Sept-2019 lost blog: notelings left on note-things

HELLO. Enter THE TIME-MACHINE, yet again. (i always was often-delayed with things on here but this time there was a bigger gap between writing on here because, Reasons… and now i want to catch up in an attempt to be able to use this spaceland again). I am now finding a few posts in the drafts-graveyard that I had forgotten existed and they are oddly resistant to forever being graveyard-drafts, they want to be ghost-blogyard ghost-blogs… so even though they are from days and days and days and days and more-more days ago, I’m going to post them anyway, starting with this one. this one is from SEPTEMBER! (LAST YEAR September: September 2019). What was I doing in September 2019? I was typing the below wordlings, apparently.

September notelings left on note-things…

top tip: it’s easier to go back to bed when you’re already in bed. kind of. just make sure you have loads of stuff on it so when you drag the duvet up it sits on top of you like a huggable pile like in where the wild things are when they all go to sleep.

but if you stay in bed too long then the leggings hanging up to dry on the wardrobe might turn into a freaky thing. and so will the towel on the shower-door, and the cat-pyjamas on the keyboard stand and the jacket on the chair and the hoody on the other chair and – wow, I really have utilised all the hanging space in this little room.

counting days… counting backwards, then forwards…
it doesn’t prove anything when you don’t know what number you’re counting towards
it doesn’t change anything
it doesn’t alter or reframe anything

and when breathing, just breathing becomes something you have to think about
when leaving becomes something you have to convince yourself not to think about
you don’t have to think or say or do. just, be still.
but how do you be still, when you’re still?

How do you rest and run at the same time?
It’s celebrating and screaming underwater;
swim-drowning, false-flowering

Return the solution to isolation

weetabix isn’t the answer here
i put things down and then i forget and then i see it moved and it’s like someone else has moved it because i didn’t notice the last bit happen and – I’m losing sense of what’s real. The grippable-real.

10, or 12, or 20… 100, 10, 1, O.

The numbers are confusing me. I keep having to google the word decade. I get it confused with the word ‘dozen’ and don’t know whether it means ’12 years’ or ’10 eggs’. I keep thinking it means I’m 10, or 12, or 20. but I am none of those eggs. or some of those eggs. Not all of those eggs, yet. I think about when I was 10, and 12, and 20. It takes me back to the day I walked alone near Barbury Castle and all of my past-mes were running along the path, some crawling, some flying, some walking… the day I wondered how many mes I’d have to meet in this one lifetime. I keep seeing people’s ‘things I’ve achieved’ things and can’t make sense of all the timelines – because we’re somehow in the same time, but not on the same timelines… the Draff of my brain tries to process a thing which the rest of me knows isn’t linear, in a linear way, which doesn’t work, and so I get confused. There is too much jelly soup for simple equations to function here, so I evaporate the liquid through a non-breakable hoover and turn the cubes into a bouncable trampoline playground of joy. A supposed-to-be adult on a bed hits their head on a slopy wall without much effort.

I need structure to fall from the sky like a stackable tray. How are you all doing this? It’s not that I want to teach the soup to dance, or to walk, but to THINK. The thinking is soup when it wants to be… bricks. Stackable bricks. I need help turning the soup into bricks. to jellify the jam. because when they are soup then I am soup. and, I am soup. which is soup, but I’m supposed to be being a human here.

If it’s 2020, then that means I’ve been living on my own for more than a year… is that correct? I struggle to do the sums. Numbers confuse me because of the circle-feeling. It’s why I found it so difficult learning to tell the time when I was younger. It felt so complicated. I get confused as to why a circle was 60 not 100 and yet is also 360, not 100, and when 100, it can be more than 100, not just 100, or 10, or 1, or O. and why there are 12 months, not 10. and they all have different… knuckle-things. I get confused as to what’s today and what’s tomorrow. and how to –
I get confused as to how to just –
it’s like trying to grasp the air within a balloon made of thin about-to-pop-sugar in a dreamland-limbo where candy-cane clouds laugh teeny-tiny paper-cuts onto unsung tongues

Is staring at the calendar-pages actually doing anything?

I retreat into the duvet-iglu and force myself to generate the energy it must take to manifest the inner-self I need to help us out of here. She arrives in the mindcave and I feel immediately patronised. She wants us to meal-plan, route-plan, day plan, night plan. Shower plan, tidy plan. Sort the things to do plan. but she hasn’t completely remembered how to direct us yet. Yesterday, she took us shopping and we returned with fruit and jelly and ice-cream. Tomorrow I shall become one of the plums.

I feel like the luckiest weetabix that doesn’t know how to weetabix.

I must remember to keep communicating with people – to keeping outer-ing, and not give into the lurking temptation of forever-silence, waiting like a heavenly pie-ghost.

I often wonder how much is related to my autistic neurology and how much is related to isolation and/or aloneness. and I know the two inter-relate, because a lot of the alone-ness (the chosen and non-chosen elements) are linked to being autistic too. I wonder if I was not autistic, how I would be managing the situation here. or how if I was not alone, whether I would be managing it better.

but I also know, that I AM managing better – so much better – and that this is all a part of bettering the better-butter until busy makes air graspable and manageable and shuffleable and seeable and the skies will roll to summer and –

dyu remember that heatwave when I couldn’t stop checking my pulse?
…see?! that seems like a lifetime ago.
It’s all just mini-lives.
like crumbs of crumbs
the breaded sums
rolling, uncountable
unassembled breadlings awaiting the butter magnet from a winter-chilled utensil
dried and scattered

sleep, little breadslug
January is waiting for our creaturing dreams.

busying the non-escape


Is there a feeling-name for that constant urge to run away from your own self? Every few minutes it’s like I want to just, drop everything and escape. I feel like I am constantly distracting myself so I don’t end up at a station or an airport or just on a million buses. I feel ungrounded, I feel a strong pull from the spaceclouds, I feel that pull when I stop distracting myself like it’s reaching and beckoning and I’m worried that if I stop, I will be zoomed away – though maybe more worried that I’m actually not worried about the zooming-out-ness, because it’s so appealing, so… so, whatever the word is when it’s like magnets and when it makes more sense than whatever this jumbled nonsensical figuring-out stepping stones life is that I must engage in instead. It feels like I am trying to hold water, it feels like I’m trying to swim through candyfloss, an unsugared tongue unwoken, overspoken, it feels like I need to abandon my own inner oceans, it feels like if I just walked and kept walking I could wander out of the gamesphere into the grey, the reassuring grey, and I could hold the grey, then Be the grey, and then nothing else – and then nothing – just the ghost-essence of dead stars waiting to be glimmered. and so I write and type and sing and pace and repeat the soup round and round and round like an alphabet-circus of shouty number-shapes which refuse to stay in any one place – but even the sugarclowns are bored, their abacus-bead faces round and polished as they roll down forgotten hillsides which we no longer choose to climb. Productivity is a jellyland mountain through which my sense of purpose trembles. so again, I write and type and sing and pace and repeat the soup, throw the soup and splatter, like shattering liquid platecrumbs hurtling through a zero-gravity ceiling. and once again, I stand up, sit down, change the order of the pillow-pile, flip the duvet over, touch the wall, clap, stretch, tap, gather imaginary butterflies from the corners of runaway shapes… and force myself to stay.

arrive with me; arrive, and let us be yoghurts on the floor.

More writing-therapy from the ghosts of me – because I have to, because I want to, because I don’t know else how To.

I’ve been well the last few weeks, which, after unwellness, feels like a gift from the sky, and aside from the custardy guilt of being very aware that other people are unwell when I am well, I have been trying to absorb every moment, like collecting sugarwater before a planetary drought. Being well has meant joy and love and wonder and universe-sparkling magnetism; it has also meant anxiety, panic, stomach-tangling sadness, voices, unwelcoming thoughts, as of course these things don’t just disappear – but all of these things through Wellness is a difference I haven’t learned to describe yet. A Grateful Difference. It is Light, it is Life. However, with me still trying to manage on my own I can feel the spheres shifting and I’m currently at a stage of KeepMoving KeepBusy, because when I stop, I feel everything crashing down at a faster rate than I know how to catch all the pieces. and before the influx of We All Feel Like That arrives, like a parade of smug hankies, just – well, if we all feel like the things I try to describe which I long for support for then why on this planet earth is it so difficult to find a way of being helped.

I am aware of all of my luck, I am over-awared of that – I am also aware of my ability to begin each day in a complete mess trying to perform human tasks such as finding keys or trying to put on pants or remembering how to drink or trying to stop saying numbers aloud or trying to curb spontaneous clapping habits because it hurts my hands and people won’t want me to do that, or trying to exist without things shouting at me, trying to hide from the umbrella-lamps of expectation. Trying to understand How Much I Can Manage Today without thick guilt for accommodating my own basic needs. I feel like I’m living every day under the strange guise of a person who can manage on their own, whilst living a private life of being a yoghurt on the floor. yet most of the time, I refuse to unveil the yoghurt. I understand that I am pushing myself with all of my luck in the world, and I want to keep doing so. but how to maintain self-managment in the yoghurt-speheres? admitting yoghurtland to others means admitting yoghurtland to myself, which distracts me from my quest to the outer-land universe. and what do I want from the outer-land universe? more portals to the inner-land universe. to Dissolve.

i hide the yoghurt; i lose. but, how else? what would I gain by showing the yoghurt? There is no magic towel to transport me to space. I would seep through the floorboards and travel up to the skies via tree-water. so… I get up. a walking, wandering, rolling, bumbling yoghurt-ghost and scream raspberries until the world makes sense. and the world doesn’t make sense… which makes sense. Why would it? It is not mine. I am not mine. I do not belong. Be long. long to be. longing. for belonging. must I continuously remove myself in order to belong? belonging in not belonging. must I continuously rely on the close friendship between my face and the floor? where are you all? must we all remain in the private lands of fall? the silence comforts: the silence pains. the silence is loud in emotion, busy in buzzy-still motion. the limbo-vacuum travels still, still travelling, still travelling still. arrive with me. arrive, and let us be yoghurts on the floor.

a traveler in the realms of me

I was on the tube and there was no one else on it and I thought I was dead and I was having a lovely time, yes I was having a very lovely time and then people got on the tube and I was like HEY, what you doing in my dead, but then they didn’t say anything so I thought maybe they were dead too, and it was quiet, and there was no one else on it, apart from us, and me, and me and us, and then the tube train stopped and the doors opened and no one else got on it and then it was quiet and then the tube train stopped and the doors opened and no one else got on it and –

I glance up and around at all the other dead-me s
I want to squish their fleshy faces and lick the shiny buckles on their bags
like a creepy squirrel

I pull up my socks and wonder if they felt it
I listen to the essence
I wonder if they meant it
I wonder if they want it


and then the tube doors open
and people get on
and it is loud
and the tube doors open
and people get off
and people get on
and it is quiet
and the tube doors open
and I get off
and in all of my dead-ness,
I have never felt so alive


follow your alignment

Find your alignment
Summon your alignment
Dream your alignment
Follow your alignment

The pressures of interpretation aren’t always nutritional
The energy-umbions feed from the oomblets of surroundedness
Floating groundedness
Folded and carried
Wounded, healed
undug, unburied
Opened and shared

Filled with past purpose, free from present meaning
Only un-mined feeling:
These are someone else’s seedlings.

I am transport
I am traveling bowl
Upside down
Unmilk the bowl!
Release the foal!
Feel and echo kindness
Follow your alignment
Summon your alignment
Dream your alignment
Find your alignment
True treasure’s not to have or hold
to claim nor own

The beauty and the unbowled soul:
untangled at the gate,
unstorified by fate

Will you follow your alignment?

I hope and trust and feel and fear a chance you may not take… but it’s not my choice to make.

To do, to do, to do………

HELLO. Here I am. (“Here I am! Where’s The Spill?!” exclaims the brain-echolalia, covering the place in imaginary paper towels).

Did you ever watch ‘Get Your Own Back’ where there was a game on there with giant foam toast and people had to crawl through a toast grid breaking all the toast-boards, and it used to look like it was so satisfying, or at least made a satisfying sound? Well I’m in the mood to do that, apart from, walls hurt your body parts because they don’t want to play, I do not recommend. Unless you have a toast-board… or toast-walls… in which case it’s probably okay. Instead, I threw my face (and the rest of the body it’s attached to) into a big pile of stuff which I just took out of the dryer, which was quite good – it was warm – but, it wasn’t the imagined toast board so obviously it didn’t make the noise I keep expecting to EXPERIENCE. toasty).

After hours of clapping, swinging things around and shaking about for all the times I didn’t when asked to do the oaky koaky (is that even the word? this is going to be like that song lyric thing, isn’t it, where it’s something really obvious and I’ve just heard it as ‘koaky’… OH I just googled it and I’m laughing – it’s Hokey Cokey, apparently. Nothing oaky about it. It’s also bringing back terrible memories of small-child-me feeling pressured to do the same movement as everyone else on demand – never was one for audience participation. or any participation… when made to feel aware of the Participation Part, anyway). ANYWAY – – – I can’t remember the end of that sentence because my attention span is

My rucksack looks like a happy axolotl
(or one gasping for breath)
(a bit like me swimming last month)
(before I discovered how much goggles help me breathe even though I do not breathe with my eyes)

You know those rugs you get – well, which you CAN get – of fake animals lying on the ground, as a rug? well I’ve been impersonating one of those, in between sudden bursts of getting up to spray some SURFACE CLEANER on a chosen bit of surface and wiping it to keep the monsters away. It doesn’t keep any monsters away. or maybe it does and I just don’t know it, because They are Away.

I wish I had a swing. Why don’t I have a swing? well, there’d be nowhere to put it so having one would be useless but, I wish I knew a swing. Why don’t I know a swing? The last time I found a swing I noticed the sign that said I wasn’t supposed to be there unaccompanied (because I didn’t have a child with me) and then I was too scared to go back there in case the SwingPolice took away my swing-rights, for not being accompanied by a child. Number 1 reason for having a child: TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF SWINGS
actually no, I don’t think I want to go to that land as there’d probably be too many people and a high swing-collision probability, but, just one swing would be excellent


and on that note, whilst I’m on this note, before I go to write the other note – Here’s something I wrote a few days ago and FORGOT TO PUT HERE.

Sumita +.+

To do, to do, to do………

to do, to do, to do……… to do it I’m falling.

I feel like I’m taking on the world and failing. and I’m not. I’m not taking on the world, it’s only an assignment. and I can’t fail it before I’ve done it, and I haven’t done it, so I can’t be failing. to do, to do, to do, to do, to do………. am i failing doing it, by failing to do it? to do it I’m falling.

I’m tinier than a dead star. I’m tinier than that dead rock-debris fragment that I can’t see in the sky. I am more insignificant than dust. but dust travels. and like dust, any significance i do have travels. and if I can guide the direction it travels in, then I have to care. or I don’t have to, but I have to choose to. or I don’t have to choose to, but I maybe want to? because, there isn’t a because. (BECAUSE OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS HE DOES!, screams the inner-brain-echolalia, into the absence of done things.)

I need to write more lists – nothing is getting done around here. ‘THAT’S SOMETHING!’ shouts a sugarclown. I thought I told them to leave after they insensitively laughed at my baby dream and punched me in the stomach. I squash its tiny plasticine face and lick the candyfloss out of the sky – today we shall be grey-flavoured. I like grey. ‘I don’t’, mumbles a squashed sugarclown, but I’m not listening to its whiny non-joke, they were squashed ages ago. UNSQUASH YOURSELVES, commands the orange-juice-escapee sun, having runway from the recycling-press from the juice-box it was homed on. What do they know, they were 2D in the first place. and what does that make me? I close my eyes and try to sense my ghost-D presence more presently. Nope. Still stuck in future or past limbo, or some sort of amalgamation of the two. I must resume the future-past. I must do to be, and be to Be, and be to do, but mostly Be – not do to do to do to do to do. I fall but I’m supposed to. I be because I am. how else am i supposed to? how else would i do? not being would not do, for me. yet here i am, neither be nor do. Time to fix that. OPERATION ENERGY CONVERT!

With this I must listen; From this I must Be.

The sun streams down onto the duvet, in a little puddle of warm glow – like it does when you’re in the sea, glowing on little underwater sand-islands as it moves position in the sky – or at least, how it appears to be moving from our on-this-planet perspective. My body fills up with September-feeling, as I count 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 strawberry-shapes hanging on a string on my cupboard. I like how objects travel and carry. Essence. Was it the porridge? Maybe it was the porridge. It shouldn’t be a surprise that basic nutrition helps the brain. No, I think it’s more than that. Something is aligning, or has aligned, or will be aligning – or probably all three, considering the time thing. Light has already traveled before I’ve looked at it. By the time I experience it, it’s already gone. I reach out my hands and watch them glow and fade, glow and fade, tiny triangles smiling as they morph and grow, fade and glow. This is not just another sugar-sphere: This is important. This I must carry. This I must absorb, and from this I must form. Internalise and expel. With this I must listen, From this I must Be.

‘I Wish You Knew’ with Pablo – share your stories!


As you may have seen (as I am a few days late with typing this up), the social media team of the show Pablo have been encouraging people to join their #IWishYouKnew campaign. What do you wish someone knew about you, that if they knew, might have helped them to be more understanding towards you or someone else with a similar experience?

“Share your #IWishYouKnew stories and let us come together to welcome and embrace our differences!” @PabloTVShow

(Here is a << link >> to Pablo’s campaign video)

Do you wish that teacher knew that when you were drawing it was to help you focus, not because you were bored or not listening? or maybe you wish you they knew how much you appreciated something they said or did that still motivates you now? #IWishYouKnew

Do you wish that family member knew you missed their party because you were too anxious and overwhelmed, not because you didn’t want to go? or maybe you wish they knew how much it helped to be given the option not to attend? #IWishYouKnew

Do you wish your doctor knew how much you need help when you look like you’re coping fine? or are you glad that they made you feel comfortable enough to be able to communicate with them? #IWishYouKnew

Do you wish that friend knew you were excited by what they were saying when your face and voice didn’t show it? or do you wish they knew how much a small gesture changed your entire day, even if to them it might have seemed like such an ordinary or unnoticeable thing? #IWishYouKnew

It would be great if you could share your stories and use the tag #IWishYouKnew or tag Pablo’s social media pages in it.

People often treat others based on what they know, or what they think they know about people… but a lot of the time, it’s what people don’t know which causes misunderstandings – even the most well intended people make mistakes and misjudgements. We probably all have, even without knowing. I know I’ve often thought, ‘I wish that person knew’ – something about how I was feeling, or about something that was happening that I could not explain in the moment… and other times, I’ve thought, ‘I wish I knew’ about other people, because it might have meant I could have approached a situation differently – what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone (and what works for one person in one scenario doesn’t mean that is what will work in every scenario! Life is morphily experiential, we can’t know everything).

I like finding out about the way people think. I find it interesting to consider which things are the same and which things are very different (and which things are the same but different but the same) to the way in which I think. It also helps me to try and be more considerate about the way I am towards others. This is useful when thinking about my own needs are alongside expectations of others, which isn’t something I used to think about so much… though I do often get stuck in what I currently call ‘social riddles’, where something that is helpful for someone else is being unhelpful or interfering for me, and something that is helpful for me is probably unhelpful or might make things difficult for someone else. Some of these social riddles are easier to solve than others, it’s often a bit of a tangly guessing game for everyone.

(People, learning to be people, among other people, who are not the same as them but who are also people, learning to be people, among other people who are not the same as them…)

I think there’s less of the tangly-guessing the more we’re able to reflect on what works or doesn’t work for each of us – that way, we can learn from past experiences and make things better for each other. Even if we can’t change those past situations, voicing those experiences can possibly change future situations – for us, or for others.

It’d be great to turn some of those ‘I Wish I Knew’ s into ‘I’m Glad I Know’ s! By sharing stories we can help each other to communicate our experiences and gain insight to the different ways we think.


The ground doesn’t move under my feet…but it does.

THIS HAS BEEN IN MY DRAFTS FOR AGES here’s a thing from about a month or more ago! (It might have been from even before that weird heatwave week, so it feels like a different planet ago)

I have been wanting to write about exercising for ages but there are just so many elements to what I want to output that it seemed such a task… it’s like each small story is full of smaller stories and each smaller stories is a ghost-Big story, full of tiny stories, and sometimes the tiny story is a big story dressed up as a tiny story, etc etc etc. I know I don’t constantly have to explain myself, but doing so helps me to see things that hide from me in my own mind. That is why I write in the first place. Writing therapy is writing therapy because of that, and I must continue to engage in that process, particularly right now when I seem to be spending such little time in the presence of people.

This took me so many days of coming back to writing this (because it was kind of difficult, and also my attention span and energy levels haven’t been the greatest)…

Today [*Edit not Today, this was whenever I first started writing this – this is about the tenth time I’m coming back to finish this!] I tried to run outside for the first time since I last tried to run outside, which must have been over a year ago. I couldn’t run outside that time, and I couldn’t this time either. It was a massive confidence un-boost. I knew I hadn’t been great at running this week due to an unusual and annoying amount of fatigue, but I had been used to running indoors on a treadmill, not outside where the ground doesn’t move under your feet. I felt like a liar and like I couldn’t do anything – and my brain being my brain quickly span out of control and applied this thought-tunnel to all aspects of my life, not just exercising.

Despite the impression my play-doh marshmallow-cushion bodymask may give, I like to exercise 4 or 5 times a week. It is surprising for someone like me to say that I like doing this, as my relationship with the gym and my relationship with exercising has changed a lot throughout my life. I was a fairly active child – small-child me did loads of swimming and enjoyed after-school netball club – but ‘small’-child me was a chubby child and stuff like running was not easy (which I was sad about because I wanted to do the Fun Run and get a badge, but I couldn’t really run)… and then I turned into a fat teenager who was terrible at sport (apart from swimming), and so I hated most sport because I was terrible at it and embarrassed by my terrible-at-it-ness. I always had to do some sort of exercise, though, because if I didn’t I put on weight super-fast and also apparently it’d help my supposed hormone imbalance related stuff and other brain stuff etc etc etc – but I did not like running at all.

College-me was still fat and terrible at running, but also I no longer wanted to go swimming anymore because of becoming really aware of the fat thing… and then late-teens/early adult (I’m not an adult) me would sneak out early in the morning to try and attempt to run, because I was so embarrassed at not being able to run properly and didn’t want people to know I was exercising for some reason. Due to my sneaky slow metabolism interfering with my thought patterns, I eventually taught my brain to focus on the narrative that I was exercising to maintain my weight – to not get bigger (and to manage mysterious chemically things inside me) as opposed to exercising to lose weight – that it was just something I had to do – because otherwise, I’d get caught up in the frustration-loop of body-image-related hell. I began to get more comfortable talking about exercising, instead of feeling anxious about people knowing it was something I tried to do, which was really helpful. I still didn’t enjoy it though (although I enjoyed it afterwards… endorphins-dolphins or something like that). (Oh, apart from one night out where me and my housemate decided to run everywhere, I enjoyed that – I think Plymouth was freezing cold at the time, and it seemed the best way to get from each pub to the next)

Fast-forward about 7 years of trying-to-sort-my-life-out brain-mess…

A couple of years ago was the first time I actually ENJOYED running (running at the gym, on a machine, but I try to tell myself it’s not cheating even when I definitely feel like it is). I don’t know how or why, but everything about it seemed different. Before each run I would need to install these different voices into my head just to get me there, which would play out during the run (this was something I had to do to counter the awful voices that would constantly interfere with my mind). I was still terrible at running, but the progress I made through adding my own voices to the voice-mess inside my head was rewarding, exciting and quite unbelievable as I never saw myself as someone who would be able to actually enjoy the running part of running, as opposed to just the bit after. (I also never thought I’d be able to DO the running part, let alone the enjoying part!)

I began to really think about how it was so different or what had changed, and how I even knew to add my own voices, and what it was about them that were powerful enough to counteract the other voices which still existed within me. I realised that I kind of had to do the opposite of what I did before or to what I guess that most people do when they motivate themselves with sport. Those voices used to be really pushing me to go further, to do better. Keep going, go faster. Do more – which seem positive, but when these are naturally accompanied by the things that tell you how bad you are if you don’t then they suddenly become less helpful. ‘Keep going, or something bad will happen’ (often something irrational and specific) ‘go faster because they’ll come to get you if you don’t’ ‘do more because you don’t do enough’, all accompanied by feeling-flavours of worthlessness and disgust and just all the things you don’t really need in your mind aout yourself ever. I would be running with fear, running with self-hate, running with ANGER (a lot of anger) – no wonder I hated it so much – and being terrible at it made me hate it more; I would push myself until I was being sick, yet I would never have gone as far enough as I wanted or what they wanted – it was an unachievable end goal because the voices were always there to tell me that I had not done enough, the voices were always there to tell me what I should have done and what I could not do and what I did not do.

When I started again a few years ago, after a bit of an unintentional break from exercise for various reasons, I really felt like I was starting from the bottom – I felt really unfit, and like I had nothing to lose (other than the weight I had gained from the various-reasons break). I was fighting a lot of anxiety and mood imbalances and I needed to sort myself out with regular exercise again. I also just really wanted to be able to run. I kept seeing people running and it really made me want to be able to do that, as I like the idea of Things that you can just do anywhere without needing Things (or, without needing Many things – stuff you can take anywhere, like drawing, or yoyoing, or skipping, etc). I read some stuff online about the ‘Couch to 5k’ thing where people had gone from not running at all to eventually being able to run 5km – and though the thought of me ever being able to run 5km at once seemed laughable, I felt inspired to give it a go. (Of course, me being me, I was too stubborn and impatient to follow the programme, and ended up making my own goals up instead as I went along). That’s how I started, anyway, my gym-game completely changed at the end of last year and is not focused on the same thing now – but this post is about this running thing so I am rewinding and talking about that.

Anyone with the tiniest bit of gym-fear or people-fear or going-into-the-outside-world-fear will know how scary it can be going into a gym. Starting anything new is scary. Add a lot of anxiety to the mix and it’s even worse. and if that’s autism-flavoured anxiety it’s just – well, if you’re autistic and gym-anxious you might know what I mean. There is a lot to be confused about and asking people about the confusion is often not an option. and what if someone uses the locker you always use, and why has someone gone on that machine when I was just on my way back with the cleaning spray to clean it, what do I do now – etc etc etc. (the correct answer is: you do a small panic-dance, then clean the one next to it that you didn’t even use, then laugh about it because – why did you do that, what are you doing?!, and then run away to dissolve into your own private universe-sphere)

Anyway, by the time I had even got INTO the gym when I restarted a few years ago, I had already defeated more anxiety-demons than anyone really knew. I was already energy-drained from all of those fights before I had even been on one machine – I felt physically and emotionally exhausted – but for the first time, my brain really let me fully acknowledge that… it just started saying these things, kind things, encouraging things, to let me know that I was doing well. Instead of pushing me over an already-over-pushed limit, telling me to work harder when I was already working harder, it was doing the opposite. ‘You’ve done really well to be here’ ‘Don’t worry if you need to slow down to a walk, you’ve achieved a lot just being here’ ‘Look after yourself, don’t overdo it’ ‘Be sensible, don’t make yourself ill’. This felt SO ALIEN TO ME – I didn’t really understand the feelings it was making me feel, but somehow it was making me work harder, to be better yet to also enjoy myself, perhaps because I wasn’t being swarmed by concentrated hate-voices. I didn’t even perceive it as a positive feeling at first, because it just felt different and strange. I thought, who do these things think I am, why are they trying to trick me into not working as hard. Why do they not want me to reach my goals? Why are they trying to make myself ‘give in’ – I didn’t know which voices to trust and was over-suspicious… but for the sake of trying to de-escalate anxiety, I began to tune away from processing the thoughts and deciphering the words, and tune more into the feelings – and that’s when I started to notice that those voices held some sort of sparkle-light which was too magnety to not listen to. and when I listened to those voices that ALLOWED me to have a break, that congratulated me and praised me just for being in the situation, before even reaching a single target, something different happened – and it helped me to listen to the positive things, to stop without feeling guilty yet to make much greater improvements and better progress. The feeling is a bit like having a really thin tingly layer emerging from the outside of the skin of your bodymask (for some reason it feels like loads of inspiring people who have died have arrived in the form of good vibes to say hello) which in that moment allows you to appreciate how much you have done, how hard you have worked and how well you are doing to be trying your best – and then it super-quickly rushes through your whole body and disappears. The memory of that feeling then becomes the energy-drive that battles the other feelings, defending me against annoying demon-monsters.

There is so much I could say about this topic and I will come back to writing about it, because it’s not just running I want to write about in the exercise-topic-realm – exercise is amazing to me because it really helps me to form an eating and sleeping routine – for someone with an often-disordered both of these things and a need for routines to function well, this is a great thing! but, to finish this thing I want to go back to why I started writing all this in the first place – I was writing about having been running outside for the first time in ages and being terrible at it and feeling disappointed. There I was, struggling to maintain a jog, on my second or third circuit of mostly walking with small intervals of ‘running’. It was quite busy in the park as it was sunny, and I was wearing shorts which I never usually do, so the combination of people everywhere, feeling body-anxious and generally just trying to run in very-public made my anxiety spin loudly. (This definitely did not help my running as it meant I couldn’t breathe properly, which was probably a main part of the not-being-able-to-run problem). Then, someone who was walking past – a friendly-faced stranger – signalled a thumbs up to me and said ‘Well done! You’re doing well!’ and disappeared… I was so surprised because, before I’d actually processed what was going on, my brain heard the words and took this as a signal to remember all of the positive stuff I used to feed my brain before I went running – and I suddenly realised I had forgotten to install these things into my mind. It didn’t suddenly make me be able to run for the rest of the lap, but after that, I definitely had a couple of moments where I remembered that actually, I was not doing as bad as I thought – I had left home, I was out in a busy park, I was wearing shorts, and I was attempting to run, despite a lot of anxiety. I WAS doing well, and I needed to remind myself. I’m so thankful to that person I didn’t know for those words – it was probably the only words physically spoken out loud to me that week and it really made such a difference.

The thing I thought about running outside instead of running on a treadmill, is that the ground doesn’t move under my feet when I run. The ground moves under my feet on a treadmill so I run or I get thrown off. but I’ve now realised that outside, the ground DOES move under my feet… It’s moving all the time. The ground is always changing. and when I choose to run, I am running knowing I will repetitively get thrown off – but the ground carries on moving… and it’s okay that it carries on moving when I’m not running on it, but it doesn’t stop. I must carry on at my own pace, whilst the ground moves at its own pace… and I must challenge my own pace, improve my own pace, improving the fast the slow the long the short – all of the paces must be given equal care in order to nurture the possibility of pushing potential… but just because I do not feel it moving, it does not mean I have been thrown off. It does not mean it isn’t going to throw me off either, just because I think I’ve stopped. Sometimes I need to realise I’m still running when I think I’ve stopped… and as much as I need to keep running, when I’m running, I also just as much need to allow myself to stop, when I stop.