When the election results came in, it had already been a month since I gave up on trying to fix my own mental health issues. And so it turned out that the worst day of our generation collided with my own personal low.
“I get up off the floor, reach for a long, heavy leek and a cutting board and my favorite knife, its weight in my palm like an amulet. I feel like a stranger in my own life, but I have seven hours and eight dishes left. There is work to be done.”
I’m excited about my future. I’m a little nervous also, but I’m more excited than nervous, because just as the seasons change, our president will as well.
My problem with grief is its general shape. Grief is somehow both slippery and sharp, rolling over you with sadness then sneakily attacking your soft underbelly with its claws.
Then I made a friend from suburban, God-fearing Missouri. When she got married this past summer, you can bet that’s where the wedding was. So my first trip to the Heartland had arrived.
Maybe I’m not the best candidate to talk politics with strangers. But I couldn’t shake the feeling — the knowledge, really — that I’d copped out. Bailing on our first female President, of all people, because you’re scared? Nah, girl. I called the guy back, told him I could make it after all, held myself accountable on social media, and freaked out for ten minutes. But it was on. I was going.
What followed was absolute chaos. Pure, unadulterated terror. Those haunted house reaction pictures at the moment of surprise come to life. Girls were shoving each other out of the way but where we were running was unclear. Off the earth? Possibly.
This is about what we as individuals can tolerate comfortably before we’re pushed into emotional discomfort. We try to live in this comfort zone, but that’s impossible, because we’re human beings and rarely fit in any sort of box until we’re dead and literally lying in one.
9. Vial of one year’s worth of eye boogers from a couple at the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata.
That’s what’s tricky about disabled sexuality: most people, disabled or not or anyplace in between, have no idea how to discuss it. So fear of “saying the wrong thing” takes over instead and the problem feeds itself. We never talk about it because we don’t know how to start.
“But those walls don’t just break down when you stop needing them, and suddenly what was keeping you safe is now hindering personal development. It blows. It’s a whole process of demolition and rebuilding and relearning what all these feelings are, and it is awful and glorious in equal turns.”
“I sent a short, simple message saying that although I didn’t realize it fully until recently, I was indeed bisexual, that this was an undeniable part of my identity, and I could no longer comfortably hide this fact.
He never responded.”
“Love in partnership as colonized/racialized bodies is courageously undressing the walls we have built to survive and showing others the chaos that war has left behind.”
“There’s nothing more I want to remember than every moment and sensation we shared. Our grinding hips at Queer Cumbia, feeling your drunken sweat drip onto my freshly implanted tits. The way we sloppily made out and smeared our red and burgundy lips all over our mouths, noses, forehead, and neck.”
It was the end of my innocence when I realized that being Black or being Queer in this country could get you killed. This was the time before Hurricane Katrina, before 9/11, before Ferguson. Before. Before. Before.
“I feel as if I am filled to the brim, fit to spill, with how much I love her and how much I resent being a secret. It makes me feel invisible and alone but I stand by her. I stand by her until I can’t anymore. When we break up, I am more determined than ever to come out to my father.”
“…it’s still completely acceptable for disabled people to hate ourselves.”
“How could an incapacitated person feel let alone be sexy, I catch myself thinking. Now, when I have those thoughts, I take out my camera.”
“I think that adopting a dog would make me “less of a sad sack,” according to a journal entry on the day that Marty is picked up by his human mother.”
“Instead of getting medical care, I had a work colleague help me to my hotel room and pour me a tumbler of whiskey. I downed the whiskey with a handful of aspirin and prayed for the pain to stop.”