Dancing with Light

I am back home, curled up in my big chair, after traveling across the country to perform my new show “Blissfully Being”. I never travel alone. I don’t have any kind of fear or anxiety. I love travel and I love time alone. I have buckets of gumption and would put my stubborness up against anyone’s. I fear very little in life, really. It is just that my wide-open sensory processing takes in EVERYTHING until it then becomes nothing sometimes, like too many colors mixed together, until left with a bucket of muddy black mess. Light and shadows play tricks, dazzle me, thrilling me, making me want to dance and sing, until they appear almost to dance, too, and sing so loudly in beautiful compositions that it becomes a struggle to navigate. Streams of light upstage architectural design. Shadows mask edges of doorways and corners. As I absorb everything, it becomes an exquisite nothing. So the execution of navigation, communication, and planning the next action becomes slow sometimes. I can do it, fabulously at times. Other times, not so much. But, I am stubborn. Usually, I am with Doc, so I simply take his arm, focus on him, letting him navigate. Even without Doc, I have the advantage of being a small pleasant woman, so can touch a friend’s arm as I walk, without them ever knowing they are trailblazing for me. The thing about light is it shifts as I move, changing all that I just thought was there into something new. It is only after years and years of questioning how others saw things that I learned that it is truly not what I see. I used to think that everyone thought the beauty of a chandelier was the way the light streamed through the prisming facets, streaming a flood of light in a room until it bounced off the walls, filling the room with angled rainbow beams. I know now that you probably don’t see that. I do. I am neither exagerating or trying to seem like I have a superpower. In fact, it seems silly to tell you, but maybe you might like to know. Maybe you would find this information useful in some way. Maybe you see this way. I like my rainbow better, I think, than the chandelier most people have described they see to me, but it can make it hard to have a conversation or find a pencil. So I don’t navigate well all the time. Fortunately, I am graceful, with a good helping of dancer’s genes from both parents. I can step off a curb that surprises me and, with a wiggle and a toss of my hand, I think I just look like I am having a good time. At least I hope so. Please, don’t inform me otherwise if that is not the case and I look like a flightless bird’s failed attempt at launching itself. Is this exquisite sensory, being a kind of occular equivalent of the Princess and the Pea, and experiencing so much beauty along the way, is this an extraordinary ability or is it disability? It is both. It makes me expressive and artistic and brings a visual intelligence that gives me talents in certain important ways. But it also rules what I am able and not able to do. And now that I may have somewhat explained the visual challenge, add all the other senses, except taste, which I think is pretty much the same as for most people, except for having great taste memory, a handy thing for any ad-lib cook. Sound, touch, smell, are heightened or cross-signalled to me. But that’s a different story, because I want you, if you don’t see the way I do, to just understand that right now, what it takes to be with you or why I may not be with you. A sweet party planner may want to meet for lunch, to discuss an upcoming event. It is important, I know, and enjoyable. But the cost is high for me. To smile and eat and think and plan, while the lights and shadow, and, yes, noise, upstage everything. But it can appear uncaring and sometimes unacceptable to refuse such a lunch meeting. It is enjoyable and productive, but exhausting, even painful sometimes. It takes a lot to sit there and “pass” so others are comfortable. It can hurt, physically. If I say something about discomfort, I could just sound like a high-strung diva, needing things a certain way. This is not the case. This is, I am finally comfortable with the word, disability, enfolded in ability. An invisible disability that rules my life. That is why performing is so wonderful, with the spotlight blocking all other light, and rehearsed things take less effort than real-time thinking while processing all I am taking in. I am sure there are countless ways we all experience life. Some dear friends are hypersensitive in emotional ways. I am not. Some are more challenged by what their senses don’t pick up on, or what they don’t feel in an emotional way. These are real and can be debilitating and, yes, advantages, in turns. We all have such things, just different things. Hypersensitivy is mine to own, and it sometimes owns me. It is unusual, yes, and invisible, so you can only begin to understand and accomodate me, allow me and those like me, the comfort in life you enjoy, if I tell you. So I write this. I have committed myself to express all I can, through my new show, through my bit of rambling writing, to add my experience so we understand better, so we can put all this invisible info to use, so we can accomodate, and teach children in ways they can learn, include people like me in less challenging ways, and, well, just add to the good heap of understanding each other’s humanity. Share who you are. Never be ashamed. You are fabulous, just as you are. We all are. It’s that simple. 

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