Fat Girl Stories: Cyber-ly Abled

So when I watched Avatar and saw Jake, unable to walk and in a wheelchair, take on a Na’vi body that allowed him to not only walk, but even run, I felt pangs of jealousy.

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“In Real Life” Reality

I have not been able to walk very far for several years. After the Gastric Bypass in 2001, I lost lots of weight (which I have gained most of back), but also any calcium I took in wasn’t absorbed and now I have osteoporosis.

I have broken my feet (both) two times from trying to walk to lose weight and again last year falling up some stairs. I have broken my left foot requiring 3 surgeries after falling off a Wii Fit board, also trying to lose weight. Ironically, I fell over a balance scale in 1995 and broke my right ankle and that required 2 surgeries to repair and left me unable to walk but to the bathroom for almost 3 years. I am quite accustomed to the post-surgical boots now.

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(And no, losing weight will not fix it. It could make them hurt less, but trying to lose weight when you cannot exercise is a distinct challenge. Even swimming, I have cracked a bone in the top of my foot.)

I have been counseled several times to get an electric wheelchair, but have balked. Now with the new #NotMyPresident coming into power, I might have lost my window for getting one with insurance paying. Instead, I use a walker when I have to walk somewhere (therapist’s or doctor’s office, for example) or an electric cart if they have one (Target, Costco, etc.). I no longer walk in the mall, Disney World, concerts or go anywhere I have to walk further than about 4 minutes and when I do, I go very slow to preserve my bones.

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Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is used for a variety of rehabilitative purposes, including with autism and others who need help acclimating after an injury that changes the person’s abilities. It is used with spinal cord injuries to teach folks how to move and even walk again.

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Even so, there are detractors, saying:

Some people also worry that steady exposure to virtual reality could alter the way people perceive the real world. Concerns have also been raised about the effects of people mostly communicating with others online. But on the other hand the internet and VR-enhanced communications can also be a great way of bringing people around the world closer together and enable disabled people with restricted mobility and independence, to interact with a wider network of people.

The thing is, I am not playing with Virtual Reality, but am creating my own Scenes, scenarios, storylines and community online through my writing. But yes, I know being online has increased my interactions with others… absolutely.

Cyber-Reality

When I am online, which is a lot, I am freed from those pesky real life limitations of being fat and physically disabled. I am able to walk miles, run through (metaphoric) meadows, sit on my cub’s lap and do all the things I ache to do in real life that will never happen again. I feel like Jake; freed from the constraints of my flesh and (brittle) boned body.

I cannot go out for coffee or have delicious sex as much as I desire because of my physical restrictions. Online, my life is robust and I would say almost completely satisfying. I miss my kids and grandbabies and miss going to Disney World (and those are enormous things to miss), but other than that, I am pretty content where I am behind the screen. I never want to be in a face-to-face lover relationship again; my virtual one is amazing and I embrace it fully.

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I love being able to have unencumbered sex with my sweet osezno, relieved of the logistics that real life would dictate. And what’s wonderful is he, too, is able to suspend reality, allowing me to be free… outside my body… and flying inside my mind. It is a gift he allows me that is completely dependent on the mechanism with which we communicate; the computer. Together, we tangle, we swirl together, we move around as if we were two feathers dancing on a current of air. Real life sex was never so uninhibited. It is a joy to be in this luscious place without my lifelong concerns… and occasional anguish… revolving around my body size, history of sexual abuse or even (seemingly) illogical psychiatric issues.

It is in these beautiful places that I do, most assuredly, feel cyber-ly abled.

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The Maze

I read articles or blog posts and love to share them with my cub. He is brilliant and has his (professional) hands in many different specialties, including history, law and geopolitics.

What is amazing is how we both come to two totally different conclusions about the same pieces of journalism or commentary despite an overall agreement with many social issues.

I have come to call this The Maze.

My View of the Maze

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I look at the articles and posts from far above, hovering in a hot air balloon. I read and then draw conclusions from the whole. I am able to set aside any conflicts within the piece or can integrate the contradictions as part of my take away.

Another aspect that I do is unquestioningly believe the person speaking. Especially if they are within an oppressed group. It is almost as if I bow down to their expressions of dissatisfaction, anger or even hate, and will accept the blame for them because I am White.

I tend to think this comes from the very submissive way I (literally and figuratively) walk through the world: eyes down, moving out of the way of someone walking even if I have the right of way, apologizing for bumping into someone even if it is their fault and on and on. Clearly socialized girl behavior.

I am able to write and speak out against oppression however (my Tumblr and this blog are two examples), but when it comes to my voice versus theirs, I defer and allow theirs to soar over mine.

My cub’s View of the Maze

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My cublet, on the other hand, is inside the maze, using a magnifying glass, able to see the veins on the leaves and any added droplets that might be falling from the author’s fingers. He sees the most amazing details that I either missed or overlooked, bringing them to clarity and verbalizing their importance within the context of his knowledge and experience.

He says, “Big red flags flew up.”

I am baffled how he sees these things I missed, but he is right much of the time and I am so thankful I have someone off which to bounce these ideas… someone with his knowledge and education.

The most profound piece of his knowledge that is incredibly foreign to me is when he says:

I want to stop police brutality but that doesn’t mean I have to stop thinking. I take the words of a black person very seriously on this issue, but they can be wrong.

Being oppressed does not bestow perfect clarity or give access to some eternal truth. 

PoC disagree with each other (so why can’t we disagree with them, too?).

I still don’t know what to do with that information even though intellectually, I know he is absolutely correct. Can I disagree with a Black person or Person of Color when they speak their Truth? Do I really have to accept, as a whole, every. single. word. they say as The Correct Way to Think?

You can’t see it, but I promise, I am processing these new ideas as fast, but as thoroughly, as I can.

Combined Views of the Maze

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What I do know now is that when my cub and I discuss the goings on of the world, I am being introduced to new ways of thinking… and he says he is, too. I find this pretty amazing considering I am 55-years old and have discussed oppression for at least 30 years.

We both think so differently from each other, it is in my getting closer to the maze… and for him to pull back some… that I believe I am able to find a new place of balance (he can speak for himself).

And balance is always a good thing.

 

Don’t Call Me an Ally

The Word “Ally”

I have chosen not to call myself an ally… first, because I don’t believe I can name myself an ally, but that it is a word given… graced upon one from the main group itself.

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Gee Lowery of the Onyx Truth explains in brilliant detail why I know I am not anywhere near ally status at this point. They say, in “Dear White Allies, I’m Not Really Interested In Being An Ally With You“:

The day your so-called ally status can prevent a cop from developing irrational fears of Black people & prevent cops from going into itchy trigger finger mode is the day you might actually become a true ally.  The day your so-called ally status you seek can get a cop sentenced to prison for taking the life of an unarmed Black person, you might actually become a true ally.  The day your so-called ally status decides to vote to funnel necessary funds into these Black communities that have high levels of Black on Black crime to create economic & educational opportunities so that Black people in these communities won’t have to resort to a life of crime, you might actually be a true ally.  The day your so-called ally status walks up to a political figure with an agenda that is SPECIFICALLY catered towards BLACK PEOPLE that deals with OUR issues ONLY…not this “minority” double talk bullshit…you might actually become an ally.  The day your so-called ally status allows for you come up from behind that computer or smartphone to venture off into the Black community to spend your money in Black establishments as much as possible in order to further help the wheels of Black economic empowerment roll along, you might actually become a true ally.  Until you can actually do that, then what the hell are you actually good for?

My Challenges

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Even to me, I sound like I am making excuses for not being more active, but I know these are my very real limitations: my disabilities (including my size), my mental illness and my financial status.

I cannot physically go out and demonstrate without being in amazing pain as well as the logistical issue of being trapped or hurt if a confrontation with people or the police occurred. I would be a liability instead of a help. Just writing that makes me sad, but I have to soothe my Activist Self with I have marched for LGBT rights, rights for people of size, against the Iraq war and any number of other causes and issues over the last 30+ years.

What I Can Do

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I might forever remain on that bottom rung of the Ally ladder, the top being awarded the Ally Medal of Honor, but I can only do what I can do. (I keep repeating that to myself to assuage my feelings of inadequacy.)

  • I can write: Blog posts. Comments to other blog posts and articles. Tumblr posts. Tweets. Comments to both posts and Tweets.
  • I can give rides to those who need them to get them off the street and out of harm’s way.
  • I can get a tattoo that represents my support for different people and their fighting oppression. At the moment, the Safety Pin is the concept with an LGBTQIA+ rainbow, a Muslim flag…not sure what exactly yet, but something from Islam…, a peace sign, probably a rainbow one combining the two symbols… a #BLM and a flag for immigrants… probably Cuban because I am born of a Cuban Refugee even though they/we are not the Refugees of the Minute. I want a tattoo to show my support… a symbol of support that cannot be taken off like a safety pin. Hijabis, Blacks, People of Color, Disabled folks and many Gay or Transfolks cannot just take off the parts of themselves that bring, not just oppression, but (especially now), violence and death. And I have been looking deeply at my motivation for the tattoo. Is it to make me feel better with my White Guilt? Or is it really as a demonstration of solidarity. At this moment, I feel it is the latter. I have until December 6, 2016 to figure it out.

I don’t want anyone to feel alone, especially in this political climate.

I am here and I am not going away.

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Stunned, Shocked & Saddened…

Started writing 11/9/16

… along with many of you.

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Stunned

I did not watch the returns last night. Instead, I relied on my cub to give me the information when something big happened. At one point, on a trip to the kitchen for a Diet Coke, I saw the map of the United States. And it was bleeding.

I was horrified.

By the time mi osezno went to bed at 1am, we knew what the outcome was going to be. And it wasn’t in our favor.

I was on Tumblr with hundreds of others, looking periodically at Facebook, and could see the emotional turmoil the results were causing, hearing murmurs that turned to cries, saying they wanted to die… that life without Obamacare, without LGBTQI+ rights, without mental health care, without disability services, without honoring a woman’s choice to abortion and birth control, knowing that people of color and Muslims wore targets on their backs, that the closing of our borders might mean not seeing family or friends for many (far too many) years.

I went into helper mode. I reblogged Help Lines, Hot Lines, Text Suicide Prevention Lines, messaged those who seemed especially desperate, left comments on several posts that expressed extreme despair and pain.

I did not cry.

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artist, Helena Wierzbicki

Shocked

I went to bed at 3:30am after taking a few calls for work, slept eh… not the best… and got up for the day at 9am. I had to do errands and knew I wanted to wear black today, expressing my mourning for what could have been. I took a shower, put makeup on and then draped myself in black from head to toe, including earrings and bracelet.

I headed to Costco and was there at opening. I use the electric cart thingie and cruised around thinking, “Hmmm, you haven’t cried one tear over this. Maybe your head-in-the-sand trick of not watching the news lately has made you more in-the-moment than you thought!”

And then I was at the prepared cold foods part of the store and stopped from getting to the chicken I need for the dogs by a woman with her toddler poring over the enchiladas. She apologized and I told her I was in no hurry, to take her time. Then I kinda mumbled something about THE ELECTION and not having anywhere to go… and she groaned. She asked me if I could believe what happened and I said I could not, that I was baffled by what happened.

I said to her, “I never knew there was so much hate around me.” She did not answer (she is black). Being femme and white, I pass (too fucking much for my taste at the moment) and told her I was lesbian and had brown children so I feel some of their hate, too.

Then I started crying. She pulled her toddling daughter over with her and stepped towards me, putting one arm around my shoulder. I apologized saying I hadn’t cried one tear until that moment. And I looked up and she was crying! I reached up and we held each other crying for probably a minute or so. It was so tender. I can still smell her scent.

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artist, Jessica Rimondi

Saddened

I had to drive 70 minutes to the Endocrinologist after Costco and on the drive I had a thought.

When I was shopping, riding around on the electric cart, I found myself scowling… even feeling anger… towards the older white men I passed (and yes, I know, white women voted for him, too). I inwardly cursed at them, angry that they voted for that horrid man. Quite unlike me as I do not typically make negative snap judgments like that.

In the car, I thought I might have had the softest of whispers of what blacks must feel about white people. Blacks most certainly have cacophonous explosions compared to my measly sigh, but it was enlightening.

And I will not forget.

Once I got to the doctor’s office, I sat reading Facebook, then suddenly burst into tears. Luckily I had some napkins and blubbered as I fished them out of my purse. I tried not to make noise, but the crying became unruly and a woman came up and asked if I was okay. I sobbed and said, “I’m in mourning,” and left it at that. She touched my shoulder and went to sit down. After a few minutes, another woman came to see if I was okay. Did I need the doctor? “I’m in mourning.”

Thankfully soon after they came and took me in the back (the receptionist might have sent an SOS!) and I was able to get control of myself before seeing the Nurse Practitioner.

(Writing now 11/10/16)

I didn’t fall apart again yesterday until later that night (next post).

What a day it was.

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Bipolar Diary: Confession

I am embarrassed to say…

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ashamed

I Am Cheating.

When I went to the Psych a few days ago, he changed my Wellbutrin from 100 mg once a day to 100 mg twice a day. I asked if we could do 3 times a day. (You know, if 1 is good, 10 has to be better, right?) He said no to the 3 because it could send me back into Mania… and I wouldn’t want that would I?

Ohhhh, noooo.

I said what he wanted to hear, but began calculating how many Wellbutrin I had at home to be able to take 3 a day.

Just for a few days, you know. Just to get me over this sleeping 18+ hours a day thing.

It’s Working, Too!

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artist, Sarah Dockter

Probably the bad part is it’s working. Not sending me to Mania that I can tell, but boy howdy, when I start to get that overwhelming sleepiness, I take a Wellbutrin and perk right back up for several hours.

I really am only taking 3 a day. I promise. (If I was going to confess this, I might as well go all the way, right?)

Not sure when (or if) I will lower it. Then I have to decide if I am going to tell the Psych when I see him again in 2 weeks.

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Election: Safeword!

I had a client, not on a call, gleefully tell me he went to see Trump speak tonight.

Now, this person has some kinks that would, to put it mildly, make Trump gag, so I was, to say the least, quite shocked.

But instead of questioning, “WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY?!?!”…

…I calmly suggested we leave politics out of our friendly chat.

“Unless,” I said smirking from this side of the computer, “We are going to sling some scat at the topic.”

It went over his head.

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Bipolar Diary: Just Below the Surface

Monday, 10/24/16, 1:56am

I thought I should have a title for these Bipolar posts. I came up with Bipolar Diary. Original, I know. laughing

Not Having Fun

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Today (10/23/16) has been a really difficult day. I went to bed at 5:00am, slept for 3 hours or so, then up for a few hours, then down again. And again. And again! I keep napping for 1-3 hours at a time. Where is this fatigue coming from? Am I depressed?

This happened a week or so ago, too. I don’t have the patience to go search and see how far back it was. I don’t have much patience for anything. If I hadn’t been in menopause for 8 (or whatever) years, I would think I was having PMS. I cannot keep a thought in my head, am so scattered. I am sure this post will be ghastly, but need to write anyway.

Visual Hallucinations

Most of the hallucinations have gone, but the visual ones are making me crazy.

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How I was more tolerant of the slew of visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations than I am with just the visual is beyond me, but I think much of this sleep crap is because I am overwhelmed with the visions I keep seeing. Roaches, yes… some… but mostly like things are just moving. Sliding around. The covers shifting, the pillow edging over, the carpet rising.

It’s like I am on a tilt and everything is going to fall off the edge.

Frustrating is an understatement.

ADD

Also, I have very little attention span. I have tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy, a show my daughter recommended, but it is too much new information to retain so I end up watching Sex & the City or Friends again (on Amazon & Netflix), two shows I practically have memorized. (Monster’s Inc. is on as I am writing this; another movie I know by heart.)

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What I look like with tactile hallucinations. From Monsters, Inc.

It is difficult to work in this state. My mind flits from thought to thought and I keep talking over clients. I try so hard to pace my words, but they just tumble over each other.

And, as a few weeks ago, my fingers are fumbling with the keys on the keyboard… spelling homophones instead of the correct word (reed instead of read, meat instead of meet, etc.). Argh! I hate having to re-type the right word! (Write came out first. Fuck me running.)

This Is Progress?

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When I saw the Psych last week, he was happy the auditory hallucinations were gone and said I was on the right track. Today I had the first tactile sensation after several days without any; brief, but still there.

I hate the see-sawing of emotions. One day feeling great and doing well, the next (today) being total shit and missing a day of work. Isn’t there supposed to be balance sometime?

I don’t even know where to go from here, so I’ll just end.

heavy sigh

10/24/16, 2:29am