After having many conversations around this: https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/on-self-carecommunity-care-a-response/, i’ve been thinking again about time right now, and how sometimes as a gimp i don’t have time to do the things i love because my body is killing me, and how sometimes i do have time and it doesn’t matter, and how it relates or doesn’t to the level of my activism and to my assumed commitment, and this is all a little all over the place…
Y’know, i’ve got nothing but time. Time to organize, time to fight, time to add to conversations, time to plan, time to go to demos, time to sit with placards, time to engage, time to talk about the PIC, capitalism, oppression, time to be on here. i’ve got so much time i don’t know what to do with it all. For some folks that sounds like a fucking permanent weekend, or some kind of middle class existence. Let me be clear: it ain’t. i’ve got so much time because a man broke my back, my neck, my jaw, and because i live with AS, a degenerative condition which is turning my body in on itself, and because i live with ADD and cant keep shit straight and zone out for hours at a time and lose track of all the time i’ve got, and because i live with PTSD. i’ve got so much time because i live on disability benefits because i cant hold down a job. Having so much time is not a holiday.
There is so much time in my life. And it is full. Of self care. Of helping friends. Of doing accessibility audits. Of playing with and caring for my cat. Of getting hot and dirty with my bear and others. Of managing pain. Of demos and sit ins and banners and letters. Of maintaining my sobriety. Of figuring out what i’m going to eat. Of fighting the system i’m stuck in for life. Of talking over and over and over again about how to make things more accessible not just to me. Of managing my cheque for the month. Of working on my shit. Of trying to reconnect with my family. Of mundane stuff like mail and sweeping and trying to eat more kale and laundry and watering the plant. Of trying to shake off and transform the stories i’m told and tell myself about what my life is or can be.
It must be nice to live in such a way that you are able to simply re-focus and allot time from here to there, and to somehow be able to then free up energy for ever more organizing. But not having enough time is not what stops me in my tracks sometimes when it comes to organizing and self care and community care. Having more time or allotting more time to community organizing efforts will not change my reality of being disabled, of living a disabled existence, not for 2 or 3 weeks but for the rest of my life.
i don’t want to be told that if i don’t have the ability to kick up the time i give to my activism i’m not committed to “the cause”. That sounds way too much like “if you don’t believe you can heal, you won’t” and “you’re disabled because you have a bad attitude” for my liking.
Able bodied notions of time and commitment ain’t everything.
“i no longer dream about the rest of my years, i check the little box does anyone care? / In the doledrums on the dole / The benefits arrive and life goes on…” ~The Chills