DISABLED: A series of self portraits taken during disability awareness month.
October, 2016 Presented in Vol III of Deaf Poets Society and in Print at the DPS lit reading and art show at The Writer's Center in Chevy Chase, MD
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I am not just an artist. I am also a Libra rising. I care a lot about aesthetics. Every element in my home is intentional. Placement, texture, layers, space, flow, colour, light. I am affected by it, so I compose a deliberate environment to keep me balanced. I do this for my state of mind, too. My psychic interior is curated as precisely as my apartment.
There are aesthetics I have no influence over. The lines of my body - out of proportion to each other - commonly referred to as deformities. Those I simply accept. I accept. I accept.
The only way I can connect is from inside my body, inhabited. So I'm invested in that - embodiment. Which doesn't require an opinion on form or function. I am responsible for the well-being of my body, not its appeal. Most of the time my body is a bewildering mystery, but the only true miracle is that after I have my aesthete way with the things I can influence - my environment, my mind, my expression - I sit quietly inside my body and listen.
These are my crippled legs. They taper, it doesn't appeal to me. They don't have to, they're legs. "Floppy feet" might be an actual medical term. I'm not sure. When I was a baby, I wore plaster casts up to my knees. I was too little for actual braces. I think the point was to prevent the deformity my feet have now. I hate wearing shoes. Finding ones I like, that stay on, that aren't too heavy when I do use my legs, that don't look 'off' - is emotionally draining. I mostly just wear kid-sized socks in fun patterns. Unless my shoes are specifically for the benefit of an outfit. Then my shoes fucking kill it.
This is my resected rib cage. This one is hard for me. What are those angels even trying to do? Not be comfortable - to be in or look at - that's for sure. My sternum is an apex? If you trace, slowly, the scar - as you reach my freckle, I will feel the ghost of your finger trail across my belly button.
If I lie on my right side, eventually my rib bones bow under the pressure of gravity. Popping when I inhale. Grating against each other when I exhale. I switch to my left side until the crush of my own weight makes my bones ache and roll over again. Fragile as fuck.
You can feel my heart beat like it's sitting in the palm of your hand if you cup your hand under my breast and press. But I think that's the same with anyone so bony.
This is my curvature. My spine has three distorted directions - bent toward the right, twisted to the left, and hunched forward. A prominent ridge rises up one side of my back, making a valley of the other side. A steel rod was put in. It was too long and stuck out at the point between my shoulder blades - grinding audibly on soft tissue under my skin when I moved. So they opened me again and sawed off the top.