Dangerous Compassions

my stims

I do this chuckle that’s a stim–a common one, of all my stims.  It’s a funny rhythmic chuckle, brief and not too loud.

Also I make a sound sometimes like “hoey who hee who.”  It means nothing.

I remember when my mom would make a sound related to “hoey.”  She seemed to make it like a yawn.  It was more of a morning sound.  A get up from the couch and change activities sound.

It was slightly self-critical, maybe.  Also like–It may no longer be pajama time.  I need to get stuff done.  A 10:30 am sound, for her.

She loved pajamas.  On a weekend, resting from work, watching movie after movie and crocheting.

I can’t really manage another set of clothing!  I just wear nothing, or the clothes from the day before.  Oh, I miss her.  How could she be gone?

sound stims

“I didn’t know sounds could be stims, until recently,” I told Ming.  “Did you know?”

“No,” he said.

“It’s funny, Mama did stims.  Stims is like a punishment label.”  I laughed.  “Your behavior is a stim.  You are bad.  Don’t annoy people.”

“I’m going to put a vibrating stick in my mouth,” Ming said.  He was talking about his electric toothbrush.  “That’s not a stim.”

We laughed.  “Stimming is valid,” he said.

“Stimming is valid!” I said.

my stims

An autistic friend online asked about stims, asking neurodivergent friends such as myself to talk about our stims.  He was looking for stimming tips, including stuff to try, as one of his stims was hurting him.

It was fun to make a list, as I’d never listed my stims before.

  1. rub my right wrist with my left thumb
  2. left wrist with right thumb
  3. rub my tummy
  4. make a funny repetitive sound sometimes, like “hu hu hu hu”
  5. rub my neck and collarbones–if I look at a polo I made for a friend, I see myself doing this sometimes on and on and on
  6. take a deep breath and puff it out rhythmically
  7. tuneless humming rhythmic noises
  8. play with little charms I keep on my desk
  9. rub right above my knees in a fast way–when I’m nervous especially
  10. circle my ankles and wiggle my toes
  11. raise my arms and wave my hands gently–twinkling
  12. gently bite my hands, usually on my thumb muscles
  13. rocking–I do this way less nowadays
desk dancing

“What about this?” I asked Ming.  “Is this a stim?  I think it’s just Desk Dancing.”

I raise my arms up and make swimming motions, sway, move my elbows together and apart.  Make shapes in the air.  I think it’s good for my arms.  Feels fun.  Swirly motions.  Reaching for nothing.  I like it.  If that’s a stim of my stims, I’ll take it.

Ming’s stims

My friend who asked about stims met Ming also, years and years ago in Oakland.  So I listed for him Ming’s stims also.

  1. shakes his hands
  2. flaps his hands
  3. bites his thumbs
  4. bends over and over again in a bowing way
  5. tenses and un-tenses his leg muscles

The funny part is we don’t have stims in common.  I much prefer my stims!  I tried his before, and they felt yuck.

laughing is a stim

“What’s your stims?” I asked Ming, wanting to lengthen my list on this post.  I must be missing some.

“Counting money,” he said.

“Like a McDuck?” I asked.  “What about swimming in a pool of money?  Is that a stim?”

I laughed, imagining the feeling of coins and bills scraping against my body.  Ew!

“Is laughing a stim?” I asked.  “I think it is!  Oh my god, I’m blowing my own mind.”  We’re comforting ourselves as we feel an overwhelm of mirth.  We gotta let the mirth out.

“Lying down is a stim,” he said, as he lay down.

“Hmm,” I said.

“Full body contact,” he said.

“Oh, like a weighted blanket,” I said.  “But upside down.”

I laughed.  He told me how he stretches his back muscles too much.

“Yoga is a stim?” I asked.

“It’s more than is socially acceptable,” he said.

“Oh, so that’s part of it,” I said.  “Stims are not socially acceptable.”

He’s sleeping now.  He’s lying on his back, wearing my clothes, with his hands between his chest and his tummy, breathing in a sleeping way.  Still wearing his shoes and wearing his glasses.

behind it all

My stims help me process my life, survive my days, get comfort, stay grounded, stay in my body.  They delight and please me.  Thanks for enjoying my stims.

[Fat white woman sits on a playground sculpture lizard and tries to learn about lizardness.]

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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