Tuesday, July 03, 2018


For the last two days Joe and I have been tucked up at home doing nothing but watching Netflix and napping. I haven't left the house, once, Joe went out each day to get the newspaper, not because we were low on news but because the papers have crossword puzzles. And that's it.

Partly this was because we both knew we needed rest. We've been travelling hard and have been all over the US and Canada in the last few months. For me, I kept in touch with my work for a couple of hours, at least, a day while away and returned to work immediately upon landing. I'm not complaining, this is what we do. But we were both really tired. We thought of all the things we could do with the time off that comes with the Canada Day weekend and then, we didn't do it.

I do feel more rested. We achieved our goal, I think.

But there's something else too. Travelling comes with it a sense of being 'out there' in a manner, for me, which can be bruising. Pushing through airports means being in a place where everyone is in a rush and everyone needs to get by you and everyone's need to get somewhere surpasses your need to get there too. Taking up space, public space, as I push myself from place to place gets me the requisite glares and comments and, sometimes, outright hatred.

Being in hotels with people who are not normalized to seeing fat disabled people as part of the crowd, also brings with it the joys of having your food looked at and evaluated and the click, click, click of calorie counters is almost audible.I often order breakfast for Joe and I while he loads the car. Sometimes he's a little delayed and the horror and the anger that I see on the faces of others when two plates of food arrive sometimes frightens me.

Simply pushing on sidewalks or in malls or in grocery stores where I have never been before and will never be again, reminds me how difference is unwelcome and therefore, so am I. The names called out. Random strangers attacking random strangers with very specific purpose is, I'll admit, both tiresomely common and sometimes terribly hurtful. 100% of the time, when I go out, I will experience social violence - repeatedly.

Part of these two days, being cloistered in my own home, not leaving, has been for rest. We needed it. But part of it is to give both of us a break from the world and the constant experience of hatred.

I think of all those people with intellectual disabilities who are forced to go out into the community because its on the schedule even when they are clearly saying, 'no, I don't want to' ... maybe, some of the time, they are tired of it too. Tired of walking into a community that doesn't exist to welcome them. Maybe.

I know I needed this time.

During this last batch of travel I was bruised pretty badly, my soul ached for weeks. But, it's better now, I've kept it safe from harm. And I'm ready to face the world again, I'm up to the task.

I'm back.

(For those reading this on Facebook, please don't use the crying emoji, this isn't a sad post.)


Flemisa said...

Isn't it lovely to have some "me days"!
I took this weekend for me also as haven't had any for awhile and some stressful things coming up. Have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Bit of guilt about things not done creeping in but holding it at bay until tomorrow.
Hope you are fully recharged before returning to the fray.

Jayne Wales said...

How right you are Dave
So many people I have known who prefer twilight hours. A friend who lost her child couldn't bear to see families shopping and people I have listened to saying there's not so much out there when it gets darker
They would rather risk the uncertainty of darkness than the glaring light of day and all that brings
Home has to be a Sanctiary and for many it's just another place to be bullied
Instead of the joy of feeling safe another set of bullies ordering you about and inflicting their standards on you in your own little safe haven

L said...

I find myself leaving my house less and less the past month and a bit.

Some of that is the cold, rainy, windy weather - going out in it makes my muscle/joint pain MUCH worse.

Some of it is that my powerchair can't get water in its electrical bits, or it will break.

But a lot of it is that I am fed up with the constant flow of microaggressions (and MACRO aggressions) that I encounter day in day out when I leave the house.

The hoodlum honking his horn and yelling insults at me from a speeding car, because I dare to use a wheelchair.

The scowls.

The staring.

The strangers touching me without asking, and people getting angry when I ask people not to touch me. One man on the train, wearing a business suit, patted me on the head like a dog! :(

The not getting out of my way when I ask politely.

Telling me angrily "You've got plenty of room!" when I ask nicely for people to move out of my way so that I can turn or get past.

The bumping into me, hard enough that I'm in pain for days.

Strangers using my powerchair as something people can hang off, without asking, on the train.

The stranger patting me on the hand and saying in a sing-song voice as though I am 2, "You're so BRAVE!"

More and more, I find myself weighing up the benefits of leaving my house, and the emotional/physical costs of leaving my house, and deciding to stay home yet again.

At the moment I'm leaving the house perhaps once per seven days, and that's usually for doctor's appointments.

I dream of having a staff member to accompany me on outings to fend off the aggression and the ableism from random members of the public.

I can't even go to my local chemist/newsagent/post office/ATM without someone hassling me just because I use a wheelchair. :(

I am sick of it, and I just don't have it in me to endure it anymore.

So, I've spent most of June at home, and will probably spend most of July at home, too.

Anonymous said...

anyway, people can be nasty. You are one of the good guys Dave. thanks for continuing the work you do.
i appreciate you.