Karma (Trigger Warning)

Do unto others as they shall do unto you. What goes around comes around. Karma in the western world has been described to be swift and almost instant. Traditionally as you trace it’s origin back Karma becomes something for the next life. If you work hard and are good in this life, in your next life you will have happiness, freedom from pain, and joy. You may end up as an animal. a bug, or a human. Humanity supposedly is the top of the spiritual totem pole before you reach ascension.

This is a super watered down explanation of Karma but without researching Karma itself and the religions that teach it, this is likely all you will learn. I have heard my entire life how evil I must be. In Christianity it was whispers about my mother, that she did something to deserve a heinous child like me. When I started practicing Buddhism and learning about every religion I could in my quest to find what I could believe in? I was told over and over I did something in my past life and this is part of my Karmic reward.

Horrible pain, repeat abuse, being treated as a subhuman. Yep. This is all self inflicted. I chose through actions that have been described to me as ranging from being a thief through murdering babies. The extremeness of the crime varying depending on whomever was trying to translate my Karma for me’s perspective on disability. Not once was I told anything good about me now. Based on past transgressions I am convicted without evidence, merely the hearsay of my spine and brain.

In this moment I am questioning my faith. I cannot stop it. I am angry with those who teach religion. Jaded16 posted a commentary on Womanist Musings about Shakti, which is power. She questions her religion. I have written countless times about how many times my asking questions to understand has caused others to reject me and now I am rejecting Karma. I do not believe that Karma is being taught properly.

For as long as I can remember I have loved before anything else. I have been swift to open my heart and even through the built up pain and the slow burning hatred of family that has developed, the distrust of others, I still love before all else. I tried to stop this once, and it nearly killed me. I don’t want bad things to happen to people. I work so hard to hide this part of me that I have a front of violence to protect my heart.

If I was born with this capacity to love, then how could I be some monster in a past life? Why would I be punished now when I love? This is not logical for me. I think of all the love I have tried to give or even just kindness, respect, or acknowledgment of humanity and all I have received from the majority is a statement that I am evil, a demon, or deserving of punishment.

Karma is disability hatred. Karma is being used as an excuse to debase people based on some small flaw, the flaw in the eye of the beholder. Karma is used to reject the fact that I am a person and it is used to excuse those that harm me.

Karma, I believe in some of the concepts but not that I am cursed by a past life. I cannot believe so and love myself. I am tired of feeling as if by feeling love I am going to be attacked. I can name many people I love, yet I cannot admit it out loud. I am so terrified that by loving someone or something it will either hurt me or be taken away that I can barely commit to a new cat in my life. The only reason I could do this was for Sprite’s well being. Even then I had a clause set out in case the commitment was too much. Incase I failed to love.

In my life I have had my defenses taken from me. I have been told many times to not fight back against oppressors lest they oppress me further. I have been told it is wrong to steal food when I am starving because I may go hungry in my future. There is no future if I am beaten to death or die from starvation. I have been told I am not a person because my body marks me as Other.

All of this under the word Karma. It is the same as when my father raped me in the name of the Christian God. God wanted him to wound me physically so that I now am worried about dating because I will have to explain the scars on the inside of my body if I allow another penis or fingers inside of me. If I make love to someone first I must expose my most vulnerable self to them in a way that I can barely write out. I must find those words and risk rejection because of our victim blaming rape culture.

When I am told that Karma will take care of those who wound me, I am being told that I shouldn’t bother trying to escape my “fate”. I am being told that I shouldn’t speak up. I am being told that I shouldn’t argue for my energy or health. I am being told that I am guilty if I do what is right for me.

I have realized more internalized abuse. I am too flexible with people, allowing them to stay in my life because they may suffer if I push back. Lately this has shown up clearest with caregivers. Each one has had an excuse for why it’s okay for me to be left in a state where it is clear they are not doing their job. “If you speak out my child will suffer.” “I will lose my job and have to quit school.” “It’s just this once, don’t say anything it was a mistake.” “If you report me, it’s bad Karma.”

Caregiverrs have said each of these things to me. Each one has goaded me because they are a human. I am expected to hunger, to feel pain, to lose things, to have my life be a shambles for their convenience. I am expected to pity my mother for choosing to eschew her education and her choice to embrace the very abuses that her own religion preaches instead of thinking. I am expected to pity someone for being less intelligent than I am.

I am tired of having to waste my energy on someone else’s conception of Karma. I no longer accept this entity called Karma. I will have another name for my beliefs. I wlll not accept the idea that your choices impacting you is my fault. I will not settle for second best. I am aware that I am intelligent and I will seek intelligence. If my body is in pain due to Karma, I did not deserve the abuses that put me into this state. It is the Karma waiting for others that they will face. It is my choice in how I deal with it but my disabilities are a marker of my survival. They are the war wounds of a soldier in a vicious battle that is pushed aside often for the comfort of others.

I am declaring war on this misinterpretation of Karma. No longer will I be told that this is my doing, that I chose to be beaten, starved, and broken. I will instead push those people away. I have people in my life like M that do not think I am a product of Karma, that love me. It is time for me to cut off people who aren’t worth my time.

I want to have more energy to talk with my friends, many of whom I have met through this blog. I want to have more energy to support them in their endeavors, and to succeed in my own. I want to have time to explore the world, and I want to have adventures again. I don’t give a (censored) about your feelings anymore abusers. I have to love me too. Loving me means leaving you to face your own version of Karma as cause and effect bite you in your butt. I will no longer deny that I like softer feelings of love, sometimes like pink, and truly relish my label of cat lady. I chose that label. I have desired it since I was a child.

I will embrace my creativity, even if it means someone is uncomfortable with what I choose to do. I will paint my walls red if I want to. I will sing. I will dance. I will not accommodate anyone else, because the people that matter don’t need accommodation that costs me anything and therefore I will meet their needs without even trying. I will not try and stretch myself to oblivion tolerating you. You can stay away unless you actually know how to learn. Only people who want knowledge are welcome in my life.

Personal Space

Before I set into writing the latest post, which proves of all things I am still alive and kicking I have a few updates. First, the biopsy came back, and I do not have cancer. Second, I just painted seven paintings in five days. My hands are sore. Why would I paint seven paintings in a week? One was for fun, six were for a contest. I really want to win, but, only time will tell if I actually do. I am certain a few of you will want to see these pictures. The contest was run by Overground EIC, and as I cannot draw yet, I used their line art. The seventh picture was drawn by a local comic book artist named Paul Ziomek. He’s a really nice guy too. So, here is a link to my gallery on DeviantArt and just in case you want to support artists who are local (to me) here is a link to 7000BC, a local comic book group. They have some really cool stories.

I am actually hoping to start a weekly web comic with someone, so if you know any artists who want to audition, let me know. I will be hosting a contest soon. I already have a few scripts, and it doesn’t take too much time for me to write. In fact, I might even update the blog more often if I do that.

Now, here is the actual blog post for today:

Personal Space:

The issue of Personal Space comes up frequently when we are children. We are taught boundaries, we are taught that we cannot just touch strangers. I was taught this at least, and reminded often that my own space was worthless, but I had best not encroach on anyone else’s territory.

As an adult this was the norm until I started using assistive devices. It was then that I learned another facet of ableism included touching these devices, leaning on them, and even hitting them. Would you ever touch a person’s purse? The answer is usually not without permission. Why is it alright then, for people to smack my chair, try and take the key, or even tell me just how cute it is that I use a wheelchair?

You are probably confused by their actions as much as I am, and you also probably experience versions of this as well. I am not sure why it has become the norm for people to tell me that my wheelchair is cute. I understand the perspective of another person who is shopping for a chair deciding mine is really cool and asking me questions, that is perfectly reasonable, and is something I have done myself. I understand a child needing to ask me what I am driving a miniature care for. I do not understand walking up to someone and smacking the top of their chair and telling them how cute it is that they have a sunshade on their wheelchair.

This happened at a Walgreen’s that is just a block away from my house. My Person and I were there, getting some snacks and were going to rent movies after. I was in glee as I had found lotion I could use with minimal reaction, my arms stayed red for only an hour and eyeliner that I was not allergic to, could use properly, and is hard to obtain. This Walgreen’s carries authentic Egyptian Kohl. I am so excited by this that I actually spent all of my extra money on make up. We were about to check out when the Cashier gushed at me, “Oh how cute your chair is.” I looked at her and told her, “Excuse me?” She repeated it. Then, another employee smacks my sunshade and tells me it’s cool. I decided then and there to put a stop to this.

“Do you really think it’d be alright to smack someone’s cane? Do you think I would go around telling you that your crutches are cute if you broke your leg or your cast is cute? Don’t patronize me, don’t touch me or my assistive devices. I happen to think it’s a shame I no longer get to walk through your store. I happen to think it’s a shame you think that acting like an idiot is going to make me want to shop here. If you touch my chair again I will report you to the management, and if you,” Gesturing to the other person, “Speak to me like a child again, I will also report you to the management. This is not how you treat a customer, or any other human. I am sure you think less of me for saying this, but I think much less of you for behaving in an inappropriate manner.” The woman looked as if she would cry, and the young man who had thwapped my chair had backed up considerably. It took a lot of will power to not curse at them. I wanted to. Instead the woman said, “But it really is cute.”

My person knows I dislike advocating. I don’t know anyone who really enjoys it or wants to spend all their time arguing with people about their own right to exist, but, he has accepted that I will and must. He also has accepted that at times, he must as well. He spoke up then, “Don’t patronize her. Trust me, you don’t want to continue down this path. It’s not a threat, it’s just a warning from a fellow Walgreens Employee, that she knows her rights, and you are infringing on them.” He used to work for Walgreen’s, and as a result I know that the staff are taught to be courteous. I am certain that these two people have never really had to interact with a disabled person.

I am not proud of having to put them in their place or making sure that they feel a little bit less than but, I am still reeling with confusion at their actions. It has been almost a week but I cannot figure it out. This isn’t the first time people have told me just how adorable it is that I can shop, or function in society. Each time I have explained, to the best of my ability and as calmly as I can. I have also learned that it is alright to show anger. Any ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ or able bodied person would be angry if I told them how cute their flaws were, or how cute it was that they were absolutely stupid. I am learning that I have the right to anger.

I will go back to this Walgreen’s. It is a very nice store, and they actually measure their aisle displays for accessibility. I caught them in the act, the manager was correcting an employee on the placement of a standee that held some make up, “You can’t put this here. People will be unable to pass.” The employee walked around it, “I can get past it just fine.” The manager then said, “What about people who can’t walk or use a walker? How about this, if you don’t move it, using this measuring tape for a 28 inch radius, you lose your job. I don’t want anyone to sue me over the ADA or anything like that.” He added something else too, “Oh and what about customer service? It’s gotta be a pain in the (censored) to have to ask for help to reach a bottle of lotion.”

I hadn’t had to advocate to them, but I was watching. I was paying attention. I know that the management at this Walgreens cares. If when I return this patronization happens again, I will bring them into it. I will also offer to train their employees. The only reason I did not have to fight them more was that I had left Sprite the Service Cat at home. She wasn’t feeling well and I wanted to go out.

It was still a lovely afternoon, but, it left me chewing over the concequences of their actions and my reactions. I am proud to state that I did not punch the man who touched my chair. I almost did, but I managed to catch my impulse in time, and used my words instead. I have been having a lot of trigger issues with men and my chair lately. They come up behind me and I want to run them down to make them go away. I haven’t given in yet, but, when the strange males who trigger me then touch my chair, all bets are off!

I haven’t much else to say on this matter, beyond, advocate for your personal space. I didn’t at first. When I used the walker and my abusive roommates would pile heavy objects on it so that they didn’t have to carry them, or when they kept dumping things into my chair so I couldn’t use it when it was brand new, I at first kept my mouth shut. I was so used to staying silent so that they wouldn’t punish me or decide to expose me to even more allergens. At first I let people do things like this out of the house too, because I was afraid. I feel less fear when I advocate. I also worry at times that I am being too sharp, too harsh. There have to be times when I am the gentle advocate, and there are. I worry over it even when I am putting in extra effort to not hurt people’s feelings despite their refusal to let me have my basic human rights. It sounds preposterous when I say it or write it, but it feels right to try for extra kindness.

I am also learning that my Autism may factor into my need to not be touched. I have always been extremely sensitive to touch and texture. I like to control what things feel like around me. I once could not adopt a very adorable and well behaved puppy because his fur felt too stiff. I found him a good home but, I couldn’t cope with the texture. Sometimes texture can even cause nightmares. This adds to my unwillingness to let strangers touch me. I don’t hug people often. I do make sure to touch my Person, but sometimes it takes massive amounts of effort. He is understanding when it comes to my reticence, but I also want to make sure he has nothing that he wants or needs for.

What about you? When you advocate does it help your anxiety level or make it worse? Do people infringe on your personal space? This goes for those with sight issues or hearing issues, do people at times touch you just to try and make you function the way they want? What are your reactions? If you are an Autistic, do you also have touch issues? What forms of contact ableism are you familiar with?

We are Human

I sit here sharing my words with you. You read them, you feel things. I learn from your comments. I am getting to know someone, near and dear she is to my heart. I will likely never meet her in person, and that makes me cry. I will not spoil the surprise because I am going to write about her in depth later. M and I were talking again. I am feeling those consequences from dancing more than I expected, my hips are doing the lambada on their own, clicking when I breath, dislocating if I exhale. The sky is over cast and yet, there is a ringing in my soul, the clarion call for Justice.

In explaining the suffering of this person, she sky dives, she fights for her rights, and she is willing to share what is left of her life in order to make the lives of those she does not know better, I said something that made me pause. “I am American.S he is Canadian.We are Human.” I will fight for anyone who needs a warrior. This is merely who I am. It is a truth. M is Canadian and American. I think he has a dual citizenship, but neither of us know for certain. He is Canadian American. He is also Human.

It does not matter what country you live in, there are silent victims. There is little a victim can do, when they are trapped in a chair, unable to get up without help. When that help is jerked away, so often it is all that you can do to survive, much less fight for your human rights. My Left Foot, a movie about Christy Brown is on. I am listening to it, while I write. While I cry. We are human. Every one of us. It is not a soft thing, this humanity. It is abrasive, fearful, and yet it is capable of much.

Are there laws to protect these innocent victims? Yes and No. It is not a lack of law, it is a lack of proper enforcement. I might be wrong there, but, this is my American Experience. There are plenty of laws to protect the victims of rape, but you must be a victim first. There are laws to provide limited pallitive care, but you must apply and qualify. Right now, there is a chance to change that in the US. I wonder however, as we extend the amount of people who are free of institution and live at home, are we extending a regulatory process to see to it that these people are not victimized?

I do not know. So, I am going to try and find out. I think a system should be in place, surprise visits, people actually believing it when someone says “She has hurt me.” or “He doesn’t feed me.” We need to change the world. I know people who are trying. I am trying. Is the world listening? Are we seen as more than strange deformed creatures? I hope so.

I am an American. You might not be. You are human. I am human. Spread the word. Humanity isn’t limited to the able bodied white man. Humanity belongs to every homo sapien. So stop acting like we are invisible. I see you. You see me. I am human. She is Human. He is Human. WE ARE HUMAN!

Emotional Agony

So often, I find myself belittling my emotions. This is another practice from childhood, and it can defeat me. It sets me up for failure, infects my heart with discord, and leaves me acting as an Angry Cripple. It is a challenge to fight the urge to tell myself how little my pain matters.

recently I have been displaying some of the life long bits of my soul here, many of which bear bruises and scars. This is painful. There are over 100 posts that have been written but you will never see, because they hurt too deeply. Some have been rewritten, to remove the deepest secrets, hiding them.

I realize this is not something that is unique to me, and is instead very common especially with Women who have disabilities. A disability is anything that interferes with functions of daily living, and therefore I do count mental health issues as disabilities. Not all disabilities are so severe that you alter your life and build it around them, but, that does not mean your reactions to those “minor” disabilities have any less validity.

I am writing this post, because I have heard five times in the last two days, read it twice, and tried to deny a growing anger that these words cause this lovely statement, “Just looking at you, I realize how little my pain matters.” This is crap. This sort of thinking and self devaluement leads you down the path towards self hatred. Self hatred is usually just a mask for inner pain, layered with anger and other poisons. Stop it.

I know, my body is a very good example of what you do not want to live in. My body is not your body, and although my pain is epic to me, there is someone out there who has it worse. I can name names, I know of faces, and there are people who walk, that still have it worse than I do. My pain is equal to yours, not less, not more. Equality in Pain is a concept that I learned about when I met a girl in the mental health ward. I was actually addressing the issues of my sexual abuse, and, she tried to empathize, revealing why she was there.

To me, the reason, not revealed because of confidentiality and respect of this person, is small. It is insignificant in my estimation of abuse. To her, it was earth shattering. Her world exploded. It took me a lot longer than my stay in that facility to understand the concept offered there. What we experience shapes our views. I cannot show you what I see, but I can try and paint a picture for you.

There is no reason to compare experience. Identical Twins rarely share the same outlook in life, every person is as unique as a snowflake or a butterfly. None are identical, despite outward appearance. It is rude to devalue them or yourself based on your own experience. This brings us of course to racism, ableism, and sexism.

When you say that racism does not exist, it is not truth. It is perspective. You deny someone else’s experience and that wounds you both. You might not understand their anger at your words, and they might lose respect for you. They may not understand too a lack of experience. This does not justify your denial of racism, but, the caveat is that you can learn from the responses to such statements.

Equality is in my estimation impossible. I am an idealist however, and fight for the ideal. Someday, I might just be proven wrong. I do not remember the author though I think it was Vonnegut, but I once read a science fiction story where everyone was made equal by devices that made everyone see, hear, and think at equal levels. They even ate the same food, very bland, all people were the same. This world was horrible, everyone was in pain, tormented, and unable to function.

This was normal for those characters, until one could not be contained. He was above average, so far so that the devices could not contain him. He became violent, lashing out to try and wake the people up. It did not end well. I think of this story often when I forget why people are different.

I do not want to be just like you, and you definately do not want to be made physically equal to me. I would not wish this body on anyone. I also wouldn’t trade it for yours. I couldn’t function with another body or mind, this is what I know. Your pain is pain. Your anger is valid. Your tears, your joys, all of them have as much importance as mine.

I have said this outloud to people, before. Trying to make them stop. Sometimes people devalue their pain in an attempt to pity me. I need no pity. I am a brilliant star burning in the sky, and I know it. No person needs pity. Those who pity are merely blind to the simple fact that everyone is valid, necessary, and capable of something important.

Before you protest, stating that people with cognitive disorders cannot be productive in society, let me correct you. Autism counts as a cognitive disorder, though, it makes my world absolutely brilliant and colorful. I couldn’t trade up, just down. Downs Syndrome doesn’t make a person invalid. Every person with Downs I have met experiences more joy than I can comprehend. You point out that those in vegetative states do not add anything, and, I say bunk. What they did before their brains were injured counts. Every living person has a right to fair treatment, health care, and love.

Emotional equality too, prevents the need to debase someone, to be better than they are. It merely exists, as we do. I exist. You have the right to exist. I am angry for those who cannot see it. I mourn, for this knowlege is powerfully freeing. I dance with butterflies, I sing with the birds, I exist merely as I am and can be nothing else.

You are valid. Go love yourself.

When the Fantasy is Reality

I had to just sleep after the Toastmasters contest today. My chair, not working with my body since the chairfall, caused seizures. Again. I felt frustration and kept bouncing between one of the conference chairs and my scooter, pretty much between every speech. I felt paranoid about that but decided in order to judge and properly evaluate I had to try for the comfort level that was necessary. It did work, it was just obnoxious.

After the contest I had people asking me if I was me. I haven’t seen some of these men and women in seven years. Not since I was the one up on the stage giving a speech. I think it was about the importance of feet. I had to explain the chair to these people, but, instead of revulsion there was only acceptance. My brain rejected this.

Most people with disabilities, upon their disability becoming apparent face a world so full of revulsion that it is impossible to find a place with acceptance as the norm at first. It is common for persons with disabilities to face stereotyping, because of course if we want access we are just angry disabled people. If this isn’t what is thrown at us like daggers, then it is that we are stupid, or just not worth the time.

Today there was no question of my intellect, acceptance, and indeed I looked around the room and felt that sense of family again. For me feeling love and contentment with people is very rare. Today was the reminder I needed to reground me, not every place or every person is full of disablism. There will be people in Toastmasters who are, and perhaps places that are in accessible but in this case the majority is acceptance.

It does help too, that I am far from the only person with a disability in Toastmasters. There are a lot of people with hidden and not so hidden disabilities in this organization, some of the more prominent are those with disabilities. Some might argue this is because we have more time, which of course is scoffed at. A portion of disabled people still hold down traditional jobs. The rest of us do not work either because employment is difficult to find or our bodies do not work well enough for employment in a traditional field.

I myself fall into that last category. I do not work at a traditional job because I couldn’t function with in the first two days. My body requires more rest, and does not recoup energy as quickly or consistently. This could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, though my doctor and I agree it is merely a reflection of the energy it takes for me to balance, hold my body in place, and to work past the pain.

I am on rationed pain meds, saving them for when I cannot breathe or think until April unless I run into more disablism. Still, the realization of what I have merits trumpets and shouting from accessible rooftops. Toastmasters is my place, I can network there and I can help others. They help me too. I am going to compete in the Fall, during the next round of contests. Not just for the glory of competition, but, for the joy of being involved and active.

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