I almost wanted to skip writing this week, because my depression has been awful. But I’m trying to be better about self-care. Not writing equals potential self-combustion for me this week, so…here we are.
I imagine I’m not the only one who’s had a rough week. Every week seems to bring some sort of awful, nauseating new thing brought on by the Trump administration. It’s hard to even catch all the bad news without missing something.
I’ve been most effected by what went down at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline and the rolling back of protections for trans youth in schools. Both of those things kinda hit us at the same time among other things. Still don’t really know how to respond; everything just hurts. So if any of you reading this are struggling with all that happened, I wanted you to know you’re not alone.
What I wanted to write about this week was an intro to some posts on purity culture. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’ve been working on some thoughts for almost the entire month and…it’s just been too much. That probably means I have some personal work to do on that front before I write about it in more detail. This will be a bit of a rambly post but I’m thinking a lot of interconnected things. (as per usual?) I spent some time reflecting on Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, which helped me get through this week. (if you haven’t read it, you need to; trust me)
So, since I can’t write about what I wanted to yet, here’s what I can write about: purity culture and ableism. I’m having to deconstruct a lot of shit. That’s where I’m getting stuck with where I’m at currently in life. I hit puberty about the same time all my chronic illness issues started. They may not seem interrelated but let me explain.
Only two years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis. That was a diagnosis long coming since the symptoms for the first disorder started when I was 12. That was sort of where my body image issues began. I was in constant pain and going through puberty at the same time. If you can imagine that…yes, it was awful. I knew my body was changing, and I hated that my body was always in pain. Thank God I didn’t have a way to process “the gay thing” until much later because it would have been too much.
Anyway, because of my perception of God as this angry God, I thought something was wrong with me that needed to be fixed. On top of that, unbeknownst to me then, I was socially awkward and struggling to adapt to how all my peers were developing emotionally and physically. Because…literally only a year ago, I realized I probably have Asperger’s. It’s been one of those weeks where I’m more aware that it would help to be formally diagnosed. Being the square peg trying to fit in the round hole is finally getting to be too much without letting people around me know I need them to understand all this.
But I don’t even fully understand because I’ve been trying to adapt to this world my whole life. For those of us on the autism spectrum, this world was not built for us. But…we don’t need to be fixed. Different isn’t bad or wrong. It’s just different. Ableism makes no room for different. It’s not interested in accommodating or accepting any difference. Only conformity to a “norm” we can’t seem to measure up to. And it makes me feel like I’ve somehow done something wrong or that I’m not good enough to fit in. Or not worthy to be loved for who I am. But that doesn’t mean I can’t belong or that I’m not worthy of love because I’m autistic or because of the chronic pain that at times prohibits my interactions with the outside world.
In case you’re wondering how all ableism fits into fundamentalism…the answer is way too much. They’re all about conformity and different does tend to mean wrong. “different” should be “fixed” or “healed.” Prayed away, so to speak. I’m here to tell you, a disability is not a moral condition. A Disability. Is. Not. A. Moral. Condition. Nor is it a sign of weak faith.
God is not here to fix you because you are not broken. Your depression doesn’t make you broken or less than. Your anxiety doesn’t. You name it, disabilities are not conditions that mean you are less than. Just because someone/an entire group of people/society at large treats you as less than, doesn’t make you less than. (and if your intersectional feminism doesn’t include the disabled, I’ve just named several good reason why that matters that you be more inclusive)
things I’m trying to deconstruct this week on that note:
I am not a burden (even when I feel like one)
I am worthy of love (even when I feel unworthy)
Not everything that goes wrong is my fault.
I am not crazy because I’m different
I am not broken…nor do I need to be fixed.
I do not have to be good.