Author’s Note: The following is the result of much processing of an argument I witnessed, a blatant attack on my friend Clayton on Twitter. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last time, someone tries to target Clayton as a “provocateur” or “troublemaker” and tries to accuse me of automatically taking his side, and losing respect for me. This entire letter is something I should have probably written at the moment, but spur of the moment things aren’t always good.
Dear Misty Dawn,
First and foremost, you don’t know who you’re messing with with regard to Clayton. I did not like the blatant violation of Clayton’s right to be in a disability rights space, nor did I care for the blatant disrespect of mine and Clayton’s relationship. Relationship, you may ask? Well, I’m not revealing much except that Clayton is much stronger than any man I’ve been with, and if you understood my history with men, you’d know why Clayton attracts women like me over women with blatant agendas to attack and reproach guys like him. For one, I’ve been ill used, misunderstood, and abused by what we call the patriarchy. I do not date certain kinds of guys because of some stuff I’m going to cover later, but please, you need to get with the program and get with the times. The patriarchal party is over, and I’m not being used by Clayton. He’s not one to do that to me, and before I get any further, nobody belongs to anyone else, contrary to the Brave New World’s Hypnopaedic proverb. Thank you. On to the meat and potatoes, shall we?
My history with men begins with Jason. No, not the Jason I’ve covered here in the blog, but a prior guy who accused me of sexual harassment. First off, try being the girl who was sheltered in a private school, taught that sex was for having babies only, for marriage, all that and then you get guardianshipped at 17 in 2004 after you learned much in high school, except for dating. You could not date, and could have received in school suspension from the Malicoat lady, I forget the woman’s name, but she almost did it, it was however due to lateness and guys making up stories about sexual harassment. Yes, there are women who commit such acts, but it wasn’t me. Jason Lawrence, a young man who went to school with me, threatened a restraining order, but do you know how much that would have cost? I tried to do the same thing with a Mabelin Ramirez, and got nowhere because when I saw prior cases needing such, there were truly domestically abused victims in the room, and there were women there who had broken jaws and teeth, broken arms, bruises, etc. I can’t imagine what those women went through. Calling Clayton names like “provocateur” and “troublemaker” doesn’t add up and he did not, btw, commit domestic violence or want to use me. I never did that to Jason Lawrence either. Yet Jason had every right to get that stupid order, however it would have badly damaged my musical career, and my stupid ass guidance counselor, whoever she was, wanted me to take an exceptional skills class or social skills class that purposely conflicted with my band and chorus stuf. My parents were almost gleeful at that prospect, oh our daughter will have to leave the men alone, but you know what? Men like Jason Lawrence and later Orien Henry had to have been the worst choices anyway because of what you will call antiblind ableism. There was ableism at Titusville High School, ableism everywhere. I bet you that Jason asked the same questions about me that you asked about Clayton or me. Jason asked questions like, “Will she be able to bear children? Are blind women sexy?” God, I would have given my entire teenage years to have one damn sexual encounter but with Catholicism and family strictures on me, I couldn’t. Even if I did, I’d have used protection, I didn’t really want to get pregnant. But men like Jason Lawrence are not fit to be with blind women because of how he treated me in high school, and I’m also sorry but I think the Lawrence family should take note, Jason is a good and intelligent and strong man, but still, his weakness like most men’s weaknesses is disabled women.
Orien Henry was nice enough, but because my parents were in all respects an Italian household, I feel my dad was pretty hostile to Orien and sided moreover with. his mother. The mother thought I was crazy and “psychotic.” This again isn’t true. I was emotionally abused by my parents and wanted a way out. I was close enough to marrying Orien if anything to get me away from a life of guardianship, having my radio and music constantly unplugged and taken away, and having anything and everything not owned by me personally. Even my cell phone was subjected to being stolen, and I say stolen even if the property wasn’t mine because this leads to another one of the guardianship evils.
Guardians are known to isolate theier wards, and it helped my dad that he was hostile to me dating Michael Bonhomme from Haiti, yes, Haiti. I have a thing for black men, as you can tell. My dad made up a sob story about Michael being sexually experienced.” Who cared, not me. Michael had a great voice, great kind of musical talent, and I was looking for a guy with the same kind of talent. Well, I am now living in Colorado not only because of Michael’s inability to be with me, but because I am dead done with my parents approving or disapproving of men I bring into their fold, which is nonexistent to me. I had a few crushes on blind men when I left Florida, when I graduated Titusville, and I discovered that the power dynamic was so much better. It may not be so with sighted guys like Jason and Orien, mainly because Jason and Orien are sighted and not equipped or empowered to help and support me, recently diagnosed with PTSD and being blind also. Who wants a blind woman who’s had to have spent 16 years in guardianship hell? Nobody except for my current partner, Trenton, and when you attacked Clayton, well, it made me wanna fight harder. The thing is it could have taken a bigger toll on my PTSD symptomology. I can’t read your tweets, you’ve been blocked. Comments on this blog have been disabled so that trolls don’t write a damn thing. IF you wish to say anything, and I’d be careful, email is the only way and it will come to me privately.
When I first met Clayton, I was scared. I was a scared and yes, straightlaced mono woman in some empty hollow tower, but you know what? Contrary to what you believe about this dude, he set me free. HE lit my fire and I burned down the tower altogether. Unlike Jason, Orien, and the other guys I’ve dealt with, Clayton and my current partner love and respect me and realize that people like you and my parents are emotionally off so far as I’m concerned. You tried to tell Trenton that I needed to be “put in check”, but guess what? I’m gonna be perfectly honest, I’m more capable than you think. I’m a strong ass woman, PTSD or not, and this is what I get for trying to fight for others’ rights? I realize Clayton said something important regarding the revolutionary way. He said that you have to make others mad, you have to stir the pot, not that he said those words, but you do indeed have to stir the brew. As Bob Marley’s song says, “Stir it up. Little darlin’, stir it up.” I’m gonna stir it up so bad it spills over. One of the things I’m going to do with my life is end the use of guardianships on disabled people, and ironically, I’m going to work with sighted folks who’ve had guardians in their lives. There’s this guy Rick Black, this gal LuAnne Fleming, and all the members of FaceUs, or Families Against Court Embezzlement Unethical Standards, a group in Colorado that calls folks out for being bad and such. Judges and lawyers have been salacious and scandalous and wrong in their rulings because of the guardianship industry. I read LuAnne’s posts a lot, and Rick Black is the man. I won’t say much more.
The big thing about my work is that I’ve received even death threats from folks who think I should suffer. Well, it’s not gonna go down like that. You say I’m entitled and lazy? Take a look in the mirror. I have a few people who say that, but jobs are out because of workplace safety concerns. These range from sexual exploitation at work to men treating me like possibly Mike Pence did and then there’s no life affirmation for LGBTQI+ folks in some areas. I am a staunch ally of this community despite dumping the gay chorus in my area. I cannot do the gala choruses festival now because DWC won’t invest their time in me, and it’s not my fault. They wanted more from me than I could give. All these orgs for any kind are greedy, donate this and donate that, and here I am sacrificing goddamn gold and money for Clayton and others who actually give a damn. Call me entitled, but school being free is a good thing. Blind people not having jobs is indeed a bad thing, but I’ve got comorbid stuff going on and it does not help. It doesn’t help that I was ill treated by patriarchal standards set forth by an Italian father, a Catholic mother, and so much more. I will not, for instance, send any child of mine to a Roman Catholic establishment, they’re being dedicated to the UU church. Also, if you hadn’t noticed, I’ve seen too much ableism in the disabled community. Ableism is a word I gained from, well, you can only guess. I learned the meaning of love from the disabled men I encountered. People try to push hypergamy on me, but Clayton is the embodiment of a warrior king, and I the embodiment of a warrior queen. Try to stop us, but you won’t be able to track down my phone number, or anything else. You need to think before you do anything to stoke the fires of ableism in the community.
Regarding why I protect Clayton from your blatant attacks on his character, you’ve not realized I did this because Clay’s character is not worth attacking. His approach of playing nice with bigots doesn’t work is so real, it is not even funny and his approach is not to play nice with those folks, and it works. Here’s an incident that illustrates why bigotry is wrong. I walk to the Walmart to do my shopping, and the first thing I ask is “Do you have a courtesy someone who can help?” Something like this is asked, and the answer is no. We have nobody, we have nobody, we don’t offer this service. I call bullshit. I cried for what seemed like a half hour in the hall, not only because of the no courtesy clerk service, but I was blatantly accused of harassment of customers. The manager at that location made me feel so uncomfortable and I was like, well, two secs away from calling the cops. Clayton would have been more supportive that way. People at stores have to help blind people because it is a public place with public goods, and no, sighted folks are not going to take over shopping tasks for us. Bullshit on those who wish us dead. NOt only was the shopping incident a bad rap on me, but I was ill treated by a manager whose job it was to serve the blind. If we can’t use visual interpretive services like Aira, which costs money, we can’t go shopping without a sighted assistant willing to communicate and do the stupid job. We are entitled to top notch service because we bust our butts on public transport or nonmedical cabs to do things. We bust our wallets out with paratransit, and yet do you care how little we get? We’re angry, yes, but we’re not playing nice with people who accuse us of harassment when clearly, we ask for help. I spoke to Jen at Walmart Corporate offices at West Colfax, and she swore she’d give the manager better training. She’d train it out, but do I trust that she did?
This incidence and others illustrate the need to shout, scream, and let the whole thing hang out. This is, by the way, a paraphrase of a Britney and Will I Am song. I changed it up for effect, but still.
The thing I wish I could tell you is this: I look at Clayton and I see myself. I see the male version of me in the mirror staring back at me. It’s a scary but lovely prospect. I won’t tell you much more because you’ve judged Clayton and me as bad. You don’t get it. I live on on my own, pay my own goddamn bills, and I’m planning my own vacations and dates with people. I don’t need a blind or disabled person who doesn’t live on their own to dictate what my life will look like. I will also tell you that blind men with family hovering over them disapprove of me so much. I’ll tell you at least that my ex in Arizona, his mom disapproves because of my PTSD and mental health concerns. This woman should be blacklisted for any work dealing with mental health rehabilitation because she lost a son to a woman who wasn’t even getting treatment for drugs etc. This lady took all her frustrations out on me, all the anger went into separating me from Blake, my beloved ex who is still friends with me and still btw calls me up on Christmas and birthdays and such. Blake, who cares so deeply about me, but he doesn’t realize I have my own life to live. My mission is not complete, but Blake’s mission is different, and I respect that. But Blake is not my lover as of seven years back, but still, he has his good points. AS my buddy Kristen from the private school said, “We all have our good and bad points.” She’s right. I will admit I have disagreements even with Clayton, but unlike someone else here, I table those disagreements and we don’t fight like kids. I hope your life gets better, and you realize that what you did wrong will not be forgotten, though your name is gone on Twitter and other things. Come when you are ready to be able to approach Clayton like an adult, not like a child.