When Disability Is a Toxic Legacy
Disability is not wrong or tragic or bad, but sometimes it is a symptom of a grave injustice.
ThisisAn Unquiet Mind, a monthly column by s.e. smith that explores disability identity and its interaction with the world at large.
One of my earliest memories involves sitting under the massive, whirling arms of a Heidelberg Windmill, listening to the kiss/thunk of the press, beating in a steady, familiar, comforting rhythm that matched the beat of my own small heart. It was a foil run that day, and the light glittered off the foil, a forbidden banner of gold, as it jerked through the feeder. Someone must have been operating the press but in my memory I am alone, looking up through the forest of machinery, feeling the throb of the press across my whole body.
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What’s terrifying about Spears’s situation, for a certain kind of disabled person, is that we are a razor’s edge away from joining her.
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I want to surround myself with people who argue with me, for I learn so much more from these conversations.
In listings for old pottery that was not intended to be crazed, sellers will disclose what they see as damage: ‘Some crazing.’ Sometimes that’s how I feel. Some crazing.