“#whoknewTwitterwasoccassionallyuseful? Not me, at least not until today…”
I do not take the full – or even the half – advantage of social media that a blogger is supposed to, so I can’t actually add my contribution to the #AbledsAreWeird Twitterstorm on Twitter itself. I can say I have been laughing myself silly over that hashtag today. For any spoonie who hasn’t seen it, I highly advise you to check it out when you need a break from the world today.
Since I am not twitterpated by the idea of adding yet another form of social media for my poor ADHD brain to have to manage in general, I’ll add the contribution I would have tweeted if I bothered to maintain a Twitter presence for my blog here instead. (But, though I’m only posting here, seriously go check out the actual hashtag on Twitter too!) I will, though, at least conform to Twitter rules and keep my contribution to 280 characters:
Improv actor share:”Doc 1st thought symptoms were chronic, but thank God my infection was acute. How could I live w/pain forever? Life wouldn’t be worth living!”
Lav(next up w/visible cane):”I guess my share is I’m chronically ill & life is worth living? Kthanxbai”#AbledsAreWeird
Yes, that’s a true story, and from very recently. No, I have no idea what, if anything, I should do about it. The person who made the comment was just a student in a class with me. That class is now over. In principle, I won’t see them again? (I mean, it’s not like I’m going to choose to perform in an indie troupe with someone who’d speak like that when I’d previously shared that I occasionally require accommodations for the physical parts of improv because of my chronic illnesses and they still thought that was an appropriate way to phrase a weekly highlight…)
But, the instructor, who is a regular and very serious theater performer, also did not seem to get that there was anything amiss about that comment. This speaks to the broader complete cluelessness about spoonie sensitivity that the hashtag also makes apparent. There’s clearly a need for more awareness among the theater crowd about a) why a spoonie’s life is worth living, even with their chronic illnesses and b) why if an abled performer doesn’t happen to agree, they should still keep their big fat mouths shut about it since at least 1 in 4 of their audience members will also be living with some form of chronic physical or mental illness.
The theater has been encouraging “tough conversations” around diversity and women’s issues in the theater recently. So, it seems like it might be an appropriate time to point out that many performers – and audience members – are also members part of the largest minority group in America. It is just as critical to have “tough conversations” around how to speak about disability as it is to discuss how to speak about race, class, culture, religion and sexual orientation. I am getting really sick of even so-called Progressives managing to include just about every possible form of inclusiveness except disability in their sensitivity training. I’m also not really high enough up in the theater to know where to start to change the narrative, unfortunately…
Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out the Glossary of Terms.
4 thoughts on “Improv #15: Twitterpated”
I had a physical therapist tell me she wouldn’t want to live if she had to be in a wheelchair or lost a limb. She saw nothing wrong with speaking that way. I, for one, am more than the sum of my limbs and my spirit is stronger than the wheels of my chair!
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I saw this Twitter thing about ‘ables’ on TV and thought, wow, this is a thing? How is any better to be biased against non disabled people compared to them being biased against the disabled?
But yeah, tone deaf has become the current default for much of the world, especially the United States, where it seems to be encouraged.
I don’t think outside the ‘locked in’ syndrome where your mind is fully aware but you cannot communicate in any way, I’d deem life with any disability not worth living. We’re only told we have the right to pursue happiness, not that we are entitled to have it. Disabled physically or mentally, you never have to stop that pursuit.
Is that tone deaf? Oh, my, basic social interaction has become a minefield for me.
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Twitter is all about shock value, so any hashtag that gains traction is going to play to that in some way. So, yeah, stereotyping any group isn’t awesome. I do agree, and I try to be better most of the time. But, pointing out real-life examples of the many ways people can be assholes seems like a PSA. I grew up with assholes feeling free to come up to me in restaurants and say things like *I* (a kid) and all my ancestors must be horrible sinners for God to have punished my family with a non-verbal sibling and trying to lay on hands on my sibling without consent, countless dates saying I was a genetic reject and would never deserve love because I had bad genes, an entire state that to this day perpetuates and covers up abuse that I can’t even describe without vague language and a password-protected post because it would trigger *anyone*, and now people in the supposedly tolerant Northeast feel like it’s fine to tell me *I* have a life not worth living? I fought damn hard for my life – and my Sibling’s – and if the legacy of that is that a hashtag that probably is a bit reverse biased makes me laugh myself silly even though I do acknowledge it’s a bit problematic, well, that’s probably the most benign way I know how to scream into the void. And, damn, I need to scream it out even more after what the 9th Circle of Hell put me through just last year. I’ll acknowledge that not every neurotypical ‘abled’ person is like that, but I’ll also say that *just* not telling a child they are Hellspawn because their sibling is non-verbal isn’t enough to sidestep me feeling the person deserves to escape the reverse stereotype. For me, the person who witnesses that kind of thing happening to someone else and says nothing is guilty of assholedom, too. From your stories…the label seems like it applies to most of Armpit same as the 9th Circle of Hell. Want to scream into the void with me a bit for catharsis before we return to being better than most of America? Because, yeah, you are totally right. But, well, screaming is sometimes the only way to say sane and remain kind in general in the face of the things described on that hashtag – and the number of bystanders who stand by and likely said nothing while they were happening. I can only imagine how many bystanders are guilty of saying nothing nationwide if my being the outcast of the 9th Circle of Hell’s K-12 system (and many chain restaurants) in addition to all my family stuff is any sort of data point. Also, I did send a letter to the instructor asking if we could at least discuss the incident in the post as an attempt at making things better and being the better person to be a source of positive change. It was terrifying for a trauma survivor, but I did send an email and attempt vulnerability and being the light first. He flat-out ignored my email for long enough that the class ended and all opportunities for honest discussion passed. That hurt worse than if I’d never tried to make things better at all. So, well, screaming into the void and then trying again another day.
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