I’m just going to do my year-end post now

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-4-39-05-pm
WordPress-generated diagram showing all the days of the year, color-coded by how many posts I made on that day.

The big gap in posts in May/June is when we moved, the short gaps in August and September/October are when we had visitors. The gap in late October is when I was travelling to a family funeral. And the end of December was (is) my visit to my parents for Christmas. That’s a lot of gaps (even if for good reason) and there are also a lot more small gaps this year than last year.

I made 339 posts this year.

I intend to continue my goal of posting every day in the coming year, but I’m debating whether this is the best place to do it. I might make this blog more focused on autism and mental health things, and move the more slice-of-life stuff elsewhere.

Life update

I’m still feeling pretty mushy but the truth is I’ve gotten a lot done. I’m two-for-two on Important Emails, and I finished a work project despite a bunch of tech problems, and I also cleaned and organized a bunch of stuff around the house.

Tomorrow:

  • More cleaning
  • A little more organizing
  • Grocery shopping for things Sparkly can cook
  • Packing my suitcase

My brain is mush

and I really just need to do as much work as possible before I go away for the holidays (though I’ll probably be able to do some while I’m on vacation) but I keep stalling out. I got a pretty good amount done today, honestly, but still not as much as I could have. The cats have finally kinda-sorta gotten used to the daylight savings time schedule, but Sparkly has been going to bed later and I’ve been staying up with em.

control vs. help

I think I’m going to be talking about this distinction (between “control a problem/prevent a threat” and “help a person” as basic premises for healthcare/government aid programs/etc.) a lot more, because often there’s a thing that happens where

I’ll hear about some new policy or whatever and go “Ooh, that sounds like bad news,”

and it’s not that the specific practical things it proposes to do are totally bad, some of them may even be pretty beneficial,

but if the tone, the mindset, the overall goal is “prevent these bad dangerous people from causing trouble for good normal people,”

that obviously makes me suspicious even if the actual plan is basically good.

I didn’t post yesterday because

I stayed up late talking with Sparkly. Mostly about music and college experiences, although we started off talking about different types of apartments and houses. Ey’s been watching interior design shows on TV lately.

I’m realizing that I really don’t undersatnd what distracts em vs. what helps em focus. We’re very different that way.

Social anxiety again

I literally didn’t give a second thought to “”self-diagnosing”” social anxiety (as a teenager, before I spent much time online, before I’d ever heard the term “self-diagnosis.”) It seemed pretty foolproof. I had anxiety about social situations: social anxiety.

But the more I read in-depth stuff by and about people with social anxiety, the more convinced I am that I acutally kind of don’t have it. I don’t have the same kind of anxiety about social situations that most people mean when they say “social anxiety”, anyway.

One of the big differences is, social anxiety is supposed to have “self-monitoring” as a big component– like, wondering how other people are perceiving you, what-iffing about negative ways you might be perceived, doing extra careful things to make sure people perceive you the way you want them to. And with the post about bars, I got to thinking about the fact that I do the self-monitoring thing sometimes (see the points about dancing), but I don’t really do it that much.

And when I do, there’s either an anxiety/shame snowball effect where I very quickly worry myself into total incapability, or it sort of dead-ends because I have no fucking idea how people actually perceive me, what I might be doing “wrong,” or what I might need to do to “fix” it, so I just exist in this state of tense balance/calm given-up-ness where I think I should probably be doing X, but I’m probably failing, but I’m going to keep trying to do X anyway.

I’m not smart enough to what-if during social situations (and I don’t really do it outside them either.) I’m not quick enough. I don’t have enough extra brain capacity. If I really start what-iffing, I stop talking (and probably start crying.)

It’s all in how you frame it

So. This article.

It’s about identifying, at a young age, children who are likely to be Drains On Society’s Resources throughout their lives, so that Targeted Interventions can be done to prevent that from happening. “Social disadvantage” is mentioned as a factor in the kind of prediction, but the overall thrust of the article is that this is about something inherent to these children. Brain function and intelligence are mentioned.

The way this article tells the story, it’s a story about identifying problem people and keeping them from messing up society for the good people by using up resources.

It would be very easy for this same set of facts to tell a different story.

—————

Please consider:

A family on welfare– which means their children get more and better food to eat and have a safer place to live, which means those children are healthier physically and mentally, and better equipped to do well in school, with all the attendant good effects on their adult lives that a happier childhood and a better education provide–

… is nonetheless an undesirable thing according to this article. Welfare is Those 20% Of People using more than their fair share of resources and costing the government money.

But who’s going to pay for the Interventions to fix those children so that they won’t cost the government money? The government, right?

What are those Interventions going to be, if not, basically, better healthcare, better food, better education? What are welfare benefits and the NHS if not interventions paid for by the government to improve the lives of people who are poor?

—————

As written, this is a story about saving the government money, based on the assumption that the government urgently needs to stop spending so much money on its people. It’s a story about protecting good people who produce from bad people who take. Or at best, it’s a story about pitying bad people instead of fearing them. It’s a story where spending money on social programs is a drain on society, but (spending money to) Intervene and Take Action to Fix People is good. It’s a story about taking control, to prevent bad people from doing something wrong.

It could have been a story about people who need help– who deserve help, both because helping them will help society as a whole and also because they are human beings who are struggling and they deserve not to have to struggle so hard. It could have been a story about how hard it is to thrive when you start life without a solid foundation, and what an immense positive change we can create by providing better care for all our young children. It could have been a story about how much good the government does by providing healthcare and education and all the various benefits it provides, and which of those programs are most essential, and how they could be improved.

Why did the first story get written and not the second? What makes that first story more palatable?

Pay attention to this difference of mindset, between controlling a problem and helping a person in trouble. It underlies a lot of discussions about government spending, healthcare, charity, and class and disability in general.

Do Neurotypical People Stim?

This is another Tumblr autism community controversy that I’m like a month late to.

The question isn’t really “Do neurotpyical people do stim/fidget-like things?” because obviously the answer to that is yes; the question is, should we call those things by the same name when neurotypical (or, non-autistic) (or, non-cognitively/learning disabled) people do them, as when autistic people do? Or should there be separate words?

Continue reading “Do Neurotypical People Stim?”

So Sparkly went to that conference

(about “young jewish women in leadership”) yesterday, and I have a quibble.

They gave each of the attendees a little treat bag. Here’s what was in it:

  • Food (a granola bar, some fruit, a bottle of iced tea)
  • Some very nice greeting cards with Inspiring quotes on them
  • Two stickers (“It’s on us” and “Smart women vote”)
  • A package of hair elastics
  • A bottle of (expensive brand name) nail polish
  • A package of “intimate cleansing wipes, for face, body and bikini”
  • A coupon for discounted waxing, eyebrow threading, or laser hair removal

And uh. Supporting businesses in your community is great and all, but assuming that those last few things will be appealing to all young women is not so great? There could be more variety, at least.