cripstory

by leah lakshmi piepzna-samarasinha

time doesn't move. we move through time.
- gabriel teodros

you're six and your mom has polio but she won't talk about it and you know you are a freak but you don't read in history class about crips who locked down a building that says it wants to help us and we say it's saying fuck you to us. no one tells you about a mexican femme who paints her back brace or her fake leg and makes our with chavela vargas while she paints her disabled queer brown visions. you don't read about the freak show, the ugly laws, the million indigenous words for disability that have nothing bad in them. you just know your brain is weird and you can't ride a bike and you fall down in the shower and get sick all the time and see visions. you're lucky to have bad HMO health insurence. cripstory.

no one tells you that sick and disabled folks like lions make history. your mom is busy passing as fuck. when you are 21 she'll say you know I had polio. right? you know I can't walk down the street more than 30 feet without pain right? you don't/know she is surviving the best she can by faking it, something she'll teach you. you are both making history. two disabled women, one white and straight and workingclass, one brown and queer and working class, surviving. cripstory.

it's not safe for you to be soft. to ask for things. you run away, an achey hipped girl on the bus. you're making history. ten years later you see a queer/ disabed/porn where a white queer femme in a wheelchair has sex in the disabled stall. waits for the accessible bus the way you pray for a seat in the crip zone. you stammerstutter. can you claim the d word. you're making history.

when you're in high school ADAPT locks down their wheelchairs and scoooters in front of busses and trains who are violently apologetic no room for us. history. in 2002 disabled queer people of color who will be your friends call out the white disabled queer conference on racism. cripstory. in 1993 your friend gets a double amputation after they get run over the first time they train hop. in 1994 their tiny zine, ring of fire, about queer and crip and genderqueer , doing drag while amputee, falls into your 19 year old hands. twenty five years ater you meet at a sins invalid show. you go to brunch, talk about your crip sex moments, collaborate in art and love. they go to speak to the nursing students about being disabled. teach crips at their physical rehab job how to fuck, love, be in their bodies. cripstory

and when I was two years old, you all said fuck it and took over. you crawled.
you made everyone stare cause everyone already started anyway. you crawled up that fight of stairs because that's what rehab wanted you to do. crawl. because what else could you do but crawl. because we know crawling as art. as just another way our disabled bodies know how to move. as normal. took over that building that never helped us. made out with each other. made love. made history.
crip carnaval. the opposite of the nursing home. you got free. cripstory.

we don't know what we give birth to. we don't know what just keeping breathing as disabled folks will help us give birth to. we're not supposed to give birth. our genes are dangerous.
we are dangerous when we find each other. at the bottom of the stairs. in the crip seats. in the waiting room at kaiser or acupuncture. on tumblr. we are dangerous. all these points of cripstory like stars in the sky. you didn't know what you would give birth to. occupying the department of rehab. making out
reaching to us almost forty years later. all our sweet drooling brokenbeautifulugly danger. a cosmos of crip story, all these moments are stars in the disabled genius sky.