Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E07: Who Am I Even?

December 16th 2019

Trigger warning: there is mention of sexual assault in this episode.

In episode 7, Marybeth, Marcia and Chloe discuss their identities, the complexities of identity and how ... 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. Mhm Welcome back to disabled girls who lift. This is episode seven. If you've been with us from the start, thank you. If you haven't, what are you doing? So episode seven, we're going to get, I mean, I guess deep, because we're going to ask ourselves and invite you to ask yourself the same question, who am I even? So again, I'm Marcia from south florida, I'm Chloe from Iowa, It's mary beth from California and I guess I'll start with this exploration of identity, I mean there's levels to it and there's phases and we go through all these different things in our lives and you know, we are parents affect us, our siblings, affect us, our schools and whatever and you kind of have to lump that in and then somehow put that equation together and then sum it up and you're like, here I am, this is me and most people are still asking themselves that question, um you know, I'm gonna be 31 in literally seven days, so I, and I think officially, you know, I could say as an almost 31 year old, I think I know who I am now, probably, I like, I think I have it down maybe.

Um I mean from birth, I've had to deal with being a woman of color, so that's like some sh it on its own, you know, when I'm growing up in school and I mean I'm lucky enough to not be in a totally, um, like homogeneous kind of place. It is a little mixed. I'm in south florida, you know, there's all different court cultures, but still there's still an expectation for kids that look like me to not be smart to be, I don't know, you know, just to be like little thugs to be oystering this, but not be able to you. Like I could show you yearbook comments of teachers that said, oh, you didn't look smart, but you did great. Thanks. Like shut the hell up on your yearbook, you know, and I could tell you stories and stories, me getting straight a's, but teachers would still call my mom and say, well, you know, she talks too much in class. And I mean it takes a while to realize that actually why this is happening and what it means because on top of that layer, my parents are Haitian immigrants.

So they don't even totally understand american racism because they weren't born here. Then it grew up here and then on top of that in Haiti, we were kind of like upper class boogie. So they're used to being like creme of the creme, you know, they went to the best schools, they speak beautiful french and like three other languages, you know, like they have the best degrees and then they come here and they don't really like, like they don't even identify as black or like american, they're just like I'm Haitian, I don't know what this black american ships about but like they don't even get that. So at that point I had to deal with on my own. But did did they experience any of that discrimination out in public? Or do they just like did it go way over their heads? They were way over their heads and I'm sure not everyone is the same. Um but my mom was you know, a tiny light skin, beautiful woman. So you know, she did have some colorism in her favor. Probably. Did they have any accents or anything like that because I know like no matter where you come from, if you've got some sort of accent where it's inaudible or indiscernible to the white american, they're like, I can't understand.

Yeah that that's a frustration in itself. That is a frustration, but they didn't get that as much because they don't, they, like I said they were the high class, upper super bougie, so they had more of the french oriented accent than anything and you know that's Eurocentric, like it sounds nice to people and it's like it's cool so they didn't really get that part of it and we didn't really have those kind of conversations and if anything my mom kind of reinforced like those stereotypes that that come up, you know, she made sure like, oh we didn't sag our pants and oh you can't wear your hair like that or she kind of like fed into it without even realizing like on that you should probably talk about this mom. How did you feel about it when she told you you can't wear your hair like that? That's what I was gonna ask. Um Well, like I said elementary school was was pretty mixed and whatever and I didn't really grasp it. I was just being a kid and like living my life. But by the time I got to middle school I was the magnet programs and the way that works in like where I live, is that a magnet program gives you extra field trips and extra um like studying and whatever for and mine was for medicine.

But the caveat is, it's usually in a low like socioeconomic neighborhood because they're trying to build it up quote unquote. So I went from like a pretty diverse school of people who lived where I actually lived to going like 45 minutes away to like 100% black school. And then there's like five white kids that are in the moat magnet program. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. Um and then also wasn't because then I got the Utah quite like I got that. So first it was like, uh, am I black and then I switched to middle school? I'm like, maybe I'm not black enough. So there's definitely like a bunch of levels and like shit to get through and I think I kind of just accepted like the, you know the oreo thing like oh I'm black on the outside, white on the inside. So stupid. I hate that. But I mean I think today's social media in today's internet is really helping that um conversation because even it goes all the way out to like makeup makeup companies that don't have darker skin tones or obviously um tv shows that show the lightest skinned of the people of color, you know, and that's that's a constant battle for even my country where they're like oh everyone who's a light skinned filipino, they're in the upper class because they don't spend time out in the sun, you know getting fruit and coconuts from the trees to sell or hard.

They're living lavishly because they're lighter uh out in the rice fields um yikes, it's a big yikes, it's a big yikes and you know I have uh quote unquote good hair, you know, so I so that even if I didn't get the u sound white, you know, people would see me and they saw that I didn't look like them and my hair was different and you know my skin tone whatever, blah blah blah. So even just the way that I look that would get picked on for my hair because you know it's different, it wasn't the same fluffy poofy giant afro and if you see my fluffy poofy giant afro now I have to work for that we're gonna wake up like that, I wake up like that. Um so it's like, it really wasn't until I got to probably high school that was like okay, I'm definitely black and my family comes from Haiti and okay, that's cool, that's fine. And and that's where I got probably not until high school.

Yeah, I mean um so I grew up in a predominantly, well what's funny is, okay, so I immigrated from the Philippines when I was one. I I have all the Bacuna's or vaccinations to prove it. And there's always like that stamp for us immigrants um coming from either Mexico or the Philippines that show that lack of development in the medicine field really huge, like mess up in my skin. Um anyway, so I didn't grow up speaking english like english isn't my first language Tagalog was and at 34 or five or whatever going into school, I was always the non english speaking person and then I started learning more through my cousins and my wider ants um who you know, went to college versus the ones who started small businesses. I kind of stayed closer to those family members who spoke the american english.

Um and then in grade school I after my parents divorced, I moved to like East Los Angeles and South Los Angeles where it's predominantly black and brown kids and I was the only asian, so I was like, whoa, huge culture shock in that sense, which is great because I still stayed in a predominantly like brown um lower socioeconomic class community. Um in some ways because you know, the identity is very similar. However, I was the only Filipino the only asian in almost all of my classes. So I actually pretended to be mexican. Oh my God. Yeah. It's weird like that that assimilation growing up, like there's got to be some form of it, right? So I pretend to be mexican because at that time I had a mexican babysitter. I started learning more um spanish for completely forgot my tagalog and it breaks my heart because I don't know tagalog as much anymore.

Like I can understand it when they speak it to me, but I'm completely fluent in spanish because of that neighborhood, but that neighborhood I grew up in after six years old, you know? Um So I remember, what was that when they do like culture night or whatever. Kids bring in their own foods, their own flags from their country. Yeah. And like since my my mom had been dating like a mexican american at that time, um I was so immersed in that community and that culture that I really saw myself as mexican like and I would lie to kids saying that I was half mexican half filipino just like feel included and feel like I had something to share but you know, 100% Filipina remember getting cocky the act when my cousin saw me fill out a um Myspace survey.

She's like, hey, I saw that you put 50 50% mexican. What does that mean? I was like, oh my, oh, my own family members. I'm like, duh. Of course they're gonna know. But yeah, so I brought butto, which is like a filipino um, dessert. It's um, like a rice cake or whatever. But I really didn't want to, I really wanted to bring in tamales or whatever. So I asked my grandma to lend me like a mexican or my, you know, my stepdad's mom, um, to bring in like a mexican decoration that she puts on the wall that shows that she is from Guadalajara. So I had both of those at the culture show and I was like, yeah, I'm proud, but I wouldn't have been proud um, to showcase, you know, the asian filipino side because I was a minority. So I didn't get that, that sense of pride until like after high school in college isn't that crazy.

It took like traveled and stuff that I had definitely dug in like stuff in a hole. Oh my God, I totally forgot. So in middle school it was not, besides the fact of not being black enough. It was not cool to be Haitian for whatever reason, people, I mean, it's probably the news, you know, the news just shows like these poor little kids like, you know, akin to like feed a child for a dollar a day type of commercials, you know, they just lump like africa and also Haiti kind of into those vibes. So if you said you were from Haiti, they'd be like, oh, you eat cat. Oh, are you poor? Oh, you're pretty for Haitian. And like if there was any holidays location, independence Day, Haitian flag day and you wore a Haitian flag to school that the kids would literally kick your ass and jump you what? Whoa. Wait, why? I mean, I just decided they just decided it wasn't cool. I thought you were giving me a story like, oh, they felt sorry for you and they gave you their lunch.

No, no, they thought that you were trash and I had to be taken out. So you had to stay undercover. You're the undercover Haitian. Um, well, I didn't hide. I just like, like I made sure I had friends with like bigger people and just hung out with them. So I would wear my location flag on Haitian flag day, but I'd be like, you know, anybody around the corner. Okay, cool. Cool, cool, cool, Cool. Damn. Oh. Oh man, that was deep. I totally forgot that happened. Thanks a lot. Yeah, I think you're welcome. That's what we're doing. We're unraveling our insecurities as, as a wee little child. Yeah, I mean, so that, that was definitely a big thing in elementary school, but in college, I started, you know, I was kind of okay so coming to UC Berkeley that was a huge uh environment change because it was on the you know north north northern end of California versus so cal um So it was my first flight ever.

I you know I had never flown anywhere growing up um But I was flown up before my first class by um the Filipino community of cal for free. So U. C. Berkeley does this cool thing where all of the like minority groups or whatever have um immersion programs basically where the Filipino community or the um rasa community like for Latinos or the black community they would fly any underprivileged kids over for free and they would meet up and do their own activities and kind of find that community as small as it is in Berkeley you know we were only 22% of the community as Filipinos and 3% for black americans african americans and you know it's such a small percentage. So they're very intentional about that. Um So I was forced to like do all these great activities with hundreds of Filipinos and that's definitely something to be thankful for and I wish I kept stronger ties with them but uh university that focuses on on that and the pride within you know they had business programs for Filipino women, they had dance programs for Filipino women and stuff like that which I never saw in high school that's amazing you know, and some people think it's like um separating the races or you're creating wars or whatever, but it's not, it's a celebration of anything totally.

And you know, I can, I can see that I'm sure that somebody's going to hear what you said about pretending to be mexican and be like, what the fuck? But like you also had to deal with being someone that didn't actually look like everyone else. Like physically, then you have to deal with like, okay, I'm also the only asian person here and also I don't have a left hand. Like how are you going to deal with both of those things? There's no way. Exactly, there's no way. Yeah. And luckily I had to deal with one thing at a time growing up, like I don't know about you guys, um, Chloe Marcia, but like at first it was a race thing and then as I got older, it was a disability thing because you know, I want to start dating people like my friends or um, you know, I didn't care so much about sports in that weird middle school age I did in elementary and high school, but that was when I was truly finding myself and that identity and I'm still finding my identity, but, and then now it's like being a woman of color who was a disabled immigrant and now like openly bisexual and polyamorous and like, you know, all the intersections I can't breathe, Did you get to experience those things like separately Chloe.

I think I had the same trajectory as mary beth but only because my illness didn't come until adulthood. So what I liked what you said, most marciano was like how layered and complex your identity is. I am still working through mine, I'm gonna be 29 in May. Um, but as far as like dealing with things, I'm white, so I didn't have the issue of race growing up and that is something that I've been learning more about these last few years, like what white privilege is what that looks like. And then as far as dealing with my um disability, that was, yeah, that's something I dealt with. I mean I've dealt with since elementary school right? Start to finish and you always, were you always where you are now or did you grow up somewhere else? Or I grew up in about an hour away from where I live now. I've always lived in Iowa in the midwest right? So I like growing up with a disability.

Um, you know, of course that started since birth, just like you. Um, but I didn't realize I was different until, and I mentioned this in the previous episode, but um until, you know, I got taken around the school by my school nurse and kind of showcased all the classes and threatened um, all the classes that like, hey, if you poke fun at her, um you know you're gonna get suspended expelled whatever and I was like what, why? Okay I guess I'm different and then people started laughing and then my own friends kind of like started calling my hand names and calling me names and you know it started crushing a child that's traumatizing but I did yeah. Did you experience any difference between you and the other kids? I don't know if I remember exactly when I realized that was different. It was probably later in elementary school I would say maybe like after a third grade I didn't have the traumatizing experience of like being taken around the school like don't don't make fun of this girl or anything like that.

I was in a private school. I don't know if that made any kind of difference of how kids treated each other maybe because we we talked about jesus a lot and how jesus would treat people. So I think that probably did influence Children to be nicer. Yeah, I hope so. That's really awesome. I think yeah, because I mean I was catholic growing up and I went to sunday school to get my first communion done or whatever. I've been just spiritual since but I remember actually hiding it around that time so people didn't know uh huh were you hiding it during sunday's during sunday school because people were older and I don't know, I never really knew those people. So being catholic then you probably had to deal with at church, you know, and everyone joins hands, I can't remember what part of church it is because I can't go anymore.

Did you guys have to do that? Oh my God, if I could, if I could get a dollar for every time groups forced us to join, I swear I'd be rich and I hate it so much, I despise that part of the church because we have to go to church in school and okay now I'm remembering things, so when it was like thursday mornings or something, when we would go to church and then we'd start our school day, we had the part of church where we'd have to all join hands, I can't remember what it was, if it's like you join hands and you sing or you pray. But there was one day where I was sitting next to a boy and he didn't want to grab like hold on to my right hand, he was like offended that I would even offer it out to him as we were all supposed to join hands. So that was that was traumatizing and that's probably around when I was like okay, I'm different and am I supposed to be ashamed of this because this boy doesn't want to even touch the right side of my body.

Yeah, all the time. And again, like I didn't have better experiences until college because college surprisingly um also still made us hold hands and I still felt uncomfortable. Not like, and sometimes it's funny because like, I kind of did it where I, I extended my arms out and I didn't look at the person, I'm just like, you're gonna do this whether you like it or not because they're making us do it and I'm uncomfortable, you'll be uncomfortable, I don't know, but it goes, they're like, oh yeah, cool and they, you know, they like smiled at me, we had great conversation, went away, went about our normal days, but of course when you were younger kids yell and scream and just refused, like in your case, so sad. I think I'm lucky for that because I did also grow up catholic at sunday school, first communion. Like I did all my, you know, I did my confirmation, but I think I was a little luckier than in that aspect because my church was like, mostly Haitians and like people that were immigrants and so it was like kind of a comforting place and even though I'm not really, I wouldn't call myself catholic now don't follow like, all the traditions, like I would say at least for me that part was positive because it was just people that looked like me that were just like hanging out and we're like, yeah, here we go.

Yeah, I don't have any of those negative parts of it, so that sucks. I'm sure the intentions were great, you know, there it wasn't negative in their eyes because they're enforcing community and love and whatever, but do we have to do this? Can we just stand in a circle and look at each other and yeah, people don't realize, I mean that that's like that's the literal like definition of everyday able ism, right? Like not considering that somebody might have a different experience because of their disability, right? Right, totally. Just kind of going along and moving on like anyways, that's what we do and then like the identity of us being women, like you guys can talk about it obviously, but or um nonconforming genders, what have you? Um But I did it again, I I wasn't aware of my gender until at a much later age where you start noticing um you get asked different questions, you get offered different things, you don't get offered things like pay raises and you know, they make you just work hard, play hard.

Um And don't pay you the same as as your male counterpart who does the exact same work. Um But was there a time for you guys growing up or you're like, oh she shit gender equality, that's that's not a thing. Um I mean I would say it is probably very early for me because I have two older brothers and I kind of I tried to keep up with them, you know? And then you know they'd be doing karate and then my mom would like make me up and I'd be doing like baton twirling, I'm like, yo mom, what the fund is this? I mean obviously I didn't say that I'm for but like that's that's how I felt like I wanted, can I do karate? Like what am I don't like this twirl and ship it? So I think for me that came pretty early and I don't know that, you know, like nowadays now that we know about like, you know, pay gaps and all of those kind of things, I have a feeling, you know, I feel some type of way about it, like you know that kind of stuff makes me upset but as a kid, like I don't think like I think I just accepted it, like I'm a woman, I'm less alright.

Hmm. Right? Like I think I just like internalized it and just accepted it and just kind of moved on. Yeah. Being in sports. I was always like I'm not like the other girls and now I love having those conversations about how that's problematic, but I was like, oh I'm the tomboy, I play sports and I relate to men more than I relate to women, but no, we can relate to everybody and everybody has different hobbies, that's okay. What about you Chloe do you have a moment? I don't know that I do, I would say in the last few years is when I started taking more of an interest in feminism and understanding it, the gender inequality. So there wasn't like one moment where I was like, oh wow, it's just been a progressive thing over the last couple of years. Yeah. And I think the other part of it is like our systems are set up so well that like, you could just not notice it, you could just keep living your life until one day you're like, you know, at your job or I don't know, you know, in a situation where somebody says something, you're like, whoa, that's different for me, what happened, you know, like, you could really exist this entire time and just be like, well this is how life works.

Yeah. Um Yeah, and it's like, and it's great that we're kind of forced to look back on our childhood and our traumas and you know, all the little things that we experienced growing up via parents or school or whatever because um it's not until now where I'm having those really tough conversations about being a woman of color with a disability, like, I'm like, oh ship that happened to me because of this, that happened to me because of this because, you know, I um I'm a survivor of, you know, sexual assault and um, rape. Um and I realized that when that happened as a child, I was powerless, I, you know, I could have probably said no as much as I, you know, as much as I wanted to, but um having that disability and um you know, that that already takes power away from you, um, from your from your male counterparts or whatever and same in college, uh, you are seen as like gold as a woman of color with a disability.

Like that's, that's like an easy target. And I'm very blessed to be where I am at now because so many of us, like don't survive, literally don't survive whether it's um, you know, mental issues growing up, depression, anxiety or um, you know, statistically we have the highest, um, you know, rape rates because of that powerlessness. Um, but that definitely like is a huge contribution as to like where I am today and how much I love people and I love human and I'm starting to love sex. You know, I experienced sex at a very young age unfortunately, but I'm I have total control of that now, you know, And the thing about disabilities is like, it doesn't even have to, you could be physically incapable of stopping a sexual assault, but it it doesn't even have to be that just the fact that you feel powerless. Exactly you at greater risk and you don't even think of that like, oh yeah, I'm missing a hand.

I could have done whatever, but it's not even that it's the mentality of the able bodied, um, you know, oppressive person that sees you as a target. Yeah. And then it is fucked up and you don't, you know, you don't realize your worth. You don't realize like I'm better than this ship? Like, you're just like, oh well, okay, well, I guess this is what happens to people like me. Like Yeah, it's a very sad like, state of mind. But also that's the system that we have. Like that's what it's building. People. Like us start after as we grow up, Like start putting ourselves on pedestals, um because we've survived through ship, we've let us do that because we are warriors everyday that we wake up and go to the gym every day, that we wake up and go to work. Like we're fighting um to this society. Yeah. You're you're just your existence is resistance.

Oh, that's I don't know who's phrase that is, I'm not gonna say I made it up, I didn't make it up, but I like it. And I mean, like I said, I kind of relate to how you said you dealt with race and then disability later and the way that's like fold into my I guess dating or relationships. Like it hasn't affected it in that way totally. Besides the regular level of toxic masculinity and like, stuff like that. But I haven't had to deal with, I don't think having a physical disability and trying to be with another person? Yeah, exactly. How does that change? How you think about who you are and on top of that being a survivor of sexual assault? Like how do you see yourself as like, I'm someone somebody could be with like where do you think happened? You're diving into the deep questions Chloe, do you want to tackle that first or should I? Um yeah, let me, I'll share a little story and then I'll let you so dating was a really awful path to navigate.

And honestly, even like junior high people are like, oh, I have a boyfriend. So like junior high high school, it was hard to navigate because I didn't have anyone that had gone through similar experiences that could help guide me on that path. Um Sorry, there's a time in high school where had a family friend that I wasn't personally close with that had the audacity to ask me, She's like, so before you go on a date with a guy you're interested in, do you tell them about your hand and right knee because obviously it's something that I had thought about, but for her to ask me felt really invasive. Um and there's another time during my freshman year of college, I think I attempted to tell a guy about my hand and immediately his response was, well, I couldn't be with you if you have two different hands.

We hadn't met in person yet. It was, this was like a precursor of us possibly meeting and he shut it down right away. He's like, I could not be with you if you have two different hands. So that was a pretty serious blow. She hadn't even met you yet. No, no, it only I think we met through instagram and yeah, we had been talking with the possibility of meeting up and I wanted to be like, okay, so look, this is who I am. And he was like, nope. How did you feel awful? I cried. I mean, yeah, I was like, oh, I should be ashamed of how I look, I guess. Oh damn, I'm so sorry. Um there was um, I have one more story now. Let you dive into things mary beth there was another time this is college. I don't remember if this was before, after the previous story. I was talking to another guy and I explain to him about my hand.

And like a couple weeks later we had gotten into some kind of argument. I don't remember what the context was, but what I do remember was he lashed out and he was like, are you texting me right now with your strong hand? Oh yeah, yeah. And that I didn't realize then that that was a reference to that awful movie. Is it scary movie? Like the yeah, the spoof. There we go. Yeah, yeah. So he was referencing that The Butler, I believe it's The Butler that has two different hands and you and I talked about that guy all the time. I hate that character. Yes, I hate it so much. But yeah, he was he said, are you texting with your strong hand and I don't remember what my response was. I probably just shut down at that point. I probably didn't respond. So he came at you with anger. Like he lashed out out of nowhere or was I don't like humor.

No, there was there was some kind of of like argument that we were in. I don't remember the context of the argument. It but regardless of the argument it didn't, it shouldn't have ended with him asking if I'm texting with my strong hand. No Like OK Guy, You one Fuck You. Yeah and it's kind of like it's kind of like good that it happened that early, you know because it's something that he was just ready to fire off. Like he was just read clearly clearly. He thought he had that power over you. Oh God. And this was just a friend of yours that wasn't even someone that you were interested in. He was more interested in me than I was him and the ship was lost. But I mean I'm glad that happened when it did not waste more time on them, yep. Yeah. And like okay, I don't know if you're still friends with the other friend who told who asked you? Um the one that asked you if you're going to disclose your hand because disclosure is a really hard thing.

You know right? It's a constant battle because yes, we love our bodies and yes we are confident in our own skin and we have found our strong suits like shit your number three all time in power lifting in your weight class or you know were strong and powerful um in the mind and the heart. Um but why do we have to prove your are worth to Like and why does that define us and degrade us in in any way because ship were capable of love. You know, we're capable of giving love and being loved. Why does our disability have to limit someone's, you know? Yeah. Why do, why do I have to give it to you? As if like this is a term and condition. Like I have to read you the fine print by the way like why can't we just and I don't and I don't feel that way romantically. You know, I I am married with my high school sweetheart so I haven't gone through like that part of it. But as far as like friendships go and people you know like platonic relationships that I do value and I do love.

But like sometimes I feel like I have to give the terms and conditions because I'm like I don't like I'm sorry, I don't have that kind of energy. Like no, I can't hang out with you and do this like no, I can't do that, that's too far. No, I can't do that. It's outside. It's too hot for me. Like I have heat intolerance and like sometimes I do feel like I have to do that, but it shouldn't be like, why do I have to explain myself to make you feel like less insecure? Like what is it? Totally, totally. And I'm and it's awesome. Like one. Yes, we have this podcast and yes, we have this community and I'm listening to more and more podcasts of people with disabilities and the guests that they bring on. And um, a lot of the times, it is like an author or a writer who mentioned something like, um, I actually try not to disclose my disability intentionally in the beginning, um, because, you know, it's just a form of life. It's how I live. But when I mentioned, oh, I'm gonna well myself over to the trash can, that's when it should click or like, because again, that's like a normal way of living for me.

But then their editors go in and like those of you who are authors or writers know this. Like editors go in and say, no, the media isn't ready for that. The public isn't ready for that. You need to literally draw it out for them and tell them from the get go, you have a spinal cord injury. You're in a wheelchair, your wheelchair user yada yada yada. But I'm like, a lot of the times that's not necessary. And you know, like, it really depends what again, medium you're using, but I think friends in the past have felt, um, some friends in the past, like I said in high school, I started hiding it under my shirt or in my pocket or whatever. So friends who have known me for a long time who didn't realize that there was a difference or never stopped to ask me like, hey, why are you okay? Well are you doing that? Um, they felt hurt and betrayed because I didn't disclose to them as good friends, not about them or what, but I felt bad, you know, like there is some guilt that comes with that, but that's also like it's a process and it's gonna be a process until the day we die because there are different times where, you know, the environment is comforting and we feel the best in our own skin, A.

K. A. The you and Chloe, we feel the best martial, we feel the best in the gym. Um, I walk around like with my arms exposed, I don't give a sh it I put, you know, micro plates on exactly, you're always dancing in your videos. Like, and we openly talk about that on social media. It's like a part of our identity either in the gym or online. But of course it's gonna be different elsewhere. And I've been on Tinder, I've been on bumble, you know, like I don't post pictures of my hand or I don't post pictures of my full body because those are not the types of pictures that I take. Um but I feel as though I'm lying, you know? Yes, that's how I felt too. And I never knew how to navigate it. I still don't like if someone asked me, someone came to me maybe with a similar problem, I don't know how to help them because I don't, I don't know what we're supposed to do. Yeah. Right. I mean, I guess the answer is probably different for everybody, but I just, I just at base level just don't be shamed and don't feel like you're less than because you're not and then the rest I.

D. K. Mm hmm. Yeah. So even like I never saw myself as doing this in the past, but now especially um as I'm out there dating, like there are different levels to relationships and friendships because I'm like, okay, we're cool. I can probably see myself hanging out with you in the future. Here's my instagram. Um because they always ask, you know, and that's like, oh ship you remember this community? You're even more awesome. You either get that or like okay, I'm gonna go to now, which I mean, you know, I haven't gotten that in a long time. But um that's the thing. You know, people go to you upon the um finding out about your disability because they think it's, you know, it's a burden on them. That's the biggest thing burden burden burden, we are fully capable. We are fully able to do whatever it is that we need to do.

We've survived this long. Um But I you know I'm curious to talk about somebody with a um with a caretaker. You know how they feel about dating. I know we've got um Eva Sweeney coming up in future episodes which I'm super excited for. And she openly talks about dating and um dating as a queer person. Um And how that disclosure is necessary because one you got to tell them I am not looking for a caretaker. I'm looking for a lover. I'm looking for a fling and kind of reiterating that always there's a lot there's a lot to deal with there. And I can't even imagine um adding another layer to that of being disabled already and already you know a woman or a woman of personal color or anything and then on top of that you're not going to be the standard american heterosexual.

Like you're gonna add something else now. Now how are you going to deal with it? Well so you I mean it's an awesome thing that you did Marseille you hosted um uh what what was that called lift? Oh pull for Pride? Pride. Yeah I'll be hosting it again next year. You are. That was so awesome. So you you brought members of the L. G. B. T. Q. I. A community to dead lift right lift. Only charity competition and and I don't even identify as anything. Honestly. I don't, as far as my sexuality goes. I don't really have a label for it, but I just know in general how that otherness feels and I could just relate like, like I could, you know, I'm not trans. I don't know what that experience is like but at base level I could I could figure that it's going to be some shit like that's that's pretty much where I'm at with that. And so I mean I follow women's strength coalition was pretty awesome and and J.

C. Is alive, who's right now fighting us a pl with their trans bullshit. And then they posted like, oh does anyone want to host one? And I was like, yeah, suck it, why not? I'm with it. Yeah. We're looking for different states to do it in two. So you're bringing that to everyone's backyard. Yeah. And then hopefully I could share that. And I think that's another part of my identity that has come together a little bit better. Is that everything used to be separate. Like, you know, I'm the woman here, I'm the black woman there. Um the spoon e here over here, I'm the athlete and kind of everything is all one now. Like I just exist. You know like something like pull for pride and then you know, going to people that I know outside of the gym and inviting them to come is not something that I would have done. Like I used to keep everything separate. I think that's where I'm struggling with my is I think I feel like separate in all these different categories. Yeah, my street athlete, I'm, I'm differently abled. I'm a dog mom, I have a business, but I'm a student going back to change careers.

So I think it's just me trying to bring that all together and have it more of a day to day flow. I've been there, I've been there and I used to, I really used to live separately. Like people, you know, if I knew people at school when I was in college, they didn't know what I did when I went home, they didn't know that I lifted, they didn't know anything or you know when I like, but now my office is in my gym and you know, I also work in other locations and all those people know what I'm doing and I don't feel ashamed to share my instagram and they'll see that, you know, I cursed and I lifted the shirt off like I used to be like that separate. Like I don't, I don't care. I just, wherever I am, I just am okay. But it's not like it's not an easy journey. Not Yeah, heck yeah. Because so recently, um I think we're going on three months now since I've been openly out as um bisexual, but also I've been playing with the idea of pan sexuality because have you guys heard of pan sexuality.

Um I don't pretend to understand all of these terms and I don't at all. I'm gonna be honest with you. Yeah. I mean, so queer being queer is obviously the overarching umbrella of the L the G the B the T um the p the eye, you know? But um conceptually, I think recently I've related to the most just because um I don't care if you're a woman, I don't care if you're a man. I don't care if you're a straight or a buy or a gay woman. Um or a man. You know, I don't care if you're trans regardless of identity, regardless of how you look, if we can um we have these, you know, similar experiences and we click and all the great things and you love and the way that I do, you know, I will love you. Um so that that's a beautiful thing. But it's also like why why can't everyone be pan sexual?

Yeah, I could vibe with that. I'm totally fine with everything you just said. Yeah. I guess I'm pansexual now, I don't see anything wrong with it. And I think everybody has a little bit of that in like, within them. I think everybody has their own sexuality is definitely right. Yeah. Unless um again, again, I grew up as catholic. So men, yeah, men have to be married with women under a church and all this craziness, but you can't have sex until you get married, you know, man, good old purity culture. The women can't be sluts, but the men do whatever they want, but you know, no, no, no legs closed and only for a man when you get married. Exactly. So is that private still or is that pretty public to anyone? Or is it whenever it comes up, this is how I feel now or how do you navigate? So what's great is um okay, so a lot of people obviously don't know this because I'm very open about my primary partner Jeff who I love so much and you know, we cohabitate together, we have a dog together and all of that kind of spiraled at the same time as um, you know, being openly queer and openly um ethically non monogamous or polyamorous, which we can talk about a little bit, but um without his support, I would, I probably wouldn't have been able to like explore that part of my queerness because I never realized that like, hey, I do enjoy women sexually, I do have these amazing, amazing bonds that I have um with women that I never had with my male counterpart, which is okay, you know, we can have friendships and stuff, but um, I forgot what it was one day where I was like, wait a minute, what if what if not.

Um and what if I'm not actually um conforming to the norms of what the porn industry has taught us, which was, you can only enjoy women with the company of another man, you know, so that is actually how we first brought it up in our relationship was like, hey, let's spice things up, You know, I'm a huge, again, I'm a huge member of the kink community and he's not. Um So we have that balance where I'm like, hey um a year ago or whatever. We started spicing things up and considered bringing a third into the relationship or a unicorn is what they called. It didn't really pan out that way. Um So we haven't had that, which is great because it allowed me to explore that on my own. Um So we opened, we opened the relationship up and we are now ethically non monogamous polyamorous. Um And he is still my primary, but I wouldn't have, you know, been able to explore that without those conversations with him and with my other poly friends, with my other queer friends and realizing also that I can have both.

Um it's not me being selfish and saying, well I don't want to leave you and I love you and I'm comfortable, but I want to explore my sexuality. It's more of like a let's explore this together, you know, he's not a creep, he's not like, hey, can I watch um which is also okay, voyeurism is a part of the community that's okay. Um But um that's not how our relationship is. Um So I've been in, I mean I'm sorry, I'm I'm talking but uh say what you need to say? Okay, get it off your chest. Yeah. Yeah. And it's like again, I'm not an expert on sexuality or identity. I did, you know get a bachelor's in sociology and I took some social sexuality classes and stuff. But I'm only recently in the poly community. So I'm learning all of the layers. Like did you all know that under ethical non monogamy there's polyamory.

There's being in an open relationship. There's polly fidelity, There's hierarchical poly which is where Jeff and I are in. And then there's non hierarchical. Then there's swinging. Mm hmm. I didn't know so many subcategories. Yeah. Um So the umbrella term just like queer. Um The umbrella term is ethical, non monogamy. Which means you know, contention jewel or responsible. Um Non monogamy. Um And then there's so hierarchical poly means I have a primary partner. Then I can have a secondary partner who I can still be in an intimate relationship with. Um And then I can have you know other partners who can be tertiary or whatever. They can have. No no actual place in that. Um. Pollock you'll or they are Pollock you'll is what they call um So there are, you know connections in that family or that web.

Um But then there's like open relationship which is I think a lot more common in today's generation. Where um Yes, you have a primary you have a relationship. But then you're um allowed to have sex with anyone else. And as long as you have open communication and um that trust and you know all the necessities of healthy relationship then that's okay. Um but sometimes open relationships don't allow for like intimate partnerships um which I've been able to develop as a hierarchical policy. Yeah, but I mean that's probably like what you said about all the good parts of relationship, like it doesn't matter which category of anything you call yourself, whether you're in all those categories of poly or pan or by or whatever. It's just even if you're straight, you just like sleeping in different beds, like it's just the point that whoever you're involved with everything is honest. Everything is open.

There's nobody that has more power over the other person and you don't feel, you know, like whoever you're with makes you feel like you're valuable. Yeah, totally. And I think that's. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's probably like to me when you first hear about, you know, anybody being poly or whatever and you don't know anything about it. I feel like most people just assume like, oh it's just one person who just wants to be greedy. Like no like everybody's okay here, you know like it's it's fine. Well that's a beautiful thing about it in today's culture and I'm hoping that it can be a lot more normalized. But yes, there are common misconceptions that it's just another form of cheating that you probably are unable to commit, You're always down the fuck D. T. F. Whatever. That's not at all what it is and it's a lot more progressive than you know what we see in history. The polygamy or the polygamy where the prince or the Um the village chief for the captains have like 5 12 20 wives because those are just like their pets.

Like they're not exactly this is not valuing somebody as a person. Like it's just like I'll take another. Yeah it's a great form of equality because women are being a lot more open and polly and have more control over their bodies sexually. They're having more control over the relationships and they set boundaries and things like that. So it's I just love I love having these conversations with my party um community found them. I'm glad you found them because it's so hard because even you know I'm married to a man and everything is like pretty typical quote unquote and whatever but there's still stuff that's out there in our standard setup that I'm like this is dumb, this is dumb, I'm not doing all the laundry, this is dumb, why should he be able to pick this and that that's dumb. I can make more money than him. Who cares? Like there's so much that's just like what are you talking about and marriage and do talking about marriage, Congratulations Chloe recently got engaged.

Look at that time at that rock, because I make my own rules. So I have both the engagement and the wedding band on. I knew what I wanted. I Both of those two. So, well why would I let this wedding band sit in a box for? I don't know how long, I don't know, officially married money, so I need to wear it. Yeah. Because somebody decided that that's the way the order of things should go. This is stupid dumb. Not that wrong. I feel like I've also been trying to kind of break those barriers because I had considered proposing to, you know, partners in the past or current or whatever, but like, you know, change it up. Like if I feel like the time is right, if I feel like, um, I have the power and finances to do. Why not? I don't, I don't have it. Like, I don't have a story, like I don't have a picture, I don't have anything.

It's just like, you know, I'm going to graduate soon. Oh yeah, you want to get married next year okay from high school? When I was in with pt school. Yeah, I got it. That's just not, that's not the way it worked for us and that's okay because it works for us and it's still a conversation that I'm having as newly polyamorous because I love my primary and I see myself, you know, starting a a future with him. We're already looking into houses and talking about future, dogs and Children, whatever. And um, since this is so new to me, and I'm still newly exploring, it doesn't necessarily mean that I want to hold off on marriage or hold off on, you know, starting a feature, but it's such an essential conversation right now, because, you know, upon reading a few books or whatever, it's actually possible to start a marriage while still being poly or have a family while still being polyamorous marriages, marriages, illegal construct.

That's it for the taxi is that's it. That's it. If you if you end up in the hospital, you only your husband legally can say what's going on. You know, if you split up, you just have to legally split everything like marriage is a legal construct. That that was a lot. But I feel pretty good about it. Uh is there is there any other exploration of self that we didn't cover? I feel like we probably got it all. But yeah, I think we went pretty deep there did, whoops, we did. But I think regardless of whether any of you out there might relate to any of our narratives, just know that you are walking your own line on your own path at your own pace. I don't think I responded to Marcy this question earlier about how public my queerness is because I know that I'll be coming out to different circles at different paces for the rest of my life and doing so just in this space feels freeing but different from when I came out to my mom and my family.

So take your time talk when it feels right and regardless of all these intersectional characteristics that you find yourself identifying with today, Yes, take pride in it, but it does not define you, neither do your past experiences, they can teach you many lessons definitely, but they don't define you or if you're still searching for and working on your inner self like us, great. But in the midst of the searching, exploring, finding learning while it comes with both excitement and pain at times, don't forget to give yourself the love that you deserve because you are worthy. You are in control, you can love and marry and be intimate with whomever you deserve to feel safe, sexy and confident in any relationship including with yourself and also thank you, thank you for listening and allowing us to embellish because there's a huge load that you've definitely helped us lift off of our shoulders.

Now, just know that if there's anything at all that you feel you need to talk to somebody about, we have wide open DM doors, you can reach any one of us on the main disabled girls who lift instagram or reach out to us individually. Marcia is at that dock dot Marsha Chloe is at Chlo dot May dot L And I'm at Mar Bert with two RS and two teas or if you don't have an instagram, just send us an email will answer Alrighty disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who lift. Don't forget to follow rate and like us on Spotify, ITunes and player FM. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left.

E07: Who Am I Even?
E07: Who Am I Even?
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