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E34: #DisabledandCute with Keah Brown

by DGWL
October 5th 2020
01:05:52
Description

In this episode, Marybeth and Keah Brown, author of “The Pretty One,” unpack the creation of the hashtag #DisabledAndCute and journey of self-actualization behind it. This episode is an amazing exp... More

This is disabled girls Who lift? We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time. It's mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mm hmm. Alright, everyone welcome back to disabled girls who lift. This is episode 34. How did we get this for y'all? I don't even know, but thank you to all of our day ones. Uh you've been with us since the long haul. I know we tried putting out episodes once a week now we're doing every other and hey, we've kept up with it. But um, I am so excited for this episode, as you can tell from the title. We are disabled and cute today with Kia Brown. I am your host. It's mary Beth from California here in the Aloni Tribe. Our guest joining us today is Kia Brown. That's leo will. Okay, don't get it wrong. You can find her on instagram at Kia underscore Maria.

She's joining us from Lockport new york. Um you all know her from the infamous hashtag, disabled and cute. She wrote the pretty one book. We've got tons of pride here on both sides of the nation on queerness and disability. We'll talk about self love. But I am so thankful. Kia welcome. Hi, Thank you so much for having me. I really am excited for this conversation. I'm so excited And Kia, you've been putting out so much content. I think it's been, Has it been three years since you wrote your disabled? Sorry, You're the pretty one book. The pretty one who came out last year in august Oh, a year ago. Okay. Like the hashtag wasn't, wasn't 2017, it probably feels like two years because this year feels like at least six, I'm crying and laughing at the same time. Like way too much has happened this year.

I can't keep track. Oh my God, wait, so I'm still so curious. Like we read your book, we are such a huge fan. I know so many of us. Um, so many of our listeners and followers know who you are, but tell us how you created disabled and cute. I know there's this battle like, you know, you've got a twin, there are lots of twins out there who probably are feeling the same thing as you and this competition and how the family, how society sees you all and how you're supposed to live up to these expectations and kind of like be the same person or be better than others. But it looks like you have an amazing relationship with your sister. Does the hashtag um, correlate with one another. Like how did that start? Yeah, I think so in many ways and I didn't realize I'd been told this very moment, um, love when that happens. That happens on this right on the pad. Yeah. I think that me, um, it was sort of the light at the end of the tunnel and so disabled.

If you happened when I started feeling genuinely good about myself and and in my disabled body and so all those years before and I was a complete cliche, I didn't like myself, you know, all the things that society feeds to you as a disabled person. I didn't like myself, I didn't think I was worthy, very judged and my sister like desperate for a better new body. I'm doing air quotes um and I just, I think that I have gotten to a point where things were going well with me professionally. Like I was feeling good personally and I was like, what is this? Like, this is usually over after two or three days, you know, that's sort of like, oh my God, I think I like myself today and then two days later you're like, no, I was wrong. I was foolish, but with the hashtag, it was sort of this, we celebrating being in it for the long haul um and feeling like this for a month every single day and you know, say things that I like about myself in the mirror day and night for however long it took until I believe them and um I'm a real champion of effort.

I feel like without effort you can't really get anything worthy done. And so I was doing the work every single day. It wasn't like, oh I said it once and then I suddenly believed in everything was gravy. It's like, even now every single day if I'm in front of a mirror or not, I'll say for things I like because I think that I want to make sure that this feeling continues and also like expands even deeper beyond what I had dreamed of In 2017 when I created the hashtag, like I want to make sure that I'm giving myself the love I also want to give to other people, which is so cheesy, but as you can fit like with the hashtag, it was so connected to feeling free for the first time, feeling like I don't have to care so much what other people think or care so much how society itself views disability. I can work to change it, you know, we can do the work of of making sure that we aren't, you know, just feeding into those stereotypes and just allowing, you know, because I'm a big pop culture buff, so I believe that like it's very important for us to make sure that we're not going to sit quietly while, you know, Hollywood in particular continues to pump out these able ist and sort of terrible narratives about what disability is who it happens to, and you know, just ends up killing us off at the end of the movie or before the Tv show is over.

I want to help um you know, do my part because I love it so much and I've always wanted to be a part of the to change that narrative as well, because I think that that narrative impacts how our society sees disabled people and I think we need to change it because I for one am exhausted by it, me too and seriously and then I mean the lack of representation, like not only are we killed off in the movies, we aren't even being portrayed realistically like able bodied people are playing us and not necessarily knowing what it's like to live in our shoes. So we've got so many different layers and like you brought up such a like powerful point in that you are changing people with you know you know in hashtag social media it's so fast, right we come up with something and then it gets viral overnight or people have been using this hashtag for quite a while now and don't necessarily know the meaning behind it and thank you for sharing that with us um and also how so many women, not just disabled folks but so many disabled women, so many disabled, brown and black women are finding that empowerment through your hashtag and your life and your stories because you're not saying disabled?

Just sorry, acute being you're not saying cute despite being disabled, you're not just saying disabled but cute, you're saying disabled and cute. Why can't we have all of these hey qualities right that can't find us before being labeled as just disabled. Yeah, I mean I think the thing that's so wild is that we we do have these qualities and we are these things. It's just There are these hurdles to getting other people to see that. And I know that like, you know, I created the hashtag in 2017 and so like people had a lot of pushback in the community with my use of the word cute, but it really is just, I mean if you don't like you, that's fine, but it made me comfortable and I liked it and I still believe today, like it's not so much about the singular word cute, it's about the feeling, you know, I'm going to be this person in the world and I'm not going to apologize for taking up space, you know, and either you get on the train or you watch it go by and Maybe catch the next one.

We deserve to be able to be our full selves specifically in public spaces and also to be treated with the respect that we often always give to others whether they're rude to us or not. And I just feel like it's the idea that it's okay to show up and be yourself and to um not apologize for whoever that person is unless you're like a racist piece of trash, right? Please apologize for that. But like anybody else just the idea that we deserve that same sense of respect and honor an equity and care that we give non disabled people most definitely. And I'm still confused as to why even our community has any problems with the word cute. We obviously feel differently by using different pronouns different um you know, emphasis on these characteristics that we have, like being a proud disabled nurse, being proud, disabled power lifter.

Why can't, you know, our identities be defined by ourselves without having being judged by the, the rest of the community. That's the thing that I don't get like um the other day, somebody tagged me in this post by somebody that I've been following forever and they were talking about how much they hate the word cute and it's infantilizing and they just don't like it. And I was like, that's cool. I first I didn't understand why I was tagged, but somebody brought up the hashtag and they were like, I think that it's important to give disabled people the right to identify how they want to identify. You don't like it great. But it's like don't be dismissive I guess. Yeah, I talked to the person about it and they're like, I just don't like the word and I'm like that's fine, you don't have to. But it does remind me of when the hashtag first went viral and like disabled people were writing like weird blog posts and articles about it and I was like, what the thing about the hashtag is that you don't have to use it, you know?

Yeah, you don't have to use it and I think that it's just interesting to me because not to toot my own horn, but a lot of these hashtags that came after it are very similar with a couple, you know, word changes and it's interesting to me that people can dismiss the work that I've done um and then champion those hashtags or go and start their own and it's like obviously there's impact there that you are refusing to see, but you know, for the people who get it and you were supposed to get it, I'm grateful. Yeah, I know. And you nobody said that you got to use you know what empowers me, you know, to define your own self. That's so interesting. Now that makes a lot more sense. Like not necessarily their reasoning for infantilizing the word cute, but we get that quite often, you know this disabled girls who lift community, obviously it started from a place where our powerlifting or weightlifting are just athletic community in general didn't have enough disability representation and we weren't so much in our open categories, We had to be either in the paralympics or in the disabled category or there wasn't any in between.

And so obviously creating more more awareness for how many athletes of us exist in all the different realms of disability, both invisible visible people who have so many different things and are a part of a sport and happened to be female or female identifying. We just felt as though that empowerment was necessary in that specific realm, but obviously getting critique on how, you know, we're not girls were women or what about the men? Like that's great, but we very much needed this for ourselves of this. And if you want to be a part of the community, we have never been against that and we have plenty of people who follow us and listen to us and have been a part of the podcast who do not identify as a disabled girl, um or even disabled.

You know, we've had trans folks on our podcast that feel the same feelings of ostracizing nation and the fact that we can just have these types of conversations of how we're mothered is more important then the labels that we're creating for ourselves. Absolutely yes. With a good word. No, that's so true. I think people get caught up in this idea what it's like I would do it this way. I would, I would I would have said this and it's like, well why didn't you then, you know, don't critique the thing that you're like, I would have said this way. You could have did it too. And I think a lot of that, like not to toot both of our horns, but I think a lot of that is like this jealousy thing where it's like, I wish I would have thought of that first or people who tried to, you know, come after and do very similar things. It's like I understand that you wouldn't have done it the way that I would have done it, but that's why I did it. You know, that's what it was for. Like these things would start for for us and for representation.

Like of course we're not going to you know, hit every mark with every single disabled person in the world, but there are going to be people who you know, listen to your podcasts and really needed and really feel seen and understood for the first time because that there's this like inherent thing I think with disability where we get to a point in our lives where we going search for someone who gets it are people who get it and when you find that it literally changes the way you see yourself and your potential and your worth and and I think it's important that we not tear down the things disabled people are creating over word choice. Exactly. Exactly. Because it took so much freaking effort to get here to begin with like finding that self love and that appreciation for our own beauty and our own worth on this planet was a fucking stepping stone. Like, let us have that right?

Don't take different. Must think it's wild to me because they should already know what depression feels like. So why are you trying to in turn a press something that's doing good for the community as a whole. Um and everything. I just think that like that that frustrates me that it happens to you as well because it's just annoying like why does everything have to be nitpicked? Obviously you're not going to be able to please everyone because not everybody lifts or everybody likes the word cute or not everybody likes X, Y and Z. Thing but to try to diminish that work just because a man doesn't fit or just because somebody else would have done something differently. Doesn't mean that it's not worthy. People need to get off their high horses. Exactly and just let her let us live our lives. Yeah.

I mean it's just it's also very definitive of how divisive this country is right? Even people who like say we bring up a personal experience with the medical industry and how we're treated one day at a doctor's visit. You know, twitter is powerful instagram is powerful and that we can share these stories and find other people who have experienced the same things and then find this awaken nous but then you have other people who are like, well I'm disabled. I've never experienced able ism like okay we get that you probably have not realized the power of some people's words yet but that's okay but don't let your experiences diminish others, right? And those people kill me. They're like I've never I don't know what you're talking about. I've never experienced able ism I don't right? I don't even identify disabled like and it's just like what are you getting out of that? I just want to know like what is it, is it that they feel like distancing themselves from disability makes them like palatable to non disabled people is that they want so desperately to belong, that they're scared of even claiming disability as anything.

Because I understand that like, that was me for a very long time. I didn't want to talk about disability, I didn't want to acknowledge it. I wanted to be separate from so badly. And I always think about those people and I'm like, that must be so sad for you that you couldn't find the other side of that because it's just weird and it's like they come out of the woodwork. It's the same thing with like, you know, race. It's like there's always somebody that's like, oh, I don't I don't know what you're talking about. I've never experienced reasons. I'm like, you have and you just stuff either you stuffed it down and told yourself it didn't happen to make yourself feel better or you just feel like you'll take whatever you can get because you don't know your own worth and it's like, don't chastise us for knowing hours and knowing that it's important that we share um our identity markers because they helped shape the world we live in and by pushing back on the idea that these things are inherently wrong because they're different.

We're like, no, we're just gonna tell you who we are and not apologize for it and not take whatever it is that you feel like you can say to us because you're uncomfortable. Exactly, almost definitely. And you hit the nail on the head and in these moments we just like I have to have just so much compassion and patience for these folks because also realizing that okay, we recognize our self worth at thankfully an earlier age and we're all in different phases of our lives, in our disabled bodies or in our differently abled bodies and you can define your body however way you'd like um obviously without being condescending or demeaning toward other folks, but like you are just recognize that you are in your own phase and that's the same thing in fitness. Like you don't need to hate somebody who has won multiple championships, who's in the top three of the sport because you're not at that level yet, just wait until that time comes and until that realization and that strength comes without bringing so much hatred into the world and into the sport.

Like we don't need to be in constant constant competition with one another. And that's where I found this amazing thing we call female empowerment. You know, living in L. A. And I know you want to move to California and I'm not talking smack about socal I'm over here in northern California now and just the difference between my interactions with women in Los Angeles Hollywood area and how much competition there was despite um how similar we are, You know, but if you're not wearing the right brands, if you weren't wearing stiletto heels to your high school math class, like you were looked down upon and chastise and on top of that, people with disabilities people who are immigrants, we had to hide those identities in order to fit in. And now we're coming out Yeah. To assimilate. Like I freaking lost my my primary dialect. I was born in the Philippines and I intentionally lost my filipino language so I can assimilate and feel more american or more um you know, like my population and I'm trying so hard to bring all that back because we're realizing how important our culture in um you know, these generations are on top of how important it is to love our disabled body and uh mm hmm.

Oh I'm so sorry that you yeah, I mean I don't know that particular struggle. Like uh it was just always been my, you know, primary language. I did take spanish in high school and college and then I lost it. So I'm trying to get that back. But uh it's so wild. The reason which were taught that anything other than Eurocentric beauty standards and and the english language is somehow something to be rid of and then we find out later, like no, these are assets. These are things that we should be keeping, things that we should have been nurturing and championing along the way. And so I I commend you and I'm really glad that you are going to work to get that back because it's wild, especially when we're young, it's one of the things we do to fit in and I'm like, you don't realize how damaging those things are and so you're older um and none of it matters anymore because everything in high school feels like the end of the world or the beginning of the world and everything is so important.

And I just remember like my little high school self being like, I can't do this or that and I can't talk like if we don't talk about disability and I pretend like I'm not one of them, then, you know, I'll just fit in and I'll be better and I'll make friends and someone will love me, et cetera, et cetera. And now that I'm an adult, I just turned 29, I'm 19 now that I'm an adult, I'm just like girl, I wish I could go back to my younger self and say sis chill, I promise you it's going to be okay and you don't have to do all these things you think will allow you to be popular because none of this will matter. Mhm And without those experiences, we probably wouldn't be who we are now. You probably wouldn't have written that book started that hashtag and had these conversations is so important conversations if you didn't go through the motions and so when you see other people, you know, hating themselves and hating these identities, let them go through it. Like it's probably going to hurt at the moment because it feels like they're bashing us and our ideas and our stories, but like I'm just telling people that girl Come back to me in five years, let me know, get me up in five years and let me know where you're at.

I promise you won't be, but I'll always be here. You know, you know, you can always slide into my DmS, we can always have that conversation um but have a little more patience. Um and so on this podcast, you know, just in this community, we talk about intersections a lot, um just because it's a part of who we are and you know, without, like you said Abel is um there's no racism, vice versa, There's no sexism, there's no um you know, transphobia queer phobia, all of these different things affect us on a daily basis, But then they also empower us. So did you kind of identify as all of those different things separately or were like, were they all dealt with separately or everything all at once? It was sort of um a mixture of like everything all at once. Like I only um I came out last year on coming up today, I'm really excited to celebrate my year anniversary next month.

But so everything else like the racism and the disability and the reality specifically of racism in the disability community I dealt with all at once and just sort of, I think the first thing I ever learned to love about myself was my black skin and being a black, being a black woman in particular because I've had, I've been raised by amazing black women and black and black men who loved me and told me that I was worthy even when I didn't believe it myself, you know? And so for me it was like, okay, I'm black first and then it took me um and so college really to to sort of come into uh disabled identity. Um and I was still struggling with it. So I started I begin with my disabled journey. I'm doing all these air quotes, I'm sorry, we can see it. I began my disabled journey um sort of towards the end of college uh after college with me just um learning to accept it because at first it was like, I hate this thing, like I wish it wasn't here, like I don't understand why I have to live like this, like what, why was I quote unquote punished or whatever.

Um But it was really in like, so the first pieces that I wrote professionally in 2015, we're kind of in that vein, you know, very much like diary entry level writing, you know, where you tell all your business that was me for, you know, at least for the first year, um, or so, and so I, uh, I really struggled there and then before the hashtag hit, I started to do what Roxanne gay always says, look outward more and talk about your personal experiences, but how they could impact the larger society. And then I started to realize that like, I was being terrible to myself, but really there's nothing inherently wrong with me. There was just something wrong with the way in which I saw myself, it was like a light bulb went off and then I just started writing about, you know, my lived experiences, but less with the pity lens and more with like, this is just the reality of what I've experienced and that allowed me to get to a place Where, you know, disabled and cute could happen in 2017 because I was like, oh, snap, I'm both disabled and cute.

So it was really, um, a wild journey because I didn't deal with disability until much much later. And how much, how much later in life was that was that in college? It was like, Okay, so I graduated in 2013. So I wouldn't say that I started dealing with it until about 2013, Okay, and it's a weird thing to say that you're like dealing with the security later in life when you were born with it. So my, so my cerebral palsy, like happened to me in 1991 shout out to me a Virgo. Um and so I just was sort of always putting it to the side, never wanting to talk about it, never wanting anybody else to bring it up number, wanting to acknowledge that it existed outside of my own hatred for it. It really took me going through that particular experience to realize that one instead of being embarrassed of the girl that I used to be to, that I need to be embracing her and you know, apologizing for one being embarrassed, but also letting her know that we're not in that place anymore.

And even if I can't talk to my younger self, there is a part of me that believes my younger self is still within me and she sees the growth that we have made, and she's just like, all right, I didn't think this was possible, but I don't hate it, and that was always the goal, definitely. And I mean you might think that you started at a later age, but seven years ago you were 20 to so many people that I know in the community hadn't even found that empowerment until 30, even like 55 years old, people have come out and said, I haven't started quote unquote dealing with my disability and my um you know, finding more empowerment in this body until a much later age because these conversations started really, it feels like yesterday we haven't been talking about disability in mainstream media enough.

It's not out in the movies, it's always through the eyes and the lens of a non disabled director or writer or actor, right? Who knows someone who knows someone who knows who is always never the thing that they're portraying, but something completely different or or was the caretaker and hey, we love our caretakers. We love our, you know, assistance. Um, and they do experience a lot of this with us. You know, they see the pity that we have of ourselves when we're like when we can't get out of bed or were hating ourselves and all we have to talk to right now is our AIDS or are caretakers. But these stories still need to continue coming from the lenses of disabled people, right? Because there's nothing like it. You know, there's nothing like having something told by the person who knows what that experience is.

Like. There's there's nuance missing about in these stories. And I think that's why I get so frustrated because I'm like, if you just had disabled people in the room, if you had actors acting in front of the camera and disabled people behind the camera, this movie could have been good. You could have avoided all of these able is tropes, you could have stopped yourself before you did some magical cure thing. Like it would have just I think that it's just frustrating because it's like these people then hop auto disability like it's a costume get awards for their bravery and their portrayals of disability and it's like meanwhile disabled actors can't get work to talk about their own experiences. Exactly. I am so tired of it and they're horrible at portraying what it's like to be a person who is disabled like so bad at it. It's like the same, the same excuses that other directors or um casting agents are saying, well there there weren't enough black people um in the room to cast.

There weren't enough people in the pool. There weren't any disabled people who applied like you aren't looking hard enough, right? I love the ones that are like, oh um this is a period piece and I'm like, oh so black people hadn't been in like, what do you mean? You can't just say all this is a period piece. So black people weren't invented yet either were disabled people like us. Okay, cool, awesome. Amazing. Great. Great to know when we're we invented again, was it I was in 1980 or when did we show up on the scene is what I want to know because it's just I think that these excuses are tired and it's frustrating that they're even allowed to be used anymore. Yeah. And not to mention history was written in the white lens in the Eurocentric lens. Like everything that we read in our freaking american history textbooks are wrong. And so black and brown people disabled folks? Like we are the biggest minority and we're not even in the storybooks?

Right? It's just like we like we never existed at all. And it's interesting to me because the people who know and love us get it and us we get it. But the people who don't who don't think they know anybody who's disabled, I just don't understand what it is that we're upset about. But I think that if it was to be reversed, you know, then they would get it if it was happening to them. They would understand. Yeah, most definitely. And it's just so funny that when we like sympathize with people are trying like have these conversations with people who have opposing views like we have to sugarcoat it and like water our experiences down so that other people can understand it because if we're too outrageous in our claims will be like no, no, no, no, you're too liberal for me. Like like I don't understand uh yeah, it's ridiculous. So I don't want to take away from the fact that it is almost your one year anniversary or past 30.

Yeah. Your one year anniversary of coming out. I am so so, so, so happy and proud. Did it happen to you october okay, it's next it's in a few weeks actually. Okay. Yeah. I think it's been a year or so since I've been out too? But look at us? Why? Mhm bisexuality. How do you feel about the pan sexual identity? Do you feel like there's a lot of tension there or were one and the same or it's just the terminology thing. Same with using the word cute versus girls versus you know, I think that it depends on the individual person for me. I think that there's a lot of overlap um with them, they're not the same thing, I don't think. But I do think that there's a lot of overlap there. And so for me, like, I'm comfortable right now with bisexuality, you know? So so that's the that's the identify that I use.

But I do think that like they share some of the same principles. Yeah, almost definitely. Like we love all genders. That's just it. All of them. Right? That's that's it. Yeah. Everybody thank you for being attractive. I don't Exactly, just just make me laugh and we're good. Right? That's really it just made me laugh. Oh, I'm and I'm sold. Yes. So how did that how did that happen in your family and your in your circles? Like tell me about your coming out story. Like it's still hard for a lot of us. Um But we love to hear it. Well, I I knew for a very long time as as one does, but I was like in California? Yes. The west coast the best state to come out in the best love, right? And so I was like, I had to like a week long um stay because I I flew from my birthday slash you saw the book present to California with my best friend or to see my best friend who lived there at the time.

We went to see the Jonas brothers and concert. It was amazing. Yes so after that my film and tv manager Rachel shout out to Rachel, she was like hey can you stay longer so you can do some like general meetings or what have you like we'll just because I was in Long beach so they came and got me I did like some work for that week and then the trip was winding down and it was coming out day and I was on twitter as one often is and I was like hey twitter like just so you know by right and I closed out twitter like people were being really nice about it but I closed out twitter and I went back to watching house hunters on H. G. T. V. Because that's all the hotel was like playing clearly and I loved HD tv so I was like okay this is it, I'm sold. Um And so I was watching house hunters and then my sister texted me and she was like are you Gary and I was like no no I'm by and I was like oh crap like I forgot that we had followed each other on twitter like I'm I didn't plan it out well at all like I told the internet basically before I told my family and then the next day before I got on a plane to come back home, I texted the family group chat and then I put my phone on airplane mode.

Oh my God, you're horrible. Don't worry the worst. And I put my phone on airplane mode. And then I got home and I and it was like because of the time change, I got home at like almost two am and my sister bless her because I was like, I am not trying to take an Uber but she picked me up. We talked about it on the way home in the car. I came home, I went to sleep the next day I got up, I went into my mom's room, we talked about it and then I feel that like different calls from my immediate family for like the rest of the week and that's how it happened. That would be your worried like is she okay? She alive? What's going on? Alright, okay. Here it is. I gotta get on the plane now by put your asses on airplane mode. Honestly, that is the best way to do it. Like I will take care of you when I land after I get a good night's sleep then how did you do yours?

Uh um uh man, I feel like I had a lot more um anxiety and even though like we kind of have this feeling of how our parents or circles are going to react mm hmm. So I was I have been a huge part of the Berkeley community for a long time because I went to school there and then um I worked there immediately. After so it had been 10 years and it's very liberal and tons of my friends are gay out are in poly communities and so I came out as both Polly and by at the same time because I had a male primary partner and so having all of this like confusion come out at once. Two was hilarious because they're like, but figure with a guy, what do you mean you're not, this is just a phase. You know, because you know that that's, that's a shitty thing about bisexuality and that people think that you're just going through the motions and then you'll come back to being straight and you just wanted to have this like fun experience of Yeah.

And that's just not the way it works. It's not uh no bisexuality forever. Um but yeah, so I feel exactly. I'm so happy. Like more and more when I find more like by folks, I just I get I get jittery. I love it. So do I I like it. It's like soul restoring. You're like, yes, thank you for existing. Exactly. So it's just funny because I knew that I was going to get the most support from my Berkeley community. And so I came out to them before anybody else. And it took me a few weeks to like call my mom, have that conversation, call my step dad. Um I still haven't had that conversation with my real dad. Uh he has schizophrenia and so like all he understands is who my boyfriend or my partner is at the time. Um and so it feels as though like I don't need to come out to him until I have like a female primary partner to introduce to him.

I don't know, it's just a different dynamic of the types of conversations I have. Are you still with your primary partner? That's a complicated question. Well not, I don't want to be nothing. I um we are taking a little bit of time apart. I just moved into my own apartment, been in each other's lives for a while and so finding ourselves independently and you know, having just come out a year ago, like there's there's a lot yeah, yeah, yeah, a lot that we need to go through and I just saw one of your posts where you're like, I am so proud to be single and love in my body and love in my life and just being so happy and so many of us, I think need to hear that and say that out loud more often. It's wild because I think like that's not even what I'm used to feeling like because for the longest time I was like, oh my God, I can't, I, I can't wait for somebody to love me.

Like I'm so desperate for someone to see my wife romantically. And then like at the top of this year shoutout to quarantine, I had like to situation ship things happen right? And one of them ended terribly, the other one ended amicably and like that person is a nice person and uh, and I wish them well, but I just started thinking like I went through both of those things and added that they were important, you know, for my journey or whatever. But I think that like now that I have, I realized that before, it felt like I was missing out on something and that I was just going to, you never know what it's like for somebody to be attracted to me. And then like I had those two things happen, um, like start fiddle and then like, you know, fully burn out. And I was like, oh, I was expecting to be like very sad, you know, when the, when the last one ended, I was like, oh, it'll be like if this is gonna like suck and it did for the first couple of days.

And then I realized, and then I realized, I was like, well, first of all I wish this person well, like I'll take what, you know, I learned in this experience. And um, it was very mature me. I was like, I'll take what I learned from this experience and you know, hopefully use it for something in the future, but right now I'm okay not having someone there, right? It was just, it was, it was literally, I think it was me being like, oh, so this is what it's like to be wanted, cool, I enjoy it. But also I'm going to be okay now that they're not now that it's not a thing anymore, you know? Yeah, and like, thank you for that experience. Yeah. Right? And I literally like when, when the last thing I did, I was like, thank you, I was like, this is gonna sound so weird, thank you for that experience. And like, she was like, you're welcome. Like, okay, like, you know, have a good life, see why the internet, like it's, it's just, I think that it's so much nicer when something ends amicably because the first one, I was like, oh, so sad.

I was like, oh, this is my fault. Like this must mean that I'm unlovable, blah blah blah. And then the second one happened and I was like, oh, well, you know, maybe that's not entirely true. And then it ended and I was like, I'm going to be okay. And I told my friends, I was like, I'm going to be okay and they're like, yeah, yeah, we know. And it was just like nice to be able to, to finally feel like even if I don't have romantic love right now. I'm not opposed to it in the future. But I'm also not desperate for it right now. Okay okay with like friends and the family that I have and I'm okay with that love. And even though I'm not closed off to the idea of it, I'm going to be okay with what I have, I'm still gonna plug it out there. Kia Maria is single and available. But yeah, exactly. It's so funny too because you think back to it and you're like dang 27 28 year old Kia wouldn't like this is a very different response than 23 22 year old Kia would have had.

Oh yeah. Oh yeah right. Just what do you mean this is our sole purpose in life to boot up? So we blew it up. Love that bun you know cared for. And I'm like okay but now that you've had that happen, I promise you that like one I think when it first happened in the first one ended, I was like oh it's never gonna happen again. Like this this is my only chance. This is my shot at love. Remember that show? This is my shot at love and I you know beefed it. But but time went on and another thing happened and it wasn't like I think before the good thing was before the second situation ship happened. I had already been like you know what? No that first person was like emotionally and verbally abusive and I didn't need that and there you go. They had their own issues and that wasn't on me because initially I was like, oh I did something wrong. But really they were just kind of a terrible person and I was like good, glad to be done with that. And then the second one, it was like oh I we're not good for each other, right?

But I respect this person and I wish them well and um I hope that they're happier that they find happiness with whoever that may be, but it's not going to be me. So it was just a very nice experience the second time around. Exactly. Exactly. And a more mature experience on all parts to it sounds like, right. So I appreciate that. Okay. Oh God, can we could talk for hours and we always say this to once your guests you will always be a part of the family. So if there's something on your mind, you call us up and we will record an f episode or just yes please. I was gonna say I'll just by myself back. Yeah. But uh um um there was a question to that came up because this is coming up a little more on our feeds and I don't wanna and this without asking you, but especially since you're a writer, you're a journalist, you do a lot of screenwriting, what are your thoughts on person, first language versus identity.

First language I switch between the two, but I prefer disabled person normally, like if I'm talking to somebody or I'm writing something, I'm going to say, oh, this person is disabled, not a person with a disability. Because sometimes when you, when you see a person with a disability, disability feels like I carry on, You know, like a like an added bag. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm just like, no, I'm disabled. And like that's like, I think that I think that both are valid. Like I try, like you said to hold space for people no matter where they are. I personally don't like differently abled, but I think that person first verse identity first. Like use whatever makes you comfortable. But for me, I like disabled person because disability is inherently a part of who I am. I'm not a person with it. I'm a person who has it. And sometimes I feel like with person first language, you know, like he a is a person with a disability or with several politics.

Like I'm not with it. I'm not standing next to it. We're not hanging out. We are one, it's not just addressed to take it off after a long day, right? Yeah. Yeah. I wasn't just hanging out with you and then I was like, oh no, I gotta go home and and I'm on deadline. So let me leave you here. Uh you know, uh the library 7 11. Like the Mcdonald's parking lot. Like I can't just drop it off and I think that sometimes the person first language makes it seem like you can just pick it up and drop it off, put it on or take it off. And, and so I don't, I don't usually ascribe to that, but I did, I didn't use both in my book. Um, so I think that those two are, those two are fun. I just, I personally performance and he's like, oh, this kid, she's disabled. Yeah. So this is key issues. A person with disabilities. I get that. I, and you put it in such a good way, especially for someone who has so much empowerment in like, um, who has all of the strength in this identity.

Uh, I definitely have this long list of identities when I, you know introduce myself in a safe space in a, a space where I'm like, I am a Filipina disabled immigrant by poly woman among all of these other things. But this is who I reversed. Yeah. There you go. Welcome. Thank you. Oh, I haven't heard that in so long. I needed that. Well, I'm going to be the one to tell you whoa. Okay. But yeah, we'll see. It's important that you that you have that safe space to do that and that you are given the room to do that because I think sometimes people are like somebody said to me, they sent me an email and they were like, don't you feel like you identify as too many things? And I was like, no, because I'm a fully realized human beings. And because those things that identify as might make you uncomfortable doesn't mean that they are inherently damn.

No, that would be I'm sorry, too vanilla to not identify as all of these things. I'm also in the kink community. So find me there, shut up to me, I'm also doing this this and I think it just proves that you like, you can be a badass. Yeah, all those things and like by not ignoring one for the other, it just means that you belong more places and that you can find people who get it in a way that like just being like, oh, I'm sorry to susie's but oh, I'm susie and I like baking bread and I baked bread at the beginning of quarantine and literally that's my personality trait. Like, no, you want to be able to be like, I'm this person, I'm that person, I'm also this person. I also enjoy these things because it just opens you up for a more beautiful and engaging and inclusive world. Yeah. And it you you said that you probably brought up both in your book. I don't know if it's because you were speaking both in 1st and 3rd person.

But if you're talking about other people who identifies disabled or differently abled do we kind of switch that, right? Because we have such a strong identity of ourselves, but other people probably don't see themselves in the same light. Right? So you want to bring that humanity first? Is that your reasoning for using both? Okay. Right. Because I talk about how um, like there's a chapter in the book called is this thing on and I talked about the importance of identifiers and I talked specifically about the things that I don't like, but also that disability is not a monolith. Therefore some people do like, you know, differently able. Some people do like uh disabled person or person with a disability or some people even like handy capable, which I don't really get but shout out to you and your choices I guess. Um, and so for me, it was the very much important for me to be like, here's how I feel about this thing. I'm not speaking for everybody else, I wouldn't pretend to. Um and here is what other people might use and how it's important for you to ask the person you're speaking to, how they would like to be spoken about.

Um, so yeah, I did. I was entertaining them specifically so that people knew that it was possible for the same people to want different things. I love that. I love that because here we make space for everyone, even the non disabled folks who don't identify as so now or never because, you know, we're all going to be disabled ones in our uh, might as well join it now. I don't see if you can find a seat that's comfortable. Exactly. We've got plenty of room. We have cheesecake cookies. Like I love like constantly saying that because so many people in this world do not, they do not recognize that idea. It's just so funny. Like, oh, I don't have a handicap sticker, I don't have a handicap like parking pass or I'm not in a wheelchair.

I'm not disabled, but like, no, let's let's get this straight now right? Like please. Um I got to throw in a question about fitness on there for all of us who are joining in through powerlifting, Weightlifting, what have you? But what is your favorite way to move right now? I like to move toward the door for delivery packages personally or to the fridge, right? Or to the fridge. I'm I need to be better about working out because I used to use the excuse. I was like, well, you know, things aren't really made accessible for disabled people. I would love to be like, I just, I don't know because I just feel like it's not accessible. That was my go to for the long time, but I think the longer that we are in quarantine our lockdown or whatever you want to call it, the more I'm like this, there's so many days, they were people who kill it at the gym, you literally have no excuse, what are you doing?

Get it together. So I um one I wanted to say this before I go, I think that you're that you and the community full of badasses, just like, absolutely inspiring, but not in an inspiration point away just in a love it, you should be able to do a little bit of something, something way, you know, but you don't have to do what they do, but you really need to stop acting like, you know, fitness just isn't for you because it's for everyone. Um so I do, I think that the most walking that I do is honestly to and from to get deliveries or like, I do the machines at PT once a week. Oh yes, Hey, I mean that's movement, you know? And like, we're not here to bash anybody and and the thing too is like, we find outlets in so many different ways. You find outlets in writing, you find outlets in just expressing yourself through poetry.

Girl, we've read your poetry, it's amazing. And um yeah, sure it doesn't hurt to move even if it's stretching in the middle, like, first thing in the morning or but um I just love that we've found these these different ways to make ourselves happy every day, right? And I thank you to, like, we deserve that happiness and so we deserve to like, also nurture it and and find ways to keep it going and grow, especially now, um I think now more than ever happiness feels like like you, like you're stealing it away from something like you have to keep it precious and keep it to you and honestly for me, um living in a world where being both black, disabled and queer all these three things, it's like targets on your back um and and finding joy is so much um so much a part of my ability to keep going is to find joy and every day, whether that's wearing a few lipstick hitting on a podcast host, um whether that's like wearing something that I think is cute or what have you and just trying to find small pockets of joy in every day, it's really what's keeping me going right now and so I don't know, I think that whatever it is that floats your boat, that doesn't harm other people go for it.

Yeah. Oh what a great way to end this. So you're making me feel all the fields right now, because I, especially now have been saying every day that we wake up, we have to be thankful for because you know, It's such a crazy freaking world out, there like our family has lost three people in the last 11 months, our world, our communities are losing people every freaking day, you know, and having these conversations about our identities is still such a privilege um in many ways, you know, like yes, we are oppressed, we acknowledge that we overcome this. We like find community in this but there is still so much privilege in having a freaking podcast. Being able to write a book just like and so I don't know, I love meeting people like you, I need more people like you in my life. Well thank you. I just need you in my life every day.

Okay, I'll be there. I'll show up. I got you kelly. Yes, Listen, I'm coming. I miss it so much. I was literally told my manager, I was like, listen, the second that Ronna releases her claws on the world, I need to first find out to Los Angeles. I was like, you can book me because she always likes to book me and back to back meetings. I'm like, you can book me in like six meetings back to back. I don't care. I just want to be on the west coast. She's like, okay, you say that now but get ready. Yeah, just wait until fire Susan ends and you'll be good. We will welcome you with open arms but key it. Let us let everybody know where they can find you. Uh, I mean for those who don't already follow you and are, aren't in your world. Okay. Um, you can follow me and find me on both twitter and instagram at Kia KH underscore Maria. M A R I A No, that is not my middle name.

My name is actually Nicole. It's a long story about a nickname that took off and you can also find me at Q brown dot com. All of my work is there. Um, I'm a little website. She's cute, definitely go check her out. We stand. Um, but yeah, I'm all over the internet. I'm even on facebook that wiki a brown. I don't update it as much as I should, but there is that in case you like facebook and so yeah, I just, I'm on the internet and most places that Kia underscore Maria talking about cheesecake cute girls and um, how I really, really, really wish that they didn't cancel pitch on Fox. Oh man. Oh man. It's been so amazing. If you want to leave any last words or last uh, little words of advice for other people who may be younger in the process or just younger in age who might identify as black, disabled, queer, anything.

Um, that might relate to you and just feel all the things that you're feeling. What are your words of advice to them. My words of advice to you, Dear friends are, I know that it's really hard right now. I know that sometimes you can't really see the other side and it feels like it's a never ending slog to get through a day. But what is so important to you right now in terms of fitting in and caring about what people think and not being two different. All those things later in your life are going to be the things that make people want to be around you, they're going to be the things that make you feel like your best most important self. All you have to do is get to that point. And so whether it's getting out of bed in the morning or ordering in food or you know passage your history test, your math test or whatever school thing you have going on right now, whether it's literally waking up to write some poetry and then taking another nap or it's you know, buying your favorite thing or wearing something you thought you lost but found again, whatever it takes to get you through one day at a time, get through those days the way that you can and then you'll get to a point where you'll feel like who you are in all that you are is enough, right?

We'll get there to that place, So let me tell you now who you are as you are right now is enough. And all you need is somebody who believes in you and let me be that person, I believe in you, I'm already rooting for you. You're doing amazing, you're going to be the best version of yourself, You just have to get there and on the other side is a light and a life that is beyond your wildest dreams, Trust me, I know that firsthand sounds super cheesy, but it's so true, just keep going every single day, even when it feels impossible and know that wherever you are in the world there is a random black disabled woman named keith Brown who is rooting for you every step of the way mm Oh yes, no one could have said that better and that will be on her next book y'all? Yeah, that would be the next one.

Thank you so much for that. That meant a lot to every single one of us. I love you, I love all of you listening, thank you Kia so much for having this conversation with us and thank you for asking me to have it. Oh my God, it was so fun. Like I love I love these sorts of things and I love being a community with people who get it, it's so nice for life, we are in this community, for life, we are stuck with each other or whether we like it or not. Exactly Alright disabled girls out by thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe rate already, review of our channel, we're on Apple podcasts, Spotify player FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at the civil girls who left, II

E34: #DisabledandCute with Keah Brown
E34: #DisabledandCute with Keah Brown
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