March 29, 2018 § Leave a comment
I used to go to a lot of meetings–nights, weekends, morning till night. It was almost all I did, on top of everything else (my child, my paid work, my creative/intellectual life). Then I learned that the temporality of a lot of movement work, the urgency of it, the life and death-ness of it, triggered disabling anxiety and mania in me, which drove me to more meetings and more frantic activity in an endless negative feedback loop, and so I had to basically stop going to meetings or else I would be stopped. It was a humbling thing, to be forced to reckon with your own real emotional and physical limits. I still struggle with it–I still try sometimes to go to stuff, thinking, “well, maybe just this once or maybe if I do it like this and not like that”–because I want to be helpful, I want to be of service, I want to support. I see that others are fighting for their lives. But when I do try to jump in, inevitably I end up remembering why it is I just can’t do very much beyond going to work, taking care of myself and my child, and writing with the few extra hours a week left over. Slow things, deliberate things.
Now, on Facebook, I see people going full tilt on all sorts of issues I still care about deeply but know I can’t help with, if I want to stay stable. It’s really hard not to jump in. It feels wrong. It’s also hard to imagine what it might mean to be involved in ways that don’t presume putting one’s body in public.
That’s why, when I encountered Johanna Hedva’s “Sick Woman Theory,” I felt like I wanted to post it here. (I wish I could just post it to Facebook but I recoil somehow from posting anything vulnerable, anything I’m actually thinking about or dealing with. It’s easier to post funny stories, random shit, jokes.)
Anyway, this passage of Hedva’s particularly resonated with me:
If we take Hannah Arendt’s definition of the political – which is still one of the most dominant in mainstream discourse – as being any action that is performed in public, we must contend with the implications of what that excludes. If being present in public is what is required to be political, then whole swathes of the population can be deemed a-political – simply because they are not physically able to get their bodies into the street.
And then this, too, I love and agree with 100%:
I used to think that the most anti-capitalist gestures left had to do with love, particularly love poetry: to write a love poem and give it to the one you desired, seemed to me a radical resistance. But now I see I was wrong.
The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care.
Because, once we are all ill and confined to the bed, sharing our stories of therapies and comforts, forming support groups, bearing witness to each other’s tales of trauma, prioritizing the care and love of our sick, pained, expensive, sensitive, fantastic bodies, and there is no one left to go to work, perhaps then, finally, capitalism will screech to its much-needed, long-overdue, and motherfucking glorious halt.
And goddammit, can I just say how excited I am to listen to the Judith Butler talk Hedva also references in her essay, entitled “Vulnerability and Resistance”…here it is:
March 26, 2018 § Leave a comment
I’ve been fairly stable, and so has G, so I haven’t been posting a lot. But I came across this and found it summed up thoughts and feelings I’ve had a lot over the last few years, a lot a lot, about the accessibility of movement work. I thought about sharing it on Facebook but I dunno. So here you go.
Some friends and I have been talking lately about the ways that people with learning disabilities, developmental disabilities and mental health issues have become excluded from the social justice organizations that we have been a part of. Even in grassroots collectives and unions that strive to be inclusive and where people know how to talk about disability, many people don’t know concretely what steps to take to make their organizing more inclusive of us. Here are some ideas to get you started.
(A couple notes on terminology: I use the term disabled people rather than people with disabilities because that’s how I prefer to refer to myself, and a growing number of people are referring to themselves that way. Here’s a good explanation of why. Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for people whose minds work differently than what is considered “normal” or socially acceptable. It often refers to people who…
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January 24, 2018 § Leave a comment
Excited to let you know that some of my poetry was accepted for publication in Outsider Poetry, which describes itself as a “literary review for those who create with mental illness, are self-trained, or create art and poetry that challenges cultural and academic norms.” Fiercest respect!
Click below to read:
November 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
i remember the way limbs would twitch
while falling asleep
from the time before
on lithium. not my limbs or
my bloodstream or my
bipolar this time but
those of the one
i sleep beside / and what does it mean
does it make a difference
whether he calls me girlfriend
or partner or wife,
is how he introduced me this time
to the PA at the appointment
at the office where i went
after the hospital
because you never saw
the actual doctor, only
the PA–why? and where
i had to be
just a little bit
of a bitch, i had to go to
bat, be all
so have you heard
of such and such research
on light therapy–is that an option?
and, i know latuda
is good for bipolar depression
specifically, and three years ago
it wasn’t generic yet; is it now?
i hate it when doctors
don’t explain the shit
they really should, when
they lack imagination
to suggest other options,
new things you might not
have thought of yourself
when suicidally depressed.
i hate it when doctors
don’t ask you the questions
you might not have known
to ask yourself
because you cannot
advocate for yourself or even
take yourself to the doctor
when it’s actually
you have to be dragged there
against a brain screaming constantly
not my brain this time, no,
by the grace of god but how
do you think
i would know otherwise
what a doctor should be asking
October 14, 2017 § Leave a comment
Right now G is outside on the porch scrolling through his phone–I can see the light from the screen through the dark of the window from where I sit inside, typing on the bed. He’s been more depressed this year, more frequently and worse, than in the two years prior, since his last major break. It’s not as extreme as it was then, but it’s worse than it has been for awhile. It started at the turn of the year and it’s autumn now, as indicated today by first real cool front. Got real bad during the summer, after a three-week school program in Ecuador that allowed him to imagine himself a different person, doing different things in a different place. Then back home to real life and the reality of being a person with bipolar, with depression–in part, I discovered, because he’d been taking just half his mood stabilizer after he got mad at his last psychiatrist and neglected to refill his prescription. He’d been making do with half doses while in Ecuador, high on the intensity of studying abroad, high on everything new, on the fantasy of a new self.