I'm 20 and I'm tired.
No, I'm not just tired, I'm bone-weary, literally exhausted. I deal with multiple chronic conditions that cause fatigue. And if my conditions themselves don't completely exhaust me, the medication I take to control them and keep me a functioning human being does. On top of all of this, I am a full time college student who is currently in classes six hours a day with only an hour's break for lunch which is frequently taken up by meetings. Because I am the type of person that wants to change the world and mistakenly thinks she can take up the mantle of every cause that comes her way. Starting in April, I will be out in the field helping to teach the children of America, and even that hour's break will shrink.
I'm tired of having my competency as a teacher questioned. I'm tired of having my right to exist as a human being questioned. I'm tired of people killing people like me and claiming it was in the name of "mercy". I'm tired of being told to sit down and shut up, because I can't possibly know what it's like for real disabled people. I'm tired of being told I'm inspirational for attempting to pull myself up by my broken bootstraps, because that's the only way anyone ever gets anywhere in this society, even if we don't have bootstraps to speak of.
I'm tired of hearing killings by Muslims attributed to religion; while killings by members of any other religion are attributed to mental illness. I'm tired of all members of a community being painted with the same broad brushstrokes as a member who did something terrible. I'm tired of things about us being without us. I'm tired of that being considered not only acceptable, but ideal.
I'm tired of being shut out of the normal teenage/college student jobs because I don't have the physical ability or stamina to do them. I'm tired of having to depend on my parents for every drop of money that comes my way. I'm tired of working working working, barely eating, barely sleeping, putting my health at risk, for nothing but a pat on the back and a meaningless grade on a piece of paper. I'm tired of leaving the "former employers" section on job applications blank. I'm tired of personal attendant services and transportation being seen as optional, instead of necessary. And I'm tired of my friends on benefits being made out to be lazy, when that money is the only hope they have of survival.
I'm tired of the assumption that everyone can drive or own a car. I'm tired of being dependent on agencies that have no idea what my life is like or what my financial situation is. I'm tired of the world being so panicked over "benefit scroungers", that those who are truly in need are denied, and denied, and denied again. I'm tired of having to be grateful that I was born when I was, otherwise I would've been shut in an institution. I'm tired of remembering that places like that still exist.
I'm tired of the discourse on disability being purely medical, barely scratching the surface of what that word, that experience means. I'm tired of words like "suffer" and "afflicted" and "disease". I'm tired of disability as a cultural identity being ignored at conferences and events, when we're all shouting it from the Internet, begging, pleading to finally be heard. I'm tired of being an afterthought.
I'm tired of privilege. And yes, it is a thing. I'm tired of playing life on hard mode. I'm tired of our little splintered movements that don't include each other. I'm tired of the irony; that nondisabled women fought for so many years to be seen as more than sexy, and disabled women are still fighting to be seen as sexy at all. I'm tired of being scared to roll around campus at night, because I can't defend myself if someone attacks me. I'm tired of knowing that I'm nearly the perfect target for an attacker - small, weak, female, disabled. I'm tired of the world beating me and others like me to the ground, then being surprised when we're unable to rise.
Yes, I'm damn tired. And I'm terrified to be 20. Because if I'm this tired now, who knows how tired I'll be at 50, or 80, or 100? I fear for myself. I fear for the world.
And now, I think, I will go take a nap.