But I see it in her eyes....
I'm the fucking wounded Gazelle on the African Savannah....
Never mind that she's a fellow Crip... There is no solidarity on the Savannah... Nor, apparently, in the living room.
You hit the nail on the head, so-to-speak.... I *DO* mean Disablism as a label for a unique lens of cultural analysis, just as Feminism is a label for a unique lens of cultural analysis. I think it's time we had a label for this because I think that a lot of Disabled folks are self-actualized and taking our experiences as a community and culture and extrapolating ways in which our individual experiences can illuminate or even influence the state of the larger society and its attitudes, beliefs and dynamics.
The linguist in me thinks that most things-- and particularly memes, social movements, beliefs, paradigms, etc.-- can not be fully realized until they are named, and until the name is known by many. Feminism, the word, is a label for a set of ideas and beliefs as well as for the particular lens of cultural analysis created by those ideas and beliefs, and it is understood by many to be exactly that. Similarly, I think Disablism (at least in American culture) could easily catch on as a label for our unique lens of cultural analysis. Naming this lens is a way of declaring its existence to a broader culture that has so far failed to recognize the uniqueness and value of our perspectives.*
Maybe there is another word already out there to describe our particular lens and I don't know about it... Is there such a word?
Don't say I didn't warn you.
* This is an after-thought, but: the other advantage to naming this lens is that with a name comes the wonderful possibility of being introduced to folks who don't know you yet.
I gave the predictable answer about owning my story and deciding when and where and blah blah blah, but even then, I knew this was not the complete answer; that there was something I couldn't yet articulate, even in my own head. So I told this person that my answer was incomplete and that when I had a more complete answer, I would let them know.
Well... Here we are, the clichéd sitting bolt-upright in bed at three A.M..... It came to me.
So, whoever you are who asked me this, I hope you read this blog, 'cause I can't remember who you are! Here is the rest of my answer:
When I talk about my medical condition while telling my story, it's acceptable and comfortable because it is my medical condition within the context of my life. It's as it should be: just a part of the story. When you ask me: "What put you in a wheelchair?" you are asking me to artificially remove and highlight this singular thing from the greater context of my life, and it feels like an invasion.
Doctors and clinicians ask about my condition without regard to the context. They're supposed to, and frankly, it's one of the reasons I don't like them--even though I see the unfairness in disliking them for performing a requisite evil of their duties...I want, however, to like other people so I usually grin and bear it when they ask, but I gotta be honest... If you ask me THE quesiton, I like you a little, teeny, tiny bit less.
Bug: "What are you doing?"
RRC: "She's dancing."
Bug: "You know, I can't believe I am having to say this again: 'STOP TORTURING THE CAT.'"
RRC: "What torture? She's dancing..."
Bug: "You know, it's no wonder this cat is nuts... She's been tortured like this daily since she was tiny."
RRC: "She's my precious little psychological experiment."
But I digress...
So, I brought the laser pointer home, and let me tell you, Her Royal Highness, The Princess .... You know what? I don't have the heart anymore... Sylvie is not royalty....I love Sylvie mostly because she's slightly evil and also not always completely on her rocker, if you know what I mean....
But I digress again....
The point is, Sylvie was thrilled.
And then, The Ruling Reddcub got a hold of it...
I am in bed right now.... It's 12:30 in the morning...But, The RRC is in there with the cat and the laser.... I hear her running around and around in circles, her claws digging the area rug as her back legs hop like bunny feet, followed by a *thud* of her falling over, dizzy and then The RRC laughs hysterically. Rinse and repeat. Every ten minutes or so.... For like, hours.....
Bug: "Which fucking ABBA song?"
TRRC: "The one from Priscilla." (We watched it the other night.)
Bug: "Ohhh! 'Mama Mia'?"
TRRC "No! The one in the very beginning!"
Bug: "'I've Never Been to Me' is not ABBA! It's Charlene!"
TRRC: "Close enough."
I love it that I know such smart people who know of such great things....
This was an amazing and thought-provoking book. Seriously, if you are at all interested in Disability paradigm, Intersex, the medicalization of identity, any of it....... Read this book.
It may be a lot of fuss over a cat, but I am finding that this is not something I am able to berate or shame myself out of; I cry when I cry and there ain't no stoppin' it, so it must be all good.
We got a little watery again tonight when Sylvie cornered her first spider. Obviously, it reminded us of the Goddess.... But quickly, we were laughing as we figured that it was probably Afsoun in spider form. After all, being reincarnated as a spider only to be immediately eaten by Sylvie would certainly balance all that Bane Of Arachnid Kind karma.
It's nice to know she's already ticking off the list.
Perhaps I should explain that. Once, in Mexico, I met some women who were doing community work in the maquiladoras around Juaréz. Over the last ten or more years, women there have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Usually their bodies turn up in the desert, where other women's children would find them while scavenging for cans and scrap metal to sell. It's appalling and allowed to continue. These women were trying to do something about it.
I remember, me dijeron--Somos mujeres tan poderosas.
Today, the sky looked like it was full of power.... and it made me remember.
I spent most of the day cleaning the bathroom. It takes me a while because I can only stand for a couple of minutes before I have to rest my legs. I don't mind. I've learned that taking my time with things usually means they get done better anyway. It's not so much a handicap as it is a God-designed quality control system. At least, that's how I see it.
Anyway, I had my earbuds in, listening to that special playlist of guilty pleasures that would cause the Ruling Reddcub to give me that look. All of the sudden, the connection between my brain and my legs was fully there again. This is not rare. As a matter of fact, it happens frequently enough as to not be a surprise.
But this time, there was the perfect set of circumstances, and I got to dance. It was glorious, and when it was over, I wasn't even a little bit sad.
I've said it before: being happy with who I am is a fiercely active thing. I feel accomplished, and the bathroom got clean.
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Today, I spent the afternoon reading at the beach, in the sun, while the Ruling Reddcub took hours worth of photos in both film and digital formats. It was a great day.
In the reading I am doing, I came across the parable of the loaves and fishes from the Bible. In it, Jesus was preaching and thousands of people came. As the day wore on into evening, it was remarked that being unprepared for so many, there was no food to feed the masses, and the Disciples wanted to shut down and send everyone home. Then, a peasant boy from the crowd came forward to offer the little food he had: a few fish and some loaves of bread. Jesus accepted the food and sent it out into the crowds, and somehow, there was enough for thousands and it was called a
Seems to me that the Miracle was not in the abundance, but in the fact that a peasant boy offered the last of his food for sharing because there was hunger around him. And then I reflected on all of the times in my life that I got by on the generosity of those around me who themselves had nothing to spare.
I pay it forward when I can, and from this cycle, I get a community. I love how that works!
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*Plug this into the Spanish-English Google translator... It's funny...
I had to get out to that campus of the college that is served by the shuttle with no lift again today. So, yesterday, I called to "alert" them that I was coming so they could switch the shuttle bus for one with a lift, like they normally do.
Instead, I got picked up by another bus. A bus just for me. So... The regular shuttle is going out to the campus with everyone else on it, and I am riding out on an otherwise empty bus.
The ironic part? This is a full-sized bus, and the other one--the one everyone else is riding--is a "short bus."
Don't ask me why they couldn't take everyone on this bus instead of running this big thing just for me.
I am experiencing some weird feelings around it....
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