Poetry

Little ol’ stimtastic me

I want to search for myself in the grain,

stills can only tell so much

and I need more.

So back I roll past white noise

to the start of my fingers

tapping out the sheet music on invisible keys

while my eyes put up their barrier against the hum

and I go off into space.

There it is. The movement

I’m playing right now, recorded in the background

twenty-one years ago.

Poetry

My autism diagnosis was like a (super late) letter from Hogwarts

It’s the explanation for all my quirks, from my vacant gaze

during conversationsĀ to my comfort-first wardrobe.

It’s my Hogwarts Express ticket: once I jumped through the barrier

I finally allowed myself to be me, no longer forcing myself to hide.

I released all the movements I held back for fear of being weird: flapping, rocking,

spinning around and holding my arms wide to catch the breeze on my skin.

 

It’s true, I can’t vanish glass, stun anyone or cast a bat-bogey hex.

But I can talk for hours about writing, old books and Sailor Moon.

 

Some days I can be silent, absorbed deep in my work

or lacking the energy to even move my mouth

and it always bothered me why no-one else seemed to do this.

 

Now I’ve realised there are others out there like me, who prefer

teaspoons to big spoons, see patterns everywhere

and wear sunglasses in supermarkets.

 

Harry got a visit from Hagrid.

I spoke to a psychologist.

The news they gave changed our lives forever.

 

Poetry, Short Stories, Uncategorized

A letter about autism to my childhood self

Hey. Try not to panic. It’s you from the future, and

I’m writing to say don’t worry. Everything

that’s getting to you at the moment will make sense in the end.

 

Like the times you wait by the fence watching the other kids play

wondering when they’ll ask you to join in, and what you’ll do if it happens.

How you’re confused at the ease they interact, talking freely,

while you stand their silently, their shouts and screams of joy

overloading your ears – until the whistle blows and hits you like ice up your spine,

locking you into rigid limbs and wriggling insides. The hold authority has.

And those times you’re unsure what Miss is asking of you, fretting about if you’re doing your work right

because she didn’t go through it fully first. So you wait

and watch the other kids, trying to guess their thinking as they set straight to it

and hoping you can catch a glimpse of their work so you can copy.

Then there’s the time you have to go to the dentist during rehearsals for the school play. Should you put your hand up? Should you just stand?

You ask around in whispers, and everyone says put your hand up. You do, but the teachers don’t see, so then you do stand.

And get told off for not telling them to put you on the end of the row, even though your form tutor read the note at registration.

How about all those times the kids take advantage of your attempts to join in? Sharing

your cat’s cradle only for them to run off with it and claim to the others that it’s theirs,

or when a girl steals your toy and tells the dinner lady you stole it from her

and you can’t speak up properly so give in and let them keep it?

When they’re supposed to share textbooks

and drag them away so you can’t see?

Let’s not forget how you can’t co-ordinate your body in P.E,

or have so much trouble learning in class that you take your work home.

When you have your nose in a book at the doctor’s because you can’t deal with what is going on, and get called rude for not paying attention.

Then there’s your many attempts to get the timing right on Mario’s jump and fail at every try.

When you tell a stranger about how bad mum’s morning breath is

and don’t understand why she’s embarrassed. It’s fact, isn’t it?

Why you can’t understand why people play with dolls when you can just make up characters in your head.

 

Like I said. It’s all fine. There’s a reason for it, a simple explanation:

Autism.

A condition meaning

your brain is wired slightly differently to most people. You notice

things they never will while missing the unspoken signs

they give each other all the time.

It doesn’t mean you’re strange, weird, stupid or a freak.

It means you’re you,

and though you haven’t met them yet, there are others out there

who are wired in the same way

and know just how this feels.

 

So remember, you’re not alone. If you explain

your difficulties (and your strengths)

then eventually the world will start to understand.

 

P.S. In the meantime, try sunglasses and earmuffs — all year round.