Secret Stims

This is a response post to this blog here: http://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/quiet-hands/

 

I have to say I have written about my own abuse until you conform. I was diagnosed as an adult yet I know quiet hands. I think of all the ways I learned to stim in secret. There it is in the fabrics I clothe myself in, the softness of my cat, the texture of my keyboard. I paid ten dollars more for the right texture on the keys I type on. My hairbrush has to be a specific style so I can brush my hair without insanity creeping up my arm from the pain. The sights and sounds, all ways I stim. No one notices a woman smoothing her pants leg, or adjusting the way her blouse fits. So its safe.

I used to think this was a horrible secret, and I used to fight with myself to try to hold back for as long as I could. For me there is also aural stimming. Its not just the flap of hands until I catch myself. I usually make fists to hold back the stim when excited. I need sound and music sometimes just to be euphoric but also to think and process what others are saying.

More ways I stim in secret? The texture of my food. This has become more important as I age. I like creamy things. Soft things. Crunchy is nice too but my skin tears too easily so the rough texture after is a problem. Its all around me. My hair is too long so I keep having to pull it away because it sends the wrong brain signals and is too heavy for my head. I must pet the cats around me, to feel their texture and softness. In the dark without opening my eyes, the slight brush of fur tells me which cat is which. The weight tells me where. I pet them until I dream oruntil my wrists ache and I want to beg the world to stop so that I can endure a bit longer.

My cats know this. I can just tell them both I cannot touch them and they usually wait patiently. Sprite sleeps with two inches between us, her head on my pillow unless I have been really bad about being able to touch her. SOmetimes she wakes me up by wrapping her paws around my arm and tucking herself against me in a soft warm hug. Sometimes I take that pain just for her.

Every time I fight myself to let the stimulation in, I think of my parents. I think of one of the few times my mother got it right without the ambiguity of a follow up disaster. I wrote about it before, the occupational therapist who knew better. Better meaning no skin, horrible pain and a memory that is just a scream. I fight now to not let things ever get so bad that every thought is a scream but I sit here wondering why language must be turned into a homogenous thing. Stimming is language. I do not think about what it means when people talk via movement if they are autistic because its the same language. If they aren’t then I try to either watch them move or their face or try to pick out which tone they are using.

Why am I so aware of the torture children face daily that no one stops? Bullying pervades the schools because teachers can be bullies. I was one but I still see it. Its the little things that crush individuality all in the name of mediocrity. Uniforms, hair cuts, assigned seating. Sometimes the outcome is good but if there is no way to safely ask, because diagnosed or not children like I was learn its not safe before school and learning even begins, the outcome is tragic. Schooling isn’t about the grades but learning. Grades don’t reflect anything but obedience, spitting out knowledge on demand and attendance. Knowledge and Wisdom are not taught together either. Were they ever? I doubt it but I would like to think someday they will be.

I wear velvet pants, silky shirts, soft squishy fabric that feels like it is made out of wound up coils. I touch. I feel. I exist. I am there. Quiet hands… empty mind. I fade away until I am alone and myself returns again. Touch. Feel. Exist.

Looking Back

Sometimes I wonder how I reached the point I am at in life. I have few friends but those I have I value. I have recently shed myself of people who I once considered friends and in retrospect I question why I ever thought this. I logically understand the why, it was a step on this path to knowing that they were bad for me, and that I deserve better. I did not always deserve better. In a way its like watching my mother date an abusive man who was in her eyes good because he just did not hit her. Baby steps. Learning steps.

I think back on all of the years I struggled and just wanted any friend at all. I can see myself sitting on the swings alone, watching people. I do this often. All my memories punctuate the aspect of watching as from the age of eight through now there is the blurred shape of the world then the crisp shape of whatever is past my glasses. Even in the memories this is so, whatever I see is drawn into sharper focus that way. I remember watching people, and wondering what it was that made all of the girls come together and laugh over things I still don’t get the joke on. I sometimes think there was not really a joke but a need to pretend that they all mattered. A need to be something. Anything.

I am still socially awkward. In fact in recent years by no longer putting on the act of normalacy it may look like I am more awkward now. I no longer risk dying just to be around people, especially since dying isn’t very fun for anyone to experience or witness. I no longer tolerate people in my life who think that its just enough to close a door, as if an allergen strong enough to put me into anaphalaxis when I breathe it is really stopped by a closed door. If the door was air tight? Maybe. That person was once my best friend. If they read this they may know who they are. I am thinking too on being pushed to do things I am not ready to.

There is a way to invite someone to do something, and there is a way to demand people do things or else. The difference is dramatic. I look back on my life and while I am still very young I have seen over and over again so many people who just want to take and drain no matter the cost. Perhaps it is being disabled that makes the cost something so clear to me, but I do not think so. I think it is simply being alive. The cost can express itself in the form of that person at work who walks into a room and in five seconds you feel drained. They stay too long, they ask too much but society obligates you to not say a word, to act like its fine for people to be that way. They might be obnoxious, rude, or even too polite so that you know they are up to something. THey could also be desperately lonely. Sometimes its okay to leave people in their loneliness.

Sometimes it is okay to tell people too, that solitude is not the same as loneliness. I was asked recently what I want from travel. It is not the tourist hot spot crowded with people but the serene beauty offered by nature. It is the quiet space where few people know to go but holds more beauty than the pastiche of plastic doodads for people to buy and the obligation of what must be seen. While I do want to see the Great Wall of China, the Mona Lisa and of course the Tower of London, I also want to see a backroad in any given country but my own, to listen to the people laughing and talking, and to watch the world.

I look back and I find I am greatly relieved to have found friends when I needed to experience them, and now to lose those people who were not really friends. I am solitary but not alone. I wish I had learned to walk this way long ago. This path of quiet where I reach out to people and they reach back, instead of one of us reaching and falling again and again and being left to wonder why friendship hurts. Friendship is like love. It does not hurt, but feels quite nice.

I look back, and it leaves me looking forward too.

Occupy Hope

I turned off for a while this year. I just needed to shut down. I fought it at first then I let myself drift. Just as I started to come back on the annual depression spree and PTSD kicked in. I did not stop watching the world entirely but the thread was tenuous. I pulled into myself in order to survive and function. I was stolen from by carers. Stupid things. Things. Not important. Some very important. Nothing of greater value than my dolls. That cuts deep still but not as deeply as if they had taken my fine jewelry or had physically harmed me or the cats. The second most important thing out of the myriad is Sprite’s drinking bottle. M has rescued Sprite from being trapped in the house. She recovered her ability before I did.

I have wondered for many years, since I learned about nonviolent protests if I would get to see one happen, without people being maimed. I did. I lived to see peaceful protest in at least one example end successfully. Some people will say that Occupy Wallstreet is using technology to facilitate this but technically savvy does not mean peaceful. It just means youth over all, intelligence and adaptability. I sit here in a world Star Trek dreamed of and I find myself for the first time hopeful. I came back online in the proverbial sense and immediately was innundated with a lot of horrible things, right on my doorstep. Literally.

The police are so corrupt that the Federal Government is trying to investigate but even the mayor of Albuquerque is not allowing this. These words put me in danger to type but I will not stay silent. I read stories, hear stories and feel the brunt of this corruption constantly. GOing out of my house has always frightened me to a point, then my exhusband happened and it became a task where each inch is a mile. This corruption, knowing that if I end up arrested they will find this blog and I will die for it? That shut me down too. I wanted to survive but thriving seemed out of reach.

Yet elsewhere in the world, people are standing in the cold or heat dependent on their local region together. They are working to fight for my freedoms in a way that I wished for so many times. My dream of moving away and being safe stays a possibility because these people fight for their own rights and mine. I do not know what will happen but a part of me knows that the moment a great movement of violence occurs this thing will explode. Its not a matter of time, but a matter of daily choices by millions of people and a single wrong choice is dire. The odds of this staying peaceful are so slim yet we have seen efficacy in this protest that has gone unmatched.

I think it is the multigenerational aspect of this protest. IT is not the first generation of protestors alone or just the youth of today but a bridge of various peoples and experiences. Its the right leadership. Its also desperation. The protestor cannot afford to die, to lose their ability to work for having been violent, and no one wants pain. This desperation can turn on itself in a moment yet, peace has prevailed. This is not to say there are not individuals that with in the movement haven’t made mistakes, died from violence with in the camps but that is part of such a large gathering of people. The fact that the police and the government sent spies in says a lot. The rich plan the destruction of the movement, unwittingly fueling this. The one percent… I am at the opposing end of the spectrum just by being disabled and not working.

None of the problems we adults face today are from just our time on this planet. You can be 100 or more years old and some of these issues are generational. Peace as a protest is still very new. I recently spoke to someone about technology being in it’s teenage years, rebelling in it’s creation of anything and everything for a price. Peace is still in it’s infancy. This is the birth.

I am a member of the 99%. I live in daily fear of starvation. I live in daily fear that the police will throw me illegally out of my house. I live in fear that the neighborhood I live in, considered the warzone in a state so poverty stricken and corrupt will explode in violence. It’s been quiet for a few months. Its just a matter of time until the shootouts resume. I do not mean the once a week kind we’ve had but the daily kind, where regardless of the sun people are hunting one another in the streets like sport. I fight for basic medical care and feel guilt in knowing that most of the 99% working or not do not get the same medical coverage because we are deemed less than and subhuman for not being born with money. Money that most often is the result of crimes like bootlegging, or exploitation of people feeling as desperate as I do.

So I am supporting Occupy Wallstreet with my most potent weapon. My words. I cannot go into the streets and protest. I wouldn’t survive the exposure to the sun, cold, rain, etc and dying horribly does not support the movement. However, I can add my voice to the Chorus. I did not dive in head first. I sat back and watched and I am honored to live to see this protest.

A Movie Review and some gushing about accessibility… aka Hugo

Today I went out and saw Hugo, a movie about a boy and his dolly! Not actually joking but that is the premise. In a post war, modernized steampunk Martin Scorsese writes a love letter to silent film and the origins of an industry that for many is omnipresent. Each character talks about how movies are dreams, sometimes to excess but the movie shows us in glorious detail how movies are dreams. I saw the film in 2D, because the 3D process can cause seizures, headaches and other not so fun or movie enhancing issues.

The story is strong, well paced, and it has all the appropriate tear jerker moments. The casting is superb though there is a weak point. As is expected of films with children having to carry the burden of the story there is always one or two actors who aren’t quite good enough. In this case it’s an adult, who decided that playing a character with a disability means that he needs to make that character the opposite of what it was written to be. Sascha Baren Cohen really needs to stop making films. I know he is popular, but this is with the crowd of people who like to watch racist crap, with no plot like Borat. His career should’ve petered out by now.

HIs character steals the scenes in the wrong way, and a figure who should be imposing, as terrifying to small children as the villain from Chitty Chitty bang Bang was when I was a child was to me, turns into a clown. He cannot smile, he cannot walk well so when he runs he crashes through things in an oh so eyeball stabbing way. Obviously Cohen is not entirely responsible for the farcical moments in an otherwise amazing film.

This love letter has amazing visuals, you could see the well thought out space for the three dee effect, and I am guessing here but it seems it would be worth the ticket price. The graphics are seamless, blending with the realities nicely, and the homage to very real film makers is a romantic moment. The two young leads show that if they work their careers correctly they will be superstars. They have that thing, that mixed with talent draws people to them.

This movie I give out of my 10 star rating a 9, the missing star for blatant disablism and the casting of Cohen. As they overlap its saved from eight. This is the best film that has come out thus far this year, though some come very close. Tomorrow I am seeing another film but I know it will be under the shadow of Hugo. This movie will at least vie for the Oscar for best graphics.

When sitting through the half an hour of previews, and creating the preview drinking game (might explain this down below, and yes I do recommend it with Soda or before the movie starts you shall die of alcohol poisoning) I noticed that instead of the single spot for wheelchair users, there are now four in the theatre. This is a standardized set up for each theatre. The chairs are also amazingly comfortable, if you are using the theatre chair. I will update this with an address after my movie watching for the year is complete.

This movie threatre has been amazing about accessibility for the entirety of it’s time, but adding in the option of captions and a myriad of other goodnesses has been amazing to see. The theatre management tries to stay ahead of the curve on technology that lets EVERYONE participate. Now if Hollywood would just catch on to the fact that disabled folks are people… that’d be nifty.

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