Dangerous Compassions

age in Disabled Resilience Permaculture

age resilience

Have you ever noticed how certain people are attracted to permaculture movements, and then certain people leave?  Why do they leave?  Ming and I have been thinking a lot about disability and age in Disabled Resilience Permaculture.  And in community.


I was told by a friend that mentally ill people destroy communities.  Wow, yuck.  The friend was a white cis abled guy.  It still hurts.

Felt like when I was young and people would fat shame in my presence.  Back when I still hated myself and mostly agreed.  I could suck in my stomach and try to shrink my body and being by hiding in a shadow.  But my fatness remained.

How do I hide my crazy?  Stop talking?  No, that looks crazy also.  Stop stimming?  Then I trade one harm for another.  I can harm myself by losing my emotional regulation, or harm myself by looking weird and being alienated.  Pick your poison!  There’s no good way to hide my crazy.

Mental illness is blamed for homelessness, addiction, killers, shooters, abusers, evil, and so many bad behaviors.  It’s sad how people need to Other others and will use mental health as a way to differentiate themselves from “that bad person over there.”

crazy in community

Of course it’s not real.  Very many people have mental health diagnoses and issues, but very few people are shooters.  I hear voices, have big moods, experience extreme states at times.  But I’m not a violent person.

In community, people are scared of ending up with a horrible, messed up housemate who does bad behaviors.  Being real about mental health means I am way less likely to become the horrible housemate.  I have skills to talk about reality, I listen and care, and I cook for elders who are having trouble with chronic pain and disability.

Actually I am awesome to live with.  But people have been traumatized and not healed their trauma.  They don’t have how to connect authentically enough to evaluate potential community members.  Prejudice against anyone different is a shortcut mistake that almost all people make, rather than getting to know someone and doing deeper work.

I mistakenly believe that the people I encounter in community are smart, compassionate, and are doing something different because they’re motivated by better values.  But people living in community often have the same dysfunctions inside as the culture at large.  Fat shaming, slut shaming, and incorrect notions about disability are so common and harmful.

I make a mistake by believing the best, attributing skills and intelligence that are not really there.  Then Ming and I suffer the consequences.


How about hiding my age?  I could dye my gray hair brown, maybe purchase wrinkle cream and attempt a more youthful look.  We could lie about Ming’s age.

If I dyed my hair, I’d prefer purple or blue.  And lying is so exhausting.  I’d much rather tell the truth, for so many reasons.  Can you imagine me walking into a department store, looking for wrinkle cream at the makeup island?  Just the thought makes me sad.

So many other things to do in this world.  I could watch a bee gather nectar from a flower, cook some delicious foods, sleep, do fat yoga, dance, plan an amazing trip.  All bodies are valid bodies.  All ages are valid ages.  I don’t want to hide that I’m middle aged.  I praise Mother God for my age, and all these years of survival.

conceptual lens

Disabled Resilience Permaculture is a conceptual lens to view many life situations through.

Ming was reading a previous post.  He said that in the part about age in Disabled Resilience Permaculture, I was talking about succession, which means planning your garden around how it is now, but to incorporate how it will be.  Accepting that the garden will change, wanting that, and accounting for it.

When we plant trees, we know they might grow big and tall.  We can prune them to moderate that.  But we want them to mature, so how will that affect the other plants nearby?  Will those plants still be alive, when the tree is tall?  Permaculture is long view.

Being realistic about what the garden will look like in five, ten, and fifteen years is beneficial for the garden.  Some things can’t be predicted.  But it’s similar with plants and with people.  Aging should be part of the design, not an unexpected, undesirable change.

age in Disabled Resilience Permaculture

How old are you?  How old would you like to be, when you die?  I live in a culture that has so much denial, especially about health, mental health, and death.

I love Disabled Resilience Permaculture as a way of helping culture become more honest.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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