Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I shouldn't have to beg

I wrote this when I was having Issues with very basic "don't make me seize, 'k?" accommodations. It may be a bit wangsty. Please, give me some suggestions so I don't end up with a month of epilepsy wangst. As is my custom, there is swearing.

Institutionalized ableism becomes clear in a number of places and situations. Where it hits hardest, most gut-wrenchingly, is in asking for simple, by which I mean no-effort, accommodations and consideration for disabilities that aren't easily seen.

Yeah, I know, not having a strobe light everywhere is a fucking drag.I took up the hobbies I did because there shouldn't be any there. It doesn't matter that "you didn't know". A flashing light is a dangerous thing to have in this setting-people are moving in a number of directions fairly fast! No, I won't be nice or apologetic about stating my needs. It's my health vs your ego & your "but I dunwanna". Health wins. Access wins.

So many simple requests come down to need vs ego. Yeah, I know, your feelings are hurt that you aren't funny, you're actually kind of a douchebag, and I just don't have it in me to sugarcoat. I'm not going to. This isn't a preference here. This is a need. Were it just a preference, there'd be a lot less panic involved.

Yeah, panic. When you make me beg for a place to be relatively safe, safe as in non seizure inducing (and we all know I deal with audiogenic issues in my own way), it makes me panic. The power dynamic of begging means you can say no. It means that you, should you deign from your place of privilege to say yes, have a hold on me. And it's not like knowing who I have a crush on or the inane things I did when I was 10-it means you can revoke my ability to safely navigate a part of my world at any time, for any reason or none. A presumably public part of my world.

That's not how it should be. Access should be a right, not a privilege to be revoked at any time, to be whittled away for reasons and justifications that come down to "it's hard". Disabled personhood, epileptic personhood, autistic personhood is still personhood. My access matters just as much as the next person's.

I can't be silent on this as my world threatens to get narrower & narrower. I'm one of those uppity bad disabled people who won't stay silent and in my house. I don't know my place, you say. I defy notions of where my place is. My place is out here living my life to the fullest.

But the panic takes its toll. The seizures take their toll. The nastiness from others, that takes its toll too. By my mid 20s I've been threatened with a knife, I've had my skull bashed, and I've gotten more death threats than I care to count for the crime of wanting a life-an accessable life. If I'm abrasive about my needs, certainly nothing justifies assault with a deadly weapon, when I was 19 or now.

Stop narrowing my world. You won't even miss the flashies. You won't even notice other access features I or other people ask for. You may find they make your life easier too. You may find your world widened. But everyone suffers from the culture of silence and exclusion.

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