I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a satisfying texture. Whether it’s squishy, or plushy, or smooth, or nubbly, I want to touch it. My wife says that I see with my hands, in the sense that oftentimes looking at something isn’t enough, I have to touch it to get a good sense of it. There are hazards to touching everything that I see. Some textures are just bad, and sometimes I can’t tell they’re going to be bad, so I get surprised. Let me tell you, it’s a terrible sort of surprise.
So, as a bit of a Public Service Announcement of Textures, here are some of my favorites, and a few that are sensory hell.
5 Good Textures
1. Smooth Rocks- If rock hunter were a profession, I’d definitely be at the top of the field, mostly because I’m on the lookout for good ones wherever I go, because smooth rocks just feel so good. Whether I’m scoping out landscaping or taking a walk in the park, if I see a rock I like, I’m going to pick it up. I’m probably going to keep it as well. Their weight, plus their texture, plus how they always feel cool no matter how hot it is, makes them one of my favorite things. Very decent river rocks can also be obtained at the dollar store, but they’re slightly less satisfying without the hunt.
2. Soft (Flannel/Fleece/Minky) Fabric- I feel like fabric was everyone’s first stim toy. Even neurotypical kids love soft fabrics. They pet and and rub them on their face and bring them everywhere. Granted, most kids grow out of that, and I didn’t, but that’s ok with me. Some of my favorite fabrics are flannel, fleece, and that silky soft minky fabrics that baby blankets are often made of. If I am at home, I am surrounded my favorite fleece blanket, my corduroy elephant, and my flannel marble maze. All of these textures are so comforting, and so stroke-able. And I definitely only rub my face on them at home.
3. Dry Rice/Beans- If the soft fabrics from above were comforting, dried beans and rice for me are energizing. There’s something about all the individual pieces being the same size, they fact that they’re smooth, and the noise they make when they’re played with that make them so satisfying. The only downside, for me at least, is that I have to have play only and eat only types, because apparently no one appreciates me using their food as my own personal rain stick.
4. Running Water- This one is full of contradictions, because I hate being wet. But there is something about putting my hands, and only my hands, mind you, under moving water is an almost mind blowing experience. It takes me outside of myself, my brain is quiet and everything kind of falls away. It is because of this that I love fountains. I have favorite fountains all over the city, which I make an effort to visit regularly. For some reason, tap water and washing my hands just isn’t the same.
5. Paintbrushes- Have you ever run a paintbrush over your hands? It’s heaven. The bristles are silky soft, and they give just enough pressure to hit all of my happy buttons. Makeup brushes work much of the same way, but holy crap are those expensive! Paintbrushes are fairly cheap, very portable, and a great sort of input that I haven’t found from anything else. Being able to “paint” myself before I paint makes the whole art experience ever more enjoyable.
3 Bad Textures
1. Sand- For someone that loves the beach, I sure hate sand. It’s gritty, it gets everywhere, and you keep finding in the most random places (in my socks? I didn’t even wear socks!). One of the worst feeling in the world for me is getting sand under my fingernails. *Shudder* I don’t like it. Dry sand is terrible, but wet sand it tolerable, mostly I think because it doesn’t cling.
2. Tags- My Autistic peeps, do I really have to say anything about tags? For something so small, it causes so much discomfort, and sometimes even pain. An accidentally missed tag can keep me from concentrating until it’s gone. And while I appreciate that more tags are easy to rip out, but still, why are they even necessary! If I ever run for office, it will be on a No More Itchy Tags platform!
3. Anything Sticky- My hands being sticky is basically an automatic meltdown. To the point where I carry wipes with me everywhere I go, on the off chance that I might get something on my hands. When I’m making dinner, I usually have to wash my hands a half dozen or so times, which certainly makes things take longer than they should. Like how running water up in the “good textures” section took me takes me outside myself, my hands being sticky sends my brain in to panic mode, and every section of my brain is just screaming “SOMETHING IS WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG”. And it is wrong. Sticky is wrong.
So those are the textures, good and bad. I bet you guys overlap with me on at least a few of them, but if you’ve got any sensory heaven or sensory hell textures, I’d love to hear about them!