My daughter told me that some of the Q adherents believe that “the lizard people are fighting a battle for the soul of the planet,” and that it has to do with the sun and the moon inside the earth.
I confess that in my studies of the collective consciousness, I had to learn about cultural stories and archetypology. Archetypology is the code that has permeated the human subconsciousness which causes us to tend to relate ourselves and our stories to the animal kingdom, but also to characters in myths. I use a lot of cultural references in my writing as they represent modern mythological archetypes to get a point across quickly, which might potentially frustrate the copyright gods, but in actuality is a nod to the important subconscious thoughtform its creator brought forth from the collective consciousness which made it canon. I am not receiving any payment for this; I am simply making observations as a modern historian. The Native American myth about Anansi spinning the web that created the Universe is a story describing exactly what I am trying to document. The myth is a metaphor for our cultural creators and our own activities and how they create the reality around us for us individually, in our more immediate relationships, in our communities, and consequently in the society at large. This is how we create the framework of our realities. The animal and archetypal energies in our networks create our personal ecosystems.
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People who are aware of these cultural stories aren’t necessarily aware of their meanings, and because of that, they may end up aiding and abetting the very same energies they fear. Every one of us has a lizard inside, and we need to understand that lizard in order to work better with society’s lizards. As long as we deny there is one inside us, the lizard energy scuttles from rock to rock unseen, driving our behavior and influencing the people around us, creating the fabric of our realities.
In my estimation, the lizards are not intelligent enough to see that earth’s resources are limited. That is because it is difficult for them to be empathic or see outside their own vision and experience. I believe these states of consciousness exist because of hypometabolism and are fed by many cultural beliefs. It is not necessary to be driven by ambition beyond the very basic needs for food, shelter and connection, but a combination of trauma and hypometabolism drives the kind of ambition that makes CEOs succeed in marketing evolved needs to us when we are in those very same states of consciousness. Furthermore, these same lizard people hoard limited resources, and believe themselves to be the only people wise enough to know how to distribute them fairly. After the kind of financial success they enjoy, it is probably easy to perceive other people who may just actually be satisfied with less as less deserving or less wise.
The current Lizards In Charge prefer to only communicate with other lizards and go to great lengths to keep it that way. At all levels of government the ability to get redress for our complaints as private citizens as protected in the Bill of Rights is under threat by information firewalls, boilerplate replies, and “donotreply” email addresses meant to further marginalize those without voices, yet let other lizard people through.
I have had to explain to multiple people that the more time I spend engaging individuals or fighting pro bono wars, the less time I have to develop a body of work. This is a trap that is easy to fall into as a stay at home mother. As an artist and writer, I need to use my attention fairly wisely, because whatever I focus my attention on is what I end up wanting to write about. For this reason, I am very careful about when I reach out to people and what I say. That being said, I do not control when people reach out to me, but I can control whether or not I choose to respond or think about whatever they were trying to get me to think about, and being aware of this has allowed me to direct my efforts more efficiently, and to respond rather than react to people. I am not apt to ignore people, but I am starting to have to do just this. It would help me if people would engage me in the comments here rather than expect individual responses to general questions by email, the answers to which I may have had to repeat already.
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I wrote to a few civic leaders to express my frustration about how COVID was being managed, and I was incredibly disappointed by their responses and the inability to respond to those disappointing responses. I had the opportunity to study how politicians corresponded with the public in the past through my genealogy research, and I can say that the current democratic process is certainly a devolution from what it once was, or at least the ways the White House and the Colorado State Capitol are handling communications with the public does not represent democracy in the slightest. I understand there is a lot going on and a lot of people are complaining, but one’s staffers should be competent in being able to recognize legitimate concerns about human welfare so they are at least passed along to someone capable of providing an actual response that addresses the specific concerns, especially when they are scientific in nature, regardless of the querent has a current appointment with a University. Or is the degree I paid so much for not really worth anything?
My specific concerns were about how dangerous it was to allow people to believe that vaccines alone were enough to prevent the spread of COVID over the holidays, and my personal reasons to complain had to do with my husband’s and my family histories of orphaning during the 1920’s. It also had to do with three people in my family having reactions to the Pfizer vaccine that made us unable to function very well for several weeks, and the government recommending people travel out of their homes to receive boosters which would protect them much less than they would protect someone who was still unvaccinated. My concerns also had to do with having breakthrough infections, despite having COVID before being vaccinated, though I did not make my concerns about me or share those experiences in my letters. I was right.
The government is still trying to spin the data interpretation in favor of boosters for everyone, but the booster program did not change the shape of the infection curve AT ALL. Any statistician can look at the data from the CDC and see that. It is also now very clear from the historical curve that infections peak two weeks after the 4th of July, and then 2 weeks after Halloween and continue upward from there until they fall sometime after the New Year. After vaccination, we actually had more infections day to day than before vaccination, which I find interesting. So infectious disease is essentially spread by those who choose to celebrate holidays, which is what I noticed years ago due to the behavior of our extended families, who patted themselves on the back for getting their flu vaccines, but then still spread the flu and streptococcal infections to us. It is what taught me that most vaccinated people are rather careless about illness and personal hygiene, and what made me worry about the vaccine approach to an even more rapidly mutating virus. My predictions and knowledge are based on how the coronavirus work and are grounded in discussions with my engineer husband and other local scientists. Most of these occurred over email, where I voiced my concerns early on about what eventually did end up happening. Hospitals are overloaded, and it’s probably time to give an update on how many children have been orphaned due to these politicians’ allegiance to lizards, because in October 2021 it was already 140,000, and they are disproportionately children of color. I do not believe our politicians have our best interests at heart. If they did, this whole thing would have been handled much differently, and it would have been focused on saving human lives rather than industry. They would have personally set good examples, too. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected Jared Polis who makes his money from greeting cards to suddenly advocate not celebrating holidays or see them as the deadly things they are for people who don’t have the privilege of Governors or greeting card company owners.
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A few years ago, I went to the Nebraska State Archives to go through Governor Adam McMullen’s correspondences. He was elected governor twice in the 1920’s. I am certain that what was at the archives did not represent all of his correspondences, but perhaps the ones that stood out. There were communications about policy, but also personal communications from fans and other more casual communications. There was also a picture of him on the newspaper staff with Willa Cather! He kept carbon copies of all of his responses, which I assume were taken by dictation by his secretary. In those replies, he did attempt to address points made in the initial correspondences, which is not what happened with my attempts at redress in this modern-day “technologically enabled” world with either the White House or the Colorado State Capitol.
In the case of my search through Governor McMullen’s correspondence, I was attempting to confirm a family relationship, and there was a letter in his personal messages from my great-grandfather who was destitute during the Great Depression. The Governor’s response confirmed an uncle relationship, but was rather heartbreaking because he was unable to help in any way due to not being able to afford to pay his own property tax.
Our family was torn apart by a string of catastrophes involving the TB epidemic and the Great Depression, which left my great-grandfather George Adam McMullen (named after the Governor) homeless, and his two children George Robert and Elizabeth orphaned. Governor George Adam McMullen’s brother Matthew was my 2nd great-grandfather. Their father John H. McMullen and mother Mary Herbison came from County Antrim in Ireland to Wellsville, NY around 1854. Matthew married Anna Laura “Laurie” Bennett, my 2nd great-grandmother who I wrote about previously, and who was pregnant with their third child when Matthew died in a train collision working as a fireman. George Adam was just a few years old at the time, and Laurie spent some time struggling financially trying to raise the kids before she married her second husband. Laurie remarried two more times after Matthew, and it was the two daughters from her second marriage who gained some notoriety nationally for their activities related to prohibition and socialism. Biographies of John H. McMullen claim that he was Scottish, but DNA evidence has conclusively shown that at least as far back as the 1200’s, these McMullens were Irish. The Irish were persecuted and so it was probably fairly hush-hush if Adam was able to become elected to public office. I do not know how many Irish people were elected to public office, but I do know that this country had certain jobs for certain immigrants and the railroad in this country was largely put together by the Irish and Chinese. I do not know why they came, as it was the end of the potato famine, nor why they settled in Wellsville in particular, but I do know that several of them were employed on the railroad, like many Irish people, and that this activity is what led John and Adam to eventually settle in Beatrice, Nebraska, which was a major stop on the railroad. So, although Adam attended the University of Nebraska before going into politics and becoming a senator and eventually governor, his family came from humble beginnings. This is the part of my family who were Freemasons, and John's obituary
states that when he died he was the oldest living member of the
International Order of Odd Fellows.
So I feel it is fairly natural for me to be irate about how my correspondence was handled, when simultaneously Governor Polis personally entertained Kim Kardashian’s request to reduce a sentence for a single human being’s life, who still has the luxury of being alive. (I find it interesting that it was more important to keep the judicial system running and incarcerate people for momentary poor decision making rather than protect jurors from COVID. Our choice to opt in to vaccination early was directly due to my husband being called for Jury Duty in the Federal District Court in Denver, and the Government not accepting not having a vaccination as a reason to not serve, which is what led to us finding out early on about vaccine injury). Moreover, Polis' office's correspondence to me was essentially a non-sequitir boilerplate response to my concerns about the need for better masks and social distancing guidance over the holidays in our state. During this time, the mishandling of the COVID situation put millions of people’s lives at risk. I believe, besides the terrible information filters the government has set up for itself to let in only certain voices, this happened because politicians are not educated enough to understand the science and so are vulnerable to miscommunications with respect to public health policy. It is easy for other wealthy people who may suffer from equal lack of science education to reach each other and get attention and thus change the course of history, but as a regular citizen with an education in these matters, one has to be weaponized through social media in order to not be ignored by the people whose decisions directly impact my life.
I refuse to be a slave to social media. My life is relatively complete without it. I had a similar uncaring response to my concerns from President Biden in a message that failed to address those concerns at all and clearly demonstrated that my message was not even read. I specifically mentioned in my messages to these individuals that we needed to be more clear about the need to wear proper masks and stay home over the holidays, but their responses ignored that entirely and concentrated on encouraging boosters for people who benefit very little. I am wondering if he has been thinking about people like his son Beau at all when he makes these decisions, because I am certain they would not have affected people like him in a good way. I’m a bit like Beau, as I have a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, so I feel comfortable saying these things. It is too bad Beau is not still around so Mr. Biden can see the impact of his decisions more directly. I feel like he has done a much better job than Trump, and I know he inherited a big hot mess to clean up (here's another one), but I feel like COVID was still mismanaged, and I do not know if that has to do with the retention of Dr. Fauci or not. Fauci has played both sides of the health issue in ways that have conveniently catered to the biases of neoconservatives and neoliberals, completely ignoring human experience, and it has had disastrous consequences under both administrations. He is the person who is responsible for holding the government to the Hippocratic Oath, and he has done a poor job - poorer than some other countries, which is interesting because our country was so instrumental in developing treatments, and some of them never received our aid, like Malawi. Is it possible our focus on pharmaceutical intervention is the very thing that puts us at odds with the ability to encourage personal responsibility with infectious disease? Have Baby Boomers in particular become incapable of acting intelligently in this regard, so that we are stuck in the mindset that everything must be controlled with vaccination, or that we must protest vaccination, and breathe on everyone around us? (The average age of a Malawian is 18, so it appears that in a younger population herd immunity is possibly achievable, though we don't know for how long). Is our problem in the US that we are all so spoiled by the availability of pharma that we fail to recognize our individual roles in the pandemic and even our own health? Never was personal responsibility discussed with respect to infectious disease, only how to get back to work and school. Because what would we do without work and school? Who would we be?
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Now I see other people who do have voices in society speaking up for how the failure to underscore the importance of staying home and wearing N95 masks has contributed to the spread of omicron. There was clearly a misguided attempt to reach herd immunity through this “oversight” (Jesus, please tell me it is an oversight and not malpractice) and it has come at the expense of the systems that support us. The 1918 Flu pandemic ended before vaccination, and as I mentioned before it is because a less deadly more spreadable variant came through, but it is important to underscore the reality that we still have influenza virus in the world and it still kills people every year, and the current vaccines we have, while lessening the problem, do not prevent deaths or spread entirely. This could also be achieved by education about consent and infectious disease, but there are definitely entities that would want to discourage such education because the approaches would disrupt sources of income for them. I do see that Biden has set aside N95 masks for the public; it would have been nice to have that available a year ago, and I wonder why this was such an oversight.
I have written before about how my husband and I both had grandparents who were orphaned. Just like during the Great Depression, the foster care system is under much stress right now. Before the pandemic, we already had problems as a society with the school to prison pipeline, teenage suicide and school gun violence, but these things have increased during this time because of the inadequate response of the government and the corporations which serve us, and the incredible pressure that has put on regular people. Furthermore the virus itself has important effects on cognition and creativity that make these phenomena more likely in society.
As a scientist, I am particularly frustrated about the way testing has been employed for COVID, and in Fauci’s failure to explain the science to citizens. That is his job, to educate the public. Antibody tests are prone to false negatives, and because of this, relying on testing over inner wisdom is particularly dangerous. Relying on tests which are prone to false negatives is like wearing a holey condom. Furthermore, the discussion of whether 5 days or 10 days of isolation after a positive test was most appropriate felt like a way to rationalize a technology that was inherently flawed, just for the sake of using the technology, and that is looking more and more like a modus operandi for this administration because of what I described earlier regarding boosters and their ineffectiveness against the spread of illness. If the goal is no longer to stop spread but to save lives, the door is then open for the implementation of other treatments that don’t infringe upon a person’s rights or health in the way vaccines do, the distribution of which could be publicly funded so that every person has these treatments on hand in case of infection, rather than having to see a healthcare provider. Vaccines were sold to us as a way to stop the spread of infectious disease originally; that was their particular advantage. But they did not protect us, and they did not protect our healthcare workers effectively. The current vaccines do not have that advantage, and may not be any better at saving lives than other interventions. Mindful politicians will be wary of arguments for sunk cost by the pharmaceutical industry and encourage them to target unvaccinated populations and focus on developing treatments for long haul COVID, which we failed to identify as the threat to the economic system that it really is.
|Layers, 8"x8" Inktense on paper, $5000 USD, Eighty percent of proceeds go to Thompson Education Association|
I feel like my kids’ community college is recommending the right approach - before returning to school or work, a person must be asymptomatic for three days (72 hours), and N95 masks are required. Students who attend class on campus must pass a health check upon arrival, which some Asian airports have always done with international travelers. This has always been my wish for recommendations regarding infectious disease where the symptoms may come and go. I remember reading before I ever had COVID that it often doesn’t feel that bad until the 7th day, and then there is a major downturn in health. So it would be entirely possible for a person to feel well on the morning of that 7th day and then head out into public. Or rather I should say, because of the way COVID works on cognition, that the person might believe they feel well when they are not. Many people who have had COVID have talked about the brain fog; if a person’s life is considerably busy or their attention is pulled into too many directions, sometimes it is difficult to be fully aware of subtle but important symptoms. This is the advantage the virus has over us; it makes us stupid.
People who live with brain fog or who are prone to memory and attention issues already and who are unaware of these tendencies might not even notice. Flare-ups of mental health issues may be early signs of COVID that show before antibody tests are able to pick up evidence of viral infection, but this would need to be studied carefully. To really know, people need to be able to take a test every day, which is impractical in the general population, but should have been part of testing the test products themselves. Because of testing ambiguity, it is important not to get together with people too often unmasked, and this is probably exactly what was happening over the holidays which caused the rapid spread. Additionally, people do not seem to understand that not using a mask correctly is the same thing as being unmasked. Removing the mask at any point in time or not covering the nose and mouth effectively are the same as being unmasked. Yet it is possible to regularly see people with their snoots out on TV and in the news. After any sort of travel, a quarantine period of 18 days would ensure safety of others from nearly all viruses that are likely to be spread by travel.
I am thankful there are other people speaking out about being high risk or immunocompromised and what life is like living with that fear. I wonder how many other people out there (like myself) don’t have diagnoses, but still struggle with frequent illness, and don’t have the words to explain what it is like. I have written about what it is like being seen as an impediment to others’ fun. I am concerned if we do not address personal responsibility with respect to the spread of infectious disease, there will be a significant mental health crisis in this country. COVID immunity simply does not last long with either vaccination or native infection and the virus affects cognition, so it behooves us to act responsibly with respect to infectious disease. Mask discomfort, boredom and selfish pursuits of freedom are simply not good enough reasons to risk the livelihood of others.
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In between the lines in my emails to the President and the Governor of the State of Colorado was a plea to slow down. Even Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor has expressed frustration about how the disregard for the reality of contagion has made life difficult for her. I am so thankful that a person who has health challenges also has the words to describe the brutality of this situation for a person with health challenges and is in a position to do so. I have been concerned that the people who are in the position to make public policy on COVID are not part of underserved populations, or that it simply just doesn’t scare them enough because of their privilege. Many underserved people are important in keeping basic services running, so failure to keep them in mind when it comes to the impact of COVID on their lives is a terrible mistake. I hate making arguments in favor of the economy, but these are the very people who prop it up, and we need to recognize them for that rather than just using them as fodder. Our heroes are absolutely the grocers, sanitation workers, utility workers, teachers, healthcare providers, firemen and other service people who take huge risks in their daily lives to provide for themselves and their families, as well as our society and most of what constitutes civilization as we know it. They need to be able to do their jobs safely, and it is more dangerous the more the rest of us have selfishly spread the virus for our own entertainment and gain.
I am frustrated to see that Psychology Today has a new series about anxiety which espouses the benefits of pushing through it. Ignoring my anxiety is ignoring the little voice inside that tells me something is dangerous. Pushing through panic too much causes autonomic nervous system dysfunction and turns us into anxiety junkies who have lost contact with our sensations. If we are forced to live like that constantly, as many people in the modern world ended up doing even before COVID, it also leads to cardiovascular, digestive and neurological problems. I would personally be wary of anyone encouraging a person to push through anxiety at this time, and would take anxiety as an indicator of a need for rest. I believe that professionals advocating that a person ignore anxiety are verging on malpractice. The patient’s life is always more important than the job, the school or whatever; learning to devalue our inner voices for status is what leads to depression and suicidal ideation, especially in a modern society where it is possible to help each other rather than blame victims for their inability to try harder in the face of unrelenting and unfair circumstances. Telling people that they should sacrifice their mental or physicial health simply to support the status quo is against the Hippocratic Oath, and if a person is able to rest, that is what he or she should do. Because our government has so much influence over our daily lives and is directly in charge of our public health policy, I think it would benefit us if our politicians were subject to the Hippocratic Oath and malpractice suits (certainly Anthony Fauci is as a physician); this is the only real recourse we have against accidental genocide through political action, be it due to intention or malfeasance. The health of our nation and the world is at stake; politicians’ motivations and how they use their time and attention absolutely matter.
Much anxiety can be alleviated by leaving social media, and also educating oneself about the hidden dangers of marketing and imagery, which can make us feel less about ourselves in order to get us to buy things. Years ago I had an epic burnout on social media, which started when I left Facebook and began an Instagram account dedicated to writing about mental health. Ultimately I had to take Instagram off my phone because I wanted my attention back so I could focus on my family, healing, and my body of work. I was struggling with aphasia and memory problems at the time, and the way that social media encouraged me to use my attention was particularly bad for those health problems. I wasn’t selling anything through it, so it wasn’t a real big loss. I was actually ready to dump social media many years ago, but other artists convinced me it was a great way to market oneself. I had an artist page on Facebook, but I didn’t like how that approach caused me to have two identities - the one that sells art and then the one who cares passionately about humanity. It doesn’t make sense that these should be two separate things, so I switched to Instagram where I felt it would be easier for the artist me and the humanitarian me to feel comfortable posting to the same account. I learned that on Facebook it was very easy for someone who posted beautiful watercolors of aspen to hide homophobic and hateful rhetoric that they might share with their inner circle of followers, and I believed in being more transparent. I also learned that there is a history of people buying art because they know or like something about the artist, and these people generally kept their art pages pretty generic as to not turn away potential clientele. On Instagram, however, it was so easy and natural to unify my art and self that I increasingly became so vulnerable that the entire thing was a major source of stress. Another artist once told me the joke about artists dying of exposure, which is sort of what I felt was happening to me.
I am very thankful that I left social media before the pandemic began, because I cannot imagine how having to sift through the hype would have impacted my mental health, just judging from the amount of hype that came in through my family members who are not on social media over the phone and by email. I could not have handled the amount of stress from processing all the information; even with our limited circle, I hear about people regularly butterfly stomping and it makes me feel sick inside. The FOMO is so strong in some people in our circle; it’s really disturbing.
|All Roads Lead to Rome, 8"x8" Inktense on paper, $5000 USD, Eighty percent of proceeds go to CSU's Office for Inclusive Excellence|
It is difficult to be on top of the news and really scrutinize it when other people around us are visibly and simply responding to advertisements. It is possible to tell who these people are because they always have something new, and they like to brag about how they bent the rules to get whatever it is they got. I know this because I do it on a smaller scale due to trying to vote with my dollar and specifically support conscious capitalism. It certainly helps if our corporations are conscious, but this only goes so far if consumers and policy makers aren't. Over the course of the pandemic, I was trying to figure out how to live more sustainably, and unfortunately it meant there were some things I had to purchase. I purchased things because they would enable us to increase our health, be more mindful or decrease our reliance on petrochemicals or utilities. There were some things I purchased to help deal with comfort or to provide healthy distractions. I decided to put a real bed in our “guest bedroom” but it also helped my husband and I to sleep better because if one of us was sick, the other had to “take one for the team” and sleep somewhere not so comfortable. I realize how incredibly privileged I am to be able to do that, especially since we both spent years navigating the other situation as many people do. I put a wall hanging and some led lights on the ceiling as well as some laser lights which made the many hours I had to lay down during my illness more comforting and aided my meditation on days when it was too cold to be outside. I hope to have time to review the things I purchased thoroughly, so I'm giving myself some time to know if the things I got live up to their promises and for how long.
My efforts have been rewarded. I can be upright much longer without triggering panic attacks, I am less likely to experience aphasia in my verbal communications, and my hypertension has resolved. I think in general the things I got helped me get to this point, although I do think some of the pressure I felt to garden as a person with porphyria and the things that I bought and felt I had to use worked against my health, at least temporarily. If I am around when the trees we put in get large enough, then it will have been worth it.
I built a library of books that I felt would help me understand the fundamental nature of what it is to be human from the perspective of many different fields of study. Some of the books are in the local library and some are not. It would be nice if I could read them all someday. As it is, they are so fascinating that I read a little bit and then need time to process the realizations I have. It is kind of magical how this happens because the reading always ends up being relevant to what is going on around me somehow, even though I am usually sitting down to read as a distraction from worry. I used to keep them around to remind me of all the things I want to learn and the questions I have when I am depressed, and they have been a balm to me during the pandemic, even though I am not the type to sit down and read them from beginning to end, typically. They are a balm to my soul and an eternal well of giving.
Getting my blood pressure under control is a real relief. I have still had some chest tightness in the recent weeks. I saw that this is a reason to go to the emergency room, but as I mentioned before when I had COVID in November 2020, these symptoms were not taken particularly seriously by the hospital up here, and I had to get my sister to talk to the admitting doctor for them to even look at me. I don’t know how many more weeks with hypertension and tachycardia they expected me to endure before getting treatment, or how many other people they turned away who didn’t have a doctor sister who knew to recommend a D-Dimer test to make sure I hadn’t experienced a heart attack. That really scares me. There are other things I haven’t been able to get treated or looked at further because I had to treat the hypertension first. My doctor explained that my health issues would probably best be treated at Mayo, because the community healthcare system is not equipped to deal with complicated cases, but that they do not take insurance. I understand that it is difficult to get referrals to specialists with Medicaid, and no doubt with the specialists already burdened that will be even more difficult.
I tried a lot of things over the years to help my mental and physical health because the advice of doctors never addressed my underlying metabolic problems. Some of them worked and some of them not so much. All of them would be difficult to implement in the context of a pandemic. I have been getting all of my groceries delivered to limit my exposure to both COVID and the chemicals that tend to precipitate metabolic problems that cause depression and panic attacks. I am so thankful for that ability, and that I live somewhere where these services are now offered, because they didn’t used to be. I was looking at my Google Maps, and for the last few years, even before the pandemic, the grocery store is where I went most frequently outside the house. I knew I spent a lot of time thinking about food and that I was tired of it, but it took looking at the data to see just how much time and energy I put into supporting my husband and kids in this particular way.
I had serious arguments with my daughter at the beginning of the pandemic because she wanted so badly to go to the grocery store. Note that I did go to my local store once after COVID hit the US. I was probably one of the first persons to be masked, and I was verbally attacked by a large man for wearing a mask. A few months earlier when I was sick I had tried grocery delivery, so after realizing my local stores (and community) would not be safe that is how I decided to shop. I ended up having to spend a good deal of time explaining how deliveries had largely liberated me from the 1950’s, except for having to scrub everything upon arrival, to my daughter. Her insistence about going to the grocery store brought up all sorts of psychological stuff for me, including guilt that there were no better places she wanted to go which were indoors because as adults in this world we have failed to create anything that comes close to what is fun for kids indoors that does not cost money. But we are indoors all the time and I had to point out to her that there was no logical reason to expose other people at the grocery store to illness or be exposed when there were people who needed work and who were willing to help out in that way. And there are so many wonderful places to visit outside (if you can spend time outside).
Thankfully, like many people did during the pandemic, my family learned to love the outdoors again. My daughter has had the gradual realization that most of the indoor places we used to pay so much to enjoy in our society aren’t really necessary for our happiness, except for museums of course. The time spent elsewhere was gradually replaced with habitual walking and a connection with the natural world around us. We were able to save money, despite having our groceries delivered. Their newfound love of the outdoors was a little bittersweet for me as my sun tolerance is so lousy due to my porphyria. In any case, I was worried that I had made my daughter’s life too small. I spent a lot of time driving for her brother’s activities, and I was often too tired to do much else. It was for these reasons that we still allowed her to see her friends, which ended up being rather difficult because of the different ways they responded to the pandemic, which unfortunately put us and everyone around them at much greater risk. Anyway, I can say as a stay-at-home-mother, it is strange to see your life disappearing in a Google Timeline of many successive trips to the grocery store while you hear about other people around you accomplishing things. I thought it was symbolic that Bezos brought an older woman to the moon with him, because I felt that in what he and Whole Foods did with groceries and the supply chain in general, he had liberated me, though it pained me to see what that entailed for Amazon employees.
|Just Breathe, 8"x8" Inktense on paper, $5000, Eighty percent of proceeds go to Physicians for Social Responsibility|
We had a period of great health when I was using a lot of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s nutritional guidelines before the low carb proponents took over and appeal to tradition overcame reasonable doubt about modern approaches. I have had to really put the organization's beliefs under a magnifying glass for myself, as I stated in a letter to the editor of their Wise Traditions journal years ago when I learned the hard way that restricting carbohydrates is dangerous under some circumstances. I did not understand how critical that understanding was for me when I wrote that letter. I now know that eating a high fat diet is dangerous for a person with common polymorphisms in choline dehydrogenase (CHDH) and phosphatidylethanolamine methyltransferase (PEMT), which are important for choline metabolism. Standing up to people takes a lot of my energy, even when I am doing well health-wise. Anyway, while we were incredibly healthy, I had become just a cook and a maid, and while my libido was terrific, my life was nothing beyond food. For my sanity, I needed to find a compromise. I cannot remember exactly how it happened, but I found the blog of another independent health researcher, Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health, who was investigating various health gurus, and who was writing about the dangers of low carb dieting. I found his investigations to be pragmatic and well balanced, as well as easy for lay people to understand. And it was through him that I discovered the work of Dr. Raymond Peat, who had also studied behavioral neuroscience. Much of my understanding of metabolism, especially with respect to the importance of serotonin's complicated effects on health and the myriad negative effects of polyunsaturates, I owe to Dr. Peat.
We do differ in our perspectives in that he is extremely against genetic determinism, as in general were the people of the Weston A. Price Foundation, although it was through that group that I first learned about and became interested in nutrigenomics. For a while I was concerned about their teachings because there is a great focus on judging a person by their bone structure, and a lot of effort by practitioners to sell products to help one overcome the effects of “poor nutrition” which might also be interpreted as “poor genetics.” Through reading their work I started to see people as manifestations of how they cared for themselves, which was rather ableist, especially considering my own small palate, etc., etc. I see that now especially because so many of their recommendations were not good for me with my particular genetics, and how being more serious about their approaches just got me further into health complications. It is frankly not practical to get all of one’s nutrition from whole foods, and in some circumstances it would require eating entirely too many calories. At the peak of my participation I was driving to two farms and a health food store in another city every week. There was a stigma against vitamins and pharmaceuticals that was unhelpful, and the approach involves a lot of special preparation of foods that many people do not have the time to do. At the time I was spread in multiple directions volunteering as a local WAPF Chapter Leader, as a moderator in the local secular homeschooling group, and also I was trying to help an ailing artist organization which had helped me get my start. On top of all that, due to my activity on several listservs, I ended up moderating several large groups in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s which were dedicated to natural health, and one of them was a Weston A. Price group.
I am not sure how I was doing everything I was doing, and I had another mom ask me. I was taking thyroid. It actually ended up being a problem the way I was doing it, and I wouldn’t recommend it. I believed I had subclinical hypothyroidism, but didn’t have the money to doctor hop as other people I knew did trying to find someone who could help. What I really needed was a physician sympathetic to Broda Barnes’ research, but I did not find one (even though he was a doctor in Fort Collins). So I just took matters into my own hands, and gave myself hyperthyroidism and an angry primary care provider. I was having memory problems and a lot of the things I was also dealing with more recently during that period of time. Also, my hair was falling out. The thyroid helped to a point, but it did not address so many of the other issues I have, because turning up the metabolism by use of thyroid increases the needs for nutrients, and some of my problems are related to nutritional deficiencies I am prone to because of genetically inherited weakness in critical metabolic pathways downstream, yet not far, from thyroid hormone. And much of what is espoused in the cultural lexicon was especially toxic for me since sun exposure has an effect on my hemoglobin production, stress affects my hyperaldosteronism, vegetable oils and oxalic acid are bad for people with cystic fibrosis, and low carb diets are dangerous for people with kidney problems. There are even yoga positions and exercises that are contraindicated for people with the skeletal structure and injuries I have. I do have a polymorphism that affects the ability to convert T4 to T3, so it is likely I would benefit from spot supplementation with T3, especially when I'm premenstrual (it does wonders for many of those symptoms), but I don’t know if that is something that is “allowed.” In a free world, I think it would be. I do think the T3 was important in suppressing pituitary function; I had elevated prolactin for a time.
|Cake and Ice Cream by the Ocean, 8"x8" Inktense and ink on paper, $7500 USD, $6k of Proceeds go to Planned Parenthood of Colorado Springs|
We weren’t particularly concerned with nutrition in my home when I was growing up. My parents both grew up poor and generally weren’t involved in the kitchen. My mother informed me at one point that she wasn’t allowed in the kitchen. I was allowed in the kitchen and began making myself at home there after school when I was 8 and first learned how to make brownies. I liked to bake by myself, and the things I cooked were a source of joy to me. So I knew I needed to incorporate my kids into our food preparation and decisions. Even so, they do not tend to spontaneously cook things unless my husband and I are involved somehow. I feel like the pandemic complicated that because if we didn’t have the ingredients for something, nobody really wanted to make a special trip to get them. That being said, I learned to make a lot of things we would have gone to restaurants to eat, and in ways that don’t make me sick like restaurant food does, but that has taken time and a well stocked pantry. It has been difficult to impart all of my knowledge to my kids, since so much of it has to do with my understanding of metabolism. They still haven’t taken biology, which would be helpful. The other thing is that I am continually learning and that has driven some of the people around me nuts because they trust me, and I occasionally ended up having to say “Yeah, I know I said that at one time, but it was bogus” about things they had incorporated into their own lives.
For what it's worth, I actually don't care to get into nutritional debates with people or tell others how to eat. So I am kind of writing this all out in case it helps anyone so I don't have to talk about it. I spent a lot of time having other people give me unsolicited advice, especially within my family, but also from people in the homeschooling community, and in neither case was that from people whose health was much better than mine, and I know how stressful that is. My ability to tolerate various foods waxes and wanes, and I just work with it as my health permits. And it is certainly my prerogative (and probably destiny) to study the connection between consciousness and diet in myself. When I have had meals with other people, I have tended to keep these things to myself and suffer the consequences later in silence. If they have been particularly insistent on having a relationship with me where we eat together, however, I have eventually had to fess up and explain myself. Furthermore, I do not find that all processed foods are bad for health.
My phone is notifying me about a law professor who unfortunately shares my first name and also happens to be a neurologist (not the same thing as a neuroscientist, and not all neuroscientists are the same either) who has participated in defamation against Asian people. I am bringing this up right here because of my statement that I did not do well visiting Asia or eating Asian food how it is prepared even in the US. This is not because of anything with the original cultural traditions in the area, but how US corporatism in particular polluted it with vegetable oils and additives. It was easier to travel in the Mediterranean where they don't tend to use these things, and I don't think it's an accident that Mediterranean populations tend to live longer because they use olive oil and and other more traditional fats. Furthermore, other complaints I made about my experience had to do with ways that the Corporate American Thoughtform has invaded culture worldwide. Corporatism is an important way the caste system is perpetuated, and so I don't care who is carrying it out - it's important to say something. What we witnessed was a lot like what was captured in the Obamas' documentary American Factory; the expectation that employment means enlistment into corporate war above cooperation, and dedication of one's and one's family life to generation of wealth for the elite at the expense of one's own imagination and the building of community. It is in this way normal citizens are isolated from each other and made impotent in terms of the pursuit of freedom.
American corporations are no less guilty, no matter the color of skin of the CEO. To free ourselves, we have to be aware of these things, and not purchase products that support these industries. Unfortunately the electronics manufacturing industry is probably the biggest one, so a powerful way we can impact this as consumers is by not being first in line for new product releases, and learning how to make do. It might surprise a person if they knew how many people were affected by harsh labor practices or even died in the making of their new cell phone. Unfair treatment is certainly not limited to the electronics industry; child slavery has been involved in major US chocolate manufacturers' procurement of cacao. The more we can make and do for ourselves, the less other people have to suffer at the hands of industry, no matter the location. Our free time should not come at someone else's expense, and business leaders need to remember that the cost of things is no different for their employees than it is for them. Furthermore, mindful manual and intellectual labor are important in preventing business losses, and such labor is best supported with humane working conditions which consider the whole individual and their talents and challenges rather than expecting them to function as an inexpensive replaceable cog undeserving of rest in a big wheel. I have yet to find employment like that. My own employment stories were rather mortifying before and after being educated, and to not have had a significant increase in the quality and nature of my work after so many years of education is what helped me see these things.
At one point, I applied to and was accepted at a Nutrition Therapy School, but decided that it was too much to try to do (it was far away). I really did not have the support I needed here to keep my family healthy and have long term commitments that did not bring energy into our lives somehow. It never really made sense for me to go back to get any other degrees or take on debt to further my own education with the one I already had. Furthermore, the two programs I was accepted to (the PhD program in Neuroscience at UC Riverside in 1999 and the Nutrition Therapy School in Denver in the early 2010s) did not want to accept the credit hours I had done at Ohio University and were going to make me start completely from scratch. This was despite being offered a Chancellor’s Fellowship at UCR, and also despite the fact that I had completed the coursework for a PhD already at OU (it was the research part I did not complete because I was unable to secure funding, which is frustrating because I only needed $4000 at the time). When I was accepted to UCR I found out I was pregnant the same week and debated briefly trying to go to graduate school and be a mother, but when I received notification that they would not accept my credits from OU, I felt that I was being put in a position to do two things badly. I knew from having to take consolidated calculus in college after taking Calc 3 in high school and getting a 3 on the AP exam that my ability to focus on repeat coursework is poor, and I couldn’t imagine it would be any better while sleepless. It very likely would have made me a stressed out mother. Anyway, it turned out my little guy had a lot of health problems and needed me to be home with him, and I am happy with my decision because I wasn’t old enough at the time to understand the relevance of what I was learning to my own life, and I feel like I understand it much more now. I even see ways that the work I was doing relates to my own health that I was not capable of seeing back then.
(Side note - I have lots of dreams about going back to OU because I enjoyed it there and assumed that I would not have to defend what I had previously accomplished there again. I like science, even though I am an artist and so many other things).
|Running to Stand Still, 8"x8" Inktense on paper, NFS|
Ultimately, it took a lot of my time to keep up with the pop diet culture to know if I was doing the right thing for myself and my children, and so it really was good that I did not commit to anything educational for myself outside my home. I wanted to give them the best start, and help them avoid a lot of the mental health threats I experienced growing up, even though at the time I didn’t know what those really were. It was an experiment. Parenting always is. I saw a lot of positive results from my experimentation and from being with them, and while it certainly wasn’t perfect, it was a different imperfect than what most people experience, so while everyone has “holes” in their educational experience, at least ours are not the same so we can help one another.
Being available for my children was important. I never would have been able to piece together my own or my kids’ health puzzles if we had been apart. Furthermore, they would have been exposed to a lot more of the things that make us unwell. Attempts at institutionalization have not worked well for us, in large part because of the quality of institutional, restaurant, and convenience foods.
I had a rocky start in college, and I now know that was probably because Tulane was regularly spraying the dormitories for pests, and I was likely being exposed to many industrial cleaning chemicals and definitely fluorescent lighting. I'm remembering that all throughout high school it was extremely difficult to stay awake in the period after lunch, and I think that had something to do with being outside at lunch, all the fluorescent lights, and my porphyria. Additionally, I was sick with Epstein Barr Virus for the second part of the fall and most of the spring semester my freshman year of college. I had to take the minimum number of credit hours to keep my scholarship and be able to stay at school. I had enrolled as a Biomedical Engineering student, but discovered the program was not what I thought it was. I chose the program because I wanted to be assured of getting into med school. But I think what I always wanted to know was what made people tick, and I quickly realized that studying electrical and mechanical engineering was not going to impart that knowledge. I really didn’t know what would. Although I was living on the women’s engineering floor, my own roommate was in the School of Architecture, and I thought the homework she had looked like a lot more fun than what I was doing.
So, I transferred into the Architecture program for a few weeks. It wasn’t a good fit for a number of reasons. I actually hated going to the Intro to Architecture class after a while, because I became aware that I would have five years of student loans at the end of it and would still have to turn to an engineer to approve my designs. I suppose this is one of those "group project" failures that may go down in history, because in class we were paired with 5th year students, and I got into an argument with my partner because I wanted to make something like what has been built in the South China Sea more recently which combines bridges and tunnels, and he said it was impossible. I wonder how Gaudi handled that? Additionally, my in-laws worked closely with architects and knew that it was difficult to make it in that field, and warned me. Plus, there were a lot of things to memorize that didn’t come easily for me with respect to art history. Funny that I would become so interested in that subject 20 years later…
Those experiences caused me to realize that whatever major I chose had to be one where I enjoyed the classes and where the information clicked naturally. Back then the course catalog was in print, so one day I sat down and read it from cover to cover. The courses that looked the most interesting to me were in Physiological Psychology. Neuroscience wasn’t an official field of graduate study yet in the early 90’s, even though Neurology was a medical specialty. Isn’t that strange to think about? We have only been unraveling the secrets of the brain as an official academic science for around 30 years. When I was studying, we didn’t believe that neurons could regenerate - we just knew that the brain cannot regrow like the liver can! We know so much more now.
I loved my classes when I switched to Psychology. I mean, I really loved them. I looked forward to going to class. My favorites were Physiological Psychology and Psychopharmacology. There were two I struggled with, both of which I took with my husband before we were married. He still likes to talk about one of them, which was particularly bad. It was Deviant Behavior. It was taught by an adjunct professor, and his lecture style was a lot like the teacher in Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. Imagine learning about golden showers in that way. I just got rid of the textbook when I was doing my big purge in 2019. I have rather different viewpoints of what constitutes deviant behavior now after studying depth psychology, and I recognize some of what I learned back then as puritanical and behaviorist. My time there was punctuated by a difficult relationship with a Cognitive Psychology professor who studied under B.F. Skinner, and I confess that it has colored my view of behaviorism greatly and negatively now that I see she was exactly what he wished to create, and that on some level I am, too. Behaviorism is an important foundation for authoritarianism, and at the time I did not understand that, or the insidious way it was employed in the educational system, religion and business. I did not take many humanitarian courses. I think it is important for people, especially those going into business or engineering, to take humanitarian courses, and I think a lot of what is “wrong” with society has to do with this oversight.
|Introspection, 8"x8" Inktense and gold leaf on paper, mounted on cradle board, $10,000 USD, Eighty percent of proceeds go to Larimer County Food Bank|
The other class I took with my husband and struggled with was Neurobiology. My husband did not have to study much for this class because it was basically about the brain as a circuit. He also happened to be a Biomedical Engineering student, but was a year ahead of me. I met him over the Tulane rs6000 system. Sometimes I wonder if we may have been some of the first people (or only!) to meet that way. It was after the days of America Online, and actually the reason we met was because I was an AOL junkie and I didn’t have any more money to pay for my subscription. I grew up in the 80’s with computers in our home and learned Basic computer programming language as an 8 year old, so I was kind of always online. That reminds me that in those early days of the internet, I was envisioning web portals due to how much could be learned in such a short time, and spent so much time online that my husband referred to me as “The Mistress of the Web.”
Anyway, he didn’t even have to take notes in the classes we took together. He and I learn very differently. He struggled with some of the classes I excelled in, which involved more memorization and nomenclature. I don’t know if we represent the different ways that male and female brains work, but sometimes I wonder. He learned in his later years at Tulane that he had a special gift for solving black box electronics problems, and that has been rather analogous to my own ability to intuit biochemical issues. Because of all the time we have spent together and our household dialogue, we have learned aspects of each others’ fields.
We corresponded over the rs6000 system for many weeks before we met in person. When I initially contacted him, I just knew he was a person from Colorado. The .signature file indicated that the person had a good sense of humor and was playful like me. I learned that he was sort of seeing someone else at the time and so I had sort of friend zoned him in my mind. I had a boyfriend from AOL when I first started college who had visited me in Colorado, and he broke it off when he realized I would be staying in Louisiana to pursue my degree. I knew what I was doing when we met, and that I wanted to complete my undergraduate degree. I felt like I was way too young to change course for a guy. There were only a few months I was in college before I met my husband, but I did see three other guys in that time. I got stalked by a grad student in Mechanical Engineering and went on a date with him. I don’t even remember how he reached out to me, but he found me in the freshman yearbook, which we lovingly referred to as “The Stalker’s Handbook.” (And just think, this was before Facebook). Then I went out with a fifth year student who I had a crush on from the School of Architecture. Neither of these worked out because of my liberal feminist beliefs. One guy my roommate had invited from the University of Mississippi to come stay with us in our dorm room. The guy was vocal about his feelings for me and I was not ready to have him stay in my room. I had coincidentally met my husband in person within a few weeks of that, and had more recently become intimate with him. Anyway, he let me stay with him while this guy came to visit, and we have been together ever since, although we each lived with our parents over the summers until we graduated and got married.
|Happy Birfday, Mr. President, Digital Photography, NFT, $2.2M USD, $2M in proceeds to go to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study traumatic brain injury, epilepsy and orgasm|
Jesus Christ, my poor husband. The other guy followed me back to Colorado at Christmas. It was the weirdest thing. I had my good friend from high school come along on the day we went out. I tried multiple times to let him know I was not interested in him as a boyfriend. Anyway, sometime during that time my roommate got mono, and I got it shortly thereafter. This was a different roommate - I had to get a new one because my Architecture roommate was on the phone with her boyfriend back at home all the time (this was before most people had cell phones, and the wireless phones needed to be within a certain distance of the transmitter, and nobody wanted to have their private phone calls with their sweetheart broadcast to the hallway). My new roommate had also decided to leave engineering and was not getting along with her roommate, and so the Residence Housing Authority decided to give us a room together in a different dorm.
Hmm. The housing assignment stuff is a big deal. I really struggled with my studies until I started living in sin with my husband. There were so many synchronicities in our lives, including that his uncle lived in the house that my grandfather once owned in Arvada. It felt natural to be together. I thought maybe it was because we were both from Colorado. We had and still have the same kinds of questions about life. We enjoy watching All Creatures Great and Small on PBS, and were just watching the episode where James and Helen decide to get married, which captured the nature of our relationship at the time very well. We very much felt like, “Well, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, but whatever it is, I want it to be with you.” And since that time we have compromised for each other over the years. I am learning that other people do not have connections with their spouses like we have with each other, and that they often let their egos get in the way of prioritizing their relationships, or see personal professional fulfillment and financial status as the only real indicator of the success of a relationship. But anyway, school was a joy for us living together and we both still love learning. We have always talked to each other about what we were learning, so it was like we were getting more than one education there. When our kids are taking classes outside the house, and even when they are not, we all learn from the discussions we have. Even though I had a “false start” in engineering and architecture, and had to take a minimum course load my second semester that was all elective courses, we both graduated with honors. We agreed that because I had a degree in Psychology my options would be more limited and so he would pursue options wherever I found them, but that we would decide together about where to go.
We are fairly kinky with each other. This posed problems after we had kids, because they are always watching. Or at least that is how it feels. We had candid discussions with other couples about how to maintain a sex life in the context of homeschooling in particular, learning that most people failed miserably in that their sex lives totally withered. It was a battle to keep time and energy for sex, if the libido was even still there, when our kids were younger, and even more difficult with the social challenges presented through certain relationships. Parenting is challenging, and as a parent it is easy to feel that one is being subjected to a firing squad of classist and consumerist hecklers, all of whom regularly choose those values over supporting a person’s right to just be. People rarely recognize their own workaholism or addiction or how those things affect the love relationships around them. (I am guilty of this). I realized it was going to involve a fair amount of creativity to keep our sex life alive early on, and I am glad I made that realization when I did, because these forces are hidden all around us.
I have written in other places about that creativity, hoping that maybe it might help some of the people around us who are more inclined to think they need to drive 45 minutes one way for a regular job, or buy big things, or travel to exotic locations to improve their lives, none of which constitute the only ways to live a psychologically healthy life, and which put other people and the environment in harm’s way, and may be difficult for less privileged individuals. My husband’s and my relationship dynamics have always lent themselves particularly well to intellectual debate. So naturally, because of our educational backgrounds we discuss the frontiers between man, machine and god. I don’t think many people in his circle understand this about our relationship, or understand that I am not “just a typical housewife.” I don’t think they understand that he and I could easily collaborate on something pretty tremendous if we could get other people to help, and if we had people understand where our hearts really are. I don’t think they understand that we both have a deep interest in synchronicity, and that this is a legitimate scientific interest that was studied by Wolfgang Pauli (Nobel Laureate and inventor of the Pauli Exclusion Principle) and Carl Jung. I study these things very seriously, and independently and see them at work in my everyday life. There’s a world that believes in this stuff and a world that doesn’t, and I am constantly being forced to interact with the world that doesn’t, and doesn’t see the importance or care because of their addiction to busyness and materialism.
When we met, we had so many strange commonalities beyond living in Colorado that we thought it was proof of the existence of God. On some level, I think his and my lives are proof of destiny on some order. But that is some seriously crazy talk.
|A Few of My Favorite Things, Digital photography, NFT, $2.2M USD, $2M in proceeds to go to Habitat for Humanity to buy temporary housing for people remediating sick homes that have caused consciousness problems |
Right now I am reading The Rose of Paracelsus which is about another neuroscientist’s search for the person who can gain entry to altered states of consciousness without use of illicit drugs. There have been many of these people; and while I am not far enough in the book to know the end, I have read the part where Dr. Pickard spent time in a Zen Buddhist monastery in San Francisco, so I know the punchline is about being able to get back to that state of mind reliably. I spent a large part of the last few years figuring this out for myself and studying some of the other methodologies used to experience the transcendental. Salvador Dali had perfected it. People who have experienced it know what it is, but to really understand its significance takes a lot of experience with it, which I am fortunate to have due to my strange life. Over the fall my husband and I familiarized ourselves with the story of Jack Parsons and the development of solid rocket fuel. He was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was a practicing occultist, which means he was using altered states of consciousness as a tool for creative problem solving. Unfortunately with him that involved lots of explosions and illicit drugs. I have been studying the history of occultism in this country and it is fascinating because it has greatly affected our popular media, and created a feedback loop. It is something everyone needs to understand. It is the search for the Holy Grail, which is the ability to heal oneself. I am not sure how far along the science is coming on showing connections between altered states of consciousness and healing, but there is some evidence from the study of entheogens and meditation that metabolic waste is cleared through encouragement of certain brain waves and states of consciousness. Due to my own experiences with hypnogogia from near death and my backdrafting water heater, meditation and sexual activity, my experimentation with nutrition, and the healing of my aphasia, I have theories about why this is.
I was able to heal my hypertension, memory issues and aphasia without the use of illicit drugs or prescribed pharmaceuticals. It was a struggle navigating all the “healing” information out there, and my genetics are important in what I found. It takes a fair amount of bravery to say that in the communities I was associated with. People do not want to talk about genetic weaknesses, and they don’t want to be associated with movements that were aware of genetic differences. That is understandable because of how white people have used this information in the past, but it’s important to understand these things if we are ever going to have a peaceful society. Not having one’s biological needs met creates violence, even in “beautiful” and “strong” people. The biologist E.O. Wilson suffered a great amount of professional condemnation for his own validation of Darwinism. He was a disabled person himself.
I am happy that I kept up with the scientific field as much as I could, even if it put me at odds with my medical practitioners and sometimes my family. It is amazing to me how far people have gone to try to understand creativity and the creative impulse. When I was thinking a lot about what people are trying to accomplish at the MIT Digital Media lab, I was struck by Mimi Ito’s concern that less than 10% of children are content creators. I now know that the flow state necessary to be a content creator is something that itself has been under attack by the institutions Roman Catholic priest and philosopher Ivan Illich wrote about: organized religion, the educational system, and the medical system. The attacks are perpetuated through control of attention as well as schedules and timelines. Without control of our own attention, it is difficult to get into flow state. Furthermore, there are metabolic challenges that impede glucose oxidation by the parts of the cortex needed for this connection, and they are ubiquitous in the environment. They always have been. Humankind’s evolution has been due to the steady overcoming of these obstacles for more and more people. This has enabled the building of a collaborative dream. It is important that as creators we see how creation might be difficult for others and not unintentionally add to those difficulties. Creation is a joy when it comes from a place of desire, and we should not judge others for the inability to summon desire in a world where there are so many barriers.
|Oceanic Musings, Digital photography, not for sale|
Due to metabolic issues I have, entry into the flow state is a bit more difficult. I am prone to hypertonicity and thus sometimes pain, and I think some of this is related to damage to my kidneys, and some of it is related to issues with osmotic balance due to polymorphisms I have in various ion channels, as well as multiple polymorphisms affecting my choline metabolism. The combination would greatly affect osmotic balance. Treating deficiencies in free choline and minerals has been a boon to my neurological health and my creativity. Compounding the issue, I believe, is a polymorphism in catechol-O-methyltransfease (COMT), which is studied fairly well and is associated with a 40% production of dopamine. Dopamine is an important osmoregulator, and the neural circuitry in the brain is associated with higher consciousness. I think a lot of the science around dopamine and serotonin has been misinterpreted because we were unable to appropriately measure creativity in animals or understand states of consciousness in animals.
I think the failure to understand the need for a certain level of dopamine for optimum health has resulted in a lot of mental health problems in our society. I think there is unnecessary shame around things that don’t really hurt other people. I think psychiatry’s focus on serotonin has created a population of people who can “suck it up” and “get work done” but that it causes a lot of dysfunctional subconscious efforts to raise dopamine through consumerism and over time it leads to health problems and dementia. Focus on serotonin gives society the sense that work should be central to life, and we are only worth our ability to constantly do it without complaint.
I feel that this issue is at the heart of the important difference between morality and ethics. Morality is often concerned with how we believe other people ought to relate to the world and others based on things we are taught by our parents, our religious institutions, educators and physicians. Ethics, on the other hand, is more concerned with specific principles regarding honesty and fair treatment of others, which I feel are things that some abstract moralities can cause people to ignore. For instance, a belief that all children deserve material gifts at Christmas might make one carelessly spread a deadly virus to other childrens’ parents, effectively orphaning other children just so their own children can feel special. This strange morality might have the effect of causing the collapse of the medical system. It behooves us all to study ethics. I have been told that I am Kantian. I consider myself an occultist and I am deep into the study of metaphysics. I think occultism got a bad rap because of Aleistair Crowley saying “Do what thou wilt.” I have seen more modern practitioners add the statement, “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” The problem is that it is pretty difficult to know when one is hurting others without understanding systems, empathy and metabolism, and understanding how these affect psychological health. Most people do not understand the significant negative effect of cortisol on mitochondrial metabolism, or how it affects learning and memory; society judges us for our inability to handle a near constant stream of stress from having to comply with our government’s and society's expectations of us.
|Love Rollercoaster, 8"x8" Inktense on paper, $5000, Eighty percent of proceeds to go to The Borgen Project to fund a book-bombing campaign|
I don’t have any physical measurements, but I think I was able to accomplish with the methodology I used something similar to what researchers are seeing with psilocybin and regrowth of forebrain neurons. I did use cannabis, which is legal to use where I live. I used it responsibly and never when I was going to be driving or operating cutting or burning tools. I actually have a library dedicated to responsible adult drug use. I did a lot of art and writing in order to record my stream of consciousness. I was always interested in the comparisons of art made by people under the influence of different compounds, and I can say that both my writing and art are very different when I have cannabis. I am much freer and I can find ways to express my ideas whereas otherwise I might just be prone to anxiety. During the same period of time I was studying the effects of air quality and nutrition on my consciousness as well. Mostly in that context, but with occasional cannabis use, my husband who had been unable to use his pinky or ring fingers for fine dexterity for most of his life learned to play the guitar and gained use of those fingers.
We watched The Sunshine Makers, which is a documentary about the chemist who illegally manufactured LSD, as well as psychedelic subculture and it talked about the strange diet he ate to increase his consciousness. It sounds a lot like what kids on the autism spectrum gravitate toward eating. Wheat and dairy. I think that is because it is a high dopamine, low serotonin diet. Over time, that kind of diet would make a person prone to the kinds of nutritional deficiencies associated with a number of psychiatric problems like scurvy, pellagra and Korsakoff’s Disease. And that’s just the psychiatric stuff that we have discovered *so far.* My own issues with consciousness arose from other deficiencies which were predictable through studying my nutrigenomics. It has been my experience that study of my nutrigenomics has been critical to my understanding of how various nutritional factors affect my consciousness.
I had an argument with a scientist in our circle who has a PhD in Biology but worked as an electrical engineer for some time. He was concerned about the effects of targeting specific biochemical markers on health, and he didn’t just mean that about vitamin therapies, he was talking about any biochemical marker, including those used for drug development. It is impossible to know what all one is affecting when one targets a specific metabolic point. I agree with him in a sense. But this is also the counter-argument in favor of such approaches: there are certain nutritional metabolic pathways that implicate so many other downstream processes that when ignored have the ability to uncover other genetic vulnerabilities which may not have nutritional solutions, but may nonetheless be impacted by certain upstream metabolic points which actually are affected by vitamin therapies. I think when these basic metabolic needs go unmet, mental and biological derangements can occur which become more pronounced with chemical exposures and stress. And COVID.
|On Collaborative Dreaming, Digital photography, NFS|
My husband and I were both recipients of Good Citizen Awards in our youth. He was a boy scout. Our families were homesteaders in Nebraska and Kansas, and some of our ancestors include Betsy Ross, George Washington’s farrier, and Simon Summers. I found that on my Wilson side, my mother’s cousin was directly related to Benjamin Franklin. It feels pretty awesome to be related to freedom fighters. I also see the United States as an important utopian experiment. That being said, I have Native American ancestry and share many of their beliefs.
I don’t think it was an accident that I found my husband when I did or that I was laid up in his room all semester. That semester I took drawing, flute, cultural anthropology (which focused on Native American cultures) and deviant behavior. I had to sleep almost all the time. We had to learn to take care of each other right from the start.
We were together for about 9 months before getting engaged. Over the summer we stayed with our respective families in Colorado but visited. I spent the night over at his house. I suppose we were sort of sneaky about it, but I didn't think they really cared, and he didn't seem to. His mother had been married when she was 17. My own parents were only 19 and 21 when they married, but I was not allowed to have him spend the night at our house, maybe because of my sister, who had a boyfriend. It wasn’t a big house. My husband’s parents had a big house, so it was easier to have privacy. Plus they were always doing something. This is a big reason I wanted a bigger house than what I had growing up. I never felt like I had privacy.
So anyway, I was spending a lot of time driving to see him, and one day I had the realization that if he didn’t see a future with me I needed to know before I invested myself anymore emotionally. So one day I said to him, “Do you see this going anywhere?”
To my surprise he said, “I don’t know. Do you want to get married?”
I asked him if he really meant it, and I think he said, “Sure, why wouldn’t I?”
I think I told him that was not how I imagined that discussion going, but that I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else, because at that point, I really couldn’t. I had felt some attraction to his friends, but I was never as comfortable with them as I felt with him.
So anyway, the poor dude. I was just saying to him that I was having deeper realizations about how hard it must have been to have other men sniffing around. He told me that he was pretty sure other men would have been a lot more angry about it, especially with how forward some men were with me with him right there.
Part of my autism spectrum personality traits are that I tend to laugh when I am uncomfortable. I think this is really confusing to other people. I also cry when I am happy. I saw that this can be caused by something called pseudobulbar affect. I suppose some people might find it adorable, but it can be very confusing for others who think that I am more of a good time than I really am. I think men found it particularly seductive. Sometimes I giggle when I am turned on, too, so that can be confusing for me! It takes me a while to figure out what it is, if I am uncomfortable or turned on. I have a very mobile face, and it sometimes causes confusion in my family members.
Part of my social media journey involved a project in body acceptance, and I posted photos of myself modeling lingerie a few years ago and I have left them up. My husband took some of the photos I posted and knew that I was going to post them. He took photography in high school and has been interested in doing things like that. I did a nude photoshoot as the photographer once outdoors, and it was a lot of fun. I haven’t used many of the photos I got for art yet, but I have plans. He was also supportive of me modeling nude for some male artists in my figure study group who trained a lot of our art models, and knew that I posted one of the drawings on social media. He was encouraging of these activities. Knowing how copyright stuff works and how social media outlets claim they own your content, I find it odd that there are scantily clad photos of me owned by Mark Zuckerburg who won’t let breastfeeding women show their nipples, especially since breastfeeding was such an important thing my body did for 8 years. My fun sacks got a lot of miles. The nice thing about the content I post here is that it is mine and I am not competing with anyone else besides myself.
My body changes shape a lot even over the course of a menstrual cycle. It seems to correlate a lot with that hypertonicity I mentioned. So I have learned to avoid the things that cause that feeling and bloating. It helps me avoid migraines. I see the CDC is trying to tell people that any vaccine related symptoms they have might be nocebo effects, and this concerns me because they are essentially asking people to stop paying attention to how they feel. It is important for people’s perceptions of side effects to be taken seriously and noted carefully, or else we will miss important effects on consciousness. I had someone recently state to me in an email that she felt it was dangerous to start listening to what people say they experience, and that may have been my inspiration for writing this piece. We cannot live in peace and harmony while we deny the suffering of the people around us. We need to listen to people’s experiences and respond in caring ways.
|Your Country is Very Psychology and Economics, Journal, NFS |
And we’re living in this country where the government is gaslighting us and telling us not to listen to our bodies. What kind of psychological hell is that?
Even before this, my husband and I knew two people who had Guillain-Barre, which is statistically unlikely, given that the rate of that side effect is supposed to be 1 in 1,000,000. One was an older gentleman who had it after an influenza vaccine, and another was a teenage girl who had the Gardasil vaccination. I do not know if their cases were reported to VAERS. The girl had to relearn how to walk. A few years later, the girl’s mother who was a friend of mine on Facebook committed suicide. She had been following a low carb diet. Now that I know about the importance of kidney health in osmoregulation and its possible influence on neurological hypertonicity, I would never recommend a low carbohydrate, high protein diet to anyone suffering from migraine, yet this is what was going around the natural health community as the healthy diet for many years. Not only had she been following the low carb diet, she was having lapses in consciousness due to a chiari malformation and hydrocephalus. It was really sad.
My friend had a lot of exposure to chemicals through having a new home and car. I think these, when combined with her anatomical abnormality and possibly genetics (she was really brilliant) proved deadly. It was difficult for my friend to find help. She was having seizures around the same time my husband had his. We knew some other people who had head injuries and similar symptoms. But nobody had a neurologist up here who they felt comfortable saying saved their life or anything like that.
In our relationship, my husband and I have tried to help each other achieve whatever dream the other had which was doable. Neither of us ever wanted to enslave the other. I didn’t realize when I was younger how much having children changes that because of societal expectations. I also had no idea how stressful having to raise children in this kind of world would be. The bar is so high for kids nowadays, it’s nearly impossible for them to have the same freedoms we did at their age. When I was my kids’ age, I was starting to explore my sexuality, and it was considered a normal and healthy age to do that. I understand there is a crisis in that the younger generation does not want to have children, and I can understand why. American society has certainly made it unappealing.
It seems that to be born into this country is to become lizard food.
In the words of Johnny U, "There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking stupid."
|Self Portrait With No Filter: That Bitch Could Use A Jade Face Roller, Digital photography, NFS|
And, for anyone who absolutely must know, I was registered as a Republican for a long time while I was voting almost entirely for Democrats (I did consider candidates individually on their own merit, regardless of their party). I did this originally because I registered as a Republican the first time I voted, and then even though I moved a few times, I guess I didn't think to change it. I identified as Republican when I was younger because my parents were (and I think they still might be, even though they also tend to vote for Democrats). When Obama ran for office, I was driven to change my party affiliation to Democrat. I think it's pretty clear from my blogging here that I was always fairly liberal, and that I was trying to write about things that were difficult for a homeschooler in what is traditionally a more conservative community. That wasn't the case with our secular homeschooling group - it was extremely liberal and was begun by collectivist hippies. At some point long before Obama ran, I realized there was an advantage in still being registered Republican because I got to see the kinds of arguments these politicians were making to their constituents. And, I didn't agree with them. That being said, I was part of the group of people who were angry at how the Democratic Party handled the presidential nomination in 2016 and participated in the DemExit.
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