I’m remembering, because the past few days have been hard and difficult and confusing. They have been overwhelming and noisy. They have been dangerous and draining.
So very draining.
And then I remember.
I remember being little, and tilting my head and observing people. And being told to stop doing that, it was unnerving. I moved out of Uncanny Valley.
Only, I never really moved out of Uncanny Valley. It is still my home. I am a wanderer in a foreign country.
Sometimes the culture shock is too much, and then I shut down.
2. Culture shock.
I remember all the times my movement have been deeply offensive to whomever was watching. I remember being told to “stop screaming - I can’t hear the TV” - after having just a second before fallen and cracked my cranium as a result.
Because when you get to stop my other movements, my other behaviours, you stop thinking about why I do what I do. You just assume your preference takes precedence over mine. I am a visitor in a foreign country.
3. When in Rome…
I remember teachers taking my books. Because children should play and run with their classmates [regardless of how mean those classmates are, because teachers never see], not sit on the staircase and read.
And because I move differently, because I talk with bigger words than
the other kids, this is okay. I need to learn how to make age
appropriate connections with my peers.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and when in Rome…
4. Told to be Roman.
I remember when I stoped stimming where people could see. It was a process.
It was Mother mocking my fingers tapping when having dinner with
extended family memebers. It was classmates objecting to being told that
they had to include me in those games I was forced to participate in
when the teachers took my books because I was weird. It was Teacher
forcibly taking my kitch, plastic necklace from my hands, because I
should pay attention to the class. It was when Sibling told me, screamed
at me, to stop moving your feet at the table. It was every time Father
took my bluetack, my thinking putty, my soft eraser, because it was
disgusting for him to see me fiddle with it.
I remember stopping to stim where others could see me. Then I stimmed for all that I couldn’t when I was alone. Feeling like I was doing something wrong. Something morally reprehensible.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and when you leave your culture,
you hold onto it even harder than you’d do if you were still at home.
I remember that I never really stopped stimming in public. I just became invisible. Smaller movement, less noise, no props.
I gave myself an entire library of stims, rotating them so to the casual observer there was no stereotypy.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and I keep breaking the law.
I remember back when, before Partner and I moved in together. Back
when we were sure we were in this for the long haul, but acknowledging
that we were in the very beginning of said haul, Partner came over to my
place. I was working on the computer, and was fiddling with a stimtoy. I
heard Partner outside, and scrambled to put the toy away, before opening the door. Not putting down. Putting it away.
I did, and moved to the door. Halfway there I got so angry
with myself, very resolutely turned around, stomped over and got my toy,
before letting Partner in. Because if Partner was gonna be my partner,
they better accept my weird private behaviours, my weird private
movements. Partner didn’t even notice the toy.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and I found a native who is curious about where I am from.
I remember crying after I saw The Loud Hands Project video. There were people who moved like me.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and I found the expat community.
8. Civil disobediance.
I remember deciding that, you know what? I don’t care about you. I -like- stimming. It doesn’t hurt anything more than your delicate sensibilities. I will stim when I feel like it.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and I proudly engage in civil disobediance.
I remember that not all who wanders are lost. Some are, I’m not.
I am a visitor in a foreign country, and I might like it here.