How often are we relying on the things that distract us because we are looking for things to break our focus? Every once in a while I wonder what people are truly focused on; like if they had nothing to complain about, no aches to distract them, what would they be doing? It’s challenging to imagine life with nothing to complain about, unfortunately, because our species has issues.
Our bodies are these complex machines that many of us take for granted on such a level that it’s impossible for some people to consider another person’s experience. The term ‘ablism’ was coined a few years back as disabled people vocalized more about their experiences within “normal” society that was so prone to ignorance. We’ve come along way from tossing people ‘diagnosed’ with mental illness in ovens to ‘bake out the demons’ but that’s a story for Mind.
“You look fine to me” is bland commentary for some people, the stuff that often deserves a moment of deep breathing because we all have issues and its easy to fall off our A game. However this same commentary is very different for the, shall we say ‘invisibly disabled’ because it’s often paired with a pause that can feel like they’re expecting to understand your situation.
People with disabilities or mental illnesses are often forced into roles of teaching, often in really strange situations; like the story of a disabled woman asking for a straw at a restaurant [humans had begun limiting the use of plastic straws, so restaurants often didn’t hand them out casually anymore] and her server wanted to know why. I’ll take your order, but only after you explain to me why you can’t pick up your drink like everyone else...I imagine is likely how this kind of situation feels.
Blessings on the friend you’re dining with who is too arrogant to be nice and blurts out, “what’s it to you how she’s disabled? What’s the difference one straw is going to make when we’ve all been handing out straws left and right for the past 30 years?” and then maybe a little louder, “why don’t you not put my friend on the spot as if she owes everyone a lecture just because you can’t see her disability?”
During the surge of ADD and ADHD diagnoses, the world of adults created a line for their children—or maybe it was more of a box—which was “normal.” Are you ‘normal,’ one might ask, poking to see if you had to take pills for something or couldn’t tie your own shoelaces yet. For the past several years ‘normal’ seems to have taken on a very specific vibe, here’s an awesome example.
I’ve had a Twitter account for years, we even made an account for this site but it doesn’t have many followers—regardless, this story is about my primary alerts because I really like to avoid leaving comments on Twitter. Except for my favourite cat rescue person who posts about their cat rescue out in I don’t know what other country—they speak English just fine and name all the cats after Pokemons which is completely awesome. I’ll have to write a post in Fluffy Stuff about them.
The reason I don’t like to leave comments, other than sharing cat stuff on their threads, is because Twitter is full of “normal” people. A few days ago I was poking around on Twitter and found a post about Peter Dinklage, who I adore; upon investigating, I learned weird things.
One: yet another Snow White movie is being made [to which I say, ‘seriously who is not bored as all get out with this ancient story?’]
Two: the movie is a live action, structured like the first animated version and is being created by Disney
Three: Snow White isn’t going to be played by a white girl and people are excited they’ve cast the Latina girl Stephen Spielberg discovered for his remake of West Side Story [which is cool, I’m sick of all these girls with ‘skin as white as snow’]
Four: in an effort to make me care, the promo video displayed the face of [some guy] saying Disney has created an additional character and can we guess what he does? To which I say “sure I’ll take a stab, Snow drops into a coma because she ate the poisoned apple and Prince Charming can’t wake her up because even tho they hit it off at the beginning of the story, he later met this other guy and fell in love instantly. Charming wasn’t the type to stay at home and be taken care of and everyone knows girls never go on adventures, they just want babies and a clean house.” Or maybe they’re planning to update that. Maleficent was really edgy but I haven’t seen the second one so don’t know what happened with Princes Aurora.
Five: they’ve opened dialog with real-live little people so to make sure their dwarves don’t offend
Check out [not ready yet] for that stretch of writing because this post isn’t about Disney and what they’re up to. This is about people and the fact that I was compelled to comment…
“I get being scared of a villain but letting that fear control you up to adulthood & let it continue to do so shows you need help. My dad was afraid of the flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz as a kid but now he proudly wears a shirt saying don’t make me get the flying monkeys on it.”
Apparently this was in response to “that’s nice you want to understand. Actually I was scared of the step mom who wanted to kill her step daughter and went to such lengths as to track her down, disguise herself and poison the teen girl who just wanted to live.”
Which was in response to “Lmao...nightmares? Where you afraid every time a bird sang outside too? I’m just trying to understand how that fucking movie gave you nightmares”
Someone popped in just to say “That’s pretty pathetic for u then, should’ve just kept this to yourself” to which I said “Aww So mean and necessary, sounds like you need a hug. Or a cookie. Low blood sugar?”
However, ‘did birds singing scare you?’ jerkoff thinks I’m talking to them and says “Nah my blood sugar is good...it’s just crazy to me that something so tame could have an actual lasting negative impact on someone”
I ended my little adventure with this normie by saying, “There are countless stories and an infinate range of ways to present them. Some cultures have desensitized their children. Is why have different cultures and perspectives is important for balanced emotional/spiritual growth. I recommend the movie Nausica of the Valley of the Wind” which received no comments or likes.
There were a few other comments but mostly they’re rude and, well, the stuff of Twitter. This person who is “just trying to understand” which is very obviously untrue, this phrase is often nothing more than a neuro-typical magic spell used to make their ignorance or rudeness seem less offensive. It usually doesn’t work as intended, but often still functions as weak means of sending the ball back over the net.
This person is ‘just trying to understand’ therefore I’m the jerk for walking away or being rude or whatever—suddenly it’s become my responsibility to help or make this person understand, though much less so for some random person on Twitter. I’ve encountered this spell in my own life and even Zeffy was known to invoke it a few times before we finally had an effective conversation that helped build the bridge between us.
The basic breakdown was this:
It’s really awesome that you’re trying to understand, but those words can’t stand on their own because what exactly are you trying to understand? Me in general? My feelings right now? This feeling between us right now? What’s going on in my mind the past 5-20 minutes?
When all you say is “I’m just trying to understand” the neuro-divergent mind on the other side of that sentence segment has just begun to light up with high pressure sodium bulbs, time has begun to speed up as the brain argues back and forth. “Trying to understand what?” “Just wait, calm down, be patient, don’t interrupt what they’re saying” “But it looks like they’re done talking!” “That’s not possible, I’m misinterpreting their body language, they just need a moment” “It’s been 10 minutes!” “It’s probably only been 10 seconds, focus on breathing”
That’s my personal experience, for reference—though it doesn’t happen much these days, thank my gods, Zeffy’s a really good listener. The key is whatever gets said after “I’m just trying to understand” and this is where you probably need to ask a question even if it’s only:
“What can I do in this moment?” or “Is there something you can say to help me right now?” or even “do you have the energy and/or time to help me understand [this thing you’re going through, etc] now?”
We who don’t feel the passing of time often feel hyper-sensitive to those who because even though I can’t feel time, I sure as all get out can feel these fuckers like ticking stopwatches counting every millisecond. My whole life I’ve always taken things very literal, which sometimes feels like I’m taking stuff at face-value but mostly I feel like this means I struggle with dishonesty and false representation. If you’re trying to understand, do you expect me to help you? Do you want me to leave you alone, in this moment, so you can process something by yourself? Would you like to have a dialog devoted to exploring this thing you want to understand?
Forgive the length, Teta got excited