alphabet

Aug. 27th, 2013 01:20 am
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Today I was informed, without apparent irony, that 'going to work and socialising' are 'what life is all about.' By another person whose disabilities prevent her from doing either.

OK, that's not entirely true. She could socialise, albeit with some difficulty as she's slightly deaf and English is her second language, but her primary carer is an ableist fuck who demands complete emotional dependence as well as physical dependence, and mocks, blocks, or otherwise undermines any of her charge's attempts to do anything outside the house or connect with any other people. This woman maintains that her adoptive daughter 'doesn't have feelings' and talks about her like she's a freaking rescue dog. 'Oh she doesn't like me going away because she thinks she's being abandoned again and she doesn't understand I'm coming back.' Uh, no, she doesn't like you going away because YOU have rendered her completely reliant upon you. And also you have this tendency to lie about where you're going, which can't help.

I just sat there. I wanted to tell her that life is about so much more than the things we can't do. That although it is cruel and ableist of her carers to assume that she's asexual, celibacy in itself isn't a terrible thing. That work is miserable for many people, and it's wrong for people to shame you for not being able to do it when you're NOT ABLE TO DO IT. That it isn't, actually, massively unusual not to have friends. That even if you're not earning money, you still have value. There are films and TV shows, there is music, there is food, there are sunny days and affectionate dogs and so, so many things which allow me to continue to live even though I can neither work nor socialise. That I could not understand why her carer was just sitting there and letting her spout this self-loathing shit, because what the fuck kind of care is that, guilt-tripping someone every time they go shopping?

But I knew I would be judged if I said this, that her carer would be confirmed in her belief that I am a lazy parasite, and so I just sat there.

I used to assume that people who cared for and lived with disabled people would automatically be more clueful than the rest of the general population, but no! It is just like how living with someone from Eastern Europe has failed to make her civil to Polish waitresses. She is quite happy to jump in and speak on behalf of the person in the wheelchair, exactly as if she were completely unaware of people in wheelchairs saying that they have issues with being treated as if they were invisible. I think she actually is unaware of this. I am not quite sure how she has managed to remain unaware of this, but then she also thinks it is ok to refer to people as 'coloured' so I think she is ignorant of pretty much everything that has happened in the world during her lifetime.

This. I don't know how you could love someone and not try to learn their alphabet. Even if the alphabet is hard and you are stupid. You are supposed to try.
ambergris: (Default)
So I was feeling kind of weirdly triggered by the way that anyone daring to disagree with the slightest aspects of Shakeville's postings on Jacintha Saldanha was getting shut up and sat on and silenced? I don't understand why exactly it is so terrible to point out that Princess Diana had a complex and mutually exploitative relationship with the media, or that Saldanha's identity wasn't actually made public prior to her death (we still don't know anything about the other nurse involved, which is as it should be), or that there was an entire culture of gross 'practical jokes' at the Australian radio station and that maybe it's unfair to put the entire blame upon two individuals, choosing to ignore the environment they were working in and the bosses who remain largely anonymous and unhounded by the media. Anything that doesn't directly serve the 'pranks are evil' agenda must be hushed immediately. Yeah, the 'pranks are evil' agenda is important. But so is a lot of other stuff, like how economic conditions in the UK forced Jacintha Saldanha to live and work away from the support of her family, or how catastrophically Westerners fail to understand Asian concepts of shame and losing face, or how the international media really needs to get over its inexplicable and occasionally fatal obsession with a bunch of random posh people who sometimes get married and have babies.

And I realised, that if those things were not safe to say, there was no way on earth I would ever be able to express my reservations about bullying the bullies, or assuming them incapable of experiencing sincere regret, or the appropriateness of calling them 'shameless dirtbags' when you have just been talking about how abuse can kill people. Because, you know, white people who work in the media and have a proven deficiency of empathy obviously have no triggers whatsoever and can take whatever is thrown at them.

And then I thought: whoa, you have been considering yourself not good enough for a space where it is not even safe to say that bullying is not OK. A space where they are fundamentally uninterested in anything anyone else has to say. The china shop is an echo chamber. It's not about you being an elephant. It's about you not being a mirror.

Which is fair enough, because I don't get to dictate the terms on which other people choose to blog. But I am kind of angry with myself for letting myself be cowed by it. Making myself feel inadequate because the straitjacket didn't fit.
ambergris: (Default)
So everything you do is aimed at making the world in general a little less sucky and your space in particular a safe one. I support that. It's important.

And I accept that the only way I can support it is by not participating. Because I'm awkward. I will inevitably say the wrong thing, in spite of my best intentions, because that is what always happens. And I won't be able to cope when you call me on it, because I have a whole cornucopia of issues which prevent me from dealing gracefully with being criticized by strangers. I know that sounds like I'm making excuses. But I know myself, and I know my limitations, and the amount of linguistic policing that has to take place in order to make your space safe is more than I can currently handle.

I'm not good enough, basically. I'm sure you would hate me pointing this out, but it's true. Just as trolls and Nice Guys aren't good enough. Your space is a china shop and I am an elephant.

So when somebody posts about how great it is for her and how much she loves it? I am triggered. I am tearful. I am reminded of how my disability excludes me from basically all forms of community. I am reminded of how I will never have friends, of how I don't deserve them, of how I cannot be trusted not to upset someone whenever I open my mouth. Because pretty much everything you say is going to upset someone, somehow. That woman who posted about how great your community is and how much she loves it had absolutely no idea that her innocuous comment was going to send me spiralling into a pit of misery and self-hatred. And that is as it should be. She should be able to express sentiments like that without having to preface it with a content note, without having to worry that some random lurker is in distress because of something she said.

I am not safe for your space. But your space is not safe for me, either.

Well, the trolls and the Nice Guys manage without access to your community, don't they? They find fellow trolls and Nice Guys to congregate with. But I'm avoidant. We can't be around people by definition. The very concept of an avoidant community is an oxymoron. Which, among other things, means there is no activism, so there is next to no awareness of the fact that not everyone has friends, not everyone has relationships, and not everyone is capable of interacting with others in socially appropriate ways. And it is ableist to pretend that my disability doesn't exist, or isn't a disability, because, seriously, if something which prevents you working / living independently / making friends / having sex / having children fails to qualify as a disability, what the fuck does?

So part of me wants to crash around breaking all the china and screaming, hi, I exist, and you are erasing me and excluding me and all that other stuff you try so hard not to do.

Except that I am always already excluded. Because that is what being avoidant is.
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I am dreading Christmas and this fact is making me sad. I loved Christmas when I had a family, but now I don't have a family, not really. My mother ran off with an aspie guy who doesn't have anything to do with her children, which is fair enough really because it's not like I want to have anything to do with him either. And now my dad is shacking up with this control-freak domestic goddess who is completely obsessed with what size beds my sister and I are going to have in our new flat. I think she thinks it would be wasteful for an asexual to sleep in anything larger than a single, but, hello, I'm bigger than I was when I was ten, so why shouldn't I upgrade to a wider bed?

(I'm not out to her, exactly, but then I'm one of those people who doesn't really need to come out, like an obviously camp gay man or an unignorably butch lesbian. I'm always a little puzzled when aces complain about invisibility because I don't think I have ever succeeded in passing as sexual. I never get asked out, and I never get asked whether I have a partner. The rest of the world figured out I was asexual long before I did, even if they lacked the terminology to describe it. Please don't ask me how, because I have no idea.)

So basically I am now expected to spend Christmas with a bunch of random strangers (her siblings, their children, their grandchildren, plus various waifs and strays she's picked up along the way) and I won't get to see my mother, or my nan, or my uncles, or my cousins, and this is making me sad.

I'll never get married or have my own children. That was the only family I will ever have, and now I don't have it any more. And yeah, I know that the nuclear family is this horrible destructive patriarchal construct which goes wrong far, far more often than it goes right, and that contrary to popular belief not all humans are social creatures, and that Christmas is an ordeal for most people once they are past the age of twelve... but I am still sad. I am still sad that life stole Christmas from me, the way it stole pretty much everything else that was good and glittery. I don't know why the world couldn't just leave me one thing that was OK in the unrelenting sea of uneventful shit that passes for my life. Apparently that's too much to ask. Just like everything else.
ambergris: (Default)
and I don't know why they're hinting I didn't read their comment policy etc. in the comment immediately after it. Maybe they're not aiming that specifically at me, maybe it's just standard-issue social anxiety-related paranoia. It's hard to tell whether you're genuinely being shunned or whether you just assume you are because you're so used to it happening.

Anyway...

I am profoundly grateful that my invisibility has spared me harassment and assault (most of the time, anyway; when I do get jeered at it's always by teenage boys who seem mortally offended that I do strange things like wearing winter coats in winter.)

But I used to wish that there was some kind of switch I could throw so that I could be visible to people I found attractive while remaining invisible to the rest of the world. It makes me sad that avoiding unwelcome attention also deprived me of attention that would have been welcome. And sometimes I've even wondered how I can be a feminist when I'm not perceived as a woman, and therefore have trouble perceiving myself as a woman, and am not affected by most of the issues which affect women. It feels kind of appropriative, like I don't have a right to complain about things I'm lucky enough not to have to deal with, however sad and angry I am that other people have to deal with them.


I had more to say, about how sometimes I wonder whether I'm really demi or whether I just got so screwed up by years of being read as asexual that I started to think I must be, because, really, how can everyone you meet be wrong about something like that?

But then I remembered I have a blog for that.

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