Spearmint-flavored chapstick. I’ve written/talked a lot about how stims are good. And fun. And awesome. And they are. But not all stims are positive. Some can be self-injurious, and this becomes especially challenging given the sensory deficits that alter pain perception. I try to wear chapstick because otherwise I scratch at my lips until they bleed. I’ve been doing this since I was eight, or maybe younger. I think my lips hurt when this happens, but apparently the pain is not inherently enough of a deterrent. Maybe this is similar to other people biting their nails. I have heard of other autistics having this exact same stim. I recently discovered that I own spearmint-flavored (or scented? I guess you’re not really supposed to eat it) chapstick, and I wear it. And this is not easy.
Autism is characterized by uneven skill sets. We are remarkably good at some things and remarkably bad at others. I have been writing an essay about the changes in my life and academics resulting from the coronavirus pandemic in Russian and putting on chapstick. Somehow, the latter is harder.
Mason jars. Of coffee, always, and water, which I try to drink occasionally, and smoothies, because school is exhausting and I am too tired to chew, and really, those are the only things in the Mason jars, but what you have to understand is that there are a lot of these jars. And sometimes I forget to wash one or two, and I got a few more out of the basement the other day, so it just seems like they’re multiplying. I wonder if it’s safe to have open containers. I wonder if it’s safe to have containers. I wonder what we’re containing, and if it’s working, and if we know it’s working, and if so, how.
Pens. I read somewhere that Hemingway tried to write a number-two pencil down to the stub every day, or every week, or every month, or something like that, which I guess is a bit of a meaningless factoid if you don’t know the unit of time, but now I find myself doing the same with pens, watching the ink level fall. Bic, round stick. “Stic,” it says. Clever. I resolved a few months ago to stop buying pens. They are too easy to find. The world is full of free pens. You have to keep your eyes open and your standards low. Sometimes, the ink smells strange, and then I can’t use it. The ink stains my hands. My highlighter started leaking, so I put it in a jar and filled it with water and the water glowed.
This kind of thinking feels like floating on something paler than water. Paler, and also, ravenous.
CVS coupons. They expire, but I don’t want to throw them away.
Slam poetry. Started watching videos last Sunday (or was it Saturday?) and the thought gnawed its way under my skull and has been festering ever since. A friend of mine once told me that everything I do, I do it like I’m training for the Olympics, which is not always a good thing. Also: the constant, pressing feeling that the world is full of threads, and that the threads must be woven together, and that I must be the one to do the weaving. This isn’t string theory. Something more slippery, faintly pathological, and elusive. Slam poetry: there is something here; I keep devising theories about specific poems, what they do and what they don’t do and how they do it and what are the mechanical properties driving those functions, and by mechanical I mean linguistic and cultural and interpersonal, and this is for every video individually, keep in mind that when I search for articles on insert my latest fascination here I must open every single one even if there are 486 or more, which there often are, because for better or for worse, the Internet is a hive of information that no one really knows what to do with and we are bees, not necessarily content…
I would like to have a word with whatever entithy put together my brain, and see if they are satisfied with the result.
Am considering the future, as always. I don’t love YouTube, particularly the numbers, which complicate my anxiety the way a gluten allergy diagnosed thirty seconds before dinner complicates Thanksgiving. However, I am concerned by the marked paucity of autism-related resources in Spanish, and by the fact that when you google “qué es el autismo,” you are met with a slew of Autism Speaks articles and the like. Neuroclastic, one of my favorite websites, has an open and standing invitation for translations, and I am considering freelancing for them over the summer. I would be able to republish the translated versions here, on Neurochromatic. Am also considering building a similar repository on Tumblr and remaking my YouTube videos with essentially identical content, but in Spanish. French comes later. Must resuscitate my French, which is doing about as well as our local foam store. Sometime, I would love to start translating to Russian, as well, but disability rights in Russia…let’s just say that’s an infodump for another time. I need to get back to my fiction, too. Did I mention I’m tired?
Note: This piece was originally posted on Neurochromatic on March 27, 2020.