We put the food out for the birds and neighbourhood cats the previous night before bed each day. And every morning, there are freaking mortal combats on my not so thick roof, not sure if it's birds vs. birds, birds vs. cats or cats vs. rodents. They get real noisy, but I was already wide awake before they even started their daily racket, so no sweat there.
This is a bird-eat-bird world, huh, or __ eating __ world, fill in the blanks as you fancy, it's your view. You can even make a neat little list of creatures that would form a food web. I love making lists, shopping lists, food ingredients lists, lists of people I don't like, lists of books I do like… By the way, I am autistic, not sure if this is a side effect, making lists. Who knows where the atypical starts and the flat world suddenly bends into a sphere.
How do I know I'm autistic, you may ask? I was formally diagnosed a couple of years ago. It took place in a little Welsh medical centre with two professionals in the autism field. Don't want you bore you with the tedious details, but sure it took hours and we had to have a break in between. And before that, days of interviews, counselling and hours of self-reflection and memory recall.
And how did I get diagnosed to start with? Well, it was by something I believe called either fate or coincidence, again, depending on your subject view on this world. I was watching random videos on YouTube and this video called Ask Dr Tony popped up in my watch-next list, and one-click, boom, mind-blown, and the rest was history. The guy who filmed the video and who does the talking is Dr Tony, but the proper way to address him should be Dr Attwood because his name is Tony Attwood, and Tony is his first name. Chris, my dude, do you even English? Neurotypicals, can't live with them, can't… Wait, an extra little thought just popped up there that sparked my sense of humour.
Anyway, Dr Tony Attwood was totally amazing. I quickly found his book on Asperger Syndrome in the library, feverishly read it through and instantly wished he was my dad. Sorry dad, this guy actually understands better, please don't hurt me, hehe, just kidding, my dad is great in his own right, however, significantly lacking knowledge in autism, that is obvious. Otherwise, we couldn't have had so many awkward moments, would we? You try to explain my erratic behaviours to our even more ignorant relatives and acquaintances and fail spectacularly every time. Well, you don't have to anymore.
Now with this newfound knowledge of autism and Dr Attwood as the mouthpiece of my heart and soul, I found renewed hope and vigour. I popped the green and white Prozacs in my mouth pretending to be unicorn dust - don't judge, judging is bad - and felt alive like never before. Happy days are coming!
Apathy, Empathy, Hypocrisy
Do you watch Timmy Time or Shaun the Sheep? Well since I'm aware that I am writing for an autistic audience, I am not ashamed. Anyway, you think sheep have adorable tiny little fluffy tails, right? Just like the toy laying next to you that makes a ''baa'' sound when you press his tummy. Well, my little chum chum, I hate to break it to you, you are wrong. Sheep naturally have long tails and in order to keep the sheep clean, they docked the tails. Well, Google tail docking if you think I'm pulling your legs, I will wait. And it's not just sheep tails they dock either, you may have discovered by now.
And did you see the part where they explain that it was for the animals' own good, something to do with animal welfare? It is the cream of humanity and cheese of compassion. Here's a nice neurotypical bedtime story for ya for extra sweet dreams at night. And there's Dr Temple Grandin talking about "Nature is cruel but we don't have to be". Well, regarding the fact that neurotypicals are more empathic than autistics, and the very industry Dr Grandin works in, it almost sounds like a bad joke now, doesn't it? The way I see it, nature is cruel, we are part of nature, therefore we are cruel; elementary, my dear Watson.
A few years back, there's this chap called Simon Baron-Cohen, who's an expert on autism in Cambridge University and also Ali G's cousin, published a book called Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty. I also watched many seminars of his on YouTube; charming lad, he is. He talked about psychopathy and autism, which he thought was closely related to the lack of empathy. Yes, perhaps. I understand the psychopaths are lack of affective empathy but not cognitive empathy, which makes them perfect predatory, confident tricksters that have no mercy for their prey.
Autism, on the other hand, is the opposite, lack of cognitive empathy but not affective empathy, which makes us blind as bats in social settings and often get caught in the crossfires of jumbo mood swing clusterfucks of the neurotypicals. No wonder we get anxious with acute somatic responses and run for cover when the friendly fire sets off.
But cruelty, my dear lad, is not as simple as the lack of empathy. Humans have been committing atrocities in spite of it since the beginning of time. Many not only are fully aware of it, understood it perfectly either by empathizing or systematizing, but also enjoyed it to various degrees. Have you heard this social activity called torture, old sport? Right about now, there's a song called "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" that popped into my mind: ''some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to be abused'', funny that, isn't it? Why do you think the Eurythmics wrote this and sang about it? Analyze this, please.
Autistic and Anorexic
Although sitting on an extra comfy memory foam bed, even for a short period of time, my coccyx hurts. But after living with this condition for months, I am confident to say that I have mastered the legendary martial art form Iron Coccyx. It might just be the new toughest carbon freak of nature on Earth and I am thinking about licensing my skinny ass bone to BP to replace their diamond core drill on their oil rig.
I am, at this moment, severely anorexic. I am 168cm tall, weigh 44kg, with only essential body fat ratio that can hardly insulate my internal organs to keep warm. But people who know me know that I'm not always like this. I used to be a fat princess just a few months ago stuffing my face with whatever I could lay my hands on. And now, I look like one pound of sausage meat in a ten pound casing and you can play the xylophone on my ribs.
I have depression, for about since as long as I could remember. I think it might have started in my childhood. There were not many things that entertained my dull zombie senses, and I overate. Because I was seeking pleasure in food or because I was abusing my own digestive system? I'm not so sure myself, maybe both, maybe I was so numb that I didn't care either way.
It all started with me watching this reality tv show called My 600lb Life. Dr Nowzaradan is absolutely a legend. He put up so much abuse from his ungrateful childish patients, man, I really have no idea how he could go through with it and still remain calm and collected as he is. Some of his patients thought he was harsh, well, I didn't think so for a single moment. I thought they were just too hopelessly undisciplined and no wonder they ended up the way they were.
Then I looked down at my own body. Bad move. I nearly threw up when I made eye contact with my protruding fat built-up on my mountain of a belly. Well, right then I discovered the highest altitude on Earth was not Mount Everest but my Fatty Liver Peak. Panic started to set in and I was waking up from a very long food coma. Not 28 days later, more like 28 years later when Princess Leia turned into Jabba the Hutt. Well, after I calmed myself down and I thought if I could make myself fat then I can make myself not fat, right? It's just calories in and calories out, right?
My calorie restriction journey began and I turned into a calorie savant. I started reading nutritional labels, eating less and chose and picked which nutrient to put in my body like putting fuel into a car. Six months later, I had such a drastic weight loss that Tim Burton wanted to model his clay skeletons on my 3D body cast.
At one point I reached 43kg, great, one small step down the weight scale, one giant step towards organ failure and impending death. I started to experience muscle atrophy, hypothermia, and mental degeneration. I started to have bruises mysteriously appear all over my body and I noticed that my period seized. I get so tired that I'd stay in bed for hours in oblivion like a pathetic dried up mummy in a hollow grave, apart from my shallow breathing, you won't be able to tell the difference. I literally made a human jerky of myself. Sometimes I would involuntarily non-stop shiver and feel like fainting if I stood up too fast.
I am now trying my best to re-feed myself and actively keep myself healthy and warm. I am doing a good job maintaining my body weight and not going down even more; I feel the urge to binge every now and again and some days I do. I started to see obesity in a new light. We are all human beings going through the same human condition, no one is exempt from it. Maybe it is a result of common biological responses to hormonal imbalances that willpower alone is not enough to overcome it, much like depression in the way that you can't just ask a clinically depressed patient to think him or herself happy. I personally think there should be more research into autism and anorexia as comorbid conditions.
The takeaway of my little stunt is, I guess, to have love and compassion to yourself. If you can remember one thing I tell you, remember this: treat yourself like you would treat a small child. Would you have the heart to starve a small child to the point of emaciation and deny him or her the very substance to sustain his or her life? Of course not, you are not a Nazi running a concentration camp, so why do this to yourself?
To be continued…