1. What does “monstering” mean to you? To me, using the word “monstering” as the name of our magazine is a reclamation. It represents the fact that disabled people have been seen as monstrous for centuries, as pitiable “freaks”, but that we aren’t afraid to rejuvenate that history. We take back our monstrous title and stand strong and proud of our identity as disabled people. It isn’t a bad thing to be disabled, and we are working to prove that with all the magnificent work we publish in each issue.
2. What are some of your own “monstrous” qualities and how do you work to embrace them? It has taken me a lot of time to embrace my monstrous identity, I will admit. Living with cerebral palsy and a personality disorder has not been easy. I’ve been called names like “insane” or “crazy” or laughed at by people I considered friends. But these things about me that are looked upon with distain oftentimes, have brought me so many good things. Creativity, compassion, empathy, strength. These are the skills I keep in my back pocket, and I wouldn’t have them if I weren’t a monster.
3. If Monstering Magazine could affect one change in the world what would you hope it to be? There are so many changes I wish could be brought to the world instantly, but if Monstering could affect one change that would improve our society, it would be to foster love and acceptance among all people. While our magazine publishes the work of disabled women and NB folks, we acknowledge and appreciate the intersectionality of these groups, and the fact that so many marginalized people face barriers everyday due to a lack of equity, inclusion and understanding. Monstering promotes an understanding of people with disabilities, but we hope in doing so, we foster greater love for all people of all backgrounds and experiences, too.
4. What monstrous human/figure do you feel most connected to/inspired by? (It can be someone you know personally or through history/culture.) I’m going to answer this with two people. Historically, my favourite monster is Frida Kahlo. She lived with debilitating disabilities as a result of a bus crash, yet is one of the most prolific female artists of our time. Not only that, but she was a feminist and LGBTQ+ icon. I am inspired constantly by her strength, her creativity, and her willingness to be unabashedly herself. Similarly, my most inspirational living monster is probably our founder, Brianna Albers. Brianna is not only a disability justice advocate, but she is an incredible writer. Her words could move mountains, and they certainly inspire me to write more, to write better. She founded Monstering with a dream and the posting of a single Tumblr post, and through that, I have met some of the greatest people in my life, and come to lead a project that has been incredibly influential to my career and my soul. I could thank Brianna for that forever.
5. What could you see Monstering Magazine evolving into, or hope for it to be, or hold as a goal for it? My goal for Monstering is simply growth. I want us to reach more people, to share the incredible words and images of our contributors. I want people to see the name Monstering and feel accepted and like they belong. Because they do. Monstering is not just a magazine, it is a place of love. I hope we can evolve into a community, where we can run workshops, Zoom chats, art nights, and more. Monstering has so much potential to make a difference and I only want to see us continue.
6. What effects/results do you think the embracing of “monstrous” qualities has on the marginalized? I can’t speak for all marginalized people, but I will speak for me. Embracing my monstrosity has given me a chance to really love myself. Of course, this is something I struggle with from day to day, but ultimately, my heart of hearts knows that my disability doesn’t make me bad or wrong. Being a monster gives me strength to feel like I belong, gives me hope, because I know I have this family of people behind me at every moment. There is something so calming and comforting about that fact.
7. If you could reach all of the disabled women/non-binary people living around the world, what would you say? Wow, that would be a huge responsibility if I could do that. I think I would tell them that it is okay to be who they are. That they are loved, that they matter, that their disabilities aren’t something to look down upon, not by others and not by themselves. I would tell them there is a place for them in this world, to be whoever they want to be, and I would encourage them to spread this message to all future disabled women and non-binary people they encounter, because together we are a community, and we can create powerful change.