Claire Barber-Stetson earned her doctorate in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently holds a position as a project manager at a consumer packaged goods company. Her work has focused on intersections between modernist aesthetics and disability studies, specifically in literature written by individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
A feeling of insecurity has infiltrated daily life in the United States. This general unease clouds the perception of many, preventing them from—or, allowing them to avoid—interrogating the reality of their situation. Important to remember always, but especially today, is that some people have permanent access to safety, while many live perpetually adjacent to or outside of it. As a result, they lack the support that would enable them to act confidently, without fear. For good reason, insecurity has a predominantly negative connotation, yet this feeling also holds positive potential for those who exist in positions of safety. Rather than closing themselves off, restricting interactions with other people and ideas, they can respond by seeking out new experiences and affiliations from which they can reflect back on the zone of safety. From this vantage point, safety’s limitations become easier to recognize and change more accessible.