Music/podcast thoughts, more thoughts on being childfree, living with disabilities and other updates and reflections

I recently submitted a feedback report to Apple because within the last week, when I’ve tried to view all episodes of the This American Life podcast using my phone, I’m only able to view a few episodes. This is incredibly frustrating to me because I’m almost certain that there are lots more episodes of said podcast that I’d find intriguing. But the thing is, this particular issue has at least been happening to me since the last iOS update came out/was installed on my phone. But what usually happens, is that if I’m not submitting feedback reports regularly, it’s difficult for me to remember that I need to submit one. But hopefully now that I’m writing this truth about myself down, my brain will remember to submit feedback reports as soon as I discover an inappropriate behavior happening on my phone.

And speaking of inappropriate behavior happening on my phone, I had to write yet another feedback report to Apple. This particular feedback report though, was regarding a strange issue I’ve had with Siri, since I last updated my phone. And so what happens in this case, is that when I tell Siri to text someone and then I dictate a text message to her, she says “your message to,” and then her speech gets completely cut off…and this issue renders me unable to use that particular method to text anyone. And this issue happens every single time, no matter who it is I’m trying to text. It’s highly annoying!!

I recently listened to a fairly short documentary about the R&B singer JoJo. This short documentary was sponsored by Honda and showed JoJo discussing how she’d gotten started in the music industry and how the contract she’d signed when she was still a child ended up giving her far more trouble than anyone could’ve ever predicted. And so, that’s why to date, she’s only released three albums…and two of those albums, she re-recorded so that she’d have those masters herself. That being said, she’s also released a few mixtapes, none of which are on streaming services. And her third album entitled “Mad Love” was released a few years ago…and so I’m super excited about the come-back that she’s doing this year. And said come-back started out with JoJo releasing singles last year, in combination with her hyping us huge fans of hers up about the fact that now is truly going to be her time to shine!! And I definitely believe that’s true myself, for sure. So it was great to see this short film about where she’s been and how excited she feels to be out of that drama and trauma with her old label called Blackground Records. She’s said that she’s saying some crazy shit on this new album, and I’ve always been a fan of her honesty…so I can’t wait to hear the album whenever it’s released. I hope it doesn’t get pushed back from its May release, though, like albums sometimes do.

In a podcast that recently had JoJo on as a guest, the host of the show talked with JoJo about her journey as a singer. Because she was a singer who ended up being in a prison so to speak, due to complications with the music label she’d been signed to from her childhood. This podcast that she was on was called the School of Greatness. And if I’m not mistaken, said podcast is hosted by someone who’s also in the entertainment industry. And one of the things that the host talked about with JoJo, was how much of JoJo’s growth that’s happened both personally and professionally, happened because she was somehow lead astray. And so she talked a lot about how she’s learned to pay attention to not just the things that people say to her, but also that she’s learned the value in trusting herself/trusting in the fact that she owns her truth. And I can relate to those things so much myself, as in these past few years, I’ve also learned those hard lessons. But I also could relate to this interview JoJo did because she[s ready to show people that she deserves to be a superstar…because that’s part of her truth that she hasn’t been able to really show the world yet. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with her; not like, in an unhealthy way but rather, I’m totally invested in her comeback. And I seriously can’t wait to see her take the world by storm!!

In a recent episode of Cognitive Dissonance, the hosts of said podcast talked with each other about how someone who’s a conservative Christian was outraged by this year’s Super Bowl half-time show singers, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Now, both of those singers have been in the music/entertainment industry for years; and both of them also happen to be Latina women who are proud of where they came from. And so, that being said, during both Shakira’s and Jennifer Lopez’s performances at this year’s Super Bowl half-time show, both women outwardly showed their Latina pride. And if my memory serves correctly, part of their show included displaying flags from the specific countries that they are each from. And so, the hosts of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast discussed this year’s Super Bowl half-time show because it really got conservative Christians into a tizzy. And what I mean in saying that, is that the conservative Christian they were specifically reading an article about, acted like the fact he’d seen women expressing their sexuality was literally the worst thing in the world. And the reason I’m writing about this on my blog, is because Jennifer Lopez and Shakira were not even doing anything that was sexual. But the fact that they were expressing their sexuality at all, in this prudish man’s mind, was problematic. But yet this prudish man didn’t seem to mind the fact that grown men were getting tackled in this particular sport. No, that particular thing wasn’t objectionable at all…but when women wear clothes that may show a bit of their figures, that should be banned. Give me a fucking break, dumb-ass. Women have just as much of a right as anyone else, to express themselves however they want to do so. If you’re uncomfortable with a particular form of self-expression you see on the TV, turn the TV off!! That is something you do, and can, have control over. Whereas if you see a woman’s self-expression out in public that you don’t like, the only thing you can do about that, is to walk away or look away. But no fucking man in this world has a right to police what women do to, or with, their bodies. I’m sticking to women here because women are what made this conservative Christian go ape-shit about Shakira’s and Jennifer Lopez’s half-time Super Bowl show performances. And I’ll stand up for women’s rights as long as I live. Because contrary to what this man seems to think, he does, in fact, have a ton more control over the things he has to look at when he’s watching TV…because he doesn’t have to look at anything he doesn’t want to look at!! Because the beauty about televisions, is that you can change channels or turn the damn TV off when you don’t want to watch it. It’s not hard at all…but unfortunately, you can’t turn stupid off, if it’s something that plays on a podcast you listen to. LOL. Because the thing is, I love listening to Christian nut-jobs like this lose their shit about things that they aren’t affected by or that they flat out claim they don’t care about…because it makes for good writing material for my blog.

Speaking of good blog material and still along the lines of sexuality, I fucking hate how American culture as a whole pushes abstinence-only education. A big reason why I hate this, is because telling kids or adults that they shouldn’t hae sex because it’s immoral unless you’re married, is just flat out not true. Sex is a thing that exists, not only to create babies…but also to pleasure human beings. Because believe it or not, folks, pleasure creates happiness, no matter who we are or what the thing is that pleasures us. And as long as people are having consensual and safe sex, no one has any right to interfere, just because they live differently or believe differently. And so abstinence-only education is a fucking lie because kids don’t listen to that shit; I mean, hell, the only reason I didn’t lose my virginity as a teenager, was because I was too fucking scared that bio mom would literally kill me if I tried to have sex with anyone. And what I’m saying, is that I think that that sort of prudish attitude has to go. No, it should’ve stopped existing, like, before I was even born. Because it doesn’t make sense. Like, part of being a grownup, is that you do things that only grownups can do, like have a sex life if you want to have one. I say the words “if you want to have one” because there are some grownups who are fine without sex being a regular part of their life. And I’m all for letting people live their lives the way they want to, just as I want people to let me live my life how I want to. And so when the government tries to say that it has a right to dictate people’s sexuality, that is hugely problematic.

In the Childfree by Choice FB group, someone created a thread expressing that they don’t like the way some of us members are blunt. The response I wrote to that thread reads:
I would prefer you not tone police us, please. If you don’t like the language we use, then scroll onto something else that you feel connected to in this group. I don’t like kids and I’m not going to act like I do. I’m a grown-up who speaks like a grown-up, and the same is true for others in this group. If everything offends you, then perhaps this is not the group for you.

Also in this group, someone posted a topic saying that they don’t like how many of us members are straightforward. My response to that thread reads:
I’ve been at school until just a bit ago…and I come home to this fabulous entertainment? LMAO. Lemme tell you all a story: I’m a wheelchair user who also happens to be blind. Do y’all know how many times crotch goblins havve jumped over my cane like it’s a fucking pogo stick? Or grabbed onto it and compromised my safety? Those brats have eyes that work…and I am the one who should keep calm? LMAO. They need to watch where the fuck they are going…and stop staring at someone who looks different.

Another post in Childfree by Choice asked group members how soon we’d tell a potential partner that we’re intentionally CF. My response to that thread reads:
I’d tell a potential mate that I don’t want kids right away. Because I don’t want to lead anyone on, and if that is not a person’s life goal who I could become interested in, then there is no way we could ever date. Because quite frankly, being CF has become a huge part of my identity.

Also in this group, someone posted an article talking about how a parent gave their child a punishment in a public bathroom. The response I wrote to that thread reads:
This mom must not have any sense; push-ups in a public bathroom? Give me a fucking break; I agree with her kid, that’s fucking disgusting!! She was so eager to give her son a punishment that she didn’t want to at least wait until they’d gotten home, to an environment that is much cleaner than public bathrooms are. Not cool, not cool at all.

In the Disability Wisdom Discussion FB group, someone posted a topic about porn being audio described. The response I wrote to this thread reads:
I’m a fan of audio described movies/videos but not audio description in porn. As I think someone else here has said, having porn described really takes away from the sounds like the heavy breathing, interactions between people ETC. So for me at least, audio described porn makes arousal damn near impossible.

In this same FB group, someone posted a topic asking how to deal with anger as a person with disabilities. The first comment I wrote in response to that reads:
I too have been legally blind all of my life, but it wasn’t until I became a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind that I found being blind actually more than just bearable. After I’d graduated high school in May 2007, a few months afterwards, I was a student at the LCB. My life has changed a ton since graduating the LCB…but that training was life-changing in the best of ways. It gave me skills that can be applied in any environment, no matter how complex situations may become. I’m not sure why you feel that you couldn’t go to the LCB or to a similar training center right now, but the LCB/similar training centers do have programs for people of all ages; from small children/babies, to young adults/seniors. If you have any more questions for me, feel free to ask.
I then added:
Since your question specifically asked about dealing with anger as a disabled person, I wanted to add that the training I had at the LCB taught me how to handle complex emotions like anger, being rebellious ETC. Because while you are in training there or at a similar kind of NFB-based training center, you’ll have everything from cane travel, to computer class, to Braille instruction and even cooking; there are also times where the students’ schedule is switched up and they go through their day schedule, at nighttime. This is done so that students who may not be comfortable using their canes at night, can have experience doing so…and seeing in real life that they will be just fine. Hope what I’ve said here has been helpful.

On my own FB page, I wrote an FB status that reads:
My favorite part of Deaf culture is the fact that those in the Deaf community are always straightforward. I honestly wish that American culture was the exact same way, as it just makes everything in life so much smoother/fulfilling…because you don’t have to spend time wondering what people meant/figuring out hidden meanings of shit. You just say what you mean and mean what you say, 24/7.

This Monday before class, I met with my assistant, just as I’d done the last week. And this week, we finished doing my homework that we couldn’t finish the last time we’d met. And that’s actually going to be what happens before every class session because that’s what I need to do, in order to keep up with the class. And so in addition to going to school on Mondays and Wednesdays which is when my class-time actually happens, I’m also going to meet with my aid on Thursdays. Because that’s how much homework I have during each week…and it’s a lot. So, not counting actual class-time, my aid and I are meeting with each other 6 hours a week. And I’m happy to report that every day, I get a little bit better at learning and understanding American Sign Language. But that being said, it’s still incredibly difficult for me to understand what people who sign to me are saying. So that makes me still feel like I’m a fucking sloth when it comes to getting the hang of this new language. LOL.

In this Monday’s ASL class, we worked on how to sign specific colors and then how to describe people. We also learned how to give commands to people like “you sit in this chair,” or “you, jump.” And as I’ve said in my blog before, American Sign Language is its own language. And that means that when you translate something from American English into American Sign Language or vice versa, the translations will be a bit different than American English speakers are used to. But now that I’ve actually been able to practice a lot outside of class, as well as during class, I feel much better about the fact that I’ll make it through this class having done my absolute best, every single day, no matter how physically challenging/tiring it gets.

That being said, in yesterday’s class session though, I had a rough day. Because the thing was, I didn’t eat any breakfast that morning because I was running late…and I also didn’t have much caffeine that morning, either. So needless to say, I was worried about how I’d do during that day’s actual class session…but I did better than I’d expected which was great. Because the thing was, our teacher gave us a quiz on the entire first unit that we’d just finished on Monday’s class day. But the way things worked, was that I sat in class yesterday while my classmates completed the test themselves. And then after they’d finished the quiz, our teacher talked to us about what we’d be doing for our upcoming mid-term. And it turns out that there’s a story in our main textbook that’s about a tree that’s deaf. But of course, the story is much more detailed than what I’ve said here…but I don’t want to talk about it in full, until it’s actually time for me to present it. Because I will have to tell this story using ASL, just like my classmates will do. But the neat thing though, is that our professor is giving us the freedom to get creative with the story, as long as we stick to the story’s main idea and incorporate the details that are within the story. But in addition to knowing the correct signs in ASL, we’ll also have to know how to use correct grammar in ASL, including the correct facial expressions/facial cues that totally emphasize whatever it is that we’re saying. So TBH, this all sounds daunting…but I hope I can kick ass at this upcoming final of mine!!

Going backwards for a second though, Tuesday evening I had a thought-provoking discussion with a close friend of mine. More specifically we talked about the possibility of us getting into a romantic relationship with someone at some point down the road. And one of the things that this friend asked me, was something along the lines of “what’s your biggest worry about getting into a relationship again?” And TBH, I didn’t really know how to answer that question because I don’t worry. I don’t worry about what may or may not happen to me in my life and I don’t worry about other people. That isn’t to say that I don’t care about people; of course I care about most people. But rather, I realize that there is nliterally no point to worrying. Like, it doesn’t benefit our health–in fact, when people worry, it raises their blood pressures and causes other health problems. Or at least, there is the potential that worrying could cause folks serious health problems. And also, I think all of the worrying I saw growing up, from my bio mom who outwardly acted like she loved me, cured me of any worries I might have ever had myself. Because like, she used to act like a helicopter mom, meaning that she’d hover over me 24/7. Like, when I became a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB) I remember the person who runs the LCB telling me that my bio mom called the center literally every single day. Ugh!! And that wasn’t the only time in my life where my bio mom has been overbearing/smothered me.

But anyway, going back to this recent conversation I’d had with a close friend of mine, this friend asked me why I thought my romantic relationships have always ended on an awful note. And I told them that I’ve known that I’ve had numerous chronic illnesses since my late teens/my early adulthood…and that once people I’m dating see me in the ICU of a hospital, they literally run away after I get back home from the hospital. And I get it, for the most part: seeing me near death makes people uneasy, not to mention, it makes them think about their own mortality…which is probably the last thing they want to do. And the thing is, this is not a worry of mine; it is my actual lived experience, several times over. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve yet to choose someone to date for the right reasons…and what I mean by that, is that I’ve always dated men whose potential I saw…but who also needed me for some reason or other. So either the men I dated were controlling/verbally abusive/other kinds of toxic, the way my bio mom was…or they were men who were still heavily attached to their mom. All of these things that I’ve listed were bad reasons for anyone to date a person…but I didn’t become conscious of that truth until just a few years ago. In fact, in late 2017 when I was in therapy for the first time as a choice I’d made for myself, that was when I started to examine the ways in which I’d conducted my romantic relationships, as well as how who I was then, was also brought on by the horribly traumatic experiences I’d endured by both sides of my family of origin. And so I’m talking about this on my blog now because when I’d had this recent discussion with a close friend of mine, I started thinking to myself about how if I do ever get into a romantic relationship with someone again, I hope that I do so for the right reasons. I hope that I decide to be with someone because we both uplift each other and support one another’s life goals, both small and big. I hope that the next person I date, if I do ever date someone again, will highly value communication, just as I value that particular thing. Now, in the past, and through many of my life experiences, what I’ve thought would happen in my life, has been nothing like what’s actually happened in my life. LOL. So time will tell if I’m destined to be single for the rest of my life or not.