Catnip: Aztec Animal Clinic

Aztec Animal Clinic is located at 4340 Coal SE, Albuquerque NM 87108

Their Phone Number is : 505-265-4939

No one ever wants to need a veterinary hospital for their animals, and yet this is the best one I have ever been in. In previous places I had faced discrimination based on my disability, financial recriminations for being a poor person and daring to have an animal companion, and just a general process of humans being devalued. Needless to say my writing this should indicate none of that happened here.

At the Aztec Clinic my cat and I were valued equally, and highly. My financial limitations were respected, and every single doctor I dealt with made me feel safe and I had no hesitation on trusting them. I worked mostly with Benoit Bouchet, but several of their doctors were helpful in dealing with Nymph’s critical illness.

From my first phone call when dealing with their receptionists and asking about pricing on through my most recent visit, not my last by any means, there was no problem with my need to keep in mind my wallet. There were suggestions made on how I could help make ends meet and other hospitals were mentioned as places I might try. Aztec turned out to be the least costly and the best equipped for my veterinary needs.

My first visit we met the founder of the clinic, Dr. Truesdell, she was warm, understanding, and I didn’t feel like there was any grating despite my Autism always being a factor in conversation. Especially during times of stress. In fact, I appreciated how up front everyone was with me, each doctor asked me if they needed to sugar coat things, though they phrased that far better than I did. I was given the communication I needed. I was unaware she had founded the hospital at the time, or I would have had more faith on my next visit where we met Dr.Bouchet. He continued this trend, and each of the techs that I worked with, there were so many and I cannot recall all of their names, each one was the epitome of professional without professionalism being used to distance them from their clients.

Wait, there’s more. The receptionists, I worked mostly with Hope, 9/10 calls Hope answered and that is why she gets mentioned. She was great with me on the phone, and I will be honest, the phone is where I sound like I am a rabid badger. She was great in person. She was great even when I wasn’t sure how to answer a question. The amount of patience and actual care these people have just knocks my socks off. It was at a point where I was actually disappointed when Hope didn’t answer the first time, until my discovery that each of her colleagues has the same skills.

I wish I could go into detail with my experience here, but as I did on other pages of this blog and that writing is very sad, I want to try and keep this light hearted. This Catnip Award is the most well deserved so far, out of a tradition of only the best meeting my standards.

As always this means the ADA must be met, and then surpassed. The only flaw is their front door, but as the staff will help you, other clients will help you and I do believe the door was light enough, though M the Carer is the person who handled it the most often, it isn’t an object. The rooms, even their smaller rooms, are large enough for me and my chair, as well as other people. Their wheelchair friendly room is huge! In fact, I could navigate the space easily. There are enough places to sit where I wasn’t exposed to dog without my say so, which is incredible to me.

Even the lighting and decorations are soothing, this place was built to echo the chambers of your heart, a place of love.

Frankly even if they are no longer the cheapest vet, they are my vet. If you want a veterinary experience full of love that helps you and your pet to heal? Go to the Aztec Animal Clinic!

For more, please visit their website. http://www.aztecanimalclinic.com/

All The Things (Poem)

All the little things you have yet to do
I see them laid out before you
Just one step forward and then there’s hope
Just one step forward and then there’s more

I see the shining future
I see your greatness now
I see what worlds you can change
I see what worlds you have

I see the friends you have made
I see the friends still waiting
I see the love that you do offer
and I accept it willingly

So don’t mind my tears
They are for the future
They are for me
For no matter where you go
No matter what you do
You are always going to be shining and sweet

All the things you have yet to do will wait
For the things you do now matter
The love you share
The minds you open
The laughter you cause
The warm unbroken

All the things I want for you
They are here in your heart
I love you
So no matter what
You are in my heart.

Karma (Trigger Warning)

Do unto others as they shall do unto you. What goes around comes around. Karma in the western world has been described to be swift and almost instant. Traditionally as you trace it’s origin back Karma becomes something for the next life. If you work hard and are good in this life, in your next life you will have happiness, freedom from pain, and joy. You may end up as an animal. a bug, or a human. Humanity supposedly is the top of the spiritual totem pole before you reach ascension.

This is a super watered down explanation of Karma but without researching Karma itself and the religions that teach it, this is likely all you will learn. I have heard my entire life how evil I must be. In Christianity it was whispers about my mother, that she did something to deserve a heinous child like me. When I started practicing Buddhism and learning about every religion I could in my quest to find what I could believe in? I was told over and over I did something in my past life and this is part of my Karmic reward.

Horrible pain, repeat abuse, being treated as a subhuman. Yep. This is all self inflicted. I chose through actions that have been described to me as ranging from being a thief through murdering babies. The extremeness of the crime varying depending on whomever was trying to translate my Karma for me’s perspective on disability. Not once was I told anything good about me now. Based on past transgressions I am convicted without evidence, merely the hearsay of my spine and brain.

In this moment I am questioning my faith. I cannot stop it. I am angry with those who teach religion. Jaded16 posted a commentary on Womanist Musings about Shakti, which is power. She questions her religion. I have written countless times about how many times my asking questions to understand has caused others to reject me and now I am rejecting Karma. I do not believe that Karma is being taught properly.

For as long as I can remember I have loved before anything else. I have been swift to open my heart and even through the built up pain and the slow burning hatred of family that has developed, the distrust of others, I still love before all else. I tried to stop this once, and it nearly killed me. I don’t want bad things to happen to people. I work so hard to hide this part of me that I have a front of violence to protect my heart.

If I was born with this capacity to love, then how could I be some monster in a past life? Why would I be punished now when I love? This is not logical for me. I think of all the love I have tried to give or even just kindness, respect, or acknowledgment of humanity and all I have received from the majority is a statement that I am evil, a demon, or deserving of punishment.

Karma is disability hatred. Karma is being used as an excuse to debase people based on some small flaw, the flaw in the eye of the beholder. Karma is used to reject the fact that I am a person and it is used to excuse those that harm me.

Karma, I believe in some of the concepts but not that I am cursed by a past life. I cannot believe so and love myself. I am tired of feeling as if by feeling love I am going to be attacked. I can name many people I love, yet I cannot admit it out loud. I am so terrified that by loving someone or something it will either hurt me or be taken away that I can barely commit to a new cat in my life. The only reason I could do this was for Sprite’s well being. Even then I had a clause set out in case the commitment was too much. Incase I failed to love.

In my life I have had my defenses taken from me. I have been told many times to not fight back against oppressors lest they oppress me further. I have been told it is wrong to steal food when I am starving because I may go hungry in my future. There is no future if I am beaten to death or die from starvation. I have been told I am not a person because my body marks me as Other.

All of this under the word Karma. It is the same as when my father raped me in the name of the Christian God. God wanted him to wound me physically so that I now am worried about dating because I will have to explain the scars on the inside of my body if I allow another penis or fingers inside of me. If I make love to someone first I must expose my most vulnerable self to them in a way that I can barely write out. I must find those words and risk rejection because of our victim blaming rape culture.

When I am told that Karma will take care of those who wound me, I am being told that I shouldn’t bother trying to escape my “fate”. I am being told that I shouldn’t speak up. I am being told that I shouldn’t argue for my energy or health. I am being told that I am guilty if I do what is right for me.

I have realized more internalized abuse. I am too flexible with people, allowing them to stay in my life because they may suffer if I push back. Lately this has shown up clearest with caregivers. Each one has had an excuse for why it’s okay for me to be left in a state where it is clear they are not doing their job. “If you speak out my child will suffer.” “I will lose my job and have to quit school.” “It’s just this once, don’t say anything it was a mistake.” “If you report me, it’s bad Karma.”

Caregiverrs have said each of these things to me. Each one has goaded me because they are a human. I am expected to hunger, to feel pain, to lose things, to have my life be a shambles for their convenience. I am expected to pity my mother for choosing to eschew her education and her choice to embrace the very abuses that her own religion preaches instead of thinking. I am expected to pity someone for being less intelligent than I am.

I am tired of having to waste my energy on someone else’s conception of Karma. I no longer accept this entity called Karma. I will have another name for my beliefs. I wlll not accept the idea that your choices impacting you is my fault. I will not settle for second best. I am aware that I am intelligent and I will seek intelligence. If my body is in pain due to Karma, I did not deserve the abuses that put me into this state. It is the Karma waiting for others that they will face. It is my choice in how I deal with it but my disabilities are a marker of my survival. They are the war wounds of a soldier in a vicious battle that is pushed aside often for the comfort of others.

I am declaring war on this misinterpretation of Karma. No longer will I be told that this is my doing, that I chose to be beaten, starved, and broken. I will instead push those people away. I have people in my life like M that do not think I am a product of Karma, that love me. It is time for me to cut off people who aren’t worth my time.

I want to have more energy to talk with my friends, many of whom I have met through this blog. I want to have more energy to support them in their endeavors, and to succeed in my own. I want to have time to explore the world, and I want to have adventures again. I don’t give a (censored) about your feelings anymore abusers. I have to love me too. Loving me means leaving you to face your own version of Karma as cause and effect bite you in your butt. I will no longer deny that I like softer feelings of love, sometimes like pink, and truly relish my label of cat lady. I chose that label. I have desired it since I was a child.

I will embrace my creativity, even if it means someone is uncomfortable with what I choose to do. I will paint my walls red if I want to. I will sing. I will dance. I will not accommodate anyone else, because the people that matter don’t need accommodation that costs me anything and therefore I will meet their needs without even trying. I will not try and stretch myself to oblivion tolerating you. You can stay away unless you actually know how to learn. Only people who want knowledge are welcome in my life.

Honor

I was going to write about caregivers and privilege. I probably will since I actually have more class privilege than my caregiver, and this is creating an interesting (and positive) dynamic. Now that you are enticed for future writing, I want to just share something small. We all know my wheelchair is being difficult. My readers (that’d be you!) helped pay for a repair or I would be starved out already and have given up on being independent. It’s hard to be independent when you can’t pee when YOU want darn it! The chair is broken again, and has been deemed unrepairable. The anticipation of being told yes, I can be evaluated for a new powerchair (not a promise but at least it is a start) has left me looking at some of my freetime, activities I had to give up because of disability.

I never stopped reading the emails from the listserv, but because of a confluence of events my hopes are high. Not so high that disappointment will crush me but high enough that I made it known I am attempting a return. In reply, the question was asked, can I use a manual chair and if so there was one for me to take. I feel honored. I have been silent for two years with this group. My hopes are a bit higher now. Part of why I can maybe play more is the location of events is moving with in a distance that I feel comfortable trying to bus to and from. With a proper chair, there is the option of being able to ride the bus.

Freedom is just out of reach, and it is a tantalizing torment!

Conformity (Trigger Warning)

I have learned to conform. I am an adult woman with Autism. I am a public speaker. I am a writer. I seem social. I can be the social butterfly. I learned to be a chameleon through abuse. You adapt to survive, at least I did. My name is Kat and I am guilty of self abuse and the perpetuation of the normalacy stereotype.

I realized it today, it is a revelation I have had several times. I do things to blend in, when it hurts me. I am learning how to stop. I avoided using a wheelchair for two years too long because I wanted to blend in. I wanted to pass for normal. I remember the first time I was told by my mother that I was not normal, she did it first you see. She told me I was weird first. I had a date, it was Valentines day and I was four years old. My neighbor Jeremy asked me to the dance. I remember my mother curling my hair, I remember the texture of my dress, it was a silky satin with velvet dots. Red and white of course. I went and pulled on a red sock and a white stock, and then put on my white shoes and proudly went to wait for my date. She even let me put on some lipgloss.

She shamed me. She used my full name, something that my mother only does if you are in trouble, and she said, “Only a stupid person would wear their socks that way.” It may not be word for word, the memory is filtered through damaged moments and is fractured. It’s just a flash amid other flashes. I can remember the dance more clearly. I remember she asked why I was wearing them that way. She jokes about it now but leaves out that she first shamed me, I replied with, “One sock is red and it matches the spots the other is white and matches the white.” I wore my mismatched socks to the dance. My date brought me flowers, he even kissed me on the cheek when I came home. His mother of course drove us, and we even got to go have pizza for dinner. It was sweet, yet also reflected two children trying to mirror the hetero-normitive behaviors of their parents.

By the time the weekend was over I knew to never wear mismatched socks. The rest of the weekend is melted away into a blitz of abuse, pain, the normalacy of my then home. I remember my neighbor Mr.Chang watching. I remember just crying in his arms. I remember his wife saying she thought it was a good idea, but the damage was done. I did my best to always match. You must never mismatch. The result is that I dropped color from my clothes, starting with my socks. They all had to be the same color. The older I got the less color variation existed until for the last decade all I wore is black. You can’t be made fun of for being fat if you wear black and no one can tell you that you are stupid for not having things match to their tastes. I like color, I like to wear what feels good. I still think my outfit was damned good but now, if I like something and want to buy it and it is not black I have to fight with myself, and usually I lose. Mother’s Perfect Person wins.

MPP is the one that knows you always make eye contact. I hate eye contact. I can’t put into words why but your eyes are creepy, so I don’t want to see them. Mine too for some I am sure. I can’t remember if it was Mother or HIM (this HIM is my biological tissue donor aka Daddy). I was bad for something, it was a small something but I couldn’t look at him. Him was loud, him was angry, and his eyes were bad. “Look me in the eye young lady.” I tried, but I couldn’t do it. There was bright light too, and I was small and he was big. He was close so looking into his eyes meant standing funny. If I did that he’d hurt me. It was another line of pain. Some of these weekends of abuse probably are just a montage my mind has made up of suppressed memory particles, as for flashes I am different ages or not in the same clothes. Still I was slapped and pinched and punched until I could look him in the eye. MPP kicks in with every conversation. “You can’t get too close,d on’t be too quiet, don’t be too loud, don’t fidget, don’t breathe too much, don’t eat where people can see you, you are too fat anyway.” There is a check list for how I interact. I try to avoid using it now.

The more stressed I am the harder it is to not use the MPP check list of Perfect Person. Even if I do it all right I am still the weird kid. I will always be on the outside. Sometimes I wonder if the MPP list is what beauty pagent children learn, those girls with the big hair and horribly terrifying make up. They are what MPP is in my head. Stand up straight, smile, make eye conact but don’t stare. It hurts to waste energy on this. Most of the list is gone but eye contact? Nope, I still stare at the forehead or behind you slightly, or just over you. I can’t look away, I can’t blink sometimes. I get told I am so intense, but it’s just because I am trying to multi task. Remembering when to pivot slightly so I don’t look like I am ignoring you and staring over your head. Saying the right things back…

I never could afford the actual right clothes, I never could manage to truly pass but I mastered normal behavior. Normal means to me suppressing what you feel, not speaking out when someone does something wrong, always admitting you are imperfect IE you must be humble, don’t admit you are smart because the men may feel bad, after all a good wife is humble, quiet, and like a child only speaks when spoken to. I think I married the wrong man because of MPP. I didn’t realize I could tell him that his sex was god awful. I didn’t realize that he was wrong for me even because I just didn’t have the skills.

I hear so often that autistic people can learn to blend in. I am proof we can but I also know the cost. If I had been allowed to be myself, I wouldn’t have become a criminal. I assaulted someone in school because I couldn’t deal with what she was doing and I couldn’t be PERFECT anymore. This person was my “best friend” as well. I nearly killed her because of a culmination of break down, because I learned to blend in. It made the news again recently, some poor autistic person being forced to endure water being dripped on them until they stop freaking out, their body scrubbed with a brush until they don’t want to tear their clothes off, loud sounds until they learn to not cry when they hear them.

Learning behaviors to hide the things that are wrong to us is not CURING Autism. It is abuse. The cure for autism is child abuse. I remember birthdays. My family lumps all the birthdays in September into one party. We always went to Pistol Pete’s Pizza. I never remember having fun, I remember always being driven to tears because it was too over whelming. No one ever bothered to ask why I was over stimulated every time, it was instead something I was mocked for, beaten over and punished. I still cannot go into those places but at least my food allergies protect me. Loud crowded places are torture but I was not allowed to not go, and when I had a melt down I was beaten publically. Never once did anyone say a word, because I was an awful child for being upset when I should just have fun with sirens wailing in my ears.

I am writing this while triggered, because you trying to cure my Autism is a trigger. I can self advocate but I think I could have done that if I wasn’t abused much more freely. When you touch me and I punch you, that is a side effect of the abuse. I wouldn’t hit if I wasn’t tortured. All the bad smells, the bad textures, the torture, it wasn’t just my parents either. Nor did any of us know I am a person with Autism. Other children mimicked their parents and did things that hurt, the parents who weren’t mine but were strangers did so, principles did so, though one of them actually tried to help me. Teachers did so, though again there were those that tried to help me.

I have survived an onslaught of violence against my identity. I have given up my birthname because if I use it, I cannot be me. That is a different person that you and your kind murdered long ago. Some of you may say “If you were diagnosed you would be dead”. You are wrong. If i was diagnosed I would probably have had some kind of HELP. I am twenty five years old and until two years ago I had no HELP. I was just ‘eccentric’. I am unable to stop crying right now because of your cures.

Without being beaten into conformity I wouldn’t be trapped by my wheelchair which is broken again. I wouldn’t NEED it. Without being beaten into conformity I wouldn’t have lost my job, the one that lead me to more pain and suffering. I wouldn’t have been broken and not known it. Without being beaten into conformity I would not be afraid to create.

My Autism was never cured. My independance was, my identity was, my ability to dream was, my hope was, I was cured of being able to make friends, I was cured of hope, I was cured of self confidence, I was cured of any vestige of peace. I have had to find a cure for the cures and that is a life time in the making. I know that many punishments I faced would not have been torture if I wasn’t Autistic. If the demons that you see Autism as were accepted, if I was an equal citizen I would have been able to be helped.

As an adult looking back I can see countless people who should have done something, some who knew. I remember the moment each one of them turned away and chose to do nothing. Each and every child that has their autism cured through violence, sensory torture, and other forms of “cure” that are advertised is a child that you are guilty of murdering. The body can live on but the soul rots from the pain. Every child that learns to act the part of Perfect Person, every single one of them is a child that learns that their own dreams, life, and what makes them who they are is evil. Every one of us is a child that grows up and either perpetuates your cycle of violence or must break it. You set us back from evolution. You set us back into prisons.

My mother apologized for not protecting me as a child. She said the words in December, and as I learn who I am each day as I try and come back from another round of attempted murder? All I can think of is… what if she had even tried once? What made me so bad that I wasn’t worth protecting or saving? The answer is nothing. There is nothing wrong with your Autistic child, they merely are unable to see the world through your eyes. Can you see exactly what another “normal” person does anyway?

What I really want is my mother to realize that it wasn’t a lack of protection that hurt me so much as the actions on her part that also are abuse. I want her to see that doing nothing isn’t all she did. Every time she couldn’t get out of bed and I had to compensate for her, most of the time poorly by her standards, and she yelled at me for failing? That was abuse. Every time she tried to make me seem normal, every time she hid my bruises, every time she ignored the fact that maybe my wanting to kill her husband meant he was bad not me? Abuse.

Some of my rage at her has to do with what she did to make me conform. She never once apologized for forcing me to take drugs. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti individuality. Yes some people need them but she never considered that the problems weren’t in my head. I was given drugs that weren’t legal for children to take, some weren’t FDA approved, and many were recalled because of liver damage or other DANGEROUS side effects. Now that I need something like that, there is nothing I can take because my body already has a reaction to everything. The cost of conformity was trying to suppress any feeling. If I felt any anger it meant they upped the meds. If that didn’t work they added meds. I dealt with drug interactions. I was her child. All she wanted was for me to be perfect, was that too much to ask of me?

Is it any wonder I thought she didn’t love me? I still don’t think she does. I do not know if I can love her. I didn’t even know I could love until HIM (exhusband Him not the other HIM). When I did love it turned into something so horrible. The only reason I know I can love is someone else but if I mentioned that person to her she would just belittle my friendship. Is it any wonder I thought that I should kill her? Maybe it would stop hurting then.

I spent years having dangerously long nose bleeds from the drugs, but the drugs were more important to her than I was. I got off of them by trickery. I asked if I could try going off of them and she said no. I had missed a single dose and had felt better so I wanted to try at least lowering them. She told my doctor absolutely no. There was never discussion about what I wanted or even asking me if I felt it was working. If there was, I can’t remember. What if so many of my missing memories aren’t suppressed but I was too DRUGGED to remember?

My trick? I didn’t argue in the office. I just pretended to take them. I stepped down and didn’t go cold turkey aware that this was how you do it. I took a pill out of the bottle at each appropriate time and would let her see me take it, then coughed it back up. I never took them with food just in case. Three months passed and my mother complimented the doctor on his choice of medication. She had never seen me happier or so functional.

I told them then, I went off the meds anyway. My mother freaked out. She demanded I go back on, but I replied, “You said you haven’t seen me this healthy, so I don’t think so. I went off with in two weeks of the previous appointment and I am not going to take whatever he prescribes. Sorry I had to waste your money,” she’d complained of course that I cost her money. I walked out. That was the last time I took medication that I didn’t think I needed.

This is why I have suffered my pain, this is why for years I refused to take any pain medicine even though it made me mean and nonfunctional. I don’t know if I can ever forgive her. I don’t hate her… I just find I care less and less everyday. Yes if she dies I will cry but I suspect it will be about what might have been. I didn’t cry at all over the psychopath she married. I cried for my brother. Will I cry for her? Will it be out of love? Will I even want to go to her funeral? I know I will but I also know I will endure abuse by going… so maybe I won’t.

I am tired of conformity. I haven’t conformed for several years. Conformity is expensive anyway. I write, and that goes against my mother’s ideal of conformity. I wrote a novel once, and the computer, back ups, and even the monitor were all destroyed. By HER. I stopped writing for many years because of my mother. She expects that I will not recall perhaps? She expects me to love her unconditionally? I used to. I don’t believe in unconditional love over all, I think it is rare. I don’t know if I even love my older siblings. I loathe them, but I don’t know that I truly care about their successes or failings… after all, they were considered normal and were given everything.

I do love my younger siblings but, I find they grow more and more distant all the time… because no one wants a weird older sister. I am weird. I am Autistic. I am creative. I am default goth. I am the crazy cat lady. I am a person whose life story when shared with people is often told she lies. I am cured of my normalacy… I am cured of conformity. My dyed black hair with bright red roots? I can’t afford to dye it again… and I think I am starting to like it.

The Cliche of Anger

I am tired, in massive pain, and yet I still am riding on the waves of fulfillment. I worked an entire week straight. I am taking a few more days to get back to my standard however, and reminded myself why I do not work in a traditional manner. I would have been fired today for being unable to wear standard clothing for one, and my attitude for another. Every action I take, every interaction I am bogged down by references to the past, lessons, and reminders. I hear my mother’s voice most clearly, and that is not something I welcome. I want to be an individual not the product of my family.

I wasn’t going to post until tomorrow but I was reading a few pages over at Womanist Musings. The proprietor of Womanist Musings has recently outed herself as being amid the disabled. She is beginning to run into the challenges of being suddenly unwelcome, invisible, and at times hated for merely existing. Today one of the commenters told her that she should start a civil rights movement, ignoring the fact that the disabled community has been pulling for equal rights for as long as other civil rights movements have been in effect. Before we go on, I want to remind you my dear reader that every single civil rights movement hasn’t ended, and that the fight for equality is on going no matter what your ism is. This reader seemed to think that a few protests fix everything.

This ignores the protests in New York, the individuals who do sacrifice their energy and at times sanity to try and force businesses to comply with the laws, and it ignores the fact that there are those who came before you and I. This is an erasure of our history. I responded with snideness and sarcasm, ignoring for the few moments it took to suggest a hacksaw so she could remove her legs as “easily” as I can get off of my scooter, the voice of my mother. “All disabled people are angry, they think they have rights.” I am aware that it is the events of today that shape the memories that seem to nitpick at us. Before I was disabled my sexuality was most often the harbinger of a Mommy Memory. “Bisexuals are selfish, they just want to have sex with as many people as possible.” Every time I went to flirt with a woman or a man, I heard something like that.

The myth of anger is just that, a myth. It erases the happy moments with friends and family, it erases the moments where competent and open minded people realize that everyone has rights. The myth of anger is often used to subjugate. Stop being angry, so that I can continue to oppress you. That is what I hear. The expectation that an entire group of people must never feel one emotion is ridiculous yet this is foisted on women of color, the disabled, homosexuals, and countless other oppressed groups, all to control us. Anger is forbidden.

Many times when I am smiling, I am told, “This inaccessible area will be fixed soon, we swear!” The tone is always frantic, that hint of “Oh god she will be mad that we haven’t done this yet.” It doesn’t matter that I am smiling and just nod and say, “Great, thanks for letting me know.” The fear of my anger, which is some how more toxic than their anger or fear is there. I still don’t understand it, but, I see this often. The times when I am angry, I am also not heard. It’s enough for me to want to go back to trying to be Super Cripple, but, I won’t do that.

My anger is valid. Your anger is valid. Anger is not a reason to oppress, discriminate, or subjugate. Anger is not an excuse to not build the ramp in an accessible manner, and anger is not an excuse to try to “just get rid of” someone. I am tired today, and I am trying to seem reasonable. My mind is far from reasonable. I am in truth alone, and am having a small tantrum every time I need to get up to move. My fiance forgot to feed the cats, which merited an hour of sitting there whining about how I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I can’t bend, and their bowls are on the floor.

It wasn’t anger that had me make a really big mess trying to feed them either. That was love. They were hungry so I fed them, without bending. (Sorry honey, but the kitties have to eat too!) It won’t be anger that I let him know he forgot either, but amusement. Every emotion that I have is not anger. The lessons that our parents teach us, may shape what we see but it is the choice that I made in my first experience with disability as an adult that showed me otherwise. I chose to not see anger.

It’s really that simple. Demeaning an entire group of people does cause anger. If you fear our anger so much, stop discriminating. If you come near me right this second and discriminate I will show you anger, but I won’t run you down with my scooter. That’d hurt me too, and you just aren’t worth my time or pain.

To my friends, allies, and fellow disabled persons, don’t forget that every moment that we are alive is the revolution for our people. Every time we are seen out of our homes, with our assistance equipment, service animals, and even having issues, this is our revolution. VIVA LA REVOLUCION! Free my people!

Nightmares

I haven’t had nightmares since my father died. I didn’t notice they were gone at first, because I tend to only have nightmares when I am tired or when I am stressed. Yesterday I was tired and stressed. I curled up to sleep, taking the time to play some music for William so he would sleep and allowing Sprite to lay sprawled over my hips, which pins me in that position until she moves. This is comforting to me. I drifted off into the twilight that comes before sleep and felt the slight pang of fear, wondering what my dreams would bring.

I remember most of my dreams in vivid detail, and last night I simply dreamed of Super Heroes without villains. They had nothing to do and it was a strange mix of Batman and Hal Jordan from the DC universe sipping tea and staring at one another. There were no words, but it appears that the heroes who inhabited my dreams, fighting off the dark monsters have won. I think it was pomegranate tea.

I remember the smells, and as I crept through what my brain deemed Wayne Manor I found only happy things. It was strange, and when I woke, after a 12 hour dead to the world sleep my first thought was, “Huh… I wonder what that was about.” What does it mean when your heroes run out of villains?

After some rumination I decided my brain is well aware of my ability to fend for myself. The one threat that I could not cope with due to the fear, the flashbacks, and the training from infanthood, is gone. My brain embraced this. One of the truest tests of this is finding silence, nothing but happiness even with the Batman in my brain.

Yesterday I ran into people from the last four years, and I found myself frustrated by the repercussions of those roommates. The credit being taken for my work had an effect, and left me aching a bit. The happiness however, at the true friends that I still have was overreaching.

I went to an SCA event for the College of Blaiddwyn, and I pillaged. My medieval persona (who I dress up as) is a norse female who happens to love Pillaging. I start with a fellow viking, a specific individual and then pillage the rest in my own shallow representation of history. I told stories as well in a competition. It was beautiful, it was fun, and I came home with a sense of satisfaction that I only obtain in the SCA. I missed it.

I will upload videos of my stories and some pictures for you all to check out soon. You can appreciate the awesomeness of my hobby horse on the scooter, I named him Wilbur. I found bits of myself i thought were gone forever. Perhaps it was this wholeness that allowed Batman to take his tea. I wonder if he uses cream and sugar.

With fulfillment comes peace. I forgot who said that. Perhaps it was my Sensei, but, I was fulfilled in a thousand ways with in the last few weeks. A lot of that fulfillment is from writing this blog. Though I may become a more sporadic poster, I am alive.

I look forward to telling you of my adventures with the two young women who are marrying one another, with in the SCA, and as I begin to persue the only job I really know how to do in a classic profession (Public Speaking). I specify in a classic profession as I can do many things, and always have layered my life with the things that please me.

Now for the first time in my life all I choose to do is for myself, or my person. For the first time in my life it is mine and mine alone. Even with a commitment to share my life with people I love, it is my choice. When I started this blog a month and a half ago it was at the start of this adventure. It has just begun but in that short time I have come so far, and i am bringing you all with me.

I can’t do this alone, yet, it is for me that I act. I haven’t felt such power since I started dancing. Dance, sing, and find what gives you this strong sense of peace and joy. Change what needs to be changed for the better, and love yourself. A lot of the private correspondence from this blog comes from people in need of love. The best person to find that love with is yourself. I know it is a cliche, yet it is cliched because it is true.

I also offer you something that my neighbor and Sensei taught me. It comes from the Buddhist tradition. He said, “The strongest Love is Wishing love.” What is wishing love? “Wishing love is the love in your heart that comes with each breath. The joy you feel for life, and the love for anyone. I feel wishing love for you. I feel wishing love for my wife. Wishing love is the love for all people and living things. I even feel wishing love for the people who made me cry.” Why? Why love? “Love is powerful, Little Lotus. Love can help you survive anything. When you hurt in here.” His hand on my heart,”Remember that I love you.” He kissed my forehead and sent me home. I wondered then if I could feel wishing love.

I feel wishing love. Remember, when you are afraid, I love you. When you are alone, I love you. I love everyone in this world. I loved even my father with Wishing Love. I will never forget the pain, but I will also never forget the first moment of love. I will never forget the strange sensation in my heart. It felt as if I could do anything. It still does and I can. So can you.

Wishing Love-
I will cry for you
I will live for you
I will laugh with you
I will love you.
I wish you love
I give you love
Wishing Love
Potent Love.
I wish you life.
I wish you joy.
I wish you mercy.
I wish you peace.
I wish you guidance.
May you find those who can lead you in the path of life, until you can lead another.

One persons Courage…

You hear about it in the news, inspirational articles, and in the whispers of people discussing someone’s life. Sometimes you hear it to your face. “You are so courageous.” I have been facing my fears lately and there has been some courage yet, most of what people tell me is courage is merely a will to live. Is the Will to Live what makes us couragous? Does this invalidate courage?

When I hear about someone being courageous, brave, or something along that line the picture in my mind is a bit gender normative and sexist. It’s a brave soldier in a black and white movie with bombs exploding behind him rescuing the little woman and running away from gunfire without breaking a sweat. I am well aware this is a very skewed image that remains in my mind. I use this image to invalidate my own experience often.

How can I be courageous? I just didn’t give up. I didn’t notice it until tonight. Giving the speech about my Thirty Seconds, I was reminded it is courageous to save a life. I found myself afraid of those words. Why fear courage? I think it is the responsibility to be something more than human that the media shows us courage is. Batman is couragous. He’s a super hero. I am just a small and broken woman at the end of her endurance trying to make it through every day.

I am trying to teach myself what courage can be, beyond the black and white John Wayne dreams. I am trying to teach myself that courage is simply living. Transgendered people who have the courage to go through the change, to live in the sex that fits their minds and not their bodies are courageous because it is their will to live. They can die for being who they are.

How terrifying it must be to have to pee in public. How terrifying it must be to go clothes shopping, to go out and feel that fear… what if someone figures out who they are and in their ridiculous hatred they attack? That is courage. It is also horribly sad that we live in a world where it is not a hate crime to attack a trans individual. I didn’t know that until recently, I thought that it was a hate crime. It should be. Living without a legal saftey net, living without basic human respect, and living without the ability to be accepted by any other minority (except for some of us who actually do care) takes courage. There are trans persons who are unable to live as they wish, because it is too dangerous.

It takes courage to live at all. It takes courage for the college student to go to her late night class, because she hears all the warnings about rape. It takes courage for the woman who was date raped to speak up, risking victim blaming and slut shaming. It takes courage for the teen mother to take pride in being a mother, bucking against the stereotypes about teen mothers. It takes courage for the disabled man to go up a flight of stairs on his hands and knees to see if his able bodied friends and family are alright after hearing a gunshot. He couldn’t escape if there was a killer. That is courage.

To revile the word courage is to revile the act of living. It takes courage for our students to go to school. We live in a world where the terror of school shootings is very real, where the hate that a disabled student feels can destroy their minds and their souls. We live in a world where there is no safe haven. It takes courage to raise a child with disabilities and to love them. It takes courage to admit that you are disabled.

It takes courage to say that you do not want to see a movie because it is full of sexism. It takes courage to be a Womanist. It takes courage to be a Feminist. It takes courage to be an advocate. It takes courage to write. It takes courage to cry. It takes courage to go out, knowing discrimination is waiting for you. It takes courage to date a person who is of another color. It takes courage to love someone who is of the same sex.

In a world as full of toxic messages, it is cowardly to defame courage. To hold the power to inspire one person is enough to change the world. To inspire countless thousands? That is a gift unparalleled. Forgive me for feeling that I was unworthy of the word courage.

I have been courageous. I am courageous to write about my time as a Victim. I am courageous to have ideas and to share them. I am courageous to start a business during a Depression.

You are courageous too. I am sure you can list ways you are courageous. I would like the comments on this post to be dedicated to your courage. What have you done that is courageous today?

Today my act of courage is to start planning the wedding ceremony for two young women in love. My acts of courage in life will include officiating their wedding ceremony. I do this with pride, and to honor their love and the courage it takes to stand up and proudly say, “I am Gay, I am Pagan, and I am in Love!”

Thank you for your life. Thank you for your courage.

Violence (Trigger Warning)

I keep rewriting this post. Violence is bad. We all know this. Violence is often celebrated in our culture. In the US most of the television shows, even for children, include some sort of violence or attempt to teach children what boys do and what girls do. Girls like fashion, pink, and hair. Boys like to fight, are great leaders, and work. Bull pucky. The media also rarely illustrates that women can be violent.

I am capable of killing. I am not capable of murder. I know that if I had to kill someone to defend myself or the ones I love, I could. I discovered this when I was young. I am very loyal, it is a part of my nature to protect people. This does come from my history with violent abuse. If I could take the pain then I could save my sister or brother. They used to do that as well. Each one of us did our best to be the only one in pain. I am capable of killing, but, I never have.

I have had run ins with so many things, my life sometimes reads like a fiction novel. I never used to think about writing nonfiction, so afraid of being told I had dreamed it all. My biological mother and I talked on the phone today, partially about violence. The violence of doctors.

When I was eight I began to see a psychologist. After the first meeting they handed my mother a prescription for Zoloft. The pills made me sleepy. I hated taking them, because I couldn’t think. My father was still around, and taking the pills at his house always meant more pain. My reflexes were already slow, how could I fight back? I mentioned this to my doctor and the threat came. “If you do not take your pills you will be locked up with the other worthless children.” This doctor was a man, I remember falling silent, wishing to tell my mother. He threatened too that if I told her that she would be sent away, abandoning the others. I took the pills.

This man is no longer a doctor, he tried this on a competent adult a few years ago. There was a scandal, it made the papers. This was just after I fired him. He was the first doctor I fired. I spent years after that taking more and more pills. At one time I was on six antidepressants, an anti psychotic, an anti epileptic medication that they thought would make me not depressed, birth control pills to try and force my body to have a period, and a few other things.

When I threw up, I had to take a second dose. Doctor’s orders. There are chunks of my life lost not just to suppressed memories but to my brain shutting down from the constant overdose. Most of the medications I was on were not approved for children, just adults over the age of eighteen. I reacted to most of them. Being allergic to so much, that is no surprise. Throwing up, bleeding with each dose, and hallucinations weren’t big enough side effects to be taken off of the drugs.

I was more violent during that time, as they tried to fix a chemical imbalance that did not exist, due to the drugs. They are not the only reason I lashed out at the world. Abuse does that, it teaches people to strike before they get hurt. I barely remember assaulting my best friend in High School. She touched my sandwich and teased me for it. I remember the anger and seeing her on the floor but not the act of hitting her in the head with a chunk of wood.

This was caught on film, there were witnesses. I went into a psychotic rage over food. I have some serious food issues, and I thought she was going to take my food. The fear of being deprived was so strong, that I had to protect myself. This was what I knew, I never knew people could share. I was a beast, primal in my reactions. She did not suffer permanent damage but was hospitalized for it. This lead to the only psychiatric hospitalization that benefited me. Hospital hiding the institution, feeding on itself and drugging children. Teaching them first hand who Nurse Ratchet was.

The reason being I finally needed help. I was shunted around the state, with my history and diagnoses no one wanted to treat me. It feels familiar at times with doctors, sending needles into my heart. I was misdiagnosed with mental health conditions. One to explain every disability. I was accused of things, such as self mutilation that came from my disabilities. I was lazy, I was stupid, I was just not good enough. Years of that, a decade in fact, of being told how worthless I was by doctors and I did not trust them.

I was sent to an experimental facility. The Ranch, as my family calls it, was a peer support program. We did see therapists, and we did have medication given to us but we lived in a boarding school environment. The program depended on it’s recipients to function. This made a difference, as I found people my age I could talk to. This was a first. I also learned I was not alone. At the other facilities you were shoved in until you behaved for three days or so, then went home. In and out like a yo yo.

Each of the children at the Ranch had been in and out as well. Most were not from New Mexico, but a few of us were granted access to keep diversity up. There was violence there, though there was also nature. The Ranch is the only place I have ever been able to drink the water. The water came straight out of the ground. The first thing the doctors did was take me off all of my meds. They gave me two months before they started me on another. They came so close to freeing me from my shackles of medication. The medicine they put me on did change things, it seemed to reverse some of the damage to my brain from the drugs that came before. I stopped losing my hair, I gained some weight and lost some girth. I even began to smile sometimes.

I also met horses. I was one with nature there. There was silence at times, and there was bonding. That was where I learned I could love. The fact is, my father was a diagnosed psychopath. Even knowing this these “great” doctors did not seem to consider that my behavior was environmental. The ranch is where I learned about PTSD. It is also where I learned that flashbacks were not just my burden.

One of the other dorms, full of boys, found a dog. I was triggered when the dog came to us bleeding. The flashback lasted for six hours. I relieved my father killing people’s pets because I liked them. I still cannot go into detail on those horrors without triggering myself. This poor dog was hungry, lost in the middle of no where, and then was assaulted. When he came to our dorm, my brain left. I woke up, and found that the world had for once stopped for me.

This was my turning point. It wasn’t being threatened with institutionalization in the adult hospital, it wasn’t the new drug. It was coming back to myself and finding that every girl had stopped what they were doing, had sat in a circle around me and the dog to which I was clinging and waited. When I stopped screaming, apparently I had been, my roommate asked what happened. When I told them, no one told me I lied, no one told me it was my fault. The first time in my life, someone hugged me and cried with me. No one punished me for needing help, a first in my life.

I was on the cusp of adulthood when this finally happened. I was about to reach a point of no return, trapped in the system. They saved me from my violence, and I saved them in turn. I love each of those girls still. Someday I may cross their paths again, though I do not plan to admit it to them if I do. We each deserve the right to deny our childhoods to an extent.

I spent my childhood dying daily. I am certain that not every therapist was bad, I do not remember them if they were not. I only remember the incidents of threat, of lies, and of burden. Child psychologists often can get away with crimes and breaking the rules of conduct that their profession has. Not all of them do, but, an adult has power over a child. A psychologist is alone for at least an hour with a child, and some of them abuse this power. I had one who found out I would turn on her like a dog hit one too many times. She spent the sessions telling me about her husband’s erectile dysfunction, and telling me I was fat. The male doctor who gave me the pills threatened me each time with different torments. One of the other psychologists took part in encouraging the children at my school to burn me at the stake.

It is no wonder that I hated the world. Until the ranch only a few teachers had ever shown me adults could manage to not hurt me. Each of them saved a part of my soul, saved a fragment of hope from the violence. My mother did try, but, it seemed hopeless that any of her children would turn out to be a healthy adult. How could we? She wasn’t. We only knew violence.

Perhaps the violence I know tempered me? I doubt it. I believe it was the small bits of love I could find. I do not believe the Ranch did all the work in saving me, I think instead they unburied the ground work set by another.

After Toastmasters I will write of my first Sensei, I will tell you of my time as Little Lotus and how the Batman was my father until I was six. It sounds silly, and the fantasy was. It still held violence but my Sensei taught me ways to thrive, not just survive. I will also write about my experience with hate and nearly being burned as a witch.

We, the subjects of oppression are forbidden anger, we are forbidden violence. Even when it is used against us, violence is often attributed to us. Those with mental health issues, mental disabilities, and physical disabilities are vulnerable to violence in unique ways. When defending ourselves we are demonized. Women who show anger are told to simmer down, they are told that their anger is inappropriate. Some are raped to control their power, to try and punish them for anger. Persons of Color of any gender are also forbidden anger. The stereotypes tell how violent they are, and yet when a man is shot down for his skin color and people get angry, the murdering cops get away with it because the people get angry.

Violence is all around us, it is on the TV, it is in books, it is in my beloved comic books. Violence is in our history. It is sadly in our future. I mourn for all the children and those who once were children who know violence. The kiss of violence is the scar of fear, the spectre of disillusionment, and the taste of bitterness that shatters dreams.

Violence is the most horrifying entity that has ever been introduced into society. Violence is not a part of human nature, it was taught. We learned it from somewhere. Violence is not never ending. The cycle can be broken. I have broken the cycle in my family. Even when attacked I try to protect myself without violence. How do you survive violence? How do you endure?

Anger is violent. Violence is a poison. My antidote for violence is to sing, to write, or to create something. To be violent is to become what you fear. Fear can turn to anger, anger turns into violence. The cycle swirls around. I created this post not just to educate, but to share. I want to share my peace. In order to do that, you must see my pain too. I fear these words most of all, therefore I offer them up to transform and fly into the universe like butterflies, unlocking the caged minds of others. I write these words not with anger, but with sorrow for who I was, mourning for the death of innocence as I knew it, and with love. The love is not just for myself, though I truly love myself. It is Wishing Love, I wish love upon each and every person in this world.

I wish love upon you, for whoever you are you do deserve love. I may know you, I may not. I embrace you with my soul. I offer you a haven of knowledge, a haven of peace, and a haven of change. I am a butterfly. Here you too may learn to fly.

Thank You is Sometimes All You Can Say.

This feels strange, to write. I am going to go for a crown. It took me a very long time to become aware of my own value, and through the Ms Wheelchair USA program, I can not only show my own skills and confidence but I get to hopefully inspire other women and men to be confidence. I have conversations daily with my friends, sometimes strangers, and every so often in the mirror with myself when my pain has me grasping for strength I am sure I will not find about confidence and value.

I minister aid to those in need. Today I recieved two gifts. One, is the first donation for my campaign towards the Crown, and the other was a bottle of holywater. I will not discuss my religion here, as I do not think that has bearing on who I am or what I am capable of doing, but I see this as a beautiful thing.

The woman who sent me the holy water is one of my strangers. It was just before Christmas and I went with a friend to the bookstore. Meandering we agreed to meet at the coffee shop and I went rolling through the shop. She looked happy, except her eyes. I remember how utterly void of joy they were, and she couldn’t seem to stop staring, so, I struck up a conversation with her about the books on the table. She didn’t take long to open up to me. I remember my utter shock at her telling me she was going to commit suicide. I responded before I thought with, “Why would you want to do a thing like that?” After an h our of conversation we hugged. I rarely hug people because it pains me, but, she needed a hug more than anything else. She told me she wanted to send me a package and after meeting me she couldn’t kill¬† herself. Our conversation touched on the spiritual, but mostly her need to be someone. She had forgotten herself for years to be a mother to a disabled child, and now her own grand child was disabled and she couldn’t fathom happiness for anyone. Today I recieved a thank you card, and the bottle from a local blessed spring. It reminded me of my power to inspire people. I did not need a reminder to know I am good, but, the reminder that I can touch people by being who I am was a surprise.

I then talked with a male friend of mine who often forgets to love himself. For years he has battled this and tonight I shared with him how I learned to love myself. I started telling myself three times a day in the mirror I love you. That was all I saw myself, when washing my hands. Then, I wrote on my stomach, legs and anywhere that was invisible to others, I love me. I love me. Over and over. It took a long time, then I started to believe it. Mike and I met over something daring, I did something that I might be ashamed of now, online as many others do. The evidence is thankfully washed away by server errors and time. I had made myself do something out of character, to see what would happen. I never went back in my shell. I instead became a real girl. No more hiding, no more sorrow. Shortly after this I broke my back, and had to resume chanting how much I love me. I still do some days, to help myself along when the pain burns me through and I forget that I am more than a disabled chick who can barely walk. When homeless Mike fed me, he even helped pay for Sprite the Service Cat’s vet bills. He is amazing, and, I hope that he remembers that. He reminds me of who I used to be, and even admits when he is wrong. A very rare individual whom I appreciate. He is who I turn to when even my well worn tactics fail, he can always make me smile and is the Brother of My Soul. He is greatness himself, and proved to me, before any other male could, that not all men are evil. Without him, I would still be fighting daily to not feel afraid in this world. Instead I feel love and warmth even in my darkest hours.

Then, I went into my favorite IRC, dedicated to graphic programers who make animal skins for IMVU, a 3D Instant messenger and started talking with a brilliant young woman. Her name, posted with Permission, is Weesha. We talk often, though the last few months before I started this blog that contact was rare due to no internet connection. I told her of my discovery, just before the deadline and without enough time, this year, to dedicate to my new goal of Ms Wheelchair USA. We brainstormed for ways that she can help me to spread the word about MWUSA, to reach my goal, and so that people can learn about my Platform. I haven’t finished fine tuning the platform yet, but tonight she spread the word far enough that the first donation was made by Jen, a person of similar interests, taste, and a person who deserves a very special thank you. My wonderful day started off in tears and has blossomed into a garden of delights.

I just want to say thank you, these people are beyond special. May any who read these words have as dear friends and family as I have. They feed my soul, they nourish my dreams, and wish for the dreams of all to come true. They deserve as much as they give. Each one has their hopes and dreams and this, dear readers, is my hope for them.

For Information on Ms Wheelchair USA please visit their website. There you can learn about the current Crown holder Beryl Holzbach.  I saw some of her youtube videos today and was brought to tears, mourning what is, and hoping that her advocacy brings great strides to the medical field.

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