Saturday, July 20, 2013

Celebrity Tweeting Etiquette

I’ve not been on Twitter for very long -- a little over a month -- but there are things I’ve observed and been taught by other tweeters.  I can’t say I’ve not made some blunders on Twitter, and done these things myself, because I have.  I am very opinionated and if I find something that I think needs another point of view, I’ll add mine (and sometimes it can be sharp).  Sometimes, I just like being a smart alack or I am trying to be funny.   But I don’t intend to be bothersome or annoying to anyone, and especially not overly offensive or crass (I usually delete those tweets if they sound too bad). 

But @RachelinthOC has been a valuable source of information and @WilliamShatner has been helpful with my tweet etiquette and what celebrities like.  First of all, I don’t believe celebrities are on twitter to be bombarded with ads or spam.  I think they want to genuinely connect with fans, as well as family and friends.  Yes, celebrities are people too, and they need socialization with friends, family and yes some even like to talk to fans.  But when a regular person does get a tweet from their favorite celebrity, it’s kind of special to that person.  For me, it makes me feel happy that I was noticed even for a split second by someone outside my normal social circle.  It’s kind of exciting to think that someone, who is normally so far away and seemingly “unreachable” because of their celebrity status, would answer me, encourage me, or agree with me.  I think to myself, “They acknowledged my existence.”  BUT THAT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT DOESN’T MAKE THEM MY BEST BUDDIES!!  It may be the only tweet I ever get from them, but I’m okay with that.  However, I’m not going to stop tweeting them if they are having a conversation I’m interested in.  And again, they may respond to me or they may not.  It’s part of the territory of being a follower of a celebrity (and keeping a healthy perspective on the relationship between celebs and fans).

But one thing I’ve noticed is that spammers will not only promote their business or blogs at inappropriate times, but also interrupt celebrity conversations with their stupid links which have nothing whatsoever to do with what the celebrity is talking about.  You know the ones that start out “LMAO these pics are funny.  You’ve got to see this.”   That tells me the spammer doesn’t read the conversation before they rudely interject their over-tweeted links.  It also annoys the heck out of the rest of us when we are trying to tweet a celebrity and some spammer is trying to be obnoxious and may cause that celebrity to overlook our tweet.  Celebrities have so many people that tweet them, it’s hard to get a tweet back because as human beings celebs are limited and have choices to make.  So, they may tweet you or they may not; I’m sure it’s nothing personal; they could be overwhelmed by all the tweets.  And if spammers are adding to that, I know it annoys the celebrity too.

I have a concern for celebs because of their vulnerability to stalkers, and that is a real fear in their lives.  If these celebs don’t know who you are, I would think, that making lewd, sexual remarks about them, or worse, what you’d like to do to them, would make them very reluctant to tweet you back.  If you are truly friends with them, you’ll have enough of a rapport with them where you can send them a DM with those kinds of remarks.  If they don’t follow you, then you’re not close enough to be so friendly with.  If you want to have any chance of getting a tweet back, join their conversation; express interest in what they are saying or asking.  And if you’re wondering what they’re talking about READ the conversation – reading is good brain “food,”-- or just ask.  Be considerate of their humanity, time, position, and yes, even their fears.  They don’t have time to deal with inconsiderate and obnoxious people, do you?

I’m sure this doesn’t cover it all, but if you have a suggestion just add it below.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is Normal?

I’ve asked that question of one of my therapists and she accused me of being cagey.  But I really did want to know.  What is the absolute definition of normal; who is truly a normal person?  What role model is there to demonstrate normality?  Since, in many people’s eyes, truth is relative not absolute, then the truth that defines normality is just as relative. 

For a schizophrenic it’s normal to hear voices, however, the rest of the world who doesn’t hear them says it’s not normal, BUT the world runs after gurus who say they have spirit guides or aliens that tell them secret information.  For a hebephrenic it’s normal to have disorderly thoughts and live in a dream world, however, the rest of the world says it’s unhealthy, BUT the world hails the successful fiction writers for their great imaginations or great artists and even geniuses are excused from being organized.  And what about actors, who spend their entire lives pretending to be other people and encourage living in fantasy?  I can see the hypocrisy, even if no one else can.

Does normal go by what the majority says, or by how much talent or money a person has, or is it relative to each individual?  How can one determine what is normal for another person?  Humans define normal by exalting themselves up as examples, but when you get into the closets of their lives, you can find some seriously crazy things.  So, what is normal?

It’s my opinion, that not one person living now can set themselves up as perfectly normal.  If we look at the movie stars, we’re going to be sorely disappointed.  I’ve read where there is one male movie star who was raised in a typical Midwest family and seems to be normal and healthy on the outside, but he has an underarm fetish – he sniffs the underarms of women he dates.  Now, in my eyes, that is NOT normal.  I’m sure he has days when his armpits stink, too.  Let’s turn to psychology.  Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of psychology, had a spirit guide, named Philemon, that told him about human personality.  He heard voices, he was, by his own professional standards, a schizophrenic.  That’s why he never told his colleagues that he heard the voices.  So, how trustworthy are his theories (which are just beliefs and guesses NOT facts)? 

My own psychiatrist told me there are no scientific tests (like blood tests) that can prove mental illnesses.  They would have to take brain fluid and that is too dangerous.  Yet the drug companies who make psych drugs are making a fortune off of unscientific guesses and relative beliefs.  The DSM which is the “Bible” of the psych industry, has so many different “disorders” with overlapping symptoms it could take years to find out if someone truly has a specific disorder or if it’s just a circumstantial issue like the weather or financial hardship, and yes even eating foods your body is intolerant of or allergic to, such as soy, genetically modified foods, or gluten.  (Go to and find out about the food intolerance/allergy test they have developed.)  Much of our depression and anxiety is circumstantial, not medical.  But the greedy drug companies don’t want anyone to find out.  So, people, think about it, who is really normal, the greedy Rx lords, or the ones trying to warn people about the mentally ill Rx lords?  Greed is stupid and makes people do stupid things.  If it weren’t for greed, there would be no need for organizations who stand up for the rights of the common people.  But unfortunately we do not live in a normal world because the world has accepted greed as normal and it’s not.  So, what is normal?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Raised by a Mentally Ill Mother

© 2013 Martha K. Miller
            I began writing a novel about a little girl, named Marna Smith, who grew up in a home where her father abandoned her family because her mother became mentally ill.  I’m still working on the book, but I want to offer some excerpts from it to demonstrate the confusion and lost world these children must exist in.  As a child of a paranoid schizophrenic mother my learned way of thinking from my mother, in many instances was distorted, and I remained na├»ve for many years about important areas of life itself.  I wrote this book hoping to find my own answers to why I failed to thrive on a human level. Although only the first part of this book in based in the truth of my life, in many ways Marna reasons the way I reasoned as a child.  Some of the early specific incidents didn’t actually happen but they were based in similar situations.  However, it describes the atmosphere of poverty, filth, violence, abuse, vulgarity, abandonment, confusion, ridicule, hypocrisy, apathy, and rejection experienced by some of my siblings and myself.  It also reveals that Marna despite being a victim of her circumstances, had to change some of her own improper thinking.  However, I wanted to discover the reasons I made the choices I did, or why I was unwilling to take risks.  In many cases I found that I was trying to remain “safe” and unhurt, but wound up hurting myself more by isolating myself too much.  I allowed myself to die, in a sense, and all the dreams I ever had died with me.  I believe that this book is my attempt at flying once again and an opportunity to share with others what children of the mentally ill sometimes go through and why some may seem to act differently.

In the book, Marna is “mentored” by her elementary art teacher, Mr. B.  I appreciate the beauty the arts offer the world; that’s why I believe they are so necessary in a child’s education.  They are crucial in Marna’s life, but if they’re cut out of a child’s life one may be suppressing the next Rembrandt, Gene Kelley, Pavarotti, or any other artist that has added grace and beauty to our lives.  A world without art would be a very dead place.  But Marna comes to understand some of life’s complexities, and soar above many of her life’s trials by not only Mr. B’s love and concern, but also his wisdom and a “peculiar” paintbrush that paints another reality, where they meet Lords and Ladies as well as encounter some villainous characters.  Marna gets into some compromising and sometimes comical situations using the brush for things it wasn’t intended, but when she enters that other reality it gives her hope, strength, and a place to bring all her immutable realities whether they are good or bad.  It’s also a place of inner growth and solace where she can see the reward of her victories and watch the dark clouds be pushed back and some of her greatest “enemies” conquered.  There is some similarities and references to Christianity in it, but whether you believe in the Christian faith or not I hope you believe in reaching out to children, enlisting others as well, to offer them some hope, as Mr. B does.  By doing such one may very well change a child’s path.  I was never allowed to experience that kind of loving persistence; instead I was branded as being a delinquent like most of my older siblings, when I was not like them at all.  I believe I was written off by many as one of the Miller kids as if we were the scourge of the neighborhood. 

My mother’s mental illness manifested itself shortly before my third brother was born (fourth child in the line).  I was told that my father told my mother, while pregnant with him, to jump down the basement steps and he’d catch her.  He was trying to kill his own son, and possibly my mother along with him.  He had always been abusive to my mother and some of my older siblings, including my oldest sister who has Cerebral Palsy.  However, my dad was labeled the “normal” one and got to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle with another woman and her family, while my mother remained alone staying trapped in a living hell, reliving all the pain and agony she had been through all her life.  But what added to her stress was having six children to care for without too much input from my father.  But my Grandmother, Uncle and his wife on my mother’s side stepped in after they heard we didn’t have any food in the house, and brought food.  I have a very vivid memory of that instance.  I was only about two-years-old but I remember I was in a bathing suit, in the middle of winter I believe, and I was licking dried Koolaid off the floor.  The floor was covered with old torn up linoleum that had tar paper backing, so I was licking that backing.  But when I saw Grandma with grocery bags, I knew she had food.  I remember her extending her arms to me to pick me up.  Grandma came back every weekday and cooked and cleaned the house while Mom got “help,” and Mom even tried working to support us, but couldn’t manage it.  Grandma was there to make sure my older siblings got to school, and I was cared for.  My Aunt and Uncle took Mom and Grandma to the store and all of us to doctor’s appointments, because they were the ones with the car.

When I was younger, periodically, my mother would go into psychotic episodes where she didn’t remember becoming violent with us.  I remember us having to hide in the attic (that had fiberglass insulation hanging down) sometimes for days.  The older boys would sneak downstairs while Mom was asleep to get food for us, and we had to use the bathroom in a jar or bucket.  I also can remember an instance before I started school where my mother got very angry at me, because like any small child I wanted something from her, but she started beating me about the head and on my back.  My older sister (the fifth child of the family) pushed me out of the way and Mom started beating her.  She told me to run, so I think I ran outside.

A lot of things went on in our house that no child should have endured, but my siblings and I did.  As one may expect from a home where there was no discipline or structure, and the parent cannot pay attention like normal parents, children get into trouble.  Being neglected as well as emotionally, physically, and even sexually abused also caused distortions in my idea of what life and love were about.  I later suffered great loss in my own personal relationships.  But what was worse, no one said anything, the authorities just left us there, and some of the neighbors shunned us, as if it was our fault that we had a mentally ill mother and a father that left us to starve (I was told he drained the bank account and took our TV).  He left us; we didn’t leave him.  Until I got older I always tried to be the good girl so he would love me, but I always felt he loved my stepsisters more than me.  They got more presents at Christmas time than I did and got to spend more time with him, so I equated that with him loving them more.  But I got fed up one day and sassed him because he had just told me (at about age 13) that since I was the only child left to visit, it would be a waste of his time and gas to come over.  I had asked him to come see me a particular weekend because I hadn’t seen him in a while.  He was on his third wife by then and she had money.  She never really liked us because we weren’t doctors and lawyers.  But if Dad had stayed, and didn’t hurt Mom and us kids like he did, we might have had that encouraging hand to make something of ourselves.  When a parent doesn’t care a kid doesn’t care.  As a result of Mom living in another world most of the time and Dad not caring, our family became very despondent and self-centered, and now most of us are at odds with each other.