The Time Has Come

I started this blog in 2015. Some things are the same as then, and some things have changed. I still consider myself an advocate, but I’ve changed some of my focus. I still plan on writing about many of the same subjects, but just slightly differently.

It is now time for me to launch a new blog. This site will be kept active as an archive and a resource. Countless hours have gone into it, and I don’t want to lose that.

You can now find my new posts here!

www.determinedarrow.com

What It Means To Choose To Love

I choose love.

Let me be abundantly clear. Black lives matter. Period. End of discussion. This is not up for debate in any way, shape, or form. I see so many people say that we need to choose to love instead of hate. That love will solve everything. I see people asking where the love is, and why the world is the way that it is.

I need you to read this. I need you to take this message in.

Choosing to love doesn’t mean that we pretend problems don’t exist. Police brutality is a very real issue. In many parts of this country, black lives DON’T matter. Choosing to love doesn’t mean that we carry on with our daily lives and act like there aren’t real problems happening around us.

That’s not what it means to love.

When I say that I choose to love, I’m not saying I don’t get angry. I’m not saying that I don’t want to see change. I choose to use love as my guiding force. Choosing love doesn’t mean that I’m blowing off concerns or minimalizing very real issues.

Choosing love means I know when I need to sit down, shut up, and listen. Choosing love means I acknowledge the privileges I have as a white person (and important size note: HAVING privilege doesn’t mean one IS privileged as privilege is a layered, complex issue but that’s another blog post). Choosing love means I amplify the voices of people of color. Choosing love means I speak out about injustice. Choosing love means I do what I can to make a difference in the world.

Love doesn’t mean accepting the script. Love doesn’t mean not rocking the boat. Love doesn’t mean that I’m not afraid. Love doesn’t mean that I’m timid or meek. But what love does mean is that I’m outspoken about injustice. Love does mean that I want to see real change, and I want to see it as soon as possible.

Don’t use your love to silence other people. Don’t use love to sit in comfort. Don’t use your love to silence other people. Let love be your guiding force. Let love be your reason for being. Love alone isn’t what’s going to change the world and solve everything. It’s what you do as a result of that love that will.

The Coronacrisis

It’s March 18, 2020. I’m currently living in a world where a few days ago, I made a remark about being excited to buy toilet paper. Those are words I never thought I’d utter just mere weeks ago. Panic has swept across the world as the novel Coronavirus creates its impact. There are ways to combat the spread, though. It’s called social distancing. We are also seeing schools, restaurants, and more shut down to help prevent the spread of this illness.

At the time of writing this article, there are currently seven cases of COVID-19 in my state. On one hand, it may seem silly to begin shutting things down. Why shut everything down before there is a problem? That is precisely the point. The point is to shut it down before it spreads. The point is to prevent it from spreading to those who cannot fight it off.

Across Facebook, across Twitter, across the Internet as a whole, there are so many people making really unwise choices. They’re taking the time off school and work to go party. They’re taking the time off to go on vacations. The point of shutting everything down isn’t to go off and have adventures. The point is to stay home.

Math and numbers aren’t my thing. Graphs don’t compute in my brain. But I can wrap my brain around this. This is where we’re headed. I know a lot of people say that it’s “just a bad flu”. For many people, it will just be a cold. But if you’re high risk the prognosis is far more grave.

We can all help prevent a tragedy. Wash your hands. Stay well hydrated. Do what you can to take care of yourself. And please, if you can, if it’s at all feasible, stay home. This isn’t the time to still go out and do things! This isn’t the time to live it up on the town! Look at the numbers. Look at them climb. This is a potetenial tragedy.

But yet, people are ignoring the warnings. People are hell-bent on continuing their daily lives, regardless of the cost. That cost will be the loss of members in my community. It’s on us, ALL of us, to do what we can to protect those who need it most. I know not every single person can stay home. I know the world isn’t that cut and dry. But a lot of the people who are refusing are fully capable of staying home. They just don’t want to.

Please, stay home. Wash your hands. Stay well hydrated. Wash your hands again. Don’t travel. And for the love of Pete, WASH YOUR HANDS.

Rare Disease Day 2020

It’s rare disease day. A lot of people across the Internet have been talking about and educating on their rare diseases. I’ve talked at length in various places about my particular disabilities, so that’s not what I’ve chosen to write about and observe today. What I will write about is how living with rare disease affects me.

Right now, I am having more health concerns that usual. It’s not easy, and it’s stressful. I grapple with so much. On one hand, I want cures for the disabilities that plague me. I want to be able to work. I want to be able to go back to school. I want to do os much more with my life than what I currently do, but my health says nope.

I often feel like a bad disabled person, because I struggle with being disabled. I struggle with being in pain all the time. I struggle with my vision. I struggle trying to accept that there are so many things I simply can’t do. My rare diseases impact me on such a profound level that it really messes with my head at times.

I feel like I can’t make anyone happy. One group of people seems to expect me to want a cure. Another group of people seem to think I should just accept it. Another group thinks I should make it my identity. Another group… you get the picture. While my disabilities are very much a part of who I am and are intertwined with who I am, they’re not all that I am.

It’s rare disease day. I’m hoping that one rare disease day, I can write about how my life has changed since a cure. I’m hoping one rare disease day, I can write about all that I’ve accomplished. But this year, I’m writing about just how hard it is. It feels like as a disabled person, I’m supposed to meet certain standards that I just can’t. And that’s okay that I can’t.

This year, it’s hard. This year, I don’t want to have rare disease. This year, I am desperate for a cure. And that is perfectly okay.

each day she goes on is a day that she’s brave

As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety their entire life, it feels like it’s going to be impossible to ever overcome this. I feel like this has become all I’ve known. I feel like it’s impossible to know anything else. I feel stuck. I feel trapped. I feel hopeless.

I keep finding myself wondering what it would be like not to be like this. To be free. To not constantly be fighting a war inside myself. And I realize I can’t even fathom it. It’s so far out of my reality that it seems unachievable.

I find my brain crashing, throwing up a proverbial blue screen of death. I feel all the emotions causing my system to overheat. My depression. My anxiety. My memories. Everything because too much, and I become trapped.

I wish that I had an easy answer. Changing who I’ve always been is hard and it’s scary. I know it’s brave to go on. I know the brave thing is to want to change. But I don’t know how to do these things.

And so, I keep going. I keep fighting. I don’t know what toward, but I keep trying to achieve something better. I push toward knowing something different, to a world that is beyond my wildest dreams.

overload

I tried to write a freeverse about overload. It kind of started as a poem, but then wasn’t really going that direction. I often get sensory or emotional overload. For me, the two go hand in hand. My emotions become, simply put, too much. As a result, I get too many feelings. Which can lead into my senses going into overdrive. I want so desperately to communicate, but I can’t. And I figured out a way to try and explain what I feel like when that happens… so I’m sharing it in hopes it helps someone else.

so many feelings,
colors and shapes and symbols
mixing together,
becoming static noise

becoming completely trapped
in a prison within myself
as the colors and shapes and symbols
blend together

finding myself longing
for a way to express myself
instead, i retreat
within my self

searching for words
that don’t even exist
as the sounds crash
the key locks

i’m desperately wishing
to let you in,
to let me out,
just to escape

but until then,
the sounds, colors, and symbols
swirl inside my head
leaving me trapped

Untitled Mental Health Post

Anxiety. Depression. ADHD. Autism. PTSD. They all blend together to create the filter I view the world through. And as a result, I often find myself frustrated and overwhelmed.

There are so many times I don’t want to be the way I am. I don’t want to meltdown. I don’t want to shutdown. I don’t want to forget things. I don’t want to repeat things. I don’t want to remember things. I don’t want to loop things. I don’t want to obsess.

I don’t know who I would be without these things, and I don’t know how to function without these habits. It’s a world I’ve never explored and a reality I’ve never known. And it’s frustrating.

I feel like I’m fighting a battle with myself I can never win. I feel like I’m a pawn in a game that I can never stop playing. I feel like a glitch in a video game that happens every single time things get to a certain point.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to get better. I don’t know how to overcome all this stuff. Because I get stuck. And I just can’t figure out how to be not stuck anymore.

My disability held me back

Something I’ve run into multiple times throughout my life is people telling me not to let my disability hold me back. If you take a look at a Facebook group for any disability, you’ll find it run rampant with people who talk about how their disability doesn’t hold them back. You will see people saying how their disorder doesn’t define them. You will see people talking about how despite a disability, you can achieve anything.

We see all the people talk about how their disabilities didn’t hold them back. We see disabled people who got their degree held up on a pedestal, as something we should all achieve to be. We see disabled people achieve great things in sports. We see headlines about disabled people who defy the odds. We see the “pretty disabled” people glorified in media. But what about those of us who just exist? And why are we turning these disabled people into a feel-good story? (That’s another post for another time).

I don’t want us glorified in media. I don’t want us to turn into inspiration porn. But what I do want? I want it to become acceptable for our disabilities to hold us back. Some disabled people have no choice but to work. Some disabled people have no choice but to not to. Some disabled people get degrees and jobs. Some disabled people don’t.

I am so tired of having to explain why I am a college drop out. I am so tired of having to explain why my disability DOES define some aspects of who I am. There’s nothing bad about me being disabled. There’s nothing bad against pushing back those who say that my disability shouldn’t hold me back when the truth is, it has. By trying to ignore that and trying to push through, I further damaged my health.

I long for a day when we are taught that it’s okay to be disabled. We don’t need to use pretty language to make it sound better. We don’t need to push ourselves through pain and illness to be accepted in society. Disability is natural. Disabled people need to learn that we don’t have to be someone else’s inspiration, but that we can live our lives in the way that’s best for our own health.

The only disability is a disability. Full stop.

The struggles of self ableism

As a disabled adult, I often fall victim to internalized ableism. I find my own biggest critic being myself. I read so many articles about the dangers of inspiration porn and the ableist struggles so many of my friends made. As a disabled person, I’m desperately trying to navigate a world that wasn’t made to accommodate me.

I’ve talked about being tired of talking about ableism. I’ve talked about self-ableism in the past, but I feel like it’s a subject that needs to be revisited. Because I live in a world where I’m constantly seeing headlines about disabled people doing amazing things or an able-bodied person doing something nice for a disabled person.

And in a way, it gets tiring. Because I don’t want to be anyone’s inspiration merely for being disabled and I don’t want anyone to take pity on me simply because I am disabled. At the same time, I struggle with the same issue. I will never be making headlines for doing impressive physical feats. While I do push my personal limits and I do surprise people with what I can do sometimes, what is the cost?

Because I live in a world where disabled people are often praised merely for existing, I find myself wondering when I will be enough. I struggle with self-ableism when I see other disabled people get jobs, graduate from college, or do other really cool things. I wonder why I’m good enough. I wonder why these people can achieve these things, but I can’t.

It’s April, which means it’s “autism awareness month”. I see autistic people praised for merely existing. I see autistic people painted as burdens and difficult to love. I see autistic people being both held up on a pedestal and thrown under the bus. There are all these messages about what it’s like to be an autistic person and what it’s like living with us. As I read all this, as I’m taking it all in… I find myself taking it in much more than I realize.

We talk so much about the dangers of ableism, but what about when the one who is most ableist is yourself? The ramifications are serious. Depression. Anxiety. Physical. Is there an answer for it? I don’t know what it is. But I do know that this is a very real problem that we need to shed light on and accept that it’s okay to struggle with the very same thing that we speak out against.

Dear Athena

Image description: a photo of a sleeping torbie cat.

Dear Athena,

You came into my life in March of 2013. I remember the first time I picked you up. I remember the loving look I gave you and the way you settled perfectly into my arms. I remember being so scared that you would hate me, or that you wouldn’t love me.

You were a difficult placement. There’s no denying that. But, Athy, you were so incredibly loved. Not only by me. Not only by everyone who was blessed enough to meet you. But by your dozens of fans on Facebook. So many people cared so much about my whinybutt!

I couldn’t have been more wrong about you. You loved me, and I loved you. I went in with the intent of rescuing you, but in turn, you rescued me. You saved me from depression. You woke me up from my nightmares. You calmed me from my anxiety attacks. I loved you, my polydactyl wonder kitty.

We went through so much together. Two surgeries. Two moves. The loss of people I loved. Even know I knew it would happen, nothing prepared me for the last time I held you in my arms. Athena, I miss you. I miss you more than I can express. Pet grief is so very real, and I feel that we don’t talk about it enough.

I miss you. I think of you every day. Your last moments replay in my head. I often wonder if I could have saved you. I assure you, Athena, if love alone could have saved you it would have. I know I made the right choice, though I often doubt myself.

Thank you for giving me nearly six wonderful years. I love you.

Image description: a fluffy torbie kitty with green eyes is perching on the end of the railing.