I’ve been using a picture of a stork as one of my icons on LJ for awhile. The reason has nothing to do with babies (except perhaps, tangentially, those of us who have been stereotyped as black stork babies). I described my reasoning in what I wrote for AutCom, as part of an explanation of why flexibility is so important in services.

Storks do not fly long distances under their own wingpower. What they do, is catch hot air currents called thermals, and use them to assist their flight. This does not mean that they don’t do any work, but that they have to keep track of exactly where to concentrate their work, among a shifting mass of air currents.

Well… that seems to be how my mind works. There are all sorts of things equivalent to thermals: Perception, movement, communication, language, contemplation, etc. They’re always shifting around, and I can’t always be certain that something’s going to be there at any given time, or what form it will take when it’s there. I have to plan my life around this kind of unpredictability.

This does not mean that I am simply carried around without having to do any work, but it does mean that there are some areas where, for that moment, all the work in the world won’t do much of anything but wear me out, and other areas where the work I put in goes further. It also means that what I set out to do isn’t always what’s going to happen, and when it does happen it can be through a roundabout sort of route.

Storks suit me better than spoons, even colored ones, at any rate.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

9 responses »

  1. Yeah, that’s more accurate — and more authoritative — than the spoon deal, which never sat entirely well with me, since something about it seemed to lean on the theory that disability’s a real pain in the ass. And that it was possible to use a rather simplistic analogy to illustrate what it’s “like” to be somebody else.

    A black stork symbol might actually be cool, if it weren’t so menacing . . . I suppose it might border more on “autie superiority” than “autie power”, and of course you’re not going for that.

  2. I’m not sure why black storks would be particularly menacing, except that they’ve been painted that way as opposed to white storks in the symbolism of whether they carry “good” or “defective” babies. (Which is not only eugenicist but racist.)

    I think they’d make a good symbol for those of us with conditions targeted by modern-day eugenics in general.

  3. It’d be menacing if people took the symbol for all its eugenic implications — in reverse. By “autie superiority” versus “autie power” I mean using the black stork symbol could be taken as something more along the lines of “We’re here and there are more of us coming – and we prefer that there are more of us than of you”. While “we’re here and there are more of us coming” is fine, that latter part doesn’t jive well on the equality spectrum. ‘Cause it’s just as silly to say that disabled folks are superior as it is to say that non-disabled folks are superior.

    Does that make sense? Maybe it’s too nuanced to put so simply, or maybe I’m complicating the symbolism, but I seem to be on the waning end of my eloquence cycle. Whaddayagonnado.

  4. I toyed with “get used to it”, but felt like I was ripping off queer power. ; )

    So it’s settled, then? Viva La Cigüeña Negra?

  5. I think probably every brain’s a stork, partly just because I trust the rule of thumb that every brain has aspects that are liable to be called pathological and become identified as “a condition”/”syndrome”/”disease” when that brain exhibits them with significantly more or less intensity than is the statistical norm in the social setting in which that brain finds itself. As you remark about personhood in your video, a lot rides on what we all expect of others. Still, it takes expectations to plan, and to plan is only prudent.

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