This is not to say I'm overlooking the negative sides of the disorder, but that I see value in shifting the paradigm from an illness model to a disability model, and then using the path established by disability studies to make our assets and surpluses as visible as our impairments and deficits.
It is a complex balance to strike because I don't want to underemphasize the fact of psychological suffering in the lives of borderlines, and sometimes I find it useful to describe BPD as a kind of chronic illness, so there is no one single way to conceptualize the condition that works for all purposes and in all contexts. I'm less interested in proposing borderline pride as the new or best or right way of looking at BPD and more interested in noticing how difficult it is to form a thought about "borderline pride," how unthinkable it is under the existing conditions of knowledge about BPD.
What is blocking the thought of borderline pride?
What might the phrase mean? Is it pride-in-being-borderline? Is it pride-despite-being-borderline? How might we distinguish it from BPD grandiosity? Or BPD complacency? Does BPD pride make sense in the way that autism pride or Deaf pride does? Or is it nonsensical in the way that cancer pride might be? (As soon as I wrote that sentence, I googled "cancer pride" and discovered the Bald Is Beautiful campaign.)
|Bald Is Beautiful T-Shirt|
If cancer pride exists, it is even more difficult for me to understand why BPD pride is so unthinkable. Still, cancer pride and BPD pride tend toward a focus on pride-in-recovery or pride-in-survival, unlike autism pride and mad pride which foreground pride-in-alterity.
I would like to see a form of BPD pride based in the disavowal of stigma. The fact that BPD pride is difficult to think - that it feels, in fact, unthinkable - is an index of the depth of the stigma, and therefore a marker of the necessity of BPD pride. One message of BPD pride might be, "I have it, I am not ashamed of myself for having it, and I feel compassion for and community with others who also self-identify as borderlines." BPD pride might say, "It is normal to experience pain, suffering, illness, and setbacks. It is not a sign of monstrosity. It is not a sign of being a failed human being."
|Rainbow colored balloons tied to|
bronze statue of a woman dancing.
Spartanburg Gay Pride Parade 2011
(Photo Caption: Charles Reback)
I think BPD pride is a thought worth thinking.
I also think it is not the desired endpoint of the conversation.