People Have the Power

“People Have the Power” is my favorite Patti Smith song.

Yes I believe it’s true people in America have the power to change the the direction our country has been going in.

This starts when we challenge the hateful rhetoric in the media. It continues when we speak out against the drastic policies being enacted. The dialog can’t end it can only change its focus.

Why just fight for our rights? Why not figure out new rights we haven’t had that we can champion for everyone?

Instead of merely reacting to what goes on. We can be proactive in helping each other. We can treat each other with dignity.

Responding to hate with hate solves nothing. To love bomb the haters is the solution.

I read somewhere that if America wanted to convert other nations to our democratic ideals we shouldn’t bomb them. We should drop TVs on them.

I doubt anyone who needs to read what I’m writing will chance upon this blog. Yet here goes for those of you aren’t loyal readers. Here goes too for the ones who tune in every week. Here goes for everyone:

See who a person is not who you think they are. Labeling other people and judging them and stereotyping them is not the way to go.

I’ve listed in here the names of the over 30 people cops killed as well as written about Kate Spade.

Having been bullied early in life and having a diagnosis I’m no stranger to being viewed as the Other.

Yet it seems that before a person meets me or you or someone else that person sees fit to judge us and stereotype us and label us with a name.

Those of us with this kind of psychic ability to figure out a person’s life story just by looking at them: should set up a table on Venice Beach telling fortunes.

This aim might not be accurate so then again that would be a lousy way to make money.

Only our elected officials are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by daring to judge the needs of ordinary Americans as subservient to corporate greed.

Our elected officials are daring to think that the lives of ordinary Americans–lost to poverty, disability, lack of education, imprisonment, etc.–aren’t worth saving.

Sadly, I have given up on our government as being an agent of change.

The latest measure I’ve heard coming from Mr. Toupee is to stop funding public libraries.

No kidding.

Bombs away? I think not.

Let’s band together to treat each other with the respect, dignity, and compassion that seems to be lacking in media editorials and congressional fiats.

This blog will always be a hate-free and stigma-free forum.

 

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Kate Spade – A Tragedy

Today Kate Spade–the designer of iconic handbags–took her own life.

She had everything going for her in terms of external success.

It’s a tragedy that inside at her core she wasn’t doing very well.

A year or two ago in my Flourish blog I wrote about the phenomenon of “smiling depression.”

Women are suffering all alone because no one takes them seriously.

“How could you be depressed when you have a great life?”

“Just pray and go to church and you’ll be fine.”

“Get married and have babies and raise a family.”

That last sentence contains actual words a young woman was told years ago.

The other two sentences are oft-repeated ill advice that women are given too.

I remember vividly when I was going on a job interview in the 1990s.

I rode the elevator up to the office with another woman. She held a Kate Spade tote against her shoulder. I coveted that Kate Spade pocketbook.

It wasn’t until this spring that I dared splurge to buy myself a Kate Spade pocketbook.

I bought it at a reduced yet not cheap cost at an off-price discount retailer in New York City.

Kate and her husband sold their company years ago. Yet American women have coveted the Kate Spade handbags since their first creation.

Disability is no joke.

Mental health issues strike everyone from all walks of life.

It’s a tragedy that Kate Spade and hundreds possibly thousands of nameless faceless individuals feel the only way out of their pain is to end their life.

What if Kate Spade could’ve gotten treatment? What if she had bipolar or another mental health issue that wasn’t diagnosed?

A part of Kate Spade lives on in the pocketbook I bought this spring.

Yet that’s no consolation for the fact that another human being’s life ended in tragedy not recovery.

God bless you Kate Spade. God bless everyone living with a mental health issue who suffers. You are not alone.

The Suicide Prevention Helpline can be reached at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

You can use the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Please. The pain you are in can be healed. People care about you. Help is available.

There is a way out of the pain that will enable you to live a better life.

There’s no shame. What you feel is real and true. What you feel can be healed

 

The Child-Free Road Taken

I’m 53.

I’ve been trying to convince others that free choice is a right that shouldn’t be taken away.

Only by framing it in the context of reproductive health choices I don’t think a lot of people will ever buy what I’m selling.

Only I know this much is true:

Ever since I was 15 or 16 years old I didn’t want to get married and raise a family.

Since I didn’t want to be forced to choose to get an abortion I used birth control.

This is the road taken in my life: to remain child-free.

In 1987 when I was 22 my life changed forever on a single night.

Having a breakdown is like a right of passage for some women.

This sealed the deal for me: I didn’t want to bring into the world a kid who could have a chronic unremitting illness.

A kid who might not be given mental health treatment as soon as they need it.

A kid who could become an adult who thus wouldn’t recover because they didn’t get treatment.

Most of all I didn’t want to have to discontinue medication to be able to carry a baby to term.

Doing so would put my life at risk.

When I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral mental health website I wrote in a news article:

I’d rather be dead than psychotic.

Fighting words yet oh so true.

Read All About It: The Truth

I’ve been corresponding with a woman who calls Mr. Toupee #45.

People who voted into office Mr. Toupee voted for a guy who is going to require Medicaid recipients to work at a job.

Folks: people diagnosed with schizophrenia who are actively psychotic and receive Medicaid aren’t going to be able to find and hold a job for long.

No surprise #45 wants to waive this work requirement rule in white rural areas because it’s harder to find jobs there.

Last I knew it’s harder to find jobs for school-to-prison youth in Brownsville.

My friend Mars and I are confident #45 will win a second term in office.

Another law Mr. Toupee is enacting will allow business owners to not have to create wheelchair-accessible entrances to their stores.

Thus chipping away at an ADA-Act protection that requires wheelchair-accessible entrances. So if you use a wheelchair you won’t have the right to do business in a store.

Remember: Mr. Toupee was voted into office. We voted to allow the president of the United States to do these things. We consented to have our rights taken away when we stepped up to the voting booth and pulled the lever for #45.

We are responsible for the fact that our rights are being taken away.

Realizing just how dire this situation is I no longer fault other people for going on the attack in New York Times editorials and in books they write.

Divide, divide, divide is the motto of our elected officials.

They love to keep people hating each other.

Let’s rise up above this craziness by committing to treating each other with dignity and compassion.

There’s so much we can do person-to-person and in small batches of healthy behavior to counter and conquer this animosity.

Let’s listen to and understand each other.

Let’s champion equal rights for everyone living in America.

Let’s Just Say No to hate.

No More Wire Coat Hangers

What can I write about in the blog?

If I don’t write about Mr. Toupee’s latest hate crime what can I write in here?

We have elected a madman. He’s enacted an executive order that will greatly restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion.

With the overpopulation of the world, with the ongoing #MeToo misogyny of too many men against women, do we really want to be forced to carry a baby to term against our choice?

You can go on the New York Times website and read about this restrictive measure Mr. Toupee has enacted in order to keep women everywhere “barefoot and pregnant” even if we don’t want to be.

Women living in poverty, women with disabilities, women everywhere will now be restricted from getting access to birth control and abortion.

This right to determine when and whether we want to have a kid is closer to being totally denied by the Church and the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S.

This is a kind of crazy like no other crazy.

Listen: I had a breakdown when I was 22 years old. Long before that I knew I didn’t want to get married and raise a family. That was my choice ever since I was easily only 15 or 16 years old.

No one would adopt my kid if they found out the baby’s mother had a breakdown.

Forget raising kids in orphanages too. Who’s going to create and fund more orphanages? Will the U.S. government fund orphanages instead of wars?

Women shouldn’t have to rely on men to get money to raise a kid. Too many women have had to flee with their kids from abusive relationships. They often wind up homeless.

What is normal about not allowing women access to birth control and abortion?

What is normal about legislation that amounts to a hate crime against women?

All my adult life I used birth control because I didn’t want to have to choose to get an abortion.

The Gig’s up: Mr. Toupee is one step closer to totally taking away our rights.

Remember: we voted for him. OK–I didn’t yet others were proud to. Mark my words Mr. Toupee will be elected to a second term.

The rendering of powerlessness to all citizens is now nearly complete.

Are we to be grateful that most of us ordinary citizens will have our right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness taken away? This coup is coming soon.

I think Mr. Toupee actually wants people to live in poverty, have ill mental and physical health, and not read a newspaper.

This way we aren’t powerful enough to protest what goes on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Dignity is Valuable”

david bowie super CD

“Heroes” is my favorite David Bowie song. I bought a Heroes magnet at the David Bowie exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I used to play this song all the time on my FM radio show in the 1980s.

Everyone gets a headset to listen to a documentary while viewing the items from start to end. It was just beautiful.

The words “Dignity is valuable” kept repeating in the headset. Soon after I was able to listen to Bowie’s “Major Tom.”

David Bowie had a career that lasted over 30 years. After the show I picked up in the gift shop his Scary Monsters CD.

That’s what it’s like to be a “super freak” in the eyes of others: You have to act true to yourself or you’ll wither.

Years ago I wrote in this blog “Conformity is repression.”

You can’t keep trying to be someone else to get others to like you and approve of you. That’s the quickest route to ill health.

I”m a Dilettante / Lover. These are actual archetypes.

If you’re an Artist or a Dilettante / Lover get yourself a ticket to the Bowie exhibit. Do this if you’re in NYC before July 15 when the show ends.

Adults cost $20. Senior citizens if I remember cost $12.

You will hopefully be so inspired by this experience. As it was I got turned on to live a freely creative life after seeing this homage to David Bowie’s work.

It was a beautiful experience. The rooms were crowded yet that was part of the fun:

To see a woman dancing while listening to a video on a screen.

To see a woman in a wheelchair view the exhibit.

The David Bowie exhibit was simply life-affirming.

I beg you if you are a Dilettante / Lover or an Artist that you dare commit to making art all the days of your life.

Even if it’s just changing the dining table decor at the start of each new season.

Or stirring up a pot of onion soup you created from a recipe in a cookbook.

Whatever you do that is artistic be it ordinary or big just keep doing it.

David Bowie continues to be a great inspiration to me long after he’s gone.

The Man Who Fell to Earth left this earth to soon. Luckily we have his music and his legacy to carry us on.

Autism Acceptance Month

I’ve been schooled in how to refer to April: as Autism Acceptance Month not Awareness Month.

Self-advocates think having awareness of autism is only a halfway measure—almost there. Autism advocates prefer the term Acceptance. At first I didn’t understand this because not everyone with autism does well.

It comes down to seeing the glass as half full (not half empty) and wanting to drink up. Advocates attribute their strengths to their autism. These advocates don’t see their illness as a tragedy even though there are struggles. They choose to focus on the positive.

The term is neurodiversity with typical and atypical expressions of this.

Those of us with an MH diagnosis need to get over our self-stigma surrounding the medical terms used to describe our condition. You don’t see advocates lobbying to change the name autism to something else. They accept what happened to them and advocate for full inclusion in society—something I did decades ago in the 1990s for MH peers.

Hell yes though—I’d be the first in line if a cure for SZ was available. I’m not one of the “I love my disability” folk.

No—I wouldn’t wish SZ symptoms on anyone as a permanent lifelong mental state. Having been there, I understand what it’s like. Having lived through the worst I would rather be in remission than symptomatic.

Give me a cure—okay? Give me the term SZ any day. Are people still spooked to have a diagnosis? In the early 2000s I railed against this and lobbied for acceptance.

Readers—I urge you not to get twisted over having a diagnosis. Next month I will advocate for changing May’s theme to Mental Health Acceptance Month.

We need to do this because without acceptance full inclusion remains a hollow dream. It isn’t the end for outsiders to have awareness. Awareness is only the beginning. Acceptance is the goal.

We need to accept the role the MH condition plays in our lives. This doesn’t signal that we have to like having an illness. No–I don’t like having an illness.

Yet hey, I say take a tip from the autism self-advocates: lobby for acceptance and inclusion.

Focusing on how having an illness has given us strengths sure beats dwelling on the negative.

I might not like having a diagnosis. Yet I appreciate all the good things I’ve gotten and that I’ve done because of it.