Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The #Ferguson Decision- My Thoughts

Earlier today I posted one of my opinions about the Ferguson decision last night on my facebook page for my blog. To say that it was not well received would be an understatement. I ended up being so flummoxed, and out of time to properly explain my thoughts without a litany of swear words, and ranting, so I shut the page down for a couple hours. This was just my way of pausing the whole thing so I could think for a minute, and gain my emotional control. I needed to have a moment to write, and I have not had that time until now, so I am. I put my page back up, but have not been on it, so I can imagine it is quite possible that things have gotten worse, and I have lost 10 more members.

I thought about just deleting the thread that caused the issue to begin with. I thought about trying to clarify what I am trying to say on that thread. One of the reasons I am so mad is not at the people that disagree. I know the critics are there. I am more upset at the people that agree, but have opted to remain silent withholding comment, and even likes so as not to enter the conflict. I see them saying similar things on their private (read safe) pages, but will not engage in a wider arena due to being too afraid to get attacked.

I have opted not to go the safe route, so it's time for me to put on my big girl undies, and deal. This post is where I am going to offer my opinions about the Ferguson decision. You are welcome to address these points, and bring up any of your own (provided you're being respectful, and remaining on topic) in the comments section. I will not be returning to the thread that caused the issue, and commenting further there. I feel what I was trying to say has been twisted around, and that was a few hours ago. I can't imagine how out of hand it's gotten since.

First of all, I want to clear one thing up that seems to be so misunderstood. I am not angry that a cop 'got away with murder'. I am angry that an unarmed man was shot dead, and there will be no chance for evidence to be presented in an impartial court for both sides to be heard.  I suspect this is the main source for anger in many.

An indictment is NOT a declaration of guilt, or innocence. It is just a formal accusation that a crime is suspected to have occurred that precedes a trial in a court of law where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The reason I am mad is not anything other than given the fact that Mike Brown was not armed when he was fatally shot, and given that fact alone both sides deserved to be presented. Instead of what happened, which was a closed nontransparent decision by a few people.

I have heard so many other off topic rants about how Mike Brown could have, should have, known to follow instructions by an officer. His parents should have taught him to be better. It seems odd to me that when a white man is killed (whether armed or not) people ask what his motive was. Maybe, he was mentally ill, or maybe his mother didn't hug him enough. If you're a black man you're just a thug. It is assumed you weren't following orders, and the only recourse was a fatal one. That is that. No trial, or further investigation needed.

I have also seen people say it wasn't about race, because there are black people who kill other black people all the time. This is not even the same thing. White people kill white people all the time, too. What makes this situation different is that a cop shot an unarmed man. It was not a random crime on the street. The one accused of murder is a sworn member of our police force who is supposed to be there to protect, and serve. He was trained to be in situations where his life could be in danger. He is supposed to act with the least harmful force necessary.

I also see a lot of people saying something along the lines "If you don't agree that Wilson is innocent, and doing his best then next time you're in trouble don't call the police." Or suggesting that if I don't support Wilson I am somehow anti-cops. Nope. I respect the hardworking officers out there, of which there are many. I am full of nothing but gratitude for their hard work, and dedication. Most cops are inherently good people wanting to serve their community, and doing so everyday. I am not offering any presumption of ill will, or guilt to any officer at this time besides Darren Wilson. This is not about the police as a collective whole, so please don't turn it into an all or nothing debate.

And, finally the I will address the comments that I think made the bulk of people dislike my page at once.

It is my opinion that there were so many other ways for the police to have acted in Ferguson Monday night that would have made things different. I do not condone looting, violence, or burning down buildings in protest. However, the way the police approached the whole situation did seem to be a little antagonistic. They approached the protestors from the get go in full riot gear with tear gas, and rubber bullets telling them they were unlawfully assembled. The police dept tweeted that they were using smoke, and not tear gas, which was a lie. It was definitely tear gas. It really seemed antagonistic the way they approached the protestors, then when the violent people began looting it seemed there was no way to control it. I heard via Twitter that the police purposely did not defend predominately black owned business districts. I cannot quote that as a fact, because I don't know if it is true, but it would not surprise me.

I was watching CNN report as I was watching live feeds via Twitter. The stories were not matching up. I know at one point a group of people were carrying a woman who was said to be having a heart attack past the news cameras as they yelled for help. They were carrying her to the police. The police gassed the people. Outright threw teargas at the people yelling "Help! Medic!" while carrying a woman in distress. I saw them all disperse likely leaving the woman on the ground. A few minutes later I heard the CNN anchor speak about the police opening their lines to help aide the woman. That is NOT what happened. Not on their camera, and not from any other eyewitness account, but yet I saw the media do this several times last night over other various situations. They put a spin on things that was inaccurate.I don't trust what has been reported, and I don't trust that things were handled by the police well given that they lied about the teargas, which was not a smart thing to even lie about.

So do I condone the violence that happened last night? No. I do not. I understand how it came to that through anger, and a total mishandling of the situation. That is the point I was trying to make.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Uneven- How my brain works

Last Wednesday I went before our state board of education to speak along with our state's disability rights center about the current lack of enforceable regulations regarding seclusion, and restraint complaints in our state. There are regulations in place, but no real way for the board to enforce them if a parent files a complaint. The complaint process is really a meaningless gesture the way it's all set up at the moment. I strongly feel that needs to change.

As passionate as I am about having strong laws that protect vulnerable children I almost as terrified of public speaking. I don't like being the center of attention, and I don't like speaking in front of groups of people. This combined with news cameras, and closed circuit television really was my idea of anxiety hell. It was so many of my fears rolled into one event.

I sat there listening until it was my turn. The people that went before me were better at public speaking, but not necessarily in getting to a point that makes sense, and is action oriented. You only have three minutes to speak. One needs to make their point quickly, buy effectively, as well. There needs to be a directive at the end of what, and or how you'd like to see your idea implemented into public education.

I heard some good ideas from educators, and parents. One in particular spoke about the need for movement breaks being implemented into the classroom environment, Those of us familiar with autism, and sensory processing disorder call these sensory breaks. All kids (and arguably adults, as well) need these breaks. It's important to our whole mind, and body system to give our bodies the opportunity to rebalance after sitting for a prolonged time. Children especially are not built for long periods of inactivity. I loved her idea, and that she did a demonstration. What I waited for, and didn't hear was how to implement this activity in every class period. What I waited for, and didn't hear was how there have been numerous studies recently about the need for more movement being incorporated in children's school days, or even what solutions she is specifically asking the board to implement.

I noticed that many were pretty good at speaking while looking at the board members, and really just having fluid body language that I didn't have. It was taking all I had to read without losing my place. I also thought I might throw up. My voice shook, but the words came out as I wrote them. I was told I did a great job, and my testimony seemed to really make a big impression. I was approached by a few of the board members who had questions, and who wanted to get my contact info.

It occurred to me as I was on my way home what impression I left on all those people in that room. A willowy,  thin, well dressed woman who was was well spoken, and capable. That was something, wasn't it? I'd never thought of myself that way, and never thought others did, but in this moment I saw a glimpse of what I can look like in a small sliver of time to others. Strong, and educated. Privileged, even. The only way I could get through the entire ordeal was to tell myself that I was just as good as anyone else there. I had just as much right to speak, and be heard as anyone. That was a novel thought to me. It truly was. I repeated it over, and over in my head as I awaited my turn to speak until I almost believed it.

What they couldn't know was that I could never have gone if my husband hadn't driven me from two hours away. Driving on the interstate to unfamiliar places is not something I can do. It may as well be located in outer space if it were left to me to get there from far away. It's not laziness, or just anxiety. It really is beyond my capability to drive that far away, and find my way around without getting lost, or so completely overwhelmed that I couldn't function. All the little steps of traveling seem so hard for me. I feel like a child. These are the times that I know I am not capable, and am not strong.

But, you know what? This is a big part of what autism is.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holding Grudges & Social Politics

The other day my husband and I were talking about the school situation with Beans last year, and how I was still angry at one of our friendly acquaintances (Beans bus driver) for not taking a stand for Beans. He said I was taking it too personally.

I said, " I don't think you're taking it personally enough!"

Here we have a very outgoing, friends with everyone, well known,very popular person from our town, and probably whole area. In an effort to not get messy she chose to pretty much not take a side, though I do feel like she leaned on the school's side a little. She seemed to always give them the benefit of the doubt. "Maybe he fell down?" She would pose. Or, "So and so's mom said that her daughter had GREAT results with that teacher." She totally ignored the fact that my child was sent home seriously injured from that classroom, and then thrown aside as the school attacked me, as if I was the one who was wrong for asking what happened. She chose to remain quiet, and supportive of my family so as not to ruffle feathers.

It was very personal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is Less More When It Comes To Social Media?

I read an article several weeks ago about how we overuse social media, because of fear. The fear had to do with feeling like we're missing out. If we're not connected, and paying attention we might miss something, or be left out of an important social loop. Now, in all logic most of us know that 90% of social media is not really ever very important. This is not to say that some wonderful things haven't been done on social media. I don't mean to negate important social movements, charity events, and other such things that do very seriously impact our daily lives. We have to admit that funny animals videos, memes, and pictures of our meals are not exactly earth changing in, and of itself. However, many of us really fear that if we don't check in we just might not be in the loop, or involved in the latest trends. We might find ourselves left out of events, or without knowledge that everyone else will know, but us.

I thought that this didn't apply to me. I really don't care about most social practices. However, I couldn't overcome, or shake this feeling of irritation, and agitation that I would get when engaged in browsing Facebook, and Twitter. It seemed like it was not adding to, but taking away from my life. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to change some of my online habits, because they clearly were not working for me.

But, what to change seemed to be the impossible question. I had to find the source of my upset. Was it the amount of time I spent online, or was it the content? Was it both?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Can

In my last entry,' Can depression be useful?' I brought up a few points about how depression could possibly be useful in some ways, such as really hyperfocused problem solving. For myself, my recent bout of depression seemed to really be an effective instigator in finding some solutions to long term issues that have been happening in my life. It seems that when something is a way for a long time we tend to not be able to see that it can be changed, even if the situation is negative. It's like we just resign to situations that don't work for us, even when we would like for them to be different out of habit. I had just resigned to certain things being less than optimal, because in my mind it was just the way things are. I swallowed my feelings about them, and moved on. That can only work for so long before mental health starts deteriorating in some cases where the situations are stressful.

The change in my mental state was a wake up call. It was what I needed to take stock of what mattered, and didn't. What was working, and what wasn't. It was the kick I needed to really reign in my energies, and make some changes that needed to be made.

As I pulled in my energies, and shut everything else down one theme quickly became clear in my life- I really was in desperate need of a break.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can #Depression Be Useful?

I read an article the other day about depression being an evolutionary trait that has been passed down by our ancestors, because it does harbor some usefulness. I read, and re-read it. I read it several times when I was depressed, and I just re-read it again in my current frame of mind, which is melancholy, but not what I would describe as depressed. I really wanted to let this idea sink in before really having much of an opinion on it.

In the article it talks about how when people are depressed they tend to shut down almost all other activities, and focus primarily on their problems. It's narrows down our focus, and reserves our energy for solving issues that triggered the depression in the first place. This is exactly what I was referring to in my last post. I was tired, and worn out so many issues being constantly tossed my way at once that I think my brain just needed to pull in it's energy to focus on what was the most important, which was/is taking care of my family. It was also a big, huge flashing warning that something in my life was not working. I needed to take a break from the distractions of others to really dismantle everything, and really understand what was happening. There are some people that have disorders that may indicate that depression just happens to them without warning, or reason, but most of us have reasons behind why we fall into depression. Most types of depression is triggered by an event, or lifestyle that our brain did not/cannot process in a healthy manner. Depression is a way for us to examine that trigger, and what behaviors it set forth that is not congruent with our life.

Some of the triggers are not things we can choose.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Refilling My Reserves

There has always been something about gazing up at the night sky that captivates me. The smell of night, and the calm stillness pulls my thoughts into another world.It's one that transcends physical practicalities, and realities. It's a dimension of me that only I know, and wish so deeply that I could pull another person into it for just a moment to share in the richness. I wish I could express it in words with the depth in which I feel it. There are no words that describe how I feel sometimes.

As I step out into the intricate moonlight the blue hues in the sky remind me of every happy moment I had as a child. It's like every memory melds into one time, and one experience that is stored away in the recesses of my mind until something triggers it, and there I am as happy as I could ever be.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Can't.

I can erase, and begin again so many times with this post, but in the end I know it doesn't really matter. I can try to craft an entry with words that captivate, and lend ease to reader's sense of imagination who happen upon my words, but that is not what this post is about. That is not the content I am able to put forth today. That is probably my least favorite form of writing. I like to write freestyle, letting the words pour out of my fingers almost as quick as I can think them. I like the freedom of the words showing up on the screen in front of me almost quicker than they can be recognized in my own head.

Truth is, right now I am not able to write any other way. My ability to speak, relate, hear, understand, and just be near people is severely compromised. It isn't purposeful hiding. I have hit a place mentally I cannot people. I can't hardly write. I can't hardly speak. I can't hardly think.

I just can't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sometimes Foods- How to Tweak Your Diet for Optimal Nutrition and Taste

When we think about diet, nutrition, and healthy eating habits most of us know that we should eat more natural foods, and less fried sugary types of foods. That is really basic knowledge that most of us know is factual. We're taught that from a young age. Then why is it that it seems so hard to put into place?

I do think part of this is due to misconception of what the diet industry has taught us about low fat, and fat free foods. I think people have been generally mislead to believe that unhealthy foods are healthy. I also think that we become accustomed to eating certain foods, and our bodies, and minds crave these foods.

I think the other major part is food availability. Being able to access quality produce that one can afford is also a major concern. When I see big name TV shows, and celebs give meal advice it may as well be in another language. I know for a fact that my family cannot afford to eat the way they are suggesting. It feels impossible to me even hearing it. It seems that no one ever considers that maybe not all of us can afford to buy that much produce, and other pricey items. It can be off putting for people living in poverty that need to eat better for their health.

I have heard from numerous sources that our bodies get accustomed to certain foods. Eating a lot of processed foods will dull our taste buds to anything that is not packed with preservatives, and sodium. Anything that has less salt than a Dorito chip may render not as tasty to our tongue as a result of eating too many similar items. This leads to most of us craving foods that we know aren't very healthy, because the rest taste so bland. It feels like a chore to choke down fruits, and vegetables.That is why many, many diets fail. The dieter feels like they're being punished by having to live in a world of bland food, and they decide that being overweight really isn't that bad compared to eating like that every day forever.

The good news is that you can reprogram your brain somewhat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Damage @TheDrPhilShow Has Done

I don't watch daytime TV, nor do I get involved in large social issues that typically involve choosing opposing sides, so I learned of the interview on Dr. Phil's show in the 11th hour yesterday.

I am still sitting here this morning in a shock, even though I did not watch it. I caught a few glimpses. I read things from others who saw it, and I followed the event a little on Twitter.

This shock is one that I find myself in when I can't understand a social way of doing things. It's one that I can't shake, because I can't make sense of it. Not only did that interview upset me,  (I am not even going to use her name here. She doesn't deserve to have her name in print giving it anymore attention.) but I saw a string of other articles yesterday (that I am also not gonna go search out, and share here) about abusive caretakers, and residential homes harming, abusing, and killing autistic residents.

My brain loops in confusion, and profound sadness.

I cannot make sense of why this is allowed to happen. Why is someone who tried to kill their child getting so much publicity? Why are they granted interviews with influential TV hosts before they are even sentenced? While she sits in jail accused of a heinous crime the spotlight shines on her struggles. This is not justice. This is not right. My mind trips on the fact that socially this is influencing people.

Then the fear sets in.