June 10, 2016 § 2 Comments
This is me in my double sized studio. I look tired but I’m happy. This week I took on more space for a few months, so that I can more easily complete an Arts Council funded project.
Today I spent 11 hours working in the space without noticing.
The project is absorbing and challenging. I think about it as I go to sleep – often resolving painting problems in my minds eye. I come up with potential solutions and new ideas. I wake before dawn, keen to get on.
This is how it is when inspiration strikes and autistic focus comes in to play.
June 1, 2016 § 21 Comments
(Uncertain Weather System in Place, 2016)
As there seems to be no specific aftercare following my diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, I’m quite busy working things out for myself.
Fortunately for me this is one of my autistic strengths.
But specialist services would make a huge difference to my life. So going it alone is not entirely desirable, and yet I consider the alternatives. Would I want aftercare designed and provided by neurotypicals? Perhaps not.
It would probably end up feeling like wearing the wrong size shoes. A bad fit.
One effect of diagnosis is that I now recognise my dislike of most organised/group activities as being legitimate. It’s a genuine case of poor neurological fit. What you (the neurotypcial majority) generally like/need from a group experience is not what I like/need – I honestly just can’t relate to most of it. And with good reason.
But this can also happen to me when faced with #actuallyautistic events that somewhat resemble neurotypical ones. Please, please don’t take offence, but an autistic pride picnic in Hyde Park (I hear there’s one coming up in June) isn’t for me. Not that I am not proud to be autistic – I AM. But I don’t want to gather in Hyde Park.
There exist three main reasons for this – all autistic.
1/ Travel is stressful.
2/ I don’t like meeting with strangers (especially en masse).
3/ I have no way of predicting the fine details of the day.
But I have to confess that it isn’t just dealing with the resulting overload that puts me off. I also experience a creeping dread of what I will call neurotypical templates. Subjected to them forevermore – think all school, college and most work settings for starters – I feel nothing short of magnetic repulsion for any event which resembles these formats. Neurotypical templates for group fun or even group displays of pride seem to have the same effect.
And so I ask myself what autistic templates might look like – and I get no clear answers. I just know I don’t want more of the same. Too many uncomfortable associations, too much time spent in exhaustion and recovery. I want my time to count, and I want my pride to show without the usual consequences for me.
Pride in a sense – in my sense of it – is about saying NO. No to neurotypically designed social spaces. Pride, surely, must contain some measure of self-care too.
With this in mind, ( while hoping fervently that the autistic people attending this year’s pride event have a blast) I will be sharing my pride online.