[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” style=”round” message_box_color=”turquoise”]This is part of the Cool Cat (Voices from the Disability Community) series.
RA Stone is featured.
To visit the rest of the series, please click the link here
To participate in the series yourself, please click here
And lastly! This post is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
In This Post You Will Find:
Getting to Know You
What’s your connection with disability?
I’m multiply disabled and an advocate for disability justice.
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Why do I have to pick. They’re both cool.
If you could live in any other country for 2 years, where would you go?
We’re allowed to pick fictional countries, right?
What dish would your bring to our community picnic potluck?
Probably a turkey pot pie. That’s basically all I eat right now.
Now That We’ve Been Introduced…
What do you do:
I’m an author.
I have a novella series and a couple of nonfiction books on writing under the name Rose B. Fischer, and I have some other works coming soon, a superhero series as RA Stone, and a cozy witch mystery series as Rose Glass. (Rose is a pseudonym, in case you were curious.)
I’m also a scrapbook designer with MyMemories and I’m literally the storybook stereotype of a witch (except not an old lady with a wart on my nose.) I sell spells and tarot card readings.
How did you come to doing what you do? How has your career trajectory flowed?
Oh, my dear gods…
If I could only pick one thing to do, it would be writing. But writing doesn’t really pay the bills, and I got tired of freelancing, so about five years ago I decided to start an online business.
I tried a lot of things. I’m very good with technology and with setting up infrastructure related to websites and online business, so the first thing I did was sell my services as a consultant for women and nonbinary entrepreneurs who needed help navigating all the options and figuring out the process of setting up their businesses.
That lasted about a year, but I felt drawn to work more with authors, so I transitioned to doing the same work with indie authors as a client base.
I had the same issues with that as I did with freelance writing and I found that I was spending more time helping people with their self-esteem and other emotional issues than actually working on their stuff. So I shifted into the personal development industry and took some trainings as a life coach.
I enjoyed the work, but I didn’t enjoy the profound levels of ableism and classism or the constant, aggressively toxic positivity, so I transitioned to graphic design.
I’m self-taught, but I’ve been doing it as a side-hustle since around ’06, so it seemed like a natural place to go. And then I realized that it was basically the same as freelance writing unless you have a degree and work with an agency.
I don’t want to go through VR to go back to school, and they would be my only option right now, so I started selling tarot card readings and doing scrapbook kits.
I’m mostly known as an outspoken advocate and blogger on social justice issues, but I haven’t actually had a blog in several years, because I was too busy with all that other stuff to really put the effort into a blog.
My Facebook profile is the main place that I do any kind of social justice work now. I’ve tried pages and various other, more casual formats. I’ve also tried twitter a bunch of times. I like Facebook as a format because it gives me the flexibility to do longform posts when I want to but they don’t need to be as polished as on a website or blog–and I can do shortform if I feel like doing that.
I’m probably going to launch a new blog in 2020.
I spent five years doing everything except the thing I really like doing, but the only thing anybody remembers is that I write these feminist critiques of pop culture–and streaming services now give me access to a lot more material than I used to have, so I figure I might as well go back to doing what I wanted to do in the first place.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
With a successful pop culture blog that brings in enough side-income so I can live comfortably.
Not to be morbid, but what do you want people to remember about you when you’ve gone?
That I fought hard, not only for myself, but for other marginalized folks.
Who or what inspires you?
Walt Disney, Gene Roddenberry, and George Lucas have always been my biggest inspirations.
If you could say something to yourself in the past – that is, the you that was really struggling with something related to disability – what would you say?
If I could, I would explain to myself what gaslighting and toxic positivity are.
Disabled people are so often gaslit and treated as if our legitimate problems are unimportant–things we can easily overcome or hand-wave away if we try harder. I internalized those ideas as a kid, and it took more than half of my adult life to learn that it’s okay to be “negative” sometimes and that I don’t have to be able to do everything an abled person might do in order to deserve respect, dignity, and access.
What do you like about your particular disability?
I don’t know how to answer this question, and I’m a big believer in the idea that it’s okay to not have positive spins on everything. I was born with disabilities. I wouldn’t change them. I’m not looking for a cure, and I don’t hate them. At the same time, I’m not in love with them and I have a hard time coming up with anything “positive” that isn’t trite.
My list of disabilities is about the length of a Tolstoy novel, and most of them are really unpleasant. I’m in a lot of pain every day and my quality of life isn’t great. A lot of the reasons for that are systemic, but knowing that doesn’t make it easier.
I like myself.
I’m proud of my identities as a disabled person, and I’m proud of the work I do. That’s enough for me.
Any one thing that you wish people would *get* about disability?
Disabled people are people.
We don’t all have the same needs or wants, and we DESERVE the same respect, dignity, and access that ableds take for granted.
What single piece of technology makes your life easier?
They all make my life easier, but if I have to pick I’m going to say my tablet.
It helps me communicate and does everything my desktop can do and weighs a lot less so it’s easier to keep nearby. I can also get a hold of my sister in an emergency.
Where else can we find you online?
The best place to keep tabs on me is Facebook.
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Cool Cats: Voices from the Disability CommunityMeet cool and interesting people from across the disability spectrum in the fun series in which everyone is asked the same set of questions!
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The MP3 is linked below.
Please note: it does cost me time and money to produce these PDF’s and MP3’s, so I truly appreciate it if you become a patron (- even $1/month) and download the PDF’s and MP3’s that way.
However, I will always keep these as a free option, for those of you who have disabilities that need that access, and who may not be able to afford becoming my patron at this point. You can become my patron by clicking here.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.