The Essay “Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time” by Ellen Samuels

Individuals who are born with or have acquired a disability undergo challenges that conventionally healthy people know little about and may not comprehend. For various reasons, society often disregards those who have disabilities and does not deem it necessary to understand their struggles. Nonetheless, such people as Ellen Samuels endeavor to familiarize the public with the experiences of persons who have health impairments. For instance, in her essay “Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time,” Samuels discusses crip time and describes some aspects of living with a disability. The author begins her report by suggesting that “disabled folks” usually perceive crip time either as a rationale to be late or as something liberating and forgiving (Samuels). However, Samuels also disputes that crip time represents substantial troubles and immensely influences one’s life by causing restrictions and grief. People who have health impairments cannot rely on crip time for excuses, as it leads to isolation and sorrow rather than relief.

It may be difficult for society to recognize the hardships of people with disabilities. Therefore, one should obtain information from someone with knowledge and expertise when striving to learn more about living in crip time. The public often regards disabilities as something inferior and not worthy of learning more about due to many people having health-related biases. Samuels presents a reliable narration from a person who is familiar with both sides of the matter, thus enabling conventionally healthy people to understand those with health impairments. Samuels shares the story of how she had faced a disability due to a genetic disease at the age of twenty-three, which changed her “from being someone with health problems to being a problem” (Samuels). In her essay, the author argues that “crip time is time travel” by describing a personal experience of her life being taken away, leaving rage inside (Samuels). Samuels knows firsthand what it is like to exist with limitations, which is a struggle that people who have standard health cannot fully comprehend. Any person may acquire a disability, which can restrain one from enjoying life but does not make them defective.

People who have diverse medical conditions are located in crip time and in an environment that rarely accepts them. Although individuals with health impairments live in crip time, such existence does not receive much attention because the world is structured accordingly to the needs of those with conventionally proper health. In their article, Ljuslinder et al. refer to Samuel’s essay and examine the challenges of those living in crip time as opposed to ableist time, which is based on a normative life course (36). Notably, the two differ greatly, as people who have disabilities “suffer from ableist approaches” (Ljuslinder et al. 36). Consequently, Samuel states losing her life to crip time, but Ljuslinder et al. imply that persons with health impairments must learn how to exist in a world that is organized for those with powers. The two reports complement each other and present profound insight into the hardships of having a disability.

Crip time can take away opportunities and cause grief and alienation. Because society does not put many expectations on people who have disabilities, some may assume that such individuals have fewer duties and more freedom. However, those living in crip time are frequently forced to stop and take breaks despite wanting to continue moving ahead and accomplishing goals (Samuels). Persons with health impairments have complex struggles, but unlike being born with a disability, those who acquire one later in life must physically and emotionally adjust to “new patterns of thinking and feeling” (Samuels). For instance, the essay’s author states that it was difficult to let go of the memory of being healthier because she grieved for the life she could not live (Samuels). People who have disabilities need more time to restore energy or complete certain activities, but they do not have excess time to spare for such acts. The public does not expect much from those with health impairments, which does not liberate these people but rather pushes them to think of what they cannot do.

Individuals with disabilities are restricted by both their diagnoses and the barriers created by society. While putting the blame on a person, a medical condition, or an accident, the public appears to forget that it typically does not allow people to slow down and rest when they need to. Society perceives extra time as wasted, but crip time means that those living in it require more time to complete a task compared to those in ableist time (Ljuslinder et al. 36). For instance, in addition to Samuels suggesting the need to recover, people who have disabilities face trouble entering inaccessible buildings or transport (Ljuslinder et al. 36). A person’s diagnosis impact one’s existence, but ableist approaches generate significant obstacles, suggesting that “the environment must be changed, not the body” (Ljuslinder et al. 36). Therefore, instead of overlooking persons with health impairments, society must provide them with more opportunities. People should learn to support each other because anyone may develop a severe health condition.

Crip time neither stops nor offers possibilities to regain one’s resilience. People do not often strive to educate themselves on those who have disabilities, thinking that such persons’ lives do not alter much after the diagnosis. Nevertheless, crip time is ongoing, and one’s condition can deteriorate further. For example, Samuels began to practice tai chi every day in order to improve her health after learning about her condition. Although she was succeeding in the exercises, the author suddenly started feeling pain and then numbness in her leg (Samuels). The author states that it took her half a year to be able to “walk more than a few steps,” and it was hard to relearn to live once again (Samuels). People who have disabilities exist in the same world as everyone else but are endangered by the prospects of their conditions worsening. As society often neglects those with health impairments, the public does not consider that such individuals need continuous support.

Crip time can be frightening and difficult to control or foresee. Because one’s diagnosis can progress and get worse, crip time is associated with physical and emotional difficulties. For instance, the lives of people who have slowly been developing chronic pain are accompanied by “disbelief and silencing” (Ljuslinder et al. 36). Crip time is affiliated with unpredictability and continuous fight for being included (Katzman et al. 521; Ljuslinder et al. 37). Having a health impairment concerns the struggles encountered by both body and mind. As a result, crip time forces those living in it to take breaks and restore energy but doe not provide many opportunities for relief.

Crip time is quite demanding, as it contains various challenges. However, one should assess all aspects of a matter and consider some benefits of living in crip time. Although in her essay, Samuels focuses on the hardships of having a disability, the author also states that crip time can be “beautiful and forgiving.” By trying to embrace crip time rather than constantly being afraid of it, individuals with health impairments can define their own “normal” (Samuels). By learning to seek positive aspects of one’s state, people can find more joy. Nonetheless, society must assist persons who have disabilities in their journeys throughout crip time.

People with health impairments live in crip time, which must concern the public. While the former live in it, the latter can either create obstacles or provide opportunities for it. Crip time “recognizes diverse bodies and minds,” challenges ableist normativity, and can contribute to disability being liberated (Ljuslinder et al. 36). By uniting various people, crip time can become community time (Raghavan). The public can use crip time to learn more about individuals who have health impairments and identify societal issues that prevent inclusion. Crip time can connect diverse persons and serve as a basis for improvement.

The concept of crip time addresses how people with disabilities experience time but also reflects the hardships of persons who have health impairments. Nonetheless, society must not distance itself but rather be compassionate and assist people with health disorders to see more cheerful aspects of life. While crip time can be complex, unpredictable, and frightening, it cannot fully restrict people if society puts an effort to support those who have disabilities.

Works Cited

Katzman, Erika, et al. “‘Everything is Down to the Minute’: Clock Time, Crip Time and the Relational Work of Self-Managing Attendant Services.” Disability & Society, vol. 35, no. 4, 2020, pp. 517-541.

Ljuslinder, Karin, et al. “Cripping Time: Understanding the Life Course Through the Lens of Ableism.” Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, vol. 22, no. 1, 2020, pp. 35-38.

Raghavan, Srinidhi. “The Value of ‘Crip Time’: Discarding Notions of Productivity and Guilt, to Listen to the Rhythms of Our Bodies.” Firstpost, 2020.

Samuels, Ellen. “Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 3, 2017.

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