22 April, 2010

Stimming people

I'm a stimming person. It's one of the things I hate the most about myself.

It's also one of the deepest things in me and one of my easiest ways of loving and understanding people. I like meeting severely disabled people and being at a loss as to what they are feeling, and then being able to notice what kind of stimming they are interested in.

My friend Mike, who I used to see a lot and now don't see very much and probably will see a lot again--Mike set me on the path of being deeply altered, and it's sad because I can never explain it to him, not just because he maybe doesn't have the words, but because he doesn't understand the hate. Mike lives his life with a completely unselfconscious relationship to his stimming. It is just his body.

I hate the way I walk when people can't see me. Sometimes I get caught because I didn't realize someone was there. I also hate the way I walk when people can see me. My walk is the walk of a person who's terrified of running, jumping, bouncing--it's terribly, leadenly stiff, like my joints are made of wood.

At the school where I interned I remember (I think I've mentioned it before--I think about it frequently when I'm walking) this teacher grabbing a boy by his shoulders again and again, trying to get him to walk stiffly instead of bouncily. He couldn't keep it up and I couldn't not see it as violence. I am not very political or very educated or very confident, but I believe in stimming. I don't want people to be the way I am; I want them to be the way Mike is.

It's hard to even explain to people the way I feel about the way I move. First of all, it's hard to even show it to people at all. But then even if I can get across what I'm talking about, it seems like it's just an action, it seems like something anyone could do, and it's like--what are you talking about? Jumping up and down has ruined your life? You don't think you can ever get married because you turn around a lot when you get excited?

Then it's like something I don't even know how to say. I'm scared. I'm so scared of looking a certain way, because some of the people who can't turn it off get hurt for looking like this. Looking like this, not acting like this--being like this, not looking like this, I mean. I like calling myself a stimming person because it's not an action, it's a kind of person. It's a kind of person I still am, the deepest thing.

1 comment:

  1. I've been discouraged from stimming too, and I cannot believe that Asperger's guidebooks are still telling us that we should try keeping it under control. I used to be ashamed to flap and rock, so I have not done it for a while. Only I have started jumping all over the place in private or running around my house. Just this year I have gotten straight back to my rocking, and nobody even cares! But I still have to tune it down around my mother.