A Body Stripped of Symbols

To live in a body stripped of its symbols. Where sitting is just sitting is just sitting is just sitting is just sitting. Of all the futures that I can imagine, a world stripped of its symbols is the among the furthest out of grasp. After all, we live in a world in which being able to pick up on cues can be a matter of life or death. The fetal position is supposedly the universal symbol of comfort, and yet nobody goes into the fetal position just to feel comfortable. Why not? Because to go into the fetal position is to suggest that you’ve lost control, succumbed to emotions, and projecting loss of control in our current world is very dangerous thing. Even if we change the material conditions of our world, and we can, the remnants of conditions past will still persist in the body’s symbology.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on the difference between self-care and self-soothing. Us autistics are supposedly in a constant state of self-soothing, where even our body motion is subordinate to our need to self-sooth. The extreme world theory posits that autistic people are in a constant state of overwhelm, after all. That the autistic body is in a constant state of suffering at the hands of the world, and our bodies can’t help but relieve stress but through calming body rocks, finger taps and the big chew. We love the big chew! The autistic body can’t extricate practices of self-care from reactions to suffering, and thus is forever bound up in eternal self-soothing. What then, could self-care ever be?

To just sit in the middle of the road and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel and feel, without ever a motorist in sight. Feeling unmoored.

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