Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Burn Brighter, Faster, Do More, and Don’t Stop: On Activist Culture

What drives me to go to work (an advocacy job), go home, and write blog post after blog post about the work I do, share more news of oppression, and sometimes try to stay up later than I should and over-caffeinate, and not set aside time for myself? If you guessed, “Activist culture,” either from experience or the title of this blog post, you are correct. Recently I came to the startling conclusion that taking time off was, in fact, necessary to prevent me from going into total burnout at some point. An article in the Journal of Human Rights Practice notes “Social justice and human rights (SJHR) activists, whose work renders them susceptible to emotional and physical exhaustion (Maslach and Gomes 2006), need tools to tend to their own well-being.”

Working so hard that someone makes themselves physically and emotionally exhausted does not make them more virtuous, it makes them physically and emotionally exhausted. As I requested PTO from work, during which I plan to not write any advocacy-related blog posts, but maybe work on my magical realism novel, and visit a friend in another city, I felt incredibly guilty. But I need it to prevent activist burnout. The same article notes, “The combination of the emotional toll of SJHR work and the culture of selflessness can hasten ‘activist burnout’, a condition, described in more detail later, which often results in people scaling back on or fully disengaging from their SJHR activism.” This is a polite, academic phrasing of “imploding” for the most part. Many activists do not end their advocacy and activist careers well.

Further, not only can trauma travel down generations, it is still occurring to marginalized people. Discrimination can also impact mental health, and activists have a higher rate of mental illness (I recommend two posts in particular; Larkin Taylor-Parker of Traveling Show wrote a two-part series on Talking About Suicide and Healthier Advocates in which all of this is discussed, along with links and methods for self-care).

Activist culture perpetuates the late nights, and the lack of self-care; it calls upon the idea that the only ones worthy of virtue are those who sacrifice everything. The causes of activist burnout, according to 22 interviewed activists in the article, were: Infighting and tense relationships within activist communities, deep sensitivities to injustice, and lack of attention to burnout and self-care in activist communities.

For example:

Eight of the participants cited disharmonious or hostile environments in their SJHR activist organizations or movements as a primary cause of their activist burnout. They felt that the politics within their activist communities were often cruel and deleterious to themselves and other activists.... Several participants shared how they had been ‘bullied’, ‘attacked’, and ‘undermined’ by fellow activists.’


 One factor that distinguishes SJHR activist burnout from other forms of vocational burnout is the stress and self-inflicted pressure that comes with a deep awareness of injustice and exploitation (Kovan and Dirkx 2003). Eleven of the participants noted how their sensitivities to injustice, and the related stress and pressure, contributed to their burnout, especially as the injustices they were battling appeared too ‘unwieldy’.


…all of the activists interviewed for this study experienced some level of activist burnout that required them to leave their activism at least temporarily. Other than one participant, none found in their activist organizations or movements mentoring on coping with burnout or opportunities to have open, honest conversations about burnout. Many of the activists attributed their burnout to the absence of these opportunities.

I have not seen a functional discussion about activist burnout in the disability and autistic communities save for private discussions, Taylor-Parker’s posts, and a slightly irritated post I made in 2015 that got backlash for things it never said. Perhaps there are discussions that I'm not seeing. Or they're just not happening.

Again: someone working themselves to emotional and physical exhaustion is a thing that should be discouraged, not praised. We need to stop encouraging people to sacrifice themselves to movements and burn out quickly. We need advocates that can sustain this long-term without burning out and keep movements going, and grow to become community leaders and elders.

Using People with Mental Illness as Clickbait Hurts Us

Bad articles on the problems we face can hurt and kill people. Write better.

Dear everyone, including myself: We deserve to be alive. We have the right to self-directed services and whatever works best for us. We deserve to be alive. Stay alive. Stay alive.

I have been on medication for a long time, first for ADHD, then anxiety, then depression. I have intermittently had periods of wanting to die since age 14. My most recent full-blown crisis landed me in the hospital. It was not a question for my friends whether they still wanted me alive, even as I lay bare every problem and feeling I was having. They wanted me alive.

Dear everyone, including myself: We deserve to be alive. We have the right to self-directed services and whatever works best for us. We deserve to be alive. Stay alive. Stay alive.

Evidence suggests that there is an increase in suicides following media reports of suicide, which is frequently referred to as copycat behaviour or as the Werther effect… The risk is thought to depend not only on reader characteristics,2,3 but also on media content. 35 

While the author of a certain xoJane article did not report the person’s death as a suicide, she left open the implication with a “supposedly” and the method of “supposed” death. She wrote an article that openly told us what we should do and tried to tell us how much she thought our lives were worth. It was a grim reminder of some people’s mindsets, but we do not have to bow to her desires.

With that knowledge, writers, know you are writing about people who deserved to be alive, and your audience are people who deserve to be alive, and your audience includes people who may already be prone to suicidal ideation. You are responsible for encouraging us to die if you write a sensationalized drama with explicit details. That is not a thing to take lightly or relish. It is a thing to make you hold yourselves accountable in your writing.

Dear everyone, including myself: We deserve to be alive. We have the right to self-directed services and whatever works best for us. We deserve to be alive. Stay alive. Stay alive.

What do we do instead? What do I do instead? My friend wrote on how to talk about suicide, and about taking care of ourselves and each other in advocacy-based communities, which see a lot of burnout and stress. We should demand that people write more responsibly, as per what my friend gathered information on. We should take care of each other when they don’t. I will try to stop writing so much about things when I’m off work. We should set healthy boundaries for each other but still show support.  

And writers should stop writing sensationalized dramas about mental illness, regardless of whether it’s about suicide. Writers of all kinds, this applies to you. These are our stories and our lives, and we want them respected by all, not showcased as some kind warning story, some kind of pity-narrative, some kind of revenge-story, some kind of sensationalized odd horror feature story. You can hurt people. Take some accountability. 

Dear everyone, including myself: We deserve to be alive. We have the right to self-directed services and whatever works best for us. We deserve to be alive. Stay alive. Stay alive.

People with Mental Illness Deserve to be Alive

XoJane recently published an article about someone with schizoaffective disorder’s death being a blessing. Outrage ensued. The author’s name became anonymous. The editors of xoJane, at least temporarily, locked their Twitter profiles, then released this apology:

Screencap of: “I apologize for an article that was posted here yesterday, entitled “My Former Friend’s Death Was a Blessing.” I deeply regret the hurt that this article has caused and understand that it has perpetuated stigma and diminished the lives of people with mental illness. I am committed to immediately reviewing our vetting process to ensure that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we at xoJane present all women going forward. I appreciate all of you who took the time to let us know how you felt about this issue.”

I will not link to the archived version of the article right now. I would like to focus on what happens when you write about these topics like that. When you write that it’s better that people with mental health needs — especially people with particularly shunned diagnoses — die, this is what I know about you: I do not trust you with anyone. And I do not trust anyone who would post such a thing. I do not know the motivation of an editor allowing it to be posted. There are a multitude of reasons people have suggested, most of them related to increasing page hits and profit. A lot of people already think our lives have no value. They will continue to visit the page. Or, people outside the disability rights/mental health communities will not hear about it.

What happens when you write this way is a lot. It first of all tells people with mental illness — and again especially those with more shunned diagnoses — that people think we’re better off dead. It confirms some of our worst fears, our darkest, deepest worries. I do not think there is any data on this, but I suspect this way of writing about us encourages people to kill themselves.

It also presumes to know what the person with mental illness would have wanted. It presumes that we always think of ourselves as shells, better off dead, and that our suffering will always outweigh our right and desire to live. And indeed, some of us do feel that we are suffering a lot, and/or have suicidal ideation. I spent time in a hospital this January to prevent a suicide attempt! But writing that you know they’d be happy with the way they died and that being dead is better for them perpetuates in a very active way negative self-value and more fear and more, “Well, no one will miss me if I die.”

Then, it reinforces the narrative to other people, casual readers, that we are miserable, soulless unpeople. That with how uncomfortable we make people, we ought to be dead. Like I’ve mentioned in other pieces, we are at best inconvenient and uncomfortable to people. People are allowed to be uncomfortable with actions and statements, and assert boundaries — I have said awkward things to people in episodes of my cyclical mental illness and done my share of sometimes screwing up — but to capitalize off it and further the idea that we’re inherently bad and wrong and unpeople is unethical.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dear Autistic kids: a letter about friendship

I need to talk to you about something a lot of people don't talk about: friendship.

Some people assume that we won't ever have friends. Or, that we will know the “rules” for friendship if we have friends. The first assumption is wrong. The second assumption is sometimes wrong. I know no one explained the “rules” for friendship to me.

People will like you. People will care about you. Sometimes, these people will leave. I have been learning this the hard way. No one told me the “rules.” No one told me that friendships don't often last forever. I am sometimes in a great deal of hurt. This is especially after leaving college. Friends headed off to different parts of the country or even the world. I also moved to a different city for a job.

Sometimes, people move on. This includes these days, when people might have to move more and more for jobs. You might move and find it hard to keep in touch. People might also move for college, or just for other reasons. It doesn't mean they never liked you. Sometimes you will feel used. But that is how a lot of friendships will work, and it doesn't mean they didn't enjoy being friends. A lot of times, both people understand that many friendships are not a forever thing. But people might not have told you that. This is not your fault. It does not make you bad.

Sometimes you might feel close to a person, but they don't feel as close to you. It doesn't mean they don't like you. It will hurt. Figuring that stuff out is hard. It might change how you hang out with them, if you figure it out. It might change as you try to learn what things makes them uncomfortable because they aren't as close.

For example, I would devote myself to people who weren't as close to me. I would always remember their birthdays and sometimes bring them things. I would feel hurt when they didn't remember my birthday, though I didn't expect gifts. But they never expected me to remember theirs in the first place. And it often made them uncomfortable when I gave them things. 

Sometimes, friendships can last a long time. They aren't always short-term. It can be hard to tell which ones will, and which ones won't. Try to see how much work they want to put in to keep the friendship going after it gets harder to be friends for whatever reason, including distance. If they don't want to put in a lot of work, then it might have been a short term one. This is a generalization. It doesn't apply to all situations.

Friends won't always just drift away. Sometimes friends will hurt you and you leave. Or you just don't get along after a while. Or you make a mistake and hurt them. That will happen. We are all people. It doesn't make you evil. It will hurt when these things happen. Having friends is still worth it.

I didn't have a close friend from the time I was 12 to 18 and a half. I had a loose, vague collection of friendly people, but that was all. Fellow students looked at me a lot like I needed to get off the planet. But at some point, people will like you, and people will care. It might take a while, like it did for me. People will like you and people will care. A lot of times they'll leave and occasionally they won't. It will hurt sometimes.

Having friends is still worth it.


Monday, May 2, 2016

How #MHM2016 Misses the Mark

 There seems to be an assumption behind many mental health campaigns, like the #MHM2016 one – for Mental Health Month – that mental health care is all people with mental illness need. There is an unwavering focus on access to care. Okay. That's great for people who want mental health care. I mean, I see a psychiatrist and a therapist. I take medication. Cool. In some ways I am a model citizen with mental illness. But when people talk about access to “treatment,” and people “needing treatment,” and “the plight of the mentally ill” and “mental health awareness,” this is what people mean, I think:
  1. Access to to treatment is more important than issues like stable housing, co-occurring physical health conditions that can be managed so we don't die at our average age of fifty-two, and a source of income.
  2. People need access and should have treatment whether they want it or not, because they need it for their own good.
  3. Access to treatment will fix all the problems and manage the mental health needs well.
  4. People with mental illness belong in the hands of psychiatrists and doctors.
  5. Coercive/involuntary treatment and/or hospitalization.
  6. Awareness!!! The tragedy of mental illness!!!
My reactions to these:
  1. Stable housing, is, you know, kind of necessary to begin thinking about treatment. Instead of being homeless, or bouncing from place to place, and worrying about all the things that come with that.
  2. Stop. The baseline for any treatment should be self-directed.
  3. See number one. We need community supports, adequate physical health care, stable housing.
  4. How medical model of you. We can be fixed just by doctors, clearly! Tell that to my brain after a psych ward visit, and years of psychiatry and therapy.
  5. See number two.
  6. We are not broken - at least, not that you can decide. We are not tragedies. Many of us would take magic cures. Many of us wouldn't. More than that, mental health awareness campaigns are aimed at getting us into treatment where we “belong.” We become whatever our diagnosis is, to be fixed. Alternately, we are prone to being mass shooters in the public eye. When your campaigns focus on treatment, it makes us seem broken and people are likely to believe we need treatment before ending up mass shooters.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Catch-22 of Mental Health Advocacy

There is a catch-22 I run into doing mental health advocacy as myself, similar to the one I run into doing autistic advocacy. It is a catch-22 similar to how people will tell autistic self-advocates: you're not autistic enough, you're too “high functioning,” you don't understand my [child, relative]'s struggles.

In a similar vein: I'm told I don't seem “mentally ill enough.” People have told me, “Well, I don't think of you as mentally ill.” Is it because the cyclical manifestations began later? Is it because they'd be embarrassed to know me otherwise? Or: I have a job. I look, day to day, slightly presentable – on occasion, even fully presentable. I am not homeless. I have never been homeless. I have never been involuntarily hospitalized.

So, people will tell me I'm not mentally ill enough... and then the people who have had all those things happen, been homeless and involuntarily hospitalized and jobless... will be told they don't know what's best for them. Will be told, because of the mindset that people with serious mental illness have no capacity, they have no right to self-directed services and treatment.

That the best place for them is the hospital and in treatment and being told what their treatment is. That HR 2646, “The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” will do everyone good, especially for the desperate families watching their loved ones' mental illness. It won't. That the Treatment Advocacy Center, advocating for more hospital beds instead of jail when neither more hospitalization or jails are the solution for people with people with mental illness, and NAMI, a parent-based advocacy org that supports HR 2646, are helping everyone with mental illness. They are some of the most prominent voices in mental health discussions, and they do not center us in their advocacy.

Instead of playing into it and trying to describe how seriously my mental illnesses impact me, talking about what the medication has done to me, talking about symptoms and things I've done, talking about my hospitalization more in this – trying to justify over and over again why I deserve to talk about it – I will keep talking about mental health care being broken and people's right to self-directed services, no matter how incapable society thinks they are. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Shaming of People With Mental Health Needs

A recovery-ish narrative is fine for people who want it. The story featuring Eric Walton and his mother is something more than that, though. Filed under “inspired news” in the Washington Post, it describes the blessing of his diagnosis and his new medication that finally worked, which came after his mother publicly shamed him in a blog post called “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

Yes, as he was age 13 and hospitalized for undiagnosed bipolar, she compared him to a serial killer, scared he would turn out like Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Why air this on the internet? To give a face to the pain, apparently, but why add more trouble and shame to someone who was dealing with a lot already? Too, it reinforced the notion that “mentally ill people are mass shooters!!!!”

It reminds me, of course, of the very public way many non-autistic parents of autistic children post videos of their children’s meltdowns and toileting needs to “share the experience of autism” (autism is a developmental disability, not a mental health need, but the parallels are striking)

Also, we know there needs to be more support for parents. Really, most people (except apparently the government or people who fund services, mostly) have grasped that. But needing more support does not equal getting to publicly share your children’s hygiene needs or meltdowns or outbursts or personal details. It is, in fact, possible to advocate with some level of dignity for your child. Really, most self-advocates for disability and mental health understand that parents need more support and also want the best outcomes for people’s children, albeit sometimes with major disagreements about how to proceed to gain these best outcomes.

There are many things wrong with the story.

There are many things wrong with portraying this public shaming as acceptable.

Too, the Internet recently turned its attention to Jake Lloyd, the former child star who played Anakin Skywalker in “The Phantom Menace,” part of the Star Wars franchise. Recently released from jail into a “psychiatric facility” because of schizophrenia – or, should I say, society’s preference to put people with mental health needs in coercive treatment in hospitals, away from sight.

The internet did so in a way that tore him apart and treated him like a spectacle, broken and mentally ill and in desperate need of a 24/7 psychiatric hospital. Naturally, they will treat him when he emerges not as a survivor of a coercive system but as a broken shell, stigmatizing him beyond what my words can express.

People should be able to talk about psychiatric hospitalization without shame and also to tell of the problems inherent to the system.

I almost walked into my therapist the other day outside the Metro. No, he’s not my therapist. He was my therapist. I burn with shame and want to run across the street to get away, but the light is red. He works in the psych ward.

On the same day, someone who climbed a sequoia tree and remained there for twenty-four hours during an episode of psychosis’s story appeared on someone’s Facebook newsfeed as a prop for HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. The man who climbed the tree is now in jail and faces $50,000 bail. His mother apparently wants to fight for the Murphy Bill because the legal system is blocking her efforts to get him psychiatric treatment.

Dear everyone: stop using people with mental illness as your props. The Murphy Bill would cut the funding to community-based programs that help people with mental illness find homes, legal programs that protect their rights, among other things. What the Murphy Bill does is force medication and treatment in psychiatric hospitals. It is a plan that does not fix the broken health care system. 

Of course, people with mental health needs in crisis mode are lucky if they not victims of police violence, especially people of color with mental health needs. This is also a major issue that should be spoken of more often and structural reforms pushed for.

But the public shaming of people with mental health needs also needs to stop. A coercive and dehumanizing psychiatric treatment system needs structural reforms as well, as I have written about extensively, before we push people into it. And lastly, if someone does enter that system, they should be free to talk about it without being shamed, without being treated like an unperson and like they are broken, to blog about the problems with the system and be listened to instead of being written off.

The people who need to be invited to the mental health conversation table are those thought to be the least able to communicate about it. We should treat people with mental health needs as people. Because people like me (perhaps not dealing with it as visibly), and people who are more visibly dealing with mental health needs, are people.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

On Autism Acceptance Month

We put so much into trying to reclaim “Autism Awareness Month,” our reactions informed by trauma, abuse, neglect, and pain. It is the month where many of us are surrounded by blue lights and puzzle pieces. We turn to seeking those out and commenting furiously, fueled by pain and anger – with mixed results. We write long blog posts and hold acceptance events trying to counter the flood of “awareness.”

We have made some progress, such as Apple calling it “autism acceptance” with no mention of “awareness.” This is important that people saw it called acceptance, though many don't have access to iPads, which is concerning and needs to be addressed. We're getting the word “acceptance” more mainstream.

But what if we put some of the same energy into claiming our other Autistic holidays that we made ourselves? Autistic culture can blossom further if we allow our holidays to grow, to become cultural phenomena that is talked about outside autistic circles:

·         June 18 – Autistic Pride Day  
·         November 1 – Autistics Speaking Day
·         November – Autistic History Month 

I do not oppose working for acceptance during April, obviously! I am of course against LIUB and the like. But what if we put some of that April energy into being for things relating to autistic culture and pride, instead of mostly focusing on a month where it's a constant being against things like Autism Speaks and “awareness,” which can be exhausting? 

What do you think? 

Been putting a lot of stuff on Medium




I'll update this blogspot with a post at some point, ha.

Monday, March 7, 2016

On Bernie Sanders' Mental Health Comment at the Democratic Debate

An ugly statement, contextualized by his reliance on blaming mental illness for mass shootings, sprang forth from Bernie Sanders’ mouth at the Democratic Debate on Sunday in Flint, MI – the same place where he also decided to use people with disabilities as props for the Flint water crisis. While he said the following ugly words, I was on stage at a queer open mic yelling into the microphone a poem what it’s like to be autistic and trans and disabled and watch community members die.

"We are, if [I'm] elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health," Sanders said. "And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in mental health."

Ow. It was meant as a casual joke. But this is the kind of rhetoric that routinely perpetuates itself into systemic oppression against people with mental illness like myself. It says, “people with mental illness are responsible for oppressive violence. People with mental illness are responsible for racism, xenophobia, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism.” We can certainly be all of the above things because above all we are people, but mental illness alone is not responsible for these things. For Bernie Sanders, who professes to be anti-bigotry and progressive, it is a low blow to ascribe these things to mental illness. It’s a cop-out.

And above all we are people. I raised my voice into the microphone to conclude the poem,

and the sun sinks through the trees while you’re holding
candles and mourning the dead into the morning and beyond into all throughout the year
writing statements and riding waves of emotion that threaten to choke you as surely as
all the murdered disabled and trans people were
and sometimes they’re both and you can’t
draw lines in yourself so you’re drawing lines in the sand and saying “no more”
it’s not knowing where the dread begins and ends in you
it’s not knowing where the dead begin and end in your heart

People with disabilities and mental illness die by a variety of methods every year, many of them murder and suicide. You would rather laugh at jokes made our expense than reform an ableist healthcare system (among other things) and society. No one is saying there’s not a need for better health care, especially for mental health care – but that doesn’t just involve making sure people can adequately access it, but that the healthcare itself isn’t going to compound the issue by treating the person as a problem to be dealt with and being ableist.

And when you talk about mental illness like it’s what’s wrong with the “moral decay” of America… and like it’s what’s wrong with the GOP… you sound like a eugenicist. You sound like the people who, decades and decades ago, held strength and power and influenced state legislation to sterilize us – disabled, mentally ill people (along with people of color and low-income people) – and you sound like the people who committed people with mental illness like me to first “madhouses,” and then later called them “asylums” and then “institutions” and “mental hospitals,” along with people with other disabilities to protect society from us.

You make us out responsible for the nation’s shortcomings, when in reality you have failed to initiate the proper funding and organization of community integration programs for us. You call deinstitutionalization a disaster, and refuse to spend money on community care. You are the reason people think we are horrifyingly dangerous and are more than willing to introduce legislation to strip our rights.

You call us responsible for the things wrong with society and sound like eugenicists.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

life lessons from a "difficult child"

In preschool, I ran circles around my classmates.

Here's the stack of novels she's read today.” The teachers would indicate a large stack of books in kindergarten in first grade to my mother. “Here's the amount of classwork she's done.” A stack of uncompleted worksheets.

I thought the psychiatrist's questions were rather pointless. His condescending manner struck me even as a young child. I couldn't express it in words, so I bit and threw anything I could at him. By the first grade he had given me diagnoses of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, and anxiety.

Age 14: I am diagnosed as autistic alongside those.

Age 16: depression.

Throughout: Social skills work. Therapy. Psychiatrists. Medications.

My life has been a cocktail of medications prescribed as diagnoses tacked on each other. My body and brain rejected many of them. Some altered my mood dramatically; others made me fall asleep in class even when I didn't want to. A combination of them gave me seizures in college. I tried to bail from them cold turkey and wound up with withdrawal symptoms for six months. I have no idea what the current ones – a much nicer combination than the last combination – have done to my brain chemistry; I can't function without one of them at this point.

I was gone up the tree when someone stops looking. I was screaming at people who touched me. I was shredding paper and trashing my room and causing a ruckus. I had broken another electronic item; this time, it's by accident, but last time, I threw it.

I never had access to enough language to express my feelings, my past trauma that I didn't know had happened yet, my pent up rage at the turmoil my life constantly seemed to be in. I tried to put words to feelings that I didn't know about, to use words to explain, but it failed. The same words that were my refuge on paper, working on novels and typing out poetry and stories, failed me with trying to express my deepest feelings.

Everything is a pathology, something that needs prescribing for, because we are “too difficult” otherwise. We are to be behaviorally-modified and we are to be silenced one way or another. My life has been through this framework. People wondered how to “fix” me. I was “that kid,” the weird one who moved funny and talked funny and could only talk about cats and gerbils and books, who seemed either lost in their head or too loud and frenetic for this world, who ran off to investigate things without a moment's care of whether I lost track of who I was with.

And yet I was never “from hell.” No one with a disability is from hell, Alison M. Thompson, author of the Boy From Hell: Life With a Child with ADHD. You've gotten that book republished. Congrats, I guess, on implying that we are from an otherworldly dimension of fire and punishment. This is how people see us: punishments, burdens, deadweights.

What about us?

We read your stories and hear your words, no matter how lost in our heads we seem. We are not your experiments in how quiet and orderly you can make us. We live and experience trauma from the way people treat us – we should have your support of all people's to back us up against a world that thinks us a waste of space, not contributing to the pain and trauma. We live your words and your punishments, reared to feel defective and that we'll be only considered almost people if we pass by your standards.

I never learned to shut up and be still. I never learned how to limit the amount of space I take up. I never learned to modulate and self regulate for others' discomfort with my disabilities. I never will. It breaks my heart that people live with the exhaustion of self-regulating into silence or compliance. It breaks my heart that people are learning the ways they supposedly don't matter from the world and all the ways they move and communicate are supposedly wrong.

I work for a world where it is at least mostly safe to be disabled, visibly or not, anywhere, anytime, and no matter who you're with. It is exhausting and painful and sometimes triggering, and sometimes rewarding. I would do it without any of the rewards. It is important enough to me that I lose sleep on how to best benefit the disability community.

Because we are not disposable, or punishments, or wrong for existing. 


Note: I used she pronouns as a child