Monstering

Disabled Women and Nonbinary People Celebrating Monsterhood

Pedestal is just another word for grave, and mine is already projected to be an early death

CW: Violence, ableism

 

Do not put me on a pedestal,
because,
whether wood, metal, or glass,
it will break if dropped
or smashed
or burned
or drowned
or left to rot.

A pedestal is a thing
easily defaced,
struck,
scarred,
sprayed with
piss or
angry, resentful, bitter words that smack of hate and fear
or
scorched colorless under the sun
or settled and buried with dust
and dirt
where no archeologist will ever find it and exclaim
about its beauty and forgotten meanings
but
instead consider it
unremarkable
exhibit 47,906
before finding a home
in a crate in the back of some future museum’s
unwanted artifacts storage unit.

There are already too many pedestals out there for
tokens and well-behaved monsters with
unruly bodies or
unstable minds
or
freedom fighters who died
with justice and love spilling
from fists and lips
more powerful than
whatever my crude thoughts
and halting actions
might imagine.

I need no pedestal.

Besides,
people with statues and monuments
probably have at least something like
a fifty percent or greater chance
of being murdered
than ordinary folk,
either the kind of murder that results in death
or that other kind,
the kind of murder that happens
while still very much alive

But fuck if I know anything.

Once on a pedestal,
though,
I suppose I don't have luxuries like
feeling or
growing or
struggling,
since,
well,
people on pedestals are more
the unmoving, polished wood, metal, or glass,
than flesh
or brain matter.

There are no pedestals for people who
die in the space between
victim and survivor.

(They tell me the average lifespan for
an autistic person is thirty years
shorter than neurotypicals,
and they tell me
the average lifespan for
a transgender person is
only thirty-something.)

If they start to kill me,
and bury me while still living,
with platitudes and empty admiration,
building my pedestal while
I am breathing
and here,
kindly tell them,
for me,
to fuck off.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Headshot of Lydia Brown, young East Asian person, with stylized blue and yellow dramatic background. They are looking in the distance and wearing a plaid shirt and black jacket. Photo by Adam Glanzman.

Headshot of Lydia Brown, young East Asian person, with stylized blue and yellow dramatic background. They are looking in the distance and wearing a plaid shirt and black jacket. Photo by Adam Glanzman.

LYDIA X. Z. BROWN writes about disability, race, and queerness. They are an organizer and advocate for disability justice focused on state-sanctioned violence targeting disabled people at the margins of the margins. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology by autistic people of color and otherwise negatively racialized autistic people, published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Morénike and Lydia also co-direct the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support and mutual aid to individual autistic people of color. Lydia has received numerous awards for their work, and written for several community and academic publications. Their first published short fiction piece appeared in "Open In Emergency," the Asian American Literary Review's special issue on Asian American Mental Health. In 2018, they were a Teaching Scholar at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace literary conference, and in both 2017 and 2018, they were a reader on panels about disability literature at AWP. They are still working on several incomplete novel manuscripts.