Issue Three

*endever corbin

I Am From

Content warnings: ableism, heterosexism, cissexism, involuntary treatment (including restraints), abuse, filicide, vague Holocaust reference, vague self-harm reference 

i am from altitudes, latitudes, longitudes, towns and cities, forests and deserts, houses and apartments and tents and sleeping bags 

i am from values – a childhood refusal of meat and an adolescent refusal of school

i am from habits – ink, fibers, fidgets, scars  but mostly, i am from people 

i am from people who have been stigmatized, institutionalized,  fetishized, pathologized, disenfranchised, sterilized, experimented on, exterminated 

i am from people who have been kicked out – young rain, grimy streets locked up, restrained – screaming the pierce of unwanted needles policed – our clothes and bedrooms 

impoverished – mountains of paperwork just to survive  shocked – pain meant to train us to act less queer and more neuro-typical

sickened – empty pill bottles, turned away from the ER misgendered – the hollow feeling of unseen selves cis doctors can deem ineligible for transition 

deadnamed – IDs betraying unasked-for history, the Ms and Fs written in stone  ignored – eyes skip over us, accommodations unmet assumed incompetent –

the fake syrup of “baby talk” left to die – nursing homes don’t care to set us free abused, assaulted, murdered – and our caregivers get sympathy

for how hard we must be to deal with  all this, and my people have chained themselves to buses, 

crawled up the steps of the capitol, testified in congress,  occupied senate offices until dragged out of our wheelchairs resisted arrest 

voted where allowed, called senators on text relay, sued the state  my people have crowdfunded each other’s surgeries,

bound each other’s chests and zipped each other’s dresses, taught each other, parentless, to apply lipstick and tie ties, given advice, doctor-less,

how to choose a mobility device and how to use the apps that amplify our voice  we’ve taken in our unhoused youth, gotten married, ordained our own clergy 

danced and performed and marched our true selves, crashed the conferences where professionals like to talk about us without us

designed the research no one else is doing to increase our quality of life taught our teachers what are actually our real names 

my people defy norms: loud – rainbows and glitter and flags  proud – rocking and flapping and drooling 

our existence, in this world, is indeed resistance  so i am from everywhere my people are oppressed 

and i am from everywhere we fight back 

Credit: I don’t know who came up with the phrase itself, but I found the quote I referred to (“my existence is resistance”) on one of my favorite shirts to wear by Model Deviance Designs. 

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