Wednesday, July 21, 2010

all bodies

i cant believe im saying this, and that im tearing up while writing this, but i went to my first chunky dunk a couple weeks ago. ive never gone (that i can remember anyways) to an all-bodies swim, or chunky dunk, despite several opportunities to do so over the years. But anyways, i went. i realized yesterday that when i was there, i was also bringing in all of my baggage around it.

It was wrapped up in the tank top i didnt want to wear but felt i must because of my tits and my bruises; it was in what i however incorrectly perceived to be the judgey eyes of the non fatties/non gimps working for the pool; it was drowning in the i-dont-want-to-get-out-of-
this-pool-ever i was swimming in -- and i literally didnt want to get out. In part because, despite my inability to swim with anything resembling skill lol, i didnt want to leave this bubble of awesomeness. And in part because i was scared to try and get out because the last time i tried to get out of a pool was at the arthritis centre like a year ago and i almost fainted from the pain. And in part because i felt ashamed of being embarrassed about that.

Ashamed in a space where folks twice and thrice and less-than-half my size were bounding and cavorting together, a space where my sweetie and amazing friends were, a space where i knew if anything happened, id be ok. i felt ashamed of my body, but i think it was different than that. i felt like there was the potential for there to be some kind of relief from that for a moment, like, i dont know, like it's not that it didn't matter (because no one in that pool i think is under the impression that bodies dont matter), but that yes it mattered. For once, i felt like my body mattered, in all its fucked upness, and that that was ok, that was welcome. i dont think ive ever felt that before in such a public space.

i so badly need to go again and taste that. im so grateful this kind of thing happens. and i wont leave it so long before i do it again. <3<3<3

FYI: as a gimp, i am actually NOT obligated to attend events/spaces because you "went out of your way" to get a w/c accessible space. I AM NOT THE ONLY GIMP IN TOWN. If the point of you getting an accessible space isn't simply to increase access to your event for more community members, then YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG, OK?
Do you know how many times i've heard this same refrain over the years? How many times my friends have heard it too? Well let me tell you, it's a lot. When i have conversations with people putting on events, i talk about accessibility. When or if they end up deciding to go with a wheelchair accessible space as part of that accessibility, i am almost guaranteed to be expected to show up, as though i owe organizers a pat on the goddamn back, or my money, or my gratitude (ew) for doing what they should be doing anyways. And if i don't show up, anything i had to say on the matter is tossed out the window, because i must just be some whiner, some complainer, who doesn't actually do anything of use. Well fuck that.
Do you think disabled folks owe you something (including gratitude) for your stepping up and getting an accessible space? Well let me tell you right now: WE DAMN WELL DO'NT.
Let me repeat:
If the point of you getting an accessible space isn't simply to increase access to your event for more community members, then YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG, OK?
Fucking hell.