June 10, 2010

Page Two

It’s 1956, and I’m three years old. We have chickens, two or three dogs, two cats and a parakeet, and we all live on a little dead-end street called Leigh Road in Hamilton, Massachusetts. There’s a lake beside this neighborhood, and I love it, but I’m not allowed to be taken there very often because I get sick from the lake.

It must be Saturday, because Daddy hasn’t gone to work and I’m watching cartoons. I’m not sitting in front of the TV, though, I’m over near the table where we eat, standing up, looking across the room at the cartoons. I start wondering if I can make cartoons inside my mind, because I need things that feel safe to hang on to. I already hang on to animals, and I hang on to my family, but they can be hard to be safe in. I don’t seem to be like other people, in a lot of ways, and I know already that I can’t survive. I can’t survive because of the sickness the doctors keep saying I’m going to die from, and I can’t survive because everything about the world around me is too hard and too loud and too ungentle. I wonder if I can make the cartoons, and use them as another thing to hang on to.

I try it. It works. I can make a story in my mind with pictures and voices and falling downs and standing ups and everything. I smile there near the table, and that’s a big thing, because I don’t smile a lot. I smile because I can do it, I can make another life for myself in my mind where things are more gentle, where I can hang on. I will do this for the next 39 years.



The life I made in my mind was not  — please spare me any moronic riposte  — schizophrenia or delusional activity or any other psychotic nonsense. It was a typical way, I now know, that some autistic people use in order to cope. To withdraw in whatever way they can into the autos, the self.  My alternate life included all the things that real life does: illness, injury, lies, divorces, mean kids, whatever. It was no happy fairy land. The crucial differences between my created life and my actual one were these:  1. In my mind, I had a lot more confidence in myself, and I spoke my mind more often.  2. The other characters in my created life behaved and conversed in ways that I could figure out and understand, even if I didn’t agree with them.  3. There were some people in that life who valued me.


(felix and tweetie bird at

read…   Alternate universe…   Neverending solitaire

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2011-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.



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