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May 2019: Jules Eddy

Jules Eddy, '19
Jules Eddy
 is a senior who studied film and sociology at Vassar, and obviously stories are a big part of their personal and academic experience. I asked them about their story. They cheekily responded, “I don’t have to imagine if there was a movie about me, because I made one.” Indeed, last semester they created a film titled “A Campus Guide For Ghosts,” which you can watch on YouTube. They described it as a way of “recognizing that conversations about disability are happening at Vassar, and it’s something that is okay to talk about. The process of accepting disability, in yourself, and in the world, is larger than just me.” They took a moment to recognize the work and organizing of their fellow students, like Carina Cohen, current president of the Disability Rights Coalition. The idea for Jules’s film came about when they were talking to their friend Josh Austin, one of the first people they talked to about realizing they were autistic. So together, they endeavored to create their own narrative, a project about them living together, and making new connections around vulnerability and disability. 

This project was just one part of Jules’s own growth and the process of acknowledging their own neurodivergence, of admitting they don’t know everything, and of accepting that they can’t do everything. The humility and graciousness with which they repeated these statements throughout our discussion really stayed with me. Jules said that they came into Vassar as a person who “always needed to know the right thing to say, but I’ve realized that there is so much I don’t know, and so many people who know things I don’t. That realization has allowed me to learn so much more. I’m proud of this journey of realizing the limitations to my ability and my experiences. I should always be striving to learn more and be better. I’m open to being open.” 

Part of the practice of being open, when they mentioned a phrase I wasn’t familiar with, I asked them what it meant. They taught me, patiently and generously, about Spoon Theory, a framework which has been particularly empowering to them. ”Spoon theory is used in disability circles to talk about the finite amount of energy you have every day, and how activities cost certain amounts. Disabled people have been using this to talk about their experiences this way for a long time, teaching people with this tactile illustration of actual spoons. In my family we had this strict attitude about work ethic, and there was no room to say ‘I just can’t do this today.’ So Spoon Theory was so liberating—for me to be able to say ‘I literally cannot do this. Not won’t. Can’t.’ We’re not superhuman, and that’s perfectly okay.”