What does self-care mean these days…
…and why does the term make me feel fuzzy and disoriented?
And I’m not talking about the meaning I learned originally, the meaning I use, which is things like knowing how to bathe yourself, dress yourself, feed yourself, etc. The one that’s got roughly the same meaning as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) but sounds much less technical and jargony.
I mean the new meaning, the one with a silent (tm) at the end that makes me nervous and dizzy and confused and fuzzy. Like inner child (tm), self-care (tm), etc. All the words with the silent (tm) make me feel that way.
As usual, I’m not telling anyone to stop saying it, regardless of how I feel.
But when I say I’m not good at self-care or that I lack self-care skills, I’m talking about ADLs and IADLs and that kind of thing. I mean ‘daily living skills’ or something similar. I’m not talking about… whatever it seems to mean to most people these days.
It’s weird, I’m really good at tracking words in certain ways. Like, when a word suddenly becomes popular or changes meanings in a widespread way, I notice it, it stands out to me as if it’s got a big circle around it. And self-care has been doing that recently. I kind of understand the new meaning in a vague way, but not in a precise way. But I know that there is a new meaning and that usage is changing and that’s what I’m weirdly good at picking up on sometimes.
But what is the actual definition of self-care that people are using? Because I can’t seem to quite get my head around the concept. Every time I try, it slides away from me.
I’ve seen a lot of positions on it to be honest, and my answer is how I will always feel about anything concerning abortion, which is it’s your choice, an I don’t think it’s eugenics.
I do feel as though as a society we need to change the attitudes towards disability, and how we help those who have a disability and their families. Because the easier we make it for everyone to function in society, the easier it is for someone to provide a healthy life for their child who might have a disability, if that makes sense, and that’ll make it easier for someone to be able to choose to continue on with their pregnancy and to help keep less disabled children out of foster care.
But I do feel as though it is your choice, and I won’t shame you for that. Because lets be honest, some disabilities or illnesses are emotionally and financially hard and if you know you can’t handle that, you should be able to make the best choice for yourself. If you honestly do not believe that you can provide a good home for them or are uncomfortable with the adoption system pertaining to disabled kids and children of color (sometimes a combo of both) then you have the right to make that choice, because forcing people to produce children when they’re not ready often times harbors abusive environments. Those are my thoughts so you guys can add in if you want -cylina
As an autistic mom of an autistic child, this is a very sensitive issue in the ASD community. When Autism Speaks promotes “curing” autism, the fact is the majority of their research is for prenatal testing. I think that fact shows how devalued autistics are in our society and how negatively autism is viewed by the majority of Americans.
And sadly, Autism Speaks feeds on that negativity and outright encourages it and makes tons of money doing so.
The fact is, if a prenatal test is developed MANY autistic people will never be born, just as the majority of those with down syndrome are aborted now.
But I think it is too simplistic to blame access to abortion if that does happen. People will abort autistics after positive prenatal testing for many reasons, such as stereotypes in society, ignorance about what exactly autism is and even financial circumstances that lead them to feel they cannot care for a special needs child.
And I don’t believe I have the right to make that choice for any pregnant person, even if I personally believe they are making that choice for the wrong reasons - or that their choice will harm people like myself and my son and our place in society.
Raising a special needs child is difficult for most parents, and better they should recognize they are not equipped to do so while pregnant than years later when they abuse or even murder their autistic child. Which sadly happens far too often.
And parents who have to capacity and finances to have an autistic child but abort because they desire a “perfect child” aren’t likely to deal well with with an autistic child anyway, let’s be honest. There are far too many stories of abusive and insensitive parents in adult autistic communities already.
I think prenatal testing and society’s views of autism can lead to eugenics - but there is no way to prevent it without specifically outlawing abortion in the case of fetal disease or disability, and that doing so would severely impact the bodily autonomy and rights of pregnant people. Just like trying to prevent gender preferential abortions, trying to prevent these specific types of abortions would be a near impossibility without making all abortion illegal - and wouldn’t correct the base cause of societal discrimination that is the underlying reason for those abortions.
Any other autistics have a different, or similar view?
Different view on (at least) one point. But first, since I get crap for the language my brain sometimes comes up with in discussions of abortion, Disambiguation Post: On Language Dickery. I will not respond to anyone who decides that the words I use are attached to entire philosophies about abortion or anything else. And no matter what language I use, I am not a fucking closet pro-lifer and won’t put up with such accusations.
There are tons and tons and tons of ways of preventing things without outlawing them. I have had this conversation with other people where they insist that I want to outlaw selective abortion. I don’t approve of selective abortion (for sex, or disability) but that doesn’t mean I want to outlaw it. And there are tons of ways of discouraging selective abortion without outlawing it. But I’ve literally had conversations where I could not get anywhere in the conversation — not just about selective abortion — because a person could not comprehend that it was possible to dislike something without wanting to ban it, and/or to prevent something without banning it.
One huge start would be eliminating the biased information that healthcare professionals provide to parents about what life with a disabled child is like, what life being disabled is like, and what “quality of life” disabled people have. (Hint on that last one: There is plenty of scientific evidence saying our quality of life is identical or close to nondisabled people, regardless of severity of disability. Doctors who do prenatal testing and counseling routinely ignore this science in favor of their biases. The science also says that doctors routinely underestimate the quality of life of disabled people.)
One thing suggested by people with Down syndrome themselves is that when someone’s pregnancy tests positive for Down syndrome, they should have to meet and talk to people with Down syndrome about what it’s like to have Down syndrome, as part of the same ‘genetic counseling’ that right now mostly consists of urging people to abort.
Another big thing is that the doctor shouldn’t be urging people to abort either overtly or covertly, on the basis of disability alone. That decision should be left up entirely to the parents, who should be provided with balanced information about disability, and who should be shown the positive side of life with a disability.
There are easily dozens of things that can be done without outlawing selective abortion. Why do people persist in insisting that objecting to it is the same thing as wanting it outlawed, or that the only possible way to change it is to outlaw it? Why is it that most feminists I’ve encountered will so readily understand why sex-selective abortion is bad, but accuse you of being pro-life if you object to disability-selective abortion?
Oh yeah another thing that would seriously help stop disability-selective abortion is if pro-choicers stopped using the threat of having a child with a disability as a major talking point in favor of abortion. There are many people who are only pro-choice because of the fear that their child might be disabled. Which is horrible. There are plenty of arguments for pro-choice views that don’t depend on that.
(My personal argument in favor of allowing abortion is that it’s my body and pregnancy is a big deal so I get to decide whether someone gets to live inside my body or not. Period. I don’t rely on dehumanizing disabled people, and I don’t rely on angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin arguments about “when life begins” or “whether a fetus is a person” — which are all about whether to apply an abstract idea to a concrete thing. I’m not interested in abstract ideas and how they fit into this whole mess, I’m interested in controlling my body and what happens in it and what and who gets to grow inside it. And that really should be what people are focused on, if they believe in abortion rights. Because most of the other arguments are red herrings that draw us into debates that will never be answered to the satisfaction of either side.)
Anyway, preventing eugenic abortion is not about outlawing it, it’s about making a society where it’s less likely to happen. Same as sex-selective abortion. There are dozens to hundreds of ways to do this, all tied together. I’ve only touched on a few. People actually do think about this and come up with strategies and stuff. In fact a lot of people have done a lot of thinking about this.
“Outside the lab, Piff found that the rich donated a smaller percentage of their wealth than poorer people. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed 1.3% of their income to charity, while those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income. The trend to meanness was worst in plush suburbs where everyone had a high income, and never laid eyes on a poor person. Insulation from people in need, Piff concluded, dampened charitable impulses. Poorer people were also more likely to give to those charities servicing the genuinely needy. The rich gave to high-status institutions such as already well-endowed art galleries, museums and universities, while Feeding America, which deals with the nation’s poorest, got nothing.”—
This is what I mean when I say most poor people — at least those who know what it is to be hungry — will share their last can of beans with you if you’re starving, but so many middle-class and rich people won’t give you anything from their full cupboards, always finding excuses. Also, I’ve talked to delivery people and they say the people in my low-income housing project tip better than the rich people up the hill from us. This is a thing.
Falling Out Of Your World
I fell out of your world today
And landed in the dirt
I knew the name of every plant
Of every tree and mushroom
You can’t know what this meant to me
This knowledge without thought
In your world, wit is easily won
It’s your solace and your weapon
In my world, it’s like flecks of soil
That pile up with each passing year
It grows slowly and naturally
My mind doesn’t soar through the clouds
I looked up at your world today
You seemed so happy up there
Because you do soar through the clouds
Your mind eats equations for breakfast
You can’t imagine life down here
It’s too slow and too ordinary
For days at a time I do nothing
But soak myself into the soil
But the soil talks to me
Like the clouds talk to you
And from the underground depths
Understanding flows up to me
I know that you love your life
Where the breeze brings you words
And the clouds carry equations
And you can dart everywhere
With a touch of your wings
But I love my life
I have deep roots in the dark places
Water springs up from the soil
And understanding can only happen
By listening to things without voices
I am a thing without a voice
Perhaps that is why I belong down here
And not up where the voice of the wind
Sings unceasing words of knowledge
To people whose heads fill with words
I fell out of your world today
And I thanked the gods of mist and soil
Of the dark and the damp
Of the roots and the trees
Because you may thrive in your world
But to me, it’s a lightning storm in my head
And I belong curled up inside the ground
At the feet of a redwood tree
Apparently, someone I consider a very good friend thinks my family isn’t autistic
And that instead we have social anxiety (what, you can inherit conditioned social anxiety brought about by severe abuse in your parent’s life before or mostly before you were ever conceived!!!!!???! I’m thinking NO), habits (stimming, even blatant stereotypical stimming), and passion.
Because we’re “all too lovely and nice” to be autistic. And nothing like terrible people with the label or suspected of the label.
"You’re the opposite of them!"
Uggggghhhhhh, you have been my friend for eleven years! Don’t dooooooo this! That’s so wrong!
I remember being offended at people thinking me autistic. But that was before the prominent asshole stereotype. Look at me now.
Back in the nineties, a psychologist said “I don’t like people with Asperger’s, and I like your father, so he probably doesn’t have Asperger’s.” Of course this is the same psychologist who, at least officially, said that I was psychotic since infancy because of my mother, and who used to beat me on the leg, hard, until I made eye contact, so I don’t hold his opinions in very high esteem at all. But I couldn’t believe he outright admitted that bias. Once I found out that he’d make or unmake a diagnosis based on something as little as whether he liked a person, I wasn’t inclined to take any of his diagnoses seriously.
self dx doesn’t get you bragging rights on the internet it gets you ridicule look the fuck around you
and gee don’t you think that if they can’t get to a doctor in the first place they’re not gonna be able to get treatment anyway
and in that case what would you suggest that they do then
do you have a solution for all the people without access to medical care because i would love to hear it
I was medically diagnosed, but: Self-diagnosis isn’t for bragging rights, it’s for finding a community of people who understand you, it’s for learning strategies from other autistic people that you couldn’t figure out on your own, it’s for understanding yourself and how your mind works better, it’s for a lot of things, but bragging rights ain’t one of them. Especially with the number of people who see it as their job to crap on self-dxed people who haven’t done a single bit of harm to anyone (which is most self-dxed people, just like most medically-dxed people).
So I just wrote a book on Twitter.
We’ll see if anything comes of it. I am not holding my breath, I have talked to him about this before and he dismissed me as being in a negative spiral.
Ugh, I just realized I got something wrong in that and I’m going to have to add to the list. *sigh*
and so the book continues?
Yup. Just two new tweets.
I’m going to add them to the original post.
Here’s the link to the convo on Twitter.
Most of the time, when people try to deny that something is “a disability”, they’re showing a lot about what they think a disability is. They tend to think that admitting to a disability is a 100% negative thing, that disabled people have to 100% hate being disabled, etc. And some of us do see our disabilities that way, but a lot of us don’t. A lot of us see both good and bad sides to being disabled, I’d even say most of us, if we aren’t forced to see it as 100% bad. But to these people, disabled means 100% bad, it means broken, it means all these things that it doesn’t actually have to mean. So they say “autism/ADHD/whatever isn’t a disability” when they mean “autism/ADHD/whatever isn’t 100% bad and/or doesn’t fit my other stereotypes of what being disabled is”. So I find such remarks much more revealing about the attitudes of the people who make them, than they are about the nature of the condition they’re describing.
And I notice it’s only certain disabilities that get treated this way, and I’m not sure why.
(There’s another sense where people say something isn’t a disability, but that’s not what’s going on here. That’s when people define disability narrowly as physical disability, and then try to say things like “Depression isn’t a real disability.” But that’s a totally different thing they’re saying there, for totally different reasons. Equally fucked up though.)
Why can’t triathletes and weightlifters get along?
Things that make you go hmmmm.
"Sociologists, it turns out, have studied these covert athletic biases. Carl Stempel, for example, writing in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, argues that upper middle class Americans avoid “excessive displays of strength,” viewing the bodybuilder look as vulgar overcompensation for wounded manhood. The so-called dominant classes, Stempel writes—especially those like my friends and myself, richer in fancy degrees than in actual dollars—tend to express dominance through strenuous aerobic sports that display moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance. By chasing pure strength, in other words, packing on all that muscle, I had violated the unspoken prejudices—and dearly held self-definitions—of my social group.”
I encountered this recently when chatting with my cousin’s husband, a PhD in Computer Science who works at Google and runs sub-three hour marathons in his spare time (yes, you read that right) and weighs little more than me at a height of six feet. He admitted that barbells scare him which just boggled my mind, but admires the feats of strength of others as something as far beyond his reach as running a sub-three hour marathon is mine.
I will probably stir something up but in my area, this is as clear as night and day. Most people run, walk and do things to uphold some type of unspoken social norm. People diet together, run together, shell out hundreds of dollars for marathons, races..etc.
But when someone enters that group who is a strength athlete they are treated like some kind of animal. I get constantly told to “be careful” at the gym or told that I’m doing too much, scaring other gym goers, “shaking the gym”, or just get glances or judgement and disgust. People tend to stick to their social norm, which for my area and areas I’ve been to seems to be almost exactly like this article. I know some people on this site would argue the opposite but I’d disagree. Honestly, I’m a lot “worse” off than a lot of people in my area in terms of gross income and job “status”. A lot of the richer more secure people really, really look down on the “big muscular” people as vulgar or “too much”. I constantly feel like I’m sub-human to my peers around me.
And I’m okay with that.
Yeah, this kind of matches my experience too, and more so those of a close male friend who started going to the gym with me in college.
My friend was also not white, and we were at a pretty white college, which I’m sure aggravated the problem. I definitely remember him complaining some about people treating him like a thug.
It sucks, because my friend had gotten that all his life. People assuming he’s not as smart or as educated as they are, when really he’s very smart!
With me, I’ve definitely had people act like I’m doing something weird or gross when I lift something heavy, whether it’s in the gym or outside, like moving furniture or the like. And my mom definitely seems to act like my body is more obscene now, and should be covered more, than she did when I was smaller.
I’ve also lifted myself into a state where I’m not attractive to most men, which is fine. Because for women thinness isn’t just class coded, it’s also a huge part of the beauty standard. Which is itself class coded, but like, there’s more that a woman sacrifices in terms of social presentation by becoming big and bulky than there is that a man sacrifices. A man may sacrifice his ability to be perceived as intelligent or middle-class, but a woman sacrifices those things and conventional attractiveness too.