Just Stimming…

A land we can share (a place I can map)

On Being Articulate

with 10 comments

They say I’m articulate.

(I think about all the words that stay locked in my throat, and I give a small and terrified smile and look over their shoulder and into nothing at all.)

I’m really quite lucky I have such a command of language.

(There are maybe five people in the whole wide world I can talk to face-to-face without wanting to die, without having a panic attack, without needing to hurt myself or sleep for hours afterward. Two of them receive speech therapy. None of them obey the usual laws of dialogue. I know that, really, I’m lucky to have anyone at all.)

My verbal agility is a sign of something, they’re sure.

(When I’m trapped into a conversation in the kitchen of someone else’s home, I stare at the table and see nothing at all, and my throat closes and my ears ring and the world is small and distant and hot and I am agile because adrenaline alters our capabilities.)

I’m really quite social.

(If I am asked how are you I will always say fine. If you ask me anything at all I will throw as many words as I can in your general direction. I can have quiet hands but the loudest mouth, I’m very advanced, and for my next trick I’ll even ask what’s up with you.)

I can answer every question you might ever have.

(Except for what do you need or how do you feel or do you want anything or is this okay.)

I can request independently and answer yes-no questions reliably.

(I can request independently because I never make requests, which means independence, which means I must not have to but I could if I did, right? But if you ask me if I need help I will say no, and if you ask, as my hands fly around my ears and my shoulders go tight and small, if I’m okay, I will say yes because I can’t say no and if I could it would mean more talking and less space and I will say anything at all to get you to go away until my brain is my own again.)

I am verbose and prosaic in my speech.

(I am as helpless to stay silent when you speak to me as I am to move when I need to do laundry. I freeze, staring at my dirty clothes, and every cognitive break I own clamps down because I can’t, because there are too many steps, because this has been the Summer Of Laundry Wars and I have lost. But there are no steps at all in unhinging my jaw and going somewhere very far away and echoing, echoing, reciting and remixing scripts about Why I’m Not In School and What I Did This Summer and Why We Deserve Human Rights until the tape runs out.)

I have such a good grip on the English language.

(And such a poor grip on reality, going somewhere still and quiet and out of my head while my mouth turns tricks for you.)

I’m never told I’m impolite or out of place or off script.

(Bad, too serious, perseverative, disconnected, hateful, boring, too enthusiastic, dogmatic, of course. All of those. And that’s just for talking about a show I like, without even stepping on anyone’s toes. For being happy, for getting excited about something, for trying to share. For saying something that wasn’t an answer to a question. But everything’s fine, and I’m very polite, I’m very well trained.)

I can say whatever you ask of me.

(I’m very obedient.)

I’m an Acceptable Autistic.

(I never disagree with you to your face, and you’ll probably never hear about it because the gore in my stomach when you tell me I must be very high-functioning gets pulled down by the fear of quiet hands and you must not understand and I know putting yourself in other people’s shoes is hard for you.)

I’m a Forgettable Autistic.

(As a child, I didn’t cry when I broke my wrist, which meant I didn’t feel pain. I read about social skills when I was bullied, so I wasn’t mistreated. I didn’t cry when I was abused, so it wasn’t abuse. Now, I tell you it’s fine and I walk away, and maybe I sat in a hallway for two hours the other week, unable to remember how to stand, but I can tell you I’m fine so I must be.)

I’m articulate.

(So you don’t have to listen.)

Written by Julia

August 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Julia, I will ALWAYS make time to listen, verbally or in writing. I admire your perseverance in continuing to try!

    I can relate COMPLETELY to the laundry, I fight the same battle with that, with cleaning the kitchen, with getting out of the house to go to work every morning. It would be so much easier if I could only understand the why!

    bolthead0070

    August 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

  2. powerful! gives some insights into my own awesome autistic daughter

    pasupatidasi

    August 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

  3. Wow. Very powerful words. My granddaughter is six and autistic. So much of what you wrote reminded me of her. I would like to print this out and share it with both her teacher and her aide at school. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

    Laurie Mitchell (@LaurieMit)

    September 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

  4. Thank you for writing this.

    Sarah Schneider (@kitaiska)

    September 26, 2011 at 12:41 am

  5. I can’t explain how strongly your words resonate with me. I might not have the ability to explain myself the way you do, as hard as I know it must be, but I want to say thank you for writing this… thank you for making this blog… thank you for being a place I can send people, point, and go “This.” You say words I’ve never been able to. Thank you.

  6. […] @octavianasr shared this post with me and I identify with it alot. I am not very articulate and am often uncomfortable talking to people I don’t know. Said uncomfortability is a trait common to people with Asperger’s Syndrome. They say I’m articulate. (I think about all the words that stay locked in my throat, and I give a small and terrified smile and look over their shoulder and into nothing at all.) I’m really quite lucky I have such a command of language. (There are maybe five people in the whole wide world I can talk to face-to-face without wanting to die, without having a panic attack, without needing to hurt myself or sleep for hours afterward. Two of them recei … Read More […]

  7. […] On Being Articulate (juststimming.wordpress.com) […]

  8. I’ve been told all these things, in all these situations, and it’s horrible.

    Mel Baggs

    May 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    • I’m really glad you’re back. It’s good to hear from you.

      Julia

      May 10, 2014 at 11:53 am


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