Pablo: #ThinkDifferently

April is very-fast approaching, and for some autistic people this means being trapped between wanting to hide from the internet yet wanting to participate at the same time, and giving in to having a peek to observe the situation but then instantly regretting it – why is this? It’s because it’s ‘Autism Awareness’ (Autism Acceptance) week/month/TIME, which can sometimes translate to ‘BEWARE of the misinformation which often floods the internet, some of which is well-intended but which can enforce further stereotyping and doesn’t help… and I end up tangled between the game of wanting to hide in the safety-realms because of frustration, annoyances and exposure anxiety, yet also really wanting to contribute my so-far thoughts due to my interest.

(Picture from Pablo – Scaredy Cat, Season 1 Ep 20 – *Note: the added captions are my own and are in no way affiliated with the show*)

To tackle this (and to make April seem like less of a scary fish on legs), I have decided to contribute to the vast library of online autistic voices, which I’ll be doing through sharing various Pablo moments, to output some of the energy which it gave me. I know that ‘Pablo’ will have lots of things to share too, on their social media sites with their #ThinkDifferently campaign.

If you’re unaware of what ‘Pablo’ is, it is a pre-school TV show by Paper Owl Films (on CBeebies/RTEJr), featuring an autistic five and a half year old, who uses his ‘Book Animal’ friends in his art world to help him figure out difficult or confusing situations. Each Book Animal represents different parts of Pablo, and are voiced by autistic actors, who also contribute stories and story ideas to the show (one of them is me… although I don’t really call myself an ‘actor’, because I would feel like I’m acting if I did, but maybe I could try it one day…). It’s been such an honour to be involved in this show, voicing the character Wren and co-writing some stories – though it’s been so much more than the creative process and the show itself; it has had a massive personal impact on me, and while exposure anxiety has been a big barrier to me in talking about the show as much as I would have liked to, I’m ready to overcome that in order to help share the important messages behind the show, which act towards promoting autism acceptance and understanding around the world.

I feel it is possible to use communication to help people to think differently about autism, from an autistic angle – and there is not just one autistic angle, there are so many differences within the autistic neurotype collective -and within those who do not feel part of any such collective at all – one autistic voice doesn’t speak for all, but if we share our multiple individual angles then we can create some sort of hedron-sculpture knowledge base to communicate through, and people can observe autism as expressed by autistic people.

Whether autistic or not: We all think differently, we all have different perceptions – but we can find so many similarities in the way that we think (and with that, more differences) – we are the same, but different, but the same – and I think we all want understanding and acceptance in some form.

Pablo’s #ThinkDifferently social media campaign this April is all about sharing the ways in which we think, to help people to think differently about autism, and I would love it if other autistic people joined in with this online, by creating, commenting on or by sharing posts – whether there are particular things about autism you wish people thought differently about, or whether you just want to share the way that you think, I’m interested in knowing about your views.

Sumita *+*+*

Update (Part 3)

I changed my mind again (I told you – it’s the toast-and-butter thing! The toast can’t stick to the butter when the toast is on the floor! wait… no, I meant, the butter… and you might not have seen where I wrote about that in another post before this, so you might not have a clue what I’m talking about, so I’ll just skip to the bit where I tell you what you likely already knew, which is, I’m not always good at sticking to my own plans!). I was going to have separate post for New Year’s, but I don’t know why I would do that now, because it is March… MID-MARCH! (*Edit: End of March now because I took so long about this post*) – plus, I’m getting a bit impatient with the whole catch-up thing and want to start writing from NOW… so January-February-March update is going to be done in fast-forward so I can stop this past-blogging limbo game I’ve accidentally forced upon myself.

…and I just typed out a whole thing and REMOVED IT, partially because of exposure anxiety, partially because of not trying to give into the voice saying YOU HAVE TO WRITE ALL OF THIS STUFF, NOW, and mostly just because I wrote it, read it and thought ‘NOPE’. It feels strange not knowing who I am typing to, and I don’t know if this will make sense, but sometimes feel weirdly protective over my memories and experiences – like they’re going to disappear if I start talking about them, even though they’ve already happened – or that by talking about things irrational things will happen, like…. I don’t know, someone on the other side of the world drops their chocolate milkshake off a cliff, and not only do they lose their milkshake, someone else ends up having a chocolate milkshake land on their head, all because I typed a blog (I don’t know where they found a milkshake when they got to the cliff – unless they brought it with them – and I don’t know how it magically all would manage to land on one person’s head from that height, either). ANYWAY, here are some pictures… studying, gigging, scribbling, wedding-ing – there was a lot of crying, but also a lot of smiling, and gyming, and some bus-adventuring too! It took me 6 months, but I think I’m finally settled.


Update (Part 2)

I’d planned for this post to be December-January, but then I decided I wanted a separate New Year’s Eve one, so here are some end-of-November-and-December photos because we all know I am as good at sticking to my plans as butter on toast, which means sometimes I’m very good at it, and most times I’m not because the butter doesn’t land on the toast, it lands on the floor, and then I have to scoop it up like some sort of cat-child (CAT-CHILD?! I do not know why my brain said this, but it did – if there is any logic in that, I do not know what it is. Do you?)

Being in London when Christmas is approaching was weird. I felt like some sort of ghost. I think I usually do around December time, but ghost-level seems maximised when you live on your own in a big city full of humans who walk around with other humans and go for drinks with other humans and talk and laugh with other humans and – and even when you don’t want to be doing any of those things and are quite content in your overpriced iglu hiding in the quiet with a box of ice-lollies and a bowl of peas, something’s still a bit ‘should I be doing those things’ ‘why aren’t I doing those things’ ‘should I go and find some friends’ about it, even when you know very well that you DO have friends, in very many directions, and you know how difficult it is trying to find the time and the energy to meet up even when you really really want to. (I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, and that’s to be able to not get depressed, and to be able to type the word ‘really’ twice in a row without a hundred leopard-print Spice Girls blurring up my brain in a series of jumping-slinky-shaped badly-green-screened army-animations, like some sort of unfinished 90s glitch-trip).

The other thing about December, is that there are PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, because, Christmas – but that might also be because I actually started trying to go places which were very busy, though sometimes it was by accident. One time, for example, the tube got really busy and I didn’t want to fight my way through to the door so I stayed on the tube – but then it kept being really busy and then loads of people were getting off at Oxford Circus so I escaped with the moving crowd-shape and thought, ‘I’ll just wander about around here until it’s less busy then get back on the tube and go to the stop I was meant to get off at’ (apart from, I didn’t realise that it’s Oxford Circus and it NEVER becomes less busy so I ended up there for much longer than I intended) – anyway, I got off the tube and ended up in an AMAZING SHOP – I wasn’t entirely sure where I was at first, it felt like an exhibition space apart from it turned into a glasses shop (as in, it didn’t turn into it there and then, it always was a glasses shop, I just eventually found out where the glasses were – and they were BEAUTIFUL) I just LOVE this shop – it was totally unexpected to find it, it completely changed my day and gave me energy I didn’t know I had (I was exhausted and overwhelmed, yet the calmness and magical intrigue that being in this place gave me made my heart fizzy) – just knowing I would never have ended up there if I hadn’t not been able to get off the tube at my correct stop reminded me that feelings aren’t permanent and that unplanned moments can be joyful. I ended up visiting that shop about 5 more times in December, and once at the start of January. I like going to the same place where I felt a feeling – it reminds me of scented candles filled with the haze of memory-wisps.

Also in December, I had my first university assessment, which was a presentation. I was extremely nervous about this, as usual, but it had also turned into an obsession (I still have the poster that I made at the start of my planning). I wrote a big thing out and stared at it every single day for hours, but then all sorts of things go wrong that you can’t predict and it doesn’t help when you’re so so nervous you think you’re going to be sick every time you remember what you’re doing. My presentation was about performance of inner selves giving permission to be; I discussed my own inner worlds as well as other creative people who used characters to perform or express through. I definitely learned that I would benefit from practicing out loud, because although I whispered it to myself for hours repetitively, I discovered that speaking is VERY different to whispering! I also learned that the next time I have a presentation, I need to make myself have speaking-out-loud conversations with people in the days leading up to it, definitely the day before it – even if it’s just the night before it. I was having days of not speaking out loud and the weekend leading up to the presentation I think I had 2-3 days not leaving the flat due to intense anxiety (which then makes it harder to leave the flat, and increases anxiety, of course). I think even if I’d made myself phone someone the night before it might have helped – that’s easier said than done, especially when you factor in the anxiety I was having at the time, but I know for next time to at least try. HOWEVER, despite me feeling like EVERYTHING had gone wrong with the presentation (it turned out it hadn’t been completely disastrous like I’d thought, it was just went very differently to how I had planned, which I was Very-Not-Impressed-About), what happened directly afterwards was unexpectedly positive: the performance of my presentation had inadvertently given me permission to be; I was IndoorGoblin, Sumita and all of the rest of me, and I felt… free. (I forgot to mention I went to uni as IndoorGoblin that day – public transport with a purple face is great fun). I got to my next class and, after a whole term of making it my mission to say something every week out loud in class, even when I felt uncomfortable to do so, I suddenly felt like something else was talking through me… I was commenting on everyone’s presentations in free-form, as in, not planning out what I was going to say in my head first and forcing myself to say it… and I even gave a 5 minute totally unplanned presentation using some weetabix-shapes I drew up on a powerpoint, talking about language-communication/translation of brain things, using the model of what it’s like when my brain counts weetabix to keep me calm or to keep my brain-shapes feel organised. (It probably went better than the one I’d obsessed over for weeks – but this one wasn’t assessed!) That was my last day of term… I’ll always remember my journey through that module. It proved to me that I could be the kind of student I never thought I could be; I proved to myself that I WAS that person, when the circumstances aligned to support me to be so – even when things didn’t go like I wanted to. I wondered where the experience would take me next.

(Where it took me next, was to Read-all-of-these-papers-and-learn-how-to-write-an-essay-about-them-you-have-deadlines-in-January-and-you-need-to-do-well Land, but more about that later…)

Update (Part 1)

*+* SPACEBOAT ARRIVAL, PRESENT-SELF-VERSION DOWLOADED, TELEPORTATION COMPLETE *+* – oh, I just misread the word ‘complete’ as ‘OMLETTE’ and now I’m imagining teleporting omlettes appearing and disappearing in an egg-shell sky – Hello! It’s been a year since I last wrote something for this website, though I have written lots of things since then (mainly emails). After a brain-yoyo-ing summer of unpredictability, boundary-pushing and the general mind-management that comes with having a brain like mine that decides to do the things I do before I’m capable of doing them: I moved away to live on my own! Woah, what?! Did that actually happen? Anyone who knows me well will know that this seemed like quite the impossible dream some years ago – one of many. I’m not sure how long it will actually be for, but the main thing is that I did it – I’m doing it. I’ve been here since September, studying on a course (MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health, which is perfect for my brain, I absolutely love it!). It’s taken me until now (6 months) to properly settle; it wasn’t easy, it took a LOT of brainwork, but my motivations were everything I’d worked towards and everything I am passionate about, so I knew it was worth not giving up for – I feel very lucky to be in this part of my life, even though it’s temporary – because I know that this temporary-thing has permanent impacts. and, if anyone had seen what I was like in the weeks, days, hours prior to moving here, they might be as surprised as I am, because I was a MESS – I don’t know how I did it. Self-management is possible, with determination, patience and the right support – support appears in various forms, it’s not always the shape you’d expect it to be in.

I’ve been wanting to write about my experiences settling for a while, but I was too wrapped into Experiencing settling for that while. I will revisit this topic in more depth, but I wanted to cover a few points here.

Firstly, the process of finding somewhere to move to was a nightmare-game in itself. I was relieved to find this little flat – I used to say that I wish I could live in a place where other people lived but who I didn’t have to see or speak to so I could keep myself to myself yet still feel like there were people about, which is kind of what I got. Other than that, the most difficult things were… *remembers Week 1 meltdowns* I actually have a picture somewhere of my crying face, because when I first moved here I wanted to make a video diary of me settling, but then I wasn’t able to speak into the camera and also had massive exposure-anxiety stuff, followed by all the other brain-things that stopped me doing a video diary – but that was my first attempt, which I find really funny because I had wanted to express my thoughts about how stressful it was and then it was just a 6 second video of me whimpering like a VERY SAD KITTEN. It was because I had to make a phone call, to sort out bills. It’s this kind of thing that sounds like an ordinary thing that needs doing, but when you have no idea what anything means, and no-one to explain to you what anything means, and also you’re too stubbornly busy trying to pretend to the world that you CAN do this on your own to know how to ask for help, and when you also HATE phone calls to strangers – SO MANY TEARS! Also: washing-machine anxiety. I was convinced it was going to burst into flames. It caused so much stress every day. (that and this other thing where I kept thinking people were going to crawl out of the washing machine, and the cupboards, and the taps (?!), but that’s a bit more of an abstract stress-escalation anxiety attack type thing). I remember getting a coach back to Swindon, one minute about to fall asleep with exhaustion and the next minute being struck by a ‘you’ve-ruined-everything-call-the-fire-brigade’-shaped panic attack and messaging my good friend Jodie who wonderfully managed to lower my heart rate by some kind of magic and reassured me that all would be fine (it was). There was also the time 2 weeks in where I must have got some sort of horrendous flu – it was only for a few days, thankfully, but it appeared so suddenly and painfully, and after I was violently sick I tried to see what the temperature of my face was like, and I had one of those unwell helpless moments of feeling lonely when you’re like ‘Can you check if my face is really warm’ but there’s no-one to ask… I felt like such a pathetic porridge-flake!

Some things that helped me settle: again, I’ll revisit this, but to cover a few points – LISTS. Lists, lists and lists of lists. I would start and end each day making lists. and would start the next day re-making lists of the ones I’d made ready for that morning. I’d stare at them, pacing around, making sure I knew exactly what was going to happen throughout the day and what I needed for the next day. Sometimes I’d get stuck on a list and would be there for about an hour trying to figure out how to do the first thing on the list, because the transition from the going-through-the-list to the doing-the-list can be as difficult as doing the actual things on the list – but lists were amazing at helping me get to know each week and each day. Other things that helped me were, remembering why I was there, that I had chosen to be there and that I absolutely had to make it work, because it was what I wanted. Taking control of the space – my cleaning routine helped with that. Covering the pin-board with lovely things, too, of course. Keeping constantly busy to distract my brain, and tiring myself out as much as I could through the day, every day, mentally and physically, in the hope for easier falling-sleep. I was in total robot mode the first few weeks. Also: Emailing people. Not everyone needs to know where you are or what you’re doing straight away – I felt nervous talking about having moved, for brain-reasons; but communicating with people you trust does help, and for me, emailing is amazing for that.

I think I’ll come back to this topic in the summer some time, but for now, I’ll leave a few pictures from September to November – I had wanted to keep an Instagram log, but I got scared of Instagram/social media in general and stopped using it after the 3rd picture… but maybe I’ll start using it again soon. The next post will include December-January, then the one after will be February to MARCH, THE PRESENT DAY, and then I can FINALLY GET ON WITH POSTING WHAT I ACTUALLY CAME BACK ON THIS WEBSITE TO POST!

(‘Don’t worry exposure-anxiety, no-one looks at this thing anyway’, my brain reassures myself)

Sumita +.+

Porridge, Refocus, Restart again.

Today is a day is a day is a day. It’s like I’m going round in circles, large slow-fast misshapen squashed circles, and then when I realise and tell my brain that I’m going round in circles, I think, ‘right, go to bed, then get up, then start again’ expecting it to fix it – except each time I end up back on the squashed-circle track, like a strange train made-up that keeps coming back and getting stuck.. still moving but still stuck… stuck moving but still stuck… stuck still but still moving, still stuck…

Okay. Restart. Start somewhere. Focus. Start somewhere and focus… but on what? On which? All things seem important yet how to begin, how to return, how to – how to know how, how to – just, How… This time it’s not that I’m procrastinating the procrastination, it just sometimes appears that way – because a jumping jellybean brain can’t seem to be held for too long before the trampoline-catapult clicks like a camera: *screen changes, new brain zone* – CLICK – *screen changes* – where am I, where was I, where – CLICK – *new brain zone* – wait, is this today, haven’t I been here before? – *silence*…. oh okay then….. *carries on, the sense of unfamiliar-familiarity gets stronger* – I knew it – *past brain zone* – no no no this isn’t where we’re supposed to be, it’s not 2007 anymore, all change  -CLICK – CLICK – CLICK – Why must this screengame keep playing itself over and over in the background of my mind? Chasing brain-scenes, constant click after click after click, a square-rolling plastic toy clicky-camera dictating the internal patterns of the air, shaping the way any external information is received, altering the teeny-tiny scratchy-scrawly pathways, confusing the sense and satisfying the non, CLICK – CLICK – CLICK –

Maible grabs the clicky-thing and lobs it down a snowy hill. A soft smirk crawls upon her mouth-corners as she watches the rectangular click-creature slow-motion diagonal-tumble through the air, bouncing on icy grass-slopes, clicking and sparking away into the distance like a strange plasticky firework-hatchling rolling out into the world. RollerDino gasps and begins to tumble-spin after it, skidding on slippery-slidy snow-pebbles, wheels whirring – but soon turns back to join the others, slowly spinning snowcakes out of his wheels – he knows he’d never make it back up that hill for the night – tonight is not the night. They’re all huddled together in the mindcave today, gently supportive of each other – it’s as if they’re on the same team… yet it is somehow as if they’re mourning, grieving, slow and compassionate, subtle yet strong, quiet yet emotionally charged in their own individualities…

Today is a day is a day is a day… one day I’ll have A Day again – but if that’s not today, or the next today, then that’ll have to be okay – because I need to force myself to notice that I am trying really hard, despite the slow invisible achievements – because – when I stop for a even a millimetre, that ‘thing’ doesn’t stop climbing to reach me… if I climb with it then I’m okay, and we both can co-exist… but more on that another time, as I don’t want to fall down that abyss just yet, especially when the other abysses haven’t quite released me yet! For now: Porridge, Refocus, Restart again.

Knead the Needs and Help Them Rise

‘Knead the knead the knead the – wait, I’ve been kneading this breaddough for an eternity – where are the needs? I know they’re in there somewhere but I can’t find them…’ ‘They must be in there somewhere’ ‘You have to wait for them to RISE’ ‘Yes, RISE!’ ‘Only if you added them in the first place, only THEN will they rise!’ ‘-NO, that’s where you’re wrong! They were not added! They were just there in the first place – they were already there! It depends on what kind of dough-environment they’re in and what other types of doughs are around as to which needs might appear – but they are certainly not added! They are no decoration!’ ‘Oh, I see…’ ‘WHERE?!’ ‘No, I meant, I understand, I don’t see the needs anywhere…but I feel like they’re in there somewhere, waiting, wanting to rise…’ ‘…but, surely the more we knead, the more the needs become present?’ ‘YES, that’s the POINT – and then the more likely it is that they’ll RISE!’ ‘-but, no, I mean, surely, the more we need, the more the needs become other needs and the more the needs make friends with the other needs until before we know it the great big doughball we are kneading is one great big ball of NEED, 100% NEED, even before rising – and before we know it, we LOVE the need, we NEED the need, we are addicted to kneading the need and creating more need and being more needy of the kneaded need, and what if it continues to grow and grow and grow the more we knead and knead and need and need and knead the kneaded need, and what if it eventually consumes all space around us and crushes us and consumes us too and then there would be no us to knead the need and they’d get needier and needier and less kneaded yet more needed and then -‘

‘QUIET!’, screams Maible, silencing the mindcave. 

 

…………….a sudden few moments of silence-fizz……………until –

 

Tiny voice, jokingly: ‘Maible you’re such a hypocrite, that was really loud’ *many sugarclown-giggles into the distance*… Maible tries to look crosser, but even grumpy Maible can’t remain unamused at the laughter of the sugarclowns. 

A lot of the time, making people aware of personal needs is difficult because of not wanting to be misinterpreted or misjudged. It’s often hard to know the right way of verbalising needs because of the anxiety around asking for something, as well of the exposure anxiety of seeming needing of ‘special treatment’/adjustments when I usually would push my boundaries past their limits before even thinking about asking for adjustments, by which point it seems pointless to ask and I’m not saying that this is necessarily a good thing… though there have been certain times where I have self-compromised with my difficulties because sometimes asking for adjustments can make a situation worse than it had to be due to the unpredictability of what might change – with a ‘what if I preferred it before the adjustment and can’t figure out how to ask to switch back’ kind of thing so sometimes I would have had a better time self-coping. There’s also the issue of feeling like I would be ‘unnecessarily making a big deal’ out of something small, which is  an unfortunate anxiety-effect learned from society. Of course, my personal choices to disclose or not to disclose any of my ‘issues’ are my personal choices, and I wouldn’t want anybody else to feel like they are making a ‘big deal’ out of anything if they choose to disclose theirs – after all, we must be aware of our own personal needs and limitations; we never truly know what someone is experiencing internally and we ought to respect them when they do verbalise their needs – it can sometimes be a brave thing to learn to do. As well as the issue of not knowing how to put needs into words, especially when being anxious about approaching someone, there’s also often the issue of firstly not knowing exactly what these needs are in the particular environment, if that environment or situation is new, and secondly, not knowing what adjustments are even possible, particularly when it’s always so unpredictable and transformable. Recently, for example, I had an anxiety attack just before leaving for work, then a post-anxiety migraine headache at work, and then eventually a minor injury – none of these things were predictable – and it’s thought-things like ‘I need to tell someone about the injury but I don’t want to draw attention to myself but walking around pretending it’s not really hurting is likely going to make it worse and I need it to get better as SOON AS POSSIBLE because I NEED to go running to fix my anxiety/mood-switch-brain – but I don’t want people to know how much it hurts and I want to put ice on it and carry on working because my brain is now quite alert from the adrenaline but I don’t want to ask for an ice pack and I don’t want to have to have a stranger look at my leg in a warehouse full of people and basically, I need to go home so I can deal with it myself, not move for a bit and be able to run again in a few days without causing further damage – but – wait… asking to go home requires talking to someone, and I have to give the reason, meaning needing to choose words, and… oh… maybe it’s easier to just keep quiet, pretend everything is fine and keep walking around for the rest of the shift, even if it makes me further injured and in further pain’. (Thankfully, I had people with me to do most of the speaking for me while I stood there trying not to giggle, and it probably looked like I was making a bigger deal out of it than it was which is ironic as that’s exactly what I was trying NOT to do – but in those situations when a new need appears it can be really difficult to ask an unrehearsed request).

‘I am small, I am small’ – smallgoblin-dollchild lies on the floor of the hidden cupboard within, the door wide open, trying to eat a tiny pink pudding with a happy plastic spoon. Maible, who is busy scribbling, smirks mockingly for a moment, feeling superior…’This doll-child will forever be small’, she mutters to herself… ‘Pudding on the ceiling, pudding on the floor!’, sings the doll-child, then giggles. Splash splash splash, pudding here, pudding there…a small droplet of pudding slow-motion flies in the air, predictably landing just moments into Maible’s space-circle – uhoh – Maible suddenly turns deep purple and fizzes with rage, immediately unhappy with the personal space invasion – and it seems too late to rewind the trigger-sparks – ‘GET UP OFF THE FLOOR! GET UP!’, she yells. ‘People will think you’re forever-small! Don’t you want to learn to do things properly?  Won’t you at least pretend? Don’t you understand? Don’t you understand that you’re not supposed to not understand? NOBODY ELSE IN HERE IS THROWING PUDDING ON THE CEILING PUDDING ON THE FLOOR!’ *cue RollerDino, blank-expressioned silently and speed-motion whizzing through the mindcave throwing imaginary pudding on the ceiling and floor and disappearing into a cloud of magic essence* – a moment of confused silence. Zoom into the floor. ‘I’m sorry,’ sighs Maible, ‘but I’m tired and just wish….I just wish you would go and throw your pudding elsewhere right now! ’ The pudding-pieces frown but stay put, sad-pudding on the ceiling, sad-pudding on the floor. ’…But… but where else am I supposed to…go?’, asks the doll-child, jelly-tears emerging and growing. Maible is still angry…although now she’s also angry at her anger, and angry at being angry at her anger – but is also very very very sleepy. She gently collapses into a facedown flump of fizzy, realising that there isn’t anywhere FOR the goblin-dollchild to go – at least, not yet… and if she is suddenly removed too quickly by some sort of outer-force, there will still be pudding on the ceilings, pudding on the walls, all singing and smiling in the voice of the doll-child… she must find her way out herself one future day, taking her pudding with her…though of course, memory-scents always remain. Maible crawls out of the cupboard-room, closing the door behind her, sitting firmly against the door to keep it closed. The key turns locked – but the dollchild is still awake, softly murmuring, her singing inaudible to the outer-world beyond the mindcave.

I happen to be someone who pushes my needs past their boundaries and beyond and past new boundaries and beyond those too, which although hasn’t always been a bad thing, has definitely not always been a good thing either – so I’m still learning to find the balance between pushing boundaries and knowing where to be okay about not pushing myself further or making things more difficult. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I want to lose that risk-taking, boundary-pushing part of my personality because although I end up in some absolutely ridiculous situations, there are so many things that I would never have learned or tried or evolved through if I didn’t struggle through. Of course some would argue that health is more valuable than pushing boundaries to extremes; although I agree in parts, I have learned in this life that these brain things are always going to affect me in some way for as long as I have a brain – yes it’s important to keep becoming more aware of what might be extremely triggering or to notice when things might be going too far, but to erase the boundary-pushing completely would also limit the rewards I receive and that, to me, can be just as valuable as protecting myself would be – particularly because the resulting situations I end up in are things that I never would have thought possible. I don’t want to make seemingly impossible things more impossible by re-enforcing ‘can’t’ (‘Don’t be a can’t; be a can’ – DylanQ 2017), yet I want to also be able to confidently accept that sometimes the answer ‘I can’t’ is valid for the moment in time that it is said in, and is somethings a thoughtful ‘I have carefully chosen not to’ (not at all to be mistaken for ‘I can but I have chosen not to’ in a lazy or selfish way at all).  I think it’s more beneficial to try to see ‘cant’s’ as temporary, rather than solid definite opaque walls – or to at least hope that they are – though I realise this is more complex in some sensitive situations, in which case some deciphering and re-translating will need to occur to divert the focus around the particular ‘can’t’ that emerges.

Pushing boundaries is great, but stepping back can be just as great and rewarding as achieving something through struggling, and can still be an achievement, and is certainly not unproductive like it sometimes disguises itself as being. I don’t want to over-pressurise myself when I am really needing of rest and self-care, and  I think that this thought-process swerves and fluctuates depending on my mind-state as some days I would say that I would rather have experienced the struggle to discover the extra treasure than to never know the treasure-gems and to have had it easier…and then on difficult days I might feel like it’s better to not go through the things I go through and I’d never know about the treasure-gems but perhaps I’d be more consistently happier and healthier…or maybe I’d just be more bored, less skilled/knowledgable and still suffering… or maybe there’s a middle-balance where further awareness of the self can help me to utilise my boundary-pushing in a safe space, enabling me to minimise the unnecessary learned guilt that I get from giving myself the rest that I deserve, even when it is way past the point where I deserved it – and to protect myself from the harm that happens when things go too far. Afterall, once rested I may achieve things that could have been missed through the struggle for other achievement, so it’s a choice between achievement or achievement – it’s pointless and energy-draining feeling guilty about having to pause or step back; it’s more beneficial to make a decision and use the energy-space in a positive, self-supportive way.

Peanut Bat

This is a past-unjumbling from November… Last month I ended up in a shop and there was a pile of soft-toy black cats ; I put my hand in the basket to pull one out, as even though I didn’t want one of the black cats, they looked really soft – and when I pulled my hand back out I discovered that the fluffy creature I was holding was… a BAT! A bat amongst cats – and it was SUCH a cute bat – and I looked at the label and read the words “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me”… That was it; I knew I couldn’t leave the shop without it…and when I got home that day, I wrote this:

“I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me”, said the label of this thing from the post-Halloween shelf of abandonment; I didn’t need persuading. How could I be expected to read this and leave the shop without the creature? This is the problem with being an adult-child with a debit card. It means I’m able to get a Kinder Egg without having to persuade an adult, yet I’m incapable of sorting my own life out – and I HATE it.

It seems that the voices have been cleverly observing. They’re always listening, always psychologically analysing, always finding ways to trick and trap me, watching the ways that my brain-things tick and tap inside me, hearing the waves of the mechanisms of the ocean-brain chemicals stir and swish around me, leaving me to rock and pace and hum and shout and wish they hadn’t found me –

“I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me”, says a small voice from the cheese aisle, “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me”, says a small voice from the chocolate aisle, “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me” says the knife from the brain-imagined knife drawer, tiny Peanut-Bats staring, drowning at the bottom of the liquor-glass, Peanut-Bats running, falling from the edges of tall jagged cliff-monsters, “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me” chants the plush army of fluffy cuteness, together at first, yet echoing slightly out of sync each time, longing eyes and longing wings spread open, ears perked up and lonely hearts awaiting love, I must look after them, or is them to look after me, what it is that they offer, what is it that they want, what is it that I’m drawn by – I am not fooled, they are not Peanut Bat, they won’t look after me – I mentally close the knife drawer shattering the bat-ghost – You are not Peanut Bat – I walk away from the liquor-shelves, dissipating the tiny bat-ghosts, You are not Peanut Bat, They are not Peanut Bat, They won’t look after me – I feel the gaze of two tiny eyes, glossy-glittery in a tiny gap of quiet – a small voice, solo, from the comforting fluff-ball grasped within my hands – “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me” – is this Peanut Bat? I focus down at Peanut-Bat-Original whilst my surroundings blur into a haze. What if this is them? I remember them, an evil Peanut-Bat army hovering over my mind vision – ‘NO’ – they instantly shatter, a blur of bat-ghosts – Is this Peanut Bat? Perhaps my doubt is what they wanted. ‘Yes, you are Peanut Bat. I will look after you’. I hold Peanut-Bat close and tight, leaving the non-Peanut-Bat—Ghosts of deception and deceit in an array of non-acknowledgement.

Hours later, now upstairs in my room, I gaze down from the bed at Peanut Bat, who is innocently sitting on the floor in the foreground of a happy painting, staring up at the ceiling-air. My throat tightens as a swift wave of icy angst sharpens the atmosphere. Is this Peanut Bat? Is this friend or foe? How do I know? Did I want to look after it for it to look after me? Did it want me to look after it for it to ‘look after’ me, in a way I don’t want looking after, in a land where all my needs are swapped and altered? What if one of the other Peanut Bats had asked me first – “I am Peanut Bat, Please look after me” – I did not need persuading – I could not read this and leave without the creature. I could not leave without the creature, so many creatures, too many creatures, now the creatures will not leave me. A spinning strobe-torch of bright-dark thoughts flash round and round my head, then I stop to wonder: am I still so easily misled? When does naive disappear, how does manipulatable plasticine stop being malleable? I must end this cycle of abandonment, love, abandonment, love-abandonment; I must alter the sequence and free the bat-ghosts, I must learn the learnings, type the typings, speak the words, release unheard herds of sad-happy-sad angry rambly terror-tears from all levels electro-manic mood-switches, I must fight the fight and dance the dance, I must let the final bowl-child drink the bowl and sing into the peace-distance… but for now, small Peanut  Bat Original, I must trust my instincts, assume ‘friend’ and do as I promised. You are Peanut Bat, I will look after you – and whilst I do so, I must also make a promise to look after me, myself, for the sake of all of the selves, the many selves – so that when I leave the human-body-creature, the echo-shadow-ghost-creatures may all leave me – so that when I leave this human-body-creature, I can finally be free.

(3rd November 2017)

MirrorSelves, Be True

The Goblin’s questiony quietly-assured voice appears through softened soundwaves, a meditative surround-soundtrack from swirly skies: ‘Which is the mirror and which is the self? Merge, and separate, separate and merge into the mirror-self… Now, which is the TRUE mirror-self? Count the mirror selves, let them not be shy… are they all true? Do not be afraid of the haze, your essence is you…’ Quiet for a moment, 1…….2…….3…….2…….slow motion-counting…….one and a half…….half and a one…….one and a half……. Maible’s stirring a giant bath-cauldron of weetabix-soup; she says I have to drink it all and then be sick but the Goblin knows that it’s best not to give her too much attention in this moment of time so not to amuse her manipulative instructions – we must focus on the swirly skies, without making it too obvious we’re deliberately not giving her the attention or she might feel hurt and get angry-forceful and loud – but Maible is bored of being ignored and tries her best to show her presence, even when not fully fuelled to be of any particular dominance in the mindcave… ‘Mirrorworlds? Mirror Selves?….Hmmm… a Mirror Land of Mirror Friends?!’ She slyfuly slithers across from her Weetabix-bathcauldron, carefully and curious… 

I often discover things at the most perfectly well-timed moments; this is probably the reason for my strong emotional attachment to the things that I enjoy – because of how they interplay with the context of what my brainworlds are doing in that moment of time of watching the film, visiting the exhibition, or hearing a radio excerpt – but each time it happens, it makes me realise two things about mirroring: it’s so important/valuable to be able to see ourselves outside of ourselves, through other people places or things – to be able to have those feelings come from something outside of our body, even if the feelings are our inside-feelings projected. Due to my inner processing I can sometimes find it hard to decipher whether a feeling is my feeling or someone else’s feeling – but there is a very specific other-feeling when my feeling seems so accurately presented by someone or something or somewhere else.

The mirror-world reflects and resonates; sparkles shimmer, dust-to-glitter, Maible blows upon the mirror…a small moment of still, then all of a sudden – ‘HALF AND A ONE, HALF AND A ONE, HALF AND A HALF AND A ONE BUTTERFLY SPIDER KANGAROO!’, she merrily squeals, scrawling great big scribbly lipstick face upon face on the silver-glass, then another great big scrawly lipstick face upon the scribbled-over scribbly face, repeating with different shades and smudges, different shapes of eyes and lips and hair yet all seemingly the same – why do they all end up seemingly the same, why the same, why different but the same, the same but different but the same, the different but the different but the same, the different-same, the same, the different but the same – ‘You’re stuck in a loop again, Maible’, whispers a small Goblin voice – and a strawberry-circle is released from a tired Maible’s hand. Had she not been so tired, she might have got tied up in strawberry-lace-spaghetti before the circle was released and may have been quite complex to untie. Soundscape-fizz from the swirly-skystation tunes back in, tiny grey fizz-dots blurring back into vision. Half and a one…….two……three…..one and a half……two….one…..half and a – ‘Which is the mirror? One true mirror? Which is the painting, painting on the mirror? Many selves of many selves….or many mirrors, mirrors of selves? One true mirror and one true self, or one of many, all so true?’

I don’t want to hide my selves or their inners any more than necessary because I believe that repressing things often results in more irrationalities; the more I hide them from others, the more I repress them from mySelf and the more I repress them from mySelf the more the difficult-things grow even MORE difficult things (which are even more-more Difficult.

‘DifficultCircus, DifficultCircus, round-a-go-round the round-a-go-round the difficult difficult DifficultCircus-‘ ‘-IT’S NOT FUN AND YOU KNOW IT!’, screams Maible. ‘I know, I know, I was just singing’ ‘Me Too’ ‘Yeah, we were just, just SINGING’ ‘OUR SING-CEREST APOLOGIES, VERY SING-CERE!’ Maible grumbles at the SugarClowns, yet only half-trying not to be amused for although she is easily irritated by them, they are kind-of her friends.

I sometimes fear that talking about my inner-brain things will further encourage them, solidify them and make them more real – and it’s often easier to keep quiet because of being naturally introverted, because of the brainstuff often being confusing to translate and because of exposure anxiety feelings, seasoned with additional NO-ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU and NO-ONE WILL EMPLOY YOU – but, although it usually seems the easier option, turning inwards and never being able to talk about them will be much worse, encouraging and solidifying them inside me and making them not only more real but more controlling of my perceptions of reality – and then I might believe less/trust less in mySelf, even the rational logical parts which I’m very glad of being able to access – I must not lose the ability to access these parts, and at the moment I feel that practicing this unjumbling supports this. I truly believe that unjumbling and analysing and documenting and shifting the states of these brainthings is the best thing to do to untangle the Self, selves, the Mirror-Self and all it’s mirror-selves, scribble-selves and everything that follows… the StrawberrySpaghetti-path holds sparkle-answers… I think that it is important that I listen to what each self has to say before I dismissingly throw them all under the brain-blanket into the dark-deep.

Softened soundfizz sparkles through quietened goblin-skies… ‘Mirrorworlds, MirrorSelves, a MirrorLand of MirrorFriends; do not fear the fizzy haze – your essence is your truth.’

Norm-Gnome: Settled Unsettled

The mythological legend of ‘The Norm’… the Norm-Gnome guards such treasures carefully, burying riddle-seeds to grow and flourish and die and rain more riddle-seeds upon recycled ground to grow and flourish and die and rain, and rain, and rain, and rain… resurfaced emotion disguises the onion layers as unpeelable, uncontrollable, impossible… circles and circles and misshapen spheres escaping, crawling, rushing – drip, drop, drip – heavy slow-fast warm marbles roll down, freeing themselves from the claustrophobia-cage, the sharpened throat-monsters thick and solid…yet the mythological Norm-Gnome floats, interchanging, never quite knowing which kind of ribbon to tie onto the sails of his super-safe boat, never quite knowing whether to travel or return, but always completely sure that the treasure must be guarded carefully and that no matter how many times riddle-seeds may grow and flourish die and rain, grow and flourish die and rain, the true truth-feeling must be honoured no matter which directions the sail-ribbons turn… the Norm-Gnome may be settled in his indecisive ways but the wobbly-waters twist and tumble, unsettling the goblin-seas, sickening unfocused shapes and bothering the bitter buzz, the bitter bitter buzz is bitter – “SAIL AWAY – ROW FASTER! QUICKER!” – “HOW can I be settled just because he’s settled in his unsettledness?!”, exclaims Maible in confused distress… but the goblin stays quiet over loud-emotion air, and the marble-drops rain on – drip, drop, drip – heavy slow-fast warm marbles, freeing themselves from the claustrophobia-cage…

Naming the existence of the Norm-Gnome can be helpful or unhelpful, depending on the delivery and the essence behind it; the Goblin told me that the the Norm-Gnome is a transparent traveller, not a container for the worlds within. I have never tried to claim that this creature is not within me, despite questioning my feelings in relation to his existence or wondering how I must associate myself with it. It is important to feel a connection with some sort of norm, even if the norm isn’t present in the room, for there is always some kind of norm somewhere. It is also important to acknowledge the absence of the norm, to respect inner differences when the Norm-Gnome is at sea. Sometimes we feel the same, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the shapes are similar or the same but on a different scale or colour-scheme. How do we know? Sometimes we know. We observe, analyse, ask questions. The same shape can be fine to cope with in one person and an extreme struggle in another, and although the coping-ability could be a reflection of the different-shaped-shape-boat it sits in, why is it so hard for some people to accept that perhaps sometimes it could just be a different coloured shape, or a different sized shape, or a different shape altogether? Different shapes within same shapes, isn’t that what this all is? Is it not okay to recognise different shapes in a positive light, for what they are, instead of assuming we choose to acknowledge them because we want to deface the shapes to make them more different than they already are? Acknowledging something doesn’t aim to put it on a big stage for the world to applaud at – sometimes it’s important to recognise the shapes so they can be reshuffled and aligned, to allow the shape-creature that holds the shapes to be self and to be free.

Yes, this is a jumbly jumbly jumblement triggered by a particular annoyance-moment of unnecessary concentrated-upset a month or so ago, but I trust that my understanding will be unjumbled in time, through the constant reshaping of jumbly jumbly words. Sometimes, it takes a seemingly tiny thing to trigger a seemingly unstoppable GIANT GROWING EVER-MORPHING thing within my bodymask – but that’s because the tiny thing isn’t always as tiny as it seems. I don’t only go by the words people use – it’s also the essence of the words that are told. Sometimes odd words still hold wonderful essence, sometimes wonderful words still hold harsh-spiky essence – and it’s easy to get confused between the two. Sometimes the essence is welcoming and at other times the essence is silencing – but this works both ways, for agreements and disagreements, hence the mind-confusion… I like discussions; differing opinions help to untangle the contradicting things within my own brain, to expand upon existing thoughts, to gain perspective through other people’s kaleidoscope-eyes. If we all thought the same and only had conversations with people who think the same, then what if we always thought the same, forever, unable to change? It’s thoughts like this that make me grateful for the constant contradictions in my own brain-jelly, for despite the irritating bickering, I’m not sure I’d learn as well… perhaps the duality is good for something after all… (though of course if I could just pause it for even half a day that would be great!)

RollerDino rolls and giggles: ’The Gnorm-Nome, The Gnorm-Nome, I’m friends with the Gnorm-Nome – he looked at me, he smiled at me, he threw away the riddle-seeds-‘ ‘That’s not how you spell Norm-Gnome, Roller-Dino’ snapped Maible insensitively yet not unsensingly. ‘He didn’t THROW AWAY the riddle-seeds, he buried more to grow and flourish, grow and flourish, DIE AND RAIN – and rain, and rain, and rain and rain’ – ‘Grow and flourish into BEAUTIFUL MULTI-GLITTER PETAL-LANDS, and we shall HANG THEM FROM THE CEILING and STICK THEM ON OUR FACES and THROW them up, up into the air-clouds to rain confetti-lands upon us ALL!’, exclaims RollerDino, rolling back, rolling forth, rolling round and round in a spin-cycle of sugarsoap, spinny wheels flicker-flashing colour-splashing in merry puddles. The goblin sighs smilingly, waiting for the sugarsoap to dissolve. The goblin knows that the Norm-Gnome is neither friend nor foe (yet seemingly more friend than foe to the mindcave-creatures) – he is a creature of existence that can be smiled at or with yet is not befriendable, a travelling creature so fickle – and though his perspective is valued, he’s better off floating in the goblin-seas, content in his interchangeable nature, floating in and out of knowings and unknowings, never quite knowing which kind of ribbon to tie onto the sails of his super-safe boat, rewobbling the waters as the sugar-soap spins round and round and round…

There are various washing machine cycles in this brain-jelly and one of them is the ‘Normal Cycle’. Echoes upon echoes upon echoes in varying voices. ‘What is normal, anyway?’ ‘There’s no such thing as normal’ – actually, there is, there is such thing as ‘the norm’ but this is an ever changing thing as is much dependant on the environment that one is in, it isn’t always accurate (further morphened by the complicated half-hidden nature of humans and a lot being hidden unseen within the bodymask) – and not being of the norm doesn’t mean being right or wrong, it just means not being of the norm in that specific environment in that given time – but to say that there’s no such thing feels a bit like I need to close my eyes and pretend I haven’t noticed or analysed any patterns of being. If I was in a room of fifty people who all had red hair and I had blue hair, it wouldn’t be wrong for me to state that ‘having red hair is normal/’usual’/common in this environment’, but it wouldn’t mean that I should aspire to be like the others just because they have red hair, and it also doesn’t mean that I should take a stance that I must make myself stand out as being NOT the norm, or that I am deliberately trying to be not-the-norm – and it also doesn’t mean that twenty or thirty or more of those people secretly or non-secretly also have blue hair or yellow hair or black hair or green hair or no hair and actually dye their hair or wear a wig to make it look like they are of ‘the norm’, to make them feel like they are ‘normal’. It also doesn’t mean I believe all the people in the room are the only people to exist ever. I might later get on a bus with ten people on it, who all have blue hair, yet their hair might be beautiful curls and mine might be a straight, semi-wavy unkempt MESS and then I might get really angry because my hair keeps getting in my face and shave it all off and then later find myself amongst an ocean of multi-coloured wigs wondering what on earth I need to put on my head – before realising I don’t need to make a choice, I could just lie there and let the brain-thoughts either let it grow or not grow and that it DOESN’T ACTUALLY MATTER. It’s impossible to be normal in EVERY environment in comparison to EVERY being/thing, but it’s possible to be normal or not normal in a situation, and both are neutral things. (What’s not neutral is the way people are sometimes treated when they are assumed ‘not-normal’, or the way some people feel when they are assume they are ‘not-normal’ – or even how they feel or are treated when they are assumed to be/assume they are ‘normal’ as some people consciously resist it preferring to differ – and these strong feelings get muddled up with the initial analysis of ‘what is normal’). Words are words and words can have complex translations that are much bigger than the word. Words within Worlds, Worlds within Words. Some days I like hearing the Norm-Gnome’s name more than others, and perhaps the particular day these unjumblings are based on was a day where, for mind-health reasons, I particularly needed his absence to be acknowledged. Let the Norm-Gnome boat sail on, and let him also return.

Jelly Unjumbled

My brain is a jelly; a fizzy, scribbly jelly of confused, twisted, tangled jumblement. So many jellies within one jelly, each jelly their own unique jelly, yet all belonging to the Jelly as a whole. Which jelly holds the truest form? Which jelly is the false-absorber? I fear the answer’s all and none… “Blend them all and call it jam!” “…freeze the jam and call it… jelly?” Jelly frozen, jelly speechless, jelly shy without a sound… Melt the droplets, evaporate, refine, re-separate – repeat the jelly process with new-found learnings, self-discoveries, new positivities – and probably, new doubts – and as my sugarworlds and bitterworlds may swirl and intermingle, I must dance with them and sing and paint and write, translating jelly-shapes – Invisible Recrystallised – jelly out, rejamify, and jelly in, rejellified – Jelly Unjumbled, Jelly Refined, Jelly Unjellied Rejellied inside…

Oh – Hello! Here I am! – and here you are, too. Thankyou for finding me here. My name is Sumita. I seem to live in many worlds, but I mostly live inbetween worlds… apart from I’m starting to think that the ‘inbetween worlds’ is my actual world… perhaps I could gather all of the between-world air-fragments and tumble-roll them up together, like when you roll up the inside of a Milky Way into a sticky sugarsphere…

I wanted to create this space for my inbetween-worlds thoughts, to encourage the process of the jelly-unjumblement – to untangle the feeling-shapes into these other-language-Words and sentences that help me to explain, discuss, question, observe. I used to think that words only come freely to me only when they think no-one’s watching… although I have recently come to learn that I may have misinterpreted this, for my words have sometimes surprised me with their presence when I’ve been typing rambly thoughts to particularly wonderful people, sometimes more so than if I’d just been writing to my selves. Perhaps there’s more to it than the fear of being watched; perhaps the only way to eliminate these irrational ‘watchers’ is to output, to externalise, reanalyse and share. Therefore, I’d like to welcome my inner-to-outer-world word-shapes with unpressured encouragement – uneager, with no demands. There is so much within the brainjelly that I’d like to unjumble and share.

Thankyou for being here, in amongst the scribble-fizz!

Sumita +.+