Posting the stories would allow those of us who are overseas and thus not eligible for cards to read them.
There’s two ways I can go about this. The first is the polite way. And that is to say what I’ve said in every post about the cards so far: That any international person who sends me a card with a legible return address WILL get a card in return. You can even tell me what carol/story you’d like!
This to me seemed like a fair compromise. It allows me to ration my stamps and use them on the people willing to meet me halfway. I’m sorry this is necessary. I understand it is not ideal. However, this is the decision I’ve made at this point.
Now the not so polite way.
I’ve removed the name from this reply, because it’s just one of quite a few that I’ve gotten that seems quite… Entitled.
So I need to make this clear.
I can’t do this. The only reason I can do the American cards is that people were very, VERY generous about sharing stamps with me last year, and I spent a bunch of money on cards when they were all on clearance, and then I squirreled them all away for a year.
I’ve been filling out cards during every lunch break, every time I’ve been on hold at work, every spare moment I have, I’ve been filling out cards since SEPTEMBER, so when I got a list, I could add a name and address and a story and mail them.
I’m sorry I can’t afford to spend a hundred bucks on international stamps this year. I’m sorry that my car died, and I had to drain my savings to do a down payment on a new one. I’m sorry my computer died and I had to buy one because if I can’t write I’ll lose my mind. I’m sorry my grandmother died and I had to help pay for her funeral.
But before you send me anything, making it clear that I’m not living up to your expectations this month, be aware that there is a human being on the other end of this, who is doing this in a vain attempt to make a FANTASTICALLY sucky year a little better for as many people as she can.
I was born with epilepsy caused by severe brain damage in 1985. In 1988 or 1989, I began to watch Doctor Who in the United States. The Doctor helped me fight night terrors and nightmares brought on by this brain damage. Because he was so alien, I could relate to him more than his companions or UNIT. The Doctor and Doctor Who became cherished, helpful parts of my childhood. I’m sure I am not the only person who feels this way or has a similar story, which is why I wanted to write this letter.
Last night I half-watched, half-listened to “Into the Dalek,” Why half-listened? Because there were multiple scenes of intense flashing or strobing light effects. The episode was too dangerous for the photosensitive element of my epilepsy. There was the intensity of the laser fire during the Dalek battle sequence in the beginning of the episode, the circulating light in the TARDIS interior when the Doctor and Clara left Coal Hill School, and then multiple instances of flashing, sparking light inside the Dalek interior that was too intense and rapid to watch. I did my best to protect myself, but after a while it became apparent that I should have left the room and discontinued the episode. When I realized that however, I had trouble moving my legs, so I closed my eyes and did my best since I was not near the remote. On top of all of that, the episode concluded with the Doctor rejecting a woman who would have made an excellent companion based on her occupation. After watching the episode, I felt a sense of betrayal. For the first time in all my life of being a Doctor Who fan, I had a sense that the Doctor would not pick me as a companion. Growing up I learned to deal with a lack of accurate representation of people with epilepsy. I did not see an accurate seizure portrayal on television until just last year. I knew that while the media might not want to acknowledge my existence, as a child I thought the Doctor would not care. This episode changed my perspective.
All that said, I do not write this letter for my benefit. I write this letter because I’m sure if a small part of me somewhere deep inside felt rejected and betrayed by the Doctor, then there are children who are in similar positions who must feel this rejection and betrayal stronger than I do.
Imagine being nine-years-old and feeling like some kind of freak alien because your brain limits what you can do. Then comes the Doctor who’s alien and trying his best to deal with being this alien among humans. Somehow he’s one of the most relatable fictional characters you’ve ever encountered. Then, comes “Nightmare in Silver,” where all the cybernetics have a small flashing strobosopic light attached. You can’t watch Matt Smith play once of his best performances of the Doctor because it’s too dangerous. Then comes “The Day of the Doctor,” and finally Doctor Who is in theaters, but you can’t go because it’s 3D only. 2D conversation glasses won’t work, because the danger is in the intensity of the visual experience rather than the actual 3D imaging. Then comes all the teasers for series eight that are so stroboscopic you can’t watch any of them. Now there’s “Into the Dalek,” where 50 - 60% of the episode is unwatchable, and if you are allowed to watch it, when you get to the end, the Doctor rejects a potential companion. Imagine dealing with all of this without the experience and hardening of going through decades of people misunderstanding and refusing to accommodate simple basic needs. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be nine-years-old and have this kind of experience. I know as an adult, there’s a part of me that feels like Doctor Who does not want me as a fan any longer, that I am unworthy of the program. I, of course, being an adult, can rationalize and stamp down on these feelings because I know it’s just that little bit of my childhood lingering in the background that still gets hurt by these types of situations. I have the tools to deal with these types of emotions. I don’t know if a nine-year-old would have these tools.
What kind of message is being sent to children who cannot handle stroboscopics? What kind of message is being sent to children who have epilepsy? Why did “Into the Dalek” have to be so intensely flashy, so intensely dangerous? Would curbing the effects so they’re there but not so intense have hurt the episode? No. There are ways to do these effects on a level that is not so intense. I’m not saying do away with all of this fancy lighting effects, just tone it down a notch so that it won’t be so dangerous.
I don’t want to give up Doctor Who like I had to give up Hannibal (2013), which became too dangerous when it had an episode with an intense strobe light sequence that had no warning. I know that I’m not the only person out there who has to really consider my attachment to Doctor Who vs. my own safety. Stroboscopics aren’t a trigger like trichotillomania or rape. It’s not something that will give me a panic attack or cause a sense of dysphoria. This is something that could kill me if I’m not careful. Maybe, depending on how the rest of series eight goes, I will have to make the regrettable decisions to stop watching Doctor Who because of the increase in danger. I don’t want to stop watching this program that’s been a near-constant in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one of my favorite actors (Peter Capaldi) playing one of my favorite fictional characters. However, what this episode showed me, what the teasers showed me, and everything else cited in this letter showed me is that I just might have to give up the show, at least during series eight, for my own safety. I can do that and it will make me sad, but again, I think about what if I was twenty years younger. What if I was nine and had to choose between Doctor Who and my own personal safety? I should not have to decide between a family program and my own safety. A family program should not be so intense and so stroboscopic that it could induce a seizure. No one should have to make that type of choice, not me and not a child.
I don’t know if anything will come of this letter. Or if anyone important will see it. As I’ve said multiple times, I don’t need special treatment, just fair treatment. I don’t want a lack of effects in Doctor Who, just for the effects to be at a safe intensity. I want a fair chance to watch Doctor Who.