My Safe Space – Barb Cook

Putting on my big black motorcycle jacket, boots and helmet makes me feel safe. I have an armour protecting me from the outside world that I don’t want to let in… but only for a while. I need this time away, so sorry, I am not letting you in behind this barrier…. this time is for me and me alone. I need this time; this space is for me, just me, so I can find my way back into the world with a mind that has unscrambled itself.

When the world around me gets too loud, too bright, too confusing and too overwhelming, I need to find a way to centre myself again. Avoiding the ultimate meltdown is always on my mind, and at times I just can’t avoid it.

My partner and saviour in this realm of my safe space is Ron. My trusty steel horse, my motorcycle. I swear I hear him calling me at times to just suit up, get on and let’s go… let’s just go anywhere but here that is making you unhappy and overwhelmed.

Climbing upon my gallant metal steed, we become one, I become lost in another realm that calms and soothes my mind. All the things that have bothered me, annoyed me, irritated me, creating layer upon layer of suffocating confusion and desperation, melts away. In my world with Ron I am free.

I become an extension of my motorcycle, blending together in flowing movements, the wind and the speed. I am being speedily carried away from all the intensities… left far behind in that other world. The winding roads free me of the torments and irritations, my senses are calm and focused in the here and now, and there is no room for annoyances…

Here with Ron I feel strength, I regain my personal power and control over my thoughts. I no longer feel awkward, I feel graceful, purposeful, in charge but as one with Ron. Life is so much simpler… how can I get confused when our mission is destination nowhere but somewhere inside I find myself again. Here is my destination, to be free and calm in my mind.

Behind the closed visor on my helmet I can see the world, but the world cannot see in. I am safe here. I watch the world speed by, flashes of green and brown of the countryside, the comforting blue sky around me, and the sunshine to warm my frazzled soul. I feel the troubles melt away… left behind back there…somewhere…

As the hours fly by, lost in my world, my safe place, I finally feel ready to take off some of my armour. A time to rest, to sit and refuel. Finding small towns, away from where I am known I can blend. I am not ready to completely let my guard down but I can remove my helmet to feel the warm and gentle breeze of the day around me. Apart from refuelling Ron, I too need refuelling… and this in the terms of cake. Yes cake…. Cake is one of my missions on these quests to find inner harmony, to feel peace, to feel calm… cake is that delicious, delightful sugary indulgence that brings back a smile to my face. I am now free from the challenges, the overwhelming sensitives, the chaos in my mind… it is now time to go home…

About Barb Cook

Barb is Founder and Editor in Chief of Spectrum Women Magazine, is a highly committed Autism/Asperger advocate, keen motorcyclist and web/graphics guru.

Barb has made numerous appearances on Australian television and radio, in national newspapers and magazines, a documentary The Chameleons: Women with Autism, Co-Founder/Director of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc., Founder/Director of Bikers for Autism Australia, Community Council Member of AASET and Australian Ambassador of the International Aspergirl Society. Read more about Barb Cook here.

Barb currently rides a Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom and loves to ride on the bitumen and the dirt.


About Barb Cook 14 Articles
Barb Cook - Editor in Chief Formally identified on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia in 2009 at the age of 40, Barb is founder and editor in chief of Spectrum Women Magazine and editor and co-author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Barb is a highly committed advocate, writer, speaker and keen motorcyclist, making a variety of appearances on Australian radio, television, in newspapers and magazines and the SBS television documentary, The Chameleons: Women with Autism. She is co-founder of Bikers for Autism Australia, Community Council Member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together) and an independent autistic peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood. Recently Barb was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor, his Excellency Paul De Jersey. Barb has completed a Master of Autism (Education) at the University of Wollongong (Australia) with a focus in employment. She is a Developmental Educator providing consulting, mentoring and life coaching services at the Minds & Hearts Clinic in Brisbane and workshops, webinars and presentations for the neurodiverse community. Barb was recently awarded the University of Wollongong Community Engagement Grant as part of and Community of Practice Lead for a research project "Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum. Barb currently rides a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 called Ron ‘Strom’ Burgundy and implements a combination of her passion for motorcycling with her dedication in advocacy, creating acceptance and pushing for action to improve the lives for women and girls, increasing opportunities for employment for all and supporting the neurodiverse community in attaining meaningful and fulfilling futures.