With all that has been going on and all that I’ve endured over the last year, I haven’t really wrote about what’s going on inside; what my thoughts are. I’ve invested so much time in advocating for others. I’ve found joy in trying to make things better for those in my community, that I’ve lost myself in that. I’ve kept a lot of my pain, my disappointment locked inside and only ranted on Facebook, occasionally. I cannot tell you how many times I have started to write something and then erased it, only to sigh and think that it would just get negative feedback. When I have spoken my mind it almost always comes back to bite me in the ass. Where I find it being honest, many see it as me expecting more that someone like me deserves (someone in a wheelchair, someone of minority status). To others, I am a whiner. Still, to others the more I keep my mouth shut the better they think it is.

Me with my nephew, Lil B

Well, I don’t think I should keep quiet anymore. I’m frustrated and angry. I am sick of being dependent on a government, on a country that does not give two shits about people with disabilities. In every aspect of my life, I face some form of oppression and I am sick of it. I am a person DAMMIT. Tomorrow, it could be you in the wheelchair. Only then will you understand what it feels like to be constantly treated as less. This isn’t just at school, it’s everywhere EXCEPT my home. At home, I am treated like a person. I am loved and respected. People get mad at me more for my OCD tendencies, because I drive them crazy. The wheelchair is not really even a part of who I am. It’s a mere form of getting me from place to place, and yet I depend on it for my livelihood. I depend on it for my independence. That part really sucks.

I have mixed feelings about being in the film program. Do not get me wrong. I am happy I got in. I worked my ass off. I did so much to get there and I was rewarded for it. The faculty genuinely LIKED my work and they allowed me to become the first person in a wheelchair to get to Junior year of the BFA program. That is overshadowed by the constant reminder by my peers that I am not good enough. They may not realize it, but not one of them has ever said anything about what they liked in my work. Everything has always been about what I did wrong. Only two people have ever said anything nice. EVER. All the rest has been: yeah, I didn’t really like this or that or you should have done this or that. I do not expect everyone to like my work, but this seemed abnormally harsh. Never a nice word. EVER. Even the film that all the faculty really liked was met with nothing but criticism, except from Russ. They didn’t like my handheld (Russ did). There was too much sex. They didn’t get the one part, except one of the aformentioned people, who liked the way I did it. The criticisms went on and on. That wears on a person. I just keep reminding myself I am not making it to please them. I am making it because I feel a passion for what I have filmed and I am satisfied with it.

On top of that, I am never invited to any set. One student told me it is because nobody believes I am capable of helping on set and it is up to me to inform them of the things I can do. They know I do things on my own set. I can slate. I can do PA work. I can also help with the audio. I can help with casting (finding the cast, helping outside the room they are casting, etc.) I am not incapable of doing things. When everyone was invited to help with the Junior films I wasn’t. After the hurt wore off I made it known I was having surgery anyway, to make it as though I didn’t want to be a part of it, but knowing EVERYONE else had been invited, even freshman with less experience than me were invited onto the sets, was kind of a slap in the face. How would anyone else in the department feel if they were the only one left out completely? I know I am not alone. This has been happening for years in the film department. I am not the only person in a wheelchair to be left out, even when offering to help. I am sad that this has happened to them, too and I know that singling out people because of their chair is pretty common in any setting, but Wright State is a school that prides itself on accessibility to ALL students. It’s not like I am asking to work on private projects, but school projects should be accessible so anyone who wants to help can come and learn.

When we were brought in, for our meeting, Jim made it clear this was a collaboration. I spent last year trying to reach out to my peers. I tried to do that this fall and nobody would help. I’ve let them borrow some of my equipment. I was willing to let them do that, but then when it became apparent the only reason they bothered talking to me was for my film equipment, I stopped letting them borrow it. I genuinely tried to be friends with some of these people and instead, I had peers kicking me, others excluding me, and some even treating me like something subhuman. I am wondering how I am going to collaborate with people who think I am not even a human? I really am no longer trying. I will get my own crew, my own people to help me, as I have for every other film. I am done being a patsy who is only good for borrowing equipment. If that means that nobody works with me, then I guess I get through this program alone.

As for not having a wheelchair, my whole life fell apart when my wheelchair broke down. The films I was making have been put on hold. I am lucky I have nice bosses because I’d have lost my jobs. The being in bed part is the worst. I’ve become so independent I have become massively depressive in just a short time. I think I have symptomatic depression because it only seems like I get depressed when shit like this happens. I want to go back to not having to worry how I get around. I want to know I have a reliable way to get around. Not having that has made me emotional. I hate being emotional. My life was really turning around for the better. I was happy. I’ve been losing some weight slowly. I’ve been invested in filmmaking and I had some great film ideas coming to fruition. Then, all of this disrupted everything.

Right now, my future is uncertain. I have nobody working on getting me a new wheelchair. I am trying to find a new wheelchair company. I am praying my wheelchair does not break down again. I am trying to make things positive, but for the first time in a long time, I am scared that I won’t be able to do any of the things I want, because my wheelchair working is a constant worry I face. If I thought talking to someone would help, I’d go find a therapist. If I thought becoming an alcoholic would help, I’d go to the bar to numb the pain. Instead, I continue to lay here in bed and hope tomorrow, when I wake up, someone will tell me this is all just a nightmare and everything will be fine again.

[tags]mental health, film school, disability, my head, emotions, thoughts, sadness, depression, unwelcome, film student, motion pictures, wheelchair[/tags]

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