A memorable walk in the park …

  - October 7th, 2019 by Shalini Nambiar | Posted in General, life   No Comments »
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‘Tell me I don’t bore you. Tell me I don’t drain you. Look at me somewhere other than the eyes — as I’m really not comfortable with eye contact and tired of being forced to make it for your benefit — and tell me that I deserve to be alive, And then act like it’.

She finally glanced at me and whispered , ‘ Thank you so much for listening to me as I am feeling much better ‘. She pulled her dog and walked off disappearing in the park while I kept sitting on the bench numb, eyes filled with tears and a feeling so intense which cannot be described ………



While taking my usual evening walk in the park, I come across this young girl also walking along with her dog. I suddenly hear running footsteps behind me, ‘Hullo Aunty, Hullo Aunty, can I please speak to you for a minute?’

I turn around and say, ‘Of course sweetheart’. As she starts walking towards me , I notice that there is something not right , she looked different, though I could not place at that moment and shrug my head to ward off the negative thoughts coming to my mind, Perceptions…no I should not form any opinion without even talking to her.

She comes closer and holds my hand, her dog excitedly licking away my hand; dogs have the Godly gift of recognising canine lovers.

‘I am very Lonely, I have no friends, Old people even if they stay at home know how to keep themselves busy but I am unable to do so, my Dad doesn’t allow me to go out or have friends, I cannot sleep till 0300am, I don’t know what to do ‘, all this she said in one breath as if I probably will not listen to her or she thought I will ignore her.

I made her sit down on a bench in the park, looked deep into her eyes and exclaimed, ‘You are beautiful!’ . Those words had such an impact on her that I could notice her relaxing and maybe she trusted me a wee bit. She moved her eyes away and I noticed that she was just looking everywhere and nowhere.

‘ You should believe in yourself and do not bother what people say , as people talk because they have nothing to do , do what you love , what do you love doing ?’ I asked her and waited with bated breath. ‘ I love painting, singing, dancing, cooking and am also a chef I think ‘ , as she spoke I could see she was extremely unsure of herself .

‘ Will you come back again tomorrow and sit with me for 5 minutes please ,’ She was literally begging me and I assured and promised her that I’ll come every day to meet her and we will talk each day . She started showing me her childhood pictures on her mobile and then she opened Google on the page “Autistism” and said with no emotions, ‘This is what I have, I don’t like talking to strangers, in fact I don’t like talking to anyone as people do not understand, they pretend, they lie, they never speak the truth ‘.and she went on and on .

Next day as 0600pm approached, I hurriedly put my sneakers to go for my walk in the park but more important than that was the promise I had made , I felt bad as she never told me her name too on being asked . I reached the park and there she was huddled in a corner with her dog and looked at me as if we had never met. My heart missed a beat and I tried smiling at her but her face was expressionless and she just looked through me. I also was determined so went forward and sat quietly next to her on the lone bench in the park.

Suddenly she started speaking loudly as if to herself, I’m tired all the time, tired of everything. The coping mechanisms that I developed as a bullied child — from learning to mimic the behaviours of people who are more naturally likable than me to holding conversations where I reveal nothing about myself for fear of being too enthusiastic, too annoying, too overbearing, or simply too much —The effort it takes to fit in is increasingly exhausting as I am getting older’.

‘All that hard work to make other people more comfortable around me feels more and more pointless. I appreciate that I have people in my life who have assured me that I can just be myself, but unlearning almost 25 years of shitty coping mechanisms and performances also takes a lot of work. My sleeping patterns, due to anxiety and possibly to autism itself, are erratic at best’.

I quietly listened and tried to nod my head and murmur hmmm but she went on without acknowledging my presence or even shedding a glance towards me.

‘I value the social gains that I made when I had more energy and inclination to blend into society. I’ve always wanted to be a chef, and I’m now lucky enough to survive on cooking at home alone. But with it has come anxiety, which seems to increase exponentially. There is, however, one calculation that I’m always doing in my head: whether my contributions to my family, friends, and the world are at least equal to all that I feel like I’m taking from it. I always feel like I’m a failure’.

‘I’m so, so sick of watching people pay lip service to the autistic life.’

‘Even when I’m not actively struggling with any of the above, there’s the constant stress and anxiety. I am always in pain. My energy level appears to be similarly deteriorating.’

She looked at me through the corner of her eye but still not acknowledging my presence and continued nonstop.

 ‘Are non-autistic people really brilliant? Are they really smarter than us? .But I have always noticed that they do not possess empathy, compassion, or understanding’. She blurted out bitterly as if questioning the trees around her.

My eyes were full of tears and I tried to hold her one hand which she shrugged off and continued speaking.

‘If people want to understand us, I’d recommend starting with some of the following: Listen to us.. Don’t kill us. Think about how hard we’re working to exist in your world and consider meeting us halfway’.

‘Tell me I don’t bore you. Tell me I don’t drain you. Look at me somewhere other than the eyes — as I’m really not comfortable with eye contact and tired of being forced to make it for your benefit — and tell me that I deserve to be alive, And then act like it’.

She finally glanced at me and whispered , ‘ Thank you so much for listening to me as I am feeling much better ‘. She pulled her dog and walked off disappearing in the park while I kept sitting on the bench numb, eyes filled with tears and a feeling so intense which cannot be described .

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October 07 2019 01:08 pm | General and life

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