Tag: Poetry

I Have Been Sick All My Life

A white woman on a gurney just outside the surgery recovery room. A white physician and a nurse are on either side of the stretcher, either talking with her or pushing the gurney. The photograph was taken at lower than eye level.

I am immunocompromised: Please Consider Me
This has been a really difficult and scary year for me.
And for so many of my friends and fellow disabled community members.
We have heard over and over that our lives don’t matter.
And now that there is a vaccine - the world wants to leave us behind.
We may be slightly more protected once vaccinated
However, we cannot let our collective guards down
I cannot suddenly say ‘yes’ to all these magic gatherings that people are planning
Not until there’s herd immunity
And even then, kidney disease does not have good Covid outcomes
And I am so angry
I feel scared

I am constantly remembering the fact that 
Eugenics actually began in America - the United States
The fact that Alexander Graham Bell wanted to eradicate the Deaf community
In the 1800s my people were systematically deprived of their language
And that is something that continues to TODAY
So excuse me if I am angry
If this year has made me so incredibly scared
That my partner has been carefully working from home all year
That they have done all the medication runs - which we couldn’t get delivered
And I have pretty much stayed inside
And I persist in wearing a mask outside even now
Because I cannot trust anyone
I have so many friends
Who have personal experience with devastating illness
And should know better
If you could reduce your risk of dying - as a well person - why wouldn’t you
Why must you deny the many many years of research
(Which my best friend does so I know how long it has gone on and how serious it is)

Why must you tell me that my life and the lives of others at high risk 
Do NOT matter to you?
And the worst part is
I already felt like my worth was nonexistent
I already struggled with suicidal ideation
I already believed that there was no space for me in the world
WHY must you confirm my fears?
And tell me that my life doesn’t matter to you?
Please please consider me and so many others like me
And please do your part to protect our lives.

This piece was written thanks to a monthly theme from Illuminate, a writing community from The Kindred Voice.

Read more pieces on VULNERABILITY from other Illuminate members:

Being Vulnerable With My Body by Hannah Kewley

Quitting Cold Turkey by Mia Sutton

To The Women Working in Male-Dominated Fields by Christi Jeane

Anxiety Hangover by Christine Carpenter

Butterfly Wings by Megan McCoy Dellecese

with love, eunice by Eunice Brownlee

A World of Access

(image description: a dark photo of a salt and pepper schnauzer on a blacktop road with a yellow line, a blonde wearing a blue coat is bent down with her hand on his head petting him).

I won’t say I’m an activist, I think it’s just caring
We don’t become activists because we want to, but because we have to
Activism is the only way we can even access the world

My first memory of activism is probably not my first actual instance
My brain protects me by blocking out huge portions of my childhood
I wanted to be in honors English classes
The TOD (teacher of the deaf) didn’t want to support me
My parents and I pushed
I said I would absolutely prove I could do it
We got access to the class – but not interpreters – and I did succeed

I learned sign language by having conversations
Slowly Haltingly Then my fingers flew!
And before anyone imagined I was signing more than talking
It made everything possible
Even with interpreters only in one or two classes – my grades improved

When I did have interpreters, I remember stares
Staring
Pointing
Oh the deaf girl
I remember an interpreter banging the desk when I was writing
‘Look at me!’
I remember being afraid of them
I kept fighting that fear because I needed the language

Gradually the fear got worse
Fear of new places
Fear of yelling
Loud noises Rainstorms Missing the information Death

It was always there, shadow nipping at my heels


Until one day a grey dog walked across the blacktop towards me
It took us time, many many moments
Hugs, Meals, Snuggles
And all of a sudden he was chasing away the fears
He was telling me about the noises and information before I missed it
(Except for what people were saying – still missed that)
He made all the difference in the world