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The Damage of Repeating our Access Needs

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What used to meet my access need is now my ultimate barrier

I am the founder of Magical Women and I am crumbling. I used to be great at E-mails. That is, until people I worked with, would read my e-mails, and ask to see me in my office. They’d want to answer to me verbally. (There would be) no record of what they were saying to me written down. They’d smile. Lean back in their chair. They’d say inappropriate things to me and judge me out loud to my face of what they thought of me and then make their sly, prejudiced observation.

When they’d leave my office. I’d be shaken. Shaken up crying and upset, I’d cry.

 

My access barriers

My process delay meant I couldn’t reply back to them, correct them or answer them. So I relied on email, on writing to express myself. And I wasn’t being rude. Yet, their full blown characters and what they thought of me came out like a paintball machine on a wall. And I’d take it to my manager who I realised was just as scared of them because she’d use my office too – almost as a place to spill out all her stresses about them too.

And this drained me more.

Anna Dyson, (ND MW Artist) Turquoise Dream

Leaving Employment

So I had to move away and stopped coming in, I couldn’t deal with the fact no one talked to each other expressively and were not interested in helping each other, lifting one another up.

I became more than a therapist to people. Less than (a) doormat. But something they could release onto ….. splat. I’d stare back.

So now this is my experiences with emails: They arrive, Many of them. They pile up in the inbox and I stare at them. My draft folder at my artist in residency is at 682. My draft folder at Magical Women is at 30 (impressed), and my draft folder in my own personal inbox is 159.

 

Communication barriers taking a toll

I try again and again and again at emails. I cannot write them, unless the people I know are kind, and will get it. (Or understand me, I think). I do not want to overwhelm people as the emails overwhelm me. I know they want a seven worded answer, but I can’t. It comes out 2 pages.

Then, I write and re-write, and re-edit and speak out loud them to my friends, and my partner.

I wonder sometimes how they love me.

Elinor Rowlands, Unmasking/Masking Self-Portrait, Watercolour

Feeling/Being a Chore

I wonder sometimes how they love me?

How do they want to be my friend when all I do, is say out loud words, practice conversations, practice tone of emails, tone of words, write back and forth. Then (they are) not sent, some are though, and in the mean time, hours are passed. Days, hours, years. Oh the hours wasted, on how to communicate, what to say?, how will this sound?, what do I do here?, there., what next?,and this?

Oh the friendships that have burnt out to a crisp, for the exact same twit, twot and twet.

Wet eyes, wet cheeks and wet words.

 

Did you know I wanted to be a writer?

At 4, older younger I carried everywhere paper. I practiced my words first. On backs of receipts, I practiced words and small talk, introductions. (I’m trying hard to keep this to an article I’ve tried so hard to write, but my words are dancing today.)

Today, (a week ago now) I worked with someone who I met through MW and felt myself explode when they totalled the hours we’d spent on email editing to 5.5 hours. We ran up the costs. And this is only emails. E-mails I could do without and money that could be spent on plans, or spent on creating action! Instead, we’re editing back and forth what you say in less than 10 minutes, what you do in less than 1 minute. The same took me 5.5 hours.

Blair Iris (ND MW artist)

Drained and drowning

And I’m drained. Drowning but in water as thick as ink and I couldn’t breathe. I felt my throat tight and eyes pouring out water. I can’t be this costume you put on my bones, this soul you gave me, this thing I’m in. And I’m not depressed or anxious – I don’t identify with the names or words you give me. (or a problem, or a problem, or a problem). There is nothing wrong with depression, but I am not sad or depressed. The barrier I’m facing is a very very real one (perhaps an obsessive one). Where I rewrite and rewrite and compulsively rewrite and edit and rewrite, the way you might try on different clothes but nothing quite fits or looks good and it’s tiring and it’s exhausting and it’s tiring and it’s exhausting:

All the muscles in my neck and head are tight.

Held in a hug, I sob.

 

and do they know?

the people at my residency – or you reading this? Do you know how I don’t sleep or rarely do for all the emailing re-writing, editing, stressing and suffering I do, and how people try to over-claim over 50 hours working with me to claim justice on my inability to email. And if they spend their entire day replying to all the emails: the loud noise, white noise, loud chatter, we are missing out on all the beauty in the world, all the air outside, all the sea, the breeze, the love we could have for each other.

Luana Martignon (ND, MW Photographer), Bites from Bears, photography

My access needs

So, if I don’t reply to your emails, and if I don’t want face to face meetings with you then please let me turn off my camera. Let me see your face so I can lip read in my own Neurodivergent way. And let me have you speak to me verbally whilst I answer you in a chat box. (and I might read my typed words out loud).

Because I write better than I verbally say when left to come up with answers on the spot – I can’t. I need to write first, then read. That is my access need. They let d/Deaf people do it but they won’t let me, even though I’ve told them a thousands time I have auditory processing delay. And I’ve told them my access needs again and again and again and so, I am hoping for the time when emails and communication is not neurotypically forced.

And I’ve told them my access needs again and again and again and so, I am hoping for the time when emails and communication is not neurotypically forced.

 

Hope

I am hoping for a time, when I won’t be undermined for not doing things as you do, or not being able to do as you do.

And how I do not cope with the minute dot that you –

 

I am in a dark room and I am asking,

please let me breathe.

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