Look: In my mind is a single flowing page, constant, unbroken; when I write it pours out of me. Not seamless but nearly so. It might be more seamless still, in time; there might be no more walls, just me and my words and the world. I reject the idea of “age-old”. What age? How old? Better to ask what the words look like when still inside, how they flow outward, what they look like when they are at once inside me and inside you, (Sarah Wanenchak, Cyborg Writing:becoming the Tools – Cyborgology).
See: In my mind are scraps, paper, crumpled and torn, neurons interrupted by infarcts and lesions, lacking object permanence to the illusion of the self that seems to have a voice of its own although its seems to be my voice (there’s that “my,me self” again) when it comes out of my (sigh) mouth in fits and starts, then sometimes, like somebody turned on some big ol’ reel to reel tape recorder (is this In Real Life Fetishiizing?) with a bad motor and when its done I sit there dazed and somebody takes the reel and puts it back on the shelf in my head and I look and wonder if anyone involved understood anything of what whoever said whatever they said or wrote or thought. Better to ask were there any words at all.
I had intended to write here quite a bit more than I have on disability. This is really saying something. Eighteen years ago I had viral encephalitis. It damaged mainly my temporal and parietal lobes. Making any kind of statement is remarkable.
For most of that time, I did not have much of a disability identity. While I had various and sometimes overwhelming reactions to what had happened, I rarely used the word “disabled” itself. It was more like “Something happened” followed by various negative emotions mixed in with a lot of confusion, mixed in with a kind of clarity I struggle to explain.
The word I’m most likely to use in my own head is “brokenness”.
This brokenness is certainly the loss of function, of ability. I have trouble making sense. Whatever eloquence I attain here requires a lot of effort and leaves me both exhausted and in pain from the effort. Sometimes I just talk repeating myself in increasingly tighter circles. Suddenly seeing a clock I might realize that 15 minutes had passed. Seeing the worry on my listener’s face, I wonder if it had been all gibberish or “just” a semantic vortex.
This is from a general difficulty processing information, rather than extensive damage to my speech centers – although there is some of that. Whether the information comes from raw external stimuli, my own mental processes or a combination of the two doesn’t matter. My experiences of time, object permanence and memory are all impaired, altered, something different. So I have trouble both making sense and making sense of.
But this brokenness is also a breaking open, a kind of general breaking open of how things are, the beautiful assault I’ve referred to before. I would have never chosen it, but there it is.