Sensory Overload, Seattle style

FoxholeOh, lord. Here we go again – another sensory explosion for Robin. I was testing myself by walking through downtown Seattle just now. In the beginning the walk was okay, pretty event-free. However, as I got closer to the Pike-Pine corridor, my senses went into overdrive. Suddenly the sights and sounds of the city became unbearable. There were too many faces to memorize, too many buildings, too many colours, too many sounds, too many buses and cars, too many beggars, too many tourists, too many footsteps, too many cranes, too many signs, too many pigeons, too many everything. I could feel the sweat increasing on my brow and down my back. I had to quicken my step if I wanted to get out of there without bursting into flames. Thankfully, this lasted for only about 5 or 6 blocks. By the time I got to Cherry St. I got a little calmer. I think I’m going to have to stop doing these constitutionals through the city as they can be overwhelming. What I need is a private foxhole to hide in. Where to buy one, though, is a mystery.

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On Being an Outsider

outsiderimage250I frequently get this recurring dream where I can barely walk and I find myself in a neighbourhood where thugs abound, specifically, black thugs. I try to get away from them but my legs won’t let me run away. It almost feels like I have ALS or MS and my leg muscles simply refuse my command to haul ass. What a nightmare. I just had that same dream and it’s still rocking me.

In real life I’ve found myself in neighbourhoods where I’m an outsider destined to fail. In Trinidad I was a light-skinned Asian/black mix which the darker-skinned kids shunned and cast out of their groups. Consequently, I learned to ignore their favourite sport which, in this case, was soccer. When I came to America the culture shock was being in a huge city with tall buildings, subways and graffiti everywhere. My head felt like it was going to explode. I couldn’t relate to the people’s music, their food, their speech, their dress, their way of life. It didn’t help that I had Asperger’s either. Sounds were too loud and lights were too bright. I did find the punk rockers but this was short-lived as they found jobs and had families. Socially, I was a misfit and became an abject loner. I was a trespasser in the white neighbourhoods, too. As far as I was concerned I was born to fail and was just wasting my time staying alive. There was no point to it; staying alive was just a vain effort in futility. I didn’t belong and that’s the bottom line.

From neighbourhood to neighbourhood I was an outsider and I knew that couldn’t last. So I attempted suicide. I was out like a light for about two days then ended up in a psych hospital for two months. When I got out I went back doing the things which made this world bearable – alcohol and drugs. The alcohol “turned the world down” and the drugs brought me friends, albeit temporary ones. Hey, people would be leaving me anyway so why not buy a few friends while I had the money? Anyway, I do feel better these days. I’m autistic and a Jain so at least I now have two groups I can call my own. They may not be popular but it’s better than nothing. Way better.