The Missability Posts

I have been thinking a lot lately about The Missability Radio Show. Every year around this time, I start getting emails from the people who host the site, asking me if I want to pay again for it to remain online, and if I want to continue owning the domain name

‘If I have to live in pain, I plan on doing it in style’ – T-shirt I made during the development of The Missability Radio Show project.

I always do renew the hosting fees, and pay for the domain name. And I am hoping that after my PhD is finished, I can dedicate some time to finding a permanent home for the amazing walking stick cosy collection that was created as part of that project.

The Knitted Walking Stick Cosies from The Missability Radio Show, created by knitters from all over the UK.

However as well as these ongoing administrative reminders and outstanding tasks associated with the project, I have a deep and personal attachment to The Missability Radio Show, which is perhaps best summed up here in what I wrote on the why Missability? page of the website;

I became fascinated in developing strategies for specifically addressing the pitying looks of strangers, the lack of positive, sexual, disabled imagery, and the absence of any obvious cultural distinctions being made between male or female disabled experience. I revised the Universal Access Symbol so that it included an overt reference to the cultural construct of womanhood. I decorated my walking stick with felt so that people would ask me where I got such a great stick instead of fixating on the nature of what was ‘wrong’ with me. I made up stories about how supermodels were going to learn to copy my inimitable walk and how my slow, arthritis-impeded gait was going to define a whole new trend within fashion. I bought huge rings to adorn and draw attention to my fingers when active inflammation ‘deformed’ their ‘correct’ shape. These defiant and subversive artistic endeavours became symptomatic of a total creative approach to disability that I have termed ‘Missability.’

The Missability Radio Show was the culmination of eight years of working imaginatively and creatively through issues concerning disability, identity, sexuality, fashion, beauty, access and feminism, and having a disability has shaped the course of my life on many layers, and it is a part of me that is too integral and important to deny.

Turning 26 with sequins and a sparkly walking-stick.

I have been reminded of these things recently through amazing conversations with Brenda, through reading Caro’s blog, through my ongoing battle to lose weight and take the strain off my permanently rubbish feet, through an ongoing battle to keep on top of my weekly Enbrel injections, and of course through reading Kate’s blog.

Although through the wonders of my weekly Enbrel injection I now no longer deal daily with the excruciating pain and crippling immobility that active arthritis produce, I still tick the ‘disabled’ box on forms where you are asked to state your ethnicity, gender, country of origin and other identifying factors, and when friendships begin for me, in the inevitable ‘tell-me-about-yourself’ conversations that happen, I always end up talking about disability in some way. However I have noticed that discussions of disability remains conspicuously absent from this blog, and Kate’s brilliant posts lately have both stirred up a lot of memories that I find I want to talk about, and drawn to my attention the crucial importance of discussing disability more openly. I am therefore embarking on a series of posts exploring disability, from my own unique, Missability perspective.

The first post is going to be about sound and disability, so by way of introduction I’ll leave you with the words to the Missability Radio Show jingle, and the Frida Khalo song which I wrote for episode 3 of the show.

The words for both are:

1. This is the Missability Radio Show, you might hear about something that you don’t know about on the Missability Radio Show, you might hear about something that you don’t know about… Missability, Radio Show! You might hear about something that you don’t know about… etc.

2. Frida Kahlo… this one’s for you. Frida Kahlo, you’re like a jewel in my heart… and accounts of you and your life make me laugh, make me cry, make me feel… true. I can’t know what it was like, to be in desert, the flower of pain.. to be a wound in the open Earth… And I don’t know what it was like to have your pain, but I know what it was like to have mine… and when I look at images of you I see how you found a way to shine. This is not about being brave, this is not about being great in spite of it all… no, no, no, no, no, no… this is about integrating your pain into your life and putting it up where the world can see how you feel inside… this is about pride.

Tonight I am using mobile broadband which won’t let me upload mp3s for some reason, I will add the tunes in later but in the meantime, they can be heard over on The Missability Radio Show Myspace page.

One Response to The Missability Posts

  1. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » Sonic updates

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