We start off with great posts from alumiere and my friend, the wonderful Krista Marie Simeone, both describing their own personal experiences with freakishness, and how they learned to proudly fly the freak flag. Krista says:
"When I was a child, my freak flag was worn on my sleeve, and I shared it with everyone. At puberty, my freak flag was half-mass and defeated. In high school, my freak flag was hidden deep in the closet of my soul under a perfectionist attitude and a sense of humor. And today, I let my freak flag FLY, with a true appreciate for where I've been, what I have overcome, and who I am today."
Next we move onto anger, rightousness, and general badass-ery from Cereus Sphinx and Cheryl. Both posts display a willingness to stand up (or sit down) to traditional attitudes about disability, and the boldness to wave the freak flag in people's faces. Cheryl draws a parallel between the disability rights movement and the black civil rights movement by saying:
I don't know how people viewed Black Civil Rights leaders during the 1960's, when everything was going on. I wasn't around in the 60's, I'm 25. I imagine things were viewed differently depending on which geographic region of the country you resided in at the time. What I do know is that now, in 2011, and for at least the last 20 years, Malcom X, MLK, Nelson Mandela (yes, I know he's not American) have been regarded as national heros, while I am regarded by some people as a freak.
Next we have dawning realizations from the Goldfish and my very own mother, who goes by yoko75 on her brand-new blog. These posts show the incredible transformative experience of disability, and how one shift - in thought or in life experiences - can strip away the layers of denial and reveal that we really are freaks after all. Yoko75 shares her experiences in raising me and my sister:
"My children had been born with obstacles to skirt around, and together we fought the dirty looks, the pitying smiles, the ignorance and the patronizing words. I began working with other children who needed advocates in their lives, someone who could relate to their own unique freak shows. There is nothing in this world that I would rather do than spend the day with people who do not judge me, freak or no freak."
Deviating from the freak show for just a moment, I received two posts that, while they don't exactly fit the theme, still explore the phenomenon of being disabled and illuminate what a complex and beautiful experience it is. Coy Carp writes a strikingly honest post about disability and domestic abuse. And another post from Cereus Sphinx discusses the relationship between stoicism and disability, specifically SM and Hypersensitivity/Aspergers. Cereus Sphinx explains:
My experience with SM and Hypersensitivity/Aspergers actually are mutually beneficial because they both show how to enjoy myself even if it means doing something different than other people find enjoyable. I can put a soft limit on sustained social interaction and noisy places (and cold :( ). I can fully enjoy 100+ temperatures. My body can perform miracles, It Comes First. No matter if what it wants is not what it's supposed to.
And....we now return to your regularly scheduled freakout! As we near the end of our carnival, I share with you two posts that are poignant and extremely touching. Rickismom simply shares an event she recently witnessed, a display of outright freak pride and courage not to care what anyone thinks - courage I wish I had. Meanwhile, Ettina describes her freak flag - a metaphorical wall - that has protected her throughout her life. Says Ettina:
"This wall isn't a bad wall, like the one in Pink Floyd's album. I can put it away when I'm safe, so I can accept love and caring. It's a good wall, that shields me from damaging attitudes...That wall is necessary. Without it, the bad outside would touch the good inside, and damage it.
The wall leaks, unfortunately. And sometimes it blocks good things from coming in, like when I have a meltdown. But it's much better than letting everything in, like I used to do."
Last, but hopefully not least, we have my post, about the reasons behind why I call myself a cripple, as well as gimp, freak, and other "taboo" terms. Once again I would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in this month's carnival. You have made me proud to be disabled.
"So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!"
-Raise Your Glass by Pink