Far out. As the picture hints at, I feel run over today.
The exhaustion clouding my sight has been brought on by emotional upwelling and spilling over and over again. I visited places in my memories, once so well worn but that haven’t seen the light of day for the longest time.
The day began sombrely as we all weighed up circumstances leading to our present position. Feelings of guilt, of neglect, of ‘what the hell are we doing here’. These are senses not strange to any of us but today called for a girding of spirits.
Also like the picture the overarching grey threatened to overtake so it was decided to pick up the table at which we sat, on the far side of the room, exposed to the cold of the windows, and shifted as a group, in attitude, mind and body, to inhabit the space under the blast of the heaters and, with the warmth stroking our faces, set to work in discussion.
We spoke about the radical idea of Disability as a choice. Is it so strange to want this life? Coming from someone who straddles both sides of the divide between disability and non-disability, I know that it is not so. My life is so much richer for my experiences and the community I am part of is unparalleled.
Choices and the idea of them were queried much today.
Next up were Realities – to each their own, yes, informing one’s perception of the surrounding world, with people and situations populating every one.
Inspiration is a personal thing and yet it’s effects, rather the voicing of it, affect the recipient in ways in which the bestower has no idea.
Expression of ‘inspiration’ is a selfish act and it is dangerous for it seems the more obstacles there are to a perceived happy life, the more inspiring the praised person is. The Praiser can turn away, believing they do not have to do any more, relieved of responsibility and feeling chuffed for themselves.
Awareness is key. Awareness is sadly lacking in our society.
Inspiration porn skews the playing field of the disability arts world for how can an artistic offering by a disabled company be assured of honest reviews of their work? To set up an example for you, a spoken word piece by someone in a wheelchair – there is an obsession with the non-disabled bod’s perspective of the wheelchair – to the exclusion of what is being said.
And there lies the tension. Expectations silence the clear communication of ideas.
Today we were drawn in to the depths of our human experience. A theatre of the unexpected these human conditions of ours.
There is danger in the influence of the critical response of arts reviewers. Accolades in disability arts so often mask what is, in fact, pity. Standing ovations at any performance are so often a form of peer group pressure. Who wants to be the one still seated?
The last conversation of the day centred around the current obsession of ‘infotainment’ as it seems the main way a majority of the population gain their education on issues. There is a fetishisation of physical disability to the exclusion of the politics around what it means to live that reality.
And now, I willingly break the 4th wall and speak about the oncoming NDIS which is ignorant of the arts and the life-line it offers to so many with disability. There does not seem to be any sort of world-view also.
Imagine this… a world renown inclusive arts company recently toured overseas. Some of their cast have NDIS packages already. When it came to having to justify their overseas trip, the box next to ‘camping’ had to be ticked! It seems the audacity to imagine a career in the arts for someone with a disability is too far from the bureaucratic group-think.
One day left… my body, mind and soul is wrung out.
Also, the invitation to come to watch us speak tomorrow has been taken back. Not this time sorry. Our process is ongoing…