Saturday, October 8, 2022

What's It Like Being Poor on YouTube?

What's it like watching YouTube videos when you're under the poverty line?

Seems like an odd question to ask: because how are those two things related? Let me explain.

Now that smartphones are so commonplace that even low income folks have access to them (cheap ones, if anything), more people than ever have access to the internet. It's a strange world we live in, that many of us are unable to obtain housing and basic necessities, but can still scroll through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. We have the world at our fingertips despite being disadvantaged.

That being said, it's all too common to come across vlogs from celebrities and people with a LOT of money, showing off their mansions and expensive cars and whatnot... surely this should bother me, as a low income disabled person who could never afford those things.

But I don't care about any of that. I don't need those things.

"Average People" Priviledge

What bothers me more is when I watch videos from people portrayed as average or "middle class" (actually quite wealthy) giving advice and doing DIY's, reminding me that I do not have access to things I actually need that would help me function better.


Too many times I've heard "don't be afraid of therapy" from a "brave" middle-class neurotypical woman sharing her story on recovering from her mild bout of depression. I'm happy those people get the help they need, and I have no shame around therapy. But it stings knowing that I cannot afford the intensive therapy I need to even scratch the surface of normality, due to being low income and having multiple complex mental health conditions.

I recently watched a video by a therapist on dealing with anxiety, the kind that makes you avoid socializing, going outside, making phone calls, etc. Her solution was to start small and do one at a time until you can gain normal functioning back.

I'm sure this works for most people, but as someone who never had "normal" functioning to begin with, this hurts. If I took her advice I would burn out eventually as I cannot maintain "normal" functioning. Sure, some days are better than others and I'm able to make calls and socialize on those days--but it's not sustainable long-term.

And seeing those same people well-dressed and clean, wearing pristine makeup while being filmed with a professional camera and lights, makes me wonder if they'd consider me a bum in comparison. I can't function enough to wear makeup or real clothes (PJ's all the way), let alone have the energy to create beautiful videos with my tired face... and yet I try to make videos anyway to share my story, feeling more and more small as I watch more privileged and beautiful people getting the limelight.


I can't escape this feeling even when watching everyday stuff like DIY videos.

Me being thrifty and resourceful (because I have to be), sometimes I need to look up DIY tutorials for things like building a shelf or repairing an old electronic item using what I have. But what I'm met with is expensive solutions I can't afford. I don't have lumber or power tools or the skills to use them. Just cardboard boxes, duct tape, string and some command hooks.

My goal when looking up tutorials is typically to save money. Why are the most highly-viewed DIY videos geared towards people with a crazy amount of resources? I have to really dig to find any tutorials I can actually use, sometimes even from fellow low-income folks who were kind enough to share their advice.

We can't "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps."

I know lots of folks complain about those "special snowflakes" who play oppression olympics and get offended at everything. But they probably don't know how it feels to be so genuinely low in society that privileged people leading normal lives are either unaware of our struggles or choose to look away because they can.

How wonderful it would be to live in a bliss of normal life.

How wonderful it would be to have a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, housing without roach infestations, and housing in general. How wonderful it would be to sign up for an apartment without being turned down because I'm on SSI and don't make 2.5x the rent. How wonderful it would be to work a fulfilling job and make money without my SSI, my safety net, being cut.

Imagine a world where most of my fellow disabled friends weren't destitute and/or living in abusive households. Imagine a world where disabled adults had more in-home help and wouldn't have to live in their own filth due to disability. Imagine a world where the government didn't try to lock our kind into poverty because they assume we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and suddenly become functional.

So... What do I want?

Social media portrays a world all too ideal, as everyone is trying to show the best parts of their life and leaving out the icky stuff. This hurts everyone, not just disabled folks like me. It's unhealthy to think everyone's life is perfect and better than yours. I crave mundane normal things, I don't need a yacht or fancy parties or crazy adventures wealthy YouTubers experience.

I just want affordable, comfortable housing, normal accommodations so I'm not breaking my back hand-washing my clothes all day, and to live at least AT the poverty line instead of well under it. Government help is lagging far behind inflation and even food is becoming too expensive. Meat is a luxury, and more affordable processed foods are detrimental to my physical and mental health (try being gluten-free, sugar-free, and low fat on food stamps!).

I'm attempting to be positive.

I do realize I am spiraling. On good days I am grateful for what I have. But I struggle with high anxiety and OCD that hits me often, especially when facing potential loss of my safety nets, like doctors who won't take my Medicaid anymore, or when my food stamps disappear due to an error in the system, or when I'm reminded I can't move out of my parents' house because I'd be homeless. But I need to focus on the positives. I try hard to.

That being said, YouTube is a nice escape from my circumstances and anxieties. I enjoy watching thoughtful and educational content. Having interesting videos playing in the background while I'm doing mundane housework helps to keep my mind busy and motivate me. There's so much music to listen to and I have the world at my fingertips. I'm so grateful that I have a smartphone and laptop to access these things.

Thank you for listening to my rant. I wanted to at least leave this on a good note since I try my best to be positive and appreciate what I have. But it's also okay to vent a bit about the unfairness of life, it can be a weight off one's shoulders.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The WaffleCast™ - A New Podcast on Neurodiversity

We've got a new podcast! The WaffleCast™ is all about autism, neurodiversity, and mental health, featuring autistic adults sharing their experiences, hosted by autistic filmmaker and VTuber (@NeuroLushia). You can watch our first episode on YouTube or Anchor/Spotify.

Episode 2 will be streamed live on YouTube August 25th at 6pm CTThe topic is "Coping with OCD" and will be hosted by only Alyssa this time, as we are still gathering guests for future episodes. Join us to hear how about how Alyssa tells the difference between intrusive and "real" thoughts, how sneaky compulsions can be, and the various coping mechanisms she uses to deal with them.

Become a Waffle by joining our wholesome community in The Waffle Zone™ Discord server!

Consider supporting Lushia's work with a 1-time donation, or by joining her Patreon for exclusive rewards like broadcasting custom messages to the WaffleCast™ audience! You can also join via a YouTube membership for the same rewards.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

AHFilms' NEW Documentary ~ "I Am Autosexual"

Seven years after the release of "Through Our Eyes: Living with Asperger's," I made another documentary! This one is more personal, like a "coming out" video in documentary format.

Autosexuality is sexual attraction to oneself. It can involve romantic, emotional, aesthetic, intellectual, and other types of self-attraction. It's a rather misunderstood sexuality with little awareness, and is often (wrongly) confused with narcissism.

It's likely not well-known due to involving only the self, and not needing outside validation to exist. However, I think awareness can be helpful in terms of de-stigmatizing this experience and encouraging healthy self-love, whether one is autosexual or not. I myself have learned a lot from fellow autosexuals, including how to foster a healthier connection with myself.

The film is a sort of mini-documentary with a runtime of around 20 minutes. This allowed me to release it more quickly--it took me only two weeks to record and edit it, which is a new record for me. Yet I am proud of my work and hope you enjoy it!

Watch the film below, or click here to view it on YouTube!
If you want to help me promote the film, keep reading below the video.

I didn't hype up this film as much as "Through Our Eyes" beforehand, as I didn't need the support of a Kickstarter campaign to produce this one. Since it doesn't have as wide of a reach as the previous film did, I may need your help!

To boost the film's reach, leave a like and comment on the video if you enjoyed it. This will help YouTube's algorithm recommend my video to more people. Also consider sharing the video on social media, or send privately to friends and family who might be interested in the topic. Who knows, maybe it will help someone!

Here's a link to the film! >
Or use these buttons to share on the platform of your choice!

And if you're on Twitter, retweet this to help my film reach a creator whose video inspired me to finally make this film!

I've been wanting to make a video on autosexuality for a while now, but felt compelled to finally do it after Anthony Padilla released his video "I spent a day with AUTOSEXUALS" which I found inspiring and relatable. I know Anthony is a major YouTuber and is probably very busy, but I hope to pass on this thank you message to him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Conversation about Social Media. ~ Podcast ft. Differently Wired & The Bored Podcaster

What impact does social media have on society, Neurodivergent people, and the Autistic community? How can we use social media responsibly while mitigating the negative effects? Adam, Jaden and I explore these questions in our new podcast. Watch it below!


  • The Dangers of Misinformation
          -> Misinformation vs. free speech
  • The Flaws of Social Media Platforms
          -> Trolls and censorship
  • The Insular Nature of Online Groups
          -> Groups can be beneficial for particular types of people, but can also isolate them from alternate perspectives
  • Autistic Community vs. Parents of Autistic Children / Neurotypicals
          -> Online discourse often lacks nuance
          -> Both autistic advocates and parents are held to impossible standards
  • Social Media is Only a Highlight Reel, Not Reality
          -> Impacts on mental health