To make sure you all continue to have something to read during my writing hiatus, I’m happy to present to you a guest post I wrote for the social justice blog, ‘Splain You A Thing. After you finish reading my article about the struggles of communicating about my disability with strangers and my grief over losing the ability to dance, I highly recommend you check out the work of Ania Bula and Sunflower Punk on this blog, and consider becoming a patron or donating to their Paypal. They do really important work and put out some of my favorite articles on the topic of disability.
It’s particularly an honor to have my work published alongside that of Ania Bula’s because her book, “Young, Sick, and Invisible: A Skeptic’s Journey with Chronic Illness,” was the inspiration that pushed me to start writing about my own experience with chronic pain and disability. It was realizing that if I found reading about her journey to manage chronic pain compelling, then perhaps someone else would find my story compelling as well.
“With every new person I meet, I have to gauge just how much to tell them about my disability. I try to be as open as possible about my health issues because I want to reinforce the idea that people who look like me- young, relatively fit, no noticeable limitations- can also be disabled. But being open about my disability means opening myself to potential scrutiny of my body, my diet, my medications, my exercise routine. Any decision I make about my physical health becomes fair game for intrusive questions. Until I get to know a person better, I have to assume they will default to treating me as if my health history is in the public domain.”
About the writer: Kella Hanna-Wayne is the creator, editor, and main writer for Yopp. In addition to creating a collection of educational resources for social justice, she works as a freelance writer specializing in content about her experience with disability, chronic illness, mental health, and trauma. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, The BeZine, Betty’s Battleground, and Splain You a Thing. You can find her @KellaHannaWayne on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Instagram.