They Say We're Sick
The doctors say we're all sick
Myself, my mom and Claire's brother, Guy
We each take our pills everyday from little orange bottles.
But I don't feel sick
and that gives me some feeling of
solidarity, empathy, something i can't find words for,
for my mother
and for Guy.
It makes me wonder if my mom feels sick?
Claire says Guy doesn't feel sick, that he's pretty happy most of the time.
It makes me think of my Mom's smile when I last visited her, in North Carolina,
which I can't do often.
Laughing with her, I started to relate to her in a new way,
as a person, as a femme who wore poodle skirts,
who loved my Colombian father and his thick accent.
Getting in the car, my mom held my hand in hers and said
we have almost the same color of nail polish on,
the day was beautiful and so painful
I struggled not to cry, for her.
In a way we're all sick, but we're all also caretakers,
family members, chosen and biological,
and we are all there for one another,
in need or to offer help,
in a society that would leave each of us in isolation,
we are finding ways of existing together, interdependent,
and however difficult it may be at times, with love.
Reading the writing of queer crip theory poets Mia Mingus and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashina leads me to frame a critique of disability in this way: why should we think that people who depend on other people for their daily needs are sick, instead of thinking that capitalism is sick for expecting each of us to live individualized lives? In turn, this resonates with my own concerns about taking hormones and depending on pharmaceutical companies, which is perhaps more complex than simple participation in capitalism...
We all have forms of embodiment deemed excessive: mental illness, disability, femme, transgender, all of these are ways of living that exceed the normative drives of capital and affective labor. One struggle here is to demonstrate that these ways of living are viable, to defy the way that compulsory able-bodiedness and compulsory heterosexuality are used to present our identities as unlivable, to show that we can love and be loved.
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