Dr Sara Louise Wheeler has Waardenburg Syndrome Type 1, and she is exploring all aspects of her embodied experiences through a variety of creative mediums. She is currently writing a Deafhearing opera-ballet called ‘Y Dywysoges Arian’ (The Silver Princess), funded by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. Sara is also preparing a bilingual poetry collection called ‘Confylsiwn/ Convulsion’, reflecting on the lasting impact of her febrile convulsions. Sara is a Visiting Research Fellow at Wrexham Glyndŵr University; her research interests include popular culture, translanguaging, cynghanedd and sign language poetry. She writes the column ‘O’r Gororau’ (from the borders) for Barddas Welsh poetry magazine.
‘The objectified abject’
I am running through Liverpool city centre,
through the bus station; it’s a hot day,
I am young, and I’m wearing a tight-fitting top,
with no cardigan. I become aware of two young men
watching me, in apparent fascination. As I pass near them,
one of them says to the other “look at her tits”,
but his companion makes a face and says:
“she’s got grey hair though”. This hits me
hard – insulting, shocking, disrupting.
How to feel, in the face of such a thing?
I’m annoyed and confused – humiliated. For
years I have pondered and tried to unpick
my emotions, from that day. I’ve tried to
apply wisdom, learnt from Morrissey:
“If you don’t like me, don’t look at me”.
But it doesn’t change the fact that he
was declaring me abject – unattractive,
but why do I care? I don’t, not really,
well, not about what he thinks anyway, because
who is he, to me? Nothing - just some lout,
objectifying women, on a hot day in the city –
but, it’s still not nice, to be found to be
a creature who raises abjection – disgust,
or at least, a lack of attraction.