a post…just because I cannot shut up and that which most people refuse to consider when innocent people are being harmed. First tweeted here. Slight edits for clarity and a bit of further development are included below.
my (personal) position on mask wearing:
not being able to breathe well is awful and sometimes dangerous. staying safe and respecting others is critically important.
I personally don’t go anywhere I have to wear a mask for more than about 1/2 hour. I wear it when I have to both to stay safe and to respect others…otherwise I rather be away from large groups.
Because i cannot wear a mask for more than a short time I’m profoundly grateful I’ve not been faced with what a lot of people who work in the conventional work-force are faced with. I would’ve had to lose a job. I cannot wear a mask. There are a lot of people like that – hard-core mask wearers are nasty to those who try to speak about this reality.
Since a lot of people have serious medical issues that make mask wearing difficult, when not impossible, the fact that so many people are marginalizing us is an ableist issue. There are ways to stay safe and accommodate us if you actually care about equal access for everyone.
The fact that it’s uncool to admit one actually thinks about these issues (someone might think I’m Q-Anon!) is what fuels the people who attach to such conspiracy-religions).
We need to talk about these things or continue to force people into pockets of dissociation because of their very real personal needs.
I’ve actually passed out and had a neuro-crisis with a mask on (twice) … both times I went nonverbal and people treated me like I was a homeless person or that I was on illicit drugs due to my lack of communication skills. I was completely aware of what was happening and unable to articulate due to severe neurological issues. (mind you…marginalized folks like those without a home and those who use illegal subtances also deserve to be treated with kindness so I get as upset about that fact as I am about being treated unfairly myself)…
However, what I’m saying is that it became dangerous for me to exist. I was afraid they were going to call the cops. When I’m in that condition I run the risk of getting shot up with psych drugs and/or locked up on a psych ward. Those are both places I will be further harmed. Cops are no better at discerning neurological chaos then the general public. They will harm me and have in the past.
I’m not alone in this.
Not everyone has support. Some people have no home to stay in. Some have no one to go shopping for them. I write for those who are like that every day. My experience of being that way is over. I am safe. I care about those who are not like me.
I’m privileged to have what I need again. For eight months I was homeless and alone in a pandemic with real critical needs that weren’t being met. We must care about the forgotten or we will lose our humanity. I speak for others and I was blessed to experience that they do. I love them. Compassion demands we go beyond our own experience.
The solution includes everyone…I cannot conceive of a solution that doesn’t care about those who are not privileged to have what too many of us take for granted.
Consider that you do not know why someone is not wearing a mask. I’m a highly articulate person who knows what I need and I can’t protect myself when something like that happens. I have to be careful to an extreme and simply not be out most of the time.
No one wants to hear about this side of mask wearing…when I tweeted about it in the summer I was largely ignored by many I love on twitter. I experienced it as horrifyingly heartbreaking. I have since learned to manage better during this pandemic and I have more support now so I’m speaking up for anyone in similar circumstances now.
There are so many varieties of existing on the fringe of society…consider that you may simply not understand someone before choosing to judge them and make their lives harder than they already are.
Again, there are ways to stay safe and accommodate folks who fall into these categories if society cares about equal access and wishes to end ableism.
For other articles by Monica Cassani inspired by the pandemic see here.
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