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The Official Release of Doll Hospital Journal: Issue Two!

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Cover design for Issue Two!

As someone who is always looking for literature that shares the resounding truth about the disabled experience, I was elated to find a published body of work that was created by disabled people for disabled people.  Doll Hospital Journal (DHJ) is an intersectional art and print journal on mental health that was created by my dear friend Bethany Lamont.  Bethany wanted a mental health zine that would allow the voices of those who are marginalized to be heard.  Beth (as I call her) is one of the sweetest people I have met on my advocacy journey; her personality is infectious, and she is so caring and thoughtful.  I have enjoyed getting to know her this year, and be a part of this new issue of Doll Hospital Journal.  

Issue Two was released digitally on Friday, December 4th, and I have been diving into it over the weekend.  I did not get a chance to read the first issue of DHJ, but if it is any bit of empowering, eye-opening, and beautifully curated as this one, then I definitely have to get my hands on a copy immediately.  

Submitting My Story for Issue Two

When I saw that there was an Issue Two in the works, I ardently believed this was something I had to be a part of.  I never had a writing of mine published in an anthology before, especially not one that focused on the disabled experience.  I wanted my writing to showcase my unique story as a disabled woman of color, especially since DHJ is adamant about diversity, particularly the voices of disabled people of color.  Working on this submission presented a creative challenge I was determined to achieve; not only for myself, but for other disabled Black women and non-Black disabled women of color who could relate to my plight.  

It took me a few weeks to figure out my angle and a title that was fitting.  Since I had written about juggling multiple identities, I decided that that would be the focus of my submission.  I titled my piece, “The Unicorn Effect,” because there were times when I felt alone as someone who is disabled, of color, and female.  My piece discussed how it took me 30 years to fully embrace who I am, and the barriers that I faced in having the level of self-love and self-acceptance I needed to own.  Loving oneself is a huge feat for disabled people; we are taught to dislike our bodies and our existence.  Many of us struggle to accept who, what, and how we are that relates to our disabilities and other identities, as well as attempt to not internalize the ableism and exclusionary ideals and actions of society.  For me, writing about finding and owning self-love and acceptance was my way of letting other disabled women of color know that they are not alone, and that they, too, can find peace with all three of their identities in this world.  

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First page of my writing that’s featured in Issue Two. (Click image for better view.)

When I shared my writing with Beth and the DHJ staff, the response I received was so positive and uplifting.  They felt that my piece would fit in well within this issue, and it was one that would be included.  To say that I was relieved that it was well-received would be an understatement; it meant a great deal for my story to be accepted for such a body of work like Doll Hospital Journal.  I kept in touch with Beth long after it was submitted, and was eager to hear about the official launch of Issue Two from her a few weeks ago.

Why You Need to Support Doll Hospital Journal, Issue Two

Doll Hospital Journal encompasses the unofficial “mantra” that disabled advocates have:  “nothing about us without us.”  Doll Hospital Journal exposes the harsh realities that we face through essays, poetry, art, and everything inbetween.  The creativity in this issue astounded me; from the vibrant colors to the eye catching titles and artwork were beyond what I imagined to be within this issue.  The amount of thought, selection of submissions, planning, organization, and arrangement are prominent throughout the book; I have not seen such detail put into something like this before.  Viewing and reading the hard work submitters and the DHJ staff put into this piece makes me proud to be associated with it.  To be quite frank, even if I had not submitted a piece for Issue Two, I would still steadfastly support it, and those at DHJ because I fully believe in the gap it is trying to close with this level of diversity and empowerment it strives to achieve.  

Where to Buy Issue Two

The digital copy of Issue Two costs $7.53 USD (or £5 UK).  (Note:  These are suggested prices since DHJ has allowed a “pay as you wish” option.)  You can purchase your copy at Doll Hospital Journal’s shop on Big Cartel by clicking here:  Doll Hospital Journal:  Issue Two (Digital Copy).  

I would love for my readers to support this issue by either buying a copy and/or sharing this post to bring awareness to what Doll Hospital Journal is about, and the literature it creates surrounding mental health.  The launch of this issue is timely for the Holiday season; a book, whether a physical copy or digital, is a wonderful gift that stays on a person’s mind and heart long after the last word is read.  Do consider giving this book to someone you know who would benefit from reading it; it is just that amazing.  

Final Thoughts

If there are ‘zines or publications about the disabled experience that has been created for and by disabled people that should be spotlighted on the blog, please let me know.  I am eager to not only read such books, but to fully support those who create them.  

At the end of Issue Two, there is a call for submissions for Issue Three!  If you believe that your story should be heard, do consider contributing to the next issue of DHJ.  You can learn more about how to contribute a submission and other great information found on Doll Hospital Journal’s website:  DollHospitalJournal.com.  

(Featured headlining images:  Courtesy of Doll Hospital Journal.)

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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