Have Cane, Will Strut: Black Disabled Woman

As a disabled Black woman born with a neuromuscular disability, I’m often asked “what are you?” and “what happened to you?” You know when you “appear” racially-ambiguous folks need to figure out how to categorize while casting a slight side-eye or sometimes smizing out of curiosity.  Tis a funny thing to be straight-faced *giggles* with a not-so-straight gait.

Oh how they wait for the reply with eyes growing wide while dining on lines to describe your biology while scanning the expanse of your anatomy. The need to place you in a category and define who you will be, nothing in their frame of reference culled from mainstream imagery.

Let me tell you…

I’m a wool fedora pulled forward. I’m a calm struggle whose cadence is complicated. Staccato-strutting through life cracked, whole, complete with each clickety-clack of my cane tapping down the street. And my effort and pace solidifies occupancy of space. Reflective and analytical, sometimes self-critical. I check-in and root out any bouts of internalized ableism harboring as an unwelcome house guest.

My best on any day changes due to hormones, energy, nutrition, amount of sleep and stress. Giving myself permission to be fab today. Disabled women of color still absent across the media landscape. No wonder why we’re self-validating.

My experience has been that many disabled women of color are in need of care, caregivers, and community builders and exist in that continuum.Why is it again that many of us feel so “less than?” This is why sisterhood and support is so vital from community built of commonality.

I tip my hat to my sisters making a way, often from little to nothing, without fanfare or fame, surviving. Though life has not gone unscathed, high premium means heavy price paid too many times from unaddressed/unacknowledged pain.

So when you hear us shout and spotlight ourselves and speak our names… it’s an affirmation of our revolutionary acts of being.


17 thoughts on “Have Cane, Will Strut: Black Disabled Woman

  1. As a dwarf, and a man who is not considered “manly” by far too much of society, you have me grooving to your your rhythm and reasoning! YOU are AWESOME, you are POWER, you are what social media SHOULD be all about: Conversing in a positive way, and not consuming the drivel media and mass marketing wants us all to believe in. WOOT-WOOT!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Heather,

    Must share this on my site! When I get the “What happened to you?” my response is “birth.” Will give you the pleasure of imagining their facial expression. 🙂


  3. Was it just me or does this feel like spoken word in need of a mic nite? LOOOOOOOVES this sis! I admire you so much for enlightening, helping, and showing consistency in this platform of sharing. It is definitely healing for you, me and others. You have encouraged me many times to do the same for mental health issues and although I keep allowing life to get in the way, I’ll make you proud some day…your words are always with me. That’s why I could hear your voice as I read this blog! *LOL* I don’t know what I did to have a friend like you but I am thankful sis. You are such a beautiful spirit in a world where it would be so easy to complain everyday (like I do at time). NEVER CHANGE! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww Angie, you’ve made my heart swell so grateful for you…*THANK YOU* sis…and no worries, you make me proud in the present there’s no waiting for another day. Your words lift me and will carry me throughout the rest of the week…*dabs eyes*…LOVE you!! Xoxo


  4. I literally double-tapped. What are you…that question is so loaded. I could say so much when ppl ask, but I just laugh like: it is so much better to shut your mouth than to open it and prove you’re an idiot. What am I?


    Define at will, cuz I’m still working on who iAm and who iWill eventually become.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Black Disabled Woman Syllabus: A Compilation - Ramp Your Voice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s