Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Void of Course"

This is a freebie for Blogging Against Disablism Day. An audience poll has selected the poem "Void of Course" from The Moon Door as today's celebration of access and representation for people with disabilities. This poem is spillover from the January 19, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman and LJ user Lb_lee. It also fills the "mutation / physical transformation" square in my 5-18-15 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest.

Note: There is some squabbling in this poem, because people have different opinions about how to solve problems. It's inevitable in any group, but more common in support groups where folks are perpetually low on spoons. Happily the group has ways of handling this.

"Void of Course"

Hilla and Randie went to every meeting
that they could manage, giving people
information and opportunities.

They helped support the new werewolves
as well as the women who still had
older complaints to cope with.

Minxie Sullivan, who was in
a wheelchair due to a car crash,
wished not to be there and envied
Alexandria her refound mobility.

Minxie wasn't sure yet whether
or not lycanthropy was for her,
but she hounded Alexandria
and Randie for input.

"Tell me again what you're
doing this week," Minxie said.

"Everett finished rewalling the foyer
last week, and now he insists on
finishing the rest of the basement
as a family room," said Alexandria.
"I want to get back into the swing
of things, so I'm helping him a bit."

"Hooray for having an airlock again,"
Hilla said. "I know you missed that."

Samantha "call me Soma" McKenna
was sure that lycanthropy was not
for her, based on the drawback of
drugs not affecting werewolves.

Soma handled her migraines
with copious pharmaceutical support,
some of it legal and some of it probably not.

They'd given up asking Soma
to come to the meetings sober.

When she was sober, she usually
couldn't make it out of the house.

"If you had lycanthropy, Soma,
then you wouldn't need the drugs,"
Minxie said, flicking her short red hair.

"Aaaaand they're off," said Felice,
throwing up her hands as
the argument began.

Minxie was as adamantly against
drugs as Soma was for them,
which left them butting heads
with each other and often
aggravating other people
in the group as well.

"Hey, try to keep it down,"
Randie said. She did not
feel comfortable with conflict.

Vienna, like Minxie, was
considering lycanthropy
as one possible solution.
Her chronic pain stemmed
from complications following
sexual realignment surgery.

"I want to hear more about
the mood swings," said Vienna.
"Hilla's seemed pretty bad for
a while, but you're more level.
"Why do you think that is?"

"We came into it from
totally different angles,"
Randie said thoughtfully.
"I was healthy, so I crashed,
but pretty soon I leveled out
to just sort of meh. Hilla was
already so sick that her feelings
had flatlined, so she basically
bounced all over for a while."

"I'm already wrecked," Vienna said.

"Wait a minute," Hilla said,
recalling how her truncated arm
had regrown in the first change.
"Vienna, you can't -- I mean,
you could but you shouldn't."

"Why not?" Vienna said,
frowning at Hilla.

"Because lycanthropy restores
your body to optimum health,"
Hilla explained. "For most of us,
that's a good thing -- but you've had
some surgeries whose changes
really need to stay put."

"Oh," Vienna said, her dark face
clouding over. "That would be ... bad.
Even now that my image fits better, it's
a struggle to stay invested in life when
so many people want transfolk to go die."

"Antidepressants are your friends,"
Soma purred. "You should try some."

"Yeah well, some of us have the kind
of problems that drugs can't fix,"
Vienna snapped at Soma.

"This is Vienna's decision anyway,"
said Felice. "Leave it to her."

"The moon is void of course,"
Soma announced. "Right now is
a terrible time for anyone to make
major, life-changing decisions."

"Oh, not that woo-woo shit again,"
Minxie whined, rolling her eyes.

"There are contraindications, though,"
Alexandria said. "We need to keep
an eye on those and not let anyone
step into an avoidable disaster."

"Let's not fight about it," Randie said,
patting the air with her slender hands.
"This situation is frustrating enough
already. You are supposed to be
a support group, right? Then you
should support each other."

"We're trying," Hilla said.
"It's just difficult sometimes.
Bear in mind that not even
lycanthropy can fix everything."

It was inevitable for tempers
to grind together frequently in
a group where everyone was
sick or hurting most of the time.

"Circle of hands," Alexandria suggested.
"Randie is right; we should get back
on track with our core purpose."

So they linked hands around the circle,
and Felice led a breathing exercise
focused on conflict resolution,
which helped people relax.

Even if they couldn't fix everything,
they could still be there for each other
through whatever may come.

* * *


Michelle "Minxie" Sullivan -- She has porcelain skin, green eyes, and straight red hair to her chin. A car accident damaged her legs and spine, leaving her paralyzed from the hips down. She also suffers from chronic pain.

Samantha "Soma" McKenna -- She has tawny-fair skin, amber eyes, and and long wavy hair of dark brown. She is 39. She suffers from migraines, so often wears dark glasses. Soma relies on heavy drug use to control her pain and other symptoms, which means she is rarely sober. Sometimes this puts her in conflict with group members who prefer to avoid drugs.

Soma's triggers are italicized.

Many factors have been identified as migraine triggers.

  • The normal hormone fluctuations which occur with regular menstrual cycles may predispose some women to experience migraine headaches.
  • Some types of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can trigger migraines.
  • Various foods such as:
  • Oversleeping
  • Alcohol beverages
  • Stress
  • Exposure to strong stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells.

Changes in barometric pressure have been described as leading to migraine headaches.


Vienna Williams -- She has sorrel skin, brown eyes, and long black hair with just a hint of wave. She is 35 years old. She is transgender and suffers from chronic pain due to complications following sexual realignment surgeries. These types of surgeries are notorious for things going wrong.

* * *

The Moon takes about two and a half days to pass through each astrological time. However, during part of this time it does not make any new planetary connections. That time is known as "void of course." This timespan can seem confusing, chaotic, and unmoored. Try to avoid starting new projects, making major financial decisions, signing contracts, or doing other important tasks. Instead focus on play, creativity, and completing older unfinished projects.

Decision-making is a basic life skill. There are many tools to help you make better decisions. Here is a whimsical decision-making worksheet, a more serious one, and a pro-con chart.

Shared decision-making in health care encourages caregivers and clients to work together for the best solution. This worksheet set helps with that process. Supported decision-making helps people with disabilities to do as much as they can on their own, while providing necessary assistance. This is very helpful for people with chronic conditions, who may feel overwhelmed by all the health-related work that must be done. Here is a guidebook on supported decision-making.

There are many techniques for managing group conflict and promoting healthy communication. Remember that everyone disagrees sometimes; it is a natural and necessary part of human interaction. Just focus on keeping it safe and sane. Also consider which things to ignore and which need resolution.

Transfolk face a lot of transphobia, which leads to high rates of bashing and suicide risk. Understand how to support transgender people and promote equality.

Breathing exercises have many benefits, one of which is that you can use them for conflict resolution.
Tags: activism, community, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, holiday, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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