How I became 'The Anarchic Cripple'
I chose to use an old shot taken for a magazine I appeared in a couple of years ago, not to reflect who I am today, but rather to show how I have changed.
What's really strange about the shot, taken for an article about my past music projects is that I think it shows a scared guy. It was at a time when my health had hit it's worst level yet, at a time when I felt lost in the haze of a suburban town that was drenched in conservative, individualistic sentiment.
Now I am not writing this as a political analysis, but I can't deny that certain rhetoric within the UK and many surrounding nations has marginalised many communities including ours. I felt like a stranger in the darkness, wandering streets where people often would use archaic slurs to degrade me. Regularly, I would be weathered down by terms such as "cripple" and "spastic".
The greyness of this shot, which was fortuitous, seems now to be emblematic of how I felt and still feel in this place. A mundane, boring place where so many live their lives behind doors that have been locked by systems and governments.
Out of the blue, I slowly started to hide myself away, working on my plans to start a revolution of consciousness and empathy, that would hopefully one day leave a legacy that would provide generations to build a progressive platform from and to
break free of the levels of ableism and apathy that have plagued my existence thus far.
In the midst of an adumbral prison that was my room, I began to truly find myself. In the night, I was more awake than I had ever been before, finding that neon soul I thought had been dissected from my innocent frame.
I embraced my creativity!
I began to catalogue the reality that so many ignore, I began to write down every thought, feeling and sense that had ever been activated within me, for I knew that someday my pain may have stood for something. To know I have sacrificed myself to give future generations of people with disabilities more is truly a fulfilling dream in my cavernous mind. On the other hand, I know too well that many systems and leaders will try to hide the reality I faced, just like they have done previously, and I can't trust that our story can be told by a system after us.
Particularly, in the UK, many are indoctrinated into this often glamourised, fallacious belief that somehow our history is candy-floss and rainbows. The reality is that this nation was built on the oppression of many communities.
We glorify an industrial revolution that wouldn't have occured without mass enslavement, we ignore the fact that we had an empire that murdered and imprisoned millions upon millions of people, we ignore the fact that for the majority of history people with disability were forceably institutionalised and left to the mercy of a society that was willing to see us suffer.
I don't want the same for future generations, I want them to seek knowledge and break free of what the system wants them to know, and find what they need to know in order to find LIBERATION THROUGH INFORMATION. I want my life's work to show the true abhorrent mistreatment of my community here in this country/globally and see our system for what it truly is, a joke.
I began to throw off these synthetic ropes that an economic elitist puppet master had stitched into me; breaking free of stigma, embracing my bisexuality, celebrating my disability, dressing and looking how I wanted, finding a revolutionary locked away behind a shell of fear.
Sometimes, I feel that many like myself feel scared to fight back, because sadly most of our lives are dictated by what a government does, be that in healthcare or work opportunities. However, I want people to know that they can be revolutionaries. I don't mean that in a hubristic and angry sense, I mean that they can fight back against what they are told they must be, against the narrative that an often ableist society sets before them.
If the system isn't there, I refuse to see my life wither away waiting for change that will never arrive. I will build a new system, but I need help to do so.
I want my children to know that I have died for something, I want them to see their amazing potential and I want them to know that their life is worth more than consolation.
Often, people label my work 'sad' or 'depressing' but I am here to make the system and to those who may harbour anti-disability sentiment as uncomfortable as possible. If I stop, what sort of message am I sending?
You have to ideologically push people off their seats and give them a better, comfortable alternative to sit on.
The reality is disability is hard, often can be undignified and we have to deal with a lot of crap off of the system around us. Whilst I am a huge fan of those who push the 'positivity and happiness' sentiment, it is impossible to always live life with a scaffolded smile. Celebrating disability is one thing but to do that and not fight for the future of the community and for the dignity we deserve would be foolish.
Sometimes the real world isn't nice and I don't want people to think I am selling them a lie. I have integrity and I believe part of that is saying 'thing's aren't great, but they can be one day with work and with a huge push for change'.
I hope soon to leave this isle, not because my work will stop, but because there are too many bad memories here over the two decades I have been physically on this plot of land. I have suffered here, and I want to see the rest of the world, and go to other parts of Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa, Oceania and combine my efforts with other campaigning groups against institutional ignorance and socio-economic inequality. I can fight for change here without being here.
This is a global movement!
I metaphorically kneel before you (which is ironic as I haven't been able to get out of my chair for years and last knelt in 2004) as your brother, willing to do all I can for you guys, giving every inch of my heart into this struggle. My duty/responsibility as a human being is all that matters to me now.
'The Anarchic Cripple' isn't a name I gave myself, I reclaimed it from the ignorant tongues of those who wanted to belittle me. Now it is me!
I am Anarchy, I am Peace, I am Knowledge, I am POWER!