Greetings from the Spectrum Side!!
I was inspired to write this poem for two dear inspirational friends of mine, both of whom are artists (as well as people I’ve mentioned here before.) I wrote this piece for them because of a position that I (and perhaps many Spectrumites) shared with them, being “on stage”. By that, I mean being in social situations that can feel natural to nuerotypicals, but can be exhausting to shift from working to communicating seemingly at will.
At my job, I’m constantly saying the same things over and over again to the point where my speech becomes blurry, everything blends together, where I was almost considered “robotic” by a former co-worker. Even though his words hurt me, I know now how important that was for me, especially in light of a recent article from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the article is listed here: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/autism-spectrum-disorder-communication-problems-children. The article explains that:
Some children with ASD speak in a high-pitched or sing-song voice or use robot-like speech. Other children may use stock phrases to start a conversation. For example, a child may say, “My name is Tom,” even when he talks with friends or family. Still others may repeat what they hear on television programs or commercials.
The point I try to make is that socialization can be challenging for people on the Spectrum and artists alike, the demands it places can make it hard to be yourself and #takethemaskoff, whatever one you wear. My friend Carol always feels like she’s “on stage” at a recent Artists Studio Tour during this past summer and I felt this acrostic just come to me by our shared experience:
-for my dear friends, Carol Zaloom and Mik Horowitz-
Space may be final frontier, but sometimes Risa
Turns out to be better of two worlds, need for work,
Actively recharging batteries seems needed in
Grand stage; grace periods in life’s pressure cookers
Ever willing to better community, even Iron Horses need to relax from time to time.
This is just my hope for people to be sure to make others feel like they’re important to the community, that their voices matter and together we can make our lives and the world…