I’ve decided to be completely transparent in this piece, because I don’t know how else to be in regards to this.
This morning, the nurse who comes every now and then to check in on how my home health aides are doing and check my vitals (wtf does this even mean anyway?), asked me the standard questions about if I had been sick recently, or had any hospitalizations or visits to the ER. Then she said “And you haven’t improved at all?” And I said no, because in terms of pure physical, medical perspectives, no, I have not improved. But I’ve got a whole list of things that have improved, incidentally:
- My hair. It’s growing out quite nicely, and now that I started using a new shampoo, my scalp isn’t getting as dry or flaky. So that’s definitely a plus.
- My orgasms (sorry family who may be reading this, but I’m going to drop an even bigger bomb later in this piece so I figure this is just a little warming up). I definitely feel like me and my vibrator, Luke Thighwalker, are getting to know each other even more, and I’m finding new ways to appreciate all his bumps and ridges.
- My ability to see how such a question could seriously fuck up a younger version of myself.
Yesterday was National Coming Out Day. I really wanted to post something for it, but I guess I wasn’t ready. So I’m a day late. Oh well. It’s 2:06 pm, Central Time, as I’m writing this. I spent much of this morning and early afternoon convincing myself to come out on social media, and then being too scared to do so. It’s scary because later in the day, I’ll be going to my creative writing class in which we’ll all be workshopping an essay by me about realizing my sexuality, and putting that up against my identity as someone with a disability.
I posted something to my snapchat story, but that didn’t take too much courage, considering none of my extended family – my extremely Catholic, conservative extended family – followed me. This, though, this public baring, is harder. It’s hard because I don’t want to be the one to put a splinter in current relationships I have, to be the one to call bullshit on some of my relatives’ or even acquaintances’ beliefs. I have recently caught myself trying to reconcile certain distances between myself and others due to my shifting views on my disability, and I still don’t know what the answer is – keep my mouth shut when a close friend says something that goes against my core beliefs in regard to my identity as a person with a disability, or speak out and risk starting a riff that pushes us apart?
I know my viewpoints are “radical” to some, and I know that they’re not widely accepted by society: that disability is created by society and its unwillingness to adapt to my different body, not by my physical makeup, that organizations claiming to be for people with disabilities need to spend as much money and time focusing on ways to improve society’s adaptation towards people with disabilities as they do towards finding a cure, that disabilities need to valued as differences, not something to necessarily even be cured in the first place.
But here’s the deal – a couple decades ago, it was considered radical to believe that gay humans should be able to marry each other. It was considered radical to believe that being gay wasn’t something that needed to be “fixed.” It was considered radical to believe that gay humans have just as much right as having kids as straight humans, because even if being gay is part environmental, it doesn’t matter because being gay isn’t bad, it’s different.
I’m not going to explicitly draw any conclusions from this, even though they’re in my head. I’m going to let you do that yourself. I will say, though, that if this comparison of my disability to my sexuality makes you uncomfortable, I’d urge you to ask yourself why. Is it because you have an inherent negative feeling towards disability and don’t want homosexuality to be likened to being disabled? What, exactly, does that mean? Or do you have an inherent negative feeling towards homosexuality and don’t want disability to be likened to being gay? Well, again, what exactly does that mean? I know you might be uncomfortable right now. But hey, it’s ok. Sometimes discomfort is good.
And to the nurse that asked me that question this morning: It worries me that people like you are in the medical profession.