Monstering

Disabled Women and Nonbinary People Celebrating Monsterhood

Access Intimacy

CW: Sexual assault

 

Try not to be ashamed as you flinch and tremble
under her warm hands.  Think of the stories
you haven’t told yet.  Tension grips fierce.
Ask her what she thinks as your hands shake

—Eli Clare, “How to Talk to a New Lover about Cerebral Palsy”

How to talk to a new lover about PTSD.  About chronic
pain.  About dissociation.  About thoracic outlet syndrome.
About MCS.  How to talk to a new lover about injured hips,
weak wrists, nerves entrapped at the elbow, arms that can’t be held
above your head, the need for floor lamps, not ceiling fixtures,
for scentless sheets, lube, and sex toys.  How to not dissemble
about the dour difficulties of having sex: the ache and
nerve-grind of repetitive motion, the cunt scars that burn when you
get wet, the parent ze might, at the wrong moment, resemble.
Try not to be ashamed as you flinch and tremble

through the explanations.  Through the fear, like a spreading
stain, that all this makes you broken, unfit, leftovers
that someone will settle for.  Through the fury that all
you expect is being settled for.  You’ll try being a hermit
for a while, forgoing the explaining, the apologies for

your brokenness, even the asking.  You’ll hide out 4 storeys
above the pavement, reading, dreaming, watching spectacular
sunrises.  Until you find a tender romance-friendship,
unexpectedly, over sharing poems like morning glories
under her warm hands.  Think of the stories

you’ll tell years from now, about how brave and broken
you both were then, and how you talked, anyway, about
bodies, sex, brokenness, dissociation, how you wrote your own
dictionary.  Your glad risking makes a blueprint; you will do this
again and again.  Next times you’ll talk disability, sex, bodies,
access, brokenness, dissociation, flashbacks, the whole pierc-
ingly glorious mess.  You’ll feel seen, contained, as you speak
of violence, then sex, in such detail, that shame is washed out
and only soft attention remains.  Every day you’ll spill fears
you haven’t told yet. Tension grips fierce

still, when something important, beautiful, twisted, fragile,
needs telling, needs making yourself vulnerable as a hedgehog
showing its belly—but then eases because love and
kindness are the order of your days now, and your every
loved one speaks disability theory, and this crip queendom
is your touchstone, makes you joyful in your ach-
ing body, where your skin, your muscles, your joints, your
lungs, your tachycardic heart, can show themselves,
where you learn to speak your body’s truths without heartbreak.
So.  Ask her what she thinks as your hands shake.

*‘Access intimacy’ is a concept named and described by Mia Mingus (https://leavingevidence.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/access-intimacy-the-missing-link/).

 

ABOUT the author

A drawing of a pale-skinned person, wearing a purple hoodie with a multi-gender symbol on it and the hood up, dark blue jeans, and light blue shoes. They are standing against a white background, with their hands in the pockets of their jeans. Their facial expression is maybe quizzical, maybe sullen. They are wearing round glasses, and a bit of dark curly hair peeks out from under the purple hood.

A drawing of a pale-skinned person, wearing a purple hoodie with a multi-gender symbol on it and the hood up, dark blue jeans, and light blue shoes. They are standing against a white background, with their hands in the pockets of their jeans. Their facial expression is maybe quizzical, maybe sullen. They are wearing round glasses, and a bit of dark curly hair peeks out from under the purple hood.

Kamila Rina is an autistic, mad, and physically disabled immigrant Jewish non-binary bisexual poet, a sexuality, gender, and disability educator, and a survivor of long-term violence.  They enjoy talking about being present in one’s body and fomenting the revolution.  They like trees, books, chocolate, and people and plants that smell good.  Kamila has previously been published in Room magazine, Breath & Shadow, Sinister Wisdom, Monstering, and We Have Come Far, and has produced a chapbook titled Multitasking with Feelings.  Find them at KamilaRina.com.