On All-Nighters

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? It’s currently 6:30 in the morning on Tuesday and I’ve been up all night. Why? So I can answer the phone in a couple of hours and talk to the Social Security Administration about that thing we’ve been trying to work out since July. Why not just get up at 8:30 like a normal person? Because cripples don’t have that luxury. At least I don’t. Both the getting into and out of bed processes take like two hours each (and Dad has to go to bed after he gets me in bed/get up before me), so it’s just easier to stay up when it’s just an anomaly (we never schedule morning appointments, but the government doesn’t listen when you request afternoon ones). Anyway, I used to LOVE staying up all night, especially when I could sleep all day. But now I’m old and this shit is boring.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, staying up all night was basically a sanctuary. It was the easiest way to spend as little time with my mom as possible. She’d sleep until three or four in the morning, get up and put me in bed, do whatever she did during the morning, then get me up around two or three. It didn’t keep us from fighting all the time, but it helped a little. It also caused some arguments with Dad because he didn’t like me staying up all night (sorry). But those quiet hours between about midnight and three were the absolute best. I miss them a lot sometimes.

But that was back in the days of Yahoo chats and when fansubs (both anime and manga) were spewed all over the Interwebz. Entertaining myself was easy. Finding people to hang out with and be weird with was simple. And being productive (doing school stuff) came naturally during those hours. It was peaceful and wonderful and I’m probably forgetting how boring it actually was, but I’m allowed to romanticize things once in a while.

Now, it’s generally unnecessary (I have no one to avoid anymore) and boring as hell. Tonight, I finished the third Simon and Baz book, read four chapters in this month’s review book, wrote this post because if I waited until this afternoon the entire post would be ZZZ…, and spent far too much time prepping for this upcoming appointment that should really be quite easy (but it’s the government, so I’ve just learned to prepare for hassles). Productivity achieved. But I no longer have friends in distant time zones to be weird with at ungodly hours. I did pester my friend who’s in Germany, but only for a few minutes. Otherwise, I scrolled through Facebook, checked my email like fifty times, and ordered a shirt I really don’t need. It’s just not worth the sleep deprivation anymore.

That’s enough rambling. I’m going to go play some mindless games until closer to the appointment time, then I’ll switch to obsessively checking my phone which is right in front of me with a decent charge and good reception. But I’ll still be in panic mode until the call is over. Enough about me, what about you? Are you a fan of all-nighters? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts here or on my social media pages!

A to Z of Me

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? Things here are good. I’ve been writing and all of that fun stuff. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up! But, I’m not really here to talk about that right now. It’s my birthday tomorrow (actually today when this goes live), so I thought I’d do another “getting to know me” type post. Instead of 36 random facts about me, I decided to look for one of those A to Z questionnaire things. They’re shorter and I don’t have to think as much. I randomly found this one during a Google search, so here we go.

A… If you were an ANIMAL, what would you be?

Probably some kind of fish. One of those ugly deep sea fish with the little light lure thing on its head. An anglerfish, I think. That might be cool.

B… BOOKS: What’s on your reading list?

Right now, just the book for January’s review post and one I ended up with to review in mid-February. Otherwise, my list is mostly the same as the last time I posted about it, but I’m slowly chipping away at it and randomly adding new stuff. I’m sure I’ll run out of stuff to talk about and share a list soon enough.

C… COMPULSIVE about anything?

Far too many things. I have a few weird rituals that I do repeatedly throughout the week, mostly when I’m in my lift for an extended period of time. It’s stupid and does nothing, but it makes me feel slightly better.

D… DREAMS: Do you… dream in color? remember your dreams? keep a dream journal?

I don’t journal at all. And it’s rare for me to remember my dreams. They’re either super mundane or straight up nightmares, nothing in between. Almost always from my own perspective and in color.

E… EATING: What’s your usual snack?

I don’t really eat snacks unless Dad and I are having a lazy day. I guess chocolate mostly. I’ll have a piece before bed if that counts as snacking. Chips if we have them. Once in a while, popcorn. Or whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

F… A Few of your FAVOURITE Things?

Food. Animals. Books. I could go on, but you just asked for a few.

G… GIGGLES! What (or who) makes you laugh? Do you have a good sense of humor?

I basically have the sense of humor of a 12-years-old boy. It’s not hard to make me laugh. Dad jokes, puns, innuendo. I’m not picky with my humor. It ranges from actually funny to completely inappropriate.

H… Major HOT Button:

I don’t really have any. I know I should probably care about stuff more, but the truth is that people are going to think what they want regardless of what I say. The only reason I ever debate anything with people is because I’m bored, but then I just get annoyed, so I don’t see the point in it.

I… I am:

A cripple. A writer. My father’s daughter. And much more.

J… JOBS: What do you do? What have you done? What would you like to do?

I’m a writer. That’s about it.

K… Also KNOWN As: Aliases? Screen names? A non de plume perhaps?

Cyn, because my old screen name was cynicalcripple and my friends were too lazy to type it out. Sak or Sakura for basically the same reason. I also have a pen name, but I haven’t published anything using it yet. When I do, you’ll know.

L… I LOVE:

Dad. Jen. Danielle. Heather. And some other people.

M… How do you feel about MEETING people? Do it all the time? Rarely? Parties or 1-on-1?

Please don’t make me. I’m not good with people. If I have to, I prefer email or text.

N… What’s the story of your NAME? Were you named after anyone? Do you go by a nickname? Any aliases?

I was named after Sean Connery and Nichelle Nichols.

O… OBSERVANT: What’s around you right now? What do you see?

My desk and armoires and sticky notes and tins of peppermint bark. Darkness outside my window. I have the front camera on, so I see the vans and trailer and truck. The heat is currently on. I can’t really smell anything because allergies suck. My ventilator is whooshing. I’m too lazy to keep listing things.

Old picture, but similar set up.

P… Who are the special PEOPLE in your life?

Just Dad, really.

Q… Any Little QUIRKs About Yourself?

I have a lot of quirks, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. What quirks do I have?

R… What do you like to do for RECREATION?

I read books or manga. I watch anime. And I play mindless games while blasting music as loud as it will go. I’m not an exciting person.

S… Do You SING in the Shower? In the car? For your friends?

I try to only sing when I’m alone or the music drowns me out. Sometimes I slip up. Ah well.

T… What’s at the Top of your TO DO list?

Writing. Need to get back into a rhythm.

U… Any UNUSUAL Experiences?

Far too many to talk about here. Maybe in a different post. But I did have a woman sing a full on gospel version of happy birthday to me in a dance club bathroom, then she told me I was beautiful and if anyone told me different she would slit their throat. I stopped letting my sister drag me into public bathrooms after that.

V… VEGAS, Vienna, Venice, Vladivostok: How far have you travelled? What’s your favourite City?

None of those places. I do remember stopping in or near Verona, New York. Pretty sure that was the place with the awesome La Quinta. I’ve been all over the eastern side of the U.S. and up into Canada. I’m partial to the northeast.

W… WINTER, Spring, Summer, Fall: What’s your favorite season? What makes it special?

I live in Texas. We get summer and a couple of weeks of winter. Summer is better.

X… EXes: They are ex for a very good reason.

I wouldn’t know. Don’t have any.

Y… Any secret/deep YEARNINGS?

Unless you count milkshakes as secret desires, no. Not really. I’m good.

Z… ZERO to ZENITH: Where are you in your life? Still growing? On an upward (or downward) curve? Just skating along?

Pretty much just skating along right now. I think that’s what most people are trying to do thanks to COVID. Hopefully things will eventually get better.

End of Year Rant

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Are you ready for the coming year? Things here are annoying, so I thought I would vent a little. It’s nothing super important or life and death or anything. It’s just irksome. The government is involved, so of course everything is taking way longer than it should and it’s all a giant hassle when it should be easy peasy. They’ve had years to streamline the process, but they have not. Just like with everything else they’re involved in. Things shouldn’t be this complicated. But anyway…

Some backstory. Dad started collecting social security this year. Well, according to a lawyer we went to when we made our wills (he specializes in cripple stuff), since I’m cripple, I should’ve been eligible to receive some benefits when Dad started collecting. We knew this, but we didn’t know what all we would have to do when the time came. So, when the SSA said we needed to complete a form for me to receive the benefits, we searched high and low on the website for it, but couldn’t find anything. Ugh. We called on July 23rd to find out what to do. Long story short, I would need to set up a phone meeting and answer some questions (no mention of a form), but there were no appointments available at that time. They would be in touch.

Fast forward to October when Dad starts receiving his benefits. We still haven’t heard anything about my appointment, though we have been calling at least once a month to make sure no one has forgotten. The nice SSA people all assured me it was just a matter of waiting, but that I won’t be penalized because they know I’ve been in touch and trying my best to move things along. The waiting game continues until Dad gets a super weird letter and calls them again himself in November. The lady he talks to thinks the wait is ridiculous as well and puts him in touch with a woman who sends our issue up to her bosses.

Are we, though?

At this point, Thanksgiving is upon us along with the rest of the holidays. More waiting. Then, yesterday I get an email from an ssa.gov email address that contains the correct national phone number to call back, so I open it. My appointment has been scheduled! For February… at like 9 in the morning despite my requests for an afternoon appointment. Whatever. I will make it work. And I will call today to confirm that the appointment is legit, that they have my correct contact info, and who I should call in the event that no one calls me.

Again…

But seriously. Why has it taken over six months just for an appointment? And there’s no guarantee that the appointment will be the end of this process. It probably won’t be, because at that point, they’re probably going to give me trouble about keeping my Medicaid, which will start another cycle of drama. I’m dreading that one even more than this whole mess. Why do they make everything so complicated? Ugh. Wish us luck. I’ll be back next week with my regularly scheduled book review. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and stories here or on my social media pages!

You Thought You Were Done With Pride Month, Didn’t You?

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? I hope everyone survived the fireworks and what have you with their sanities, pets, and houses intact. Three days to celebrate the 4th. Why did it take three days? Anyway, I don’t really have anything to ramble about, so I thought I would take the chance to remind people that the LGBT+’s Pride month might be over, but July happens to be Disability Pride Month! Most people still don’t even know it exists. I didn’t know until last year. Apparently some cities even have parades and crap for it. Not mine, but Chicago has been doing one for like 18 years. I believe NYC and LA usually do something too. There’s even a flag.

It’s not my favorite flag in the world, but it’s something.

So, why do we need a Disability Pride month? A few reasons, really. One, to help normalize disabilities and fight against the ableism that runs rampant in the world. I’ve always rambled on this blog about the various ways people treat me just because I’m cripple, especially when I get ignored at restaurants. I brush it off as people being idiots, but it’s blatant ableism. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of ableism that it’s hard to keep track. Aside from the way people treat the disabled community, there’s also lack of physical access because for some reason the government here in the U.S. thinks old architecture is more important than making it accessible. So, they grandfather buildings to make it so they don’t have to be ADA compliant. And these are just examples of things I have to deal with. There are many other disabilities, all of which have their own issues to face. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that even I’m guilty of it. I’m trying to be better, but it’s hard. Helping people to understand disability and to recognize that it’s a normal part of life is the only way to move forward towards a more inclusive future.

Two, to help fight for equal rights. In the U.S., people with disabilities are discriminated against all the time. Most of that stems from ableism, but we also have to contend with idiotic laws. We’re forced to choose between our benefits and things like jobs or marriage. And most of us can’t live without those benefits. I can’t live without Medicaid because it funds the program that pays for someone to take care of me. If I lose Medicaid, I lose that. But because the only way I could get Medicaid was by getting on SSI, a program designed for the indigent, I’ll get kicked off if I make too much money. So, I can’t get a job unless it’s a ridiculously good one (for someone with no real experience and zero references, hahaha) and I can’t get married (they would start counting my spouse’s income against my benefits). It’s basically forced poverty and it’s ridiculous. Disabled people deserve to be able to contribute to society or get married without risking our benefits. Sure, if I get rich and no longer need the benefits, kick me off, but I can’t get to that point without working.

Me after dealing with the government.

Three, to help disabled people remember that they are indeed people and that they aren’t alone. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Disabled people internalize ableism as well. It’s hard not to feel like a burden, especially when you have to ask for help or accommodations or whatever. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was constantly reminded of everything my mother sacrificed for me (she was a toxic narcissist, but she’s dead now, so yeah). I still have a hard time even asking for stuff I need (like having my nose wiped or needing pillows moved at night or whatever) when I know it will inconvenience someone (usually Dad). Part of that struggle is just left over from my mother, but part of it is the whole cripple burden thing. Seeing that I’m not alone, that other disabled people exist and live happy lives, helps a lot. So, yeah. Disability Pride Month is good for educating others, but it’s also good for people who live with disabilities every day.

I chose a creepy picture because that’s who I am, but it’s good to see I’m not alone in my struggles.

Like I said, the examples in this post are my own. Other disabilities have other issues, but there’s always going to be some overlap. Anyway, happy Disability Pride Month! As always, feel free to leave your comments, questions and thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Tricking Myself into Writing

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing today? It’s a gloomy Monday as I’m writing this and I don’t really feel like doing much of anything. So, I decided it’s as good a day as any to write my post for the week. The problem? I have nothing to ramble about. I should probably be working on an actual story or writing my May book review post or something, but I don’t want to. I can do that stuff tomorrow. But I am slowly starting to write again, thanks to the new computer. I guess I can ramble about that. It’s one of those weird cripple things, so be prepared to give me your best “huh?” look.

Yeah, that look.

When I first started using a laptop (actually, any computer), my typing options were to either figure out how to make the keyboard work for me or use Dragon Naturally Speaking (a dictation program). I tried the latter and it was horrible. No matter how much I trained it, at least every other word was wrong. It was more trouble editing stuff than it was worth. So, I decided to use a backscratcher in my right hand and my left index finger to make the hunt-and-peck method of typing work for me. And I was good at it too. Fast enough to keep up with multiple Yahoo chat conversations in a timely manner at least. And accurate enough that I rarely had to fix any typos. It was less hunting/pecking and more just my own form of two “finger” typing. But all good things must end.

After I went through a few different wheelchairs and just as many computers, I eventually reached a point where typing became more difficult than it was worth. Basically, each new chair changed the positions of my hands, the ease with which I could reposition my arms, etc. and each new computer positioned its keyboard and touchpad slightly differently until it all combined to screw with my typing (slowed it down and made the position I had to maintain uncomfortable) enough that I looked for alternatives. By that time, Microsoft had started getting into accessibility features and had added an on-screen keyboard. I’m certainly not as fast with it as I was at typing, but it works well enough. It got me through Stonecoast and has helped me write the majority of the stuff I’ve written since then, so I can’t complain.

Don’t feel bad. Losing stuff like the ability to type is a normal cripple thing.

When this computer arrived, I decided to try typing again. The keyboard is just too pretty not to touch. So, a couple of weeks ago, I started trying to type for 30 minutes at a time. The range of motion in my left arm is absolute shit, which is to be expected. I can’t even reach the E, R, and G keys enough to press them anymore. The number keys (I used to be able to press 1-4 with my left hand) are completely out of reach. And I have to nudge my hand with my backscratcher in order to reach the Q and W. But for some reason, I have a better reach with my backscratcher than I used to, so it compensates a bit for the lack of use in my left hand. Hopefully, with practice, I’ll at least get back enough range of motion for E, R, and G.

Don’t get too excited. I’ve only done this 5 times so far. It’s annoying getting my hands into position, but that should get easier over time. My muscles tire out well before the 30 minutes are up, but I push through and it’s already getting better. I started at 75 words in 30 minutes and have increased each time (reached 245 words when I did it today). I can do 350ish words in a half hour with the on-screen keyboard, so if I can break that, I’ll definitely keep it up. Hopefully, my arms and hands will keep cooperating with me. I don’t fully trust them yet.

Idle Hands. They have a mind of their own. Am I the only one who remembers this stupid movie?

Anyway, in order to practice typing, I needed something to write, so I started a short story. It’s already 1,500 words long because it starts out as typing practice, then I’m in a groove, so I write a little more with the on-screen keyboard. But yeah. All this post is meant to say is that I found a way to trick myself into writing even though I have no motivation. Wootwoot!

What about you? Do you have any weird ways you trick yourself into being productive? As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Disability “Pride” Month

Hello, hello! July is chugging right along. How is everyone doing? I’m not as productive as I should be, but I’m still getting stuff done. I switched both of my remaining yearly check ups to televisits, so I don’t have to worry about going to UT Southwestern this year (huzzah!). Otherwise, I’ve been procrastinating and writing and reading and submitting and querying. It sounds like a lot, but I could be writing more. Anyway, I recently discovered that July is Disability “Pride” Month. I have conflicting feelings about that name, so I thought I’d ramble about it for a bit.

Disability-Pride
It’s a thing.

I’ve never really been comfortable with pride months/weeks/days/whatever. Especially when it’s referring to something genetic. I can’t think of one good thing that has come from people being proud of their genes. It’s creepy and you literally did nothing to be proud of. If anything, you should be proud of your parents for having sex and making you.

Not all disabilities are genetic! I know this. If you survived an accident or something, you deserve to be proud of yourself. You even deserve to be proud of yourself for living with a disability. It’s hard work. I should know. My issue is that “Disability Pride Month” makes it sound like we should be proud of being disabled. I mean, if you’re proud of your disability, more power to you. But I’m not. I had no choice in the matter, so why should I be proud of it? I’m proud of myself for earning an MFA in creative writing. I’m proud of myself for trying again and again despite the plethora of rejections I receive. I’m proud of myself when I come up with a solution for something like reaching a pen that’s an inch too far away. But my disability isn’t something I’m proud of. It’s neither here nor there. I just have to deal with it. 

tenor (12)

Personally, I’d rather have a Disability History Month. I’d love to see the TV stations doing specials on people with disabilities or airing little factoids during commercial breaks like they do for other history months. And I don’t mean inspiration porn type stuff. I want to learn about Helen Keller the activist, the first blind and deaf woman to earn a BA, the author, etc. I want to hear about how Sir Anthony Hopkins delves into a role and how his acting style may have been influenced by his (until late-in-life) undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. I want to see something about Justin Dart Jr. (a survivor of polio who ended up in a wheelchair because of it) who played a major role in getting the Americans with Disabilities Act passed thirty years ago. There are so many interesting people with disabilities, so it would be neat to actually learn about them without the whole inspo-porn twist that gets thrown into similar stories.

theonlythingworsethanbeingblind

That’s just how I feel. The word choice creeps me out, but I’m okay with having a month where people get to learn about people with disabilities. I know some people will get in huff about “why isn’t there an Able-bodied Pride/History Month?” but whatever. People just like to complain when they feel left out even though it’s not really meant to exclude them, but instead, it’s an invitation to learn about something outside of their bubble. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

More Shameless Self Promotion

Hello, hello!  How is everyone doing this wonderful day?  I just realized it’s National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than to announce my latest publication?  My poem, “Dear God,” was released on Monday in Breath and Shadow’s Spring ’19 issue.  So, I thought I would take a moment to update you on this and on how Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3 is doing.

8518cdb28111578c547de39004fabab119
Couldn’t find one with a writer instead of the skier.

First, the new one!  “Dear God” is a piece I shared on here a few years ago, so if it seems familiar, that’s why.  However, the version posted on Breath and Shadow has been edited into a more streamlined piece.  It was originally written while I was an undergrad taking an Intro to Poetry Writing class with professor Jennifer Key.  One of our assignments was to write a poem speaking to God.  Many of the students wrote extremely happy and/or vague poems, so it was a little weird when it came time to read mine.  But I’m glad I read it to the class and I’m proud that this newest version is out in the world.

A little bit about Breath and Shadow.  It’s a quarterly journal out of Maine that focuses strictly on disabled writers, no matter the disability.  It’s a wonderful publication that gives a voice to a vast group that often goes unheard.  Normally, I keep my disability to myself when I’m submitting my work because I don’t want to be a publication’s token cripple or fodder for inspiration porn, but Breath and Shadow is a place where I didn’t have to worry about any of that.  Why?  Because all of the editors and staff have their own disabilities, as well as all of the contributors.  It’s simply a neat journal that publishes awesome writing by people who happen to be disabled.  Check it out.

inspiration-porn-photo-2
Inspiration porn, BUT there’re also adorable puppers.  I’ll let it slide.

And lastly, an update on Road Kill vol. 3.  It recently won the North Texas Book Festival Book Award!  I’m super proud to be in a collection with such a wonderful group of writers.  Thank you once again to E.R. Bills for putting it together.  If you haven’t checked it out, visit the link at the beginning of this post and consider picking up a copy.  It’s available as a paperback and a Kindle ebook.

56887115_10217318976719067_5274401263201550336_o
Wootwoot!

I’m wrapping this up a little quicker than usual, since I’m sure you’re tired of my shamelessness.  I’ll be back next week with a special book review of a duet (two reviews for the price of one)!  In the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or recent accomplishments here or on my social media pages.

Push Through The Pain… Or Don’t

Hello, hello!  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having some issues with pain brought about by adjusting my seat cushion.  Needless to say, it’s been interfering with my writing.  For three days, it was so bad that I didn’t do anything productive.  Since then, I’ve been able to focus on doing most of the stuff I needed to do.  But I wanted to take today to talk about pain and when to suck it up vs. when to take a break because of it.

il_570xN.1303835034_2jzs
I try.  Sometimes, I fail.

When you’re cripple, pain is pretty much a guarantee.  Every doctor I visit inevitably asks if I’m in any pain, and my go-to response is “no more than usual.”  It’s a given that my neck/left shoulder always hurt, along with my back and hips.  It’s more a matter of how bad I’m hurting.  Low-level (about a three) aches that randomly spike to about a seven on a scale of one to ten are my norm.  Those are the pains I’m used to, and yes, you eventually get used to hurting.  They’re the pains that I can ignore and go about my day with.

But what about the days those random spikes linger?  What about the days when the pain is so different (not necessarily bad, just unusual) that it distracts me from the things I need to focus on?  Honestly, most of the time, I pop some Aspirin and goof around until it kicks in, then get back to work.  As long as everything eventually returns to normal, I don’t worry about it too much.  Granted, sometimes I waste a lot of time trying to figure out why I’m feeling the way I do, but that could just be another form of procrastination for me.

tenor (4)

Occasionally, there are days when the pain is higher than normal and doesn’t go away even with Aspirin.  If I can figure out why I’m in pain, I try to figure out how to stop it, which can be a trial and error bit that lasts a couple of days (like with my seat).  I know I’ll never be able to focus on those days.  When I have pain like that, I usually move around a lot and have to sit in positions that make working at the computer impossible.  Not to mention, pain makes it really hard to focus.  My mind gets all jittery.  Those are the days that I say screw writing and everything else I need to do.  And that’s okay.  We all deserve a little time off when we’re in pain.

Go-Ahead-Take-a-Break-FB-MEME
Stare blankly at the wall until the pain goes away.

So, if you’re not already aware of what kind of pain is normal for you, try to learn.  It makes the decision to push through or take a break much easier.  What do you do when you’re hurting?  Do you pop a couple of pills and wait for them to kick in?  Do you do yoga or tai chi or some other exercise in the hopes of working the pain out?  Perhaps you meditate.  Whatever your method of dealing with aches and unusual pains, feel free to share your tips and tricks here or on my social media pages!

Toyota Music Factory: State-Of-The-Art Experience Or Not?

Hello, hello!  On Monday, Dad surprised me with a trip out to Irving to see the Moody Blues.  They’re a band that Dad and I both enjoy.  I was raised on them.  They played a lot of songs I knew and a few I didn’t.  Of course, Dad sang along to all of them.  We both had a lot of fun, though Dad couldn’t figure out how all the other fans had gotten so old while he stayed young.  But I wanted to talk about the venue, the Toyota Music Factory, and our experience there.

043ddbef7bcc982ee65b96ab6179c718
Still love their music!

According to their FAQ section, “Toyota Music Factory is an experience – with 25 restaurants and entertainment concepts, an Alamo Drafthouse Theater, and the Pavilion – an 8,000 capacity indoor/outdoor, state-of-the-art concert venue, Toyota Music Factory is the new soul of the DFW Metroplex. From power lunches to happy hours, date nights to show time, it’s sure to satisfy any taste in food, music, movies, and more.”  But is it really?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a fabulous concept.  Being able to arrive a couple of hours early and stop for dinner at one of the on-site restaurants is great, especially for people who don’t know the area well (like us).  And since it’s not even a year old (it officially opened in September of 2017), minor problems are to be expected.  Case in point, the security people on parking duty had absolutely no clue about handicap parking.  Even the valet people seemed confused, but there was one cripple spot left up front, so they told us to go ahead and park there instead of in one of the garages.  And that was once we were there.  The signage to get to the place was absolutely horrible.  But I don’t know if that’s a venue issue or a city of Irving issue.

mf-featured
Borrowed from TMF’s website.

The Pavilion (the music venue itself) was a nice place, but I wouldn’t call it state-of-the-art by any means.  It was stark, all concrete and wood.  It actually reminded me of some of the small venues I’ve been to, only ten times the size.  There wasn’t an actual elevator.  Instead, they have a “lift,” which is a base with a wall on either side, but the front and back are exposed to the concrete/doors of the shaft.  So, while it’s moving, you better keep yourself away from the front and back.  Then there was the seating.  Handicap seating was fairly close (second section) with a barrier that didn’t obstruct the view.  We were in the center.  There was also some handicap seating up in the third section.  But even though the floor seating was the same as the companion seats in the cripple sections, easily removed folding chairs (seemed kind of chintzy for “state-of-the-art”), there weren’t any handicap tickets available down there.  It wasn’t a bad venue by any means, but it certainly wasn’t what they advertise it to be.

VPC8-592x1024
The lift was something like this, encased in concrete.

Overall, it’s a venue I wouldn’t mind going back to if a band worth seeing comes through.  All of the staff were friendly and helpful, which goes a long way to balancing out the not-so-good aspects of the place.  However, it’s definitely not going to be the “new soul” of DFW unless they make some significant improvements.  Plus, it’s all the way over in Irving, so the bands will have to be really good to make me go back.

It Just Irks Me

Hello, hello!  The past few weeks, I’ve been really diligent about submitting to at least two magazines or anthologies each Monday.  This means that I’ve been going through Duotrope, Ralan’s site, and random calls for submissions.  In my searches, I came across a really neat anthology that I will likely submit to if I can come up with a story that falls in the realm of Sci-Fi, but something about their call rubs me the wrong way.  They’re looking for people who “identify as disabled.”  I had to read their call three times before I realized it was that exact phrase that made me twitch every time.  Something about it just irks me.

head tilt
If I could tilt my head, this would’ve been my reaction.

The anthology is being put together by people with disabilities and will be comprised of stories/essays/poems/etc. by people with disabilities, so I want to be clear that I think it’s a wonderful thing and I look forward to reading it.  The thing that makes me pause and overthink everything is the concept of choosing whether or not to identify as disabled.  It’s something I never really thought about before, because my crippleness is so apparent that not having it as part of my identity was never an option.  In my experience, people are either disabled or they aren’t.  They don’t really get a choice.

Sure, some disabilities are less severe than others.  Some are even invisible.  But a disability is a disability regardless of whether outsiders can tell it’s there or not.  If you’re disabled in a way that isn’t apparent to others and you choose to keep it to yourself, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re disabled.  If you don’t have a physical or mental deficit/difference, even if you want one (which apparently is a thing, though I have no idea why anyone would want to be disabled), then you aren’t disabled.  You could become disabled in the future, but you aren’t right now.  Disabilities don’t care how you identify.  They either happen to you or they don’t.

ctrl-alt-del1
From Ctrl+Alt+Del.  I still laugh when I come across this one.

I suppose my biggest issue with the idea of choosing whether or not to identify as disabled is that it implies disability is some kind of social construct that people can opt into or out of whenever they want.  It’s not.  Disabilities are diseases and abnormalities that people have to deal with every single day.  It’s not a choice.  It’s not politics.  It’s the hand life decided to deal us.

But I also know there are a lot of people who struggle with the idea of whether or not they’re “disabled enough” to claim the title.  That’s why the anthology uses the concept of identity in its call.  They want to include as many people as possible and they want people with disabilities to know that they aren’t judging what counts as a disability.  They want people to feel welcome to submit no matter the type of disability or severity.  In my head, I know and understand this.  I even think it’s a diplomatic way to handle a tough situation.  It’s just something that made me stop and think.

what-is-overthinking-disorder-1
I do this far too often.

I’m going to stop rambling now.  Feel free to leave your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!