Poverty Archive

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  • Naming Names – Putting Agoraphobia Into Words

    I still don’t know how to talk about agoraphobia. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it to people since I was 16 years old, but I’ve been largely unsuccessful at putting it into words. I’ve mostly just stayed quiet about it and used vague “anxiety” euphemisms to describe why I can’t hang out / go to work / go to class / go grocery shopping / whatever, and have also spent a lot of time struggling to come up with “legitimate” ways to account for what I do with my time while NOT doing these things, especially since spending [lots of] time alone or in my “safe zones” is actually super positive for me. For almost 20 years, I’ve had no concept of how to talk about this enormous part of me that has both limited me in humongous ways and also shaped me into the wonderful weirdo that the people close to me know and love.

    Envy

    Trigger Warning: mention of abuse

    When I was a freshman in high school, my English teacher assigned the first essay of the semester. The topic was “time I felt different”. This proved to be a surprisingly difficult topic for me to write about. Why? Then, I had no idea what it was like to fit in. I had no frame of reference.

    How to be an Ally to Disabled & Neurodiverse Folks in Activist & Academic Communities

    This is based on my own experience as a Disabled, Trans, Queer, Autistic activist. In compiling this list, I consulted other Disabled activists as well. Most activism I’ve been involved with has taken place in Queer, Radical, & Academic communities. I’ve been both a grass-roots activist and a student activist. I do not claim to speak on behalf of Neurodiverse or Disabled folks–or any group for that matter. Here are a few ideas I’ve compiled on how to be a better Ally to folks who have been left out of social and political movements/communities:

    Shaming my Food Stamps: EBT and SSDI

    I grew up a white, middle-class, cisgendered, femme bisexual. These are the labels and privilege that I am willing to claim. When I reached 33 and went on SSDI, I went on food stamps. The transformation from Daddy’s Girl who just had to get another temp job to actual psychotic starving schizophrenic who had to take anti-anxiety medication to take out the trash was a process but has landed here. With me, today. Taking a handful of pills so that I can be brave enough to go use my EBT.

    The Table Scraps Mentality

    But it’s budgets, of course. No one’s fault, per se. And you can’t argue with a budget. Universities are following the WalMart model of pump and dump cheap employment, and desperate graduates are the casualties. This is not likely change, and is only likely to get worse, as the turnover rate of recent PhDs increases seemingly exponentially.

    Bipolar mania and the high femme: Adventures in Sephora

    I was bipolar for ten years, and while rifling through the sexual identity coatrack I found I was most comfortable as a bisexual femme. In the gay bars of 2002 this was the look that got me most often ignored or disregarded. A decade later in a different city, I amped the look up to high femme, in a sense queering it, by making the femininity into camp, a form of drag or masquerade. With a blonde bouffant, pencil skirt, purple lipstick and platform heels, I could not actually be serious about being sexy for the boys, I scared them.