Pandemic Reflections: Ableism, Eugenics and Disabled Anger
It’s raining outside and we’re still in bed with the curtains drawn, pretending the world doesn’t exist outside of our safe little bubble. My wee furry pals are all gathered nearby and all I can hear is the sound of the rain and Peg’s snores from the landing.
It might not sound all that exciting but these little moments of peace and contentment are what sustains me.
Chronic pain/chronic illness makes life feel violent. Do you know what I mean by that? It just feels like going round after round in a boxing ring, rarely getting any punches in yourself and never being allowed a breather.
Pair that with the overwhelming levels of ableism and casual eugenics happening all around us, as well as the bone-crushing exhaustion of two and a half years of shielding, of hyper-vigilance, of having to assert your boundaries again and again and again only to be met with hostility when all you are trying to do is live.
Exhaustion doesn’t seem the right word. I don’t think it does it justice. We need something stronger. Something that encapsulates seeing people who claim to love you display a flagrant disregard for your safety, your freedoms. Something that takes into account the heartache of friendships irreparably damaged, and of what it does to a person’s mental health to be surrounded everyday by the very clear message that their life matters less.
Someone told me recently that I seem angry a lot of the time these days, and I am. I’m furious in fact, but more than anything else I’m just exhausted. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that life has been so hard these last two years. Watching people gleefully throw any sense of personal responsibility and interdependence out of the window has been heartbreaking. I don’t know how to fix it, or myself.
So, I cling on to these small, quiet pockets of joy. I try to focus on what is good in the world. I look to my disabled community to be reminded that interdependence is beautiful and liberating. I let these things sustain me and remind myself that I deserve joy, softness and peace.
And if a large majority of society doesn’t care if I’m stuck inside my house for the next fifty years, I also deserve to voice my anger about that and I don’t have to do it in a way that is palatable to anyone else.