Reflections

It’s Time for Disabled People to be Unapologetically Selfish and Intolerant

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Image description: plus size African American woman stands with loftsrand crutches before a black gate covered in vines. She is looking off into the distance. Photo by Lauren Green 

You heard me! Fight me. I want disabled people to be unapologetically selfish. I want you to bathe in hedonism and to move with the bravado of a mediocre man explaining to a woman her own expertise. I want to see you striving to love yourselves and in the moments you cannot, being patient with yourself, and if you can’t be patient, at least be kind. I want to see your selfies, I want to see how #DisabledandCute you are. I want to see you being sexy, vulnerable and yourselves. I want to see my Quips, my crips of color, my indigenous disabled, my hijabi disabled. I want to see you all in all your glory, your good days and your bad.

I want you to be intolerant. I want you to shut down the voices that question the necessity of your existence. I want you to block the discourse that portrays you as anything less than human. I want you to use all the four-letter words you know. Shut down the devil’s advocates and speak truth to power. How long are we expected to entertain the idea of our genocide? Be intolerant of the violence that seeks to rob you of your peace, and take self-care when you feel drained.

If you’re wondering why I’m asking you to be these things, the answer is very simple: you are a real person, not an idea or concept. The problem with throwing around terms like “Pre Existing Condition” is that it is prescriptive and turns real people into inconvenient numbers that need shuffling or rearranging. I don’t want you to delve into problematic person-first language. I want you to show what disability looks like—because it looks like you and it looks like me. It looks like the friends I’ve made writing for this site. It looks like the people I hope to collaborate with and to get to know. It looks like people I love. It looks like people I could lose. So when people ask you how healthcare affects you, I want you to respond with “I” and “we.” Let them know that the person before them is at risk, not some idea of a person.

*This post has been updated to reflect the name of the photographer, Lauren Green,  of the picture of me. 6.9.17

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