pedestal is just another word for grave and mine is already projected to be an early death

Lydia X.Z. Brown
Content Warnings
"Do not put me on a pedestal..."
Dec 24, 2020 9:48 PM

Do not put me on a pedestal,


whether wood, metal, or glass,

it will break if dropped

or smashed

or burned

or drowned

or left to rot.

A pedestal is a thing

easily defaced,



sprayed with

piss or

angry, resentful, bitter words that smack of hate and fear


scorched colorless under the sun

or settled and buried with dust

and dirt

where no archeologist will ever find it and exclaim

about its beauty and forgotten meanings


instead consider it


exhibit 47,906

before finding a home

in a crate in the back of some future museum’s unwanted artifacts storage unit.

There are already too many pedestals out there for

tokens and well-behaved monsters with unruly bodies or

unstable minds or

freedom fighters who died

with justice and love spilling

from fists and lips

more powerful than

whatever my crude thoughts

and halting actions

might imagine.

I need no pedestal.


people with statues and monuments

probably have at least something like

a fifty percent or greater chance

of being murdered

than ordinary folk,

either the kind of murder that results in death

or that other kind,

the kind of murder that happens

while still very much alive

But fuck if I know anything.

Once on a pedestal,


I suppose I don't have luxuries like

feeling or

growing or




people on pedestals are more

the unmoving, polished wood, metal, or glass,

than flesh or brain matter.

There are no pedestals for people who

die in the space between victim and survivor.

(They tell me the average lifespan for

an autistic person is thirty years

shorter than neurotypicals,

and they tell me the average lifespan for

a transgender person is

only thirty-something.)

If they start to kill me,

and bury me while still living,

with platitudes and empty admiration,

building my pedestal while

I am breathing

and here,

kindly tell them,

for me,

to fuck off.

LYDIA X. Z. BROWN writes about disability, race, and queerness. They are an organizer and advocate for disability justice focused on state-sanctioned violence targeting disabled people at the margins of the margins. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology by autistic people of color and otherwise negatively racialized autistic people, published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Morénike and Lydia also co-direct the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support and mutual aid to individual autistic people of color. Lydia has received numerous awards for their work, and written for several community and academic publications. Their first published short fiction piece appeared in "Open In Emergency," the Asian American Literary Review's special issue on Asian American Mental Health. In 2018, they were a Teaching Scholar at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace literary conference, and in both 2017 and 2018, they were a reader on panels about disability literature at AWP. They are still working on several incomplete novel manuscripts.