Why I can’t and/or don’t want to try gymnastics

Short answer: a bunch of vaguely-related reasons. The word “dizziness” is kind of inexact.


Inner ear problems apparently run in my dad’s side of the family. Low blood pressure runs in my mom’s side, and I definitely have that. It makes sense that I would get dizzy easily, and I do. Just going in a medium-sized circle at a walking pace can make me dizzy. Doing laundry is one of my less favorite chores, because it requires a lot of walking in small loops from washer to dryer, from dryer to basket, from basket to closet, etc., and a lot of bending over, and that’s enough to make me feel vaguely dizzy and ill.


But separate from things that actually make me feel dizzy, that make me feel ill or like the world is spinning, I just don’t like “vestibular sensations”. I don’t like the feeling of being swung around violently, or losing gravity a little bit as I go too fast over the top of a steep hill.

The classic person with sensory sensitivities (I wish there were a less-alliterative way to put that, but oh well) has lots of trouble with textures, and maybe some with loud noises and bright lights, but loooooves roller coasters and jumping around. I’m the opposite. I have next to no problem with sight or sound being unpleasant in this way, but I would really prefer that my head stay level and at roughly the same height above the ground at all times. Or at least not make any sudden vertical movements.

I spent small amounts of time hanging upside down or trying to do handstands as a kid, but I never did a successful cartwheel.


My coordination, my sense of the position of my body, 99% disappears when I’m upside down. I’m pretty proud of my hand-eye coordination, and of what I guess is called proprioception, the sense of the position of your body that you have even when you can’t see it. Shapes and positions of objects are the way of perceiving the world that I grasp most easily.

I can do great things with a badminton racquet. Whenever we played games like that in gym, I heard “Wow, good save! I didn’t think you’d be able to get that!” over and over.
I can navigate my house in the dark, without my glasses, or with my eyes closed.
I can nudge a door closed with my right elbow as I pass through it, and then catch the doorknob with my left hand as it passes behind my back, and close it the rest of the way. I know exactly how hard I pushed it and exactly how high the doorknob is, so I know exactly where it’s going to be. I do this without thinking about it.
I have a pretty good sense of things like how far I can jump, or how fast I can safely ride my bike around a corner (I use these as examples because last time someone pressured me to ignore my sense of “that’s too far to drop”, I almost hit my head on the corner of her desk. And last time someone pressured me to go faster on my bike, I lost traction and fell sideways and scraped up my leg. I couldn’t articulate exactly why at the time, but I knew I didn’t trust my ability to do it.)

Hell, this ought to count: I play cello at slightly below a “majoring in music performance” level. Meaning, I place my fingers correctly down to the milimeter (I don’t know, probably, it must be roughly on that scale), at high speed, without looking and without really thinking about it.

I don’t have that mental image/sense/understanding of my body upside down, though. I just can’t imagine how it’s supposed to work well enough to believe I can actually do it. My brain just balks at the idea of what things will feel like, what I’ll see, when I’m midway through a cartwheel. I can only see the outside view of it.

Sparkly says “Come do dive rolls! They’re so fun, and if you start right, your body basically takes over.” I’m not sure I really trust that to happen.


Maybe I need to swim more. I haven’t had any problem being upside down in water, like to swim to the bottom of a pool. Maybe without the stress of “I have to be able to feel how this will go, otherwise I’ll probably fall over,” this last problem would be better.



A big new thing for me

Seeing other people do something and asking myself “Why don’t I do that too? Is there an actual reason, or am I just assuming it’s not for me by default?”

Because that is a thing I do a lot. I see other people do something all the time, and never really question the fact that I never do it and would feel really uncomfortable about the idea of doing it.

(Minor example: every time I’ve googled a slightly-less-than-common word or figure of speech to make sure I’m using it correctly. Even though I’ve heard it a million times. I do this a lot.)

A lot of the time, there is a good reason why I don’t do the thing, and that’s fine. I still think this is a positive trend.

I need to talk to Sparkly about when/how much it’s okay to text/call her.

Because I feel really strongly that I have to err on the side of not bothering her. I know that it’s totally possible for her to just not hear her phone when she’d be fine with talking to me, but I feel bad for texting her multiple times without an answer. Like, if I think “If she’s not answering now, then she’s probably too busy at Thing X to answer until it’s over. But maybe not, maybe she just missed my text.” I feel bad for texting her again before Thing X is over, on the strength of “maybe not”. Even though it’s totally possible. I feel silly and pushy for sending more than two or three “are you there now?”s.

She texts her new date when she’s with me all the time, but I feel like I have to be super respectful of their space and not text her too much while she’s with him. That’s not really a good thing.

Is it okay for me to call her when she doesn’t answer my texts, if it’s something where I actually need to talk to her promptly? I’m not sure.

A monster is someone who thinks it’s okay to be a monster

I’ve really been struggling to explain my reaction to this. It really strongly pings a group of tropes or archetypes in my brain, but I’m not sure I have the right words for them.

Basically: Lovaas thinks it would be cool to be a controlling, abusive parent. He thinks that’s what therapists should be to autistic children. The “benevolent dictator” kind, specifically. Dispenser of punishment and comfort, absolute authority. He thinks this is a GOOD, USEFUL strategy. To encourage social behavior, by using reward and punishment to steer children into acting like they love you.

These three aspects of the use of pain can be illustrated by observations of parent-child relationships. The first two are obvious; a parent will punish his child to suppress specific behaviors, and his child will learn to behave so as to escape or avoid punishment. The third aspect of the use of pain is more subtle, but more typical. In this case, a parent “rescues” his child from discomfort. In reinforcement theory terms, the parent becomes discriminative for the reduction or removal of negative reinforcers or noxious stimuli. During the first year of life many of the interactions a parent has with his children may be of this nature. An infant will fuss, cry, and give signs indicative of pain or distress many times during the day, whereupon most parents will pick him up and attempt to remove the discomfort. Such situations must contribute a basis for subsequente meaningful relationships between people; individuals are seen as important to each other if they have faced and worked through a stressful experience together. It may well be that much of a child’s love for his parents develops in situations which pair parents with stress reductions. Later in life, the normal child does turn to his parent when he is frightened or hurt by nightmares, by threat of punishment from his peers, by fears of failure in school, and so on.

In view of these considerations, it was considered appropriate to investigate the usefulness of pain in modifying the behaviors of autistic children. Autistic children were selected for two reasons: (1) because they show no improvement with conventional psychiatric treatment; and (2) because they are largely unresponsive to everyday interpersonal events.

In the present study, pain was induced by means of an electrified grid on the floor upon which the children stood. The shock was turned on immediately following pathological behaviors. It was turned off or withheld when the children came to the adults who were present. Thus, these adults “saved” the children from a dangerous situation; they were the only “safe” objects in a painful environment.

“Individuals are seen as important to each other if they have faced and worked through a stressful experience together,” and Lovaas wants to ENGINEER that, by causing the stressful experience and then offering the “help”. And he thinks that’ll be a useful foundation for genuine relationships.

From earlier in the introduction:

Despite the pervasiveness of pain in daily functioning, and its possible necessity for maintaining some behaviors, psychology and related professions have shied away from, and often condemned, the use of pain for therapeutic purposes. We agree with Solomon (1964) that such objections to the use of pain have a moral rather than a scientific basis. Recent research, as reviewed by Solomon, indicated that hte scientific premises offered by psychologists for the rejection of punishment are not tenable. Rather, punishment can be a very useful tool for effecting behavior change.

He thinks this is totally cool! A useful, overlooked tool. He thinks there should be NO moral qualms whatsoever, about pretending that controlling someone through fear of punishment is a medical treatment.

I said I understood what Jenna Moran means by the title of this post, but I never expected to hear someone say it so baldly. He really thinks it’s totally okay, to use the tools of a really straightforward literal monster. A domestic abuser. Someone torturing prisoners of war to get them to collaborate. He thinks that’s cool.

(Ugh the Hitherby site is down again, so I don’t have a link for you for this. I’m pretty sure I’ve linked to it before, though– there’s a decent chance I’ve even titled a post this before.)


Edit: I came across this on Tumblr, and yeah, I think “trauma bond” is the phrase I was looking for and not remembering. Or at least, that’s a large part of what I’m talking about here.

Things Sparkly is going to do for me on Tuesday

or whenever she has time in the next week. Sparkly was out of the house with her new date (did I give him a nickname yet?) all morning, and she said she’d give me a chores IOU.

  • Take out all the trash and recycling
  • Get more toilet cleaner and clean the toilet more thoroughly than I had time to.
  • Vacuum the porch
  • Choose a place to put bags/purses/etc that she’s not using and commit to putting them there when she moves her stuff to a different bag
    • Extra credit: other organizing etc. in our room
  • Mop/wet-swiffer-thing the bathroom
    • Extra credit: do the kitchen too.
    • Double extra credit: do all the wood floors too
  • Switch out the mildewy shower curtains– we have spare ones– and spray the tub with cleaner stuff

Things I did today:

  • Vacuumed everything except our bedroom
  • Spot-cleaned the kitchen floor
  • Filled and ran the dishwasher, including gross wet-cat-food dishes
  • Cleaned the toilet
  • Cleaned up like ten different spots of cat vomit, because Tonycat has a sensitive stomach and I’m lazy and wait til they dry
  • Cleaned up one incident of cat pee
  • Cleaned up like five cat poos that were not in the litter box
  • Cleaned the litterbox and refilled it
  • Washed the bathroom sink
  • Washed the kitchen sink and cleaned out the awful food-scrap-trap things
  • Removed all my and Sparkly’s junk from the living room couch
  • Picked up trash that was on the floor around various trash bins instead of in them
  • Put away Sparkly’s and my shoes
  • Sorted the big pile of unimportant mail
  • Helped Responsible Girl and her family finally move out the stuff they were storing here (big framed pictures and boxes and boxes of heavy, fragile dishes)

Things I am now going to do:

  • Eat lunch
  • Take a shower


Well, this is a weird feeling.

A while ago I wrote a short story for Sparkly. And now I’m considering putting it someplace other people can read it, but…

Sparkly is in the story, and I think I wrote her well enough that our friends might recognize it as being about her? Maybe? (Not like there’s a description of what she looks like, but: the way she talks.)

So maybe I won’t.

I just really need to finish more of the less-self-insert-y stories, I guess.

For Sparkly- cute things

So, Sparkly and her new date are getting along really well, it seems like. She’s always talking about how nice he is, and how much fun she has teasing him (sexually and otherwise.) It’s really sweet. They have two running jokes already, which Sparkly loves and keeps telling me about:

He uses his unreasonably good memory for numbers to tease her about how little she eats (e.g. “You bought a whole order of french fries and then you only ate twelve”)

She tries to maneuver him into saying something “rude” about her (like commenting on her weight, or how she doesn’t know much about math/hard sciences/etc) while he tries to turn it into a compliment. Generally ends in him saying “no comment” and both of them breaking down laughing.