On Food (in)security and (Dis)ability


It’s been a while since I wrote for a public audience, and that is in part due to this period of transition I am going through. The new year brought new opportunities, just as it brought me face-to-face with familiar anxieties and fears (particularly about being a person with a disability). In the midst of it all, my chosen family has been there to ground me and remind me that I am loved.

I am currently in the process of getting my “disability” recognized by the State (capital S), and it is 2 parts humiliating (“perform your disability according the the script aid out by regulations, please”), 1 part frightening (accepting “disability” as a factor that has shaped my life socially and personally) and 1 part depressing. I can’t be honest and paint this in rosy terms. It is depressing. I’ve lived with moderately severe hearing loss for as long as I can remember, but only recently has it become an “obstacle” in the truest sense. To avoid internalizing the ableism (specifically audism), I remind myself that disability is, in a larger contextual sense, social. The Social Model of Disability, is a necessary intervention against dominate discourses on disability as merely embodied- absent of social constructions of norms, and the medicalization and criminalization of “abnormality” in terms of mental processes, physical capabilities, and the other manners in which disabilities manifest.

Long story short- I am at a point where I know the vocabulary of my own “disability” well. I can anticipate the words from the Audiologist as they knit their brow over my audiograms, noting the progressive hearing loss. I can guess what the Opthalmoglogist will say about my degrading eyesight. I have a better sense that it’s all tied together- my poor balance, hearing loss, night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. All of the falls that didn’t make sense make sense now. All of my resistance to going outdoors after dusk makes perfect sense.

In other news, I’m also exploring the intersections between class, disability, and food access. It’s more of a personal, introspective study on the matter, but I am understanding more fully just how much these intersections matter, and what a disservice is done when “we” focus on just one aspect, and not all.

In gastronomic matters, I have been exploring winter crops more- particularly winter squash and leafy greens. On one level, it’s good fun and a break from the work-without-resolution. On another level, it is an exploration of my relationship with food. I’ve come to the realization that I am sparing when it comes to possessions, but when it comes to food, I have a tendency to hoard. It is, perhaps, a residual effect of living with the specter of hunger and food insecurity. In the back of my mind, I think “the more food I have, the more distance there is between me and hunger.”

I’m in a better place now. I have food. I have the means to meet my most basic needs AND plan for a future. Still, I look at my pantry and freezer- both overfull with carefully-packaged food, and think “I need more.” Alas, I am surrounded by abundance.

Just now, I looked around my kitchen saw this:


And when I open the cabinet, I see this:


Yet, I still dread hunger. My first feeling is a leaden anxiety in my stomach, not gratitude or appreciation of having “enough.”

I wrote all of that to point to the future direction(s) of this blog. I will write a lot more about food, just as I will write a lot more about what it means to be a person with a disability in a fundamentally ableist society.

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