In a recent episode of the This American Life podcast, the host of the show Ira Glass opened the show by telling a story about how a live theater play went horribly wrong. The show that was being performed was Peter Pan and the woman who’d directed this play had never actually done anything like this before. But from the start of this production, things were not being done correctly. And in fact, the first thing that happens, is that the folks who were in charge of making the kids in Peter Pan fly at the start of the play, had no earthly idea how this contraption they were supposed to use, actually worked. And then from that point on, things became far worse; someone ended up getting seriously hurt during this production, to the point where numerous people crowded around the hurt individual. But then, to make matters even worse, the lady who’d directed this productionn, tried to encourage the actors that were still on stage, to allow the show to go on. That part of the story blew my mind in an awful way!!
But in the next segment of this episode, a story is told about a man who’d called the police because he needed help getting rid of a squirl that was causing a ruckus in his attic; yes, you read/heard that right. But when this story first started being told, we the listeners didn’t actually know what kinda creature was making this disturbance. So, it turns out that when two policemen had arrived on the scene, one of those men said to the other policeman that they should probably stay away from this incident, given that this situation didn’t actually have anything to do with anything police-related. But the kind policeman who’d thought he and his teammate would be able to resolve this situation quickly and easily, said that he’d do what he could for this guy and this guy’s wife who’d called the police. But long story short, the situation didn’t turn out well at all. In fact, both of the policemen ended up getting hurt because the squirrel kept dodging them. And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the squirrel ended up running into the fireplace where the house owners had a fire going…and the squirrel then caught itself and other items in this couple’s house on fire. But the squirrel somehow made it out of the fire alive and neither of the policemen, nor the husband and wife, were severely injured from this particular experience. But damn, what a fucking story this was!!
The next segment of this show, was about a comedian telling a story about the worst comedy performance he’d ever given. So as he tells this story, I as a listener was honestly expecting this story to be funny. Like, the audience in this recording was nearly laughing every single second in this story. And so, how this particular experience ends up going horribly wrong for this comedian, is that he doesn’t actually make people who are attending this event laugh. And instead, what ends up happening, is that the person he’d brought with him to the show tells him, the comedian, that he wants to stay at this event after this comedian’s horrible routine had finished, just to see if either of them will win the drawing that was due to happen right after that comedic awfulness. And I’d say that that was the funniest part of this entire story, in my opinion.
In the last segment of this episode of the This American Life podcast, the host Ira Glass tells a story about an interview gone wrong. This woman had been sent to interview Moon Unit Zappa (who’s the daughter of Frank Zappa, a well-known musician and singer in the 1960s). And so, when this woman is hanging out with Moon Unit Zappa and Moon Unit Zappa’s mom, the interview doesn’t seem to be anything worth writing home about. But then something happens that changes these folks time together: the interviewer takes a huge drink of her coffee and that’s the exact moment when Moon Unit Zappa tells her a joke that makes her laugh hysterically which then causes the interviewer to spew her coffee through her nose. And so, from that moment on, these three women, Moon Unit Zappa, Moon Unit Zappa’s mom and the woman interviewer, somehow bonded over this random and unexpected coffee spill/coffee shooting out of the interviewer’s nose. And for several years afterwards, this was apparently a running joke between Moon Unit Zappa and the lady who’d interviewed her over a decade ago.
In an episode of Multiamory that I recently listened to, the hosts of the show discussed what it means for human beings to fight with one another. And what’s made me dig through the episodes of this particular podcast, is the fact that I learned a lot of toxic behaviors from both sides of my family of origin that I want to evaluate/figure out how to fix. And some of these things have been things that I first started working on when I first started going to therapy in August 2017. But other things, I’ve discovered could be problematic just as I continue going through life or podcasts that I listen to, like Multiamory for example, will help me do some serious introspection. Because I find that the names of each episode, along with the discriptions that are written for each episode, are a great way for me to know whether I’ll find a topic of conversation worth listening to or not.
And so, something that’s stood out to me in a Multiamory episode, is that Dedeker brought up that the reasons people cry in relationships can usually be traced back to the way their biological family members responded to crying, or because their family of origin taught them to respond in some way to it. And Dedeker saying this made me think about the ways in which I handle crying in my relationships; one toxic behavior I learned from my bio mom always calling me a crybaby whenever I’d cry, was that I learned to create a tough outer shell. And I don’t necessarily think that creating a tough outer shell is a bad thing; it’s just that for me, I recognized right away that doing things this way was something I figured out could serve as a coping mechanism in my life. But that being said, it’s hard as fuck to undo this, but doing so is definitely a great goal for us human beings to have.
But yet another thing I learned about crying, from my biological family members, was that crying could be used against me to attempt to guilt me into responding to someone, or multiple someones, a certain way. Because there were numerous times throughout my life when my bio mom would make herself cry, during times when I wasn’t responding to her in the way that she thought I ought to respond. And so, the fact that those kinda instances were done much of the time she was in my life, I think that part of my brain is trained if you will, to see crying as a weapon, rather than as something that’s done because I’ve hurt someone in some way. And even though I can’t recall instances in which I’ve intentionally used crying to hurt others, I think it’s great to at least think about this when I’m not fighting with someone.
In another Multiamory episode that stood out to me, its hosts Jase, Emily and Dedeker discussed the fact that as human beings, we each have our own ideas about what it means to be a good friend or a good romantic partner to people. So for example, in all but one of my romantic relationships, I was incredibly clingy towards the folks I was dating. And I completely became dependent on the partnership we’d created as people who were in a romantic relationship together. So like, when I was dating someone, I’d always put that particular relationship first…even before only slightly acknowledging my relationship with myself. And in fact, until just a few years ago, I didn’t even believe that I deserved to take care of myself as an individual. But I’ll talk about that later; for now, I want to continue to talk about the fact that I operated this way mostly because I literally thought that doing so was the only way for me, as well as for others, to live.
So that being said, I totally did away with my identity as Chelsea, every single time I’ve gotten into a romantic relationship with someone. To a certain extent, I even stopped doing certain hobbies that I’d liked participating in, prior to me getting into a romantic relationship. Hell, I’d even tried to make myself like the show The Office, for example, because my then-boyfriend loved said show. Another thing I did that I realize now was harmful, was that I let multiple people I was in a romantic relationship with tell me what to wear, what not to wear, what not to talk about ETC. And just to clarify, I’ve only been in monogamous relationships, so I dated two people at different times. But I bring these things up because I wanted to show some things in my romantic relationships that I’d thought of as being supportive when they were happening…but now, I realize all of these things that I did or believed were actually quite unhealthy. But I also realize that such toxic behavior was all I knew, for the longest time. So I try not to beat myself up about that now, the way I once did.
But similarly, something else that this Multiamory episode on how to be a supportive friend or romantic partner made me think about, was the way in which my bio mom used to assume that she had to do many things for me, whether that was because she didn’t want to teach me how to do things or for some other reason entirely. But the thing was, when she’d do most things for me, that choice of hers made me suffer from learned helplessness, in a way. But to her, being that she thought of me as someone who couldn’t survive without her, she was being helpful. And it’s weird to me to think about this now, especially because she didn’t ever like being involved in my life, that I could tell.
But yet something else that this particular Multiamory episode brought up for me, is the realization that I’ve been guilty of defining being a supportive person as trying to fix the lives of partners I’ve dated. I’ve also been guilty of thinking of support solely in terms of how I’d want to be supported, rather than recognizing that each individual might define support differently for his or herself. And so, now that I’ve reflected on these things, hopefully I’ll be able to support folks in the future however they want to be supported.
I recently contacted someone at the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) at the school I go to. Because since everything school-related has totally transferred to being done online for an unspecified amount of time, I needed to find out how to ensure that I get signed up for Priority Registration for the upcoming fall semester. And thankfully, the person I’d emailed about this updated my education plan and recommended my next few courses. But for whatever reason, VoiceOver on my phone couldn’t read my ed plan to me very easily. I’m guessing that that was because it was formatted in a way that wasn’t screen-reader friendly. And in this counselor’s response to my first email, they’d said that I could meet with them on this new platform they’ve started using. And so, that’s exactly what I did: but given that I wrote a pretty lengthy FB status about it on Wednesday, I’ll let that speak for itself. What I wrote reads:
Good morning…or is it? My morning started off with me spending lots of time trying to figure out how the online platform to speak with a school counselor works. Because I wanted course advisement for the upcoming summer/fall semesters. But being that I’m blind and therefore use speech output software to navigate using the internet/everything else on my phone, it was a nightmare. Not a total disaster; I was barely able to meet with a counselor. Like, the platform would only let me read messages one time and so I was unable to copy their course recommendations to the clipboard. This was frustrating as fuck because I know that when this information is accessible, I can read it and copy whatever I need to the clipboard with no trouble whatsoever. So as things stand, I had to email the counselor that I met with on this new platform and ask for that information via email…even though she’d just given it to me…all because the platform they’ve switched things to is not screen-reader friendly!! Thankfully, this person gets accessibility issues…but damn, what a way to start off my day!! Oh, and the one bit of hope she gave me during our meeting on this platform: she said classses may not be online for summer/fall semesters, if things slow down with Covid19. God, I hope that’s exactly what happens cuz…I hate this.
Also on Wednesday, I surprisingly received an email from Elizabeth Warren’s merchandise store. In the email I’d been sent, I was informed that one of the items I’d purchased had been shipped. The reason I was surprised about this was because I’d received an email shortly after I’d made these purchases that notified me that this store couldn’t be in business because of what’s going on worldwide at the moment. But that being said, I’m very much looking forward to receiving this item…and I feel like I can also be hopeful that I’ll receive the other item soon too.
A friend of mine from school posted a status update on FB, saying that they are scared about our political future. They talked about how the current US President is racist and homophobic and some folks commented about that, defending the US President. One of the people who’d commented on this FB post said something along the lines of “only men and women are considered right for each other in a romantic way. Anything else is a choice.” My response to that reads:
You being homophobic is not a matter of opinion or belief. I don’t believe that I’m gay. Being gay is who I am, period. Bigotry/hate though, is, as you say, a choice!! That is what makes you wrong, and not just you, but anyone who shares your “beliefs.
Another comment I responded to, talked about how the person commenting thought I was making bullshit arguments. The response I wrote to them reads:
Look, I realize that you are not affected by homophobia, and so to you, it is therefore easily justifiable to be homophobic. But that does not make you write in me wrong. As I’ve already said, this is not a matter of I’m coming after you because you don’t agree with me. Homophobia really hurts people, some of whom kill themselves because people being homophobic is something that they internalize and that damages them severely. This is the reason I’m speaking up and speaking out. I know you don’t know me and you probably don’t care, but my gayness was at one time, the thing I hated most about myself. I was at one time, one of the people I just spoke of above, who wanted to die because I was gay…and I internalized that hatred of my sexuality because people who think like you, told me that on a regular basis. So all I’m doing here, is urging you to think, and really sit with the fact that your homophobia/other people’s homophobia can and does, really fuck people up. I’m sure that can’t make you feel good to know that you have that affect on people, just by denying a huge part of who they are.
And so, now to talk about why I got into a bit of a discussion with these people who believe vastly different things from me. First and foremost, there was a time in my life where I wouldn’t have spoken up when people would say harmful things of this nature; because at one point in time, I was dealing with so much internalized homophobia that the last thing I wanted to do was acknowledge that truth about myself. And also at that point in time, I didn’t think, even for one second, that there would ever come a day when I’d be able to live my entire truth. And so, the fact that this dream that I never thought would come true, has actually come true, is one of the best feelings in the world. And so now, any time I read homophobic comments online, I want to at least let the homophobes know that their behavior damages people in ways that some of us will never, could never, recover from. And from there, it’s obviously out of my hands…but at least I’ve spoken my truth/been a voice for other folks who may not feel safe speaking up. Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most: speaking our truths, living our truths and trying to become a little better each day, learning not to apologize for who we are or defend who we are. And I say these things for myself too, of course.
In a dream I recently had, this one involved an aunt on my bio dad’s side of the family and her husband. The three of us were somewhere unknown and I was asking them about that one cousin of mine who I’d learned had gotten married within the last few years, through looking it up on Facebook. But that’s literally the only part of this dream that I remember; LOL. But that being said, it makes sense that I had this dream because I was thinking about these people pretty recently.
And yet another dream that I had recently, was about the R&B singer Brandy. And in this dream, I was at WalMart, walking around the Electronics Department with someone; I was having this person look at the B-section of the CD wrack because I wanted to see what albums WalMart had of Brandy’s. The other interesting thing about this dream though, was that the Walmart employee who was going through the CDs with me, ended up driving me to my Oma’s house from the store. But there wasn’t a conversation between she and I about how we’d met; she just literally took me to my Oma’s house and left. And that was the end of the dream. But I’m pretty sure that I had this dream because I’m currently waiting for Brandy to release a new album. Because she hasn’t released an album since the year 2012. Thankfully she’s released songs individually since then…but being that Brandy is one of the artists I stan, I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for her to release an entire album soon.