How is it only Wednesday? Trauma, drama, and why I’m finally speaking publicly about my disabilities

Hazy view of Irvine from the edge of Bommer Canyon.

It’s that time of year again. The stress of the school year is fully upon us and, as usual, I’m a bit behind on grading and research work. My insomnia is at an all-time maximum, as I try to navigate my way through a minefield that includes ongoing pandemic-induced financial insecurity, misogynistic doctors who won’t take “no” for an answer, and the usual interpersonal drama that comes with being a member of an academic philosophy department. After a summer of COVID and reduced work hours, the university has announced that they won’t be paying academic student workers — or distributing pandemic relief funds — until November. One of my friends generously made my car payment for me this month, simply because I couldn’t scrape together the funds. Meanwhile, I’ve been told by university health services that I have to obtain a letter from my doctor in order to “prove” that my uterus isn’t negatively affected by playing sports, despite the dearth of evidence that female athletes are plagued by reproductive maladies. I threw a plate across my apartment yesterday, and the shards are still scattered throughout my kitchen and living room. Overall, I’m not super happy about the current state of affairs.

One good thing that happened in an otherwise bad week is that my interview with Biopolitical Philosophy was published (link here: https://biopoliticalphilosophy.com/2021/10/20/dialogues-on-disability-shelley-tremain-interviews-emily-heydon/). In this interview, I talk a lot about my experience growing up in the conservative religious homeschooling community, my (dysfunctional) relationship with my parents, and ableism in academia. And I say a lot of things that, even a year ago, I wouldn’t have been brave or confident enough to say publicly. To my pleasant surprise, the majority of people have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I’m grateful for all of the kind messages I’ve received. I’m hopeful that things will eventually get better for those of us who navigate academia with trauma and disabilities; but for now, I hope to continue using the little platform I have to raise awareness around these issues.

Next on today’s agenda is more athletics, more grading, and more paperwork to apply for rental assistance. To those coming over from the Biopolitical Philosophy blog, thanks for visiting! (and please subscribe)

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