CARA: How are you doing Pree?
PREE: I’m good it’s been a long day but it was fun.
PREE: Yeah. I’ll probably end up telling you about it when we get into it.
CARA: Good. Yeah I think we can start now like as in terms of the recording
and what is out there. Good good good.
So, yeah, what were you doing today
if you don’t mind?
PREE: Yeah so today,
my ADHD has been getting
the best of me. Where I feel like
I try so hard. I’m like really militant
with myself about as soon as a event or
like something is proposed it goes in
the calendar, you know.
And like as a chronically ill person, like I have so many appointments.
It’s the end of the calendar year so my insurance is gonna run out.
I have all these Bodywork appointments
but like my brain’s been getting the best of me like I’ve been like messing up.
I’m going to appointments a week early. I’m arriving two hours early.
Like I had the time wrong this morning, so it was kind of one of those days
where I woke up and I was like “Oh my God” I made a mistake.
So it was kind of just like playing catch up since I got up
and yeah, but then once that kind of got going, it was a really fun day.
I’m working on a project right now for Toronto history museums
for an install for I guess like early winter/spring next year
and I’m leading like the cohort of artists that are speaking to how…
so the whole exhibit is about how Covid-19 has affected different communities.
And so I was really fortunate and really excited that I was invited to kind of lead
the cohort of artists that are speaking to like how Covid has affected disabled artists.
And so for kind of like our major
kind of group piece for the project
we had to go fabric shopping and so I proposed us going to Brampton.
Where Harmeet and I grew up, to go to Jagjit textiles to buy all the fabrics
because it’s like Fabric Land but times a million
and extremely organized and extremely disorganized at the same time.
It’s just like a familiar chaos but yeah so we went to Jagjit textiles
I spent like the afternoon. It felt like a time warp like Lila my best friend,
one of my best friends, and is also a colleague on this project
We were talking about how it feels
like we were in there for like a year.
It’s just like, I don’t know, ceilings
are like 30 feet and it’s just like fabric
that just keeps going up and there’s no empty space and there’s like trims and
sari’s and everything, everywhere but so we did a bunch of fabric shopping for our install
and I’m just yeah I’m so excited to just like get started on that and yeah and then,
we kind of got stuck in rush hour coming back from Brampton to Toronto
So yeah. I’m just like trying to get myself
grounded and ready for our discussion but
yeah it was really interesting because like in the Uber ride on the way home
Lila and I were talking about just like some of our challenges and our experiences
people who are disabled and also autistic and we were actually talking a little bit about
our access intimacy together as friends
We were talking about how we learned about certain boundaries from each other
and things we remember from like earlier in our friendships you know,
and yeah, so I feel like that was like
the pre-conversation to this conversation
Yeah. So that’s what I’ve been up to.
That was my day. How are your days?
CARA: I had a good day
today. So my day started with
okay, last night I found a pencil on
the street okay,
and I don’t know why but I’m in love with this pencil
like it’s just like a classic kind of pencil and on the back it has all of these like marks.
I don’t know if you can see it but they’re like indents and marks on it
But they’re still painted yellow so I don’t know if someone went back-
I don’t know. I just it’s like the eraser is great so I feel like the pencil was like telling me
I need to like draw and write today, this morning.
So then I texted my friend, who is an artist from Thunder Bay, who made like a giant
sculpture of a pencil, like huge sculpture.
And so it reminded me of him so I was like
“Hey Shane, like look what I found. I love this pencil.” and he was like
I was like “it’s telling me to draw or write today” and then he’s like
“Are you going to?” like kind of like a challenge and I was like “Damn!”
because I also you know, have lots of ideas but I get very distractible
and you know things don’t always work out but
I ended up, I kind of took it as a challenge and then I did write some stuff
about actually I ended up writing something. Do you want to hear it?
I can read it right now. Okay, so it’s very short
Here is the pencil writing: Fixed a broken bike in my dream last night
woke up accomplished.
Warmed up leftover tea from yesterday morning, saved about 20 minutes
seems not doing things is kind of my thing.
PREE: I love that.
CARA: So that’s how I kind of started my day. Felt good. Felt like I was owning
not doing things.
And yes, then I just was thinking about this conversation and how I was excited
oh and I told this friend about- the reason why I was saying all this, is I told the friend
that we were going to be talking about this and we also ended up having a
conversation about access intimacy
because he had never heard that term before
And he said some nice things just about kind of like questions
he was like “Does it mean this?” “What does it mean?”
and I was like, kind of examples, yeah in our own space like where we feel comfortable
with each other and we don’t feel like we need to always explain everything
every detail about how we’re
feeling you know, there’s like a unsaid understanding.
This is how I was describing it.
And yeah it felt really nice.
Yeah, then I went grocery shopping.
PREE: With your archival tote-bag.
CARA: I did take the archival tote-bag. Yes.
PREE: I like the, the pencil was
speaking to me and like that this is just
this sick pencil. Like I love the idea of like finding magic in regular items
I feel like that’s also just like such a Crip thing
and like it just also makes me think of like spoonie hacks
like my friend and I were having lunch today and they pulled out a Jolly Rancher
and they just recently started one of
the same meds that I’m on
and we were talking about how it causes so much dry mouth and we were like
that’s the candy! That’s the one. It’s like better than like water, mint, gums
it just like keeps you salivating and we’re just like
Jolly Ranchers that’s the Crip hack for Cymbalta.
That’s where it’s at and also when you said that you were having that conversation
with your friend and thinking about how like
you know, he was unfamiliar with the term.
Yeah, Lila and I, we were talking about access intimacy without saying that we were talking about
access intimacy you know? And I think that it’s interesting that it itself is like an unsaid,
understood thing and then
we’re also talking about it without it being named and it being kind of like unsaid as well.
PREE: long time no see.
HARMEET: I know man. Maybe for people who are listening for some context.
Me and Pree are siblings and we
live together, so they’re in the other room.
Thanks for sharing about your days. You know what my day wasn’t as eventful guys
I’m gonna keep it real with you like, it really wasn’t
today was a Thursday. For me like a very regular Thursday. I wrapped up a project
I’ve been working on for a couple of months that I was supporting with
so that was nice. It felt like an end of a chapter. I’m ready to move on
and earlier this week- I’m doing my master’s at York in critical disability studies.
We were having a conversation about like laying down and it was something
that while I was laying down today and feeling kind of like ‘blah’
because it was a really slow day for me. I wasn’t feeling great about it
but we had a conversation about like access intimacy and how
like Western architecture doesn’t assume that you’re allowed to lie down in public spaces
it’s just like not normal but you know a Punjabi we call it manja’s
and they’re like these day beds and we have them everywhere
like they’re in every spot of the house you know, it’s like normal to come in
and you’re just like laid out while you’re around people like it’s a very normative
part of the culture.
So I was thinking about that today
that made me feel better about being really slow.
And what do I have in my hand- I have all these like little origami papers
I got from my trip from Halifax in the summer
and I chose one just now that made me feel like
I don’t know. This I feel like is kind of what our conversations texture is like,
so I’m just playing with this and messing around with it.
It’s fun. It’s little fishes. That’s us, man.
Just swimming around figuring it out.
So that’s the vibe.
CARA: That’s awesome. Yes I love lying down and I’m trying to create
my living room so it’s all just like the best space for multiple people to be lying down
all the time. That’s the vibe.
PREE: That’s so sick.
HARMEET: Bro, you’re a professional homebody vibes. We are too.
You gotta make it chilling times, all the time, you know.
CARA: I’m feeling like- have
you ever seen the Grinch?
and like how he has this lair where it’s really like-
You have to go down all these pipes and it’s like he lives underneath everything.
CARA: That’s kind of where I’m going when I come into my door.
HARMEET: Wait can I ask you what is your zodiac sign?
CARA: I’m a Scorpio.
HARMEET: Of course you want to be a Grinch like-
PREE: Wait, when’s your birthday?
CARA: November 14th
PREE: I’m 13.
CARA: wait. wow.
PREE: going Scorpio Bash
CARA: I’m down
PREE: Homebody edition
CARA: Yes that.
HARMEET: I’m a Taurus so I’m sister signs with both of you.
CARA: Right on.
HARMEET: We’re on the opposite side of the zodiac so we have many
things in common and we also have many things not in common
but it’s good because then we challenge each other. Yeah, man.
CARA: My moon is Taurus and in India isn’t it like they more centre the moon
I found that when I was there like it was like your moon sign was more-
not more important but like they talked about it more.
HARMEET: That makes a lot of sense you got a Taurus moon. I have a Leo moon.
But I have like four Taurus placements in my chart and I feel like if I didn’t have a Leo
like I would get nothing done man, I’d never leave my fucking house like I would just sit
in my house, eat good food, all the time and that’s it but sometimes it’s nice to leave the
house a little bit you know. It’s fun.
PREE: So you’re saying if you didn’t have the Leo you would stay at home
all the time, eat good food, and just have a good time?
HARMEET: That’s it. That’s literally it. And sometimes I want to do that all the time.
PREE: I’m not hearing the difference. I feel like that is what you do now.
HARMEET: You know what, man
Fuck you. You know what fuck you.
HARMEET: Yeah it’s true.
CARA: You have insider- you have like an insider.
CARA: I don’t have anyone to back up or not back up my statements today
HARMEET: That’s good man, because then you can live in delusion.
CARA: Well okay if my ‘siber’ was here. They would say that they would probably
call me out right now for for actually talking about astrology because
I, to be honest, the last year in a bit
just haven’t been feeling the astrology
and I think maybe it’s because I put too much on it in the past
and so I needed to separate myself
and now it’s just fun and like I can talk about it
with some people but when it’s just
like everything. When it’s everything to
someone I just don’t relate, because I’m like- it makes me feel like they’re only seeing me
through a Scorpio lens and then I’m just like there’s more
and it’s maybe not only because of that, you know.
HARMEET: You guys have it bad though man, like you guys do have a bad rap
and it’s just like people don’t get it. You guys are actually very special
and important people. Like I love Scorpios. I’m surrounded by Scorpios all the time
and I think they bring out things in me but I also think there’s a big pressure
as South Asian people, to like, fucking love the Zodiac, like I don’t know why, you know.
And talk about the stars and do the thing and like sometimes it’s just a lot.
It’s a lot, man. Yeah.
CARA: But that is cool, Pree. We’re one day apart.
PREE: Yeah that’s wild. I didn’t even know that.
CARA: That’s nice.
PREE: What was I gonna say? What’re we talking about?
Oh that’s what I was gonna say- okay sorry. I had to rewind.
PREE: I feel like Scorpio is the
best and worst sign like I get it, you know.
I get why it has a bad rap. Like I always say that I’m just like-
I, as a Scorpio, can confirm that it is the best and worst sign
but over to what you were saying about you know, it being that feeling of like it being
everything and that South Asian pressure too like
I had so much like-
There was a time in my life, in my early 20’s, when I just like-
could not engage even in like light-hearted conversations about astrology
because of the ways in which
like my mom wielded it over us, you know,
and it was hard. Like it’s kind of like my cat allergy
which makes it hard for me to be in Queer community sometimes
like I feel like the- astrology just being like an upsetting point of reference
was like actually really hard to navigate at that time and it took a lot of work to be
able to get to a point where like, yeah I can joke about it and I can have co-star and stuff
but so yeah I’m just like empathizing with that. It’s… yeah that’s hard.
CARA: Yeah it’s basically just like it frustrates me sometimes because
well I think generally I’ve been distancing myself from
like… or having a hard time with other people’s perceptions of me
and them projecting those
onto me with such conviction and
it makes me feel like it’s stifling my
ability to be anything else, you know. And like to grow in different ways
and expand, you know.
CARA: So it’s like part of why I cut my hair because like
I don’t have long hair. You can’t say that I have long hair anymore. You can’t. you know
PREE: You’re going through a metamorphosis.
CARA: I think I am.
HARMEET: Wait, why’d you disassociate when you said metamorphosis?
PREE: I’m trying to think about like…
I’m trying to think about like how to ask in a kind and gentle and respectful way
that also leaves space for you to say no but I was trying to think about how to ask like
do you feel comfortable sharing more about that like what were those projections and
limitations but also if that’s a thing that feels too raw or too personal or irrelevant
to talk about right now, we can also not talk about it. It’s totally chill.
CARA: No that’s totally fine I mean it kind of relates to things that I was
thinking about to have this conversation like…
CARA: I guess like we just met each other kind of I would say somewhat recently
maybe it’s been like a year or I don’t know. Maybe not that long even.
Maybe a year but, you know,
and it was in this context of like I think- I can’t remember when it was that we met
but it was in the context of some kind
of like disability arts event or project or
I think we did another like podcast.
PREE: Yeah we were brought together by a producer to do a podcast episode, yeah.
CARA: Right so and it’s like because I’ve been doing so much work like since 2011
is when I kind of started this journey of actively working in what is called Deaf and Disability arts
and working at Tangled art gallery and all that.
and then in the last couple of years freelancing as a consultant
to arts organizations and helping them be more accessible and connecting them with
Disability communities etc.
and I now… so that’s like 10 plus years of that and so now I am trying to shift out of that.
into the unknown like we don’t know where we’re going to go next but we know
that we, and by we I mean me, need to do something else
and it’s a big change because that’s what I’ve been doing.
That’s kind of been my identity in a way my work was like my life and it still kind of is
but like you know for 10 years so, I think that
I’ve just been thinking so much about what the last 10 years and working within
all of those scenes has been and what my
role has been and how I was impacted by that
etc. and so yeah. I am definitely going
through like a big shift and a big change
out of that but… wait what
was your question? Like what did I
what are people projecting? So I guess it’s like, you know, to move out of something
that I’ve been doing for so long into something new and something that
I don’t even know.
It’s been a cool exercise because I
continually get asked to do similar work
like can you be an access coordinator? Can you consult on this?
and I have to say no. I’m making myself say no because I feel that.
That I need to change and it’s been really cool exercise you know drafting these
emails to people and being like I’m
no longer accepting these kinds of
accessibility consulting jobs you know and don’t need to get into information about why
but I’ll help if I can, you know, within that email or within a conversation
but like I’m not-
that’s not me anymore so maybe it’s just
like a little sensitive for me.
Where I’m like, that’s not what I’m doing anymore. I’m impatient, wanting to like…
be this new thing but it’s like
that’s always going to be me and that lives
in me and it’s just gonna be expressed in like this new way which I’m very excited for.
So yeah I think that’s all I’ll say about that but I think it’s
interesting talking to both
of you coming out of that because
I think that it’s telling. Because I still
really am like, I really love you guys. I
know we don’t know each other that well
But like I really feel like a kinship towards you and what you do and how you do it
and I think that this unknown space is that. It’s like me diving into a more creative space.
A space where I feel like it’s true collaboration with folks and where I feel like
my needs are being seen, because I think a lot of that work,
I feel like I’m talking a lot, but like a lot of that work that I was doing for 10 years
was like suppressing a lot of mental health
stuff. To be able to be so productive for so long
and so it’s now I need that space to just like live you know
because I think that I was very good at
supporting others for so long because I was going through my own stuff
so I knew how to hold space for people because I basically was just like
this is how I would want someone to hold space for me
in this environment of like deadlines
and grants and, you know, meetings.
So it’s like yeah. This is how I would want the space to be held for me.
So I would do that for others but kind of neglecting myself and I think that that’s a really…
I would want to hear what you have to say on that as folks who are a bit younger
but still experienced and been doing it for a minute but like hearing that
like what do you think of that?
Yeah don’t do it for too long where you just feel totally burnt out
and like you lost yourself is what I’m trying to say.
HARMEET: Honestly I feel very like- I feel chills while you’re talking about this I know
we’ve talked about this a little bit
like a few months or maybe like two months
back. When we were trying to figure out if we wanted to do that other project
but I’m like a really similar space as you and I think that, yeah, there’s
an age gap between us but it’s like freaky how much like I’ve said these exact same
things to Pree in like a broken record. They’ve had to hear me plan this out
and I think a way that it was possible to do it is because Pree and other chosen family
may be going to through similar transitions and if they aren’t going through similar
transitions- like holding that for me. Because it’s really fucking hard bro
and I think, I don’t know, I had this like realization after some conversations
with my mentor where I was just like all I do is work for other people.
I tell people how to do their projects. I tell people like, you know, you get stuck in the
timelines and the deadlines and also like when you are getting regular work
it makes sense it’s easier right. Like it’s comfortable.
It is challenging but it’s like a good challenge. I can have a metric on how to
succeed in a very different way, whereas the unknown is unprecedented and I actually have to like try I
have to listen to myself and I have to listen to my madness and I have to listen to
when things feel really crazy in
my head and I have to be okay with that
and that feels really scary because if I have a structure in the really intense way that
freelancing stuff does- It’s like not that structured but you know what I mean.
There’s like a structure to freelance. It like grounds you in a particular way
but it can only go for so long and maybe some more context is like I’ve also
done access coordination stuff. We did some together.
But like my arts background- I’ve
been an artist since I was able to pick up
a pencil like that’s my thing and I’ve just been doing so much client work
and I’m like
Comes from a place of scarcity it also comes from growing up really working class
like still being working class
and just like- yeah. But I think I don’t
have any contracts lined up for 2023. Which is scary because like as freelancers
we do that, right. Like every quarter we line it up. I have nothing lined up.
And I’m getting emails of being like do you want to do this and I’m also having to
practice being like no. I thought it just was gonna be easy. I was like okay
I’m transitioning out. Everyone’s gonna know and then I’m gonna focus on my arts practice
for real, for real. It’s gonna be so cute- Was not that. It was having to be like ‘no’
over and over again and the people pleaser in me was like
Oh I actually have to challenge this idea where I can’t just show up into a role
You know. And me and Pree’s chosen sibling, Anu Radha Verma, they’re also like
an organizer and a curator and a conversation we both have as well
is to distract from our madness or our mental health like doing the role
also just feels like survival in a really complicated way and I’m like
I can’t do this anymore man. I want to experiment. I want to fuck up.
I want to be messy. I just want to do my own stuff. I want to collaborate.
I want to figure out like what that means with other artists
like more of that because I also just can’t do one more edit round from a client
if I have to do one more fucking commission bro, like-
It’s over. I can’t do it. I just- I can’t hear feedback from more people
about what I’m doing. I need to actually just listen to myself. Yeah, yeah.
PREE: My guys are going through it right now. Oh my gosh.
HARMEET: yeah bro.
HARMEET: No, no, we’re not going through it we’re transforming.
HARMEET: We’re transforming, yeah metamorphosis. It’s cute. Make it cute.
PREE: Yeah I feel like
PREE: I used to be in Academia and then I worked in tech for a while
and then I moved towards like non-profit world
and then like into I guess arts
administration towards Disability arts
themes and I’ve like started and
maintained the practice along the way
and something that I was thinking
about because I went from…
I freelanced for like almost three years and then went back into working
at a non-profit and
I’ve been at my job now for a year and a half and
something I was saying when I was
applying for jobs again is just like
I think the perfect setup for me is two years on two years off.
So like two years of freelance and then two years of structured work.
Two years of freelance, two years of structured work, because it’s enough
routine for that side of my brain
and then it’s also enough chaos for like
the other side of my brain, where it’s
like- things are going to change.
And I think the constant, the common thing that I need, it has to be meaningful
and it has to be creative. Like I have to be able to be creatively problem solving.
I have to feel like I’m doing something with my time.
like in an existential way- like is this for youth? Is this something for community?
Does this have the potential to like
make a ripple, you know, in a way that is going to be meaningful and I think
I think as someone that
for a majority of my life has been socialized as like the eldest daughter
of immigrant family, you know, type situation.
Not just in like the typical way but in the sense of like
I was thrusted into parenthood and
parentified and parented myself and
raised Harmeet we have almost a
decade gap between us and I think
I think going from just having no needs met as a child to being able to state my needs
And then also figure out how to advocate for myself has been so important to move
from like the survival mindset to like you know thriving and being like this is the
kind of life I want. This is how I want things to be. This is what I want things to look like
has just been so important and I think part of that sometimes does include taking these
risks and I think
and I think that’s where some of that growth comes from and
Yeah as I’m approaching into two years of this role, I’m like what’s next?
I’ve explicitly asked and am working
towards moving into management but
there isn’t a management
position available right now and
I recently joined a board. I interviewed for an ED position a while ago and yeah I’m just
like what is next? Where do I go?
Do I actually want to manage people and things? because that’s more spreadsheets
and like I don’t know. If that is the life for me.
I don’t know so I think I’m on the precipice of being in a similar situation
but I’m honestly really content and grateful right now
I work at a really awesome Org. that is youth led and does really important work for
Indigenous youth and I really love it because it’s a results-oriented workplace
and it’s basically a fancy way of saying and mandating that if you…
if you do all the work that you need to do for the week, you don’t need to be…
you don’t have to rise and grind, every day, all day, 40 hours a week.
And that is so
like that’s like
that’s unheard of. It’s unheard of
right, and as a Disabled person that has to
just ride that ADHD wave when it comes, like when the brain is like
let’s do all the things and to be able to be like I’m gonna do all the things
is something that I wish more people
were able to experience in work and I’m also really grateful that my work has like
really awesome benefits and as a Disabled person that’s on a lot of medication
on a lot of life-sustaining medication. That’s like hundreds of dollars a month
It means that I am able to do this meaningful work and feeling
you know, I’m creating opportunities
for Deaf and Disabled Indigenous youth
to connect with knowledge keepers and that keeps me going on the
day job front and also is making sure that I’m able to accept and reject
creative things or freelance things that are not necessarily the perfect fit and so
that’s where I am right now and I don’t know what’s next or what happens in a year
from now. I’d love to have a conversation like this 12 months from now, to see where
we all are
but yeah I think it’s hard because the world is burning, literally, and
figuratively and we’re just expected to continue to go on like everything is okay.
Just like, something I’ve been thinking about a lot is, and is a conversation
that I was having a lot earlier this
year with one of my really, really
dear friends and community members that passed away this summer
is what are our legacies gonna be, you know. What do we leave behind
as people that are not
either interested or able to or already have children and yeah what what do we
leave behind. What will people remember and at the same time we have to pay
also manage our daily things. I don’t know, it’s really hard
but I’m really excited to see like-
where things go for you two. I feel
like we might be in opposite
situations next year I feel like you
all might be settled in your new
butterfly wings and I might
be in my cocoon, I don’t know.
CARA: I mean I…
I keep thinking about what you’re saying
about the two years on, two years off structure.
Because that’s just not- I haven’t thought about that before
yeah I think like
I feel, I have so many things to say based off what you just said, but like the fact that
we are able- We are surviving in Toronto right now in the kinds of, you know,
interests and work that we do. That is sort of magical
in itself. My younger siblings look at me and are like how are you doing that
you know, because it is really tough
I feel since I have been saying ‘no’ to things I have felt a certain settledness
even though I don’t know what’s coming I feel okay with it, because when you
clear space, when you make space,
in your mind and in, you know, your physical space and your mind and with the
work stuff it was a risk and it is scary but a lot of new things have come to me
so one of the things that I didn’t want to do, why I didn’t want to continue on this path
was because of how much screen time it had. Like always on the computer
and on the phone and then on the zoom and it was like
too much I was just like this can’t be
all. Can’t be it. Or like I go to a cafe
I pull out my laptop. That’s the night that’s like “ooh we’re going to have fun today”
and like go to a cafe and work and everyone else is on
their laptops too and I’m like this is just so depressing. This is so sad…
and I understand that that’s what is happening with work right now
but I just didn’t want the screens. I wanted to be more in my body and
using my body and so
yeah since I’ve
been trying to switch up the work stuff I thought, okay, try to do things
that doesn’t involve the screens right,
and I remembered I had these two girlfriends who are handy people
Like do contracting and renovations and they’re just bad asses
and I hit them both up
back to back like “Hi, going through like a early midlife crisis, need you to help.”
or I was like can I just shadow you or
just apprentice, like can you teach me how
to, I don’t know, drywall or whatever it is you do over there
and they both hit me back so fast and we’re like ‘yes’
You know? And it was so confirming- so affirming
because since then I’ve literally been working with them for the last couple of weeks.
HARMEET: Bro that’s amazing.
HARMEET: That’s amazing, man.
CARA: It is and it’s just like-
clearing the space. It did everything. I could have had that idea two years ago but
I didn’t have the capacity to even
think about what I wanted, you know.
Or what I didn’t want. So I just say that to say, yeah,
even though I’m in the middle of change, I do feel comfortable and I don’t feel like
I’m spiralling yet… maybe it’s coming…
PREE: Yo, who are these two friends?
PREE: I don’t know if I want to be them or I want to be with them but I just like
CARA: Okay so, one is- I don’t think they would mind, anna daisy paul
HARMEET: That’s a sick name.
PREE: That is a sick name.
CARA: She learned from
her father who-
PREE: The three genders Anna, Daisy, and Paul.
CARA: Oh that’s amazing. Yeah she just learned from her father who is like
that’s what he did all his life. He’s in his mid-70s he’s still doing it and you know
He’s an immigrant from Jamaica and she’s a sister of my friend Liza Paul
who works in theatre.
So yeah, her and then my friend
who I went to high school with.
And played basketball with and you know, yeah it’s interesting
hanging out with someone who I’ve known
from high school so many years later.
It’s been really therapeutic
let’s just say, doing stuff with your hands
with someone who’s known you when you’re like a little kid basically you know.
and yeah it’s very fun so that’s
what’s happening. Let’s see.
HARMEET: I love that. This also sounds very gay, all of it, basketball, carpentry
and actually me and Pree come from a family of carpenters/artists
and one of our- we both have one of the same best friends their name is Cass.
and when we first started to get to know them Mize was just like I need to work
with my hands and they said really similar things to you. They’re like I just need to feel
my body. I need to work with my hands and I just want to build stuff and I just want to do it
and I was like, I’m there with you, and I think we’re gonna try to do some carpentry stuff
in the summer and just try to see. I might even just buy like old wooden chairs
from Facebook Marketplace
or like leather shirts because I do textile art
and I might refurbish them and paint them, like hand paint them, stain them, and just try to like-
do that because I’m also trying to
figure out how to make art outside of
monetization. That feels really important for me. Actually to like feel-
especially as disabled artists right, you got to make everything have money in some way
because it’s expensive to be disabled but I really want something just for myself just
like for me to see and maybe my friends.
That’s it. Yeah man.
CARA: Follow it. See where it goes. HARMEET: Yeah.
HARMEET: Let’s build chairs together, bro.
CARA: Oh my gosh. I would love to.
HARMEET: Let’s fucking do it.
CARA: I would love to. Please invite me and yeah
CARA: I wanna learn that stuff too, yeah.
PREE: Cara, I have an autistic question
PREE: How old are you?
CARA: I’m 36.
HARMEET: Really? You look young as hell, man.
PREE: You’re almost- like we’re almost spaced out evenly
because Harmeet’s 8 years younger than me and I turned 31 this year
HARMEET: How is that even. I have dyslexia explain this to me.
PREE: Oh because-
HARMEET: What kind of Desi math is this?
PREE: I’ll explain, I’ll explain okay. For me you’re eight years younger than me right?
PREE: That’s like a decade
and then Cara’s 36, that’s like rounding up to 40, so that’s also like a decade.
CARA: Hey! wait!
HARMEET: Hold on, man.
PREE: So Harmeet, you’re getting rounded down to 20. I’m at 31 and then Cara
gets rounded up to 40 and then we’re spaced out evenly
HARMEET: See this is what I mean, this is Desi Uncle math.
this is a Desi Uncle math like that one
PREE: Is it when you measure things with your hand?
PREE: I was painting a mural and I had to space some things out and I was like measuring
things with my wingspan the other day
and I was like ‘I have become my parents’
HARMEET: Also Mr. Bean. I don’t know if you remember that episode where he uses his fingers
to measure everything out. That guy was a Crip icon we need to talk about it.
That was a cultural moment that people are
trying to forget and I’ll never let
people forget Mr. Bean. Love that guy. I love that guy
PREE: So Cara, you’re just like yeah-
PREE: I’m out here fucking learning how to drywall and I think there’s something about…
I think the further I get from like my teens, early 20s, I feel like there’s a less
fucks given, more connecting with
your inner child, more connecting with like
what do I actually- like watch the status quo in a way that is just so sick
CARA: Yes, yes. Thanks. Yes, because the status quo is gaining momentum
PREE: Big Pharma
HARMEET: I don’t like how you pulled that out of your pocket so quick, man.
You’re waiting all day to say that statement.
PREE: All year, make it all year.
HARMEET: Also I didn’t respond to something you said 40 minutes ago
but I remembered just now.
was that you were saying stuff about kinship and feeling kinship with each other
and I just wanted to say same. I feel that too. I also think that
I know it’s a short amount of time but I was like I’ve known this guy
forever. I don’t know how to explain that, but that’s very that.
And I think the other piece is that I don’t feel-
I think something really
magical that happens between like Deaf
and Mad and Disabled friendships or intimacies is that you do have your own
timeline of learning each other or like unraveling with each other and I never feel
the pressure with you, to be like I need to know everything about Cara
I’m like, I’m gonna find out when I find out, and we’ll do the discovering together
and that feels really supportive and nice because I do think sometimes as a
respectability around friendships that I don’t really a fuck about
PREE: You’re a good egg Cara, you know. There’s something Harmeet and I talk about
often something that you really model and something that Anu, who we mentioned
modelled, which is you just have this
How do I say this-
HARMEET: I think it’s like a playful curiosity is that what-
PREE: Playful curiosity yeah. The thing that was coming to mind was like childlike
PREE: wonder but that wasn’t quite right.
HARMEET: That too though.
PREE: playful curiosity and also just this…
it’s almost like an extension of assuming the best of people but the way that it comes
out is that
you’ve been doing this work since 2011 you know, Harmeet was like a fetus at that time.
HARMEET: Yo man. I don’t know why you’re putting me on blast
every two minutes man. Everybody relax.
PREE: and I feel like you could really be a dick about things, you could really be a dick about things,
you could really be ageist about
things. You could really be like
I’m the big shot
guy like I put you guys on. I made Tangled you know, like that mindset
but you’re really out here. I’m just a little guy. I’m just playing basketball with
my high school friend and I’m just trying to figure out my stuff and
you’re also just like how are you doing things. I want to collaborate. I want to know
and I think that there’s just like a really-
I think there’s something about the fact that you’re like I’m still learning, I’m still
knowing, you know, there’s conversations to be had that’s just
something really wonderful about
you that I just really appreciate like
I remember when we met through that previous podcast episode they were like
“Oh there’s this person Cara Eastcott” they gave me all your credentials and
I was like oh my God firstly this sounds like a white lady, secondly I was like oh my God
this is gonna be so like-
HARMEET: not a white in-sight. Just Cara.
PREE: I was so scared and then there we were, similar to now,
except I wasn’t lying down
and of course I brought Harmeet on too. I was like “yo this is my guy”
and we’re gonna talk about Disabled things. My roommate sibling Harmeet is coming too
and then that’s how we all met initially and I don’t know
I just really appreciate you and I think that
Yeah, I love you too. You’re sick.
HARMEET: Yeah, I remember when Pree told me about you before I jumped on the call.
I think we’re trying to figure out if we’re gonna work together. I was like this is not
gonna go well. Like I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.
I was in my hot mess era. I just was not feeling it and then I talked to you
and I was like that was
wonderful and a big thing that I think stuck
with me from that experience with you
Was that like-
I don’t know, you asked me questions assuming
that I also knew the answer and I think that’s something I actually struggle with
because oftentimes I’m the youngest person in a lot of spaces and also like I am
pretty relaxed and I don’t do well with authority. So there’s just an assumption that
I don’t know what I’m doing.
I didn’t feel that with you and it was
actually really supportive for me and it also
helped me think through, I don’t know,
I don’t have this like formal experience of doing access so I don’t know what I’m doing
but I also think in that experience I was like I do.
I was my aunt’s caretaker for my whole life and I was Disabled, she was Disabled,
we come from an intergenerationally Disabled family
and I think working with you gave me a lot of room to be like, there’s actually a lot of
knowledge I have about hacking access in a collective way
It’s a part of my lineage and I don’t have to explain that
I can just show up. That was really nice, so thanks for modelling that for me.
CARA: Oh okay, thanks. Yes…
HARMEET: This guy’s having Scorpio feels, man.
CARA: Thank you. I mean I feel like I definitely am very curious
and learn, I love
older people and I learn so much from so many different older people like Audrey
who started b current, this theatre company you know,
she was someone who was like very
influential to just the way that I
am and you know she’s an elder.
she was an elder then and she’s, you
know, an elder now and
there is such a
Yeah I never feel like she’s the big shot and I’m like the little kid she never treated
me like that, you know. Even though I definitely was like a little punk
when I met her.
I didn’t deserve that kind of treatment but I think that, yeah
I think that it’s a lot of the people who kind of brought me up in this.
They are probably the ones to thank but yeah, I mean and I love what you said
or mean about just like oh yeah you did have that
previous knowledge of you know access creating accessible spaces you weren’t
calling it that, you know, but you were caring for whatever
and I feel like that’s
what sort of missing right now in this whole
HARMEET: yeah man
CARA: -hiring like access people.
They’re missing the point in a way
that it’s not really a position you yourself should be doing that too
everyone in your organization.
Working from this place of thinking,
you know, of creating a space that is
supporting everybody’s needs essentially. It shouldn’t be one person. And
there isn’t one way to do it. It is instinctual it is like something you need every individual
needs to learn on their own, in their own way, based on their strengths
you know and characteristics.
You’ll develop your own approach
to creating accessible spaces
So that’s why I also don’t feel bad kind of like backing away slowly
because I’m like it’s your turn. You should-
HARMEET: -figure it out.
CARA: And it’s a lifelong thing. This is not an 18-month contract.
CARA: You have to just do this for your life and go on the-
and you know I am still learning, you know.
I feel like I’m blushing from all your comments but like the feeling is just
really mutual and
I feel like a lot of just creativity with you both in a way that is- It does bring
out the playfulness and fun and I mean that’s what I want to be like when I’m
much older as well, you know.
HARMEET: I just want to play. I wanna fuck around and find out.
CARA: Yeah. I think that’s a good
place to end.
HARMEET: I agree. Good work, boys.
PREE: A plus.
HARMEET: A plus.
HARMEET: Guys we all have to give a collective kiss to whoever’s watching and listening