Healing and/as/in/from/with/because neurodivergent practice


Imani Robinson is an artist, writer, and one half of Languid Hands. Their practice combines performance, oration, collaboration, poetry and critical theory, exploring themes of black geographies, creative practice, transformation and radical resistance in the afterlives of transatlantic slavery.

Photo of a young black writer pictured full-length, standing on a balcony

Imani Robinson. Photo: Rabz Lansiquot, 2020.

Stream of consciousness is my happy place – the happy place I go to write, the place I am a writer. I am a running writer. If writing is about discipline maybe I’ll never be a writer and maybe that’s what all the writers are saying

Instead of trying to manage my executive dysfunction
regulate my emotional disregulation
soften intensity and get better
at time management – improve myself

I am trying to connect to my attention – to build a skilled relationship with my attention, to recognise emotions as embodied senses – as feelings in my body – codes – building a relationship with my body – detaching from fixed notions of disciplining my mind – without judgement, without punishment. Recognising that my pace is the right pace. There is not something inherently wrong with me

Instead of fixing time I can
be in a good relationship with my energy
– protect my energy.
I tend to be exhausted most of the time – running on innocence and anxiety and panic and adrenalin – attention – somatic – energy – practice – connection – slowness – writing to think – self compassion – compassion for others – forgiveness – no such thing as perfection – I will always show up for myself – accept myself, again and again and again, love myself, and demand to be loved for who I am – revel in it – I am this person – my neurodivergence is – I shame myself – a lot and its a hard ugly shiny loveable thing – I have to develop a sort of impermanence with objects – because they will be lost – we will be lost – give up my object hood – for inclusion in a project that doesn’t recognise –

Response – ability

My friend has had a baby and I haven’t called in 2 days and I feel terrible about it and I’ve almost texted a few times but I don’t know how much capacity I have so I don’t want to start a conversation I can’t finish but I did say when we spoke 2 days ago now that I wanted to speak all the time so I want to be someone who does what they say they’ll do but I’m just not that person – I need reminding or I need conditions to be right or I need slowness and connection and somatics and smoke and I don’t know I give up just send a text but what if they judge me and I lose the connection of friendship but that’s also happening in my silence and I’m already judging us all – so I might as well speak up about it and speak out and get in touch and touch it but then I am on my period so maybe don’t touch me and I’m blowing this all out of proportion


[insert 5 week break]

IF YOU are reading this please know for sure that I’m finishing the sentences as you are reading it – the blur of text beneath your focus is a work in progress, is the work, is in progress.

It’s the day of the deadline and even though things feel dark and impermanent, I have a body.

I have a body memory to slip down under
The skin on my arm feels scratchy and tender

I wrote half of this months ago in place of a different, more pressing task
A tenderness of words
synchronising memories
A liquidating nape

There were no consequences

I’m writing this as a reminder that my friends baby is now 4 and 2
I’m writing this as a reminder that the deadline is actually tomorrow
The earliest I’ve ever been is 24 hours
In place of a different, less exhilarating task

Film still of the black, male actor Samuel L. Jackson

Still from the film Jackie Brown of Samuel L. Jackson

We can play with the volume but
don’t mess with my syntax I’ve
got it just like I like it

Note to self

Hello love! I’ve been thinking about your associative fragmentary intertextual epistemologically disobedient interdisciplinary neurodivergent practice a LOT. I basically think that it’s totally unique to you, a special combination of all the things your body soaks up and turns out in all these creative passionate powerful ways. At first at times at work at the end of the day it felt like you found bright staircases of clarity wherever you could, in spite of fog and cotton and queerness and slavery

In spite of sight / site / In spite of cite
in spite
of your self (there were no consequences)

But me and the you with the flowers round your neck, and
Me and the you with the premonitions
And me with the you submerged under water, singing
And me with the you who is a disabled dyke
Now me and the you who is hairless and afraid
You with the smoke and the somatics
We see you