Tag Archives: autism

Still, we walk

Standard

Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

17760489_10154530465395897_908123052_n

I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

Advertisements

Seeds

Standard

I always thought that when I was grown up, I wouldn’t be scared of the dark. I thought that I’d be able and competent and worldly and clever. I’d have a keen sense of fashion and a high powered career and wear high heels to match the career.

I’m pretty sure I’m a grown up now.

I’m still uneasy in the dark and I’m scared of spiders and frogs. I leave a light on when I’m home alone at night, and sometimes the TV, too. I’ve avoided teaching for years and instead of being a principal, I’m now considering re-entering the world of teaching on a casual basis. I don’t wear high heels and my fashion sense is best described as second hand lesbian casual.

I’m grown now, but still the same.

There’s been a mysterious flurry of seeds in our back yard.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

They’re scattered like hopes amongst the grass and the pavers and the dog poo. They won’t sprout in our backyard, and I have no idea what kind of seed they are. There’s a lot of them, though. I’m not sure if I am the only one who has noticed them, but they’re there.

I have some strange little habits, little things that I do. I like to put them on a slow release schedule, so that by the time people discover them, they’re committed to the friendship and it’s too late for them to back out. Next thing they know, I’m immersed in some bizarre project that absolutely needs all of my attention, or peg order matters on the clothes line, or I talk about things that don’t fit the conversation, or I get undone by anxiety. These things have always been a part of me. I’ve always been this way, a little bit… odd. But for some reason, it works for me. I wouldn’t cope with being normal. Not really. Not when there are songs to transcribe or toenails to be scared of.

But you see, the thing is, these little things, these little seeds – they all point to something. And I didn’t find this out until mid last year. So I’ve kept it a bit under wraps, while my beloved and my family and my friends and myself got used to it.

It turns out, the way I can do music stuff isn’t really very common. And the anxieties and the jigging and the need for routines. The tendency to get stuck when things become emotionally uncomfortable. The tiredness in group settings. The absolute MUST when it comes to removing tags from shirts. The animal whispering. The writing.

I didn’t know they were seeds.

Seeds that fell from one tree that had grown with me, my entire life.

Aspergers.

It was a relief, to be honest. Because it means that there’s hope – I can learn how to manage the anxieties and the things I usually avoid. I can work out how to compromise, and I can explain why I need to be met halfway on some things.

It’s also very strange, though. It answers so many questions, and removes the weight of guilt I had over feeling so totally useless because I couldn’t manage work or crowds or the unfamiliar. But I don’t ever want to be someone who needs allowances or special consideration. I just want to be myself, and adapt to whatever that is. The thing is, life is all about adapting – compromise and give and take and other people. I don’t know why Aspergers or not needs to be offered by way of reason. Shouldn’t we all just be decent?

But I digress.

This is almost another coming out piece, isn’t it. Another chunk of my life, another big change of pattern, of growth, of seed. The point is, though, that none of us know what seeds are inside another person. Or how they got there, or what they will grow into.

The best we can do is encourage growth.

So, with all this out in the open, I have to say it:

Let’s grow.

seeds