The 1 Brown Shoe!
I guess l was about 7 years of age when l realised l had an issue with the colour Brown! It wasn’t to be a long standing disagreement but it did last me quite a few seasons and by the time l was around 16 l actually figured l liked specific ‘browns’ like autumn browns and not just ‘plain brown!’ Russets, ambers, buffs, burnt chestnuts, chocolate or cocoa brown and woody browns all meant more to me then plain old’ brown!
And yet still from between the ages of 7-16 my parents notably my Mother insisted on buying me brown shoes! It didn’t matter, she couldn’t understand, together my parents simply thought l had issues concerning brown shoes and mostly my left shoe! I went to great lengths to try and explain to them that l didn’t like brown shoes – but my Mother was persistent in her belief that colour suited me!
From 7 – 16, l religiously lost one left brown shoe every year! I ritualised the whole thing like some pagan ceremony! They never got it, l was subjected to shouting’s and mental abuse from my Mother and my Father would simply strike me down! Perhaps l should have simply become even more submissive than l already was and agreed to allow the brown to live on my feet!
But no one ever bothered to ask me ‘Why the fuck l hated the browns!’ No one in 9 years ever once contemplated that simplistic of questions! Instead, l was shouted at, awarded mental cruelty and gifted beatings from the stern hand of the house!
Yet, if they had taken the time to ask that one question – l could have told them, “That plain brown shoes made me feel sick, actually physically sick, l wanted to throw up – my left foot in particular hated with a passion plain brown shoes! “ But neither of them asked.
I lost my left brown shoes in some really cool places; sinkholes, fishing ponds, down cliff faces and at the zoo – in fact one brown left shoe was actually made off with by a lovely giraffe! If l had wanted to write and blogs had existed back then, l probably could have made an absolute shilling killing on ‘The 1 Brown Shoe!”
But they didn’t!
It wasn’t just the 1 brown shoe that copped it, there were other colours on my HIT list! Some were just totally hideous! But it was the 70’s and my parents obviously thought they were ‘hip’ for my age!? They fucking weren’t – but l never had any say in the matter! It wasn’t just the colours but the style of the era that freaked me out!
Patterned shirts, flared trousers, platform shoes, skanky sweaters and the list went on – and the colours – Oh shucks! The colours were seriously awful! Air force blues, vomit oranges, dusky purples and alien greens! If that wasn’t bad enough!! Other violations were afoot against not just my mind, but my body!
Tags, seams, laces, fabric smells, wrinkles, crinkles, shiny stuff, clothes that actually creaked!! Trousers that made my ‘down there’ sweat terribly and made my hell even more unbearable! White socks under trousers!! Socks in sandals!! Skin tight!! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!
Most of my school years were remembered to be about bad taste as far as l was concerned! 100% discomfort at school, out of school and at home! I found solace in grunge wear bought from the local Oxfam – someone else’s’ clothing usually already a hundred years old and probably died in, and l felt right at home! I used to love even back then in my teens the brightest of colours – seriously bright colours – but my Dad ever the Homophobe considered this behaviour strange, weird and confirmation that his son sought the company of others like him! If it couldn’t be bright colours of almost softest silks then l simply never wanted to wear clothing at all – just walk about in socks, pants and a tee shirt if at all! SKIN was the best and most natural fabric l wanted to feel!
I never knew back then, that the issues l was struggling with were in fact known as ‘Tactile Hypersensitivity” but l sorely wished l had as it would have made my life so much easier!
What is it l hear you ask …
In a nutshell it is basically an increased sensitivity to touch, that can make the sufferer feel more than a little uncomfortable – such as nauseous or even experience pain and lots of it! When l was a youngster l was severely handicapped with its presence – thankfully as l have aged, l can tolerate more but still experience huge issues!
Many on the spectrum of autism will be able to relate to what l write here now as it affects us all in different ways – but mostly it can lead to an extreme meltdown due to becoming overwhelmed!
The slightest of touches, kisses or caresses can literally send some of us over the edge and teetering on the brink of madness! I used to detest being hugged by my parents and other relatives as an example – and l know many readers here today who may be all too familiar with this one now for either their memories or the reactions of their own children today!
Sensory issues have plagued me throughout my life – not just fabrics and clothing, but noises and scents and smells, being touched, discovering sex was a nightmare to begin with as another example! But so too was eating, everything had to have its own place on the plate and if colours touched [again touch] l had been known to go into a frenzy!
Some clear signs of tactile hypersensitivity!
1] Clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, gloves – ‘colours, tags, seams, cut of cloth, actual fabrics used, and how they fasten together.
Even today l struggle with loose threads, creases, seams and tags, as well as how the clothing actually sits upon my frame – and don’t even start me off on the wrong colour! I like white just Not on my body hence why 99% of my designs are on vibrant colours! I even hate my glasses as the frames tickle my cheeks and l just want to smash them most days!
2] Food – Colours touching, textures, smells, taste!
I am luckier than some, l was introduced to many foods as a youngster, l didn’t get on with all of them, but was able to tackle my discomforts and fears – yes fears! These days l can eat from a huge variety of food types – although l still experience a sense of nausea if in close proximity to ‘mushy peas and some melted cheeses! [I know like wtf?]
3] The wrong grounds afoot!
Walking boots are not meant to walk in mud, only Wellington boots are, linoleum floors are not made for bare feet, slivers of grass between my toes or fingers drive me nuts, barefoot in the sand is only okay as long as it’s dry but wet sand freaks me out! I prefer walking around in socks if the seams are right! Cannot wear sandals or flip flops or anything with my toes exposed – it actually makes me sweat in terror! Shoes are the MOST annoying creation ever invented!
Strangely l can walk barefoot in mud as it is slightly erotic! I almost go into meltdown mode if l have dirt under my fingernails [really awkward for my gardening hobby]. I hate getting wet in the rain – l mean really hate it – but tolerate it to a certain degree! But l love showers, and hate baths!
4] DON’T Touch Me there!
Thankfully l don’t have this problem anymore – but when younger having my haircut was a horrible ordeal. My Father wanted my hair to be crew-cut short and l preferred to wear it longer – so there was a constant battle at the barbers! Ironically these days l have to have my hair short as it freaks me out if it looks funny on my head – yet l still have a natural aversion towards getting it cut!
I used to hate being hugged. I used to hate slight feather touching on my skin! I cannot stand my eyes being touched and have been known to become violent! I wear glasses but could never wear contact lenses! My eyes are incredibly sensitive to anything including the wind! I can’t wear shorts because at times the breezes are unwelcomed!
5] Lacking regulation/moderation!
I have trouble knowing if l am too cold or too hot, not warm enough not cool enough – it can go beyond irksome!
All of the above can cause my life nightmares on a frequent basis – but equally what may trouble me one day will not cause me friction the next. One week might be great and the next l might be the embodiment of Damien!
Life with tactile hypersensitivity is NOT easy! Certainly no laughing matter!
When l started my business – l was looking at many forms of clothing to display the designs onto; l pondered which market l was aiming at and prices that reflected todays’ buyer!
I chose Tee Shirts; the adult market share of both on and off spectrum and not children and l chose Redbubble because of its varied collection of materials at affordable price ranges and next year will be looking to show certain designs on and in other print to demand sellers. I adore organic cottons and bamboos, but sadly their prices can be a little high, but for sensitivity issues they really are the best. But having said that find the Tri-Blend range from Redbubble very comfortable and easier on the wallet.
I care about the state of the planet and whilst it may be easy to go out and hand pick a tee shirt from anywhere for less money, the buyer cannot always guarantee where the fabrics are made or how they are manufactured and that worried me – as l wanted to be as eco-friendly as l could. With Redbubble, all materials are ethically sourced and that is important.
I display most of my designs on vibrantly coloured materials where l can, as this is the true reflection of my personality – but all designs can be available to YOU on white. I have taken away any type of the Redbubble ‘relaxed fit or tight fit’ as they come up incredibly small and really uncomfortable’, but if that’s your thing drop me a line and l will pop a design onto that size for you.
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.
“But it’s so soft! I love that!!! I suffer from oversensitivity so I’m glad it was so soft. I also like the peg label – nice touch!”
Stephie-R On The Redbubble Tri-Blend Range