I’m going through my storage bins of Civil War reenacting stuff because I’m going to the Battle of Resaca in May. I haven’t done this in several years due to bad health and a relapse of my anxiety disorder. But this year, I plan to start getting back into it.
As I was going through my storage bins, I realized some of my stuff is different because I’m a quadriplegic. So I wanted to write about it a little bit, maybe hoping that other disabled people might see that it’s possible to do something like reenacting too. And reenacting is not completely like theater or even cosplay if you think about it. We invest a lot of time, energy, materials, and resources into our Civil War personas the way those in the theater or in cosplay do. So if I can do it from a wheelchair, you can too.
This is 2014 me:
And this is 1863 me:
It’s not easy to discern my quadriplegia when I sit for glass plate photographs, right? It’s not accidental. Wherever possible, like any great actress, I do what I can to convince the viewer of the part I play. For photo sittings like these, I transfer from my wheelchair to a regular antique chair the photographer has in his or her period correct studio. A 21st century wheelchair would destroy the historical illusion.