The lightest question is one that has to do with birds and open space and the vision I have for my life and for The Disability Intersection. It does not deal in limitation but in flight and possibility, not in accolades for achievement but in building steadily and strategically on this vision.

But sometimes I am so tired and feel like it’s all me, and how I get farther from here to the place of the vision is hard. I see children, seniors, classes, and then I hear how to keep my benefits I can’t work. The children and seniors I see in my mind internalize ableism and the seniors specifically choke on ageism. I listen to the reasons my goals are Macaroni Art 101, so pretty to look at. OOH. AAH. We’re all so pretty to look at, right?

This response is not inconsequential. I am not inconsequential. Somewhere inside you know we are powerful together at the intersection of ability, ableism, ageism and other isms .

Hence the restrictions on working in the first place. The second-class citizening of disabled people since the beginning. Institutionalization. Poverty. Abuse. Trauma. Medicalization. Death, all seen as “natural consequences of disability”

I am powerful, but what happens to me happens to many others.

Because you can’t get higher than death, there are smaller things: Financial punishment for marriage. Restrictions on owning a savings account until recently. The thin line between high achieving joy and internalized, self-hating.

One of us seen as representing all of us. It is a wonder we all survive.

But we do, and I have.

Before she got sick and died, my mother said that people do not know what I can offer because they do not see the need but make them aware of it and they will. So here I am, daily fighting and slowly building, grieving the losses dysautonomia has brought, and the changed perspective it carved from and into my chest as what I still hope is a gift to the world. The gift of resilience, honesty, undaunted perseverance, fear and fearlessness.

In all this time of being carved and carving my way through severe illness, I think at times I haven’t done enough. In clearer moments, I see this as false, because it is.

I cannot be pinned down because the lightest question is simply an aspect of me, freed from being grounded by others so I can ground myself and fly.

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