CB Mako

CB Mako is a non-fiction, fiction, and fan-fiction writer. Winner of the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition, shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Prize, and longlisted for the inaugural Liminal Fiction Prize, Cubbie has been published in The Suburban Review, Mascara Literary Review, The Victorian Writer, Peril Magazine, Djed Press, Overland, Kill Your Darlings, Liminal Fiction Prize Anthology (Pantera Press, November 2020), Growing Up Disabled in Australia (Black Inc Books, February 2021) and Resilience Anthology (Ultimo Press, November 2022).


An Existential Age

An existential age, a particular number, felt like levelling up, achievement unlocked.
Thanks to modern medicine, you outlived your maternal grandmother, who passed the inherited hypertension to you.

Thus, at this existential age, you want to celebrate. You made it the halfway mark, despite the invisible complications and myriad of medications. 

You even make all the preparations for food and feast – but still end up washing the dishes and cleaning up after the mess from your household. 

The Household eats and devours but refuses to sing ‘Happy Birthday!’ or even allow you the pleasure to blow the candle on your tiny birthday gluten-free cake. 

All this because your natal day is also the anniversary of your father-in-law’s death. 

Your household’s patriarch refuses to give you the satisfaction of celebrating.

Instead, you go out to the city for the first time since the pandemic. 

You saved up a lot, to tick a bucket-list: your first ever Afternoon High Tea in the city with fellow disabled, queer femme parent. You never had the opportunity to dress up and experience until your existential age – all this while constantly reminding your household via sms how to care for your disabled child.

And at this milestone age, you are now expected – required even – to travel overseas to the land of your birth, because ‘Pandemic is Over’ – while ableist relatives ignore and not acknowledge the immunocompromised, Disabled child is among your household members,

That you have #LongCOVID, too. Their denial is strong, ‘It’s just like a flu’, refusing to give you agency. 

Instead, they chide and diminish your bucket-list experience with ‘And I have had many high teas with my friends,’
and then she travels overseas to watch a K-pop concert on the very same week
you barely had capacity to feed the hangry household. 

Two individuals
of such different worlds,
from two different cities,
yet shared the same womb.


Remember that time when you told your relatives at a recent reunion that you’re autistic? Everyone burst out laughing and you don’t even know why.


You take a casual Work From Home (WFH) role to feed the household, to meet rental payments.
Poverty plunges you deeper into debt to keep the hangry household fed.
The additional income was to append the meagre carer payment and low-income earnings of the patriarch.
And yet, you are penalised by Services Australia. They reduce your carer payment. 


You’re not eligible for NDIS because your autism (even with a co-morbidity), under the DSM-5 is only level one. You are not qualified for DSP despite having multiple underlying conditions, and Hard-of-Hearing.


Meanwhile, the man-child buys fake Lego sets to build the Star Wars Razor Crest; In the patriarch’s inner world, there is no such thing as financial abuse.


Meanwhile, ableists don’t know the extent of the damage of #LongCOVID, D Dimer test showed that you have blood clots. Your family GP recommended that you go to the hospital for tests. But who will care for your immunocompromised child?

‘You will die,’ the doctor says. And your mobile phone line goes dead.


But you forge on, as life goes on.

The FVIO respondent continues the circular abusive pattern:

– passive aggressive
– walking on eggshells
– hyperawareness

You prepare for the next arts gig via Zoom [to pay for incurred debt of BNPLs],
to feed & clothe growing teenagers,
while you carry the weight of unpaid labour,
of unsupported, non-NDIS level one autism, of multiple underlying conditions,
of diminished carer payment
of deteriorating organ functions due to #LongCOVID,

You put your mask on – autistic masking is deeply embedded.

You live another day,

to survive,


and advocate,

against racism, ageism, ableism.

Because whiteness is structural
Because #DisabilitySoWhite.

You shout into the void.
Hoping someone out there will listen.