Hello my friends,
Happy New Year, loves. I hope it is one filled with happiness, love, and an effort to get to know ourselves better, as activists, as people, and as brothers and sisters living in a complicated, sometimes ugly sometimes beautiful world.
Two friends asked me yesterday what my tops 5 moments of 2007 were while we were on the phone. I realized, whether it was FINALLY “coming out” after a year of hell, starting this blog, or the week everyone was in DC and we were laughing, getting wet, and getting kicked off stage together, you have become an integral part of me. Though this sounds like a cliché, life is very much a journey, whether it’s to know ourselves better or to understand the world better and change it. I am forever grateful to the people who push me forward on my journey.
So many new thoughts have entered my head this year, particularly these last few months. I’m constantly thinking about what it means to be queer, what it means to identify as a proud disabled person, or what it means to be a biracial sister-on-the-fringes woman of color. The future that I wanted for myself is gone and there is a big hole where it was. Even figuring out what I want, or we want collectively, for our community has changed drastically. I like how Naomi puts it—an emphasis on community v. one of hustlers— and that changes the way I currently interact and “move” within my community right now.
I realize now, through meeting people who have stumbled across my blog, how much we, as individuals or as a new generation (or wave) of disability activists, need to be accountable for what we say. My blog is a place where I write what I’M feeling, written often in the “moment”, but people still look at it as source to better know what disabled people are thinking, particularly disabled people who may have intersections with other communities. It’s scary— we should never allow one person to be a singular voice for our community— but people are still looking for something. If I am going to continue writing, I need to understand that yes, my life experience is important, more than any degree, but I need to recognize and understand the activists that came before me and continually offer space for other disabled people instead of myself. Other bloggers do that well. That is my new years resolution— to find and read work of people before me, particularly those who have spent their years saying the same things I am saying now, and to constantly remind myself that this kind of space needs to not be self-serving. This is referring to real life, but even if the benefits from selling out or being that token crip on a stick become so big that it clouds my personal vision for community, I need to see the bigger picture— a community of people fighting capitalism and self-gain, fighting all the –isms within our groups, and loving each other and themselves so much that the messages of unworthiness, that currently infiltrate the minds of our people, bounce off like a shield because we have each other and ourselves. Again, this is almost another cliché, to quote the revered Audre Lorde, but without community, there is no liberation. I’m counting on you to call me out on my shit in 2008.
I love you all and really appreciate this space. I hope to see even more radical, more militant disabled people speaking out on the internet in 2008.
The first thing I did today on New Years Day was write a letter to three close friends about what I’ve learned in 2007 and what my new years resolution is for 2008. I wanted to post it here so A.) I have a record of it and B.) because although it’s written with three particular people in mind, a lot of the lessons I’ve learned have been from many other people (in real life and in the blogosphere) as well. Happy New Years to you all.