Volume 10 Issue 3
The Disabled Underground Revolution
By Afal Awen
Being disabled or ill is not what really hurts.
It is the struggle for life that breaks our will to live.
But live we must. We must not internalize our oppressors who say we
have no worth because we don't have a paying job. Who say we are a
burden on our families and friends. Who say it is our fault we are not
well. Who say we deserve this due to karma. Who say we could be better
if we just tried harder. Who say there are many treatments that work.
Who don't understand the constant fights with insurance companies, the
stop-watch doctors, the burned out anti-social workers, the nonstop
misdiagnoses, the lack of decent support, the total exclusion from most
of the world. All the things we used to love to do--gone, gone, gone.
And the heartbreak of all the "friends" that leave when they don't want
to know our new lives as a "sick person" because it makes us a bummer.
Too real. Too negative. Too inconvenient.
And yet we go on. Painful test after painful test. Bankruptcy from
bills the insurance said were covered, but weren't. Too poor for
alternative medicine. Frightened by side effects. endless misdiagnoses,
and again, endless misdiagnoses. Eating trash because it is too painful
to cook and we’re too poor for takeout. Shamed by New-Agers for being
dis-eased. Told we are fakers by the Tea Party. Lonely. Isolated.
We struggle to keep a sense of self-worth, of dignity when the whole
world conspires to push us out of the way, from the new Congress to
people annoyed by how we are slowing down their bus ride as we
board. Calling events to ask about stairs and seating, and
finding out we physically cannot attend time after time after time.
Waiting, waiting, waiting to wake up one day and suddenly be allowed
back in the human world. and knowing, no it won't happen, no matter how
much we bang on the gates and beg, we are part of the throw away people.
But we are not trash to be thrown away. We will recycle
ourselves, and no one will know what hit them come our
resurrection. Turn your dogs and water hoses on us. We
already know pain. We shall overcome because we have no other
option. We have no other choice. If you continue to exclude us, we have
no moral bond to play by your community's rules. Outsiders, we
will pirate raid, outsiders, we will be the new highwaymen,
outsiders. We will show you the same respect that you show us.
And one day, if you are lucky, you too will live long enough to be very
sick. Then our wisdom will be in demand. Think of that as you
avoid meeting our eyes when we pass you on the street, crying, in pain,
and still and still and still trying.