Going Out to Play In the World

by Larry Chamberlin   Apr 23, 2018

Going Out to Play In the World
(an autistic journey)

I remember when my mind
used to bounce around
like a super-ball trapped
inside my lonely cranium.

That was the real world,
while outside places
were merely visited like
family, home and people.

Nature was special, it spoke
in ways I understood and liked
yet required nothing more of me
than to avoid stupidity and stay alive.

Fairies and leprechauns danced
in wooded clearances of rings;
possums and snakes were tamed
by mere gentle gestures and hands.

Sensations, comfort, predictability
drove me from bed and back again
without concern for future changes
for all was now and would be ever.

What brought me out I cannot say
for certain - save attentive parents
and a skilful speech therapist who
unwittingly convinced me she was real.

It opened the world to me anew:
people! boys, teachers, bullies, girls.
These forced me back inside at times
until I learned to deal with each in turn.

For years I held an abiding fear:
trapped again within myself
unable to project meaning beyond
the ceiling of my eyelids evermore.

The study of catatonic schizophrenia
terrified me - knowing how they feel
such intense experiences hovering
at the brink of this shared reality.

What kept me from speaking of it,
this age old struggle to emerge,
was shame, perhaps, but just as much
unknowing how to shape the thoughts.

Now in the lighter years this weight
still anchors me to the hidden past;
yet it has recovered memories for me
beyond the agony and fear of solitude:

- The soft commune with natural things
before forced adoption of expectations
overlaid acceptance with disappointment
that the fey no longer welcomed me in.

- Taking humor in the contortionist faces
discussing politics and religion when
I knew neither held power over me
before getting sucked into the mire.

Though I will never go back willingly
I regret that I left the key behind
and have no way to open the doors
for all others who remain imprisoned.


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Latest Comments

  • 1 year ago

    by Em (marmite)

    This made me well up Larry

  • 1 year ago

    by - Mr. Darcy

    Well done. :0)

  • 1 year ago

    by Michael

    An epic and wonderful piece from you Larry and well deserved to be here
    Well done

    Michael :)

  • 1 year ago

    by Kitty Cat Lady

    Judging comment:
    This piece really touched me and Larry has shared with us a totally unique perspective of the world from a mind that’s wired differently but is no less brilliant. What really struck me (and Larry forgive me for referencing your age) is that autism today is a familiar word, and even those of us that may not know much about it, have some inkling of the many ways in which autism manifests itself. When Larry was a child, there was very little understanding of any such condition, and the labels imposed on autistic people (I can only begin to imagine the comments from ignorant people) and the general treatment thereof, would have been more debilitating than the condition itself! Although this is a sad, reflective piece, I really enjoyed the fascinating glimpse of the world seen from a totally different angle. Thank you for sharing something that’s so deeply personal. :-) x

    • 1 year ago

      by Larry Chamberlin

      Kitty, you have put the name to my childhood: ignorance. Ignorance of what I was experiencing, ignorance of how to deal with it. The thing I still cannot understand and yet am happy of in the long run, is that my parents allowed my sisters to translate for me. When they married & moved away is when they started my speech therapy. I still remember my therapist- totally not accepting anything but attention yet so kind she drew me out.

  • 1 year ago

    by Ya----Na

    Well deserved win, Larry

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