A lot of people think they know what stuff means, but they don’t really know what it means. Like blind–a lot of people think blind people see nothing, just darkness. But there’s a range. Sighted people can feel betrayed, to learn a blind person can see a lil tiny bit. “But I thought you were blind!” It’s such an all-or-nothing world, especially when it comes to disability justice.
Wheelchairs, similar. Ableds can think you only can use one if you’re totally, completely paralyzed of leg. Seriously, it’s a tool like any other. Do you suffer consequences if you used a fork when you could have used a spoon? Who made you the disability police anyway? What’s it to you, if that person uses a wheelchair? Did you need it? Maybe one day you will. As for now, please trust people to use the tools they need to use.
I feel that way about abortion too. Here’s someone in a tough spot, carrying an unwanted fetus or embryo or whatever. Do you really want to make their life harder? Don’t you think they’re going through enough, without your holier than thou judgments of condemning cruelty? Why do you think you can think better than them?
But this is not about abortion. This is about disability justice. I’ve been thinking about disability, trauma, difference, needs!
It’s a sad feeling, when I can’t really participate in a zoom about justice after abuse, because I had too much abuse. Feels ironic, the trauma caused damage to disable me, and then that disability is precluding me from learning and sharing about something that means so much to me.
I experienced years of violence as a kid, other kinds of violence as a teenager, and sexual assault when I was a young person. Then medical trauma also, for decades. The challenges I have are so thick, and then I have the sensory and social differences too. So I go to therapy, journal, do self-care, do radical mental health, exercise, pray, sing, and work on my troubles in multiple ways. But it’s probably going to be something I’m working on always. It’s not like I’m not trying–I really try.
But I think many people have a huge amount of trauma like that, disabling them, unfortunately. And people such as us are really pertinent to the whole subject of justice. But it’s hard knowing how to name the needs we might have.
Blind or Deaf are things many people might know what they are. Probably not accurately, but at least people have a sense. I don’t even know what to call my issue. I like the term crazy, but that’s vague.
Could we have a disability called Gentleness-Needing? Sounds like I’m weak in my fragility. But I would never choose fragility–it’s a result of harm–violence and violation I never wanted. There must be a term, but I don’t know what it is.
I don’t watch tv or movies. The whole medium of video is too much for me. Violence or possible violence depicted is another layer that means no way. Not sure how obscure that need is. Been thinking about how prevalent a need needs to be before it’s accommodated.
It’s hard to tell the prevalence, because who wants to talk about this? And if we don’t even have language for it.
This world tells me, “suck it up, welcome to the real world, time to face reality, we all have to do things we don’t want to, pull yourself up by your own bra straps, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re just being difficult, you’re selfish, no one is going to like you, you ask for too much, you’re faking it, you’re a scammer, you’re not really special, you don’t really need anything different, stop crying, stop acting weird, stop being weak, you should know better than that, you should be ashamed of yourself.”
Wow, yuck. I could go on! Who says these things? Luckily people usually don’t talk to me like this anymore. But all of these things have been said to me, about what I feel and need. And they can keep playing in my head, because people I loved and trusted put them there.
So yeah, that can make it hard to ask for what I need and be honest about my limitations. Easier just to avoid situations or quickly flee. Disability justice is a cool idea, that I could be included like anyone else. But I’m the one who has to ask and make it happen, which is one more thing to do.
Yeah, let me know if you think of a good way to describe the Gentleness Needing I have, and other people have too. I could use some help, in how to talk about it. That could further disability justice.
I think it would be cool actually, to make events accessible like this, because then maybe kids could be invited too. Kids are valid people, and kids are classic Gentleness Needers, right?
Or I hope so. Kids could be a least slightly protected, as their brains finish forming and they grow to their full heights. I wish I had been protected. Then we wouldn’t need this conversation.