A lot of people who know me online and offline know that I am a fighter. They know that I am brave. If there’s an emergency, I’m one of those people who keeps their heads and keeps you safe.
What you might not know is that for as much fight and bravery I have, there is one area that I feel utterly defeated and that’s my brain damage. One of the first things school taught me was that unless it was a situation that could create a liability for them, they didn’t care. They cared that I could have seizures, but they didn’t care if I couldn’t read or hear sometimes. I’ve been shamed and ridiculed by many teachers on many grade levels for asking for something important to be printed on white paper or for them to repeat something. When I was little, the problem was worse and I didn’t realize that what I was epxeriencing was a breaking down of visual and auditory processing, but by the time I realized the words I needed to convey why their “best reader” couldn’t read something or why the kid with the “best hearing” didn’t understand what they just said, I had graduated from university.
This t logo with the flashing colors that could become hypnotic enough to provoke a seizure in me is part of a long list of grievances nobody cares to help me with. Before this, the not found pages got stroboscopic and I installed X-Kit to fix it. Before that, deviantART showed me that even after ten years of being on their website, they still don’t care enough to make some kind of alternative skin so I (and many others) can navigate and read their site more easily. I’ve been called a liar by a lot of school officials for telling them I couldn’t read (or sometimes couldn’t see) the print on some colored piece of paper or heard mumbling instead of instruction. When I say “I don’t count” and “I don’t matter,” it’s not my depression talking, it’s just a fact. My needs don’t matter and they’ve never counted. I had to stop watching The Flash (CW), Hannibal (NBC), and maybe Doctor Who because nobody cares about people with photosensitivity. Yeah Hannibal warned for one episode, but then they brought the strobe light back without a warning in another episode and used these situations that would cause occipital lobe damage to justify murder by one character and attempted murder by another.
I just am so exhausted by this. Before school, I felt like an alien. As i began to feel human, teachers and students treated me like an object that you had to abuse to gain favor with popular kids, and from that point onward, I feel like an object. This my needs don’t matter only intensifies this feeling that I’m not human and I’m unworthy of being treated as such.
I don’t even want special treatment. I just want a more upfront system about stroboscopic and other photosentivie disorder-triggering effects like we have for sexual, violent, and adult content. I don’t need a movie like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) or a TV show like The Flash to never exist, but for them to be honest that they’re a movie and a TV show I can never watch. I don’t need the t logo to change for everyone or for deviantART to give up on its preferred color scheme, I just want an opt out of the flashing t logo and a skin from deviantART that accomodates peope who cannot read the default skin effectively. I don’t need other students to have their syllabi printed on white paper instead of purple paper, I just need my copy to be on white paper, and offline, I will always pay extra for my special needs (mostly because I honestly barely have enough money to pay for my needs offline let alone online and offline). I want to feel like I have a place in this world. I want to feel like I’m not this fungus that somehow learned to talk. But, I know that’s wishful thinking. I know how tired I am about trying to assert myself as a person worthy of what I need to ease burdens I’ve had since I was born.