Enough with all the “talk”

So, coming up is International Day of People With Disabilities. And for me it’s also my 50th Birthday.

Here’s a list of gifts that would be nice:

  1. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  2. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  3. Stop picking on people for how they speak or don’t speak.
  4. The above on repeat until people start recognising that communication is multi layered, not just dependent on speech.

I sit on the more socially acceptable side of this, being hyperverbal, but I do experience shut down and need more silence and then I am interpreted as rude when I go quiet for days at a stretch. I struggle with tone and pitch, I speak too fast and I get word order “wrong” (whatever that means). Modifying this is exhausting, not just metaphorically, but physically exhausting.

Most of my meltdowns are related to not getting enough solitude away from people asking me to speak – plus related to the hyperacusis and sensory processing pressures I experience. It’s still hard work for me to speak in a “socially acceptable way”.

It literally takes 10x more effort for me to public speak, because I am constantly modifying how I speak for a neurotypical audience, as a matter of survival in the arts world. Then people will still find a problem with it – and frankly I don’t care if they do.

I won’t mask for you, pretending to be neurotypical is harmful to me. I will try out new things that feel comfortable and I think I’ll sing more (because it feels better than this cultural obsession with punchline comedy). But I won’t mask for you.

And if it’s considered inappropriate, well isn’t everyone at some point? All this focus on speech assumes there is some standard way to communicate.

Speech is not superior to any other form of communication. And perfect speech or perfect non-speech doesn’t exist.

#IDPWD #autism #speech #communication

3 Weeks in Holsworthy

As I turn 50 next week – I am reflecting on life. I think this is fairly typical human behaviour when faced with a significant birthday.

I have no regrets. Well, maybe one. This poem is about that one regret.

I remember that look in her eyes

That said to me, “It wouldn’t be wise”

Settled back and watched her play pool

Admirers gathered, like thieves to a jewel

Years later I wonder how long she played

Played straight, played safe, existing afraid

1989 it was illegal to be a queer in Defence

Mutterings of military prison for the offence

“You’ll get a long three weeks in Holsworthy”

Imagine how gruesome prison would be?

So we got lost, in a world, filled with fear

And now as I queer up in my 50th year

I wonder where she is and how she is now

If she is finally free from this, somehow?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to find her

But still for some LGTBIQA+ remains a slur

At 50, in the age of finding those lost on the net

Never being able to find her is my one regret

I really don’t know if she’s happy or still scared

I hope she can remember just how much I care.

Morning Improv Song

Morning shit-take karaoke. Laughter therapy through the piano.

Nonsense has always saved me from the crushing social anxiety I experience. Laughter keeps me coming back at life, day after day.

I may never be that entirely polished performer because my brain is not wired that way and I like being the one making equal parts nonsense and equal parts poking the bear of a system that says #autistic people should “communicate like the rest of the world does”.

I am naturally inappropriate and proud of it!

Since I learned to be a laughter yoga leader I laugh more – and practice the action of laughing daily. Sometimes it makes things better a lot, sometimes only a little bit, but that even little bit is more than I had before laughing. The act of laughing, even when I don’t feel like laughing reminds me:

Are we laughing because we are happy, or happy because we are laughing? (thank you Dr. Brian King this is lifted from your book – The Laughing Cure).

So things got pretty shitty this last 12 months. So I learned piano and now I am doing morning improv song making that makes me laugh and is pure nonsense.

I’ve also decided to quit trying to be that perfectly timed, punchline driven perfectionist that some think is “the only comedy”. And I guess I’ll never make the big time this way, but at least, I’ll find my joy. And find a better word than bog to rhyme with dog.

Besides, I am a comedy variety artist now. And now, after the chaos of spending the last month putting a Melbourne Fringe show together – I’ve got this mess to reorganise in the studio…lol.

Oh…here’s the link to the show. It has character comedy, original music having shots at Trump and the Australian government and general quirky bits and pieces and some rants.

21, 22, 24 – 29 November online – at 6pm, just in time to spoil your dinner.

P.S. I can do more than one tune on the piano, I just don’t want to. #mentalhealth #anxiety #musictherapy #laughteristhebestmedicine