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Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2010
Volume 7, Number 2


 

 

Damaged Goods
 

By AJ Pearson-VanderBroek

 

 

The way they talk – seems to say – she’s damaged goods—of course she’s on sale – because I’m pretty –I’m considerate – I’m a size 0 – and if I had long hair – and less hardware – I’d be a ten – but a couple pieces of molded plastic – a few scars – and suddenly – the only reason I’m not a relentless uncompromising bitch – is because I’m disabled – like the only reason I write – is because I’m disabled – the only reason I’m well adapted – is because I’m disabled – the only reason I’m maladjusted – is because I’m disabled – the only reason I am who I am – is because I’m disabled – surely kidney infections – and surgeries – fill my allotment – of mood swings – and estrogen charged requests –  like Spina Bifida ink and paper glows neon in the slush pile – of course my novel about the Bleeding Kansas era would never have been possible – without tendon transfers – and a bladder augmentation  – some kids got cellos and clarinets shoved into their hands when they were three – my parents were still trying to get me to pick up blocks – at three and a half – and when I had the idea to audition for orchestra at eleven – they gave me a French horn instead – because I could only feel three fingers – and couldn’t tie my shoes by myself – I played it for a day – then turned it in – for a violin – and every year – I was in high school – I was awarded a strings letter – pinned on a backdrop that states – this wouldn’t be so amazing – if you weren’t disabled – you wouldn’t be passionate – if you weren’t disabled – you wouldn’t be so emotional—if you weren’t disabled – so take your violin – your poetry – your healthy relationship – and your personality – for what it’s worth – normal rules of engagement and measurements – don’t apply to you – because no matter what you do – damaged – always comes before – goods.

 

AJ Pearson-VanderBroek is a freelance writer living in Nebraska. Working on a Bachelor’s in Language Arts, she enjoys learning about and experimenting with prose, prose-poetry and drama. Humble credits include the Sifting Sands literary journal in Nebraska and The Fertile
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