While most of the cool kids have moved their social media to TikTok, I recently discovered the joys of YouTube channels. The only challenge is that, once I have found a channel that I enjoy, I lose a lot of free time falling down those YouTube rabbit holes. As we approach the end of the year, I thought I would get a little personal and share some of my favorite channels with you with hopes that you might enjoy exploring these videos over the holidays.
I remain fascinated by the human brain and genetics. We are such complicated creatures that I am routinely amazed that any of us can get out of bed and put on our shoes. This type of complexity also lends itself to errors, and these errors result in the most unexpected and glorious outcomes.
The SBSK host is a Florida special education teacher, Chris Ulmer. In 2015, Chris started a project with his class in which the students would write a book. The project grew, and Chris has interviewed people with all types of disabilities for the last five years. These disabilities include individuals with more well-known conditions (autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome) and individuals with severe mental illness. Some of his interviewees have severe craniofacial disorders, and some have genetic syndromes so rare that there are only one or two documented cases. Other interviewees struggle with degenerative conditions that leave them in what we might think is a comatose state, but they are actually cognitively sharp despite their challenges to engage with the world around them. After watching these videos, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could question the value that individuals with disabilities bring to society.
Be sure to watch:
Grayson – This little Braves fan is one of my favorites. During the interview, he is thrilled to meet with Chris but remains laser focused on his ultimate goal – to watch the Braves. He is adorable and uplifting. Unfortunately, he recently succumbed to his condition, which was so rare that it was known as Grayson’s syndrome.
An Interview with a Sociopath, Dyshae – Dyshae does a great job explaining what motivates individuals with antisocial personality disorder and the challenges of living in a society where he cannot experience emotional attachments.
Angie Carrillo – Angie is autistic and schizophrenic, and he allows us to visit with him while he is experiencing active delusions. It is heartbreaking and illuminating to see how he struggles to be present in reality with delusions that distract and engage him.
Best Friends Forever – Nick and Callie – Nick has primordial dwarfism, an endless supply of energy, and pride in being a ladies’ man. Callie has a diagnosis of Williams Syndrome (known as the Happy Syndrome), and she cannot stop laughing at Nick’s antics. Together, they are adorable. I cannot stop smiling whenever I can watch this video.
A professional corporate photographer, Mark decided to give back to the community by documenting the lives of people who appear to have been forgotten by society. These individuals include the siblings who suffer the impact of generations of inbreeding in Appalachia, Skid Row residents, drug addicts, gang members, prostitutes, and pimps. I think I will forever remember the interview with a spice addict, who was a shell of a person barely able to form a sentence. These videos can be hard to watch, especially when some of the interviewees describe their horrific childhoods. The people Laita interviews clearly trust him and are anxious to tell their stories about how they ended up in their current situations and their dreams for the future.
On the lighter side, this channel is as much about pursuing your dream job as it is about farming itself. The owners, Morgan and Allison Gold, lived in D.C., and, after much planning, purchased a farm in northern Vermont about 5 years ago. Being urbanites, they get lots of “on the job” training as they built their farm focusing birds (ducks, geese, and chickens) and are now transitioning to cattle farming. Morgan openly addresses the business decisions that he must make to manage the farm (such as whether to add cattle to the farm and whether roosters can economically be raised as food for people). He also introduces us to the challenges of farming itself and to the animals that live and work in the farm. As a fan of animal shows and someone with an interest in entrepreneurship, this channel is right up my alley. And I shamelessly love watching the snowy Vermont autumns while sitting outside in November in a short sleeve shirt.
Again, this one satisfies the animal lover and entrepreneur in me. In her salon, Vanessa grooms both dogs and cats, and each type of animal and breed of that animal poses its own unique challenge. Vanessa has a lovely dry sense of humor as she describes the process of cleaning our four-legged darlings and how they don’t really to enjoy their “day at the spa.” For example, she explains that the Persian cat Mayonnaise is back for a grooming, “and this time, I won’t forget to trim his murder mittens before battle.” Be sure not to miss the videos of the Huskies, all of whom throw operatic temper tantrums during the grooming. These videos are short and just fun.
I hope I have given you new avenues to explore during the holidays, and I am always open to your suggestions of new rabbit holes worth exploring.