(Dis)Ability

As you may or may not know, I am a Pagan who happens to have a (mild) case of cerebral palsy. This is something I don’t really like to discuss. In a way, I understand LGBT+ folks who don’t want to be seen as “ambassadors” for their communities. You know what I mean “Oh, you’re LGBT+? Congratulations, you now represent an entire community!” because I honestly feel the same way about my disability.

Yes, I’m aware of the irony of flinging my love of other women around on this blog. It’s even in the subtitle. STFU.

The thing is, despite how annoying my disability can be on a daily basis, I got off lucky. There are people I know with CP who use wheelchairs full time and basically depend on others to do things that require little to know effort on my part (like dressing myself, or eating, or typing on this computer). Okay, I used a wheelchair once. Wheelchairs are great for getting into the express lines at Disney World, and you know what else is fun? Getting up out of the wheelchair and seeing the expressions on everyone’s faces. No, seriously, without it I wouldn’t have been able to get around the park.

My disability is also one of the reasons that I’m extremely reluctant to attend public rituals. Dancing in circles around a bonfire might seem like a lot of fun, but to someone like me, who could lose her balance at any moment and topple into the fire, it’s just not my idea of a fun night. That fifteen minute ritual you’ve been planning all day? Fuck that, I NEED to sit down if I’ve been standing for more than ten minutes, it’s either that, or I fall over, and I’m not even going to attempt to climb the hill you chose for the ritual site because it has a nice view. No. Fucking. Way.

This is, I think, another benefit of being solitary, when I feel like sitting down, I sit down. I don’t have to worry that I’m distracting anyone or drawing attention to myself. That way you can have your ritual on the hill, and I can have mine on level ground. Everyone’s happy.

I think this was supposed to be a post on ableism and Paganism(s), but you’ve probably already figured out that there are certain segments of the Pagan community who are ableist as fuck. Dear “Every Pagan should be living on a farm or they aren’t a twu Pagan, romanticism romanticism” asshole: Fuck you, do you know how HARD farming is even when you’re able-bodied? You fucking annoy me. Stop being so fucking annoying.

There, I’ve said my piece, now let us never speak of this again.

Ever.

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5 thoughts on “(Dis)Ability

  1. I don’t talk about it much, but I am a pagan with a life-impacting mental illness (and celiac disease, and ehlers danlos syndrome). I have been turned out of groups when they found out about the mental illnesses.

    I try really hard (and probably often fail) to remember that not everyone can do what I can do, because there are days when I can’t do what they can do. Thank you for at least saying this much. These are the kind of reminders our community needs.

  2. Before my TBI, I was a disability advocate at my work. When I started to go to Pagan outings, I would ask the same questions as I did at work – is the place accessible, etc. The answer was always the same as the managers at work – “well we never needed to but if they ask, we can always….” My point was to make the festival more welcoming without people having to ask all the time. But I digress.

    Since my TBI, I cannot go to festivals or long rituals. What I have found is that people seem willing but dense as to what they should do. I am frustrated by the idea that everything seems to be planned for standing or movement or something that involves a lot of noise etc. Asking for accommodations is difficult for me at best.

  3. Disability stuff is one of the places that the pagan festival community is pretty damn awful.

    … that is all.

  4. I have a cousin with a moderate case of CP – no wheelchair, but he’s been in leg-braces since he was 5, he’s 48 now.

    I also have a friend with MS AND major scoliosis (her spine viewed from the back is an ‘S’ curve).

    Even though I’m fit, healthy and can do pretty much anything I want, the pagans who say that you must be fit and healthy grind my gears.

    It’s not enabling, it’s recognizing that some people have some problems with things and a festival/ritual/what ever needs to be open to everyone, else the community is not what it could be – all encompassing.

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