BY LILLI SPRITZ
I want to write about something that happened at the reception for my art show this summer. Something wonderful.
At one point, while people were gathered around that room, people whom some of us knew as great movers and shakers in the world, artists and dancers and singers and people who do change work, and me with my paintings who nearly became invisible in the world due to my disabilities and my fears … there was one person whom I knew, standing at the outskirts of everything, quietly, as if she didn’t quite belong. And I talked out loud about everyone who was there and what they did in the world … but I got to this one woman, and I knew she did everything.
She is a bookkeeper, a computer technician, a walking encyclopedia who gathers information about science and people and economics and politics and knows about art and shares that information with anyone who will listen. And she can fly an airplane.
And she is a homemaker. A person who comes into our homes and helps us with things we can’t easily do any more like our laundry or our dishes or helps drive us to get out in the world. And sits and talks with us deeply, like OUR lives matter.
When we have lost the ability to sometimes matter to ourselves, we matter to her.
“Those people …” We … are often the people society would love to just forget, but J____ won’t let us not matter. She WANTS US TO MATTER. Even though to many other people, it’s easy to just let us disappear, SHE won’t let us.
And this woman who comes into our homes and has come into mine as well, I won’t allow her, as a raised-poor person, to be invisible, to not matter with what she does. Quietly does. To not have that same fanfare. For people to not know what she does simply because what she does is invisible. And because she does it quietly, simply because SHE has decided she wants to, that people matter to HER.
And I cried thinking about this, me as a poor person whose life almost didn’t matter anymore, I wasn’t going to let that happen to her. What she does for us. I won’t let poor people like us, or raised poor people like us, be invisible. I want people like her to be known as much as any politician, or artist, or writer, or changer-worker in the world, raised-poor or presently poor, I won’t allow her or us to be invisible. I refuse. And this letter is to you whoever you are, who have been there or not been there, reading this, that we matter. And we won’t go away, and we are going to be here. And she, and I, are going to stay. As I hope you all will too.