I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Depression Discussion Provides Power and Hope


Last week I participated in a roundtable discussion on depression hosted by WEGO Health.  I got to meet some really inspiring bloggers and it was sort of surreal seeing our conversation paraphrased on twitter while we were talking.  Most of all, the experience was empowering.  It felt really good to gain recognition as an activist, especially in the area of mental health.  I discussed this two years ago when I trained to present In Our Own Voice.  What I specifically discussed is that I sometimes have difficulty calling myself an activist, even though I know I am one.  I feel ashamed that I have not marched in big protests and especially that I cannot talk about some of the issues that are closest to my heart without becoming so emotional, a.k.a. triggered, that I have to leave the room.  It can be quite embarrassing the way I become totally undone when I try to defend the fat acceptance movement, my commitment to nonviolence, my view that grace, mercy and a commitment to rehabilitation should be at the core of our criminal system instead of punishment, and that the death penalty and torture should be abolished.  But what I can do is write about my struggle with mental illness and try to live a life that exemplifies a life lived in recovery from it.  Life lived in recovery is messy and hard, but it is something I can do well and it is important work.  It shows people that it is possible to be a contributing and valued member of a group, even while dealing with mental and physical illnesses and disorders.  It is possible for someone that used to obsess about calories and fat grams to now enjoy eating, cooking, and even begin to love her body. It is possible to learn new coping skills, how to set boundaries, and to start to grow into a person filled with pride at the achievements she's accomplished and the obstacles she has overcome.  It is a beautiful thing that it is entirely possible, even probable, that a person who deals with chronic pain and fatigue, has a personality disorder, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and who had an eating disorder can still provide hope to others that life can get better with time, faith, and practice.

Recommended Links:

Two from Womanist Musings:

 Teaching Children to be Homophobes 
There is nothing inherently natural about teaching a child to hate and as I have seen from my experience as a parent, teaching my child to respect all forms of love does not cause harm, but instead results in a child who is social justice minded and invested in equality. […]  This is why I believe that it is essential for schools to begin teaching positive messages about GLBT people.  Children should know that GLBT people are a part of human history and have positively advanced our societies.
   Intersectionality-What It Is and Isn’t  
Queer people need to stop stealing African American history. Homophobia is an equally valid form of oppression and it is insulting to both queer people and people of color (and especially queer people of color) when we appropriate a history that is not ours. We have a history, even if it must now be learned at the knees of our elders and through finding those rare and precious books.
 Once again, from WEGO Health:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day-Remember Our Veterans

 
Remember to honor ALL our lost veterans-including those who die by suicide.  
Shocking, but true: every 80 minutes a veteran dies by suicide.
(Click on the logo for more information on how to obtain help.)


Friday, May 25, 2012

No Shame in My Shrimp Tacos

I feel the need to start off this post acknowledging that I am having a lot of knee pain in both knees. Having this constant pain makes it hard to concentrate on the things I actually want to do, like writing this blog post. One of the core principles of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically staying mindful on one thing at a time, which is why it is sometimes called, "one-mindedness." One of my best friends calls it "staying in the day." It is the opposite of multi-tasking and it is a good thing. Although multi-tasking is still very much encouraged in the workplace, it has actually been proven to not being nearly as productive and error-free as concentrating on one activity or thought at a time. What is so great about mindfulness is that I have found that when I divest all of my energy at the task at hand, then I don't have any leftover energy to divest in worrying. My anxiety has gone down considerably lately, most days anyway. But constant pain makes it really hard to stay mindful and so I am going to call my doctor on Monday and get a recommendation for a good rheumatologist. I've never seen a rheumatologist before, so I'm a little nervous about it, but it's not time to worry about that yet-first, I have to find out who to call.

 My knee pain actually is connected with my original topic. Today I had to fill out more forms for my social security disability benefits application and it was hard not to get a little bogged down writing about all the things that I cannot do anymore. No, I cannot hike anymore. No, I cannot do aerobic exercise. No, I cannot hold down a full-time job. But yes, I am still a good person. Yes, I still have things to contribute to society. Yes, I am still enough. After completing the forms, instead of wallowing in my shame, I chose to make dinner instead. My knees and hips were hurting and it hurt to stand, but I took the time to cut up the vegetables anyway. I gain a lot of satisfaction in making good, healthy, tasty food and I felt sort of defiant in continuing to cook. With every chop of the knife, I sliced a bit of the shame leftover from filling out the forms away.

 I made beautiful, colorful, shrimp tacos.  I got the recipe from the Gorton's company website.  I was going to use their coupon to buy some seafood and I wanted to see if I could do more with their product than simply heating them up.
 

INGREDIENTS:


packages (8 oz) Gorton's Classic Grilled Shrimp

1 medium mango, medium diced
avocados, medium diced
1 can of corn
1/3 cup heated white cheese dip
2 small tomatoes medium diced
Several squirts of lime juice
 8 inch tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare Gorton's Classic Grilled Shrimp according to package instructions; cool slightly and carefully remove tails.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients.
3. Fill tortillas evenly with shrimp mixture.
This is my recipe.  I made it even simpler than the one on the website.  It was a great cold dish-perfect for a hot day like today.  It was the juiciest taco I have ever eaten and I loved the sweet mango paired with the tangy lime.  I usually get tired of shrimp dishes very fast for some reason, but I loved this one with every bite.  
It really helped boost my self-esteem to be able to make this meal for my family.  Despite having fibromyalgia, which seems to be getting worse, and dealing with all of my mental issues, I can still help take care of my family and be a productive member of society.  I may be disabled, but I am never unable.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Beautiful Birthday Dinner

Remember when I made those orange juice ice cubes with pieces of mango inside?  Perhaps you wondered what kind of drink besides orange juice they would taste good in?  Well, as I was making dinner on my birthday, I drank a tall glass of ginger ale with those very ice cubes.

Pretty and delicious!
I like to sip on something yummy while I cook.  Usually it's hot tea.  It helps me relax and puts me in the cooking mood.

If you are a longtime reader then you have probably noticed that I love bright colors.  I love wearing them, I love seeing them, and I love basking in their glow.  Really.  Looking at the beauty of rainbows lifts my spirits in a major way and is one of the reasons why I have a rainbow as the main picture for this blog.  For my birthday dinner, I made a hearty vegetarian curry that looked like a rainbow itself:
Beautiful!  Visually, I especially like the red pepper pieces next to the green peas.  Here's the recipe, which I got from allrecipes.

Vegetarian Korma

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 4 carrots, cubed
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced (I left out.)
  • 3 tablespoons ground unsalted cashews (I left out.)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce (I used tomato juice)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (I used canned)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (for convenience, use a whole red bell pepper)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro for garnish (I left out.)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and continue cooking 1 minute. Steam potatoes and carrots in a Zip n Steam bag-what I did. Mix potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, and tomato sauce. Season with salt and curry powder. Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  If you steamed the potatoes in the microwave, then they are already tender!
  2. Stir peas, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and cream into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.  Serve over rice.

Wow!  It's a rainbow in my bowl!  They tasted wonderful too, with the help of a little cream.  Hey, it was my birthday-if any day deserves cream, that day is it!
Recommended Links:

Yin and YangMy Response to Stigma   
 One of the lessons I must absolutely learn is that I cannot keep internalizing shame.  I do have an invisible disability, but that doesn't mean that I must apologize for it or for being who I am.  I have made serious mistakes before.  I am more than willing to apologize for those.  Those are things I've done and not the essence of who I am.  Who I am is good enough.

This Ain’t Livin’ Norming Access
  Imagine attending an event where accommodations are provided without fuss and comment; the speaker steps up to the podium and a sign language interpreter follows her seamlessly; the space is ramped and seats at the front are silently cleared for wheelchair users; seating for people with service animals is provided; descriptions of visual content are smoothly integrated into the presentation; there are no flashing sequences or loud noises; colours have been chosen with care; and no one is wearing scent. […]  Access is an add-on, it’s something special, and it’s something remarkable. In this sense, it becomes a way of singling out people who aren’t normative; ‘ah, you’re the one who needs the sign language interpreter.’ ‘I see you’re using a wheelchair.’ It is another reminder that a shared space is not truly shared, because some people are in it by tolerance only, and it would be easy to take that tolerance away and exclude them from the space. When accommodations are something special, they draw attention to the people who need them.

Wego Health Blog 
The Final Showdown: Myths vs. Truths!  (about mental illness)

I am a Teenage Feminist - Today I Got into a Twitter Argument...
He responded that those committed to fighting social justice aren’t oppressors, but that’s not accurate. An oppressor is anyone who benefits from a system that gives some privileges. If you are white and you benefit from a system of institutionalized whiteness, if you are male and benefit from patriarchy, if you are straight and benefit from a heterosexist society, you are an oppressor. This does not make you a bad person. You cannot help being white or male or straight. I fight for social justice everyday of my life, that does not negate the fact that my whiteness has given me benefits over others that I have used to my advantage.

Although non-feminism isn't always actively malicious, when sexism is a social norm, not being sexist needs active work which many people are unwilling to put in.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Girl, Please Don't Stigmatize Mental Illness

[Trigger warning-This post discusses self-harm, specifically cutting, and the stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder.  Please do not read this post if reading it will lead to emotional dysregulation.  But do admire the pictures of Zooey Deschanel-I don't start talking about self-harm until after the pictures.]

I was going to write about my beautiful and tasty curry dinner that I made on my birthday, but then I remembered that today is Mental Health Blogging Day, so once again, you'll have to wait another day...

Instead I am going to gush about my current movie star crush, Zooey Deschanel.  I first "discovered" her in the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is one of my obsessions.  Deschanel was absolutely fabulous as Trillian.  I now watch anything that she has touched and I just adore her fabulous quirkiness.  I have a humongous crush on her!
(That's her as Trillian.  I want that outfit SO badly!  Doesn't it look comfy?)


She has a new series out right now called, New Girl, which of course, I watch every week.
I really like the show.  It's bizarre, funny, and Deschanel's character, Jess, is absolutely adorable.
Because I really like the show, I want it to succeed and I want it to rise above cheap laughs and actually be a quality show, which is why I was disappointed when in one of the recent episodes Jess' comment on mental illness actually made me wince.

The scenario is this: Jess and her friends are interviewing a guy to be their new roommate and Jess is saying wild things to try to discourage him from moving in.  Funny.  The second thing she says is a joke about one of her roommates being almost an alcoholic.  I was borderline on this one.  If the roommate was in recovery and so his alcoholic days were something that he could laugh about, then I would have been happy to laugh at the joke, but I know too well how devastating alcoholism can be to think the joke was funny enough to laugh at.  It was the third line that really made me wince.

"I am a cutter."
I never find jokes about self-mutilation and self-harm funny.  Realistically, the joke was probably put in more for shock value than for laughs, but still, I had a slightly sick feeling in my stomach.  People misunderstand those who cut and think they are just doing it to gain attention.  What they do not understand is that those who self-harm are people suffering from terrible emotional pain.  People cut for many different reasons, but there seem to be two main ones-either the person feels numb and/or empty and they want to feel the pain in order to assure themselves that they are, in fact, alive or they need immediate relief from their anxiety.  When a person cuts, she actually gets an endorphin rush that stops the anxiety much faster than any pill or therapy.  I know this, because I have done it myself.  As an anxiety reliever, cutting is remarkably effective, except for the fact that it causes emotional scarring and trauma, besides the physical scars that one must try to hide.  Cutters cut in order to relieve their emotional pain and while it is extremely effective in the short run, it is never effective in the long run.  Perhaps if the mental illness that it is often typified by self-mutilation, Borderline Personality Disorder, was not already so stigmatized I would not have minded the "joke" quite so much, but as it was, I was not amused.

New Girl is normally such a bizarre and eccentric show-there are a myriad of different statements she could have made about her roommates and herself that would have been way funnier and more fitting to the theme of the show.  By writing jokes that capitalize on marginalized, stigmatized people's pain, the writers took the easy way out.  They did not come up with anything worth laughing at and I was disgusted.  I will still watch the show, but be forewarned, New Girl, you will not get many more chances from me to redeem yourself!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday to the New Cupcake Queen!

On May 9th I turned 31.  My parents and I went out to eat, which was nice.  One of my presents was a cute cupcake carrier and so I decided to crown myself Cupcake Queen!!!  I have visions of me visiting friends with my cupcakes, spreading goodwill and cupcake cheer to all.  Of course, to do this I first need to make the cupcakes.  Upon arriving back at home, I made sweet potato cupcakes.

I got the recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound yams, peeled and cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Place a steamer insert into a large saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the yams, recover, and steam until very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove yams from steamer and allow to cool slightly.  Use a Zip 'n Steam bag.  You'll save a lot of time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2-12 cup cupcake tins with paper liners.
Place eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and cooked yams in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into yam mixture, mixing just until combined.

Pour batter into paper liners, filling 2/3 full.  Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  

(Look at that fluffiness!) Beat in the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar; mix until smooth. Frost cool cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Now take a bite!  The sweet potato cupcakes were a success!  The taste actually reminded me of a carrot or spice cake.  The cupcake was denser than most, but still really moist.  The only change that I would make is that next time I would add more cream cheese and have less butter in the frosting, as it was a little rich for me.  Either way, I certainly would just put on enough to cover the top.

Look at those pretty polka-dotted cupcakes.  They matched my outfit that day!

Here's my cupcake carrier:

Isn't it cool?  It's in my favorite color and the top actually folds out into a three-tiered cupcake stand! It's like magic!  I went to one of my support groups that night and I brought some of my cupcakes with me using the cupcake carrier.  Everyone admired the carrier and the cupcakes.  That night, when I reflected on my day, I thought that even though I had not celebrated it in wild style, still I had spent time with both family and friends while enjoying delicious food that I had made for them and I was satisfied.  I had a good birthday and I hope 31 is going to be a good year!

Stay tuned to hear about the curry dinner I made that night....

"Cupcake Queen"

Recommended Links:


Patheos.com   An Open Letter toJoel Osteen
[…] we tend to make political—and other—decisions not out of Christianity's highest values like compassion, generosity, and responsibility, but out of secular American values like self-reliance, self-interest, and acquisition. 
 




Monday, May 14, 2012

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day - Are You Aware of The Spoon Theory?

May 12th was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, but I didn't really know what to write about.  I've been tired a lot lately, which has been annoying.  I am tired a lot, because of my chronic fatigue syndrome, which accompanies fibromyalgia.  But I've said all that before in previous posts.  So in honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, I want to make sure that you are aware of The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. A friend that has arithritis introduced me to The Spoon Theory when I expressed frustration at some people not understanding what I was going through when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  The essay was life-changing as I felt understood by the author and it gave me a language for discussing my invisible illnesses to other people.  It's become very widely read on the internet, so you've probably already heard of it, but if you haven't, I strongly suggest you do.  I'll probably add it to my links section eventually.

Recommended Links:


This ain’t livin’
-
VAMPIRES ANDTHE LEGITIMISATION OF THE RAPE-ROMANCE

Vampire novels and the rape-romance both actively set rape up as a romantic concept and encourage the reader to think of rape as an expression of romance. Encourage readers to think that it’s okay to experience rape and sexual assault, that these things may lead to love and a long-term romance, and promote the burying of feelings. Being steeped in these stories means that if you are raped, if someone does push over your boundaries, if you are not able to exercise agency and consent, you may not be able to adequately express what happened to you or you are afraid to say it, when it happens in a ‘romantic’ context. When the boy who has been leaving you sexually harassing notes is clearly just really, really into you, and is ready to sweep you away on a white horse.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Art That's a Snap To Make

Nevertheless, adventure and art should prevail.  We must change and adapt.  (Making a Way Out of No Way, Monica A Coleman, 69)
I got an idea for using rubber bands to paint from the blog, Teach Preschool: Promoting Excellence in Early Childhood Education.  It was really fun and incredibly easy!  All you need is paper, acrylic paint, rubber bands, and a cookie sheet.  Put your paper on the cookie sheet and then slide the rubber bands around the sheet.  Put paint on the rubber bands and then snap the rubber bands.  It's a little messy, so make sure you're wearing an apron.

A bunch of the paint dripped down onto the paper on this version, but the young woman I was working with adapted beautifully-after snapping the rubber bands, she folded the paper in half and formed this:

I just love the bright colors!  Four twins drinking tea!  What do you think it looks like?

Here's mine:

I like mine too, although I think the colors would pop more on darker colored paper.  This was so much fun, I think I will have to do this again on my own time!  You know, a lot of people believe that those with disabilities cannot produce "good" art, but that is simply not true.  What is true is that anyone can produce art with the right adaptations.  The High Museum of Art in Atlanta recently did an exhibit that bothered me, because it only featured male artists.  Not only do we need to make adaptations for special needs artists, but we need to totally change who we deem is acceptable to honor as an artist.  I believe there should always be women included at art shows, along with people of color, those with disabilities, of different sexualities, from different countries and different backgrounds.  Despite this, I am excited that this Saturday and Sunday there will be a print fair at the High, which might be a good opportunity to get some new art.  Who wants to come with me?
funny pictures - FWENCH GURL
(haha He looks exactly like my cat, Arlo!)

Recommended Links:

Captain Awkward - Why I will continue recommending counseling on this blog FOREVER.
It went a little easier with therapy. That’s an important thing to tell people, I think, especially when there is such bullshit and stigma surrounding mental illness even when it’s so fucking common. “ You get to try to make really hard stuff a little easier on yourself.”


Yin and Yang - Small Mind, Big Mind
It is up to us to recognize the difference between being all caught up and being in harmony with our surroundings and other people.  The first step is just to see it without doing anything about it.  Just look at yourself as you are and sit with it.  Learn to sit with the discomfort of realizing that you are closed off and stuck.  It is learning to accept yourself and others in the present that allows you to make the transition into big mind with its broad and balanced perspective.   Then you can relax with the uncertainty of things without needing to grasp onto anything to try and "fix" it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama Officially Affirms His Support for Same-Sex Marriage


Good for you, Obama!  If you go to youtube to watch the video, please DO NOT read the comments!  They're absolutely awful.  I hope that his positive words will become positive change!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cool Down with Fruity Ice Cubes and Popsicles

It may be the beginning of May, but it is HOT here in Georgia!  With it being so hot, I wanted to make some treats to help me cool down.  I got the idea for making fruity ice cubes from the website, Oh! Sweetbabies.
These ice cubes keep your drink cool and then when you're done drinking, the ice cubes are partially unfrozen, giving them a texture like an italian ice.  A treat after a drink!  Yum!















Then, from the blog, Tast.e, I got the idea to mix vanilla yogurt, frozen, sliced peaches and strawberries together and then spoon them into a popsicle mold.  The original popsicles are much fancier, with added sweetener and the fruit is partly pureed, but as I was using organic yogurt, I figured my popsicles were fancy enough!
 
The popsicles turned out very pretty and they really did not need any extra sweetener-my mom and I found them plenty sweet on their own.  I have made popsicles before, but these are much better than simply pouring in juice-the popsicles seemed almost gourmet with just a few added steps.  I think these ice cubes and popsicles are a treat that any kid or adult would love.  I just bought a big tub of 2% Greek yogurt and I cannot wait to get some other kinds of fruit to see what other lovely, tasty creations I can make.  I also just got some blueberry pomegranite juice-I had a coupon!-to make some ice cubes with.  I'll say it again-yum!  I look forward to showing you more pictures of cooling down treats!
epic fail photos - Weather Marquee FAIL
Recommended Links:




With disability justice, we want to move away from the “myth of independence,” that everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own. I am not fighting for independence, as much of the disability rights movement rallies behind. I am fighting for an interdependence that embraces need and tells the truth: no one does it on their own and the myth of independence is just that, a myth.  […]  Disability justice activists are engaged in building an understanding of disability that is more complex, whole and interconnected than what we have previously found. We are disabled people who are people of color; women, genderqueer and transgender; poor and working class; youth; immigrants; lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer; and more.

Feminist Armchair RegimeInsults and Oppression 

But, we're doing a post on what insults are oppressive, and what type of oppression they fall under.  Because, it's a sad fact that our language and culture is so Kyriarchal that many of us don't even realize the oppressive roots of the words that are in common usage.
  

Don’t get me wrong; it’s critical to address slurs, but it’s also important to remember that they are code for something deeper and darker, and that not using slurs doesn’t mean you don’t carry, exert, and reinforce prejudice in your own life.
  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Working with People with Developmental Disabilities Does Not Make Me a Better Person

Occasionally I work as a class assistant to an improv group called Shenanigans.  It's a theater group that holds improvisational classes for kids, teens, and adults with high-functioning autism and other developmental disabilities and is a ton of fun.  Its a simple job-I simply participate in the improv games with the class and help the students stay focused on the activities.  They usually do not need much help at all.  Recently, Shenanigans was featured on a local news station.  The news story reminded me of how when I tell people that I work with those with developmental disabilities (my part-time job also involves working with a young woman who has a developmental disability), that I am often told that I am such a "great" person.

Now I am a great person, but it is not because I choose to work with those who have disabilities.  You can say that I am great, because I have great hair, am caring, creative, kind, or any other of my good qualities, but please, do not say that I am great, because of my jobs.  I work with those who have developmental disabilities, because it is fun and I thoroughly enjoy it.  I would be incredibly bored with a job where I would have to sit at a desk all day-I want a job where I can play and sing!  Yes, I thoroughly enjoy helping people, but ultimately, it is about wanting a job where I can be creative and playful.  These kinds of jobs are also good for me, because since I am enjoying myself, I am not burdened with the kind of stress that can exacerbate my mental and physical illnesses.

I get told that I am a "great" person or that I am "doing a good thing" almost every time I tell someone what I do and this is highly annoying.  It's not because I have low self-esteem and cannot handle a compliment, because I actually love compliments, but because it implies that people with developmental disabilities are so unusual, strange, or deviant that only an extremely good-hearted person would want to work with them.  The truth of the matter is that people with developmental disabilities are just people.  Yes, they have some special needs, but so do I.  So do a lot of people-it's just that their disability is often more noticeable than those who deal with an invisible illness, the way I do.  Just because one's disability is more noticeable than another's should not make working with that person any more special.  

I firmly believe that all people should be willing to work with all types of people.  We should all be willing to play, laugh, cry, learn, and love with any type of person that crosses our path.  We should be able to respect people, because they are people, end of story.  I am not a better person, because I am not afraid of those with developmental disabilities or any other kind of disability-I am simply acting as a human being should act.

People admire me and it puzzles me, because I am doing what I love, which is not a hard thing to do.  To me, it is the person who does what they do not love in order to support their family who is to be admired, for that is a much harder thing to do.  At least it is for me.  When I am not doing what I love, I get intensely stressed out, which affects my mood, my fatigue, and my fibromyalgia.  Because I become so incredibly deregulated, I have no other option than to try to do things that ease my stress load.  I can never work long hours or spend a lot of time on my feet in order to make a lot of money.  I will probably never make a lot of money and if it was a choice between having no job and doing something that would really stress me out, I would have to choose being unemployed.  Stress is a luxury I cannot afford.  I think of people who do thankless jobs and work long hours in order to make sure that their children get a good education and have a brighter future as people to admire.  I'm just having fun and trying to treat people the way I would want to be treated.

It also occurs to me that a lot of people volunteer with animals and I have never heard someone being called a "good" person for that kind of volunteer work.  Why is it that it is considered more acceptable in our society to work with animals than with people?  Why would we rather save animals over people with disabilities?  Now I am not saying that working with those who have disabilities is better than working with animals, but I do wonder why working with animals is more popular.   Why do we, as a people, seem to have more compassion towards animals than to people with disabilities?  Is it because animals are cuter?   Because we secretly still believe that those with disabilities somehow deserve their hard life?  That they are paying for some family sin?

Animals may be cute and may feel good to pet, but I still do not think that that makes them worth more than taking care of our fellow human beings.  Being willing to work and play with those who have disabilities should be a part of being human-just like it is accepted that most people like to work and play with animals. I am not a better person for liking to play with people who happen to have developmental disabilities.  I am just a person who wishes that more people realized the potential for love, creativity, and joy that is within every one of us-disabled or able-bodied/minded.
funny pictures - how bout now?  do u see me now?
Recommended Links:

Feminist Armchair Regime - So Sexy It Hurts  
The idea of certain things being sexy, and especially of certain things/people being "too sexy" is a major issue within our society.  It results in slut-shaming. It's deeply tied to racism and makes it especially difficult for women of color to navigate the world, and even other feminist spaces and causes.

Letters from the Asylum - Junior Seau Suicide Link with Brain Trauma Misunderstood

Even if people claim in a suicide note that they are killing themselves out of losing money or a spouse, the root of it is depression because healthy minds handle that kind of trauma on a regular basis without committing suicide. It's depression that pushes people in these situations to think that their life is so worthless without money or their spouse that the answer is suicide. Feeling like suicide is your only choice after losing a lot of money or your spouse isn't a healthy re-action. Suicidal thinking is depression driving your actions, regardless of the trigger event (job loss, etc).

Views from the CouchStupid Things We Say  


           ‘Everything happens for a reason’:  
No shit, Sherlock. We all know that every action results in an equal and opposite reaction, we all know that death occurs because we aren’t immortal but I’m most confused by how this became the default expression of condolences. Who decided this was a comforting thing to say in the wake of a tragedy or grief?  An asshole, that’s who.

Womanist Musings - Anna Paquin Is Not Defending Her Bisexuality


The New York Post decided to name their piece, "Anna Paquin defends bisexual label despite being married, pregnant."  Personally, I found the title of this piece extremely bi-phobic because it suggests that if one is in a heterosexual relationship, that one suddenly stops being bisexual. When it comes to sexuality, too often it is reduced to a binary of straight or gay. This often results in bisexual people being accused of being in denial.


Womanist Musings - Pastor Sean Harris Advocates Beating The Gay Away


Children aren't our possessions even though they are vulnerable and dependent on us to take care of them.  If anything, their vulnerability and innocence makes us responsible for caring for them and respecting them as little people.


Fangs for the Fantasy - Magically Diverse, Humanly Erased


Unfortunately, it does make something glaring - we have these worlds with this vast diversity of monsters, but the humans within these stories are anything but diverse. We have these homogeneous worlds lacking in more than a token appearance of POC or GBLT people or other marginalised people. We can have this vast portrayal of every kind of creature imaginable - but only ever one or two kind of people.  […]  But so many authors get it wrong - they raid other cultures for myths and legends but make no attempt to include the culture or the people behind them. They appropriate the stories but not the people or culture behind them.  […]  It is galling to realise that suspension of disbelief can include 10 kinds vampries, demons and Were-Animal Planets but draws the line at including minorities.
Dances with Fat The Power of the Option
There are people right now who actively hate themselves and their bodies because they don’t know that there is another option.  People who believe that they don’t have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness until they are thin.  People who don’t know that they have the right to demand that they be treated with basic human respect.

When we stand up, speak out, and refuse to buy into the current culture of self-hatred, obesity hysteria, and thin obsession we don’t just model the option, we start being the option.