Thursday, March 31, 2011

On So-Called Language "Policing"

basically, and i think rather predictably, i'm in the camp of "if it's your own experience, you can use it". Though when i do, i'm still mindful about it. i also don't believe there is any "policing" of language going on by disabled folks: we simply don't have that kind of systemic power and influence. But we certainly deal with the fallout when people feel ok using certain language, including the "othering" that happens happens to us, and frankly we already deal with enough of that as it is.

As a gimp, i use that word to describe myself, but if someone i don't know, someone not disabled, started using that word around me or about me? hell yeah id call that shit out. And if i demanded all disabled folks use it to describe themselves? Hell yeah i should get called on that shit.

The author of the original statement seems to think that gimps etc don't already have conversations about language all the time lol. We do, i know i do. And not everything should be a long drawn out "productive or meaningful discussion about the word or words in question". It becomes tiring and useless after a while. Especially when the constant refrain is: "you're policing me!" and "teach me!" and "no matter what, i'm going to keep using this word!". [Allow me to indulge with this little aside: Y'know, i definitely think there is space and time for learning conversations. i mean, how else do we move forward? What i try to do in my own life is build relationships in which we can ask tough questions, acknowledge what we don't know, be embarrassed if we need to, and move forward. Just sometimes? We can't always be doing that. Sometimes, it really hurts, and is so not a learning experience when you're on the receiving end of it. And sadly, so often, folks haven't learned a fucking thing except that they can continue to fuck up and hurt you and nothing will change.]

Because a word is culturally imbedded, doesn't make it open season on it. Using the writer's example (this writer is using this as an example without taking responsibility for it; certainly brought it into the conversation to prove some point), "ni__er" is "culturally embedded", can have "multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings", and "doesn't *automatically* constitute the oppression of anyone". 
But if i started using it? i would be prepared to get my shit checked or my face slapped. Yes, context matters, but that doesn't mean that in ANY context that word would be ok for me, a white person, to use. And it's not my place to demand that POC "educate" me on why.

Finally, the writer ultimately blames gimps for our own oppression with 
"you participate in a process (again, censorship) that actually threatens to strip even disabled people of the very language we might otherwise use to describe ourselves and speak about our own experiences." and "actually contributes to the systematic silencing (and therefore oppression) of disabled people" 

by fundamentally misunderstanding/ misrepresenting the process of reclamation by "othered" groups. This writer is attempting to strip gimps of our agency. 

And that sucks, in any context.


Here's  a link to the now-defunct Disabled Feminists site, with various posts talking about ableist (no need for scare quotes!) words:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Putting It Into Action

Following on that last post about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, here's a link to an article talking about how to go about making your event more accessible for folks.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) accessibility basics

As someone who deals with some MCS, i can definitely relate, and yet i still struggle with some of it, and don't always get it right. i'm always working on it though, and committed to doing progressively better, learning more, and not fucking over my friends and community in the process. These tips from billie rain are really useful, and i hope you're able to get stuff out of them that help you progress too. <3
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) accessibility basics
by Billie Rain on Saturday, March 12, 2011

when it comes to Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) accessibility, it really starts at home. there are several levels of making your person accessible, so i’ll give the broad strokes of each.

1. fragrance-free events or activities

it is very important when attending scent-free events to make sure you are not wearing anything that has come in contact with scents or cigarette smoke. some folks set an outfit aside to wear to accessible events. if you do use essential oils, definitely bathe with fragrance-free soap, shampoo etc and refrain from using them until after the event. also refrain from smoking after you have washed, until the event is over.

additionally, make sure your clothes are not dried with dryer sheets, as these are one of the worst chemical offenders. if you use public laundry facilities, it’s also a good idea to air out your clothes for several days before storing them or wearing them around chemically sensitive folks, as they tend to have residue from other people’s stinky laundry.

when i’m going anywhere where i know there is likely to be other chemically-sensitive folks, even if the space is not specifically designated as fragrance-free, i follow fragrance-free protocols.

2. being in community with the chemically sensitive

like some other folks with MCS, i do occasionally use scented products. they are particular to me and i try and restrict my use of them to my home or spaces where they will be completely drowned out by others’ scents (places where i generally need to use my gas mask). like everyone with MCS, my tolerance for scents is particular to me, and even to the brand or batch of the particular product or plant.

i have a small collection of essential oils. i use these medicinally, topically for aches and pains and i smell them for mental health concerns. i no longer wear them as perfumes, as i did before i became educated about MCS accessibility. i keep my oils in a metal box, and the metal box is in a cabinet.

when i meet other folks with chemical sensitivities, i will approach hanging out with them or going anywhere they might be as if i am attending a fragrance-free event and prepare as such. if we end up spending more time together, i usually like to do an audit where we go over the particulars of each others’ products and figure out what the other person is sensitive to.

there are people in my community who are educated about MCS and about my particular accessibility needs. i usually ask that folks who are serious about MCS accessibility consult with these allies if they have questions about anything. people in my various communities often send me emails about how to make their events MCS accessible. unfortunately i’m too sick to answer most of these emails. a lot more needs to be done to promote education about MCS accessibility in seattle (and generally), and unfortunately there is not enough popular education being done. YET!

i also try and make mental notes of anything folks with MCS say in passing about their particular sensitivities, as i know that not everyone is able to be assertive or completely thorough about their air quality needs.

which leads me to my final point about this: most folks with MCS are in a constant struggle to navigate our daily lives. if we are able to go out, we face a continuous barrage of life-threatening chemical exposures. because MCS affects not only our bodies but our cognitive abilities and emotions, we often cannot express or identify that we are being made sick by one particular product someone is using. so if we do take the time to let you know that something you’re doing is making us sick, please respect that and don’t make us tell you twice, or g-d forbid, more than twice. it’s incredibly painful for us to find that people who purport to be our friends or allies, who express the desire to be near us, do not take our basic needs seriously and even cause us harm after we have expressed that there is a problem. if you are struggling with a solution, please let us know so we can help you resolve it, or if that’s not possible, so we can stay a safe distance from you until you get it resolved.

3. friendships and intimate relationships

if you want to hang out with someone who has MCS, that’s great! lots of us do not have many friends we can safely spend time with.

firstly, to reiterate:
when you meet someone with chemical sensitivities, approach hanging out with them or going anywhere they might be as if you are attending a fragrance-free event and prepare as such. if you end up spending more time together, offer to do an audit where they go over the particulars of your products and let you know what they are sensitive to. it is best to send a list of products you use, so they &/or their allies can do research and identify known problems.

spending time with someone with MCS is not something to take on lightly. telling yourself that you’re fine because you think you are is not enough. many people with MCS will not tell you that you’re making us sick, either because we’re too sick or addled to communicate; or we’re overwhelmed because we thought we were going to be safe with you and we’re not; or we’re just too damn tired to talk about it and deal with the possible conflict; or we’ve been socialized or told that asking people to change their lifestyle for us is selfish, rude, demanding, unreasonable or wrong.

this is important. if you want to spend time with someone with MCS you must be willing to humble yourself to our needs, regardless of how that makes you feel. ask us for information and resources and use them. check in with us periodically and ask if anything has come up that we need to tell you about. don’t assume that everything is fine because we are not saying anything. we may be conserving our energy to survive the aftermath of whatever exposures we are getting.

if you feel overwhelmed with the changes you are being asked to make, seek support from folks who understand MCS accessibility &/or support you in pursuing these changes. if you need time to make changes, make sure you do not subject your sick friend to exposures while you are making the transition. believe me when i tell you that i prefer someone staying a distance away from me and telling me they are not fragrance-free/accessible to someone who gives me a hug cuz they’re trying to be fragrance-free and they figure i will tell them if the [blah blah blah] they are still wearing/using is a problem for me.

a last note

it is my belief that MCS accessibility, like all disability accessibility, is a social justice issue. if you decide to join us in the struggle for access, congratulations! you are part of a movement that is slowly gaining momentum and has the potential not only to save our lives but to protect the health and safety of all human beings and the planet. you are participating in a struggle that is part of the larger disability rights movement, and each aspect of this struggle is important and worthy. if you are living with other disabilities, i hope that you are fighting for your own access and we will be building bridges across our differences to increase our viability as a movement.

please feel free to repost this anywhere. thanks!!

Here are some other resources:

Tips for visiting a person with Chemical Sensitivity

Myths and Facts about MCS

How to Be Fragrance Free

And here's another post, about organizing a fragrance free event.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

change is good!

Accountability and solidarity time.

If every queer non-gimp who supports various groups/events/etc which actively or passively exclude queer gimps like me, would simply not allow themselves to use excuses like "i'm speaking for disabled folks who can't be here"* and "i can agitate from the inside"* (all the while attending and promoting the event of course), shit could change, like, rapidly**.

For me, its about a fundamental lack of understanding/ recognizing/ fully respecting disabled people's own voices, our autonomy, whether or not nongimps can understand/ recognize/ appreciate that. It's painful to have something like that said about you, especially when you try best you can to be a solid ally. But believe me, it's infinitely more painful to have it be a truth that personally, directly impacts you on a daily basis. To have it be a truth of how you do or don't get to navigate your communities.

i dont know how it could be more basic:

If all the nongimped queers who go to inaccessible queer nights, as well as the artists/performers/volunteers of those events, would simply not show up, and make statements about why they're not showing up, and also perhaps provide alternative ideas? Can you imagine? 

Oh yes, shit would change!

* both have been said to me on multiple occasions by perfectly well-meaning folks

**and i really do have an understanding of how hard it is. It's not this simplistic, but it's a start to think about it, yeah? How do non-gimps help increase the capacity/ likelihood of gimps to participate in communities without taking a paternalistic approach so already widely experienced by gimps?  It can be done, it has to be done. There are ways. We can find them if we pay attention and work together. i think one of the first steps is acknowledging where we can't currently participate. Some of those ways are really obvious. We're not even there yet. So let's keep the ball rolling, ok? ok. <3

Monday, March 21, 2011


So i want to talk about permanence, such as it is.

"Permanent", "disabling", "degenerative".
These are some of the words people use to describe my condition. (Some others are: "tragic!!!", "such a waste!" and my favourite "it's because you're paying for what you did in a past life!")
Anyways look, i'm a gimp. i've been a gimp a long time, and i will, as it turns out, always be a gimp. There is no cure for what i have, and it's only going to get worse. It's hard to acknowledge that. Like, on a core level, it's hard. The first time i said that out loud to myself i wept to be so fucked with. And in amongst all my gimp pride and solidarity, i still have a good cry about it on occasion. i'm still pissed about it, and it still gets in the way of me doing some things that're good for my body. But there it is: i will always be disabled.

For our purposes today with this brief post, that means that, yes, i will always be bringing up accessibility issues in my communities. So you may as well get a sandwich and a nice cup of tea, put on yer coziest jammies and take a load off, because this shit isn't changing. Just like i've been doing for years: Get used to me asking about it when you organize something. Get used to me providing the info for you when you don't or can't. Get used to me calling you out when you pull some assy move around it. i'm not going anywhere.

i don't have the privilege of not needing to know this stuff. i will always be physically disabled, and that will always be a part of how i navigate my communities. If you and i are fucking, playing, loving up all over each other, roomates, teammates, volunteer together, enjoy going for a coffee to shoot the shit, deep longterm friends or new found connections, no matter, this will always be a part of it. 

And if you're not used to it, don't let it stress you out lol. It doesn't have to be a huge deal for you (because really? it isn't). Just roll with me when i ask for it, just respond with solidarity when i can't, and we'll be cool. If you also deal with this reality in yer life, what does it mean for both of us together? How do we navigate different kinds of permanence in an ultimately impermanent world?

Questions questions!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

on rage

i want to share this link called "on rage and the medical industrial complex", because it is so fucking true, raw, clear. It's from To The Other Side of Dreaming, and you should check it out. From the description: "Mia Mingus and Stacey Milbern are two queer disabled diasporic Korean women of color in the process moving from the South to the Bay to create home and community with each other. This tumblr documents their journey."

And i'm adding some thoughts this (and a conversation earlier today about honouring multiple expressions of experiences of oppression and identity and community and change, including rage/ anger) brought up for me...

Gimps, so many variations of experience/ history/ present/ future, but there are these threads that connect so fucking deeply sometimes it just pulls something out from me. Damn. 

You know what i want to do one day? i want to be in a group of only gimps, and i want us to hold space for each other somehow, to release (not to get rid of, not for me anyways) rage. Because it gets so tiring to always feel i need to contain, reframe, sugar coat, explainexplainexplain how it feels like this sometimes.

i need like, a release valve sometimes, and i know other gimps do too. A space, place, in the woods somewhere, in the middle of a city street, i don't know, just somewhere anywhere to be able to let it go (again, not get rid of, not for me). To scream at the top of my lungs if i need to. To bellow out some agony. To release rage and anger and end-point frustration and the hundreds of little rages multiplied by the hundreds of lunar rages, and everything in between and beyond without having to defend it or me or my right to feel something deep and intense and fucking overwhelming about this shit. To let it just flow out of me, no need to force it, just let it flow out, lay it in front of me so i know and you know it's real, here, present, actual. To drop to the ground and roll in it if i need to, beat fists into some earth to connect with it if i need to. 

And i do need to.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Love Letter to My Body

heres a love letter i wrote to my body for Inner Fat Girl 
(Call for Submissions! Write a love letter to your body.
So this zine I am working on has sort of gotten bigger than just something I am handing out to some undergrads. I want to make it bigger so I encourage you all to submit more things to or in my hot gay ask box. One thing I would really love is if you would write a love letter to your body and submit it to the zine. I think it would be a really adorable way to engage in self love (then share it with people!). XO)

To my body,

You bastard. You fucked up, crippled, vomit-inducing, kick-me-in-the-ass, tw/itchy, balding, heartbroken, unpredictable pain in my goddamned neck bastard. You make me cringe and weep and yell out and wish i could cut parts of you off. You confuse me, infuriate me, embarrass me, fuck with me.

But i fucking love you. i love you so hard it hurts, more than the hurt you inflict on me every day; more than the burning, cramping, pounding ache you send up and down and back up my legs and back every day; i love you so intensely, no matter the ache, the tw/itch, the burning, none of it, no matter.

i love you because, despite my coffees, 30 years of alcohol poisoning i’ve only stopped since 2002, despite soaking you in pain meds and testosterone shots and greasy spoon breakfasts, too many car accidents, too many falls in streets and ditches, too many years of self-injury, my not doing enough of my stretches, not eating enough greenery, not doing so many of the things i could do to do better by you, regardless all my abuses and only incremental improvements, you are here with me. You stay. Why?

Let’s just be honest with each other, ok? This is a dysfunctional relationship, to be sure.  But i love you because you try, you maintain, you accept. You’re the one thing i can -strangely enough- count on, even if not in all the ways i’d like. You’re the one thing that is 100% fundamentally honest with me. And you are the only thing that knows every single inch of my bullshit and yet stays, kisses my head, expects better, helps me do better.

And i also love you because, despite the attacks on you by me, by a transphobic, fatphobic, queerbashing, gimp hating society, you are a thing of fucking beauty. You are something i gape at, you are something i am so thankful for, something i wouldn’t give up in a million years, wouldn’t turn my aching back on, wouldn’t turn in for reward, wouldn’t ever stop trying to be better to.

i love you because of the feel of you, the hair, my cunt, my beard, my tits, my big fat belly, my strong arms and weak legs, the rolls, even the uncertainties, the dysphorias, the fucking chubrub.

i love you because you turn me on, make me wet and hard and sweat, surprise me, surprise my lovers, create a canvas for artists and consensual perverts, allow me to be tattooed, pierced and flogged and punched and made love to and groped and fucked til i bleed and held down in some sleazy bathroom by equally sleazy and self-and-consent-loving queers, and because despite a long painful history of dissociation you are now present for every single second of it.

i love you because of the feel of you when i go to bed, you wake with me every day, you cum with me, cook with me, sing with me, bathe with me, play music with me, fuck with me, weep with me.

i love you because you give me a second chance, every single day, for which i am trying to be grateful and responsive.

i love you because you’re all i’ve got. But it’s more than that. We’re all we’ve got.

i love you because, really, while it’s complicated and yeah dysfunctional, we are actually not two different entities in some abusive relationship. There is no such thing as a "mind/body split" for us. We are one endless circle of fuckery, beauty, silence, shame, orgasms, ingestion, release, movement, and i won’t ever give up on you willingly. Please don’t give up on me any time soon. i’m here, i’m coming, i’m working through it, i feel you.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Daft Hands in American Sign Language

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, indeed!

"and WOW, not my best lip syncing, really, it barely even matches up with the music.
Also, I got the sign wrong for "ever", I'm was trying to sign "always" but your hand isn't suppost to twist like mine is doing. oh well."

and theres always this one, which makes my fricken head implode. Interesting how different it is. And that couch!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toronto accessibility project

here's some information about a new project starting in Toronto:

"TORONTO: accessible venues in the city? let's make a list!

by Sarah Pinder on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 9:18pm
it seems like i keep having conversations with people lately where we try to remember which venues in the city are accessible, so that we can figure out where to hold our next party/reading/meeting/whatever. we all seem to have our own respective mini-lists of venues, or if we don't, are left to reinvent the wheel when we book events - spending a lot of time researching the same information. from what i can tell, there doesn't seem to be any kind of overall list in existence.

it would amazing if we could generate a list of venue names, addresses, venue info (is there a ramp, an elevator, or is everything all on one level? how big are the doorways? what are the bathroom stalls like, specifically? are there handrails or a wheelchair-sized stall?) and contact info for different locations throughout the city, to make booking events more straightforward.

let's focus on keeping the list only for venues that have washroom access. i've run into a lot of 'we're barrier-free.... except for the washroom, which is down a flight of 15 stairs!' locations, which effectively means the place isn't accessible.

and let's make sure that things on our list are places we know *for sure* are accessible.... a common problem for me is hearing about a place maybe being accessible, but still having to do further research about or travel to a venue to confirm. it would also be great to have a variety of different types of locations to choose from - bars, community centres, libraries, halls, etc - that are sure bets, so all it takes is a phone call or an email to set up a show.

I've made a googledoc here that anyone can edit or add to, to get the ball rolling. it's just a bare bones outline - if you've got structural edits or fields you'd want to see added, let me know, or feel free to make changes:

please pass this note on to friends and colleagues! with our collective knowledge, we can generate a tool that will be a time saver for everyone."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On International Women's Day: My Trans Manifesto: An Ongoing Self Exam, Sans Stirrups

im sharing this today because i want to be clear about it. its something i wrote 2+ years ago, and am still working on periodically, probably always will be. International Women's Day is about ALL women, not just the convenient ones. And IMO it's not about cunts (mine or anyone else's), or the lack thereof, it's about women, about bodily autonomy for all people, about questioning our places in that, questioning our own bullshit too.


July 18, 2009

i started this in April, but have been adding to it.
Always more to think about and add...

My Trans Manifesto: An Ongoing Self Exam Sans Stirrups

(Let's just get this first one out of the way, shall we?)

1. i am in love with my cunt. My cunt is the sacred black hole into which all the things that try to assail my heart are turned, spun, chrysalis. My cunt has always been with me, and always will, whether in its current solid form or in brainwaves or memories. My cunt is like none other. My cunt is mine and mine alone. My cunt is powerful, beautiful, unstoppable, and neither rape, nor guilt, nor expectation, nor the state can take that away. i will maintain and celebrate this connection, without shame, without fear, without explanation. i will not waste hours justifying this connection to cis folks (whether they happen to possess a similar kind of cunt as mine or not, or whether they consider themselves my "ally" or not), nor to any other person be they trans, genderqueer, or of any other description. My cunt is mine - hands and theories off unless i give you a green light, cool? Cool.

i will include in my life only those people who respect this.  
My cunt-love doesn't take away or minimize you or your identity, your cunt or not-cunt, your cunt-love or cunt-hate or cunt-ambivalence. My cunt-love doesn't have anything to do with you. My cunt-love is between me and my cunt, spun from the silk of my Mother's cunt (which is hers and hers alone), and her Mother's cunt (which was hers and hers alone), and so on.

But lets get down to it, ok? Because a whole lot of people have a whole lot to say about what folks should & shouldn't allow to be done to/ with/ in the name of, our various cunts, and i'd like to clear this up.

1 a. i refuse to use my cunt as a tool of and/or justification for oppression. My cunt has too long been at the shit-end of that stick. My cunt is not a podium from behind which i will allow myself or others to spout hatred.
Specifically, in solidarity with my trans sisters:

* i will not allow myself or others to use my cunt as a tool to oppress my trans sisters.

* i will not allow the existence or not-existence of a trans sisters' cunt to determine whether and to what extent i show her respect, solidarity and compassion.

* i will not demand that my trans sister's interpretations, experiences or physical embodiments of their cunts match my own. My solidarity will not be based on her ability or willingness to conform to mine.

* i will consistently challenge myself on my assumptions around what it means to me to have been born with a particular kind of cunt, and

* i will not allow those who would use their cunt against a trans woman to sway me in this exploration.

* i will call out those who use the existence or not-existence of a specific kind of cunt to defend their hatred, fear, exclusion, marginalization and oppression of trans women; and i will refuse to participate in any way in undertakings based in such oppression.

* i refuse, despite the ongoing invitations (usually based in the fact of my particular kind of cunt), to enjoy "women-only" events; and will scrutinize "women-focused", "women & trans" or "past, present & future women" events until such time it's clear these events and spaces truly honour all women.

2. i am proud of who and what i am: i am Trans. i have been and am fucking raging. i am tired of bullshit that tries to degrade me, to insult me, to minimize and/or trivialize my pain, to erase and appropriate my history. i will not allow myself to succumb to this violence, this soul-murder. And i won't allow non-Trans people, any of them, to take that and turn it into some Queer Theory bullshit, or into some psychosis, or some thing i'm meant to be ashamed of and / or open up to every fucker who wants a piece.

3. i am proud of my community and will support and protect and struggle alongside my Trans friends, lovers, comrades, acquaintances, strangers, in their own searches and struggles to be proud of their communities. i will challenge myself, expand my brain, my heart, the grasp of my fingers, shut the fuck up, speak out, then shut the fuck up and speak up and shut the fuck up and so on so that i can be a solid member of my Trans communities.

4. i have a right to be in this body, and to use the language i choose to define it. i will consistently challenge myself around the words i choose, i will base those choices to the best of my ability in an ever-expanding understanding of the world i live in, as i pick up new information, as i check myself and get checked by others, as i fuck up, as i grow and humble myself. i will continue to learn, to listen, to adapt, to honour.

5. i will not allow myself to succumb to the sexist and transphobic bullshit i'm forced to swim in every day. i will call bullshit. every. fucking. time. And because there are times my spirit is broken, or my head is in a fog or my body pain is too much to bear, i will take care of that best i can, and then i'll get back to calling bullshit.

6. Without judgements about how any other Trans person copes, i will continue to not poison my own Trans body with alcohol, whether attempting to numb the physical and emotional pain in my body, my family, my communities or the universe. i want my cunt to continue to experience life free from numbness. i came out of my Mother's cunt in a bath of numbness, and stayed there for thirty years. i'm done. This isn't easy, it's not without setbacks, challenges, questions, context. 
But silence & denial = death, and yeah, i'm fucking done with that too.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

isolation, interdependency and imaginary brakes

[trigger warning for some frank talk about death and dying, car accidents and trauma]

Everyone's different of course, but a large part of my experience as a gimp and a survivor has been about isolation. i don't want that to be the default for my life, i'm working on it, but please understand that this opening doesn't come easily to me. 

i'm trying to embrace interdependency and it doesn't come naturally, which sounds kind of ridiculous. i mean, we need each other to survive, need connection, support, camaraderie to thrive, yeah? 

But when you've spent 25 years since nearly dying not living up to the car-crash-cliche of "it made me want to live every day of my life as though it were the last!", there is exposed this other, less sexy, cliche: i wanted to die. There. i said it. i wanted to die. Sometimes i wished the other car had been going just a little quicker. That when i fainted from the pain of it, that instead of simply breaking my own jaw on the asphalt, i had pushed the damage to my neck and back further, beyond life-saving. For years, i would spend days at a time in my room crying into my pillow, forcing tears out via some pretended deaths, because my teenage self couldn't understand why i was still here. 

i'd had a car accident a couple years previous and was only just beginning to heal from it, to get pieces of my already fucked with body back, when this most recent one happened. i wrote a piece about it in the first zine i ever made in 2003 (Piss In A Bucket), and i realized, now sober, how incredibly broken i still was. 

i'm still broken from it. 

Living in a big city doesn't help. i can't ride in a car without having a hundred mini panic attacks, without envisioning crashes; when someone is coming to visit me and they're driving, or going somewhere, anywhere, and driving, i imagine their deaths, a thousand mini deaths over and over. i can't get away from it, because it's everywhere, in the streets, in the movies, in my dreams, everywhere. My belly in knots, lump in my throat, my imaginary car brake always at the ready. Partners, lovers, friends, they're generally cool with it, and sometimes we can even have a giggle about it, because they know it's the only way i can not completely freak out, which is of no help to them driving. But it's embarrassing and exposing too. 

It's shows people how broken i am from it, but only parts of that brokenness. They don't always know the rest. They don't know that i wanted to die in that accident and that i still try to pry that open, and it still eludes me why i haven't lived every day as though it were my last (a tired cliche that causes shame in me for having had a different kind of response). Why i sit in my apartment, frozen sometimes. Why hours can pass and i won't even realize it (i do understand that some of this is based in head injury and ADHD stuff, i get that), but there are parts of me that just can't move: 

i am living in the body that saw it coming and froze.

i froze. And it made the injuries so much worse. Prediction and control made my life (more of) a fucking nightmare (than it otherwise would have been). And at 39 years old, i find myself, in all my work to just. let. go. of control and prediction and science and bureaucratizing my entire fucking life (fuck you, Derrick Jensen, for getting right into my goddamn head and twisting your brilliant knife around in there), i find myself grasping to hold on to some minor thread of these things because i don't think i know anything else. 

How do i explain who i am if i let go? How do i move forward? How do i connect when i so often think about how that connection will end in a car crash? If i let go, what if there is no one there? No footholds? No net? No jaws of life in the capable hands of some firefighter angel? Nothing? What if, after all of this, i'm on my own anyways? And when i do connect (and i certainly do, joyously!), what happens when all of my worst nightmares become truths? If and when my imaginary brake isn't there? How do i begin to count up the effects of all the thousands of mini-deaths on my heart? And the real ones i've known, all these losses wrapped in flimsy fiberglass? There is so much trauma there, wrapped up alongside full-meal portions of other traumas. PTSD is a fucking unrelenting craggyanaldouchenozzle, and i hate it. 

i'm trying to make peace with this stuff, but it's not easy. It's not something i want to share. i don't want to tell you that i wanted to die. i don't want to tell you that i'm afraid about the isolation; that i don't want to end up like my Mum; that i'm afraid about my future as a disabled person living in a system that isn't built for us, and in communities in which i feel i have to squeeze every fucking accommodation out of rather than having it be an exchange based on mutual aid. But i am and i do. So what now?

i mean, we do all know how this whole ride is going to end, it's just a matter of when and how. In the meantime, i want to let go! Be free! Do ridiculous shit! Do my stretches, do my dishes, do some yoga for fuck's sake! Read in the morning sunbeams. i have plans, big plans! And none of them revolve around this numbing, freezing, this isolation, this fear. But there it is nonetheless. There's got to be something freeing in all of this acknowledgment, yeah?

"How to Make Love to a Trans Person" By Gabe Moses

Yeah, this is so much about accessibility. This is what i mean when i say accessibility isn't just about ramps, though those are super important/key too. How do we talk with each other about our bodies? Whose bodies are granted passage in bdsm play spaces? in baths? Do you come at me like there's something wrong with my body and your desire? Or do you come to me like this?
How beautiful this piece is!

How to Make Love to a Trans Person

By Gabe Moses

Forget the images you’ve learned to attach
To words like cock and clit,
Chest and breasts.
Break those words open
Like a paramedic cracking ribs
To pump blood through a failing heart.
Push your hands inside.
Get them messy.
Scratch new definitions on the bones.

Get rid of the old words altogether.
Make up new words.
Call it a click or a ditto.
Call it the sound he makes
When you brush your hand against it through his jeans,
When you can hear his heart knocking on the back of his teeth
And every cell in his body is breathing.
Make the arch of her back a language
Name the hollows of each of her vertebrae
When they catch pools of sweat
Like rainwater in a row of paper cups
Align your teeth with this alphabet of her spine
So every word is weighted with the salt of her.

When you peel layers of clothing from his skin
Do not act as though you are changing dressings on a trauma patient
Even though it’s highly likely that you are.
Do not ask if she’s “had the surgery.”
Do not tell him that the needlepoint bruises on his thighs look like they hurt
If you are being offered a body
That has already been laid upon an altar of surgical steel
A sacrifice to whatever gods govern bodies
That come with some assembly required
Whatever you do,
Do not say that the carefully sculpted landscape
Bordered by rocky ridges of scar tissue
Looks almost natural.

If she offers you breastbone
Aching to carve soft fruit from its branches
Though there may be more tissue in the lining of her bra
Than the flesh that rises to meet itLet her ripen in your hands.
Imagine if she’d lost those swells to cancer,
A car accident instead of an accident of genetics
Would you think of her as less a woman then?
Then think of her as no less one now.

If he offers you a thumb-sized sprout of muscle
Reaching toward you when you kiss him
Like it wants to go deep enough inside you
To scratch his name on the bottom of your heart
Hold it as if it can-
In your hand, in your mouth
Inside the nest of your pelvic bones.
Though his skin may hardly do more than brush yours,
You will feel him deeper than you think.

Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They’re just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
And honestly, they can barely contain us
We strain at their seams with every breath we take
We are all pulse and sweat,
Tissue and nerve ending
We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right.
Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It’s what bodies do.
They are grab bags of parts
And half the fun is figuring out
All the different ways we can fit them together;
All the different uses for hipbones and hands,
Tongues and teeth;
All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful.
But we could never forget how to use our hearts
Even if we tried.
That’s the important part.
Don’t worry about the bodies.
They’ve got this.