First a message to our German speaking visitors: Männer, wer kommen, Rollstuhlmädchen zu sehen. Gehen Sie bitte weg und kommen Sie nie zurück (ja, sind Sie ein Pervert, sich geben bitte bis zur Polizei)
I think any 24 hour period where 1) I decide to close the blog Screw Bronze and in an unrelated episode 2) I decide to end my life (completely successful by the way: I’m writing from heaven, but wow! It is REALLY hot here) and 3) I have slept so much that I’ve only been up a couple hours by 9:00 pm counts as a “bad day.”
I just think the idea that Hell is hot but has great internet connections and lets you still blog is really funny (see, God put all of Heaven on Microsoft Vista and now has permanent blue screen, which God says is ‘pretty’).
Why close the blog? Because Screw Bronze (specifically the month of December) had been directly linked to a main German language devotee site and now 1/3rd of all people coming to my blog were coming from this registration locked site (which in the one open link section has “Top Ten Free Links” to places like “Crippled Women Pictures”, “Casted Beauties” and “Wheelgirls”), the BraceForum. Having a couple hundred guys coming to my blog, about one every minute, going through my pictures and blowing them up to full screen (and right-clicking to save them) made me feel more than on exhibition, it made me feel ashamed.
I know that I am “out there” as a blogger and part of that is my firm belief that I am not my wheelchair. Society may keep trying to tell me directly or by individuals actions that I am not a full female, I am sexless, I am useless. This is this social idea that girls in wheelchairs aren’t rebels (or dangerous) and I was proud that a portion of my blog was a big finger in the air to that idea. Oh, you mean able bodied people didn’t think that neruo and fatigue women might want some sex toy reviews? Or that we might shave our vagina for thongs and lap dancing and having loving pictures taken of us and our lesbian partner going off to a party (that picture was a devo favorite by the way)? That I, as I can, play air hockey and feed squirrel and do boxing; that I am more than just some tragic Little Nell figure but a real person with real feelings, fears, dreams, disappointments and joy.
But then, looking back over those pictures; looking at the pictures the devotees liked the best I realized that I was NOT this person to this stream of men (indeed not really a PERSON at all, more like a sexbot), and that there would always be some website or people who visited my blog to whom the chair and I together make up a sexual object. And that the pictures I was most proud of were also the ones which might be collected, mentally pawed over, and saved to be pulled up in a session with the hand and the tissue paper. That already, in closed Yahoo groups, my blog pictures may already been thrown into the heap (these sites often boast big numbers like: “over 1500 pictures of wheelchair ladies!”) to stay locked away. So now my year of medico’s, challenges and the need to be daring, to be recognized as something MORE than the wheelchair was part of a jumble of (Crippled Women) pictures to be thrown into a 250 pic pack available for download, swapping, sharing…all for a minimal fee. I know from the five to six male “Wheelchair users” who contacted me in the day or two after I posted the movie about me feeding the squirrels that yeah, those guys are out there (these “wheelchair guys” whose ID showed no personal picture and they only subscribed to wheelchair women and devotee youtube films - yeah, some wheelchair USER).
I thought I could keep distance, I didn’t think they would be able to get to me, to strip me into a commodity. And there I was, ashamed, thinking about those people out there, who WANT and NEED women like me to be in wheelchairs. Devotees and Wannabes don’t want a medical OR a social model solution; they like all the meaning and the stigma and the social context that the west has piled onto wheelchairs (and amputations). Because if we are socially integrated or we find ANOTHER mobility device (try to remember, that in the end a wheelchair is ONLY a mobility device) then what will these groups and people do? But I just didn’t want it anymore; I didn’t want to see the world and to see me through the eyes of these people anymore. I didn’t want to look at a picture of Linda and me dressed up for the party and instead of just being happy or a proud feeling that it was in any way sordid or enabling of the dehumanizing of me, or us.
My feelings toward that whole devotee/wannabe spectrum are pretty defined at this moment. While all of us have “types” we are attracted to, we don’t let that dictate our lives. I myself love the look of red headed women with pale skin but I am married to a dirty blonde who was tanned when I met her. She was the right person; because she was a person, not a type, not a fetish. And when the fetish gets to the point that the person is no longer important except in terms of aesthetic value, then not only are you (often) reinforcing stereotype but in the case of women with disabilities, trying to lock them forever in a personal and societal cage. May I quote from a magazine reviewers review of the zine “Humping Stumps”: “I became torn between feeling sad for how consumed he was with his obsession and being digusted by the how far he would go for the promise of pleasure….He tells a story of someone else from a 3rd party perspective, except that he is IN the story. It gives me such an uncomfortable feeling that my skin crawls. It’s some real Jeffrey Dahmer John Wayne Gacy style storytelling.”
This appeal to the sexual fetish of women in wheelchairs (and amputees) and stereotype caging extends to my disgust of the wheelchair maker Colours in Motion. They “assembled” a “First Ever” dance troupe made up of two female models (and ex-cheerleaders: who could have guessed!) who even though radically different in height have adjusted chairs so they are the same same height in their chairs. They also have the same length long hair (the movement of the long hair is even part of their ‘dance’ routine). Colours had advertised itself as the wheelchair company for people who wanted to break the mold; but apparently there is a “beautiful and able bodied looking” bar that needs to be passed first. Because that is what the public face of Colours is; their image isn’t about disability or diversity, it is “We are just as hot and sexy as we used to be….we’re just sitting down!”
And so my message to Colours in Motion is that you are a devotee site that makes wheelchairs (or more succinctly “Fuck You!”) and I will continue to see you as such until you start showing us some of the genuine diversity of people who use your chairs. Using hot skaters and hot looking girls to make a cool dance club works and I guess Colours in Motion thinks it will work for them too (by the way Colours, think! You just put up Victor Konovalov, as your 'new member' of “Team Motion” who is a body builder and talks about the time he was in a wheelchair and NOT looking like a body builder as “I was ashamed of myself and what had become of me….I could see the pain in my parents eyes” and then goes on to talk about how because he was in a wheelchair women looked the other way SO, he made himself BUFF, and now they love him (or maybe gay guys do…he is really buff!)). This is the picture Colours in Motion have on the “groups for people with disabilities we are teamed with” webpage. Hey people with disabilities, this is what you are supposed to look like: Colours in Motion seems to be creating a NEW stereotype; that there are cool disabled people (and also then the ugly, disgusting, disturbing, etc people with disabilities); and picking out those worth knowing or talking to (According to Colours in Motion) is the exact same method used by devotees. You just take a look: Beautiful, or looking AB or Buff then "cool" group; not looking beautiful or perfect, then 'the other group' aka 'Short Bus.' By the by, I did try have a Colours chair shipped in to try when buying my wheelchair but it just wasn’t up to the task, the frame and components didn’t have the rigidity and precision I needed when high pounds per inch were applied (like cornering, fast accelerations, etc).
So guys, want to get to know me, then stop pretending you are in a wheelchair, and stop emailing me questions about catheters and crap like that; tell me about yourself, I’ll tell you about myself – that’s how it is done you fixated fetish freaks. So no, after a day I decided not to pull the plug because yes, at times (like weekends) there are more literal “wack jobs” devotees that may come to Screw Bronze than people who want to learn about vibrators, or fatigue, or MSA or wheelchair boxing or Shy-Dragers. But they don’t run my life and they don’t tell me what to do or write and once they do, then the cage they want me inside of has slammed shut. (insert pictures of me giving the various rude finger gestures of the world)
Regarding my suicidal actions. I tried a new “pain pill” last night which was supposed to reduce my pain without getting me addicted which is what Morphine does (so they say). It is called Apo-Amitriptyline and if there was a side effect in the “If you get this call your doctor immediately” column, I got it. My sleep to waking ratio today is 13-14 hours sleep to 5 hours awake. And I am taking coke (the one you drink, not the one that goes up the nose) just to stay awake. This morning my blood pressure was so low (for over an hour) that I don’t know how I was still sitting upright AND I had erratic heartbeats. I was too weak to move unassisted and later too weak to even move the blankets on my bed off my chest. I was dizzy and falling over; I fell twice due to passing out due to hypotension. I had a “black mood” similar to when my GP two GP's ago decided to take me off all my anti-depressant and anti-bipolar medication “just to see what happens.” (Gee, what do you THINK might happen doc?) Only this black mood was even more intense and severe and I stopped talking almost immediately, and then I stopped noticing other people, and then I started going the wrong way down the car lane accelerating my wheelchair into the path of the car swerving to avoid me. Then I stripped to my bra outside in the dusk, with near zero temperature and wind and played Russian Roulette with the chair (push down an incline, put your hands in lap and wait to see if I hit something at speed and get thrown on my head). Linda ended up restraining me in a hold until I kinda passed out (Darn you Linda and your able bodied strength). Then she got me home and in bed somehow (I wasn’t ‘there’ so I don’t know how). Turns out that part of the warning for this drug was REMOVED, and that if you go to the US Library of Medicine Amitriptyline has this BIG RED WARNING at the top which says that in studies, it found that young adults who take anti-depressants may become suicidal. It states “even if you are an adult over age 24. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment”. Because it seems we are TRYING to create an imbalance in the brain chemistry, an imbalance which blocks some types of pain for some people.
Right now I am like, Hmmmm, I think I want morphine because, addiction be damned, I am pretty sure morphine won’t make me sleep 75% of the time and then make me push my wheelchair in front of cars the few hours I am up. Just a thought. Because I was under the impression that the pain killer was to clear my head and enable me to live a better life. Staring into space, attempting suicide, crying and the rest of the time sleeping doesn’t SEEM like a “better life” to me; what do you think?
So that was Friday and Saturday. Right now I am drinking liquids like a mad woman to try and flush this evil, evil drug out of my system. I mean, yes, being dead is, in a way, a “pain killer” but really, there must be better solutions. Hey, (unrelated shout) I WANT my time back!
So that’s it, here I am back at ground Zero, at the bottom of the hole. And while they say “at least it is all up from here” why is it I am only equipped with a shovel?
7 hours ago