Dangerous Compassions

exciting things

exciting things

“What exciting things do you like to do for fun?” the man asked me.  He was a new friend in community, giving me the chance to speak about myself.

My mind was a blank, trying to see my life in terms of this new friend and his values.  Survival, I thought.  That was all that came to mind, for excitement.  I have an ACE score of 9–odds were I would be dead in a ditch by the time I was 20.  It’s a miracle that I survive at all.

“Telling the truth in my writing and art?” I said.  “Those are exciting things to me.”

He seemed unimpressed.  I think he wanted something he could relate to, something he would like to do.  He is an energetic, thin, abled, good looking white man who comes from money.  The world is his oyster.

pretend danger

From his storytelling, I knew he’d just been backpacking at Mt Shasta.  He likes to plunge himself into freezing cold water, and he leads ceremonies where people hallucinate from consuming materials they obtain from toads.  Seems rude, but I assume they do some hippie thing to convince themselves that the toads like that.

Yes, I can see how he finds my exciting things boring.  He puts himself into dangerous situations for fun.  I survived a childhood and youth of non-consensual dangerous situations.

And I live in a disabled, fat body, in the dangerous situation of an ableist, fat-shaming world.  If I have a serious health issue and go to the hospital, I face the possibility of medical harm since I’m considered not worth saving.  Employers will pay me less for the same work, if I’m hired at all, and my body is the punchline in most media.  My body is transgressive in and of itself, before I even open my mouth to speak the truth and advocate for people who are different.

Being responsible and loving others is more my jam than intentional danger, right?  Radical mental health, harm reduction, deescalation trainings, unconditional self-love liberation, art making, and supporting Ming doing street medic work.  That inner and emotional support work doesn’t look appealing to many people.


Yet ceremony is mostly inner work.  They’re consuming psychoactive toad materials in order to have a transformative experience.  I’d think he would understand that what can’t be seen by the eye is the most important work of all.

Being a quiet fat woman who walks down stairs sideways, I seem worthless to many.  Disabled people matter, all bodies are valid bodies, and there’s nothing wrong with me.  All that is so obvious.  But super abled people who are mired in their own lives have the luxury of staying mired in their own lives.  The center of his world is him.  He’s the standard person.

It reminds me of how people create God in their own image.  Anyone who deviates from thin, white, abled, energetic, and moneyed is suspect.


I walk down stairs sideways because my joints are hypermobile.  My knees, hips, and ankles are different.  That’s not a moral failing–it’s an issue with my connective tissues.  Walking down stairs sideways takes longer, but it keeps me from falling.  I trade the physical danger of falling down the stairs for the social danger of being seen as different, which creates the risk of being considered lesser than and unwanted.

What’s danger?  It’s dangerous to live in a world where otherwise intelligent people think I’m worth less than abled people.  When someone gets to know me and learns my mind, my values, and that I have unique excellence, they might realize I’m immeasurably valuable.  But it’s a swim upstream.

I wish hippies were more unusual.  Some hippie culture things are strange and exciting.  But some are the standard fucked up values amplified.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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