Which topics would you like to be more informed about?

       There are many topics that I would like to be more informed about and am in the process of learning. The first one being the foster care system. The reason is obvious when you learn that I am writing a book about adoption with my experiences woven into it, and because adoption is an option in almost every facet of this country’s social services, I don’t think it would be a waste of time to learn about those intricacies and those issues. The only problem I have faced thus far in trying to write about this subject is I’m not sure how to structure it. I’m essentially doing all of this on my own and I have no sense of direction whatsoever. How do thread it all together when adoption is the glue that glorifies the entire system and makes it “okay” on a moral level. It’s the number one thing people bring up when abortion, foster care, divorce rates, and women’s rights are discussed in any type of capacity. How do I talk about those things without making it a dissertation? A long-winded informational essay that not even the bravest of researchers dare touch.

       Another thing I would like to be more knowledgeable in is gender studies, on the chemical level. It’s another one of my future essays or articles on my to-do list. Neuroscientists have recently denounced the notion of the male and female brain and now discuss those parts of the brain as the left and right. The former being associated with language development and emotions, while the latter is associated with memory and perception. Language being the part of the brain that develops faster in women and girls, leaving perception and dexterity to develop faster in boys and men. Since there have been a whole host of bad opinions when it comes to being transgender and a teenager or young child, I’m going to briefly mention my issues with the discussion as a whole and what sorts of things aren’t being mentioned or talked about at length. The first question I think I would ask is what is the process of diagnosing gender dysmorphia? How long is that process? And at what stage is hormone therapy recommended if at all? In terms of sports, how many transgender students are beating out the cis-gendered students within the pool of individuals whose gender they identify with? These questions are systematically ignored. That and as a mother, I’m not understanding why parents have lost the ability to discern between a child whose going through a phase and a child who genuinely doesn’t feel as if they’ve been given the correct body, like, for example, my “scene” or “emo” phase was an obvious phase. My being bi-sexual was not. Trying to conform to the tagline of “lesbian” also didn’t fit me. When you’re a teenager and you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you will contribute to the world. As a teen, you’re also trying to figure out how you fit and are coming to the realization that the “land of opportunity” may exclude you. The American Dream, is dead. I realize that this is said by a modicum of different people, with a propensity for lying and distorting the truth to fit their desired narratives, but are they wrong? It’s just the only thing that’s being left out of the conversation is the fact that the same people who claim they aim to fix it, are the same ones that are allowing (and secretly encouraging) this to happen. My point is, being a teenager is confusing enough as it is, and when we don’t allow children the space to experiment and allow them the ability to accentuate the parts of their personalities that they believe to be special, you end up with unhappy, disillusioned, and filled with hatred at am unfair world, so why would we make this time any more challenging than it already is? Over what? Because your son wants to wear a skirt to school? Who cares? Just ensure that they understand the consequences and what it could mean for the future. If he’s willing to accept that, then who cares? We need to quit coddling these children, that’s the real issue at hand. Also what about the lives of the children who are the bullies? I bring this up because one of the arguments that’s being peddled to the watchers of Fox News is that your child will ultimately be bullied, ridiculed, and humiliated by their fellow classmates either in the future for having changed their mind or for expressing their gender openly and honestly even if it differs from the gender given to them at birth. And my response to such nonsense and reaching that this statement implies is who the fuck are the parents of these children who are so mercilessly torturing their transgender counterparts, and why the fuck aren’t you doing anything about it? It’s like “they will be teased, so no you aren’t allowed to express any gender other than the one that was assigned to you at birth, instead of addressing the issue of bullying and tolerance that’s often reinforced in the home” or “instead of teaching my child to be nice to everyone no matter what and that any form of bullying is wrong, and if you wouldn’t want to be treated like that don’t treat others like that, I’d rather allow my child to continue being an intolerant piece of garbage who definitely judges a book by its cover, and doesn’t see the value in diversity because I don’t see the value of diversity and view it as an inherently bad thing when in reality diversity is good for everyone and benefits us all.” Like why would you want your child to be a bully? I don’t want that, I’d like to teach my child to love and accept everyone, even if they are different, what an odd thing to defend, the bully’s right to bully? Rather than the transgender boy to wear a skirt and participate in sports.

       Another thing I think I would like to learn about is hormones and gene therapy. It relates to the issue of transgender people because a soccer player in Africa was denied the ability to play I think in the Olympics or Olympic Qualifiers or something of that nature, because her testosterone levels were higher than that of an average woman. Now you may be asking, well was this person biologically female, to which I will tell you that YES, she was born a woman, and NO they did not allow her to play. That story, while I do not have the link, was briefly featured by Yahoo News, and received little to no attention, which is surprising to me because the “Left-Wing Snowflakes,” didn’t jump to say “I told you so,” and the “Alt-Right Defenders of Truth,” didn’t even try to debunk it or discredit the article. Life just kind of moved on. It’s this reason I’d like to learn more. I’ve heard rumors that are within the circle of sociologists and neuroscientists that there have been some deeply insightful discoveries into the hormone of testosterone. I have yet to confirm these, however I do know of some places to potentially start this research, including a documentary and new studies available, thanks in part to transgendered people being involved in clinical research studies. Regardless of whether or not you believe in the idea of transgender people, it’s happening, it’s a “social phenomenon” and should be studied just as vigorously as anything else, let’s find out if it really is an anomaly among the human population or is this a normal progression of human society and behavior? Does it really matter if it’s “brainwashing” our children? What’s so bad about it? It’s not our future, like, we won’t be living in it, so who are we to tell the next generation of adults how society should be operated, when at the end of the day, they will be the ones to live it? What if the future for them is free of the judgement and social norms that we all grew up with, wouldn’t that make for a happier society? And what’s so bad about wanting a fair, more free, more connected, and more globalized world? What is so wrong about inclusion and equality and why do so many men feel as if they are being marginalized? Why does the rights of a few groups of marginalized people finally gaining their rights, mean that yours will be taken? Has someone explicitly said that it is now you who must pay for the debts of your ancestors? Is that a part of this movement that I have yet to be aware of? Is it some unnamed law? What has caused this? Are men not going to college for fear of “being accused of rape?” Or does it have more to do with the different learning styles of boys/men and girls/women? I’d argue that it does. That’s why I’m so interested in learning about it. The importance of sociologists cannot be overstated, and they couldn’t be anymore underfunded.

       Another potential topic for me is to dig deep into the military and its affinity for making animals actual soldiers with actual ranks. This may seem a bit weird, but there is a fascinating story about a Marine, Sargent Reckless, who was not regarded as a horse, but a fellow soldier, and one with rank to boot. Let me repeat that, Reckless was promoted to Staff Sargent in the Marine Corp. How insane is that? She carried ammunition to the front lines and was instrumental in our victory over Korea. This horse drank beer, only needed to be taught things one time before she was able to retain and execute any task given to her and complete it, not flawlessly, but recklessly. The story of Reckless calls into question whether this is normal behavior for our soldiers. Does the military promote animals often? How often are animals used in the military and for what purposes other than to sniff bombs or find cadavers? Have there been any animals recently that have been employed by the military and if so what are their purposes? Are there any highly secret or confidential operations where animals are currently being used? In the past? Does the military use horses for this purpose often, or was it only in special circumstances because of the technological innovations in transportation and aviation? I just have many questions, we often hear about the relationship between law enforcement and their dogs, dogs being rehabilitated by prisoners, and service dogs that help people with debilitating PTSD live their lives on a day-to-day basis, so what about the military? I’m sure there are many examples of this within the organization, I just don’t think anyone has bothered to even ask.

       Another topic of interest, of which is almost comically “on brand” for me, is the Polyvagal Theory. This is a relatively new theory within the field of neuroscience but a vastly growing one. Seeing as it is on this list, you should assume that I do not know a whole lot about it. However, since this is the internet, I feel the need to make a disclaimer about my discussing the theory anyway, for austerity purposes. I am going to do my best to explain this theory to the best of my ability. Polyvagal Theory draws a direct and concrete link between the stress hormone cortisol, heart rate, and emotion expression and emotional states. It claims that if heartrate is controlled so too are emotions, and gives evidence for this conclusion. Then, using this evidence, it alludes to the implication that an individuals resting heartrate is a good indication of what their emotional state is all the time, arguing that if these could be controlled disorders like anxiety and depression (or any personality disorder really) can be cured or treated by teaching the patient to control their heartrate. Basically, another potential lead into the insights of these disorders and how they may be helped in the future, avoiding the painful processes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and traditional “talk” therapy that could involve reliving painful experiences and traumatic events and emotions that could be unpleasant and that often hinders individuals from seeking out mental health services in the first place; the fear and shame of being vulnerable and exposed is enough of a deterrent for some to avoid treatment altogether. To avoid unpleasantries of dealing with your emotions out of an unfounded assumption that such an act is somehow weakness, and any show of weakness comes at the cost of respect from your peers. While I don’t necessarily believe in the idea of avoiding discomfort altogether, because I believe that being uncomfortable can sometimes be beneficial to the overall wellbeing of an individual because it’s a critical part of actually living and experiencing your life to the fullest; however, I will acknowledge that in certain circumstances it may be necessary for some patients to forgo that kind of approach either because they have already attempted to and it wasn’t successful or based on the recommendation of the attending physician, therapist, or psychologist. However, if this theory does prove to be fruitful what sorts of valuable insights would we gain from this? How many more people would be open and willing to seek out treatment if this were explained to the general population? How many people would it be beneficial to? And what are the larger implications if the findings prove to be true? What does it mean for society? Would it even be effective, or would it be akin to taking a placebo, the “power of positive thinking,” if I believe it to be true, then it is true, that kind of mindset?

       Those are only a few of the topics I wish to be more informed about, as a writer, I have many more and the list continues to grow, but no one ever achieves anything without asking the correct questions. You know, the questions that causes the orator to pause mid-sentence and genuinely think about the answer. Those are the questions that, when answered, have the power to move mountains, look over the edge of a cliff, see the crashing waves below, and with their hearts pounding at incredible speeds, their stomachs lurching in their throats in perfect tandem with the waves, as they peak over the ledge and their limbs grow numb from fear and anticipation, and they jump. They take the leap of faith. They trust fully in the universe, themselves, and what they believe in enough that they never question the impulse to leap, never look backwards, and never doubt a decision once it is made. The great minds of this world are never content with being idle. They are always moving, innovating, and asking all the right questions. They leave no stones unturned.

       I think we could all benefit from such a frame of mind. Give it a try, what answers do you seek?

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