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?


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.


[ 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.


[ 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