“I decided something,” I told Ming. I washed a carrot and was chopping it on the cutting board, making breakfast. The carrot was going in my rice.
“What?” he asked.
“This rap I’ve been listening to is bothering me. I can’t do the gunshot sounds or people calling women bitches anymore. I’m done with it,” I said.
“Ok,” Ming said.
“Yeah, the violence is hurting me. I thought it was ok. But it’s not,” I said.
“Ok,” Ming said. “So who can’t you listen to?”
“Awkwafina,” I said. So sad–I love her. “She refers to women as bitches all the time. I thought it was affectionate or satirical, but it’s not.” Wow, and she majored in women’s studies. Advanced!
“And the trap music,” Ming said.
“Yeah,” I said. “Unfortunately.”
I love dancing to that trap music. It gives me energy! But there are too many gunshot sounds.
I imagined going through a trap playlist and figuring out which songs have the gunshot sounds, to skip those ones. Sounds like work.
I put the bag of carrots back in the fridge. “I thought I could help one part of me while hurting another. But I decided I can’t do that to myself,” I told Ming.
The excitement of the music can’t make up for the harm of the violence. Calling women bitches is violence. And I tried to like guns, long ago. I am just the non-gun kind of anarchist; I have to accept that.
I’m an affirmation anarchist. An affection anarchist, wanting to hug people. A community-loving anarchist. I’m a shy, disabled den mother, for sure.
Knowing myself is a lot of effort. I’m doing my best to be more honest about what I need, with myself and everyone. Then I can preserve my energy to do my life’s work.
I spent decades accepting what hurt me and made me uncomfortable because I believed my needs were unreasonable. Convincing me that my needs are unreasonable is an easy way for people to justify disregarding them.
Now I’ve decided that my needs are valid, even if they’re inconvenient. Thank you to my good friend Ariel for talking about this with me for countless hours and helping me understand that my needs matter. Thank you to Ming for treating me as unconditionally valid, long before I could assert that.
Now I understand that I’m ok and worth as much as anyone else. Thin, non-disabled, non-crazy people are not more worthy than I am. Straight people, rich people, any other gender people–they are not better than me. We can all shine.
Being disabled is hard work. I can’t make it harder for myself by pre-excusing my needs not being met. Thank you for being fair and kind to people like me, as well as people like you. Violence is not allowed in my house, including in rap and in lack of access.