The lights were brilliant and so bright they actually hurt my eyes... Everything was foreign to me...the street signs, the cars, the buildings... the smells hung heavy in the air...a mixture of fish and scooter exhaust and other things I couldn't pinpoint.
I was walking down a street alone in Shinjuku- one of the busiest places in Tokyo...
Amplified and so intensely loud, sounds reverberated in my ears causing an echo that almost made me dizzy-making it difficult to think clearly. All I could focus on was how thirsty I was...how long it had been since I had eaten. I don't speak a bit of Japanese and unfortunately- everyone around me didn't speak a lick of English.
So I searched. I searched for anyone that could help me. Anyone that looked like they might understand me. Anyone that could help me get my needs met. We are not talking about a need to be found smart or funny or totally on the ball. Not a need for self-actualization, to express my feelings or to feel understood. Basic needs, Friend... Survival mode was kicking in.
Excuse me. Do you speak English? I would ask to confused faces shaking their head in confusion, their hands high in the air. Then they would get too close to my face, staring deep in my eyes in a way that made me instantly uncomfortable. I pulled back, desperate to regain my personal space as they inched closer and closer. What are they looking at? Why are they doing that? I wondered. I knew I was in danger. They spoke slowly and loudly- as if enunciating would help me understand. I felt like I was going to lose it. They didn't understand me. And the more I didn't understand them- the more frustrated they seemed to get with me. LIKE IT'S MY FAULT. Yelling louder and gesturing wildly. Why are they so angry? Don't they understand I have no idea what's going on? Don't they know how hard this is for ME?
I realize I can figure out every tenth or so word. I try to respond but suddenly my mouth just won't work. The wrong sounds keep coming out! Wuba, woo doo doo doo- I don't even know what I'm saying. I'm trying to ask for help and I can't even do that. I'm shaking and don't know how much longer I can take the assault of my senses. Please God, I beg, just let me find one person who understands me.
The smells. The lights. Every touch against my skin feels like a burn. I can't survive like this.
Too much time goes by...and I am wandering and scared... I wish there was a door to my sanity somewhere. A portal that could take me to a reality not so painful and so completely out of my element... My heart is pounding... Please...someone help me- I repeat. Finally I just started to cry...and people walk by me as if I do not exist. So I started to yell and scream at the top of my lungs, slamming my fists against my head to stop the fear from swallowing me.
This is my son Greyson. He has autism and he can't speak. Sometimes I think he is trying to talk to me- but I have absolutely no clue what he is saying and that kinda breaks my heart. I often imagine what Life must feel like for him. Whatever it takes I will do everything I can to make life easier for him.
I've never actually been to Japan... but I imagine being Autistic would feel something like I described above. He lives a lot of his Life inside his own head. I do everything I can to help Greyson bridge the gap and feel like part of this World since I can't go there.
I have to work hard to get Greyson to even look me in the eyes...
He always makes it worth my while.
I think about how important words are to me, not only to get my daily needs met but to express how I feel. How I feel is everything...and being able to express myself to others is a necessary release.
I imagine how bare Life would feel without any words.
It's hard to imagine a day without Grey. He reminds me that every little thing is possible and that true joy is experienced most often in regular old every day moments. He reminds me how important it is to adapt--he actually shows me how to do that one.
I still have lots to learn.
I got a text from a friend today asking me for my address.
I loved your xmas card...but you are way too on top of things. Just getting around to this:)
I instantly let out a deep belly laugh after reading on top of things... It's funny the things we do --and the impression it may give off... Of course I would LOVE to be the gal who is always on top of things... But I'm totally not her.
But as I always say- NO ONE DOES IT ALL... We just do some of the things... but then other people see the some of the things we do and assume we have everything together to the same extent...but we all have things we are good at...and we all have things that we suck at... EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US...
Part of the reason for the belly laugh? We just got our tree up today... December 18th. That's funny- right?
So not on top of that tree thing. I even had to google how to put a ribbon on a tree because I had no clue--and we ran out because apparently 25 feet doesn't go too far. Like most things that I put off and then get mad at myself for- I finally got a gust of energy and it just happend in one fast whirl tonight.
Have a great day, my Friend. Have fun doing some of the things... don't worry about getting them all done. That just doesn't exist.