Sticks and stones may break my bones but words… really hurt me!

I never really thought about it, but recently it hit me hard. It all started with a debate on a Facebook page about something called ‘ableism’. I learnt the following things; I don’t understand the meaning of the term ableism and it is a sharp, red word that makes me dizzy and nauseous…

Wait, what!?

Yep, I see and feel words! I always have, since I was a child, but only recently did I realise how strongly it affected me. Synaesthesia is the official word for it and it is most likely part of my sensory mix up caused by my autism.

My sensory mix up doesn’t stop at words, in fact it was while I was playing my Grandma’s piano aged just 5 that my Mum noticed my unusual description of a note being ‘brown’. I also called sunshine ‘loud’ and had a meltdown in a shop because Mum took me through the ‘spiky pain section’ more commonly known as the perfume department!

I have lost important points on English writing assignments due to the discomfort of writing ‘my friends and I’, instead of ‘me and my friends’ and failed a maths test because the number 3 gave me a headache! Many meltdowns have been caused because a carer has said a word that hurts me and I’ve been unable to explain why I have ended up lying on the floor acting like I have been stabbed in the leg!

It’s not all bad though. I get good mix up too. There is something so comforting about words that have diphthongs such as ‘ae’ and ‘oe’ in which may also explain my strong interest in Dutch. I am a talented (but amateur) musician thanks to the strong visual images that come alongside different pitches and sounds and have shocked people with my ability to copy a song from beginning to end on a keyboard! It’s just a shame my short little fingers can’t keep up with my brain, I’d be one of those prodigies! Prodigy tastes like jam…

So the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is not correct. Some words really hurt me! Now excuse me while I go and pace for 20 minutes to calm my senses down from writing an ouchie word…

A red blob over blue with sharp yellow bits. How the word ‘ableism’ looks through my eyes

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