As most of you know from my past diaries, I'm disabled in a variety of ways. Physically and mentally, I'm pretty well fucked up. And part of my upbringing was that if I wasn't doing something useful, I needed to GTFO and die. I was often told what a burden I was, even though at that point, my physical disabilities were minimal, and I worked around them well.
But it had a lasting effect on me. While my brain knows it's not true, it can't convince the rest of me that I'm not better off dead if I'm not being productive. A "for instance" on the other side of the orange thingy.
KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
Right now our room is a bit of a mess, and I'm fighting the urge to clean it. I wouldn't be able to, I can barely walk right now. The reason that I can barely walk is that I worked for several hours in the garden today, prepping soil and planting. (Thank goodness one of our neighbors roto-tilled it, otherwise I wouldn't be able to type.)
I hand-worked and planted four of those squares today, each of which is four square feet. I feel guilty that I didn't do more, even though I'm having trouble walking, standing, and sitting. I have fibromyalgia, a torn muscle does not heal the way a 'normal' person's does. Oh, part of this gardening involves me moving a 4'x4' frame from space to space, and then putting it away in a shed on the other side of the property.
Why do I do this, when I know that it will only make me worse? Because I can't get a job. This fact is thrown in my face on a regular basis. I feel worthless and less than a person, because I can't do what other people do without extremely painful consequences, and having a service dog probably puts me at the bottom of any hiring list (I have great references).
So I grow a garden. If it works out right, there should be enough vegetables to get us through the winter with minimal purchases (although my landlady has said she won't guarantee she won't mow parts of it). I've started brewing beer, because it's a great way to pay people back for things they do to help (and frankly, the product helps the pain a bit). I crochet and put it on Etsy, in the hopes that someone will buy something, now that the account isn't linked directly to my landlady (who either can't or won't figure out how to transfer from her Paypal account to mine, and it isn't worth more stress that will make my health worse to push the issue).
Note from Tonight's Moderator:
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the post scheduled for tonight did not make it into the queue. LoreleiHI was kind enough to write this one for us to hold for use in just such an event. She left it untitled, so I took the liberty of lifting a phrase from her text for that purpose.
I have dropped her a message to let her know it was going to be published, but have not heard back, and don't know whether she will be able to join us for the discussion. I hope readers will still be willing to comment, as several subjects come to mind which are worth considering together -- our expectations of ourselves, others' expectations of us, and how all that relates to living with a disability in a way that is productive and fulfilling... and maybe you have some other ideas which haven't occurred to me. Anyway, welcome to you, and many thanks to LoreleiHI. -- Padre' JM