“This baby will be related to Michael through delusion.”

Human

I deleted 595 posts from this blog today. I saved a copy offline with the rest of my journals, going back to age fourβ€”forty-six years of attempts to put my thoughts into words. To exist in some form outside of my head. To insist, I’m a whole, real person in a world that consistently begs to differ. Being transracially adopted at birth and raised in a virtually all-white community affords a distinct perspective.

My (adopted) family were blindspot-bigots when I was born. (This is essentially the default state of humans, in case you weren’t aware.) The only black person I knew was my younger sister until I was twelve. Many of the parents of my peers were racist assholes. It sucked so hard as a kid who had no adult like me to talk to about it. Their children treated me significantly better, though. I’m still proud of them as they had so few good adult examples, yet still managed to choose decency. πŸ’œ

At seventeen, military people saw me as a whole human with a right to contribute and thrive. (It was heavenly.) I can immediately tell when someone sees me as less than. The energy is fugly, and my body goes on red alert. Being a soldier was like taking a decade long break from the constant hateful onslaught of racists. Tolerance for racism was nonexistent when I served because it’s divisive, destructive, and fraudulent. It allowed me to develop a healthier self-esteem and excel.

Human

I don’t look at people until I’ve sensed whether they’re an immediate danger. I don’t know the logistics of how I do it. I just know I must be good at it because I’m still here. I regularly encounter people who, for whatever reason, decide I’m not a person. It still hurts more when the perpetrator is African American. I’m working on killing off any remnants of my proclivity for putting unrealistic expectations on people merely because they look like me. My bad.

I’m embarrassed by how many times I’ve been burned by the brazenly insecure before I recognized the mythology of black unity. The unity was annihilated by colorism and blackness definition police long before I existed. I don’t think I’ll ever stop crying (on the inside) over this painfully ironic revelation. I spent so much of my childhood anticipating a joyful reunion with my culture upon adulthood, only to find out I’m too often not black right. Fucking ow.

Humans

(I still fall for it because I’d rather be wrong about how I initially perceive someone and get my feelings crushed than tell anyone they don’t matter. Also, change is reliable.)

I love meeting black people from other states who immediately ask me to pronounce certain words, then belly laugh. They see me and recognize I had a different experience and want to know how it went. They want to discover if it would make life less painful for their children if they moved here. (Often yes, unless you can afford a bubble, but may the universe help your kids if they ever leave that bubble. Prepare them for reality at least as much as you shelter them from it, eh?)

My parents adopted me at birth, and they loved me, raised me, shaped me, and did their best to prepare me for the world. They both evolved into even better people before my eyes as I grew up. I understood these things at a very young age. I grasped the lack of malice behind accidental jabs made them forgivable. (I told Jesus in my head.) I loved my parents, and I am glad I had them. They were terrific people.

Human

Both my parents’ parents were racists. We visited my dad’s parents once. Heather and I were not allowed to get out of the car because “the dogs didn’t like black people.” I was four, and I remember some things about this incident. I remember refusing to look at my dad’s parents. I remember the ground where the car was parked was muddy, and telling Jesus (in my head) I didn’t want to get out of the car anyway, because it would make me dirty. (Also, my crayons melted on the dashboard.)

My mom’s parents disowned her for adopting Heather and me. Her mom died a racist as far as I know.Β  When I asked my mom why we didn’t have grandparents like the other kids we knew, she explained to me the difference between my family and her family. I can’t recall how old I was, but I’ve never forgotten. From that day forth, I knew my authentic family consisted of my mom, Heather, Steve, my dad, and the foster kids.

Her dad evolved, and guess what? We had a grampa as teenagers!

The rest were my mom’s family (I’m the sole survivor of my reciprocal family.) The children she had with her first husband were my mom’s family, too, but it took a while for me to recognize. Her youngest two children grew up with us adopted kids. There was a clear separation between the adopted kids, the birth kids, and the foster kids. I never felt like my (adopted) parents didn’t want me. But I quickly learned I couldn’t afford to invest emotionally in familial expectations beyond my clearly defined, smaller than advertised, family.

No matter how much money you have, you’re still absolutely going to die. Please act accordingly.

Human

I believe transracial adoption has the potential to be traumatic for all children involved. If asked at any point in my life so far, I would have opted to be aborted rather than born and transracially adopted in a heartbeat. Preborn fetuses don’t have options. I think anyone who lived my life so far would heartily agree. (My mom’s youngest birth daughter concurs, and told me so on multiple occasions, most significantly, right after notably and most shadily securing $15k right after Heather passed. Please pray for her if you do that sort of thing.)

Growing up unvalued by most had a tremendous effect on my self-esteem. Being undervalued happens to POC, regardless of who raised us because we exit our homes to experience the world. It happens to people in the LGBTQIA community, and the emotional abuse begins younger than you’d believe. It happens to disabled people and neurodiverse people. You’re within 4 degrees of a child who was killed by a parent for existing while being neurodiverse. (Have a look at just one basic search.)

I think transracial adoption is more sustainable in 2020 than in 1969.

There are a lot of people who, at first glance, may appear to be valued by most but are not. They might have white skin or wealthy parents. Your eyes don’t tell you much truth about people. If you let them be the sole basis for how you judge others, you’re not experiencing life; you’re peacocking. You’re wasting precious time trying to figure out who and how to impress, rather than building yourself into who you want to be. Hopefully, you have time for the universe to reveal your worth from within, (despite the legion of loud assholes* sharing the planet.)

Human

When I was initially recovering from PTSD, my mom got diagnosed with colon cancer. I was there, and she made me promise not to tell anyone else. (I didn’t.) When she began treatment, I think she divulged to her youngest surviving son, too, but that time is blurry in memory. It wasn’t long after Steve died. I remember taking her to treatments and cleaning her house, but not much else.

The news instantly sent me into a deeply dissociated state. I was still raw with the grief that owned me 24/7 for a solid year. Steve was my anchor to this world, and losing him left me reeling in space. I could barely comprehend the concept of losing my mom. Worse, I couldn’t imagine existing without her: no fucking way, man. I was in my early 30’s, and my mom was my foundation in life, period.

I could only function like a robot operating my avatar from a fortress miles away. Even my vision felt pulled back; I was so numb. I remember going to Target with my mom while she was in treatment, and a woman bumped into her with her cart, injuring my mom’s finger. I had to fight off an overwhelming urge to kill the woman on the spot for daring to bruise my mom’s finger by accident. (I was fiercely protective of my family.) I think she saw it in my eyes because she very quickly turned her cart around and moved away.

Not even a twinge of guilt over that behavior. I’m not going to talk myself into recognizing it’s a little scary, either. Don’t fuck with my mom.

I tried to kill myself when I was six because I didn’t want to live in a world full of adults who were overtly offended by my existence. I still mostly only talked to Jesus in my head at that point. I tried drowning myself but was grossly ignorant of how it worked. I thought repeatedly submerging myself underwater until my lungs felt like they would burst would end me. I kept coming up for air, believing a few more times would do it.

Human

I don’t remember how long I tried, or even what I concluded when I stopped. I just remember I didn’t want to be black anymore because it hurt too much. The only way I knew to stop being black was to stop being. I never told anyone about this or the other time I attempted at twelve. The second time, I had a much better concept of death and how to achieve it (phenobarbital overdose with meds stolen from the foster kids’ medicine cabinet. It was close enough to be memorable.)

It upsets me to remember that time at age six because I was too much a child to understand death, but not too young to long for it. At twelve, I still wasn’t mature enough to consider the aftermath of offing myself. I was in so much pain and didn’t have anyone to speak with about it. Even if I did, I didn’t have the communication skills or words. I had novels, and they held me until I could find my voice. And all the times it disappears, since.

I died a little inside every single time someone stopped my mom to congratulate her on being so holy as to adopt two black babies.

*loud assholes are insecure people with no insight who aren’t yet brave enough to work on healing their wounds, but insist on helping create them in others; and have the means to read this. The internet is a tool. Use it to heal and grow. The information is there if you put in the work at applying it.Β  πŸ’œβœŒπŸ½

p.s. If anyone treats you like you’re less than a person, call them on it if you’re brave, but let them go (away.) Your value is purely intrinsic. External sources are like an illusion: Fleeting, unreliable, illogical, unbelievable, etc. You can choose authenticity instead. For the most part, life is generally worth experiencing, even though it seems none of us get to play without paying in tears.

p.p.s. The inability to recognize others of your species as a human ever so strongly resembles an inability to recognize one’s reflection in a mirror. Just saying.

β€œI guess it’s goodbye, chunky lemon milk.”

Midi Fighter 3D
Midi Fighter 3D

The Depression Monster tried with me earlier. I couldn’t be bothered, (she said as if tears weren’t involved at any point in the thankfully brief struggle to regain homeostasis.) I’ve gotten good at doubling down on my best coping skills. Cut to me on the treadmill, singing while finger drumming on my Midi Fighter 3D. A girl knows how to clap back, yo. πŸ™ƒ

Singing cadence while marching or running in-formation was one of my favorite activities in the military. I’ve been fascinated by how well singing and moving together as a group bonds people, ever since basic training. It’s also helpful for depression. I understand why John McVie (Fleetwood Mac) walks around while he plays. Music demands motion.

All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change. – Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler

Since I know many people are grieving right now, here’s a book (When You Lose Someone You Love, by Joanne Fink) that might make an excellent gift for yourself or someone you know. πŸ’œ It turns out I was wrong when I thought I couldn’t be friends with my neighbor. All relationships hurt, sometimes. Fortunately, we seem to have figured out each other’s boundaries naturally, which made all the difference.

I purchased a Trikke PON-E 48V from her and am going to take full advantage of the bike trails on it this summer (pandemic permitting.) I did manage a test drive just before going total hermit. I had a blast. It felt so fast I plan on wearing my helmet even though I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s (when slamming a door was far more likely to get you yelled at than riding a motorcycle without a helmet.)

Side note: In South Dakota, you can’t cycle without a helmet anymore unless you’re over 18 years of age. (Then, the law allows for all sorts of bad decisions.) Perhaps the message is: Welcome to adulthood. I hope your head doesn’t get crushed, but if it does, it’s your fault, starting now. 😢

I was super thrilled when Pamela Adlon was on Anna Faris is Unqualified podcast recently. (She crushed it.) I discovered Ologies podcast with Alie Ward, and it’s so great I’m binging the back catalog. Joy Bryant was on Armchair Expert again. She’s a drummer. (!!!) πŸ₯° Also, Deon Cole was on 3 Questions with Andy Richter. Yep. I squeed so loud, dogs probably barked.

I just finished listening to D’arcy Carden on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. She shares what she’s working on now that The Good Place is done, and had me laughing so hard, Amelia B is still hiding. Also, Conan completely took Sona Movsesian out, and her laugh is hella contagious. My face still aches, but I feel that same level of confidence to face the world you get from a powerful buff in a video game, only it’s real. Bonus. I’m off to locate and comfort my cat. πŸ’œβœŒπŸ½

“We heard about the punch.”

gloved hands and mask
“Two by two, hands of blue.” – Firefly

I’ve lost my ability to speak again, but I can still sing. Weird, right? Whatever, embracing it. My band leader yelled (jokingly) at me to practice a duet on Skype, and it triggered my inner soldier who hears a firm order and obeys it without question, (then immediately questions thinks about it.) 🀭 I suppose I can’t whine about being easily programmable after volunteering for the military. (I’ll take Things You Don’t Consider Before Joining, for $1000, Alex. πŸ’œ)

I’ve been creating music ever since. I made a song, but it’s incomplete. It’s a sandwich with nothing in the middle because it’s not my song. I just heard the bread and created it because I’m a hopeful romantic. Sigh. I think it’s Karen Kilgariff’s song. I don’t know her personally, but I adore her. I’ve been listening to her comedy albums on repeat just to keep from having the panic attack that keeps promising to be a doozy. πŸ™„

I’m a little floored by how well it works. Usually, when I find a comedy show I immediately love, I savor it and only rewatch or listen when I’m stapled to the floor by the Depression Monster. However, both Live at the Bootleg, andΒ  I Don’t Care, I Like It (with Drennon Davis) are hilarious over and over again. Bonus. I decided to make a video for the empty sandwich because it felt a bit more complete (and I have mild OCD muted by Prozac.) πŸ™ƒ

(Below is just the audio in Creative Commons so other artists can play with it.) πŸ’œ

The Irish singers are loops with which I’m in love. πŸ₯° I don’t have words beyond Nah. Also, Guitar Hero said, “It doesn’t suck.” (Compliment in Babyboomerbonics ((say it three times fast.))) πŸ˜† Okay, I have to get back to pseudo-socializing (going to try the Zoom with M) because we all know I can’t slack off, or I’ll get too weird at the speed of light. πŸ’œβœŒπŸ½

“Dangerous. Tacky. Sharks. Haunted. No.”

 

As I’ve been recording myself reading past blog entries, I ran into a problem. Here’s how I hope to work around it:Β  I want to hire a podcaster to read and record some of them on my behalf. I’m not going to repost all of them; only the ones I feel may be helpful to others. (The Pain Scale is what I believe the most valuable post on my site, for example.)

I’m going to take a risk and contact the podcaster that immediately came to mind. I’ve already accepted there will likely be a panic attack involved in the process, so bring it, Anxiety. I keep my anti-Anxiety tools arranged on a bamboo tray atop my filing cabinet. (That’s right, Anxiety. Coping with your antics is now part of my decor.) 🀭

anxiety decor

Reading back has been emotionally draining. My memories consist of how I felt at a point in time. From there, I can often recall scents, sounds, and a few blurry visuals. The only certain parts are the feelings, however.

On top of that, I can’t do time in my head. (I’ve never possessed this ability.) For me, there are three categories: Everything happened in either the distant past, recently, or yesterday. If you need me to be more specific, you’re going to be disappointed, because I’m going to guess (likely while walking away.)

I liken it to someone who was traumatized when learning math, and thus automatically dissociates when forced to do math in their head publicly. We probably both decided as children; these are boundaries. I know if someone tells me they hate math, never ask that person to do math in their head. I recognize there’s a very high chance they’re anxious about it, so that’s what I accommodate. (Many people have math anxiety. Bill and Melinda Gates are some of the people working on improving how we teach kids.)

elephant grafiti
Photo by Bryan Gomes from Pexels

Podcasters, I decided against a list. Instead, I will share about podcasts I love and why regularly. Whenever I make a list of people, I end up taking it down (as soon as I recognize it’s what’s causing the pain in my gut.) A list feels like I’m ranking people, and that grosses me out. (I live in what wants to be a glass house when it grows up.) 🀭

Recently, I was so happy to discover A Very Special Self-Quarantine Episode of Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast. They created it at the producers’ home (Matt Gourley,) and it was hilarious. Also, Sona Movsesian, (his Trusted Assistantβ„’) along with Andy Daly, Β David Hopping, and why are you still here? πŸ’œβœŒπŸ½

p.s. I’m more excited about Stevie Nicks today than I was when I began my deep dive into discovering the Queen of Rock, a while back. Also, Fleetwood Mac rules. πŸ™ƒ

“The rules of Shotgun are very simple and very clear.”

Conan and Tupac

I know. I’m anxious, too. I’m pretty sure we all hate this particular feeling. It gets in the way and steals our focus, but it also keeps us alive, so there’s that. Adapting to the ever-changing world is a common stressor for everything alive. Yet, as a species, we’re reluctant to change. Kicking and screaming is an apt description of how we collectively adapt to sudden change. 🀭

I don’t know why, but I figure there’s a reason related to our survival. Since we’re in the midst of a lifestyle change during the Covid-19 pandemic, I think many people are low-level freaking out because this is a new experience, and they don’t know what to do to get relief. (It’s such an awful feeling I want to gather you each in a just-right-tight hug, just for having to feel it.) πŸ€—

The Good Place Funko Pops

Here are some tips on how to cope during these uncertain times. (Source: The Savvy Psychologist podcast, episode 286.)

Do not dwell.

Limit time spent consuming news and information about the pandemic. Only use a few trusted sources. (CDC, your local health official website.) Constant data seeking can (and probably will) increase your anxiety. Ghost alarmist sources.

Maintain (or create) healthy activities. M.E.D.S. (Sorry.) πŸ™ƒ

Maintain your circadian rhythm. Spend as much time in daylight as possible, even if just facing a window. Practice going to sleep and rising at roughly the same time each day.

Exercise. If you don’t have equipment in your home, here are some ideas: Walk around your home while listening to music, a podcast, or audio book. Plan a route and remove obstacles where necessary. Continue as appropriate for your fitness level, with a goal of 30 minutes per day minimum. Use online fitness classes and guides for strength training. Scrub your tub, etc.

(The audio helps distract your thoughts from looping around anxious topics. The repetitive motion is self-soothing.)

Develop a handwashing plan and stick with it forever. Each time I do this, I do my handwashing routine immediately after. If I’m at home, this is what I do. If I’m away from home, this is what I do. This is how I roll from now on. πŸ‘πŸ½

Stay socially active. (There’s no need to isolate while you distance.) Finally, someone is telling you to spend time in your group chats. 🀭 Think of creative ways to stay connected with your friends and loved ones. Throw a Netflix Party. Use one of the gazillion apps that allow you to hang out with your tribe using tech instead of in person. (We’ve already been practicing for this lifestyle adaption for years, don’t you know.) 🀫

People with OCD and other mental health challenges might be having a rough time. Online support groups and remote therapy with services like Talkspace and Betterhelp are options. Sleep disturbances are also common during times of increased anxiety. I find listening to binaural beats to aid in sleep surprisingly helpful. Most music streaming services have them. (Here’s some on Spotify.)

Stephen King, Jim Henson, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, Daria

I’ve been using binaural beats for years. Every other night, I listen to one created to encourage the habit of daily exercise. I originally purchased it at eBay on a CD, and have since uploaded it to the cloud for nightly streaming; it’s so effective. (Willpower for $9.99? Done.) It sounds like the sea to me. On other nights, I switch it up with versions for increased focus and theta waves. I play them on low volume while falling asleep.

Mister Rogers, Ava Duverney

As a damn near-agoraphobic who used to live under a rock, I’d like to share some of my favorite things to do to ward off cabin fever, (alone or with others.)

  • Assemble a jigsaw puzzle while listening to a podcast or audiobook. (+10 mental engagement)
  • Build a miniature city using Amazon boxes. (+10 creativity)
  • Watch or record your kid, (self, partner, pet) stomping on Mini Cardboard City like Godzilla or something before recycling. (+10 social engagement)
  • Color while listening to a podcast or audiobook. (+10 creativity +10 mental engagement)
  • Learn a new skill with YouTube videos. (+10 mental engagement)
  • Make music with whatever you have available. (+10 creativity)
  • Start a parody journal documenting each day as if you’re writing to future aliens. (+10 creativity +10 mental engagement)
  • Use your phone to make a mockumentary based on the journal. (ditto)
  • Share your funny creations with your tribe and encourage them to do the same. (+10 creativity +10 social engagement)
  • Imagine a product you wish existed, and create the commercial pretending to advertise it. Share it, encourage it. (ditto)
  • Design and build a Rube Goldberg machine using stuff from around your home. Share it, encourage it. (ditto)
  • Interview your pet and answer all the questions for them in a silly voice. (ditto)
  • Practice your acceptance speech for whatever award you desire in front of a mirror. (Imagine all the people you want to be there, especially that asshat from Junior High who used to taunt you on the daily and go for it.) (+10 self-esteem)
  • Compose letters to people who have touched your life in profound ways. Take your time and use a thesaurus. (+10 mental engagement)

It’s just as important to keep your mind active. Now you know some things you can do instead of stressing and obsessing. Anxiety is uncomfortable, but we can flourish despite it. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling out of sorts. We’re all experiencing this together, and we’ll get through it together, even while practicing distance. πŸ’œβœŒπŸ½