Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Tick, Tock: Cripples and the Clock - Persons with Disabilities and the Timeline
The other day, I was sitting in a meeting with some colleagues for a project that I am a part of around Queer Seniors and their stories. One piece of this project was to construct a timeline of all the Queer things that had happened throughout their life time. It was fascinating to hear them talk about living through the criminalization of homosexuality, and then attempting to find themselves once it had been de-criminalized, realizing that the stigmas still lingered. Ultimately, the timelines attempted to highlight the progress that we have made in the Queer Community.
When it came time for me to apply Queers with Disabilities, and my lived experience to this timeline, I realized that the timeline was just beginning for us. In many ways, our stories have yet to be told, have yet to shared with anyone. We are only just starting to be seen and heard as sexual beings AND as Deliciously Disabled.
Truthfully, in looking at the idea of time as a Deliciously Disabled dude-lover, it scares me a lot. When I was a teenager (around 13 or 14), aside from secretly hoping that I would run off into the sunset with any of the sports stars at my high school, or that the fantasy I had of making out with them in the locker room would come true, I would tell myself at night that by the time I turned 18, 19 (insert supposed milestone years here), that I would have some semblance of normalcy. I was that kid that wanted it to be tomorrow or the next day, so that something "real" might happen. I hoped as hard as I could that I would reach those markers like all of my peers, and that my time would come. I dreamt that I would have my first boyfriend, my first real shot at someone who wanted to be there. I would give myself these arbitrary timelines in the hopes that fate might step in.
If I am honest with all of you, as my early 30s (31 to be exact) starts in just under 2 months, I still feel the need to think about that timeline. Every so often, I worry that I haven't really grown into myself as a man, because I've never had a boyfriend, never gone on a real date, and never felt like someone wanted to stay. As time ticks on, those wants grow ever stronger.
Time for those of us who identify as Deliciously Disabled, can also often feel like it isn't truly ours. We are constantly negotiating bookings for personal care, buses and other things related to our disabilities. Everything is regimented, planned and decided in advance. For myself, spontaneity is one of the sexiest things in the whole world. It allows me to stop worrying, and counting every single minute of my day in relationship to my care plan. One of my biggest wants is to go on a road trip with a bunch of people, and not ever have to worry about when my attendant is coming, or wake up on a rainy Sunday morning next to a good looking man, and do the crossword naked (ummmm, is this what happens when you get older? Your fantasies are less about locker rooms and more about longevity?).
There is a statistic floating about that keeps my awake at night worrying about my timeline:
It makes me worry that these things I long for will not come, in time. That said, I also see the liberation in the fact that I have never adhered to anyone's clock. I can create my own chronology, and tell my own story as it happens. Instead of laying in bed waiting for the clock to strike 12, worried that you will never reach that milestone due to the barriers of disability, take time to remember that your disability will help you create moments and memories that no one else will understand, that are unique to your experience as a PwD. Don't wait for a moment like this, create a moment for the crips.
Thanks for reading! Find out more about Deliciously Disabled, and hire me on as a Disability Awareness Consultant, by heading over to www.andrewmorrisongurza.com