Disabled Chronicles, No. 45:
Before I started school, I remember being put through a battery of what I now know were tests. I’m not sure what they were tests for but I can only imagine they measured my cognition, my ability to learn and my psychological state.
I remember the tests were somewhat interesting, considering I didn’t exactly know all my colors yet or how to count fully or how exactly the world was supposed to work. I was only 5. So I answered their questions and looked at their boring papers and did as I was asked. I remember there being a faceless, voice of a ‘grown up’ (psychologist probably amongst the testers) shuffling through dusty smelling cards and expecting me to produce some kind of response.
At the end of this torturous testing session, I was given one final test, which to this day I still cannot answer.
The male tester came in with a clear glass. There was water in it. He asked me if the glass was half full or half empty.
My five year-old self looked at him quizzically. I remember asking him if it came from the kitchen. He said yes. I asked him if he washed it. He said yes (though I did not see any water droplets anywhere). I asked him if he used a pitcher. He said it didn’t matter.
Then I looked at him even more perplexed. He told me to take my time and that there was no right or wrong answer. I became very quiet and a bit withdrawn. If there were no right or wrong answers, why was he asking me? I looked down at the floor like I often do when my mouth wants to say something that my brain doesn’t agree with. After a few minutes he told me he would be back for the answer.
I sat looking at that glass like my life depended on it. I looked for signs that a pitcher had been used to sloppily pour the water into the glass, but found none. I looked from the door to the table to see if the glass had at one point been filled but the clumsy man had spilled the water on his way. But the carpet was dry. I examined the outside of the glass to see if it had a thin crack, letting the water out. But it was intact. I had no answer to give to that man about that glass and why it was only halfway filled.
He came in a bit later and asked me again, if the glass was half filled or half empty. I told him I didn’t know and began to cry, upset that I didn’t have an answer. I told him it wasn’t fair because I didn’t wash the glass and I wasn’t there when they were pouring the water and the table was dry and so was the carpet and I just didn’t know!
I kept trying to ask him questions to see if I could arrive at an answer I felt confident in, but he kept telling me to just answer the question. In frustration I told him it was both – empty and full. He told me it couldn’t be. But I insisted that it was indeed both. Worked up into a ball of tears, the woman finally came in and wiped my eyes, calming me down.
I’m a pragmatist at heart, from very young. Asking me questions about esoteric things, will only lead me on a hunt to find practical answers that will lead me to hard truths and a response I can be confident in.
So imagine, someone like me, dealing with the question of love and attraction and disability. I’ve lived a million and one lives and died a million deaths in that space where love and attraction and being disabled reside. Every so often I try to find my place within it. I try to find where all of Me can fit and be embraced, wanted and desired.
I’ve given up trying to understand Love, because there is nothing to understand about love other than for Me, it is a thing that I do. When no one is looking, I show up, I help, I make a difference. This is how I love, family, friends, strangers.
But with Lovers? Hmmm… On top of the doing, it is this involved dance of conversations and trust and helping them to understand what comes along with choosing to be with Me, how bright burning and short My Light may be in the scheme of living, the extra complications they face in choosing to love Me.
I am intense, cerebral, grounded with dreams of fancy, bouts of whimsy, eros unending. I am petty, focused, true. I am love poems and long nights, I am sweet words and quick embraces. I am bouts of sickness and stretches of health. I am doctor visits and odd test results. I am home remedies and moscato. I am vegan salad dressing on a chicken salad. I am loyalty, consistency, love. I am #BlackGirlMagic.
I am not for everyone.
I say this often, to others and sometimes to remind myself but really to make it clear, that to love me… to love Me, is a pledge of bravery, a vow of pragmatism and a practice of redemption.
I’m not easy but I know I am also wholeheartedly worth it.