I’ve been writing about Liz recently. The memories of her have been haunting me, partly because I miss her, partly because there were a couple of things about our relationship and what happened that I could never grasp. Feeling confused in relationships is so common to me that I take it for granted, however, with Liz my confusion was worse than usual. (I have a problem with delayed processing, which means that it takes time for me to process and understand interactions. I come across as indifferent or cold when I don’t understand what’s going on in the moment.)
Yesterday when I was writing about her, one of the knots untangled. I could finally phrase a question that I’ve had the answer to for a while, but since I didn’t know what question I was asking myself the answer didn’t help much. My post from yesterday is called Would you love me as disabled? and that’s what I’m wondering. The very painful answer is no, I don’t think she would. At the moment I can’t say if this is a rational assumption or just my internalized ableism talking, but I don’t think she would have had much feelings at all for the disabled me.
Being with her was exhausting because I was so exposed, so bare, and still I tried to keep up the appearance of being the non-disabled version of me. It was an impossible mission and that’s probably why I froze so many times.
Content Warning: Death
A friend of mine is going through something horrible and I feel so much for her. I wish I could do something to stop what’s happening but I can’t. Neither can she. I don’t want to spell out all the details but I can say as much as somebody very close to her is dying.
We have a couple of friends in common and it strikes me that it seems like my reaction is different from the others’. I’m not shocked anymore (I was the first days when we found out about the family member being severely ill) but now I’m not. The fact that this person probably will die is awful and makes me want to scream out loud in despair, but I don’t have a hard time believing that it’s true. Bad things happen, medicine can’t fix everything and people die.
It bothers me that I don’t react like the rest of our friends do. I wonder if I’m cold or indifferent, if that’s why I’m not shocked. Because even though I’m really sad about what’s happening, I’m a bit numb too. What’s worse is that I find it provoking that my friends seem to be so shocked. Rationally I understand it but I keep having really shameful thoughts about them being privileged without realizing it. The thing is, I know that’s not the case. I know some of them have lost people to uncurable diseases.
I’m thinking that this could be a case of delayed reactions. It happens to me a lot and it tends to get socially complicated, which means that I can’t share it with the people involved. So far, people have always misunderstood it and thought I was indifferent and I don’t want to go through the blaming scenario it has lead to in the past.
In these kind of situations, I wish I could relate to people in a different way. When something bad happens I end up lonely because I don’t follow the expected pattern.
Like a lot of chronically ill and disabled people I know, I live with daily reminders of my vulnerability. I’m painfully aware of how vulnerable I am, and how I have to fight for autonomy and integrety.
Every night, when I’ve crawled underneath my weighted duvet, a longing comes to my attention. It’s the longing for being able to share my vulnerability with someone without holding back. Doing that means that I have to face all the shame and internalized ableism it comes with, and I need to feel very safe to do that. I need to know that the person I share this with won’t abandon me. I need to to know something more, feel something more, but I don’t know exactly what it is.
There are people who I could try this with, but I don’t know how. All I know is that I long so hard after to give in to the fear that the sense of vulnerability that’s permeating everything that is me is causing. To stop pulling myself together and trying to solve everything.