A World of Difference
I remember stumbling across a number of sayings that went something along the lines of, “Healing happens when you allow yourself to mourn the person you once were.” However, it was only after I began to deeply reflect on my life, particularly my own praxis and positionality, that I truly grieved. I thought not only about who I used to be, but what I could’ve been if it weren’t for what or who I was; and if I hadn’t gone through what I did.
I let myself mourn the person I could’ve been if things had worked out better for me, if I could’ve drawn more aces amidst the cards I’d been dealt. I say this urging people to critically consider that I speak not just from my heart, but from experience. Before anyone makes a play to weigh their own cards as more or less than, note that I speak as an Indigenous, Black, poor, clinically depressed and anxious cis woman with a rare neurodegenerative disease. In a eurocentric and cis-heteronormative patriarchy that avows abled brains and bodies with white skin and cash: I don’t exactly have a winning hand.
Acknowledging my identity allowed me to draw upon disparities with augmented my afflictions. It is more than understandable that amidst a rigid binary, capitalist white supremacy that I would grieve; and moreover, that my grief would be denied or disdained by privileged positionalities. Oftentimes, the calcifications that mark the bilateral legions of my brain strike me as somewhat of a blessing, because the symptomatic hallucinations afford me some reprieve in a world wherein I often don’t want to be fully, if at all present. The cards you are dealt are not bad in themselves. They are just substandard in accordance to a game that was, is, and will continue to be rigged. A game defined by its formation, foundation, and continuation of iniquitous interpersonal, social, and economic conditions which systemically eschew and execute communities of colour, sickness, and poverty. A game whose prominent players exploit and monetize the suffering of said communities through sanctimonious, superficial social justice ventures.
So, while I can appreciate the marginalizations of other populations with less proximity to privilege, I can still discern that great deal of those populations have taken scarce, if any steps to understand people like me; and people with shittier cards. Mainstreamed movements and protesters whom are also platformers abide authorities which ignore or vilify us as burdensome bodies. No one can tell our stories better than we can. Likewise, no one else but us can convey the catharses that complement these stories. Yet, we are not the ones being seen or supported; and whenever we impugn that injustice, we are strangled or silenced by the fragility of the so-called winners whose reinforcement insulates them from reprimand. Those of wealth and/or whiteness only assume accountability: assuming they themselves are our victims, because our hard truths have inconvenienced their cherry lies. Nonetheless, we are canceled or condemned as they continue to be coddled.
This is why I no longer feel bad for anyone with better hands. I don’t pity the advantaged albeit agonized collectives jarred by their jackpots; and I don’t sympathize with service personnel whom laugh and labour within the lower tiers. I have seen that time and time again, their loyalties lie with their superiors or senior staffers; loyalties that they realize are not reciprocated when faced with prospects of discrimination or termination, but loyalties lain nonetheless. For me, there is no distinction between the Caucasoid corporates and their supplementary saltines whom manifest as ignoble, indulgent idealists through liberalism and tokenism. They exist as both onlookers and enablers of my grief, in addition to the calcitrant coping mechanisms I expend to process or purge that pain. While it isn’t uncommon, I find it unnerving that people of privileged positionalities endeavour to empathize with one another or those more affluent. They are more inclined to weaponize, not waive their privilege even if the latter impedes our survival. I note this in observing vacuous volunteers and officious “activists” whom purport to progress or support marginalized communities—only to concede as complacent when they are spotlit by popular outlets and sponsored with a penchant for profit.
I say this as a graduate student whose academic career and prospects of actually graduating have become more indefinite than intellectualized. Because, despite the cards I’ve been dealt and perseverance, most of prospects are prolonged or protracted. There are stacked, surmountable odds through amoral authorities, entitled elites, and treacherous tokens. Any sense of solidarity or accomplishment I have come by, I owe to allies and advents; whose privilege and partition has sustained people like me amidst the gamble and constellations of chance. I know my time is limited therefore, I know there is only so much I can grieve; and I know ensuring my legacy is possible, if only operant with a poker face.
Fallen Matthews: "I am a Black, Métis cis woman and current grad student in gender studies, with concentrations in interpersonality, existentialism, and social theory. I've been published in Model View Culture, The Coalition Zine, Social Dissonance, and the Journal of Comparative Media Arts; in addition to my erotic fiction under the penname Fallen Kittie.