If you’ve seen the video I’d posted last night, well, this post is about that. And my brother, Guy. I was thrilled to find this video…it was like glimpsing just a bit into the thought process of my brother Guy, who’s also autistic. I’m soooooo glad that she is doing this. I hope people understand and perhaps accept that autistic people have these thoughts, and just process and relate to the world and of the world differently. I’m not sure. Some, yes. But others would need to look at that, and alot of things, differently. I’ve wondered often about what would happen if….everyone’s veil of perception were torn away and they were forced to look at everything…everything…through different lenses….you know, like when you go to the optometrist’s and look through that instrument with the lenses that slide back and forth until you’re able to focus.

Guy is sweet. Gentle. Acutely sensitive. He has my father’s hands. Thick fingers. When he eats his chicken, he cuts it from the bones with the precision of a surgeon. When I’d first learned that he was autistic, I was about twelve, and thought of his situation as diminished. I felt guilty. I could do anything I’d set my mind to, had an open world in front of me, and didn’t always try very hard. He’d had his work cut out for him, trying to cross a bridge from where he was at, the way he did everything, to a life that was considered “normal”. Later, I learned that he probably felt and related to things more, not less. In an intense way. That’s the word that comes to mind often when I think of him. Intense.

Sometimes, we’ve been, he and I, on the same plane. I don’t understand everything. I’ve suspected more than once that the select phrases he repeats rotely, again and again, were a code for some other meaning. I did understand that to interact with him, one didn’t touch him. Not a hug, or a tap. Nothing. One didn’t stare at him, or he’d turn away, or put his hand up in front of his face. And he didn’t like personal questions. One summer, about a decade ago, I was able to spend a lot time with him, and we’d developed a regular habit of walking in the evening and stopping by at an ice cream parlor in town. He loved that. And one evening, which I’ve never forgotten, we were walking home with our cones, and almost there, when some kids yelled out the window of a passing car, “hey retard!”. Guy;s cone dropped, and he began running hard, and didn’t stop til he got all the way home. I couldn’t keep up with him. Guy is a big man. He was breathing hard, almost choking, and red, when I got home. He wouldn’t look at me. I think it was a slur he was used to, but not in front of me. Because there were no more walks to the ice cream parlor after that, no matter how many times I’d asked.

I hate it when people who are different are denied their humanity; treated like things. This video showed a person inside, with poetry and feeling, the way I’ve come to see Guy.


6 Responses to “Guy”

  1. 1 Puppycup February 23, 2007 at 2:45 am

    I’m completely moved–the video, when I first started to watch it, I thought was another of type of video Em had taken a liking to. Someone making noises that formed a rhythm, and that you had just thought it beautiful in some artistic way–some feminist chanting or something. But as it wore on, with an explanation–I just feel moved. It’s profound–beautiful and amazing. It opens a small window into what Guy’s interactions with the world might be like. I too have some very specific memories of Guy that tug on me at the oddest times. Like when T and Wala and I all went to whetstone one day to go to the beach. T pulled over to let me and Wala out so she could park and meet us. he cried so hard–as if she were leaving us behind. I think it was one of the first times I realized I did really matter for him–eventhough I often felt he wouldn’t notice if I was around or not. And another time when he said in a completely matter of fact voice with an intense look, while writing and cataloging his music–”It’s ok. I won’t always be this way.” It was an odd kind of moment, and I distictly remember thinking that indeed one day I would look back and remember the day he told me how things would change. How he would change.

    And hopefully when that day comes he’ll be able to tell me where he came up with the name Kriebets. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his distinct printing of that name across the bunny’s cage in fat bright purple marker one early morning. The day that Christopher/ Pepper became our beloved Kriebets.

  2. 2 petitmuse February 23, 2007 at 4:15 am

    he told Mom that too. he said “don’t worry, Mom, someday I’ll get it all together. ” I think there is alot he’d like to tell us but has a hard time getting it out. I will never forget Kreibits and his christening…he was the best pet ever.

  3. 3 doktorholocaust February 23, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    I have read that in many cultures the Western world dismisses as “primitive,” people who perceive and interact the world differently were valued – they were detecting things the rest couldn’t, and given important roles as shamans and healers because of it. Normally, this point is brought up in discussions of schizophrenia, but I think the video you linked to shows that it’s very relevant in relation to autism.

    I’ve always been a seeker of mystical and otherworldly experiences, i’ve meditated and chanted and danced in the dark and fought tooth-and-nail for glimpses of all the hidden, behind-the-scenes workings that i just KNEW had to be there, and now I feel like I’ve been missing the point entirely: I’m not even on communicating terms with everything in front of the scenes.

  4. 4 T February 24, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I miss the days when Guy and I had a deeper relationship-I was his connection to the world when he wanted or needed people in it, and he was my connection when I wanted to shut the world out. One time, when I had lost my footing on life for a brief moment following a “yelling” with mom, I retreated to my closet for a sobbing. I didn’t want anyone to see that she had gotten to me once again, thinking that maybe I was as worthless as she said I was that afternoon in her eyes. I was cloaked in the darkness, my head bowed and eyes shut tight when the door opened and he walked in. I told him “not right now Guy, I’ll be out in a minute” and he wouldn’t leave. He plopped right down on my lap and refused to leave. He didn’t say anything, just held my head and looked deep in my eyes, then burrowed himself under my chin and stayed with me until I was restored. It’s a moment I will always remember.

    He made it in my chinese diary of quotes as well…the diary my daughters love to peruse now and marvel when they consider I started collecting the pearls of wisdom when I was around their age. Mei was reading it one day and found the notation “pretty please with apples and gumballs and my [T] on top”. He made me laugh that day because we were playing the pretty please game. I used to play tickles with him or have something he wanted and he would say please, but I would wait. Then he would add “pretty please” and I would wait, then he started adding all the things in each turn that I knew he loved. The game stopped when he added me to his list-I was moved beyond words.

    Missing you guys…thanks for doing this blog entry-it was touching to read how he connected with each of us. He will always be my little guy that slept in the caboose, the boy I turned into Superman 50 times a night just to hear his laughter, even though it killed my legs, and the person who ran out the door one day when I returned from school, bounded into my arms and said “Today…today I love T!!!” before disappearing back inside.

  5. 5 petitmuse February 27, 2007 at 6:20 am

    to doc h-

    your comment is thought provoking. my guess is that mysteries are answered inside of our individual selves, instead of the outside (and now I’m suddenly hearing the Fraggles and one of them, whose name escapes me at the moment, who says you must look inside the outside, all mysterious and buddha-on-the-mountaintop like…ok, I digress.). I am fascinated by what others see in the mystical sense, but I’m skeptical of these things being applied across the board to a collective audience by some high priest or shaman or whatever, as “the word”. I think our experiences of the tangent world and otherwise, are so very indivual and personal, and that’s what I’d like to see religion encourage in followers, to look closer and listen to their own voice and experiences.

    Your comment about schizophrenia and autism brings to mind R.D Lang, who I feel was on to something, though perhaps generally misapplied and sometimes unrealistic.

  1. 1 ends and odds « petites méditations Trackback on April 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm

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