With the MAYFLY indiegogo underway, I keep thinking about what MAYFLY means to me as its author. When you create, the best feeling is to be totally immersed in the project – so close to it mentally that it’s all you can see. There’s no room for analysis when you’re fully enthused.
When you fall out of that state, you’re left with a semi-refined chunk of material. It is what it is, but within it you also see what it “should” be, so you get to work. It’s in that work that you realize more about where your work comes from.
The results are not always easy or comfortable. I can safely say that some of the dark, alien subject matter comes from living with vasovagal syncope, a neurological condition that effects the senses and the brain.
Vasovagal syncope works like a feedback loop in the brain – the wrong sort of intense stimulus can overload the vasovagal nerve and shut the brain down. My fainting episodes have always followed abdominal pain, or by imagining the abdominal pain of others. I had an attack at least once a year for a while, and these always coincided with learning about STDs in schools. The slides of angry malformed genitalia would roll, and I would fight to keep from fainting. In my freshman year of college I lost my nerve during one of these shows: I fell out of my metal-and-plastic chair and hit the linoleum hard.
The next thing I remember is being helped to my feet by a fellow student and guided shakily to the health center on a blindingly bright day. I tried to focus on the magazines in the waiting room, and for the life of me I could not read them. One letter in ten would appear from the void next to the smiling face of David Letterman or John Travolta, then disappear entirely. Over minutes the shapes began to stick around and make more sense, and I could finally read again! I thought the fall had scrambled my brain once and for all.
Later, a classmate tried to get me to admit I’d just fallen asleep in the dark classroom. Nope! Sorry to disappoint.
MAYFLY reflects back on the strangeness of personal experience. For the neurodiverse, we sense and process things much differently than those around us. Without a community of those who understand, it’s easy to become isolated very quickly. That was my experience, though I did attract a few oddballs along the way!