Jen Campbell on Disability, Productivity, and Perspective
This Week from the Reading Women Podcast
In this week’s episode, Kendra Kendra talks with Jen Campbell about her book, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers, which is out from Thames & Hudson.
From the episode:
Kendra: It’s like you mentioned that it was, you know, fairly fairly recently—within the last few years—that you came to view yourself as disabled. And I feel like I’ve definitely been on a similar trajectory where I felt like, because I was productive, I couldn’t call myself “really disabled” because, like, I wasn’t disabled enough. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that’s changed your perspective on your work?
Jen: Yeah, I think it’s the reason I didn’t use the word disabled, which I think I touched on before, is because I always said I had a disfigurement. That was something I was very comfortable saying. Like, I have scars. I have missing fingers. I have a disfigurement—that made the most sense to me. And that’s also true, as well as being disabled. And I also thought because I could do that, I can do all the things that you do kind of think that it was a necessary label to use kind of thought that if I took it, someone else could use the word, which is not how words work. But that was just something that I thought. It was a lot of different things.
I think I’m oh, there are so many topics that we could talk about. But briefly, my partner and I are currently going through IVF. When you start, maybe you just it’s an age, but also you start thinking about children, you think about your childhood and your identity and all of that stuff […] I think it was more about—can I be really cheesy?—I think was about liking myself. I think I was keeping that part of myself very separate and not liking it. And that’s sad. And I think it was a process of actually liking myself.