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{♥ ♥ ♥ Please be mindful and read the full listing descriptions and Shop Announcement before placing an order or sending a message. Thank you! ♥ ♥ ♥}

Telegram #41 is about revelations, expectations, support and artivism, living through my fears, filling out forms, Mercury Retrograde, reminders, resistance, waitlists, crip-feelings, and a green candle.

More specifically, this zine is a text-heavy exploration of what happened with my body & psyche when my disability benefits came up for review and were threatened with being cut off, how it felt to be forced to crowdfund rent & food, casting spells to cope, applying for access to alternative transit for disabled folks when I could no longer use public transit, trying to make myself at least semi-comprehensible to social workers, hysteria, sickness, & haunting spaces while I'm still living.


"When I told her I wasn’t sure how I was gonna get to my appointment – I wasn’t even sure how I was gonna answer my door and let her in – the occupational therapist told me that WheelTrans would pick me up for my appointment and bring me home as well. Nobody at WheelTrans had bothered to tell me. As with ODSP and other programs (supposedly) created to support disabled people, specific kinds of support are often kept secret, and if you don’t know exactly which questions to ask, and how to ask them, and how many times to ask them, nobody will tell you. Sometimes I accidentally find out.

She asked me questions. She wandered through my apartment. I cried. She arranged to have grab bars for my shower delivered and installed, as well as a chair to keep in my bathtub, a handheld showerhead, a cane with a sturdier base, and another chair to sit in at my kitchen counter for washing dishes and chopping vegetables. I had not been able to stand up to do these things for a long time.

I didn’t know the term disability aesthetics had already been created and given an academic meaning until I found a book with the same title, but these words coalesced in my mind a season or two beforehand as a way with which I viewed how I made aesthetic decisions, or which decisions were options for me. I had cut my hair six inches shorter because I could no longer stand up to wash it, nor could I stand up long enough to brush my teeth. I crouched on the floor to do so, and sometimes my cat massaged my back. I was losing weight. When I stayed in bed, I was often too weak and pained to adjust my blanket on my own. (No, there was not often someone there to do so for me.)

On days when I attempted to have a shower, it would often become the only activity my body was capable of doing that day. I would crouch in the tub, crouch on the floor to blow-dry my hair. I would go back to bed. I would cancel my plans – which were often loner plans, but still – and cry in bed. I had quit going to yoga classes before the first snow, crying as I arrived at the streetcar stop to find that the seats and shelter had been removed, and then quit practicing yoga on my own because it hurt my body too much, and I was sick of hanging out with my body and trying to be present with it anyway. There was nothing left I could do on my own. I’m lucky to have a bathtub. Sometimes I would soak in hot water with crystals and incense and read a book. I thought about days a long time ago when I was a drunk mess, when I stayed up all night, when I hurt people, when I rode my bike alone and drunk at three o’ clock in the morning, and I thought, The most dangerous thing I do these days is read a library book in the bath and hope not to drop it..."

"I fell again at the pharmacy. Falling in public had become common and expected by then. I never left my apartment without falling anymore. The pharmacist was telling me how to take my meds, meds I’d been taking regularly for six years, and my body quit, trying to stand at the counter but unable. That strange burning tissue pain at the bottom of my pelvis and tops of my thighs again. The pharmacist didn’t ask what happened or if I was okay or if I needed help. Nobody seemed concerned – I couldn’t stand upright after that, leaned on the counter, paid the fees, then went to the waiting area just outside the door, and cried and cried and cried.

I hoped everyone who could see me was uncomfortable. For years & years, I’ve been trying to tell myself that crying in public is resistance, being sick in public, being crazy in public, is resistance. And it should make people uncomfortable. They should know that something is wrong and that they might not be able to help. Also, for those who need it, that it’s okay to be sick & sad & not in control. Or maybe it’s not okay but it’s real.

I tried to think of some of the parts that don’t hurt. My shoulders, shins, chest, the sides of my ribs. These can be the parts that support me, that hold me together. I felt grateful to my shoulders for holding my backpack, to my shins for supporting my legs. Grateful for cute socks, grateful for my knee supports, for the sun."

6,800+ words, 24 pages, photocopy-love.

*I also accept payment the old-school way: well-concealed Canadian or U.S. cash via snail mail! Just complete your transaction as usual, choose 'Other' for your payment method, and the confirmation email from Etsy will tell you my snail mail address. Please include a note telling me what zines / other items you ordered, and I'll send your order once I've received payment. Thank you kindly!*

Telegram 41