When one of my friends started shifting through my past posts it occurred to me that rather than waiting for inspiration for my writing that wasn’t forthcoming that I could go back to how I started this blog and use other sources for inspiration. One of those sources was the daily prompts from the recesses of WordPress itself which have continued to pop into my email box for nearly a year now. I am actually signed up to two prompts, one is for pictures and one is for words. Since I am a photographer it seems that the image one would be a good thing to focus on but like everything I think about my interpretation of a single word can explode and I find it much easier to capture those thoughts in words rather than pictures. I wonder though if I made it a weekly task whether it would be more manageable?
An autistic trait would mean that I look for the obvious straight forward interpretation of something but not having much in the way of emotion instinct I find I need to put things into a conceptual framework. So the word that was suggested today was “security” with the example of an unwanted dog being rehomed into a secure and loving environment.
So what does security mean for me? It depends on the situation, obviously! I suppose in a general sense it means a reduction of anxiety for me but what allows me to reduce my anxiety is many fold. There are extreme cases like having a meltdown in which I would seek security by needing space to be alone and quiet, preferable outside. I have sat outside on steps (sitting seems to be important) crying in despair and incomprehension from what has just happened wondering if I am going mad waiting for the storm to pass. I have sat in a locked car after having driven to safety somewhere away from the scene of what I used to think was a crime.
Other times though I have sought help for my anxiety. Perhaps the most obvious time for this is when I am acutely ill and wondering if death is around the corner. It is a time when I try to keep logical but the worse I get the more difficult I find to make decisions which in turn is a red flag for me to do something. More extreme Illness is one of the few times when I want to be held and grounded to a different reality than what is going on in my head. Years of chronic illness gave me plenty of time to learn that it was okay to leave decisions up to others (though I always insist on knowing what is happening) if I can’t decide myself. Security can mean being admitted to hospital because I no longer have to decide whether I ill enough or not. Security can mean being near the nurses station (another indication of how ill one is). It can mean being taken seriously and having diagnostics run and it can mean seeing the same doctors because they know me and I trust them.
In other situations, I can find security in familiar things. Going out to social situations, security can be found in knowing the place I am going to, knowing that there will be people there that are my friends, or knowing that I can leave and walk home. I can find security in the clothes I wear, one of my preferred pair of underpants, my kilt, a favourite waistcoat and kitchen roll in my sporran for when I get too sweaty. Security can be found in actions too, I pace when I have to think, I ride my bike for exercise and escape, I dance rather than talk, I play with my beard or perhaps sing a song. When I was younger and went to parties (usually because the people I was with were going), I would usual end up in the kitchen by the drinks (it an easy subject to talk about) and eventually I would help out and then take over the washing up. Maybe though that was because I was never confident about leaving parties so usually stayed to the end and helped clear up.
Perhaps though the most common form of security for me are memories of good times. I seem to be appalling at remembering the good times unless the memories are triggered by objects or other people which may be the reason why I am such a hoarder (though a dislike of waste and indecision must be in the mix too). Clothes can be kept even if they are worn out, too small or broken because of the memories they trigger. Music is incredibly important for reassuring me, particular from my teenage years, though I found it quite distressing to find I was struggling to remember some of the lyrics of the songs I first learnt 35 years ago. Images and photographs too provide access to times past. The cards or pictures my kids made allow me to remember the chubby kid in their favourite jumper obsessed by trains, or the sadness that followed the death of a hamster. Photos remind me of my connections to people important in forming the person I am now, for supporting me through difficult times and sharing fun ones too. Key people that despite our lives branching away from each other can be met up with again and still create new memories to be treasured.
I am tempted to finish up with saying that at the end of the day I find security in being by myself in a quiet room, or walking with the dog along the streets at night, or taking photographs out in the middle of nowhere of stars lights years away but that is not entirely true. Being by myself is vital for my general peace but so also is communication. I am an unreliable companion to myself, and real security comes from clearing out my mind and reaching out to others. In essence, this blog is one of my most important forms of security and whilst it is enough that I write, if helps to know that someone out there is listening too.