The Cliche of Anger

I am tired, in massive pain, and yet I still am riding on the waves of fulfillment. I worked an entire week straight. I am taking a few more days to get back to my standard however, and reminded myself why I do not work in a traditional manner. I would have been fired today for being unable to wear standard clothing for one, and my attitude for another. Every action I take, every interaction I am bogged down by references to the past, lessons, and reminders. I hear my mother’s voice most clearly, and that is not something I welcome. I want to be an individual not the product of my family.

I wasn’t going to post until tomorrow but I was reading a few pages over at Womanist Musings. The proprietor of Womanist Musings has recently outed herself as being amid the disabled. She is beginning to run into the challenges of being suddenly unwelcome, invisible, and at times hated for merely existing. Today one of the commenters told her that she should start a civil rights movement, ignoring the fact that the disabled community has been pulling for equal rights for as long as other civil rights movements have been in effect. Before we go on, I want to remind you my dear reader that every single civil rights movement hasn’t ended, and that the fight for equality is on going no matter what your ism is. This reader seemed to think that a few protests fix everything.

This ignores the protests in New York, the individuals who do sacrifice their energy and at times sanity to try and force businesses to comply with the laws, and it ignores the fact that there are those who came before you and I. This is an erasure of our history. I responded with snideness and sarcasm, ignoring for the few moments it took to suggest a hacksaw so she could remove her legs as “easily” as I can get off of my scooter, the voice of my mother. “All disabled people are angry, they think they have rights.” I am aware that it is the events of today that shape the memories that seem to nitpick at us. Before I was disabled my sexuality was most often the harbinger of a Mommy Memory. “Bisexuals are selfish, they just want to have sex with as many people as possible.” Every time I went to flirt with a woman or a man, I heard something like that.

The myth of anger is just that, a myth. It erases the happy moments with friends and family, it erases the moments where competent and open minded people realize that everyone has rights. The myth of anger is often used to subjugate. Stop being angry, so that I can continue to oppress you. That is what I hear. The expectation that an entire group of people must never feel one emotion is ridiculous yet this is foisted on women of color, the disabled, homosexuals, and countless other oppressed groups, all to control us. Anger is forbidden.

Many times when I am smiling, I am told, “This inaccessible area will be fixed soon, we swear!” The tone is always frantic, that hint of “Oh god she will be mad that we haven’t done this yet.” It doesn’t matter that I am smiling and just nod and say, “Great, thanks for letting me know.” The fear of my anger, which is some how more toxic than their anger or fear is there. I still don’t understand it, but, I see this often. The times when I am angry, I am also not heard. It’s enough for me to want to go back to trying to be Super Cripple, but, I won’t do that.

My anger is valid. Your anger is valid. Anger is not a reason to oppress, discriminate, or subjugate. Anger is not an excuse to not build the ramp in an accessible manner, and anger is not an excuse to try to “just get rid of” someone. I am tired today, and I am trying to seem reasonable. My mind is far from reasonable. I am in truth alone, and am having a small tantrum every time I need to get up to move. My fiance forgot to feed the cats, which merited an hour of sitting there whining about how I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I can’t bend, and their bowls are on the floor.

It wasn’t anger that had me make a really big mess trying to feed them either. That was love. They were hungry so I fed them, without bending. (Sorry honey, but the kitties have to eat too!) It won’t be anger that I let him know he forgot either, but amusement. Every emotion that I have is not anger. The lessons that our parents teach us, may shape what we see but it is the choice that I made in my first experience with disability as an adult that showed me otherwise. I chose to not see anger.

It’s really that simple. Demeaning an entire group of people does cause anger. If you fear our anger so much, stop discriminating. If you come near me right this second and discriminate I will show you anger, but I won’t run you down with my scooter. That’d hurt me too, and you just aren’t worth my time or pain.

To my friends, allies, and fellow disabled persons, don’t forget that every moment that we are alive is the revolution for our people. Every time we are seen out of our homes, with our assistance equipment, service animals, and even having issues, this is our revolution. VIVA LA REVOLUCION! Free my people!

Saturday Silence

I locked the cats out of my room. It was a moment of great opportunity. One was in the litter box, the other was chasing a lazer beam up the wall. The door was shut and with that I curled up, letting myself drift out on waves of exhausted sleep. I crashed early. Due to years of insomnia six hours is good, but, the peace of living in safety, with someone I love, and knowing I can shower whenever I want? I haven’t had any trouble getting to sleep here by four AM. It still bothers me when I have to be up at eight and I am staring down the clock but I can function for three days on four hours. It is nice to not have to.

I dreamed some really interesting stuff last night. I had a giant pink robot a bit like Voltron but, this one had Catnip Canons and Anti Allergy Grenades. In my dream I could destroy everything I was allergic to. I did, and became the greatest super villain ever! I kept giggling in my dream because it was just too fun to blow up cucumbers, though, eventually everyone else was just as hungry and bored with my diet as I am. That is how bored with my food I got. I dreamed of destroying your food, so you could share my boredom. In the end I re-engineered foods that we could all eat, though most of them tasted like tea and pomegranates. The Pomegranate is the one food I have no issues with.

I could live on pomegranates alone, if they were a year round fruit and not so expensive. Their rich flavour, followed by an improvement in pain level, a need to not take pain meds for two days if I eat a half, a week if I eat the entire thing, and the grand finale? No allergic reactions what so ever. This is the fruit of my dreams in my reality. I want to visit them in their native territory someday, gently petting the tree trunks, talking to my future dinners. Celebrating them in their nascent state.

It is quiet this morning. My neighbor is not vacuuming, though that is actually cause for alarm due to her constant need for clean. There are no screaming children. There are no car alarms. I did not wake up with random Batsignals on my forehead, and locking the two cats out only made them super snuggly. I like quiet. Apartments are rarely quiet. Upstairs neighbors walking, the floor/roof creaking as they do. It always sounds like they will fall through squashing me into oblivion.

I didn’t hear the whirl of technology either, just this pleasing idle. Despite the upheaval of yesterday, there is peace to be found. I also do not have to deal with any doctors or idiots today. Tomorrow I visit my mother, and although that will be exhausting, it is a day of peace. We’re eating at her house, I am picking up some gear for a speech, and I get to see my beautiful siblings. I ask permission before posting people’s faces on the net, but if I can get it I wish to show you my gorgeous sister and my super tall military minded brother.

B, my sister, is tall and graceful. She has the body for modeling, and not the plus size modeling that I did. She is the epitome of desire set by the media at this time. She is not trying and often is embarrassed and teased because she looks like a barbie doll or a porcelain doll, depending on her outfit. She has long platinum blonde hair, big hazel eyes, and will do greater things than modeling for her career. She chooses her brain over her body. “Kat, I am pretty now but what if I fall off Dixie,” Her horse,”and wind up in a wheelchair like you? They don’t want wheelchair models.”

She desires security over fame and fortune. I wish I could tell her that it could never happen to her but our mother almost broke her back falling off of a horse, and B knows all about Christopher Reeve. My grandmother screams it at her every time she finds out B has a horse. She might actually be forgetting, but with her it is hard to tell if it is just a desire to scream at B.

A is my dreamer. I am a bit possessive. They are my A and B, and I do not share well. He is nearly seven feet tall, and has recently begun to pursue his dreams by joining the ROTC. He looks good in uniform, but, for some reason when he wears the uniform he actually looks his age. He just turned 16 and has his license. Be afraid. He is prone to day dreaming and with undiagnosed medical issues, there are consequences. His father forbade diagnosis when he was younger, trapping him with a future that is bleaker than he realizes.

In my Saturday Silence, as the world drifts on, sleeping late today, I have a clear view of the future, of the past, and of the moment. I meditate on things, and I know that yesterday merely gave me something else to fix. I am no longer angry about losing out on my dancing, teaching, and other physical careers. I have something more powerful than what I would have had if I continued on the path of physicality.

Dancing makes a difference for some, I could someday dance in a movie or a music video, I could have a great career. Advocacy gives me time to breathe. Even when the pressure is on and there is fear fueling my fight more than strength, when I advocate I know exactly how much power I have. All of it. I do not feel weak when I advocate, no matter how tired I get. I have a sense of purpose that is hard to match with other goals I have had. When I advocate it is with the knowledge that I am changing the world. One tip of my hip, a slight twist of my leg, a rolling display of muscles and the freedom to shake and move, that held personal power. It felt beautiful. I felt deliciously free.

One phone call to the Governor. One conversation with a reporter. One word of support offered. One person made aware. A life of passion. This too holds power but it is the power of change, the power of equality. After sleep, after finding that I am not as alone as I felt, I am empowered in my moment of silence. I play out the moments when I nearly failed out of fear, the errors others made and that I made in this fight. These are armor.

If I recollect and prepare the times when I have been threatened, I am prepared. It is oil on my armor. When I remember what words worked, that is sharpening my sword. Saturdays of silence are not silent. They are just times to reflect and prepare for the next battle in this war. I hear the birds singing, and I know that the fight will be long and hard. I also know I will win. I may cry, I may bleed, I may wish to flea, but in these moments of solitude with my peace held in my heart I know too that nothing can stop me. I am changing the world with every word, every breath, and it is too late to go back now. The world is already different because of actions that I have taken, that you have taken, and the actions of the future will just give us more strength.

Sharpen your swords, care for your armor, feed your companions. Feast and Celebrate. Enjoy the moments of peace and silence. We are at war. We are an army, an international one at that, and nothing can stop us for we have nothing to lose and only the world to gain. Lets rule the world!

Begging at the Poorhouse Door

I live in a low income apartment complex. This means everyone here is either on Section 8 or earns a minimal income. We are all considered the poorest of the poor. I have been here for two months, though it feels like a blissful eternity. I am even getting used to the six AM vaccume sessions overhead. They help me wake up on time for meetings at least.

I have nice neighbors, the woman and her family upstairs are from India, and we exchange pleasantries often. The man next door is a white guy who works at Taco Bell and has four kids. I have yet to see much issue with my neighbors. However, there is a sudden trend. It might be due to more lay offs, but, suddenly people are begging at my front door. Not once, not twice, three times. I also can hear through the walls and know others are facing this same thing.

It isn’t just that they are begging at low income housing that bothers me. It is really how they beg. The first person who came was utterly honest, “Hey, I am sorry to bother you. We have never met but I live in Apartment 123 (not the real location) and just lost my job. I can’t afford food tonight, can I borrow something? I will pay you back as soon as possible.” I let my Person juggle things like this. Food requests send me over an edge still, and even if I have it I want to be irrationally greedy, fearing my own stomach will go empty. He gave her some gluteny pasta and sauce. He offered more but she declined. This incident doesn’t bother me in the least. I am proud of my Person’s ability to help, proud that we have enough food, and I am secretly glad that the pasta is gone since he eats my Rice pasta with me. Gluten Free leftovers are icky.

The second incident was much weirder. It had been a long day, I had Toastmasters, I had given a speech, then something else draining occured. Sprite was upset, so, I climb down, appraise the distance between me and the door and we manage it. Barely through the door when knock knock knock. “Oh, could you please drive all of this garbage I just pulled out of the dumpster over to my apartment on XYZ street?” I just climbed into bed, leaving him to deal with this intruder. “I’ll give it all to the homeless tommarrow.” Yeah right, that was my instant impulse. My person is more generous than I am with this sort of thing, though he shared my reticence to give a stranger a ride. He helped her carry it to her apartment and did not go inside. She seemed disappointed by the fact that she had to carry her loot, though what she would have done if we had not returned home boggles my mind. Would she have left it there? Was she really just lying in wait? It was creepy. My instincts said it was bad and so did my persons. He expressed concern that people will keep asking to use our vehicle now, because it is a nice, big van. I responded with this, “It’s ours. We say no. I don’t know these people. They do not get to risk my transportation. I was trapped for too long to let that happen.” He agreed.

Just now, i got up from my writing, and went to the restroom. I leave the door open incase I need help. That happens often enough and it is much easier to shout through an open door than a closed one. William Shakespurr has become my Bathroom buddy and he sauntered in just in time to get trapped by the knocking. Person closed the door and I listened intently. “Uh could you buy my cable box? I just got uot of the hospital and I want to sell it.” Two things. The cable box is not hers to sell. The cable company only rents them. I don’t want to buy a cable box that could get me put in jail. “No.” He closed the door then let me and William out.

I discovered upon asking that he has fended several away from the door. This is becoming an agitation. I live in the technical poorhouse too. I am not wealthy. What I have I have earned, struggled for, and often doesn’t go as far as I need. Yes, I am willing to help people when I can but, if you are going to go around with a sob story, several of the incidents I am not able to mention here due to my desire to be blatantly mean about their claims were over the top dramatic sob stories, then at least be realistic. IF you just want cash. Get a job, pan handle on the free way, but do not come asking me for cash.

Just like the rest of America, just like the rest of the world I do not have extra money to spare. AIG has it. Go ask THEM for help with your hospital bills. Go ask them to feed your child, or to let you stay in their apartments for one night. This is not a homeless shelter, this is not a charity. This is my home. Back off.

Though I can be nice, kind, and charming. Though that is my default behavior pattern, when I feel invaded in my home I will show my teeth and proverbial claws. I do not like guests, except an exclusive few. I do not like strangers trying to invite themselves in.

I was homeless. I get going hungry. There are organizations, charities, and help groups that will feed you, clothe you, and most will try and help you get work. There are rent assistance programs, there are a myriad of ways to try and get help. Begging at the door of a person who is just as poor as you? That is not it.

No this essay is not gentle, it is merely my statements of fact and opinion. Every person has equal access to help, so ask in the right place and the right way. There are even places that will help you if you are not a legal citizen, without having you deported. Got it? Stay away from my door unless you are going to be a welcomed guest, do not ask for the few things I have. I do not share my necessities when they are barely obtained.

Do not ask me for food, shelter, clothing. I offer what I have to the world. My cast offs do not get thrown away, they get given to charities or those in need. You can ask me for help finding food, shelter, and clothing. I am currently in need of many of those things.

Although I do not begrudge the first request, a part of me wonders if giving that woman food is why everyone else is coming here. The first was no leech, but the rest? That sucking sensation has drained me of my good will.

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