Wednesday, October 17, 2012

an end to able bodied rhetoric.

I wanted to chime in on the chorus of brilliant replies and comments from folks on B. leowes circulating article "an end to self care". I'll link some of my faves below. they cover many things i wish i had the time and energy to speak to, like the classism and sexism present, and the deeply triggering nature of the ableism, and just how interdependent self care and community care truly are. this is a work in progress for me, for all of us...but here's whats on the forefront for me right now...

i often struggle with copious amounts of shame, frustration and confusion over the fact that right now in my life all i have to give is going towards helping raise 2 children. It can feel deeply unradical, ordinary and anonymous. it is adding exponentially to my already intense isolation. While not my intention, my world has become this house, this home. As someone who is disabled and chronically ill, i am tapped . if i don't take time to space out and watch shadows dance on my wall, or have a hot shower, roll around on a tennis ball to keep my neck from going out, scroll thru fucking facebook, grow kale or whatever the hell i can manage that feels -still- and healing,  i won't be able to make dinner and clean it all up.
if no one makes dinner, the children don't eat.
children need to eat.
and these are not "my" children in the biological or legal sense, but i love them, we are family in the queerest loveliest sense, and i want to do my part in helping them become the best humans they can be. i want to help them navigate the violence and brutal complexity in the world, i want them to understand privilege and love and compassion and accountability.
articles like b. loewes' and the larger presence of this brand of deep running ableism in "movement work" just nail the shame and frustration firmly in place.
B. suggests that if we are unable to work endlessly for the movement, it is because we are not connected to our purpose. this suggests that what we -are- doing : caring for ourselves so that we can care for others, cleaning, cooking, crafting,  repairing, listening, teaching, recovering, is not movement work.

i certainly struggle with the loss of what feels like my life before i decided to live with children.
and i now can spot a mile off the lives and work of those that don't have has, how do you say, a certain je ne sais quoi. a certain level of self absorption.
and while i might roll my eyes, i'd be lying if i didn't say i miss this.

but i also am aware that a degree of this new layer of loss and isolation i'm experiencing  is connected to the dominant, rooted in patriarchy idea that revolution isn't about raising children or helping each other with the mundane domestic task of surviving another day.
folks just always seem to have better things to do than help with someones kids, or just help someone.
and this is capitalism at work yeah? its a set up. there is not enough. not enough time/money/energy.
and revolution.'s THE thing.
but heres the thing, the front lines aren't linear. they aren't always dramatic. they
aren't -out-there-. they are everywhere, including the kitchen. including the bedtime story and the hands on love of being present for need.

i'm learning to think less in terms of productivity, esp. since framing life that way will certainly end me, and think more in terms of this flies in the face of my lower class life that screams produce, keep the cards close or die. it challenges the ableism in my working class roots, the internalized high stakes drive to succeed. to avoid being trash. or criminal.

This ableism lives on in radical political movements. It pushes out us sick ones and blames us for it.

ableism is dangerous. swallowing eugenic poison.

i'm learning that self love, self care and community care go together, they twine effortlessly with raising community and revolution. that i am doing the work, even shadow watching, even dish washing, even heart beating, even now.

here's the links i mentioned earlier...enjoy. and a nod to all the brilliant conversation between crips that let me realize that there was a reason, a buncha reasons, why B. Loewes article was so upsetting.


Susan said...

i have read this four times now and each time i am more grateful. thank you, aaron.

Anonymous said...

thank you deeply

Jif said...

This is a great piece. As someone with chronic health problems and multiple disabilities I really relate. The issue of collective self care and Audrey Lorde's legacy and call for radical self care has been really on my mind over the last month or so I've written about it a bit on my tumblr Sending love and solidarity to you x

zora.raskin said...

Thank you so much writing this. I was almost to tears by the end of it. You so perfectly named what I have been trying to say for so long.

I am writing my own to response to End to Self Care for my blog and possibly an article a magazine named Tikkun later this month.

Would it be alright if I quoted this article (and cited it of course) for my piece?

ambrose said...

yes, of course! I look forward to reading your work!