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autism masking smalltalk social skills university

Social hangover

I was always someone who thought that being alone was when I was happiest – which makes sense. I would always choose being alone over anything else because socialising would have such a negative impact on me. I wrote this poem titled ‘social hangover’ to describe how it feels. 

Social hangover

The morning sun seeps in
Splintering clammy skin
A wave of humid heat
Through curtains paper thin

Sharp scatterings of narratives
Pangs to a sluggish mind
Burning larynx
Chords severed, left behind

Stuck stagnant in a dry throat
Static embers of last night
Reeling in an uneasy stomach
The acidic bite –

Of unheard words
Boiling turbidly in the brain
A throbbing,  aching
Social hangover pain

Whispers of memories
spiralling deep in my head
The soft comfort of hiding
Under the bed

Anticipation 
Participation
Rumination
Repeat.

I think this poem depicts how it feels to be autistic and navigate social situations.

You may get from this poem that the main issue I had with socialising was the overthinking that comes from it. I would always feel anxious that I’d said or done something wrong. I think that having time during lockdown to learn to accept myself and the way I am really helped me to embrace spending time with people without feeling guilty about doing things wrong and making social errors. It means that I can socialise now without overthinking as much.

So I’ve gone from someone who despised socialising to someone who actually really values social interactions. Obviously the whole sensory side of things can still be an issue but I’m quite good at managing that.

Categories
autism book Poetry

I published a book!

Late last summer, I decided that I wanted to do something purposeful and have a project that I could work on over a period of months so I decided to put together all my poems about autism into a book, as well as produce illustrations and explanations for the poems. It was hard work and I found the editing very tedious but it is finally here.

My poetry book allows unfiltered access into the mind of a recently diagnosed autistic female and reflects on the many emotions associated with being on the spectrum. Many of the common traits associated with autism are touched on in the book and the meaning behind the poems are explained in detail. These poems are written from the perspective of an autistic individual who appears fairly normal due to masking her autistic traits, but they also show the repercussions of this and what it feels like to be an outsider in a society made for neurotypical people. They also offer insight into certain autistic behaviours, explaining why autistic people do things different. In addition to focusing on autism, there are poems about anorexia. These poems offer a glimpse into why so many autistic females end up with eating disorders in adolescence.

All in all, Not Neurotypical shows why our society needs more people who understand autism. Many people on the spectrum are misunderstood and therefore cannot access the freedoms they deserve. This means that autistic people cannot reach their full potential and in general, have lower life expectancies.

Categories
climate graphic Poetry

Poems for COP26

I was recently commissioned by a climate group, who hosted an event in the lead up to COP26, to create some artwork based on the sessions I attended.

Climate 2050 is a volunteer and youth led organisation that aims to empower young people to take climate action.

https://www.2050.scot/

COP26 stands for Conference of the parties 26. As it is the 26th time the UN climate change conference will occur. This year, it is hosted by the UK, in Glasgow from the 31st of October to the 12 November 2021.

The below link is to a zine produced by climate 2050 after the ‘let’s talk about COP26 event’ and it explores some key points.

Here are the poems I wrote:

This poem is about loss and damage, a rarely talked about consequence of climate change.
This poem is about reframing our perspectives, it’s so easy to get caught up in it all and get overwhelmed but anxiety can be turned to action and we can learn to fam in love with the creativity of solutions.
This poem highlights the importance of climate education.

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Poetry

Departing

Below is another poem, this time about changing trains. I had to go on a train a few days ago and it got me thinking. I always hate that period of time between hearing your station announced and the train stopping. It’s a stressful suspense that is very much the same emotion felt before a big change in life. I then thought about the fact that before moving out, it’s like being on a train accompanied by your parents and then you switch to being all alone. I’m not sure this poem conveys that enough but it’s up for interpretation. I love train stations because they are full of interesting people. I’d happily go for a picnic at a train station on a rainy day!

Photo by Sascha Hormel on Pexels.com

A thrumming, A humming,

A stomach churning, chugging.

A plucked string,

A live wire charging the air.

Buzzing, rumbling, nearing.

A nervous energy,

Emotions strung high.

Heavy clouds looming

In a darkened, moody sky.

The moment before,

The train stops at the station,

A disconcerting suspense,

A fugitive frustration.

Destination reached,

Time to step down.

As doors inhale the platform,

With a deep sigh of a sound.

An auditory hug,

From the bustle of the station,

A spirited chatter of strangers,

In the same situation.

Comforting cocoon of the carriage –

Time to leave.

Taking experiences,

And what I believe.

A step into the unknown,

A journey new,

Time for another train,

Where fresh light shines through.

Copyright – Finty Royle

Categories
Poetry

A New Chapter

I’m going to start off this blog with a poem I wrote a few days ago after moving into my university accommodation.

I based the poem on the idea of changing seasons. Just like the seasons change, so do stages in life. Change isn’t bad, it’s just the natural way of life. Some people embrace change, some people resist it. Despite this, it is very much inevitable.

I debated staying at home for uni but decided it would be best to move out. Simply because it would mean pushing myself out of my comfort zone and expanding my experiences in life as well as my opinions. That’s not to say it’s an easy move, but challenges are good! Hopefully the poem below articulates this well.

With the soft rumble of the car engine,

I was left all alone in a new home.

And in the embers of the setting sun

My new life, this new chapter, had begun.

Intoxicating and soul swirling,

Is this perplexing freedom unfurling.

Wading through shadows of dusky grief,

I shall learn from the seasons and and the leaf.

A world cycling through shifting patterns of change,

The tides of discomfort and situations strange.

Unavoidable, inevitable

But very much manageable –

Time to move on.

So as the cooler air blows between the trees,

And the paths become speckled with mellowing leaves,

I will feel blessed

That i’ve experienced the seasons at their best.

©Finty Royle