Dangerous Compassions

the intelligence


Hello, reader.  How are you doing?  Often I feel like the earth that creates the resource.  A man sees my raw richness and takes it. I’m not understood as the intelligence–what I create is misread as accidental and without skill.  I feel colonized.


This happens to people with less power a lot.  I’ve seen it with art.  Children, disabled people, and crazy people have our creations taken from us, or just the ownership of them.  We’re not seen as legitimate producers of worth.  What we do is cute, maybe heartwarming.

I’ve seen it in disability art shows, where first names only are provided on the paper beside the art.  The disabled people don’t deserve a last name.  Their identity is irrelevant.  They’re not an actual person–they are Other, to judge as inspirational or to pity.  There’s not a unique, valuable, creative being who made the art.  Any beauty they create is accidental.

It’s part of a group show that might ask for a donation for the program, or give glory to the non-disabled person who organized it.  The organizer is a legitimate person who does actual paid work.


I’m treated like my worth is raw.  I didn’t sign a book deal, use pretentious words, wear fancy clothing, or constantly reframe reality with me at the center as hero. I’m not making money, so my work doesn’t matter.

A person with more power than me–usually a man–has the intelligence to take my ideas, thoughts, work and package it.  He turns my raw energy into something palatable for others.

He says he made it.  You’ve probably noticed–he attaches his name and a price tag to everything he does. Or he found it, worthless, and gave it worth by bringing to into a powerful place. The discoverer pretends he made it.

But I’m not a dumb field. I’m not a wordless chicken or goat. I’m a human who’s disabled, crazy, and mostly a woman.


I feel mystified at how many people think I’m a resource. They take and take and take from me.  I say, “Wow–really?” This happened to me in Las Vegas, those bewildered days when I felt like I was trying to feed triplets with not enough milk in my breasts.

I do believe in gift economy. How much would be appropriate to charge, for the priceless? How much is love worth?

If I don’t charge for what I do, people see it as irrelevant. I had that problem with my zines.  If they cost $6, they mattered.  If they were free, they were trash.

So many people think worth is in dollars. They miss that worth is actual, living in front of them. In their mouth, in their heart, in their body. Art and writing heal them–herbal medicine from foraged plants helps them sleep, helps them survive their own emotions.

If it was gathered from a forest, it’s nothing. If it was made by an anarchist trainhopper with little power, it’s dangerous. But if it’s made in a factory and a commercial plays during the Super Bowl, it’s important and worth lotsa bucks.


I’ve been wrestling with this for a long time. Thank you, if you’ve been witnessing me wrestle with it, reader friend. For years this has been hurting me.

I love myself unconditionally.  But the exploitation I’m talking about is in a whole other world than love.  The belief that resources are everywhere to harness and exploit for money is a whole other worldview.  It’s a weird context to find myself in.

I’m not a silent cabbage growing in a field.  Imagine me, a sleepy cabbage with a leaf face.  The worker picks me and is about to throw me on the truck, when I start singing. I have the intelligence to sing.

Life is full of magic.  I’m not someone to use.  I’m powerful in myself, but in a way many folx don’t recognize.

Imagine me as an outsider artist–crazy, disabled, poor, and not aspiring toward wealth.  A dude in a suit says, “People would pay for this,” and speaks quietly to me, simplifies my story, and convinces me to sell my work at a high price.  He takes a big cut.

This has not happened to me literally.  But that exploitation happens, and it hurts.


There are so many different worlds in this world.  My world of love,  mutual aid, communication, and deep respect is real.

But shitty worlds are layered on this world.  The world where money is everything, the main motivator, and we’re all assumed to be that way is so depressing. The intelligence to see another way is important, right now and always.

Please come with me to a better world where we can rest, as love is way more important than money.  We can have the kind of safety that can only be found in our bodies, with other bodies that know how to give, share, and feel.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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