Numerous childfree thoughts, Hidden Brain podcast thoughts, being supportive and life updates

I posted a thread on Twitter which reads:
‪If you feel that you have to tell people how great you are, then you aren’t that great…period!! This thought of mine comes to me cuz of a recent Twitter discussion I saw/participated in. And in this discussion, folks were talking about someone in the blind community whose TL…is filled with this person shit talking people/saying how lonely they are. But the thing is, this person is lonely cuz of who they are; they are a shitty person and folks get to see/know that very quickly, including me. But a mistake I made in having this person in my life…pretty recently, was that I thought I could explain things to him, like medical issues I have that make it agonizing for me to be on an airplane…or that I could explain to him that for some folks who identify as gay, myself included, the word gay doesn’t necessarily mean…that they only date people of their particular gender. But no matter how articulate I was, no matter how much time I took to try and help this person understand different perspectives than the ones they have, they were an immovable object. So I’m writing this here to say to…folks, if you know who I’m talking about, don’t even waste your time/energy on this piece of shit. They bring on every shitty thing that happens in their life completely on their own. If you’re someone like me whose been repeatedly hurt by him, I hope you know that you are…not alone. Also, I hope you know that the problem is not you, even if he tells you it is/tries to make you feel like it is. He has no clue how to be a friend to anyone, including himself. We deserve better than that and I just wanted folks to know I’m on their side.

I posted a thread in Childfree by Choice that reads:
So I’m coming here because I know this is a safe space for us CF folks and I’d like to know others feel similarly as I do. I have woman friends who like, desperately want to have crotch goblins! Like, they pay money repeatedly to do IVF treatments or whatever they are called, because these women feel like their mother fucking identity is tied up in what not-so-magic and oh-so-disgusting things their vag can do. Barf barf barf barf!!! I’m not a violent person…but FUUUUUUUUUUUCK, I wanna slap some people. I will never understand the desire to create another being…and for what? So that you have something that you perceive will take care of you when you are old? And these mamas don’t see that they are being selfish, in wanting to create brats. But yet, I’m the bitch for calling kids “brats?” I think these mamas must’ve fallen on their heads at some point in their lives cause they have this whole thing backwards. And also, I just feel sad for women who feel like as I said above, their identities are all tied up in their vaginas. Like, it hurts my soul. And so, I just want to create a thread where we can talk about this openly…cause I definitely need to.

In one of the comments I responded to on this thread of mine, someone said that they don’t get why people even want to get pregnant. The response I wrote to that comment reads:
Yeah; I also don’t get people’s desire for kids!! I love sex, but pregnancy/kids, fuck no!! There’s a reason I had my tubes tied as early as I could…and I love myself for being honest about this part of who I am. Because for me personally, being CF is a huge part of my identity.
Another comment on this thread that I responded to, talked about how they have no idea why folks go to such extremes…just to create a fucking human being. My response to this comment reads:
My response to this is something that is toxic…but hear me out. I think many folks go to these extremes because they have this stupid idea in their heads that biological child equals more meaningful child. And also, perhaps they’ve convinced themselves that spending money on IVF is justifiable; whereas, to spend money on a human being that they probably feel is not technically theirs, is immoral. This is just what I’ve heard some folks say, before.
And yet another comment on this thread talked about how this other person knows exactly how I feel. My response to what she said reads:
OMG, this story mirrors the story of the FB friend I’m particularly thinking of in this post. This woman openly talks about her infertility struggles on her FB page and gets sympathy/empathy from sooooo many people, it’s fucking unreal. It literally makes me sick to my stomach to see how fucking kid/baby/adult child centric our society is here, in the United States. IDK how it is in other countries, though. And also, this friend that I’m mainly thinking of in this post is someone I never see because we live in different states. But much like the woman you’ve described in your comment, this woman I know, also has mental health issues. I need more CF folks in my real life…cause it drives me batty to read so many breeder’s posts about their kids.
And yet another comment that I responded to on said thread, talked about how fucking difficult it is to watch people be self-destructive, by having kids. My response reads:
I’m totally with you, in saying that it hurts sooooo bad to watch people self-destruct by having kids. Like, the fact that as someone who has multiple disabilities, people think those disabilities make me less human…but that if I had kids or became pregnant, people would all of a sudden treat me as an equal. Ain’t that some shit? And also, while I’m at it, ain’t it some shit that as a single woman, I get less food stamps…but oh, if I popped out semen demons, I’d get more food stamps? So as a single person, my need for food somehow changes? LMAO.

Another comment on this CF thread that I responded to, talked about how rediculous it is that people willingly put themselves through hell…just so they can give birth to a child. My response to said comment reads:
I feel the same about IVF being disgusting. I see people’s infertility as nature’s fucking clue to these dummies to not fucking reproduce. But they just don’t get it!! They claim to want spawn so bad that to them, it’s worth all the tears, all the heartbreak ETC, that they regularly put themselves through. Yes, I think it’s an active decision on their part. IDK how they refuse to take nature’s hint, seriously!!
Another comment I responded to, suggested that I tell people they’ll regret having kids. The response I wrote to this person says:
The sad thing is, even if folks do regret having kids, they’d never say so. Instead, they’d go to FB and post about how they want to pull their kid’s hair out, or their own hair out/how they otherwise want to somehow get rid of their spawn. But if I or someone else so much as suggested that such a feeling is them feeling regret about this life choice they made, I would be seen as the psychotic one. LOL. Sad and disgusting, really, TBH.
Yet another comment I responded to on this thread, talked about how people bring God into this sort of discussion. My comment reads:
Exactly right, about them blaming God for other things…but going against his will if they themselves desperately want children. I also love how people say things like “if God wants you to have kids, you will,” as though we have no choice in the matter. Someone told me something along those lines the other day actually, and said it’s fucked up if people are CF. I said to them “well, then guess we’re no longer friends, because I’m proudly and loudly CF. I had my tubes tied when I was in my mid-20s because I’m a non-conformist.” That was pretty much the end of that discussion.

Another commenter replied to this post, saying how people’s argument about us human beings having free will is interesting because folks who believe that free will is a thing, seem to only believe in it in certain instances. So for example, people with such beliefs will say that most things are “God’s will,” until it’s their infertility we’re talking about. Because when it’s their infertility on the chopping block, somehow they see themselves as the ultimate judge on how they handle this particular thing. But if they get in a car wreck or get hurt in some other way, those things are God’s will. They have no logical explanation for why they flip-flop from time-to-time. And something else that this commenter pointed out that I think is worth mentioning, is that the entire reason that people get into this frame of mind of wanting to have children biologically in the first place, is because society has trained us human beings in a sense, to believe that children of ours can only be meaningful if we conceive them ourselves. And that’s also why you rarely, if ever, hear infertile people who want kids deciding to adopt kids…because these folks have convinced themselves that their own fucking genetics are what make a child theirs. It’s rediculous!!

Another topic I commented on in Childfree by Choice, talked about how someone feels crappy because relatives of theirs found out that they’ll be having a baby literally two days before the original poster’s wedding. The response I wrote to this post reads:
You have every right to feel the way you do about this, I want you to know that. It sounds to me like they did this to you on purpose, which I think is also fucked up!!! I mean, they even ASSumed that you’d be happy for them, rather than being focused on your wedding…which is as narcissistic as anyone could get. I’m sorry this is happening to you; I wish there was something I could do to make sure you have all the love and happiness on your wedding day…but all I can do is send you a virtual hug. I hope that somehow, you are able to find peace on your special day and on these days in-between. Please keep us posted on this.

Yesterday morning when it was time for me to go outside to wait for my ride, my caretaker happened to be coming to my room to let me know that my ride was already outside of the house. I was glad about this because I knew that meant that I’d likely get to school early, rather than late, as I did on the first school day. The only frustrating thing though, was that once I’d actually gotten to school, I didn’t know where to go. But being the resourceful person I am, I found someone to help me get to my classroom; this person ended up being someone at school who cleans the campus. And this person said that they wouldn’t be able to help me after doing so this time, because apparently, they technically aren’t allowed to help students in this way. But thankfully, they were nice about it; they got me to an area close enough to my classroom, where I just sat in the hallway listening to music/quietly talking to people while I waited for my professor to arrive. And fortunately, one of the people I’d been talking with in the hallway, happened to be a classsmate of mine which made it pretty easy for me to know exactly where the classroom was actually located.

And in this particular class period, we students started to learn how to introduce ourselves using American Sign Language. Our professor first demonstrated to the class how to finger-spell each person’s name using ASL and since I’m blind, the professor finger-spelled names into my hands. This particular gesture showed me what it would actually feel like to experience American Sign Language as a blind person. So the specific phrases that we worked on in class today were “what is your name,” “my name is” and “nice to meet you.” But we also worked on learning how to sign numbers one through five, as well as how to sign the word “numbers” itself. We also learned how to sign the word “letters” and then we were told that there are different letter categories in American Sign Language like fist letters, for example. And what fist letters are, is letters that require you to use your fist to form certain letters. This was our first day physically doing sign language but surprisingly, I kinda got the hang of it. And also, I practiced signing/copying two interpreters who signed with me, as well as with my professor/other students who also signed with me. And TBH, I feel like some of the signs are easier for me to perform than others which is to be expected, I think.

One of the most frustrating things about being in this class, at least right now, is the fact that no one can use our voices, unless our professor permits us to do so. Because when hearing people like me are in the presence of deaf people, it’s considered rude for anyone to use their voice. And I find that a huge culture shock for me, especially because being blind, I use my voice 24/7; and given that I don’t even feel a little bit comfortable in deaf spaces, there’s a certain depression that I go through in such spaces. And TBH, IDK if that’s something that will change with time or not. But my whole reason for putting myself in this class, was because it’s important to me to always do things that challenge me. And what I’m realizing now, after two days of being in this class, is that I need to readjust my expectations…because I’m not going to just be amazingly fluid at ASL within the first few weeks, even. I may never be fluent in ASL; but it’s more important to me that I’m trying to open up my world, instead of just accepting that blind people and Deaf people are cut off from one another. Like, if I make a C in this class, I’ll be damn satisfied because I know what a hard worker I am and have been.

This morning I used the VoiceDream app to read through one of my textbooks for ASL one; because I have a couple homework assignments to complete before next week. But from what I’ve read of this book so far, VoiceOver reads the sections like “homework 1.1,” but it doesn’t seem to read the different options that I have to choose from. So like, I know that in this homework assignment, I’m supposed to choose from a list of strategies and then write a paper on why I chose a particular strategy. So I’m hopeful that I can figure out how to make this work before next week. Because if I can turn in this assignment early, that would be awesome.

This same day, my caretaker told me that he’d dropped off a form at the clinic I go to; the form he’d dropped off, was one that I’ve been wanting my doctor to fill out for awhile now. But a year or so ago now, which was when I’d first gotten what I’d thought was the correct form from the DMV, it turned out that that form was not the right one after all. And so then life just kept happening and I kept forgetting to have someone go back to the DMV to get the correct form…until these last few days. And fortunately, my caretaker delivered what I hope is the right form to the medical clinic, this time around. My doctor wasn’t there at the time though which meant that my caretaker just left the form with someone else at said clinic. But thankfully, having access to the MyChart app which is fully accessible with VoiceOver on my iPhone, means that I could easily send a message to my Primary Care Provider and ask them whether they’d received that form. So that’s just what I did. Now, I just have to wait on their response which could take up to a few days. But man, I must say that using the MyChart app really is a life saver for me. I hope that it continues to stay completely accessible with VoiceOver on my iPhone.

Also this same day, one of my best friends emailed me a list of volunteer opportunities that can be done from people’s homes. And one thing on that list that jumped out at me right away, was a resource called 7Cups which can be found at http://www.7cups.com
This resource allows its members to get in touch with people who can support them however they need to be supported in that moment. So I of course registered as a listener which is what 7Cups calls the folks who support 7Cups members. And almost immediately, I realized that even the 7Cups app for the iPhone was going to take some getting used to. Because it’s incredibly clunky…and not every link tells you what it’s for. Instead, what I hear VoiceOver say aloud is “unpronounceable” or “link” or even “link unrecognizable.” So this particular issue is definitely going to be something I write to 7Cups about. And hopefully with my help, they’ll be able to fix this issue for the better.

But that being said, I did have some slight frustrations, in signing up with this service; more specifically, the website was so clunky using Safari on my iPhone, that I ended up accidentally creating two accounts. But thankfully, this website recognized this and then asked me which account I’d like to keep (the member account or the listener account). And since I love supporting people, I opted to keep the listener account that I’d created. And once that had been done, I had to participate in a 30 minute training using the website as a listener; the kinds of questions I had to answer were “what does active listening mean? How can you help someone feel supported in whatever it is that they’re going through when they reach out to you” and so on. I even messaged back and forth with a chat bot who pretended to be a real person…and I had to write responses to this bot about how I’d respond in kind to the things that it was saying. And then from there, that’s when I logged into 7Cups using the iPhone app which was also clunky, as I’ve said above. But I chatted with someone for the first time and honestly, I came away from that experience feeling like I’d done exactly what I’d signed up to do: offer support and compassion to another human being. And IDK if I’ll ever know how they received our chat…but it felt rewarding to me, for sure.

In a Hidden Brain episode where Shankar Vedantam discusses the importance of checklists, the first person Shankar tells a story about is a surgeon. And in this story, this surgeon was performing a surgery that he’d done many times before; and things unexpectedly turned chaotic during this operation. Because it was a tumor that this doctor was removing…but the tumor was in a part of this patient’s body that could kill him, if it was hit incorrectly. But as it turned out, the doctor this story was about, had gone through the steps with everyone…and fortunately for this doctor’s sake, one of the people who was also in charge was paying attention. And although this patient’s surgery was successful, it was successful because the person who’d been paying attention had prepared for things to go wrong…just in case they actually *did* go wrong.

And then a bit later on in this Hidden Brain episode, this surgeon that Shankar Vedantam had brought up at the beginning of the show, came up with the idea to create checklists for medical facilities. And this surgeon then discussed how numerous folks felt like the checklist idea at medical facilities was an insult to their intelligence. But that wasn’t how this surgeon saw it at all; and so, the people who agreed with him that such a change would be a welcome one, stuck together to advocate for the importance of checklists, in terms of the checklists being a tool that people can use in addition to using their brains. And when I heard this concept simplified in this way on Hiddden Brain, I smiled big.

Because TBH, I’ve been that person myself, who used to not set reminders, create grocery lists ETC, until there came a day in my life where I realized that I’m just fooling myself into thinking that I can remember every single thing I have planned, or that I can remember every single homework assignment I need to do for a particular college class, or that I can remember to not get so caught up in a day that I completely forget to take my medicine. And so once I admitted to myself that I literally don’t have the brain power to remember every single thing in the world that I said or have to do, I forced myself to start using reminders/timers/alarms. And so now, I even try to encourage others to use timers/reminders/alarms because the technological advancements that exist in our world today, already make these things possible for us to do. And so too, will be the case for technological advancements that will exist in our future…and we human beings can either choose to grow alongside said technology…or be left behind because we don’t want to bother learning with the world, as the world learns with us. And personally, it’s a no-brainer for me: I choose every day to grow alongside the technology that exists/will exist…because you can only bring about change if you are willing to embrace change yourself, first and foremost.

In another Hidden Brain episode, this one about politics and how people misunderstand what they, what we, really should be doing as it relates to politics, Shankar Vedantam talks with a man who studies this very thing as his job. And the two of them talk with each other about how many people in the world treat politics like it’s a baseball game that they can watch. And what was meant by phrasing things this way, was that people say they want to be informed on current events but then they’ll watch news on the TV…and the news channels primarily talk shit about whatever political party they are against. And so this man painting this picture of politics as a game in a sense, really made me think a bit differently. Because TBH, before this point, I didn’t think about politics being a game to some people. But the thing about this particular Hidden Brain episode that really resonated with me, was this man talking with Shankar Vedantam about how we as a society should focus on bringing people together to stand alongside us and then show these people how to bring about actual change, in terms of the things we wholeheartedly believe in. And I loved hearing that perspective, not only because I think it’s true, but also because it’s important to shift the way people think about politics/issues that truly matter in the world.