Thursday, September 21, 2017
Sometimes, it’s easy to think that if we are a woman, disabled, an ethnic minority, a religious minority, LGBTQ or otherwise part of a group often stereotyped, that we have no biases against ourselves and that nothing we do or say ever perpetuates biases or misconceptions. However, despite being a woman, I have definitely thought horrible shameful sexist thoughts like “Really? My doctor is a woman? Fancy that!” or “Wow, that man is such a good nurse! Look at him throw my bandages in the biohazardous waste receptacle!”
And even though my husband has Cerebral Palsy, I’ve thought despicable things about people with physical disabilities like “Oh that poor person must be so lonely and I hope they get to eat yummy meals like pancakes for dinner.” Or if I see someone pushing someone else in a wheelchair, unless they both have white hair and crinkly skin, I probably think “Wow, look at that caretaker go, and look at that other person being awake and out of bed!” Instead of, “Look at that cute couple!” even though if one day Michael is in a wheelchair and I am pushing him, I want people to think “Look at that cute couple!”
Even Michael has told me that he’s had these terrible, awful, yucky thoughts and even about other people with obvious disabilities, and sometimes he has them even though he makes himself sad for having them, and then he feels sad-times-sad, and then he feels extra sad because he doesn’t want other people to have those thoughts about him.
It’s not just about disability or gender or race though, it’s also just about human-being ness. I think thoughts like “Oh that person is crying they are having a bad day :( maybe their dog died or maybe they lost all their homework...
“One day they’ll know what it’s like when their baby is screaming his lungs off in his crib and they are afraid of scary possibilities of strangers sneaking into our house. One day that sad person will be sad about things like that, and then they will be really really sad, I bet they have no idea how sad, but now is probably a good time for them to be sad about things like losing their homework.” I might think this the day after sobbing because I misspelled my title on an essay I needed to turn into class. And I actually really hope I would cry if my dog died. If I had a dog. (I really really want a dog.)
So maybe all I’m saying is that I don’t know if the people who are hurting never perpetuate negative mindsets about themselves. But that doesn’t have to be paralyzing, I hope, and it doesn’t mitigate my responsibility as someone who is fairly privileged, either. For instance, as someone who doesn’t have any sort of obvious physical disability, I am in a position to better communicate with other people who might be inclined to dismiss someone with an obvious disability.
In which case it might not be so helpful to make myself or others feel shame for having bad shameful thoughts. Instead it might be better to simply brush those thoughts to the side and to keep getting to know more people who seem different than me or who seem similar to me but actually have deep differences and reminding myself, often, that I can be a spokesperson for so many who don’t have a voice, and that not only are people like icebergs with way more beneath the surface but that my vision isn’t very good and that I probably can’t even see all the goodness and 3-D-ness and density on the surface.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
I LOVE thrift store play dates. Even when a really nice and well-meaning lady comes up to me while I sit with my baby in the toy aisle, hands me a four-page baby board book, looks at our pile of toys and says "you should consider this too. Trust me, I'm a teacher." (She probably doesn't know that our apartment is a fire hazard for all of the books inside.)
Usually though, everyone just assumes that everyone else is doing the best they can for their children, and the more people come, the more it is clear that we're all in good company.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
So, I *tried* packing my eight books and the twenty notebooks for my students into a backpack (not my normal one, but a hiking backpack). They fit, actually. But the weight of the backpack made me worry about herniating a disk or developing a case of scoliosis, so I went with the suitcase, which was great because then people thought I was a real hotshot who commuted to campus by plane flight or a lawyer hauling around briefs. (This picture is tardy. School started on Wednesday, and it is now Saturday night. Oh well.)
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Until recently, I thought that the difference between a headache and migraine was a difference of severity: headaches were bad, but migraines were grim reaper bad. So I thought I never had migraines, because if you could walk around your house than you were in headache territory, and not until you lay wholly incapacitated in your bed did you have a migraine.
But it seems that I have probably been having migraines every once in a while for years. Not as badly as some do, but definitely migraines: the pulsing, the sensitivity to light and noise, the nausea.
Tonight was the worst I've had in a long time, but that was in part my fault. I wasn't feeling great last night, and I slept until noon today while Michael and our toddler were at church (though I shouldn't beat myself up too much; sleeping in felt more like passing out that indulging in a snooze.) But I woke up with an unmistakable migraine.
It was tolerable enough at that I could eat lunch with my son when they got back, but I quickly determined that I needed a fast pass back to our mattress, and we asked the babysitter to come pick him up, where he stayed for the rest of the day until bedtime playing with her kids. And most of the day was actually pretty tolerable. As long as I was lying in bed, I could alternate between hybernating against the migraine with my eyes shut and doing a little bit of drawing or listening to a podcast or soft music.
Until I decided it was time for me to stick it to the man and show my migraine who was boss. I mean, I had literally been in bed for the vast majority of my day. So I got out of bed and put on real clothes and texted the babysitter, saying Michael and I were going to come over, and I started to eat a bit of toast and milk.
That was a mistake. All of it.
My migraine escalated from a throb that ebbed and flowed in severity to a tortured, nauseas drag race of all the blood cells in my braine at once skidding and screeching through my brain and then crashing in a burning, twisted heap of sharp metal and broken glass.
Pretty much, I thought I was dying. I was crying despite myself and despite that crying didn't offer me any relief whatsoever, and I fully believed that I couldn't keep tolerating what was happening to me even though I somehow continued to survive second by second.
This lasted for several minutes--I don't really know how many--after I went to bed, no longer comfortable lying down or with my head on my pillow, finally settling on the floor with torso and head over the mattress (which was on the floor itself). Mercifully, eventually the pain and the nausea subsided, though I know that many people find no such comparable relief lying down, and I have remained lying down (now with my sleeping child next to me), feeling better enough that I can think out coherent sentences and type on a screen in darkroom mode (the screen all black and red) with my eyes mostly shut.
You win, migraine. You're the boss.
A few weeks ago I found a page that looked roughly like this in one of my old journals. Dearest Glasses, Fortunately you were bea...