You would like to think that woman-on-woman crime is a thing of the past. After all, didn’t we all see Mean Girls?
But that leap of faith into the waiting arms of fellow sisters is still something that I would hesitate to undertake with an unfortunate number of ladies that I encounter.
Part of this is particular to my experience as a self-identified disabled woman, and part of this is shared with all other self-identified women in general. However, there are ways in which these two marginalised identities intersect and create a specific pain.
The one I’d like to talk about right now has to do with makeup, fashion, and a little thing called #hospitalglam.
I am a rather heavily-femme lady. I enjoy makeup, dresses and skirts that wiggle down my hips or flare out in a big swoosh, the feeling of my hair swirling into curls after a night spent sleeping in rollers, and sparkles on my nails.
This is not for everyone. It’s not even for all burlesque performers, which is something that we sometimes forget in my little community — glitter isn’t actually mandatory.
This kind of outward appearance can take time and effort. Those who have spent mornings with me know that there is A Process to getting myself ready for the world and you do not want to mess with my Process. While it can sometimes be inconvenient to spend this extra time in the morning, I enjoy my Process, just as I enjoy the products of my labours.
I view that time spent in front of the mirror as self-care; I’m delighting in both my magical powers of transformation and in my Self and my body. These two sources of happiness, the feeling of power and control that I’m exhibiting through hair rollers and contouring, and the appreciation that I exude and is reflected back to me are of particular significance to me given my disability.
I have a troubled relationship with my body. I feel like this is natural, considering the pain I am feeling on a regular basis and the difficulty I experience moving through spaces not designed for my mobility needs. My body can sometimes feel like some alien being trying to communicate with me through tension and spasms — something at the very least that is wildly unpredictable if not actively hostile. It is certainly never “under my control.”