Sunday, May 9, 2010

Love your body?

In October, Feminists with Disabilities did a post (which I highly suggest and which you can find here) for Love Your Body Day about why some of the bloggers there love their bodies. It was one of my favorite posts from them and it got me thinking.... Almost seven months later, here's my (first) response/thoughts.

I love my body because, well... I don't. I love some parts of it, but more often I feel anger and hate towards my body.

But in my fights with my body, I've picked up some new skills and new perspectives. I won't be silent about how hard it's been, and the people who have helped and hurt me on the way there, but I love some of the things I have become and the people who have joined my life with this fight.

I love my tattoos and piercings and the way these things allow me to take ownership of my body.

I love the way my body crack, snapple, pops, and the way it feels after a good stretch.

I love the way my body takes me places (usually) and I have a begrudging respect for the way it grounds me (at least sometimes).

I love my body for being an entry way into disability rights culture and theory, and for the way it feels in the water.

I love my body for getting used to pain and for being so resiliant no matter what I throw at it.

Again, I suggest you check out Feminists with Disabilities' originial Love Your Body Day post found here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gives me Hope, part four of many

Somethings that give me hope this week:

  • My best friend. For many reasons. But in terms of today, because she told me she is here for me, whenever (something she has proved over and over). Now if only she wasn't graduating a year earlier than me....
  • Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD), which was yesterday. The posts are wonderful!
  • My sociology professor, who seems to think I'm going to end up as a professor. I'm not always the nicest person to myself, and he compliments me at least once a week and makes me feel better and more hopeful about myself and life.
  • My other fabulous friends. BADD was yesterday and the posts were reminding me how often friends run when chronic illness looms into the picture. Not everyone has been perfect, but I have some pretty fabulous people in my life.
  • Good music and good TV. When I'm stressed or upset (like recently), these things can help me feel just a little bit better.
  • Activism poetry, especially Adrienne Rich. Wow! Some people write in a way that make me feel healed, angry, empowered, and ready to change the world--all at the same time.
  • People who care enough to do the right thing if it's at all possible. This seems sadly lacking sometimes -- I'm a little tired of excuses about why people fulfill their responsibilities -- and its easy for me to focus on the people who had a responsibility (or should have had a responsibility) and who did nothing because they didn't care enough. Here's a celebration of the people who do care enough to do the right thing if they can.
What gives you hope?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BADD: Submissiveness

This post is part of the Blogging against Disablism Day blogswarm that Diary of a Goldfish is hosting (which can be found here).

In studying the sociology of disability, I came across the quote by sociologist Elliot Freidson from his book Profession of Medicine.
[For people with disabilities or chronic illness], acceptance by others hinges on maintaining properly undisturbed social relation with them... Legitimacy is conditional on limiting demands for privileges to what others consider appropriate. (p. 235)
In other words, abled people (TABs) will help people with disabilities (PWD) as long as the TAB thinks the PWD knows his/her/ou's place and is not asking for too much.

When I read this, my brain went, "Yes! That's part of my life! That's why I am studying sociology of disability." And it helped me understand part of why I am afraid.

I can only speak for myself, but I see this attitude all the time. 'We will help you because you are disabled, but you better not get uppity about it.' And this idea keeps me submissive sometimes. Because I need help sometimes. And it scares me what would happen if I was "too much" and offended someone. Because then who would take me to the ER? Or get me food when I can't do it myself? Would my professor give me a worse grade? Would my doctor stop treating me? Or...? It has happened to me and many other people, the consequences of "asking for too much," asking to be too much.

But what really upsets me is when this fear becomes part of my personal life. I have many wonderful people in my life. And most of them would never do this to me--withhold care because I pushed the limits set for me as a disabled person. But at the same time, they grew up in this society, grew up learning the same disablism I did. So a little part of me is scared that maybe they would. Is scared of what would happen if one day I was just a little too much. And I wonder: what would a little bit too much be for my friends?

It makes me angry that I feel the need to be submissive to doctors and professors and other people when it comes to my disability.

But what really makes me angry is that disablism makes just a little part of me afraid of my friends. That's wrong.