The context for my poem Perfect storm is the research for my Arts Council Funded project – The Museum for Object Research. It isn’t about any one person or conversation, but more about my growing understanding of the ways in which I am disabled – despite being a competent human – by ingrained assumption and the double empathy bind.
This learning is born of multiple conversations within lived experience.
Predominant neurotypes (PNT) find it difficult to relate to and engage with autistic experience, and vice versa.
It’s becoming clearer to me – the more I dig in – that each and every autistic ‘deficit’, contained within both medical models and cultural stereotypes, can indeed be applied to PNT when viewed from an autistic perspective.
A mirror world exists in which PNT are disabled, and the only difference between us is that of privilege – via cultural dominance/numbers.
This kind of thinking is real. It’s foundation is (as I say above) a lived experience, which finds a powerful echo in the social model of disability.
I’m grateful to Jon Adams and Brent White for their wisdom and council in guiding me towards the clear understanding of the human rights issues at the core of my cultural project.
My thoughts about autism are community inclusive but relate only to personal experience.
Dawn brings the perfect storm.
And skylights catch droplets in rapid succession.
Yet I am deaf to their timpani.
Undoing the stitches of my carefully fashioned…
I have spoken for the first time of my disability.
A pointed conversation.
But what of…
Yes! I say (quite shamelessly).
I do have one.
And degrees and so forth.
(Despite scoring zero for I.Q.*)
And, what is more,
I often soar above you.
(The aerial view is our prerogative.
Including the ‘voiceless’ and the more visibly NEEDY.
Sharing a something you can’t reach.
Ah yes – a club of sorts.
Seemingly without a fee.)
And perhaps this difference.
Well. It’s irrefutably so.
Is. Also. Your. Disability.
The places you can’t go.
I am disabled.
But by what?
And by whom?
What (I ask myself).
And. Most certainly.
I can read it.
In the symbiosis of our smiles.
And we can act like kittens.
Playing with string.
Until it’s time.
To bring the dead bird in.
A trophy to trying.
A cup to greet the day.
* My cognitive profile is not measurable as an IQ score.