?Kickass Atheists And A Ramble?
So first, a quick check in. I’m trying a new experiment with my health, and so far so good. Things have flipped pretty drastically in a short amount of time. I no longer need allergy shots (we’ll see what happens once spring hits and the mold blooms,) and this is the 4th day straight I haven’t needed any dopamine supplementation for the Parkinson’s. I think I may have finally cracked this. I’m keeping myself aware—it’s all still experimentation until I can feel like this is repeatable and sustainable—but yeah, it’s looking good.
My key thought at the root of this experiment was the realization that it’s the gut that produces the majority of our neurotransmitters. Not through the gut itself, but the bacteria living there. If Parkinson’s is a sign of low dopamine (a neurotransmitter) and a ton of dopamine is created in the gut by our bacteria, then what would happen if I intentionally seeded my gut with probiotics designed to increase neurotransmitter production? AKA, why not farm my gut the way we farm the land to produce what I need to function?
The change was quick. Practically overnight once I started the probiotics and realized some store bought kombucha had the right bacteria to also produce neurotransmitters. I’m sure it helps I’m still on the Candida killing meds too. I have energy, and I’m more active in my life. I’ve been cooking (and eating) every day and I’m feeling really relaxed. I even started exercising on my rebounder again. I’m more active but it’s not that hyper energy I get when my immune system is flipping out. I just feel more me and more in my life.
I’m taking it slow, though. I feel like every time I push too hard when I see improvement, I undo the good. Which makes me think the extra neurotransmitters are helping with my residual anxiety. I’m really happy with it all so far.
I guess we’ll see how it goes. Hope is a double edged blade some days, so I’m just focusing on how nice it is to wake up on a Saturday, laze around, and still manage to write a Newsletter while also eating properly and thinking of creative stuff to do. I saw the Spider-Verse movie—the art style was so inspiring. My mind is a whirl of if I could do something similar in a visual novel. <3
Okay, some fucking kickass atheists!
I am in love with this video. If you’re bored and looking to see what it looks like when a brilliant atheist tears into an asshole who thinks homosexuality = aids, and homosexuality = pedophilia, check it out. What I love at the core is the message of freedom of thought and the problem with people who think a thought is an action. They are separate and don’t require judgment, something people really struggle with.
And if you’re interested in seeing an atheist view of sex work, and how even in secular spaces free of religion, society is still struggling with their personal shame when it comes to sex, check out this 9 minute intro—also, nipple at 11:46 😉
I’ve started watching things like the videos above because it is such a relief to find people who think like me. These concepts and viewpoints of the world seem like common sense to me, but I did not grow up with people who had common sense. The majority of the adults in my life were messed up and brain washed through social and religious means. It might seem weird that I see PTSD in practically everyone, but there’s a reason for that. I was surrounded by people who were traumatized, and these people never sought help. They just created a path of destruction everywhere they went. And I, a small child, was constantly being harmed by other people’s trauma.
Time for a personal ramble of my past
I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I’ve been thinking a lot about where the thoughts came from that I, as an adult, am forever clashing with. Unfortunately, they came from home, not some external source. At times it was influenced by external sources, such as the religion my family believed in. At the core, I was raised mostly through trauma, not nurture.
I grew up in an environment that didn’t promote thought. As a child, I didn’t really understand it, and I certainly didn’t understand what it was doing to me. When my adoptive mother would burst into angry tears because I would keep questioning her stances and offer other view points, I didn’t understand WHY; I just knew I got quieter and quieter to appease her. Her plea was forever ‘why can’t you just agree with me?!’
Well, why couldn’t I? More importantly, why should I? Why did I, a child trying to understand the world, have to agree with a grown woman to make her feel validated in the world? Because she was damaged. The same way my biological father would beat his kids when they didn’t act the way he wanted. He was damaged and he thought to control a child would mean he had control over himself. He didn’t. Why did the children always have to change to make these unstable adults feel stable? The entire thing is flawed and proposed by adults who are too damaged to see they are the problem. Unfortunately, children are beaten down to believe the lie of the adult in situations like this, and they spread it later in their own lives.
When my adoptive mother would snap at me for speaking quietly, I only got quieter. I was attacked for speaking up and saying the ‘wrong’ thing, and attacked for speaking quietly for fear of saying the wrong thing; the clear answer was to just never speak. Especially when I knew the stakes of speaking up, because I was a foster kid until the age of 10—my experience was if you pissed off your parents, they either sent you away or beat you. My adoptive parents did neither, but they threatened to plenty.
I was a foster kid who came from an abusive home, and I was adopted by well-intentioned parents, one of which (my mother) had been a ward of the state until she aged out and had endured terrible abuse during that time and after. Some of that abuse was inflicted on her by her husband, (my adoptive father,) who stopped drinking by the time we were taken into the house and was thankfully not the person of his past. Whether she intended to or not, my mother abused me in the same way she had been abused when it came to thought control, self esteem and emotional manipulation.
She set a standard in the household that I should be ashamed or disgusted by my body. That if my hair wasn’t to her specifications, I was a ‘hag.’ I can remember her absolute disgust when I got a new bra, and the way she pulled it down my torso, scathingly telling me it belonged lower—because when it was higher, my breasts looked larger (the horror.) When I spoke back to her, or just did something she didn’t like, she would say ‘you have the biggest balls I’ve ever seen.’ There would be such disgust in her voice, I only know now through observing the pattern through other people that clearly someone had said this to her as a child, and it had been gendered to assure that she would feel repulsed every time she stepped out of line. Girls were ‘good,’ and they certainly didn’t have balls. What defined good? Not upsetting others, and not being free like men. She used that against me in the hopes to break me from being my own person. She would tell me if I didn’t like living there, I could go live under a bridge. Because that’s rational—telling a child who had endured years of abuse that if you don’t conform in every way, you can go die on the streets.
My relationship with my adoptive mother was extremely toxic and it was not because I, a child, had established it to be that way. And to be clear, I loved her, just as I did my abusive biological parents, and my adoptive father (he favored materialistic manipulation over emotional.) Love is not stopped by things like abuse, trauma, pain. I can acknowledge someone was horrible in action and still love them whole-heartedly, even if I have no interest in being around them any longer.
I think that’s hard for some people; they can’t speak bad of someone—they can’t speak truth—because they fear they will appear unloving, so the truth festers away inside like an infected wound, unheard and ignored by their own psyche. It’s a psychological cocktail of misery that can create more repression and lies. When someone tried to tell me my biological mother was a saint when she did nothing to stop my biological father from hurting me, or my biological grandfather from hurting me, or refused to create a stable environment to prevent her small children from being at the mercy of any stranger who could be called a ‘foster parent,’ it just made the pain worse because it was bullshit.
Adults are not perfect, and some adults are really fucking terrible because of what they do to others, and yeah, I can still love them but I won’t pad the truth. And because of that, I can talk about this stuff and not be in pain anymore. I’m not broken by the truth because I realize people are complex, fucked up, and even when we try our best, we are not always our best versions of ourselves. When we can come clean about that stuff, we can move on to do better. But only if we can be honest. All the people I know who didn’t face their shit, never changed, never got better.
So, some weird shit about the mother I loved, the one who took me in and gave me a roof over my head when I was at my most vulnerable. My mother fought me for my adoptive father’s attention like a scorned lover instead of a mother—talk about awkward. I would have to walk home from school (a good 2 hour walk) if I missed the bus because she didn’t like his time after work going in any way toward me instead of toward her. She got upset when I had my plays or music recitals at school because it took him away for a few hours while she wanted all his attention. Asking for simple things like to be driven to a friend’s house or the mall was met with argument after argument, until it was easier to not have a social life to keep from battling her at every turn. She hated having other kids in the house; she wasn’t a fan of me and my brother being in the house either.
It felt like everything was a constant battle of wills with this woman, and none of it made sense. Why couldn’t I just be a person? She didn’t care my grades were shit, that I wasn’t adjusting to school, none of it; she just wanted me to conform to whatever she wanted and it made everything else so much harder. It took until the end of middle school for me to finally break her hold on me, and I think this was probably much younger than other children who break away from their parents later in life. My mother ‘washed her hands of me,’ aka, stopped telling me what music to listen to, what clothing to wear, stopped trying to ‘help’ me by crushing me down until I could barely move without her freaking out. She also stopped talking to me outside of guilting me for ‘bringing this on myself’ because I was too difficult on her. This was suspiciously around the same time her cancer returned. She could only handle one battle, and it was with her own body, and her punishment to me was to cut me out of her life.
She never told me she lost a breast to cancer before they took us in. She never got therapy for it. I don’t think my mother got therapy for anything, from her life changing illness, the husband who used to terrorize her, to the abusive childhood she endured. When I started washing her clothes as her cancer returned and progressed, I found her bra with the padded breast. I can’t even imagine having something so profoundly intense happen to my body and not share that with my child, to not try to teach about illness, about the body and how it doesn’t always look how we want but we still have worth, still have value. But my mother never sought help, and she did not have a healthy perspective of what it meant to live in a body.
My mother had turned me shaving my legs into such an ordeal—seriously, she got my doctor involved—that the kids at my school who were making fun of me for having hairy legs unlike all the other girls were told by a teacher that I didn’t shave because it was a religious thing. No, it wasn’t religious, my mother just couldn’t handle my growing up. She couldn’t handle talking to me about tampons or menstruation. When I had severe, and as I know it now, not even remotely normal cramps, but horrendous reactions to the mold in the house that would send me screaming for 2 days straight every time I got my period—she would call me weak and throw it in my face how I’d never be able to handle the pain of child birth. (I’m likely barren, actually, from what the mold did to me.) My mother instead pointed out how she would go to school every day even though she also threw up every morning. Because she was strong.
That was how I learned just how damaged my mother was. Not with long, meaningful talks about her past, but these little moments she would bring up and use to stab me with guilt and shame as she bitterly tried to keep me from the reality at hand. She was winning a game of who could hurt who the most I didn’t realize I was in; I was just being a kid.
If I had been in pain for something not ‘womanly,’ I’m certain she would have handled it different. If my knee was twisted, she’d get me to a doctor. But it was my uterus, and it was a subject off limits. I needed help and instead of seeking solutions, she would attack me for needing help. The reason being, in her mind she did the same thing to herself. Her normal was to hate herself and blame herself for not being able to control her life. And I learned because of years of that treatment to be just as cruel, just as apathetic to myself.
I can clearly remember one day me coming home from school to find my room ransacked with my mother standing there with my latest library book in hand. I was a heavy reader—I read to escape a very unhappy life—and she just started screaming at me, and screaming, and screaming.
The book was for young adults (of which I was one,) and discussed things like puberty, making out, potential sex in the future for the characters, etc. I can’t remember what my mother actually said, just the disgust twisted on her face as she screamed at me for reading such a book and how filthy it was. The hilarity being, she totally missed the romances and books that had masturbation and sex that I had already read by this time. My mother actually wanted to give me a book about sex, a book that never materialized, and one she mentioned when I was 17. Because she was so fucked up about living in a body, so fucked up about sex in general, and so fucked up with her identity and needing me to be a reflection that she couldn’t face any of these basic things.
We could never talk, never connect, because she never treated the demons in her past. I had read books about cancer, specifically of a daughter my age dealing with her mother having cancer, before she even told me she had cancer. I was learning more about my own life through books because she was avoiding me experiencing life. When I was in high school, and her cancer got so bad I would come home every day after school to take care of her, cook for her, walk her to the bathroom, etc, we didn’t talk like people, like a family, like friends. I could either share her interests, or not exist. I had to be perfect, or upset her. I had to be perfect, or I’d be letting her die. I had to be perfect, and I could never be me.
It’s not unique
My childhood wasn’t particularly unique in the long run when it comes to being born into abuse, into religion, and into needing to adapt or rebel from a controlling parent. It certainly isn’t unique in being treated so apathetically that I learned to do the same to myself. What is unique about me, and it makes me so sad to realize it, is compared to the people I am surrounded by, or once were (I left a lot of broken people behind) I was the only one I knew who was striving to deal with my shit and gain a new life. I strove to break free of the thought control that lingered from people who were now dead but were still managing to fuck up my life.
So, when I see videos like this, of someone who understands the world in complete rationality and is also CONFIDENT in the perspective, it is beautiful to me. Because I wasn’t allowed to see the world the way I wanted to, the way I did, without waiting to be struck down on so many levels—and don’t even get me started with the all knowing God who would condemn me to Hell for merely thinking.
It’s a wonder I didn’t grow up to be crazy, yeah? It’s a fucking wonder anyone growing up in a restrictive religious household, or an abusive one survives to be any sort of adjusted adult. Our reactions to the world and our basic ideologies are established when we are at our youngest and most vulnerable, and this is when we can be least protected and least seen. This is when the adults in our lives don’t realize their stress and fears becomes a child’s literal perspective of life.
I can’t be in a crowded kitchen because both my adoptive parents were always freaking out with being crowded in a kitchen when cooking. When I first started dating, most of my reactions were to lash out at any show of emotion in my partner because my mother made me believe emotion was weakness, and that other people needed to stop having emotions so I could feel safe. Why the fuck should other people’s emotions have anything to do with me? Because my emotions were perceived as an attack by my mother on her. It is absolutely irrational, but it was the world these damaged adults created, and the one I spend every day trying to break apart so I can live healthily.
I want to enjoy reality. I want to enjoy my voice, which still sometimes gets quiet when people show up to freak at me because I see the world differently than they do. I don’t always feel confident in speaking my truth, but I do still speak it. I want that confidence. I want that place of stability to know if I say something that upsets people, too fucking bad; I won’t end up on the streets without my mother’s love.
I am not the keeper, the caretaker, or even remotely responsible for other people’s emotions, and I have no interest in trying to manipulate those emotions in any way. It is not my job to make other people feel good about themselves, and it’s not my job to go away because people don’t want to face the reality of a difference of perspective. Too fucking bad for them.
I talk a lot of shit about the LGBTQ community when they are acting shitty. When you have ‘real lesbians’ telling bisexuals they’re not really into women, or ‘real gay men’ telling trans men they can’t exist. When the community says gender doesn’t matter, then freaks the fuck out when they discover the gender of someone is not what they thought it was. When still, those within the community abuse those who are different in the community because they, like my mother, need everyone who looks like them (or identifies like them) to be just like them. No person is alike, but still we try to crush people down to fit into what we conceive them to be, and it is shit. In a community trying to break free of labels, there are so many fucking labels!
I get it; it is extremely hard to see past the false realities pain and strong emotions create. I had PTSD for over 30 years. I know damn well. I wanted people to be what I thought they were so that they made sense and I felt like I had control. But I also know what happens when we don’t try, and what happens when we get lazy and just shrug off reality as being less interesting than the many distractions or addictive anger and constant victimization. I still battle biases, still put a wall between me and people because I fear emotional manipulation even now.
I would rather live in a void than go through something like what I did with my parents—and that’s fucking tragic. Human beings are social creatures, and my coping strategy that got me through a difficult time in my life is still being habitually used to destroy my ability to connect. Because someone once told me to suffocate myself was a sign of strength, and when desperate for love, I believed them.
It is beautiful to hear other people describe the world as it is, instead of through the lens of a broken, brainwashed human being. If you’re well adjusted (I’m sure such people are out there and congratulations!) it might seem boring and mundane, but damn, I have heard so many skewed versions of the world full of pain that creates more pain, and I’m just tired of it. I want the bullshit to be gone already. I’m tired of entire institutions and societies promoting fucked up ideologies that make little girls feel like they’re nothing, and grown women feel like their only worth is in how good they can moderate the feelings/stresses of others, or through stereotypical gender roles. There isn’t a single movie out there lately with a female main character that isn’t torn apart because she’s a woman. The pathetic old cry of ‘gender doesn’t matter but don’t go shoving your female equality in my face by being equal’ just won’t shut the fuck up already.
I want to hear reality, every damn day, until people can distinguish they are hearing reality and not another insane ideology that only lives in the brain. This is the education the world needs. Every human being should be able to find the base reality and see through their own bias. When you can see reality, you can live in it—you can alter it like I’m doing with my health instead of waiting to appease some imaginary divine being to heal me, or appease a doctor in a lab coat who was so certain my problem was something else and believes I should conform to that reality instead of fixing the problem. When you can start in reality, you can distinguish when your brain chemistry is fucked, understand the thoughts you have (be they depressive, anxious, irrational predictions of the future, etc,) aren’t real, aren’t from you, and you don’t have to act. You don’t have to give up your life because you know where reality is, and that unbearable situation you feel trapped in can be left just by walking away or turning off your screen.
We need more reality and less irrational ideologies. We need more loud, proud atheists who are willing to shut up a homophobe who hides behind ‘stopping aids’ as their rational of hate. That’s the world I want to be a part of. I don’t want to apologize for irrational thought; I want reality repeated.