Emma's Summer Contemplations - August 31st

This summer’s final blog post! (The rainy weekend fitted my feelings, especially during this night’s Crip Camp – as a discharge after something extensive and satiated!)

The word that best sums up this summer's webinars is empowering! It has been like re-hydration for the soul to, every Sunday night, take part of thoughts and experiences that in many ways differ from my own, but which all have the disability community in common. It has been like re-hydration for the soul to, every Sunday night, take part of thoughts and experiences that in many ways differ from my own. I honestly did not know how dehydrated I actually was, but apparently very much so.

I – and for sure many crips with me – are so used to “our questions” being considered just that; ours and hence not relevant for the overall society. Where we are talking human rights, demanding our democratic right to be full-fledged citizens, society is interpreting it as specific interests and special cases. To always be put aside not only results in not being listened to or taken seriously, but also (especially as a woman, something Judy Heumann among others acknowledges in her book Being Heumann) in you being considered nagging and slightly annoying. Automatically you begin to apologize and pick your battles, even if you do know that this is the main issue. If you are not allowed to talk about it, how will you ever be able to bring about real change?

In my case the consequence was that I started to warn my non-disabled friends. “Okay, sorry for this crip rant, but […]”. The word “crip rant” turned into an important part of my vocabulary, which is both an attenuation of what you have to say, as well as an apology for you even existing in the first place. It all went so far that I have been asked not to start these crip rants, a bit as if it was a hobby that only interested me, and hence can do on my own, at home, in private. It is not all that weird that Crip Camp and the disability community has turned into a safe space. Our issues are suddenly relevant – our issues become your issues as well, and then evolve into Our issues. It most definitely is not a special interest, but all about fundamental rights.

I am so happy and grateful that I have been given the opportunity to have these “crip rants”. Both through the American Crip Camp, our Swedish version, and via this blog. Gratefulness is not something I use lightly. Generally, I find that word difficult since it is often expected from me as a crip to show gratitude for any basic stuff. But in this case, I am truly grateful. Grateful that there is an entire community out there who want the same things as I do and who empower and nurture. So with gratitude, and charged with a fighting spirit for the future, I end this summer blog.

Until later!

(PS. For all of you non-disabled people out there who still do not think this has anything to do with you: just wait. If you live a health life, you will probably get vision impairment, hearing loss, and limited mobility and cognitive abilities.)

Emma Åstrand

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