i think my use of coffee is ableist

so i finished care work: dreaming disability justice a couple weeks ago and the ripples are just… wow. i am learning SO much. while my review of the book is over here, this one thought really felt like it needed some extra attention…

i think my usage of coffee is ableist.

so, as i learned through this book, ableism is a system that privileges people who are able-bodied. so far, it seems like this bleeds pretty quickly into cognitive abilities. given where i am on this journey, i’m going to link mental ability with physical ability for now (i may learn more nuance later).

ableism and capitalism go together like peanut butter and jelly. capitalism extracts labor and value from land and people (most often able-bodied people) and transforms it into wealth for the owning class. the process by which that happens is complex, but that’s the underlying mechanism. see: jeff bezos and amazon.

coffee, like all plant medicines, has a particular magic. coffee contains high amounts of caffeine. caffeine has an amplifying and accelerating effect on the brain. there are many ways to be with and use that particular impact.

starting as early as i can remember in church, coffee was available to help people stay awake and focused. it has become a stable of every place i’ve ever worked.

and i’m beginning to think my use of it is ableist.

i use it for those two purposes: it helps me not feel tired (even though what my body is actually asking for is more rest) and it helps my brain hyperfocus (even though what my brain is actually desiring is space for a little bit of this and little bit of that).

the ableism comes from the fact that everyone’s brains and bodies don’t actually move at the same pace. some people have minds and bodies that will never be useful to capitalism. that doesn’t make them unworthy or unvaluable. my this body that is currently useful to capitalism gets extra beneficial when i amp it up on coffee.

what if instead of drinking coffee, i just slept more and worked less? what if when my brain was tired of focusing on something, instead of drinking more coffee i just stopped trying to focus?


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