Word

“Autistic…”

I freeze where I stand.

A single word

Thrown out

Carelessly cutting to the core.

Why does it hurt so?

‘It’s just a word

And aren’t you just being too sensitive?’

Yet I’m still stuck there

Nailed to the spot by the hammer blow

Of indictment.

 

Had it been another word

Would I have felt the same?

Fat

Ugly

Awkward?

Surprised, probably.

Hurt, perhaps.

But feeling as though my skin has been flayed

Exposing the quivering fleshy

Substance beneath?

 

I like words.

Words carry meaning.

Meaning conveys truth.

From the configurations of letters and syllables

Words are born that make sense of life.

When you say ‘apples’

I think

Of glossy sweet fruit with a crisp crunch.

When you say ‘wonderful’

I think

Of good news and smiling faces and pats on the back.

When you say “Autistic”

I

 

People with autism are

Intelligent and lovely and interesting

People.

So it isn’t the label per se

As much as the libel.

Because words carry meaning

And meaning conveys truth

And that word carries a meaning conveying a truth

That is not true of me.

Autism is a complex developmental condition

Present from early childhood

With diagnostic features of deficits in social communication and restrictive repetitive behaviour

And while some of that may describe me

Autism does not and cannot define me.

 

See, I like words.

Words carry meaning

And meaning conveys truth

And when words are used inaccurately

I am upset.

So if you call me fat or ugly

They are subjective terms which I could possibly be considered to be-

While I am definitely awkward.

 

But when you say I am autistic

I think you mean that I am

Abnormal and defective and

Wrong

When wrong is actually the incorrect use of that word to describe

Someone who likes words and is particular about meaning because truth matters.

But yes, I am complex.

Finish the story: the fountain and the heart

Here’s how the story goes. Once upon a time, there was a girl who liked a boy. He liked her too, at least a bit. They travelled to a magical land far, far away, where the boy showed the girl a fountain. But in order to drink from the fountain, a piece of the drinker’s heart had to be given in payment. Now the girl’s heart had been kept safely hidden under lock and key, for it was her most precious possession and she had been warned about taking it out for others to see. But she wanted so much to taste of the drink from the fountain, for when the boy drank his face lit up and he invited her to drink too. The girl held out for a while, for she had been so warned not to let out her heart, but in the end her desire won out. In fact, it was almost as though her heart itself had fought its way out. She slowly unfastened the lock holding her heart, then broke off just a corner from it to hand over to the boy.

And the drink from the fountain was good, so good, far better than she had imagined. Perhaps it was too good. Day after day, the girl kept slowly giving her heart away, not only because she had become intoxicated by the drink from the fountain but also as it was the first time she had ever known her heart like this, for it had been hidden for so long and she marvelled afresh at its beauty, down to the minutest inch of it. So she kept drinking, and with each drop she ripped at her heart, bit by bit.

But one day, she saw the fragments that were left of her heart and was very afraid, for she had not realised how much she had given away. And when she looked around, she found that they were no longer in the magical land and there was no fountain anymore. So she ran and hid, locking away what remained of her heart in a place even deeper and further than it had been before, and for good measure, stayed there locked away with it.

For a while, the boy was confused and sought her to return to the fountain. And it gnawed at her, for she wanted so much for him to come and fight for her. But she was both too proud and too fearful to ask him to find her. How could she, when she had nothing left to offer in return even if he were to come. How could she, when it was her own foolishness that had landed her in this state. How could she, when the boy had never asked for any of this, when his only crime was making her smile. But most of all, deep down, she feared that he simply wouldn’t, that once he saw the pitiful broken remains he would see what a calamity it was he had narrowly avoided and run in the opposite direction as far away as he possibly could…

.

.

.

.

.

Finish the story for me? I wish I knew how to get to happily ever after.

New day, new year

Here dies another year

During which I have had eyes, ears, hands,

People to love and be loved by

And the great world full of adventures round me;

And with tomorrow begins another.

Why am I allowed two?

 

– 2 parts G.K. Chesterton, 1 part me.

The Australian Christmas Song

Pale skin roasting in the Aussie sun

Mozzies nipping at your toes

Drunken refrains being squawked by galahs

And folks stripping off all their clothes

 

Barbeques cause raging bush fires

Making all our trees alight

The sun doesn’t set till 8:35

I guess there’s no peace till midnight

 

We know that mum is on her way

With food to feed a village and presents sought for days

She’s had to fight through hordes of frenzied ones

To get the prawns – her work’s now halfway done

 

And so amidst the crazed cacophany

Remember what Christmas’ is all about

Altho’ it’s been said many times many ways

God is with us, Rejoice.