Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Humility is Never Bad

No one ever tells you... If you do it right, life will humble you.

As humans we tend to categorize and divide other humans. Ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, and socioeconomic status are just a few dividing factors. I was raised fairly middle class. I was blessed enough to go on a few trips as a kid, I always had what I needed, and I typically got what I wanted for Christmas and on my birthdays. So when I would see people with severe disabilities who may not have looked as clean as me or dressed as nicely as I did I internally put "those" people in a category that I would never be a part of. (Bear with me I was a kid)

A few blocks from the house I grew up in there was a low income building. The building was originally intended for those with all sorts of disabilities. While it has anyone who's eligible income wise there's a huge population of people with disabilities. Hence, growing up I saw many of "those" aforementioned people.

What my snobby younger self did not realize is people with disabilities are expected to live on roughly $700 a month. Why you ask?  Because even though a person as disabled as me would need to be making a 6 figure salary to pay my medical bills and caregivers the government thinks if I'm making the average 30k a year I don't need their help. So it forces people with disabilities to either be poor or figure out how to be well off. Do you know how hard it is to have nice clothes and hair on $700 a month? I certainly didn't. Do you know how hard it is to be as hygienic as you should be when you're only allotted a small number of caregiver hours a month and there happens to be over 700 hours in a month? Fortunately, I have amazing family and friends so I won't ever know that struggle first hand. Nonetheless it's a struggle for many.

As life would have it I am now living in that building near my childhood home. Every day I am encountering these people that I used to think were so different from me. But they're not. Up until now I was just living under better circumstances than they were.

I think I used to distance myself from lower income people with disabilities because I didn't want the world to think I was like them. But I am exactly like them. Which isn't anything negative but it's to say that according to society my biggest identifier isn't that I'm part black and it isn't even the fact that I'm a woman it's the fact that I have a disability and that on the surface level I'm not like them (them being everyone who's abled bodied). And you know what, I accept that. I accept the disabled category because I'm a firm believer that as soon as you know your place in life the sooner you can start breaking molds and creating positive changes.

Acceptance is humility. And humility is growth.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Long Time no Blog

(I had to take a break but I'm back again. I've come up with a new direction for my blog and I have lots of ideas.)

No one ever tells you...sometimes you won't feel anything and that is okay as long as you learn how to feel again in the relatively near future.

For those of you that haven't been keeping up with me, I recently moved into my very own apartment. It's a process I had started at 18 that I had given up on in recent years. Starting in May of this year I received notice that I had a meeting with the Seattle Housing Authority saying that I needed to come to an orientation meeting or I would be taken off the list. So I went not really expecting much. At the meeting I was told that one of the apartments I signed up for may have an available unit within the next 6 months to a year. It was excited and it was a time frame that felt realistic considering everything I would need to do.

Two months later it's July and I got a phone call from the apartment saying there was a unit available and I should look at it so I could sign the lease. And just like that my excitement started its descent into a feeling of dread. I didn't have the benefits I needed. I didn't have my caregivers lined up. I didn't even know how to start the whole process. It was now or never on the apartment though so I took a deep plunge and signed the lease.

Like a fool I gave myself a few months to move out of my mother's house. I had no time or energy to let myself feel much of any. I felt if I got too excited it wouldn't happen. If I got too worried I'd crack under the pressure and never move. I've never done well with too many emotions. I suppose I like to suppress them until I know how to better handle them.

Now I've been in my apartment for a week and I want to be super excited because I did this. Ecstasy is the appropriate response to this transition in my life. I have wanted to live on my own for years. And we live in a society that tells us to to always be doing and feeling something. For a few months I haven't felt anything. I haven't even been able to write anything decent. But today I woke up and I felt something other than well controlled apathy. I felt wonder that I actually did this. And I felt gratitude to everyone that helped me with my apartment and who will continue to help me. And I felt like writing which is always a good sign. I'm sure that soon I will feel happiness and excitement again.

It's okay to feel nothing when everyone expects you to feel a whole bunch of something. Life goes by fast and sometimes you might need time to process all the changes. Just try not to dwell too long in the world of apathy for it is gray and life is full of color.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't be Crippled or Crazy but Act it

As a child I wanted to be an actress. I took drama classes and even went to those auditions one hears about on the radio. I taught myself to cry on command. I was committed to becoming famous, in fact sometimes I still fantasize about rolling down the red carpet. Acting wasn't just some childhood pipe dream but at some point I realized it would never happen for me. I had a speech impediment. I was never going to be conventionally pretty enough for Hollywood. And lastly, there was no one in the movies or on TV who couldn't walk.

Now I can fully appreciate the fact that art imitates life and the sole purpose of an actor's job is to be something or someone that he or she isn't already. What I can't jive with is the fact that actors with disabilities are almost never hired for roles but their “normal” counterparts are often given the greatest awards for portraying the lives of those not as physically or mentally normal. Oscars aka The Academy Awards are the epitome of success in the movie industry. I haven't seen “The Theory of Everything,” so I won't be reviewing that. What I know is Eddie Redmayne just won an Oscar for portraying part of Stephen Hawkins' life. I may not be an Academy judge but it's safe to say Redmayne won Best Actor because they were awed by the fact that he could manipulate his body to look disabled and perform as such. I'm not saying that wasn't a daunting and exhausting task but stay with me.

Today I read an article saying that actors who have done roles playing people with mental or physical disabilities almost always win the coveted Best Actor award. I find this extremely irritating because it's perpetuating a double-standard. I can't speak for everyone that has a disability, especially a mental disability. But what I can say is I live in a world that was not made for people like me. A world that has made me feel like a second class human more than once. I don't always think this way, I typically ignore it because I'm used to adapting but sometimes I can't help but notice the signs. When traveling is harder than it needs to be. When people intentionally or unintentionally ostracize me. When I can't get in a building or fit in the restroom. The list goes on and these are all signs that I live in a world that technically doesn't want me. Correction they want me but not my disability because my disability isn't pleasant or easy to deal with.

So, Hollywood I do wonder why do you ignore the “weak” in real life but reward your own for playing us? I'm not good enough to be an actress but my life is interesting enough to glamorize on the big screen, right?

(Kudos to those with varying disabilities trying to make it on film or any other form of entertainment, for that matter.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Let's Get Kinky: 50 Shades of Grey

Since everyone is talking about it I might as well too. 50 Shades of Grey. I'll admit that when I was 19 or so I read books. I liked them well enough but at the end of the day it's just erotica. The plot line and writing are mediocre at best. Everyone knows that the only reason this book got popular is because of the kink factor. 
The older I get the more I see the flaws in this story. The author, E.L. James claims to have done a lot of research for these books but I don't see it. Now I I'm not a sex therapist but being that I've taken classes on the psychology behind sex and I read science based articles on every aspect of sex I think it's safe to say I'm pretty well informed on the BDSM subject of FoG. For those of you that don't know BDSM means bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism (you like to give pain) and masochism (you like receiving pain). 
My first issue with this story is that it implies that everyone in the BDSM community has issues. In FoG the two characters, Mrs. Robinson aka Elena and Christian Grey, who are active participants in the kinky are pretty messed up. Let's start with Christian. He refers to himself as "50 shades of fucked up," that's a direct quote from the book. He was neglected and abused as a child and as he became an adult he realized that he liked being the Dom of women that looked like his biological mother. Gross, I know. But before he realized he was a Dom he was a hurt and confused teenager who couldn't even be touched. Mrs. Robinson was his adoptive mother's best friend. Mrs. Robinson made Christian her sub when he was 15 and they continued that relationship for several years. A painful or sexual touch became the only touches he could handle. He says she helped him but I say she raped him. 
So there you have it: a victim and a pedo. And I don't know the exact statistics but I won't believe that everyone in the BDSM is either a victim or abuser. There are people that get into BDSM so they can abuse other people but that's not what the community is about at all. The foundations of the community are trust, lots of communication, and most of all mutual consent between adults which leads me to my next point. 
Anastasia is a naive virgin when she meets Grey. Throughout the whole series on a scale of 1-10, 1 being vanilla, do it in the dark, missionary and 10 being kinky, dungeons and dragons, BDSM freaky Anastasia is a solid 6 and Christian is a 9 (in my opinion). By the end of the series her love magically makes them sexually capable (that deserves a post all on its own). But before she "fixes" him she repeatedly says how abused and scared she feels. I'd give you some quotes but someone was nice enough to do it for me
If Christian was a real Dom he would have been more respectful of Anastasia's fears and made her feel safe. The fact that he won't let her see her friends, monitors her means of communication, and stalks her are all the signs of an abuser. To put the icing on the cake he buys her something after almost every time he gets too carried away with the sadism. It's like an after school special on domestic violence. 
As I said earlier I liked FoG well enough to read them all. I'm not going to berate the millions of people seeing this movie but I feel very ambivalent about seeing it and might not. If one only focuses on the sex and the budding romance without really thinking about any of it it's a fine story. But time and proper education can make you see many things under a different light and the complete misinterpretation of BDSM doesn't sit well with me. Besides the actor playing Christian Grey was supposed to look like sex on a stick and this dude does nothing for my libido, I digress. 
Anyway, Fifty Shades of Grey is nothing but a fiction story. Read the book don't, read the book. See the movie, don't see the movie. But stop debating about it all over the internet. Just hope people will be smart enough to differentiate between fantasy and reality.