Thoughts on the Netflix show Ozark, more assorted podcast thoughts and other randomnesses

In an episode of the This American Life podcast, the guests on the show talked about how here in the United States, Corona Virus has literally taken over our world. There were several stories told about people who work in the healthcare field who are having a rough time because they can’t even touch the human beings that they’re trying to keep safe. There was even one story that was specifically about a husband and wife who were both sick with symptoms of this virus…and because of that crappy circumstance, this couple’s little kid could only see one of its parents for a time. It was a really sad episode to listen to and it definitely made me get teary. But at the same time, listening to this particular episode of This American Life also made me feel good, just knowing that I’m not the only person who is experiencing/has experienced a wide array of feelings about this unwelcome change in my world, in the world as a whole.

But then on the opposite side of the spectrum, I recently read a post on social media where someone bitched about the fact that people are complaining about how the Corona Virus has forced us to become isolated from people that we don’t already live with. And so, in response to that person’s post, I said something like “LMAO, you’re complaining about the fact that people are complaining; yet you probably wouldn’t classify what you’re doing now, as complaining. The reality is that this virus fucking sucks…and I’m not someone who’s going to stop talking about that truth just because someone’s going to get their panties in a wad about it.”
I then added something like “if you aren’t someone who has had to deal with how shitty this virus has taken over our lives here in the US and otherwise, I hope you realize what a place of privilege you’re coming from.”

In an episode of Multiamory, the show’s hosts talked about privacy versus secrecy; the main thing they brought up that I could relate to, was telling people I’ve dated information that was never mine to share. And what the Multiamory hosts said that got me thinking about my own past patterns, was that it’s a human thing to share everything with our romantic partners; because society really conditions us to hold people we date in high regard, including attaching meaning to this idea that we don’t hide anything at all from our partners. And personally, I’ve been guilty of viewing things this way, in every single one of my romantic relationships. But in reflecting on that, after being made to think about it in the context of sharing things that have not been mine to share, I want to change that way of being, in the future. So instead of continuing to let society dictate how I conduct my romantic relationships, this is something I definitely want to change for the better.

Another aspect of this Multiamory episode that made me think, was in regards to the fact that in several of my romantic relationships, my partners have wanted to keep our relationship status quiet. And that was something that even though I internally hated, I never let those feelings be known to anyone. And in thinking about the why behind this choice I made multiple times, the only thing I can say for myself is that I had a low self-esteem for most of my life. And so, the way that that translated into many of my romantic relationships, was by me not speaking up in situations that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable…like being kept secret as someone’s romantic partner. But nowadays, if I ever do date anyone else, I feel like I’m strong enough now, that I wouldn’t tolerate someone wanting to keep our relationship status secret. Because I value myself more than I did in the past and also, because I in turn feel that people should love saying they are my romantic partner.

But to elaborate on what felt so hurtful about someone I was dating wanting to be secretive about us as a couple, it was this idea that it was OK to hide a decision that we as adults supposedly made together to be a couple…yet my partners, whether they were men or women, didn’t even seem to think twice about this being unethical. In fact, I ran into this very problem pretty recently with an ex-partner. And even though again, the two of us were adults, they still created chats with me that were secret, they still wanted to call me their girlfriend…even though they’d tell me that they were in a relationship with someone. I could’ve confronted them about it but I chose to walk away. Because it was an automatic dealbreaker that they were going behind their current partner’s back. But this time, what was different about the way I handled this situation, was that I chose to leave the situation as soon as I figuratively saw that it was becoming trouble. Whereas in past situations, I’ve wasted time sticking around with shitty partners.

In another episode of Multiamory, this one discussing online dating, the main thing that stood out to me referred to how people classified their dating profiles. So, in other words, Multiamory’s hosts said that one of the wrong aspects of this that people spend too much time on, is trying to create the greatest profile on whatever website/app they use. And what the Multiamory hosts say folks should do instead, is to get opinions from their close circle about whether their online dating profile does who they are, justice. It made me smile to hear them say that, because I too, believe that this particular advice is excellent. Because for me personally, at least I know that my dating profile truly represents who I am, now. Because the last thing I’d want to do, would be to create a perception of me that’s false in some way.

In a Multiamory episode about things that people perceived as failures within their romantic relationships, this particular episode brought up a few different reflections for me. One of those reflections was that one of the men I dated wanted me to be his caretaker. And this wasn’t even something that either of us had discussed with one another, nor was it something that I even wanted to do. But being that this was the same guy who was incredibly possessive/abusive towards me, I thought that perhaps I was the one in the wrong for not wanting to be this man’s caretaker. But the thing was, being with him felt normal because he treated me similarly to how my bio mom had always treated me. And also, I thought that as this guy’s girlfriend, I was obligated to pick up where it seemed like he couldn’t. So for example, if he’d choose to not get the medical care he needed, I felt like I was personally responsible for doing that for him. And when I felt so burnt out from actually doing that for him for a time, I felt like I’d failed in this relationship. But fortunately, as time went by, I came to the realization that as a grownup, he’s responsible for taking care of himself, just as I’m responsible for taking care of myself, as a grown woman.

Another thing that this Multiamory episode brought to mind for me though, was the fact that by default, society sets us human beings up to consider ourselves failures, if romantic relationships we’re in don’t have a specific outcome, or if we don’t get a job that we really wanted and on and on. But what I’ve personally learned throughout my life experiences, is to not have such a black-and-white way of evaluating things. So for example, when the romantic relationships I’ve been in haven’t had the specific outcomes that I’d thought I’d wanted them to at the time, that doesn’t mean that I should accept society’s view that those romantic relationships are failures…or that those romantic relationships being broken up mean that something is wrong with me as a romantic partner. I’ve had to do lots of work on myself though, to really undo these harmful beliefs that society has tried to insist I adopt. Because society has this idea that there are specific milestones that romantic relationships should have…and so, if people actually do things differently, their going against the grain should be frowned upon.

In another Multiamory episode, the show’s hosts talked about how specific characteristics were related to men and women; and it was interesting to me to hear that some characteristics that were labeled as negatively representing women for example, were things that I personally, thought of as being great qualities. The fact that women are outspoken, was one of the things that’s perceived by many men as being an awful thing about us. And in fact, I can attest to that being the way many men think about this trait in women. Because I’ve been told by men, numerous times throughout my life, that me being outspoken is something that makes me as a woman somehow less than men. And along those same lines, I’ve been told that the fact I’ve slept with more than one person in my life, makes me promiscuous. And quite frankly, I fucking hate these double standards that people who identify as men force onto me. I think it’s important for me to talk about these thoughts, especially as a woman; because as I’ve said on my blog multiple times before, women deserve to be heard…and so, if you’re someone who thinks otherwise, then perhaps you should closely examine the things that society has forced upon you.

But to list some things I find problematic about how men view women, first, there’s the idea that women are fragile flowers…so men should watch what they say to us/how they say things to us. And then there’s this belief that many men have regarding the fact that they as men, feel that they are above women, in nearly every sense. Then there’s the idea that when a man and a woman marry each other, that automatically means that the man runs everything about his life with the woman he’s married to. Then there’s the idea that many men have regarding any romantic relationship he’s in, that there are certain things he has to do, simply because that’s what you do as a man, according to most of society. There are also many men who believe that they are entitled to sex from a woman, whether they’re in a romantic relationship with her or whether they’re married to her. And this thing in particular, really gets under my skin…because consent should always be a thing we as human beings, practice. So for example, even if our partner had sex with us 10 minutes ago, that doesn’t mean that they owe us sex now. No human being is ever entitled to anything!! But that being said, the common theme in all of these things that I’ve listed here, is that there’s no equality whatsoever. And to me, that’s problematic because I’m a feminist who strongly believes that no particular gender is better than, or less than, another one. Also, as a woman myself, I treasure the fact that I’m outspoken. As a woman, I treasure my individuality, whether I’m in a romantic relationship with someone or not. As a woman, I’m not a sensitive human being that someone other than me, has to protect.

Something else that stood out to me in an episode of Multiamory, discusses the subject of us as human beings having tons and tons of things. The reason I found this particular subject worth talking about on my blog, is because I’m the sort of person who tends to get rid of things that I don’t use or that I don’t immediately need. And when thinking about this truth about myself, I’m aware that I come from a family of origin where both sides of said family had people in them who have accumulated tons of shit throughout their lives. And so, while back then I didn’t know that there was specific language to talk about this, I did internally assess why my family members of origin had this kinda behavior. And what many of these people had in common with each other, was that they all seemed to be attempting to fill a void within themselves. But also, I noticed that a few of these people in particular, had such crowded fucking living spaces that it was damn near impossible for folks to even walk around in. And so, from the standpoint of someone who has physical mobility issues as I do, trying to make my way in those specific spaces, seeing this way of life really became something that shaped how I personally, wanted to live. And then, add my blindness into me trying to get around in these spaces…and that made things even more challenging!! But needless to say, even things that we perceive as being negative, as this particular thing was for me, can be great teachers in our lives.

But all that being said, it’s interesting that this issue has come up for me because I can admit that there are things that I’ve attached lots of emotional value to, throughout my life. And even now, there are times when I find myself thinking about physical things I no longer have. Because for whatever reason, I’ve attached a deep meaning to my high school diploma, or to the items that my soulmate TJ had given me before she died, or to the things that TJ had written for me…and on and on and on. And the thing is, the actual memories of these things have not gone away, nor have I forgotten the details of any of them. And so, as I’m writing about this right now, I’m trying to ask myself why I’ve attached so much meaning to physical objects. And TBH, the only thing that comes to mind, is that I’ve been conditioned to do this, by society as a whole. But even so, maybe the fact I’ve written about this now, can be fuel for me to actually go through my things to see what I can get rid of.

For the past few days, I’ve been binge watching season three of a Netflix show called Ozark. And in fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve written about said show on my blog before. But I think it used to be hard for me to explain to you dear blog readers what the show was actually about. But now that I’ve seen the entire third season, I can explain it just fine. So, what said show is about, was a family who’d repeatedly laundered money and committed other crimes for the Mexican drug cartel. The show was insane because both the husband Marty, and the wife Wendy, were lying to their two children, Jonah and Charlotte, about what they (Marty and Wendy) really did; and they (Marty and Wendy) both tried to convince Jonah and Charlotte that everything they, Marty and Wendy, did, was done for the benefit of their entire family. But not surprisingly, Jonah and Charlotte eventually let their parents know that they knew way more of the truth than their parents had ever been willing to tell them. And in fact, season three of Ozark literally ends with Jonah shooting part of the inside of their family house. It was fucking insane!!

I recently wrote the following status on my FB page which reads:
FYI, for any tech-nerds who have an Amazon Echo Dot, if you don’t know where your phone is, you can say”Alexa, where’s my phone?” And she’ll call it for you. Also, apparently she uploads your contacts and I just called a friend of mine using Alexa…and this friend is an Android user who does not have an Echo device…#TheresYourHandyTipForTheDay

I recently replied to an FB friend’s status update in which this friend asked how folks are currently doing. The response I wrote to this post reads:
I want to start off by saying that I’m blind and have cerebral palsy. In addition to those things, I have lots of chronic health issues that could become life-threatening at any moment. I say this so that people will hopefully have an understanding of why I say this next thing. I’m not a praying person, but since this serious virus has become a huge thing, I’ve literally been praying daily that I don’t have to be hospitalized when all this mess is going on. And it doesn’t help that I’ve seen other folks with disabilities say that some people in the medical field find us easily disposable. As for how I’m taking care of myself through this, I’m making sure to take lots of deep breaths whenever I start to feel stressed or worried about what might/could happen with any of my health issues. I’m also watching a lot of things on Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus. Listening to all kinds of music is also one of my favorite passtimes. I’ve also been reading books and writing about podcasts that I listen to, shows I’m watching and have even started to write album reviews of albums that have really touched me.

Assorted Multiamory podcast thoughts

In a recent episode of the Multiamory podcast, the hosts talked to people in the polyamorous community about the different types of relationship styles that people find work for them, besides traditional monogamy. Listening to this particular episode of the show made me smile because I fully support alternative relationships; and even though I don’t currently want to be polyamorous specifically, I do love the concept of still being able to have alternative relationships of some sort as an actual part of my life. So for example, me telling a potential partner that I don’t want her to completely change her other relationships just because she and I become a couple, this stance of mine would be considered something that differs from how society generally conducts traditional romantic relationships. Or if the tables are turned and we’re talking about a man I’m having sex with/that I want to have sex with, I wouldn’t want him to feel like our sexual relationship was somehow less meaningful to me because he knows that I identify as gay/lesbian.

But to get more technical about this relationship creation difference that I talked about in the previous paragraph, in another episode of Multiamory, the hosts of the show talked about a term for this particular practice. The term is “relationship anarchy,” which in a simpler way, means that each individual, for his or herself, decides whether they want to allow society to dictate the way their relationships work or whether they want to carve out a completely different system for the romantic relationships, or all of their relationships. And one reason that this particular model if you will, appeals to me, is because by default, I’m the type of person who constantly questions why society functions in certain ways and not others. And so, it doesn’t require much thinking power for me to think outside of the romantic relationship style box/the all relationships style box that I’ve just always unconsciously been involved in. But also, part of loving whomever you’re with, in my opinion, is the viewpoint that you shouldn’t want to control the other person or people…but rather, you should want them to consciously choose to be with you. Because the idea behind relationship anarchy, indicates that people’s relationships are not governed by figurative societal chains but instead, all adults involved decide amongst each other, how they want their relationships to look and feel.

Another thing that resonated with me in this particular Multiamory episode, was when the hosts brought up something that’s ingrained in many of us by society…which is this idea that when we’re in a romantic relationship of any kind, we might have to compromise on the kinda person we’re looking for because society tells us that we can’t be too picky. But the thing that the Multiamory hosts accurately point out, is that when it comes to the values that mean the most to us as individuals, we have the right to stick by those truths about ourselves. Because no one but us truly knows that we’ve thoroughly thought this particular thing through. And also, it’s considered non-traditional to challenge the harmful belief that us sacrificing any part of who we are, is a necessary part of what it means to be in a romantic relationship with anyone. And so, for example, when I say that I want the woman I’m in a long-term relationship with to be an atheist who’s childfree, yet who’s also feminine as I am, those are all things that I believe in my core. Put another way though, I don’t buy into this toxic thought process that I shouldn’t have standards like these that I’ve talked about here.

In another episode of the Multiamory podcast, the guest was named Andrew Gurza (who is someone with disabilities who is also in the LGBTQ+ community). I loved this particular episode of Multiamory because I’ve never heard the hosts of this show openly talk about those of us with disabilities, before this point. But also, I really identified with what Andrew Gurza pointed out to Jase and Emily which was that all human beings fuck up. Disabled people are not exempt from that human truth–but what Andrew Gurza added to that truth, was that we could all become better at forgiving folks when they use terms that are different than the ones that we ourselves, use.

So for example, when I talk about being blind, I use the word “blind.” Because there’s no part of me that’s impaired in any way; and I don’t care that it’s legally correct to use the term “visually impaired.” Because when you’re interacting with me, no matter who you are, I expect that you’ll follow my lead as a sign that you respect me…and if you don’t follow my lead, even after I’ve explained to you why I use the particular language I do, then that will most likely be the only time I interact with you ever again. The same applies to misgendering people; if I tell you how someone prefers to be identified, it’s a piss poor excuse for you to then say “oh well, I’m going to keep calling them the gender I think of them as because that’s what’s easy for me.” It’s 2020, and as our lives evolve, so too, does the language we use. If you can’t get behind that, then keep your blatant disrespect to yourself.

But anyway, going back to the Multiamory podcast, in another episode of said show, a couple of the show hosts talk about ways that we human beings can lovingly come back to our partner. They talk about this in terms of if we or our partner have been getting to know a new partner; and they talk about it from the angle of partners one and two sharing a living space with each other, while each of them also makes space to go on dates with other folks. And this particular episode was interesting to me because I think it’s important to be aware of powerful ways that we can make our partner feel safe and cared about, whether we’re talking about this happening after we’ve had a heated discussion with one another or whether one of us has just gotten home from having a date with someone new. And honestly, listening to more episodes of this show is great food for thought for my potential future with someone long-term.

So to elaborate on some of the examples given in this episode of Multiamory, one of the ways that we can communicate effectively with our partner, would be to say something like “I know that we’re having to work our way through something that’s challenging; and I understand that you’d like to resolve this situation right now. But in order to give this issue the attention it deserves, and in order to also ensure that I’m fully present for both of us, I need some time alone to think about my perspective.” And the reason that this is great communication, is because you’re letting your partner know that you value their thoughts, needs and desires. Whereas, if you just say nothing, your partner might feel like you’re blowing them off, for any number of reasons. And in fact, this sort of thing was a huge problem with the last romantic relationship I was in, because I liked to communicate with my then-boyfriend about how we could make things better, while he seemed to prefer to avoid discussing difficult subject matters altogether. This particular thing was far from the only thing wrong with that romantic relationship, though.

In another Multiamory episode, this one discussed how to remove yourself from situations in which everyone involved acts as different characters, for lack of a better word. So for example, what this particular episode brought up for me, was that it became clear to me what kind of part I’ve played most often. And I was able to see, going all the way back to when I was a little girl, that I’ve mostly been the person who wants to take everyone’s pain away, whether that pain is physical pain or emotional pain. Like, even going back to the relationship I had, or didn’t have, with my bio mom, I was always determined to find a way to fix her life in some way, shape or form. And even with the romantic relationships I’ve had with men, I wanted to be the person who made their life better…because I could see them so clearly. I totally believed that I had what it took to make those men, and my bio mom, into better human beings. And so, in listening to this particular Multiamory episode, I immediately recognized that part of myself that wanted to mold people into the versions of them that I thought they ought to be. Because as I’ve just said, that can be traced back to my childhood, when I had this idea that I could make my bio mom’s life so much better…even if it would take me years to do so. And this same thought process could be applied to all of the men I’ve dated.

And so needless to say, it always feels really empowering to me any time that I discover the fact that I can make different choices for myself as an adult. And I know I’ve talked about this on my blog before, because it’s been something that’s really helped shift my perspective from one where I felt I had no control of my life, to one that showed me the polar opposite: that actually, I have the power to change the stories I tell myself, and also, the world. Because it’s only been a few years ago since I’ve unlearned the ways in which my childhood caused me to act/live. And TBH, it was difficult for me to do that, especially because I felt like I was doing something dirty or wrong, even, by unlearning those harmful ways of being/thinking. But that being said, once I truly became comfortable with carving out my own path, it also became second nature for me to then continue thinking of different ways that I could re-write my story. And so now, I’m even able to be a comforting source for others who are currently going through what I went through just a few years ago. And that’s a great feeling, not to mention, I realize that in a way, it also feels like I’ve come full circle.

Another Multiamory episode that I listened to, made me think about past experiences that I’ve had. In particular, this episode discussed important things to think about when you’re considering whether to live with anyone, be they a romantic partner, a sexual partner or anyone else. So when I very first moved to this new state, I lived with my then-boyfriend for a few months’ time; and we honestly worked great together, for the most part which may surprise people, given that I’ve discussed areas of this romantic relationship that were problematic for me. But seriously, the two of us had similar values as far as our housekeeping habits went. Neither of us were messy, nor would we leave piles of clothes just laying around the house. We were both also able to cover rent sometimes, if the other person was falling short of all the money that they’d usually pay. We were also good about having hard conversations which kinda feels weird to me to say, given that my then-boyfriend usually preferred to avoid discussing topics that were difficult to discuss.

Something else that this particular episode of Multiamory got me thinking about though, was what my thoughts were and are regarding people coming into my home space and automatically treating said space like it’s their house, where they can do whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want. And it’s interesting to reflect on this because I vividly remember times when I had my own apartment back in Texas, and people would disrespect that that was my space. And for awhile, I didn’t even know that I had boundaries around certain things, like a particular person just going into my kitchen and taking one of my drinks for themselves, without even asking me if they could even do that. Because the first time that this happened, I just thought that perhaps they were thirsty because it was summertime, especially being that Texas heat is so awful. So I didn’t say anything to them, until they took drinks that I’d had in my apartment a few times, without asking me beforehand. And so, being that that was my own personal space, I realized that I could control how I wanted that to look and feel. So, the next time that this particular person took a drink of mine from my kitchen, I spoke up and I said something to them like “I’ really don’t appreciate you just making yourself at home here and taking a drink that I bought for myself. If you wouldn’t mind buying me another bottle of soda or can of soda to replace the one you’ve taken, that will be fine. But if you’re just thinking that you can take my drinks without me saying something to you about it, then we’re going to have problems.” And not surprisingly, once I’d said that to this specific person, they didn’t handle that new boundary I set well. In fact, they tried to make this into something that I was overreacting about, rather than trying to understand that in my apartment where we were, I had the right and the authority, to decide what was acceptable within that space and what was unacceptable within that space.

Another episode of the Multiamory podcast that stood out to me, was one in which the show’s hosts discussed the terms “sex positivity” and “sex negativity.” This episode stood out to me because I haven’t always been someone that’s comfortable with my own or other people’s self-expression, when it’s come to sex. And personally, being that I was raised in a religious household, I internalized the belief that sex was bad, unless we were referring to a married heterosexual couple having sex. But the thing was, even as a young girl, I’d experiment with other little girls by kissing them and fondling their breasts…and they’d do the same with me. But of course I’d never talk about that part of my life to anyone; and in fact, the girls that I’d fooled around with were also fine with just keeping our sexy times between us. But what makes this issue complex for me personally, is the fact that on some level, I’d always known that I found girls sexually attractive. Like, I vividly remember that my first celebrity crush, as well as my first crush on someone I knew, were both crushes on girls. But yet as I’ve said above, I was raised in a household where the grownups who lived there were deeply religious…or at least, they claimed to be. And so, because of that circumstantial truth, a huge part of me believed that keeping sex secret was something that everyone in the world did. And also, I of course believed that sex was dirty or bad, outside of the confines of a married heterosexual couple having it. And these complex beliefs of mine held true, until I’d gotten my own apartment and felt free to start having heterosexual sex myself. Because the truth was, even when I’d left my bio mom’s house, I still lived with members of my family of origin…and so, I didn’t even want them to know that I wanted to have straight sex. And so, that’s why I waited until having my own apartment, to actually make that happen for myself.

But before I go any further, I want to clarify that the reason I specified me having heterosexual sex, over me having lesbian sex, was simply to indicate that I was raised to believe that there was only one kinda sex in the entire world. Because that particular belief was what the grownups around me most likely wanted me to think. And the thing was, I’d grown up hearing my bio mom say “nasty,” when she’d see two females holding hands with one another or kissing each other on the lips. And so, that’s where the internalized homophobia that I had, actually came from: having years and years of that sort of thing happening.

And so, all that being said, I didn’t necessarily see me fooling around with females as being a sexual thing…even though it was. And so, even when I was in a romantic relationship with a grown woman during my early adulthood, I still didn’t consider us being sexual with one another. And it feels weird for me to think about that now because I live so differently, but self-refllection is important.

But going back to when I had my own apartment, I saw that particular change as being a huge life change for me, for multiple reasons. One of those reasons, was because I knew that I’d finally have the freedom to do grownup things that I’d never done with men before, such as have sex with them. And so, once my environment had physically changed, so too, did my confidence about becoming a more sexual human being. Because perhaps deep down, I’d known, at least on some level, that sex would be a quite pleasurable activity. And even then, I didn’t have the language to describe that I couldn’t have sex with anyone that I didn’t already have an emotional connection with…but I just instinctively knew that truth about myself. And in fact, that’s still true for me to this day. But that being said, if I happened to strongly connect with a stranger at an event where people were being sexual with one another, I wouldn’t be opposed to having sex with them. Because as I’ve thought about this sort of thing thoroughly, and for several years at that, I’ve come to realize that sometimes we just have to live in the moment because we’re really feeling it, whatever it happens to be at any given time.

30 Things I can’t stand, that most people like/love

I recently participated in this FB game where people listed things that they can’t stand, that other folks actually really like. I’ve amended my initial list and added more to it. But first, I want to let folks know that these are in the order in which I thought of them; other than that, they aren’t in order of subject matter.
So with that being said, what I wrote reads:
1. Camping.
2. Spicy food of any kind…and just to clarify, by spicy food, I mean food so hot that you can’t even taste the food’s actual flavor.
3. The Netflix show Tiger King.
4. Going to church.
5. Summer.
6. Hair spray, perfume and cologne all make me have trouble breathing if they are in my immediate vacinity/if someone has put too much of these things on.
7. Licorice of any kind.
8. Religion of any kind.
9. Owning pets.
10. Raisins.
11. Bananas.
12. Sports, both participating in them and watching them.
13. The show called The Office.
14. Broccoli.
15. Going to beaches, swimming pools, hot tubs ETC.
16. Drinking alcohol.
17. Heavy metal/death metal.
18. Singing.
19. Going to museums, art galleries ETC.
20. Country, classical and opera music.
21. Kids/babies.
22. Horror movies, shows ETC.
23. Bowling.
24. Playing Scrabble.
25. Mustard.
26. McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
27. Taco Bell.
28. Barbecue chicken as a pizza topping.
29. Onions on salads.
30. Anchovies.

Another review of an album I love

My over all thoughts on JoJo’s album called “Mad Love:” I feel like it’s fitting to put my over all thoughts of this album first because it’s important to reflect on the drama and trauma that JoJo has been through in this past decade. So mainly, when JoJo was a child, she’d signed a contract with a record label called Blackground Records. But being that she was a kid then, she didn’t have the knowledge about what that actually legally meant for her career-wise. And well, it turned out that Blackground Records literally owned not just what music JoJo had recorded under the contract they’d created with her…but also, Blackground Records owned JoJo’s actual voice. And so, all of this to say that JoJo’s album “Mad Love” that I’m currently writing a review on, is clear evidence of her work ethic and love of her ability to create meaningful music in the world. And truthfully, as someone who’s been a JoJo stan literally from day one as I have, this particular album of hers is one I’ll treasure for years and years to come. The album came out at a time when I needed it most; I listened to it a lot in 2016, whenever I’d do home health physical therapy that was required after having finally gotten a huge health diagnosis. I also listened to it a lot in 2017, when I was in Arkansas for a few months, learning about Apple products like Macs which I knew nothing about. And I really feel like this album is super empowering, in a way I found deeply healing for myself. Because similar to JoJo’s story of dealing with traumatic experiences, I’ve also suffered numerous traumatic experiences in my childhood and even through most of my adulthood. But also, this album makes me proud to be a woman, every single time I listen to it!! I feel like a fucking bad-ass, listening to every single song on it; I feel like I’m sexy as fuck when listening to every song on it. I also feel empowered when listening to every song, because I’m someone who wants to grow and become better and better every day. But also, in my dark moments, listening to this album also reminds me that even though I sometimes feel like I’m alone in certain life experiences, there’s always music to help me feel less alone.

Track #1: “Music;” the sound of this song was surprising to me, meaning that I wouldn’t have predicted JoJo singing an entire song with just the backing of a piano. I mean, she has interludes on her mixtapes where she’s backed by a piano…but those times don’t even compare to the arrangement of this song called “Music.” And also, I think it’s perfect that JoJo is backed by a piano on this particular song because it allows her voice to soar beautifully. Plus, it’s a sweet tribute to her deceased father. There are times throughout the song where she sounds like she could cry at any moment…and that’s powerful in and of itself.

Track #2: “I Can Only;” this song is a duet with Alessia Cara that talks about how we as women can only be true to who we are. I also take it as an empowerment anthem though, encouraging us as women to not let negative critics in the world steal our shine, so to speak. I think that JoJo’s and Alessia Cara’s voices blend magically together.

Track #3: “Fuck Apologies;” this song features Wiz Khalifa and is one of my favorites off the album. It’s empowering to me because I identify with its message 100 percent. Like, whenever I hear this song, I think of how my bio mom used to tell me to apologize to her for ruining her family. She’d say that she has proof of that being true but she’d never actually show me this supposed proof. But also, “Fuck Apologies” is a great song that I feel signifies exactly how I feel about the fact I’ll never apologize to anyone for anything, unless I truly do mean that I’m sorry.

Track #4: “FAB, which stands for Fake Ass Bitches, is yet another song on this album that I identify with so much. It features Remy Ma (a well-known rapper) and talks about how there are people in the world who act one way in front of you and then they act in a totally different way behind your back. I’ve known plenty such people like that throughout my life and this song is a great way to remind myself how they are…and why I cut them out of my life once I know that they are not their authentic selves. I also created this song as a ringtone around the time the album came out…because I really do love it that much.

Track #5: “Mad Love;” this is one of the slowest tracks on the album but I love JoJo’s vocals on it. I’m not typically a fan of slow songs but the slow songs on this album are exceptions to that rule. I can also relate to this song’s message of wanting romantic love to be a part of one’s life…but at the same time, not wanting romantic love to happen because all relationships are difficult in some way, shape or form.

Track #6: “Vibe.” This song is just a fun-sounding track, from start to finish. JoJo is clear about the fact that she doesn’t want a man to change the energy that she’s around because she’s confident in what she brings to the table, period. And throughout the song, she also lets it be known to any man interested in her, that her girlfriends will have her back…so he can’t be someone who wants to play games with her. This song was another ringtone I created for myself…because I love it so much.

Track #7: “Honest.” While I don’t have this song as a ringtone for myself, it’s certainly in my top five favorite tracks on the entire album. It’s basically a song where JoJo tells people that she is who she is…and part of who she is, is someone who’s honest throughout her life. This song is definitely one that I’d say could sum up who I am now, as I don’t care what people think about me, because ultimately I’m doing what I know to be right, every single day. And I think it’s fair to say that I, along with JoJo, am proud to be a woman. I’m also comfortable living as a woman, and being an outspoken woman, regardless of the fact that there are folks in the world who don’t like my opiniated nature.

Track #8: “Like This;” I love the beat and the over all instrumentation of this song. The fun beat, I think, helps convey JoJo’s confidence about how she plans to please her man. And I can definitely relate to wanting to please my partners too.

Track #9: “Edibles;” this is another fun song where JoJo gives us details about how she and her man are going to do edibles together and have awesome sex. And while I can’t relate to the doing edibles part of the song, as I don’t enjoy edibles personally, good sex is always a great subject to sing about, write about ETC.

Track #10: “High Heels;” this song is just about the sexiness of a woman. I interpret it as JoJo recognizing that it’s sometimes hard as fuck to be a woman in a world that oftentimes doesn’t embrace all of who you are, even though you do embrace it. And quite frankly, I’m grateful that this album has so many songs on it like “High Heels,” that portray a woman who feels sexy, empowered and confident in who she is. I think that, as I’ve said before, these things are part of the reason why I feel confident, sexy and empowered myself, when I listen to this album.

Track #11: “I Am.” This song is one of my top two favorite tracks on the album, most especially because I can relate to the message in it, as well as the circumstances surrounding where this song came from. Because in some ways, I feel like I grew up with JoJo, simply because hers and my lives have so many similarities between them. Like, for one thing, JoJo wrote this song after she’d been going to therapy for a time; more specifically, she wrote this song because her therapy had helped her shift from someone who’d felt unworthy of receiving good things, to someone who eventually came to realize that she was not, in fact, the traumatic events that had happened to her, throughout her life. And in my case, I too, went to therapy and started off being in a place where I felt like I was totally a piece of shit person. But then as time went by and I started shifting how I saw myself, this particular song came to deeply resonate with me. And that’s why this song is hands-down, my absolute favorite one on this album.

Track #12: “Clovers;” this song is another fun, upbeat track. JoJo’s harmonies, combined with the song’s instrumentation, make me happy. There are some things throughout the song that JoJo does with her voice, like making some of its harmonies sound chipmunky. I don’t know how else to put that.

Track #13: “Wreckless;” this song is another one of the sexy songs on the album. JoJo talks about getting drunk with a man that she’s having sex with, but also, she admits that she has been irresponsible, in terms of only thinking about herself and her needs. I can relate to this kinda story though, as I’ve been in a similar position, at least when it comes to one particular potential relationship I could’ve been in. But ultimately, I know that that was for the best because things wouldn’t have worked out between us, anyway.

Track #14: “Good Thing;” this track is definitely one of my favorite ones on the album. It has a fun beat that makes me want to dance…and I’m not a dancer, at all. But also, JoJo really sounds like she was in a great moment whenever she’d actually recorded this particular song. Like, she really provided the feeling that she’s been in love before, and that being in love has made her happy. And as I’ve said about other songs on this album, this song too, is one that I can totally relate to. Like, I’ve been in romantic kinda love a few times, and there have definitely been moments within those romantic love experiences, that I’ve felt truly happy…but the thing is, all of those romantic love experiences were just fleeting moments…or snippets of intimate love, even.

Track #15: “Rise Up;” I think that this song is the perfect fit for the end of the album. Like, I literally could not imagine JoJo having picked a better song. Because what the message of this song says, is that she calls people out for only wanting to be in a romantic relationship for the good parts of what being in that kinda relationship entails. In fact, I can relate to this song on a deep level because I have these kinda experiences whenever I’m in romantic relationships. Like, people act all lovey-dovy about being with me at first but then, when it actually comes down to being with me long-term, no one wants to do that…at least, not once they find out what a medically fragile person I am. And I’m saying this because it’s been my actual, lived experience, time and time again. So every time I hear JoJo’s song “Rise Up,” it makes me smile, knowing that she has similar feelings as I do, even though we don’t actually know each other, nor have we gone through the exact same things.

Some multi-Media thoughts and more social isolation

I recently read a book called The Atheist’s Way; the author of this book is named Eric Maisel. And TBH, reading this book came at the perfect time, meaning that given the turmoil that the entire world is in right now, reading a book about making one’s own meaning in life was literally just what I needed, to help me start thinking about how I’m going to create meaning for myself, given how drastically our world has changed within these past few weeks. Because honestly, I’ve been feeling tons of different emotions lately, from feeling calm, to feeling sad, to feeling totally hopeless…and I haven’t been looking forward to changing how I ensure that I continue to find meaning in life. And that’s a weird place for me to be at, because in nearly all other circumstances, I happily embrace change. In nearly all other circumstances, I even look for ways that I can change my life from one day to the next, or even change my life in long-term ways that allow me to live according to the principles I strongly believe in. But being forced to figure out how to make meaning out of something that’s depressing as fuck for me, is going to be challenging, for sure.

And so, this book talks about the fact that it’s an easy way out for human beings to pass off whatever they don’t understand to a higher power. But it can be difficult for folks to accept the truth that each individual has the power to create meaning for his or herself…and then to live their lives according to the things that they individually, value most. Because for many people, it can seem like a harsh truth when they hear an atheist such as myself tell them that there is in fact no way that the universe itself has any interest in us human beings. But if these folks took the time to really sit with the beautiful knowledge that each individual has the right, and even the duty, I would say, to create lives that they as individuals are happy with, they might not feel so hopeless anymore. And so, it deeply saddens me to constantly see religious people be unhappy with their lives yet feel that their unhappiness is God’s will. Like, that isn’t even logical!! Things will not, and do not, just happen to us. If we want to find true love, we have to actively do things to increase our chances of finding it. If we want a job in a particular industry, we have to actively do things to make that happen for ourselves. And lest anyone misunderstand where I’m coming from, I’m not saying that if we actively look for the things that we want, that will automatically make those things come to us. What I’m saying, is that we cannot just sit around, hoping that a higher power or a fellow human being will bring us exactly what we want. Although, if you’re someone who believes that that’s how the world works, you do you…because I wouldn’t want you to move through the world aimlessly, if you don’t actually want to be the driver in your life.

Another thing that this book The Atheist’s Way talked about, was the fact that the way many people see atheists, is very different to how folks who are atheists actually are. So the best example of this that I can think of for myself, is the misconception that by default, being an atheist makes me into someone who confronts people who are religious constantly…and that is flat out insulting. The reason that this belief about me/other atheists is insulting, is because no one in the world has the ability to fight every single battle that happens in their lives or that they see happening to others. And so, when religious people put that imagined pressure onto atheists, that gesture on the part of those religious folks, only helps bolster the harmful belief that atheists as a whole, are bad people. But the thing is, people who are religious, no matter what religion they are a part of, are not better human beings than us non-religious folks. Just because the majority of the religious world tries to instill in people that religion is what makes them moral, that doesn’t actually mean that that is really the way the world works. Just because the majority of the religious world tells people that if they do certain things that a sky-daddy decides are horrible, they will then go to hell, that doesn’t mean that that scare tactic is a valid way to create meaning for oneself. But it’s easy to just keep believing in things because people value traditions…and for whatever reason, many folks think that if you are an atheist, you can’t, or don’t, have traditions in your life.

Something else in The Atheist’s Way that I think it’s important to clarify here, is that if folks take the book’s title literally, that can lead them to have harmful thoughts about atheists right away. But as the author himself asserts, he titled this book The Atheist’s Way because he wanted people to sit with the fact that all atheists do not live life the exact same way as one another. He wanted people to fully understand that even though some folks use atheism to create a ton of meaning in their lives, other atheists make different decisions about how little, or how much, atheism influences who they are. And so, the short version of this, is that all atheists are different, just like all blind people are different, just like all sighted people are different. And also, just because some of us have atheism in common with each other, that doesn’t mean that we’re alike in other ways that matter. This concept can be applied to people who love Pokemon, being childfree, reading books…or any other thing that we can think of.

In the book I’ve been reading called Dyke Life, something that this book currently has me thinking about, is the numerous ways that lesbians choose to look. What I mean, is that people have told me before, something along the lines of “you don’t look gay!” And while I know that there are gay women in the world who look very manly, I’m not one of those people. In fact I’m a girly-girl, meaning that I not only identify as a woman…but I outwardly act very feminine in most ways. But until pretty recently, I hadn’t even thought much about the assorted labels that exist for lesbians in the world. And the thing is, the book Dyke Life has me thinking about the fact that I don’t look gay. And because I don’t even look gay, most people probably just assume that I’m heterosexual. And that assumption is wrong, for so many reasons. One reason it’s wrong, is because people’s looks don’t necessarily reflect their sexual preference. Because people for the most part, do whatever it is that makes them happy. But also, hearing such comments directed at me is infuriating because it’s bothersome that my sexual preference is automatically heterosexual, by default. This bothers me because that way of thinking/judging people is incredibly toxic. But this also bothers me because it isn’t just heterosexual folks who judge me as being straight, simply because I dress and act very feminine. But the thing is, I love the way I look. I love the way I feel personally, as well as in the world, as the feminine woman that I am. And there’s part of me that wishes that there will come a day when the world gives feminine women like me a chance to just be: to just exist in the world, unapologetically ourselves, without us women having to concern ourselves with incorrect ways that society at large perceives us to be, as sexual beings.

So, just as I said I’d do in one of my most recent blog posts, I looked up Jewel’s music on Apple Music. And I have to say that while I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of her music, there are a few songs among her catalogue of music that I quite enjoy. But one thing I also discovered when listening to her music recently, was that she’s one of those people who can sing anything; the different styles of music she’s recorded are pop, folk, holiday songs and country. Now, in case I’ve never said this anywhere on my blog before, I cannot stand most country music; so it hopefully goes without saying, that I didn’t actually listen to Jewel’s country-styled songs. I also didn’t listen to Jewel’s Christmas/holiday songs, as I only like Christmas/holiday songs from a select few singers. But despite the number of times that I’ve tried to make myself listen to Jewel’s album called “Pieces of You” because that album was one of my favorite albums in my childhood, I just can’t bring myself to listen to it in full. And I think that’s mostly because it makes me think of being around my bio mom and learning what it meant to be in a constantly unstable household. And TBH, that’s an interesting transformation to me, to see how at one point, this particular album got me through tough times…to now, where listening to said album just figuratively puts me back in that awful environment.

I recently listened to an episode of Hidden Brain in which its host Shankar Vedantam talked with someone about how society has been through a pandemic before. And honestly, this episode of Hidden Brain was pretty boring to me; however I felt that it was important that I give it a listen anyway. That being said, I was also curious to learn about this pandemic that society had dealt with, prior to the current one that’s known as the Corona Virus. And the thing is, society was ill-prepared for the virus the world became infected with nearly 100 years ago…and even this time around, society was not prepared for the Corona Virus to happen. But something that’s different about the Corona Virus, is that the current United States President does not have anyone’s best interest in mind, except his own. And that makes things incredibly dangerous for the US.

In a recent TED Radio Hour episode, the new host of the show discussed why she believes that it’s crucial for us human beings to be bored from time to time. And she explains that being forced to stay home, could really be a perfect time for us to explore our creativity, in new and exciting ways. And TBH, this episode reminded me of how within these last couple years, I’ve realized the importance of listening to my body, all the time…and then following whatever my body is telling me to do. And I think of us human beings experiencing what it feels like to be bored as a similar eye-opening experience. And in fact, that’s one reason why I’m trying to make myself keep writing: because if I don’t exercise the muscle that is my brain and constantly think of new and exciting blog content to create, then I’ll lose the motivation to write. And I’d also lose readership, most likely…and that’s the last thing I want to happen.

In a recent episode of Multiamory, its hosts talked about the differences between how people process information. So for example, there are folks who process things inside themselves; but there are other individuals who process things by talking them out with people in their lives who they trust. And so, it was interesting for me to reflect on the kinda processor I am; because my truth is, the way I process things changes, depending on the situation and/or depending on my relationship with the people involved in my life situations. Like, when I made the decision to leave Texas for good, I didn’t tell most people what my plans were, ahead of time. I literally only told the people who were helping me sell all of my things and the folks who trained Planet Fitness members. I told the folks who were training me as a gym member about my plans because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to come up with a large amount of money or something, when I canceled my gym membership there. And the reason I chose not to involve people in this outside of these two instances, was because I didn’t want to have to hear people trying to talk me out of doing this. I didn’t want to listen to people doubting me because of my disabilities, or telling me five billion times that they thought I was making a bad decision for some other reason. Because truthfully, I’d made the decision to relocate years ago; but I had to wait until I wasn’t so sick that I could barely move, even around my own apartment. And just because I enjoy thinking about how many years in the making this decision was, I’d say it was nearly a decade in the making. Because going back to my time as an LCB student, I knew, at least on some level, that I could create a meaningful life for myself. And then in May 2009, I left my bio mom’s house for good. But ever since my journey as an LCB student had taken place, I knew that ultimately I wanted to end up living in a liberal-leaning state.

In yet another situation that I handled differently, when I left my bio mom’s house for good in May 2009, I knew that I couldn’t make her aware of my plans to finally make this happen for myself because if I did, she’d go ape-shit and hold me at her residence against my will. And so, I prepared months and months prior to May 2009; I bought myself a track phone and lots of storage containers. I’d purchased a track phone to make sure I’d still have a phone, in case she stole the phone from me that she’d given me a few years prior. And I’d purchased the storage containers so that I could gather everything of value that I possibly could. I even kept all of these things hidden away at a neighbor’s house, until the day came that I’d be leaving Austin Texas for good. So I bring this situation up because I had to handle it with lots of planning, figuring out literally what had to happen minute-to-minute. And so, it turned out that I didn’t tell my bio mom or her husband about my plans to leave their house, until the very day I actually made this happen. And then, once I’d gotten everything together that I could, I left their house…and then went to a neighbor’s house to wait for an aunt on my biological dad’s side of the family to pick me up. And TBH, I feel like there have been tons of situations throughout my life, that have had to be handled differently from one another. And so needless to say, that’s why I can’t say with certainty that I process most things talking them through or thinking about them in my own head. And the fact that I’m this way is mind-boggling to me because most people do have a straightforward answer about the kinda processor that they are.

But another situation in my life that comes to mind, that I handled differently, was something that had happened in my last relationship. In fact, the very day I started blogging publicly, was when I’d gotten back from a trip with my then-boyfriend and his family. And one of the traumatic things that happened to me while we were on that trip, was that a relative of my then-boyfriend’s told me that I was in the way…and so I should go into a room by myself, where I’d be out of the way of other people. And given the numerous previous traumatic experiences I’d had where my bio mom would tell me something along those same lines, I immediately started crying. And I then of course, did run into an empty room, just as this relative of my then-boyfriend’s had instructed me to do. And given that that had happened in December 2017, I didn’t have any language to explain to anyone, including myself, why this person’s comment had hurt me so deeply. And how I’d handled things differently in this situation, was that I took time to allow myself to process what had happened within myself. And given the complexity surrounding that situation, it took me at least a day or so to really get to the bottom of this traumatic event. And so, once I did that, I was able to tell my then-boyfriend about why I’d reacted by crying uncontrollably, when a relative of his had made that insensitive comment towards me. I was able to get into the specifics with him about how my bio mom used to say something identical to me, all the time. I explained to him that whenever his relative made that comment to me, I was immediately transported back to my bio mom’s house, in my mind. Because his relative making that shitty comment to me, immediately set off alarm bells. And so, when it came to how I processed that particular situation, I knew that it was necessary for me to reflect on my own, before I involved my then-boyfriend.

But yet another situation that comes to my mind, that I handled in yet a different way, was one that happened when I was in the hospital in early to mid-2015. The man I was dating at the time was incredibly possessive of me, not to mention abusive towards me. And through the time when he visited me in the hospital, some people who were taking care of me happened to be men. And when the guy I was dating found that specific information out, he became territorial of my body, saying something like “your body is mine. No other man is supposed to touch it.” Now, I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to spell out what happened here but I’ll do so because people need to see the full picture of what a piece of shit person this boyfriend of mine was.

So, the comment that this boyfriend of mine had made about my body being his body, was likely meant to scare me into submission. Because the thing was, this fool had the balls to sexualize the experience of me having medical professionals who were men, take care of me. He literally told me something like “these men are probably getting off because they’re interacting with your vagina. I think the fact that you’ve had emergency brain surgery has made you not think clearly…and that’s why you’re letting these men touch you!” Him saying that to me of course made me cry uncontrollably which felt very familiar to me, given how my bio mom always said things that also made me cry uncontrollably. But what was different about the situation with this boyfriend of mine though, was that I knew that if I didn’t get out of that relationship as soon as possible, this man might literally kill me. And so, it goes without saying, I think, that I broke up with him literally the same day I’d left the hospital for good. And once I was back in my apartment, I called him and broke up with him; being that he lived in another state, I prayed that that meant he’d leave me alone. And there were several times he’d tried calling me or emailing me afterwards…but I was totally done with him. And so, I tell that story to say that I internally processed what had happened with him in the hospital, literally as it was happening to me. And then from then on, I knew that there was only one way that my time with this guy would end: I’d have to sound firm and assertive, two things he hated to see me embody.

This morning I wrote the following thread on Twitter which reads:
Yesterday I found out some truly sad news: for the rest of the semester, my school will be moving every class online. As someone who’s blind&has other disabilities&chronic health conditions, who’s also an extrovert, I’m not happy about this. But given that I’m a medically fragile…person, I know that my school making this decision is the best choice…for me&others. Given that I’m taking American Sign Language 101 this semester though, I’m not sure whether my professor will take everything I’ve already done in this class&call my work completed…or if…something else will happen. But my hope is that my professor just takes the work I’ve done both in&outside of class&calls it success. Cuz being that I’m an imune-compromised person, I can’t imagine that anyone would tell me to put myself at risk by having someone come from…outside to help me…or even have me go to the campus. We’re still on extended spring break this week, so I probably won’t know anything until later in the week or even this weekend. I never thought I’d be a young person going through something like this though.

My music review of an iconic album

So, given the crazy times that the world is in right now, I’ve been wanting to make sure that I keep up writing in my blog. I want to do this for my own over all health, as well as for others who enjoy reading what I have to say. I’ll also do my best to continue writing light-hearted things here, as well as heavy things.
So, being that I’ve made at least a few blog posts about my love for Britney Spears, I’m going to write a tribute post to her now, given that her second album entitled “…Oops…I Did It Again” was released 20 years ago today. I’m going to write the track numbers and each track name from this specific album…and then write how the songs have affected me or write about specific memories that this particular album brings up for me.

Track #1 “…Oops…I Did It Again:” I remember being so excited about the way this very song sounded, that I made sure to show it to my elementary school teachers. And the thing was, I had no earthly idea why everyone in the world was not reacting to Britney Spears’s greatness with the same level of excitement that I was. I loved the song’s slow yet happy-sounding beat, not to mention the fact that I loved the changes in Britney Spears’s vocals throughout the song. I even had a CD that was imported from another country, that had different remixes of this particular song. If my memory serves correctly, I’d purchased this imported CD from Warehouse Music, Tower Records or Waterloo Records, all of which were stores in Austin, Texas at the time. And given that I don’t have the physical copy of that import anymore, I’m thankful that YouTube does have the remixes on said album, available for folks to stream.

Track #2 “Stronger:” this song has literally gotten me through so much hardship throughout my life. When I’d have surgeries as a kid/young adult, this song was always on the motivational CDs that I’d create for those times. This song was also a constant reminder to me when I’ve lived with my toxic family members throughout my life; this song reminded me to just keep believing in myself and to continue trusting that I’d have what it takes to eventually get myself out of that toxicity for good. This song was also a gentle support for me, in terms of the lyrics in it. And fortunately, I did end up leaving the toxicity that was the state of Texas/many of the people who lived in Texas who made up my family of origin/folks who associated with my family of origin, for one reason or another. But back to when I made that big change, this song became an anthem for me, in terms of me saying a literal “fuck you” to anyone who used to call me a nobody/anyone who said that I would never make anything of myself. Because ultimately, it didn’t matter what the situation was that I was going through…because whether it was small disagreements with people, relationship struggles with people or physical hardships like me having surgery, coming back to the song “Stronger” has literally saved my life, every time I’ve needed it to. And I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Track #3 “Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door:” this was and is just a fun, lively-sounding song. I love how Britney Spears assertively tells someone off, letting it be known that she isn’t going to believe their bullshit. Hearing this song as a child made me distantly dream about a similar event where I’d tell people off, multiple times at that; and having an escape in a way, as this song was for me, helped me at least in some way, feel comfortable with the truth I knew deep down, which was that my family of origin, who were supposed to love me, didn’t…but they felt like they needed to put on a show signifying to others that the opposite were actually true. And nowadays, ever since I’ve gone full no-contact with both sides of my family of origin a couple years ago, this song holds a special place in my heart, as a constant reminder to myself that I’m succeeding at this thing called life because they are not able to hold me back, the way they once could.

“Track #4 “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction:” this song is a remake of a Rolling Stones’ song of the same name…but I very much prefer Britney Spears’s version of it. She made it fun, much like I imagine her personality to be. She also made it a nod, I would say, to the fact that as a woman, she wasn’t going to take crap from people in the industry who wanted to try and mold her into a specific kinda pop star. I always felt empowered, when I’d listened to this song…and I still do, in fact. Because the song speaks to how as women who choose to be outspoken members of society, we’re very much aware that that’s going to piss some folks off. This song literally lays everything out on the table, too, by ultimately leaving the listener with the message that no one in the world is loved by the entire world.

Track 5 “Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know:” this song was one of the love songs on the album; its beat is soft and mid-tempo, I’d say. I remember that in my own life, this song was definitely one that’s often made me think of boys that I’ve dated, throughout my life. Its message of encouraging boys/men to be honest with a woman when they like her, is something that’s important no matter who you are, what gender identity(s) you choose to use or what age you are. I love how, in this song, Britney Spears sings about such a seemingly simple behavior as total honesty. I wish I knew of more songs that advocated for human beings to act this way.

Track #6 “What You See, Is What You Get:” this song was definitely one of my favorite songs on the album; it was another of Britney Spears’s anthems too, though. But the reason that I loved this song so much as a young kid/teenager, was because it allowed me to think about what it would be like, if I were actually a confident person. Its lyrics were a perfect window into the fact that in my mind, I had total control over not only what I thought but also, about how I framed all kinds of situations. So for example, there was a small part of me that, when I’d think of how horrible my toxic family of origin treated me, I’d smile when I’d listen to “What You See, Is What You Get.” Because said song would give me hope that I could have a better future, sometime down the road. And nowadays as a woman in my 30s, “What You See, Is What You Get” is one of the songs that totally describes how I see myself. But for me, this song also tells people that, at the end of the day, I love every aspect of who I am…and so I’m not going to change anything about myself, unless I want to do so.

“Track #7 “Lucky:” when I was a young kid/a teenager, I felt like this song described how Britney Spears was trying to find herself. And more specifically, I felt like she was also letting people know that just because someone is famous, that that doesn’t necessarily mean that those people are content about the fact they are famous. But for me, the song “Lucky” made me think about the fact that personally, I had no desire to ever wear makeup, the way many girls did. Every time I’d listen to “Lucky,” I’d feel a sense of pride because I believed in my whole heart that I would always love myself for being the natural beauty that I was and am. And that belief of mine still holds true, to this day.

Track #8 “One Kiss From You:” I love the instrumentation of this song, as well as Britney Spears’s vocals on it. And this was another song on this album, that made me think of boys/men I’ve dated throughout my life. I think that this song also has a powerful message though, of Britney Spears encouraging her young listeners to be confident about being young and in love…especially because more often than not, society tells us that as young people, we view love differently, simply because we’re inexperienced. And so, given that in this song “One Kiss From You,” Britney Spears seems to want to encourage folks to be who they are…and to be proud of who they are. And TBH, I think that’s why so many of Britney’s fans and stans are in the LGBTQ+ community: because Britney Spears has always been outspoken about her support of, and her love for us.

Track #9 “Where Are You Now:” this song has always been my absolute favorite track on the album. It’s a ballad but at the same time, it showcases Britney Spears’s voice in a way that we as listeners/fans rarely get to see from her. Whenever I listen to this song now, and even throughout my childhood/teenage years of listening to it, I’ve felt like Britney had a super relaxed nature, in the way she sang the song. Like, I feel like she wasn’t even thinking about the kind of voice she was given…but was instead focused on her first love: singing. And hearing that always has been, and probably always will be, refreshing to my ears.

Track #10 “Can’t Make You Love Me:” this song is a fun, up-beat one. You can tell this throughout its instrumentation, Britney Spears’s vocals on it and even in its lyrics. This song has been yet another one for me, that’s made me think of people I’ve been romantically interested in or people I’ve been in actual romantic relationships with. Listening to this song as a youngster/teenager honestly made me feel comfortable in the fact that I experienced love, in ways other than friendships with people. Like, even though I knew that when it came to my life outside of my head, it wouldn’t be wise for me to voice my feelings about love/what being in love was like for me…I could at least internally take comfort in the fact that Britney Spears normalizing love in all its forms meant that I again, was not alone. And that truth was sometimes hard as fuck for me to accept…but yet, when I accepted it without reservations, I felt slightly lighter.

Track #11 “When Your Eyes Say It:” this song is just sweet–it’s literally the softest song on the album…but it works really well. The way Britney Spears harmonizes with herself, in combination with the way her speaking voice sounds, along with the orchestral-type instrumentation this song has, is very calming. This song has been yet another one on this album that’s made me think of people I was romantically interested in but never dated, as well as people I’ve actually been in a romantic relationship with.

Track #12 “Dear Diary:” while this song is my least favorite song on the album, I do love how it’s one of the few songs that has minimal instrumentation in it. I love this because the fact that this song is literally Britney Spears and a keyboard all the way through it, allows us as the listeners to hear what Britney’s singing voice sounds like on its own. And while she’s been critical of the way her singing voice sounds for as long as I can remember, and while her singing voice isn’t similar to, say, Christina Aguilera’s singing voice, Britney Spears’s singing voice is in a league of its own…and I mean that sincerely. There is no one else that sounds like her.

My final thoughts on the album “…Oops…I Did It Again” as a whole: I was 11 or 12 when this album came out…and that was back when CD stores that you could walk into, where you could lose yourself in the excitement of the amount of music you were around, still existed. And for me, it didn’t matter whether those physical CD stores were stand-alone stores in the city, stores in malls or simply a few rows of CDs at a random store that didn’t typically carry music. I remember that even before this album’s release though, going to music stores was something I did as often as possible. In fact, there were even times that I’d visit some music stores so regularly, that some of the employees would know my name, I’d know their names and we’d often chat with each other about upcoming music releases that we were excited about. Also as a young kid/teenager, I’d often play this album while I showered. I had a karaoke machine that was small enough that I’d take it into the bathroom with me when I was going to take a shower. And lastly, I remember that on the “…Oops…I Did It Again” album cover, Britney Spears is wearing a two-piece bathing suit-looking outfit. Hell, maybe it is an actual bathing suit, IDK. I just remember that that two-piece bathing suit outfit was dark-colored and her stomach/belly button were both visible. I remember her looking sexy in that particular outfit.

Numerous podcast thoughts, and numerous other reflections

Since I love to read and since I have tons of books downloaded onto the Voice Dream Reader app, I’m going to attempt to do more pleasure reading in the coming days than I’ve done lately. All of the books I’ve downloaded onto the Voice Dream Reader app are from Bookshare. And quite frankly, Bookshare is honestly my preferred source for books nowadays. The reason for this, is because Bookshare has tons of book categories; hell, I even got the books for my American Sign Language 101 class on Bookshare. But so far, as for available book resources for people who are blind, I’d highly recommend Bookshare. And since I’m thinking about it, a close second would be iBooks. Third, I’d have to say Audible. These are just my preferences; I’m sure other folks who are blind have different preferences than I do.

But anyway, a book I’m reading right now is called Dyke Life; it’s a book that details different parts of women’s experiences regarding their sexuality, their coming out process, their family of origin’s support or lack thereof regarding their relative’s sexuality and lots more. And something I noticed pretty early on in reading the book, was that this book has given me insight into how truly difficult women’s journeys surrounding their sexuality can be, most especially when their family of origin rejects that part of their identity. This resonated with me, I guess because I’ve been my own worst critic, not to menntion, I’ve downplayed the fact I’ve always known that I’m attracted to women. Like, one example that’s given in this book called Dyke Life that speaks on how traumatic women’s situations can be, is that women suppress their same-sex feelings, fantasies ETC and date men. I did exactly that, even including having sex with men. But before I’d read that particular thing in this book, I was unnecessarily cruel towards myself because I felt alone in this particular struggle. But I’m glad I decided to download and read this book, as I think it’s important for me to learn to be kind to myself, just as I would be to another person. But it’s easier said then done, though.

I recently made it all the way through Timecrest two; I’ve been playing said game from Timecrest one ever since the game’s developers released a new design for Timecrest earlier this month. And in doing some reflection of how I’ve gone through this game in the past, to how I’ve gone through it recently, it’s been interesting. Because I remember that when I very first started playing this game, I’d make choices that were how I’d probably do things in real life, if this were the life of Chelsea as it really was. But then, the more comfortable I became with the layout of Timecrest, the more relaxed I became, in terms of making different choices within the game. Because I eventually got to a point where I thought to myself “the developers of this game have taken their time to create a story with rich detail, so why should I as a game player not go as wild as I can with regards to the choices I make within the game?” But that was the thing: I had to literally give myself that permission to play the game as it was meant to be played. And then once I’d realized that I didn’t have to be so literal or even that I didn’t necessarily have to be kind in this game, I became unstoppable!! But now that I’ve reached what is the actual end of Timecrest two, I don’t know if I’m going to play the game again or not. Like, I don’t know how much longer it’ll be before Timecrest three is released…so between now and then, who knows what I’ll decide to do.

Michelle and Barack Obama have created a show on Netflix that’s called Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. And this show is one that I’ve been excited about seeing for some time. So, the show goes through how even several decades ago, the world as a whole was not built with people with disabilities in mind. And also in this Netflix original show, people with disabilities share their stories about how they’ve had to come together as a people, in order to demand for the world to see them, to see us, as the equals that we are. There were people in this show who were wheelchair users, people who had Cerebral Palsy, people who were deaf and so on. But to be honest, this Netflix original show won’t go down as being one of my favorite ones. I say this because there was just something about it that rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, I understand that part of the reason behind why terms like “handicapped” and “crippled” were used, was because those very terms were correct ways to address folks with disabilities at one point in time…at least, that held true until people with disabilities spoke up and let the world know that they, that we, actually wanted to choose for ourselves what terms best identify us as people with disabilities. But even so, hearing words like “handicapped” and “crippled” still didn’t sit well with me. But then again, there’s another part of me that also acknowledges the truth that there are folks in the world today who are disabled, who prefer to describe themselves as “crippled.” And in having the perspective that I do, I have no desire to take anyone’s agency away from them, even though they may use different identifiers for themselves, than I do for myself.

But along similar lines, I’ve written here in my blog before, about how when both sides of my biological family used the term “gay” to describe anyone who was not heterosexual, it felt personal to me. And so, combine them acting that way, with the times that I did outwardly communicate to them that I was not straight…and you’ll hopefully understand why I’ve hated myself for most of my life. But then something in me shifted, once I’d left Texas for good. And what happened during that shift in my life, was that I decided to use the term “gay” to describe myself, as a way for me to change how I thought about that term as a whole. And when I’d made that shift mentally…and then as I’d started smiling whenever I’d use the term “gay” to describe myself, I felt like this new shift had become second-nature to me, very quickly at that. And so, TBH, my life has felt much freer, since I’ve shifted the way I think about the term “gay” as a whole. And that’s important to write about here because this shift has become a huge part of what’s become a powerful re-write of my story.

In a recent episode of Multiamory that I listened to, the show’s hosts discussed how we can all ensure that we take the best possible care of ourselves and others that we can. And one of the things that stood out to me in this episode, was the suggestion that people in romantic relationships of any kind talk with one another about how their biological family raised them to think and act in situations surrounding people’s health. And the Multiamory hosts having this particular discussion made me reflect on how both sides of my biological family operated when it came to my health/the health of other loved ones. So with regards to my biological mom’s actions when I was sick, she pretty much avoided me, with the exception of when I’d ask for her to get me food or drinks. But then when it came to both sides of my grandparents, all of those folks were great at making me feel loved and cared for whenever I was sick.

But then when it came to the issue of me doing chores, my biological mom rarely made me do anything at all. And so, her operating that way has really stuck with me throughout my life, in a difficult way. And what I mean by saying that, is that not only did I not learn to be responsible like many adults do learn and should learn…but I also didn’t act any differently when it came to the romantic relationships I was in, at any given time. In fact, in my last romantic relationship, my then-boyfriend and I had discussions about this sort of thing. Because there came a time when I realized that something was making my then-boyfriend frustratted or upset…and so, upon having that realization, I opened up a discussion between us. And what the two of us ended up learning from each other, was that we were raised totally differently. So for me, given what I’ve said above regarding my biological family not letting me be responsible for chores, this transferred over into my romantic relationships: I would never just help my partners with things around the house…and until this last relationship that I was in, I never even asked my partners how they felt about that particular thing. I mean, to be fair, I’ve only had a few serious relationships where I’ve visited the people I was with for a week or more at a time. And then on top of that, those serious relationships of mine were pretty spread out from each other…so it was easy for me to not give this issue much thought. But as I said above, the last romantic relationship I was in, was the first real time I’d had an actual discussion with anyone about my part in doing chores.

And so, the thing that my then-boyfriend and I discussed together, was the ways in which our biological families differed from one another. And the main point that I brought up, was to say that both sides of my biological family raised me to not do chores, unless someone flat out asked me for help with something. But prior to me encouraging my then-boyfriend to have an open discussion with me about this, he was just stewing inwardly…and I had no idea why. Like, I could tell that there was something that was bothering him, but that was the extent of my knowledge. So that being said, when he and I actually openly talked about this, he learned that I was not trying to be unhelpful or lazy…but that both sides of my biological family literally taught me to never help do chores of my own accord. And I know that that probably sounds hard to imagine to some folks, and it was even hard for my then-boyfriend to understand. But I let him know that I wanted to talk about this so that I could figure out how to then fix it. Because the thing was, it was important to me to care for him in the ways that felt caring and loving to him; but the thing was, I couldn’t become a better person/partner until we had a serious discussion about what that looked like for each of us. And what ended up happening, was that my then-boyfriend found out that when he used his words and told me “it would be helpful if you would do the dishes,” I would take care of that task no problem. I also explained to him that communication was important because otherwise, people could easily get into situations with their partners where one person starts to feel resentful towards the other person…just as happened with him and I. So needless to say, I definitely didn’t want this to be a continued problem between us, or in my future with anyone else.

But then, another thing I thought of along these lines, was the fact that when I was a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB) I shared an apartment with another female who was also a student at the center. And in that particular situation, where I knew from the get-go that I was at least partially responsible for keeping the apartment clean/neat-looking, I followed those rules, no problem. Because in that specific situation, part of what I did to prepare for becoming an LCB student, was to research exactly the kinds of things that being a student there would teach me. And the main thing that was my biggest demon at that time, was having to undo years and years of incorrect behaviors…and TBH, that’s something that I’m pretty sure I’ll struggle with for the rest of my life in different ways. Because unfortunately, there’ are just some things about repeated abuse and repeated trauma, that I don’t think folks can ever get over completely. But that being said, that’s one reason why I’ve learned the importance of me being open about what I’ve endured/how I’m constantly working to undo anything I discover about myself that’s unhelpful. Creating this blog in fact, was one avenue that I thought would be great for my overall health as well…and not only that, but the things I have to say will hopefully help others, even if it’s just in a small way.

In the latest episode of Love Someone with Delilah, the guest Delilah has, is the singer Jewel. And listening to this interview with Jewel really took me back. Because one of the very first cassette tapes I’d listened to, was Jewel’s album called “Pieces of You.” I played the hell out of that cassette tape and I could sing nearly all of its songs. And so, this interview Jewel did with Delilah is actually going to be a two-part interview which leaves me plenty of time to listen to Jewel’s music and reflect some more on how listening to her music really helped me, in my traumatic childhood.

Monday I wrote the following FB post which reads:
Today’s win: being able to navigate a website independently to purchase some merchandise for myself. But before I get to the good part, I have to give a short background to you all. Last night while scrolling through FB, I read a post where one of my friends talked about the fact that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign merchandise store would be closed soon. So thanks to that reminder, I checked out Elizabeth Warren’s merch store for myself. And the reason this is a win, is because Elizabeth Warren’s website had typed up image descriptions for each of her items in the merch store; literally, for every, single, item, that’s, there!! Whereas, when I’ve bought other merchandise in the past, I’ve had to have a sighted friend make the purchases for me because otherwise, I would have no idea what I would be getting, because I can’t see. So, when I kept reading some of my blind friends’ FB posts saying that Elizabeth Warren’s merch store was accessible to people who use screen reading software to navigate the internet/word processing ETC, I knew I had to support this cause. And I did: I’ve just ordered my Elizabeth Warren Braille buttons and my Elizabeth Warren “Debate Champion” shirt.

Now, I want to make it known for those of you who don’t already know, Elizabeth Warren has been the only one who thought about blind people during her campaign. She not only thought about us as blind people, but she combined action with her thoughts and she was even outspoken about the fact that those of us with disabilities exist and that we have just as much right to be heard as anyone else does. She created buttons with Braille on them…again, because she cares about us as the fellow human beings that we are. So it will be repeated once more: every, single, product, in her merchandise store had image descriptions. So when you say “I know you’re sad about her being out, Chelsea,” know that I’m not just sad. I feel like Elizabeth Warren sees my humanity/other disabled people’s humanities in a way that our world typically does not…because she took the time to make her shit accessible!! I don’t know of anyone else who has done this…but I love this woman so, so, so, so much. And I’m grateful that I’m living in a time where she exists as well.

Now, I hope some of you have a better understanding of why I ask you to describe your photos/videos. I do it, not to be a pain in your ass…but because I even as a blind person, want to be a part of your world. I want to feel like I can share in your life happenings…but when I hear the word “photo” and then my speech output software says ‘no text available,’ that makes me sad. And when you put tons of hashtags that are not capitalized on any form of social media, I can’t understand what those are either, unless I scroll character by character. That’s why, when I use hashtags, I always capitalize them. If they aren’t capatalized, that’s how you know I’m having someone post on Instagram or Facebook for me. But please, from your friend (me), please try to do better. I don’t expect perfection. Even a little more inclusive posts would brighten my day/life, truly.

Also that same day, I sent an email to the Financial Aid Department of my school; I needed to ask them how things should be handled to rectify my situation, given the order for this entire state to stay home. And the next morning, yesterday in fact, someone responded to the email I’d sent. The person told me that I could email the required documents to them directly or to the main email address for this specific department. But the thing is, I still have to physically go to pick up that documentation from my doctor; because said documentation is supposed to be attached to the paperwork that the Financial Aid Department had given me whenever I visited them earlier in the month. So hopefully I can figure out a time to have my caretaker or someone else take me to my neurosurgeon’s office soon, as it’ll be much easier to explain what I need them to write in-person. Because I’ve gone through hell before, at times that I’ve needed people to fax things to doctors…and it’s been incredibly stressful to not have any idea whether the medical staff even did what I needed them to do or not. So I intend to bypass that crap, this time around. But that being said, it’s such a fucking hassle!! Nothing in my life can ever be easy. Ugh.

Another infuriating thing that happened yesterday, was that I received an email from Elizabeth Warren’s merchandise store. In this email from them, I was informed that given the majority of the world’s order to stay home, said merchandise team couldn’t fulfill people’s orders. So it’s frustrating that I’m back in this limbo position. Because if you’ve read my blog at least since last fall, I was in a similar situation with Christina Aguilera’s merchandise store, at that time. And in that situation, I flat out didn’t receive all of the bundle that was supposed to be released with a 20-year anniversary release of Christina Aguilera’s self-titled album. And I kept hoping and hoping that the digital release of said album would eventually get into the public’s hands. But long story short, there came a time when I just realized that that was not going to happen. And so, I’m bringing that up now, when I’m in a similar situation with Elizabeth Warren’s merchandise team…because I’m worried that I’m not actually going to receive any of the items I’d recently ordered that were part of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. And it would totally suck if that exact same thing does happen.

Numerous podcast thoughts, a thoughtful review of Timecrest and mixed life/school updates

In an episode of the This American Life podcast, its host Ira Glass talked about how our world has changed drastically within the past few weeks. The very first story that he tells us listeners, was a bit of small-talk with a medical professional regarding the Corona Virus. This medical professional that Ira was talking to, told him that the place where she worked has had patients stealing supplies that could help those people not get Corona Virus. And Ira Glass then goes into a somewhat similar story, in which a lady goes to several stores to try and purchase medical masks. But instead, what ends up happening, is that at one of the stores this lady goes to, she talks to a store employee who agrees to sell her masks under the table, so to speak. But to clarify what ‘under the table’ means, in case folks are unfamiliar with that term, it means that people agree to do things secretly. And this store employee that this lady had met up with even told the lady that if she wanted to purchase more masks from her (the store employee), she could do so again, also in secret.

The next story that Ira Glass talked to us listeners about, was one where he talks to a store cashier about how much the moods of the customers he sees, have changed in a negative way since the Corona Virus has become a nationwide emergency. The cashier tells a story about one customer in particular who was complaining unnecessarily about the way this cashier scanned the items this guy had purchased. And so, the way he (the cashier) describes it to Ira Glass, was to say that this customer became aggressive in a round-about sort of way. So instead of him asking the cashier outright why he (the cashier) was touching his drink cans in an unusual way, the customer decided to raise his voice to the cashier. And then in a similar story, this one also about workers dealing with customers, an airline employee talked to Ira Glass about how worried she was about how the Corona Virus could spread so much worse than it already has. She explained to him that she works as someone who has to clean airplanes, after people have traveled on them. And it just so happened to be that one of the most recent times that she’d cleaned an airplane, this specific plane had come from China. She tells Ira Glass that of course she’s scared about how bad the Corona Virus will get but that she has to focus on how best to survive, especially being that she has kids to raise.

In the next story on the This American Life podcast, a story is told about a sexual harassment case that went viral in North Carolina several years ago. The story started off being about one lady who’d had a repeated uncomfortable and otherwise toxic situation with a man who was supposed to inspect her house…but who’d ended up sexually harassing her. She walked the female reporter who was covering this story through how this man’s harassment was not always evident by the words that were coming out of his mouth; she then told the reporter that she felt at a loss because this man was literally the only person in her area who inspected people’s houses. And as this story continued, we the listeners learned that there were actually numerous cases of sexual harassment claims made by other women, regarding this same man. And in fact, this story became news in other places besides zNorth Carolina. And being a woman myself, it’s unfortunate I even have to say this…but stories like this one are common occurrences for us women. Hell, I’ve even written in my blog before, about some instances in my own life where I’ve received unwanted attention from grown men…and it fucking sucks!!

In the last segment of this episode of the This American Life podcast, a story is told about someone who’d worked for the US government…who essentially made information public that was not supposed to ever become public. But the way this story was told by guests on This American Life, was interesting because they presented things in the form of live theater…except it was a play on the radio. But anyway, the actors told this story…and to me, nearly all of the story felt awkward to listen to. Like, there’s just this feeling like something huge is about to happen, but no one knows what that thing is actually going to be or how dangerous it’s actually going to be. All I know as a listener, is that the woman that the FBI agents are questioning, seems like she wants to cry yet spew venom at each of them, at the same time. And the information that it turned out this woman had made public, was Russia’s involvement with the US election, which actually took place in our world in 2016.

I recently listened to an episode of the podcast called Invisibilia. This podcast is one I’ve enjoyed listening to for some time now. I vividly remember that Invisibilia was one of the very first podcasts that someone suggested I listened to, back in 2016. In fact I can even recall exactly where I was, when I’d started listening to podcasts: I was in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas as a patient. This was in October, before I’d even received the serious health diagnosis of Systemic Scleroderma. One of my friends suggested I listen to the podcast called Not So Black and White; this friend suggested this particular podcast to me because they knew that as someone in the LGBTQ+ community, I struggled with my sexuality, especially as someone who’d also grown up in a religion that was totally against any identity that was not heterosexual. And even though deep down, I felt disconnected from Christianity, I did appreciate that the hosts of the Not So Black and White podcast seemed to respect people who had different religious beliefs than they (the two hosts of this show) had.

But anyway, going back to the most recent episode of Invisibilia that I listened to: this particular episode told the story of a woman named Joy, who discovered that she had a special gift: she could sometimes see what was going to happen in people’s futures. More specifically though, Joy had been married to a man named Les who she’d had a fantastic relationship with. She and Les had kids together and they both thoroughly enjoyed the lives that they’d created for themselves. But things unexpectedly took a turn for the worst at some point, and it turned out that Les had Parkinson’s Disease. Now, I skipped a lot of details in this story; but the most important detail you folks need to know, is that Joy and Les had gone through tough times before Les had actually gotten a diagnosis. Joy explained to the host of Invisibilia that her husband Les had become an unrecognizable person as far as she was concerned, in terms of the way he acted and even in the way he smelled. Because as this story went on, I discovered that part of Joy’s gift was that her sense of smell was far more keen than smell typically is for human beings. And the reason that this is a significant detail in this story, is because Joy was able to smell the Parkinson’s Disease on her husband Les, before either of them actually knew what it was. Joy was even able to smell Parkinson’s Disease on other individuals…and this gift of hers was so accurate that she eventually started working with researchers. She’d use this ability of hers to determine who had Parkinson’s Disease and even to determine what stage people were in of this disease, at any given time. This story was heart-warming to me, in a refreshing way…and in fact, it made me thankful for the abilities that I have.

In another Invisibilia episode, there were a couple additional people who’d joined the show’s usual hosts. The reason for this change, was because this particular episode was about how racism affects the entire world. So the hosts of Invisibilia wanted to ensure that there were people on their team who were not just white folks. Because the whole topic of discussion was definitely going to be uncomfortable for people; that truth was unavoidable. But before I go on any further though, I want to say that listening to this Invisibilia episode really resonated with me. Because while I am a white person, I’m also someone who’s a member of several minority groups that all intersect with each other in some way, shape or form. I’m a woman, I identify as gay/lesbian, I’m an atheist, I’m childfree, I’m disabled, I’m a family of one and on and on and on. So I have understanding, from several different angles at that, of the shitty ways in which people can be treated differently, when something about those people seems foreign to another human being. And it sucks; but one thing that was said in this Invisibilia episode that’s stuck with me, was something along the lines of “human beings grow the most when we are forced out of our comfort zones.” And I wholeheartedly believe that this statement is true: and to be honest, having this belief in my own life, is exactly what drove me to take American Sign Language 101. I’m someone who loves to constantly challenge myself to do things that can be seen by some folks as being balsy. I love to push myself to go against the grain in ways that sometimes, not even I know what the exact outcome will be. Because to me, if you aren’t constantly evolving then you aren’t actually living. You’re simmply going through the motions every single day, letting life, and people, pass you by…with that truth likely not even crossing your mind. And as of a few years ago, I made a conscious decision about my own life, that I wanted to enjoy every single bit of life…even when times were hard for me. And I intend to continue living my life that way, until the day I die.

But to explain how this Invisibilia episode was structured, the hosts went to a camp located in Boston. This camp was meant for teenagers within racial minority groups or even minority groups for different sexualities, for all of these folks to have a safe space to be vulnerable. And when I say that these kids were vulnerable with one another, I mean that there were times within this camp gathering that ugly things were said about the assorted minority groups that were present in this space. So for example some of the black students said “fuck white people,” or “white people saying the N-word needs to stop.” And the idea behind why these teenagers were challenged to be brutally honest with everyone, was because this program was designed to educate teens on harmful behaviors like homophobia and racism/how those two things could really hurt others. And interestingly, by the time this camp had ended, the teenagers involved in it became even closer to each other than they’d initially been when this camp had first started. And as a listener, I could understand how hearing the harsh truths that were said in this safe space would be off-putting. But that being said, as a listener, I could also see how these teenagers had become more conscious thinkers by the time they were headed back home. Because the teens were literally forced to live in an uncomfortable situation, for more than just a few minutes.

Something else that also stood out to me about this Invisibilia episode, was the fact that it forced me to reflect on ways in which I used to be a hurt person who hurt other people. Like, I used to tell people in the LGBTQ+ community things like “just because you’re gay, doesn’t mean that you have to act on that information.” I literally became everything I now despise, due to having such internalized homophobia. I mean, I seriously wished that there would come a day when I could just wipe the gay out of my thoughts and out of my life as a whole. And like I’ve said in my blog in the past, my bio mom did everything she could think of to ‘make me straight’, including enrolling me in a daycare called Daystar Christian Academy. And honestly, that daycare was where I’d first heard of Stacie Orrico, Rachael Lampa and Jaci Velasquez (the female Christian Music Artists I still love to this day).. These three artists all had catchy song beats and each of their voices was different than anything I’d ever heard. But that being said, all three of these artists became crushes of mine, in a romantic sense. Like, I didn’t know about sex at that point in my life but I created a world inside of myself with Stacie, Rachael and Jaci all hanging out with me on a regular basis. And aside from the fact I did have a crush on each of them, I also didn’t have any friends in my real life…so I knew that I had to use my imagination to create some form of happiness for myself. But anyway, all this to say that being at Daystar Christian Academy didn’t make me become heterosexual; it just made me keep my homosexuality to myself, hence the internalized homophobia I’ve referenced numerous times in my writings here.

Since I wrote my last blog entry on Tuesday, I started reading the book that my ASL professor assigned us students to write a book report about. The book is called Triumph of the Spirit and it’s about a deaf person’s experience trying to figure out who they are, in a world that’s made for hearing people. But reading this book was so intense that I had to take occasional breaks from it and busy myself some other way; and what I mean by saying this book was intense, is that the main emotion I felt during it, was anger. I felt angry because as someone who has disabilities myself, I understand what it’s like to live in a world that constantly denies your existence. But that being said, I don’t want to say too much more about the book because I’ll post my book report on it once this semester is over. Although, I will say that I finished reading the book this past Thursday and that was also when I started writing the book report for said book. But first, I wrote down my ideas for the book report and then sent those ideas to a close friend of mine. And at that time, I didn’t have a clear vision of where exactly I wanted to go for this assignment; I just wanted to see whether the ideas I’d written down were received well by someone I care about. And then, once this close friend of mine had given me constructive feedback, I used that feedback to write the book report itself. And I finished it and submitted it to my professor around 10 or 11 Saturday night. I’m very proud of how this assignment turned out, most especially because it’s going to be physical evidence of all of the grueling work I’ve done for this American Sign Language 101 course. It’s going to be a memory of said hardship as well which I know will also bring a huge smile to my face.

Early Wednesday morning, someone from the main clinic I go to called me to suggest I not come into the clinic for my appointment the following day. I was told that instead, what would happen, is that my healthcare provider would call me to have our follow-up visit over the phone. And that was exactly what happened: the next day which was Thursday, my doctor and his staff called me. I had them make sure that I wouldn’t have any problems getting medication refills, as I definitely didn’t want to go through that kinda nightmare again. We also talked about how my ability to get to the clinic has been really iffy lately. So if I can’t figure out a better transportation option that’s reliable, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

On my personal FB page yesterday, I wrote an update that reads:
OK, I know it is well-meaning when people say “relax and spend the day with family…” but that is so dismissive of people with lived realities like mine. I am my family…and while I’m usually someone who enjoys my own company, I miss the physicality that being with friends new and old, provides. And so, while comments like “today is a day to count your blessings” are meant to be nice, personally, I think they suck…even though they aren’t directly speaking to me. I feel like when this is all over, I’ll be embarrassed to see people I know and care about because I expect I’ll be overly emotional. Maybe not…but those are my Sunday thoughts nonetheless…

Another thing that happened yesterday, was that I shared an article on my personal FB page that talked about how some churches are staying open, even though the world, at least here in the US, has been told to stay home. Someone commented on that post of mine, saying something like “there are also churches doing good things…but without religion, the world would have no morals. The response I wrote to that reads:
Actually, you are wrong. People would not be worse off, if religion disappeared. But preachers/religious folks, no matter what religion they are from, want you to believe that religion is what makes people moral. Newsflash, it isn’t! The main problem with this Christian centric world is that atheists/humanists don’t get any coverage for the amazing things that they are doing. They are helping people get food, opening up their homes, kitchens etc.; but you never read about that, unless you follow an organization like American atheists.
Someone who’s religious responded to that comment of mine, saying something like “people would be worse off, if religion didn’t exist.” I responded to that comment, saying:
You yourself did say that if religion disappeared, people would be a lot worse off. And I am saying that that simply is not true. That is what many religious folks want you to believe…just like many of them torment people with hell, to keep them in their religion.

Also yesterday, I wrote a review on the App Store for Timecrest which I gave a five-star rating because yes, this game really is that good!! What I wrote as the review reads:
I’ve been playing this game for over two years now…and it doesn’t get old. In fact, I’m still finding new things out, as I make different choices throughout it. As someone who has been blind all of my life and who’s always dreamed of being able to play a game that’s accessible with screen readers, Timecrest is that “wow” factor I’ve always dreamed of. It’s incredibly detailed, the design is easy to use, it isn’t clunky, nor does it lag with VoiceOver on my phone. I really appreciate the hard work that has been done for this game and continues to take place. Superb job!! I hope to be playing Timecrest for years to come 🙂

Speaking of Timecrest, the developers for said game have really continued doing what they can to make this game great. I mean, since they released a brand-new update earlier this month, I’ve noticed several things that they’ve either added since I last played the game in full or I used to play Timecrest so much that I remember which options I’ve chosen throughout the game…which is leading me to in turn discover new parts of the story. And this really makes me so happy because I seriously thought that I’d selected every possible option throughout the game to change the story/the way the story’s characters interacted with one another. So I guess the moral of this story is, don’t assume that you know everything there is to know about a game, just because you love said game so much. Instead, play the game to your heart’s content and be grateful for the fact you found a game you love, that never gets old.

Recently on Twitter, the R&B singer Kehlani tweeted that she’d had a planned release date for her upcoming album which sounded exciting. But I could tell even before I’d finished reading that tweet, that she had more to say on the subject. And what she ended up saying, was that with all of the craziness that’s going on in the world right now, she doesn’t even want to think about music. And as a huge fan of her music, reading that news was incredibly disappointing. But more than that, I felt deeply saddened. Because I feel like artists giving us fans new music to love during this time of isolation would help things be at least a bit more bearable. But then on the other hand, I also have to respect Kehlani’s decision. But then I think of the fact that there’s so many fucking ways for artists to release music nowadays, that for them to say they don’t want to release any music at this time, I feel that’s a cop-out.

Assorted thoughts on being childfree, living with disabilities, dating and school changes

Most of the day yesterday commpletely dragged on for me because I kept seeing Corona Virus news updates on assorted forms of social media. But that being said, in a way, it was great that I kept up with those updates because doing so gave me a clear idea of what the verdict would be for those of us who currently attend college. But since it’s official now, I feel comfortable posting it: our school will be closed, at least until April 13th. And this goes for all students and all staff. That being said though, everyone will be kept up-to-date if things change. This feels surreal to me, in a way. Because TBH, I honestly never thought that I’d live through something of this magnitude, most especially not when I’m still young and still full of life myself.

This morning I had to cancel/reschedule both of my doctor appointments that were originally for today; I had to do this because I wouldn’t have been able to get a ride to the medical facility until later in the week. And hopefully I won’t have to worry about that same problem again, any time soon. That being said, the medical facility I go to for most medically-related things, had to ask me a series of questions about whether I might have the Corona Virus or whether I suspect that anyone has it that I’ve been in contact with…and the answer was of course no to those questions. The last question was also a “no,” but I saved that one for last so that I can talk about it a bit. Because it’s something that I’ve talked about before: the fact that I never intend to travel out of my country. OK, maybe I haven’t said it using those specific words. However I have talked about what agonizing pain I was left in, due to my shunt not being able to handle how intense the airplane cabin pressure was, the last time I flew on a plane, back in March 2017. And so, unfortunately for me, this also means that my dream of going to Germany which I’ve had since I was a child, will also never come true. *Sigh*.

Also today, my ASL professor emailed us students, saying for us to still do the work that’s been assigned to us. But as someone who’s an immuno-compromised person myself, I have no earthly idea how that’s going to happen. I mean, I know that I can at least read the story that we’re supposed to write a book report on and then write said book report. And so, I told my professor that I can at least do those two things…but that anything else would be out of the question for me. And in the past, I would’ve felt deeply sad about this sort of thing happening, maybe like I was a failure, even. But oddly enough, I feel calm right now. And it’s of the utmost importance to me to keep myself safe and healthy.

In an episode of the Love Someone with Delilah podcast, the featured guest for the day was a woman named Lindsay. And Lindsay was on Delilah’s podcast uplifting women who felt like they had to choose one of their multitude of dreams over another. Because as a book author, Lindsay herself discussed having multiple goals for her life as well as those goals evolving over time. She talked openly about how initially she’d made an agreement with her husband that once they started having kids, she’d work from home. But then once she’d actually had kids, her perspective on this changed…and she discovered that she wanted to start her own business, rather than just having the titles of “mom” and “wife.” And so, she was then able to create and express parts of herself that maybe she’d initially thought that she’d have to let go, once she had kids. But that’s the thing: I can understand why Lindsay felt that she had to just choose one identity, maybe two identities for herself. Because sadly, society gives us as women a clear message: that we cannot, in fact, do multiple things with our lives…and that, if we do, we’re fucking selfish. But here’s the thing: it’s because of our gender that we get so much flack. Because men can wear multiple hats so to speak, without anyone calling them selfish or negatively judging who they are as individuals. But let a woman speak her mind passionately yet firmly…and she’s labeled “fucking crazy.” Make sense? Nope. Didn’t think so!!

But that being said, I love listening to Delilah’s podcast, especially when she has women on the show who believe in equality for everyone. It makes my heart happy to see that in some ways, the world really is taking significant strides towards becoming more welcoming of people’s different gender identities, people’s different sexual identities and on and on and on. And also along those lines, Delilah also talks in this episode about the fact that she and her husband have an unconventional relationship with one another: they don’t live together, most of the time. But all that being said, it always surprises me when I find out that Delilah is all for people expressing their individuality and living unconventional lives. The reason that that surprises me about her, is because she’s deeply religious…and generally, when I think of people being super religious, I also think of such folks as most likely conservative people. Because for the most part, it’s been my experience that deeply religious folks, are also racist, homophobic, transphobic ETC. I grew up/was raised in Texas, after all. And so, of course that particular upbringing has colored how I see the world and how/why I dealt with internalized homophobia for so long. But that being said, I love learning that Delilah the radio DJ is far more open-minded than I give her credit for. Now, that being said, I’ve never heard her talk about the LGBTQ+ community in an affirmative way…so perhaps that’s because she doesn’t like to open herself up, when it comes to such a heated discussion as LGBTQ+ experiences/rights. And TBH, maybe it’s best that she stays quiet about that area of life.

In an episode of the This American Life podcast, there was a different person hosting this episode of said show than usual. And the reason for this, was because Ira Glass, the show’s host, doesn’t have kids. And so, being that this particular episode focused on parents educating children on topics that are hard to talk about, it made sense to have someone do this show who themselves actually has kids. And so, at the very beginning of this episode, the woman who was the host for the day, shared what bath-time was like with her young children. And what followed, was a conversation between herself and her three-year-old, where the toddler kept repeating that only certain groups of people could have animals. And that being said, this kid’s mom discussed how she was torn about how to handle her child saying something like this. Because on one hand, her kid was quite young to be able to comprehend such complex subjects as religion and racism. But then again, as a mother, it was this woman’s job to share the knowledge she’s gained, with her child on all kinds of subjects. But then again, the woman wanted to let her child grow on their own and be able to ask questions of her. But all that being said, this woman doesn’t ultimately say whether she’s tried to resolve how her child thinks about this particular issue or not.

In the next segment of the This American Life podcast, this same woman tells a story about how young folks who are in college don’t, as a general rule, understand what it means for them to have consensual sexual experiences with other individuals. This particular story addressed a common misconception that people have about consent which is that human beings continually asking for consent, will totally ruin everyone’s sexual experiences. But such a thinking pattern is faulty because people can change their minds any time they want to do so. Because the reality is that no one owes another person sex, ever; this means that it doesn’t matter if specific people had sex with each other 15 minutes ago. If any of them want to stop having sex, no matter what their reason is for changing their mind, their “no” deserves to be respected. And in my opinion, what makes it hard for people to accept an answer from someone that’s changed their mind about sex, is the way that people think about how romantic relationships without sex should be conducted when you are a grown-up. But something that also plays a role in this confusion, is how romantic relationships should be structured as grown-ups, with sex included. Because it can be easy for people to feel so comfortable within their romantic relationships, that they don’t even think of consent as something that is both ongoing and ever-changing. And I think that for all involved parties, the subject of consent is maybe mentioned in passing…but that’s it. None of the involved parties have a frank discussion with each other about the role that consent plays in their individual lives or even about the myriad ways that their consent may change, at any time, and for any reason. And as I’ve said on my blog numerous times before, no one should ever be forced to do anything that they don’t want to do. There is no exception for this truth.

Something else that was addressed in this segment of the This American Life podcast, was that it matters a whole hell of a lot where people get their information about sex from. So for example, men learning what women like from other men, is wrong…because only women, as the individuals that they, that we, are, know what each of us likes. Because as was pointed out by folks on this episode, people’s sexual desires vary, just as the type of person they want to be with, varies. But that being said, that truth hasn’t seemed to stop most men from being arrogant, in terms of how well they think they (men) know women and women’s likes/dislikes.

In the next story on this episode of This American Life, the day’s host tells a story about how racism impacts our world on a regular basis. The specific people that are highlighted in this story though, are African Americans. And these folks share with us as the listeners how their understanding of racism evolved into a healthier perspective, rather than starting out as a healthy perspective. And what I mean in saying that, is that this family shares how their parent, their dad, explained to them as children that the world was not, in fact, equal for everyone. And so then, this now adult-child shares her side of the story; and she openly discusses how as a child, she got a clear message about white folks and black folks not being allowed to interact with each other. But it wasn’t until she’d actually grown up herself, that she learned that these supposed problems between black and white folks, were created by individuals. But what that truth taught this now grown-up child, was that people didn’t have to live their lives separately, just because their skin was not necessarily the same color as one another’s.

In addition to that story about racism on this podcast, there was yet another story on this episode, that was along the same lines of the one I wrote about in the above paragraph. But in this particular story, the people in it were a mixed-race couple who had very young children. And at the time that this show was recorded in 2015, this couple told a story about how they (the wife and the husband) were enjoying a meal together out in public. This wife and husband also happened to be with other people who also had children. And what ended up happening, was that some workers who worked at the restaurant at the time these folks were there, seemed to feel uncomfortable with this African American man being among white people. But the thing was, these people who were uncomfortable with this situation, didn’t actually admit that truth. Instead, what they did was express to this man that they thought he looked out of place within this group of white folks. But even through that particular thing, they (the restaurant employees) used a code phrase that African American folks in this particular area would recognize). And the thing was, the way the restaurant workers said this particular code phrase, it was actually meant as something derogatory. And for anyone who’s curious, the phrase that these workers said was “we thought you were selling something.” But that phrase had a hidden meaning behind it that I wouldn’t have just known, if that hadn’t been specified. And so, the hidden meaning behind this code phrase, was something along the lines of “the skin color of this African American man is making us restaurant employees uncomfortable…because this is only a white folks space.” And as this story continued to develop, it turned out that its outcome was not what this married couple actually wanted to happen. Because instead of this experience helping create a safe environment where people could be heard about the role that racism plays in our lives, no matter the color of their skin, what actually happened was that the restaurant employees who’d caused this scene were fired. And while that particular outcome probably seems desirable to folks, this couple would’ve preferred to use this moment as an educational thing. That’s what they said in this interview.

In the last segment of this episode of the This American Life podcast, the host of the day told a story about kids learning about death. There is a place in Salt Lake City, Utah that’s called The Sharing Place; and kids go there to be taught about death as well as to be educated on reasons why people die. And to be honest, this part of the This American Life podcast made me smile because I too, think it’s important to use the word “death” in regular conversations with people, no matter their age. Because death is final. People die because that is how the circle of life works…and there is no way for anyone to avoid that truth. So to learn about The Sharing Place as I have, restored my faith in humanity, at least a little bit. It was great to hear kids openly talk about death and suicide, along with other reasons people in their lives have died: because when we as adults help normalize these facts of life for children, we also send the message to kids that even though death, suicide and other ways of dying can be scary, that doesn’t mean that we should never talk about them. And as I heard kid after kid speak frankly about their experiences related to death, I found myself wishing that I’d had access to this kind of resource for myself, growing up.

In the Childfree by Choice FB group, someone created a thread where they trash talked most of us members of this group because we don’t speak highly of people who have kids. The response I wrote to this person reads:
I think you are definitely being nitpicky; judging is a fact of life, no matter who we are, or what the issue is at hand. For example, I have multiple visible disabilities; people judge me in a negative way all the time, yet, I manage to not let that get in the way of me living my life happily and freely. If we bother you in this group so much because we speak openly about our criticism of breeders, I suggest you either just scroll past those specific discussions, or leave the group entirely. Or perhaps, learn to have compassion for us, as people who are speaking freely in a space that is totally accessible to us, when every single other part of the world is not. You having compassion for us and our needs to live in our truths, part of those truths being that we criticize breeders, would really help make the entire world a better place. If you become compassionate for us and try to understand where we are coming from deep down, you could then educate others about how to do the same. Imagine how powerful that would, and could, be.
This person then said something in response to my initial comment; they said something along the lines of “yeah, maybe I should just stay quiet, since that view of mine won’t be supported in this group.”
I wrote a response to that which reads:
Exactly. You are right that if you cannot genuinely support us, or if you are homophobic or anything else, keep all those things to yourself. This is not the space for any of that garbage.

Also in this FB group, someone commented on this same thread, saying something along the lines of “violence is never the answer.” And the response I wrote to that person’s comment reads:
I too, grew up with so much violence that even if I had kids, I would never resort to spanking them (yes, I believe that spanking is abuse). As someone who was spanked numerous times just because my bio mom felt like doing it to me, I learned something powerful from those spankings: I was not valued or valuable as an individual. I was a child who shouldn’t be seen or heard. There really can be power in giving children agency/actual opportunities to understand why they receive consequences…and to also learn how those consequences can and do affect others.

On this same thread, just from a different person, someone said something similar to what the above person had said. This second person said something like “it’s too aggressive when people say these specific words. What I wrote in response to that person’s comment reads:
Yes, it is brutally honest to say that women should have thought of what them having kids would mean for them/the entire world, before getting pregnant, it is true nonetheless. Some of us prefer to not use pretty words or sugary-sweet language to communicate our feelings. If reading online that someone has a strong opinion that another human being should use their brain when it comes to something serious like being pregnant/raising a child, is upsetting to you, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you in real life where you can’t block/ignore folks who say things that you don’t like, probably all the time.

On a different thread within the Childfree by Choice group, someone posted a topic ranting about being asked why they don’t want to have children. This person was harshly criticized by some folks who didn’t like the fact that the original poster said they didn’t answer the question they were asked. My response to this topic of theirs reads:
For those bashing the original poster for not answering this question, are you also saying that you always answer every single question people ask you? No one is ever obligated to answer questions, just because people have asked questions. People ask me what happened to me, all the time, because I use a wheelchair and wear leg braces. But I don’t always answer…and that is my right. Sometimes, I answer that I was born like that because it’s the truth…and then say to them “but really, it was none of your business.” Other times, I say “I don’t wanna talk about it.” So OP, I’m glad you did what you felt like doing, in your situation that you’ve described here.
Someone responded to my comment, saying something like “so do you talk to your friends like that?” The response I wrote to them reads:
It depends on the person and how I am feeling at any given time. So yes, sometimes I do say to friends “I don’t have the energy/I feel uncomfortable talking about that right now.” But the thing is, the word ‘friend’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are close/that OP even feels safe enough with her to trust that an honest answer would be well-received by her. There are people in my own life for example, who call themselves my ‘friends’ but we simply went to the same school. We have nothing in common and I wouldn’t confide in them things that I wanted to keep private…but they still use the term ‘friend’ to describe the relationship between us. And that’s all I’m saying, is that we don’t know the relationship between OP and the person he’s talking about here…so judging harshly is uncalled for.

I recently shut off an online dating profile that I’d created, where the website was not one bit screen-reader friendly. And so, when I decided to give the website staff feedback about my experience, what I wrote to them reads:
To improve this service, you could ensure that your website is screen-reader friendly. What I mean by that is that for blind people like myself who use speech output software to navigate the internet/word processing programs, speech output software is generally unable to recognize graphics/pictures of text. And so, when this site in particular, is impossible for me to navigate as a blind person, I feel a bit cheated because I therefore cannot have the same user experience as other folks, of my online dating experience being private. But if you ensure that your website is easy for screen reader users to use independently, that would be a step towards making this a more inclusive place.

In the Disability Wisdom Discussion Group, I made a topic about whether people would put that they are disabled in their online dating profiles. I’d already made up my mind about what I wanted to do for my online dating profile, but I still thought that asking others for their perspectives would be helpful. And one comment I’d responded to on this thread said something along the lines of “people are being ableist by saying that mentioning their disabilities in a dating profile is the way to go, or else people are being dishonest.” And what I wrote in response to that comment reads:
Having a preference is not ableist. My disabilities have been part of who I am since I was born, and so yes, I believe that to hide them is being dishonest and sneaky. There is no need to be either of those things, in my opinion; as I said before, if I’m going to establish trust with someone from the beginning and I don’t share such a fundamental part of who I am with people, then what the heck else might I lie about? That is how a stranger would likely see it, not to mention, I have more anxiety/worries myself, when I withhold that info than when I’m up front about it.

This same person who’d commented on this thread earlier trying to say that my perspective is abelist, continued trying to convince me that I am being ableist. That particular comment of theirs brought out the following response in me which reads:
I guess we can just agree to disagree then. Because, I am not someone who believes that my blindness is a characteristic, the way my hair color is. I’m honest enough to admit to myself that blindness/my other disability, does inform how I live my life. I wish you would not tone police me, simply because you don’t share my perspective. Personally, I am not and would not be OK with just surprising people the first time I meet them, with my disabilities. But since you don’t seem to understand where I’m coming from, let me try to put it to you one more way: I would not waste my time talking to someone whose biggest hobbies were traveling to other countries/traveling on airplanes in general. Why? Because I have a serious medical condition that makes me feel like I am literally dying, when I fly on airplanes. This particular thing has not always been a part of my life…but it is now. But I would imagine that you probably don’t think that I’m heartless for not being willing to put my life in jeopardy in these ways. Even though I don’t typically think of these things that I’ve just mentioned here, as preferences, they are preferences. Because I ultimately prefer to keep myself out of these kinds of situations. But I am no less worthy of finding love, simply because I can’t travel the way I once could.

Another commenter on this thread wrote a very thoughtful response; and what I wrote in response to their comment reads:
Thank you for helping give me the words I was looking for, regarding why I have this perspective. I say that I’m disabled in my profile because giving folks that info up front protects me emotionally. Because in doing so, not only will I hopefully clear the air, in terms of having conversations with people about my disabilities…but this also shows that there is more to me than my disabilities. Like you, though, I don’t believe that my blindness is a characteristic–because like it or not, it does render me incapable of things like becoming a pilot, a firefighter or a surgeon. And TBH, I’ve always felt weird hearing people say that one’s blindness doesn’t limit you; it’s like, “OK, let me see you drive a car then, as a blind person!” So going back to why I’m radically honest in my dating profile in this way, I want to encourage folks to have discussions about my disabilities with me…because I didn’t want to give them everything right away. And what I mean by that, is that I simply said that I have multiple disabilities–I wrote things that way because I want the implication to be there that it’s important to have frank discussions about this sort of thing on a regular basis. Like, the way I believe that consent is an ongoing/ever-changing thing that needs to happen, so too, do I believe that conversations surrounding my disabilities should be ongoing…because they are also ever-changing. But I say all of these things about me; if others choose to go about this situation differently, that is their right and I have no desire to take away anyone’s agency.

Unexpected chaos on many fronts, assorted podcast thoughts and other fun stuff

This past Wednesday, one of my local friends was kind enough to take me to school. The reason I needed this person’s help was because I’d gotten home too late from the previous day’s doctor appointment and was therefore unable to schedule a ride to and from school Wednesday. But that being said, this friend of mine could only take me too school; I had to figure out how I was going to get home that day. And what I ended up doing, was making an announcement in American Sign Language class, asking my classmates if any of them would do this favor for me. Through having my aid help me explain the situation to my professor, I’d gotten permission from them (my teacher) beforehand, to use my speaking voice for this situation. Fortunately one of my classmates was able to take me home, after our class had finished for that day.

But going back to talking about my last appointment at the medical clinic that I go to for most of my medical needs, my therapist suggested that I see my primary care provider within the next week or two, because of how scary things are becoming with Corona Virus. My therapist, who I’m sure was made aware of my recent health scare where I couldn’t get my medication for a time, was literally reminding me not to put myself in that position again…because there might not be a next time for me. So they urged me to see my primary care provider ASAP so that the two of us could figure out how we’re going to ensure that I don’t run out of medication again. So when I hear people saying that we shouldn’t worry about this Corona Virus and what it might do to people, it drives me batty. Because I’m one such person who’s considered medically fragile…and that means that me not having my medication would literally be life and death for me. And so, it’s great if other human beings don’t have to worry to that extent…but then they should shut the fuck up about those of us who do have to worry about what our lives could look like in the near future, if we don’t take the necessary precautions.

Going back to our actual American Sign Language class time this past Monday and Wednesday though, we learned a lot about shapes and more about how to describe people, places and things. As a blind person, the entire shapes part of this class in particular, is tough. Because TBH, I’ve never had enough eyesight to understand what colors look like, much less to grasp understanding of how to draw shapes, especially complicated ones. But that being said, I feel like I’m getting a bit better every time I practice American Sign Language or use ASL in class. So hopefully, that good luck streak continues to hold true for me throughout the rest of this class. Because I am realizing some ways in which I’m continually growing as a person, just because I’m in this class. And one of those things that’s new for me, is that given that we have to be mostly silent in ASL class, I treasure my speaking voice and other people’s speaking voices, much more than I used to. But also, me taking this class has helped me become more comfortable pointing to things/acting things out, to sometimes help clarify visually what it is I’m trying to say. I also have a better understanding of how deaf people prefer to communicate with hearing people, if those hearing people don’t know enough ASL to hold an in-depth conversation. And these things I’ve learned, are things that can be transferred into my life as a whole which I think is pretty neat.

Backing up a bit again, though: Tuesday evening my left wrist, my left arm and my left hand really started giving me awful pain. I knew that this unwelcome change was due to the drastic change in weather here, from hot, to cold and rainy. But I also knew that this unwelcome change happened because I’ve been using my left hand and my right hand to learn ASL…and even though my right hand has a mind of its own, I still try my hardest to make it participate in this experience. But all that being said, when I’d gone to school this past Wednesday, this pain was even worse. But even so, I was a trooper and stayed as involved in my practice of ASL and my class-time in ASL, as my hands would let me. But afterwards, I made the difficult decision of telling my assistant that I should stay home and rest the next day, Thursday. Because I kept thinking of how if I kept my body working hard, my body might shut itself down unexpectedly and in an even harsher way than I would like. And TBH, in the past, it was hard as hell for me to listen to whatever my body was telling me, at any given moment. It was hard for me to do this because I still wanted to believe that I could force my body to continue living exactly as I’d wanted to live. But what’s changed for me now, in regards to how I respond to my body, is that I no longer feel that listening to my body is wrong. I no longer feel frustrated as severely as I once did, about the truth that my body literally cannot function the way many other folks’ bodies function.

Thursday morning I received an email from school, informing me that the person who’s in charge of student life-related things on campus, denied the request I’d made to not have to pay the health-related fee that’s usually required for all students. Unfortunately though, there was no explanation in the email I’d received, about why this answer was given to me; so I replied to the email to ask for clarification. And what I was then told, was something along the lines of “well, in order to have qualified for this waiver, you would’ve had to meet the criteria that was specified on the form you filled out.” So I then responded by saying “IDK if you remember but I’m blind; so I was unable to read the criteria on the print form that someone filled out for me. But if you would be so kind as to type it up in the body of an email, I think I will then be able to know exactly why I didn’t actually qualify for this waiver.” And I haven’t heard from anyone since then; but what I’m left thinking, was why did this person encourage me to fill out a waiver, when they might have known that I don’t qualify for it? Because I do realize that I hadn’t actually met this person until the day I’d went in their building to find the person I was told I should talk to…but that still doesn’t explain why I wasn’t advised against completing this form. Ugh.

Throughout this recent insane happening that is the Corona Virus, my school has been keeping everyone updated on what this makes things look like for us students education-wise. In fact yesterday the President of our school sent out a mass email saying that all classes were going to be canceled this coming Monday. I thought that was a bit odd, considering that just a day or two prior to this, they’d said we should be fine. But mostly, I feel happy that they’ve made this decision because that gives my left wrist/left arm more time to heal from this extreme muscle fatigue. And this coming Monday, our school has said that they’ll give everyone more of an answer about what our future as students is going to look like. I’m very much looking forward to that because I personally, hate being in limbo like this. And I know that I’m not alone in this way of thinking.

Something I’ve been pondering about the Britney: The Zone experience I had the last day in February this year, is the fact that as a Britney Spears stan who happens to be blind, I gained a lot of insight about Britney’s most popular music videos. Like, before attending this event, I honestly didn’t have any clue what was in any of her music videos. And before I’d heard of the Britney: The Zone event, I’d honestly never thought about asking someone sighted to watch her music videos with me and tell me about them as we’d watch them. Like, not being able to participate in this particular activity, was just something I’d accepted as a fact, without question. And so, going to this Britney: The Zone event totally opened up my world, even in terms of learning even more about why Britney Spears is such an iconic person. For example, not many people in the world, at least not to my knowledge, openly talk about how Britney was and is a feminist. To my knowledge, not many people in the world openly discuss the fact that Britney Spears has been on house arrest literally since I was almost out of high school, or by the time I was already out of high school. And so, along these same lines, many people are not aware that the reason Britney Spears was put on house arrest, was simply because her father and other folks in Britney’s life, greedily want the money that being Britney Spears brings into their pockets. I mean, Britney herself has talked about this happening, and even the media/entertainment industry itself, have written about the court dates Britney has had and will continue to have about this issue. And so, this is something very real that’s happening in Britney’s life even today…and it’s truly heartbreaking for those of us who think she’s a genuinely good person. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Britney has always been a huge support of those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. I mean, seriously, it’s true that most of us Britney Spears stans and even folks who just consider themselves fans of hers, are mostly gay/lesbian.

I’ve just been thinking about how it’s been awhile since I’ve written about songs that I love and I thought I’d include some songs here now, especially given all of the turmoil the world is in right now. Part of how I’m going to make this activity fun for myself though, is that I’m not going to get into why I love these particular songs. I may do so in a future blog entry, though. And one more thing: these songs might not all have been released this year (2020) but may have been released a year or two before 2020.
1. “Invisible Chains” by a girl named Lauren who was/is a member of the well-known girl-group called Fifth Harmony. Lauren’s last name is difficult to spell and I don’t even feel like looking it up but I will say that she does use her first and last name for her solo songs. This song “Invisible “Chains” can be found on the soundtrack entitled “Birds of Prey: The Album.”
2. “I’m Just Gonna Love You A Little MoreBaby” by Summer Walker. This song can also be found on the “Birds of Prey: The Album” soundtrack.
3. “Girls Need Love” by Summer Walker. This song can be found on Summer Walker’s album entitled “Last Day of Summer.”
4. “Toxic” by Kehlani; this song is currently a single.
5. “Man” by JoJo. This song is currently a single but will ultimately be featured on her upcoming album that will be called “Good to Know.”
6. “Heartless” by The Weeknd. This song is on his album entitled “After Hours.”
7. “Only the Young” by Taylor Swift. This song is featured as a single from Taylor Swift’s Netflix documentary entitled “Miss Americana.”

In an episode of Multiamory that I listened to recently, the guests on the show talk about an app that they’ve created for people who are into non-monogamy or who are exploring the idea that monogamy is not the only valid way to be in relationships with people. This app is called #Open and for anyone curious how you’d actually pronounce that app name, you’d use the word “hashtag” and then the word “open.” And this website can be found at
https://hashtagopen.com

And just to be more clear on this app’s purpose, this app was created by people who themselves believe that monogamy is far from the only way to have healthy relationships with other individuals. And a huge thing about this app that’s different from other apps/dating platforms, is that they don’t gather data from places like Gmail, Twitter or Facebook. And instead, what the #Open app developers do, is encourage people to use this app of theirs and then to help spread the word about said app. Because as you may be able to imagine, the #Open app developers don’t and haven’t, gotten much societal support about this venture of theirs. In fact, many of the services that are competing with the #Open app, have flat out said that they don’t believe that the #Open app developers are being ethical with this venture. But yet, these same services that say that they value people’s honesty, apparently only value honesty if it fits with their views about what is moral and what is immoral. And that’s really unfortunate because as I’ve said before, in this post and other posts I’ve made on ethical non-monogamy, people don’t all have to choose to live their lives the exact same way as one another. But to be honest, I doubt that we’ll see a day in my lifetime where all kinds of alternative relationship styles are actively embraced by society. But what I do know for sure, is that I will personally continue to be a sex-positive person as well as a relationship-positive person, both in my writing and in my offline life. Because I wholeheartedly believe that that is exactly what will make this world a truly inclusive place.

In another recent episode of Multiamory, its hosts talkked with a guest about the way our world generally views people who commit crimes as being bad people. But the main thing that this episode of Multiamory talked about though, was that people committing crimes is not necessarily a black-and-white issue. And I agree with that statement, to an extent; like, there really are instances of people committing crimes, due to those folks experiencing hard times that they don’t know how to solve…and maybe they are even terrified to ask anyone for help. But the part of this discussion that I felt became problematic, was when the guest said something along the lines of “the answer should never be for us to make others suffer, just because we ourselves have been made to suffer.” And I think that it’s fine for that person to believe that for themselves…but to act like there is no such thing as good people and bad people, is incredibly naive. Like I’ve said in my blog numerous times before, there are people in the world who are evil. And for those specific people, I’ve never truly seen them do good things out of the kindness of their hearts. In fact, I’ve seen those specific people literally live for hurting other human beings. But that being said, going back to something I did agree with this guest about on this episode of Multiamory, if people want to change for the better, they absolutely can do so. But where many of us humans go wrong with this way of thinking, and I’ve been guilty of doing/believing this myself, is that I’ve said things like “I want my bio mom to be to me whatever I need her to be, at any given moment.” But the thing I’d always avoided believing or thinking when it came to this issue that’s so close to my heart, was the truth: that she (my bio mom) literally may not be capable of EVER being who I may want or need her to be. And now, I know that that is the truth: that my bio mom never will be capable of treating me the way I used to long for her to. But while that truth has hurt me deeply in the past, now, I’m comfortable with that part of my truth…because I’m comfortable with myself, most of all. But to say that I wish any of my toxic abusers well…that would be a fucking lie. Like, all of those folks are literally strangers to me, now. And just as I’ve said holds true about my bio mom, all of the other toxic folks that make up the rest of my family of origin/extended family included, have shown me how they think of me…which is to say that most of them have me blocked on social media. But the thing about that, is that now that I know how they feel about me, even though they didn’t have the gaul or balls to tell me outright themselves, I know through their actions. And so that being said, knowing what I’ve learned about them within the last few years, I have no desire to get in contact with them ever again. It’s a mutual feeling between all of us though…and it feels great for me, to be honest.

In the podcast entitled Cognitive Dissonance, one of that show’s hosts recently talked about how they are childfree. This made me happy to find out, because I’d just assumed that this person had kids. Because this person and the other host of this show, have been friends with each other for years…and I just kinda thought that they’d share their love of kids too. And so, when I heard Cicil say that he doesn’t particularly like kids on a recent episode of their podcast, I inwardly jumped for joy. Like, I’m just so conditioned, I guess, due to much of society’s kid-centric/baby-centric views, that I can’t and don’t even hide my distain of kids from people, if it comes up in conversation. Now, that isn’t to say that I would harm children or that I’d wish them ill-will. Because as I’ve said before on my blog, I’m not that kinda person. But I’m certainly not going to pretend I like kids, the way I used to…because that is wrong. It’s wrong because everyone deserves to live in their truth, as long as that truth isn’t harming anyone, including themselves. It’s wrong, in the same way that it would be wrong of me to intentionally hurt other human beings, just because specific human beings have intentionally hurt me.

In Childfree by Choice, someone asked what our experiences were with getting steralized. What I wrote in response to that reads:
When I had my tubes tied in my mid20s, that was a great experience. The fact I knew I would have a lot of serious medical issues, was the main reason why I wanted to have this procedure. The doctor who did the procedure totally respected my decision and said that he was happy to see someone so young be so responsible.

Also in this group, someone asked if folks agree with them that it’s disgusting to hear the shit that entitled parents say. What I wrote in response to this thread reads:
My biological mom is one of these entitled parents you speak of, even though I’m in my 30s. Before I went full no-contact with her a few years ago though, the last time I saw her was when I was in the hospital. I was 27 or 28 at the time, and she tried to get my medical team to share all of my business with her. She kept saying “I’m her mother,” said very slowly for emphasis I guess. My medical team thankfully kept being a broken record and telling her that I hadn’t signed any paperwork giving her any rights whatsoever. I feel very fortunate that my medical team really went to bat for me in this situation because I’ve heard horror stories where the opposite has actually happened.
The original poster of this topic then responded to my comment. They said something like “it’s nice to see that this actually happens in the world…even though it’s shitty.” And my response to that comment reads:
I’m sad to say this, but I think this sort of thing happens way more than people feel comfortable talking about. Because unfortunately, women being bad mothers is not exactly a favorite topic in the world. To be honest, I hope for the day when this issue is not so taboo; I think people really need to be educated about it and to embrace people like mine’s situation…rather than discounting it because they themselves can’t actually imagine mean mothers existing.

In the Disability Wisdom Discussion Group, I posted a thread asking about people’s experiences doing online dating. I received some really thoughtful responses to said topic. And I wanted to talk about something that I said on this topic, that I think it’s important to put on my blog. I wrote:
I love what you said about people not being able to be brutally honest on their online dating profiles, regarding not wanting to date a disabled person. Like you, I wish that there was a better system in place for people to list that preference, just as they would list their other preferences. But I think that the world feels like it would be a dick thing to say, to admit that you wouldn’t want to date a disabled person. But really, that particular preference is just as valid as other preferences. For example, I know that, as a totally blind wheelchair user who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and lots of other health conditions, I wouldn’t date someone who primarily loved flying on airplanes/traveling to other countries…because I cannot due either of those things safely, myself. I have a shunt that’s agonizing when I fly…because the cabin pressure is too intense. And so, traveling to other countries is automatically out too, based on what I’ve just mentioned. I suppose some would say I’m heartless for my radical honesty…but I’ll take that, over putting my health in jeopardy, just for the love of another…no thank you!!

On my personal FB page, I wrote:
Blind/visually impaired friends, there are a couple text-based games that I wanna make you aware of. Timecrest is one of them, but it’s only an iPhone app. That being said, it’s free but it’s super detailed. It hasn’t gotten old to me and I’ve been playing it for at least two years now. And the other text-based game I’m just getting into, is called D&D Style Choices Game. This particular game is on both Android and iOS platforms…and even though I’ve singled out my blind/visually impaired friends here, these are both games that anyone can play. There’s so much going on in our world right now that is uncertain, but these games help make my world a bit brighter. And so, I wanted to pass the info about them onto y’all 🙂

I wrote the following tweet in response to someone on Twitter, where someone asked how folks would define the term “inspiration porn.” I’ve expanded on this term here though, since this is my blog. What I wrote reads:
Inspiration porn is when able-bodied folks take people’s disabilities and use them to make themselves as able-bodied people feel better about themselves. Like, cuz wheelchair user goes to the gym, a non-disabled person has no excuse not to go there themselves. This is horrible thinking. And the reason this is an awful way to think, is because people with disabilities, PWDs, don’t exist to make anyone feel better about themselves. People with disabilities exist because, well, two people fucked and conceived us. The fact that we have disabilities, doesn’t mean that we are broken; it is simply a fact of our lives. We didn’t want to be disabled, nor did we ask to be disabled…so when you use stupid ninja thinking to try to make us not disabled any more, stop yourself. And then sit with your feelings of discomfort and allow yourself to become a better, more understanding human being.