I’ve been a little quiet on my blog, mostly cause I’m trying to listen, reflect, and take in knowledge and perspective rather than put it out.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a disability activist retreat with friends at the Leaven Center. The retreat was facilitated by Eli Clare and Jo Kadi, two wonderful souls. We sang, told our stories, talked about privilege, and just basked in the presence of each other. I needed that weekend so much; if any of yall are ever able to travel to michigan and participate in one of these (they have a generous scholarship fund)— I tell you it’s about equipping you with what you need (love, time to breathe, a reminder of community, peace) to go back home and survive.

Here are my lessons learned/was reminded of this weekend at the Leaven Center:

-there is nothing more important than community. absolutely nothing. without community, without this space we create and build together, all our advocacy and work is meaningless.

-fellow queer disabled people, queer disability allies, and disabled queer allies, are the most beautiful people on earth (although i may be biased…) if you can find them, hold them tight and never let go. make the most of your time with them. even if you aren’t able to spend time with each one, cherish the space that allows you to be in the same room with them.

– when working as a collective instead of as individuals, we are unstoppable. the van that picked me up from the airport was borrowed from a Leaven Center friend, the delicious food that we ate was cooked from a volunteer caterer, and when a semi-crisis occurred, volunteers stepped in. what society do we live in if this form of organizing seems so radical?

-storytelling is HARD, especially when you are used to your stories being twisted and used against you and your community. however, if you can create an environment (nonableist language, no judgement, accommodations covered) where people are safe to tell their stories, it is absolutely powerful. I uncovered all the memories (old and recent) that I had buried without processing. I left the Center feeling so much lighter and am so thankful to have this experience.

lots of love to you all,



Filed under community, disability, Uncategorized

7 responses to “post-retreat

  1. “What society do we live in if this form of organizing seems so radical?”

    Good way of putting it. I just came from Tokah’s blog (she was a part of the blog carnival you held and I believe she said, “Dehumanization is rampant.” I’m glad you got to be a part of this retreat, it sounds like it was a really positive and energizing experience.

  2. I am trying not to be jealous of you … trying trying trying … it sounds so wonderful! I’m glad it was nourishing and exciting and joyful for you!

  3. Pingback: links for 2008-05-24 « Exposing the cherry

  4. I am jealous. I’ll come out and say it :). I wonder if I will fit into the community when I can travel again post transplant, which is sooner than I thought it looks like, maybe by Christmas or before that. My psychiatric diagnosis doesn’t feel like a disability to me anymore, even when it is, I am having trouble imagining a me without a medical disability impacting my life and ability to work and play every day of my life as it has for over a decade now. Will I turn into an ally or will I still belong to the community of people with disabilities? Is it up to me? Mental health professionals mostly discourage people with psychiatric diagnoses from identifying with their disability and even sometimes discourage folks in recovery from hanging out with other folks in recovery. I guess I am feeling lost imagining a different me post-transplant. Who will I be? Sorry to go on on your blog. I know I am supposed to be thrilled, my friends and family are, but I’m having all kinds of mixed feelings.

  5. hymes. wow. thank you for sharing your story, that’s really intense. i hope you know either way, ally or member, that we’re here for you.

  6. I participated in an intensive cofaciliated by Eli last year. It was a wonderful experience.
    I get a little frustrated with the way that he (and others) talk about disabled bodies as sexual, a response to the desexualization of the larger society, that goes too far for this disabled asexual’s liking.

  7. mhm jonah. have you ever participated in a queer friendly, disability friendly event where asexual people were fully included? do you have any ideas (or links) for how to facilitate something like this?

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