Why Tinker Bell Is Awesome

This is a repost from my old blog. I still haven’t seen the Neverbeast movie, FYI.

 

I wasn’t interested in Disney‘s Tinker Bell when it came out in 2008. I thought it would be another lame “re-tell the movie from the perspective of the side kick” thing like The Lion King 1 1/2. I have never been crazy about Tinkerbell either. So I passed on the movie and completely missed the fact that there were sequels. When I saw the series on Netflix earlier this year I wrote the whole thing off as a shallow marketing ploy aimed at little girls who preferred fairies over princesses. (They also changed the spelling of the character’s name, which is a pet peeve of mine.)

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I was writing a post about how marketing is relevant to the success of any product or service — including entertainment — and I realized I was being a pissy little hypocrite when it came to the Disney Fairies. So, since my Netflix is active for this month, I decided to put my big girl pants on and just sit down and watch Tinker Bell.

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Star Trek, Sex, and Patriarchy: Is Will Riker A Jerk?

A few nights ago, a friend and I were talking about Star Trek. I brought up Cmdr. William Riker, who happens to be my favorite TNG cast member and the character I feel is the perfect embodiment of the space captain trope. (I know he’s the first officer, not the captain.  Keep reading.  It will make sense at the end.)

My friend characterized Riker as “a slut” and implied that because he enjoyed casual sex, he had no moral boundaries. Later, he went on to describe Riker as a jerk, presumably because Riker has multiple sex partners over the course of the series, is not interested in long-term relationships with most of them, and even when he is interested in a long-term relationship with Deanna Troi, he doesn’t press the issue and continues getting involved in casual relationships with women he meets throughout the galaxy.

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A Note to the Church

It’s sad that I’m a Christian, and yet when someone tells me they’re a Christian writing about their faith or Christian life, I worry whether I should even attempt to go to their website.  I cringe because I’m waiting for the judgment that almost always vomits off of so-called “Christian” sites.my-reading-and-writing-journey

My grandmother’s in her 90s. A lifelong Catholic. This November, her daughter married another woman. You know what my grandmother did? She went to the wedding and danced.
If a 90-year-old woman can dance at a gay wedding, you can learn to treat people with grace and kindness today.

Your Opinion Isn’t Sacrosanct

OPINION SACROSANCT
Over the past week or so, I’ve gotten several comments on my various social media feeds that were rude, ableist or otherwise offensive. Each time, I’ve been polite and either explained my position or simply asked the other party to disengage.  The usual response is, “This is a public space, don’t I have the right to express my opinion?”
 
Here is the deal.
 
Your opinion isn’t sacrosanct. The fact that I keep my timelines public doesn’t mean you have impunity or get special consideration given to you when you express an opinion. If your opinion is factually erroneous or supported by oppressive social assumptions, I will say so. If I know your comment is just going to start a fight, or is meant to agitate on something I don’t agree with, I will ask you to stop commenting about it and close the thread. This isn’t personal.
 
The name on all my accounts is some variation of “Rose B. Fischer.” or “Evil Genius RBF.” I maintain these spaces to talk to my friends.  Behave like my friend, respect my friends, or leave. If I close a thread, it’s closed.

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Mini-Rant: Autism, Ableism and ADHD

I was going to post this on Facebook.  Then I realized I want it here so I can link to it in every thread I see this mentioned.

 

I keep seeing posts in my feed about how “there are more people being diagnosed with ADHD and Autism than ever before. Clearly the problem is our diet/pesticides/chemicals/technology/overmedications/whatever.”

STOP.

This is ableism and I’m calling bullshit.

Autism is not caused by diet and there’s no actual evidence that it’s caused by modern technology/chemical exposure.

Some ADHD symptoms can be managed by diet. Overmedication is a valid problem. That doesn’t mean diet or medications is a causal factor. Your logic is flawed.

If I see that article about how “ADHD doesn’t exist in France” one more time I’m going to slap someone.
More people are being diagnosed because more medical professionals and parents recognize the symptoms.

Previously, the same people would have been labeled as “problem children” and grown up without the help and resources they needed.

STOP TRYING TO MINIMIZE THE EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

Stop exploiting the experiences of others for your political/social agenda.

Stop telling people that their experiences aren’t valid because you don’t believe their disorders are real things.

STOP and think about how you’d feel if someone told you that your stomachache wasn’t a real thing because they couldn’t see or touch it. Then think about what it would be like to live with that stomachache for the rest of your life.

Just. Stop.

[Draft Version] Why I’m Not Russell Crowe Anymore

This is a repost of my essay from the other day. The original has been updated. After I had it. Workshopped through Blogging 201.

I’m reposting the draft version as part of a case study I’m planning for next month next month.

russell_crowe_the_insiderHave you ever seen the movie Insider with Russell Crowe? It’s an awesome story about a scientist named Jeffrey Wigand. Wigand is a (real life) former tobacco exec who helped expose the dangers of smoking and Big Tobacco’s efforts to keep that knowledge from the public.

I love stories like that.  Russell Crowe does that kind of character a lot.  It’s one of many reasons he resonates with me as an actor.

In the movie, Wigand had no interest in becoming an activist. A series of complications backed him into a corner, and he had to choose between letting big tobacco intimate him and collaborating with a reporter. He didn’t want to be a hero in the conventional sense. He wasn’t chasing justice because justice mattered. He was pissed off and fought back because somebody fucked with him and threatened his family.

I’ve been that person. I’ve also been the crusader for justice who would take up political activism because it was the right thing to do and somebody had to.

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#1000Speak: Why I’m Not Russell Crowe Anymore

 

RussellCrowe_Insider_10

Have you ever seen the movie Insider with Russell Crowe?

It’s an awesome story about a scientist named Jeffrey Wigand.  Wigand is a (real life) former tobacco exec who helped expose the dangers of smoking and Big Tabacco’s efforts to keep that knowledge from the public.

In the movie, Wigand had no interest in becoming an activist. A series of complications backed him into a corner, and he had to choose. Would he let big tobacco intimate him and threaten his family, or would he collaborate with a reporter?
He didn’t want to be a hero He wasn’t chasing justice because justice mattered. He was pissed off and fought back because somebody fucked with him.

My whole life has been like that.

I fought three different men who sexually abused me.
I fought my mother when she insisted I was lying.
I fought the police and the legal system.
I fought for my education over and over.
I fought my husband when he abused me.
I fought the homeless shelter where I went to escape from him,
and I fought my previous landlord over accessibility for years.
I’ve also been the crusader for justice who would take up political activism because it was the right thing to do and somebody had to.

I come from New Hampshire, and I grew up seeing this everywhere:dtom_live_free_or_die_stickers-rf6eac0d9f60442008f8fe60d32dda5c9_v9waf_8byvr_512

“Live Free or Die” is the state motto. “Don’t Tread on Me” is…well. Complicated.

Russell Crowe mentions it in interviews when he discusses Wigand and once even referred to “Don’t Tread” as our state motto.

In New Hampshire, the connotation of that symbol is about not allowing anyone (big government, church, social systems, corporations, schools, anyone) determine your life for you. At least that’s what I learned in school. It’s in every elementary and middle school history book I ever read, deeply connected to our state history and the Revolutionary War.

I used to have the patch like this for my jacket:

live-free-or-die-patch-1000x1000

As far as I was concerned, it meant, “If you fuck with me, you’ll regret it, even if it costs me everything.”

It was the perfect embodiment of my life, my rage, my absolute unwillingness to be bullied, beaten down and ignored (tread upon.)

But there was a problem.

 

In other areas of the country, Don’t Tread is linked with a racist agenda. New Hampshire is a white, Republican state, and it’s at the forefront of states rights debates. Its big claim to fame is the first in the nation primary. So I’m willing to bet the racism connection is here. If so, I can’t trace it, and I don’t see it.

Several years ago, I decided to stop wearing or using Don’t Tread symbols anyway. I don’t want the stench of racism anywhere near me. (Even if I don’t see it.) This was a choice about compassion and sensitivity, not political correctness or censorship.

I made a choice to let go of something that mattered to me because racism hurts people. The small sense of comfort I get from having a patch or doing artwork with those symbols is not worth the potential for inflicting pain on other human beings.

I came close to changing my mind this week.

 

My landlord is dicking me around. I’ve had problems with my plumbing since November, and I’ve been trying to get them to make accessibility modifications for 6 years now.

This apartment was rented to me as an ADA compliant accessible unit, but it clearly isn’t. They’ve been told by an outside contractor that the apartment is not in compliance with the ADA.

My toilet clogs every 2-4 days.

They’re having similar problems in other buildings. The president of the management company doesn’t want to replace the toilets or fix the plumbing. They expect me to get a doctor to sign off on a high pressure toilet because I have a disability. My disability has nothing to do with the toilet, and what they’re asking is illegal.

Now, they’re insisting that in order to do any of the work, they need paperwork from my doctor for the toilet.

They’re threatening to charge me if I push for the plumbing to be repaired without a doctor’s order.

I could totally go Jeff Wigand on them. Hell, I could go Gladiator on them at this point.

Gladiator

I’ve been in contact with a lawyer and could start legal proceedings right now.

But I’m going to wait. I’m going to give them at least 30 days to get the paperwork and finalize plans with contractors (even though I know that they most likely won’t do anything.)

Why?

Because I finally realized that I don’t have to be Russell Crowe.

 

It’s hard for me to say “no,” to walk away from a fight, or delay action when I’m angry. It goes against every instinct I have.

I’ve been Russell Crowe for years, and it takes a big toll. Hollywood doesn’t show you that part. I’ve smashed up against the powers that be in every way possible, and I’ve lost part of myself each time.
I’ve never had a happy ending. I’ve lost every fight. Barely came out alive.

Nobody has ever admitted wrongdoing or changed policy because of me. Remember “Don’t Tread”? If I was the snake, the guy stepping on me would be Iron Man.

Iron Man-disabled-rightsAt the risk of sounding like a movie cliche, what I want right now is to be left alone.

 

There’s part of me that feels like this is copping out, giving up, letting them “win.”

I know that the management is trying to bully me and thinks they’re getting away with it right now.

Letting them think that sticks in my craw.

 

But if playing along will give me the space to live my life and maintain my mental health, I’ll restrain my inner crusader. I’ve decided that being right won’t matter if the cost is another year of legal and moral battles that cost me everything else I value.

I’ll change my mind if the bullying becomes more aggressive or if I literally have no toilet. But for right now I have very little to gain by pulling out the big guns. Once I take that step, there is no turning back.

I need to put aside my warrior instincts and find compassion: self-compassion. The kind that will allow me to bend if it means I’ll avoid being tread upon long enough to do the things I’ve promised myself I would do this year. I feel like “guns blazing” is the only way I’ll get what I deserve. Maybe it is. But it won’t make me happy or get me what I want.

Disability, Poverty, and Me: The Squeeze

barrier-418450Since November, I’ve been having problems with my toilet and bathroom plumbing. The toilet clogs roughly every ten days and requires professional attention. I have repeatedly been asked intrusive questions about whether medications might be causing me to go to the bathroom more than normal, whether I am ill, whether I am “impacted,” etc. I have stated that there is no medical cause for the toilet problems. I have even stopped putting toilet paper in the toilet. It’s all going in a trash can.

The management company started talking about charging me for the plumber and maintenance visits. The toilet was serviced twice in one week by a plumber who told maintenance that the problem was a defective, failed model of toilet, and that my specific toilet had a broken trap. Rather than simply repair or replace my current toilet, they have decided to get a “special, disabled toilet,” and are asking me to have a medical release form signed by my doctor stating a need for a special toilet due to disability. I do not have a medical need for a special toilet with a powered flusher. I have a need for a functional toilet with working plumbing.

I told them if they charged me or sent me any kind of bill, I would sue them.
This is the latest in a long, LONG line of accessibility problems I have faced since I moved in. However, it’s actualy a step up from the place I had been living before(which is why I tried so hard to be patient and give them the benefit of the doubt.)

My doctor’s office is a low income clinic run mostly by underpaid admins, Nurse Practioners, and social work grad students. The MDs are overworked, and no one has specialized training in how to handle the needs of patients with disabilities who live independently and don’t have access to specialized social programs and “case managers.”

Every time I have needed forms signed having to do with disability, they have:

1. Insisted they couldn’t sign the form, so I had to call 3 or 4 different people to explain what the form was and that it was not for a social security evaluation.
2. Required me to come for a visit before signing the form. (Even though I have told them a thousand times that it’s difficult for me to get transportation and presents a financial hardship to do so.) This usually means I need a family member or friend to help me get there, and must do it on their schedule. Public transportation requires its own set of hoop-jumping and I get a migraine from travelling by bus.
3. Been booked out two months solid so the only appointment I could get would be beyond the timeframe when I needed the form signed.
4. Lost the form and not had it when I got there despite numerous phone calls from me asking where the form was and if it would be ready. This means I always have to ask for forms to be sent to me and then pay for copies and send them to the doctor’s office myself, EVEN when there is an option to have the form sent directly from the source agency.

Every. Single. Time.

Why don’t I switch doctors?

The short answer is income and travel distance.

Going to the doctor’s to get the form signed wouldn’t be a big deal for most people. For me, a doctor visit is a complicated process of jumping through hoops, navigating conflicting schedules, financial strain, anxiety and…you guessed it…exhaustion.
I explained all this to the management company and they blew it off.

“There’s no reason to worry. Your doctor will sign the form. Why wouldn’t they?”

This is where I stopped arguing. I’ve learned to pick my battles. They will spend about three weeks faxing and refaxing the form to the doctor. Then come back to me and say they couldn’t get it signed and ask me to call myself. Which I might do if I actually had a medical need for a special toilet. I don’t. ALL I NEED IS A TOILET THAT FUCKING FLUSHES.

This happens because the system is set up to make people who need services or accomodations give up.

I’m poor. Wheelchair accessible housing is rare and impossible to get into. There was a six year wait list for this apartment. I depend on the goodwill of this management company.

The system wants me to stay down. Stay afraid. Remember my place. Feel desperate.

Well, what the system fails to understand is that it made me. I was born fighting it.

Tired as I am, I’ll continue, because the alternative is to lay down and die.

Fuck that.
I know I’m not the only person caught in this horrible cycle, and the only thing I can do, the only way I can help or change anything is to continue writing about these experiences.

This is what it means to be poor and disabled in America. People call me lazy. People I’ve never even met assume that because I get a government benefit check and am using a wheelchair, I get everything I need on a silver platter.
No.

I have to fight for a working toilet.
I have to justify my need for a working stove, functional cabinets, and privacy in my own home.

I have to fight for things most people have never even thought about.

And I have to do all this with a quarter of their physical stamina and resources, while battling depression, mobility problems, and chronic pain. After all that, I still have to find a way to live my everyyday life, finish my projects, and write books. I have to be Superwoman.

Okay then. Bring it on, 2016. I’m still going to crush you.