Messy Thoughts at 4:00 am on a Cold January Night

Messy Thoughts at 4:00 am on a Cold January Night

If I’m alright
why can’t I feel the pain
wrapped up in a pretty blanket
the sky didn’t fall today

What if I’m a lunatic
with this bag of marbles
and a walking stick
marching on my Neverland
because I lost my fairy dust

Searching for the love I sent
on twenty magic carpet rides
into the dark and hallowed caverns
of your little beating heart

The air is crisp
so words you whisper
holler boldly across the lake
I hear you when you float away
I feel you when you come my way

Sometimes the colours
dull at dusk
but music buys a cape and thrusts
a big bold letter across my chest
brought to you by the letter S

It saves the world from seeing pain
we caused while paying dues and fame
a great big race for Cadillacs
facebook likes and twitter leads

Melodies drown out the thuds
of bodies dropping from tax paid pipes
and then their naked spirits dance
drenched in tears and negligence

Why didn’t we let them
eat cake too
while drawing air to share their dreams
with other kids, and marbles too?

Effortlessly we carry bodies
in empty boxes with velvet linings
but drop the weightless words that feed
the dreams we draw in coloured wax

Jump ropes turn to grids and boundaries
numbers pierce their hopes with data
when we kept drawing chalk line scores
while they were drifting off to sleep

And what of this ransom note
where years past 6 are spent in cells
drop their sticks and pick up swords
lest you be ex-patriots

Don’t let the child in you die
daydreams lead to better lives
skip to work, sing while you pee
leave the chocolate on your face

Not one being should wake to days
where fantasy’s on life support
in exchange for honest wages
in a day or otherwise

Break the glass and pull the chain
the danger lies in staying in
the institutions filled with clocks
and number twos that write for us

Regain your moments of fantasy
take your Harveys out to tea
dance to silence it has a beat
give in to the urge to run

Your inner child is the only cure
for apathy, doubt and confusion
a shift in power is all you need
leave the cynic, take the cookie.

Not Autistic Enough

Not Autistic Enough

I have given at least 100 presentations on living with autism to crowds of all sizes.  My most requested presentation is entitled Let Me Fall.  I begin with a preview of a documentary made about me called The Shadow Listener, and then introduce myself as being autistic.  

I talk about growing up with autism, undiagnosed, presenting my struggles and my accomplishments.  With a mix of talk, video, and pictures, I show how I couldn’t read until I was 9, and how I couldn’t tie my shoe until I was 14; I talk how I struggled in school and relationships.  The first half of my talk shows all the challenges parents and teachers have learned to recognize as common in autistic people, and they confirm this with nods and verbal confirmations as I present.

Then, the presentation shifts.  I give attendees ideas for supporting autistic people, and helping us reach our fullest potential, and then show my short film Let Me Fall.  As the presentation comes to a conclusion, I focus on the positive aspects of autism, my accomplishments, and how presuming competence was the springboard of my future.

Following my presentations, most people tell me how I have helped them to see autism in a new light, feeling inspired.  I sign books, and answer questions, trying to remain patient with even the most uneducated attendee.  I am not there to make people aware of autism.  I am there to help people learn to accept autism.

Then enter the doubters…

To them, I am not autistic enough because I don’t display stereotypical autistic behaviours.  Many expect to see a mostly non-functional adult, living on government funds or welfare, and who is happily working a minimum wage job doing some repetitive task.  They expect me to say inappropriate things, lack empathy and compassion, move with oddities with my body.  But I am not that person.  

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I get frustrated when people see a child having a tantrum or meltdown, and they assume that person must be autistic.  Somehow our society has inexplicably linked behaviour and appearance with competence, believing that one understands if they “appear” to understand by behaving in such a manner as to fit a predefined model of intelligence. The underestimation of the abilities of autistic people is a deep rooted issue, marginalizing a group of people who cannot always get the space and time needed to speak for themselves.  

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Autistic people whose autistic traits are not outwardly obvious are unfairly diminished from all fronts.  We face having our accomplishments overlooked, our autism minimized, and our experiences ignored as we fail to play out a sensationalistic narrative of overcoming.  We are just not autistic enough to have struggled, and not neurotypical enough to be included.

My experience with autism is just as valid as the next, even if I do not experience autism the way society has temporarily defined it.  

Not Autistic Enough (links will become live as posts are made)

All Alone – Musical Thoughts from the mind of a 14 year old

When I was a young teen, I spent a huge portion of my time alone in my room.  Music was my only voice to the outside world.  It carried on a frequency that seemed to transcend class, race, social status, and age.  The loneliness inside was buried deep, and cast a purple, obstructive hue on everything I I dared to dream about.

I loved music, but complications like dyslexia and my unusual way of comprehending lessons made it near impossible for me to understand musical theory, or even read music well.  All the music I heard around me was trapped inside my head, and played in endless loop.  I feared being driven to the edge of insanity.

One year, my parents purchased a piece of music writing software called Cakewalk.  The software had a special feature that allowed me to click on the musical staff and in real time hear the note through an external midi instrument generator.  For the first time,  I didn’t need to know how to read the music.  I could just click on the staff until I heard the pitch on the midi meet the pitch in my head.  Despite this process being painfully slow, I composed a dozen pieces including a  3 movement Requiem, and a Musical scored for a full scale symphony orchestra.  I even won the Ga State title in composition for a piece called Tarantella Russo.

How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps – a musical no one has ever heard

My musical came to me during first outpouring of musical compositions at age 14.  A scribbled a basic dialogue, designed a few scenes, and wrote all of the major performance pieces.  It was one of the few times I wrote words along with my songs.

The story is about a girl named Catarina, a lost and lonely girl who is so in love with music she fears she will never have the capacity to fall in love with another, until one day when she meets a guy who hears the same song in the moonlight as she.  Originally, I only shared this piece with family and close friends performed without lyrics or layers on the piano.

After performing this piece in public for the first time at Northern Arizona University, the response was overwhelming.  For the first time, I got to feel the reaction of a crowd to music that poured from the deep inner workings of my my lonely, 14 year old self.  It made me wish I could somehow traverse time into the past and whisper to that girl that one day, her music would connect to others.

I plan on finishing the work I started 22 years ago.  For now, I want to present to you the lyrics to the song All Alone.  You can read along while listening to me perform the piece on my violin.

https://soundcloud.com/thelauranadine/all-alone-performance-version

The Lyrics

The night has just begun, and the moonlight fills the sky,

This eve feels never ending, I should be glad to say it’s mine.

All my dreams away they run, never turn to say good bye,

To them I send my blessing, ‘cause with me they’ll never be.

Here I stand, all alone, underneath the whisp’ring moonlight,

Like a bird, sing a song, soft and sweet.

Can I feel the deep green ocean, and with my dreams set sail?

Can I let my mind come open and my thoughts prevail?

Here I stand, all alone, right beside this star struck river,

Like a tree, stroke the blue and velvet sky.

Will I only see a lifetime, where I walk it’s paths alone?

Will I ever cry a tear of joy?

(Instrumental interlude)

Here I stand, all alone, held within a vast horizon,

Like a rock, stern and cold, but always seen.

I won’t fade into shadows; I’ll stand among the bold.

Mark my words, I’ll march on.

The night has just begun, and the moonlight fills the sky,

This eve feels never ending, why aren’t I glad to say it’s mine?

Bridges

Imagethere’s this bridge I’m looking for
i don’t know where it goes
but I’m sure it spans the distance
between our shores

on foot’s the only way I see
to trek this life, no short cuts be
who said that building bridges
was an easy toll to pay

my shores are blue and yours are gold
my sun is high and your’s is low
i have 3 moons, you just have one
in the sky when work is done
you see two-thousand twinkling stars
looking up from where you are
but cross the bridge and you will see
a million more including me

trees they reach to touch the light
though they have no eyes for sight
clean the air and shade our heads
as we eat our daily plight

there’s just one lesson here today
don’t judge me by the words you’ve made
just close your eyes and sing this song
I’ve been writing all along

my shores are blue and yours are gold
my sun is high and your’s is low
I have 3 moons, you just have one
in the sky when work is done
you see two-thousand twinkling stars
looking up from where you are
but cross the bridge and you will see
a million more including me

Farewell Catarina, Farewell to Love

As I am a creature of patterns, though there is a vast difference between patterns and repetitious outcomes that slap me in the face. Despite my prodigious optimism, to see past persistant repetitious outcomes, I am mourning the reality that one particular area of my life may be settled into a pattern opposite of what I desire. The area of romantic love.

Despite my best efforts, it occurs to me that the universe has somehow thrust into me a desire to fall in love, but had been too busy to put me in love’s reach. The passion in me feels effervescent, pushing through to the surface, and translated into tender movements that none desire of me, at least not for any reason past their own selfish sensations. It’s as if I am a flower that some desire to watch bloom, but do not wish to wallow in the scent.

I am doused with confusion. Why is the world from which I hear such sweet melodies, filled with such paltry moments? When it comes to love, are people purposefully disguised as mirages?

I fear that my writings of my youth are all too insightful. Perhaps it was insight, not naivety, that led my pen to create Catarina, a girl who thought that her love for music was so great, she would never feel the arms of romantic love.

As I write this, I realize I have no clever quotes to give, or stories to tell. The pain is just to great. So, tonight I play the sounds of love’s departure from me. I suppose I was not built to share romantic love, I was built only to bottle it in song. Should you ever see a melody from me called Farewell Catarina, you will know it is my farewell to love.

How Do You Teach A Fish To Fly?

What if we woke at sunset, and bedded down at the rooster’s crow?
What it we lived days lit by moonlight, napping through nights in the warmth of the sun?
Would we all rush to the seaside to get a moon tan?
Would Ray Bans still be in fashion?
When the moon is full would we wear hats to protect our noses from moon burn,
And complain at the New Moon that there’s not enough moonlight?

What if we rushed out to be in the rain?
And huddled under rooftops as the clouds rolled away?
What if we designed our sports for rainstorms?
What if we canceled tournaments for inclement sunshine?
Would we enjoy dancing in the rain?
Would we turn raincoats into suncoats, and shield our eyes from rainbows?

How do you teach a fish to fly?
I ask, why do you need to?
Are there not enough birds in the sky for you?

Some creatures are born into an empire of moonlit villages,
Equipped only to thrive in the sunshine,
Did we throw them away?
Did we cry when we couldn’t see it their way?

The world is ready for a fresh pair of lenses,
Focused on the love of diversity.
Trim off the ragged edges of judgement and hate,
We all cast shadows, we cannot escape.
See me by looking in,
Come close enough to feel me breathe,
You can’t understand the power of the sun, by it’s reflection on the moon.

– Laura Nadine

I Heard This in the Shadows

It has been a tough couple of weeks.  Love seems outside my grasp, no matter how brave I am or how deep into the darkness I reach.  So, the shadows grew louder, and louder, and louder, to the point that the melody made my nerve endings pulse – like when you have spent 4 hours at a heavy metal concert and you can still feel each beat in your lips and finger tips.On a rare occasion, the shadows carry a few words with the tune.  Haunting in nature, the words come in small, angry mobs, directing themselves toward the one I feel is responsible for my pain.  This time, the words were abstract and vague.  I am angry at no one.  I blame no one.  It just the pain of keeping to myself, and the throbbing of a void.I heard this in the shadows:

Lies can’t protect you, all they do is kick you out
There are no words, gifts were already exchanged
Six inches from you is where I stood,
But the forest has no trees
Passion burned them down
Cause you didn’t put out the rage

I can’t fight or I’ll die
I can’t drown or I’ll live
I can’t be everything you don’t want me to be
But when I’m left to just be, 
I’m visible to only me.


The tune is whispered by voice, and carried by guitar.  Its simple, its sad and stranded on a isle in my mind.  Maybe some day I will be brave enough to share it.  Right now, though, I will keep it close for it is my only companion.  The only painful reality that I must sling over my shoulders like a dead albatross is that I am a walking song; I’m only loved until the tune is faded by the sounds of a different one.

No more can I dance with two hands

Too many roads
to lonely
paths unravel
neither of them mine.
How can I walk
if I am confined?
Don’t bottle me
aged, like fine wine.I cannot feel
these feet are used
garage un-sale special
in a box beneath the stairs.
How can I walk
an inch or a mile?
No more can I dance
I’ve only two hands.Deaf ears drawn
to desire
burns so bright
retinas to black.
How can I breathe
in the stench of sacrifice?
Silence so brutal
disguises me with waves.

No heart is
good for luggage
better off lost
on the wrong flight.
How can I breathe
an inch or a mile?
No more can I dance,
inside my box.

Love me with all
or hate me with everything
love can’t be served
luke warm and bandaged.
Love me with all
or hate me with everything
just count me off
or write me in
but please, please,
don’t keep me familiar.

-Laura Nadine

bridge

there’s this bridge I’m looking for
i don’t know the way it goes
but I’m sure it spans the distance 
between our shores



on foot’s the only way
to trek this life, all short cuts wane
no one said that building bridges
was the easy toll to pay

 
trees they reach to touch the light
though they have no eyes for sight
clean the air and shade our heads
as we eat our daily plight



there’s just one lesson here today
don’t look me down, with words you’ve made
just close your eyes and sing this song
I’ve been writing all along



my shores are blue and yours are gold
my sun is high and your’s is low
i have 3 moons, you just have one
in the sky when work is done
you see two-thousand twinkling stars
looking up from where you are
but cross the bridge and you will see
a million more including me