Debajo Del Sombrero Workshop

by A-B-E of The Peace Poets

Some use the words incapacitated or disabled to label and describe people who do not have the capacity to care for themselves or ensure their own safety therefore needing supportive assistance. I’ve reflected on those words after my workshop with Debajo Del Sombrero at La Casa Encendida in Madrid, Spain. Words carry meaning, and their meaning has power.

In our workshop today, beautiful family shared their fears and concerns, their joy and happiness, and the pain and love which they carry in their hearts. Some participants wrote about the structures in some cities that further marginalize incapacitated people and establish paternalistic social limitations on their freedom such as walking the world unaccompanied, being permitted to drive a vehicle, or vote for who they want to represent them politically. Others spoke about their concern for family members who were experiencing health issues while they bore their own. Some spoke about the challenges of having care-persons mistreat them, tell them that they are simply misbehaving and don’t know what they’re doing, and reducing their expression and rejection of abuse as them simply being crazy.

(photography by Alex de la Croix)

We must reflect on the words, crazy, disabled, incapacitated, and others that are brought into these social interactions because they hold a weight and a power that can both oppress and liberate.

In my workshop today, I felt my heart a bit more humanized. I was surrounded by peers of my age and elders, approximately 15 adults who were my new teachers for this short and beautiful interaction. There were times we couldn’t hold in our laughter, other times our eyes were watery. I felt that I was in a room with new family and great friends. I’m grateful that my heart is on the path to slowly chip away from my own incapacity to seeing our family, seeing each other, and learning more compassionate ways to forgive ourselves, love ourselves, and love each other better.