For the last two days Joe and I have been tucked up at home doing nothing but watching Netflix and napping. I haven’t left the house, once, Joe went out each day to get the newspaper, not because we were low on news but because the papers have crossword puzzles. And that’s it.
Partly this was because we both knew we needed rest. We’ve been travelling hard and have been all over the US and Canada in the last few months. For me, I kept in touch with my work for a couple of hours, at least, a day while away and returned to work immediately upon landing. I’m not complaining, this is what we do. But we were both really tired. We thought of all the things we could do with the time off that comes with the Canada Day weekend and then, we didn’t do it.
I do feel more rested. We achieved our goal, I think.
But there’s something else too. Travelling comes with it a sense of being ‘out there’ in a manner, for me, which can be bruising. Pushing through airports means being in a place where everyone is in a rush and everyone needs to get by you and everyone’s need to get somewhere surpasses your need to get there too. Taking up space, public space, as I push myself from place to place gets me the requisite glares and comments and, sometimes, outright hatred.
Being in hotels with people who are not normalized to seeing fat disabled people as part of the crowd, also brings with it the joys of having your food looked at and evaluated and the click, click, click of calorie counters is almost audible.I often order breakfast for Joe and I while he loads the car. Sometimes he’s a little delayed and the horror and the anger that I see on the faces of others when two plates of food arrive sometimes frightens me.
Simply pushing on sidewalks or in malls or in grocery stores where I have never been before and will never be again, reminds me how difference is unwelcome and therefore, so am I. The names called out. Random strangers attacking random strangers with very specific purpose is, I’ll admit, both tiresomely common and sometimes terribly hurtful. 100% of the time, when I go out, I will experience social violence – repeatedly.
Part of these two days, being cloistered in my own home, not leaving, has been for rest. We needed it. But part of it is to give both of us a break from the world and the constant experience of hatred.
I think of all those people with intellectual disabilities who are forced to go out into the community because its on the schedule even when they are clearly saying, ‘no, I don’t want to’ … maybe, some of the time, they are tired of it too. Tired of walking into a community that doesn’t exist to welcome them. Maybe.
I know I needed this time.
During this last batch of travel I was bruised pretty badly, my soul ached for weeks. But, it’s better now, I’ve kept it safe from harm. And I’m ready to face the world again, I’m up to the task.
(For those reading this on Facebook, please don’t use the crying emoji, this isn’t a sad post.)