Terminal Or Termination Of Self – By Paula Mathews

From: Women and Disability – An Issue. A Collection of writings by women with disabilities. This booklet was produced by the Melbourne based Women with Disabilities Feminist Collective in the late 1980’s. The exact publishing date is unknown. Copyright.


The ramifications of disability differ with its nature. Particularly if the disability is stable/progressive, benign/ terminal.

I am very ANGRY – not about my disability but about the way I am treated by other people, especially by other women. Women who are feminists. Women who are lesbian.

Being treated not as a woman/person here and now, but as a woman who will live or die.

You (women) don’t know how to relate to me, to broach the question and speak about our future aspirations.

You are scared to become close, either as friends or as lovers. Just in case – you are “forced” to share in my pain. To come to grips with the issues and your own internalised attitudes, values and stereotypes.

I often wonder what I will be like in five, ten years. Sometimes quietly preparing now for later. You say that I am being morbid, who is it that cannot face the future – realism!

As my bodily changes occur – going through another phase on another path, prepare to challenge your stereotypes, make them become altered images. At least I can live and love, to enjoy being alive. Instead of condemning me to live yet to die inside.