Oomphlessness and Pockets

Late last week, the girls and I were headed into town. I've had a rough three weeks, with three weeks ago being partially devoted to the colonoscopy and its prep, the next week with a nasty stomach bug that covered almost three full days, and this week...don't you know I ended up with food poisoning on Monday and spent many painful hours thinking the previous two weeks looked like a cakewalk. I'll be honest, I'm still puny, even now.

At any rate, back to the trip to town with the girls...and the concept of oomph, which I had the fun of explaining to them, as I commented as we pulled out the driveway that the little bit of oomph I had had already deserted me and I hoped we could get done what we needed to. We had to abridge the plans but we got the majority of what we were after, and I got to hear Rosie tell me repeatedly through the super Walmart (we went to our newest one which is bigger than the one we usually go to) that her oomph was gone. She would dramatically drape herself across the shopping cart and go limp, sigh loudly and deeply and say, "My oomph is gone. All gone."

Tell me about it, sister...my oomph has not only left the building, it's not even going to voicemail, if I can be allowed to mix metaphors.

What's odd, or interesting, at least to me, in all of this lack of oomph, are the pockets of oomph--the moments where I find myself looking around and going, "Holy shit, this is nice. Look, I'm walking with something like energy, maybe even a bounce in my step!"

If you go around long enough feeling completely depleted and dragging yourself through the motions (and at this point I would concede that some of my lost oomph might have something to do with depression as much as it has to do with the cluster of diseases, syndromes and pains in the ass that make my life challenging --health pain in the asses, not people pain in the asses--although--and yes there should be hyphens there but screw it); anyway, if you do that long enough, those moments where your body and mind are functioning somewhere close to right are shocking in their intensity and vividness. You can get shit done. I spent last Friday able to clean ALL DAY. I got stuff organized. It was sublime...a rare treat. And then...boom.

That return to the gray, to the barely able to muddle through, is a slap, a push, a shove back into the oomphless that would, if you were able, lead to serious anger and fist-waving but doesn't because you are oomphless and don't have the fist-waving to spare.

But I'm going to hold onto the fact that there are those pockets of vividness and oomph and hope for more, because the hoping makes the gray less gray and the oomphlessness less oomphless.


Gabriela Gondim said...


My name is Gaby, and I am currently a special education teacher in Chicago. I am also working on my masters in special education and I've been doing some research on disability activists, for classes and for my own personal gain and knowledge. I stumbled on your blog and was wondering if you had a few minutes to answer some of my questions.

I saw this post and you mention teaching freshmen comp 1. Are you in education? In your opinion, how should disability be portrayed in curricula? Do you have any insights to share about your experience with education with your children?

I also was reading the about me section on your blog, and I noticed that you say you don't identify with the neurodiversity movement. Is there a specific part of the movement that you don't agree with?

I would love any/all of your view points that you might think would be helpful.


Gabriela Gondim

K Wombles said...

Yes, I teach English and psychology at a community college.

Disability should be included through the use of the voices of the disabled themselves. The history of how the disabled have been treated needs to be included in history classes, psychology classes, and other classes where appropriate. Inclusion, true inclusion, not being placed in blue boxes or in sections at the end of chapters that textbooks like to do for things like cultural diversity and critical thinking, should be the default position.

If you'd like to see how I include disability in my 1301 class, the class blog is http://kwomblesengl1301.blogspot.com/. My comp 2 class continues, using PTSD, and novels centered on war and conflict, to examine how we treat each other. http://kwomblesengl1302.blogspot.com/

I homeschooled my son for more than a decade, and now homeschool my daughters. I believe that it's incredibly important to customize and tailor instruction to the individual student, and I also follow that in my college courses--some students need more one-on-one time, need more assistance, and so I do my best to work with my students, who come from different backgrounds and have different challenges.

Yes, there is a specific part of the neurodiversity movement that I disagree with: their support for the discredited and thoroughly debunked facilitated communication farce that ensures that those individuals who might otherwise learn to communicate independently are instead having their voices co-opted by their neurotypical facilitators.

One is either science and evidence-based, or one isn't. Choosing which evidence to believe to suit one's ideology is human nature, but it's to be avoided if possible.

Hope that helps some.