“Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you
No man ask for
That brings a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets”
Under Pressure 1982
What a remarkable duo Bowie and Mercury were and how appropriately apt ‘Under Pressure’ was for me when l first heard it, all those years ago. I was an awkwardly shy and geeky adolescent back then preparing to leave my teenager years behind and enter the arena of manhood or at least learning to become an adult. I recall with a clarity buying the single and playing it over and over and OVER again, much to the vexation of my parents, especially my Father who couldn’t stand ‘pop’ music anyway.
It wasn’t just this song that l used to calm my moods, there were many of the era that acted beautifully as a Wall against the outside world – a way of becoming entranced and encased in music rather than having to face the cacophony of society with its harsh and brutal shrillness. The vibrancy of the outside was at times simply too much to take on board easily.
My brain was having to work over time when all l desired it to do was slow down! Most days it sped around like a loose bullet inside a metal bin – it was constantly ricocheting from left to right – just trying to cope with life, let alone all of the trimmings that travelled with that topic! Such as the people of society!
When my mind wasn’t tripping the light fantastic my body felt as if it was walking through a field of cotton, nettles and razor blades! Trying to become comfortable was like literally searching for the elusive haystack pin!
Scratchy, uncomfortable, tight fitting, restrictive and downright irksome was how l felt in practically anything l wore on my body – so many times all l wanted to do was rip my skin off and felt ever so envious of Worzel Gummidge with his alternative head changing ability!
Oh l wish, life was that simple!
Music was my ability to switch off, because switching off and zoning out were my best defences against a mind that wanted to attack my brain at every opportunity presented! I could flap my hands and dance around like a baby elephant to my heart’s content and damned to all who disagreed with my frolics!
Endeavouring to get my parents to understand let alone comprehend how every second in my brain felt like an eternity of confusion was a nightmare. My Father who was in short an eccentric nutball as was, liked things to be black and white and not frilly around the edges was convinced his son who was like an alien to him anyway was gradually losing the plot! Failing that he had to be on drugs and was probably snorting hence why all the noise from above!
I did try to explain to both of them, that when your head feels like it is performing somersaults on your shoulders it was very hard to apply concentration on everything else going on around you. That if they truly wanted to understand then maybe they could try to imagine how they might feel if suddenly their world exploded into a huge blossom of spectacular patterns, smells, numbers, words and strangeness because that is what ‘my world’ was like every minute of the day!
Trying to emphasize to my Father that the reason l preferred Oxfam clothing in comparison to new styled clothing was because it was softer to my skin, and felt more familiar and welcoming, that it had a ‘worn’ aspect to it, and above everything else it had been lived in – never went down that well. He continued to think that l was not quite right in my head and soon started to humiliate me in front of others for my ‘strange and weird’ behaviour!
Back then, l didn’t know l was an Aspergian or for that matter l didn’t know that my Father was also on the spectrum. My Mother just knew that she had to contend with two very strange challenges each and every day.
Life is hard for someone who can suffer at the continuous onslaught of a society hell-bent on making too much noise, overcrowding and mismanaging its environment, demeaning its people, dishonouring traditions and cultures with manic media, over whelming the populace with aggressive progression, destroying the world through unnecessary urbanisation and don’t even start me on how quickly technology has advanced! But above everything why oh why do we still live in a world of scratchy and unwanted clothing tags?
Over the years having been burned to a crisp by a knowing people with their fondness and love for both friendship and relationships l have acquired some very handy life negotiation skills. Whilst l am not a narcisstic manipulator like many l have sadly met through my travels, l have become acutely aware of my own set of boundaries. Limits of what l can and cannot achieve.
1] Having the right Neuro Partner makes life a lot easier!
2] Dogs truly are the great companions!
3] Its individual Person’s l like not Societies People!
4] Live life in the Six!
5] Socks rock but shoes don’t!
6] The Grunge look is always fashionable!
7] It’s More than OK to be You!
8] Live Your Life for you and not the Others!
9] A Special Interest is indeed of special interest.
10] Developing a [PMA] Positive Mental Attitude is a real attribute for life.
11] Get used to the roughness of Fire resistant Gloves when wearing them!
12] Being polite costs nothing BUT is always rewarding!
These days l don’t often have full on meltdowns – not like l used to – l am not saying l don’t have little Life Glitches or that every piece of clothing l wear is instantly fantastically kind to my skin – because it’s not. But l have learned to live a style of life that is more befitting me. It is not for everyone, but SO WHAT l am not asking the Others to live my life style, so what’s it to them?
Sensory sensitivity is no laughing matter, and yet so many unknowing seemingly believe that the meltdown is worthy of a jeer, a judgement or a chastisement. Meltdowns don’t just happen to those of us on the spectrum folks, they can happen to everyone, from all walks of life – remember that the next time you see someone feeling awkward in their skin.
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.