Should we or shouldn’t we? About equal access…or lack thereof

When it comes to equal access, blind people in particular, are usually an afterthought. So when I heard that Elizabeth Warren (who was running for President this year) actually came up with her campaign merchandise with blind people at the forefront of discussions about it, I was elated!! Even nowadays, I believe her campaign website is still viewable. And if you look at said website, you’ll see how she describes every image of the different shirts and buttons she has available for purchase; and her descriptions are given in rich detail. This enables blind people to familiarize ourselves with exactly what’s available to us–freedom of choice and informed choice, really are powerful things!! I’ve never seen anyone else prioritize equal access as Elizabeth Warren has done for her presidential campaign, and I wish that her approach could be the model for the entire world to go by.

I feel like I shouldn’t be grateful for equal access in this way…yet I am. Because in reality, most of the world is not made with blind folks at the forefront of its mind. And that’s incredibly unfortunate; because all blind people want, is equal access. We are not demanding that everything that exists in the world be fully accessible to us. But we blind people are asking folks and educating folks, about how lack of access in the world really does impact our lives in huge and damaging ways.

Like, when I’ve purchased merchandise of favorite singers of mine, I’ve had to have someone sighted look at the assorted options for me and then articulate what they saw…so that I could then determine what kinda merchandise I wanted to get, along with which specific shirt, buttons ETC, I was interested in purchasing. And while me doing things this way does accomplish the goal of me getting things that I like, it doesn’t accomplish my ultimate wider goal of me being able to fully make informed decisions by myself. And what I mean by that, is that I’m unable to maintain my privacy, when it comes to ordering things for myself. Hell, even when I’d recently ordered new shoes for myself, I had to have someone sighted tell me the different shoe options I could choose from, both in terms of what color shoes were available…but also, the assorted shoe styles that were available. And that’s incredibly frustrating, mostly because I know that if all websites prioritized accessibility into their creations, my world as a totally blind person would look very different. And that being said, I decided to make this particular topic into a post of its own, as I need to educate people about why it’s crucial to put actions behind their language about how they’re so inclusive. Don’t tell me that; show me that, by creating products and websites/platforms where accessibility for *everyone* is at the top of your list priority-wise. And then, spread the word to the world at large about how this kinda thing is a very real problem…and work together to change that for the better!! That’s it. It really is that simple.

TV show thoughts, getting to know me, podcast thoughts and more

After posting my last blog entry, I realized that I forgot to mention something that describes the game called Henry. What I’d forgotten to say about this game, was that in the bottom center of Henry’s platform, there’s a weirdly-shaped button that players can press to shuffle the 16-panel square buttons. There is also another weirdly-shaped button at the top center of this game’s platform; this particular button is the one that players press to be given an audio sound to search for among the 16-button panel. I also forgot to add something about the BopIt game I currently have: when a player beats said game, the sounds it makes to let players know that they’ve won are different from the sounds BopIt made when I was a little runt. The BopIt I recently purchased sounds a musical sort of tone and then plays the pull it, bop it and twist it sounds several times. That’s how players of this game that I own now, know that they’ve reached the maximum 100 points.

There’s one game I used to play as a kid called Bird Brain which I forgot to mention when I’d talked about the other games I used to play. Bird Brain’s platform is a circle, with 7 or 8 buttons on its outside. There’s one circular button in its center and an on and off switch on the back of the circular platform. I may have the position of the game’s on and off switch incorrect, though, as I’m writing this description entirely from my memory. The objective of the game though, is to match certain phrases which can be heard audibly via Bird Brain. So like, the player presses the circular button in the center of the platform and after pressing that button, Bird Brain will speak part of a phrase. And after the player hears part of a phrase spoken out loud, they (the player) press one of the buttons on the outer circle to see if they can find the rest of that phrase. And sometimes Bird Brain will give its player a hint; and sometimes the hint he gives fits the phrase that’s been given. But other times, the player discovers that Bird Brain actually lied to them. And also, when Bird Brain gives its player a hint, the button he’s chosen lights up. I remember this vividly, as I used to have some usable eyesight. Something else I almost forgot to add about this game, is the fact that when the player hits the button in the center of the platform to start the game, Bird Brain gives players the option of playing the game by themselves or playing the game with others.

When I posted my last blog entry this Monday, it was Memorial Day weekend then. And I just so happened to read a status update on Facebook that weekend, letting people know that the 90s channel on iHeart Radio was doing a countdown of the biggest songs of that particular decade. And I’m someone who’s been a huge fan of countdowns ever since I was a little girl. Like, every weekend just about, I’d listen to the Rick Dees countdown that played on a radio station; and fortunately for me, it didn’t matter whether I was staying in Austin Texas or San Antonio Texas: I could always listen to said countdown. And so, even though I’m an adult now, as soon as I read that Facebook status update saying that iHeart 90s Radio was doing a countdown for that particular decade, I was on it!! I told my Amazon Echo Dot AKA Alexa, to play that station. But I didn’t think about the fact that there would probably be tons of people trying to stream the same thing. And so, the first time or two that I tried to stream it, things didn’t go well; Alexa kept buffering every 10 seconds…or so it seemed. But that being said, when I was finally able to stream the entire countdown using my Echo Dot, it was a great listen. I’d listened to the countdown during the day, as I knew that there would be a lot less people trying to stream it then.

But before I talk about other things, I feel it’s necessary to clarify that when I say I love listening to countdowns, I don’t include most of today’s music in that truth about myself. There are some songs from today’s time that I love quite a bit, but much of today’s R&B, hip-hop and rap are garbage!! Either you can’t understand what the artists are singing or rapping about because they’re mumbling. Or, the singers/rappers don’t have good diction. Or, different song/rap beats just flat out suck, sometimes ruining an entire song for me. And I’ve always been someone who listens to song lyrics, sometimes even before I tune into the instrumentation and the artist’s background vocals. Like, the fact I usually get hooked to a song through its lyrical content, isn’t even something that I’m conscious of. It just literally happens. But that being said, as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve gotten more familiar with the beauty that instrumentation can be in and of itself, I do pay more attention to instrumentation of songs than I used to. And I love that I’ve changed in that way.

So ever since I’ve been watching Once Upon a Time for the second time around, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I could talk about the things that happen in the show that deeply affect me in some way, shape or form. So if you’re someone who knows that they don’t like to read spoilers then consider yourself warned. One of the main stories within the show Once Upon a Time, is about a young boy named Henry who’s trying to find the woman who gave birth to him. But his story in particular, is complicated by the fact that Regina AKA “the Evil Queen” is also Henry’s mom, as she’d adopted him when he was a newborn. And within this main story about Henry and Henry’s life, tons of other stories about fairytale characters are told. And the way that these other fairytales are able to neatly fit into Once Upon a Time as a whole, happens because part of Henry’s story is Henry explaining how he himself came from the same fairytale book that all of these other characters came from. And so, as a young kid, Henry ends up locating Emma Swan, his birth mom. And as the show continues on, we the viewers finally see that Henry has convinced Emma that she’s supposed to stay in Storybrooke (the town he lives in) to help solve this huge mystery once and for all. But in between those good parts of this show, numerous bad things happen to Henry and to his loved ones. There are lots of times throughout the show that it’s an emotional roller coaster for me; and I think that’s mostly because I literally feel the things that others are going through, with my body.

Something else in this show that’s stood out to me, is how Emma doesn’t tell Henry the truth about his (Henry’s) father right away. And TBH, I can totally understand why Emma makes this difficult choice: because she knows that Henry already has so many things to process/to try to figure out. But on the other hand, I wish that Emma would’ve just been honest with Henry about his father from the get-go…because I believe that honesty is always the best policy. Because interestingly, this particular part of Once Upon a Time, even though it occurs in an ongoing manner, really resonates with me personally. Because I remember vividly that my bio mom would regularly lie to me about my biological dad’s side of the family. Like, she’d talk about how they supposedly hated me as a person; yet I had personal experience that showed me that at least some of them did care about me/who I was as a person.

But going back to the show Once Upon a Time, I’m aware that sometimes what writers of TV shows think makes great TV, can be very different from what TV viewers actually like and ultimately want to see. And similarly, what my bio mom wanted me to believe about my biological dad’s side of the family, was totally different from the reality with my relationships with those people. Because in reality, whenever I’d get sick at school or daycare and need to go home, my Mimi and Grampy were usually the ones who picked me up. It was either the two of them or my Oma (grandma in German). And so, even though there were times when I did see my Mimi, Grampy and other folks on my biological dad’s side of my family, the mixed signals I was given deeply hurt me. I never knew who to trust; because both sides of my family of origin were wishy-washy. And not just that, but most of my family of origin would take turns blaming everyone but themselves, when it came to why I wasn’t allowed to see certain people over others. To me as a kid, these sort of interactions with my family of origin were not wrong, nor were any of these people trying to hurt me. And it honestly wasn’t until I decided to go to therapy in fall 2017, that I began to learn that I was actually harming myself by lying to myself about how bad the abuse I’d suffered for nearly all of my life was. Hell, I didn’t even want to label the assorted trauma I’d experienced as abuse or being awful. Because the thing was, I was so conditioned by society at large to go through the motions of life. I seriously felt that no one was ever actually supposed to enjoy their lives as much as possible. And even though I’d had different kinds of training related to attaining daily life skills, none of that training specifically touched on things to unpack regarding how my family of origin thought of me or treated me. And even though I know that it’s impossible for any kind of training to cover every situation that blind people might face in their lives…I really wish that there could at least be some mention of trauma that’s been done by one’s family of origin/tips on how to move through that, as that’s something that we as a society need to discuss frankly and openly.

There’s a podcast that I haven’t ever blogged about because its episodes are short and I haven’t felt like I could write about its contents successfully, using my own words. But that being said, this podcast that I’m talking about is called Short Wave. Its host is someone from NPR, National Public Radio. The Short Wave podcast is less than a year old, at the time of this writing. And so, I thought I’d summarize a few Short Wave episodes that have stood out to me, as I think that other folks might find this podcast informative and fun. It isn’t a favorite of mine persay…but I occasionally find that its episodes have good learning material in them.

One episode of Short Wave that stood out to me, was one in which Madeline Sofia (the show’s host) talked about how current technology has made it possible for children to get their questions about science answered…even though they (kids) aren’t in school right now. The way for this connection to happen, is through a program that’s called Skype a Scientist, where kids can use Skype to interact with a scientist in real time. Another interesting episode of Short Wave that stood out to me, was one where a scientist figured out that they could make music that kids love, into science concepts that kids are currently learning, will learn or have learned already. Because this person in the science field realized that if science concepts that are more difficult for kids to comprehend, are made more accessible to children, in a format that those children can easily grasp, that change has the potential to change the world for the better. Another Short Wave episode that I loved, was one where Madeline Sofia talked with a woman whose written kids’ books about science-related concepts. And in this book series which is called the Magnificent Makers, there are opportunities for kids to have hands-on experiences with the things that they read about in these books. And man, reflecting on these episodes of Short Wave that I loved, has me thinking that if these types of resources had been available during my childhood, I might have become a science nerd when I was much younger.

In the latest episode of the Love Someone podcast, the host Delilah talks to Katy Perry (a well-known pop singer). Delilah and Katy Perry talked with each other about being moms–Delilah was telling Katy that once her (Katy’s) first kid is born, her life will never again be about her as an individual. And man, what a harmful message that is to tell someone!! Quite frankly, the fact that society embraces women losing their individuality, sickens me to my core. Of course, no one ever puts that message into direct words the way I’ve done here…but saying that women’s lives will become so drastically different after having a kid that the mother will never know who she is anymore, that’s horrific!! And I have no earthly idea why women don’t speak up about this particular injustice. Instead, mothers/mothers-to-be just accept that sort of thing without question, most likely because tradition is an easy way for folks to stay comfortable. And in saying what I’ve said here, I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be traditional, if they want to do so. What I strongly object to though, is the fact that women are not even told that they have the right to make choices that differ from what society deems as being normal. And honestly, I hope there comes a day when people are truly supported by others, just for being their authentic selves. Like, that way of moving through the world should not be something that people actually have to think about putting into action. They should just do this by default, period!! Now, do I actually think that that will happen? Nope, not in my lifetime, anyway.

On the latest Multiamory episode, Dedeker, Emily and Jase talked with a guest about something that’s a hot-button issue: money. In fact, this particular subject is one that I know I’ve talked about here before–when I bought my Britney Spears backpack in February of this year, to be exact. I remember that I shared then that moving to a new state has helped me re-shape not only how I think of money but also how I spend money. Because before I relocated, I told myself that I was no longer going to allow myself to feel guilty about treating myself with things that I purchased. Like, I intentionally thought about how when it comes to the way I’ve viewed money for most of my life, I saw money as something that there was only a limited supply of. No one told me that I was poor or rich; but I do remember times when my bio mom would spend money on things for me, thinking that her performing that gesture communicated to me that she loved me. At least, I perceived her buying things for me as a way of her saying something like “I think that society will, does, consider me a mother if, when, I do this specific thing: buy things for you, the human being I gave birth to.” And such a thought process would’ve made sense for her to have towards me, because I loved music and whatever kinda noise makers in the form of toys, I could literally get my hands on. But even so, if she’d ever told me that she wanted me to spend time with her, or shown me that I was even welcome to spend time with her, I probably, no, definitely wouldn’t be who I am today. But honestly, I don’t want to dwell on who I could’ve been, as I don’t believe that that would be healthy. I’ve only mentioned this as it relates to how money has been used in my life. Because as this particular Multiamory episode discusses, it’s crucial for folks to reflect on the role money has played in their lives…as well as it being crucial for folks to think about how they want to move forward with money in their lives nowadays, as adults who can make their own decisions. I know that personally, I feel incredibly empowered when it comes to my current relationship with money

Another thing that stood out to me in this episode of Multiamory, was the way that this week’s guest framed the issue of saving for one’s retirement. And what she said, was that people who are in alternative relationships ought to reflect on what our core values are around money. I love the way she put that idea, especially given how the topic of money can carry so much emotionality and even anticipated negatively-oriented judgment with it. Having this idea reframed also empowers me, though. Because while I do have my own individual thoughts about money as a whole, I also recognize that it’s healthy to be open to possibilities that differ from my current money values. For example, even though there are certain things about money that I feel won’t change, I could be wrong about that, as there’s no way for me to know how future relationships I have with people will look. Flexability is important, in my opinion.

I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered why I can’t view more than a hundred or so episodes of podcasts like Multiamory or This American Life, that have over 100 episodes; and I think the reason for this is because Apple only makes it possible for folks to go backwards to a certain point. And so, as podcasts continue to release new episodes, older episodes of those podcasts disappear from Apple’s podcast app. There’s part of me that’s bummed about having made this discovery, but another part of me that feels happy that I was able to go back somewhat with most of the podcasts I’m subscribed to.

I recently finished reading More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. And as I’d said when I first mentioned this book here, the book’s text as a whole was hard to read. Like, the way most things were worded just sounded off to me. And as much as I’d hoped that changing VoiceOver’s speaking rate for the Ava voice would change that truth, it didn’t do that. Even so though, the end of this book was the best part!! Franklin Veaux’s and Eve Rickert’s words of empowerment to their readers, were to be ethical and love fully. Those words were simple yet profound. But while I’m glad to have read this entire book once, it definitely isn’t something that I’d recommend to other people.

I recently filled out a feedback report for Apple, because the WordPress app has been doing something weird. Ever since I’d installed the latest iOS update on my iPhone, the WordPress app incorrectly wants to display the date that I post blog entries on. So, I’ll use the last blog entry I posted as an example: I posted said entry on May 25th…but the WordPress app wanted to put the default posting date as May 21st. So hopefully, Apple will fix this issue quickly, as it’s annoying as fuck to have to go in manually and choose the correct display date for new posts that I make.

Some months ago when I was a guest blogger on the Rock for Disability blog as well as the UnseenWritings blog, I was having issues with subscribing to those particular blogs. I tried and tried to figure out why I hadn’t received email notifications for each of them. Well, I recently stumbled on a section of WordPress’s website that displayed pending blog subscriptions of mine. And that section was where I discovered that the people’s blogs that I’d been a guest on months ago, still had those very pending subscriptions waiting for me to confirm them. So needless to say, I was excited like a kid in a candy store, at the fact I’d finally be able to support those fellow writers. I even posted to the private Facebook group for disabled writers, to let this excitement of mine be widely known.

A few trips down memory lane, a rant, podcast thoughts and more

In the latest Multiamory episode, Jase, Emily and Dedeker talk with someone who specializes in showing people the myriad ways that consent comes up in our over all lives. And one of the things that listening to this Multiamory episode brought up for me, was that this guest talked about how our bodies tend to give us warning signs that people are not good for us, before our brains actually come to that conclusion themselves. And right as I’d heard this thought voiced, I immediately remembered several people throughout my life who have physically made me feel awful; like, these people who came to mind for me were high strung individuals. These people also had no ability to set boundaries themselves, nor could they accept the boundaries of others. They were also flaky as fuck which was frustrating to me.

An example of this happening in my life, happened when I was going to a super-conservative church in San Antonio Texas, back in 2016 or 2017. In the bible study I was involved in, there was a woman as our group leader who didn’t respect a boundary that I’d set within the group. There was a form going around for group members to write their contact information on and I set the boundary with the group leader that I only wanted my email address to be on that form. Well, this lady took it upon herself to put my email address, my physical address and my phone number on said form. She even told me as much, stating that I should just be grateful for that gesture of hers…and that I should just accept visitors at my house whenever anyone from this group wanted to show up at my apartment. And at the time this happened, I had no clue how to reenforce the boundary I’d set. I didn’t even have the language to say “you know, it really pisses me off that you didn’t respect my wishes.” Instead, I just sat there helplessly, with my chest/body tensing up and my breathing labored. I was literally a passenger watching this unfortunate event in my life unfold.

But yet another thing that listening to this particular Multiamory episode brought up for me, was the fact that I still find it hard to admit when I’m hungry. I know this probably sounds like a simple thing to most people; but for me, it really isn’t. And I’ve been thinking about this in terms of examining where this particular hesitancy in me comes from. And as with what’s true of soooo many things in my life, this fear of admitting when I’m hungry goes back to family of origin toxicity. So like, I used to get punished by many folks in my family of origin when I’d tell them that I was hungry. I was made to feel like my asking for food as well as wanting food, was a huge inconvenience to them. And so, now that I’ve been actively reflecting on this particular thing, I’m going to actively work on changing it for the better. Because I realize that I’m an adult with agency…which means that I don’t have to operate the way I had to when I was a kid/teenager.

In the book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, a theme that the book’s authors Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert repeatedly discuss, is empowerment. And what I think it means within this book to be empowered, is that all of the adults who are in relationships with each other consent to the things that happen within each of their relationships. And not just that, but I take this book’s definition of empowerment to mean that people feel safe in each of their relationships, no matter what it is that they may be expressing to their partners. And I want to highlight this particular thing in my blog because it’s been something that I haven’t actually put into practice at all yet. And what I mean by that, is that I’ve rarely turned down opportunities to be sexual with people I’ve known or been in romantic relationships or friends with benefits type relationships with. I’ve rarely gone into any relationships consciously or with a positive self-worth. I also still struggle sometimes with saying the word “no” to others. And all of these things that I’ve listed here, I’m making note of because I want to change them for the better for myself, but also for the world at large: because I know that when I become better, so does the world.

Thursday morning I had a meeting via phone with my therapist; the two of us first talked about how I’d been feeling since our last meeting, given that we’d talked about things from my childhood. So I told them honestly that that particular conversation was difficult for me to have…but that I felt I had enough tools in my toolbox to get myself through that toughness. I also explained to my therapist that I’d been able to do a tremendous amount of work in therapy when I still lived in Texas…and that that work was transformative. I told them that if other things do come up in the future that I need help working through though, I’d definitely love to have their help with that. And TBH, I felt for the first time, that seeing this person might actually be beneficial. So that was certainly comforting; I just hope that I’m right about this.

Friday morning I had my caretaker see if he’d have any luck starting the Christina Aguilera concert using the Mixlr website or app. Because a few days prior to Friday, I’d found out from the fans who’d put this event on, that they were going to run through this same concert another time. And given that I was one of the folks who’d missed it the first time around, I was eager to finally listen to it. I made sure to get the Mixlr website pulled up a few minutes prior to the start of the concert so that my caretaker would hopefully have enough time to familiarize himself with how this website worked. And fortunately, he was able to start the concert; but even so, I tried not to get my hopes up about being able to watch the entire three hours of said event. And that was a good thing because over an hour into the concert, the sound just completely stopped. But given what I’d already experienced with Mixlr thus far, that was the End of this journey for me. I didn’t even want to get my caretaker’s help restarting the event because so much time had already gone by. But surprisingly, I wasn’t as sad as I thought I’d be. I mean, I thought that what I did get to see of the first day of this event, was awesome. This show included interviews with Christina Aguilera, as well as unreleased songs by her, as well as performances of hers from when she very first started singing…to how she sings now. It was really neat and I’m grateful that I was able to listen to part of said event.

But before anyone says “YouTube, Chelsea, YouTube,” I’ll say this: the reason I’ve made such a big deal about this Mixlr app/Mixlr website, is because this concert was only played in full using Mixlr. Now, I’m sure that if I knew the exact locations of each of Christina Aguilera’s performances that were featured in this event, combined with the names of the venues that she’d played at, I probably could find each individual performance on YouTube. But quite frankly, that’s the last thing I want to do, especially given the amount of frustration that this whole Mixlr inaccessibility has put me through. Like, I’m just fucking done with that platform!! I even unfollowed people who were tweeting about this event because I don’t even want to see any news about events that they may broadcast on Mixlr in the future.

A bit later on Friday afternoon I got my hair cut. This time around, my hair is not quite touching my shoulders; I also have a braid on my left side and a braid on my right side. And then some of my hair in the back just goes downward…but that part of my hair does also have some curls to it. So that being said, it will be interesting to see how long this particular hairdo lasts me. But that being said, I do want to talk about the fact that usually I’d stay away from having braids. Because what usually happens to me when I have them, is that my head hurts so bad that it isn’t even worth having braids. It isn’t just a simple headache that I’m talking about though. Being that my shunt is on the left side of my head, I can really feel that constant pressure that people apply when they are doing braids or a ponytail on me. And the thing is, this constant pressure I’m talking about, doesn’t usually stop, not even after the braids/ponytail have been put in. So needless to say, when my hairdresser told me that they wanted to do braids for me, I was totally skeptical of this endeavor. But I told them that because being a hairdresser is what they currently go to school for, and also because when they’ve done my hair before, I’ve gotten a lot of complements from people…so I’d let them try putting braids on me, as long as they’d agree to be gentle and compassionate, given how my shunt responds to ponytails/braids. And fortunately, having them put braids in my hair worked out a lot better than I’d expected it to.

And after getting my hair cut/braided, my hairdresser also did a full oil manicure on me which always feels nice. But for anyone who doesn’t know what a full oil manicure is, it just means that in addition to painting people’s nails, the manicurist also rubs warm oil on the person’s hands and arms. And also, the manicurist soaks the person’s hands in warm water so that their nails can then be filed and made to feel great. And as soon as my hairdresser started doing this particular manicure, I recognized it immediately–I just wasn’t aware that this kinda manicure had an actual name. LOL.

Saturday morning I had my caretaker help me purchase shoes online. I remembered the name of the company that I’d purchased my current shoes from, a few years ago. And the reason that me buying shoes for myself is blog-worthy, is because given that I wear leg braces, shoes are incredibly hard to find…unless I purchase them from this specific company which is called Drew Shoe. And this company specifically caries things for people’s differing medical conditions/medical needs. Drew Shoe’s website can be found at

After my caretaker and I’d finished ordering my new shoes on Saturday, the two of us looked into games that I used to love playing as a kid. We looked on eBay’s website, Amazon’s website and even Target’s website; the specific games I had him look for were: Torx, Henry, BopIt and BopIt Extreme. And just in case anyone doesn’t know what any of those games are, Henry is a memory game but with audio rather than visuals. Well actually, Henry does have lights on each of its 16 buttons that light up when the person playing the game gets four buttons matched in a row. So this particular game is kinda like Tick Tack Toe, in a sense. Henry’s platform is square-shaped, with 16 buttons on its surface, as I’ve said above. There is also a lever that’s located at the bottom right corner of the 16-button panel–this lever allows the player of the game to push right or left, according to whether they want to turn the game on or off. And then there’s a lever that’s located at the bottom left corner of the 16-button panel…and that particular lever controls whether the player of the game wants to play Henry by theirselves or with the game itself, acting as a second player.

BopIt, BopIt Extreme and Torx are games that give their players different commands like “pull it,” “bop it” or “twist it.” And the objective for each of these games is that you (the player) have to do the command that any of these games gives you. So like, when Torx says “twist my right arm,” you (the player) have to quickly twist its right arm, in order to score a point. And the same thing applies when it comes to BopIt or BopIt Extreme: when either of the BopIt games commands you as the player to, say, pull it, you have to quickly pull the lever that’s on either of these games. But if you as a game player aren’t quick to make all of these gestures, whether it’s a BopIt game or Torx that I’m talking about, then you’ll lose all of these games completely and have to start them over. And I almost forgot to add that both of the BopIt games have multiple games that can be played on their platforms.

When it comes to the way each of the BopIt games, as well as Torx, looks, I’ll do my best to describe each of them. Torx has a round circle in its middle, an arm on its left side and an arm on its right side. And Torx’s arms are the only things that you can bend, twist or turn into other shapes which the game specifies. There’s an on-off switch for Torx, though I can’t remember where on the game said switch is located. But anyway, Torx has more than one game on it, though I can’t recall what the games were, other than the one where Torx directs you to twist or bend either of his arms and/or turn his arms into different shapes. BopIt Extreme has the “bop it” button in its middle area, flick it at its top right corner, twist it at its top left corner, pull it at its bottom left corner and spin it at its bottom right corner. The regular BopIt that I played as a kid was thin and cylinder-shaped, with BopIt in the middle of the platform, pull it at the bottom of the platform and twist it at the top of the platform. But the BopIt that I recently purchased from a Target store, has a handle on it. But the male voice of this particular BopIt changes its pitch and song speed, as the person has earned more points in the game. And also, this particular BopIt makes the sound pitches change as the person’s speed increases. And if my memory serves correctly, these things did not hold true for the BopIts that I played as a kid.

For the past few days, the smoke detector that’s in my bedroom has been chirping; and that particular sound was so annoying that it’s been hard for me to concentrate on anything. But my caretaker was finally able to take the smoke detector down, until we can get a new battery for it. I’m glad he was able to do that, as its constant chirping every like, 15 seconds, was a pain in the ass. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was limited in what I could do, but what I ended up doing was just turning the volumes up on my phone and on my Amazon Echo Dot. That way, I wouldn’t miss out on anything that I was reading or listening to.

Something I’ve been hearing a lot lately, is some version of “we need more positivity in the world. I’m thankful for what I have, therefore I’m not going to complain about anything.” If that’s how you get through life, fine. Do you. But with that, please understand that not everyone shares the same view as you. When I was a young adult with limited life experience, I had this particular view myself, of thinking that being positive was the only way for folks to live their lives. But as I’ve gained more life experience and as I’ve been affected by things that I once thought could never touch me, those things have caused my thinking to shift into being a generally positive person who has a healthy dose of realism added to her positivity. Because quite frankly, what I realized was that positivity won’t pay my bills. Positivity won’t be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on because life just fucking sucks sometimes. Positivity is not ‘the’ answer. It is ‘an’ answer. Also, people not minimizing the shittiness that we the world are going through right now, would be a good step to take. Actually, people not minimizing shittiness EVER, would be great!! But it seems like that’s too much to ask or hope for.

I’ve been reflecting on what it is that I’d want to tell people who have an abusive family of origin and what I’ve come up with is this: there’s nothing that says you have to keep toxic people in your life. I mean, society as a whole does do its best to convince us that when it comes to our family of origin, those specific people must be kept in our lives, no matter how poorly they treat us. But what I’m saying to you, fellow adults, is that you can make your own choices. Because now, you’re an individual who also happens to be a grown-up. And even though setting boundaries with others will definitely feel scary at first, having and setting boundaries will change your life…in the best of ways. It will empower you and help you move towards fully living your truth. Because as children, you, like me, might have had to develop certain survival skills just to get through life. But the thing that people rarely tell us, is that once we’re adults, that means that we no longer have to live the exact way that we were forced to live as kids. As adults, we have the power, and the right, to make different choices for ourselves in any way that we want to…as long as it’s consensual and ethical.

Along similar lines, being the black sheep of one’s family of origin can be amazing!! And I say this as someone who used to be distraught over the way my family of origin wouldn’t accept me for me. For years, I held onto this idealized version of these people that I’d created in my head. And I must say, I did, and do still, have a great imagination!! But even so, within these last few years, the way I’ve come to think of my family of origin has totally shifted. I now think of these people as human beings who actively choose not to have me in their lives. And honestly, I’m fine with that, mostly because I don’t want anyone to be in my life who doesn’t want to be in it. But also, the last time I saw one side of my family of origin, I could physically feel in my body that they only had me at their house as though they were doing me a favor by letting me be in their company. Like, the unspoken things I could feel them saying were something along the lines of “you’re related to us by blood but in actuality, we don’t want you here. You’re ruining our Christmas festivities.” I also remember all of them talking in whispers around me and being super guarded about what they discussed (or didn’t discuss) in my presence. But thankfully, before I’d left my own apartment to go to one of my aunt’s houses, my then caretaker reminded me that I didn’t have to stay somewhere that I wasn’t wanted. I’m grateful to her for that reminder because I’d told her a lot about my familial background and she knew that I’d drank the societal kool aid that gives people the fucked up message that without their family of origin, they are nothing.

And so, when I think of how my thoughts have totally shifted about how I think of my family of origin, I feel proud of myself. Because I have a much stronger self-worth nowadays than I had even three years ago…and that means that I’m able to weed out the bad apples that come into my life much quicker than before!! Like, I literally refuse to make time for poisonous people anymore. So that being said, I think of the term “black sheep” as describing someone who’s a trailblazer. I also think of this term as referring to someone who unapologetically carves out their own space in the world!! And quite frankly, I’d rather be hated for living in my truth than liked for living inauthentically.

I heard from someone at the Blind Mice Mega Mall, and I wrote the following Facebook status update about that bit of news. What I wrote reads:
Thanks for nothing, Blind Mice Mega Mall; it’s 2020, not 1800. Your website should not be so hard for blind and sighted people alike, to use. And also, it’s 2020, so you should really like, make a website that allows people to use their smartphones to download movies. Or, create an app like Braille and Audio Reading Download BARD or Voice Dream, where people have books in their cue…but when they finish them, they can delete them to free up space. I’m not a techy enough person that I know how this is/could be done, but through using the Voice Dream Reader and BARD apps, I do know that it can be done. So that being said, Blind Mice, you suck. Get with the fucking program. I’m hopeful that I can delete my account, as using the movie vault was the only reason I joined this website in the first place.
I later added:
To add to my earlier Facebook post about Blind Mice Mega Mall, the person who wrote me from there blamed my iPhone for being the problem. They said “A smart phone is wonderful, but it still cannot do everything a computer does.” Maybe not, but it *can* do what I’d asked about…again, I know this because the BARD and Voice Dream apps allow me to do this all, the, time. How’s that for not taking responsibility? LOL 😛

In the Facebook group called Childfree by Choice, someone posted a topic wanting to know about what forms of birth control folks have invested in. Someone commented on said thread, saying that they haven’t been supported in getting sterilized, as that’s what they’d want for themselves. The response I wrote to that commenter reads:
You are not too young to be sure of yourself; I don’t give a crap what you’ve heard from others. A grown woman is old enough to know what the fuck she wants. I say this as someone who was sterilized in my early/mid 20s. I had a great Doctor Who completely respected my decision and I’m hopeful that you can find one who will do the same for you. Please don’t settle for what you don’t want, just because others belittle your life choices.

Unexpected accessibility issues, multimedia thoughts and reflections

Something I don’t remember for sure if I’ve written about on my blog before, is that sometimes I have to play around with VoiceOver on my iPhone, to figure out an appropriate reading speed that allows me to both comprehend and maintain whatever it is that I’ve read. The thing that makes this particular thing blog-worthy in my opinion, is the fact that my preferred reading speed changes based off of the kinda book I’m reading…and sometimes my preferred reading speed can change if I choose to change VoiceOver’s speaking voice. So for example, I’m currently using the VoiceOver Ava voice which I can have trouble comprehending what she’s saying if I speed her up too fast. But then on the other hand, in the past when I’ve used the VoiceOver Samantha voice, I can listen to her speak at a much faster speed…and I can also totally comprehend exactly what she’s saying at a really fast speed. But these particular preferences of mine are mine alone; I’m sure that if you asked three other blind people about their VoiceOver/iPhone voice preferences, you’d get totally different answers from each person. But that is one reason why I love having the power to choose what VoiceOver voice I want to use, whether on my iPhone or my Mac: because having the freedom to choose empowers people rather than takes the ability to choose away from them.

I’m currently reading a book called More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory. This book is by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert; and while its title is self-explanatory, I want to write about my thoughts about said book thus far. Because when I’d initially started reading this book, I felt like it was really hard to read. And so, at some point, I decided to play around with VoiceOver’s reading speed on my iPhone, in order to find what for me is the perfect fit for my ears. And I wanted to write about this because since using VoiceOver to read books is how I read literally every book I read, now that I have access to Bookshare AKA tons and tons of books, having access to this particular resource for the last two years has really been a game-changer in my life. I’ve been able to read at least as much as I’d read as a child/young adult which feels great. Because quite frankly, I thought that I’d lost the part of me that’s always loved reading; and that hurt my heart more than I can say, as reading has always been one of my first loves. But not surprisingly, starting More Than Two over again was a wise decision. I still don’t love the way that the book is written; but I do want to read it all the way through, at least one time.

But anyway, going back to the fact that I’ve been playing around with VoiceOver’s reading speed on my iPhone: I’d also like to talk about the fact that I mostly listen to books at a slower speed when I’m reading something that’s informative, such as More Than Two. Because I’ve ultimately determined that one of the reasons this particular book felt hard to read for me, was because I had VoiceOver’s reading speed set to a pretty fast speaking level. But I think I’ve finally found the perfect reading speed for VoiceOver when I’m reading something informative, at least when it comes to Ava (the particular VoiceOver voice I’m currently using).

Another iPhone VoiceOver issue I had recently, was that I couldn’t live-stream a concert via an app called Mixlr. Like, the Mixlr app was mostly inaccessible with VoiceOver; and so, I tweeted the Christina Aguilera fan account that was putting on said event, letting them know about the issue I was having. They replied to my tweets, saying that I should be able to access the audio of this concert by clicking on the link located in their Twitter bio. Well, nope; that wouldn’t work, either. Like, I was able to successfully click on the link that they referenced in their reply to me; however I couldn’t hear audio of the concert, nor did VoiceOver even speak aloud that there was an audio player that I had to press play on. And by that point, it was already like, 30 minutes into the concert…so I’d completely lost all desire to watch the concert. I really can’t stand watching things when I miss 10 minutes or more of them, whether I’m talking about concerts, live-streams or movies/TV shows. And I’ve always been this way, TBH.

It seems like I’ve been running into accessibility issues more than usual lately, one of which was in the form of an inaccessible website. The website I’m referring to is called Blind Mice Mega Mall; said website got its name from the fact that it sells assorted products for blind/visually impaired people. The Blind Mice Mega Mall sells everything from talking toasters, to talking microwaves, to other kinds of assistive technology (AT) and even face masks/hand sanitizer. But this particular resource also has movies and TV shows that are audio described for blind people…and that is literally the only reason why I became a member of this website.
But anyway, the Blind Mice Mega Mall can be found at

But going back to the accessibility issues that the Blind Mice Mega Mall have caused me, it took me what felt like forever just to create an account on the Blind Mice Mega Mall website. Like, either the VoiceOver cursor would jump away from where I knew I needed its cursor to be, or the edit fields wouldn’t register what I’d typed into them. And in addition to those things, this website was incredibly clunky for me to use, even as a screen reader user. So I then had my caretaker see if he’d have any better luck than me…and he was finally able to help me make a small donation to the movie vault that I cannot currently use because of the aforementioned website issues. So the latest happening in this story, is that I’ve reached out to the Blind Mice Mega Mall folks, to see if they can help me accomplish searching for things on their movie vault and perhaps even help me download some things. But I tell you, it should not be this hard for a blind person to navigate a service, especially not when said service claims that they are made up of blind folks and run by blind folks. That makes no sense to me!!

I recently watched a concert on Hulu that was also recently broadcast on actual television; but in case you’re someone who has Disney Plus, this concert is also on that platform. But anyway, the concert was called Taylor Swift: City of Lover; and said concert was filmed last year when Taylor’s latest album entitled “Lover” was first released. Like, in this live show, Taylor even referred to the event as “kind of a release party.” No, as far as I’m concerned, this show was definitely a release party!! Most of the songs that she sang were performed acoustically, whether the form of acoustics was a piano or a guitar. I honestly wasn’t sure how this concert would sound, as Taylor Swift usually isn’t a real good live singer. But there were some parts within this concert where she seemed to feel confident enough to hold notes a bit longer than usual/let out her voice a bit more. And honestly, my only complaint about this concert was that it was too short!! I wish she’d been able to perform this entire album, as it’s an awesome listen from start to finish.

In listening to season two of the podcast entitled Serial, this entire season focuses on the story of a US soldier who’s from Idaho. More specifically though, this story discusses how this soldier made what many folks felt were questionable decisions where he (the US soldier) had left his team behind, in a country that they’d all been stationed at by the US military. But as Sarah Koenig (the host of this podcast) continues telling the story of Bowe Bergdahl (who’s the US soldier/main person this story is about) I came to learn that my perspective about this situation was certainly not a popular perspective to have; that doesn’t surprise me about myself one bit, though. LOL.

But when I say I have an unpopular perspective about Bowe Bergdahl’s story, I mean that I don’t find it puzzling that he walked off and left his military team. After having listened to the entire Serial podcast, I can say for certain that I see both sides of this story. I understand that other soldiers, whether they were actually a part of Bowe’s team or not, truly took it personally that Bowe did what he did. I get that many of those soldiers felt like Bowe did something that was unforgivable; but I don’t think that their anger is/was justified. But then on the other hand, my heart and soul identifies with Bowe’s telling of his story. As someone who is a non-conformist myself, it deeply resonated with me how Bowe saw problems that he knew needed to be fixed…and then he initiated a plan, all by himself, by moving forward with the intent to fix what was broken. This resonated with me because I’ve always been someone who does the things I want; and while I haven’t always asked for what I want, nor have I always been totally confident in myself, I have, in some ways, always known that I was different from many people. I’ve always been someone who has questioned the reason why I was raised by people within my family of origin who hid behind religion and were just not good people. So when I heard Bowe Bergdahl’s entire story, I felt like I got him…because he too was the only person in his family of origin who was unafraid to be himself, even if that meant not having many, or any, loved ones who identify with him. And then in my own case, I didn’t always know that I had the agency to create the life I truly want to live. But as soon as I found out that I did, in fact, have the power to get toxic people out of my life and to keep them out of it, that was exactly what I did!! And so, I feel strongly that people should love and respect folks like Bowe and I who are not doing things just because we are told to do them. Because if I’ve learned anything in my 32 years of life, it’s that I’m a fucking bad-ass…and no one will EVER take that away from me/disempower me again!!

In a recent Hidden Brain episode, Shankar Vedantam talked with someone who studies how choices play a role in our society here in the US but also in other countries. So for example, one of the stories this woman told, was about how when kids in America were given a choice to pick between several activities, those kids automatically picked whichever activity they wanted to pick. But then when these same American kids were told that an activity had already been chosen for them, they reacted quite angrily at hearing this news. But yet when kids from other countries were told to choose between several activities, those kids felt very uncomfortable. And yet when those same kids in other countries were told that someone close to them had chosen an activity for them to participate in, they reacted very differently: those kids were visibly happy that this pressure was taken off of them. And having lived in the US for all of my life, I can definitely relate to feeling angry when choices have been made for me, rather than me being able to make choices for myself. I don’t always get angry when choices are made for me, though; for example, when someone who knows I like a particular thing, gets that thing for me, that gesture of theirs contributes to my happiness. But when, say, I’m at a restaurant and the waiter asks the person with me what I want to eat or drink, that is never OK, because no one but me would know what I want…and even if my loved one and I’ve talked about what my food choice might be, I still wouldn’t want them to give the waiter that information. Because I have a mouth that works just fine and I can speak just fine too. And really, there is no need to dehumanize someone who looks differently than others do.

In an episode of Multiamory, Jase, Emily and Dedeker talked about alternative relationships and the laws surrounding the different kinds of non-traditional relationships that exist. And interestingly, this Multiamory episode was far more fun to listen to than I’d originally thought it would be. And what I mean by that, is that the lawyer the hosts of this show talked to, seemed to have really prepared for this particular interview; and that was refreshing because I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from this episode of Multiamory. But I’m grateful to have heard that there are people in the world who are regularly helping fight for alternative relationships to not only be excepted among the world but to also be embraced much more by the world. Because it’s a very real and often not acknowledged, need for some folks.

In another Multiamory episode, this one in which the show’s hosts talked about reframing the way we as a society think about dating people, I found this episode to be more helpful than I’d initially anticipated it would be. So generally, most of society is monogamous; and usually, something that comes with monogamy is that people date others in hopes of finding “their” special person who is meant just for them. But Jase, Emily and Dedeker point out in this episode of Multiamory, that people who identify as non-monogamous don’t have that same experience. Because for people like myself who are not monogamous, the pressure that monogamy causes people to put on themselves, is entirely taken off of us. And so, that means that it becomes a bit easier for us to step back and focus on being who we are. Whereas, if monogamous folks are dating around, hoping to find their one special person, their focus can be geared towards getting people to like them, or even on trying to become someone that they think another human being will like. Monogamous people may also choose to stay in an unhealthy relationship, simply because as I’ve said, they feel that if they leave said relationship, they’ll be alone forever.

In another Multiamory episode, Emily and Dedeker talk with each other about the numerous kinds of attachment styles that exist in our world. Some examples of the different attachment styles are: secure attachment, anxious attachment and avoidant attachment. But what I mainly want to talk about that listening to this Multiamory episode brought up for me, is that I’ve been someone who can relate to more than one attachment style being true throughout my life. So there have been times where I’ve been incredibly needy, whether that neediness was directed towards the woman who gave birth to me, or whether it was directed towards other family members of origin or to someone I was in a romantic relationship with. And throughout those times, I felt that me being clingy would make the people/individual, want to stay connected with me. And in some ways, the more dysfunctional the person was, the harder I clung to him or her. And on an intellectual level, I of course understand that that sort of thing is typical for people to do when it comes to their relationships with their abusers. But even so, my tendency is still to be hard on myself. But in addition to that, there have been times throughout my life that I’ve flat out avoided being in romantic relationships. Like, I fully believed that I could be independent and teach myself how to do all the things that I needed to know to live life and be successful at life. But I eventually got to a point where I realized that I was only fooling myself; other people could see through my tough outer shell. In fact, a close friend of mine recently told me that even though I’d kept that tough exterior visible, they knew that I was probably far more miserable than I’d let on. And they were exactly right. But honestly, ever since I’ve lived in a liberal-leaning state, I’ve gotten much better about advocating for myself in terms of doing what I can to plan to not be alone on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Because even though personally, I don’t celebrate either of those holidays, I do love the togetherness that each of them can provide, especially when I actively choose who to hang out with during those times. And even if it’s just a short visit with one person who knows my story and also knows how important it is to me to continue building a community around me, I’ll feel loved and cared for. And not just that, but that visit will be something I cherish for years to come. But also, continuing to openly share with people that they can help support me in what to most, might be a seemingly simple way, that is necessary. Because part of how I’ve discovered I can move through some of the traumatic things I’ve been through, is by rewriting my story in ways that bring out who I want to be, rather than who I have been, due to past traumatic experiences.

I recently decided to leave the FB group called Have a Gay Day; and it was difficult for me to make that decision. Like, after the fiasco in said group had happened, where I was berated by many of the members in this group, I thought about how I could best take care of myself afterwards. Because while I was and am secure in my sexual orientation, I was also taken aback about having experienced such hostility. And I don’t remember if I blogged about this when I wrote about the experience as it happened, but I was accused of not knowing how to appropriately use the term lesbian…and told that I ought to go back to school and re-educate myself about that term. And so, as you folks can probably imagine, this whole thing was super emotional for me. Having to decide what I wanted my future experience to look like, whether I stayed in this particular FB group or not, felt quite upsetting, especially given what a safe space I felt this group was for me at one time. But that being said, I knew that taking care of myself was ultimately what needed to become my top priority. And initially, I chose to turn off this group’s notifications. And a few days after I’d done that, I re-evaluated how I felt about this whole situation. Because when I’d decided to turn off this group’s notifications, I did so with the understanding that the feelings I had then might stay the same. And so, having had that realization, I then showed myself some compassion and trusted that I would have the know-how to take the best possible care of myself. And so, the second time around, I knew that given that all of the feelings I’d had about this entire experience had not changed a bit, that that was literally my answer to myself to end being a part of this group for good. Because quite frankly, I don’t want to be involved in anything that isn’t serving me/that doesn’t accept the things I tell them as my truths. I’ve already wasted so much of my life hiding my truths/trying to convince myself that who I was was immoral for numerous reasons…but I refuse to do that anymore!!

I recently posted on an LGBT-affirming FB group about this recent fiasco with the Have a Gay Day FB group. And something that posting in this other FB group caused me to reflect on, was my life journey where my sexuality has been concerned; and so here are those thoughts of mine, with some expansion, which reads:
I’ve been shamed repeatedly for speaking so openly about my changing self…but it feels great to know that I’m seen by those who matter 🙂
But I seriously do appreciate the reminders that my sexual identity/my sexual orientation are valid…even if I openly admit that my identity is what I’d term as being fluid. I know that one of my flaws is that I can justify my identity to folks far more than I need to. But even so, I’m very aware that that comes from growing up in a toxic family of origin/of being forced to hide who I am in myriad ways, for 30 of my 32 years of life. I do wholeheartedly agree with the general consensus here though, that more people would benefit from being more open to change/different ways of living then perhaps just what they are personally familiar with.

On this same topic, someone responded, saying something along the lines of “hearing stories like this one, makes me livid…because I feel that people’s truths should be respected, no matter what those truths may be. The response I wrote to this person’s comment reads:
I agree with you that it is a real shame that people’s identities are not just accepted for what they are. This is extremely upsetting to me as well, most especially because people say things like “labels are great; they help people identify with one another and find commonality.” Yet, as evidenced by the very subject matter in this very post of mine, it would seem that all labels do is give people more permission to be hateful…
I then added to this same commenter:
I totally get where you are coming from, in saying that you value labels. Personally, the reason I use labels is because like you, they are important parts of my identity. I grew up with a family of origin that was extremely toxic, and I allowed those people to have the power to make me feel like my identity was not a choice in any way shape or form. And that’s honestly the main reason behind why I feel so disheartened by this specific situation.

As for my journey becoming an NFB member or a “Federationist” as NFB members often say, I was first exposed to the NFB in high school. And then after my high school graduation, I even went to an NFB-based training center for 9 months. But long story short, it’s only been within these last few years that I’ve actually become a Federationist. It took me awhile to make this decision because I had to come to the understanding that I wanted to call myself a Federationist because I feel I have lots to add to the organization that will benefit folks for years to come. And I’m a confident enough person to take from the NFB what I love…and still express that there are problems with the organization when I feel it’s appropriate to do so. But also, I agree with your assessment that the NFB acts as the parents I’ve never had–and ultimately, that is what keeps me in love with the organization as a whole: because I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for the NFB and its belief in me/in my capabilities.

Assorted accessibility frustrations, podcast thoughts and interesting news

I wrote the following thread on Twitter which reads:
I just know that there are multiple someones out there who need to hear this: just cuz 45 is disregarding the CDC’s guidelines, that doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods yet!! All it means is that hospitals have more room for folks now than they’ve had in past weeks. That is…literally all this means. We still don’t have a vaccine for Covid19&we aren’t even close to finding one yet. Yes, this whole thing sucks. Yes, we all miss being able to have human contact; but don’t be stupid, just cuz the toddler in chief isn’t a fit leader. We can all make…better choices than he is&has. We owe that to each other&I mean that in a compassionate&loving way.

Also on Twitter, I wrote the following thread that reads:
I just read something that makes my heart smile: Stacie Orrico, one of my all-time favorite musicians, sharing her journey in a way that we’ve never seen her do. It made me cry tears of happiness&I hope you all will celebrate her too!! I’m excited to see that I can officially…count her in as being 1 of my favorite feminist women. Here is the direct link to read her story, in her own words.

Sunday afternoon I was going to watch a live stream of a wedding of some chosen family members of mine. I’d initially felt frustration at the fact that these friends of mine had only posted a live stream link for the platform called Zoom; so to minimize the frustration I’d experienced, I texted one of these folks to ask if they’d planned to live stream their wedding using FB. And thankfully, the one I’d contacted said that that was indeed their plan; but in addition to that, these special people in my life had also created a private FB group specifically for their wedding. And since I was a member of said group, I just assumed that because I’d successfully been receiving all of that group’s notifications, I’d also successfully receive the notification regarding when the live-stream of their wedding had actually started. But sadly, I was wrong. I was unable to watch their live-stream happen in real time.

So after literally sitting on FB for more than 10 minutes, I realized that I hadn’t planned for myself to potentially experience technical issues such as group notifications not hitting my phone right away…or not hitting my phone at all. And so once I’d also realized that I’d have to search for these folks’ live video of their actual wedding, I began to feel a bit calmer. Because quite frankly, before the calmness had hit me, I’d felt super anxious, mostly because I didn’t want to totally miss seeing these people’s wedding. But given that I rarely watch people’s live videos when they are actually happening in real time, I don’t think that I could’ve problem-solved this situation. But the fact that I also didn’t have the knowledge of whether FB live videos would stay on people’s FB pages after they’d been created, caused a real problem for my brain. But thankfully, as I’d said, I was able to go back and listen to these folks’ FB live-stream of their wedding. And hopefully, the next time that someone tells me that they’re going to live-stream something on FB or on another live-streaming platform, I’ll factor in that I ought to also plan for myself to potentially have technical issues…instead of only planning for the happy event that I want to watch.

Now, to talk about my thoughts on the platform called Zoom that I mentioned earlier in this post: I honestly hadn’t even heard of said platform until people began using it when they realized that as a society, we’d be social-distancing ourselves to lessen the spread of Covid19. Community colleges started using Zoom to allow their colleges to maintain giving class lectures and continue allowing students to participate in their classes, even though the students would do so differently for the time being. National organizations like the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) also began to use Zoom regularly, to help their organization members continue to feel connected to each other. But while many folks seemed to be singing Zoom’s praises, I kept reading article after article that talked about a concept called “Zoom-Bombing” in which people could unexpectedly get into people’s Zoom groups and post pictures of penises/other genitalia, use slurs like “faggot” or do any number of other things that were harmful to folks. And this sort of thing had started happening because Zoom as a platform didn’t seem to prioritize people’s privacy as a whole, the way they should have. And to date, even though I haven’t read any more articles saying that Zoom-Bombing is still happening, I’m still personally skeptical about using Zoom myself.

Throughout this last couple months or so, I’ve been receiving text messages from people regarding voting by mail; and until now, I’d just been ignoring those text messages. Because I figured that the people texting me were most likely volunteering and I get that. I also empathize with wanting to help create a better world…and that’s actually what pushed me to eventually respond to one of these texts. What I responded with reads:
I voted in the primaries and that was the best I could do. As a totally blind person, I choose to only vote when I have access to an accessible voting machine which speaks all of the information to me via audio that’s done through headphones. This method enables me to make my own selections, rather than having to have someone do things for me/foregoing my right to privacy. If anyone ever makes ballots into a fully accessible format…for all people, not just people who read print, I will happily give more of my support to candidates. But until then, voting using an accessible voting machine in the primaries/November elections is all I can do. If you could pass this message along to others, that would be great–it is important that conversations around equal access be openly discussed, as that is what would help the world become more inclusive.

In a recent episode of the podcast called Cognitive Dissonance, Tom and Cicil (the hosts of this show) talked about a survey that the organization called American Atheists wanted non-religious folks to complete. American Atheists was very clear with people when talking about this survey, that the survey could be filled out by anyone who identifies as non-religious in some way, shape or form. And of course, I wanted to fill out this survey myself, as I’m in a few minority groups besides being a free-thinker. But unfortunately, this survey was not accessible with VoiceOver (my phone’s screen reader). And at the time that I’d first gotten knowledge about this survey’s existence, it didn’t occur to me to ask American Atheists for help completing the survey, being that they were the ones who’d created the questionnaire in the first place. All I’d thought of at the time was that I could mention this situation on Twitter and just hope that someone helpful would notice what I’d written and then respond favorably. And someone did respond to my tweets about this accessibility issue, but all they suggested to me, was that I call a phone number that was located on the same website as the survey was located on. But then it occurred to me that even if I did choose to use this method to participate in this survey, I’d still have no way of actually knowing what the person helping me fill out the form had put on said form. And so, needless to say, that would’ve been a huge risk that I was unwilling to take. Other secular blind folks may, and probably do, feel differently about this than I do.

One reason I didn’t want to take the risk of chancing what someone would put on this survey for me, was because I know from numerous past experiences of mine, that I could fill out forms by myself. Like, if people created text-only versions of forms, doing things in that way would increase the likelihood of people who use speech output software being able to participate in the survey. But another reason I didn’t want to go through such bullshit, was because I’m done with trying to convince myself that I’m a blind person who can do all of the things. I say I’m done with doing that, mostly because living that way takes up every bit of my energy. And it’s important to me to figure out how I can maximize the limited energy I have on any given day, in the ways that are most meaningful to me. What finally encouraged me to rethink this though, was the realization I had about how unhappy I felt when I was unaware that I could actually set boundaries throughout my life, to help create the life I truly want to have. Like, until I actually heard the words “Chelsea, you really can choose how you respond to many of the things that happen to you,” I continued to stay in the harmful pattern of being an onlooker in my own life.

But going back to the thought process I used to have about tons of things when I was in high school and beyond, this black and white thinking of mine was even present in how I thought members within the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) should represent themselves. What I mean by that, is that I had this very specific idea in my head of “NFB members all need to think the same way as one another, on every issue that we as blind people face.” And I think what had encouraged me to think that way, was that the NFB can seem very aggressive, in terms of how they approach many things that are related to blindness; for example if you’re a student at an NFB-based training center who uses a guide dog, you’d have to use an NFB cane for the duration of your training. And as I understand this particular practice of the NFB’s, this particular organization has tons of things that it (the organization) thinks create a person who’s well-adjusted to their blindness. But that being said, I’ve written elsewhere on my blog about how the NFB itself has affected me. So if you search my blog for the initials NFB or you search my blog for the keywords National Federation of the Blind, tons of search results will definitely come up.

But the thing about my black and white thinking was, I never actually asked anyone within the NFB if what I’d thought about the organization was actually true. And TBH, it wasn’t until within these last few years, that I’ve just naturally grown into having the understanding that NFB members are individuals first and foremost…which means that their perspectives on things will not all be the exact same as one another. And as someone who myself has been an NFB member for a couple years now, I have no problem with taking the parts about the NFB that most resonate with me and leaving the other stuff alone. I’ve grown so much where my views about the NFB/who I am as an individual, are concerned. Like, my beliefs and my attitude about the NFB acknowledge that just because some things about the organization work for me, that doesn’t mean that the NFB is for everyone, necessarily. But in some instances, I can totally forget about where I used to be, in terms of having had such black and white thinking.

And so, pretty recently there have been times when someone on my FB friends list would see me post a status update about how I’m happy to be a Federationist; and then this person would message me privately via FB and say “I can’t believe that you’d become a member of the NFB, knowing how political said organization can be!! The people within this organization are so hate-filled.” And honestly, my initial reaction to that person’s generalized message was coming from a place of feeling hopeful that they’d understand the explanation I’d give them. But then I decided that I didn’t actually want to dedicate my energy to wasting my breath in that way. Because I’d known that this person was someone who seemed to enjoy being confrontational…and you have to pick your battles wisely. This person was also outwardly hateful towards the NFB which would’ve been fine…except that this person liked to spew their NFB-hatred constantly. And I wasn’t going to take part in that mess.

In other recent episodes of Cognitive Dissonance, I’ve been laughing my ass off. Like, if I remember correctly, several weeks ago when this Covid19 fiasco first became bad in the United States of America, I was disappointed. Because when that happened, Cicil and Tom (who both host Cognitive Dissonance) said that because of all that’s going on in the world right now, they’ve decided to change the format of the show. And so, instead of them talking about news stories that make them angry that usually also happen to be about deranged church-goers or deranged pastors or just deranged people, they’re talking about humorous things for the time being. And usually, I’m right there along with Tom’s and Cicil’s anger at this kinda crap. I’d seriously look forward to hearing their show every week. It’s a great way for me to keep up with skeptical current events and laugh too, both at Cicil’s and Tom’s banter but also because the content they played/discussed made me laugh. And as I’d said above, I remember that when Cicil and Tom told us as listeners that they wanted to change the show’s format for a bit, I felt disappointed. I mostly felt this way because I was unsure how the two of them having an entire show switched from being anger-inducing, to content that was funny, even if it was untrue, would actually land as a listener myself. But TBH, I’m glad that they’ve changed things up a bit, especially being that I can’t leave my house and hang out with people who make me laugh. I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to keep doing the show in this way, as I’d imagine that at some point, iTunes will try to recategorize this podcast. And Tom and Cicil have both said that they want to keep the original format of their show which I’m glad about. I just hope that they stick to their guns about that.

In an episode of Multiamory where Jase and Emily talked about how people’s romantic relationships can change into friendships, I very much agree with that way of thinking. Like, even though I’ve yet to have actual experiences of how that can successfully happen in my own life, I know that in my future, I definitely want to allow space for relationships I’m in to change with time, just as I myself will change with time. But that being said, listening to this particular Multiamory episode really made me think about why it is that society has toxic views, like the view that if a heterosexual couple are together, the woman who’s within that couple can’t have male friends. I mean, when I think about why that happens, I know that it’s because people tend to think that creating that rule will prevent the woman they are with from seeking other partners. But contrary to that way of thinking, things don’t necessarily play out the way the rule-makers expect or even want them to play out. And not just that, but rules themselves will likely create feelings in multiple people, like that those people are objects rather than individual human beings…with their own individual needs and desires. Put another way, this sort of practice is considered unethical by many folks, including me, because other people’s needs are not even being considered or respected. Because in my opinion, part of what makes non-monogamy ethical, is that those who practice it keep the lines of communication open throughout their romantic/casual sex relationships. As I’ve said before, cheating is cheating, whether it’s monogamous-cheating or cheating within some form of non-monogamy.

In another episode of Multiamory, Jase, Dedeker and Emily talked about non-monogamous folks making the decision to meet their partners other partners. Honestly, I have a lot of thoughts about the subject of folks meeting their partners other partners; although, I realize that the way I’ve written this makes it sound like what I have to say on this subject could be bad. But that isn’t the case, at all. On one hand, I think it’s great for people to get to know the other people that their partner is dating; I could totally see how allowing one’s relationships with their partner’s other loves to develop, could be beneficial all around. For example if someone has some form of a relationship with any of their partners other partners, the newer partner could ask their partners other loves for gift ideas for their shared partner. And quite frankly, as someone who doesn’t feel like gift-giving would be a top way that I’d show someone I care about them, I appreciate having the knowledge that it’s totally OK for me to ask for gift-giving help. Because truthfully, there have been tons of times throughout my life when I’ve felt like a shitty gift-giver, simply because I had this mistaken idea that I was supposed to like, magically know what to get people…all the time. And then along with that harmful belief, I also felt guilty about not necessarily being able to be a gift-giver. Because I’m a poor person; but yet I used to have religious people at different churches I’d gone to, tell me that I was obligated to either give my money to whichever church I go to…or to just be a gift-giver to others. And being told those things repeatedly really fucked with me (and it still does fuck with me) to this day. What I mean in saying that, is that it can be difficult for me to move through guilt where this particular trauma is concerned. Like, I want to do nice things for people but at the same time, my financial situation usually doesn’t allow for that to happen. And so then, it can become hard for me to give myself the helpful reminder that people who are in my life now, and people who will come into my life in the future, are not holding my circumstances against me. Because the way that I learned otherwise growing up/in most of my adult life, does not have to mean that I continue carrying those things with me. I really do have agency in most aspects of my life, gift-giving included.

Something else that’s come up on my blog many times before, is the fact that I believe no one should ever be forced into anything. I know that probably sounds to some folks like I don’t even need to say it; but personally, I think it can never be said enough. Hell, even in past romantic relationships that I’ve been in, whomever I was with had a very specific idea of how our relationship needed to look to themselves and to others who were close to them. So for example, several folks I’ve dated, seemed to have no problem trying to force me to get along with anyone who was close to them. And even though I remember feeling trapped by this in a sense, I was not aware that I had the agency to make my own choices around this particular thing. I mean, I’m generally a friendly person who enjoys getting along with others. But at the same time, as I’ve said on my blog numerous times before, it can become unreasonable if you physically carry out forcing your romantic relationship partners and other close family members and friends of yours, to have meaningful relationships with each other outside of their interactions that involve you. And TBH, I feel like as a poly person myself, much of the pressure to put relationships into specific boxes is taken off of me…which was not true when I was living as a monogamous person. Because a huge principle of polyamory as I understand it, is allowing all kinds of relationships to develop authentically, rather than individuals attempting to create a relationship that looks a specific way. Because at the end of the day, people are not robots; we’re all human beings who have specific needs and desires, along with different life experiences, all of which shape who we are/how we move through the world.

In another Multiamory episode, Dedeker, Jase and Emily talked with each other about the immportance of people using the word “no,” in different contexts. I’m glad that the three of them have chosen to discuss this particular thing, as saying “no” to people can still be quite uncomfortable for me. But also, until just a couple years ago, I hadn’t even thought to examine why I felt like saying “no” was literally one of the worst words a human being could utter. But I think what finally encouraged me to think about this, was the fact that my body physically started to feel worn out, due to all the things I’d taken on. So instead of me telling people “no,” I took on way too much…and ultimately, I was the only person who suffered because of that choice I made. Everyone that I was trying to help, whether it be transcribing audio files for folks or being part of a project in Texas where disabled folks worked towards doing our part to create a better healthcare system for every human being in Texas. And then if we were successful with that part of our venture, we’d incorporate what we’d created, into the world at large. And so with both of these things (transcribing audio files and being a part of a state-wide advocacy group in Texas) were both fun things for me, at one time. But as time went on, I realized that I’d completely lost myself. Because back then, my mind-set was all about doing for others–hell, as a woman, I’ve been socialized to live this way. I’ve literally been told that my entire identity is created by the things that I can physically do for other people. My health and over all well-being didn’t factor into this equation, at all…and for so long, I didn’t question the “why” behind that!! I figured then that life just must not be meant to be enjoyed, as all the traumatic things I’d experienced had also made clear to me. And as I’d said above, it’s only been since fall 2017 that I’ve started questioning these harmful messages that I’d learned throughout my life. So needless to say, I’m hopeful that I can become more skilled in using the word “no” with people…through projecting self-confidence/self-assuredness in my “nos.” Because intellectually I do understand that when people know that they can trust you to take care of yourself, they’ll also know that you’re probably someone who reacts well to being told no by others.

It’s been interesting for me to reflect on the kinds of things I’d like for myself and for any future sexual and romantic relationships of mine to have. And when I’d very first created a dating profile for myself, I’d created a long list of qualities that I felt I absolutely had to have in long-term partners. Some examples of this restriction I’d created for myself were: that I wanted any partners I may have to be atheists like me, or that I wanted potential partners to share my love of all kinds of music, or even that I wanted potential partners to be morning people, like I am. I know that this last thing in particular probably sounds silly to some folks, but that was how I’d initially thought about building custom-made relationships for myself. But then it dawned on me that the reason I’d thought in this limiting way, was because I was still operating under the idea of living as a monogamous person. But once I’d had that epiphany though, I was then able to change my actions to align with who I truly want to be. And while it’s taken some time for me to get to a point in my life where I know I do in fact want to not only be polyamorous, but also to be openly out as such, I felt myself naturally settle into this particular change. And so now, I can honestly say that I’m living another part of my truth…and that’s a great feeling.

Unpopular opinions on different subjects, other reflections and updates

On my personal FB page, I wrote the following status which reads:
To society at large, please stop congratulating people on weight loss, most especially when you don’t know whether said weight loss was intentional, nor do you know the “why” behind folks’ weight loss. This is mainly on my mind right now because I’ve read people saying that the singer Adele looks amazing, due to an apparent weight loss she’s gone through. But perhaps she struggles with eating disorders, perhaps she has some medical condition that causes her to lose weight…or something else entirely. I don’t know the “why” behind her weight loss myself, but I do know that society at large has a toxic view of the concept of weight, whether it’s weight gain or weight loss. Losing weight should not be something that people see as an accomplishment, unless you are specifically told by someone that they see it as such. Because with Adele specifically, maybe she was happy when she had more weight on her. Demeaning people or celebrating people for weight-related anything, especially when people have not made it clear to anyone whether they see weight-related things as celebratory, is harmful rather than helpful. Please check yourself, folks. I know people who drink this societal kool aid are often well-meaning; but I think that we need to start changing the way we think of weight as a concept. Because most times, we don’t know what a real tragedy it might be for folks who struggle with weight.

Also on my personal FB page, I wrote the following status:
I had an insight recently that I thought some of you might enjoy thinking about. If I could sum myself up in one sentence, that sentence would be: “I fuck shit up!!” This could be taken in terms of the fact I’m a non-conformist. It could also be taken in terms of me being unapologetic about who I am…even when people call me crazy for speaking my mind. But “I fuck shit up” could also be taken as I move through the world as someone who people want to be more like, simply because over all, I am love❤️ 🤗 ✨ 🏳️‍🌈

In the Childfree by Choice FB group I’m in, someone asked if group members have wanted to remain childfree because they had a toxic family of origin. The response I wrote to that topic reads as follows:
For me, the fact that I come from an incredibly toxic family of origin, that truth did absolutely inform my decision to be childfree. I was and am very much of the mind-set of “the abusive cycle ends with me…no questions asked.” But in terms of your question about how one’s family of origin feels about our decision to be CF, I’ve been full no-contact with my family of origin for a few years now. And quite frankly, I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about my life choices. I’m happily living my life, they are living theirs.
Someone wrote a response to that comment of mine, saying that they feel similarly about their life. And then, what they said encouraged me to add this:
I was literally just having this very conversation with my therapist. I was saying that I have intentionally made it my life’s work so to speak, to be an introspective person who continues to grow and evolve. I explained to them that my family of origin, toxic though they are, they did teach me about who I do and do not want to be.

On this same topic, someone brought up the fact that they feel like only people who have been through this kinda situation, get why they want nothing to do with their toxic parents/family of origin. And the response I wrote to that comment, with some more added to it, reads:
Oh hell yeah, I absolutely get where you’re coming from on this!!! I totally feel the same way about my situation with my bio mom in particular, and all of the other toxic family members of mine. In fact, I used to feel really pissed off, and sometimes I still do, when people say ignorant things like, “well, what about if your bio mom dies?” Well for me, the answer to that question is, “that would not be my problem. And not just that, but I have no regrets about any aspect of how I’m conducting my life.” Because really, and this is something that people don’t ever seem to think about, which is that my toxic bio mom has the right/the ability to make different choices for herself than the ones she’s made in the past, just as we all make choices every day about who we will be in the world. The burden of reconciliation should not solely fall on the adult child; that shit needs to stop, like, right now!!

In this same FB group, someone posted a topic where they asked group members if we could relive another year again, which one would we choose. And the response I wrote to this question, with some expansion, reads:
I’ve always hated questions like this, to be honest, mostly because these kinda questions promote this idea that folks living in the past is a healthy thing. But in actuality, the opposite is true: people continuing to move forward through life, is what is healthy. So that being said, I truly feel like every year that I get older, I become a better person overall. And you can’t beat that!!!!

In another childfree FB group I’m in, this one called Amazing Childfree Singles, a woman posted a topic saying that she hates when people refer to her as “Mrs. So-and-so.” And the response I wrote to this topic of hers, with some expansion, reads:
OMG, I can totally relate to this!! I hate when people refer to me as Mrs. Chelsea or use Mrs. along with my last name. Quite frankly, I find this sort of thing insulting. Because not only does this particular word choice feel like it’s devaluing my singleness, but also, this specific word choice assumes that I even want to get married…which I don’t. But the thing is, I never seem to have the time or the space to engage people in a discussion about their choice of words. And so, I’m using the platform that I have now to share my thoughts about it. Because the thing is, if people don’t know how they can do better, then they can’t actually be better. And one part of my purpose in the world, is to (usually kindly) explain to folks how what they’re doing is both harmful and unhelpful.

I recently submitted a post to the Have A Gay Day FB group that I’m in, though I don’t think said post was actually put through by a group administrator. However I think it’s good to keep a record of what I wrote nonetheless. And what I’d written in said post is something along the lines of “Given that I’ve been given a hard time by some folks in the LGBTQ community for how I identify, I’d like to explain myself a bit. There’s something called the Kinsey Scale that was created to acknowledge that people can have complex identities. On both sides of the Kinsey Scale, there are extremes…and then there’s the in-between gray area that people often don’t realize exists. And so, when I identify as a lesbian, that identity doesn’t necessarily fall onto one extreme or another extreme. And in fact, I’ll let it be known that my lesbian identity is along a spectrum. This means that I don’t only have sex with women. So next time you feel like telling someone that how they identify is invalid, I hope that you’ll think of the Kinsey Scale and what the Kinsey Scale means for different people. Because each individual, for his or herself, knows exactly who they, who we, are.

I recently posted a status on Twitter which reads as follows:
For those of you who say that you’re tired of Covid19 being all people talk about, please understand that it’s actually a luxury to feel like you can talk about other things most of the time. I say it’s a luxury cuz someone like me who’s immune-compromised is literally forced to…think about Covid19 the majority of the time cuz if I get it, it’d be a life/death situation for me. This thread is not me calling out a specific person, as I’ve been seeing lots of folks lately who express annoyance at Covid19 being all-consuming for some of us. I can say…for myself that it sucks that this is where we currently are in the world. But with kindness, I’m also calling folks in: cuz I don’t like that my world has personally changed so drastically that I even have to think about the scare of me possibly getting Covid19. For those of…you who say that you’re tired of Covid19 being all some people talk about, I empathize with you. But please extend that same empathy to us&if you can’t be supportive of our predicament then please know that we’re all in this together. No one likes dealing with the changes it’s…forced us to endure. But every individual on the planet processes this shitty situation differently…so please allow people the space&the freedom to talk about it as much or as little as they need or want to. Use the Twitter features that are available to you, like muting…certain keywords that bother you. Using such tools is a valid&even healthy way to cope with this mess. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk!!

So I know I’ve talked on my blog before, about unwanted attention that I’ve gotten from men throughout my life. And generally, I’ve had people reduce me to my visible disabilities, simply because they too have those same disabilities. And some folks who have this viewpoint, seem to see nothing wrong with their thinking. But the thing is, I don’t find it one bit flattering when I receive such attention. Because the thing that I feel I’m being robbed of by people who do this sort of thing to me, is the fact that there’s soooooo much more to me than my disabilities!! And so, even when I’ve had people say things to me like “I was afraid to talk to you because you use a wheelchair,” those people are reducing me to my disabilities. And in all the situations of this nature that I’ve been in, I’ve never spoken up about how and why people doing this is extremely problematic…until now. My disabilities are only one part of my life; they are not every aspect of my life.

Within the past week, I’ve had my caretaker get me some treats from outside, since I literally cannot go outside myself. And one of those treats was coffee and a chocolate croissant, both things were from Starbucks. I’d asked him to ask a Starbucks employee if they still had the smoked butterscotch latte…but he was told that that particular drink was seasonal. And TBH, I thought that that was what my caretaker would be told. But thankfully, he did get me a white chocolate mocha latte which was delicious!! And then something else I’d had him get as a treat for me, was an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate, that also had chocolate ice cream on it. There’s a local place here that has that exact thing on their menu and I’d been craving that for awhile now. And that too, totally hit the spot!!

Tuesday evening I logged onto my school email account to look at the suggested course advisement for my next couple of semesters at this college. And so, the course I ended up registering for, was one about public speaking. I forgot to look into professors who teach this subject ahead of time though, so I just picked a time slot that I’d be happy with…and I’m hoping for the best in terms of who the professor will be for said class. But also, I’m hoping that this upcoming fall semester will be done in-person, though I’m trying to prepare for the fact that that may not actually be the case.

Wednesday evening one of my classmates from American Sign Language (ASL) texted me to ask for help with homework assignments. Part of me felt slightly annoyed about this happening because I experienced a pang of envy about the fact that this person is still able to participate in this class when I’m unable to do so. But at the same time another part of me was happy because this classmate reaching out to me in this way made me feel included in this class. And so, I made sure to articulate that to them because I’m hopeful that they’ll continue doing that until the end of class happens later this month…which is coming up much faster than I thought it would.

Thursday morning I talked with my therapist; in this particular session of ours, I shared information about how my relationship with my mom-figure first came to be and also how it evolved over time. I talked about how before I’d met this woman, I spent years romanticizing what it would actually look like in my life, if I ever had a mom-figure. I explained to my therapist that even though I heavily romanticized this particular thing, I eventually came to find that the reality of what it was like was very different. I then gave my therapist the example of how having this mom-figure in my life became so strong because I shared a ton with her about what it was like for me growing up in such a dysfunctional family. But also, I didn’t try to put my relationship with this woman into a specific kinda box; instead, I gave space for the two of us to grow into something that was real and authentic. And I’m happy to say that the lived reality of this whole thing coming into existence, felt great to me because there was no pressure on us whatsoever…and this truth is what’s ultimately shown me for sure that I identify as polyamorous, most especially because not all relationships that I have with other human beings will look the same. And quite frankly, that’s something that I embrace wholeheartedly.

Later that evening one of my friends who’s blind and uses a screen reader to engage with technology like iPhones or Macs, asked me if a particular word was spelled incorrectly in my last blog entry. The word was “severed,” and it was not spelled wrong. So I ended up explaining to this friend that for whatever reason, the individual voices that VoiceOver on the iPhone allows you to choose from, all have different ways of pronouncing things. So VoiceOver Voice A may say the word “sever” incorrectly, while VoiceOver Voice B might say this word the way it’s supposed to be pronounced. But then somewhere down the road, VoiceOver Voices C and D may also pronounce this word in yet other ways that folks wouldn’t necessarily expect them to. And this is something that I actually figured out myself years ago, when I got tired of using a specific VoiceOver voice and wanted to use a new one. But until my friend had brought this particular thing up in this discussion, I don’t think I would’ve thought to explain it to people. So thanks, friend!!

There’s something I’d like to clarify about what it means to be polyamorous, as it occurred to me that some people may not be familiar with this concept. So by definition, the word “polyamorous” means that all people who are involved in said practice, are consensual adults. So this means that if someone who claims to be polyamorous has partners who don’t know about each other, then this person is not actually polyamorous, even if they claim to be. In fact, partners who don’t know about each other is what is commonly referred to by folks as cheating. And cheating is not an ethical behavior, period. There is no gray area about the meaning of these things.

In an episode of Multiamory, Jase, Dedeker and Emily talked about how guilt often functions in our lives. And for me, what came to mind immediately, was guilt that I’ve felt in past romantic relationships I’ve been in. One thing that I’ve felt guilt about, was the fact that an ex-boyfriend of mine wanted me to be his caretaker 24/7…and the guilt came into the situation because a part of me felt like I was a horrible person for not wanting to care for him full-time. But yet on the other hand, another part of me felt guilt due to the feeling I had that I’d be abandoning him if I left our relationship altogether. Because the thing was, I truly felt like the things that happened in my life were punishments for me being a bad girl. But even so, I knew intuitively, I guess, that being anyone’s full-time caretaker was not even a realistic thing that could happen, given my own chronic health conditions and my multiple disabilities which are hard enough to manage by themselves. And then on top of all of that, this particular boyfriend made me feel similarly to how I felt whenever I was around my bio mom: on edge, and like I didn’t have the right to speak out about how the relationship I thought I’d had with this man was unhealthy as fuck. And in reflecting on this now, if my memory serves correctly, it took me months, maybe even a year or more, to work through the negative things that feeling this guilt had caused me to experience.

That being said, I’ve also felt guilt about other things that have happened in my life; another example of this, is when I was an adult who decided to leave my bio mom’s house for good. The reason I felt guilty about having done this, was because in addition to my bio mom and her husband, I have two siblings that lived with her and her husband. And quite frankly, I felt like I was leaving my siblings behind, in a neglectful kinda way. But as I’ve already stated here, I was a grownup when I made this decision. And so, me having guilt about the fact that I’d in turn lose my siblings, that guilt didn’t actually serve me in a meaningful way. In fact, as I think back on this situation now, it took me several years to work through the guilt that this particular situation, in combination with my traumatic upbringing, brought on. And so, I went from feeling personally responsible for specifically leaving my siblings behind, to having the realization that I was actually only responsible for myself. And so, however my bio mom and her husband decided to communicate to my siblings about me, was their prerogative as the individuals that they are. But also, another realization that I had about this situation, was that just as I could make choices for my own life, so too could my bio mom and her husband do in their lives. And ultimately, I came to understand that there was no way to change the harshness of this situation; I learned the hard way, that the only thing I could change was how I responded to this harsh truth, in combination with how I let this situation break my character or build my character. And I’m happy to say that nowadays, the stories that my brain tells me about my siblings, are much kinder to myself and also acceptance/understanding that I don’t have to like all realities…to accept those realities as true. And my life feels much more peaceful, as I’ve come to terms about this particular reality.

Another situation in which I’ve felt guilty about, was any time when someone that I cared about has died. Like, I’d feel guilty about people’s deaths because usually, I wouldn’t have spent anywhere near as much time with them as I felt like I should’ve. And along these same lines, I understand that on some level, it’s unrealistic for me to have felt guilty because there’s no way I could’ve known what these people’s life happenings were going to be. But also, it doesn’t do good for my own mental health to fixate on this particular thing. So needless to say, my relationship with guilt throughout my life has been quite complicated. But I think that having self-reflection about said guilt is a great thing.

In another Multiamory episode in which Jase, Emily and Dedeker talked about the importance of people being willing to reach out for help from a therapist or other professional who is poly and/or kink friendly, surprisingly I had some reflections that this particular Multiamory episode brought out of me. But first, I want to explain to you dear blog readers that my reflections came about because these three friends mentioned that at different times in their lives, people can need or want a specific kinda therapist. So for example, I remember that when I first started going to therapy back in San Antonio Texas, the main therapist I had, realized very early on in our sessions that I’d benefit from a tough-love sort of approach from them. And although they never put our work together like that specifically, they were able to use discernment. And TBH, going to this therapist once a week back then, was hard as fuck for me to do…because I wasn’t used to hearing brutal honesty from someone, most especially not for 45 minutes straight!! But even though it was hard for me to hear such frankness from this stranger, I would always think about the things that my therapist had said to me…and I continually reminded myself that even though I didn’t trust them much then, I had to realize that having a successful outcome would only work if trust between us was a two-way street. But thankfully, things worked out well and I took away lots of valuable tools from those therapy sessions that still carry me through my life every single day. And TBH, I’m really a huge fan of self-work/self-improvement.

Assorted podcast reflections, life updates and randomnesses

I recently edited my “About Me” page on my website. I happened to randomly hear VoiceOver tell me that a word was capitalized that should not have been capitalized, as the word was in the middle of a sentence. IDK how that even happened. But also, I changed the way some things in this mini bio of myself were worded and I like the changes I’ve made to this piece of writing. Because for example, when I very first wrote this mini-bio about myself, I referred to my family of origin as “blood relatives” or some other super harsh-sounding term. But then as time has gone by, both in terms of my own personal growth, but also in terms of me realizing that if I want to build and maintain lasting relationships with others, part of making that happen, is for me to have had this realization that I can use less harsh terms to refer to this specific group of people…without the meaning being lost on the point I’m trying to make about them. Like, I can acknowledge the truth that they are all bad human beings, without using terms that can often alienate people from me rather than bring them closer to me. And that isn’t to say that I never use the terms “blood relatives,” “birth canal” or “sperm doaner” to describe these specific people; but rather, that I’ve evolved and found other options that are just as valid and valuable as the options I used to describe them when I’d first created this mini-bio about myself.

In my last blog entry, where I wrote an album review of the R&B singer JoJo’s latest album, I forgot to clarify something in that album review. More specifically, in the chorus of the song “Think About You,” that is where I heard the repeated sound of a rain stick. And in fact, one of my friends confirmed that he heard this same sound, just as I did.

So I figured that now would be a good time for me to summarize the show I love called Once Upon A Time. So said show is about a little boy who believes that he lives in a land with numerous fairytale stories in it; and this young boy leaves that land for a time because he wants to find the woman who he says gave birth to him. And his reason for wanting to find this woman, is because he’s also convinced that she’s a part of this fairytale land, just like he is. But the show Once Upon A Time combines the boy, Henry’s story with other well-known stories that really do exist in the world we live in today. But also, Once Upon A Time makes things modern-day again, to fit with the times that we’re currently living in. And so, Henry’s mission throughout the entire show, is to get his birth mom Emma to believe his story about how she and Henry are connected to each other. There are, of course, tons and tons of trials and tribulations along the way; there are 7 seasons of Once Upon A Time, after all. However there’s entirely too much happening in the show to go into super-specific detail about it.

In an episode of Multiamory that I recently listened to, Jase, Emily and Dedeker talked about the way people think of labels that folks use to describe themselves. And personally, I’m someone who goes back and forth about how I view labels…and this has been the way I’ve always functioned, for whatever reason. Like, even at times when I’ve used a certain label to explain who I am or how I move through the world, there have been people who claim that I can’t or shouldn’t use this particular label. And the main reason that people have used as justification for why they tell me that sort of thing, is because those people misunderstand the meaning of a particular label. But not just that, but it’s also easy for folks to criticize things that they don’t understand…or that they flat out don’t want to understand. And these things have seemed to both be true throughout my life whether I’m having this kinda discussion with folks online or in-person. And so needless to say, I don’t think it should be surprising to anyone why I go back and forth in terms of how I feel about using labels to describe myself. But ultimately, as even the Multiamory hosts point out, people should feel comfortable using any labels because the labels they use reflect them as individuals…and I agree with that stance completely.

Similarly, in another episode of Multiamory, Jase, Dedeker and Emily talked some more about people’s right to identify however they feel best suits them. So for an example of this in my own life, even though I’ve yet to actually have relationships with multiple people at once, I’ve known for years that conducting myself in this way is exactly what fits me. And the hosts of Multiamory point out that they believe that folks don’t necessarily have to have dated several people at once to know that doing so is who they are; but honestly, before I’d started going back and listening to these episodes of Multiamory, a huge part of me felt almost guilty for defining myself as polyamorous, when I’ve yet to actually try that way of life out. But that’s just it: I have thought about this for years and years; it’s something I still think about on a daily basis even now. Because the more information I gain throughout my life, the better armed I become to continue to make decisions for my life that make me happy. And so, if anyone were to negatively criticize this choice of mine, assuming that I also took what they said to heart, that would translate into me never being happy in my life. I’m glad I don’t actually believe that I don’t deserve to be happy, though, as my life wouldn’t be anything close to what it currently is.

Something else that listening to Multiamory podcasts has gotten me to think about lately, is this idea of preserving relationships. And I think about this concept both as it relates to my non-existent relationship with my bio mom, as well as in relation to the past romantic relationships I’ve been in. Because in all of those relationships, I was always made to feel like I needed to stick around those people, even though each of them were bad for my over all health and well-being for one reason or another. Because the majority of society seems to think that because someone say, gave birth to you, that automatically makes that person your mother. But people that give birth to people are not immune from the possibility that they themselves can be toxic human beings. And so, I think that society gets things wrong, in deepthroating folks with this idea that the person who gave birth to them is inherently good.

In yet another Multiamory episode, Jase, Dedeker and Emily talked with someone who’s heavily into the Buddhist philosophy/lifestyle, I’d say. And something this particular guest said that stood out to me, was something along the lines of “if you meditate and say that you wish someone who has been shitty towards you safety, health and happiness, you’ll change the way the two of you interact with each other.” And when I say that this particular thing stood out to me, I mean it made an impression on me in an awful way. I think it’s ludacris to even assume that people would even want to take this sort of action. For example, I don’t want to minimize the unforgivable things that people have done to me because I don’t want to in turn forget how those folks have influenced who I’ve become. But at the same time, I don’t want to hold grudges against anyone. But even so, not holding grudges doesn’t have to mean that I allow these people to continually treat me like shit, nor does it mean that these folks deserve a free pass, simply because they too have had trauma in their lives as I also have. But another reason that this concept stood out to me in an unexpected way, was because I felt like this lady was saying that if you did all the steps she’d highlighted in this entire discussion, you’d be such a calm person that literally nothing would ever bother you again. And I of course do understand that she was speaking about this from her experiences/from experiences that she’s heard about from other individuals…but personally, I can’t relate to this way of thinking very much.

In a Multiamory episode where Emily and Jase talked with a mom-son duo who has a podcast with one another about sex, something that stood out to me, was this question from the mom-son duo about how the Multiamory hosts conduct themselves on their podcast. This particular thing was brought up because the mom-son duo were saying how the both of them are open about their lives on their podcast. And so, when they asked Emily and Jase this question in reference to Multiamory, I could relate to the response that both of them (Emily and Jase) gave. And what I mean by that, is that I operate similarly to Emily and Jase, in terms of the things I write about on my blog. Like, when I’m actually in a romantic relationship with someone, I don’t write about the things that happen between us unless whomever I’m withokays me doing that first. Because I know that it would be even harder for me to try and generally talk about things but also, I’ve found that when I’m in, say, a toxic relationship (whether it’s a romantic relationship or some other form of relationship toxicity), it’s damn near impossible for me to view the relationship as toxic whenever I’m actually in it. And I guess that that makes sense, given how society tries to make human beings believe that we must keep our family of origin around, simply because they’re related to us by blood.

In another episode of Multiamory, this one in which Dedeker, Emily and Jase discussed boundaries and agreements, this episode brought up some reflections for me about harmful things that I’d allowed to happen in romantic relationships I’ve been in. One of these harmful things happened with the last man I dated, and that was the fact that he was a frequent smoker. Now, I absolutely cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke; and not only that but also, being around cigarette smoke for even five minutes’ time, makes me have trouble breathing. And to my knowledge, I don’t have asthma…but that’s still how my body reacts to that awful smell nonetheless. But yet another harmful thing that I let happen in my last romantic relationship, was not speaking up when my then-boyfriend tried to control what clothes I wore or what food I ate. He’d literally tell me that since he didn’t eat bacon himself, I was not allowed to eat bacon in his presence, either. And then as I’d also said, he’d tell me that I couldn’t ever wear shorts around his family because they (his family) would see that as a sign of me disrespecting them. But the thing was, in most of these instances, I should not have allowed my then-boyfriend to dictate the way I dressed, ate ETC. Because I’m a grown woman who makes her own decisions about what she does or doesn’t do to her own body. But back then when he and I were together, I didn’t know that I actually did have a choice to speak up for these things. But also, given that he and I were living together for a few months when I’d first arrived in this state, I felt like I should stay quiet, so as not to possibly piss him off so much that he’d kick me out of the apartment. Because if that were to happen, I literally wouldn’t have had anywhere to go…and I wasn’t about to do that to myself.

When it came to the fact that he was a frequent smoker though, he didn’t seem to believe that the nasty cigarette smell was always present wherever he was, even if he tried to mask said smell with cologne. And in fact that insensitivity on his part made it difficult for me to live with him: because I don’t feel like he took my health Concerns as seriously as he should’ve. But then again, I also didn’t enforce that it wasn’t just that I couldn’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke but mainly that that smell made me have serious breathing trouble. So I do take responsibility for my part in this particular situation going the way it did. And I’m hopeful that in the future, I don’t hesitate to speak up with regards to what my boundaries are…because it’s important to me to respond to things in the exact ways that I’d want to respond to them. I know I won’t get things right every single time though, and I’m OK with that.

In another episode of Multiamory, Jase, Emily and Dedeker talked about how if you know that someone is in a toxic relationship, it can be hard to decide whether you should say something to said friend or not. And TBH, listening to this Multiamory episode made me think of past situations I’ve been in where I had assorted toxic relationships with different people. And in literally all of those relationships, I was so busy minimizing those people’s actions or words, that I became too afraid to let go of those relationships altogether. Because at that time, it seemed more important to keep those relationships in-tact than to remove myself from them. Like, I can vividly remember thinking that my life would somehow have less meaning, if I were to sever those ties with those toxic people. And also at that time, that perspective of mine was a black-and-white thought process. Like, there was no in-between of like, me simply lessening the amount of contact I had with these toxic people. But ultimately, me having such black-and-white thinking about this issue, was what eventually helped me examine why I thought the way I did…and how I might want to change that for the better.

But another thing that this particular episode of Multiamory made me reflect on, is the question of whether I’d tell someone I’m close to that I feel like they are in a toxic relationship of some sort. And personally, I don’t think it’s my place to metal in someone’s business, no matter how close I may be with a person. And the reason I feel this way, is because I wouldn’t like it if someone took it upon themselves to just randomly tell me that they have a problem with a relationship I’m in. Like, it would be one thing if I were to engage someone in a discussion about something that happened in a particular relationship that I’d like another person’s perspective on. But if I’m not the one who initiates this type of discussion, or if a friend themselves doesn’t open up to me about something they’d like my feedback on then I don’t think anyone has the right to get involved in other people’s business, period!! But also, I know that I’d feel smothered if I was being given advice by someone who cares about me/who I also care about.

In another Multiamory episode where Jase, Emily and Dedeker talked about how to shift one’s thinking after having a fight with a partner, something that came up for me, was reflecting on how the last man I dated lived very differently than me in ways that were ultimately incredibly hard for me to live with. One of these examples, was that he was/is a night owl, while I am/was a morning/day type of person. And it was interesting to think about those differences between us, most especially because before I’d dated this man, I wouldn’t have thought that this difference would be significant. And similarly, another difference this guy and I had, was that he lagged all the time; whereas when I had to be somewhere, I’d arrive to my destination early. This particular difference between this guy and I was never something I’d even considered could be problematic…until it was problematic!! But I bring these things up now because in my personal experience, I can’t physically just start staying up later and easily change how my body responds to said change. And while I’m sure that many people would debate me on this, there are always exceptions of folks who can make this significant change happen for themselves…and feel like said change doesn’t create problems for them that are damn near impossible to work through. But a valuable lesson that I’ve learned through having these particular experiences, is that any future partners of mine and I would be wise to have discussions with each other about what these things look like in our lives. And when I say that we need to discuss these things, I mean that we should feel safe enough to talk frankly; because personally, I’d much rather someone tell me that dating me is a dealbreaker because they’re a night person and I’m not, than for us to waste our time being in a romantic relationship with one another…when at least one of us knows that this kinda situation just won’t work well for us.

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written about this particular thing; but it relates to the Go React app I had to purchase for the American Sign Language (ASL) class that I chose to take this particular semester. And what I have to say about this particular app, is that because my professor is Deaf, this app would allow us students to create videos of assignments for said class that were done outside of actual classtime. And so, given that the Go React app was strictly a video recorder/video uploader, said app literally took up the majority of space on my phone. I don’t remember how big the app is exactly; but I had to delete several apps from my phone so that I could make space for the Go React app. But not just that, but my phone hadn’t been backed up since before I’d gotten this particular app…because my phone literally couldn’t be backed up because Go React was taking up so much space. And so, within the past week, I’ve deleted the Go React app off of my phone for good. And TBH, I don’t even know why I’d still been holding onto said app, given that I can’t participate in this ASL class anymore. So needless to say, my phone is back to having tons of space on it, now…which makes me very happy. And of course, my phone can also be backed up again…which is lovely. The little things really do make the most difference, sometimes.

I recently contacted the Elizabeth Warren merchandise store, to find out why I hadn’t received the shirt I’d ordered back in March of this year. And the person who’d responded to that email of mine informed me that the store doesn’t currently have any of the shirts that I’d ordered in stock. And while receiving that information was disappointing to me, I’m glad that Elizabeth Warren’s merchandise team did at least respond to my email. I just hope that I do actually receive the shirt at some point.

In the Childfree FB group I’m in, someone posted a question about whether group members would be OK with folks with disabilities, chronic health conditions ETC having biological children. The response I wrote to that thread reads:
No, I think that sort of thing is unethical. But I’m someone who thinks that having kids is a bad decision, anyway. But as a multiply disabled person myself, if I ever did want kids, I would never actually go through with making that happen; because there would be no guarantee that my kids would not be disabled. I would never want that for anyone, even though I’m a confident person myself.

My review of JoJo’s “Good To Know” album

My over all thoughts on JoJo’s latest album called “Good To Know:” initially when I’d heard that this album was only going to have 9 songs on it, I was not happy. Because personally, I love when albums have more songs than that on them; like, I think that 15 songs is a great number of tracks to have on albums. But that being said, JoJo’s latest album has shown me the importance of giving artists wiggle room because for this 9-track album in particular, every single song on it is quality. Like, I literally don’t skip any of the songs on this album. But also, I’m just so incredibly proud to see where JoJo has been and where she’s going. This album in particular, is definitely her best creation yet!! For one thing, many of the songs on the album are about sex; but also, I just love the instrumentation of each song, along with JoJo’s voice over all. Like, she has this ability to know exactly how much volume to add when and where…and how to keep herself vulnerable for the entire time too.

Track #1: “So Bad:” I love how this track starts off with a simple piano-beat and then we as the listeners unexpectedly hear JoJo’s voice come into the song right with the over all instrumentation of the song. This song is definitely one of my favorite ones on the album; I love not only its message but also, JoJo’s harmonies are on point. I mean, her harmonies are on-point throughout the album as a whole…but this song in particular is sexy as fuck!! I love how JoJo is unafraid to sing about grownup topics like sex..and I wish that this song/album as a whole could be the model for other artists and musicians to do the same…because sex is amazing.

Track #2: “Pedialyte:” something that makes this song interesting right off the bat, is the fact that the word “pedialyte” is not actually in the song. But another thing that makes this song awesome, is the fact that it changes its tempo in certain parts. So like, for most of the song, the tempo is kinda upbeat, I’d say. But then towards the end of the song, there’s an unexpected tempo change, to a much faster beat. There’s also a lot of bass throughout this part of the song that can really be heard well, once the song’s tempo has actually changed.

Track #3: “Gold:” this song was not necessarily one of my favorite ones on the album…but as I’ve continued to listen to it, it has definitely grown on me. Like, I love JoJo’s vocal sensuality that’s sprinkled throughout the song…and the way the song’s instrumentation just makes the song flow smoothly.

Track #4: “Man:” this song was the first single off this album. And honestly, I loved it from the very first time I’d heard it. I vividly remember that before this album actually came out, JoJo and a fansite of JoJo’s kept tweeting one particular snippet of the song. And every time I’d hear this snippet, I’d feel like I was going to go crazy because it sounded so lovely. But the thing was, the snippit was just part of the song’s instrumentation; it didn’t have JoJo actually singing in it. And TBH, I feel like both JoJo and this particular fansite of hers using that particular part of this song was intentional…and it certainly worked, in terms of making me like the song right away.

Track #5: “Small Things:” I’ve loved this song since the very first time I’d heard it. It’s one of the ballads on this album and it has great instrumentation throughout it. The guitar parts in particular though, are some of my favorite parts about the song as a whole.

Track #6: “Lonely Hearts:” this song was the second single off this album…and this song has had the opposite affect on me as other songs have. And what I mean by that, is that when this song was first released, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. And I can’t even explain why that was how the song hit me. But interestingly, the more I’ve listened to this song, the more the song has actually grown on me which I think is a nice change.

Track #7: “Think About You:” this song is definitely one of my favorite ones on this album. I love its piano parts and its over all beat. I even think I hear a rain stick throughout the chorus of the song…and rain sticks are literally one of my favorite sounds ever in the world. So hopefully at some point, I can find out if I’m right about that particular sound being in the song or not.

Track #8: “Comeback:” this song features Tory Lanez and 30 Roc, two artists I’d never heard of before this song was released. But before I speak on the two of these artists in terms of what they each bring to this song, I want to say that before we as JoJo fans knew that there was going to be people featured on the song, I was personally super excited at the knowledge that there weren’t going to be any collaborations on JoJo’s latest album. Because given the fact that she’d worked so fucking hard to get to where she felt good about releasing this particular album, I didn’t want any of her shine to be stolen by any potential people who might be featured on it. And so, when I very first heard that Tory Lanez and 30 Roc would be featured on this song, I was disappointed. A big reason for why I was disappointed which I haven’t mentioned yet, was because I’d been reading tweets of JoJo’s and tweets from a huge JoJo fansite, both of which made it clear that the song “Comeback” was going to be one of the most sexual songs on the album. But all this being said, I was incredibly surprised when the album came out and I heard Tory Lanez and 30 Roc’s verses on the song. Like, their parts on it blessed my ears…and it felt great to be as in love with this song as I was and am.

Track #9: “Don’t Talk Me Down:” this song is probably the slowest song tempo-wise on the entire album; and honestly, it isn’t one of my favorite songs on said album. I mean, I do like the song and I do think it’s awesome that JoJo learned how to play it on the piano. But for whatever reason, I’m not quite as moved by this song as other folks seem to be. At least, that’s how I feel about it right now.

Some questions on my spiritual awakening journey

In the Claircognizance FB group I’m in, someone recently posted a topic asking group members to help them with a project for their school. They said that they have a list of questions that they were looking for detailed answers to…and being that I’m a writer, who also loves helping people whenever I can, I jumped on this opportunity.
So below, I’ve posted the questions and my answers to each of them. There are only four questions and answers…but as I said, they’re lengthy. I hope that folks enjoy reading them, at least as much as I enjoyed filling them out!!
Question 1: when did you discover that you were going through a spiritual awakening and how did you become aware that you had spiritual gifts?
Answer 1: I’ve always known that I was worlds different from people, in that I had awareness on some level that I felt things far more deeply than others did. But yet, I knew that this particular thing was complex and probably not something that I could openly discuss with people. But in another sense, as I’m thinking back on the ability I have to deeply feel others, I feel like said ability helped me through the years of abuse that I suffered at the hands of both sides of my family of origin. And what I mean by that, is that even a small part of me felt like I was special because I had this ability. Because it was obvious to me that most people didn’t experience the world feeling people’s every emotion/inherent goodness or ugliness, as I did. But that being said, I’m not a spiritual person. However I’d say that two years ago was when I started to have an awakening about the fact that I had uncommon abilities. This was also the time when I first learned of the word empath and started to discover that I was an empath myself. I learned about this through having friends who knew that they were empaths and who also had the language to explain this concept to me. Soon after I’d started learning about this gift in particular, I joined groups on Facebook where I knew I could unite and feel like I belong with others who have this gift. And one of these empath-specific Facebook groups was ultimately where I discovered that I havve other “abilities” in addition to being an empath.

Question 2: how do you feel knowing you have these abilities? And do you think that everyone possesses these abilities?
Answer 2: before I had language and knowledge about the various abilities that I have, I felt confused and like I was deranged. I also felt isolated and lonely because I knew in my heart then that no one would understand this difference about me. But then, fast-forwarding to two years ago when I began to learn that actually, there were tons of people with gifts like being an empath and Claircognizance, I felt a huge sense of relief. But yet, there are also times when the knowing AKA Claircognizance happens in my life…and it freaks me the hell out because it always happens so randomly. And sometimes, the knowing is super detailed; and other times, I can just literally feel in my own body, what people around me are going through. And honestly, sometimes I feel like these abilities are burdens to me. But then I realize and think about how these abilities allow me to deeply connect with others, in ways that perhaps they don’t even understand that there’s language to explain these concepts. And lately I’ve been embracing that I have these abilities because I now have a deep understanding of how these abilities can be used on my journey of self-betterment. But also, I can use these abilities to help make the world a more compassionate and loving place where others can thrive.

Question 3: do you use your abilities in everyday life? If you do, how?
Answer 3: As far as me using my abilities in everyday life, that’s hard to say. Because for one thing, it isn’t like I think to myself “it’s time to turn on these uncommon abilities that you have…and to turn them on right now.” But then again, as I’m thinking about it, I would say that using my abilities is so second-nature to me now, that using them just…naturally happens. And so yes, sometimes I use them to determine the energy of someone I care about. Like, there are times that it’s obvious to me that someone is having a hard time in some way, shape or form. But I’ve really learned how to harness these abilities of mine in such a way that I can immediately assess the person’s headdspace/troubles and then have an exact awareness about whether it would be safe for me to push for more details or not. I’m even getting to a point where I can let people know that I know what’s going on in a compassionate way, without them feeling like they have to talk about it.

Question 4: how do you think experiencing a spiritual awakening and having these abilities can help someone?
Answer 4: while I’ve touched on how I think the abilities I have can be used for the greater good of the world at large, as well as for myself, I can use what some people refer to as my “healing energy” to show people that no matter what their demons are, they are not misunderstood by every human being. I also know that for myself, being on this awakening journey these last two years has allowed me to grow as a person in ways I never even knew were possible. As I’ve said in my previous answers, I’ve found a community of other folks who like me, have these kinds of abilities. And within this community, we all support each other wherever we are at any given time. And that in itself is huge because personally, I love being on this awakening journey which constantly teaches me about myself and how deeply and fully I can love others.

Assorted podcast thoughts, reflections on being childfree, my writing and other stuff

In an episode of Multiamory where the hosts of the show Emily, Dedeker and Jase discussed things that people who want to be in traditional relationships can learn from folks who want to be in non-traditional relationships. But before the three of them got into that list of things, they talked about some ways in which society believes toxic things about how people’s relationships should be conducted. So one of these harmful beliefs, is the belief that there’s one person for everyone/that every single individual wants to live traditionally. Another of society’s toxic beliefs that was mentioned in this episode of Multiamory, was the belief that if people’s dating relationships are not serious in the default way of said relationships following the pattern that society thinks they should follow, that devalues those relationships. This is a harmful belief because as I’ve said before, not every individual wants the same things for their lives. It’s also harmful to view things in such a black and white way because people often don’t know that they actually have the freedom to create their relationships however the hell they want to create them. Like, unless folks are told that sort of thing by someone like me, it’s common for many people to not even think to question their beliefs in any way. And yet another way that American culture in particular believes something harmful, is by taking the stance that being in a serious relationship means that by default, all of one’s already-existing relationships (whether familial, close friends ETC) shift, simply because their romantic relationship is supposed to take priority over every other relationship they have. And TBH, I don’t agree with that, even though in all of my past romantic relationships I’ve lived among those who just live by the default monogamous way.

But as I think I’ve mentioned on my blog before, in the last romantic relationship I was in, I had tons of conversations with my then-boyfriend about the fact that I knew that monogamy wasn’t for me. In these conversations between the two of us, I’d explain to him that I needed to be with women. And in each conversation of this nature, he’d express that he was a traditional person who stands by the fact that he wants the woman he’s with to be monogamous, just like he is. And so, ultimately, he and I broke up with one another…which I’m glad about. Because we really were not right for each other at all, despite what some people seemed to think. And the thing is, I realize now that I could’ve been honest with him before he and I even started dating, so that he could then make an informed decision about how to proceed. But at the same time, I enjoyed the connection that he and I’d formed with each other; and said connection even lead me to think that maybe, just maybe, I could be monogamous, after all. And even here on my blog, I have moments of writing when I’ll be thinking of how society has taught us (which includes myself, of course) that tradition is always best. And so, I’ll have fleeting moments where I’ll write that I want to have one traditional romantic relationship…but honestly, I’ve known for years that I’ve identified as polyamorous. I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a blog post about why I identify in this way and about what’s encouraged me to embrace this difference in myself. But I first wanted to admit this truth: that I don’t believe the idea of “the one” is romantic, the way we’re taught to think it is.

Something else in this Multiamory episode that stood out to me, is that Emily brought up the fact that Mike Pence (who’s the Vice President here in America) never rides elevators with women other than his wife. And hearing her say that, made me realize that I’d actually listened to this particular Multiamory episode already. LOL. But that being said, I’m glad I listened to this episode again because I’d completely forgotten about the fact I wanted to write about the awful Mike Pence. Because while there are many reasons why he’s an awful person, the one I want to highlight now, is the one where as I’d said above, he refuses to ride elevators if women who aren’t his wife. I mean, I almost find that laughable, but then I remember that it’s true…and then it makes me angry!! Because what Pence is essentially saying in operating this way, is that he can’t bother to control his sexual desires, and also that he doesn’t believe that women other than his wife can control their sexual desires. But what I’m also thinking about this, is how fucking arrogant it is that Pence automatically thinks that women other than his wife would even want to have sex with him!! It’s like, “trust me, Mr. Pig, you take away women’s sexual urges, as soon as we’re in your presence. You have nothing whatsoever to fucking worry about!!”

In another episode of Multiamory, the hosts of the show talked about the role that expectations people have regarding any romantic relationships they’re in, plays in how we in turn conduct ourselves within those romantic relationships. So what I mean, is that expectations themselves are not necessarily problematic. What can make people’s expectations for their romantic relationships problematic though, is that we buy the message that society deepthroats us with like, say, when we go on a first date with someone, we hope that they are “the one” for us…simply because society has made us think that that sort of relationship structure is what every single person in the world wants. But just to clarify, when I say that society deepthroats us with such a harmful message as this, I include myself too, accepting this as the thing I aspire to have. And truthfully, it’s hard, even for me, to examine the fact that I’ve bought this message in literally every single romantic relationship I’ve had. Because speaking for myself only here, the beginning of new romantic relationships is always passionate and exciting as fuck. But hearing this episode of Multiamory makes me want to actively do something to change this behavior of mine in the future. Because it’s important to me to allow any romantic relationships I may have in the future, to evolve into whatever they are meant to be. And I don’t mean that in a religious sense like “it was fate that brought us together.” But rather, I want to allow myself to both give and receive limitless love from fellow human beings. Because quite frankly, now that I know that I am worthy of receiving love from others, no matter what form that love takes, I want to receive as much love as people have to give me.

In a podcast called Serial that I’ve talked about on my blog before, I looked up said podcast recently to see if there were any more seasons since the first one had come out a couple years ago. And there were two more seasons of this podcast, though I started listening to season three, the most recent season. But first, I’d like to remind you dear blog readers what the first season of Serial was about: it was about a case of a man named Adnan Syed who had been imprisoned for murdering his high school girlfriend. And in this particular story which took place in the state of Maryland, Sarah Koenig (who’s the host of Serial) tells Adnan Syed’s story as thoroughly as she can, in my opinion. She talks to everyone about this whole thing that she can, including Adnan himself. And when I say that Sarah Koenig is thorough in her investigation, I mean just that; she talks to Adnan Syed and people who know him, several times. And ultimately, it’s left to us as the listeners what perspective we want to take about this story. And as I’m pretty sure I said when I’d written about this story in my blog, I think that Adnan Syed did murder his high school girlfriend.

But now, to talk about season three of the Serial podcast, this season of the show was a bit different from the first one, in that Sarah Koenig discussed several cases within one particular state, Ohio. And so, a few of the cases that she’d discussed this season, focused on a specific court judge who felt that he knew his clients better than they (his clients) knew themselves. This particular judge pissed me the fuck off, mostly because his idea of helping people was to attack people’s characters/attack the life choices they made for their lives. What I mean by that, is that he’d criticize people for getting pregnant or for being parents as unmarried human beings. He’d tell them that he had the power to see to it that they’d go to jail if they became pregnant or were parents again; it was ridiculous!! He even judged people based off of the color of their skin alone, and then flat out denied that those actions of his would be considered racism. One of the people who’d been a defendant in this judge’s courtroom wrote him (the judge) a letter to help bolster his case. So long story short, hearing this particular judge made my blood boil…because I dated a guy who had the same exact attitude of this judge. He (the white man I dated) thought that people of color (POC) were just winy folks; he wouldn’t even have any compassion for them whatsoever. Hell, he even talked about gay people as if they, as if we, were not human. And I say that this way because I wasn’t out as a gay person at the time myself. And man, thinking back on this particular toxic relationship I’d been in, who knows what this man would’ve done to me, if I’d told him that I was attracted to women. I’m glad I’ll never have to find out, though!!

But going back to this particular season of the Serial podcast, there were other cases that Sarah Koenig talked about throughout this season of the show, that moved me. More specifically, there was one court case in which a young lady had gotten into a fight at a bar. And in this particular case, the lady who this case was about, had hit a police officer that seemed to not believe her innocence. And the way that this situation was set up, was that things were fine until a random stranger repeatedly touched this woman when she didn’t actually welcome such interactions with him. And so, after this man had touched this woman several times, a crowd began to gather around the two of them, to try and break up their altercation. But instead, what ended up happening, was that more people got involved with this fiasco…and this woman hit the police officer who’d seen what was happening. But it’s my belief that she’d hit this officer because she was trying to defend herself, when nothing anyone else seemed to do would resolve this situation. This case was really sad to me because this woman had recently found out that she was pregnant…and she’d recently lost her job. And so, even after having listened to this woman’s entire story, I think she’ll be on my mind, in terms of wondering what’s happened to her since this podcast has come out.

One of the other cases that Sarah Koenig talked about in this season of Serial, that stood out to me, was one in which there was a crap ton of police brutality committed against POC, people of color. There were actually a couple stories of this nature that were told together, simply because that was how us as the listeners could best understand these stories in full; at least, that’s what Koenig had told us. But so anyway, in both of these stories, there were POC who had found themselves in run-ins with authority figures. Both of these POC had continually gotten into legal problems and were in and out of Ohio courts. But where the police brutality comes into these cases, is when policemen add to these people’s troubles by abusing them. And when I say the word “abuse,” I don’t say that word lightly. Because in each of these cases, policemen who were involved literally and figuratively beat these POC up. And these POC in question were of course even worn down mentally by all the shit that the policemen who were involved in their cases, added to their already chaotic lives. And TBH, this case in particular was hard for me to take in, simply because of how much I felt these POC’s pain. And when I say that I felt their pain, I mean that the fact I’m an empath makes me cry whenever I hear other folks crying. And it doesn’t matter whether folks are crying tears of happiness, sadness or some other emotion entirely; I feel and experience all of their pain in my physical body.

In another story from this season of Serial, this one about a child who was in jail for crimes he’d committed as a minor, this story was one of my favorite stories of this season of the show. Like, I know that probably sounds weird because the stories that are told in this particular podcast are not all happy/feel good kinda things. But in this story specifically, it’s obvious pretty early on that Sarah Koenig comes to have a great relationship with the main man in this story. Like, she and Josh (the man that this story is about) both seem to enjoy the conversations that they have with each other; Sarah even helps Josh keep in touch with his family on a regular basis, via making three-way calls on her phone. And even through all of the chaos that’s going on in Josh’s world, I can’t help feeling like I want to celebrate his story, even though as far as we listeners know, his story hasn’t had its happy ending yet. Because to me at least, it seemed like he really did want to get away from bad environments like the ones he’d known all of his life.

In the FB group called Have A Gay Day, that I’ve talked about on my blog before, I had a recent experience in said group that left me feeling disappointed as hell, in many of the group’s members. So what had happened, was that I’d created a topic saying that I wanted to be supportive to anyone whose identities were complicated. And in said post, I let it be known that I identify as a lesbian, even though I’ve had amazing sex with men. And wow, the attack that most of this group’s members unexpectedly foisted onto me was insane. I had women telling me that by claiming the fact I’m a lesbian, even though I’ve been with men, I’m essentially erasing “real” lesbians’ identities. But the thing was, even with this unexpected reaction that I’d received from many folks in the group, I didn’t internalize the things they were saying to/about me. But thankfully, there were a few people within this group who seemed to understand exactly where I was coming from, in posting what I did. Some of those folks even said that they’d heard of gay men and women alike, having sex with their opposite gender, just for the pleasurable aspect of sex. But damn, after this experience with the FB Have A Gay Day group, I texted someone I trust a great deal who’s also in the LGBTQ+ community…and interestingly, what they told me then, was that that sort of response I’d received from many in this group was more common than either of us would like to admit. And of course, that was disheartening news to me, especially given that people in the LGBTQ+ community are already discriminated against, enough as it is.

In an FB group for people who are writers, that I’ve been a member of for awhile, someone commented on the blog post of mine where I laid out reasons that I’ve chosen to be childfree; but just to clarify, each new blog post I write, I post the link to each post in this FB group for writers. And it’s rare that people comment on my posts in this group…so I was surprised that someone commented about this post in particular. But what this person’s comment had said, was that they share my feelings on this matter. And the comment I wrote to them reads:
Yes, it is ridiculous that most of society is unwilling to accept people’s decision not to have kids. Fortunately, when I was in my early/mid 20s, I had a great doctor Who respected my desire to have my tubes tied. I gave him well-thought-out reasons as to why I wanted the procedure done, and he praised me for knowing myself and wanting to be responsible. I have disabilities which I bring up here to say that he also didn’t desexualize me which I appreciated so much. But I often hear stories where women’s wants to have their tubes tied are not respected…and that is heartbreaking to me. But like you said about yourself, I’ve never regretted this decision, nor have I changed my mind about this. In fact, I literally wake up every day, thankful that I made this decision.

In the Childfree by Choice FB group, someone posted a topic asking if people had an actual structured life plan of why they’d chosen to be childfree. The comment I wrote in response to that thread says:
There are two big reasons why I’ve chosen to remain childfree, one of which is because I’m the meaning-maker of my life. The other reason that closely follows behind this one though, is that if I do date people again at some point, I want to be able to live my/our lives together as adults who want to add to each other’s happiness. And given the fact that I come from an abusive background, it’s become incredibly important that I be able to live in my truth and love without limits. I want these things to happen for myself because I realize that I can give myself these gifts, instead of waiting or hoping even, that eventually someone else will give them to me.

In another childfree FB group I’m a member of that’s called Amazing Childfree Singles, someone made a post about people settling down and getting married, as childfree people. TBH, this person’s post read weird as fuck to me…but the response I wrote to the topic reads:
I think you, original poster of this topic, also need to understand that not everybody wants to live traditionally, like being in a monogamous relationship, living with a partner, getting married etc. Each human being creates the life they want for themselves. I’m someone who falls into this category of being non-monogamous and not wanting to live traditionally. I’ve been told by the world that this is wrong or that it somehow means that I don’t commit to people. Yet I’m committed to making myself happy first and foremost, and it makes me happy to believe that love is limitless rather than something that there is only a certain amount of.

In this same FB group, someone posted a topic saying that they don’t agree with the concept of marriage. What I wrote in response to this post of theirs reads:
I want to respectfully say that I wholeheartedly agree with you. LOL. Seriously though, I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way about marriage. I too, think that patriarchal views need to be totally done away with. They are not helpful to anyone…and they certainly aren’t indicative of a progressive world. I’m very much a non-conformist, though…and there isn’t a lot that I think society has done/is doing right. For example, I believe that non-traditional relationships of all kinds should have the same rights as married folks do; I’m polyamorous and would love for any future partners of mine to have the rights to make medical decisions about my health, if I’m ever incapable of doing so myself. So yeah, you definitely are not alone in your feeliings 🙂

On this same topic, I wrote a response to a commenter who said that they believe that people have commitment issues, if they’d prefer to live with a romantic partner but not get married to said partner. The response I wrote to said comment reads:
The problem I have with your perspective, is that you come across as being incredibly judgmental. What I mean is, you seem to be assuming that everyone shares your exact views. But in reality, you leave no room for people’s differing beliefs. For example, and I’m paraphrasing here, you say that people who simply live together and don’t choose to get married to one another are non-committal. And that simply is not true; commitment does not mean the exact same thing to others, as it does to you. For example, I’m committed to making myself happy and keeping myself as healthy as possible–both of these things are always true, whether I’m single or whether I’m dating people. This idea that all other relationships in my life shift when I’m in romantic relationships is something that just does not work for me. I’m not denying you or others the right to believe differently than I do. Am I strong in my stance on this? Yes…but assertiveness/confidence does not equal being an inconsiderate bitch.
After this person read that response of mine, they said that they’d felt attacked by what I’d said. So I responded to that comment of theirs, by saying:
It seems you’ve misunderstood me. When I said that saying what I did is not being an inconsiderate bitch, I was referring to myself as not being an inconsiderate bitch. I wasn’t saying that about you. I also said that I was expressing my views, and I was simply saying that I took your post to mean what I did; apologies if you or others thought I was attacking you but I wasn’t.
Once I’d clarified that for them, they understood where I was coming from.

Sometime on Wednesday I read a tweet from Dunkaroos, telling people that Dunkaroos would be giving out several boxes of those specific cookies to the first 5000 households who preordered them. But I don’t know why they referred to this particular thing as preordering because they were giving away Dunkaroos for free. But anyway, in their tweet about this particular opportunity, I hoped that I’d be among the first 5000 folks. But unfortunately, I wasn’t…and the thing was, I’d had my caretaker try to help me submit my entry. However even though it was only 30 minutes after this offer had started that my caretaker helped me with this task, it was 30 minutes too late. That surprised the hell out of me to be honest; I didn’t think that Dunkaroos would have tons of people interested in them. I guess I wasn’t the only person in the world who loved these particular cookies, after all!! Hahaha.

On Friday morning I called my neurosurgeon’s office to follow up with the staff there about the letter I needed them to write for my school. And during that conversation between myself and an employee at said office, I made sure to clearly explain exactly what I needed the documentation to say. I even asked the lady I’d spoken with if she’d please email me the documentation…and thankfully, she wrote my personal email address down correctly. And then a few minutes later I received said email. But my caretaker wasn’t able to help me submit all the paperwork until yesterday. So just to outline what the entire process was like, given that I couldn’t actually go to school and turn in the documentation all stapled together, the first step was for my caretaker to fill out the form from my school that showed that I’m appealing the current hold on my financial aid money. And then once he’d filled out that form, I had him take a picture of said form and save it to my phone. Then after that step had been completed, I forwarded the email message from my doctor’s office to my school email account. Once that had been done, I had my caretaker copy/paste the person’s email address from the Financial Aid Department to the clipboard. Then once he’d created an email from my school account to this person in the Financial Aid Department and attached all of the documentation to said email, he sent the email. So even though this financial aid issue stemmed from the fact I withdrew from school in fall 2019, the documentation I supplied should cancel the hold on my financial aid funding for this current spring semester.

On my personal FB page, I recently wrote the following status which corresponds with the previous paragraph I’ve written here:
OK, those who know me well, know that I typically make the most out of shitty situations, without complaint. But there are times like now, when I feel like letting you folks into my world as a blind and physically disabled person might help you understand accessibility…or lack thereof a bit better. So, last fall as some of you may remember, I was hospitalized due to having shunt issues. I was hospitalized literally two days after that semester had started…and after my financial aid had gotten to me. And long story short, I had to withdraw for that semester. So fast-forward to this semester, the last time I was on-campus, I spoke with financial aid folks about why there was a hold on my account. They said that the hold was because I’d withdrawn from last fall; they gave me a form to fill out to appeal that decision and said that I’d also need to provide documentation from my medical team that what I’d said was true. Then, Corona Virus hit…and made getting this whole thing resolved, one thousand times harder. Because I would have to have sighted eyes to not only fill out the appeal form, but I’d also need sighted eyes to take pictures of all of the documentation and help make sure that everything had attached in an email to the person in charge of financial aid stuff. And in addition to these things, I’d also need to stay on my neurosurgeon’s office to give me documentation from their end. Now, it took me being the squeaky wheel with that office to finally get them to email me the letter I needed. I literally received that letter by email yesterday…and today, had sighted help with getting all of the things done that I’d mentioned above. As a blind person who has a physical disability/chronic health conditions, I feel worn out. It took sooooooo much of my energy…to get this done…and to get this done, I had to have help…because the process was not accessible to me as a disabled person. This should not have been something that I had to fight like hell to get done, in 2020!! I understand that there are probably folks who are not honest about this sort of thing…but FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. Why would someone lie about being hospitalized? Cause I assure you, being hospitalized is NOT sexy 😛
World, you really could do better #ThatIsAll

Something else that also happened yesterday though, was that I had my caretaker look at my Airpods because neither of them would turn on when they were in my ear. And this was something new to me and internally, I was freaking out about it. Because my thing was, did I accidentally press the button on my Airpods case and disconnect them from my phone? But when I’d brought up what had happened with my caretaker, he informed me that his Airpods have done the same thing…and that sometimes you just have to reconnect them to your phone. So TBH, hearing him say that was a relief because I didn’t even foresee that this could become a problem. And honestly, it was a bit of a hassle to fix, especially as a totally blind person. In fact, I couldn’t fix it because the only way to connect and reconnect Airpods to one’s phone, is to use the visual cue of a light shining a certain color or something along those lines.

This morning I thought to try to change the default email address for my blog-related things. It had been awhile since I’d last tried to make that happen…but based on my previous experiences with this particular thing, I didn’t think much of trying it again. So how this happened, was that I clicked on the link that said “forget this pending email address change,” as I knew that said change had never actually gone through. And once that had been done, I typed in my blog email address and for whatever reason, this time, I received the confirmation email!! And even though this particular thing probably seems small and insignificant to other people, it’s huge to me. Because it’s important to me to keep blog-related things all in one place, whether it’s for my blog or for other people’s blogs.