“Sleeping-in Is How We Crip Time”
By Shayda Kafai
I’ve been reading all of the articles about time, about how waking up early makes us more productive. It’s the New Year and we all want to make changes. I do too. I tried waking up early a few days in a row and then I stopped. I decided to crip time.
Time is a loaded thing. In our ableist, racist, cis-heteropatriarchal, settler colonial contemporary society, time takes from us; it manipulates. Time is what we talk about when we try to understand someone’s worth: what did you do all day? Where do you work? What do you do?
For disabled, chronically ill folks, we do time differently; we crip it. Sometimes, we have to listen to our bodyminds and sleep in. Sometimes, we need to spend our days in our beds, on our couches, at home. For us, productive becomes other things: surviving depression and anxiety, navigating pain and sleepless nights, breathing when the air is toxic and the land is burning. We can be our fierce, brilliant selves even if we don’t wake up by 4 a.m., take a shower, eat breakfast, and jog by 7 a.m.
About productivity: productivity is how our capitalist-ableist culture regulates us, makes us feel less than. It’s the repetitive question: have you been productive today?
Full disclosure: I have bought into productivity; academia makes productivity our life. Publish or perish. Get tenure. Go to conferences. I am still battling the idea that if I am not being productive, I am “bad” (in all the ambiguity of that word). This edges up against my manic-depression and leaves me exhausted and pained. I am still trying to figure out how to unlearn this (my wife, Amy, reminds me often about the importance of taking breaks, of taking days off and listening to my bodymind).
This is what I know: I take a lot of medication that I need and that makes me drowsy…really drowsy. I love to stay up late to write, watch T.V., make art, etc. When I say late, I mean 1 a.m./2 a.m. Waking up at 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. is magical gloriousness.
This is also what I know: time works differently for each of us. Listen to your bodymind and ask it what it needs, what it truly needs. Disabled, chronically ill loves: don’t measure your time, your productivity, by what others do. Your bodymind’s need for crip time is liberatory brilliance.
 This Medium article is just one of the many articles on how waking up early makes us more productive. Google it. https://medium.com/swlh/the-secret-to-becomingan-annoyingly-productive-early-morning-person-746c9817e983
Dr. Shayda Kafai (she/her/hers) is a lecturer at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s Ethnic and Gender Studies Department. She earned her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University. As a queer, disabled femme of color, she is committed to exploring the many ways we can reclaim our bodies from intersecting systems of oppression. Shayda is a disability activist-scholar and member of the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Amy.
Check out her TEDx Talk here.