Unfriendly reminder that in America it’s reasonable to say an unarmed black kid deserved to be shot six times because he might have robbed a convenience store, but a white kid shouldn’t be kicked off the high school football team just because he violently raped a girl.
“If someone were to die at the age of 63 after a lifelong battle with MS or Sickle Cell, we’d all say they were a “fighter” or an “inspiration.” But when someone dies after a lifelong battle with severe mental illness and drug addiction, we say it was a tragedy and tell everyone “don’t be like him, please seek help.” That’s bullshit. Robin Williams sought help his entire life. He saw a psychiatrist. He quit drinking. He went to rehab. He did this for decades. That’s HOW he made it to 63. For some people, 63 is a fucking miracle. I know several people who didn’t make it past 23 and I’d do anything to have 40 more years with them.”—
““After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, Please come to the gate immediately. Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she Did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used— She stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and Would ride next to her—Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and Found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering Questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag— And was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies. And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers— Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands— Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped —has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via oliviacirce)
Her mental age is about three years old. She loves Winnie the Pooh, Beauty & the Beast, and Sesame Street. Even though the below picture is unconvincing.
Edna and “Cookie.” I think she was trying to play it cool.
My name is Jeanie. I’m Edna’s younger sister. I’m also her guardian and caregiver.
That’s me on the left. (Hey, you never know. After a year of writing a blog about online dating - Jeanie Does the Internet - I’ve come to learn that there are A LOT of fools on the internet.)
ANYWAY, I’m not “doing the internet” anymore. I’m taking care of Edna full-time, after completing my MFA in Writing for Screen & Television at USC.
May 16, 2014. I wanted a picture. Edna wanted breakfast.
In case you’re wondering where our parents are, they’re dead. Our mom died of breast cancer when she was just 33.
Us with mom before she died. (Obviously.)
As for our dad, he peaced-out around the time my mom got sick. His loss - we’re awesome.
Here we are being awesome at the beach. Pushing a wheelchair in the sand? Not so awesome.
In case you’re wondering “What’s wrong?” with my sister - as a stranger once asked me on the street - NOTHING. Yes, Edna has a rare form of epilepsy - Lennox-Gastaut syndrome - but I don’t know if that’s anymore “wrong” than people who don’t have manners.
Basically, Edna was born “normal,” and started having seizures as a baby. They eventually got so bad that they cut off the oxygen to her brain, causing her to be mentally disabled. Or impaired. Or intellectually disabled. Or whatever you want to call it - except “retarded,” because in 2010, President Obama signed Rosa’s Law into effect, replacing that word with “intellectually impaired.”
Which is cool and all, but services for the disabled and the people who care for them are SEVERELY LACKING. Also, there’s a bunch of people working in taxpayer-funded positions who are supposed to help families like us, but don’t. (Big surprise, I know.) They just fill out paperwork (whenever they feel like it) with asinine statements like this:
YUP. I transport my sister down the stairs in her wheelchair, because that is not only safe, but TOTALLY PRACTICAL. Why doesn’t everyone in a wheelchair just take the stairs, for God’s sake? Stop being so lazy, PEOPLE WITHOUT WORKING LEGS!
But, as it says above, Edna’s legs do work. Whether or not she wants them to, is another story.
Edna refusing to go inside.
These are the stairs that I have to carry her up - by myself - on a daily basis. That is, until one of my legs break and both of us are just sitting at the bottom of the stairs, helpless.
For six months, I have begged - BEGGED - the State of California to help my sister, which they are required by law - The Lanterman Act specifically - to do so. But they’ve told me “these things take time” and that I “need to amend my expectations.” (That was said to me when I refused to place Edna at AN ALL-MALE CARE FACILITY. Because yes, that was an “option” that was offered to me.)
Prior to Edna moving in with me in my one-bedroom apartment, she was living with her amazing caregiver, Gaby, back in Tucson, where we went to high school and I did my undergrad. Edna’s reppin’ the Wildcats below.
But back in November, Gaby also died from breast cancer. (FUCK YOU, BREAST CANCER!) This picture was taken a month before she died. She never even told me she was sick because she didn’t want me to worry.
By the way, we were raised by our grandma. Edna and her were very close.
She’s dead, too. Surprise.
She died when I was 20 and Edna was 21. That’s when I became Edna’s legal guardian and Gaby stepped into the picture to help me out with Edna.
So, six months ago, after Gaby died, I moved Edna to California, where I tried to get the folks over at The Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center to help me. I’ve told them I’m worried about our safety - that one of us could get hurt on the stairs - I’ve told them I can’t afford to pay the private babysitters $15/hour because the ones social services sent me who make $9/hour were unreliable (they didn’t show up on time or at all so I could get to school and work), untrustworthy (one of them let Edna go to the bathroom in the kitchen and then took her into the bathroom because “that what I thought I was supposed to do.”)
But the people over at the FLRC don’t return my calls, they don’t file the paperwork on time - and the first caseworker that was assigned to us actually LAUGHED AT my sister when he came to our home to evaluate her. When I reported him to his supervisor, she told me, “That’s just [insert name of said jackass].”
He was one of the two caseworkers that contributed to the report I mentioned above, which also included this:
So let me get this straight - I have to feed, bathe, dress and help Edna in the bathroom and you can’t deduce whether or not she is able to vote? What in the fuck?!
I’m also sad for the caregivers who are SO EXHAUSTED - trying to take care of their loved ones - while also trying to take care of themselves and battling a system that is supposed to help, but does nothing of the sort. And I know a lot of people give up. They let their dreams, their marriages, their friendships slide. All while trying not to resent the very person you’re doing it all for.
Edna wanted to sit next to me the other day while I was writing. Clearly, she’s not impressed.
Here’s the thing: I REFUSE TO GIVE UP. I’M NOT GIVING UP ON HER OR MYSELF. I’m going to pursue my dreams while taking care of her, AND while ensuring that the people paid to do their jobs ACTUALLY do them.
That’s where you come in. I need you to help me get my story out there. Because I know I’m not alone in this. I want to connect with families who are in similar situations and also show people who have no idea what it’s like to care for someone with a disability (or even a loved one who is sick) that it can be rewarding. Super fucking hard. Exhausting. Painful. Isolating. But, rewarding.
I’m going to get help for my sister - and others. My hope is that by sharing our story, I can bring awareness to the lack of services and help for the disabled.
STOP SCROLLING. THIS PERSON ISN’T ASKING FOR MONEY AND THIS POST WON’T MAKE YOU SAD.
This is a really uplifting and inspirational story of a family sticking by each other and making things work despite a whole lot of shit
They just want to find other people in the same position they are, for a sense of community and to feel like they aren’t alone.
I know out of all of you, some of you have followers who are living with and taking care of intellectually or emotionally disabled family members, and this lovely and unbreakable pair of sisters need to find them.
I have so much respect for those that refuse to let go, and care for family at home. It is so, so very hard, and so very wonderful.
“And how hard is it to land even a minimum-wage job? This year, the Ivy League college admissions acceptance rate was 8.9%. Last year, when Walmart opened its first store in Washington, D.C., there were more than 23,000 applications for 600 jobs, which resulted in an acceptance rate of 2.6%, making the big box store about twice as selective as Harvard and five times as choosy as Cornell. Telling unemployed people to get off their couches (or out of the cars they live in or the shelters where they sleep) and get a job makes as much sense as telling them to go study at Harvard.”—"Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches?" and Eight Other Critical Questions for Americans (via seriouslyamerica)
i’m seeing a lot of people reblogging suicide hotlines and this is just a reminder that this is a suicide help line that works like a text-based instant messenger for people who may need to talk to someone but have trouble/are uncomfortable making phone calls
This has been bugging me for awhile, but with the number of times it's happened in the past few weeks, I need to get this out.
For those of you who don’t know, and/or don’t know me irl, I work for a human service agency. I work in Developmental Services, so I help and interact with a number of different clients who all have some sort of developmental disability. Some have psychiatric issues (aka have a dual diagnosis) as well.
With that being said, I get a lot of compliments……and “compliments.”
Here are some of the gems (in both the serious and sarcastic sense) :
Saying "congratulations" is fine. Saying "Wow, good for you," "Sounds like an interesting job," or asking certain specifics that wouldn’t violate confidentiality and/or how my day was and/or what kinds of things do I do with my clients—-that’s all fine. I have no issues there, and am more than happy to answer most questions.
However…"I’ll never complain about my job again!"….just…..no. Don’t let my job interfere with your ability to hate your job. Hate your job, if you hate your job for all I care. But don’t give me backhanded shit, which implies that my job is “even worse” than yours. ”Kudos for working with retards and crazies!” …Do you seriously think I would respond positively to that one? Slash are you fucking kidding me? If you had my respect before, you definitely just lost it now.
Now, onto the more well-intentioned, yet misguided comments, i.e. the ones I hear most often:
The second most commonly heard “compliment?” "I don’t know how you do what you do"/"I could NEVER do what you do!" which makes me uncomfortable. I understand that you didn’t mean to offend me. You were probably trying to give me genuine praise. But it puts me in a really weird spot. I have a hard time accepting compliments in general. Saying "I could never do what you do" could make me agree with you on that silently. But am I supposed to voice this, and offend you? Or say “thanks” and act like some kind of superior being to both you and my clients? In response to this, I usually discuss that there are many, many jobs out there that I could never do. Like, I could never be an accountant. I could never be a veterinarian. I could never be a research scientist, or an engineer, or a tax attorney, or a math teacher. So what’s your point? That neither of us could function in each others’ careers? Okay, sure. That might be the case. We all come with different qualities, different strengths and weaknesses, and different interests that shape what we wind up doing and pursuing in life. We can’t all have the same jobs. And we shouldn’t all want the same jobs. It’s what makes society functional, or rather, semi-functional, at least.
The most commonly heard “compliment?”
"It takes a special kind of person to do what you do!"
Yep. That’s the one that’s been bugging me the most of all, especially because it’s the most difficult to respond to. I know you meant well. But every time I hear that from someone, I feel frustrated and kind of ready to throw something.
I’ve been getting that one since I got hired last year. And from the beginning, I’ve felt uneasy about it. At first, I thought it was just because I have a hard time accepting compliments. But after a little while, I knew there was something that was problematic with the statement "It takes a special kind of person…" and I couldn’t completely put a finger on why. And then, I read a huffpost article written by a mother of a special needs child that explained it perfectly, and put my feelings into words that I couldn’t have expressed before:
She had said "What are people saying about people with disabilities when we glorify those who love and care for them?"
It not only articulates what I’ve been trying to unsuccessfully for awhile whenever I get that comment, but seriously, try to think about this for a minute:
We praise doctors and nurses for taking care of sick and injured people. What does that say about how our society feels about the sick? Are ill people below healthy people? Are they equal humans, or an inconvenience? How should they be treated?
Obviously, competent doctors and nurses should be respected and appreciated. I’m not trying to say otherwise. What I am trying to say is that in respecting and appreciating them, we shouldn’t be putting down their patients in the process.
So, back to disabled people. One of the largest minorities, if not the largest minority. Think about how much stigma is attached with being disabled, and how it affects our everyday thoughts.
Now, I’m not going to deny that my job can be hard. I’m not going to deny that I often lose faith in humanity because of broken systems and not enough funding for clients who really need it and fucked up families that make my own dysfunctional relatives look like the Brady Bunch and that sometimes I come home wanting to get drunk or bawl my eyes out. I’m not.
But I also have a lot of good days. My god, some days are such a joy. And some are a mixed bag, somewhere in between. And occasionally, I even get a day that’s somewhat boring. Seriously.
Like many other jobs.
You may get various reactions to your job. Some you don’t mind. Some you do, very much. Try to think about why that may be, if you don’t already know.
For me, what’s the difference between compliments on my job and “compliments” on my job?
The first set of comments I posted, i.e. the ones I was fine with hearing, are all valid responses that don’t put down the people I work with, or put me up on some sort of pedestal.
If you want to compliment me, compliment me in a way that doesn’t insult my clients, and imply that they are lesser beings.
And on one final note what I’m trying to say is, well, think before you speak. Think critically. Try to evaluate your compliments to people and see if they could possibly be hurtful and backhanded. Try to see why. And if you offend someone accidentally, apologize. Don’t defend yourself. Shut up and listen.
“So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics—that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world—that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind.”—
“You know, we live in a country where if you want to go bomb somebody, there’s remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost, even though the costs almost inevitably end up being orders of magnitude larger than anybody projected at the outcome. But when you have a discussion about whether or not we can assist people who are suffering, then suddenly we come very, you know, cost-conscious.”—Andrew Bacevich (via azspot)
People look down on McDonald’s employees but fail to realize that if all these folks left McDonald’s and pursued “better careers” your ass wouldn’t be able to get a McDouble with an Oreo McFlurry at 3am.
You can’t demand a service while simultaneously degrading those who provide it for you.