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YouTube Thursday


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m in the mood for some humour right about now. Plus I’ve been itching to post these YouTube videos and the opportunity just hasn’t come up yet.

So this YouTube Thursday is anything humorous.

Here’s a little something to get you into the mood:

And a bonus. I’ve been working on my French lately, and here’s a French word I can pronounce: parkour.

Disability Crossroads


So today during my regular counselling appointment, I was administered a short questionnaire. This questionnaire suggested (and I should note that it is a preliminary sort of thing) that I am moderately depressed, and near the high end of the range of responses for ‘moderate’ at that (that is, not far from being classified as severely depressed).

Well. Should this hold true under further scrutiny, it complicates my life immensely. This isn’t just because depression in general has that effect–it’s because the depression-related symptoms combine with my autism-related symptoms in NEW and EXCITING ways.

I can’t bring myself to get up and get food– Is it inertia? OR IS IT DEPRESSION?

I am confronted with a decision and am totally paralyzed by it– Is it executive function issues? OR IS IT DEPRESSION?

And on. And on. And on.

Furthermore! The issues I have due to autism can interfere with treatment for the depression-related ones! My problems Getting Shit Done are sure to make life difficult if I, say, am prescribed medication I have to renew regularly. My disinclination toward walking for no reason? Removes one of the easiest temporary remedies for depressive moods from the table. It’s likely there’s a reciprocal effect too–symptoms of depression affecting my ability to cope with autism-related ones–but I haven’t read as much about depression, so it’s harder for me to connect those dots.

Finally, one last complication. There are a lot of people who will just refuse to believe that I could possibly be both autistic and depressed. Mental issues are one per customer, didn’t you know? Especially when one of them is autism–I mean, for the longest time, it was coded into the definition that it couldn’t coexist with certain other conditions (which thankfully has since been revised). There’ll be people like my sister, who tells me I make up stuff to make myself seem more interesting. There’ll be people like my aunt, telling me that I just need to think more positively. There’ll be a lot of people looking at me askance for a lot of reasons, none of which, in all likelihood, will be valid.

So yeah. On the one hand, I’m excited for the possibility of treatment now that a (potential) problem has been identified. On the other hand, I’m bracing myself for a Whole Lot of Awful that is about to be headed my way.

The Fallout of Therapy


[It really should be counselling, but therapy sounds better in my head; and isn’t counselling a form of therapy?]

This is going to be a really emotional post for me, but damnit, I’m tired of crying.  So I’m going to take a stab at being ranty and angry instead.  It would probably help if I knew more swear words, but fuck it, I figure I’m in good company here.

in good company here

I just spent a good chunk of the day trying to stop weeping from the latest family counselling session.   Ah yes, my family is finally patching ourselves together to a resemblance of being functional (until the next bout of in-law drama starts up again), when my parents have to bring up plans for the future.

You know, the “what will happen to our lil’ disabled baby girl when we die and are gone?” Pleasant thoughts, ain’t it? Like I haven’t worried myself into panic attacks about this.  It doesn’t help that I can barely plan events within a month, never mind anything beyond a year.

So of course, I’m crying, cause the thought of me burying my folks rips open the scars in my heart, and I’m experiencing the grief of burying three grandparents, a beloved cat and a newborn god-daughter, all at once.  But oh yeah, my parents don’t realize that I have no filters for this kind of thing, and decide that I should talk about the first personal death I experienced, bringing up the whole fucking emotional bomb.

(I don’t know whether the filters thing is an autistic thing or not, and as I type this, I really don’t care) Read more…

Self Inflicted Abuse


[Trigger Warning]

Kowalski ranted about ableism and used a video about restraints to highlight a point in a post earlier this week. In watching that video I had some personal revelations. You see, having been institutionalized, restrained, and beaten I saw those same marks on my body. To my horror, one of the times I was locked up was for self-inflicted injury, and I had blocked out what really caused them via dissociation in order to survive. The memory unlocked. For once it didn’t feel like I was passing an intestinal blockage mentally, it was a simple click with a flood of images. The emotions are long ago dealt with enough that I was not overwhelmed.

This means victory of course, I know now that I was not beating myself. It was a lie my teacher told for her restraints. I remember the pressure on my back, the clicking sounds my joints made, the dislocations, and the soreness. I remember being told that I was bad. The livid marks of hands on my flesh were far too large for my hands, which stopped growing shortly after the restraints began. In my adulthood a bone scan showed tremendous amounts of fractures in my youth, guesstimated to be around the age of eight to thirteen when I was restrained regularly. My doctor was shocked. I was not.

[Trigger Warning, the link below is to a very graphic image.]

When you look at photographs of restraints, the deep purple bruising is usually an indicator of fracture. The welling pain that lasts for weeks that no one acknowledges because you were somehow less than? That’s the pain of a broken bone. My body is more fragile than most, and I once had four adults all of whom were on the heavier end of the weight spectrum sitting on me. I could not breathe. I passed out. I likely was en-route to the grave and it is only via some sort of demented “luck” that I live.

The pain of broken bones is something I live with constantly now as my back is broken but, it was worse than because I was told pain meant laziness. I took in this concept that any pain meant I just had to push harder and harder until I literally broke my own spirit. The pain of the broken bones and life long PTSD, gas lighting, and fear of being crushed alive is not enough however, the worst was solitary confinement.

The isolation room or time out room as they call it was a torture chamber. Any child who went in there had no lights, no sounds, it was sensory deprivation. You had to sit in the dark to think about what makes you so wicked when usually your crime was something as simple as having a question or being bored as your mind and body are neglected. The isolation room is what I have nightmares over still, the darkness, the waiting to be let out. The small space so like the closets my parents confined me in. Their home-made torture and abuse frightens me with how much it mirrors these corrective behaviors. Read more…

Geek Stuff: The Next Green Lantern


Comic drawing of a fierce looking red-headed woman sitting in a wheelchair.

Artwork for the cover of Birds of Prey 83 (Aug, 2005). Art by Adriana Melo.

No, DC Comics is not suggesting changing the current line up now that the War of Light is concluding. Nope. I however have auditioned for a voice role in a Green Lantern series. I think I have it based on some of the conversations that have been had, the real question is which role, I went for all the ones that I felt I could handle. This has led to my brushing up on my Green Lantern. I noticed a lacking… there are no female Lanterns from Earth, and the female Lanterns tend to die, all be married, with kids, or are Jade. Jade isn’t really even a Lantern. She’s Alan Scott‘s daughter who happens to have a conduit in her body that pulls like the ring. Jade is also characterized as extremely co-dependent, weak, and in my opinion annoying. She was killed off in 2006 and people cheered.

M and I were discussing Green Lanterns and he asked a question that caused a funny answer. “Why isn’t there a disabled Green Lantern? Is there a good reason?” He was worried I’d be upset he asked, because I tend to rant about all things comics, and know my stuff. If I am unsure of something, I grab a comic and look it up. (I have digital copies of my comics to compensate for my visual impairment, so this is even easier now)

There is no good reason. The ring creates a shell around the Lantern, and it uses will power and visual imagination. While I do not consider my autism disabling, I know aspects can be and it’s accepted as a disability. I think the next Green Lantern should be a woman or an intersexed human from earth, a person of color, and an autistic. Since I think in pictures, and have heard that generally most autistics do too (but not all) this would be an asset. Living in a world that impairs you based on prejudice also means most of us have a good handle on will power.

I believe will power is a learned trait. It is something you must learn as a part of discipline, survival, and function. Most people have more will than they give themselves credit for. Any temptation rejected from an extra brownie that you know will make you constipated on through stealing is a form of will power. It is your will to supercede desires with logic. It is your will to choose need over want.

Another reason this Lantern needs to be female and a leading role is this. In the world of comic books, there are few examples of women being anything other than supporting characters. Women are merely plot devices to be thrown away. Their deaths are meant to make us feel for the men with little regard for the effects this has on women in general or the female comic book reader. Women are disposable commodities. However, in the world of storytelling it is rare that the title holder of a comic book will be killed off, and if they do, invariably they return. Wonder Woman is an example of this. She may not sell as well as Batman and Superman, but a lot of this is in marketing. If you do not market a product (and characters ARE products) then it is impossible to sell it.

This potential character could create an array of opportunities. If she is a person of color, the color does not matter (though I don’t mean green like Jade) as much as the fact that another white character will have less impact. With the minority groups increasing in numbers, a smart marketing move would be to pander to this and to create balance. This character could be asexual, bisexual, gay, or even straight and would still be dynamic and fascinating

Some groups may protest that we Disableds have Oracle, and that should be enough to satiate our needs. For me, it has been a great journey to watch a character develop from just another cape into someone with depth. However there are so many variants on what disabled means to the individual that there should be no limit to the impairments that can be had by a hero.

Furthermore, all great characters need weaknesses. A giant space battle could be a place where the stimulation gets to be too much, endangering our hero. If she loses focus with her ring she will suffocate in space, her blood boiling out in seconds! Her personal life could be a shambles, and her new career as a Lantern could tax her further. There is great potential for story with drama, rich plot, and in the end a high level of humanity with this idea.

Guest Blogger The Untoward Lady: Patronising Me to Death


[Cross-posted from The Vibrating Square, posted with author’s permission by Lindsay]

The bus is a dangerous place for me.  It’s not unusual for me to be the recipient of a great deal of inappropriate behaviour aimed my direction because I’m disabled/transgender/a woman.  I’ve had everything from people blatantly mocking my disability to asking me about my sex life out of the blue, to yelling slurs, to trying to buy sex, to following me off the bus with intent to rape me.  The list goes on.  I’m not here to talk about any of those things today.  Today I want to talk about what happens when people want to be “nice” to me and end up putting me in jeopardy.

I’ll give you an example: Tonight somebody, after watching me convulse for a few minutes, caught my eye and winked at me.

Here’s the thing: when someone pays attention to me in that way, when someone is unusually friendly towards me, when someone is patronising, I don’t know what their intentions are.   I don’t know if they’ve just had a good day and are feeling like being very friendly to people around them.   I don’t know if they think I’m cute and just want to innocently let me know they find me attractive.  More troubling, I don’t know if they’re interpreting my disability as cognitive disability, insanity, generalised “speshulness,” or some other category of people whom they like to look down on and feel that it would be a good idea to patronise me to make me feel good about myself.

Most importantly: I don’t know if they’re a predator looking at me as a vulnerable person to take advantage of and potentially rape.  It has happened, I have had people follow me off the bus, or try to follow me off the bus several times.  Another time, I was almost raped by a predator who picked me up while riding the bus and followed me off.  This is a very serious issue for myself and people like myself.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a good guy, I have no way of knowing you’re a decent person.  So yes, this does apply to you, too.

When someone winks at me, or pays excess attention to me, or keeps smiling at me, whatever: they make it more difficult for me to protect myself.  I don’t know when it’s safe for me to get off the bus.  I don’t know if I need to feign an earlier bus stop and transfer buses or double back in order to keep a predator from knowing where I live.  I don’t know if someone wants to rape me or just thinks I’m oh so adorable.  Add on to all of this the fact that I’m autistic.  It makes it so hard for me to spot the actual predators, the actual people who want to do me harm (and people do want to do me harm).  It overwhelms me and forces me to overlook real danger just to be able to get through my day.

Patronisation removes my ability to assess my social environment and in doing so it removes my ability to look out for my own safety and defend myself.  This hurts me and causes me real harm.


ps: it’s condescending and insulting as well.

The Untoward Lady is a transgendered woman with multiple disabilities who blogs about social justice issues, particularly the intersection between gender and disability. Her blog is called The Vibrating Square. ~Lindsay.

Sunday Spoons: Berry Good Smoothie


Time for another tasty recipe!

This is a “meal replacement” for when my stomach hurts. If I can’t eat a solid meal I mix this up. It’s something I can do myself, or I can get a caregiver to make just as easily. Depending on your blender it should take between 2 minutes and five.


  • 1 Cup Frozen Red Raspberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 2 Cups Vanilla Yogurt
  • 3 Cups Milk (more or less depending on your taste)


Take your blender and set it up. Mine is a hand-held system, so I mostly just connect the blade and then pour the stuff into the blending cup. Once you have your blender ready add in the fruit before the yogurt. This will keep the yogurt from binding to the blades. Pour the milk in last, and make sure it at least covers the fruit. The less solid you want your food the more milk goes in. I use 1% skim milk and low-fat yogurt as cholesterol is a concern, so if you are on a low-fat diet, this should still be friendly to your belly.

The next step is the most fun. Blend until the mix turns a sort of purple color and is completely creamy. I dislike the sound of the blender but watching the colors swirl is definitely amusing. Pour into two cups, a bowl, or just eat it out of the blending container with a really big spoon. That’s it!

Garnish Suggestions:

  • Whipped Cream with a cherry on top
  • Whipped Cream

A final note, at least in the US you can buy a pre-made mix with the berries and yogurt in a two serving packet from Yoplait. I keep these on hand if measuring is too much for me. I buy them at Costco. It is $13.00 for 12 servings as opposed to the same package at a regular grocery store being $6 for a single serving.


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