Lunch Lessons

I found this drawing from my very first days at Kindergarten – where they asked us about our favorite things we did on our first day of school and told us to draw it. The implication was it’s supposed to be something social with the other kids, but I didn’t pick it up at the time.

Some kids wrote about making new friends in class for the first time, while others wrote about the joys of experiencing the playground swings and slides together. Meanwhile, a few children wrote about the excitement of riding a bus with their friends for the first time!

I took the assignment literally, in true autistic fashion.

A drawing of a sub sandwich with many squiggles. The top is titled “My first day of school,” and a teacher has written the words “I had lunch.” The date is August 30, 2002.

“I had lunch” – and it was an excellent sandwich too.

I took it apart to eat it, and ate each part individually – something I still do to this day with some sandwiches.

Ever wonder why some of us autistics might do that?

For me, it’s often a texture thing. The textures are just very overwhelming and I need to experience them all separately. Same with some flavors.
Sometimes that lets me enjoy them more; other times, it just tastes better that way.

It’s the same with how I don’t like my food touching; it could make the texture of other foods change, and I like consistency! The world is unpredictable enough as it is.

It also goes back to how I can sometimes feel everything rather intensely. This applies to food as well. It’s why I was always considered a “picky eater” growing up, even though it was honestly just that the feeling of certain things made my whole body feel – well, unpleasant.

My friends have learned to just accept that I might take apart my food sometimes. They even check to see if restaurants have options that will be sensory friendly for me.

They are very understanding, and I like that.

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