Today started off poorly and went downhill. My only emails were from people telling me they were too busy to email me…..errrr, okay. Then while waiting to go to the DENTIST (by the by, I don’t like the dentist, unlike the rest of you), I wandered past some feminist blogs which seemed to be in the same place they were last week/month/year about how trans-women weren’t women because of privilege (apparently it is tattooed on at birth?) and about how real men can be married to feminists but how real feminists can’t be married to tradition, and of course the usual bad people: sex workers, people who eat meat, or plastic or don’t get coffee at independent houses instead of chain ones (and the other anguishes for those with disposable income). This depressed me no end because, fuck, am I allowed to be a feminist and BEG in front of Body Shop and Starbucks? Or is that not allowed too.
I wrote a piece called All intimacy, no dignity for the BBC at Ouch and reflected today on the idea of “privilege” and how every group that joins together likes to seem to pick someone to beat with that word. Well, at least until my dentist, in the “spot check” for my upcoming first dental crown “forgot” to mention in the previous spot check and hour long dental check-up that I “might” need some wacky and extremely painful jaw/gum surgery because of where a tiny piece of tooth chipped off while I was (oh the irony in this) FLOSSING! So while staring another bunch of needles and $1000+ surgery in the face I came back to find that home care couldn’t get in because the intercom was dead. Which didn’t matter because at that moment in time I felt I would rather be dead than have to face dental surgery in order to HAVE my first crown.
Then came the post, with a letter from Revenue Canada which says that they are missing a piece of paper which is why our tax refund (of many, many medical costs) is held up and if they don’t receive it in X days, the file will be permanently closed. I call; they will call back and clarify tomorrow, will I be in. I tell them that yes, I have a terminal disease and I am housebound; that if I am not answering I am either sleeping or in the hospital. They want to know if a home care worker will pick up if I am in the hospital. I guess they don’t want to make a .50 cent call for nothing.
Then a phone call from the medical company delivery supplies tomorrow. What supplies? It turns out my Occupational Therapist, when she quit her job, not only sent me an invoice to pre-approve through insurance, but also ordered them in my name from some friends of hers. They are coming by to get the $1,000 and drop off the supplies I didn’t order and are currently supplied free to me by Red Cross. Darn, where does Linda hide those $1,000 bills.
It was sometime around there that I realized that I, like the feminists and the (insert group here)ists, was one of the most privileged people around, and like the classic patriarchy, I didn’t even know it. I was athletic, not just able bodied but athletic and took the superiority that our west coast gives to those who are fit; now days Linda says to me, “I think in ‘Core Muscle’ class how we were planning to do this together, but now that’s not possible.” She uses that evaluative voice I used to use when planning hikes and jogs. Yup, I’m no longer self ambulatory and that loses a lot of privilege. I know this because the few times you might be invited somewhere (or more often told they THOUGHT about inviting you but couldn’t find a place that you could access), the group lets you know how much EFFORT they went to accommodate you. This is what I call, “stair climbing privilege” because those who climb stairs just go places, into places and don’t think about it at all. Of course, in order to get where they want to meet, I usually have to go to enormous effort but that isn’t even considered, because that isn’t the nature of the relationship; they are the ones with power who have lessened it to be with me.
The greatest privilege I had was my gigantic brain. Sure I had two different learning disorders but my gigantic brain overcame them and I never gave two thoughts about what it would be like to struggle and struggle to get a C against these disorders to be told to “try harder.” People listened to what I had to say, indeed one thing able bodied people do is always listen to what other able bodied people have to say, even if repeated statements show the person to be not that worth listening to. And sure, there were many who were threatened by the big brain, but more who liked being around me. Today, I have a home care worker who is what is kindly called, “not the brightest bulb” as she couldn’t seem to understand if I OWNED 2,000 books or WROTE 2,000 books (look at the book spines…I have MANY pen names, about 2,000 I guess). Her favorite phrase when I say something is, “Isn’t that cute, that you can still think about things like that?” And when I start to slur, well, at that point no one even looks at me, they just look at my “translator” or flee.
Anyway, I was an idiot in the ways of privilege and now I view many of the writings of others to be the blathering of other idiots. Can you walk up and down a flight of stairs? Then you are privileged. You worry about women-only spaces; I worry getting to accessible spaces and if I have the energy to get there. I am sure the raging 30 years of debate on what constitutes women only spaces is worth the trail of emotional bodies from the continuous knife fights. I hit horse chestnuts and flip out of my chair. I have yet to see a gang of feminists ride to my rescue (thank the patriarchy for the obsession of men to refuse to pass a woman fallen out of wheelchair, even if they leave their car on the road blocking traffic). I am sure as I realize how I wore my privilege as my clothing that I am just an idiot about other types of privilege I now use. I have learned from Nellie McClung that the best intentions of feminists end up with results that are crimes against humanity (the Alberta Eugenics’ board anyone?). I don’t know what is best for all women, nor do I plan to sterilize those who I disagree with for the good of all. I’m getting by, or not, one dental appointment at a time. Not very brilliant or pithy is it. Ah well, better to learn something late than not at all I suppose.
5 hours ago