Last month, I had an article published in The Mighty called “Why I’m Coming Out About My Invisible Disability.”
The Mighty is an online site, an online community, that publishes stories by people with disabilities, diseases, mental illnesses, and more. Its Who We Are Page states, “Having a disability or disease doesn’t have to be isolating. That’s why The Mighty exists.”
I’m coming out about my invisible disability because now it’s less invisible. Now, it’s very much apparent to others. So, really, this is a late announcement.
My skeletal dysplasia has always been with me, has always been visible to me. It’s not something I was consciously trying to hide from others. Since I’ve been dealing with more intense chronic pain in the last few years, it’s become more visible to others.
My bone disorder was easy to hide as a kid because I had less pain and only limped at the end of a long day of shopping at the mall with friends. I’m 4’6″, so it’s pretty hard to hide that something is different about me. Most people wouldn’t assume I’m a dwarf, but my bone disorder does fall under the vast and varied dwarfism umbrella.
In my article in The Mighty, I wrote about how it’s easy to pass as normal, as someone who doesn’t have daily pain, just like it can be easy to pass as straight if you’re actually LGBT/gay/queer.
Read the full article.
District Lit is currently accepting poetry and creative nonfiction for our themed issue on Disability, Medicine, and Illness. We have Jen Stein Hauptmann, Assistant Editor at Rogue Agent, as a guest judge reading for this issue.
While District Lit is always open to work from writers with disabilities, this themed issue will highlight poetry and nonfiction about living with disability, illness, or medical treatments. We want writing and art about chronic illness, disability (visible and invisible), medical histories and procedures, recovery, and the body in all its forms. Send us your rawest poetry, powerful CNF, and embodied art.
The deadline is March 15, 2017.
Please submit your work.
My poem “How to feel beautiful” was published today in The Deaf Poets Society. It’s a reflection on chronic pain.
This poem rejects the notion that we have to be pretty above all else. Beauty is a feeling. When you’re in constant pain, sometimes it’s hard to smile, get out of bed, go to work, deal with other people. But this is something those with chronic pain and disabled people do every single day.
Tell yourself you’re beautiful
so you start feeling it.
That is why the poem ends in space, outside the world. It ends in our blood and the stars. Because even with chronic pain, even if you are blind or deaf, even if you are an amputee, even if you are neurodivergent, even if you feel like all your spoons are full and spent, even then
your blood is still
made up of iron from ancient stars.
Thanks for reading.