Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Where I'm At

It's dark. I'm still coughing. Another morning of feeling a little sick and a lot uninspired. I started to feel badly on Joe's birthday. Poor man. It was his 64th birthday and I had to cancel everything planned and simply go to bed. We were in Edmonton and I had lectures to give, and even though the organisers offered to let me cancel one of them to go rest, I made it through. Got home and it went from bad to worse, we both developed horrible coughs and have since been resting as much as we can and simply trying to get better.

I've written through colds and coughs before but this time I simply couldn't. I found myself just tired. I found myself just not wanting to write another story about -

The couple who sat at the table behind us loudly discussing my weight, my disability and making jokes about who they assumed I was and how they assumed I lived my life.

The attempt to go into a place that I'd been looking forward to, a place that lists themselves as accessible and finding that they had both a single step into the building and even if they didn't an interior so stuffed with stuff that I'd never get through.

The mother who used me as a bad example for her son who was insisting on having a candy bar.

The drunk who made a big deal out of me sitting in a bar, wanting to 'include' me by making me even more visible by his behaviour.

Just couldn't do it. Told so many of those stories before that I just couldn't do it again. There is, I realized while sick, such a repetitiveness to the daily doses of discrimination that disabled or different people experience. A numbing kind of wearing down of self esteem and self worth and the development of sensitive touch spots on your soul that comes with the drip, drip, drip of ableist bullshit. I came to the computer a couple of times to write and thought 'why bother' and 'what's the point' and 'how does this help' and then got up and left.

I'm still there a bit.

I don't know why doing this matters or if it matters or how it matters. I love the community around this blog, without question, but am I helping that community or simply using it to feel less alone?

So, I'm not over my cough.

And I'm not over my malaise.

But there you have it, my first post in days.


Tamara said...

Sorry to hear you're so sick. I'll vote that you're helping this community - if in no other way, just letting them know they're not alone, providing this community, is pretty huge. But, I think you're helping in more ways than that. You stand up. Others are learning to stand up. People are given permission to have a voice. Hope the malaise departs soon.

Frank_V said...

If a post gets dropped in a forest, will anyone read it? Darn tootin' it will, by us trees! We may be silent at times, contemplating our own personal malaise, but we read, and appreciate. We may be quiet at times, but we drink up your rain, and soak up the sunshine of your thoughts, and feel less alone in our battles. HUGS!

Unknown said...

Can I say that I think we all feel like that at times? The alternative to talking about it, sharing it with others, is NOT talking about it. We need to be heard. In order for anything to change, we need to be heard. Take a break whenever you need to, but please don't stop. Thanks for everything you do, Dave.

painting with fire said...

oh ugh - being sick makes everything feel that much harder! Hard way to celebrate Joe's birthday and while traveling too! Feel better both of you!

Unknown said...

Like other regular readers, I was a bit worried when you weren't posting. And being sick and tired does cast the world in shades of gray for a while....the haters are wrong, what you do and what joe does DO matter, in all of the valuable ways!
hoping you are both feeling better soon. Clairesmum

Jenni said...

I'm sorry you're feeling poorly Dave. If you want to give up blogging, or change the focus of what you blog does, you do that - it's your blog! You're not responsible for holding a community together; people can and will find other places if they need them.

However, I've missed you while you've been away. The drip drip drip of ableist bullshit is easier to bear because I 'know' one other disabled person (you) who is experiencing it too, who finds it hard like me and who thinks it's not OK. I learnt how to be a disabled person from your blog - I went right back to the start and read every post. You taught me how to hold on to the bits of me which were me before I got sick, while adjusting to the wheelchair and the chronic illness and the chronic ignorance of others. You taught me not to be grateful for access and respect which I took for granted before I got sick, but which now are withheld or only grudgingly given far more often than I care to acknowledge.

So if you're wondering whether what you do here is worthwhile, in my opinion it really is. But you should still stop blogging if that's what you feel is best for you. Best of luck whichever way you decide to go.


Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Sorry that you and Joe have been feeling so sick and blah, hope you both recover soon. Existential questions about this blog and its purpose can wait.

Unknown said...

Dave, your posts DO make a difference to us. They are a constant reminder that we must be aware of disability and difference, how to accept the person for who they are and support the removal of barriers which make resources and facilities inaccessible.

Namaste said...

I gotta be honest with you, Dave. My favourite things to hear about are the "fat" comments. It reassures me that I am not insane when I see things thin people don't. The downright hate displayed for people of heft is real, despite the denial from those who don't want to admit it. So even though its awful to relive, I thank you for doing so.

Unknown said...

Reading your blog made me aware there were times I was an abelist asshat. It also made me know that’s not who I want to be. You’ve taught me accessibility begins with a welcoming attitude and goes from there. I understand a constant drip, drip, drip wears a man down. This blog has reduced the amount of ableist bullshit your community must slog through by untold numbers of drips because I can’t be the only one who has learned something here.

Elizabeth said...

I'm very glad to read your post, but terribly sorry to learn you've been ill!

Your blog has taught me so much. I certainly understand why it might feel repetitious for you, though. Take care of yourself, write when inspired, don't when it's a chore, and know that either way you make a difference in the world of many!

ABEhrhardt said...

You're tired. It's more of the same old garbage. You're sick.

Most of the time, you're a disability/gay/fat people/children/humans/accessibility warrior, but today - and the past few days - you have not been up to it.

What you do is important - you've been missed.

But you have to rest, and take care of yourself and Joe, to go on.

The rest of us will just have to handle the load.

wheeliecrone said...

I read your blog every day. And every time that you talk about accessibility and weight bullshit, you remind me that I am not alone and that I am not imagining it and that it is real. That drip, drip, drip of casual ableist discrimination happens all the damn time. All. The. Damn. Time. It wears me down, too.

Liz Miller said...

Your blog has taught me to see the world in a new way. I see steps I didn't before, I see ramps that look impossible to use. I use a different vocabulary, and think about the words I use. I call out other people for using words carelessly, hurtfully. Your writing, your observations, your testimony has made me a more thoughtful person, and a vocal advocate.

Purpletta said...

Hi Dave,

Last week ADAPT in Massachusetts organized a protest on the grounds of the archaic house of terror that calls itself the Judge Rotenberg Center, a facility in which people are systematically tortured through the use of contingent electric shock. The protest was one of the demonstrations of the physical strength of this community in response to these barbaric practices. Someone sent me a copy of the Boston Globe article on the protest & with the article she sent a note that she often has felt that our field- of self-advocates with I/DD, of supporters, and of professionals - is too quiet & calm in the face of such atrocities and attacks on the humanity of people with disabilities.

*That* is what you give us, Dave. The spirit and energy to no longer be calm and quiet. The commitment to right injustices, beginning with the strength to see them. The ethical principles with which to center ourselves. And the zeal to wake up tomorrow, start fresh, and again give it a go.

A few years ago I went through a really (really) rough time. I started checking online around 5am each day, waiting for your words of insight and comfort. Your words were one of the main things that bolstered me. I borrowed from your strength of spirit to get through the days, to remain steadfast in the pursuit of a kinder more equal world. I am so grateful for your honesty for your sharing of yourself, for the example you set.

Feel better soon, Dave; do whatever is best for you. You don't have to fight, everyday, nor write everyday, but I hope and pray that you know in your heart and your soul what a deep impact you have not only on each of us personally but on the broader world. Borrow from our strengths for now - we have been made strong by the very best, Sir Dave.


Mel said...

Your post has me thing about how little support there is for people doing this work. Dave, your blog is a huge support to me to keep going. Even on the rough days, because we all have those. Remember to take care of yourself first.