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CripStory

Maria R. Palacios

Dancing In The Rain

When we were little girls,
you always were my
able-bodiedness by proxy
—the borrowed feet
that walked,
and ran
and climbed, and did things I dreamed of doing
but couldn’t,
so I experienced them through you.

You were always
the adventurous one,
the one tough enough to try anything,
and all
of my so called adventures, like
walking to the corner store
when you were eight years old
because I wanted us to start
a little store of our own
out of an old nightstand we had rescued.
And I have no clue
what possessed me to want to do this,
but I needed someone to run to the store
and buy loose cigarettes and candy,
which was all I could afford to get,
and would not have been possible
without
an able-bodied accomplice
willing to commit the crime.
And the crime was not
the purchase of cigarettes
because back then
kids were sold anything even alcohol
-no questions asked.
The real crime was
leaving the house without permission
and
jumping the fence to get out and come back in
because when we were left alone,
the front gate was locked
as an attempt to protect us girls
from opening the door to strangers
or whatever other dangers
real or imagined
we were forced to believe.

And for the most part, we did.
But even then, you were willing to bend
any story and break any rule
to do
what I wanted.
You were my partner,
my partner in mischief…
my partner
in so many things.
And I remember you dancing in the rain
one afternoon
because I had asked if you would
wear a pretty nightgown and take off your shoes
to dance in the rain for me
and then come in and describe
the feeling.

You danced in the rain for me.
I told you to play Hava Nagila in your head
and imagine yourself dancing the way you did
in the living room when we listened to that album
we both loved,
and we weren’t even Jewish.
We just loved Hava Nagila
and I wondered if you could actually experience
the freedom
I imagined.

You danced in the rain
while I watched from the window…
Your white camisole drenched with my dreams.
Your beautiful long hair
dripping wet, and your arms raised to the heavens
as if you were praying
while you danced.
How beautiful you were,
and how generous
to be willing to live the dreams
of your disabled sister,
and in your six year old words
you came in soaked
and described the magic of the rain,
the magic of the dance.
I knew then you had, indeed, lived
exactly
what I had imagined.

We both got in trouble that night
because the rain dance got you really sick,
-sick with a high fever and a cough
and that was enough
for me
to never ask you again
to dance in the rain.
We took other risks instead
like walking to the store without permission
or stealing lotions and creams and inventing
experiments that led to nowhere
besides having to clean up messes
which I would supervise
and oversee,
and although most of the troublemaking
was caused by me,
you always took the blame
even when I wanted to come clean
and tell the truth.
I think in truth, you had simply learned to respond
to negative attention
because it made you feel
like you were getting attention
–something you always seemed to crave.
Something you always felt you lacked.

I guess in so many ways you had
every reason to feel neglected,
every reason to feel
forgotten.
You were the middle child,
sandwiched between a cripple
and the baby of the three
who was cute and quiet and too young to grasp
the dynamics that were
already part of the picture
in our lives.

The three of us grew up
so close
and yet so far apart,
and although we’re adult women now,
with different views and different lives,
as sisters, we will always be there
for each other.
But you and I…
we share a special connection
because you were my
able-bodiedness by proxy,
my walking feet,
and the magic of dancing
in the rain.

 

 

Maria R. Palacios

copyright 2017

http://www.goddessonwheels.com

 

Flashback of internalized ableism

Hugo

Hugo worked at a bank.
He was a friend of my mom’s.
–A dude who’d been disabled all his life,
but “passed”, for the most part,
as nondisabled, probably because
he used to joke
about his crippled gait, and said
that he could always fake it
and pass as a drunk
because society would rather deal with a drunk
than with a cripple.

That’s how most probably viewed
disabled people,
but at the time, I was too young
to really care.
I was busy in my teenage world
of trying to fake
my own way into normality
while dealing with the permanence
of my physical reality
in a world that had no room
for those who looked like me.

Hugo became like family to us
even though my mother got criticized
for being a divorced woman
hanging out with a man
and especially one who looked like him.
But everybody pretended to be nice
when he came around, and eventually
his differences just seemed to disappear.
That was, until we were out in public with him
and we got double stared.
And I hated how people thought he was my father
because we were both disabled.

I hated how people talked, and I had no choice,
but to let them talk, because Hugo was
my mom’s best friend,
and he kidnapped us all
summer after summer.
Took us to the beach, and took us camping,
and even put up with me and my demands
of taking Niki with us — the German Shepperd
I loved and refused to leave behind,
and that forced all of us
to travel like sardines in a little car
that had to accommodate two adults,
three girls, a wheelchair, our luggage
and a big dog.
But Hugo made it work.
And because of him, we had a chance to live
magical summers…summers of bonfires
and camping stories.
Summers of swimming
and building sand castles.
Summers full of sun and full of fun.
Summers that have become
precious memories that now morph
into poems.

Us girls loved Hugo.
But we loved him as long
as he was “just a friend”
and not a boyfriend
to our mother
because the thought of having
a disabled step-father
was not something we could even
entertain.
It was ok to explain
a friendship
with a disabled person.
But a love relationship?
What would everybody say?
What would everybody think?

Even I, who should have been the one
to not feel shame…the one
to speak up and defend
the humanity
behind our differences….even I
rejected the idea
of having a cripple as a step-dad
I guess because, deep down,
my own internalized ableism
had already grown
roots.

 

 

Maria R. Palacios Copyright 2017

goddessonwheels.com

Ability In A Bottle

If ability were to come in a bottle

like Loreal,

I imagine it would be packaged in a

Line of various things like

20/20 vision,

Flexible limbs,

Clear speech,

moving legs,

walking feet,

and all the other things nondisabled people think

we, the disabled, wish we had

because unless we are

free of our imperfections,

we are deprived and miserable all the time,

and have no chance to live

a full life.

 

That’s why “Ability in a Bottle” –a product created

by the “normies” to help ease their discomfort

around disabled people, would be packaged that way,

because everything they do and say in the name of “helping” us

comes with a “lets help ourselves first” tag

attached to it.

 

Maybe I’ve just become cynical in my old age,

but I’ve seen too much,

and too much ableism

has been thrown at my face

that I can’t un-see what I have seen,

I can’t un-live

what I have lived,

and I have grown to believe

that society really, REALLY feels this desperate need

to fix us, to normalize us,

to make us look complete according to their definition

of “complete”, and if they can’t at least make us pass

as noncrips by bottling their version of ability somehow,

then, in the name of God, they have to get rid of us,

sweep us under the rug,

hide us in institutions,

pass legislation that threatens our ability to survive,

and pretty much sit back

and watch us die

while claiming that doing so

was the humane thing to do,

-they only thing

they could do…

 

But wait!

 

Let’s go back to Ability in a Bottle!

Buy one now and get one free….fuck it….get two free.

Make it three.

Just pay separate shipping and handling

because not even the cripples get a break on that.

 

Get your “Ability in a Bottle” right now!

 

Disabled friendly.

Easy to use.

Lasting effects for up to 30 days!

 

WARNING:

PRODUCT CONTAINS MASSIVE AMOUNT OF LIES AND MAY CAUSE YOU TO FORGET ABOUT OTHERS LIKE YOU.  ALTHOUGH FEELINGS OF SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE MIGHT BE EXPERIENCED BY THOSE WHO USE IT, “ABILITY IN A BOTTLE” MAY CAUSE YOU LOSE TOUCH WITH REALITY AND DELAY YOUR OWN ABILITY TO EXPERIENCE SELF-ACCEPTANCE.  PRODUCT USUALLY USED BY CRIPS IN REHAB OR THOSE WHO NEED SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO WHEN FEELING BETRAYED BY THEIR BODIES.

 

ABILITY IN A BOTTLE IS A PRODUCT OF THE MEDICAL MODEL AND THE AMERIAN NORMAL ASSOCIATION.

 

Call now:

1877-ABLE-NOW

Or simply ask your Medical Model Professional,

your nearest Religious Institution

and other partners in the campaign to ensure

Ableism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Maria R. Palacios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crippin’ Sex

The piece below was inspired by last nights’ Sins Invalid discussion “Crib Bits, Fucking While Crippled”.   “Crippin’ sex” was part of the conversation in this honest and empowering discussion about disabled sexuality.

 

Crippin’ Sex

By Maria R. Palacios

 

Crippin’ sex means

taking the word crip

and owning it

as part of what makes us

sexy.

Crippin’ sex means

understanding that sexy

is something we

define.

We choose how we wine and dine

and cripty-nine

ourselves

and our lovers.

It means we feel at home

in our disabled bodies

understanding and professing that NOBDDY

has the right to live for us.

It means remembering that we’re the only ones

who have the right to say yes,

or no

or change our minds.

 

Crippin’ sex means

we decide

how we share ourselves

and whether we do it all at once

or in bits and pieces of our lives

while protecting the parts of ourselves

that have been teased or ridiculed,

medicalized,

assigned a number and a chart,

and words like

freak or

broken or

deformed

and all those other words that formed

the insecurities

and fears that feed the lies we’ve been told

about sex

in our disabled bodies.

 

Crippin’ sex means

loving every bit of us,

baptizing our differences as sexy,

and sacred

and desirable.

 

Crippin’ sex means

defining desirable

within the context of bodies like look like ours

making disability a sexy word,

making crip be the norm

when we define desire.

 

Crippin’ sex means

recognizing our personal flame, and

the beauty of our fire

acknowledging that, although beautiful,

fire also burns.

It means respecting its power

as part of who we are.

 

Crippin’ sex means

feeling the heat

of our desirability,

knowing that our abilities

belong to us.

Crippin’ sex means

not giving a fuck

about those who resent

our rights.

It means

knowing we have the right to consent.

We have the right to love.

We have the right to fuck

until the cows come home

and then some

because we can fuck like bunnies

and lay crip chocolate eggs

for a pagan crip party

that celebrates the rebirth of crip

as sexy,

beautifully irreverent

spiritual embodiment of sex

when crip comes to life

as a word

of sexy resurrection of self

leading to a communion with Love.

 

Crippin’ sex means

self-love

magnified by the force

of our personal recognition of it,

our personal awareness of who we are

as sexual beings, as crips,

as lovers,

as hungry, lusty, thirsty,

moaning, nail digging,  flesh biting

animalistic creatures

we become

when we give ourselves

the chance to give ourselves

fully

to somebody we trust,

to somebody we love,

to somebody we choose

even when there is no love…

just sex.

It is about feeling loved

just

the way

we are.

 

Crippin’ sex mean

learning the hotness

of other disabled people,

seeing sexiness in bodies that look like ours,

complementing each other’s scars

for being the beauty marks

left by the war

we are often forced to fight against our bodies

by the medical model

by culture

by society

by those who believe that crip

and sex

can never come together in a recipe of lust

because we must

institutionalize desire,

lock it in a jar,

keep it as a treat

or a reward

reserved for the able-bodied.

 

Disabled people are hot.

Crippin’ sex must begin with acknowledging that.

It must begin with eradicating our internalized ableism first,

pulling it by the roots with our bare hands

while reminding ourselves

that able-bodiedness, really, is

overrated,

and that we don’t have to measure up

to anybody because everybody

and every body

is already equipped

with everything and anything

needed to give

and receive

pleasure.

Crippin’ sex means embracing all that

while translating our differences

into lust

and deliciousness,

and into the power of knowing

we’re the only ones existing

in our disabled bodies

because, for us crips,

body ownership

is the SEXIEST gift

we can ever give to ourselves

and to our lovers,

and the most revolutionary, controversial battle

we ever have to win

because there is no crippin’ sex

without body ownership.

 

Crippin’ sex is about dismantling the censorship

of our crip sexuality, and telling it like it is

without having to sugarcoat anything

for the sake of non-disabled ignorance.

Crippin’ sex means

calling ableism for what it is,

confronting it

while owning our crip sexuality

without apologies

or regret

because we no longer forget

how fucking sexy we are,

how fucking hot,

and how in charge we are

of our crip sexy badass selves.

 

Crippin’ sex is

about believing all this to be true

for it to be true,

and about being true

to our word.

It means making crip a verb

and conjugating ourselves

into  Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Men Were To Catcall Disabled Women

 

If men were to catcall disabled women,

I imagine it would be like

the world has flipped upside down

and disabled women were

suddenly found to be sexy,

and just passing by

would mean being exposed to unwanted shit like:

“Luscious crip curves mamacita!

Hey Gorgeous.  Can you give me a ride?

Sexy scars!

Babe on Wheels!

Hey Sexy spokes! 

Spastic is Fantastic.

Your cane is as sexy as you!

Take off your leg. Don’t make me beg.

Your walker makes me wanna jump your bones!

You can roll over my toes.

Anything for you, Hot Wheels!!!

Can I have a lap dance?

Can you give me a chance?

Pretty Woman rolling down the street…

She feels the earth move under her wheels…

Those boots ain’t meant for walkin’….

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin

Rawhide!!!”

 

But disabled women don’t get catcalled.

We get dogged down and accused of undesirability,

We get told over and over

that disability

is something to be fixed…

–something

to be avoided.

So, instead

we get assaulted

by words of pity and fear

while pretending we’re not really here

or wishing we did not exist.

 

We get assaulted by ableism

or inspiration porn

like:

“God bless you.

How amazing you are

for wanting to keep loving life.

I’m so sorry.

Bless your heart.

I will pray for you.

I will pray for you to heal.

May I lay hands on you

in the name of the Lord?”

 

And good Lord, and God forbid

if anyone were to even conceive

the thought

of catcalling disabled women

because in the real world,

doing so

would make you look perverted and cruel

for feeding false hopes to a cripple,

or even worse

finding one attractive

would make you

a perv,

and you’re not one of those.

 

Are you?

 

 

 

 

Copyright  © 2017 Maria R Palacios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday wishes for Berenice

Berenice Rodriguez lives a busy life, an active life, a life narrated through the voice of empowerment, the voice of resilience and strength.  That is who Berenice Rodriguez is -an empowered woman whose contributions to society leave a positive mark in the lives lucky enough to cross her path.

When you meet Berenice, you’d probably not imagine the force packed in her small body.   But any misconceptions you might have about disabled women go out the window immediately after you experience her smile and the energy of her persona.   Berenice is a natural light, a source of power, a visible presence in our Houston disability community and the community at large. 

Berenice is the friendly voice of wisdom as a Parent Navigator at North Star College where she assists families with their educational goals.  She is also a case manager for a private clinic, and an active member of groups and events taking place in the heart of Houston’s disability community.   She is a role model for other disabled women, and she uses her voice of empowerment to share her story from a position of hope….from a position of power. And if that is not already living a full life, Berenice also plays wheelchair tennis and she is a true ambassador for the power behind the benefits of athletics and sports for people with disabilities.  

Berenice grew up disabled.  She was diagnosed with SMA II which is an inherited, progressive muscular condition.  From her childhood friends, you’ll hear stories about how it was Berenice’s HUGE ability to project light and hope in the lives of others what made her so special to so many people throughout her life. 

Knowing how independent and active Berenice is in her day to day life, it broke my heart when I learned that she was rescued from her home in a canoe which could not accommodate her $50,000 motorized wheelchair (NO IT IS NOT A TYPO. YOU READ THAT RIGHT).  I started sobbing when I found out Berenice sat on a chair without wheels for four entire days and had no mobility at all.

Being a chair user myself, this story brings me to my own personal breaking point. I can attest to how horrible, how scary, how disempowering, how humiliating, painful and freaky it is to have to sit on a chair with no wheels, and I’ve only had to do it for a little while and while within my control.  Berenice did not have control, but she did not freak out.  She was patient and grateful to be alive.  She faced the storm with a smile and with the force of her own unbeatable spirit.

Like Berenice, I grew up with my disability, and although wheelchairs for those of us who need them are important no matter what our disability may be, I think that those of us who grew up disabled have an even closer relationship with our wheelchairs.   I have, at times, loved a wheelchair so much that I have, actually, wished it could have outlived me.  I know many other rollers will understand. this. 

Right now, Bernice is on a loaner chair loaned to her by fellow roller Oralia Diaz, founder of the You Roll Girl, group.  Although this chair works for the moment, it is too big for Berenice.  She must stuff it with pillows and her feet barely touch the foot rests.   Although these might seem like minor inconveniences, she needs to be able to be comfortable and safe to navigate through her life again in FULL control.  For this to happen, Berenice needs a chair that meets the unique needs of her unique body.    She got the chair she just lost through much active advocacy and fighting her insurance for it.    This time they will NOT buy her another $50,000 chair. 

There is no  “program” to help her right now besides the love of her community.  Sadly, the medical equipment industry has made the most basic needs of disabled people unattainable and unaffordable.   A $50,000 wheelchair is more expensive than the average car, but there is no wheelchair insurance to protect it from a flood.  What is wrong with this picture?  This is wrong!  I think there is room for creativity here.  If cars can get insured, why not wheelchairs? Why can’t we create the ability to insure our wheelchairs? 

As if losing her wheelchair was not enough, Berenice also lost her accessible vehicle and her accessible living space  She is hoping insurance can cover vehicle replacement, but she has also had other major losses including other medical equipment essential to her survival such as specialized equipment to clear her lungs and help her breathe.   None of these losses are easily replaceable, at least not without a lot of hassle or a lot of money.

Her fundraiser campaign hopes to raise at least $30,000 through which she hopes to be able to afford a used “new wheelchair”.   My tears begin to flow again as I remember how I’ve been lately using the pair of shoes  analogy to educate people about why wheelchair users don’t just stay grateful for the donated wheelchairs given to them after a disaster.   Please understand that Berenice’s needs are unique to her body and her disability.  Don’t just assume that any chair will do, and this is true for ALL disabilities.  I think this will be my rant for the rest of this year.

Please help me to help my friend Berenice to go back to her busy and independt life.  Her community needs her.  Her friends need her.  The world needs her. 

https://www.gofundme.com/berenice

 

If for whatever reason, you don’t feel comfortable donating to an individual, please know NWwDEF will donate 100% of your donations towards helping disabled women Harvey survivors with equipment recovery.  The NWwDEF (National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum is a grassroots, Houston based, national disability empowerment, 501(c3) nonprofit organization.  ALL your donations are tax exempt.

http://www.nwwdef.org

I found out today that Berenice’s birthday is this upcoming September 22nd.   She will be 34 years old.  Berenice is a woman in the prime of her life, a woman who lives and loves immensely and intensely and who gives fearlessly with her all her being. 

Please help me wish Berenice a true happy birthday.  Let’s make sure we bring her back to rolling with pride and dignity.  

Can you please help me make Berence’s birthday wishes come true?

 

In the name of love and empowerment, may the blessings multiply. 

 

Maria R. Palacios

 

 

 

 

When The Shoe Doesn’t Fit:

It has been heartbreaking to witness Houston suffering from the devastation and fury of Mother Nature’s force.   In the very heart of our city, homes, cars and lives were lost while others were left in shock, and horror, and fear as we faced the devastation that brought the fourth largest city in our nation to its knees.

The devastation is real.  People I know personally, have lost everything.   Some of them escaped with their lives.

Upon learning that two members of our disability community have also lost their mobility and independence during the hurricane, I simply broke into tears.  I know disaster survivors often lose EVERYTHING, but when that “everything” includes your wheelchair, your accessible vehicle, your accessible home, it becomes a whole different kind of struggle, and one, most nondisabled people cannot fully comprehend until it is explained in simple one plus one equals two kind of ways.

I always like using the analogy of a pair of shoes to help people imagine what it would be like to not have a choice as it comes to walking around in a pair of shoes that are not your style, not even your size.  Imagine that after losing all your shoes the only pair available to you is a donated pair that are a size too big, so it’s difficult to walk in them.  You definitely can’t run, and even if you stuff them with toilet paper, they’re simply not comfortable.  To make things worse, they don’t match with anything you wear and you feel super self-conscious about how you look.   Fortunately, you can take them off and choose to stay barefooted, but more than likely, you are going to be immediately looking for a pair of shoes that fit so you can be comfortable and safe and have a real sense of self even though your life is still upside down and will be for a while.   Despite everything, you know everyone will understand why, although appreciated, the shoes donated to you were VERY temporary.

As a wheelchair user myself, the thought of being separated from my chair, and having to roll in a chair not made to fit my unique needs is a terrifying thought.  Sometimes I even have bad dreams about that.  Literally.  Yet, that is exactly what is happening to disabled people in Houston after the hurricane.  I know all donations are important and having a chair of any kind, like having shoes of any kind, in the midst of disaster and need, is something survivors ARE indeed grateful for.

However, the unique needs of wheelchair users are something that must be addressed as individually and with the same respect and dignity as a pair of shoes.   We cannot expect anybody to stay walking around in shoes that do not fit.  Why should wheelchair users be expected to roll around in chairs that don’t fit?   It’s not that we’re ungrateful.  We just want people to recognize that you cannot call our needs special and then do nothing special to help us out.

As soon as the board of directors of NWwDEF, National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum, saw my Facebook status about Maria Corea and Berenice Rodriguez who lost their EVERYTHING including and especially so their independence in the flood, NWwDEF jumped in volunteering to donate 100% of incoming donations until September 15th to assist women with disabilities who lost their mobility during the hurricane.

Berenice and Maria, are both active members of our community and regulars at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray which is the hub and heart of Houston’s disability community and where NWwDEF’s office is located.  They have both shared with us lessons of independence and survival, crip lessons of hope and resilience, and a huge sense of community.    These two young women are truly a live vein in our crip community.  They have brought advocacy, fun, education and diversity to our disability community and to the landscape of our city.   Right now, Berenice is grateful for the loaner wheelchair she was blessed with from a fellow disabled roller.  She’s having to stuff it with a pillow to the side because it’s too big and her feet barely touch the footrests.   This is just ONE example of how wheelchairs, like shoes should fit perfectly.   Rolling around in chairs that don’t fit is an invitation for trouble at some point including life threatening pressure sores and dangerous falls.   Both women lost EVERYTHING! Yet, what they need the most right now is their mobility and independence.

Both Maria and Berenice have their own gofundme campaigns for those who want to donate directly to them.

NWwDEF will team up with a wheelchair vendor able to assist in the specific needs of the kind of wheelchair that will fit like the unique needs of the user. 

 

IF THERE IS A WHEELCHAIR VENDOR WHO IS WILLING TO DONATE A BRAND NEW WHEELCHAIR FITTEED TO MEET BERENICE’S NEEDS AND ABLE TO BE AN HONEST REPLACECEMENT FOR THE CHAIR SHE LOST, PLEASE KNOW NWWDEF WILL HONOR YOU AS A PERMANENT ICON ON OUR WEBSITE AND  WILL PERSONALLY WRITE A STORY SHARING HOW YOUR GENEROSITY BECAME THE MAGIC SLIPPER IN A YOUNG WOMAN’S LIFE.  Accept the challenge?   Email us at nwwdef@gmail.com

So, when you ask yourself, why donating to us would be any different than to another organization?  It is different because when you do, you’re helping a disabled woman roll in a pair of shoes that actually fit!  Your donation has the power  to be a real life magic slipper of independence. Yes, you can do that!   And don’t even have to be Prince Charming.

 

 

To donate please visit us at www.nwwdef.org  100% of donations until September 15th will go to assist with the mobility needs of disabled women in our Houston community.

 

 

 

The National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum is a Houston based, grassroots national disability empowerment 501(c3) nonprofit organization.

 

 

 

 

A Super Crip Monologue

 

 

Hi, I’m the Super Crip.

I was created by you, the nondisabled,

to help you cope

with my differences

because

the realization

that I might be

like you

is simply

too difficult

to grasp.

 

The Super Crip

is what allows you to expect

for me

to overcome

anything

because even the impossible

becomes doable and possible,

and “can’t” is not in the dictionary

even though

it is.

 

The Super Crip allows you to paint

a different version of me–

one that places me

outside

of the pity box

you imagine my life to be

simply because I’m disabled.

 

The Super Crip

allows you to justify

the generalization

of what you decide my abilities to be

because the Super Crip lets you think

you know the needs of all disabled people

because you know about the needs of one,

and in your able-bodied mind

we’re all the same and we can all overcome

whatever struggle we face, whatever battle,

and do so with a smile

because if we don’t smile through our pain,

it must be because we’re bitter about being disabled

or we haven’t found Jesus….or both.

 

Lord, have mercy! If you can’t fix my body,

at least you can fix my broken soul.

The Super Crip

allows you to think that

because you see my disability

as something that makes me incomplete

and you try to fill the void you imagine I have

because you can’t conceive the thought

of happiness in my disabled body

in my disabled life,

 

But nobody, not even the Super Crip version of me

you have invented

has ever represented the true wholeness of me.

You don’t have the right

to try to fix my life only because you think

it’s broken.

 

But that’s what the Super Crip does.

It lets nondisabled people believe it’s alright

to say shit like:

“I don’t see your disability.”

“You don’t let your differences stop you from loving life.”

“You don’t act disabled.”

“All disabled people should be like you.”

“You’re not handicapped! You’re handicapable!”

and other ridiculous crap that makes disabled people cringe

or laugh

or both.

 

But the Super Crip doesn’t stop there

because while it helps YOU cope with OUR struggles,

the Super Crip becomes

another form of ableism in our lives

another set of lies

we must eventually unlearn, but until then,

the Super Crip makes

disabled people believe

we have to do things

the able-bodied way, and some go out of their way

to prove themselves able, and struggle with shit like

trying to type without hands, or

refusing to use a wheelchair

although they desperately need one.

The Super Crip doesn’t care.

It wants able-bodiedness from crips

It wants bits and pieces and clips

of able-bodiedness we don’t have

just so the able-bodied can have

peace of mind when they deal

with our differences.

 

 

 

 

Maria R. Palacios 2017
http://www..goddessonwheels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reversing Ableism

 

Dear Able-bodied People: Buckle up and go for a little ride.   Shall we?

(ABLEIST COOMMENTS TRHOWN TOGETHER IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, AND REVERSED AS IF BEING ABLE-BODIED WAS THE DISABILITY)

 

You, poor able-bodied people.
I’m so glad I’m not you.
Your body looks so scary.
What happened to you?

You’re so inspiring!
Let me pray for you. I mean, right now
I will lay hands on you
and pray your able-bodiedness away
because being able-bodied is a curse
and God can cure that.
God will make your differences go away
unless, of course, YOU don’t have enough faith.
God doesn’t make mistakes, so your able-bodiedness is
somebody’s fault, somebody’s sin….maybe even
your own.

You better focus on using your head
because the rest of your body does not have much to offer.
I mean, who would want to marry you?
Spin the bottle is not a game we can invite you to play.
We cannot risk the bottle pointing your way.
What would we say? Of course, we’d have to say no.
Nobody wants to kiss your kind.
You people belong in institutions.
Your mother was told to give you up
because your differences are a burden.

But your mother didn’t give you up.
Instead she tried to make you look and act
as normal as possible,
and you grew up believing her truths and her lies.
Don’t we all?

Your “abnormalities” were forced to parade naked
in front of the doctors and nurses who only saw
the brokenness of you,
and the medical model wanted to fix your rebellious body
and treat you like a child even after you’re grown.

You’re a mom? Wow!!!
You people have sex?
You should not be bringing children into this world.
What if your child looks like you? Wouldn’t that be horrible?
I mean, how irresponsible to put a child through
a life of able-bodiedness
as if the burden of your existence wasn’t enough.
God forbid, we have another one like you
in the family.
Those like you
should not reproduce.

It really is no use. Think about those who have to help you
and take care of you.
You’re getting too heavy to lift. Think about those who have to do
what your body can’t do.
Your body does not belong to you.

Stay strong. This is your cross to bear.
Your body makes me feel sorry for you.
It would be much easier if I didn’t have to look at you.
Your differences are scary.
If I were you, I would never go out in public.

You’re an inspiration.

How brave of you to be out and about.
Good for you!!!
It must be so hard to be you.
I can’t imagine living in your body. I don’t think I could.
I know how you feel even though I’ve never been able-bodied, but I’ve cared for those like you.
I think you’re so brave.
You have my respect for trying to live fully.

You’re so inspiring!

I like to watch you do stuff.
Seeing you reminds me why I should vaccinate my children.
What a shame. You could have been so pretty.
I’m ashamed of being seen with you,
but I’m also ashamed to admit it.
Don’t tell anybody we had sex, because they’ll make fun of me.
You people are an inspiration.
You’re so courageous. God bless you.
Bless your little heart.
In God’s eyes you’re normal too.

What an adorable couple.
Did you meet in an institution?
How do you have sex?
We’ve done studies on patients like you.
Oh, you’re not a patient. OK….who takes care of you?
Who helps you raise your kids?
Is your husband able-bodied too?
I mean, usually you people marry your kind. Right?
Is that your partner? Wow!
I didn’t know people like you were actually found attractive by anybody.
Your husband is such a good man to stay with you.
I mean….being able-bodied is not for the faint of heart,
but neither is for those who stay with someone after able-bodieness strikes.

You’re so inspiring!

I’ve never had an able-bodied friend before.
Does it hurt?
How did you become able-bodied?
Do you wish you weren’t?
I know this able-bodied girl who also comes to the mall.
I bet you know her because you’re both able-bodied.

I bet if you could make one wish,
not being able-bodied would be the first and only thing
you’d wish for. Right? I mean, how could you not?

I support charitable projects for people like you.
Looking at you makes me appreciate life more.
How would you like me to refer to you?
What should I call you? Walkies? Normies? What do you call yourself?
I’ve never had to think about accommodating your kind
until the law said I had to.
Accessible entrance is in the back of the building.

I slept with you out of curiosity.
I think you’re pretty for an able-bodied girl.
What do you mean he raped you? He was doing you a favor.
Who else would want to have sex with you?
If anything, I feel sorry for him.
Not everybody can stomach the thought
of sleeping with somebody with a significant and obvious
able-bodiedness.

You’re so inspiring. Yes, you are,
but no one would understand
if I were to sacrifice my life
by having to take care
of you.

I keep my attraction to you a secret.
I know others would judge me for liking you..
The fact that I love you makes me a saint.
Finding you sexually attractive makes me look like a perv.
I once slept with someone like you – a little weird at first
but not a big deal.

You’re so inspiring!
Of course, you need help.
Of course, you depend on others.
Of course, others have to manage your lives,
Of course, we know what’s best for you.
You poor able-bodied people.
We have to rescue you.
We have to heal you.
We have to fix you. Tell you what to do,
manage your bodies along with your decisions about them
because your able-bodiedness is what’s broken.

We are here for you.
We will cover your access needs
with band-aids of inspiration, because, after all,
no matter what level of able-bodiedness you may afflicted with,
all of you, across the board, are able to inspire
just for fucking existing, and being
your natural able-bodied selves.

And no matter how hard you may try to just live your life
as an average person,
just the fact that you wipe your ass after a good husky shit
is a source
of inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Maria R. Palacios  2017  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.godddessonwheels.com

 

 

 

 

 

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