Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Are You Neuroqueer? (Part 2) by Ib Grace

Maybe you read This Post Here and could relate to it, or maybe you almost could, but not quite, because the situation is a little different.  Because there are a couple of important situations I did not quite cover. And I want to. Because you might be Neuroqueer too, and welcome.

[Visual is the word "Invisible?" written in all-caps alone with question mark in white the middle of a black field, as if by chalk on a chalkboard.]

For you it isn't that you have a stigma situation going on that you worry about, or not all the time. Maybe it's more like this: you struggled through school feeling different and stupid and when they finally put a couple names on it, it was like a breath of fresh air.  Dyslexia? ADHD? Specific LD of some kind, a developmental or intellectual or mental disability or brain injury, perhaps something causing chronic pain, but not the kind that is apparent to everyone, so it took them forever to figure it out? It was a kind of liberation. You have felt alone, and now you might finally have some solidarity, some peers, some people who understand.

You're proud to say you're disabled, proud to say you're queer: nothing to hide. But you have to keep explaining yourself all the time, or else nobody will see you. You try to make the kind of eye contact that's like a secret handshake and it never works. Sometimes, people misinterpret it and kind of glare at you.

That can be on either or both intersectional location(s). Maybe you're femme and people assume you're straight unless you claim your space; maybe analogously even your queer disabled friends who get that fact already still have no understanding what you might go through as a dyslexic when they blithely make it be a whole book a week in the book club. Oh, just listen to the audio. As if that were so easily equivalent. Have they tried it? And yet part of you is grateful they even remembered, unlike the rest of the everyone, who crushingly fails to see you.

Tired, it can make you tired, and lonely, and this can also happen for all the people I remembered to put into the other article I was talking about when I was talking about medical stigmas on mental stuff.  Your disability is invisible and you feel unseen.  This is something I heard and this is how I know. I saw and heard, and so did many others who are here and who care about you. There are also other ways of knowing.  Seeing and hearing are two modes of recognition among many; in some ways, they are metaphorical.

[Visual is a vintage coffee cup on a red and white flowered tablecloth. The coffee cup says "Here's looking at you."]

But we are here and if you want us to see you we will see you and welcome you. You might be Neuroqueer or you might be a kind of ally in one or another aspect who wants to come with us and we can all recognize each other because this is good.  We are not alone, we are not islands.  We are in community and solidarity and love conquers all.

I invite you to recognize us here, and introduce yourself, and note yourself one of us or our friends as you may prefer, so that we may recognize you, and I will also invite you to write on here.  Soon I will write a more specific call for material for this site, so please be thinking if you would enjoy being a contributor.


Monday, October 14, 2013

I call to the shamed

I call to the shamed and you think and you feel
You are alone and you think and you feel
You are not worthy you are broken
And you shame yourself for feeling shame
It’s a cycle and the world abuses you
Then the people who abuse people they abuse you
And you shame yourself for being abused
And sometimes someone like me comes along
Singing a happy song an ode to life
Singing I love you and what you are
Come play with me and be real be yourself
You are all you have to be
And the beauty of you
You are real and I call to you

And sometimes you hear all this
And you feel more alone and you feel you will never
You will never feel the way I feel you will never
Ever see you the way I see you or me
And hearing me say it is shaming you too
But how can you say this
When the people like me so obviously mean well
And you might even think we are right
But it cannot stop the way you feel
This is real and I call to you

The shame is not forever and
While I don’t think the content is true I know
That the feeling is real and valid and lasts as long as it will
And I even know what it means what it is like
And I’ve sung that song before and before the freedom came
I knew the fear that kept the shame and this is how I know
How to remember that sometimes even my love
Feels like a reason for shame and pain
And I see you and I know it and for all the hurt there is
My heart hurts too and I remember and I wish for you
For the knowing to overcome the pain and shame
For our beauty to outshine the harms of abjection
We are real and I call to you


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Elizabeth Hassler: as depression is a breakfastfood,

as depression is a breakfastfood,
ee cummings doesn't scan correctly.
sometimes she chokes
---not like christy brown;
more figuratively.
shit. citing grammar rebels and spastic poets
will send tremors through her body
of work.
hypomania for lunch, on weekdays,
and she has only recently stopped reading other
people's suicide notes
for de(s)sert. lately
she eats cake instead.
have new texture
on her teeth, but
even amidst all this self-discovery
she is still a really real depressed person
other unfortunate facts:
she didn't draw herself
childhood trauma
in art therapy.
she eats really real depression,
or sometimes cereal,
for breakfast.
isn't cereal tragic
when a spastic eats it? they
choke, you know.
a graphic on the internet told her
she has four of the ten
commonly associated with cerebral palsy
---that makes her real,
yes? really
medicalized. real and really
to be fixed.
the next day,
a declaration of rights
listed bipolar as cognitive impairment:
the whims of statistics, and
that makes her unreal.
people don't listen
unless she uses big words,
people use "brilliance"
as a bargaining chip,
so she eats the dictionary
at all square meals. she wants words
that don't exist.
she wants intimacies
unspoken. when she wants
to die, which is a sharp want
nestled among her desires some hours
(it signifies
a gap in her meals: sometimes
for months without a plan),
it isn't because
she's a crippled girl.
also, it isn't because she hates her depression
or thinks life is pain---body
aches and misfired nerves
mean more to her about aliveness
than desperation
---or is really going to kill herself
in actuality (she's not,
like, impulsive,
and even if her
inertia wasn't generally productive of stasis she has promised
to Live For The Cause).
she should probably
eat lamotrigine with breakfast
now, and again.
she's writing this
to clean up breakfast dishes.
she wants the kind of life
not predicated on awareness:
can you see her?
is it safe?
can you hold her here?
queerness is the safe place
for her body, her spasming skins.
when i say that i attempt
these love letters to her body,
i mean the verse-writing
form that wanted to die today
after breakfast and needs to live
just so long and long enough.
                      --Elizabeth Hassler