Since I’m moving sloooow this morning, I thought I’d poke around in the blogosphere, and hey, looky here!  I just ran across a pretty neat blog called “FWD/Forward: Feminists with Disabilities For A Way Forward” via a great post by contributor Chally, which touches on some topics I’ve had quite a bit of experience with as both a teacher, a student, and a college staff member.  What is “doing fine” for someone with a chronic illness based disability?  Especially with one that robs you of your energy.  Some interesting questions are raised:  Do you go for the flat out pace that is expected (demanded) of people by society?  Do you pare it down and use your bone deep understanding of personal pacing and balance to ward off feelings of not living up and of being judged internally and externally for it?

I add the category of family to the mix.  As women, we are expected to accommodate – the primary zone for this agreeable accommodation is family (not because of nature, but because despite advances of women outside the home, western social norms insist that home and family are “woman’s domains” – any doubt of this can readily be tested:  who plans birthday and holiday celebrations?  Who plans meals, grocery shopping, cleaning?  Yes, men do “help” more often but until they stop “helping” and just “do”, I argue that these areas are seen by men and women as primarily responsibilities of the woman).  So how do you find your balance among these areas of responsibility, of demand, where you as a student, worker, mother, daughter in law, wife are expected to live at a pace defined by the ability to consistently and (minimally) compliantly rise to an impossible level of work?

No, seriously.  That’s not a rhetorical question.  How do you do it?

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  1. R. G. Maines

     /  June 16, 2010

    I don’t think I do it very well. I’m constantly stressed by the pressure of being a mother, wife, an advocate and caregiver for my special needs son as well as struggling with my own disabilities. Often the pressure overwhelms me and depression sets in.

    I’ve had to lower my own expectations and learn not to care so much about the expectations of other family and friends.

    I do a lot of blogging about these sorts of issues, venting, trying to work through my feelings about pressure, stress, inadequacies and expectations.


  2. queenofoptimism

     /  June 18, 2010

    What a great find, DysPt! I’ve been wondering why I could not find such a resource as FWD. Everything else seems so unrealistic about life with disabilities.

    I don’t know if I can answer your question. I think a lot of guilt and self-doubt prevents me from fully thinking about it. I do know that I make decisions about what I enjoy vs. what I like to do vs. what I have to do vs. what makes me feel better vs. what makes me feel most like me vs. what I do to make other people happy vs. who I really want to please. I’m not sure if that makes sense at all but I look at my situation as making choices rather than balancing because I think it will be out of balance no matter what I do.


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