My Harrowing/Hero-ing

Walking Away: A Self Portrait in Red, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015
“Walking Away: A Self Portrait in Red” photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015

When I take action to control my life, I’m told I’m being manipulative. When they say I do not inform them of my life plans, it means they wanted me to ask their permission. When I decide what I want to do, it’s not done against anyone else’s will. When I ask for help, I am not asking for everything. When I ask for assistance, I am grateful, because there are things I cannot do for myself due to abilities I lack. I ask to be useful in return.

…and here’s where it gets personal.

It is not my fault when my help is refused. I am not your burden when you took me on as a “project”. I am not a project. I am a person, and I grow, I learn, and despite disabilities, in order to be happy, I have to help myself, do for myself, and not subsist on the crumbs public assistance assumes will leave me healthy.

I never ask anyone to break their back for me. I never lifted a hand to swipe away your bread for mine. I never got this depressed and sick in order to live lazy. When I volunteered at places I loved to work at, with people I loved to work with, it’s not my fault they turned me away because they thought the work was too hard on me, or maybe they thought I became a burden, too? If I cannot even volunteer, what use am I?

When I lost friends, those so-called pals told me they dumped me because they wanted to remember me as I was before I lost my health. But I am beyond pleasing them showing how crazy that made me feel. And when I could not fulfill deadlines for projects of my own, my passions were dying, I felt my fire flickering, my heart burning… What does it matter if I fail or not when I am considered this burden?

I cannot be a burden. It’s too heavy. I have to lose this weight. Not in the physical sense, but as in this weight of expectation. No more will I let my father tie me to the ground and shape my body into nothing but fat. No more will I let anyone sink me into mud whenever they give me looks of disgust like that. I am not this weight. My body is more than fat and meat. I’m not this heavy thing, yet…

I can be an anchor.

I intend to take action to control my life, and, yes, that is being manipulative because I am cutting off these strings to be master-less. I intend to live my life as I’ve always lived, really: as I choose, by my own power, whether or not you feel it’s what you think is proper or not. I do not need approval or acceptance. I never did. I don’t exist to take advantage of anyone. If I can, and I do, I support others in return with the abilities that I have that you do not. What I can do no one else can, and in that I have great value. Let me shine. Let me be my best. Let me produce.

I am a creatrix.

I should not subsist on crumbs, or favors, or public assistance alone. The shame of disability is a shroud created for me once diagnosis rears its ugly head and all the medical expenses pile up, keeping me a slave to an insane little budget, but how else to live when I have to maintain this balance? I no longer fit the mold. Since I cannot do as all the rest, what use is there for me? Do I forfeit all my learning and talent and remain in my closet drawing pretty pictures no one will see? So what shall I do? Wait to die? For years this body has rested underneath the burden of being a burden, practically the word alone “disabled” is enough to shame me into permanent instability. I am not disability itself. I am my own person. I am myself. Don’t mock me or tell me I’m this burden on society, or that my illness means you’re obligated to nurse maid me to Hell. I am not a crippled child who needs to lean on you in that fashion. Who said you had to work for me? Or fix me? It’s not your job.

While on disability, I’m not unemployed, I am working for myself.

When I choose to stand up for myself, I am not putting anyone down. When I decide to try something new, I am not abandoning help. When I ask someone to let me go, I am not asking them to dump me. Stop beating me up for being me. Quit hurting yourself taking responsibility for me. I never asked you to take my job. That’s always been up to me. Someday you won’t ever have to worry. It’s okay to think like you do because you really think it’s because you care. But it’s not helpful.

I am strong. I survive. I work my way through many tough things. But even when I am alone, I realize my survival has been the sum of many peoples’ assistance through many years. Even in my solitude, I am not an island.

I want you to know, I am not this so-called burden. Each time I’m called that, I think I die, and sometimes I thought I did, but each time I bounce back, I know it’s a lie. I grew up angry. How many women like me are told the same thing? How many lose their lives trying to work their way out of being a burden? How? Why?! I suppose I’m to feel guilty for everything they did for me when I couldn’t do anything in return, and they knew I didn’t have the means, so why did they decide to make me a burden? Does it feel good to stab themselves for picking me up when they knew I was too heavy? Because I’m not stabbing them. Just like they accuse me. I don’t do anything! All day, oh, yes, I sit here and project nothing. Especially not that.

Once you realize I am not a burden, you’ll be on to calling someone else the same thing. By then, I hope, I will have forgotten the sorrow of it, yet for now it is not a nothing, it is something I choose to toughen me up. I do not like getting like that. I like being soft, but like so many of you have told me,

  • “it builds character”


(not addressed to any one person, or organization, but written for all the women like me who are striving for independence while living with a disability)


3 thoughts on “My Harrowing/Hero-ing

  1. Hi Valiente,
    I subbed awhile back but somehow didn’t get your newer blogs. Strange huh….roll on spooky music. Lol I really like your blog a lot as you write with such intensity that I almost feel somewhat “voyeur” whilst reading your thoughts. Don’t ever give up as to be honest I’ve endured nearly 15 years of chronic pain caused by various old work injuries, incurable autoimmune disorders and far too many others to write on here. Lol
    But I also suffer from PTSD, Bipolar, major depression badly at times too.
    Point is like you I am a Survivor and don’t ever want anyone’s pity. As like you, I can do and see and know spiritual things that other people can’t do or know. BTW I’m older than you, lucky you I read your around 40. You look really young for your age, luck you! I’m 52 now and of true Crone age and feeling it. Many people have asked me how I’ve survived so much illness? As well as all the tragedy of mammoth proportions in my youth? Spirituality is the main reason and I realise after reading your blog I really do need to do so much more now. Like you I’m kind of an Eclectic HedgeWitch, eccentric, Goth witch lady who treasures her family and close friends and keeps them close to my heart always. Ive really been getting into reading your blogs sometimes randomly going way back to 2012. So I’ve got a pretty good idea about you, what you do and whom you truly are:) Like you I keep to myself a lot not because I’m an introvert as I’m really a full on typical Arian Fire sign, extrovert party animal whom loves to go out…that’s how I was before I became so sick. It’s my chronically bad health that has forced me to become far more introverted as although I will never be cured, my quality of life with far better pain meds give me far more of a chance to go out and actually live. As I live in coastal rural South Australia, I unfortunately don’t live by a forest but we do live on top of the cliffs overlooking the sea. We did have 2 cats but sadly they’ve passed on awhile ago now. But we do have our adorable and the most sooky, spoilt dog in the Southern hemisphere. Lol His name is Max and he’s a golden English cocker spaniel and he will be 11 yrs old next week. I also should mention that I’m lucky enough to be married to my soul mate and we go down to the beach as often as we can.
    I just wanted you to know that so many of your experiences resonate with mine. Some exactly the same and others very similar. I think you’d enjoy my blog on WordPress. It’s:
    I’ve only written 3 blogs so far which is kind of slack. Lol But I have a couple of other blogs & even one about severe abuse within psychiatry. It’s very cathartic to write yet so painful. That’s why I can’t write the link on here…but you can find it on my full Grav profile on my blog. I must get to bed as its after 3am. Yes I’m a night owl and love nothing better than to do full ritual and magick either on the cliffs overlooking the sea, or down on the beach or in my backyard too. Well I hope that you enjoy my blog as much as I’ve enjoyed reading yours and have lots more to go. I look forward to hearing from you and please feel free to let me know what you think? I think you will find my blog on Entheogens, chronic pain and consciousness quite enlightening as well.
    Most of all I know what it’s like to have a Disability and have to live with its stigma. I have so many issues both physical and psychological that I’ve been told that I will never work again. I want you to know that I empathise with your feelings about not being a burden. Your not and that’s it as you obviously have so much to offer. After all I’ve lived it too for far too long where my successful career is now in the distant past and yes that in itself can be somewhat depressing.
    Remember you are not a burden and like you wrote yourself “no one is an island”! If not for my husband I know that I wouldn’t even be alive as he actually saved my life when I had my NDE. Very scary of course but spiritually so rich that I found it hard to communicate to others what I experienced on the other side.Anyway I hope that someone is there for you now along with your beautiful two cats. I really hope that your feeling better as I know how nasty Bipolar can be too. Your welcome to email me if you like ok.

    Take Care,
    CazWytch )O(

    1. Thank you SO much for all your thoughtful words! You make me feel much better. As they say, the struggle is real for so many of us, and writing is one way to let go and connect. I feel less alone, it helps, and as the words come out, I find my strength. I, too, find my strength in the old Gods who show themselves in nature, even in my home, in ordinary ways not just in some epic scenario.

      I will check your blog SOON as now you’ve got me very interested in your life story as well! We will be wordpress buddies!

      1. Hi Valentina,πŸ’–
        Yep WordPress buddies sounds just fine to me too:) It’s amazing how much power there is in our words. I’m glad that my writing to you has helped you feel better and I hope that you are today as well. With my blogs you will find that each one has only about 3 blogs each. Sometimes I think it’s not merely coincidence that it’s 3! As 3 in so many different religious belief systems and holy geometry is so very sacred. I honestly didn’t plan them that way though but believe that 3 (for me anyway) has always been a lucky number just like 7 is for me too. When I see yours and others blogs as well it makes me realise that I really should blog more. Problem is I am my own worst critic, editor, idea selector, privacy control etc ectera ad infinitum. Lol

        Sorry it was quiet from me yesterday as I was somewhat burnt out from full on mania the other night. As I was up all night. So thus yesterday I felt really exhausted and in totally chronic pain. I really hate it when Bipolar can affect me to such a bad degree. Lol But unfortunately it does at times suffering from Bipolar, but it’s nowhere near as bad as often as when I was a lot younger. It doesn’t happen to me as often these days but at least I am able to deal with my own “dis-ease” so much better now. However when bipolar can still sometimes makes me feel so “out of control” that I can’t wait for the current “epi-sode” to end. Thankfully it always does and for that I am always eternally grateful!

        Believe me I also really do understand what it is to suffer. As a psychically aware empath, I find it almost impossible not to feel other people’s pain at times. Then I actually have to make a huge effort to put up very strong boundaries then. I meant to write “psychic boundaries” which is the main boundary problem for me most of the time. Especially if I’m having a bad day myself. Then adding another’s woes whether they are physical, psychological, spiritual or all three can sometimes end up being far too overwhelming for me to absorb, as it’s like a double/triple/quadruple whammy!!!

        Unless I am seeing them as a friend/family member or client. Then of course it’s all about them and I use my gifts to help them heal their issues where needed.
        It’s the er….gift that at times can seem like…a curse sometimes! Lol However it can be great to be able to literally feel what it’s like to be in “somebody else’s shoes in this mortal life”, but of course it’s without their life perspective. That’s where often where “spiritual counselling” and my empath skills come quite in handy. It’s incredibly helpful when I’m either doing a reading, healing and/or any other type of magickal working either.

        Talk soon. I really hope that your doing well today V.πŸ˜ƒπŸˆπŸ’•πŸŽΆπŸΎπŸŒΉπŸŒΊπŸ€πŸ˜»
        Have a great day and weekend too.
        Take care and Blessings,


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