oracl

writer, artist, indigo.

Month: March, 2017

impermanence/fragility

coral hospital.jpg

At one point during an unexpected, serious medical emergency earlier this month, I genuinely thought I was dying. This is the story + a tiny reflection on physicality + impermanence + love. 

We wake up and cuddle and pull on clothes, then smoke with M in his Bedstuy apartment, where we are staying for a few days. J unties the black hematite cross necklace I had been wearing like a choker since he bought it for me, three months ago. It needs to be cleansed.

We leave it on the table, exit the apartment and walk hand in hand to a Soul Food restaurant he found on yelp, one block away. I’m happy to arrive at the front door, respite from the cold March winds outside. There are no seats, just a service partition and a thin ledge to the left. The menu is long, detailed. J studies it; the lines on his forehead creasing in a familiar way as he scans the shiny black paper with too many options on either side.

(Less than one hour later, I am traveling through the door again, this time, to go. The only difference is that this time, I am near unconscious, in unbearable pain, in a wheelchair: being hauled out of the store where an ambulance awaits on the street. )

I stand beside him, considering what to order, feeling tired and spacey, but writing it off as a result of smoking. My eyelids begin to feel heavy, the joints in my legs suddenly weary and annoyed with the laborious act of standing. A minute later, I am dizzy. Standing starts to really feel like a lot. I tell my love, who is still focused on the menu, that I need to sit down, and I make my way to the ledge, which is just wide enough for small butts to perch comfortably.

Relieved, my legs relax into the ground. The dizziness only increases. Then, all of a sudden, nausea. I begin to start slipping out of present awareness and into the increasingly worrying sensations that are only beginning to overwhelm my body. I am very dizzy now, and not thinking about the menu anymore. At this moment, I begin to realize that there is something strange happening to me, in me.

Then, the nausea increases, and I begin to sway, ever so slightly, the beginning of losing consciousness which would soon rapidly progress. J comes over to check on me, and around then, my body temperature starts rising. Within two minutes, my body is extremely hot, to the touch, I can feel the heat emanating from my skin. I look up at him. Baby I don’t feel well. At this point, things begin to get blurry. I am burning up and in a state of mental confusion, but not in super visible distress, yet.

He goes back to the counter to put in orders and my dizziness gets worse. I lean over onto the wall, this is the beginning of my body no longer being able to hold itself up. At this point, I begin to feel my consciousness slipping away. But very slowly at first. Confused, since I’d been fine five minutes before, I tell him ‘J, there’s something wrong. Something is really wrong right now.’

The women in the store begin to notice but say nothing.

Then, I start having trouble breathing. I cannot seem to get enough air into my lungs. I am not gasping for breath, just aware that my breathing isn’t working how its supposed to anymore. It is slow, labored, heavy, uneven, obstructed. Now I am terrified. J says something along the lines of ‘lets go home, its so close, we can leave now honey’ and at that point I have to tell him to call an ambulance because I am not OK. The realization of the extent of what is happening sinks in for both of us. I don’t remember if he called or if someone else did. I lose more consciousness and begin to go ‘in and out’ of awareness.

Then the abdominal pain kicks in, and I lose more consciousness and begin to fall over, slumping into J who is suddenly having to ‘catch’ me. This is where it gets hard to detail, because I was coming in and out of responsiveness. In one moment I am in darkness, in the next I open my eyes, although unable to speak or respond, and I realize that my boyfriend is holding my head and neck up with his hands, saying things like stay me with coral, stay with me please, asking if any of the women at the store have any experience because his girlfriend is having a medical emergency. One kind hearted stranger steps up and helps him, because I am really passing out now and will fall to the ground without support. The pain in my intestines and abdomen is becoming acute now.

In and out, in and out, hearing people’s voices as if they are far away. I come to, then become non responsive again.

It is at this point that I start to believe I am possibly dying. In the muted corridors of unconsciousness, I ask God to let me live. I want to live. It almost feels like something is trying to kill me and I am begging it not to. Why am I shutting down, why is my body failing me right now, I ask, when cognizant. In and out, curled over in pain one second and almost slipping to the floor in another. I groan with pain when I come ‘out’ of faint mode, feeling as if I’ve been poisoned.

I had never faced the sheer terror of a physical experience so extreme, with so many body systems seeming to malfunction at once, all within minutes of each other, after feeling perfectly normal right before. I had never experienced a medical emergency so sudden or profound, had never had to cope with such a loss of bodily control, with the stunningly real possibilities that I knew could come from not being able to breathe or passing out over and over again. People with serious long term illness, who go through things like this….dear god, I fucking salute you. You are so strong and impossibly brave, and I only got a glimpse of your struggle.  

Suddenly, the pain gets so bad that I realize I will actually shit myself in the next few minutes if I don’t get to a bathroom. My bowels start preparing themselves for movement, and I can’t really control it, to my horror. The physical need to go is what wakes me up enough to stumble, person on either side of me, to the bathroom, groaning on the toilet in horrible, inexplicable pain. Afterword, I cannot stand. I fall off the bowl onto the bathroom floor, writhing, still in and out. The EMTs arrive and put me in a wheelchair, roll me out of the restaurant and into the ambulance, and lift me from the chair to the gurney. My guts are still aching, but already I am just beginning to return to more awareness, aided by an oxygen mask, the harshness of the cold, and the rumble of being in a moving vehicle. By the time we arrive at the hospital, the worst of it is over, but I am still so out of it, exhausted, confused, sore, scared. J is by my side, holding my hand and letting me know its OK. He was my hero through it all, even though I later realized he was deeply shaken as well, especially in the moments when my eyes were open, but blank, like a dead persons would be. He hid it to care for me.

After four hours and simple tests, all the doctors told us is that I experienced syncope, a fancy word for fainting but not immediately, a more complex and gradual loss of consciousness. He didn’t have answers for the sudden fever,  the nausea, the breathing issue, the abdominal pain and bowel cramping. We were just ready to go, and were relieved to be released. I have a clean bill of health from the blood tests.

And now, sitting here writing this a week before my twenty fifth birthday, which I am grateful I’ll be able to enjoy, I briefly reflect. I am thinking a lot about the impermanence of our bodies, the dangerousness of life, incarnate. To be physical, to be human, is so terrifyingly vulnerable. When I think about our bodies from a soul perspective, it’s almost frightening, how the vast expanses we truly are, are confined to these flesh things, which respond with pain to anything that threatens their homeostasis. We’re so soft and our bodies are these unique, fussy little ecosystems, so sensitive and susceptible to external things that puncture or poison, to hard things, to wires crossing, to any myriad of things going wrong inside of them or outside of them. We’re eternal beings, who are so fucking breakable.

There is something so horrible, and so stunningly beautiful about it. Without these bodies, without your softness, how would you experience the vulnerability, the profundity in cuddling with someone so closely that your two hearts start beating in unison through two chests?

Our skin has to be thin enough to feel anothers heart pounding. Perhaps our deep knowing of the possibility and eventual inevitability of our hearts stopping gives each beat endless depth and meaning it couldn’t have otherwise.

-c

(ps, im doing fine now.)

 

 

Fly Me to Mars

gorgeous/resonant.

babe in botland

I spent my first seventeen years in this country as a Resident Alien. In these politically correct times such language is now frowned upon, but the truth is that it is by far the most accurate description of my experience living in this country as a dark skinned black woman – alien and alienating. Especially over the course of the last year.

I say frequently, to the chagrin of white and black Americans alike, that I am profoundly grateful and relieved that I was not born and raised in this country.

And I am.

I am grateful every single day that I was born and raised and educated in the so-called “third world”.

I am grateful that I had the experience of just being a child. Of people expecting me to be brilliant, and not being surprised when I fulfilled their expectations.

I am grateful that I had an experience of…

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On club scenes: weird vibes, superficiality, and other things I’ve observed as a dj in NYC.

My homie KALA (Jaryd, a member of my crew #KUNQ) wrote this Facebook status a few days ago:

“Every month I lose interest in what the club scene has become. More and more of superficial vibes, throwing shade, and being rude & fake AF. But then I hear “Stop Oppression and POC need to unite” when individuals keep dividing themselves up.
P.S.
It isnt everybody and the music still bumps.”

83 people liked it, a great deal of them people I know or know of, who are part of said club scenes, which I found fascinating. If so many people feel the exact same way, then who is engaging in this behavior? My idea is that it’s not a majority, but a handful of people who rise to positions of power/relevance/visibility, creating this negative vibration with their insecurities, egos, and need for interpersonal dominance and control, which then spill over into the space, like a well dressed, shady squid spewing ink into the water around them. Some of these people hide it from their friends/squad, so that only people outside of the group experience said behavior, and there is no inbuilt mechanism to check or challenge it. I wrote the following comment below, but then deleted it, because I am a pariah in scenes and I often feel like my observations are almost…too real. Socially dangerous for me to expose them freely although, to be fair, I’m already an outcast and the majority of these people don’t give two fucks what I do or say, anyway :D…. So here it is:

Over years its started to seem like lotsa club scenes in major cities in general are outgrowths of capitalism, based around consumption and a profit motive, largely made possible by white men who own venues, breeding grounds for pathological escapism/superficial meaningfulness, rife with social gatekeeping and stratification especially among already marginalized/displaced people using it for a sense of identity/personal relevance instead of allowing a stable, internal sense of self to create a positive/healing external reality at the club….some scenes often seem to me, to be attempts to fill voids that genuine community should fill, unless, of course, you are in the clique/in-group that runs it. (And even within those…there is infighting.) The vibration be off af sometimes. I can tell when someone else is feeling it too because I can sense the same anxiety in them, through a chat or a brief glance across the room.We’ve probably had one or a few of those moments IRL, lol. Plus, since more underground scenes are not bolstered by the big corporate engines that back, say, EDM, this forces the need for competition so that you can rise in relevance over the next person and get booked more/payed more…the rent in NYC is high as hell. Things become about turnout, about having people with mad social media followers and the right look/aesthetic on the lineup, about selling tickets and overpriced mixed drinks, about getting all the *right* press acknowledgement, about being trendy and cool and exclusive. At so many parties I have noticed people standing around, clearly judging people they are not there with, refusing to interact with anyone outside of their group,  talking shit while smoking cigarettes in corners, making sure they take perfect selfies for the gram with the right people. I sense what is going on in a space, to an extreme degree. This is why, in my younger days, I had to get wasted to even be comfortable in these spaces, otherwise my awareness would manifest as severe, painful anxiety in my body, which was trying to scream NO to all the posturing and hiding, NO to the not love and not community and not friendliness it was encountering, often under the guise of being an empowering/non normative space….(see why I didn’t post my comment on his status? Lol. I’m too much.)

Also, in our postmodern western society on the brink of transformation/collapse, i’m not sure anymore if my efforts in nightlife have really been useful/healing/revolutionary in any meaningful way. I have way, wayyy too many stories, its sad, and you know i’m a genuinely kindhearted person since we met, and i know that about you as well….(def more closed off now but safer that way)…..I have had panic attacks due to shade so cold, unexpected and unwarranted all i could do in that moment was sit by myself on the bench at trans pecos wondering why Im even there at all, thinking of all the energy i probably wasted wearing my heart on my sleeve in these environments…..that said, i find it so interesting, this disappointing shared experience/perspective we both have, which many other commenters and likers seem to have resonated with, despite the intense absence of this dialogue on social media.. overall im not judging, these are just observations. its totally NOT everyone and there are good and bad sides to all things. but thank u again for speaking up, not everyone can or will. grateful to have been given a space to reflect/express about this.

I will speak more on this soon, and maybe even tell a few stories.

Authenticity

This was a comment I wrote on a blog written by my favorite spiritual teacher, Teal Swan, back in 2014.

https://tealswan.com/teals-blog/to-hell-with-the-facade

Just stumbled upon it while looking through old emails. First, a quote from the blog post, then my response:

“It does not serve me to let fear bury the truth of who I am when I am in the public eye.  This is a new age that we are living in.  A time when people will come into a knowing of their own god-hood.  Conformity to an ideal, no longer serves us.  It cooks us in the furnace of self-suppression.  And I have decided that even if it kills me, I am going to lead this shift by example; knowing that when I expose myself, I give people permission to be where they are without making them wrong, unlovable or bad for it.”

-Teal Swan

Looking back, this is really beautiful to read. Personal authenticity in one person that becomes visible to millions can be more powerful than the ongoing work of a million activists doing concrete things to bring about change. The bane of modern existence, the spiritual void we feel, is related to our inability to be truly present with ourselves and our feelings. The entire matrix program of control is based upon our collective lack of integration of our shadows. the “normal” psychological profile is so strange to me. as a teen i remember thinking wow everything is fake and most people are too, then being told i have ‘social anxiety disorder’ and spending years clawing my way back to the truth. my perception has since matured but to some extent i was right. its all this repressed pain causing the world to be so full of suffering. (i think we have incredible courage, strength and bravery that is hard for the world to even comprehend at this point, but that seems to be changing quickly) but yeah…i look around and my heart hears the world SCREAMING for realness! for truth, for what really is, for whats beyond the damn facade, for that which proceeds construction or conditioning by external forces with an agenda. you demonstrate something so profound and i understand the pain it causes to go through willingly triggering yourself like that for the good of others. I remember when I decided that it was the utmost authenticity or nothing. I just saw through the bullshit so hard that I couldn’t be unreal anymore, it disgusted me and i wanted more from myself, i was being motivated and assisted by a higher purpose that had little use for my socially programmed fear response to my own true raw divine self or my fear of peoples reactions to it. regardless, the fear and shame it triggered and continues to trigger is real. better than before though. I used to have panic attacks after blog posts in which I spoke in my inherently honest and self revealing way. i have lost friends by being myself and people often don’t know what to do with me, the more i let the real me out. however, regardless of that, I grow in self love and self respect, my creativity expands exponentially in leaps and bounds and I care less and less about being accepted for being someone I am not. but you know what the most amazing thing about it is? once i really started doing authenticity as a hardcore spiritual practice (i think we started focusing on it at the same time) but yeah once i really started taking it seriously and holding myself to it, I began to…be a sort of *channel* for wisdom i didn’t even fully understand the source of…..i began to write words that *touched* people in places they forgot they ever had, a long long time ago. i began to *wake* people out of their slumber with the power behind my words. i began to attract people that could only stand in silence after I spoke that truth and gently beckoned theirs out from the places they had stuffed it in order to survive and fit in….people would randomly open up to me from such a deep and beautifully real place and I was able to catalyze intense inner shifts in them, like i had in myself….pretty much started to step into my role as a healer and so much beautiful shit blossomed as a result of the commitment to authenticity. i know i’ve touched and changed peoples lives and its not because of me in a personal sense, it because because of the magic and POWER that lies within the authenticity we’re all capable of and meant to embody but taught to fear more than anything.

More reflections on ADHD, ableism, and a real life example of stigma/shaming that happened last month.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/adhd-brain-disorder-study_us_58af2326e4b060480e05c139?kwp_0=345868&kwp_4=1303323&kwp_1=578656

Thoughts on the latest ADHD studies which apparently prove that our issue is neurological:

I am, by far, the most “severe” case of Inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder I have ever known, and very likely the most extreme case you have ever interacted with in your life, although you can’t really tell on the surface. While they are often co-morbid, it’s not directly comparable to depression or anxiety, as those are primarily situational or trauma based: you’re not born depressed or anxious. I was born with measurable brain differences that are interpreted as evidence of an incurable disease in modern society. My differences make the basic capabilities of *adulthood* extraordinarily difficult on an ongoing basis. The effects don’t come in cycles, there is no ‘onset’, there are no episodes, no major or minor. According to the scientists and the doctors and the looks on certain people’s faces when your ADD decides to show itself like a perpetually reoccuring nip slip, you’re just broken. From the day you are born, you are broken. That is the paradigm, and many of us who face serious ADD feel like our fate is to feverishly tread water with deformed, weak, ‘too different from other people’ limbs, forever. (Stimulants do not work on everyone, are not available to everyone, and for some like myself, the costs outweigh the benefits. I like having a full range of emotions and I do not like random fits of agitation and rage, personally. Thats why I had to stop. Meds are not a one size fits all solution.)

People generally have no real idea what its like, how far reaching the effects are, and how maladapted we are for survival under late capitalism. As a black woman with the personal backstory I have, my efforts to survive and thrive are thwarted even more by my identity, my biography and my relatively low standing within most social hierarchies and power structures. Ancestry of slavery, segregation, poverty, abuse, addiction and dysfunction, no generational wealth, very little family support, a personal history of extreme trauma, working in an industry with an insanely high glass ceiling for women, and the list goes on. ADHD voices are so unheard and misunderstood in general, but black, poor female ones far more so. Black women with so called ‘mental illness’, living at the axes of multiple oppressions, are among the most unheard and disregarded voices there are in America. Are we broken? Or are the systems that drain our life force and invalidate our existence, themselves, broken?

On the one hand, studies like the one in the link above help people like me who struggle relentlessly, perpetually, with things modern adults are expected and generally able to do. They help because they convince the neurotypical population that we ‘really’ do have a ‘brain disease’ that is not our personal ‘fault’. Therefore, they combat stigma and make it so that my lived experience is less of a culturally invalidated, tragically misunderstood, interpersonally denied and stigmatized situation. However…they hurt too, because, at the end of the day, my very real neurobiological differences are only pathological/ abnormal in the context of a deeply unnatural, insane, programmed construct called modern society, in which neurotypical brains are the norm and the standard and, I must admit, less threatening to the way things are, which is why there is no diagnosis for that. ADD, for some including myself, means not being able to force ourselves to do things even with the risk of massive consequences. Many of us are motivated almost entirely by inspiration, desire and personal interest in a subject matter or an activity. Kind of like children. Free. Too free, too driven by what is within rather than by the hard, blunt edges of ‘reality’ that exist without. (Is that reality?) Survival, quite literally, does not fire up my engines, and I only recently accepted it and stopped hating myself for it in 2016. I have had to pay for it in too many ways to count. Fear doesn’t work very well to get my switch from off to on, which is why people like me HAVE to get a psychiatric label and drugs to change who we are, you can’t have a bunch of people running around who can’t figure out how to motivate themselves off of humanitys base survival instincts and modern conditioning! Fuck no. And dear God, if people started looking into the mirror of our inability to conform and realize how much they too, deep down, struggle to conform and live in this fake construct, shit would fall apart. We most defffffinitely cant have that. *Cue endless studies about our ‘broken brains’ and 10 million adderall prescriptions for ten year olds in America who cant pay attention to brainwashing at school for six hours a day*

A quote from the incredible mind of John Taylor Gatto is relevant here: “School is about learning to wait your turn, however long it takes to come, if ever. And how to submit with a show of enthusiasm to the judgment of strangers, even if they are wrong, even if your enthusiasm is phony.”
John Taylor Gatto

Back to my own experience. I am damn near incapable of submitting myself to boredom or routine, my brain tends to switch off when I see through something false and can’t give my energy to it, when someone is using words just to fill a void they mistakenly think exists outside of themselves, or when I just don’t care about something and do not see its relevance to my personal mission, even when I try really, really, really, really hard to stay focused. Every job, lost within months. Every single one. Multidimensional is a good word for my brain, I often feel like my consciousness is present beyond the physical levels of consensus reality. Sometimes I am outside of time, sometimes I am in a hyperfocused trance of no-time, sometimes I am deep in my own subconscious, sometimes I am in a whirlwind of other people’s thoughts and emotions, sometimes I am so present I cannot help but behave completely spontaneously. A few times, I have actually ‘left’ my physical body and my consciousness traveled to the past or the future (being an intuitive/claircognizant is part of this). Lots of ADD’ers have these gifts of expanded consciousness and are not naturally grounded into 3 dimensional reality because our role at a soul level is to be both in this reality while not being of it. Many of us are portals, bridges to the beyond, who are able to bring the spiritual down into the physical and merge them through the activities that light our brains on fire and put us so deep into hyperfocus we become unaware of our physical bodies, of time and space, of where we put the keys, of the fact that we forgot to pay the phone bill. My ADD brain gives me really awesome powers tbh, which the world needs badly right now. It’s sacred, but everything is inverted here in duality, so down here, we’re ‘sick’ and need to be fixed because we can’t keep most jobs without neuturing ourselves with therapy, stimulants and internalized shame.

I am terrible with things like money, turning my gifts into profit, and navigating the strange, fear based world of any capitalist industry at all. I can write my ass off, I was a child prodigy in a couple of ways, and last year I stumbled into leading an international collective/movement online among other things, but knowing how to monetize my mind and turn the contents of my soul into profit? It’s like trying to learn sanskrit from a braille textbook. I make sense in a village where man and nature live in harmony, where villagers do not have to learn how to ask if they can go pee in schools, or get office jobs, or pay rent to an owner of a piece of something that belongs to everyone, every month. I don’t make sense in the world as it is, and it doesn’t make any sense to me, but that is probably the most important reason why people like me desperately need to exist: to remind other adults that this shit isn’t really honoring their soul or working for them, either, even if they have forced themselves to function well within it and stake out a little place in this mess for themselves, thereby procuring a little piece of security and safety in a world gone mad. If everyone easily kept jobs and payed rent every month and effortlessly focused their attention on whatever we are ‘supposed’ to focus on, we’d be hurtling towards an Orwellian/Huxley’esque dystopia even faster than we already are. My *broken brain* has a forbidden, uncontrollable magic in it, and for that, I pay dearly on the physical plane. For that, and for my inability to tame it and get with the program, I suffer. Ideological warfare on the too wild, too free and therefore dangerous human spirit.

Living as someone like this is difficult in ways I’m not sure words can express. I once stayed with a man who was abusing me for months because I had no where else to live and between being abused by a sociopath and the way my brain works no matter how hard I tried, it was really, really hard to acquire enough money to get out. I can’t even sit and search for jobs on craiglist for more than fifteen minutes without getting completely distracted and having to yank myself back to the task at hand, over and over and over and over again (then attention fatigue sets in and I fall asleep from the strain midday.) I have lived on people’s floors surviving off bagels, I have relied on food banks, I have lived in a dirty, illegal loft with ten men, I have slept on the train, I have gone from couch to couch, I have been shamed so deeply for my struggle to survive and navigate NYC as an adult, I have been fired a million times and sometimes with harsh words (one boss told me I need an ‘interface’ to deal with reality, obviously equating my differences with a form of mental retardation, even though my IQ probably eclipses his and definitely most people’s, by a large margin.) My parents kicked me out onto the street because it took me longer than a month to get my shit together after taking medical leave from Wesleyan, although it was obvious I was clinically depressed and could barely eat/move/think about working. As far back as middle school, reports all reflect the same thing, that I have an incredible mind but I am just not good enough in the ways that it takes to succeed within institutions with strict expectations for how my brain should work, I am not living up to my potential, etc etc. Professors at Wesleyan loved me because I made their classes less boring by not riding their dicks and actually challenging their ideas, yet I just didn’t make it to graduation after more than three years of trying. The actual impact of being this way is SO FUCKING REAL and I want people to know that, for my sake and for the sake of millions who deal with this.

Now: a real life example of what it is like to face ableism and stigma and non-belief as someone with severe ADHD.

I’m going to bring up Neybuu again. Neybuu (apparently her real name is Renae or something) is a white woman, a music producer, who came out of nowhere to demean me last month in an extremely random and deeply ableist way. I run a rapidly growing global collective of women/nonbinary folks in the hopes of changing gender inequality in electronic music, and it is a great deal of work, which I explained two posts below in an essay about the situation. I am someone who is motivated by a desire to change how things are, not by a desire to thrive within them, although I try very hard to do both but tend to fail at the latter. Thriving within the old system/doing what I have to do to because ‘you just have to do it’, is insanely difficult for all the reasons I described above, and has never actually worked for me, ever. Not every adult can say that. I have never had financial security, ever in my life, childhood or adulthood. Not for longer than several months, even in college. Normal brains can keep a job, can scrape rent together, can devise a long term structured survival plan and stick to what it takes to make it happen. I taught myself how to read at three, but at 23 I was living on someone’s floor, hating my mad whirlwind of a mind and how it always seems to make me pay dearly for the ways in which I cannot change myself or adapt to the construct that is modern American life under late stage capitalism.

When I asked the group I run (SISTER) for help so I could possibly eat more and be a bit less malnourished while doing work, every day, for an incredibly unique and important movement in my industry meant to uplift and create space for women around the world who are marginalized in our field, more people than I thought would respond immediately responded with love and willingness to contribute to me not going so painfully without, like I am used to. I was so proud of myself for having gathered the courage to acknowledge and respect my differences and limitations, to ask for help after a year of genuinely hard work, for having the courage to reach out and ask people to acknowledge the value of what I am trying to do, outside of the context of a master/slave capitalist work arrangement. One of the members commented saying ‘we should definitely help you out, you do a lot for us’ and 20 people liked it in two hours. I was like wow, maybe this thing I pour so much time and energy into can help me not struggle so relentlessly like I have since forever.

And then, lo and behold: a white, presumably able bodied/neurotypical woman who had read my long, heartfelt, incredibly vulnerable post to the group I have nurtured from its early days decided that she had to step up and stop me from my apparent attempt to ‘capitalize off disenfranchished people’, ‘charge’ them to stay in the group and threaten people for money like a manipulative, dishonest person would do. She wanted me to realize that ‘real labors of love don’t get compensation’….(huh? She had clearly read my post about being in a financial emergency and losing weight, and wanted to block me from getting support to get out of that situation? Who does that?) She told me that she has been able to make money and survive without a normal job and that she could offer me suggestions on how to do that, and ended with offering to take over what I have built brick by brick while vowing not to ‘charge’ the members (which I never did and was never going to.) It was horrible, because it was a strangely aggressive personal attack on a black, intensely neurodivergent woman in a clearly vulnerable and painful position, based on complete absence of understanding of who I am, what my intentions were, my story, and what it means to ask for help within a community that knows you, cares about you and values your existence. I technically have a severe neurological disorder….why would anyone drag someone who was brave enough to admit to to that?

Ableism, and stigma, and people not believing you and blaming your struggle on your character or on personal shortcomings. I told my story so honestly, and a white woman came out of nowhere to attack my black ass for it and shame me for speaking out and asking for the support I truly do need and deserve. This is a real life example of ableism/neurotypical privilege in action.

She got angry after I deleted the attack so she put it on our public page within five seconds, to ‘get back at me’…..it was bizzare. If she wanted to help me, why didn’t she message me? Why attempt to shame and ‘call out’ and embarass me in front of other people? Why post on our public page, where there are hundreds of non-members, in the attempts to get attention for something that was apparently meant to be of personal help to me? I have since flipped my weave and gotten over it, (lol) but at the time, I hadn’t felt so angry in years. I was in absolute shock, and even more in shock when she posted it on her page, my name included, and messaged me to thank me for all the attention she was getting from the post….(!)….all because I asked if people would be willing to help me fight the real life effects of severe ADHD so I can continue to run our group and do good for others around the world.

The ableism in her narrative about me was astounding. If someone had cancer and had put love and energy into something meant to benefit others for an entire year, while suffering from the effects of her cancer, and she made a gofund me for help with hospital bills and posted it in her group, no one would come out of the woodwork and accuse her of trying to use and scam others. No one would demean her character and reduce her desire to survive to a baseless, manipulative scheme. No one would offer to replace her without having ever had a personal, one on one conversation with her. No one would respond to her in a way that completely wrote her cancer out of the equation and blamed her inability to pay her hospital bills on her own lack of making the right choices. No one would tell her “when I was sick, I payed my bills without asking people for money, so you should too, and I can give you suggestions on how to do that.” Her words reeked of really, really bad ableism and an intense disregard for my plight and thereby, the plight that all people diagnosed with this go through. ADHD, the severe kind like I have, is not a disease in my opinion, like I explained above, but its still a painfully real and huge difference which leads to the kind of inability to support oneself that I have faced for my entire adult life, to an extent that is absolutely anything but normal. I know we’re all paying our individual rent every month in this alienated, atomised capitalist society, but I believe in community and I believe that people should reach out to people who care for help more, to each other more instead of to institutions and writers of paychecks, that people should help each other more, emotionally, financially, however. You shouldn’t shame someone for struggling so long and so hard that they shoot down their pride and ask people to help them. You shouldn’t tell people their labor, their effort, their love, their energy, is worthless. You should not assume that someone you do not know has the same abilities as you do. That is stigma. That is shaming, that is harmful, that is ableism, that is really messed up, especially if it’s a white woman doing this to a black woman in America…..context.

I hope that new research that comes out helps people to realize what people like me go through, how we lack the abilities most adults take for granted and assume everyone has. We don’t. A lot of rich ADD’ers end up with life coaches, expensive life long medication, multiple therapies and all kinds of support, while lots of poor POC ones end up dead, homeless or locked up somewhere. The research is out there if you look. I hope that new research reduces stigma so that the cancer patient and the severe ADD’er are both looked at with love, understanding and kindness about their limitations. I hope this woman realizes one day that a white person attacking and shaming and lying about a black woman who is simply trying to survive and brave enough to ask for help from people she has helped, is extremely problematic and hateful especially given white supremacy and racism…..I hope she realizes that when I deleted her post, it was coming from a place of intelligent awareness of the defamation and barely hidden vitriol that came through so clearly in her original attack, which her friends somehow didn’t see the same way (they wanted me to think she was being ‘nice’ and trying to ‘help’….really? Please.) I might have an extreme brain difference, but I’m extremely intuitive and not stupid in the slightest. Whether they will admit to it or not, the energy emanating from her original words was condescending, cruel and unwarranted , and I will never sit here and act like it was not.

To everyone with ADHD or any inner difference defined and treated like a severe neurological disorder, I love you, and you deserve to survive!!! You do need more help than the average person. Your limitations are a mirror for others to look in and more easily admit their own. Your inability to survive as an individual unit forces you to rely on either your community, or on the state, and when you choose the latter, you make social reality a little less cutthroat and isolating because you are a reminder of how unnatural the way we live is. No, you are NOT equipped to survive this bullshit, but that doesn’t mean people should shame you or that you deserve to wither away. I believe you, I see you, I acknowledge you, I applaud you for rising above your struggle, or just admitting to it and taking up space in the world, as you are. I will do everything I can to help tell our story as I continue my creative career.

c

 

 

 

Mental Illness Series Part 3: Attention Deficit Disorder

oracl

The worst part about losing my job, yet again, was the look in my boss’ eyes.

He’d been trying, for a long time, to help, to give me something to do that would help me survive & allow me to focus on music. I showed up, once again, with no notepad or writing utensil. He had asked me over and over and over again to bring these things. I forgot. I forgot. I forgot again. He is upset now. I am not moving fast enough and my laptop is stalling. I feel his eyes on me. He exudes power and confidence and organization and productivity and industriousness. My opposite. Intimidating. I feel small. I feel as if he is looking at a disobedient five-year old. My imagination runs wild. He is sick of me. (Get out of here coral) I can’t focus. I can’t focus. I am starting…

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