Oh Hey! It’s Alyssa #24: What Happened?


Alyssa is a totally complete incomplete paraplegic and thirty-something hanky-in-the-pocket cartoonist weirdo!

A. has written 67 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. “… and neither affects your capacity to know and love them.”

    This closing statement is one of the most important and meaningful things I’ve read in a while. Thank you, Alyssa ?

  2. This is really powerful. Thank you for sharing your work and a piece of your story with us. The phrase “Many presume they are entitled to the intimate quirks, details, and sorted history of my body” and the way you expressed just how exhausting it is to be expected to trade the history of one’s existence for social acceptance really resonate.

    Ever considered doing a Kickstarter? I would 100% back a project with the above as a preview page, and I think a lot of other people would too. Just something to think about.

  3. I feel this SO MUCH.
    Once someone felt the need to question my scars which are quite clearly suicide attempt scars and WOULD NOT LET IT GO!
    The conversation was something along the lines (who am I kidding, FOREVER itched in my brain):

    Person: What’s that?
    Me: What, this? It’s a trans bracelet…
    Person: No, that! *points at scar*
    Me: Well, it’s pretty self explanatory, it’s a scar
    Person: How did you get it?!?
    Me: Mmmh, tried to kill myself?
    Person: Oh…when?
    Me: A few months ago?
    Person: It looks deep!
    Me: That’s kind of the point…
    Person: Are you ok now?
    Me: I guess
    Person: *pats me on the head like a sad dog*

  4. I love your comics. I get questions about my disability too and I hate it. I always feel pressure to describe it perfectly in a non complicated way so they don’t judge me. It’s exhausting. I just want to show up in the world without having to explain or justify.

  5. I have never cared if people ask me kindly and tactfully about why I am in a wheelchair, but what does bug me is when the compliment me on my “great attitude” or that I “don’t look that disabled” or whatever after I take the time to explain it. Or if they stare without asking. I would much rather have someone approach me directly than stare furtively out of the corner of their eye. That said, I find myself explaining that what happened is “genetics decided to mess with me” many times a week, and on the days when it is too much to explain it one more time, one dismissal should be enough. If I brush you off, there is a reason. Deal with it.

  6. I love this, I love you. My strategy when someone I don’t know asks me “what happened” is (if I have the energy) just to be coldly honest, say the truth, that shuts them right up usually. Most people, since I am young, assume some minor injury is going on and will soon disappear.
    person: “What happened to you/What have you done for that to happen to you?”
    Me: “I was a premature birth. There was a lack of oxygen in my brain which caused an impairment which is why I can’t walk.”
    *silence of deadly shame fills the whole subway*
    me: *grins internally*

  7. I love this so so much.

    My stock response to “But what happened?” is “Fuck if I know I just live here.” (sometimes without the profanity) While 100% true, people tend to really, really dislike this.

  8. Great comic. I think it’s also connected to how people tend to blame sick/disabled people for their illness/disability. “What happened?” or “What did you do?” in an accusatory tone says so much.

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