I am going to incite a riot in my body. No longer am I simply content to observe the world pass me by. So much of my life has been observing others in doing things – to play, to work, to just move as a fluid action. I long for it. My body screams, but now I am screaming back at it. I am initiating my own movements; sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but always me now. It starts with an imitation of body, so difficult for me who cannot feel myself in space all the time. But I am learning to practice after swim when my body is aware, or at night, to feel myself from the head down. I materialize in the quiet darkness of my room. I move in sync, each limb as an offshoot. To those for whom awareness is natural, this may not make sense, but to feel yourself as anchored in place is everything secure and safe. My life is topsy turvy in a literal sense. It must be what those with vertigo feel. I understand the symptoms of upside up is down. I move to an outside point of reference not my own self. It is hard work to remember the way to positions, to tell myself you are moving right or wrong. It is like driving an object or a car; my mind is the driver and my body the car, but sometimes it is more a tractor trailer in back up, where left is right and right is left.
I live to swim now, where my body is there and is my own. Slowly, I am learning to coordinate my top and bottom. I move in sync in rare occasion, but it is a presence that was previously absent. I love my bathing suit as a clothing. It clings like water to my bottom; its weight is an anchor for me to feel my center. My head is air and floats my body. Mom calls me a frog with its nose out of water. I pretend I am a fish and dive under the water only to end up doing a roll over myself. It is scary, but exhilarating too, to be able to go down then up into air again. I am lucky each time in finding my way up. My butt rises and I know to turn now in that direction.
Why do I tell you all this? For me, the bodiless autist, all the therapy ABA in the world could not do for me what a few hours in the pool do. I swim and it teaches me what ABA therapy could not, how to find my “self” in a confusing world; the real lesson we autists need to learn, selfhood along side mankind.
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