i feel like i’m floating.
laying on my back, staring at the sky as i drift upon this river of…. ???
i’m not sure. i can’t see it. i feel its waves splashing against my skin every so often, ice cold one moment and boiling the next. and each boiling wave leaves patches of scars, numb to sensation, numb to the world. until another wave splits them open, leaving the raw muscles and nerves exposed. waiting for the next wave, bracing myself for the pain to come as this unseen force jabs needles into the open wounds. waiting for another boiling wave to seal them, to numb me until the next assault comes.
but then i realize, in the fog of my mind that fractures and fades into abstract nothingness and yet pierces with such clarity for brief moments of obsession, that i do know what this river is. i know what these waves are, and why they assault me so.
can you sense it? the clattering of voices, family and friends, peers and coworkers, absorbed in their own worlds as, without their knowledge or understanding, their voices turn into those waves, those needles that pierce my exposed soul with such calculation.
this river, so carefully constructed by the structures of society, swallows up all of those it deems its victims, drifting them into nothingness one moment and screams of such intensity that one can’t see nor hear anything else the next. this river, which flows with such ferocity and yet delicacy, the master of the puppets within its currents, the puppets that attack us and yet have no understanding of why, or why we’re bleeding.
this river, which goes by the name of ableism.
this river, which goes by the name of psychophobia.
i feel it, its splashes against my limbs, the moist chill that remains as each wave fades away, the numbness of my skin as all warmth is sapped from me.
or do you sit along the banks, watching, waiting, as it swallows up another ‘neath its fangs?
will you work with us, as we fight against the current downstream, to build a dam and wrest its control? will you work with us, as we climb along the walls of this dam, limbs quivering as the pain drains every last drop of energy, to reach the top and try to find those still drifting?
or will you sit, watching, waiting, feeding this monster with each oblivious word, wondering why people are drifting away and seemingly not bothering to cry out for help?