Breath & Shadow
Volume 19, Issue 4
"But you don't look gay-- Similarities between the Celiac and the LGBTQ experience"
Around twenty years ago, I realized I was gay— though it would take me six years to come out and become involved with the LGBTQ+ community.
A little over a year ago, smack dab in the middle of a pandemic I discovered I had Celiac disease. Like I’d done at 18, I began making room for a new aspect of identity, seeking out spaces and resources during the adjustment period.
"Created and Permitted"
Ana Mae Dusaran
Young years taught them the journey of colors
That brought the faces of blues, blacks, yellows, and oranges
In seasons of winter, summer, fall, spring cries and laughs
They were tossed by tempest storms and bright sunshine.
Ruth moved the jigsaw piece about the edge of the puzzle hoping to connect it somewhere. But to no avail. It seemed like the great sea of disconnect before her was unfathomable, an unnavigable cardboard mess.
She sighed. She dropped the jigsaw piece.
"Enjoying The Crowds?"
Typically, those of us with brain injuries do not enjoy crowds. The noise, the confusion, and the press of people can be overwhelming. Most of us who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, paranoia, or have social anxiety issues just do not like crowds, small or large.
There is no greater feeling of helplessness than the moment just before a seizure happens—the panic-drenched awareness that something is very, very wrong, that something got lodged in the cogs and shutdown is inevitable.
Adrenaline surges, but paralysis ensues.
"Heart Pounds Me Away"
The click of locks that—pierce
Something thumps against the counter and I—jump
Bottles shake and their contents clatter and—stab
Chills on my neck
Hairs standing up on end
Laughter but it sounds like
"How To Remove a Tattoo"
You got them the same way as everyone else: you were born into the world. You grew here. The world has its standards, its expectations. People raised you. They were flawed, like everyone else; like you. They named you: Small. Hyperactive. Weakling. Super-sensitive.
"The Stubborn and Willful One"
Life can be a struggle for many people in day-to-day activities when they are capable and balk at accomplishing tasks set forth for them. Then there are those strange individuals like me who somehow lack the neuron balances to enable such advantages of spatial memory, left and right, upside down and right side up. We appear perfectly normal and blend with those around us and strive to disguise our inabilities by being invisible, if not disruptive. Until perhaps a decade ago, only foreign medical journals offered a notion that Dyslexia was a perceptual and sensory issue.
"The Unkindness of Ravens"
Through shadowy veils of my mournful mind
are the vastness of iridescent stars,
their hopeful light does not comfort me,
as the very thought of not having been in
the treasure of your presence awakens the
dulling grief of my heart's loneliness,
as the unkindness of ravens have…
"The Write 2 Heal: It’s Not About the Sight Lost, but Vision Gained: A Review"
Jeanetta Price has assembled a collection of ten autobiographical essays, each by an African-American blind woman. The title and subtitle of the collection well describes the way writing is used in a positive way as a coping mechanism. The introduction by Jeanetta Price discusses the centrality of writing in her life: “I write my way out of hard times. I write my way while having good times. I write to release pain, not intending to gain fame or likes. I write to express what I suppress. I write what I hide, so you must read between the lines. I write with no limitations, excuses or lies. I write what I see beyond the eyes.”
I don’t remember my exact age, but based on other vague recollections, I was roughly four years old. There was a needle inside me, on the underside of my right elbow where you extend the arm. I looked away, focusing on the colorful painting of ballerinas opposite me rather than watching my blood drain through a tube like an ominous water hose. You tend to find tricks to prevent yourself from growing sick to your stomach after having blood drawn so many times.
"What A Few Days of Panhandling Taught Me"
With the help of Georgia Vocational Rehabilitative Services (GVRS), I had been conscientiously searching for a job for three years. My goal was a humble, minimum-wage, (probably but not necessarily) part-time job. I took tests measuring my talents, skills, and interests. I was interviewed about my disabilities and my (limited) work history as well as my goals. I participated in “work evaluation” programs at an entity called the Bobby Dodd Institute and at a Goodwill. GVRS professionals supplied me with appropriate clothing for job interviews that would have also been appropriate for an actual job. With the assistance of GVRS professionals, I created résumés. I put in a multitude of applications and went on many job interviews.
"Wishes of Sugar or Insulin"
Hazel J. Hall
She's sitting by the fire, drawing with a pencil and crayons. Her phone (though she wishes it was a dog) whines at her side, begging for notice.
My service dog is hungry, she tells herself, flipping over to maintain the strange creature, growling and groaning. Her stomach flips as she does it, turning on the device and taking in the number at the top of the screen. It's the first time she's been aware of it for hours and yet it crashes down on her all at once. Sometimes she forgets that she's diabetic. How is she supposed to remember? She's seven.