Assorted TV show thoughts, podcast thoughts and numerous reflections

In the latest episode of the Hidden Brain podcast, its host Shankar Vedantam first told a story about a psychologist who’d done numerous studies to figure out what lengths people would go to, when it came to following orders…even if those orders were harmful to human beings. And as this particular story continues, we the listeners find out that when people are actually faced with what seems like a difficult situation, their actions/reactions are often not what anyone would think they’d be. So for example, in a study where someone has been told to cause pain to another human being, if this human being doesn’t answer questions correctly, we often put ourselves in the shoes of either the person asking the questions or the person who’s being hurt repeatedly. We don’t often think about what may be going through the head of the person who’s actually conducting the experiments; and TBH, I thought that this was a valuable insight that I for one, had not thought about. And TBH, there were other stories on this Hidden Brain episode, that showed us the listeners that we are often so fixated on our own ways of moving through the world, that we don’t even consider what might be happening in the mind of the person who’s actually conducting these experiments, or the person who agrees to help us if we’re lost in a parking lot or other place, or the person who agrees to complete a questionnaire we’ve asked them to fill out. But as Shankar Vedantam himself points out, we should try to be more aware of our own perceptions of how things will happen, versus how things actually do happen throughout our lives.

So for example, in another study that’s talked about on this episode of Hidden Brain, people are asked to go up to random people and ask to use those random people’s phones. And it turns out that what people think will happen, is actually very different from what really happens in this experiment. And so, although people who’d participated in this experiment thought that most strangers would not let the asker use their phones, the opposite took place which is to say that most strangers allowed the question-asker to use their phones. And similar things happened when an experimenter asked folks to go onto crowded trains and ask others for their seats; and those folks too, mostly predicted what their own perceptions would be, inaccurately from what actually happened in these situations.

On another Hidden Brain episode, Shankar Vedantam talks about freedom of speech and what that’s meant in the United States in the past. He also of course talks about how the US’s election of Donald Trump as president has actually changed what freedom of speech means. In fact, Shankar Vedantam, as well as someone who’s been researching this particular thing prior to Donald Trumps election, before his election and even after his being elected, both Shankar and the researcher point out that the 2016 US presidential election was literally a game-changer in society. And what they mean by saying that, is that once Trump became president in the US, the way he (Trump) conducted himself, moved many people to express themselves more openly…but in a horribly toxic way. This means that where prior to Trump’s election, many people chose to hide their racism from the world; but once Trump had become the US President, some folks felt like Trump’s presidency sent a clear message to them of “since the man who’s the US President openly speaks hostility towards minority groups he doesn’t like, that means that if any of us share those views of his, it’s now OK for us to do so as well.” And personally, this particular thought process has been something I’ve seen happen myself; and I’ll even go so far as to say that the folks holding such extreme views has caused those people to act more violently than they’ve ever acted. And to me, that’s what’s scary as hell: because Donald Trump knows that he has immense power to make many people do whatever the hell he wants them to…and he’s used that/and continues to use that to his advantage however he can. And there’s nothing good about that truth.

In Childfree by Choice, on the thread where I’d posted a comment about a mom choosing to discipline her kid in a public bathroom, I continued to interact with folks on said thread. Because there were some people who totally missed the point I was trying to make, in saying what I’d said in my very first response to this thread. And so, the point I continued to argue, was that this mom could’ve chosen to wait to discipline her child until she and her kid were home; and I argued this particular point because one’s house is a great environment for learning, no matter who the learner happens to be. But some folks disagreed with my perspective, and even suggested that I enjoy kids who misbehave in public. It was quite ridiculous, I must say.

In the short amount of time that I’ve been involved in those two FB groups that are meant for women who have horribly toxic moms of any kind, I’ve really come to appreciate where I am in my own journey with this particular thing. Because I honestly don’t think that I could’ve been much help to others, back when I still had trouble accepting the truth of my own situation with my bio mom. And so, for this specific situation, I can totally see how important the work on myself really was. And TBH, it feels great to be in a place where I can support others who are currently in situations that are toxic, with their mother-figures. But before joining these two FB groups, I don’t think I could’ve known how much these safe spaces would help me feel more balanced…but I’m glad I thought to try them out. I remain hopeful that they’ll continue to be beneficial for me, as well as for other folks.

In the Disabled Feminists FB group, someone posted a topic asking if there were any folks in this group that are pro-choice. The response I wrote to that topic reads:
I’m disabled and pro-choice; and like others here, I would rather devote my energy to openly speaking about this issue with people who also share those views. So many things in my own life have been taken from me, that have solidified my being pro-choice…because I wouldn’t want to take agency away from anyone, ever.

In the FB group that’s called Disability Wisdom Discussion Group, someone posted a topic saying that they’re at a place in their life where they feel tired of educating people. I wrote the following response which reads:
I’m sorry to hear that you’re exhausted…but please know that you are human too. This means that you have every right to take breaks and to flat out decide when you will and won’t educate people. Each of us human beings can change our minds however often we need or want to, in order to take the best care of ourselves that we can. There may be some folks in society along the way who dehumanize us/don’t support our choices, but no one can be ‘on’ 24/7, no matter who it is that we are talking about.

In season one of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we the viewers find out that Ms. Wardwell is actually a witch who the Dark Lord has put in charge of ensuring Sabrina’s safety. And so, in the scene I’d previously mentioned here, where the Spellman Family was visited by a demon, Ms. Wardwell is actually the person that ensures this family’s safety. Because she (Ms. Wardwell) had actually taken time to do whatever she could to protect the Spellman Family’s land. But Sabrina had no knowledge of this herself, until Ms. Wardwell let her in on things, once she (Ms. Wardwell) had saved the Spellman Family from the demon that had been released from the puzzle Sabrina had solved earlier on in the show.

And yet another situation in season one of this show, where Ms. Wardwell comes to the rescue of the Spellman Family and Sabrina’s friends from Baxter High, Sabrina is grateful for Ms. Wardwell’s assistance. And what happened in this specific situation, was that Susie’s uncle Jesse had gotten possessed by a demon…and although no witches had ever gotten rid of any demons before, Sabrina, one of her aunts, as well as Ms. Wardwell, did what they could to try and save Susie’s uncle Jesse. But then as the show goes on, there’s a scene where Ms. Wardwell is shown talking to Jesse as if he’s been in on this whole thing, as someone who himself worships the Dark Lord. And TBH, that particular detail surprised me; I’d completely forgotten that that even happened.

But before I go on, I want to back up for a second to talk about a conversation that Jesse’s brother who also happens to be Susie’s dad, had with someone who worked at a facility that Uncle Jesse might have gone to while he (Uncle Jesse) was still alive. Because during this particular conversation, Susie’s dad tells this person that Jesse enjoyed wearing women’s clothes. And the reason that this particular detail is important, is because this exchange was the first time we the viewers get a glimpse of the fact that Susie herself is transgender. Like, Susie doesn’t talk about it herself at that point; but rather, we can infer that Susie feeling like they’re living a lie, happens because they’re struggling with their own sexual identity.

And yet something else that stands out to me in season one of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is that when Ms. Wardwell gives her students at Baxter High an assignment to learn about where they (each of her students) came from, Sabrina ends up discovering that Harvey and his (Harvey’s family) think that all witches are bad. And so, Sabrina, Ms. Wardwell and one of Sabrina’s aunts, end up talking with a witch lady that’s lived in the woods for years and years. And it turns out that this witch lady, along with the other witches, chose to put an invisibility type cloak on themselves. They all did this because they saw Harvey and his (Harvey’s family) hunting in the woods, very close to where they (all of the witches, including Sabrina) were located. But that being said, even though Sabrina was totally aware of what had happened, she still didn’t want to believe that Harvey was actually a bad person who wanted her (Sabrina) and any other witches, dead.

Another important thing about season one of this show, is the fact that the witch coven that the Spellman Family is involved in, has selected a Spellman Family member to act as a potential gift to the Dark Lord. And initially the Spellman Family member who volunteers to be a potential sacrifice, is one of Sabrina’s aunts…but Sabrina willingly takes her aunt’s place. But instead of Sabrina having to wrestle with this potential hardship, what ends up happening, is that Sabrina makes a discovery that literally changes everything. And it turns out that Sabrina has discovered that one of the Weird Sisters, specifically Prudence, is a child of the Dark Lord’s. And this detail is a significant discovery because that truth even prevents Prudence herself from potentially being sacrificed to the Dark Lord. And as if that isn’t bad enough, as the show goes on, Sabrina asks Prudence for help with dark magic, as a sort of token meaning that witches should help other witches, in their time of need. And while Prudence does willingly help Sabrina, Prudence doesn’t tell Sabrina the fact that things could go really wrong, in such a way that would be hard for anyone to come back from.

And so, what ultimately prompts Sabrina to go to this extreme, is the fact that there’s a horrible accident that causes serious harm to Harvey, Harvey’s brother Tommy and other unnamed folks. But Harvey ends up ultimately being OK; but once Sabrina saw how broken Harvey was when they’d discovered that Tommy didn’t make it out of the mines alive, she wanted to use her witch-related powers for good…or at least, that was her intention. But instead, things went very differently. That is to say, Tommy didn’t come back as the person he was, prior to this accident; in fact, he couldn’t even talk or eat any more. But Harvey and his and Tommy’s dad wanted to believe that Tommy would eventually be himself again. But sadly, that never happened; Harvey ended up shooting Tommy because he (Harvey) knew that truth deep down.

Later on in season one of this show, we the viewers find out that when one of Sabrina’s aunts delivers twins for the Dark Lord’s wife, the midwife/aunt of Sabrina’s takes one of the babies for herself. The reason she does this, is because the Dark Lord only wants to have sons so that he (the Dark Lord) will have someone to take his place, once he’s moved onto the next realm. But as things stand, Sabrina’s aunt who’d delivered the baby girl for the Dark Lord and his (the Dark Lord’s) wife, tells the rest of the Spellman Family that she doesn’t think it’s appropriate for said family to raise the baby themselves. And the reason Sabrina’s aunt says this to her family, is because deep down, she knows that there could be dire consequences for all of them, if the Dark Lord ever discovered that secret of theirs.

Another heartbreaking part of season one of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is the fact that Harvey’s and Sabrina’s romantic relationship with each other is never the same, once Harvey has killed his brother Tommy. Like, Harvey is never truly able to trust Sabrina again. And one of the reasons that that truth is so heartbreaking, is because Harvey ends up giving Sabrina a gift back that she’d gotten specifically for him. Because it turns out that Harvey is really struggling with what Sabrina has told him about her being part witch. And as a viewer, it’s hard for me to rewatch these parts of the show because of how attached I get to the show’s main characters.

And yet another aspect of season one of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that I’d forgotten about though, was how Sabrina’s good friend Susie acted as an elf for what they (Susie) had thought was a fun Christmas tradition in their town of Greendale. But it turned out that the person who’d put on this particular event was a demon who hurt children. And so, we the viewers see scenes of Susie having been kidnapped by this demon thing…and fortunately, Sabrina, Susie and Sabrina’s friend Roz, as well as Sabrina’s aunts Hilda and Zelda, all ensure that Susie is ultimately OK. The witches even put some kind of spell on Susie’s dad so that he won’t have any idea that his daughter has even been gone for longer than she’s supposed to be.

When I posted my last blog entry on Thursday, I didn’t write about how that morning, my assistant canceled our meeting because they felt sick. But the thing was, I was already wide awake at 7 when they’d texted me, that there was no way I’d even try to go back to sleep. But I did immediately email my professor to ask him if I could please have an extension on an assignment that would’ve been due that day. But also, I didn’t want to post about this change of plans in my last blog post, as there was already a ton of things for folks to take in. But fortunately for my sake, my professor did give me an extension for this particular assignment. So hopefully by Monday, things will be back to their usual goings on.

For clarification purposes, I want to say that in my last blog post, I was in fact referring to a story about a tree that is deaf. I’m pretty sure that the story has that specific detail in it because it’s a Deaf Studies course that I’m currently taking. And personally, I think that having a deaf tree sounds adorable.

I had a nightmare this morning that was really weird. But it wasn’t just weird because of its contents; it was also weird because I fell back asleep a little while after having it, only to go right back into that exact same nightmare. And that particular thing is a rare happening in my life, so much so that I can’t even remember the last time this happened to me. But in the nightmare, I was with one of my bio mom’s brothers at the house that my bio mom and I used to live in when I was 12 or 13 years old. This uncle of mine and I were in the room that was my bedroom at that time. And this uncle was pooping on my floor. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I could see the poop on the floor in my mind…which I know probably sounds weird, considering I’ve always been legally blind. And also in this dream, there was a friend of this uncle’s that was in the bedroom with my uncle and I…and this friend of his kept putting strings of beads that were yellow, white and other bright colors, all on the floor. And then all of those strings of beads kept moving back and forth, back and forth. Weird, I know. LOL.

The reason I write about my dreams on my blog though, whenever I actually remember details about them, is because I believe that sometimes, dreams can mean things. So for example, with regards to this most recent dream I’ve just mentioned, it’s possible I had this dream about my family of origin because I’ve been interacting with groups on Facebook that are making issues come up for me. And so I think it’s important for me to pay attention to this happening, in case there comes a time when I need to pull back from these Facebook groups entirely, or just read/participate in them a lot less than I currently am. Because while these groups have helped me feel connected to other human beings in ways I never thought I’d be able to connect with anyone, I’m also very aware that I may only need to be a member of these groups for a season so to speak. Because what I’ve been reflecting on since I’ve been involved in these groups, is that I want to get to a point where I can live mostly present in my real, current life. That isn’t to say that I won’t still talk about where I came from/who I came from; but rather, that I’ve done such hard work on myself, both on my blog/other forms of social media, as well as in my offline life, that I don’t need to highlight either side of my family of origin as much as I once did. And for me, this is something that I’m proud of, as quite frankly, I never thought I would be so strong. But as I grow as a person, the things I need change. The ways in which I love myself adapt accordingly, as well. And so that being said, I embrace change…even when the changes I go through, are ones that I never thought would ever come.

In other news, today happens to be Rare Disease Day and I wanted to talk about that for a bit. So I recently shared a post on Facebook that stressed the importance of people to take care of themselves, especially given this recent Corona Virus that’s come into our world. And so, this friend of mine who’d commented on this particular post of mine, said something like “IDK why people feel the need to bring this to our attention.” My response to that comment of theirs reads:
This simply highlights people like myself who are medically fragile because it is much easier for us to get sick than is the case for most other folks. Trust me, these types of things are not said because we like to hear ourselves talk. They are said because people generally don’t think of this difference, nor recognize it outwardly. And so if it’s us who has to let this truth be known to the world, we, and I, will gladly spread awareness.
This same person commented saying that they agree with my perspective…but that they are a Grammar nerd. So the response I wrote to that comment of theirs reads:
TBH, it’s kinda hard for me to tell your tone/how you are thinking or viewing me online. But as someone who’s taking American Sign Language 101, I’m trying to not be judgy about people’s choice of words, the way I’ve been in the past…cause sometimes, languages have different ways of conveying the same thing. For example, when we speak American English, we say “what is your name?” But in American Sign Language, we say “you name what.” And “you name what,” is the correct way of phrasing that question, for American Sign Language. I do my best to say exactly what I mean for this very reason: because I find that my life is more fulfilling and a bit easier even, when I’m straightforward and don’t leave people thinking “what the fuck is the hidden meaning here or there?”
I’ll probably have more things to say about this in the coming days because I don’t think I’ve shared much on my blog about what it’s like for me living with a rare disease. But that being said, I definitely think it’s important for me to do so.

Speaking of things that happened today, here is an FB post I wrote about the fun I had earlier; it reads:
Sooooooooo, when you walk into a Britney Spears event with your Christina Aguilera purse sitting on your lap, you will playfully get shit from other Britney stans!! Not like that happened to me today or anything; LOL. I’m a tease; that’s probably all you’ll be getting about today’s super-fan experience…unless I’m able to have someone help me post pics/video…