Third Annual Reminder of Disability Pride Month

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? It’s July, so I thought I’d remind everyone that Disability Pride Month is a thing. It seems to be one of the less controversial Pride/History months (probably because the media and marketing people haven’t taken it over and shoved it down everyone’s throats yet). So, I’ll keep reminding you that it exists. That cripple folk exist and not just for the sake of inspiration porn. But I don’t feel like being a downer or preachy, so I’m just going to leave you with a list of some of my favorite cripple characters!

A new flag!

1. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Sure, he has prosthetic limbs (an arm and a leg), but that’s just part of life. When they work, they’re awesome. And when they need adjustments or Ed breaks them, well… Winry’s rarely too far away to fix them. How Ed loses his limbs is a big part of the story (forbidden alchemy), but then his disability isn’t too huge of a deal (though there are parts when he struggles with it, just like real life). He’s got a temper, hates being called short, and is underestimated at every turn. But he’d do anything for his family and he’s kind of a dramatic little bitch, so I love him.

2. Pick a Marvel or DC character and there’s probably some kind of disability in their story at some point. Deadpool is all kinds of disabled (physical disfigurement and PTSD to name a couple). Ironman has his heart thing. Hawkeye is mostly deaf. The X-Men are made up of people with genetic deviations. Barbara Gordon is paralyzed from the waist down and copes with depression. Daredevil is blind. The list goes on and on.

3. Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. But he’s a dragon! Fine… be boring. Hiccup is cripple too, so if you insist on human characters, there you go. Toothless is adorable and ends up trusting his human so much. It’s cute. Don’t judge me.

I’m going to stop there. Mostly because I’m too tired to find pictures of any of the others. I started this post late and am lazy. Anyway, who are some of your favorite disabled characters? Who are some that you suspect are disabled (differently abled), but it’s never actually confirmed in canon material? Feel free to share them here or on my social media pages!

End of Year Rant

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Are you ready for the coming year? Things here are annoying, so I thought I would vent a little. It’s nothing super important or life and death or anything. It’s just irksome. The government is involved, so of course everything is taking way longer than it should and it’s all a giant hassle when it should be easy peasy. They’ve had years to streamline the process, but they have not. Just like with everything else they’re involved in. Things shouldn’t be this complicated. But anyway…

Some backstory. Dad started collecting social security this year. Well, according to a lawyer we went to when we made our wills (he specializes in cripple stuff), since I’m cripple, I should’ve been eligible to receive some benefits when Dad started collecting. We knew this, but we didn’t know what all we would have to do when the time came. So, when the SSA said we needed to complete a form for me to receive the benefits, we searched high and low on the website for it, but couldn’t find anything. Ugh. We called on July 23rd to find out what to do. Long story short, I would need to set up a phone meeting and answer some questions (no mention of a form), but there were no appointments available at that time. They would be in touch.

Fast forward to October when Dad starts receiving his benefits. We still haven’t heard anything about my appointment, though we have been calling at least once a month to make sure no one has forgotten. The nice SSA people all assured me it was just a matter of waiting, but that I won’t be penalized because they know I’ve been in touch and trying my best to move things along. The waiting game continues until Dad gets a super weird letter and calls them again himself in November. The lady he talks to thinks the wait is ridiculous as well and puts him in touch with a woman who sends our issue up to her bosses.

Are we, though?

At this point, Thanksgiving is upon us along with the rest of the holidays. More waiting. Then, yesterday I get an email from an ssa.gov email address that contains the correct national phone number to call back, so I open it. My appointment has been scheduled! For February… at like 9 in the morning despite my requests for an afternoon appointment. Whatever. I will make it work. And I will call today to confirm that the appointment is legit, that they have my correct contact info, and who I should call in the event that no one calls me.

Again…

But seriously. Why has it taken over six months just for an appointment? And there’s no guarantee that the appointment will be the end of this process. It probably won’t be, because at that point, they’re probably going to give me trouble about keeping my Medicaid, which will start another cycle of drama. I’m dreading that one even more than this whole mess. Why do they make everything so complicated? Ugh. Wish us luck. I’ll be back next week with my regularly scheduled book review. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and stories here or on my social media pages!

You Thought You Were Done With Pride Month, Didn’t You?

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? I hope everyone survived the fireworks and what have you with their sanities, pets, and houses intact. Three days to celebrate the 4th. Why did it take three days? Anyway, I don’t really have anything to ramble about, so I thought I would take the chance to remind people that the LGBT+’s Pride month might be over, but July happens to be Disability Pride Month! Most people still don’t even know it exists. I didn’t know until last year. Apparently some cities even have parades and crap for it. Not mine, but Chicago has been doing one for like 18 years. I believe NYC and LA usually do something too. There’s even a flag.

It’s not my favorite flag in the world, but it’s something.

So, why do we need a Disability Pride month? A few reasons, really. One, to help normalize disabilities and fight against the ableism that runs rampant in the world. I’ve always rambled on this blog about the various ways people treat me just because I’m cripple, especially when I get ignored at restaurants. I brush it off as people being idiots, but it’s blatant ableism. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of ableism that it’s hard to keep track. Aside from the way people treat the disabled community, there’s also lack of physical access because for some reason the government here in the U.S. thinks old architecture is more important than making it accessible. So, they grandfather buildings to make it so they don’t have to be ADA compliant. And these are just examples of things I have to deal with. There are many other disabilities, all of which have their own issues to face. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that even I’m guilty of it. I’m trying to be better, but it’s hard. Helping people to understand disability and to recognize that it’s a normal part of life is the only way to move forward towards a more inclusive future.

Two, to help fight for equal rights. In the U.S., people with disabilities are discriminated against all the time. Most of that stems from ableism, but we also have to contend with idiotic laws. We’re forced to choose between our benefits and things like jobs or marriage. And most of us can’t live without those benefits. I can’t live without Medicaid because it funds the program that pays for someone to take care of me. If I lose Medicaid, I lose that. But because the only way I could get Medicaid was by getting on SSI, a program designed for the indigent, I’ll get kicked off if I make too much money. So, I can’t get a job unless it’s a ridiculously good one (for someone with no real experience and zero references, hahaha) and I can’t get married (they would start counting my spouse’s income against my benefits). It’s basically forced poverty and it’s ridiculous. Disabled people deserve to be able to contribute to society or get married without risking our benefits. Sure, if I get rich and no longer need the benefits, kick me off, but I can’t get to that point without working.

Me after dealing with the government.

Three, to help disabled people remember that they are indeed people and that they aren’t alone. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Disabled people internalize ableism as well. It’s hard not to feel like a burden, especially when you have to ask for help or accommodations or whatever. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was constantly reminded of everything my mother sacrificed for me (she was a toxic narcissist, but she’s dead now, so yeah). I still have a hard time even asking for stuff I need (like having my nose wiped or needing pillows moved at night or whatever) when I know it will inconvenience someone (usually Dad). Part of that struggle is just left over from my mother, but part of it is the whole cripple burden thing. Seeing that I’m not alone, that other disabled people exist and live happy lives, helps a lot. So, yeah. Disability Pride Month is good for educating others, but it’s also good for people who live with disabilities every day.

I chose a creepy picture because that’s who I am, but it’s good to see I’m not alone in my struggles.

Like I said, the examples in this post are my own. Other disabilities have other issues, but there’s always going to be some overlap. Anyway, happy Disability Pride Month! As always, feel free to leave your comments, questions and thoughts here or on my social media pages!

More Shameless Self Promotion

Hello, hello!  How is everyone doing this wonderful day?  I just realized it’s National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than to announce my latest publication?  My poem, “Dear God,” was released on Monday in Breath and Shadow’s Spring ’19 issue.  So, I thought I would take a moment to update you on this and on how Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3 is doing.

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Couldn’t find one with a writer instead of the skier.

First, the new one!  “Dear God” is a piece I shared on here a few years ago, so if it seems familiar, that’s why.  However, the version posted on Breath and Shadow has been edited into a more streamlined piece.  It was originally written while I was an undergrad taking an Intro to Poetry Writing class with professor Jennifer Key.  One of our assignments was to write a poem speaking to God.  Many of the students wrote extremely happy and/or vague poems, so it was a little weird when it came time to read mine.  But I’m glad I read it to the class and I’m proud that this newest version is out in the world.

A little bit about Breath and Shadow.  It’s a quarterly journal out of Maine that focuses strictly on disabled writers, no matter the disability.  It’s a wonderful publication that gives a voice to a vast group that often goes unheard.  Normally, I keep my disability to myself when I’m submitting my work because I don’t want to be a publication’s token cripple or fodder for inspiration porn, but Breath and Shadow is a place where I didn’t have to worry about any of that.  Why?  Because all of the editors and staff have their own disabilities, as well as all of the contributors.  It’s simply a neat journal that publishes awesome writing by people who happen to be disabled.  Check it out.

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Inspiration porn, BUT there’re also adorable puppers.  I’ll let it slide.

And lastly, an update on Road Kill vol. 3.  It recently won the North Texas Book Festival Book Award!  I’m super proud to be in a collection with such a wonderful group of writers.  Thank you once again to E.R. Bills for putting it together.  If you haven’t checked it out, visit the link at the beginning of this post and consider picking up a copy.  It’s available as a paperback and a Kindle ebook.

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Wootwoot!

I’m wrapping this up a little quicker than usual, since I’m sure you’re tired of my shamelessness.  I’ll be back next week with a special book review of a duet (two reviews for the price of one)!  In the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recent accomplishments here or on my social media pages.