I’m a 25-year-old autistic artist from Manchester. I have just moved from my first home away from my parents – a house share – to a new apartment with my partner. To share some of the difficulties facing an autistic adult, I collected my experiences of moving home over the course of a week and retold them here through painting and creative writing.
A second metallic strike tore through the walls, this time throwing me back into life. Senses heightened and heart wavering, I sat to attention as my eyes scrolled the darkness for some clarity. There was that sound again, the hymn of metal strings vibrating, breaching my skull and blurring my vision. Hands grazing cloth, I sank through dark again, this time for answers. It’s twelve in the morning, why do this now?
The twist of the lock echoed through the stairwell. A welcoming and familiar embrace gripped my waist and wrapped its warm fingers around my guts. A feeling of an unwelcome guest punched my conscience and urges collided just as they did before. My stomach, serenading nerves, sang a chorus that filled me with dread. I knew this song, I needed a way out.
The vibrations of the wheels below failed to send me away. Nothing was right, everything was different. I watched as faces passed by, all going their different directions, each bearing a stare I couldn’t help but remember. The talk was comfortable, the mood settled despite my mind blistering with the thoughts of error. I knew the route; it wasn’t a long one. A scatter of red lights, making it harder to sink back into clarity, sent my hungry mind growling, demanding to be closer to the place it wants to reside. Nearly there.
Lips moved, sounds poured out. Senseless chatter exuded from my left as I tried to concentrate on the screen before me. Absurd ideals were spouted like a different language to my confused ears and I could feel my mind starting to drift. An exhausted brain longed for solitude, a familiar touch in my hands. A place I could control, where I had options, but I was trapped in a screening of verbs. The slow descent brought me lower as my tolerance sank and words bruised my skin. Lips still moved, but the sound had stopped.
No matter how much I would bend, the outdated morals wouldn’t break. My thoughts sweeping to a narrative untrue that I can’t survive on what I have. I read through the scripts, knew my lines and I stood on the stage and spouted what I expected to hear. Words to nurture and hold close, only to learn they aren’t true. Value is still a concept difficult to comprehend. An opportunity for change is presented, but the narrative returns and I take to the stage.
My muscles relaxed when the card hit the floor. Aligned before me were two lives together, wrapped in protection and memories rather forgotten. A new space to be shared, a place where a heaving mind could spew and leak without complications. A host for unscripted scenes and enough cupboards to hold tired thoughts. This was something new with the taste and smell of home seeping into the foundations. The clutter would soon be cleared and my toes would see the carpet underneath. Comforting words to a weary psyche.
The floors moved again, so sudden that my heart had jumped. A gentle breeze sent the door dancing around in place, sending echoes throughout a space newly mine. I know the breeze’s origin, but my mind wonders to the nightmares that are trying to find their way in, the accusing fingers of others my presence has disturbed. I know these thoughts are fiction and yet I continue to nurture the words to keep me in my place. I’ve already lived this story before and I know that this eases.
A new flat means unpacking two lives, my personal and my artwork. This space will grow into a creative one.
I work primarily in drawing and acrylic inks on a range of materials, from wood to plastic and found materials.
Even with new space and plenty of room, I find myself still working on the floor; it's how I've painted since university.
The Day 7 painting was created with drawing inks onto clear Perspex. It took around 80 hours to complete.
It's important to also concentrate on personal time to keep my mental state steady. Video games have been a source of comfort since childhood. Each day brought a new obstacle I hadn’t considered, from sleep anxiety to IBS triggers and social burnout. There was also hope – a new space to be myself with far fewer restrictions.