Help is no Succor*
There are the lies you tell us, and then
there are the lies you
(protect, or..?) You tell us as children
that there is two sides to every experience
that we are not all there is
Yet when we become adults, no
longer held in the
and are no closer to yours, your mind, you
Reject our words, flowing, meaning of being
in favor of clinicalizing
That which you do not understand.
“What a strange child!”
“what a bizarre person” you
mutter into your esspresso, meaning
“why aren’t you hidden?”
When we overcome this shame you’ve
pressed upon us,
and ask for
help, you disregard the words from
our lips, and rearrange them after your own-
“Help” becoming “normalize”
And so our speaking is erased by those
who we’ve reached
to for succor,
our meaning suppressed and
let out, punctured with medicalization and
fear- from being something more.
*Author’s Note: Succor: Noun; Assistance and support in times of hardship and distress
Poem by Savannah Logsdon-BreakstoneAdvocacy blog: http://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/Poetry blog: http://nicocoer.blogspot.com/
A poem I wrote is in the new online project “Coming Out Crazy”. There are two more poems of mine that are going to run eventually.
Okay guys, remember this article? You know, the one about reporting sexual assault that included this paragraph:
A minor — in general, 16 or 17, depending on the state — can legally consent to sexual activity. A person of any age who is forced or threatened, developmentally disabled, chronically mentally ill, incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, unconscious or preparing to undergo a medical procedure cannot legally consent to sexual activity.
Wanna help with a letter-to-the-editor campaign?
See, tumblr is great and all…but a letter to the editor could be read by a lot more people, and has potential to effect potentially greater change. So I’m going to send a letter to the editor explaining that yes, actually, I can and do consent to sexual activity, and I’d encourage you all to do the same.
Contact info:NYTimes contact: email@example.comAuthor: firstname.lastname@example.org(And I’ll publish what I submit here, as well.)
If you can’t articulate a full post or have anxiety around sending an email, feel free to send me comments or emails or whatever. I’ll put together something with your comments when I get back online monday so that your comments can be heard too. I know I have a couple of followers who struggle with anxiety about this sort of thing.
Here’s my own personal response. I hope I got my idea across?
In response to The Twice-Victimized of Sexual Assault: Awareness about the prevalence of Sexual Assault in our country is needed. But I was appalled by the statement that People with Developmentally Disabled and People with Chronic Mental Health Disabilities cannot consent to sex. This is not only wrong, but encourages a system that victimizes us by saying we are incapable of consenting to major choices in our lives. We are often denied competence to object to our care, report abuse, own property, and live independently because of this argument. By denying us our sexual agency, you reinforce the same system that makes an abusive power dynamic- one in which our abuse is framed as inevitable. Our loved ones will have to have detailed, not in the heat of the moment conversations about what sexual consent means to us, yes. But shouldn’t all couples be having that discussion?
also, this is probably as good a time as any to start talking about:
[BAD IN BED]
So, my idea is for this zine thing called Bad in Bed that explores the similarities/connections between sexual needs and access needs. Or writes about sex as a series of access needs.
Basically I’ve always been really interested in writing/talking about what different people want or need sexually or what sex is to them. Being gay is probably the most acknowledged different sexual need, but there are various other things that isolate, constrict, and/or stigmatize people sexually, like being graysexual or asexual, being stone, being into power exchange, having fetishes…basically anything where sex means something different to you, or you need something different, or you don’t want to or can’t do something that is seen by other people as being part of sex.
(It probably seems weird that I am talking about asexual people as people who have different sexual needs instead of none, but it is really a failure of language in my part that I am using the word sex, because what I mean to talk about is a particular kind of connection that I can’t name or define. There are definitely situations where one person doesn’t want to “have sex” but their lack of interest in doing that leads to losing something that they actually do want which seems to be tied up in “having sex.”)
Anyway, even though I think that these differences between people and their needs are super interesting, I often feel like it’s not really seen that way because there is Real Sex and then there’s the rest of us and maybe what we need (or don’t need) is just a problem. I think it’s really similar to the reasons disability exists, because individual needs become invisible unless they are unusual—no one actually needs anything except one person, who has a “fetish,” is probably reacting to a traumatic experience (therefore isn’t real?), and so on.
Don’t know if this is a very good explanation, but Bad in Bed would be an interview zine which would obviously be anonymous, and would basically be about people talking about what they need sex/closeness to be, times when there has been a mismatch between what they needed and what someone else needed or wanted them to need, and/or how this relates to disability if they are disabled. Signal boost if you think this sounds interesting or if you are interested yourself, email me (awf.vivian at gmail).
UCP Central PA Part Time Employment Announcement
Family Support & Community Mapper QUALIFICATIONS: The position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Ideal candidates possess excellent oral communication skills, outstanding organizational skills, attention to detail, proficient computer use including Microsoft Office and the Internet, and experience with data entry. Family members of children with disabilities are preferred. Part-time 25 hours/week
September 20, 2011
UCP has a part time position open in the Family Support Service department in Camp Hill, PA.
Qualified candidates should submit their resume to Roxanne Daniel – email: email@example.com , US mail: UCP Central PA, 44 South 38th Street Camp Hill, PA 17011, or fax: 717-975-0839.
Family Support & Community Mapper
The position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Ideal candidates possess excellent oral communication skills, outstanding organizational skills, attention to detail, proficient computer use including Microsoft Office and the Internet, and experience with data entry. Family members of children with disabilities are preferred.
Part-time 25 hours/week
One of the things that bothers me about the provider and Family side of advocacy, particularly in the mental health field, is how much stability is touted as a need before a consumer or survivor can be involved in advocacy. Even the OMHSAS advisory says you should be stable before participating in the advisory that makes the policy recommendations. As if the system is somehow going to change enough for you to get what you need without you telling them just how very broken it all is.
In fact it’s become fairly routine to only listen to those who are no longer “dangerous,” (more like no longer in danger…) no longer in need. This extends to funding choices, too. Many of us with SMI (Serious Mental Illness- though I hate using the I) end up with- if we didn’t start out with- serious class, financial, and educational disadvantages.
When funding for “consumer” involvement support (transport, housing for long meetings, for some even lunch) gets cut, it effectively excudes those of us who are in the most need of being heard. This is doubly true in state level advocacy in a large state. In PA, for me to go to Harrisburg it’s a 4 hour direct drive. But I, like a number of others, don’t drive. I want to, but I don’t yet. So I have to get down to Pittsburgh and take public transit from there- about 6-8 hours. When the meeting is at 8 or 10 am, this makes it effectively impossible for someone in my own circumstances to get there- better than mine, actually, because I personally couldn’t afford the bus ticket.
I technically don’t even fit their definition of “stable” right now. While it’s been several years since I’ve been hospitalized, I have been depressed. I have had meltdowns. I do have frequent panic attacks over fairly inconsequential things. The thing is, though, that they can’t tell unless I bring it up. They don’t realize how dire a situation it is for me to have my accommodations met, or how I have to let my brain go numb on the way home to keep from being terrified and shaking. And if they did they would not understand why I keep doing it, would tout self-care and so forth.
Truth is, I keep doing it because of all this.
When you are poor
People won’t consider you a reliable source of information about your efforts. You are forever the leech, and no amount of words you can produce will change that.
People will either assume that the system is already in place, or that you are trying to game it. Can’t get source of income? I’m sorry, but you might not be eligible for those services that non-poor people think exist to help (or “enable”) you.
People will assume that the services that are available are suitable. While they’d never take their family member to the county MH office, they are shocked if you say that they aren’t suitble and you need help to get money for the other provider in the county.* They will think that if you are going to be picky, you need to just earn more.
People will second guess when you say that your SO, Brother, caregiver, room mate is abusive or harasses you. Or maybe they’ve just made life untenable. After all, if that were true wouldn’t you just move out? Or hire another caregiver. (Though maybe the caregiver is family, or a land lady, or the only one you can afford in the area.) And after all, there’s reason for the protection and advocacy centers isn’t there?
They will point out all the options they think exist, and give you a new label when you walk them through why you aren’t eligible for them, or why they cannot help you. After all, look at all these things that are supposed to help- surely you are “shooting them down” because you aren’t “reasonable” or are “unstable and paranoid” or maybe even a specific diagnosis.
And when you come to them with a solution? Maybe if they know you or even care for you, they will see some solutions as appalling, or as surely too hard or scary or whatever for you to do or “sink” to. Otherwise they might call you presumptuous, especially if it’s anything beyond you “pulling yourself up by your boot straps” and “getting on with life.”
ya know? (I’m venting, but it’s all true, and all things we hide behind that stiff upper lip or cheerful facade.)
*I’m rural too- so there’s an additional limit on resources or alternatives here.
The idea that people cannot find (do not deserve) love, particularly true or perfect love, if they are ‘broken’ or ‘damaged’ is in fact quite common in this society. Many people happily parrot this idea along with self-helpy jargon like needing to love yourself before you seek love. Which is a reminder to broken people, to people who may hate themselves for whatever reason, that they don’t deserve love (we don’t deserve so many things…to live, to speak, to have opinions…).
It is also particularly common to claim that people with mental illness, some diagnoses in particular, are inherently bad and dangerous and harmful and shouldn’t be in relationships/don’t deserve love because they will just hurt people. People have told me to my face at feminist conferences that people with my diagnoses are damaging and dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed to have relationships. Human connections.
The idea of denying love to any human being repulses me. The idea of proudly crowing that you feel some human beings don’t deserve love, or friendship, can never find these things, because they are ‘sick’…it’s not particularly new or revolutionary.
Job Offering in Philly Area
Program Director Posted on 4/13/2011 3:03:00 PM
Seeking a full-time Director for a new Housing and Drug and Alcohol treatment program for 18 transgender adult individuals. The program will provide drug and alcohol clinical supports and will provide temporary housing during treatment. The new program is revolutionary in concept, therefore, incument’s duites and responsibilities may be enhanced as the program and the position develop. The Program Director will be responsible for fiscal and administrative operations, hiring staff and providing programmatic overview for individuals supported. Ideal candidate will be a member of the transgender community, and has a Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree preferred) in a clinical field, with prior drug and alcohol experience. In addition, the candidate will have 3-4 years experience providing clinical services to transgender individuals. Three to four years of experience managing and supervising others and managing a program required for consideration. We offer a competitive salary provided and a comprehensive benefits package. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary expectations to Debbie Kulp, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, to apply.
To see the actual job listing, See RHD’s Job Listings, Click “Director/Manager”, And click on the “Program Director” that has Debbie Kulp as the contact person.
FYI. (I got sent this but I lack any of the professional qualifications.)