When I was seven, I spun on the spot. I liked the way it felt.
People called me weird. Teachers told me not to.
So I stopped.
When I was nine, I echoed my teacher. It just kind of happened.
My teacher told me she didn’t need a parrot. She made me cry.
So I stopped.
When I was fourteen, I opened my eyes really wide. It felt nice.
My dad told me not to. He said I might scare my grandparents.
So I stopped.
Now I am nineteen. I have almost stopped stimming.
I have tried to kill myself over fifty times since I was fifteen.
The last time I got so overloaded that I thought about it, I stimmed instead.
It worked. So I’m starting again, and I won’t let anyone tell me not to.
Stimming Saves. Don’t try to stop it.
Artist’s statement: No one understands you but you. Don’t feel alone because of that feel special. Know that you carry a special secret with you no one else will ever know. Your world.
Brief bio: 21 diagnosed as an adult. Married to high school sweetheart since 18 with 4 hermit crabs and 5 cats. Grateful for having such an understanding, loving, and patient mate. Special interests Stephen king, Pokemon, drawing, music and its background or meaning, and animal behavior.
[IMAGE description added by editor: a black and white drawing of a baby wolf sitting in the grass holding out a rose to a baby sloth. The sloth is hanging onto a post onto which a sign reading “NEURODIVERSITY” is written in all caps.]
and eyes are staring
mouths are moving insulting laughing
a problem behavior symptom
it may not be words but i am shouting
even if you don’t understand the language
mouth says where are the meanings
flapping means excitement joy terror
any or all in bouncing glee or huddled horror
rocking calming need to calm myself
or express that something is there or wrong
or love joy excitement
legs kick absentmindedly slowly quickly
reminding me of the rhythm of my mind
pacing small loops huge circles getting
bigger focusing on words instead of still
mind in rhythm thoughts
why would you deny it
no need to deny it
just part hope key in my
say not expressing well
look at my expressing
world i exist here am here
but go ahead ahead ahead
so offer insult
to my language mind soul heart self
to the language of my whole
[Image description: White background framed in blue. There is a poem beside a stick figure drawing of a happy looking person flapping their arms. Text reads: “Ode to the Stim. H stims… I stim too… bounce and wiggle, twist a lock, hold tight to that ‘calming rock’, fiddle and fold, squint and spin, squeeze, and then begin again, shoes too big so toes can move, wiggly legs that find their groove, Tom Sawyer pockets with fidgets galore, quiet hands are such a bore. Leah Kelley – July 27, 2013. Thirty Days of Autism. To stim is to breathe… Honour the stim… “]
A few upcoming things in the works:
-A resource kit for Autistic people in the hospital and in other healthcare situations (accepting submissions until April 30, 2015)
-A resource for Autistic people using health and fitness centers, gyms, etc. (accepting submissions until March 31, 2015)
-A series of identification and communication cards for Autistic people to use when non-speaking. (ongoing project)
-A series on stimming (“Stimming Unpuzzled” will be published in March 2015; we are still accepting submissions until February 28, 2015)
For more information or to contribute to one of these projects, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you’ll join us for Stimming Unpuzzled, an initiative which will showcase the importance of stimming in Autistic people’s lives. We plan to celebrate, honor, and raise awareness about these forms of self-regulation, communication, and self-expression. As always, the Unpuzzled Project is opposed to the oppressive behavior-modification strategy of “quiet hands”; we want you to have “loud hands”–flap, tap, flick, twist, spin, dance, sing, and rock to your heart’s delight. No matter how you stim positively, it is your way of making sense of the world around you and the world within you. We believe you should not be judged for your innate way of stimming.
To participate in Stimming Unpuzzled, please email us with your submissions and any questions, at: email@example.com. Here are the official guidelines:
- Writing: poetry, articles, blog posts, short quotes, personal stories, etc. are all acceptable. Check by email for any other type of piece you wish to submit. As always, all work you submit must be entirely your own; we will not accept plagiarized work under any circumstances. Please let us know how you would like to be credited, whether this is by your actual name, a pen name, or anonymously.
- Artwork: drawings, photography, comics, photographs of three-dimensional work, digital artwork, photographs of paintings, etc. are all acceptable and should be submitted as an attachment by email. Check by email for any other type of piece you wish to submit. As always, all work you submit must be entirely your own; we will not accept plagiarized work under any circumstances. Please let us know how you would like to be credited, whether this is by your actual name, a pen name, or anonymously. If you wish, you may include the title of the piece, an artist’s statement, and a brief bio of the artist.
- Video: videos of someone speaking about stimming, demonstrating their stimming, musical performances on the subject of stimming, showing stim toys, etc. are acceptable. Check by email for any other type of piece you wish to submit. As always, all work you submit must be entirely your own; we will not accept plagiarized work under any circumstances. Please let us know how you would like to be credited, whether this is by your actual name, a pen name, or anonymously. If you wish, you may include an artist’s statement and a brief bio of the artist.
- Other: please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what your idea is. We are very open to out-of-the-box ideas!