Independence/Dependence: A myth
September 07, 2016
It was just a superficial assumption, an awfully common one and always done without any malice, but it has perplexed and niggled at me ever since. A crew member of the boat we were on, referred to my friend Josephine as my 'carer' in passing to a fellow passenger, as she was trying to make room for Jo next to me. It perhaps has stayed with me, because it was Jo who wanted to move seats. The assumption, as it always does, both overtly passivised me and robbed Jo of a certain subjectivity and vulnerability. I still wonder why it bothered me so much, after all It wasn't an unusual occurrence nor did it shock either of us. I guess it just got me thinking about interdependency, and how ableism often reinforces the dependent/independent binary. People are either read as being on one side or the other, when everyone is dependent in various ways. I hate how this particular judgement projects this simplified understanding onto my relationships, particularly my more intimate friendships, because it unwittingly removes both of our unique needs and attributes, depth and connection. I don't know... These tiny, almost imperceivable and subconscious, inferences about capability undermine and hurt in weird ways... I am talking about this and not 'just shrugging it off' because, although I don't really give these statements any weight, they still impact my sense of social value I think.