Saturday, December 08, 2007

My thong pic, a disability lap dance, the party, dehumanized, but still seeking possibilities

What is a sign you blog too much? I think when you are in the shower shaving your vagina and you start thinking about some of your blogging friends: that might be a sign.

So I am shaving my genital area (my VA-VA, my VA-GA!) because ‘darn it!’ I AM going to wear a thong tonight! Then I notice I can’t quite get all the sides triangulated in a nice even fashion (maybe because humans don’t come in geometric shapes) and I start obsessing and stop myself by thinking, “Do you WANT to become like Alphabitch? Do you want this to obsess you until you start taking the supersticky duct tape and try to give yourself a homemade Brazilian wax?” (I might have mixed up at that moment her Area 51 post and some other waxing post she had made) Anyway, I decided enough was enough and I finished and being me, I then put on my thong and took a picture of it peeking through my robe. A picture I was going to post here. Only then my robe falls down (that not so good at consistent limb function thing) and Linda goes, “Oh ho ho, I have a MUCH better view” and she takes a picture of my bum (talk about being an enabler). So during the picture edits for the blog Linda says that my bum picture is better than my vagina picture (which personally I find a bit insulting AND sort of diminishes the shaving effort put in) but here it is.

Of course then there was drying my hair and playing the dangerous game of trying to put on limited make-up and timing my mascara between the shakes which is a lot like putting on mascara during an earthquake. And then the getting dressed. I get my corset on and get help with my stockings (I decided to forgo the boots and wear black flats instead which saved about 15-20 minutes). So I am there sitting waiting for help and I suddenly excited start shouting, “Linda, Linda, do you have of that US money?” And she says yes, in a grumpy way. And I tell her to bring it and the camera quick because I am doing disability lap dancing. So I get a dollar and fold it (like the movies have shown me) and put it in my thong string. Woo hoo! Linda, the killjoy, says “Disability lap dance? You are just sitting there!” Yeah, mobility impaired lap dancing, get it?! (Seriously, I have a bunch of degrees, but I spend my time making up visual puns on mobility impaired lap dancing and then give myself tip money in my thong string as MY societal contribution). And Linda who is taking the pictures of my “lap dance” (which is me just sitting there smiling), gets in the spirit and says, “Forget the dollar bills, I think you deserve a $10” and gives it to me and I tuck it in and keep on dancing (did I mention Linda the crazy enabler?).

Anyway, I finish getting dressed, go with my basic black choker and baroque cross earrings with my widow and lace headband. On our way to the party, which is for Linda’s government section, we stop at a friends place who has better light because Linda wants “a nice picture of US, we can family!” – sheesh okay! So we get a picture of US, and ironically, Linda stole my top to wear to the party from a year ago when I was AB (ish). I have my coffin purse with velvet (and vampire teddy inside) and Linda is wearing (gasp!) jewelry including earrings so we actually look socially acceptable. So here is our “love” picture. Of which my only complaint is that Linda can wear black and have sizable boobs while I wear a black corset and it is flat chest ahoy! (yeah, way to kill that special moment!)

The party itself was rather depressing because 1) we were told there was “one step” to get in, which turned out to be two giant steps down and four up and required four guys to lift my wheelchair to get me inside. Nothing like the sound of strained grunting to make you feel welcome. 2) These were people from Linda’s work, including many of the bosses who had bullied her, made her feel unhappy, underpaid her, hired her for a job and didn’t give her the wage they should have and other non-happy things. And I was going to be sort of nice except then I got introduced to one of the account directors and had a bit of blow up and got over it and was talking disability rights in Canada (the account director said, “So what are you doing to improve that?” My first thought is first, when you have at least one medico appointment a day, you are bit tired and two, hey, am I not talking to the boss of a government employee who is a caregiver but STILL required to do 15-20 hours overtime a week without pay – or rather, what Ms. Account Director ARE YOU doing for disability rights, starting with me?). Then the one man I hold personally responsible AND who owes me $60, John Hammond came up and Linda introduced me. I looked at her like, “You aren’t doing this to me, giving me the double whammy?”

Here is a big kudos to Linda about boundaries. She understood and respected that I could have feelings and express those feelings to people who she worked for, people who were her bosses. She didn’t try to stop me or even tell me after that I made things uncomfortable for her because we are two people and she respects that I am entitled to my feelings. So when I said to John Hammond that when I hear that I have to lie there, in pain, or without being able to eat because “John Hammond” has said Linda needs to do this or that, I have a name for my pain, and it is John Hammond. Then he fled. Then I started some diatribe on the remaining boss about Machiavelli's The Prince when I went into an attack with seizures, limbs doing funky non-limb things and PAIN all because I had overheated. And Linda dragged me toward the door and the cool air but somehow I pulled myself upright. I broke free and started rolling back toward this petrified wide eyed manager saying, “So if you ever again put Linda in a room and try to bully her…” and then there was another series of spasms and I passed out. Linda says this was a wonderful and terrifying counterpoint to my argument and brought home the fact that yeah, I’m sick and yeah, I need care and Linda, not the manager was the one giving it.

Later I got eyesight back in one eye and lost speech for most of the night and was on oxygen and the rest of the party, to be honest, sucked. I mean, these were work people having a party around their bosses. So except for one friend who showed up and said, “I love being drunk!” and we told her how we snuck more sex toys across the border and Linda got caught last time (and has said, “That’s it, no more, it is too embarressing!”), the evening was a bust. Well, except for the woman who went on about how beautiful I was and a couple women who liked my clothes, that was good. But since I couldn’t eat for myself (Linda was feeding me) and my talking was all slurring, making the flirty moves for a bit of Xmas party lip lock in the corner wasn’t likely to happen.

I do have to say though that I haven’t been that intentionally humiliated in a long time. I had to sit at the buffet table because I couldn’t hold fork or plate. I was sitting in my chair at the end of the line. Women would go around the table, come to within inches of me at the end of the line and intentionally not look at me, look directly over my head and walk past me in my chair. Tell me, when is the last time in the Western Culture when a woman has invaded another woman’s body space and refused to even look at her (except a quick glance from the corner of her eye)? There wasn’t even the usual, “Just let me slip by” or “I won’t be a moment” or acknowledge that you are a PERSON and have equal body space. Then there were the people who made some comment, I responded back, they couldn’t understand me, looked confused then simply turned around and left. Then there was the 20+ people who just kept glancing over, fear and curiosity mixed, a sort of “My God, what is she doing here?” And the few people who did talk to me treated me like Linda’s pet imbecile, and were visibly shocked when Linda put them straight and said, “Actually Elizabeth here is Dr. McClung.” (Double kudos to Linda).

One woman asked me, “So how are you.”

I said, “Terminal.” (My friend Mel who was eavesdropping laughed and said, “That’s Elizabeth!”)

The woman was sort of stopped and said, “I mean, how ARE you.”

I repeated, “TER-MIN-AL.”

After a couple minutes of “oh I believe in science and I know that they are going to find the cure (she didn’t even know what I had, she hadn’t asked, NO ONE asked). Then she did the “you are so courageous” thing about coming out and being here and living every day. Which a) made me understand why people with disabilities hate the C word. And b) made me misty eyed because this woman had NO IDEA what it took to live every day. I hated the way she could just jump in with her concerned look and make me remember all the pain and crap I really did and do go through and had already gone through just to be there for her to tell me I was courageous (already passed out twice that night and still counting…).

So in the end I didn’t get to drink or even eat much (if you had to be fed in public, would you want to eat much at a party?) but I did talk some, and slur some and try to talk and I made squawking noises some. And I came home and my body was, oh I was in hell. If I slept more than 40 minutes at a stretch last night I am surprised. Problems breathing, maxed out on pain meds and sedatives and in SO MUCH pain. I was moaning in my sleep and waking myself up; that much pain. But it was worth it; to try. Yes, it sucked as a party but if I stop trying, if I stop making myself look as fab as I can and getting out there, then the time it is a great party, I won’t be there to be part of it. So, invite me to YOUR party please. Because here is what I looked like, with wings poking out behind, at the beginning of the night, when everything was possible.

I’m big on that, trying for those possibilities. I’m not giving up on people, even if people don’t treat me with the same body space or social courtesies that they use to treat other able bodied people. And yeah, it hurts to think that now, most of Linda’s office workers see me through that look of aghast curiosity and fear on their face. That they might even start to pity HER for what she has to ‘put up with.’ But really, I was still Elizabeth even when Mel was there and no one could understand me as I am slurring “Eeeexxxx Oyyys” (Sex Toys!) till I am shouting it out and they finally get it. And the part of my face that isn’t twitching is grinning and we are all talking about vibrators and her husband has moved quickly out of ‘female circle of forbidden topics.’ You know, those conversations men will leap off cliffs rather than have to stand there looking supportive while their wife starts talking clitoral stimulation in public.

So, on to the next party, because it will be better, or at least another possibility.


Zephyr said...

*wolf whistles* I'll put money in your stocking too, baby.

You should see Ms. Pet do a table dance. Holy cow.

I always wanted to know. What does one do when one can't understand what a disabled person is saying? That does happen to me and I never know what to do. I try and try but at a certain point I do give up. I'm not good at deciphering slurring. I have trouble understanding ESL folk! Is it polite to ask the partner to help out with translating? Or just say, "I'm sorry, I really would like to talk to you, but I just can't understand you."

Zephyr said...

Oh, and I think it's great that you're frightening the shit out of people. I can see you now, the evil avenging angel on wheels.

alphabitch said...

You look fabulous!! Thanks for posting the pics.

I can't stop laughing at the disability lap dance.

And just for the record, I did not use the duct tape on my, um, Area 51. I did, however, successfully use it on two occasions to remove leg hair. But for the record, I wish I had waxed instead of shaved the region in question.

KateJ said...

Well I thought you - and Linda - both look fabulous in the "love picture", and glad to know Photoshop was not required. The real you! But the party sounds awful. Reminded me of why I just hate parties. Especially ones with people from work...

Marla said...

Oh, my. I am sorry the party did not turn out as you hoped it would! I love the outfit on you! I am wondering if most of your painful times happen in the evening and night? Is the daytime better for you? Well, I am off for a road trip!

lilwatchergirl said...

You look awesome in those pictures. I can't believe the way that you were treated - but your responses were fantastic.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Zephyr: This is a really good question. I think saying "I'm sorry, I can't understand what you are saying." is an honest response. You could also offer alternatives like, "Could you write it down instead" or "If I go through the letters will you indicate the correct one with a nod" or to state that you can't understand and ask the partner for assistance in the best way to communicate. I think as long as you are stating where you are and what you are thinking then you are still giving choice and dignity to the other person. Linda says that if you use the partner, look at the person you are talking to, not the partner or as she says, "Hey, don't look at me, you're not having a conversation with me, I'm just giving the translation."

It is a good question and I don't know if there is a universal answer but in my situation there is always a way to find a base line like "can I have you squeeze my finger if I am right?" or whatever works. Maybe I'll get used to having a mind that works when my vocal cords/tongue doesn't - but I doubt it. I rather communicate, even at a painfully slow level than not at all - there are some essays on this in the book, The Butterfly and the Diving Bell.

And thanks for the kudos on my frighting ability and lap dance - which I hope are not tied together?

Elizabeth McClung said...

Alphabitch: thanks; just thought you should I know I think of you in the shower...but as a cautionary tale.

KateJ: Yes, Linda really likes that picture too. The party was a let down because I was FINALLY going to a social event and for two hours before kept saying "Par-Ty, Par-Ty, Par-Ty" doing the little hand movements to go with it - then it was all, "let's all eat cheese balls and drink wine and not laugh too loud because everyone important is watching" - boring!

Marla: Thanks. Yeah, it sucked, but we move on. And you are spot on with the insight - I get weaker as the day goes on so a three hour night party was going to cost either way. Have fun on the road trip!

Lilwatcher girl: Thanks, I didn't think I was very inspired but I do think shouting "Sex Toys" will enliven almost any situation.

Lisa Harney said...

You look great in those pictures, and I'd certainly tip you for that lap dance. :)

Your conversations with Linda's bosses sound cathartic.

The lack of respect/acknowledgement of your personal space really sucks, and the courage speech. Trans people get that too, and, ick, what do people think they're saying? That it's supportive?

cheryl g. said...

I'm still chuckling over the disability lap dance. Great outfit and the love picture of you and Linda is really nice.

Goddess bless you for sitting at a stuffy office party and shouting out "sex toys". It sounds like those people really needed shaking up. The bullies certainly deserved everything you leveled at them and more.

I've seen cold pack vests but not a cold pack corset - I like the idea. Perfect for the goth community in Las Vegas!

elizabeth said...

You looked so pretty!! So - I mean - even if the party sucked ass you still have that.

saraarts said...

You totally rocked that ensemble. And as usual, the two of you together are adorable.

How very disappointing that this was a work party with bosses (ugh, they suck, and my true love knows not to even invite me to any anymore). I was extremely entertained, however, by your -cough- conversations with Ms. Account Director, Mr. Hammond, and Remaining Boss.

And you are brave, like it or not, and Linda is a superhero. And that makes you a pretty good couple, IMO.

alphabitch said...

I'm trying not to blush at the idea of you thinking of me in the shower.

Lene Andersen said...

Just recently found your blog and am enjoying it tremendously.

Back in the days where I still worked (still could work), I went to a Christmas party held at a bar/restaurant. Talked to the boss' wife, who exclaimed in that incredibly annoying way able-bodied morons have that she "had no idea WheelTrans went to bars!" (WT being Toronto's parallel - ha! - transit system). Unfortunately, all the snappy comebacks didn't occur to me until I was on the bus going home.

p.s. the mobility impaired lap dance? Inspired! I'm still giggling.

Donimo said...

Oh, what a night! So much happened in one evening. I have pushed and primped and got myself out there only to have an evening bomb and totally not be worth the pain...that's tough. And I do try again next time, just in case this one pays off.

Perhaps you could don the outfit again next weekend and stay at home for lap dances? You could do a Zen lap dance: "moving toward stillness" in a sexy way.

If you want to check out my Body Of Work blog you'll see an image that might work for you when you can't speak well and feel like crap. Maybe I should make it into a button.

Ms. Pet said...

I haven't quite figured out how to stay, remain centered and stay in a similiar situation to the one you describe. It's taken me a long time to create (and it was having to create virtually from scratch) a "voice" a self to stand up for. I use to just quietly "disappear" into Invisibility, now, I've gotten to the place of, well, "making a scene," LOL, in the sense of making it clear to hold them accountable for their horrid behavior, telling them what I think, but...I still tend to "cut and run." *grin*

That IS the way of the tasmanian devil, how it fights and I AM named after it! LOL But someday, I hope to be able to "fence" like you did this night. Refusing to become invisible, refusing to be anything but other then your norm and forcing other's to deal with your difference instead of trying fit your square wheelchair into their tiny, round hole.

It might have been exhausting, depressing, and so on. They no doubt deliberately attempted to make you feel humiliated, invisible, shamed, and expected you to show them and Linda so called "respect" by silencing your self and your reality but, I want you to know how incrediable and empowering I found your post to be. I mean, I'm simply not at the level, I haven't learned how to "fence" with them, and so...

So you don't have the ability to get on a box on two feet and lap dance in that specific way? I was getting turned on by your description as, after all, baby, when it comes down to's all in the mind! And you are a pretty HOT chick you know! Hubba Hubba! Got to admit I get my butch on, when I think of hot Femmes lapdancing for their woman/women! *slobber* I love to do it and watch it! I think it's an incrediable statement in regards to female sexuality, that "yes, someone who is terminally ill and physically has many difficulties much of the time, can still be a sensual, sexual female, shaving her pussy, lap dancing, (in her own unique way) for her girlfriend, dressing up sexy and going out on the town. Please post it to Sexability if you haven't already. Because whether you realise it or not, you went out as a hot, sexy woman ready to Par-rrty! And this is an example of how, Ablism stops us, in the most basic ways of exploring, embracing or hell just enjoying our sensuality and sexuality.

I'm sorry it was so crappy a time for you as I know how important it is to be able to just go out and have some FUN once in a damn while. But, thanks for sharing with us how you coped, because, honest? We don't all have the same fencing skills as you do, and it's really impactful, gives us something to copy when you share how you go out and fence with them in a way that doesn't give up your sense of personal power! You give us something to follow. Not your "courage" your...skill!

RE: "What are YOU doing about it?" Uh.....There's portable wheelchair ramps, etc. now. It's a WORK event. Legally, he's supposed to ensure that any employee or their spouse has access to the same parties, events, workspaces as other employees have. And you and LInda have every damn right to expect to be able to walk into the party, "arm in arm," as other folks do. It's not up to you do to something, it's up to him. He's the boss!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Lisa: More money! I actually tried to pull up my thong string at the party and Linda slapped me down, that was after I offered to show Mel and was actually trying to roll back my skirt, "How will she know for sure?" I asked Linda. She glared.

It was kind of cathartic to face these people and yes, let them know that what they do has consequences. As for the courage speech, well, I think like was pointed out on OUCH, it is very different if someone actually has an inkling of what you are going through and thinks you have courage and fortitude and all that - but the, "Gee, you're all fucked up and ignored, you must have courage." Wha?

Cheryl: I am a slave to fashion, I need a cold vest that looks smoking on me. As Linda says, "Then you will be an unconscious slave to fashion" - and I say, "Yes, but people will be envying my clothes AS they move me!" - thanks, last place Linda worked in Canada they had work parties where people got drunk and had sex in the hot tub (then the next day all the married people who had sex got the big yelling at), so yeah, this one was WAY more boring.

Elizabeth: yes, but looking good=lip lock in the corner - and I am too feeble to finish the plan it all goes to waste, no?

Sara: I was totally impressed with Linda and how well she was taking the stuff I was dishing out - also have to wonder when TWO of the account Directors haven't heard of The Prince - it is not exactly an obscure book (maybe they thought it was the sequel to 'The Secret'?)

Yeah, I have nicknames for almost all the bosses and started telling them to the middle manager (like Linda) we gave a ride too, she just couldn't wait to get out of our (borrowed) vehicle fast enough - especially after I asked, "So what do you think of the Cabal? ...I mean the three account directors?" And she said something like, "I find that differing styles can produce various results which can still combine to match objectives." and I said, "Wow, you really have picked up that government (crap) speak pretty quick, haven't you?"

Lene: Great, please try to not get too funked out by some blogs of the last week, I was having a down time and the new blog motto is: I feel it, I do you, you hear it - but once my pain meds are adjusted I will be able to concentrate less on global destruction and more on happy things like....well, global destruction.

Domino: I think the gathering yourself back up, getting the second grade type excitement going and throwing yourself back in is the key definately - A lot of things are out of my control and yes, I am exceedingly blunt at times and maybe I could have longer meaningless conversations but hey, is that why we come to party? I think not!

elizabeth said...

NO! Don't ever underestimate the importance of looking good!!! ;-P

Elizabeth McClung said...

Ms. Pet: it seem I was posting while you were posting. Well thanks for the kudos though us fussy femmes don't do "slobber"? But thanks, I know the dance is all in the mind but music helps (I hummed!).

As for the confrontation or what not, I am tend to be a bit more meek and mild for myself but these people had hurt MY PARTNER. And well, that just isn't on. And before John Hammond or others demand some deadline of Linda hopefully they will visions of me coming after them dancing in their head. But as I pointed out later, I got socially ignored and wasn't making snarky comments so it seems different rules apply when it is ME.

Elizabeth: yes, getting sexed up is a virtue in its own right!

tornwordo said...

I loved the pictures, made me smile. I also loved the way you made John Hammond flee.

I admire your courageousness but how can I express that without sounding patronizing? Or is it different for those of us who are more intimate with your story. (Blogger buds I mean.)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Tornwordo: it is always different from people who have some idea - because they know what actually takes deterimination - simply existing at a buffet table for some person to pass judgement that because I haven't killed myself or I let myself be seen in public is "couragous." Bah, going and realizing I was going to have to be carried in publicly and saying, fine, let's do this - that might have took courage.

Tui said...

Sounds like you were the life of the party. Or at least you taught a few people a thing or two. Sorry to hear it was such a drag.

I love the pics! And, yes, the love picture is adorable.