'Let's preface this by saying that until a week ago I didn't know the song "Changes" was a David Bowie song.
Y'see, when I was a kid I thought Billy Idol was David Bowie and I just didn't have any clue what David Bowie sounded like. I didn't realize my heinous mistake until I told my boyfriend that my favorite David Bowie song was "White Wedding" and he nearly spit his drink. To this day, my instinct is still that Billy Idol songs "sound" like David Bowie and David Bowie's songs are a faceless mystery.
But, I digress. This post isn't about David Bowie at all. I just wanted to reference "Changes".
Because yes, there are a lot of changes going on here, folks. And it's all horrible, wonderful, electric excitement.
This weekend, a friend of mine complimented me about how friendly and extroverted my boyfriend and I are.
Yeah, be me and feel that internal record scratch.
I was polite and didn't go into a whole rant about it or anything. I just laughed it off and told her thank, but I was definitely an introvert. She was super kind and then just edited herself to say she admired how talkative I can be in a social setting even though I'm an introvert. Apparently (as she's an engineer like the boyfriend) a lot of her friends were the kind of people who would just quietly hide in the corners of social events and be very awkward about it. I, on the other hand, was leading the conversations with said boyfriend.
At this point, I didn't know how to explain all the disorderly and personal reasons I'm a talkative introvert. So, I just blamed it on being the only kid in a family full of adults.
But this isn't my first time dealing with the "extrovert" problem. Actually, I myself was team "call Stephanie an extrovert" for a long time. That is, until I got my head straight and realized that wasn't true at all. I learned that I am adept at the "extrovert" trick. AKA, despite my proclivities, I am fantastic at fooling people into thinking I am one.
Blogger's Note: Ah yes, I've infamously missed a blog post again. Well, I just really liked what I was writing and wanted to give myself more time to make sure it's a good story. Now shush and enjoy.
You know what fictional character makes me the most miserable?
Okay, ignoring the recent Joker situation.
The answer, shitty representation clowns aside, is Holden Caulfield.
After a whole week (read: life) of bitching about annoying, unrealistic representations of mental health, this weekend I watched something awesome. I know, real scary territory for me, not being able to be mad and ranting, but instead be proud and appreciative of something. It's very fresh and exciting for me.
With too much self-deprecating fanfare coming with it, enter the Amazon Prime original, Undone.
Oh boy, well this is where we get to have a fun, old school Stephanie rant.
So, let's talk about the word uncomfortable and trying to soften the blows for ableds and then only finding myself miserable because I tried to soften it and then only let other people undermine my needs. Y'know, the fun shit.
Anyway, so there's a certain movie that I've mentioned on here that I absolutely hate for its portrayal of mental health. Also, as a dumbass, I thought it would be chill to write a whole piece on the film. Yes, I made a grave error on my end.
Independence is already a tricky concept, but it’s even trickier as someone with disabilities. We grapple with it on many fronts, in some ways having to accept the things we can’t do and cling so tightly onto aspects of it that we have. It’s a double edged sword that never gets easier.
After all, the more independence we find, the drunker we get on it. But, as humans, the more independent we become, the harder it is to rely on other people, people that we love and need. And for disabled people, its even harder when we know we need people but sometimes find so much more satisfaction in not needing them.
I can’t speak on everyone’s experience, but I can speak on my own. And I personally struggle with independence like it’s a fucking demon on my back, but a demon that I’m madly in love with.
Author’s Note: Very fittingly, I got overwhelmed by all these emotions yesterday and forgot to post.
RIP me. Onward.
So, I had a plan for the blog today. I was going to type out this whole thing about how forums stepped up where school and my parents didn’t. They knew so much more about what I was going through then and they probably still do now. It was going to be all multi-year little stories, discussions on the topic, real fancy shit.
But nothing goes much to plan on this blog, do they?
I avoided making a blog post about this because I am really awkward about moving into new zones of disability that I’m not sure I apply to. I’m still not even sure. But the point isn’t the fact that I’m spectrum-ish, the point today is a piece of it that’s given me a lot of discomfort and pause.
Let’s talk about sensory overload and the fact it might have officially disabled me from doing something that everyone else does.
Let's tell a short little story about a 12 year old girl and a place called Athenadragia.
While that is the most embarrassing name for a fictional world, it was mine.
Athenadragia was a weird mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and urban fiction. There were typical high schools, fantastical monsters, space-ships, different species, kings and queens, the whole works. I was in love with this world, despite the fact I barely knew anything about it. Yes, I created a vague main planet and a bunch of different species, but I didn't really know what the world looked like. The power systems were confusing, my characters whirred back and forth between Athenadragia and modern-day Earth, it was super goddamn confusing.
And there were bad guys named Grominorks; I truly have no excuse for that.
So, there’s this guy in my life named Jasper.
And no, not my wonderful boyfriend I mention on here, though i definitely could do hundreds of appreciation posts on him.
No, this guy is a little bit smaller and a lot hairier. And yes, I know this bit is old but I couldn’t help myself.
Today, I wanted to talk about the love of my life, my goon-bug, my fluffy pumpkin, Jasper.
A little back story. Jasper is an all-black Italian Greyhound mix from California. He was found a stray but got picked up by a rescue group and brought to Washington state. Our theory is that someone let their full-breed, untouched Iggy out a little too much and they got pregnant. And then they let the babies go. Why? Because full bred Iggy’s are an expensive, popular breed and knowing this boy, he didn’t go anywhere without someone deliberately dropping him off.
My boyfriend and I have wanted a dog since college, but we were moving across state and the first place we found did not allow pets. We accepted that, but it didn’t stop us from looking.
Around March of 2018, I found this adorable little fluff on AdoptAPet named Jasper. He was at a local rescue and had the sweetest face. He has big, dark eyes and just looked so hopeful. There even was a video of him running, and he looked so overjoyed.
I loved him. He was my favorite dog I saw. But I never expected him to be available by the time we could get a dog, in June.
Months slowly roll by, and I was still looking. Every time I was shocked to see the little dark cuddle-ball was still up and open for adoption. I was floored. How could anyone look at his face and not want him?
Then it was June 7th, and our landlord approved us getting a pet. Even better, Jasper’s rescue had a meet and greet at our local Petsmart that Saturday. I emailed them if they could bring him; they said sure.
The second that boy walked through the door, I loved him. Obsessed with cheese and a little jumpy, he was so happy to lick our faces and decide that we were his. It was a whirlwind. Within half an hour, on June 9th, he was ours. And when we brought him home? He jumped onto the corner of our couch like it had always been his spot. He’s there right now, napping among all his favorite blankets.
I never knew I could love anyone like I love him. Yes, I love my boyfriend, but a caretaker role is so much different than loving someone like an equal partner. He is my baby and I love to see him doggy smile up at me. I’d do anything to make him happy.
And the best part is he’d do anything to make me happy, too. I’ve never met a dog so attuned with emotions. When people are sad or stressed out, he is desperate to get close and make them feel comfy and loved. He’s energetic and a morning dog, but days I feel horrible? He is happy to stay in bed with me and just keep me company.
People often question the aptitude of mentally ill people when it comes to caring for other living beings. But I think this kind of love helps make me more capable to do everything. Even on my worst days, I always make sure he is cared for. He is what gets me up when I’d rather fade into my bed. Loving him so much gave me that intrinsic motivation to be a little better, not anything else.
I’ve been fairly stable most of my time with my little handsome guy, so its not fair to say he saved my life. But he does improve my life in every way and makes me a better human, mental illness and all. I’m sure my eventual children will one day be the same.
So no one should dare tell me or anyone else what they’re capable of, not unless thy are a medical professional with specialties in my disorders. Otherwise, I’m the only one who can figure that out.
And I can thank Jasper for reminding me how capable I can be, even when I’m not okay.
Author's Note: this is a blog from my previous site, but it had such a good impact on people that I wanted to make sure it was brought over. It's still just as important as when I first wrote it.
2019’s The Joker is hands down the most traumatic and triggering mental health portrayal that I’ve seen in years, and not in any sort of positive way.
Anyone whose been here before, you’ve heard this phrase from me many times, but I am happy to say it again: the mentally ill are not just martyrs or villains. They are people.
And somehow The Joker makes Arthur Fleck both a martyr and a villain while playing hard and loose with his humanity. And watching it in a theater, hearing people laugh and cheer and play sinister music over moments that looked like stories I’d heard from people like me or experienced myself?
I had never felt so fucking dehumanized.