i don’t need you to be “healed” to help me.
i think it’s a misunderstanding(?) or too simplistic(?) to always just say that if you’re broken/ tired/ sick/ drained/ etc that you can’t care for others. i do understand the intention is about encouraging folks to take care of ourselves, to replenish, to build resistance and resilience inside ourselves (with what?) so that we can also bring that wherever we go. i understand “put your oxygen mask on and THEN help others“.
But that’s not all it is. That’s not all there can be. i know this, because i know that i and other variously sick and disabled and hurting folks help others all the time, support others, care for others, at times yes prioritize others, etc, and still we go on. i know this.
i know that there are some things that need to be cared for before we can just leap into other stuff. i know if i’m losing blood fast, i need to deal with that, deal with being able to breath, and am not gonna be my most present (in reality, i experience these episodes more as a hyper-presence than lack thereof) while having a panic attack, etc. and i know too that so much of “you can’t help others if you are hurting etc” is informed however unintentionally by various kinds of ableism, as well as by a certain amount of… well… ability to have the time and space to separate these things out somehow in the first place; or even just being able to separate it out at all. i know this.
Sick and disabled and hurting people are parents, healers, teachers, caregivers, artists, volunteers, mechanics, factory workers, sex workers, can collectors, we’re friends to drink coffee with and talk about love with and shed tears with and do jigsaw puzzles with and make food with and sit in grass with and and and… and we are already doing this work, this expanding of, this expression of, this sharing of what we are capable of, and some things we are frankly not capable of… AND we are still sick and disabled and hurting. i AM ALWAYS disabled. i will ALWAYS BE disabled. It doesn’t go away on a retreat, it doesn’t lessen with self-care, and it doesn’t mean that i can’t properly love and support you or make decisions about what that can look like for me. i will always be disabled, and will grow increasingly more disabled as the years go on. That takes a toll on me, it requires that i do an increasing and adaptable amount of “self care” –> “self care” which requires an increasing and adaptable amount of energy –> energy i have less and less of. That reality does not mean that there is now or will ever be a time, a cutoff, when i will stop loving and supporting you. This is the reality.
And so is this:
i don’t need you to be healed to love and support me.
i don’t need my oxygen mask to love and support you.
We breathe life into one another.
We breathe love into one another.
We breathe resistance into one another.
This is one of the things crip/gimp/disability reality & community has taught me.