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Cocoons Can be Comfy

an introverted autist retreats

You Should

You should do it this way.

You should think of it that way.

I  do this for you.

You should do that for me.

You should’ve said something.

You should’ve done something.

You should.

You should.

You should…

Two simple little words

That ought not bring such

Outright dread.

Yet, it’s the way you tend to

Hold them over my head.

I began to feel as if I can

Never win.

Everything I do the way I do is wrong.

I am forever scrambling to

Find a way to mend.

If only there was a place I

Could be

Where “you should” is

Never said to me…

Lost

More peopling.

A nearly forgotten engagement.

My safe person forgets me a little bit, too.

Oh, the strains that appear when a

Very quiet, reticent autist

Marries a very loud and colorful one…

Finding the words to express

How lost I can feel

And yet how much I don’t 

Want him to lose himself…

Nearly impossible.

Dancing in Pen

All I ever wanted was to

Make my words skim with grace

Across the pages…

Like Gene Kelly-smooth of throat and 

Boisterously athletic 

In the middle of a downpour.

I knew, after all, my body could not

Cooperate in that fashion.

My voice was too often smallish and strange.

Only in text could I ever hope for

Flight…

Only in the threading of phrases

Could I ever find

My own way of

Singin’ in the rain.

Now, there were those who tried to change it.

Some who felt the need to remake it,

Fiddling with the drape of my trench,

Or even to take it away,

Tut-tutting my lack of umbrella,

Smirking over my lack of balance…

But there is something about the

Fierceness of the heart’s desire…

It reinvents its own cobblestone stage,

Emerges glistening and wet,

Streets once again all set,

Ready for my pen to dance

Once more…

Like a Child

“Like a child” has gained such unfair negative connotations.

You’re such a child.

When will you stop behaving like such a child?

Such childish behavior. Grow up.

Phrases that seared my skin in younger years

And never once prevented a meltdown-

Though I didn’t know then that was what to call the 

Full-body scream 

That took me over

When something in my wake was

More than I could handle.

Sometimes, she’d mimic my panic

In cruel, sneering tones.

Other times, she’d just try to yell louder to be heard.

Hands would become involved-

Iron grips and swinging fists.

Pain was wrought.

Tears would come.

Blubbered apologies and hugs I was not

Ready for.

And, as time wore on,

I was neither ready to believe.

So began my attempts to duck it all

By containing every part of my youth,

Every piece of joy and fear,

Relegating them to secreted spots

She did not go to.

I stifled my senses when she was near.

At least, then, she could not fault my timidity…

I also stopped much playing in her presence.

Playing when it was not by her assertion just annoyed her….

But, eventually, this really meant I stopped playing at all…

Took me a lot of years

And countless dead ends to

Find there was another way to turn the phrase…

“Like a child”

Could be a ray of light unspoiled

By the cares of the world.

“Like a child”

Could be seen in a zeal for the 

simple things which move me.

“Like a child”

Could equal pure faith in something 

And Someone bigger than I.

“Like a child”

Might just mean entrusting

All the joy and the fear to

This One.

Slowly, I am learning to

In more than surface ways…

Slowly, I am beginning to

See the beauty of being

“Like a child”…

Prepping

Prepping for peopling tonight…

Dread rises in my belly

Like so many cactus needles

Prickling me from the inside.

Take a deep breath, or try to…

Disappear for a fraction of time

In a world of familiarity…

No need for faces there.

No chit chat to summon up.

No blur of confusion

Or crowds to clot the senses…

Just smiles sprinkling my way

And understanding to flicker on the maddening gloom.

And my heart relaxes for a beat.

But, only a beat before I must tunnel through…

But, at least, there is that brief little beat to hold onto…

Dare

“Dare to dream”, they say.

It’s the theme of everything these days.

A thousand posters tritely line the walls,

Each variation of sameness projects the call…

“Do it, do it!” puppies with wide eyes

And white checkmarks demand.

If you can’t, you just aren’t believing enough;

If you don’t, well, you just have idle hands.

“Dare to dream,” they cry.

Yet they never add that the “dream” must be the thing they supply.

All others are stamped unacceptable, 

Unceremoniously tossed in the receptacle.

My only recourse seems to lie in ripping the posters from my landscape altogether,

Wadding them with zest as I resist to fit

Their standard, one-size-for-all shapes and whatevers .

“Dream? Yes, I will dare, ” I reply.

“But, in my own way and time, I will dare to reach my own version of sky…”

Unexpected Kin

Discovery waits just beyond the next bend.

Pouring over pages has long been 

my best friend.

Stories encompass so much of my oft solitary being

Comfort in the form and flow of language are my tethered string.

For I find things to know therein;

In others’ tales I stumble across unexpected kin.

Sometimes, it even spurs my heart onward to share my own

And the discovery draws near the knowledge

I am truly not so alone…

The Urge to Apologize for One’s Existence

Hey. Needed a poetry break to just pull up my chair and talk.

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts rolling around in my brain these days.

It seems as soon as I determine to spring up and seize the day with confidence, as soon as I dare to allow myself to feel a part of life, something sneaks in to steal it away.

It might be a circumstance, a physical ailment, or even just a chance thought that spirals down to take the wind out of my sails.

But, whatever it is, it’s there, staring me down, reminding me of my 30+ year track record of failure.

I stare into the internal mirror and find all the self-love I have strived for is all but dried up.

And so quickly. So easily.

And I ponder what it must be like to be a person who does not struggle to embrace who they are.

I wonder what I could’ve been “if only”.

I acknowledge the people who say I’ve done more than I think and it’s not too late to do more, but it is less something that makes a dent and more of a nod to the fact I should believe this.

But, on these days, I just can’t.

I stare down the long rows of things that I never did, never became, never will, never stop running from…

And I feel like apologizing to anyone and everyone I’ve ever let down.

My parents. My kids. My husband. My so-called friends.

Teachers and bosses and publishers.

Even the autism community I am supposed to be inspiring by proving all we can do…

But, in the end, this is part of me. I can’t erase or escape it.

I will always be more introspective, my own worst critic, and one to live a quieter, less showy existence.

To many eyes, that will equal failure.

To my bank account it certainly does! 😏

Yet, if I can just let myself be, the good days and the bad days and all the days in-between, to recognize the ride for what it is without fretting about how I’ve let down the world…

Perhaps I could stand a chance to love this scarred-up old soul of mine a little more often…


Rise Up, Chorus

Finding my voice in the autism community in a freer way than ever before…

There is a stirring,
A rising up as a chorus

Gradually strengthening in numbers,

As more join in

And blend into the beautiful tapestry…

An unfurling of notes curls over

And under

And all around me…

And in a thousand different tones

Fitted together, 

The lyrics speak of both 

Individual and collective truth

All at once,

My truth,

Our truth.

Autism truth.

Things we need,

Things we long for,

Unique in flavor

Yet woven together,

And united in soul… 

And I find the strength in the music 

To add my voice

And I find the bolstering of my heart

As I finally, actually begin to

Sound like me.


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