tar, covering my legs, arms, brain.

Clogged up like clockwork that’s been residing at the bottom of a pond for decades.

There are no eagles to pick me up once I’ve reached my destination, but no lava to threaten me as I pick my own path back home.

Time is meaningless and astounding.

I’m in it, not an outsider.

Tick.  Let me wake.

Tock. Let me run.

Poetry

Neurodiverse

I can’t think

how many times I’ve had to hold my tongue to please.

How many times

I’ve become someone else

because at the time, it felt like an easier option

than having to explain why touch makes me uncomfortable,

why I can’t concentrate in social gatherings,

why I’ll always interact with animals

yet give other humans a wide berth.

There are some who I know would understand,

but others, regardless of explanation and education,

never will.