On taking up space and being annoying.


I often wonder if the allistic people I see daily know how *annoying* they are. The indescribably awful sound of chewing makes me want to smash a stone into the side of my head until my skull splinters and splits and my brain is smashed into even more useless jelly than it is considered to be and finally it smashes that horrible *noise*, breaks it so that it won’t keep looping and eating into my mind.


I am profoundly aware of how annoying I can be. All of my music is listened to through headphones. I don’t dare flap my hands, most of the time, and whispering the dialogue from David Firth’s animations to myself for hours at a time is utterly out of the question. When someone sits next to me on the bus or train, I huddle away from them.


Arms tucked in, cheek and side to the window. Don’t look at them unless holding your breath in case they wouldn’t like you breathing on them. Don’t look at them for too long in case they don’t like it. Turn down your sound-blocking headphones and suffer in case it bothers them if you don’t. Don’t ever presume to choose to sit with someone yourself.


Sometimes, when nobody else is in the house, I guiltily, haltingly clap my hands together a few times, with the tensed body of someone who is expecting pain.


When I’m in pain and can’t stay silent, I scream at the pitch and volume of a whisper.


Why do they have to talk so loudly on the floor below that I cringe in my bed, not knowing if they are shouting, and if the banging and crashing and all the awful noise of dangerous people is about to begin?


I startle every time my brother suddenly says hello over the phone, not sure for a second if I am being shouted at. Whenever I talk to him, I am sure that I am annoying him. I don’t know if my legs and hands shaking is noticable, and if they annoy him more if they are.


They can’t help it. Like me.


One of the highest and most draining showings of trust I can give is telling someone that something in the environment is hurting me, instead of quietly reacting to it and hoping that maybe they’ll ask, so I can neutrally tell them without implying that I should inconvenience them by stopping the pain or asking them to.


Whenever I remember the idea, I wish I had a soundproofed, shut-off, locked room where I can clap my hands and lay down on the floor and flap and squeak and run and flutter my hands against my chest and whisper to myself and even bang my head on the walls when I’m upset.

Where I could play music or even just put some comforting dialogue like Not Stanley on and not be afraid.

That room inhabits an alternate universe. It exists in my head, and in it exists a version of me that isn’t ashamed, or afraid, or tensed with the expectation of pain.

Cie is good at expressing hirself and asserting hir right to the same amount of space as anyone else. Cie is good at being free and unselfconscious and gleeful and unscarred.

Cie isn’t good at living within a framework of unyielding, uncompromising discipline, holding to it no matter how much it hurts. Cie wouldn’t know the importance.


That persyn wouldn’t have a bathing routine that involves keeping a body part under the pouring water so they can practice remaining impassive while in pain, (when they always scream anyway), deliberately making the bath hot enough to burn their skin red in two seconds flat so they can practice overcoming fear of pain, and shaving with a razor that feels like exactly like being cut with one, so they can practice persevering with inflicting pain on themselves.


I wonder if any privileged and ignorant people are reading this. How do you feel? Horrified? Pitying? It’s only what’s required to get through every day without taking up the space you’re afforded, to pay for your ableism. Does your mind begin to open, a little? Or will that remain a hope?


These are the kind of words I only have online, because in my offline life, I have too much internalised belief in oppressive social norms to talk like this. I don’t want to be inconsiderate, you see, by presuming that I am entitled to the slightest effort to not cause me pain. Because I shouldn’t get “special consideration” and I’m “not beyond reproach”.


Normal consideration is when people don’t hurt an allistic and neurotypical persyn.
Special consideration is when people don’t hurt an autistic or NNT persyn.
They are not equivalent, and you are trying to be beyond reproach when you don’t think it’s fair for people to want to stop you doing things you love for harmless things you can’t help.


I can tolerate a keyboard hammering, a plane overhead, a fan blowing, a horse two fields away, a gate opening 40 feet away, birds singing, music and two people talking, for a few minutes, even without banging my head on the wall.

What’s your fucking excuse for not coping with about 10 seconds of gleeful squeaking noises from me that you won’t even get every day?

About chassisbird

Chassisbird is autistic, trans, a survivor of abuse, possibly gray-asexual, queer, polyromantic and very into D/s. It uses it/hir pronouns, tends towards apathy and would like to resemble a spider much more closely.
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1 Response to On taking up space and being annoying.

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