Tales of Epilepsy: Internalized Ableism

Today, when my body finally dragged itself from the dregs of sleep, the first action it took was to grab my phone and check the time. Three-thirty, it said. Panic exploded across my mind. What?! I exclaimed to myself. How can I have slept so late? The day’s half-over! Then, the mantra began. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. I’d completely forgotten that twelve hours previous, as I made ready for bed, I’d deliberately not set an alarm, so that my body could get as much rest as it needed. It was tired. I was tired. My epilepsy was taking advantage of it. Around midnight, I jerked. It was a partial seizure. It was a reminder that my epilepsy was still there, that my body was tired, and I’d forgotten in the midst of a long conversation with a friend to take my nightly dose. It had been a long week.

Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. I heard the mocking voices of everyone I knew in that mantra.

Why do I do this? I’m not supposed to sleep late, remember? I’m supposed to be a dutiful broken body and pretend like I’m not broken for the benefit of others–so they’ll not worry, so they can pretend I’m just like them.

I was tired, so I slept. But I never fully recover because as soon as I wake from that wonderful, restful sleep, I beat myself up for daring to take care of myself. It’s either beat myself up for it, or allow the rest of the world to do it for me, and fight against that, too.

Only in an ableist world is it acceptable to struggle to simply take care of my body’s needs. Only in a world where there is only one acceptable state of being for a body to be: “normal” is it considered “lazy” to take as much time as I need to ensure my body’s health.

Do I do it to myself? Sure. After years and years of dozens or hundreds of family, friends, acquaintances, teachers, employers, peers, and the random solicitor telling me it so, it’s difficult to forget. Every day is a battle.

Writing in a busy world

I hate days like this. Days where I have no time to devote to writing are days wasted in chasing my dream. Other things occupy my time on the days where no posts appear, and sometimes those days turn into weeks. And what for? For the daily grind: to go to work, to run to the bank, the grocery store. For doctor’s appointments. Sure, good things can come of these: managed epilepsy, money to pay the bills and put food on the table, food to eat, but are those the things I’ve worked so hard for? No.

There are things worth sacrificing a day of writing time for: my family, for instance. My nephew is growing quickly, and I’m grateful to be able to get down on the floor and play with him while we’re both able to do so. Sadly, during the week, I see my family very little. They work during the day, and I at night.

I love writing here, and at LouisvilleKY.com. But it is a full-time job–whether the more corporate-minded think it so or not. It is a worthwhile endeavor. I only hope that society will remember that soon, and treasure it thusly. The day we forget the Humanities is the day we forget our humanity.

A Question To GOP And Their Supporters

So, I’m really curious. What happened to the GOP agenda being all about the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs? ‘Cause it seems to me, that all of these attacks on women’s abortion rights and the narrowing of the definition of rape have nothing to do with either of those.

Man Ignores Woman in Relationship

I listen to WDJX on the way to work. They have a program called “Dear Jackson.” Listeners call in and ask advice. Other listeners call in and weigh in, with “Jackson” commenting here and there. This week, a 28 year old man called in, asking what he should do because his 26 year old girlfriend’s father said refused to give him “permission” to ask his daughter’s hand in marriage. Twice.

I’m dumbfounded. What should this grown man, who wants to ask his 26 year old girlfriend to marry him, do?

ASK HIS GIRLFRIEND.

This tradition, left over from the days when fathers DID decide who their daughters marry, is patronizing, conscending, and disgusting. It completely ignores the women in the equation. Who CARES what her father thinks? She’s a grown woman. She makes her own decisions.

I’m completely dumbfounded that this man is at a loss for what to do. Certainly he thought he was being respectful–but not to his girlfriend.

My gut tells me that this girlfriend shouldn’t marry this guy even if he decides to actually ask the person he wants to marry. If he’s going to ignore her in relationship issues now, why would he consider her in the future?

The Deck of Ableist Cards

Last night at work, several co-workers and I were talking about the amount of sleep we get each night. I mentioned that I needed 9-10 hours of sleep a night, and I didn’t even get to finish my sentence before a co-worker burst out laughing. “Nine to ten hours?” he mocked. “How old are you? I’m forty years old, and I’m lucky if I get six! When I was your age, I was good to go on four!”

Blink.

Blink.

“I have epilepsy,” I said. “If I don’t get enough sleep, I’ll have a seizure.”

The wave of silence crashed over our group. Yon co-worker lost his jeering expression, but wasn’t in the least bit apologetic about mocking me.

In an ableist world, where neurological abnormalities and physical impairments are an oddity, more a butt of a collective joke rather than something that real people have, have to live with, and have to deal with, where we’re an inconvenience at best and leech on society at worst, this is what we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Last night, I was slapped with the lazy card. Which card will it be today?

Abortion and Gun Rights

As I’ve said before, I’m an advocate for self-defense and gun ownership rights, as well as the right to carry, especially for women. But, I must ask, what use is the right to protect ourselves if we’re losing the right to control our own bodies?

You may not think it, but gun rights intersect with abortion rights. Both are about protecting and having control over what happens to your person. Both are about preventing violation and violence to your body. Both are about taking control of your life, your safety, and not looking to another to do it for you. Losing the right to both would have a profound impact on our individual freedoms.

As many have said before, the personhood of a first-trimester fetus is irrelevant. No one questions the personhood of an attacker, but the right to self-defense is sacrosanct. That is because NO ONE can use our bodies without our explicit consent, much less harm us to the point of needing surgery and facing the possibility of death.

When it comes to it, do we consider the forces behind the robber breaking into our home? That he may be poor, that stealing is his natural inclination? Nope. All that matters in that moment is that someone is breaking into your home, without your consent, that you don’t want them there, and you’re going to do what you have to do to get them gone, to protect yourself, your family, and your home.

Gun rights exist to protect what is ours. Abortion does the same.