Then why does the personal so often obscure the political?
Before I start this, I’ll say mea culpa, myself included, many times over.
What do I mean?
Individual experiences often inform peoples reactions.
But, individual experiences of one obscure the objectively *obvious* experience of someone else.
On the left, groups want to choose what’s first, and what’s worse…
And that’s part of the exclusionary process of American activism.
I’ve wanted to contribute to spaces set up for very different purposes than my own, but I’ve done a rare thing and *not* poked my nose in.
I recognize that I have no clue. So I’d best STFU, in those spaces.
And then, I think again. And I almost start typing.
Because I just want to know before they tell me to get the hell away from speaking or thinking from my place of (relative) privilege.
I’m white. So I have no business wondering about what anyone of color *does* with their activism.
I’m trying to *ask,* not so I can be comfortable. This comes from a wish to open dialogue. If people feel like I’m being a patronizing **** for just asking, then, okay.
Because people with impairment cross lines of gender, color, class, religion,ethnicity and orientation.
I have a “feeling” that people with impairment are also “invisible” IOW not ‘included’ in activism across *all* those lines.
Am I right?
Or, is that one of the questions I’m not allowed to ask because it sounds too much like a white person “dictating terms,” to everybody else. (even though that’s not my *intent* at all. There will be no follow up statement about what some white woman with impairments thinks ought to get done, because *that’s bull****. )
If not, great. I’ll shut up again.
If so…I’ll still shut up.
“Okay, doctor?” Just do me a favor for a minute. See, I’ve paid you 300.00 instead of the usual 40.00 copay so I have you for an hour.
The first thing I want you to do is: Close your eyes. And imagine two things.
First, that I have no Cerebral Palsy.
And Second, that I am not overweight.
Keep your eyes closed and listen to the following.
How can I have normal BP and cholesterol numbers if I am not now “healthy?”
How can I show no signs of diabetes? And still be overweight?
That’s what the numbers show…because I got rid of foods that bother my system. I ditched sugar, not to diet, but because I realized I was clearly hooked.
I don’t weigh myself.
I probably would have had gut trouble eventually, because my great aunt had similar difficulty, but she was not “disabled.” My very able cousin went through a bout of it as well, when he was fourteen.
About the depression.
The easy answer is, that I am “depressed” because I am impaired.
The easy answer is, that I am “depressed” because I am overweight.
I am not an HMO, and you do not get kickbacks for those ‘diagnoses.’
My maternal great grandfather suffered depression…he was otherwise able, and [when I knew him] a jolly old fellow.
My maternal grandmother was a beautiful, able svelte, upper middle class lady, married to a great guy, with three healthy kids…she had the actual “Leave it to Beaver” kinda life, only she never saw the point of wearing the pearls while cleaning house. She saved them for special occasions. She had an amazing life, but suffered for years secretly with serious anxiety and depression, that came out into the open in later life. There was absolutely *nothing* situational about her depression.
On my father’s side.
At least three generations of alchoholic men, two great aunts with a serious history of depression, one alchoholic cousin dead at fifty, one uncle who [thankfully] switched addiction gears in the Seventies from alchohol to exersize. And an alchoholic father.
So, if I was able and thin, depression certainly has famillial marks on my map that might induce it to show up, independent of any impairment I’ve got. And, (as I suspect) if I’m hooked on sugars, processed and otherwise there is very little chemical difference between sugars and alchohol. They’re kissing cousins.
So, is it possible doctor, that I’m depressed because it’s a family thing, and at least *part* of the weight thing has to do with an addictive personality???
Ok, open your eyes, and *put that in my chart!*
You said it again. Last week on the phone.
“It’s all my fault.”
I know you’re ill now, and that’s playing into things in a big way.
He used it as an excuse to get wasted constantly until the day he died, and sang the same song.
I don’t blame you.
And I don’t blame him.
I’ve heard *several different versions of this story* from several different people over the decades.
Maybe, on that Tuesday in November 1961, he was already drunk. Maybe he’d never quite gotten undrunk from the Sunday football game. And yelling at his twenty year old pregnant wife. And as drunks will, he got fixed onto some idea. Locked like smart bombs.
Maybe it went like this:
“S—-, how many times do I have to tell you! *MOVE* the goddamn sofa!” Again and again, that morning, nothing else mattered. His hygeine. The smell of gin. Your discomfort. Other things that needed doing.
And, finally, that yelling got to be too much.
I know about husbands that go off on yelling matches. It gets to the point that you’ll do whatever the dumb*** thing they want is, just to *shut them the he!! up!*
You were pregnant and twenty, and did not ask to be pregnant and *not a parent yet.* So anyone that got sanctimonious with you about “protecting your child…” Your universe had not yet shifted…you had not held your child yet.
So maybe, you got up and helped him move the damn sofa. Just to shut him up.
Or, worse yet, the lazy sonofa*itch made you do it all on your own.
But, he was only twenty one. And his judgement was possibly impaired by alchohol.
You were both *kids* and I cut twenty year olds, even drunk ones, a lot more slack than I used to.
Or, it could have gone like this:
You might have been having an OCD kind of moment. A precursor to the yellow sticky notes, and the notebooks full of facts and the neat stacks of papers.
There was no one you knew who was more out of control than your husband.
Stuck with him, and his child, and the worst part was you weren’t even in love.
Your life must have felt *profoundly* out of control.
And going to the hospital and having some kind of surgery, that medical intervention was the ultimate surrender… that was just more control over yourself that you weren’t going to lose…no hospitals. No way.
But, the sofa could be perfect. The sofa could *go where you wanted it to go,* and probably stay there.
Everything else seemed going to hell, but the *sofa…* By god, *it* would stick.
So you took some control and stopped waiting for he of the sharp breath and fogged brain to do anydamnthing at all….
And *moved* *that* *piece* *of* *furniture.*
And I got born that afternoon…Early.
Perhaps because of the sofa with the lousy reputation.
Or…randomness. nothing at all.
You used to weep and blame yourselves, but take no action for change.
Or use it as a vindictive weapon, one against the other…
I’m the only person who has the right to blame either one.
*I* *don’t.* And if I do not and did not and will not, because I think it was just a metaphorical brick falling on my head. The first of a few.
Then you need to *stop!*
Put it away, and look after yourselves, both here and in the After.
There has been much discussion in the feminist blogosphere this week and last about exclusion, and what is the right time, place, group, person to exclude.
Thank god I’m a newbie to this whole (to me) endless analyses that seems to enjoy taking so much time analyzing a problem that once discrimination of any sort is finally eliminated from our gene pool in the year 78347863, when they’re all sitting around saying, “Congratulations to us, we’ve eliminated discrimination, regardless of the endless hours it took to define it,” they may wonder why it took them so long.
None of us who experience exclusion can claim to understand *all* of anyone else’s exclusion, certainly, but we can sit around in the common areas of the Venn diagrams of our lives and perhaps ask, without assuming….has anything like *this* ever happened to you?”
Someone has to get spitting angry about exclusion first, or the rest won’t hear.
And, separate spaces *give* voice to concerns that have either purposefully or through willful ignorance, been silenced.
I think for the people who’ve been in it longer than me…it’s not going to get fixed until some of the groups that are still the most unseen, unheard,feared,taunted,disliked…get a little more respect and tolerance, and an understanding from the wider world that there is valuable insight to be gotten by listening at their podium.
If someone that makes you go “eww” doesn’t have their space, their activism…their public voice…then why do you get yours?
FWIW the group I know least about would be the T in LGBT, and have probably contributed to their exclusion by my ignorance.
FWIW I think the group that I’ve seen people with impairment like to point and laugh at sometimes are fat persons…
I can’t do that, because I’m both. I won’t allow it around me period…I don’t want access and respect as a person with impairment if because of my weight some other crip in the room is laughing behind their hands.
And those who are different ethnically or religiously from me…I work hard to provide a conversation of mutual respect whenever I can offline (or on, if I happen to know or guess at a different ethnicity or religion)…but it’s like child rearing for me…I know I’ll never viscerally understand some differences, and I try not to present myself as entitled in the wrong forum…
Activism is the grownup version of high school cliques sometimes, and I still feel that kind of tenor in many discussions, even by people who know the rhetoric of inclusion and equality very very well.
It just bugs me. I have no solutions. I’m just bugged.
An email to a local news station stated that their side street had not yet seen a plow from last weeks storm. Here comes another that is delaying and cancelling flights at DIA again and will be around in one form or another until Saturday…
And the governor has declared a State of Emergency.
Here we go…