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Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Summer 2013

Volume 10 Issue 3

 

 
Breath & Shadow

Summer 2013

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.


















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