For “UP”, the publication of the Dutch organization Lister, I wrote this piece on autism and identity, in which I discuss forming an identity and expectations, prejudices about autism, and having an “autistic identity”. The Dutch (slightly shorter) version can be read here. All comments are very welcome.
I found that these people possessed a method of communicating their experience and feelings to one another by articulate sounds. I perceived that the words they spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it.
(Chapter 12, paragraph 9)
According to Dr. Frankenstein’s “monster” (Mary Shelley). Communication is complex and does not come naturally for everyone. Personally, I often feel as though I am a misfit, someone described by Temple Grandin & Oliver Sacks as “an anthropologist from Mars”, and by me as a misplaced alien. That feeling comes mostly during communication.
As an aspiring polyglot and a student of neuropsychology, I have a sweet spot for untranslatable words (from foreign or historical languages) that describe emotions, psychological states and/or behaviour. Because I got so many positive reactions about my work on hiraeth, I decided to share this interest with you by means of a new category for this blog: “Lost in Translation“. This first entry will be about the Korean concept of Nunchi, as I was recently interviewed about this by journalist Annemieke Riesebos for the Dutch magazine Grazia.
“PING!” beeps my computer as it announces a new email, sent by Robyn Ochs. Her call for writing is like a storytelling guide, with many interlinked questions: “How has aging transformed you?” “What have been the most significant moments or transitions in your life?” “What do you imagine your future holds?” Pondering these prompts, for a short moment, I feel like I am in a movie, at the point where someone (almost) dies and we—the audience—see a life flash by. My brain replays some film-like memories, scary ones of the nagging children on the schoolyard and my homophobic ex-boyfriend, but also happy ones, of the first European Bisexual Conference. And I realise that Robyn cannot know how she and her work have affected my transformation. So, time to answer her questions!
For me, one of the most puzzling aspects of autism is still the “road-to-overload”. Sometimes the day seems like a four-lane highway that you smoothly cross over, another time you feel like rope dancing over an abyss… through snow and blizzards! But quite recently, I encountered the hashtag #spoonie, that refers to people who use the so-called “spoon theory”, a metaphor that enables users to concretise their energy levels.