The Little Things Add Up

 Image desciption; a pattern of 12 spirals made of black & grey dots and dashes (representing morse code) around black charcoal-like smudges.

‘The Little Things Add Up’ is a project about how everyday small comments, made to disabled people by non-disabled people, can add up to a (de)pressing weight of ableism. Using Morse code as a drawing method, each comment is turned into a small spiral. Spirals are then collated at intervals to show how many little things build up into a feeling of unwelcomness in a world centred around non-disabled people’s needs and rights.

Much of the discourse around disability in clinical, community, and social spaces is produced by, and seemingly for, non-disabled people. As a chronically ill spoonie I want to pay attention to disabled voices; that includes my own, and I am primarily making this work for myself and other disabled people. None of us are alone, and many of these small pieces of everyday ableism are recognisable to many of us.

Perhaps non-disabled people can learn from the little things that add up here, and I consider that a secondary goal of this project. However, I am not interested in the feelings of non-disabled people on this work. To be honest, I am tired of being expected to wrap non-disabled peoples self-comfort, sense of superiority, and love of feel-good inspiration-porn in cotton wool like something made of eggshell. If you are non-disabled and this offends you; I ask you to think about why you feel your comfort is more important than the well-being of chronically ill and disabled people. Ableism, like all bigotry, should offend us all far more than our own discomfort, and what we do about it is what matters.

Morse code can be translated into sound, and I will sometimes translate the drawings into audio. I hope to also investigate making tactile images using puff-paint or laser cutting. Any such developments will be posted on this page, along with a record of each spiral.

Below are all the spirals so far in this project, interspersed with collages. Click on a spiral to see a full translation and image description.