Body Integrity Identity Disorder: An Amputee’s Perspective

A reaction and analysis to the story of Jewel Shuping, an able-bodied woman in North Carolina who, with the help of her psychiatrist, poured drain cleaner in her eyes to achieve her life-long dream of being blind.


I try to keep a very open mind about these things. In the year 2015, there are things about the brain we still have yet to even begin to understand. Psychiatry is a relatively new study, in the grand scheme of things, and many types of mental disability and psychological condition are still largely a mystery to scientists and doctors.

2CF660B900000578-3256029-image-a-10_1443692650412That being said, when I stumbled across this story about a woman from North Carolina who had intentionally blinded herself due to a condition known as BIID, or Body Integrity Identity Disorder, my initial reaction was anger.

The human body is such a fragile thing. There are so many things that can go wrong, whether it’s during the initial process of cell division in the womb, or later on in a fully grown adult who has an accident, or develops some disease that contributes a necessary amputation, causes blindness/deafness, etc. There are just so many things that can happen either during the formative process before birth, DURING birth, or throughout the course of life, that can cause health problems, loss of function, or an untimely death. The idea of an able-bodied person just deciding that they no longer want that perfectly functioning hand, and would feel much better if it were to be cut off and thrown away, is instinctively offensive to someone like me.

And while the comparison to similar disorders like anorexia nervosa seems obvious (and is in fact backed up by psychologists, something I learned from reading this very thorough academic paper on the subject), and while its identification as a mental disorder should encourage us toward acceptance and understanding of such an action… here I am. Mad about it.

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t anger me. It doesn’t affect my life. What’s it got to do with me? This woman knew what she wanted and she went out and got it. Now she’s happier than ever. Good for her, I guess? Who am I to judge?

I’m really curious to hear other people’s thoughts on this. What do you guys think?

Trek Talk: Is the Prime Directive Ethical?

Trek Talk: A new series of blog posts where I talk about Star Trek.


For those unfamiliar with Trek, the Prime Directive (or General Order One) states the following:

No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society.

Sounds great on paper, but sometimes in practice??? Not so much.

On a typical Friday night, I’m usually watching some flavor of Star Trek. The other night I got together with some friends for dinner and The Next Generation was on in the background, as you do.

The episode in question is Season 2: Episode 15 — Pen Pals, in which Data somewhat accidentally on purpose starts exchanging messages with an unknown individual in a nearby, non-spacefaring planetary system. He is intentionally ambiguous about his own identity during these radio comm links, but he realizes that by communicating with this person at all he is breaking the Prime Directive.

As the Enterprise approaches the planet, they realize it is in serious volcanic turmoil and will soon destroy itself. Oops. So now Data is emotionally involved in the situation and wants to save his friend. Ruroh. Can we see where this is going? Continue reading

My 6000th Tweet

Apparently I just published my 6000th tweet and I’m glad it was a good one:

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.51.01 PM

Anyone else learning to code right now, and feeling like this???

Rock on, friends! Enjoy your Saturday! <333

Furiosa Cosplay Debut and DragonCon Recap

Hello friends!

This poor blog hasn’t been getting much attention lately, has it? Well, life is mostly good. DragonCon was… weird this year. I had a good time, even a great time, but I couldn’t help feeling like I didn’t actually DO much or SEE anyone. I had several friends in town fro Texas, California, and other far off places that I did not get to see at all and I still feel horrible about it. But between the awful cell phone service and wifi, it was almost impossible to get messages out — plus with the crowds, by the time you did get a message to someone it usually worked out like, “Hey, I’m in the Marriott now! Come meet me!” “…I just got back from the Marriott. I’m in the Hyatt now.” So that’s like, a 2 hour trip to get down the elevator and walk between one hotel to the other. It was nuts.

And to some degree it’s always been that way. I’ve been attending DCon pretty much every year for almost a decade, but something about this year was different. The crowds, especially on Saturday, were just overwhelming.

Maybe I’m just getting old.

Anyway, I know what you all wanna see so here’s Wonderwall. Furiosa cosplay pics under the cut:

tumblr_nudca8TeW11qdxrioo1_1280
Continue reading

My Reaction to Mad Max: Fury Road and the Utter Perfection that is Imperator Furiosa

Content Warning: Contains some NSFW language. This article was originally posted to my tumblr blog on 5.20.2015.


Okay so. Buckle up, kids. It’s time for Furiosa feels.

Here’s the thing.

I am what’s called a fetal amputee. Fancy way for saying I was born with a missing limb. I’ve written about this on here before, but it’s been a long time and I’ve gained a lot of new followers recently (hai guyz) so it might be news to some of you.

This is me.

image

[ Above image: A photo of the author, a woman missing her left hand from just after the elbow down. ]

This is Charlize Theron as Furiosa.

image

[ Above image: Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road – the character is missing her left hand from just after the elbow down. ]

I finally wound up going to see this movie Monday night after work, by myself, cause I was too thirsty for it and couldn’t wait for my friends to be available. Everyone was out of town this weekend for various reasons, so I figured I’d just wait for someone to go with, but then Facebook started talking about how amazing it was and I just couldn’t put it off any longer. So that’s how I ended up in a theater last night, completely by myself – not another soul in the room, sobbing my eyes out.

Because you guys. I am turning 30 years old next week. I’ve been a fan of action film my entire life. And I have NEVER seen a physically disabled, kickass, female lead character in a Hollywood movie EVER – not once, until yesterday.

(SEMI-SPOILERS AHEAD) Continue reading

Thoughts on Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek:

It’s no secret to most of my friends that I’m a huge, and I mean HUGE, Trekkie. My Tumblr blog (where I am a much more active blogger than I am here because animated GIFs and fandom screencaps and a more collaborative blogosphere is really where I like to hang out) is almost entirely comprised of Trekkies and Star Trek-related content. I see Leonard Nimoy’s face come across my dashboard approximately once every 3 seconds, and I spend most of my time on Tumblr either talking about Trek or looking at GIFs and pictures from it. I’m a sci-fi writer and Star Trek is a huge part of my life – it always has been. And I’ve spent the last several years watching as the few remaining actors from a thing that I love maybe a little too much began edging nearer and nearer to elderly status. So I’ve been dreading this news for a while now. I just don’t think I fully appreciated how hard it would hit me until it actually happened. So it happened. And then I wrote this:

Screenshot 2015-03-06 14.34.11


Originally shared on March 1, 2015

Yesterday was rough, guys. Let’s be real. None of us (very few of us in any case) knew him personally and probably most of us never even met him, but I know how we all feel right now. I feel like I just lost a grandparent. I finally got home from work last night and just let myself cry for a while.

One of my good friends here in Atlanta lost her mom (very unexpectedly, and way too soon) last week and I kept internally kicking myself and beating myself up for being so upset about this. I mean, how dare I get so upset over a celebrity death when someone is dealing with THAT. But then I had to stop and remind myself that grief is never a competition and my pain does not negate someone else’s.

Quite a few of you are new followers, so I’ve been meaning to do a sort of “about me” type post in relation to Trek for a while anyway, so here it is.  LOL, is this my Trekkie Testimony? (A la the Southern Baptist church?) Can that be a thing? I think it would be really cool to read how people got into it, what first attracted you to it, etc. Continue reading

How an English Major Wound Up in Marketing, and So Can You!

This piece was originally posted at my other blog which is now going away. I’ve decided to consolidate all of my work into one blog space, so here it is folks!

It’s back to school time. Time for kids picking out backpacks, parents picking up notebooks and pencils, way-too-young-looking college freshmen picking out furniture for their cinder block dorm rooms. And time for some lollygagging college newbies to pick out a major.

shoes, omg shoes

Kelly, what are you gonna do with your life?

Hey, Billy. You’re 17. So. What are ya gonna do with your life?

If you’re anything like me and I think a lot of you are, (there really are no special snowflakes) you had/have absolutely NO idea what you wanted to do at the ripe old age of 17 years. And yet, if you were college-bound, you were expected to have already decided. Or if not, you knew there was a deadline looming not far off in your near future. It’s technically possible to go the first 2 years or so of college with no declared major, but if you want to make sure you don’t end up behind schedule, you make that declaration as soon as possible. Fail to do so, and suffer the wrath of your advisor when you don’t have the prerequisite for that last class you have to have in your schedule, or else. Continue reading

Jordancon 2014 Report

BlHeh6YIcAArzTD

Okay, confession time. I’ve never read a Robert Jordan book.

Nonetheless, when some of my critique group invited me to the annual convention for all things fantasy, sci-fi, and Wheel of Time-centric, I couldn’t really say no. I mean, Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson were both attending guests. You just don’t say no to that.

Suffice to say, we had a blast. The convention takes place just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, so it was a short three hour drive from our home base in Columbia, South Carolina. We arrived at our hotel late Friday night, watched a grown man pee in the bushes, discovered that trash cans were not in fact hotel room standard at this particular establishment, and mostly ignored the mildew ridden shower curtain while we washed up for bed.

Okay, the con was great. Our hotel? Not so much. Seriously, who doesn’t put trash cans in their hotel rooms? Not a single trash can. Not a one.

But I digress.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a scifi/fantasy con that was so writing-centric. It was very refreshing! Saturday we sat in a panel called “More Than Just Prose” which emphasized the importance of lyricism and working in poetry to the novelist. Basically, Pat Rothfuss talked about Middle English and geeked out over The Last Unicorn. It was awesome. Continue reading

I’m writing a thing and it doesn’t have a single spaceship in it.

WHUUUUUT?

SONY DSC

So I started this thing about three weeks ago and it’s queer and contemporary and it’s not even remotely science fiction.

Which was kind of freaking me out at first.

Like, I write sci-fi and horror. That’s what I do. But while I was watching the Olympics I got really excited about figure skating because FIGURE SKATING and anyway I started typing and before I knew it I was writing a contemporary lesbian romance story about these rivals turned lovers figure skaters and what even am I doing with my life? Continue reading

Time’s a Wastin’

makes_eat_time

How is it New Year’s? Like. When did that happen?

I feel like, the older you get, the more likely that is to happen – you wake up one day, you look around and go, what the fuck? How did I get here? As if the passage of time is a corkscrew inexorably speeding its way down the tub drain. Things get better, but things get faster too. They slip by before you have the time to enjoy them.

We waste so much of our time with worthless bullshit. Or at least I do. Continue reading