I’m too small
For these feelings and thoughts
I need to be a giant
To keep it all contained
I’m too small
For these feelings and thoughts
I need to be a giant
To keep it all contained
I read somewhere on my travels through autistic information, that it’s usually best to tell someone with autism what to do when giving instructions rather than what not to do.
I remember when I read that I had a light bulb moment.
It resonated with me, a lot!
The number of times I look like a bumbling fool when being instructed to do something where they have told me a whole list of things of what not to do is uncountable.
I’ve spent my life looking like a clumsy, bumbling idiot, seeming to be unable to follow the simplest of instructions.
There are a few reasons for this. Giving me a list of instructions is overwhelming to me, I don’t know quite why. I can’t quite fathom what it is, only that my brain just goes into an explosive mode. It’s like the list is swimming in front of me with of all these possibilities and even though technically the list may be ordered well, my brain seems to perceive it as chaotic and a mindfuck.
The other reason is I have always struggled to keep up with the sequences of the instruction, especially if it’s verbal.
You could simply state to me how to do something seemingly very simple, by the time you’ve gone through all the instructions and sequence of events to land on the finished idea/product etc, my brain has forgotten a lot of the previous steps you told me already. I’ll often find myself remembering the last instruction only, the rest has gone.
And then if you tell me what to do, and then say what not to do, all I can remember is what I’m not supposed to do.
In fact, for some reason, it doesn’t matter which comes first if you tell me what not to do first and then tell me what to do, or the reverse, I still seem to struggle the moment someone tells me what not to do.
Some instructions are literally only based on what not to do! And with these I become dumbfounded. It’s not that I don’t understand not to do the thing you just told me not to do, it’s that I can’t seem to extrapolate from that, what TO DO instead.
I realise how this sounds. It sounds like a person who is not only dumb but also has no creativity.
It’s not that there is a lack of creativity, but that my creativity can only bounce off what I do know.
Since I read that sentence about it being best to tell us what to do, rather than what not to do, I’ve tried to make sure that anyone giving me instructions or whatever tells me what to do only!
By that, I’m talking simple things.
For example, my mum is often the person who drives me to appointments during the week. When I need to book an appointment I often need prompting and reminding, but I also have to book appointments on days she can drive me.
In the past, I’ve been given a list of the dates she can’t! And it always messes with my mind! So last time I told her only to write down the days she CAN do.
And it was much easier for me.
The other day I felt so oddly calm. It may have been lack of motivation to care about anything. I don’t know.
But it was certainly calm. I even started writing up about ‘calmness’ only to find I was too calm to continue typing it up. I realise I had nothing much to say other than, “wow i feel so oddly relaxed considering how agitated and desperate I became just a few days earlier.”
Well, that calmness has gone.
I’m agitated and irritated by every little thing, even things that would normally have at least a minimal soothing effect.
Ear defenders to have some semblance of silence after I felt that noise was irritating me, only to find the ear defenders started to irritate me and then the silence started to irritate me. And then when I took them off I was irritated all over again at the feel of my ears getting used to not being covered again. Then I was irritated by the noises again.
I paced a bit. Came back in. Was instantly irritated by being back in my flat.
Tried talking to someone, not about this topic just about anything to distract myself. Felt irritated with the conversation. Realised halfway through talking I couldn’t really be bothered with it and so said those things you’re expected to say, “So i’m going back to my flat now, see you tomorrow,” All that stuff. Went back to my flat.
The voices on the radio, music, knowing certain people exist in the world, my own existence, the frailty of life, the lack of any meaning to it despite all the fucking suffering, agitation and angst.
Which is like a slap in the face. Why bother with all these emotions when it’s all so pathetically ‘accidental’ and meaningless?
Yet still, my biology feels the way it feels. We like to try and forget that our biology dictates a lot of how we feel.
And that is just another slap in the face, my brain, my body keeps sending all these hormonal signals and neurons into a frenzied attack of making me want to scream all the while knowing I’ll be irritated by my own fucking screaming.
Everyone’s feelings and attitudes absorbed by me (or so I perceive) and all I want to do is push it all away. Keep away from me with your feelings and your baggage is what I want to scream at people. KEEP THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!
And then in the silence and in being alone, I realise I can’t cope with my own baggage either. At this point my baggage is so messy it’s not even funny. The bag is bulging to the brim of messed up shit, a lot that makes no sense. And I can’t seem to tease anything apart into breakable, edible pieces.
I think of a song I might want to listen to because a lyric comes to mind then I realise, no I don’t wanna hear any fucking sound. Even if it is one of my favourite bands.
The sun shining is provoking me, poking my agitation with its rays, “Here I am. A complete contrast to how you feel. Ah just soak me up.” And for a moment I think, “Maybe soaking you up will help?” After all sunlight is good for us, isn’t it?
But I’m resentful of the sun shining right now in this moment. I’m resentful that humans as a species made it so the sun is a symbol of happiness. Because I can’t connect to that word, or that feeling and never have been truly able to.
I think it’s a thing that doesn’t exist. Not in the way it’s sold.
But despite knowing this, I feel I’m perpetually mourning the ideals of ‘happiness’ we’ve been sold.
When I was amazingly calm the other day I remember feeling like I’d let go of everything, because everything just was and everything just is. I wasn’t particularly happy, in fact what I was somewhat feeling could have been described as sad. But I’d somehow for the day managed to let go of any expectations and of other stuff I can’t quite put my finger on, and so any feelings were just…well they didn’t have much weight to them.
What puts the weight back into them? I don’t know how my feelings gained weight again. I just know they did. And now they’re obese again with pressure and the heart is working harder to keep from losing itself.
I have feelings and thoughts that I can’t compute.
An error code is flashing behind my eyes with a symbol next to it. The symbol is a triangle with an exclamation mark in it.
It’s not just a writer’s block error code, it’s a code of full system failure to compute feelings and thoughts into words, even to speak them.
There is a lack of ideas at play but at the same time too much in the head at once.
I’m aware of things that for sure feel doom and gloom yet I have no… pathway to use from there to use the information for any purpose. Whether that be, write it out and spread a message, scream it, cry it… I don’t fucking know.
I consider going down and talking to people I see often, but I find once I get towards my door to leave I realise I have nothing I can think of to say.
I mean it’s not that I’m devoid of anything to share, it’s just that I’m devoid of anything that feels worth sharing.
I don’t know if it’s a good thing. A learning curve of realising not all is worth saying.
A silence that could be peaceful if i’d just let myself be lulled by it?
It’s not that I spoke so much previously that this silence is ‘new’ but that even the little bits I did used to speak don’t at present, seem all that worth it.
I kind of like it. But I don’t trust it at the same time.
Because mixed with that there is a sense of my depression being here, pushing against me like the gravity that it is.
I can’t tell if it’s a peaceful pact I’ve found within myself where I no longer feel the need to share things not worthy of sharing or if it’s the depression telling me those things aren’t worth it.
I know the depression never really goes away for me. But I have noticed those times when my depression wants to truly haunt me, but even then vaguely, I’ll find I’ll go to bed at the same time as usual but still find myself waking up late, and when I do wake up, extremely reluctant to get out of that bed.
It’s not that I get out of bed without reluctance even on my better days, but it’s a worse, more determined, grumpy reluctance.
A menacing, sinister unwillingness to shake the covers off and greet a new day.
It takes a lot more of something feeling urgent to get me up. Like needing to pee so bad I might explode and on top of that hearing the budgie that owns me cheeping and cheeping because she’s noticed she’s been in the dark for longer than a usual night so, “Get up goddamn it! Get up!”
Which reminds me that in previous years before I was owned by a Budgie these days would be spent all day in bed.
Being owned by a Budgie and needing to care for her leaves me with an urgency that means I must get up, even if it’s a few hours later than when I’m doing better.
I had a topic in mind I wanted to write about but as said previously I have no words. I’m surprised I’ve squeezed all this out.
Dust motes glide in the split streams of light as people raise their arms over their heads in a colourful array of supposed dance moves. The music blasts and you can feel the bass vibrating through your bones.
I don’t know if their smiles are real, I project onto them the fakeness of my own smile.
I find myself walking through the crowds of people aimlessly chasing for those moments with Jasmine. Women are brushing against me and I’m trying to act like it’s the best night of my life, looking around me at all these faces flashing different colours in the lights, and I’m thinking, ‘are you listening to the lyrics?’
“Please tell me why, oh tell me why do we build castles in the sky…”
“Do you ever question your life?” Why yes, yes I do I question it all the time.
I’m drowning and you’re all living in a submarine separate from me. I can’t breathe.
“I think it’s time to talk with you…..Where is the love?”
Can’t you hear the desperation in their voice? I want to shake these people. They call it trance music, and it seems appropriate because they’re set in a trance dancing, moving their body like hypnotised robots.
“Give me a reason, must be a reason to hold on to what we’ve got,”
I think I’ve seen Jasmine amongst a crowd of colourful dancing people.
What is the reason? Why are we holding on?
I’m spiralling. Going deeper and deeper into the depths of the ocean, I’m dying and the woman I thought was Jasmine was a bearded man with long hair.
The music is too bright to lights to loud. Existential voices sing over beats that propose promise of a good time. My mind can’t get over the contradiction.
Greenlight, arms raised, purple, pose, red, pout those lips and move that butt. Do the robot. “I don’t wanna say I’m sorry, because I know there’s nothing wrong,” But there is! Everything is wrong!
“Hold me in your arms, cause I need you so.”
I rush out of the club and throw up in a side street. I can still hear the thump of every beat inside the building, feel it shaking my bones.
“Don’t be afraid, there’s no need to worry…”
I go to a nearby carpark and climb till I reach the top floor. The music is blasting from across the road, the neon lights shining on the night.
I stand on the edge. I hear the beginnings of a song called ‘Children’ from across the road. I know they’re dancing in there like it doesn’t sound sad. It must be me and my perception. No. The world is lost and I’m drowning in an abyss. I stand on the edge. The beat the music has gotten heavier. Like my heart.
That lingering tone behind the beat, behind the melody it reeks of sadness. Or am I just too sad to hear the happiness?
I’m dizzy, I’m tired. I lean forward and open my arms to the wind.
Close my eyes.
This is it.
Blue lights. Heavy heart.
Are those blue lights part of the club?
Sirens reach out like a hand over the music.
My hairs a mess and my palms are wet with sweat.
I feel like I’ve had an electrocution to the head.
“You don’t want to do this, son.” A male voice says behind me.
The music coming from the club speaks for me. But he doesn’t hear it’s sadness, he hears it as people having a good night.
3 months out of hospital:
I submerge my face under the water and I look up at the ceiling. I hold my breath. I hear her footsteps drawing near; I lift my head out with a gasp.
Jasmine peers around the door, “The film will be starting in 10 minutes!” She tells me before closing the door behind her and sauntering off back to the lounge.
I’m trying to learn to be a dragonfish, learning how to be my own source of light.
We walk along the beach like a couple in a rom-com, the backs of our shoes hooked onto our fingers. The sea froths at our feet and the rollercoaster from the amusement park behind us laughs its maniacal laugh as screams of its victims penetrate the wind.
“I don’t think I love you.”
Jasmine steps further into the sea so that the rim of her skirt skims the water, she looks over her shoulder at me but turns away quickly.
The hush of the sea seems to divide us further apart with only the laughing track of the rollercoaster behind. I look over my shoulder to the pier behind me where the lone figure stands watching, waiting with smoke billowing out of his mouth. ”
So,” Her words finally crack through the laughing track, the menacing tone of it seeming to stifle the breeze, “You sure know how to make things awkward,” she laughs trying to make light of the moment.
“It’s true.” I agree.
I wade through the water till I’m next to her, “Love is never enough.”
We walk even further into the sea till it’s up to our knees. The waves lapping around us. It’s hard to tell in the darkness, but I think she’s frowning
“But you just said you don’t love me.”
I look out at ahead of me at the vastness of the sea, “And I’m saying it doesn’t matter because love is never enough anyway.”
I turn to read her shadowed expression again but she’s disappeared. I look to my left and she’s not there either. My light bulb head flashing erratically, “Jasmine?” The rollercoaster laughs at my plight distantly. As a shrill scream calls out from the ride I feel a sudden weight against me and my head goes under the water, “Is this what you want?” Jasmine asks through gritted teeth, her voice sounding far off and away, “Well” She pushes my head down harder. Submerged under the water, salt water getting in my mouth on automation a panic sets in me, I try to push myself up against the resistance. She pulls my head and I spit and cough, “What…” Is all I manage to get out before she’s plunged my head back down, “You want to die?”
I gurgle under the water. All these years of feeling like I’m drowning and I almost laugh as the water takes my breath away. She lifts my head out again, pulls my head toward her and before I can cough and splutter her lips are on my mine further suffocating me. “Of course you don’t love me,” She whispers as she pulls her lips away, “You’d rather die than love someone else.”
I cough and splutter up my lungs violently.
“If I didn’t love you,” the rollercoaster laughs at this exact point and it seems appropriate, “I probably wouldn’t hate you so much.” Her voice catches in her throat.
“I’m sorry,” I splutter.
“I know you need help,” Tears break her voice, “You’re too far gone for me.”
I close my eyes and feel the water against my body, “I’m sorry,” I repeat more clearly as she wades through the water and back to shore.
I watch my trainers float away on the water ahead of me before heading back to the pier. My clothes drenched and my lungs still burning. Couples walking home after an evening out walk hand in hand, turning their heads to look at me the drenched shoeless man walking along the pavements as I head towards gates of the theme park a moody man looking me up and down with a sigh, “Really?” he shakes his head again and tuts as he rips tickets off his booklet and takes my money. My face is flapping in the wind, the clouds above begin to spit as the clown laughs at my decline, my stomach lurching at the pull of gravity my mouth gaping open from the automatic bodily horror and excitement. My heart is racing. The laughter is followed by the whooshing sound and click-clack of the rollercoasters momentum. The laugh starts up again but more maniacally as it twists and spirals and I’m upside down. It probably looks comical, just me on my own hanging upside down suspended, the moon shining down on the world as if nothing is wrong. My heart is pounding not because I’m alive but because I’m dying. I look down at all the dots walking in all directions, humans that look like ants. Apart from it all, watching, trying to be like you but always seeming to fall short somewhere.
Concerts, parties, clubs, I watch you and I can’t connect to it because I’m feeling everything and nothing all at once. A balloon about to burst.
Noticing everything, but noticing everything is as good as noticing nothing.
”I do love you, Jasmine!” I whisper to the air around me as the ride pulls to a stop.
“One more time,” I tell the tickets guy, he shakes his head and tuts which I take to be a signal for no, so it’s with a jolt when I realise he’s let the ride start again.
A bright white light shines like a star, making silhouettes of the band in front. The middle of the floor is oddly empty; everyone gathered around the edges of the room as if existing only in the periphery.
“We’ve come all the way to Foxbarrow for this?” I ask Jasmine who stands wearing band merchandise beside me, the band’s logo on her t-shirt with a guitar going through the writing.
Jasmine smirks, “Do you like anything?”
The lead singer is singing about a dirty magazine, “Would It surprise you,” I pause to get myself psyched up to say this, “if I said this band sounds okay to me?”
Jasmine raises a brow, “Only okay?” She shrugs, “If that’s the best I’m gonna get from you then its good enough for me.”
It’s atmospheric, ambient music. My favourite kind, but I won’t tell her that. The crowd of people is slowly dispersing throughout the hall so that we’re no longer just filling in the edges. Some people are swaying to the beat of the music; others are laughing and taking tokes of what I gather to be marijuana.
“Another dirty magazine to see me off to bed,” the band sings, and some people in the crowd join in.
I pull Jasmine to the bar away from too many mingling bodies,”Can we just sit here for a bit?”
Jasmine smiles, and for the first time, it seems like a sincere, warm smile, that smile only women know how to do that spreads a warmth with it. It’s like a smile that caresses you, makes you feel cared for, for a moment.
She lights up a cigarette casually and sits down, “Sure.”
Maybe it’s the music working on us like a drug, calming our nerves.
“Do you know what my soul sounds like?” I ask her, my eyes almost half shut from feeling so mellow.
“Like an explosion.”
I look at her lips, “Why an explosion?”
“Because you’re a wreck?” She shows her teeth in a grin, trying to pass it off as a joke. But we both know it’s true.
“No the explosion is history; this is the aftermath.”
I take a swig from my drink, “No, this music.”
We sit around for another hour not doing much, just taking in the dark atmospheric guitar strings ringing out with the deep voice now singing about poisoned kisses that they’re still chasing after. It’s their last song before they start packing up the stage in front of us and the hall starts to empty.
The hall erupts into silence, and we just sit back in our chairs. Jasmine looks at me, a question forming on her lips.
“Do you…” She seems shy all of a sudden gazing down at the table drawing invisible circles with her finger, “Do you really want to die?” I meet her eyes for one fleeting moment, both of us averting each others gazes immediately, “I’ve seen your internet history,” She explains, “All your searches about suicide.”
I get up out of my seat and look down at my laces.
“Can you just answer me this one question, Gilly? Do you really want to die?”
I shrug my shoulders, “I don’t know.”
She lifts her gaze to my face; I stare at her lip. “You don’t know?”
“I don’t know if ‘want’ is the right word.”
She draws lines back and forth with her finger now, “now that I’ve heard your soul I can’t help but feel sad.”
“But I thought you liked this music?”
“It’s good music, but it’s also sad music.” Her chair scrapes across the floor as she gets up to leave, the scratching sounds echoing through the hall. A man is stood waiting at the door holding it open for us, keeps shouting over that they have to get the hall ready for the ballroom dancing. Jasmine grabs my hand and starts running to the door; she flips the man off and giggles. The man looks crossed but doesn’t respond, just closes the door. ”What was that for?” I ask her
”Just felt like it.” She smiles as we wait for a car to drive past and then she pulls me across the road towards the pier.
The street lights wash the roads in orange like we’re living inside a tangerine. In the beginning, God made an orange. The evening breeze rustles through our hair. Jasmine runs ahead of me letting go of my hand giggling against the hush of the sea. I walk fast to try and keep up with her, the further we get away from the roads and onto the pier the less orange the world becomes, getting darker like we’ve reached the periphery of our existence. My lightbulb head flashing against the near black vastness. I can see her, just a figure at the end of pier leaning on the railings and I can smell the awful smell of marijuana before I see the smoke billowing out of her mouth like a chimney. I lean on the railings next to her, and she hands me the spliff. It’s funny to think how averse to germs, and human contact I am yet a very primal drive in me has allowed me to get past that and I’ve licked this woman out, kissed her lips! Just thinking about that at this moment when my primitive instincts aren’t currently ramped up by all the hormonal changes of sexual friction makes me want to heave. I take a deep breath; I mustn’t overthink this. I take a small drag and hand the spliff back to her. The hushing of the ocean lulls me into sleepiness. I turn to watch the lapping of the waves just visible in the dark and take a leak onto the sand between the railings, before I tuck myself away she grabs my dick,
“Here?” I look over my shoulder left and right as I feel her take me into her mouth. I’m getting hard, and into the moment driven by my primitive side again, I watch the waves blankly as her head bobs up and down on my cock, the fingers on my right-hand curling in her hair. I check over my shoulder and am stunned silent by a dark figure, who I take to be a man just leaning against the right side of the pier watching us. I pull myself out of Jasmine’s mouth in panic, but she moves forward and wraps her lips around me again before I can put myself away, “someone…” I utter through the conflict of pleasure and fear. I try to pull out and I want to hide and never be seen again.
She wipes my semen from her lips and is laughing till she peers at the figure down the pier. She stares startled then looks at me wide-eyed, “how long has he been….Shit!” She curses.
“I don’t know.” I lie