My scalp takes the brunt of my stimming. I pull my hair and dig bloody furrows with my fingernails. Periods of my life were marked by sores on my forehead where the furrows trespassed beyond the hairline.
Marks on the face and head are part of your identity. “Ryan, is that the guy with the sores on his head?” A hat lets me become a guy who wears hats when I don’t feel like being the guy with the sores. A hat also helps me regulate. A hat that covers my ears provides psychic and sensory insulation and reduces my need to carve up my head. It’s a tool for coping and being and is as much a part of my identity as the sores.
Threshold guardians are everywhere, and they want you to take off your hat. At the DMV, take off your hat. Boarding a cruise ship, take off your hat. Passing through customs, take off your hat. Board a plane, take off your hat. Attend a large venue, take off your hat. Sometimes even on buses and trains, take off your hat. Many places that check ID go through this thoughtless exercise that we thoughtlessly accept. Hat doffing is one of the theaters of our FUD-stricken compliance society. Even when I muster the energy to share my perspective, the rote routines of our empathy bereft systems turn everyone into tools who are just doing their job.
I travel exclusively by car these days. Security theater is pervasive, and I’m tired of taking off my hat.
Recent discussion about accessibility over accommodation inspired me to share.
But the accommodations model requires us to disclose our disabilities, it requires us to explain, to give up secrets we might not want to share. The accommodations model depends on invasions of privacy to work.