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Amanda

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gosh, universe [05 Mar 2011|05:25pm]
okay so this is why I tend to spend more time writing stuff on the Internet than doing schoolwork. which I've been beating myself up about but also feeling conflicted because...

yesterday I made this video/post criticizing college disability services and I got I think one email and two youtube messages of people (I mean, not strangers, but not people I know super well) sending descriptions of their horrible disability services experiences. I went to a screening for my class and when I got back my tumblr post about that post has 20 notes and someone else's tumblr post about it has 37.

I know this isn't really a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like a lot and it's super cool, both in terms of "wow! someone is paying attention to me on the Internet!" and also more admirable feelings like, "it's depressing, but also cool to know that I'm not the only person who has had certain experiences, and that I said/wrote something that resonated with people."

the problem with this stuff is just that it feels way more important than doing schoolwork because when you do school work you just do it to get by and no one is really interested to read or think about what you did, you know? I've never been all that good at school. But when I do things like this, it seems like it's actually useful, and people actually care. It makes me happy but I'm sure it's really bad for my brain.
3 yards| do you think about me?

[03 Mar 2011|10:23pm]
yesterday I got up at 8, went to class, volunteered with first-graders, went to the eye doctor, did the skype meeting, and wrote 10 pages of my fiction project. today I woke up quite a bit later, but typed up my pages, met with my professor, got the best sandwich (and got undercharged for it by the cashier lady because she thought it was too “flat” to charge me the real price), watched Skins, talked to Josh, AND started, finished, & turned in a not very good but, I think, passable paper.

brains are good!
1 yards| do you think about me?

[02 Jan 2011|11:49am]
I got baptized
it was pretty swell (I guess it's one of the most important days ever, but I tried not to cry).
7 yards| do you think about me?

some plans for winter term [27 Dec 2010|10:21pm]
finish "bird brains" maybe, which was this disability zine thing I was working on
I kind of want to start a disability zine distro but that won't happen

probably start the Autistic Passing Project story collection

record a bunch of music and make these weird music videos. specifically I want to do a video for every song I record and each video will just be a sort of mildly creepy video of me singing/playing the song and one of my friends doing something weird in the background, I think it could be really cool. this is my first (very low-tech, unfinished song) attempt:



start wearing more makeup and possibly dye my hair blond (I know this is a hilarious resolution, but it's going to look really cool, and I guess I could do it over a long period of time)

write a guide to doing self-advocacy in college, but I'm not going to write about how to work with disability services because that is a BUST. it also won't be super college-specific. but, I just want to talk about getting stuff that you need in any possible way, and I want to talk about how to feel okay with asking for things, or being manipulative in the service of getting what you need. like, not feeling guilty, etc.


I bought a thomas the tank engine calendar so I can plan my life better, LOL
7 yards| do you think about me?

[15 Nov 2010|11:05am]
4.000 New Standard Letter The Politics of Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
3.000 New Standard Letter History of Rome
3.000 New Standard Letter Christian Mysticism

and a bunch of writing stuff hopefully
do you think about me?

capades [12 Nov 2010|12:53pm]
so next term I am hoping to do two projects:

a fiction project which would be four credits
and an art project about Autistic passing which would be two

Politics of Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Europe which is four
History of Rome which is three

I desperately want to take Medieval Christian Mysticism (three credits) but it only has room for 15 people and the professor already had to let in 12 majors. I just went to meet with him and express my LOVE but I feel like I'm probably not impressive enough to get into one of the three slots. I have enough of an academic background but not enough to be better than the 20 other people who want to take it. I also just don't talk very well so I think I was like "Man I just really love affective piety, it's so personal." (I just sent him an email trying to expand on this but I think I sounded all women's studies and gooey, all over again. I just hate when people make fun of Margery Kempe! She was so depressed and then she had experiences that changed her life--just because her spiritual gifts were crying and being a vegetarian doesn't mean that she deserves to be reduced to a joke. It reminds me of this elderly man in my church history class in Scotland who seemed to take male saints seriously but suggested that Perpetua just didn't get enough to eat when she was in prison.)

Anyway, I'm making a post to deal with the disappointment I will probably experience in a few hours when I get an email saying I'm not in that class. As my consolation prize I'm going to take either Christianity in the Late Medieval World (but that's such a consolation prize I feel like I'd just sit there feeling sad that I'm not in Mysticism) or Yeats and Friends. I really love Yeats but I'm probably not smart enough to take it. I guess taking two medieval studies classes would be sweet because it would be kind of like going to Colorado College and thinking about the same things all the time.
3 yards| do you think about me?

my Autistics Speaking Day post [01 Nov 2010|08:13am]
(sorry if you read my blog and my livejournal and my tumblr and are friends with me on Facebook; you just got spammed to within an inch of your life.)

The other day my mom showed me some articles in the newspaper about autism. Midway through one article (http://www.thestamfordtimes.com/story/492905), I read this:

One of the center's clients, a Rowayton resident who wanted to remain anonymous, said her daughter used to avoid eye contact and, like many autistic kids, repetitively flapped her arms and walked on her toes. The client's daughter has been working with Rohdie for a number of years, and when asked what challenges the behavior analyst and now the Southfield Center has helped her daughter overcome, the client said "Oh my God, everything."

"You would never be able to tell she was autistic," the client said, adding that, with the help of Rohdie and other professionals in the field, avoiding eye contact, flapping and toe walking issues have stopped for her daughter.


This kind of attitude from parents and professionals makes me want to scream.

I generally don't like writing about my disability experience in much detail. I'll just say that a) a lot of important things are hard for me to do consistently and independently, b) I have severe anxiety problems, and c) a and b feed into and increase each other. At this point, my dreams for where I might live and what I might do after college are pretty limited which is depressing (and increases my anxiety, ha ha). I think it would be very easy for me to end up in an emotionally and physically dangerous situation, and I'm working hard to avoid that.

A lot of people with autism spectrum disabilities have it way worse than I do--their opportunities for communication may be very minimal, or they may be so overloaded by sensory or emotional experiences that they self-injure and seriously hurt themselves. Younger people with ASD are often bullied, which can result in various kinds of damage. And all people with developmental disabilities are much more likely to be abused.

People with ASD have real problems. That some of us walk on our toes is not one of them. When I read the above quote, I had several thoughts:

1. Passing as non-disabled is not always a good thing because it means that people don't realize you need help, and won't believe you are disabled even if you tell them, because you look "too normal."

2. The experience of living as a passing person can be really isolating and scary because you are constantly trying to hide your reactions, feelings, and body language. It makes you pretty tense and it makes you feel like the people in your life don't really know you.

3. When "not looking autistic" is equated with "being better," that makes it hard for an ASD person (and their parents and professionals) to develop a good set of goals. Instead of goals like, "This problem is making my life harder--how can it be improved?" the goals are like, "I look autistic--how can I hide it?" In the person's mind, goals that are objectively good (like being a kind person, and trying to be happy and successful) become mixed in with the subjective, energy-consuming goal of "not looking autistic." I am still trying to untangle this crap in myself.

4. Some people "stim" (rock back and forth, toe-walk, hop around, run around, vocalize, flap their hands, etc.) because it helps them deal with overwhelming emotions or sensory information. Some people avoid eye contact because eye contact makes them upset. If they stop stimming and start making eye contact, they may be a lot more stressed.

5. Even if 1-4 weren't true, it's still a waste of resources that would be better spent dealing with the real problems that ASD people have.

6. I could try to give these parents and professionals the benefit of the doubt, and say that they're being thoughtless and inefficient. But when I read this stuff, it doesn't just annoy me, it hurts me. It says to me that these people care more about not having to look at a visibly Autistic person than they care about actually helping people with ASD in meaningful ways; that they would rather ASD people suffer in silence than be happy and loud. That doesn't feel like ignorance, it feels like hate.
3 yards| do you think about me?

[13 Oct 2010|04:24pm]
It's hard to understand that there is no such thing as all better. Since I was a kid I've always wanted to remake myself and just completely change everything about how I do and how I feel.

School is pretty rough. I.e., I'm not that good at school.

This term I've tried to be both more and less serious than I was last term. To be clear, I've tried to reconcile myself to being sneaky, going for the easy solution--writing papers on books I haven't finished reading, sleeping through class if I know the teacher doesn't take attendance, and so on. My grades are fine, and I haven't had the levels of dissociation, panic, and exhaustion I was experiencing last term, but I also haven't not experienced those things at all.

When I was a kid, I remember reading a short story that described a character as "always knowing what she needed." This was presented in the story as almost a superpower, and I didn't understand at the time, but I do now. When I'm really worn out and I decide to sleep instead of going to class, or buy some kind of food I really like even though it would be more practical to eat in the dining hall, or just read a book instead of stressing about homework, it's not really true that this is going to give me more energy and make me perform better in school at some future date. It's just something I want to do. If my goal is just to be a better student, absolutely none of this stuff is really going to help. They're just things I want to do, not medicine.

(Except maybe the sleep because I just can't handle the not sleeping thing. Every time I almost get all caught up I end up staying up all night again. There are some nights when I go to bed at eleven and I think I'm finally going to get myself on a good schedule, but then I guess I have so much sleep debt that I sleep for twelve hours.)

It is a little comforting to think that maybe I'm just not that good at being in school and that also school isn't incredibly important to me and I don't have to feel like a bad person because I have so much trouble focusing on it. My current just-hanging-on state isn't going to be apparent in my transcript. No one's going to know how ridiculous I was.

On my own time I've been reading a book about girls in segregated "emotional disturbance" special ed settings, and writing, obviously. I have also had two longish blog posts developing for a while--one exploring/debunking the idea that "social skills" are an objective ability, and another about intersections of sexual minority/trans issues, and various disabilities. (Basically I feel that "queer identity" can become too much of a culture or social group, to the extent that people who consider themselves queer activists only support queer/trans people who they can easily relate to or who can easily fit into the culture--which leaves many people out.)

Once I graduate I guess my activities will be:

1. working some kind of staff/teaching job with PWDDs. Sort of funny because some people think that this kind of job is "depressing" or "tiring" because they don't feel that progress ever happens, especially with people who have severe disabilities, but I feel completely the other way around. It's sort of the instant gratification that makes that type of work most appealing to me.

2. writing fiction and maybe some music

3. continuing to write disability stuff (blog and supplements)

These are all things I really love and care about so I think--hope--that I will be less stressed than I am now, especially because I won't have to prioritize so much. I have found that when I'm spending all my time on one or two projects I really love--like during winter term--I can focus in a way I usually never can.

I'm writing this for my mom to read partly. Hi! I'm okay. I'm not depressed or failing out of school or in danger. Liam is teaching me to rollerblade. Tomorrow the classics department is having a Greek vs. Trojans kickball game. Maybe I'll call you when I finish writing this.
do you think about me?

about being a (brain and sexual) minority writing student [13 Oct 2010|02:01pm]
(notes for something a lot longer)

ssa stuff

when I was 19 I remember writing something like "my area of interest is gay werewolves, aliens, and zombies." I didn't actually write much genre stuff but I liked the idea of genre because I felt that same-sex-attracted characters in fiction were either "just like everyone else" or alternative in the way that characters in literary fiction always are. And the genre of the fiction was the same--very mainstream, or a particular kind of alternative.

I wanted to write fiction for people who were ssa, but had other kinds of weirdness going on too.

when I was 18-20 I was writing a book and part of the main character's backstory involved having lived in a fantasy world with her best friend, and having a very fantastical/overdramatic view of romance which led her to throw herself down a flight of stairs in attempt to get attention from the girl she had a crush on, when she was 13. This led to the character becoming depressed when she realized that the people around her didn't have the concept of a girl liking another girl, because no one understood the motivation behind what she had done. Some of the book was about the girl and her best friend (now 17 and 18) trying to go back to the people they were as kids, and some of this was about the girl trying to build a fantastical narrative around the experience of being a sexual minority.

When I tried to talk about the book to a straight person, the person said, "Why does everything you write have to about showing people how hard it is to be gay?"

People would say, "Why don't you write things that everyone can enjoy?"

enjoyment

I don't enjoy stories where the structure of the story implies everyone is heterosexual in a particular way. I don't enjoy stories where there are offhand negative comments about disabled people. Or writing where images/words about Autistic, intellectually disabled, and mentally ill people are used as analogies to illuminate the feelings and personalities of non-disabled people.

However no one writes these stories with the aim of my enjoyment.

workshops

If I had to do it over, I might not have majored in creative writing--and without that goal I might have chosen to attend a different college, which is a strange thought. I'm just not sure I believe in the workshop, if you know what I mean.

I mean, how can anyone believe in it? It can be thrilling when people are nice, or when they talk about your characters in a lot of detail. But it is the case that it is just an assignment and people sometimes aren't prepared or don't have anything to say, so they/we bullshit about other people's writing in an attempt to come off as smart. How do you know when someone's comments are bullshit?

Also--as a (b&s)mws, how do I know when someone's comments are even worth taking? My primary aim, in writing, in the long run, is to write things for people who have nothing exactly specifically for them to read. Gay zombies for example and Autistic people in general, since at this point I can't name a single work of fiction about an Autistic person that is written by an Autistic person.

Yesterday for the only time in three and a half years I became extremely upset because of a workshop, to the point of crying and not being able to sleep. Now, I really do not know if I believe in workshops anyway. But my general experience of a workshop is people give you some suggestions and they also discuss what you wrote which is kind of fun and you get to think, with other people, about something that you made. Which is at least a pleasant feeling, and I was looking forward to it yesterday because I was really excited about the story I'd written.

However, people were so detached from what I wrote that I didn't understand almost anything they said. They talked about clarity and the main (disabled) character being closed off, and his "problems" and his lack of understanding of what was going on--almost none of which I thought were issues at all. I thought I wrote a story about a character who understood things other people assumed he didn't understand.

There was also an unstated assumption that I was writing from the outside--that is, that I was trying to write the thoughts of someone with autism, and figure out what those thoughts might be like. Maybe I had worked with kids who had autism, or something, because I seemed to be doing a pretty good job. It was certainly very original to write a story about such a person.

I've generally had good experiences with workshops for stories that contain SSA characters, but I remember having a bad experience as a first-year. The straight people in my class expressed that they didn't understand the character's feelings about being gay, which were clearly stated in the poem. I ended up feeling that because the poem was somewhat humorous and the character was somewhat odd--and therefore her reaction to being gay was odd--the straight people couldn't relate. They wanted very very conventional feelings about being gay, if there was going to be a gay person in the poem.

(I received a positive note from a queer student in my class, who mildly added,"I think if this appeared in an LGBT journal, you wouldn't need to explain it.")

Is it the case that if I write something I think is one of my better pieces of writing, and receive what seems like an extremely negative (and detached from the original) workshop, I should just ignore the workshop because they are not people in my community and my goal is not to write something that they can understand without trying?

writing

I don't write because I like writing. I mean, I do. But I don't struggle for ideas the way some people do--or if I do, I know that it's because I'm trying to hide. If I'm going to "write the book I want to read" then I will never run out of books to write because nothing like the book I want to read exists. If I start writing stuff that isn't about disabled and gay werewolves, aliens, and zombies (figurative or literal), or other people who need to be written, then there is no joy or drive in writing for me.

At the same time, this is obviously problematic and lonely, especially in workshops.
2 yards| do you think about me?

Lions [08 Oct 2010|05:22pm]
I wouldn’t talk about lions so much if I were you. It’s kind of weird.Collapse )
5 yards| do you think about me?

[25 Sep 2010|10:39am]
it makes me sad when there's a blog carnival and I'm all excited and no one comments on my post. this has happened 2 times, and both times my post was awesome (I think).

do blog carnivals really work? don't people actually read posts? I do.

am I alone in the world?

on the plus side, this morning I woke up (after sleeping for ten hours, another plus) and I was actually COLD. So amazing. It has been terrible outside and it's so hot on the second floor that I can't sleep with all my necessary bedclothes weights on me and have to trick my brain by piling my sheets and quilt on my stomach but having the rest of them not be under them.
6 yards| do you think about me?

[15 Sep 2010|04:27pm]




I think people don’t respect the art of having a really awesome Facebook profile. Like I get that it seems ridiculous how much I edit mine, but the result is that my profile is FANTASTIC. I also recently realized that I can use “Extended Info” to fight the fact that they changed the Likes and Interests section to make it annoying.

Unfortunately most people don’t read Facebook profiles as carefully as I wish other people would read mine. Which is so dumb! I’m a connoisseur. For example, I happen to have noticed that my friend LB is like me and tucks away clever Easter eggs to be ferreted out by people who have a modicum of creepiness. She describes one of her jobs as “teaching children art and telling them ‘it’s modern art!’ when they didn’t like what they’d created” and lists her major as “calling soccer football” (i.e. English). Come on kids! By not wasting time on Facebook you are missing out on being impressed by our dedication.

Sort of kidding but I'm really not. People do much dumber things when they could be having fun.
1 yards| do you think about me?

shuffle quote thing (come on, everyone does this sometimes) [14 Sep 2010|06:19pm]
1. old friends acting strange ways as they hide behind a boulder (I think? once when I was younger I embarked on a project to write all the lyrics on this album because I could never find them online. but I couldn't figure any of the songs out completely).

2. your dream is my nightmare, your dream is my new kiss goodnight

3. I feel like my eyes have been Transfigured, something deep inside has changed, they've been opened wide but hold that trigger, this could mean danger

4. someday we'll meet beyond the limits of who we are and it'll be away from here

5. I think I'll disappear now, slip out sideways just for a while, but until then I'll stay in and sleep late, excuse me

6. let me off the bus, I'm tired and sore and should probably change clothes

7. Father's memory was never what it once was. Shouldn't really drive anymore, either.

8. love is a tired symphony you hum when you're awake, love's the crying babies Mama warned you not to shake

9. an uncut stone is flawed and beautiful, don't try to size me down to fit your tiny hands (I love this song but I think this lyric is the most awkward thing I've ever heard)

10. if you feel it in your body like a hurricane, let your arms become propellers, take off, don't feel any shame
do you think about me?

[17 Apr 2010|12:49pm]


+



+



=



basically
do you think about me?

[10 Apr 2010|05:16pm]
todd: NOBODY is actually intelligent about this...except for me of course!!!
me: yeah
that's pretty much it
<3
no, I mean I am really unaware
it's kind of embarrassing
todd: no, it's healthy. stay that way.
do you think about me?

[03 Apr 2010|10:29pm]
me: hey I know this is really dorky but I'm sort of afraid of getting caught with my wishbone videos at airport security
jlight@oberlin.edu: are they vhs?
me: yeah
jlight@oberlin.edu: haha
me: shut up
jlight@oberlin.edu: its fine
me: I know I'm afraid they'll xray them and be like what the fuck
and then look at them
jlight@oberlin.edu: you could be bringing them to a cousin
me: so embarrassing
jlight@oberlin.edu: for easter
me: yeah
my little cousin
jlight@oberlin.edu: yeah
me: who grew up in the 90s
5 yards| do you think about me?

is it bad if I think this looks like the best movie ever made? [29 Mar 2010|01:12pm]
4 yards| do you think about me?

[15 Mar 2010|09:13pm]


You have eyes like a cow
Staring out at me
You have a voice like I don't know what
Inside me

I will die
I will die
Before I eat a cow with your eyes

You are the moon and the stars around
Which I orbit
You are the grass, you are the ground
You keep me here

But when you cease to keep me here
You won't disappear
When I collapse
You'll still remain

And I would die
I would die
Before I ate a cow with your eyes
do you think about me?

[17 Feb 2010|10:57pm]
Liam and I were watching All Creatures Great and Small and so I tagged Liam on facebook as a Pekingese

Liam: Aww!

(later)

Liam: I don't know, it's kind of ugly...I don't like it, I actually really don't like it
me: yeah it's kind of scary-looking
Liam: people are going to think it's me
me: yeah
Liam: they're going to think I'm, like, a freak
me: (laughing)
Liam: it's not funny! maybe I'll apply for a job and they'll be like "oh, that guy, he's a freak"
me: (laughing)
Liam: IT'S NOT FUNNY!
2 yards| do you think about me?

[17 Feb 2010|10:17pm]
This is the happiest day of my life.
do you think about me?

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