I have been trying to write this for a year now. An entire 291 days has passed without so much as one finger hitting the keyboard in an attempt to jot down one or two sentences for you. But you’ve been on my mind, reader. And I’ve struggled with each word that’s scrolled the monitor inside my head, wondering placement and poetics while trying not to sound too pompous.
I might sound too pompous. At least I’m putting fingers to keys!
I realize that my hemming and hawing over what to write in this space may seem comical. You didn’t expect me to show up, so why am I so worried about being here? I don’t know, but I can probably trace it to my childhood and family of origin and fear of rejection. Or at least, I bet that’s what my therapist would like me to do, if I were to be truly honest with myself. But I’m really good at deflection, so I’m going to blame it on work and an increasingly stressful professional life. One I love – but one I have had to fight really, really hard for. Let me explain?
I wrote a lot here, on twitter and in paper space (paperspace?) about my struggles in attaining an educator’s licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2013. You can read up on those struggles, if you choose. I asked many agencies for advocacy and help. By the end of May (2013) I had assurances from the makers of the licensure exam that an accessible computer-based test would be provided free of charge by the beginning of June 2013. And it was. And I passed. And I kept my job. And all was well.
Except that it’s not all well. Perhaps because I am one of many disabled persons in the United States facing a staggering unemployment rate and open discrimination disguised as deference to the Americans with Disabilities Act. And while I have ensured that as of July 2013 I could pass a test to keep a job I loved and created, I cannot take state-required certification tests to achieve career advancement. And I can’t access many college curriculums built on flash-based 508 non-compliant web platforms. And I can’t walk out of my house without being grabbed, touched or talked at without regard for my bodily autonomy, integrity or agency.
So the work isn’t done. And I haven’t even begun to talk about it. But I’m going to try.