More Period Stuff – For Science

CONTENT WARNING: Talk of Periods, Menopause and General Menstrual Issues. (Here, I talk about Bruno, if you know what I mean. )

“Here’s a pad. Now you can get pregnant.”

That was my mother’s sex education.

Isn’t that a scary thing to tell an eleven-year-old? I mean, first of all, if she’s got her period, and she’s still a child, maybe tell her what she’s leaking out of her body? Then again, I think it was the 1960s, and she had to deal with menstrual belts. (Google them for the details.)

My own education was markedly different, and probably for my own good. I was able to come to her when I got my own period, and it was all very open between us. I am pretty sure I had some education behind me as well, which was good too.

Which was why I was okay with seeking out information about Perimenopause. I think I am there. Also, if I’m not there, I’ll be there soon. So far, I’ve been occasionally on and off, and there’s hot flashes, so that’s it so far. I’m doing research as to what I’m getting into, so I’ll get in there with a well-informed brain.

I asked my mother about her menopause, and she said she didn’t notice it too much. But then I remember that she did hormone replacement therapy, and I have roughly half of my mother’s DNA, so I guess my experience will be different.

You want to know what inspired this? I have been reading Menopause: A Comic Treatment, an anthology series of comics about guess what topic – and having a fun time with it. I can relate to a lot of it, so it’s pretty cool for me.

Roe v. Wade Struck Down June 24, 2022

I feel I am going to lose followers due to this position, but it has to be said.  

So, Roe v. Wade has been struck down. Abortion is now illegal in many states. Women now have to drive to God Knows Where to mostly save their lives – or their mental health, in the case of rape victims. Yes, I know abortion is essentially murder. But here’s the problem – abortion is now desirable for a myriad of reasons, mostly because life as a single parent is hard, especially for a woman.  

Legislating morality from the outside in has always proved unsuccessful. Do you want examples? Try the Soviet Union. Try Cuba. Try China. Officially atheist nations have always had a hard time keeping their populations safe. Essentially, you can even try the United States in many areas, especially in states with morality laws, gun laws and various drug penalties. How are they going to regulate things done in secret?  

In discussion of religion, which religion becomes the State Religion of the United States? But I’m not here to discuss religion. Freedom of Religion must be struck down as well if you want to legislate morality, if you want to order people to worship one God or another. Of course, Freedom of Religion is guaranteed in the First Amendment, and we all know how much people worship the Amendments due to the Second Amendment debate, so there’s that.  

But I digress. We are here to discuss the striking down of Roe v. Wade.  

I am not celebrating.  

To be honest, I would not celebrate the upholding of Roe v. Wade, either.  

Why? Because the only way to rid the world of something like abortion is to make abortion undesirable, and impractical.  

A little-known example of making something impractical and undesirable would have been slavery between the 1780s and the invention of the Cotton Gin. During the period I mentioned, slave owners in the South were freeing slaves after certain conditions were met. George Washington set his wife’s death as the point of freedom for his own plantation slaves. But here comes the invention of the Cotton Gin, which industrialized cotton harvesting (among other plants) and slavery became profitable again. Desirability and practicality came back into the picture, and eventually the USA tore itself apart to finally resolve the issue of slavery.  

Of course, the theories that provided the framework for slavery continued the heinous racism and segregation that continued, but I digress again. 

We are talking about abortion.  

I’m not going to sit here and lecture people about whether to do this or that concerning pregnancy. I’ve never been pregnant, so I don’t believe I have the right. 

My ultimate goal is presenting a few ideas to make abortion impractical and undesirable.

Idea 1: Counseling for people accusing somebody of rape.  

I believe this should not need to be said, but…you can fill in the rest. 

Rape victims who get pregnant need counseling. Just because the person accused is not convicted of rape does not mean they did not rape. Obviously, pregnancy occurs through rape sometimes, and rape is a violent act. Violent acts are traumatizing. Sufferers of trauma NEED counseling. Otherwise, the option of abortion to deal with the trauma is going to be desirable.  

Idea 2: Developing trades for the pregnant, especially if single motherhood is likely. 

This is not my idea. This is an idea developed by the discussions between my mother and I that prompted my position. We discussed how the current debate made it impractical because of this: Most single mothers are on welfare with little hopes of getting off. (Let’s face it: almost all of the pregnant are women, so when I say “Mothers” from now on, I mean “Child bearers.”) What I want to do is teach trades and office work for the pregnant, especially if single motherhood is likely, so they can earn money to help raise the child.  

We can tap into those rich-with-money religious institutions for this reason. I think the Catholic Church might get on board with this one. Scholarships, anyone?  

Idea 3: Childcare While Learning the Trades. 

This idea works in tandem with the work education. While the child bearers are learning their trade, they need to put their children somewhere after they’re born. I believe we can tap the religious institutions again with the childcare. Many institutions are already forming schools at their sites, so childcare and preschool would be a natural fit. 

My point is, if we find some ways to combat something we find undesirable that are practical, we can make something impractical, and increasingly undesirable. 

“As We See It,” Episode 1: Thoughts

Well, I was lurking around Amazon Prime Video, wondering if I could find something I could watch and relate to. I picked up on “As We See It,” the pilot. A quick about: Three diverse autistic people struggle and triumph in an apartment in Los Angeles. Also, there is a psychological aide there, and they have various relationships around them.

I have never related so much to a character than I did the girl who wanted to have a relationship with someone and, sadly, “be normal.” Of course, she was twenty-five in the show, while I am in my forties. My experience points to happiness coming from ditching the normalcy strife and just embracing my authentic, autistic self. (Sure, I can mask and put up a neurotypical act just like Sir Anthony Hopkins, but I find that exhausting.) The girl on the show clearly has not found that out yet, so she’s striving for what she calls “normal.”

I must confess, now, that I have been too hard on Sheldon Cooper of “The Big Bang Theory.” Another autistic character acts a lot like him, but it’s apparent that he has little to no control over it. If, maybe, Sheldon himself was revealed to be autistic, I would not have ranted and raved about his stereotypical behavior in previous entries.

In a third character, who has higher support needs, there is a struggle to get to a local coffee shop through a small walk through a chaotic and overwhelming street of Los Angeles. Seriously, the autistic brain is fairly chaotic without the intrusions of loud noises, pop-up dogs, random cyclists and other people jumping out in front of you. SPOILER ALERT: It is conquered one evening. But who knows if the character can handle it another day?

Some of you ought to know that I secretly call autism Chaos Brain. Imagine a messy house. There is stuff laying about everywhere. Nothing is in its place. Clothes, dishes, stuffed animals, records, whatever, but it’s all out and everywhere. This is a proper metaphor for the autistic brain. Now do you see who we are so overwhelmed by outer stimuli coming into our view? It just piles on and on until, in essence, you get something so chaotic, it overwhelms. So, when you come across our autistic selves being hesitant about something, ask us if we can focus on one thing. It helps.

I am just letting the neurotypical brain into my brain space. It’s not easy, is it?

I’m not putting down your particular type of hard. I’m just letting you into my own type of hard.

Catalytic Converters, Chili Dogs and Yoga

Well, yesterday was interesting, to say the least. I’ve had my car checked out by police, eaten chili dogs and done some yoga.

Let’s start with the police check out. Apparently, there has been a car that’s just like our car stealing catalytic converters. Apparently, it takes crawling under the car and somehow cutting it out ourselves. I am no mechanic, so I have no idea how this is going to be accomplished, especially by someone like me, or my disabled mother.

It turns out, the police have already checked out the car. But we didn’t need to post any statements or anything. We had our neighbor talk to them about it. (They thought the car was his!) Here in this building, we neighbors know each other well, so we had the truth told to them. And honestly, none of us can see how a disabled woman and daughter – who is not a mechanic – is even able, let alone willing, to crawl around under cars on such a hot day. (By the way, today it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 34 degrees Celsius.) But all we must do is tell the truth. It’s on our side.

So, I have started a diet to lose weight. It’s not for looks, but to manage a few health problems, and so I can be here to care for the ones I love. But today, this diet includes chili dogs. Chili dogs can be part of a healthy diet. So can yoga. I am also beginning a yoga habit. I feel this will help me out too. So, if there’s anybody else who can accept chili dogs and yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle, tell me where they are.

Stuttering

Lately, there has been a lot of stuttering coming from me. I don’t know what or how this came to be, but I do know that every now and then, I have trouble getting the words out. I might be in the middle of some fact-sharing or infodump and then it comes out. What is going on here?

But as of January something or other, I know I am not in this fight alone. Yes, I am talking about Rowan Atkinson, Emily Blunt, and President Joe Biden.

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Now, let’s put our politics on the back burner, please. No matter what you think of him, I have decided to effectively ban all mention of politics on this page. I mean, all this anger and vitriol you people have for one person, or another, needs to stop. If you try to put this poison on my page, I will reject it.

NO POLITICS HERE!

I am talking about a fellow stutterer.

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I have decided to take some online lessons on how to counteract all this stuttering, like the techniques to use. I wonder how much they cost.

Why is it So Hard to Give People What They Want?

Have you ever sent back a meal at a restaurant? Hopefully, this has not been the case. If you have, you do understand the trouble this causes in the kitchen in having to cook a new dish. Most of the time, this is caused by a mistake. But sometimes, people in restaurants do not give the person the thing they ordered. Trouble is, there is usually a very good reason that something was ordered, and how it was to be delivered. I know “Sauce on the side” annoys you guys, but there is usually a reason behind it.

Now, one of those reasons people order certain things is allergies. I actually have a little experience with this one. I once dated a guy with a deathly peanut allergy. We’re talking epinephrine pens carried everywhere. I never really thought much of it, until much later in life, when I heard that if he or someone else swallowed an allergy that their flesh would swell to the point of closing the throat and choke them to death. Do you hear me? DEATH. Do you want to accidentally kill someone? Then give the person what they want. It has a lesser chance of killing them.

Another reason is the potential interactions with what they take. I myself take a statin that interacts with grapefruit, including grapefruit sodas and grapefruit flavored sparkling waters. For my own health, I had to give up grapefruit drinks. So, there is another good reason in the book.

A third one is aversions. I myself have an aversion to jiggly and slimy things. I mean, I struggle with Jell-O. (Who struggles with Jell-O? Apparently, me.) I also don’t like a lot of salad dressing or even gravy on my dishes. But enough about me. I would rather eat and be satisfied, making you guys happy, than have to explain my aversion to things like Jell-O and gravy, or worse, not get my fill and make the chef sad. Do you see where I’m going?

This is, as I have said before, not an exhaustive list. But listen. There is a very good reason a person orders something in a certain way. Just be considerate. You might get a loyal one this way.

Racist Trolls Strike Star Wars Again!

Now, hear me out. I am not going to pass any judgment on acting or script writing. I am not an expert on these things; I don’t even have Disney Plus. So, let’s put the judgments about Moses Ingram’s acting and lines away for one cotton picking minute. This is about the racism and sexism that permeates and intoxicates the fandom.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do women and actors of color get their acting and writing skills put under a microscope, while the much-noted overacting in the Original Trilogy remains relatively untouched?
  2. Why does Adam Driver get praised and adored, while Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and just about everyone who is not Adam Driver reviled?
  3. Would any of this behavior clear the runway in Star Trek? (I know the answer to that one: Mostly NO!)
  4. Why do I care?

Let me answer the above questions:

  1. Maybe it’s simple racism, but it could also be the ORIGINAL TRILOGY ONLY!!!!!!! types.
  2. Well, I guess white males would prefer to be the only humanoids in the galaxy. Maybe that’s why it’s such a shock that a female lead and people of color actually exist.
  3. Yes, I know Gene Roddenberry was anti-Semitic, but he sure shut up with the casting of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, didn’t he? (The “Live Long and Prosper” is a Jewish blessing gesture…got word from an expert!) But about people of color…I present you with 3/4 of the cast, who either portrays a non-Terran, and/or is a person of color.
  4. What? Do I HAVE to be a person of color to care about what happens to them? Can’t I just care about injustice in the universe as myself?

I feel like I am fighting a never-ending battle of racism and sexism. I am not a fan of either of these things. Get it the hell away from my science fiction.

More Disability Discrimination Idiocy

I am not a fan of Grubhub right now.

In this TikTok, there was a disabled woman, in a wheelchair, whose Grubhub driver got a 26% tip for their meal delivery service but did not think 26% was that good of a tip. (Did they expect a celebrity-level tip, like two thousand dollars? She’s likely on a fixed income!) So, to inconvenience her, he left the food in her driveway, where she could not get it, and had her wait an hour until her caregiver got home and got it. (Without question, it was probably ice-cold, if not spoiled.) Grubhub first offered her 15% off the next order (to get discriminated against again?!), then a gift card of $100. (Again, to possibly be discriminated against again.) There was no evidence that the driver even got a slap on the wrist.

Now, I don’t know about you, but in a world where only a twenty percent tip is recommended for a service, a twenty-six percent tip is pretty good.

Also, this is one of the reasons I am extremely happy that I am the caregiver of my mother, and no one else. I fear for disabled people, being disabled myself, and their treatment. In a world where the only thing valued is what the world can get out of you, disabled people have a distinct disadvantage. They need certain accommodations, which are mistakenly called “special needs,” to get their contributions to the world. You know why I hate the term “special needs?” Simple. “Special” makes it sound like an unreasonable demand.

But back to the Grubhub. I am glad my mother is with me, because she knows I love her dearly, and can and will make sure she is well cared for.

Honestly, I am sounding the call against disability discrimination.

I also have some ADA violations here in Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA, to complain about.

  1. The Post Office door has no push button entry to welcome my mother in. My mother’s arm is barely strong enough to drive, otherwise weak, and therefore cannot open the door. I have to do it.
  2. There is a coffee shop here that can only be accessed by stairs. How are we going to get a woman using a motorized scooter to patronize it?
  3. The residential sidewalks around Nicholasville are TERRIBLE. My mother lost a motorized scooter traveling on them, they were so cracked and uneven. Who is responsible for these? Get them on it!
  4. Some of these so-called wheelchair ramps are terrible, too. My mother can barely use them.
  5. People Park their cars where the blue lines are laid down, which is against the law. We have even had to call help at Applebee’s for a person who parked on a wheelchair ramp there!

I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list.

“And what are YOU going to do about it, Karen?” you ask me. Well, Karen, I decided to start talking about these things. I am suggesting a boycott of Grubhub. There’s Doordash, Postmates, and other delivery services out there.

I am about sounding the horn as loud as I can. Who’s with me?

Distracted Reading and Gun-Toting Powerlessness

Okay. Today I explained to my mom why I don’t read my books while she’s watching tv. Simply put, I get distracted. (It’s an autism thing.) For example, the last time I tried to read my book while she was watching Family Feud, with Steve Harvey as the host. For those not in the know, Steve Harvey is a boisterous man. I was reading Prey by Michael Crichton, and somehow, I was picturing the nanotech facility with Steve Harvey in it. My mom doesn’t laugh much, but she smiles widely when it’s funny to her. I think she got the message. (Those in the know, know.)

Anyway, on to other news: I am just as shocked – but not surprised – that there was yet another mass shooting in an elementary school in Texas. Children and teachers were slaughtered this time. I don’t have to say much more, but what surprises me is that people are much more open to gun reform now. I’m not surprised by the NRA with their obsession with guns, guns, guns. It seems to me that the long-disproven myth of the “Good Guy with a Gun” still rings true in their hearts. It seems more that the gun is treated like the ultimate tool for POWER AND CONTROL. People in the NRA somehow, even with their guns, feel powerless. Powerlessness is behind the most bitter of battles, like the gun battle in the USA. Here’s the thing: powerlessness is the state of man everywhere. I know how it is to feel helpless and powerless. It’s scary. But there’s no need to build up a stockade to keep control. I mean, what will you sacrifice in the name of control?

I’m going to lose a lot of friends here, in a pro-gun state where people concealed carry in church, but I am not entirely sure that the good guy with the gun is the god you want to sacrifice your children to.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t defend yourself, and maybe an assault rifle might be needed to go grocery shopping someday (Hello Demolition Man), but I don’t think a person with an illness should be allowed to walk into a gun seller, walk out with assault rifles the same day, and be able to shoot up a place where people meet – certainly not a place full of innocent children, like an elementary school. Have we lost our minds? I certainly haven’t. Not yet, anyway.

What Does Depression Look Like?

Here’s the real answer: we have no idea what depression looks like. Really. Sure, we have an idea what clinical depression looks like, but it’s usually not true. I can tell you from personal experience, and my experience with depression among other people, that the stereotype of depression is mostly wrong.

Sure, we can guess what depression looks like – a goth, I guess? – but how many people who have died by suicide are not goths? Plenty! Would you have considered Kate Spade a goth? I don’t think so. How about Robin Williams? Sure, that’s a goth right there! (SARCASM) Seriously, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Guy Fieri had clinical depression. I mean, I’m pretty sure a lot of comedians have depression too. They just help people laugh so they don’t

A word on goths: I went to high school with a few of them, too. Sure, the black clothing, the heavy boots, the striped hosiery (and the fact that it didn’t matter the gender that wore said hosiery), the song lyrics written on their bodies in marker…and to be honest, a lot of them seemed happy to me. Of course, I’m talking about “expect the unexpected” here, so they could have had depression, but I can tell you that clinical depression is not caused by black clothing. The notion that a certain color of clothing would cause a permanent change in neurotransmitters in the brain is just absurd. But the truth is, even the happiest looking person in the world is suffering from an unknown wound or battle. So, if you think clinical depression has a uniform look, think again: uniforms are only for places of work or some schools.

I can tell you from personal experience: I have clinical depression myself. Look over my psychiatric records and it’s one of the ailments. Just before I got an earlier diagnosis of dysthymia (because those who diagnosed me were afraid), the world was an endless haziness of gray. I grew up in southern California, which is a Mediterranean/Desert climate, so it was clearly not due to the weather. I also remember from that time that I was losing pleasure from theatre arts (yes, we spelled it that way on purpose), and I was a drama nerd. It also took me a great deal of energy to pull my body out of bed, clean up, get dressed in something that was clean and matched, eat, and get to school. I just remember being tired and over it a lot of the time, even in my favorite subjects and classes. It was a constant stream of meh. It was then that, due to sheer luck of blessing, credit what you believe, I was given a good medicine that I still take to this day.

Now, about that medicine: I did do a lengthier version of this in my “Happy Pills” post, but here’s the gist: Did it make me stop liking Pearl Jam and start liking bubblegum pop? No – I’m still a fan of rock and roll. Some even say I’m more of a metalhead. Did it cause me to wear pink instead of purple? Now that’s crazy – nobody changes colors they like so quickly. Did it make me prefer Barney to New York Undercover? No way! Barney was made for children, and I was well past childhood. Did the medicine, however, make it so I can function better through this life, even when it goes bonkers? That’s more what it did. I could enjoy theatre again, for example. I could deal with tapes and CDs again. I could even talk to people without getting frustrated that I was talking to people again. I just needed to improve my neurotransmitter system, and apparently what I take (paroxetine) does that very well for me. Not that I am putting down other medicines for depression, either. There’s probably a dozen at least of good medicines to complement your DNA. I’m not a doctor, but I also know that medicine can help.

So, to come back to the beginning, the point is, there is no uniform look of depression. So, if somebody tells you they’ve been diagnosed with depression, just believe them. You really don’t know what is happening inside their head.