PC: Caro Sanguinetti
All I'm looking for is a ceremony
“A miracle isn’t a miracle without sacrifice”
- Paige Lewis
A disability aesthetic, you ask. The temporarily-abled (TA) attempt to delineate one for us, where life in pain is unsustainable, that self-selecting eugenics is a private eugenics. There is no reproductive justice that does
not center how to live cared for, by the state, by a network of interdependence and monies allocated for caretaking, the feminized labor of paying attention to needs, anticipating pain or hunger or the need for a
I want my grief to be transcendent: somehow worse than yours, more of a shredding sensation, the sharper form of pain than I am willing to admit, and that this almost invisible wrenching bracketed sawhorse that I strap to my back and do not loose for anything,
Between desire and the edge of motion, the crimp of arousal, the slip that I allow, an urgence, the note I leave behind
[There is something awesome about longing]
I have to leave my psychiatrist. She’s a Sagittarius; she gets me. She’s graduating from her residency program. and starting a new job working with Native folks on medication management. In our final appointment, I have to sign paperwork detailing our treatment plan: “reduce anxiety by 50%,” it says. Quantification did my feelings, my trauma. I start to cry talking about my pain, about feeling so drained trying on new doctors like shoes. I wail, I don’t want a new psychiatrist. I wipe tears down my cheeks in little rivers. I say, I don’t want to start from nothing, to have to justify how my politics are a huge part of how I think about my illnesses, staying well, wanting to feel ok instead of like I’m dying of constant pain.
These are inextricable: my body is a signifier, and my fragmented postmodern subject reveals itself in my medical records, sporadic; disjointed; contradictory. For my native-New Yorker millennial psychiatrist, I am funny, resilient, intelligent; my Boomer evangelical anti-feminist doctor marked me down as non-compliant.
In Sick, Porochista Khakpour details her abundance of medical consults. Advice pours in, and Sontag urges us to resist metaphor, but if I have to splice chunks of myself off to survive the onslaught of abled people recommending fasts, yoga studios, cleanse programs in Bali, hiking, naturalism, reiki, essential oils, eradicating mold, getting more sleep, schema therapy, Rolfing, stevia supplements, running, going vegan, stretching, breathwork, CBD, magnesium, visiting a chiropractor...
How can I avoid the metaphor of exhaustion?
About The Author: Jesse Rice-Evans
Jesse Rice-Evans (she/her/hers) is a white neuroqueer femme and Southern poet based in NYC (unceded Lenape territory) studying chronic pain rhetorics and femme internet relationships. Read her work in Hematopoiesis, Peach Mag, glittermob, and Nat. Brut, among others, and in her forthcoming debut collection, The Uninhabitable (2019), from Sibling Rivalry Press.