Thought question: How can I believe in the self determination of Disabled people - first hand knowing what it is like to have violent thoughts about yourself constantly, and not hold the standard of anti violence when it comes to suicidality?
I write when I have a lot to say. When the ideas and conclusions are so great, my mind can no longer hold them.When I feel like I've thought something out so much it should be produced into the words and be shared outside my mind. And for a few months now, I have been going back and forth about anti violence work whilst believing in the free will we have as humans.
A quote I think about a lot, that I've heard more than once, but do not know the source to is that, "the state-the system is designed for us to kill ourselves"as Black people. And while that quote is often just attributed to lack of resources for adequate food, education, job opportunities, and other things coupled with upward mobility by class, taking that quote literally, and intersectionally, in the realm of Disability theory and ableism is complicated.
What is anti-violence?
First of all,
This is not about US second amendment rhetoric, which I clearly see as black and white - in lieu of mass shootings and lynchings of Black people at the hands of police, Black and brown people abroad at the hands of US imperialism, etc., there needs to be a severance of the relationship our country has with guns. A severance of the notion of entitlement to kill people -for whatever concocted reason- to own and shoot [to kill] a gun, especially without consequences. Would there be the same rate of killing of our technology wasn't so "advanced"? No, but the aggression may still be there. Hence, we must address and practice notions of non violence, and de escalation. In struggle, on our path to liberation however, so long as one side remains visibly armed,genocidal, and homicidal, there will be no negotiation. There can't be.
This is not pro life rhetoric either. If you're thinking in matters of abortion, anyone should have the right to give life. No one should be forced to give life. And along with that, no one should be forced to live in destitution under underfunded and understaffed state care. If you're thinking about mass incarceration, we should not seek incarceration or punishment of death rather than rehabilitation back into society as a free person.
What unifies all of those political stances is the conscious notion of anti violence. No one should have violence inflicted upon them for any reason.
Here, violence comes in response to violence. Violence is not considered as a first option of anyone, against themselves or others. It is a last resort to lack of resources, communication, or even will to explore other options. I of course subscribe to Malcolm X's school of |b y a n y m e a n s n e c e s s a r y|, all the same as Kwame Toure [pictured above]. State violence is organized. Everyday violence is not the same. For a less violent society, a disarmed society, yes disarming ourselves at the individual level is necessary. But first, there must be a radical restructuring of the state. That's what I'm interested in.
Have you enabled suicidality?
As I've said before, we can do whatever we want as human beings.
You have the right to kill yourself, as do I. This is not an organized revolution or uprising. This is about self control and response to adversity. I will not support violence against people in matters of life and death. To choose violence is to choose death. Seeking help, exploring different modes of wellness, talking about your identified problems, and finding community, is to choose life. Suicidality is not harmful, suicidal ideation is. That contemplation is essentially different because we make can the conscious decision to act on it, or not.That conscious decision to stop fighting, ignore resources, and give up on oneself, is one I will not support or enable. I have before, and that led to almost losing my life multiple times.
In my recovery and growth since then, I have talked to suicidal people, not in moments of ideation, but in action,as in seeking help. To support suicidal people is to be there for them physically, emotionally, or in spirit. To listen to them, share resources, and be present with them. Supporting suicidal people is not ignoring them for whatever reason or blocking them out because you are too simple, and they are too complicated. Supporting suicidal people is not going into moral debate with them about their right to kill themselves, rather than seeing if they are in a safe place in their mind-body. Stigmatizing struggle and trauma is often about hiding your proximity to it and sustaining that privilege. This is not that. To be someone that has been in behavioral health units, has those thoughts, and someone that advocates on these issues, I cannot enable violence against yourself.
Life gets bad. We experience trauma We lose people in life. We don't wanna struggle no more. We are tired of fighting for ourselves everyday, in our minds, and in the streets. I understand. But death is not freeing, quite the opposite. It's limiting. You life ends right there, yes the trauma, and yes the infinite amount of opportunities, people, and places you have yet to experience thus far. Bootstrap rhetoric says figure that shit out, don't complain, and don't blame; that you alone control your destiny. Believing in, and practicing intersectional theory in this case means acknowledging all of the systems of power and oppression that have, do, and will affect you. Self empowerment and self determination are not mutually exclusive with that logic.
Only in community, and direct commitment to radically loving myself was I able to gain control of my life. I have found that this common narrative among survivors of suicide attempts and Disabled people that struggle with violent intrusive thoughts.
I'm not saying 'Why are you like this' nor am I screaming 'Get better'. I'm sharing my story and anti violence rhetoric which centers Black, Disabled, Queer people. I am operating within a Critical Disability Theory in critiquing violence: to self - suicidality and suicidal ideation, anti violence, and organized violence, law, and power.
I seek to help and motivate others as best I can. I will be there for YOU. Maybe you can't do it alone, but I'm not going to suggest giving up, or death as the answer.