Unstoppable.

Inspired by the daily prompt ‘unstoppable’: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unstoppable/

Image credit: STOCK PHOTO OF BROKEN POCKET WATCHES – IS099I55I (image source.com)

I’d like to be able to say that when I hear the word ‘unstoppable’, it brings to mind something empowering, or uplifting, like the power of love, or the strength of oppressed people facing adversity. And as much as the adjective most certainly applies to these things, the first thing that sprang to my mind was the inexorable force of time.

Time is a funny thing. It is mind-bogglingly difficult to understand from a scientific perspective: it’s the fourth dimension, you can distort it with gravity, and while I have a good grasp of physics I’m not going to even pretend I can wrap my head around it.

We, as people, try our damnedest to stop time, or to simply pause it. We take photographs to hold onto moments and freeze them in time, we procrastinate and delay doing the things that will change our lives. We buy anti-ageing creams and dye our hair and hide our bald patches, because age is a sign that, in spite of our stubbornness, our bodies cannot stop time. Nothing can.

Just as we cannot slow time down, neither can we speed it up. We force ourselves to not look at the clock ticking harshly on the wall, because maybe, just maybe, if we stop looking at it, the hands might spin to the hour that we are finally able to leave. But we are stuck, all of us time travellers, only able to travel at the rate of one second per second, and no faster. Time bends us to her will again.

The only way we can stop time is through illusion- photographs, videos, art and the like. Similarly, we cannot go back, except in memory, nor forward, only in fantasy.

41PHS0006RM

Image credit:STOCK PHOTO OF CLOSE UP OF DYING PURPLE ROSE – 41PHS0006RM (image source.com)

The interpretation of the passage of time is also largely down to perception. To me, five years is a long time- it makes up nearly a third of my current life lived so far. For an eighty year old, for whom 5 years is one sixteenth of life lived, that time scale is nothing. In any given unit of time, nothing and everything can change. In ten years your life could look almost identical to the way it does now, yet in the blink of an eye you could step out into the road and your life be over.

Time also changes on a day to day basis- time with loved ones is never enough, and time doing arduous tasks never fails to drag. There are also times when that rule is turned on it’s head- pop on a bit of music, and the washing up becomes a disco for one, for example. But when you are stressed beyond belief and trying to hide it from your family, a meal becomes a test of your endurance. There are some people- and they are a wonderful rarity- where I find that time…almost balances out. Where time doesn’t rush by you, not because you aren’t enjoying yourself, but because every second feels like it is filled, to the brim, with life. Keep those people close, if you find them. They are a valuable asset to have.

This summer is the one I am meant to ensure lasts forever. It will not. We are at what is pretty much the halfway point, and I confess I haven’t done many particularly groundbreaking or exciting things-there have been a few, but not the quantity I expected. That’s alright. And I’m glad I don’t have the means to travel back and relive some parts of this summer, truthfully. My life has mostly consisted of coffee days with friends, and perhaps I will not remember the conversations, or even the occasions, but to have spent my holiday with my friends is, I think anyway, a good use of my inescapable, unstoppable, depleting time.

Advertisements

Dear Autism

I was reading a piece on ‘The Mighty’ the other day about meltdowns (link here).

At the end of this piece, they posted this message:

“The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to community@themighty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.”

This is a response, of sorts. A letter to autism. I can feel a change in the earth’s meteorology at the collected intake of excited breath as all of the Western world’s Autism Moms* crack their knuckles and begin to type out a heart-wrenching soliloquy that Autism Speaks would be proud of. 

“Autism STOLE my child from me!!!”

“I can never lead a normal life! I have to- God forbid any parent should ever be forced into this horrific position- put my child’s needs BEFORE MY OWN. THE HORROR. THE HORROR!!!”

For anyone who’s wanting/expecting that from me, sorry to disappoint. You’re in the wrong place. This piece should be commonplace to anyone who has been following me for a while- rambling, politics, and sentimental mush. Enjoy.

Dear Autism,

You, my friend, can be a massive pain in the ass. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you, autism, I’m not about that. My boyfriend has autism**, and he’d really rather you widen his taste palate a little. I’m also begging you. Please. All he can eat is macdonalds. Give him a break, autism, I just want him to eat some lettuce. He’s going to have a heart attack one of these days.

Autism, it would also be great if you stopped with the overstimulation thing? He’s stressed out enough as it is already. Oh, and meltdowns. Meltdowns are definitely Not Fun, or so I’ve been told. Oh, and sleep! He could do with getting eight hours a night. Or six. Four? Cmon, work with me here!

But, credit where credit’s due, autism, you’re not as bad as everyone makes you out to be. Sure, you’ve got some negative side effects, but a lot of people keep trying to suggest that we get rid of you. Which doesn’t make sense to me. At all.

You see, autism, I love my boyfriend (obviously). I really, really adore the man. And as much as Autism Speaks would want to find a cure for him, I don’t see that there’s anything that needs to be cured. As much as they would like to separate the man from the disorder, you can’t.

The simple fact of the matter is, I don’t know who my boyfriend would be if he wasn’t autistic.

He’d probably still be interested in Nirvana, and music. But would he be so intensely passionate about it? Probably not. If he was able to better connect to his peers in school, maybe he wouldn’t have been on the fringes of things, socially, the same way I was. Maybe we wouldn’t quite be kindred spirits in that respect, anymore.

Thanks to you, he can’t quite look me in the eyes. But that doesn’t really bother me. He looks at one at a time, and that’s more than enough for me. Besides which, there’s nothing quite as flattering as a man accidentally looking you in the eyes and nearly crashing into the car in front because he got so overwhelmed. It’s enough to make a girl feel pretty damn spectacular, in fact. Once you’ve got over the whiplash.

Dear autism, I love it when he stims. We are both frenetic little balls of energy, and when he’s in an environment where he’s comfortable enough to not try and stop what comes naturally to him, he bounces and flaps his hands. I think I just like watching him be comfortable with who he is,  and happy in himself.  Watching him strum his hands on the steering wheel in time to the music calms me down, not just him.

And autism, I’m never sure on where I stand with routine, but God is it good to have someone so reliable around- even if I can only rely on him to be as late as I usually am!  I know that he’ll keep me safe. I can rely on him for adventure, yet know I’ll always get home in one piece.  As a girl, and as a daughter, that’s just about the best thing to have.

Autism, I’ve always been stuck in a fantasy world of the my own creation. I was always the girl with my head in the clouds. Now I finally have a fellow cloud-walker. A dreamer. I won’t pretend we’re travelling to the same places- I may be on another planet, but when it comes to the rest of society, my sweetheart is in another galaxy. But I like that. We can tell each other of our intergalactic travels, and should we ever stray too far, we’ll always have the other to bring us back to earth.

A lot of people talk about the taking things literally in a negative way. Or they find it amusing. My boyfriend’s pretty good at sarcasm, but his quiet acceptance of the joke that he wasn’t worth £50 was enough to break my heart, and his unreserved excitement at my friend jokingly saying she was part of a satanist cult essentially epitomised why I love him. Autism, I am an over-excitable puppy of a person. I am far too intense for most people’s tastes. I am wildly, unabashedly enthusiastic and passionate about the things I do, my interests, and the people I love. I need someone who can match that  intensity, and have the inner strength to not care what others think of that. I have met many people who do, who aren’t on the spectrum. But watching the way his eyes light up when he talks about Kurt Cobain’s home demos or any other special interest… He has a passion and a drive even I can’t match, and it’s beautiful to watch.

Autism, you help him see things differently, in a way that challenges me to think differently about my own perceptions of the world. There’s nothing more fascinating to me than to have my worldview turned on it’s head- questioning the way I see things excites me, it helps me analyse my own thought process and maybe even refine it. In a relationship, you have two minds coming from two different places, and communication is important. Because we are coming from very different mental pathways, and we are more aware of it, we tend put more thought into it then most couples would. We have the best communication of anyone I know.

There are a million other things I could talk about, but if I go on, I’m at risk of turning this from a sappy yet political piece about how you cannot separate a person from autism because it’s intrinsically linked to personality, and this will devolve completely into a gushing piece on young love and it’s finest (and grossest. I know. I’m sorry,  I’m terrible and a massive sap.) So, before I bore you all to tears/make you throw up onto whatever you’re reading this on, I’ll bring this to a close.

Autism, thank you. You were a fluke of genetics or environment, something we don’t really understand in this day and age.  Maybe this is irrelevant and my boyfriend would be the same person, or thereabouts, without you. but there’s also a chance, that without you, he’d be unrecognisable. So I owe you one.

Autism, here’s to you.

Love, Ellie 

PS: Dear Depression,

Go fuck yourself. 

*Yes, that is capitalised for a reason, so before anyone takes offence, let me clarify- being the parent of an autistic child does not mean you are a dreaded Autism Mom. Fathers of autistic children can be Autism Moms. It’s not the role, it’s the way you view your child and their disability/developmental difference.

** For anyone who knows me personally and so knows the identity of my boyfriend, his autism isn’t widely discussed on Facebook. Whilst his identity is not a secret, there are still members of his family who do not know he is autistic, and that is his information to share with them as and when he sees fit. I have asked his permission to write about him on here, but discretion is advised if you wish to discuss this with me or him- please do so on here, or message me privately. Thank you for your consideration.
Feature image courtesy of neurowonderful.tumblr.com