Georgia Cranko
...a beautifully volatile and disabled existence of raw humanity, art and activism...
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Everyday Writings

Freely Broken: Phones, Parents, Love And Anger

November 19, 2016

Robin was having too much fun dying and in a pain-induced dysphoria to come to my house for dinner on Thursday. So yesterday, I took them the food we baked that night and some ice cream Phoebe brought. Before that I was having an off day moodwise, discovering my phone bill had been exponentially high for many months and then complaining to my service provider, and being generally very anxious and exhausted, but I thought a trip out of the house would be novel and good to shift my mental state or whatever. Then in the process of getting ready, my new twirly ring on my left hand got caught on my bag and at the time I was home alone, and the more I tried to pull it off, the more sore and blue my finger became, I felt so helpless. But as soon as I started to cry, I relaxed and became more rational, I stopped freaking out and then I enlisted Sally to try and help. Lynne came home and we managed to sort it, and in the process broke the ring.

Anyway, not having Whitey (my Lightwriter/talky thing) makes me feel so trapped in a strange way, like I feel my ability to be in the world and feel connected to it is so much more limited. Since Robin and I have only cursorily socialised, and their cognition isn't reliable, we usually type to each other and so, because I wasn't feeling great, I was already a bit unsure about how to be socially. But we ate ice-cream in bed and then I helped Robin pick out a dress to wear (by texture and breathability), then I watched their housemate cut their hair, while in the shower, naked (cripping nakedness up, of course). Robin invited me to their osteopath appointment down the road, so I was like "sure, I have nothing better or more morbid to do".

It was so comforting not being the only "queer crip in the village", Robin got to see how "bi-peds" treat me on a daily basis, and I got to see and understand how Robin copes with their fucked up and unreliable body on a more intimate level. Those who know me know when I am away from home for more than a few hours, I have chronic bedroom separation anxiety. So when Lynne texted me to ask if I will be home for dinner, I replied that I would be, because it was deathly humid and I was fading, but then Robin looked up where the party they were going was, and it was literally 1 minute walk away and was like "come and scare people with me, they will be hilariously uncertain how to deal with two disableds" so I planned to stay for a bit, then make my way home. I texted my mum saying exactly that. The party people were pleasant, knowledgeable and witty and not totally disorganised, and it suddenly occurred to me, that I'm probably a good 3 years older than most of them, and they probably had graduated. I couldn't string a sentence together, because I was stifled by my awkwardness and typing on my iPad is tricky, but Robin was making semi-funny disabled jokes continually, and that made me feel not too alienated.

Then my mother showed up at the door, in a panic, I didn't know how she found me, or why. I was so uncomfortable and angry, so instead of catering to her obvious distress and anger, I yelled at her, told her I felt embarrassed and undermined. Because she hadn't received my second text, she went through an involved process to find out exactly where I was last seen, after waiting two hours fretting at home, with dinner on the stove. I got so insecure and despairing about my perceived independence, my identity and my fragile sense of social etiquette, so after arguing my position with Lynne on the veranda, I naturally did my palsy cry, as I said goodbyes and thank you's. Lynne was so angry because she felt so criticised just for recognising my vulnerability and being so concerned, that she couldn't listen to my upset or aggression anymore. I have been known to lash out physically when people (okay, just my immediate family) don’t seem to acknowledge me, or try to comprehend my position, it’s an instinctual response, from much younger days. This is a most brutal and shameful part of myself that I absolutely vehemently detest and find utterly irreconcilable with my whole way of relating. But anyway, I was so frustrated and hurt, and I felt so powerless within my tiny body, within my tiny life, that I became violent, someone even threatened to call the police.

Things just all ended up in a cacophony of tears, self-pity, dread and existential angst, just because I am not able to do things that other people seem to do so effortlessly. This is how internalised ableism can thoroughly affect and impede my relationships and everyday life. The anger and sadness associated with that is valid. But getting (literally, violently) ashamed and discouraged because I have people who unconditionally love me, and worry about me, and feeling that is incompatible with being an “independent” adult (or whatever), is completely and utterly not. It, in fact, turned out that in the process of sorting out my phone bill, my phone became dodgy. Although it looked and seemed like it was getting reception, and because I had received a phone call and I was able to send iMessages in the afternoon, I didn’t realise. So I wasn’t receiving texts or calls, but when I restarted my phone this morning, everything came in, all the worry and the panic.

Georgia Cranko