How to Overcome Mental Resistance with Breathing


I don’t procrastinate. I don’t allow myself to dilly-dally. When I say something, it shall be done. I’ve been told it’s an uncommon ability. But like all skills, it is a trait that can be cultivated and integrated into your being.

When you’re on the verge of making a difficult decision, one of great weight and importance to your life, one that runs counter to how you have lived up to this point, one that clashes with your habits or assumptions or suppositions, you may feel a peculiar sensation. It may be in your stomach, it may be in your chest, it may be felt with your entire body. What is this sensation?

Imagine a mighty river gushing at full force. It is following a path it has carved through rock over a thousand years ago, following the path of least resistance as water always does. Suddenly, a nearby landslide flings a mass of earth and rock into the river’s path. The water crashes into the obstruction but fails to break through. The river is now blocked.

The sensation you experience is akin to the moment when the river encounters the barrier. It is like walking face-first into an invisible wall and discovering there is something there. This is the sensation of resistance.

But can you point to the location of this resistance?

The Invisible Resistance

People have preferred ways of living, talking, eating, or doing anything at all. Through a lifetime of experiences, people build up habits and heuristics to help them navigate life. While useful, they create a delusion of a permanent, unchanging self, what Buddhism refers to as sakkaya-dithi.

Consider this: a person is used to indulging in all-you-can-eat buffets. Whenever he has the opportunity to go to one, he fills his plate again and again with delicious foods, stuffing himself past the point of satiation. This becomes an unthinking habit. If you ask him to limit himself at a buffet, he’ll resist the notion even if he knows he has to lose weight, because his ego is wrapped up in the idea that one should always pig out at a buffet, and he views himself as unwilling or unable to change his ways.

You don’t have to be conscious about these unwanted habits and heuristics for them to become ingrained in your being. The most pernicious of them are those that you don’t examine or question. Being unconscious of something, you won’t recognise its influence on you. If you find yourself contemplating a decision that runs counter to your self-identity, you will naturally resistance. This is how the ego attempts to preserve itself.

Likewise, if you are forced to make an emotionally trying choice, you will also encounter resistance. If you perceive you have to give up something or experience unpleasantness, it becomes difficult to make a choice.

Suppose you are hip-deep in education debts. You hold a steady job, but most of your income goes towards servicing your debts. You rely on your car to get you to work, to the market, to just about everywhere. One day, your car breaks down. The engine gives out completely and there is no hope of recovery.

Now you have three choices. The first is to switch to public transportation, and completely reorganise your life around buses, trains and/or taxis. The second is to work out a quasi-permanent car-pooling arrangement with people you know, or complete strangers, at least until you can replace your car. The third is to bite the bullet and buy a new car — and put off buying something else you want or need, which may include your debts.

In all these cases you have to give up something or face unpleasant circumstances. In the first case you need to wake up earlier, learn bus and train schedules, plan routes, set money aside for transportation, and so on. In the second, you’ll have to make arrangements with people, create backup plans for days when they can’t help you — and hope there are people who can help. In the third, you’ll have to spend more of your hard-earned money and possibly sacrifice something else. Every decision carries a cost in free time, energy and/or money, all of which you have an emotional stake in gaining and preserving as much as possible. It becomes painful to contemplate such emotionally-laden decisions, leading to the sensation of resistance and the desire to delay or avoid them to avoid feeling such unwanted emotions.

This is perfectly natural human behaviour. But to continue living, we have to choose. We have to overcome this resistance.

The secret to doing this is recognising that, at heart, there is no substance to this resistance. It may be a powerful surge of emotions. It may register as actual physical sensations.

Instinct or Ego

Before jumping into the heart of the matter, recognize that this resistance is not entirely evil or self-sabotaging. It is a method of self-preservation, and there are times when it is useful.

Let’s say an acquaintance contacts you out of the blue. She says she’s signed up on a program guaranteed to bring you lots of money. You just have to buy some products from the parent company, then sell them to other customers at a markup. If you bring in your friends, you get to enjoy discounts, bonuses, and other perks. She thinks of you as a friend, she thinks you’ll benefit, so won’t you sign up and buy her stuff?

If you see red flags, good for you. This is how a multilevel marketing scheme works. If you join up, the company will suck your money, you’ll waste hours trying to sell stuff, you’ll become human scum as you push an ever-widening range of products on your friends and family, and in the end you’re not going to get much out of it. Feeling resistance and refusing to accept the offer in this case is perfectly natural.

Resistance is natural. When you experience it, your first reaction shouldn’t be to overpower it. It may well be your subconscious warning you of danger. From the perspective of the ego, there is no difference between a threat to existence and a threat to self-identity. Thus, you must develop and exercise discrimination, so that you can tell the difference between self-protection (preventing you from coming to harm) and ego-protection (preventing your self from changing).

When you encounter mental resistance, ask yourself these questions:

*What are the consequences of acting?
*What are the consequences of not acting?
*What am I giving up with every choice I face?
*What do I want out of life, and which choice aligns with my goals and inner self?

Fear of imagined pain outweighs actual pain. Make abstract resistance concrete by articulating and visualising the costs and benefits of actions, and how these actions align with who you are. Acknowledge that there is no permanent, unchanging self, for in every action you create yourself, and you are always free and ready to become a new person.  Instead of fretting over potential emotional pain or conflict, view the true costs and benefits with a clear heart.

And you can clear your heart with your breath.

Dissolve Resistance

Earlier I likened the sensation of resistance to a river being dammed up. The opposite sensation of resistance is ease — water flowing smoothly and freely. Within the human body, the closest sensation to that is breathing. Deep, rhythmic, abdominal breathing.

Close your eyes. Sit or stand with your spine erect. Breathe into your belly, expanding and contracting your diaphragm. Place your hands on your stomach; if you feel it rise and fall you’re doing it right. Let your breath be smooth, slow, deep and comfortable. If you have difficulty breathing, consider adjusting the tilt of your skull or pelvis until you get it right. A quick trick is to press yourself up against a wall to align your skull, spine and tailbone.

Focus on this sensation of ease and flow. Whenever you feel troubled, or run into mental resistance, default to the deep breath and let that sensation of ease fill your being. This dissolves any phantom pain, resistance or other unpleasant sensations within you, letting you focus clearly on what you must do. With freedom of breath comes freedom of mind, and with freedom of mind comes the clarity necessary to contemplate the choices before you.

The Space of Seven Breaths

The Hagakure states, ‘With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.’

The space of seven breaths may be a metaphor, but it points to the underlying principles of resolution, determination, focus, and awareness, of making a decision based on complete self-knowledge.

Strive to be in total awareness of yourself, your goals and your principles. Understand what makes up who you are, who you want to be, and what you must do to become your best self. This creates a mental heuristic that nudges you ever onwards to self-development, and allows you to prioritize your expenditures, resources and energy.

Going back to the example of the broken car, you know you wish to pay off your debts and loans as quickly as possible, and recognise that you can live without luxuries for a while. Thus, you stride into a car dealership and purchase a car at a reasonable price — not necessarily a new car, just one you can use. Or perhaps you have time to burn but little cash to spare, so you start plotting routes by public transport and live without a car until you can lift the burden of debt. If you have the great fortune of friends willing to help you, or trustworthy strangers keen on sharing a ride, then you can rely on carpooling until the day you can afford a new vehicle. The choice you make reflects your own priorities, beliefs and principles — so to accelerate the decision-making process, know your circumstances and your self, and pick the choice that reflects your character and your aspirations.

Regardless of your choice, act swiftly and decisively. No matter how long you delay the decision, no matter how reluctant or heartbroken you feel, it must be made. Feelings are transient and subjective; the consequences of actions and non-actions are concrete and lasting. And the longer the delay, the heavier the penalty of non-action. Face the choice now and act.

All actions stem from the self. Strive to know yourself and institute the mindsets, habits and heuristics that help you make growth-oriented decisions. Through the breath, fill your soul with the sense of ease and freedom and dissolve any barriers to clear thought. Recognize that your feelings are immaterial; only the decision before you, and the consequences of your actions, remain.

Cultivate a spirit of intensity, immediacy, resolution and focus. Then, in the space of seven breaths, act.


If you’d like to support my work, check out my Dragon Award-nominated novel NO GODS, ONLY DAIMONS.

2017 in Retrospect


I joined Steemit a year ago. It was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Steemit has changed my life for the better in so many ways. It incentivizes regular content creation, content that adds significant value to readers. Where most of the Internet rewards clickbait and fluff, here’s a barrier-free site where a person can write deep, analytical pieces and be rewarded for it. Here I found a space where I can express my own brand of writing and further sharpen my skills.

Here is the place where I found my soul as a writer.

Breaking Out

12 years ago I began blogging in earnest. I ranted and raved about anything and everything that came to mind, usually involving politics and current affairs, and somehow I caught the eye of other bloggers in Singapore’s growing socio-political space. For a couple of years I found a community there, but after National Service, after the rise of government regulations and the departure and retirement of many prominent bloggers, I found myself once against without a community.

Right around that time I needed to make a living. But nobody wanted to hire me for my writing skills. Freelance writing jobs were few and far between. I only had the time to blog once or twice a month, and every time I was simply shouting into the dark. With the explosive growth of social media and other distractions, there was simply little reason for people to read some obscure youth on a little-known blog.

Nevertheless, I kept blogging. In mid-2016, I stepped up the blogging frequency in an attempt to reach wider audiences. Then, in December, I learned of this exciting new platform where content creators and curators could be rewarded in cryptocurrency. I studied the site, analyzed the technology, looked up reviews, and joined Steemit.

I wrote about everything that came to mind. Technology, philosophy, martial arts, life hacks, meditation, anime, books, manga, on and on and on. And the more money I made, the more I was motivated to keep writing. Today I shoot for at least three posts a week, depending on my schedule.

For the first time, I was making real money off the Internet. Magic Internet Money, to be sure, but [cryptocurrency’s] great promise is its ability to make rapid gains in value and be quickly converted to usable fiat. While earnings from each individual post usually didn’t come close to my freelance work, my freelance commissions were far more irregular, and demanded far more time. These days, I make more money off Steemit than freelance commissions.

For the first time, I had the luxury of turning down work.

For the first time, I no longer had to worry about my finances.

From Wannabe to Almost Somebody

I began writing fiction in 2013. In 2014, I made my first professional fiction sale. My second in 2015, and a third in 2016.

In 2017, I published one novel, one novella, and five short stories.

To be sure, No Gods, Only Daimons was written in 2015, and took almost two full years to get to market. But the remaining stories were written this year.

2017 saw the rise of the Superversive and the PulpRev movements. Their ideals resonated with my own, and I wrote stories for them. Beyond that, I also wrote fiction for Steemit — Two Lives and Night Demons — and published two more trunk stories here — Invincible and Redemption Road. And my Steemit stories have, without exception, outearned the other short fiction sales I’ve made to date.

Through writing these stories and seeking out others like them, I found a community of writers with shared goals and methods. By some strange twist of fate, I am the first PulpRev writer on Steemit, and in the past week at least a half-dozen writers joined in. As the Herald of PulpRev on Steemit, I declare that the PulpRev community shall take the Steemit fiction world by storm.

The Verge of The Dream


Calculating my income for the year, I made a startling discovery. Half of my income this year came from writing and cryptocurrency.


Perhaps a sixth of those monies came from royalties in fiat. The rest came from cryptocurrency investments, all of which were funded from Steemit’s native tokens. The recent explosion in cryptocurrency prices certainly had a part to play in that, but going forward I’m confident that there’ll be increased demand for crypto in the years to come — and with that, the potential for even more earnings.

When I was younger, I was told that you’d never make a living from writing, that you shouldn’t expect to make money from writing. Yet here it was, proof that a man can make a decent amount of money from writing.

When I was 12 I set my heart on being a full-time fiction writer. I refused to listen to anyone who said otherwise. Now I stand on the verge of the dream. Not quite there yet, but it is within sight.

Sowing the Seeds of Success

2017 was for preparation and experimentation. I spent the year writing and writing and writing, looking to see what worked and what didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on Steemit, social media, and elsewhere. I established my reputation as a writer, fiction and non-fiction, learned the ins and outs of Steemit, connected with wider communities, and somewhere along the way I became the Herald of PulpRev on Steemit.

Looking back on everything I’ve done, it’s clear now that I’ve been laying the foundations of success for the past 16 years. If I hadn’t spent those 16 years writing, learning, growing and connecting, I couldn’t have reached where I am now. I don’t doubt that the coming years will require more hard work, more planning, more dedication, more of everything I’m doing now.

But for the first time, I can see the goalposts.

I Remember


I remember a dream of an airplane, falling sharply through the sky. I remember carts barrelling down the aisles and the floor falling sharply beneath me. I remember the screaming.

It was the night of 10 September 2001.

The following night, I understood what the dream meant.

I remember the phone call from a friend that night, claiming a plane had struck the World Trade Center. I remember turning on the television to see the Twin Towers burning, the news casters frantic rehashing of events halfway across the globe, repeating them every few minutes. I remember the face of Satan in the smoke.

I remember the fall.

I remember the smiles, the laughter and the cheers of many people who had seen the collapse of the towers. This was my first brush with naked evil, and my first encounter with those who wish nothing more than to watch the world burn.

It’s been 16 years since then. A lifetime. There is an entire generation of children who have never seen the Towers fall, but have lived with the consequences. A decade and a half of war, fathers and mothers leaving home for war and returning crippled or in coffins, regular reminders of terrorism and national security threats, the steady erosion of necessary liberties for temporary security.

To the generation after theirs, 9/11 would be something they read in history books or learn from their parents. They will never experience the consequences of that day, only the second- and third- and fourth-order effects. When the day comes, what should I tell my children?

I was born in the shadow of a nuclear apocalypse. The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a generations-long cold war, every word and gesture backed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over. A few years later, the Soviet Union suddenly ceased to exist.

My generation was promised a brave new world and the end of history. We merely enjoyed a brief respite before the war of our generation crashed into every television, every computer and every radio in the world.

While a War on Terror beats nuclear annihilation, it demands a new way of living, a new way of thinking, and the recognition that things never become better all by themselves — we must make them so, or hurtle into the abyss.

Being born in Singapore, I was sheltered from the shock. 9/11 was a tragedy, but not a personal one. None who died were my countrymen, much less people I know. We never had to go to war—though we were, and still are, targeted by terrorists. I could have been born in America and experienced far greater loss; I could have been born in Afghanistan, and forced to choose between the Taliban and the West.

There but for the grace of God go I.

The psychic wounds have healed over, faded to shallow scars. The rage, the grief, the horror, they have bled out long ago, leaving little more than a cyst of sorrow. Now that I am a man, I have shouldered greater responsibilities, and prepare myself for greater ones still.

Now, not so long after 9/11, there are new challenges. The never-ending War on Terror. The culture war between the social justice warriors and those who would face them. The Control-Left versus the Alt-Right. The clash of civilizations—not just between Islam and the West, but between everybody and everybody else. Corporations who arrogate to themselves the power to decide what speech is acceptable on social media. Governments who use all number of excuses to shore up their own power and take away everybody else’s rights. I have no doubt that my children will face challenges of their own.

What shall I teach them?

I will teach them of the boundless resilience of the human spirit and the breadth of the human heart. That sovereigns come and go, but ethics endures through the ages. That kith and kin matter more than the political fads of the day. That evil must be met with courage and righteousness and that all lies are sundered by the truth. That rulers and bandwagons must always be watched with a suspicious eye. That the triumph of evil comes simply from silence, but the triumph of good demands unbending virtue lived day after day. That they are the latest link in an unbroken chain stretching into the mists of antiquity, each generation building upon the achievements of the last, that for civilization to endure they themselves must be ready and able to bow their backs to the task and lay the groundwork for the glories of the next age.

Most of all, I will teach them to remember.

Cover image by Chris Schiffner.

The Unnatural World


The modern world is unnatural. Edifices of stone and steel and glass and concrete surround us. Electricity comes with the flick of a switch, water at the turn of a tap. Food is superabundant, and the only predators we need fear are human. Everywhere safety is engineered into every facet of daily living.

Life is good. Life is safe. Life is convenient. But it is unnatural.

You are a human. You are biologically engineered to survive the harshest of terrain on Earth. Your ancestors walked the savannahs of Africa, the plains of Europe, the jungles of Asia, the deserts of Arabia. You were designed to resist disease and starvation and injury. Your brains gave you the smarts to live the life you are living now. But this life, this modern world, stay in it too long and it rots your brain and entropies your ability to live as your body calls you to do.

Reclaim your humanity.

Embrace Discomfort


Walk proudly under the sun and bathe in its heat and light. Saunter through a storm, feel the rain on your skin, hear the crash of thunder and track the flash of lightning bolts. Seek regular, hard physical exertion; measure your labours by the pounding of your heart, the rivulets of your sweat, the fatigue in your muscles, and your ability to push beyond and achieve greater heights. Make your personal records a point of personal pride.

Fast wisely and intermittently, and feel your senses sharpen with hunger. You won’t start melting the moment you cease supplying yourself with nutrients. Cut off everything that harms you. Eat only enough to give you strength, shun all foods laden with sugar and hidden calories, and refuse to eat when you are full. Gird yourself against the inevitable social pressure to eat and eat and eat: you are a human, not a goose to be stuffed for foie gras. Develop a nutrition plan, be aware of what passes between your lips, and cease consumption when you’ve hit your goals.

Take cold showers. Sleep without temperature control. Skip unnecessary suppers and desserts and tea breaks. Do not chase the taste of good food, the feel of luxury fabrics, the ease of sedentary living. Take softness and hardness, heat and cold, dryness and humidity, when they come with equal indifference; treat them as forces to be adapted to, not fodder for complaints and grumbles. Whenever the world tempts you to overindulgence, smile and say no. The world cares nothing for your wants and needs; every so often remind your body that you, too, can throw back at the world everything it throws at you.

The Green and the Blue


Strike for the forgotten corners of the Earth. Seek the places where the green of the Earth marries the blue of the sky. Witness nature first hand and remember when you were a hairless ape. Observe the frolicking of animals and wonder at their instincts, their rituals, their behaviours, their societies. Notice how they interact with other species despite the lack of a common language. Study them at life and play, and wonder how you can return to that state of innocence.

Climb a hill and feel the contours of the earth beneath your feet, the wind in your hair, the sun in your face. Remember and reconnect with the world that made you. This is the world you evolved to live in, not the four corners of a dreary cubicle or the air-conditioned sterility of a modern home.


Stand before a cliff and study the patterns of erosion and plant growth. Before you is the story of a billion years. Cast your mind through time and visualise the forces of erosion, propagation, climate and rainfall combining to sculpt the rock. Before them, what are you? If even the hardest and most enduring rock can change before the inexorable might of time, how can you avoid change? How can you not be shaped by time? All you can do is recognise it when it comes, and shape your evolution to reveal your truest and innermost self.


On spoiled beaches observe the infinite variations of waves crashing against the shore. In flooded pits and holes spot the hidden contours of the world and reconstruct the natural rhythms that created them, and the face of the world to come. Know that the litter you leave behind lasts for tens or hundreds of years, but the ocean has been here for millennia and will last for millennia to come. Recognise that the world is greater and older and more powerful than you, and recalibrate your mind to embrace the vastness of reality.

You are but one human striding across the face of this world. You are but a dewdrop in the face of four and a half billion years. You are indivisible yet interdependent, an actor yet acted upon. Have you honoured your body and tempered it to face the realities of a world indifferent to your wants and needs? What role do you play among your family, your tribe, your groups, your nation? What came before you to place you where you are, and what will come after your role has ended?

Depart the unnatural world for the natural, if only for a while, and remember who you are and where you stand in the great dance of eternity.

Notes On Navigating An Overwhelming World


The developed world is harsh on people with hypersensitive senses. The screeching of brakes and tooting of car horns, dazzling and ultravivid colours in every direction, audiovisual assaults from televisions and speakers and screens, the constant demands for attention even as the world wears you down. It can’t kill you. It only makes you feel you’re losing your mind.

I grew up with hyperhearing, hypertactility and synesthesia. Sensory issues have haunted me for my entire life. Skin-on-skin contact has always been painful, especially if someone touches me without warning. Light exerts subtle pressures on my skin–dawn is gentle and soothing; afternoon carries the confidence of maturity; evening light is elderly but accepting; artificial white light is sterile–and when darkness falls it feels like a weight has lifted off me. When someone or something moves within my line of sight I feel a ghost of a sensation creeping across my face, as though my eyes are attempting to mirror the motion. I prefer the harsh but tough texture of 1000D cordura to slick but shallow PVC or plastics of pleather most commercial bags are made of. I have heard phones vibrating over the chatter of a noisy food court and heard the low-pitched rubbery tones emitted by a strand of hair being rubbed between my fingers.

As I grow older, my senses have grown more acute. When I took up kali, every clash of naked sticks was a blinding white blast that left a painful ringing in my ears. When shopping for winter clothing, I ran my finger across a down jacket, producing a high-pitched scratching that bit into my bones. Simply touching the material, much less wearing it, was unbearable. During infrequent trips to cities and malls, I have to brace myself for a constant sensory assault. Sitting in an empty train car offers temporary respite — until the inevitable metallic yellow screeching of metal on metal as the train pulls into a station. I can hear people perfectly well through noise cancelling headphones. My neighbour types on a mechanical keyboard every day, and the only reason I can tolerate it is because he lives a block away. I don’t watch English or other language dubs of movies or anime if I can; the dyssynchrony between words and lip movements is jarring, and many English voice actors are too high-pitched for my ears. I can’t stand ASMR performances; they trigger rage instead of euphoria. I barely even talk on the phone these days: when I do I need to process streams of colours and sounds flowing into complex textured shapes against a flat immobile wall of deepest black, and from this flood of sensory input identify words and phrases, reconstruct sentences, interpret meaning, and construct a reply within milliseconds.

The human brain can only absorb and process so much at a time. In my youth, prolonged exposure to loud noises and tactile sensation led to mental shutdowns and meltdowns.

A shutdown is like withdrawing into a shell and switching off all non-existence-critical life processes. Speech becomes meaningless babble. Emotions run wild, even if body language suggests placidness. Every remaining erg of energy is focused inward on maintaining the remnants of sanity; there is nothing left to frame a coherent thought, to speak a word, to voluntarily move a muscle.

A meltdown is the opposite. It is a lashing out at the world. It is pent-up frustration and dammed-up emotional and physical and psychic pain erupting at once. It is a physical expression of internal turmoil and sensory overload. A gentle breeze becomes a salted knife slicing off your skin; a caress transforms into acidic fire; a whispered word is a deep penetrating bomb delivering a payload of razors and chaff.

During especially stressful periods I logged an average of one meltdown a day, sometimes two. When I was younger I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what I was feeling; later, when I did, only a handful of people believed me and even fewer respected it.

I will not spend my days fearful of the next meltdown. I will not be battered all my life. This world will not accommodate me — but I can adapt.

Life on a Wrong Planet


Over the years I developed a number of adaptations to the modern world. To others it may seem eccentric, quirky or otherwise unusual. I don’t care — they help me survive, and that is the highest measure of an adaptation.

I keep my workspace quiet and tidy at all times. When working, the loudest sound I permit is the fan and music at low volume. Usually I work in silence. Spending hours on end without distractions sharpens the mind and concentration, allowing totality of focus on the task at hand.

When shopping for clothing and electronics, I check technical specifications online, create a shortlist of goods, and extensively test the shortlisted candidates in person. I handle them, weigh them, run my hands down them, paying careful attention to sensory input. A single failure in any category is an automatic disqualification. I shun noisy mechanical keyboards, cheap plasticky mice, clothes that offend my eyes, or anything that poses undue discomfort. Usually that means paying for high-end goods, but the price is always worth it.

I talk to people primarily by text message or in person. Phone calls are infrequent and usually to the point, and only if it’s worth the massive energy expenditure required. Long business calls are so draining that I usually have to take time off just to recover from them. I learned not to push myself if I don’t have to, instead taking the time to recover my energy.

When moving through a crowd I utilize footwork from martial arts. It’s more than just practice; it allows me to avoid touching people. Even the slightest brush against human skin is jarring. Timing, distance, weight transfer become extremely important when you have a powerful disincentive against touch. And when you can feel range and motion, integrating that sensation into your movements becomes an exercise in self-awareness and body dynamics.

When the little things define how well you get through the day, you pay attention to the things nobody else notices. I tape down my sticks to absorb sound. I walk on the balls of my feet because the Singaporean shuffle is rough and grating. I pick up and move stuff instead of dragging them and creating painful sound. I strive to speak clearly and use perfect English because Singlish is painful to process. I try to predict areas with loud noises and avoid them if I can.

This isn’t to say I spend my life evading sensory input altogether. The world won’t always respect my needs and desires. So I train myself to face up to it.

I enter arcades and will myself to linger, to function in spite of the razzle-dazzle. I don’t silence noisy children or screaming babies around me if they don’t pose a sanity risk. I attend conventions and conferences if I’m interested in them, and take measures to mitigate sensory input. And when things get unbearable, I break out my personal protective equipment.