Onyinyechukwu Udegbe


It's a lie, I am not afraid to be seen.
Your gaze does not see me.
Your gaze cannot see me,
Your gaze has not seen me.
It is not I, that your gaze sees.

Your gaze is not welcome in this, my own, kitchen.

They too loved the hottentot, everyone loves the circus.

Living and working with the 2 handed in and around your vicinity
If you invite them into your house, into your life, and you must be prepared for their gaze. They watch to see the wonder of cooking, cleaning and living with one hand and chronic pain. Functioning with yes, only just one hand, never mind the stump.

Even with the ones with the best of intentions, the ones who will call themselves allies, the ones who will tell you that they have challenged themselves on ableism, the ones who will tell you that in alliance they have already contributed and created to anti-ableist work will gaze.

They will observe, they observe only harmlessly, to understand and answer for themselves with notions that they have challenged with their very own self counsel.

Good because, it is NOT my responsibility to educate you. I WILL NOT educate, enlighten you on how it is that you share in my own oppression. I just don't want to be oppressed. I just don't want to be your cadaver, your carcass, in observation.

They observe, consent is not required for their kind of observation, for this kind of examination. They observe, every minute detail, every minute movement
and choice
is a wonder.

They are not the simple movements, of I,
Young woman in her kitchen, a hand chopping onions, a woman preparing her meal,
it is no longer simple,
with your gaze.

Remember hottentot Venus,
When they first abducted Africans and brought them to this land,
Discovered and detained for observation
In isolation
For observation
Wonders documented, for our own

You want to turn my kitchen, on my dining table where I eat, the house I sleep in, and my food, into your lab, one big fucking experiment.
You want me, your carcass, to stay here quietly, for your observation, so that you can understand better, so that you can help me better, so that you can ally with me better, so that I'd be better, better at living, cooking, feeding, speaking, observing, examining, myself. Just so that you can be comfortable as I live, cook, feed, speak, observe, examine myself.


I am already comfortable in my discomfort.

Why? Should I be comfortable? I live in this world, designed for others, no pain, 2handed. I must make do. I do make do. Until I can design my own world for the stump nationals.

I'd better stay for observation, it is only for my own good. No, wait, it is for the good of us all so that we can all live peacefully, so I don't poison you while you sleep.

Are you afraid that hot blood flows through your cadaver, afraid that I will accuse you of sleeping through my own pain, my own discomfort, my own peace?

But here I am,
With all your good intentions,
Your gaze,
this fucked up uncomfortable kitchen,
that I must for your comfort, comfortably work in
and still,
Still, you want me to deal with your discomfort
I should join you in this pretense that it will,
some where,
some time,
better me?
My discomfort?

When all I feel is your discomfort on top of mine, Familiar gaze,

As you stare at me like they did the hottentot venus.

Onyinyechukwu Udegbe is a student, Gemini, Nigerian, queer, fat, immigrant, trauma survivor, blogger, young woman living with a congenital and progressivedisability who is questioning power, hierarchy, silence and domination.