Some TV show thoughts/reflections, school updates and thoughts on atheism

I haven’t talked about my favorite iPhone game called Timecrest in awhile. But something about said game that I want to take note of now, is that there’s an option within the game’s settings that allows for the game to speed up Ash’s typing speed, if the player chooses to do so. I’ve definitely sped Ash’s typing speed up before, especially when I want to play Timecrest but don’t have the patience to wait for what seems like forever, for Ash to type out their messages to me. And so, I want to bring this up in my blog now, as I thought this tip might be helpful to someone who might not want to wait and wait and wait for Ash to type their heart out. LOL.

A show on Netflix that I’ve been watching recently, is called The Good Place. This show has four seasons in it and it’s about people who have died who are now trying to figure out what their lives will look like in this particular afterlife. One of the main characters in The Good Place is a demon of some sort, though as a viewer, to me, he sounds kind. Like, his tone of voice sounds very calm. He also says with words, throughout this series, that he doesn’t have a temper. That’s ironic though, as he often does freak out when bad things happen that are out of his control. But in addition to this demon-being, there are four human beings in this show who are also main characters. The demon is supposed to keep track of the four human beings though, to make the humans think that they are in The Good Place. But as the show goes on, we the viewers learn that behind these humans’ back, the demon’s role is actually to figuratively and literally put these humans’ into situations where they both hurt and hate one another. And so, things get interesting between the human beings, especially when one of them figures out that their timelines have been reset by the demon. And to add to that hardship of theirs, the demon becomes livid every time someone figures out what’s actually happened. Because the demon never seems to plan that the human beings will actually discover the truth; he always does his best to keep them from finding out that the place they are in, is actually not The Good Place. And literally every time he (the demon) resets the human beings, he (the demon) thinks that nothing will go wrong.

My caretaker recently told me about a Hulu original show that’s called The Act; and that show definitely sounded like something that I’d enjoy watching. The Act is based on a true story about a daughter whose mom abused her. The daughter’s name is Gypsy Rose; and her mom goes by Dee Dee. And so, what makes this show so intriguing to me, is that Dee Dee forces Gypsy to pretend that she (Gypsy) has life-threatening health issues. She (Dee Dee) has Gypsy regularly use a wheelchair and a feeding tube; Dee Dee also convinces doctors and folks within whatever community she and Gypsy are in at a given time, that Gypsy has the mentality of a small child. Throughout the show, Dee Dee is overbearing towards Gypsy, not allowing her (Gypsy) to hang out with friends or to have romantic relationships with men. But even so, Gypsy does find ways to form seemingly deep relationships with men, mostly through creating an online dating profile for herself. Gypsy even tries to escape her mom’s abuse for good, by going to visit someone that she (Gypsy) met at a conference that her mom Dee Dee had taken her to. But unfortunately, Dee Dee does find the man that Gypsy had met at a conference. Dee Dee finds him at his residence, with Gypsy at his residence as well. And also sadly, Gypsy feels powerless to break away from her mom Dee Dee’s toxicity. And so ultimately, Gypsy plots to have her mom killed. And even though she (Gypsy) is not the person who actually commits the physical act of the killing, she (Gypsy) does have to serve time in jail for Dee Dee’s murder.

And now, to talk about my feelings about the show The Act, I could tell right away that the actress who’d played Dee Dee was perfect for that role. And the same can be said for the actresses/actors who’d played Gypsy, Nick, Mel, Lacy and others (who were also main characters in this show, by the way). And while I know that some of the things in The Act were definitely embellished for TV’s sake, I also know, through my own personal experiences, that some women who have children are capable of doing things that are considered unfathomable, according to most people’s standards. So as I watched this show, I really felt for the bullshit that Gypsy was forced to endure, at the hands of her mom. I could identify with the way Gypsy seemed to feel conflicted at times, in small moments where her mom Dee Dee acted like she really cared about her daughter. And quite frankly, I think that this show’s title could not have been more perfect. I say this because that phrase “the act” indicates exactly what Gypsy’s mom Dee Dee was doing: putting on a show for the world, as she (Dee Dee) likely knew exactly how people would react upon learning that her daughter was so sick. But what also makes me sad about this show, is that no one ever even thought to question Dee Dee’s or Gypsy’s actions…not even when Gypsy herself tried to tell a friend of hers about what a horrible life she’d had. It made me furious to see all of these things, because my bio mom also put on an act–she desperately wanted people to think of her as being a good mom to me. She, similar to Gypsy’s mom Dee Dee, was a devil behind closed doors. Like Gypsy’s mom Dee Dee, my bio mom claimed to others that I would never be able to live a full life, given my disabilities. She, similar to Gypsy’s mom Dee Dee, brainwashed me to the point where I’d constantly tell myself that she really did love me/that she was mean to me because I somehow provoked her. And just like Gypsy, I held this huge secret inside of me, until three short years ago.

But I’m backing up a bit now, to say that sometime between the summer of 2014, to the spring of 2015, my then-boyfriend helped me obtain records from the courts that my bio mom had gone to throughout my life. The reason I wanted him to help me with this task, is because I’d begun to suspect that there was a huge part of my story that I didn’t know the truth about. And this suspicion of mine was true for two things, one of which was the fact that when I was three or four years old, my bio mom had claimed to the courts in San Antonio that I wouldn’t ever be able to have a meaningful life, given the fact I have multiple disabilities. And honestly, when I’d read through those court documents myself, I couldn’t believe what I’d read!! But knowing what I know now, I understand that my bio mom likely said this so that she could get people to feel sorry for the burdensome disabled child of hers that was me. But also, being armed with this new information confused the hell out of me, as there were times in my life when she (my bio mom) would say things to people like that she wanted me to be as independent as I could be. BULLSHIT!!! She wanted to keep me living under her roof forever, because as she’d said in those court documents I’d mentioned previously, I would have no ability to be a productive citizen.

So now, I’m moving onto the next surprise from more court documents that my bio mom had filed, without my knowledge. After I’d had her visit me in the hospital in spring 2015, and once I’d started to see her as that particular traumatic event dictated, I experienced some anger. This was weird to me, as I’d never experienced anger before…at least, not that I’d known. But as I’ve said in the previous paragraphs, this anger that I felt, lead me to want to get to the bottom of yet another part of my story that I knew my bio mom would never tell me the truth about. And it turned out that I’d never actually been adopted by my step-dad, the way the two of them (my bio mom and step-dad) had always told me was the case. All that they’d gotten the courts to do, was to change my last name from birth, to my step-dad’s last name. Finding out this news was devastating to me, as I’d trusted my bio mom and my step-dad to tell me the truth, whatever the truth happened to be at any given time. Hell, I think most kids would believe that their parents are telling them the truth, because parents are supposed to tell them, to tell us, the truth. But even so, there was another part of me that felt relieved: I knew the truth now. And even though it still took a few years for me to become empowered enough to determine how I could create a meaningful life for myself, that did happen, thankfully.

As I’d watched this show entitled The Act though, I noticed that as each episode ended and the credits were being shown, there was always a particular article that was referenced, where people could learn more about the real story that The Act was based off of. The article that kept getting mentioned in The Act was entitled Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to be Sick; Gypsy Wanted Her Mom to be Murdered. The article was written by a writer named Michelle Dean. For anyone who wants to read the article which was originally posted on Buzzfeed a few years ago, said article can be found at
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/michelledean/dee-dee-wanted-her-daughter-to-be-sick-gypsy-wanted-her-mom

Now, my thoughts on this Buzzfeed article: first and foremost, the direct webpage that lead to this article, was clunky as fuck with VoiceOver on my iPhone. I even tried putting my phone’s internet browser, Safari, into what’s called “reader mode.” Because oftentimes when webpages act up like this when I’m using Safari on my phone, putting Safari into Reader Mode enables VoiceOver to have a much easier time reading the text of articles, news columns ETC. But in the case of reading this particular article, Reader Mode didn’t make it easier for VoiceOver to read the text within the article. But the thing was, I really wanted to read this piece, as I was curious about how this real story actually turned out. And so, given that I felt like I had enough energy to stick with Safari on my phone for awhile, I did make it through reading the entire thing. And one thing I found out through reading this article, was that the show The Act did seem to stick as closely to the article’s summary of the real events as it could. But also, I love that this article was extensive, both in terms of telling Gypsy’s story and then letting Gypsy tell her story in her own words. In the article, she said something like “I murdered my mom because I felt like taking that course of action was the only way I could get out of a bad situation.” And I get that, in a deep way that’s damn near impossible to express in writing.

Something in the book entitled COMING OUT ATHEIST that stood out to me, was Greta Christina discussing the various ways in which people respond to being asked which church they go to. And interestingly in my own life, I can say that I’ve responded differently to said question at certain times. So sometimes I’ve directly told folks that I’m not a church goer, using a tone of voice that’s meant to show disinterest in this topic. But then yet other times, I’ve told folks that I’m not religious. And honestly when I’d use that particular phrasing with people, the response I received from most folks was for them to start telling me about how God could heal my disabilities and change my life…as if my life were already miserable or something that needed to be fixed. And every single time that I received these crappy responses from people, I thought to myself something like “I wish I could tell these nosy assholes to stop assuming that every person on planet earth is religious.” But honestly, living in conservative San Antonio Texas AKA the Bible Belt for most of my life, I just kept quiet. And I don’t know what’s more sad, the fact that I didn’t tell others how I felt about them treating me this way, or the fact that people were so fucking arrogant as to assume that everyone else believed as they did.

Regarding the subject of coming out atheist in my own life, it’s been an interesting part of my journey. What I mean by that, is that even as a young adult, I came out as an atheist to people I knew would be a safe place for me to land, or people I suspected would be open and accepting of this part of my truth. I sometimes had conversations about my atheism with some people within my family of origin; but my Oma and Aunt Loretta were the only ones who accepted that I had different beliefs than the two of them in terms of religion or a lack thereof. In online spaces though, I’d fluctuate from being a loud out atheist, to doing my best to appear born-again Christian. That probably sounds like a weird cotradiction to folks, but it’s the truth. As I’ve said, living in the Bible Belt for most of my life, really caused me to go through hell internally with regards to lots of things…not just with regards to my atheism. And it also didn’t help that my family of origin constantly told me that any belief other than Christianity was invalid, not to mention immoral. But something else that I think made this crappy mind-set tough on me, was that when I lived in San Antonio for years, I could never even visualize an end to this torment. I’d literally resigned myself to what I thought would always be true: that these were the cards I was dealt…and that that was final…whether I liked it or not.

Yet something else in this book that stood out to me, was Christina’s point that things should never be one-sided when atheists are interacting with religious folks of any kind. So for example, if religious individuals want atheists to shut up about their atheism, it’s reasonable for atheists to ask that religious folks keep their religion to themselves. Similarly, if religious folks try to insist that atheists attend their churches, mosques, temples ETC, it’s within reason for atheists to demand that religious folks attend atheist conferences or any other kinds of atheist gatherings; it would even be within reason for atheists to encourage religious folks to read books that are specifically about atheism and specifically written by folks who are atheists. And it’s sad to say this, but before reading these particular words in this particular book, I hadn’t ever considered holding religious people to the exact same standards that they’d hold me to; and in fact, I’ve thought the opposite: that I’d be being rude if I told them exactly how I felt about them trying to convince me that my way of living was somehow wrong. And my reason for thinking this way, was because as I’ve said before, I didn’t want to act like them. But in reflecting on this now, I also think that this particular problem felt so big to me because I lived in the Bible Belt for so long. That being said, I do agree with this book’s author Greta Christina, that holding religious folks to the same standards as the ones they hold atheists to, should happen much more often than it does. I definitely want to become better about holding religious folks accountable, as that’s a step in the right direction toward unity as a whole.

Something I’ve been thinking about since I’ve been reading this particular book COMING OUT ATHEIST, is how I hate the terms “unbeliever” or “non-believer.” I know I’ve said this on my blog before, but it cannot be said enough. I’m not a non-believer. I believe in many things. I believe in myself and in my ability to always make the best possible decisions for myself. I believe in my medical team, current and future, to always have my best interest at heart. I believe that I’m worthy of all good things, and of adding limitless love to my life, for the rest of my life. I believe that sex is literally one of the best things on Planet Earth. I believe that sex positivity is one truth that helps make the world a better place. I believe that other human beings are generally good. I believe that others will make the best decisions for their lives that they can, as the individuals that they are. I could probably continue thinking of more things that I believe in, but I’m sure folks get the picture…so I’ll leave it at that.

I recently sent a message to my medical provider to ask them what their thoughts would be about me potentially returning to the campus I attend, in the fall. They said that this decision would ultimately be mine to make but to let them know what I’d ultimately decided. And so I wrote them a response. I then wrote the following Facebook status which reads:
Do I miss human contact? Yes, a bit. But am I willing to jeopardize my health at any point this year…just so multiple someones at school can get a paycheck from having my physical body there? Past Chelsea definitely would’ve not valued her health as much as Present Chelsea values her health. But Past Chelsea was not armed with all the needed information that would’ve been required for her to make informed consent. My medical team is still doing telehealth-for the foreseeable future…so my decision is made about what I’ll do for school in the fall.

But going back to the fact I miss human contact only a bit, I’m truly enjoying this time of isolation. I’m loving learning more about myself in ways that I might not have so easily thought of otherwise. I’m loving the opportunity I’ve been given to find new ways to express myself, both in writing and in other ways. I’m embracing this stillness rather than taking it for granted, simply because embracing it helps me feel as stress-free as possible. And in this time of worldwide uncertainty, a few things I know for sure is that I love myself, I have people in my life online and otherwise who love me…and no matter what, both of these things will never change. That is a huge comfort; please remember this for yourselves, too, that you are loved all of the time; you are worth being seen and heard all of the time. And lastly, you really do matter!!

Within the last week, I sent an email to the person who’s scheduled to be my instructor for this upcoming fall semester at school. Because in the mass emails that have been sent to everyone within school, the faculty has been encouraging us students to get in touch with our professors if we have any questions about how specific classes will be conducted. And so, given that I’m an immune-compromised person who is unwilling to put her health in jeopardy, I wanted to reach out to this instructor and give them a chance to tell me how this particular class will take place. Because although not likely, there is at least a chance that this class will be done using the Canvas app which is totally accessable with VoiceOver on my iPhone. But just a few days later, I received an email notifying me that I could be dropped from this class, if I don’t pay for the class soon. But we’ll just see what happens, I guess. Because I don’t feel like logging into my school account, as the college’s website is clunky as fuck, for this Voice Over user.