by Dominick Harper

Dominick: Hello DisArt friends, family, and people that enjoy art. My name is Dominick Harper, DisArt intern, AKA Four Wheels and a Mic. And this is a poem about my journey of intersectionality, disability, and understanding of self. And through these fragments of me you will understand a deeper and well-rounded perspective of a black man in America that is also disabled. Peace and enjoy.

Jill: The Beginning

I was born with two strikes against me the minute I came out of my mother’s womb. I was born black and disabled just like many who came before me and those who will come after me. This is just a fact, you see. 

Internal Reflection

What I’m gonna tell is my part of the story. I can tell my perspective that only I can tell so here’s where I begin. So since my birth I’ve been told to work three times harder than everybody around me because I’m black and disabled. In the same breath, they told me it didn’t make me less of a human.

The world’s perception of me is different than that of my family’s – their honest words were like a song on repeat that helped me navigate the world that was inaccessible to me at the time. Even in this day and time to exist is a blessing from the ancestors. This gift of heritage, of struggle, and progress help me understand both parts of me.

Adolescence 

Being a black man and also being disabled… stuck in an intersection trying to find my lane asking myself a very human question of “where do I fit into these two realities that are similar, but yet different?” Once again, I stop and think about what this meant as a youth. I was just an angry black teen that lacked understanding of the world.

I didn’t know what it meant to struggle with many things, such as my physical ability being tied to my masculinity to attract the opposite sex and to protect my own family.

Transition

Now, I’m at the point in my life where I’m trying to trust interdependence instead of  striving for independence in a world where independence is valued. How did I find peace until I accepted myself? How do I soothe the savage beast inside with this rage that will eat me alive? 

Acceptance

Somehow I thrived and found my own community of misfits, those who didn’t care about my skin tone or disability, and accepted all aspects of the fighter, the artist, and the person I am outside my family. Now at this point in my life, I am open to a new culture outside of music and art that brought me to a place to unite the two intersections of reality. This is the reality I live in and it has given me opportunities and helped me find new pieces to myself. Now in this new chapter and from now to the hereafter, this is one of the fragments of the stories of me.

Dominick: Thank you. Thank you, Jill, for reading that so poetically with the intensity that I need it to be. And for everybody out there, please share your stories, like, subscribe everything about DisArt. Please give me feedback on how that touched you or that resonates with you as a person because it’s very universal and it’s also very unique. Have a great rest of the day wherever you’re at in this world. And peace!