Hi there readers, remember me? It is I, Chally! I have been absent, it is true (well sort of, here’s a post I’ve posted elsewhere on the subject of absence) but now I have returned to your lovely company. I want to talk a bit about my having been away and the disability implications thereof.
I’ve had quite a lot on for the last few months between uni work and moving home (well, sort of, but that’s a story for another time). And what with being chronically ill, that has really taken its toll. I’ve been having days where I could eat and sleep and do assignments and that was about it. It was pretty frustrating.
Part of the problem was that I was just that exhausted by the assigned work and just getting through the day. But part of it also was that I worked especially hard at uni just to prove the disabled lady could do it. I’ve been pretty used to the attitude that I’ve not worthy of a place in whatever educational institution I happened to be participating at the time. It’s an awful feeling, the feeling that I’m not so deserving of an education (or a good education) because of the kind of body I have, or because there’s a perception of me as a whiny lying woman, and it has invested me with a thirst to prove myself. Or, better, a fear that they’re right. So I work really, really hard. I hand in the most perfect assignments I can write. And that’s so exhausting. It’s a vicious cycle: I’m disabled, so I have to exacerbate my disability to show I’m doing fine, which just makes everything else worse. I’ve been so tired, and every day has been so hard.
I also want to talk a bit about adjusting my ideas of what “doing fine” means. If I’m having to exhaust myself in order to prove myself (and I’ve been proving myself (yay ridiculously good marks!)) there’s no real advantage to me. That trade-off between work/life balance and living up to expectations hasn’t been serving me, it’s been serving an ideal of what society expects of me. It’s been serving the idea that we’re only good enough if we try and approach abled ideas of the Super Hard Working and High Achieving PWD, a pretty impossible way to be. And not an ideal one either, I’d argue – I think it would have been better if I balanced everything in my life a bit more and, even if I got slightly worse marks, felt better in myself, lived a bit more. That would have been “doing fine;” it would have been doing great.
Goodness me, there’s social justice to be explored even in absence, isn’t there?