Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Politics of Labels

I've been having a lot of discussions lately about the relevance of labels and the issues with some labels versus others.  It's a topic that directly affects a lot of people so naturally discussions can become somewhat heated, but I felt the need to share my thoughts.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Speechless and Media Representation

Anyone who knows me well knows I have a lot to say on the topic of the importance and positive impact of diverse and accurate media representation,  As a kid growing up disabled, I didn't see many (if any) positive and realistic representations of disability that weren't tokenistic (appeared in one episode then disappeared with no further mention), or inspiration fodder for non-disabled viewers.  So it makes sense that I grew up feeling like disability is a bad thing and that I needed to do whatever I could to appear able-bodied as I could - often to my own detriment.

I often get told I expect too much, that I'm too 'politically correct' or that I look for the flaws in everything and will never be satisfied with anything in terms of media.  Personally I think it's more important that everyone views media critically, but that's an issue for another day.  I'm here to say that I've found a show that gets disability representation right and it's brilliant and I love it!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

An Update...

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front lately, and while I plan and wish to maintain a presence on here, my posts will continue to be sporadic, but there's good reason for that, as I will explain...

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The 'Other' side

Some terms that often come up in sociology and social justice discussion is that of 'Other' and and 'marginalisation'.  I've talked a little bit about marginalisation in previous posts, and Othering is essentially the same, though in my interpretation encompasses more of the individual interactions and ableism.  However the differing interpretations of different people based on different experiences can make working out solutions tricky...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Awesome in Theory...

It's nice when you can solve all the world's problems around the dinner table right?  Unfortunately life is a little more complicated than that...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

The B Word

In my last post, I wrote about the book turned movie Me Before You and all the problematic messages that it sends.  Today I want to write a little more about just how widespread the messages and societal beliefs represented in the movie are.

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not laying all the blame on this one single movie.  Movies and any form of media do not exist in a vacuum.  The ideas and messages within the movie reflect ideas and messages within society and replicate them.  The fact that the movie was so mainstream and widely popularised made it more of an issue however.  But the real problem as I pointed out in my previous post, is that it's just another in a long line of these kinds of narratives in entertainment media.  I'm not here to labour this point though.  What I really want to do today is unpack a bit more the word BURDEN and everything around it and the power it contains.  This is a very emotionally charged word and topic for me, so I apologise in advance if this post gets rambly.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Me Before Ableism

Hello readers

I return after an unscheduled hiatus as a result of an unfortunate combination of end of uni semester assignment overload, a bout of illness, and general burnout.  I all but abandoned my post theme for June as well.  I have one post in the works for it, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to release it to the interwebs yet... or ever.  I might come back to that theme again in the future.

But today I come to you with a post that kind of relates to that topic, but also more pressing matters and it's a matter I can't hold my tongue on any longer - not that I have on my personal social media accounts, but that's neither here nor there.  I'm still angry and upset.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Sex and Disability

Content warning: This post is very much Not Safe for Work.  For obvious reasons

Put this up top of most awkward and unwelcome conversations that disabled people get asked a ridiculous amount of times:
"Can you... like... you know... ?"
And every time, I grit my teeth and hope they're not going to ask what they're very obviously going to ask, and I try not to roll my eyes too hard as they try (and generally fail) to discreetly make rude gestures so they don't have to say the words...
"have SEX"

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Memento Mori: Death and Disability

TRIGGER WARNING: This post will be about death, dying, facing mortality, and big issues like that.  If you are triggered or upset about this kind of discussion - especially if you know me personally, avoid my blog for a month.  
This is no more an easy topic to write about as it is to read about, so I completely understand if you choose to give my blog a wide berth till next month, because this month's theme will be death, dying, and disability.

I realise this is a morbid and depressing topic, but a lot of things have come up lately in my life - nothing major, but it seems to have been a recurring theme lately and despite reservations and past issues around the topic, I finally feel comfortable enough to talk about it.  Hell, I even wrote my will, and given the relevance of late, it seems now is the best time.  Bear with me, happier topics are abound in future months!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Blogging Against Disablism Day 2016

I'll admit that I'd never heard of this event till very recently, but despite being a new blogger on the block, I couldn't not participate...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Dragon Age Inquisition

As I mentioned in my last post, my time and focus has been absorbed by a video game called Dragon Age Inquisition.  This is my 3rd time playing it! So what makes it so good and why do I keep going back for more?

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Time to rethink and refocus my blog

You may or may not have noticed that I didn't post last week.  In all honesty, I didn't know what to write about.  Life has been getting in the way and as the midway point of the semester approached, I found study taking over leaving not much brainpower left to even write about fun geeky stuff.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

10 things you need to know when pushing a wheelchair

Apparently everything is about lists these days, and honestly, right now my studies are pretty demanding meaning I don't have the time for indepth long-form blog posts currently, so a clickbaity list post works great!

You might think pushing a wheelchair is easy.  You just push it to go and stop to stop.  But there's more you need to think about when doing so.  Here are ten guidelines you should consider if you're ever put in charge of pushing someone in a wheelchair...

Monday, 4 April 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Fandom Shipping

A big part of geeking out over various media for me is shipping.  I've been shipping since long before I knew what shipping was. So before I go much further, for those who don't know, no I don't mean shipping as in sending goods overseas, I mean shipping as in imagining two (or more) characters in a relationship of some variety.  So join me down this rabbithole of fandom culture...

Friday, 25 March 2016

Travelling with a Disability

Easter break is upon us, and I'm looking forward to a break away with family.  I love travelling and camping but for me, having a disability often makes it a game of logistics.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Brooklyn Nine Nine

I've been rewatching the first season of this show with my best friend who hadn't seen it before, and I just can't remember loving an American TV comedy as much as I love this one.  In today's post, I'm going to give eight mostly spoiler-free reasons to love Brooklyn Nine Nine (in alphabetical order not order of favouritism just to be clear)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Grief, Loss, and Disability

My last post seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people and I got a lot of feedback on social media about how much of a learning curve (and difficult process) it is to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself when you run out of juice to follow up with the plans you made when you felt more energetic or simply overestimated your energy levels.  This made me remember something a counsellor told me a few years ago as I struggled through PTSD and various other mental health issues directly connected to my physical health and disability (one day I will dedicate a post to the often overlooked comorbidity of physical disability and mental illness, because hoo boy that's an adventure and a half.) that I wanted to share with you.  But first a bit of back story...

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: The Force Awakens [Guest Post]

Ok I know I've already done a post on Star Wars, but today I'm letting my best friend Harriet take over to share her theories about the latest movie.  It's been pretty entertaining to watch Harriet go from fairly disinterested in the franchise to full on geeking out about it and researching ALL THE THINGS.  She has some very interesting thoughts and theories about the latest movie and where things could be going in the next movies, so pull up a seat for the first ever guest post of The Affliction Fiction, republished with permission from her Tumblr.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Energy Management

It's timely that I should be writing this post today as I've had to reevaluate and reprioritise my use of energy lately and come to some decisions.  But more on that later...

Energy management is not an easy skill and to a degree everyone needs it and learns it, but it becomes vastly more important when you have a disability that directly affects your energy levels.  Here are a few lessons I've learnt (some the hard way) over the years.  Also note, I'm no expert and sometimes need to follow my own advice, but here goes.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Now for something completely different... Bullet Journal Blog Planner

Last Sunday, I joined a bunch of kiwi bloggers in a twitter chat (#NZBloggers) about blogging - what works for us and what doesn't.  The topic of bullet journals came up and because many didn't know what they were (and I didn't either till this year) I offered to dedicate a post to them.

I'd like to say this counts as geekery of the weekery as my obsession with planners and stuff is definitely on the geeky levels, but I know most garden-variety geeks probably don't share this passion of mine, hence the question marks.  But for today's post I'm demonstrating how I customise the bullet journal system to make a blog planner.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Ableism 101: Internalised Ableism

For the final instalment of the Ableism 101 series, I bring you the type of ableism where all the previously covered forms come to roost.  Internalised Ableism.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Star Wars

Well this was inevitable, but here it is.  Rather than regurgitate the same old reviews that you can find anywhere and everywhere online, I'm just going to share my own relationship and experiences with the franchise.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Ableism 101: Benevolent Ableism

Who's ready for part 3 of Ableism 101?  Click through for part 1 or part 2 if you missed those.  For this post I want to talk about the really subtle ableism that is the hardest to fight against because it's seen by so many as good and positive and not at all a problem.  This is benevolent ableism.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Jessica Jones Part 2

Continuing on from the last Geekery of the Weekery post, I'm going to go into a bit further analysis.  Trigger Warning for discussion of abusive relationships and mental health issues.  Also a super spoiler alert.  I couldn't really discuss what I want to discuss without spoilers, so don't read any further if you haven't seen the show.  For the rest of you though, let's get stuck in!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ableism 101: Systemic Ableism

Following on from last week's post on general and individual ableism.  In this second post of the four part series, I'm giving a glimpse into institutional and systemic ableism.  That is, the ingrained ableism within our social structures that hold disabled people back from full participation in society on a ongoing basis.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Jessica Jones Part 1

Last year was a great year for television as far as I was concerned, thanks in no small part to Netflix.  Among the highlights for me was Jessica Jones.  I can't hope to do it as much justice as many have already written amazing pieces about the show - particularly contributors to The Mary Sue.  A quick Google search can turn up results on many different aspects of the series worthy of discussion.  Nevertheless, here are a few of my thoughts including why I think it's worth watching (in a two part blog post series because I got a little carried away writing this - easily done when you're a social science nerd like me!).  Warning: this post is vaguely spoilery, though I've done my best to avoid that.  Part 2 will be much more spoilery.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Ableism 101: General Individual Ableism and Microaggressions

A comment on a recent post made me realise that the concept of ableism is still not widely known to the public and the struggles mostly invisible.  So for the next month, every Tuesday I will be doing a series of posts on Ableism and different types of aspects.  Today's post is about general individual ableism, particularly microaggressions.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer

We really love Animal crossing at my house.  Between four of us, we have three different iterations of the game: Wild World, Let's Go to the City, and multiple versions of New Leaf so that we could visit each others' towns.  So of course I was pretty excited to try Happy Home Designer when it was first announced, after all I haven't yet met an Animal Crossing game I didn't like.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

I'm Disabled - On person-first language

I have been flip-flopping about this topic for a few years now, ever since I heard about person-first language.  To be honest, I'm still not altogether sure where I stand on it.  The debate has and will no doubt long continue within the disability community.  Here are some of my thoughts, on it though.  Forewarning though, this is a long one and pretty full-on and I get a bit academic in places but I promise you it's important info and I've done my best to make it easy to understand, so grab a cuppa and let's get stuck in!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Submerged

I've recently been playing an adorable Indie video game from Uppercut Games in Australia called Submerged.  Another game of an increasingly popular genre of game that pushes the boundaries of traditional understandings of what is a game, being a work of art and far from the first person shooters that have dominated the video game realm.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Your Pain is Valid

Last week I talked about people trying to outdo each other in terms of their health and disability issues.  Today I'm going to talk about almost the opposite.

Though I find myself doing it (even after I first came up with the idea of this post!) in different contexts but similar situations, I've always found it very weird when my abled friends are sharing their burdens with me commiserating (that's what friends are for after all) and they'll complain that their back hurts or something, then look at me and I'll see a look of horror and guilt flash across their face followed by profuse apologies.  As if they're not allowed to have a sore back or complain about it because my own back is so fucked up.  My best friend still does it even, though I tell her the same thing every time: 'Your pain is valid'.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

On Spoons and Appropriation

Before I start the next week of posts, I want to make this unscheduled post to address an issue that has come to my attention within the disability community by courtesy of this article.  The reason I feel it particularly important for me to address is due to its connection in subject matter to Tuesday's post: Invisible vs Visible Disabilities.  For those not familiar with The Spoon Theory, here is a description, but for the purposes of brevity, I've always summed it up as a good way for people with inhibitive energy levels to explain to able-bodied people what it's like to be so limited.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Geekery of the Week-ery: Dungeons and Dragons

Last week I joined in a game that a few years ago I considered to be too nerdy even for me.  I played my first ever game of Dungeons and Dragons.  I’m not so elitist now, but I still won’t be LARPing (live action role playing – just YouTube it if you’ve not heard of it) any time soon (though to be honest that has more to do with the limits on my energy levels and physical ability than anything else).  I had tried a bit of tabletop role playing before as my flatmates and I and a friend who acted as GM (Games Master) have had a few goes at a Shadowrun role playing game.  However we probably could not have picked a more difficult RPG (Roleplaying game) to start with and spent a good three or four all-day sessions simply trying to fine-tune our character creation, equipment and inventories in the face of all the possible specifications and options.  We’ve only managed one campaign so far for various reasons – mostly scheduling issues, but we’ll definitely get there eventually!  So when someone at a board gaming group I belong to offered to run a one-off short campaign to teach newbies, I jumped at the chance.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Invisible vs Visible Disabilities

On the corners of the internet I frequent the most, I’ve seen a lot of what I call ‘Oppression Olympics’, where people of certain types of disabilities claim to have things worse than people with other types of disabilities.  This isn’t a new thing of course, nor is it exclusive to the disability sector.  People love to draw comparisons.  It’s why some people when having a rough time with things see someone suffering, they’ll go ‘oh well at least I don’t have that problem’, or you’ll get people comparing their various aches and pains or misfortunes in conversation.  Obviously from the post title, you’ll have gathered that I’m writing specifically about the comparisons of visible versus invisible disability, as I seem to be seeing more and more posts comparing the two as worse or better than each other.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

An Intro to The Affliction Fiction

I've been told by various people that I should start a blog, so after putting it out to vote and getting a 100% yes result, here it is!

So my spine kinda looks like this...
Credit: Altor Gultarte
So first, here's a little about me.  I'm generally known as Elle.  I'm a Kiwi woman approaching my 30s and studying Policy at university, and I have multiple disabilities both visible and invisible.  Some I was born with, some that developed in my adolescence.  The one most affecting my life being a severe case of kyphoscoliosis (Scoliosis) that started when I was 14.  Another disability that I have had from birth is still as yet a medical mystery even after consulting a myriad of specialists.  My body definitely likes to rebel the norms and keep things 'interesting'.