July 2016
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icon: "bluestocking (photo of a book lying open on a table with a bright window in the background, overlaid with a yellow fractal that looks like the sun shining through dust motes)"

[media imbibed in 2016]

Stars are for re-watches

Switched at Birth (finished season 4)
New Girl season 4
Grey's Anatomy* (seasons 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, )
Lost Girl* (all seasons [with a few skips])
Last Tango in Halifax (seasons 1-3)
Better Off Ted*
Witches of East End*
Love (season 1)
Wentworth* (seasons 1-2 rewatch, plus 3)
IT Crowd* (all seasons)
Cristela (season 1)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (season 2)
The Messengers (part of season 1)
How to Get Away with Murder (season 2)
Grace and Frankie (season 2)
Bitten (seasons 1-3)
Zoo (season 1)
Lady Dynamite (season 1)
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (complete)
Baby Daddy (seasons 4-5)
Good Witch (part of season 1)
Scandal (season 5)
Orange is the New Black (season 4)

FILMS (small screen):
Jenny's Wedding
Revenge of the Bridesmaids
I Give It a Year
The Decoy Bride (wtf with all these wedding-themed movies)

FILMS (theatre):
Through the Looking Glass (Topaz treated me)


Seinabo Sey -- "Pretend"



[icon descriptions]

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3x3 color meme: name three items in these three colors...
kehlen_crow invented this 3x3 color meme!

icon: "colors of the wind (a crop of my fractal "Colorflight": wild colors with a swooping shapes and patterns)"

Drop a comment and I will give you three colours. You will then look around from where you're writing the reply, and name three items you see in each of those colours.

From me, an example:

violet -- my tall, sectional plastic water bottle (which I carry with me at all times), my zippered fabric trapper-keeper (which I have had for over 20 years and currently use to carry my laptop and keyboard), and some rhinestones on my phone.

black -- my phone (though the black is half-covered with many different brightly-colored stick-on rhinestones and dimensional stickers), my lap desk, and my laptop.

medium blue -- the ink of a highlighter pen on this desk, the stripe on my trapper keeper, and part of the mottled glaze on the coffee mug that Topaz got me which I keep at their house (it is hand-made and glazed with slate blue, deep fuchsia, pastel plum, and just a little bit of forest green).
connecting: , ,

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my lj patterns / job stress / Ace visits, explosion of social w biofam & friends / Sense8 marathon
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

reflecting on LJ patternsCollapse )

job hunt stressCollapse ) Also I was super social for like a solid week and am just now feeling like I can handle voluntary interaction with human beings. My youngest sibling, Ace, came in town with almost no warning and hasn't visited in at least four years, so I hastily threw together some plans so that Ace could meet my people and vice versa.

discomfort with biofam due to them not putting in any effort to connect with meCollapse )

Anyway, other than that discomfort, it was an okay visit. Ace wanted to go to a lesbian bar, so we did, but it was Monday night so not much was happening. Cass, Katie, Katie's person Molly, and Topaz hung out with me and Ace and just talked, and afterward Topaz and Ace and I went to dinner and Ace laid out some heavy questions. First Ace tested Topaz with a point-blank "so what do you feel about belenen?" (or something very close to that) and Topaz reeled briefly and then answered honestly and openly while looking me in the eyes, and Ace judged them as truthful. Ace is extraordinarily observant and blunt and doesn't fuck around when they want to know something.

Then Ace asked me "why do you hate our parents?" and I replied calmly that I don't hate them, I'm just not that attached. Topaz later told me that they were amazed at the full blast of the questions (because they got more pointed from there) and at how I handled them, and then I realized that they were some hard questions, but I appreciate bluntness and while Ace did ask very leading questions, I'm pretty good at not being lead. However, I was also way too literal in answering them, because I think what Ace was looking for was some empathy for their suffering, but what they were asking about was my suffering, which they were then comparing to theirs. I didn't realize this until later, talking about it with Topaz, who realized it during the conversation. I felt shitty that I didn't realize and thus missed the opportunity to connect there.

The next day I had planned a small gather which Topaz hosted, with Topaz, me, Ace, Allison, Elliot, Serenity, Kylei, Jaime, and my cousin. It was a wonderful group of people and I really enjoyed everyone's company, though my ADD got way out of hand when we all played Dixit together. I'm gonna trust the box next time and agree that more than 7 people is too many, unless everyone is a fairly quiet person. We had four or five boisterous people and I just couldn't manage it after a while. Nobody got mad when I said I needed a break or when we didn't end up returning to the game, though, so it was okay.

I was hoping to have more time with Ace but since they were smoking a lot of the time and thus were outside while I was inside we didn't really interact directly very much. They said they liked all my friends (said this to me multiple times) and said to Topaz "I love you for my [sibling]," which I was very pleased by because they're usually very suspicious of anyone I am close to. This was also the first time I got to introduce several people to each other (which I love doing) and people volunteered their positive impressions of each other to me which made me VERY happy.

Then Wednesday I spent time with Ace, my cousin, and my grandparent, very casual, working on a long-term art project of Ace's. I was so so so wiped out after that though -- family Sunday, family AND new scary place (I'd never been to a lesbian bar and I get very anxious about not looking queer enough) Monday, big social thing including family Tuesday, more family Wednesday. I took Thursday to recover and then spent Friday vacuuming the dust/dander/fur out of the rugs and then spending time with Topaz.

Saturday was a day I had been planning for two months: a Sense8 marathon. Topaz, Sande, Evelyn, Serenity, and I watched it on the projector that I borrowed from Kylei. I don't remember how many episodes various people watched but it felt really wonderful to be with people that I feel such strong connections with, watching a show that feels like a part of me. And it was good that it was low-interaction because I certainly couldn't have handled more active social at the end of such a week!

It was really really wonderful to have Topaz in my house, after so long of them not being there due to allergies. I replaced the air filter very recently, dusted the week before, vacuumed the day before, and Serenity mopped the floors the day before too, and I turned the air conditioning high while Topaz was here (because cold helps). It all paid off -- Topaz didn't seem to have much of a reaction at all, and was able to stay for like five hours.

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relationship health check-up questions: abusive red flag questions & relative healthiness questions
icon: "challenging (photo of me lifting one eyebrow and slightly squinting my eyes, wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

Someone recently asked me if I had any relationship check-in questions to determine a relationship's health. The closest thing I had was questions to determine if a relationship is difficult-but-worthwhile or possibly/definitely abusive, so I went through that list and expanded it into two larger sets of questions. The first is a set of yes/no questions, and any 'no' to these is a red flag for an abusive relationship. The second list is about the relative health of the relationship, and a 'no' is not necessarily a red flag but does mark a place that potentially needs work (a 'yellow' flag perhaps).

to determine if the relationship is abusiveCollapse )

to determine if it is a worthwhile difficult relationshipCollapse )

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LJ stats
icon: "eccentric (a photo of me tilting my head and with raised eyebrows and a pursed-lipped smile)"

I looked at my stats today and liked the repeated numbers. Look at all the threes! also, my comments-received finally outstripped my comments-posted. *sigh* I liked having it ahead!

screenshot of my LJ profile stats

[image description]
[purple dragon userhead] belenen
[icon: "challenging (photo of me lifting one eyebrow and slightly squinting my eyes, wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"]
challenging [blue down arrow]
the eclectic ecstasy of an ecphorizing eccentric
treehugging, agender, queer, fat & proud, ADD social justice activist

[gold star] Permanent Account, Created on 29 August 2003 (#1289251), Last updated on 12 July 2016
[miniature bar chart] 13 place in User ratings
[gold coin with face on it] Social capital: 193

2,363 Journal entries
33,934 Comments posted
33,994 Comments received
339 Tags

174 Memories
3,545 Photos
15 V-Gifts
163 Userpics

Share yours? (please just copy paste the text if you do so that the comment thread is accessible to screen readers, or describe your image) I am very curious to see all of them in one place to see if there are any patterns *smiles hopefully*

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anxiety workaround: turning off my brain and doing the scary thing on autopilot
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

Actions that are emotionally scary but physically simple, I can do more easily than most. I just decide to do it, then turn my brain off and do it on autopilot. So, if I'm scared of applying to something, I will prepare the application while carefully not thinking about what I am going to do with it, and upload it. Then before I click the submit button, I turn off my brain so that I am not thinking about what the click means, and click it automatically. Usually then I have an explosion of panic, but it is short-lived most of the time. If I have to face heights without safety restraints, or catch a wasp, or deal with something really gross, or handle a dead/wounded creature, I do the same thing.

The only thing is that the more complex the action is, the less possible it is for me to turn off my brain and use autopilot. I can't do this for a conversation (which is the most scary thing for me to face, especially one that is related to job or money), or for something that takes multiple steps. If I didn't already have a cv prepared and hadn't written dozens of cover letters lately I wouldn't have been able to trick myself into editing them for this job that I really want. If I had to start from scratch I would have had to face that I was doing the actions specifically for this job, and it would have frozen me.

I suppose it's a kind of disassociation. I turn off my decision-making and consequence-considering capabilities. It's almost like being super drunk for a very short time. I wonder if I learned this from disassociating when I was younger, or if it's a thing anyone can do.

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'where I'm from' poem from template
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

I wrote this using a template shared by wildrose and really liked how it turned out! I did not do it about my biofamily, but about my chosen, local tribe.

"Where I’m From"

I am from (reusable) water bottles carried everywhere,
from Cool Beans coffee and Blue Ridge honey.
I am from sultry, sweaty, stretched-out summers where the heat falls on you like a weighted blanket.
I am from the sweet airy scent of silk trees,
the sticky sap of pines and the twilight flash of fireflies.

I am from winter solstice gathers awash in rainbow fairy lights
and well-accepted neurodiversity and bodily limitations
(as will grow among folk who are all depressed, anxious, and/or ADD/autism-spectrum, most with multiple chemical sensitivities and/or chronic pain/illness)
I'm from Georgia and Atlanta, from
food-for-sharing marked as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free
(checked for high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial dyes, and annatto).

I am from Topaz and Kylei and Heather and Allison and Hannah.
I am from social overwhelm and rabbit-trailed conversations, from intense questions and frank observations.
From "how are you feeling?" and "what are you thinking?"
I am from self-built spiritualities, atheisms and theologies which do not match but somehow harmonize with each other.

From the kinfolks who refuse ask for help but have slowly learned to occasionally accept it when offered
and those who run away for fear of rejection
and those who create and customize and build relationships with their things.
I am from lost photos and fuzzy memories, from carefully kept scraps and trinkets, from wild hair and dirty feet.

[the template]
The “Where I’m From” Template
I am from (specific ordinary item)___________________________,
from (two product names)________________________ and________________________.
I am from the ____________________ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the ____________________________(plant, flower, natural item),
the _______________________________________(plant, flower, natural detail).
I am from ______________________________(family tradition)
and ____________________________________(family trait),
from _________________(name of family member) and ______________ (another family name)
and ______________________(family name).
I am from the ____________________________ (description of family tendency) and _______________________ (another one).
From ______________________________ (something you were told as a child) and ______________________ (another).
I am from ___________________. (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from ____________________________ (place of birth and family ancestry), from
___________________ and ____________________ (two food items representing your family).
From the ___________________ (specific family story about a specific person and detail),
the________________________(another detail about another family member).
I am from ______________.(location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).
connecting: , , , ,

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poll: do you read the comments before, after, or neither?
icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

I realized just now that I usually do not read other people's comments before leaving my own, because I do not want to sway my response -- yet I often do read the comments before adding mine in places that aren't LJ. So I want to see if this is unusual, or if there is a discernible pattern to be found.

Poll #2048714 reading comments on LJ and elsewhere

Do you read the other comments before leaving your own, here on LJ?

70-100% of the time
40-70% of the time
10-40% of the time
less than 10% of the time

what about on facebook and other places?

70-100% of the time
40-70% of the time
10-40% of the time
less than 10% of the time

How often do you read all the comments on other people's posts?

70-100% of the time
40-70% of the time
10-40% of the time
less than 10% of the time

Which situation makes you more likely to comment?

when there are lots of comments
when there are only a few comments
when no one else has commented
none of these are relevant factors for me

what makes you more likely to read the comments on someone else's post?

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anxiety very high for days / Kanika injured, vet visit, healing now / meds issue / all the stresses
icon: "disassociative (a digital painting of a stylized person in profile with wide open screaming mouth and arms up with palms spread wide. Head and hands flow into strands like blood vessels)"

I have had really high anxiety for the past five days. Eating became really difficult; I've managed a food bar once a day and other than that it has been a struggle. I don't know if this is situational or because they gave me a different anxiety pill (same med, supposedly, but by a different manufacturer) but I have not been able to calm myself down like I should.

[CN/TW for pet injury (Kanika is healing now)]
At like 3am on Friday I realized that my cat had an abscess on their butt, and after googling concluded that it was a ruptured anal sac which required antibiotics at the least. I frantically looked for options to take Kanika to the vet, and sent out emails, then went to sleep and when I woke up, called everyone who had responded and asked about payment plans or other options. No one would do payment plans for any cost less than $200, and the quote I got for the cost of Kanika's needs ranged between $85-150, when all I had was $30. One vet office gave me the number of a person who offers free vet care, and I called them and left a message despite thinking it wouldn't work. (that vet office is the one I will most definitely use next time I actually have money)

They called me back later that night and said they were offering care the next morning and could help Kanika. I was hugely relieved but also in disbelief, and couldn't really believe I was getting free care until I was actually in the RV which was set up as a mobile exam room. Kanika was fairly easy to put in the carrier, which scared me because they are never docile, and they were purring with distress when I was trying to put them in. I held Kanika's scruff as the vet examined their wound, and I think that the fact that I was able to stay and talk with Kanika the whole time made it much less traumatic. The vet said that the wound was open and draining so didn't need cleaning or lancing, then gave them a shot, shaved the area, and finally expressed the anal sacs, which was very painful and Kanika grabbed and bit me without thinking (not very hard, but enough to leave marks).

After Kanika was finished and back in the carrier, the vet gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me I could get them free at Publix, then gave me a little speech and pamphlet about their love for God. I thanked them and told them that when I get my next job I will donate. I felt awkward because while I do worship the same deity, Jesus isn't my only one and while I felt a resonance with them living out their faith in this way, I felt like they'd be insulted if I told them that I'm similar. Maybe they wouldn't be, but *shrugs* So I just smiled and nodded at them and left.

I'm still worried about Kanika because the wound is so wide open and they lick it every day. I don't know how it will heal. I have to give them antibiotics every 12 hours, which sets a constant rolling deadline which I find very anxiety-inducing. I also just discovered they have worms again so I ordered medicine for that but I'm stressed at the delay before I can give them the meds.

Also I'm constantly running a background mourning about Kylei, and I'm worried about a friend who is going through an intense loss. I'm also deeply concerned about another friend who has a major event happening this week that decides their quality of life, essentially. I am part of this event as a support, and am empathetically so anxious for it to be done, and done in the best possible way. And also, at the end of this week the application for my dream job closes, and I plan to go in to the office with letters of recommendation and try to wrangle an interview or at least a good impression, and I am mega scared of doing that. Also I have only gotten one of the promised letters so far and I feel bad sending more than two reminders but I know I must.

So the fact that my anxiety has been so high for days could have nothing to do with the pills and be purely situational. But the pills also are a fucking stress because they only gave me a 15 day supply for almost as much as it costs to buy a 30 day supply by the other manufacturer, because my psychiatrist wrote the instructions down wrong (it's supposed to be 1.5 pills per day of 30mg, not 3 pills per day of 15mg). And I have to go fix this somehow and I'm so angry that they didn't listen to me when I was there and they made me think I was getting my normal pills, not this fucking inadequate pile of shit.

Ugh. The good news is it seems to finally be letting up a bit. Yesterday I could barely do anything but today I did manage to tidy my room (only a little bit, but still), work on my timeline, and make myself a real meal and actually finish eating it. And I wrote this. I hate how my thinking gets stuck now, and I can't just be like "okay brain, let's be logical. What is the worst possibility, and how would you handle it? See, life would still be worth living" and then move on. Even though I use the same coping skills, they just don't work if the anxiety is based on an upset system rather than the situation that it is pretending is the problem. My brain won't even drop it for a minute when it's in that state.

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acknowledging difficult truths: expected & actual feels / lack the resources for endless caretaking
icon: "pensive (photo of me with a dark purple glitter goatee, looking down pensively with sunny woods in the background)"

prompt from kehlen_crow: Remember a time when you acknowledged a difficult truth about yourself, whichever it was. What was the difference between what acknowledging it really made you feel and what you'd thought it would make you feel?

Mostly I acknowledge difficult truths as soon as I notice them, I think, because I don't know that I have ever thought something like "I would feel X if this was true about me" and then later realized it was true about me and felt X or something else. I've had lots of those experiences about situations, but not about my selfhood. So, I may have thought "if I lose this person my life will be nothing but dreary doom" and then realized that wasn't true, but that's not really a truth about me but about the situation.

Although, it was a hard truth to acknowledge that I don't have infinite resources and I have to take care of myself first. I think I thought that would feel like being a bad person and I thought I'd be eaten up with guilt, and there was some of that but only externally. Mostly I felt relief at coming to know for sure that I actually did not have the ability to keep pouring out endlessly, because if I don't have the ability I am free from the responsibility. So I think that counts.

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relationships review: Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Allison, Cass, Serenity, Arizona, Evelyn, Sande, etc
icon: "disconnected (a gif of the lovers from the tv show "Moonlight" standing on opposite sides of a door and both looking devastated. One leans their forehead on the door and the other leans their face on their hand on the doorsill. Underneath the repeating gif is the word 'pain' in a handwriting-font.)"

TopazCollapse )

KyleiCollapse )

HeatherCollapse )

AllisonCollapse )

CassCollapse )

SerenityCollapse )

Arizona and Evelyn and etcCollapse )

Last night was really wonderful. Topaz hosted a gather and Sande, Allison, Heather, Brian, Cass, and Jess came, and the 8 of us had alcohol and snacks and just hung out and talked. It was very relaxed. I got very drunk (first time in a long while, and more drunk than usual). I got sad at one point, thinking about Kylei and feeling abandoned, but people were kind to me and helped me feel better.

I loved watching everyone interact. I think this is the first time I felt like Allison was there for more than just me -- it's quite possible that happened before but this time I felt like Allison would still have attended if I didn't, and that made me happy. And I didn't catch much of what was being said, but Sande and Topaz seemed to have conversations with lots of resonance which pleased me lots. And I cuddled with Topaz and Sande and Cass and a little with Allison, all of which were sweet nourishing cuddles.

I'm realizing the more I think on it that I am really deeply sad about Kylei. I feel really lost and adrift. I feel a deep sadness in the loss of hope for being close with them anytime soon. I think it could still happen eventually but I no longer can trick myself into thinking it's just around the corner, next week maybe. It's not going to be soon. And I miss Kylei in particular, or rather, I miss the way we used to connect. I miss their magic. I miss doing magic together.

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what helps me most to relieve stress
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

prompt from vanita: What is your most effective way of releasing stress? Is it also the one you use the most? If it isn't, why not?

My most effective way to de-stress is to tidy my room, watch 2-3 hours of netflix, and then do something creative, like crafting or LJ. I do this fairly often but unfortunately when I am out of ADD meds it can be nearly impossible to switch gears out of watching a show, and it doesn't help my stress if I spend all day watching stuff -- UNLESS I'm depressed, then it can be helpful because my brain will only put down bad thoughts if I hand it something else that takes full focus and doesn't allow for multitasking.

But generally, my problem with watching netflix is that I find it difficult to stop. I have had more success lately by hitting pause mid-episode, going to do something else for a minute, then coming back and closing the window. Since so many shows put lots of curiosity-teasers at the very end of each episode, I cannot stop watching at the end of episodes. But if I pause it and leave the computer, my brain has a chance to gradually shift gears rather than me trying to do it by force.

Reading can help in the same way as watching shows but it has to be a very continously engaging book; I have to be deeply invested in the characters and/or plot, which doesn't happen often because I find most characters unrelatable (so many Gary-Lous, god) and most plotlines have boring shit like battle or political scheming or bad-relationship false-drama scenes. With TV, I only have to be interested in an actor's facial expressions to stay engaged (though I am a lot more engaged with a relatable character). With reading I already stop mid-page as my general habit and there is no structural intentional addiction (usually), so it is easier to stop when I want.

Watching shows is probably my most common method of relieving stress, but it is less effective when not combined w cleaning and crafting. However, cleaning and crafting both take a certain level of mental energy that I may not have, so I can't always do it.

Also, shows are better than movies because they usually have a layered and gradual plot, so I don't need to watch the whole thing, and they tend to be better as far as representation goes, and if I get bored with a show after one episode I haven't wasted 2-3 hours.

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CN/TW: rape / rant on the 'unintentional' rape AKA the 'misunderstanding' victim-blame argument
icon: "snarling (a photo of a snow leopard snarling in profile with teeth bared, whiskers back, and ears flattened)"

TW: discussion of rape without malicious intentCollapse )

Further discussion of this kind of rape: the 'feigning ignorance' consent violation tactic: if they care, they change their behavior. TW: rape

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list: sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, & speculative fiction by & about WOC &/or trans/queer people
icon: "bluestocking (photo of a book lying open on a table with a bright window in the background, overlaid with a yellow fractal that looks like the sun shining through dust motes)"

A list of authors and the first book by them that I want to read:

under a cut to hide the ugly formattingCollapse )

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easiest way to pick a good novel from a pile of unfamiliar books: choose the non-default authors
icon: "imperious (photo of me w imperious expression wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

This is a great illustration of why I don't read 'classic' sci-fi. I also generally* do not read books written by defaults (straight white cis non-disabled non-poor neurotypical men), because they are almost guaranteed to be mediocre and full of Gary-Stus and women-as-props. There are some notable exceptions, such as Stephen Leigh (Mictlan series) and Nick O'Donohoe (Crossroads series), but generally, after a lifetime of being a default, you're trained to be terrible at perspective-taking which is the exact skill you need to write good characters. And when you never need to figure out your own solution to problems, you don't develop your imagination, so most aren't very imaginative either. (Alan Dean Foster is an exception to this -- wonderful imagination, sadly tainted by constant, condescending 'benevolent' sexism)

On the other hand, practically everyone else has to be exceptional in order to get published. Now there may be some who are exceptional only in who they know or how much money they have, but because it is so much more difficult to succeed as someone who is a person of color, female, trans, queer, disabled, etc, the available books are automatically higher quality than the average book written by a default (may not be true of self-publishing). And, as an oppressed and/or marginalized person, you automatically have more practice at perspective-taking, as you need it to live, so you write better characters. And if you have very limited resources, you have more practice at making shit work in ways it wasn't meant to, so you're more imaginative.

So the first thing I look at when I am scanning books at a used bookstore is the name of the author, and if available the author bio. Then I check to see who the main character is, and flip through the book until I see that person talking to someone else. By that dialogue I judge if the book is worth it. Most books will have a male main character who talks to other people like they don't matter -- instant nope. If the book has a female main character, I will scan to see if the dialogue centers around men -- if it does, nope. If the book has a main character who is neither male nor female I will get it regardless, because I don't get to see people like me in print and that is the closest I'll get.

When I am looking through books online, I look at the author first. If it's an oppressed person, I read the overview to see if the main character is a default: if they are, I won't read it (unless I already love the author) even if it is good because there are too many books with default main characters. If the main character is not a default, I look at the reviews. I look in positive reviews to see if anyone said that it made them realize new things or it kept them intently engaged, and I look in negative reviews for any criticisms that I consider legitimate, like a lack of thoroughness in world-building or rape being treated as titillating or harmless. Here is my wishlist of sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, & speculative fiction by & about women & girls of color &/or trans/queer people -- I've shared it so that others can find good books without having to go through this intense process. I plan to add to it as I find new ones, so if you have any to recommend feel free (I'd love to add disabled authors & main characters). I also want to share a list of the books I HAVE read which are amazing, but I'm getting stuck on thoroughness there and finding it difficult to get started, because I want to do reviews of all of them.

I do still read books by defaults if they are exceptional and if they do not have a default main character (and sometimes even if they do); it's just rare.

[*]*this is not a hard rule across the board, and sci-fi/fantasy is actually better about this than many other genres. The only one which is a hard rule is that I will not ever purchase a book on self-help or spirituality written by a default, not even for ten cents. I consider such books to be somewhat blasphemous, due to so much desecration done by defaults. I feel that if a default genuinely wants to be a good person, they aren't going to profit off of self-help and spirituality. If they were giving away their book or making zero profit, I would take it and read it with interest. Otherwise they need to be silent. Their voices have been far out of balance for far too long and they need to not contribute to maintaining that imbalance.

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describe me to a stranger (round 5, a decade later)
icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

It has been a literal decade since I did this, so nearly everyone who knows me now hasn't done it before. I'm so curious!

in a comment, describe what sort of person you think I am,
as if you were telling your best friend who had never met me.
Be completely honest and uncensored.
"Belenen is..."

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plans for being a more inclusive speaker/leader at group events
icon: "incitement (painting of a bald purple-skinned naked person standing among thick vines and ferns: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

I recently went to an event that was really inaccessible, but didn't have to be. Through my frustration at not being able to do anything about it, I've realized that as a presenter at conferences or leader of events, I can make this better. At the very beginning I will say something like:

"Before I get started I want to make a request. If at any point there is something I can do to make this more accessible for you -- like if you need me to face you when speaking, or to repeat or explain something, or to wait a minute so you can make a note or handle a potential trigger -- please interrupt me with a signal like raising your hand or saying 'pause.' It is important to me that I not accidentally exclude people, so if you're up to it, please point out any way I can be more inclusive. Also, if I use any language that hurts you or if I say something that reinforces oppression in some way, please let me know if you can."

If this or something like it had been said at the beginning of the event I went to, I would have interrupted to say that I couldn't make out what people were saying and would have asked that they make room for me at the front so I could hear more and watch faces to help me parse what people were saying. My experience would have been completely different. But without being invited to interrupt, I know that even though they may very well have accommodated me, many people would have had a negative and even angry reaction to me asking for that and thus implying that they were inconsiderate and that my needs were more important than maintaining the flow of their event.

I'll of course continue self-educating and hope to be able to predict most access needs and be ready, but I know I can't predict everything, so it's important that people feel welcomed to tell me in the moment.

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my experience at Atlanta's vigil for the slain at Pulse in Orlando: profound gratitude & joy & hope
icon: "feminist (the trans-feminist fist symbol colored in a rainbow gradient, with the words "intersectional or bullshit" on top)"

I went to a vigil at the Center for Civil and Human Rights for those slain in the Pulse massacre on Tuesday. I went because Topaz wanted to go, and didn't realize ahead of time but I was expecting it to be dissatisfying and maybe terrible, whitewashed normative cis gay stuff that was all fluff and no meaning. I have not had good experiences at any mass gathering and I expected this to be no different.

Instead, it was profoundly beautiful and very nourishing and actually gave me hope. It was held outdoors despite occasional rain, because there were more than 2,500 people there. It wasn't perfect of course but it had so few sour notes. I was overwhelmed with pride in my city over the fact that we were represented in our diversity -- and not as an afterthought, but truly throughout. The speakers were varied, with Latinx, Black, Muslim, Indigenous, Trans, Two-Spirit, & Jewish speakers as well as white Christian ones. There was Spanish translation over the same audio system (and one speaker spoke in Spanish followed by English translation) and there was ASL interpretation. One person from an Atlanta Muslim organization told us about reaching out to the LGBTQ community in Atlanta and being met with reciprocal concern (that people would use this as fuel for islamophobia) -- hearing that made me cry. And having Amina Abdul-Jalil, a Black, queer, Muslim woman, speak to us was a moment of profound hope for me because I felt such a kinship with her rareness and how she spoke of being rejected from each group for being part of another. "I know what it’s like to feel like you have to choose," she said, and my breath caught with such strong resonance. She also said that prayer was great, but "the work starts after the amen and after the ameen," and we all applauded.

I was also deeply moved and very grateful for the words of Two-Spirit Collective activist & Lambda legal organizer Holiday Simmons, who said "Remember, it was our Christian siblings who wiped out indigenous people in the U.S." It needed to be said, considering that people keep calling this the worst mass shooting in US history when in fact we've done far worse to Native peoples and to Black people. (Pulse Massacre Horrible. Not Largest Mass Shooting in US History. by Sam Diener) Simmons also said "We want to be mindful of using this word 'terrorist.' While in fact this was an act of terror, such words have become inflammatory in these times, and they only strengthen public Islamophobic sentiment."

Some articles with more info: Atlanta Vigil Held Tuesday To Honor Orlando Shooting Victims by Mary Claire Kelly (this one has some wonderful quotes from the speakers at the end). Atlanta 'We Are Orlando' Vigil Conveyed Message Of Inclusion by Lisa Hagen (this one has the quotes from Amina Abdul-Jalil). Atlantans say 'We are Orlando,' demand Pulse shooting not contribute to bigotry by Camille Pendley (this one has the quotes from Holiday Simmons).

I went with Topaz and Serenity, and we met up with Hope and Allison and two of Topaz' relatives. Allison gave me hugs and pets when I got so overwhelmed that I started crying. I felt so full of love and connection and hope at an event with literal thousands of people. I've never felt anything like that except at TBC, and I have never felt that on that scale. I am so grateful to the organizers, so grateful to the speakers, so grateful to Topaz for driving us and paying for parking, because otherwise I could not have gone.

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an access request (dyslexia related): spaces between paragraphs, more breaks
icon: "bluestocking (photo of a book lying open on a table with a bright window in the background, overlaid with a yellow fractal that looks like the sun shining through dust motes)"

I've realized that there are some things that make it hard for me to read. One is a lack of spacing between paragraphs; making a new line but not skipping a line. This is apparently an issue for dyslexic readers as well. I am part of a facebook group that works to be inclusive and one of the guidelines is breaking up text into smaller chunks, rather than having long paragraphs. I can actually read long paragraphs without too much trouble, but I have started trying to break mine up a bit more to make it more accessible.

The other problem I have is the opposite thing, where there are several paragraphs that are each only 1-3 lines, usually list-type posts. I can't read these without a huge amount of effort. I think it must be that on some level I take in multiple lines at once when I read, and parse them together, but I can't do that with the list-type posts. It's like my eyes skitter all over the page and I have to focus very hard to actually read.

All this to say: I care about all of your posts or I wouldn't have you on my friends list, but if you post without spaces between paragraphs or if you post list-type posts, I will rarely be able to read them and it will take a lot of work for me to do so. If it doesn't matter to you, I would vastly appreciate spaces between paragraphs. There's no way to help me with the list-type posts, I'm afraid.

Lastly, small images (like emoticons or decorative text) within posts also make it difficult for me to read, as does text with background color. I understand these can be important to one's textual sense of self, so I'm not requesting anything, just sharing my experience. I don't know why these things have become an issue for me, since they weren't years ago, but I think that as my ADD-PI got worse, these things became more difficult.

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CN: shooting / quotes & links about the Orlando massacre of queer & trans, black & latinx people
icon: "snarling (a photo of a snow leopard snarling in profile with teeth bared, whiskers back, and ears flattened)"

I don't have anything unique to say about the massacre of queer and trans latinx people in Orlando this weekend. This was an act of American male terrorism (aka toxic masculinity), like the vast majority of mass murders.

"...when we live in a culture where young boys learn that “boys will be boys” and the violence they do unto others is a natural part of their gender expression of gender — nay, that being a man means dominating others — then it won’t matter how well guns are controlled or how much mental healthcare we have." - Toxic masculinity and Orlando by Lola Phoenix

"...toxic masculinity is a specific model of manhood, geared towards dominance and control... Toxic masculinity aspires to toughness but is, in fact, an ideology of living in fear: The fear of ever seeming soft, tender, weak, or somehow less than manly. This insecurity is perhaps the most stalwart defining feature of toxic masculinity.... The horror story of Orlando lays bare what damage that this kind of dominance-oriented masculinity does to our society..." - Overcompensation Nation: It’s time to admit that toxic masculinity drives gun violence by Amanda Marcotte

"...Sunday’s shooting was an attack against a primarily young crowd of Latinx and Black individuals celebrating their existence in a world that has continually tried to silence them... Do not erase transgender womyn of color.... 'We need to center our analysis, our conversation, and our advocacy on the fact that this is also a crime against womyn, against Latinxs, against Blacks, and not just a crime against gays.'" - It’s not safe to be a queer person of color in America by Alan Pelaez Lopez

"If healing is what we want, then we must give the marginalized voices targeted by this tragedy the space to articulate their suffering. This is what will emancipate them of their pain. This is what will empower others in communities who are suffering. If you are an ally, of course, your suffering matters too, and you are welcome to express your emotions. But, today, let searing indictments and heartbreaking personal accounts come from queer people, and especially queer communities of color. It will make all the difference, I promise you. It will resonate in such a way that cannot be achieved by a person who hasn't lived an authoritatively queer, marginalized experience. These are the voices that will generate empathy, create cultural shifts, and reset the dial on progress. Please give them a chance to do so." - Dear White, Hetero, Cis People: Please Don't Co-Opt This Tragedy by Mariella Mosthof

"We are reminded that we are not that far from our violent history of rejection, policing, hostility. We are reminded that the first Pride was a riot, one led by queer and trans women of color, who were fighting back against the violence they faced at the hands of the police. And we will have to continue to remember that this violence will not be solved by increased violence against the Muslim community or calls for the war on terror. These terrors stem from so many of the ills our society continues to foster—homophobia, racism, transphobia, Islamophobia and an unwillingness to address gun violence." - When the One Place That Feels Like Home is Invaded by Miriam Zoila Pérez

"...some of the usual pro-gun arguments got pretty thoroughly debunked here. There were several "good guys with a gun" in that night club, and none of them were able to take down the gunman before he killed 50 people and wounded 53 others. Arming the entire population will not increase their safety. Mostly, we need to start teaching our boys and our men a different path. One of kindness, of compassion, one that doesn't equate being a man with suppressing all emotions except anger." - Pulse by mousme

What I wrote on fb: Timely reminder to cis and straight friends: queer and trans people are not safe. Gay marriage being legalized didn't fix shit. Until we have a culture where gay or 'girly' or non-passing/non-binary transgender is just as respected and admired as straight or 'manly' or binary-gender, queer and trans people are in constant danger.

Every time there's a mass death event & everyone cares for a minute, all I can think is "where was your compassion for the living?"

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qualities from each of my friends I'd use to build my ideal friend / what I lack in friendships
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

prompt from webgirluk: Imagine a new friend who was to become in your life and the person had one quality from each person in your core circle of friendships all rolled into one new person? What one quality would you choose from each person?

Topaz' self-awareness & cuddle skills/style
shioneh's skills at asking meaningful questions
hardigrin's ability to give me new perspectives
secret_keep's unedited openness
Allison's passionate, analytical love of art
Sydney's sincere connection with nature
kmiotutsie's outgoing yet take-no-shit attitude
sandracaprice's determined thoroughness
morwen_uial's perception of magic in everything
call_me_katya's critical, deliberate thinking
Cass' thoughtful generosity
volamonster's method of valuing people
chillychilly22's matter-of-fact assertiveness
tikva's habit of humorous phrasing

Prompt from webgirluk: Even though you seem to have a lot of rich friendships, is there one quality none can really bring you that makes you feel at times sad or something missing in connection needs, or can this be explained in a different way?

Not really any quality missing, but I am missing something in the sense that most of my friends have one situation or another that makes them mostly unavailable. Most of my friends have depression and/or anxiety and/or chronic pain and/or ADD, and/or they live far away, and/or they're busy with work and big life events like moving (4 people) or getting married (2 people, not to each other). I miiiight have one local friend whose life is not in a giant upheaval, but until a month ago it was, and it may be still. I don't lack in wonderful people in my life but I do lack the ability to actually have the company of wonderful people (with two exceptions, thankfully). I'd really love to be able to just make plans with friends and have them happen, but that hasn't been true in my life for years.

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hypothetical button-pressing murders
icon: "bloodcurdling (photo of me w wide-eyed snarling wild expression wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

prompt from webgirluk: Imagine you are placed in a room with two buttons and you have to press one. If you press button A, it will automatically end your life. However, if you press button B, you will end the lives of two people elsewhere in the world who are strangers to you and your closest. You won't ever read about the event in the news or what happened and your choice won't make the media, either. What button would you press? And if you do press button B, how many people would it be before you would press button A?

If I couldn't know who it would be, I'd have to press button A; I don't think my life is more valuable than someone else's generally. If I could control who it would be, I'd press button B, because my life sure as shit is more valuable than people like Brock's dad (who is 99.9% as guilty of that rape as the son is, having trained his child to be a rapist) and that fucking judge who excused him. And all the white cops who kill black people because they can get away with it, etc. If I could choose who would die, there'd be a lot of people dead before I chose to put myself in the lineup. I would only kill people who I was certain were harming the world by being alive.

I would die before killing a merely mediocre sexist asshole who was not abusive, just because at that point it's a matter of scale rather than good/evil. I may be more good than some people but that doesn't give me more right to live; however I do see myself as having more right (and responsibility) to live than someone who is evil (knowingly and actively causing harm to others). This is hypocritical, as I do not believe in intentionally causing harm to any living being; I'm okay with that. My moral orientation is chaotic neutral.

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first audio recording: love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly
icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess) (a photo of my breasts and belly, covered in colorful marker drawings and glitter)"

I recorded me reading my love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly. This is my first time doing this so please let me know if there are any issues playing it, or any issues with the sound. It's also available on clyp.
connecting: ,

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learning from dating Kylei, 5 years later: tools for managing my anxiety w terrible memory & ADD
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

As my ADD has gotten more unmanageable and my memory has gotten worse at the same time my anxiety has risen to disorder levels, I find that I am needing a lot of the same tools I helped Kylei create when we were together (or tools I thought of back then).

I started a reassurance book for the worries that crop up over and over: for instance, feeling like Topaz doesn't value being immersed in me-ness and therefore doesn't want come to my house. In reality they are allergic, but I forget all the ramifications of that when I'm in the grip of anxiety. I wrote down all the reasons in clear, bold phrases so that I could re-read them and reassure myself rather than asking Topaz to reassure me of the same thing again. I actually can't remember, so the same things will give me relief every time I am reminded.

I am keeping this little book in my purple bag that I carry everywhere. Anytime I have a conflict where I am feeling unvalued, I'm going to write down whatever reassurances the person gives me. Anytime I'm feeling unvalued, I will check my book before asking for reassurance, so that people don't have to do it over and over. I'm probably going to go through my love bank also and write down things that feel like proof people love me. My own handwriting is comfortingly concrete: when I read my handwriting saying "So-n-so values my time and energy" it feels more real even then when they say it to me.

I'm also going to offer people the option to use 'check' as a code word like I used to use with Kylei, where they can say that to me if they think I'm feeling anxious and blowing things up. If I am feeling anxious, I will respond by going away, taking a few minutes to think about the situation through the lens of best intentions, calming myself, and coming back when I am not all mixed up with worries. All people have my permission to use this, but it is unlikely I will talk to you while anxious unless we have a close connection, and I won't go away unless I'm actually having an anxiety overload, so it's not an easy out of an uncomfortable conversation.

Thinking of other things I suggested for Kylei, I'm going to read back through old texts and emails when I am feeling disconnected or unloved (for Kylei I suggested they read my LJ, especially stuff tagged with their name). I was reading though old texts with Topaz to find other things they may have already reassured me on, and just skimming over the loving texts made me feel more connected, so I think that will be a good tool also. Hopefully I can remember it.

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what makes social interactions easier or harder for me in one-on-one and group settings
icon: "imperious (photo of me w imperious expression wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

prompt from secret_keep: what can make a social interaction easier for you? Harder for you? (ideally, answer for both 1 on 1 and group interaction.)

One on one:
What makes this easier for me is if the person has areas in common with me in values and passions so that we have enough to talk about, and if they are good at asking interesting questions and/or taking at least 45% of the responsibility for coming up with topics and branches. What makes it harder is when we have clashing values that make me not even want to be near the person, or when they have few things they are passionate about, or when they have little experience with the passions we have in common, or if they do not try to give back in equal portion. I like conversations to go like this:

A: *asks interesting question*
B: *answers thoroughly, sharing whatever is relevant beyond the scope of the direct question. Asks related interesting question*
A: *answers thoroughly, sharing whatever is relevant beyond the scope of the direct question. Makes broad statement.*
B: *asks a specific question that helps define broad statement*

These patterns repeated and blended up make for a relaxing, nourishing conversation. Asking thoughtfully (and not too many questions that I have answered a million times like "where did you grow up"), sharing openly (which means including more than requested, answering the spirit of the question), and taking initiative are all qualities I need to not feel like it is mostly a drain. I am an outgoing person, but I have social anxiety, so while I might enjoy initiating/guiding conversation somewhat, that all takes work and I can't relax if the other person is just not going to talk when I don't guide the conversation. Sitting in silence with someone is not fun for me unless we're very very intimate.

In large groups:
What makes this easier for me is if I know everyone or if I have an outgoing ambassador friend who will introduce me to people or be the one to butt in to conversations and then include me. It's also easier if there is a meaningful shared activity like crafting or a discussion topic or playing get-to-know-you games. And it is easier if I go WITH someone, so that the transition from in my house to out is not in question. I don't do transitions in/out of my house well, so it takes a lot of spoons just to do that part. If someone picks me up, that makes social interaction SO MUCH EASIER, like a WORLD easier, but people don't do that. It eases the transition on both ends, and it removes any sense of deadline stress since it's not my responsibility any more. It also makes me feel free to drink (if I am driving myself I won't drink even a little unless I'm spending the night); drinking makes it easier to interact with people because I stop judging my words in five different ways before letting them out of my mouth. I also find it easier when I am wearing an outfit that feels comfortable and 'me' and wearing expressive makeup, because I feel like that helps to attract the right sort and scare off the others.

What makes it harder is when I don't know anyone, don't have an ambassador, don't have a meaningful activity or focus, have to drive myself alone, am stressed about money, am stressed about my car breaking, or have a deadline (that sets off mild panic as an ADD coping mechanism). Having to drive someone else makes it both easier and harder. It's more stressful, but it stresses me to GO rather than to stay. It's also much harder if it is an event I have to spend money on, even if I have the money, because I feel bad about spending money regardless of why. That might change when I have a job that pays me a living wage (which I have never had).

In small groups:
What makes these easier is the same as in large groups, but there is one thing that make it harder in small groups that doesn't matter in large ones. If the group is 7 people or fewer and there is anyone who seems ill-at-ease or like they're feeling excluded, I feel responsible for connecting with them and helping them to be connected, and I can't relax unless/until they seem to feel better. I'd love to NOT do this but so far I haven't been able to resist the impulse to try to help. The smaller the group, the more intensely I feel the need to do this. Which is one of the reasons why I want to cancel crafty parties if fewer than four people are attending and none of those people are outgoing ambassador types -- I am relaxed in larger groups in a way I cannot relax in small groups.

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APW: volunteer idea, decidin to be more active w fat-positivity / date w Arizona / ritual w Serenity
icon: "spiritual (a photo of a snow leopard with (edited) violet eyes staring straight into the camera)"

So, I went to Atlanta Poly Weekend (APW) yesterday and today, and had intended to go to all of it but I've discovered that even though the anxiety meds help enough to keep me from spiraling into negativity from not being able to interact, they don't actually reduce the amount of effort it takes. So I get super worn out from the constant brush of people. I've realized that I actually can't do conferences without staying in the hotel; I can do a one-day visit but that's it. The con takes all my energy and I don't have the extra for driving back and forth, especially when I never get a chance to be alone all day. Hopefully I will be able to afford a room next time.

I also realized two ways that I want to be more involved in local community; through anti-looksist work in general and by being volunteering to help with planning accessibility for APW. I don't think that I'm especially qualified, but I have learned a lot by example from the disability coordinator for TBC (and they're a friend of mine so I could probably ask advice) so I think I could be helpful, and I don't think APW can afford to hire someone. I sent a message offering, and if they don't follow up I'll seek them out more directly. Things I would definitely do include setting aside a quiet non-interaction space for anxious folk to take a break because fuck did I miss that.

I realized I want to be more involved in anti-looksist work because I went to a session about dating while fat and polyamorous and I realized again how radical a force for change it is to be anti-looksist, and how many skills I have in this area. I need to skill-share because it's so vital for all bodies to be treated as acceptable. Fat-hating connects to so many other oppressions, so destroying fat-hating reduces the power of other oppressions. I tend to think of self-work as 'fluffy' or less important but it isn't. People need self-love to survive oppression, and we need oppressed people to survive or we cannot destroy the system.

I also got to have a little date with Arizona yesterday! Their partners let us have the hotel room to ourselves for a few hours and we cuddled and talked and then we played with thumpy toys! I brought the floggers I made recently and hadn't had a chance to use, and Arizona brought toys too. [describing consensual impact play w no power exchange]We started with Arizona thumping my back with what is called a 'billy club' -- a long rubber rod about 1.5 inches in diameter with little rubber spikes on the end (like on a meat tenderizer). Arizona used one at first, then added another and played my back like a drum! I got really into the rhythm, which changed the way it felt because I felt like I was experiencing it in both physical and auditory ways at once. Then Arizona used a steel cane (a thin metal rod about 1 cm in diameter) on my back and bum and legs. Then we took a break and had cuddles, and then Arizona used my mini floggers, my rainbow flogger, and my black suede leather floggers. (I'll try to get some photos to show soon.) The rainbow flogger was actually my favorite -- it's heavy because there are many loops of cord, but it's diffuse at the same time, so it doesn't feel 'too much' in any particular way. Lastly Arizona used my paddle (a thick hairbrush-shaped wooden one) on my bum and legs. It's really interesting how different the sensations are, even after I'm somewhat desensitized due to build-up.

Arizona and I kissed a little bit and they swayed and smiled and said they loved kissing me, which pleased me very much. I wanted to have more time to kiss today but there were a lot of people around the whole time and it was too distracting. But! They're coming back up in two weeks and they said they definitely want one-on-one time with me then. I miss them a lot and it saddens me that I can only see them so rarely.

Tonight when I got home Serenity (my housemate) had been doing a ritual for the new moon and invited me to join. Together we lit candles (including the rainbow drip candles I had been saving for ritual) and incense, smoked hookah, and they danced to music while I drummed along and then after I put the drum aside and seat-danced for a little bit they playfully pulled at me with dance movements and I got up and danced with them. I didn't feel self-conscious while dancing and only felt self-conscious while drumming for a little bit. Drumming along with the music was lovely because I was more patient with myself than usual and didn't get angry when I missed a beat. I shifted this way and that with rhythms and felt in harmony with my drum in a way I haven't since before I moved into this house, three years ago. Kanika (my cat) and Lily (Serenity's service dog) kept us company and enjoyed the energy. I feel like tonight was meant to be -- I had a lot of maybe-plans that fell through for this to happen as it did.

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need to write also need to sleep ugh / off my ADD-PI meds so my focus and memory are out the window
icon: "ADD-PI (two electromicroscope photos of crystallized acetylcholine, overlaid & warped in several ways)"

Feeling a strong need to write, but don't have time and should have been asleep already as I have to be awake in 5 hours. Got distracted so many times.

I'm off my ADD-PI meds right now because due to some fucked up coincidence I missed my last psychiatrist appointment and they rescheduled me for three weeks later, and I have to actually go in for it because it's a 'controlled' med. I had been steady for over a year, so this has been really fucking with me. I had forgotten what a creative yet disastrous toddler my brain is without medication. I get an idea and just do it, even if I don't want to be doing it right then and I have the intention to do something else. The other day I hand-ground cinnamon with a mortar and pestle (because I hadn't done it before), organized my stationary box (because I had meant to put addresses on cards which I did not do), and rearranged furniture in the living room (because I was tidying and got distracted). Today I was pulling out makeup to bring with me for an event this weekend, and had to test all of the mascaras and eyeliners to see which ones worked (even though I wasn't planning on bringing any of them), and re-organized the box. None of this is to the level of compulsion, but when I don't have a Big Important Reason not to do it, I can't bring myself to stop these things that come to mind; it takes a MASSIVE effort of will. It's a little bit cute the first day, and then it gets increasingly stressful as my sleep schedule gets way fucked up and I get nothing important done and I feel like all my time is wasted and I start getting depressed about how I can't do things I need to do. I also worked on my resume for customer service (ugh) to apply to terrible jobs I don't want (ugh) because the ones I do want are very very slow to hire and I may not even get my application looked at for literally months (one of them said to allow for up to 180 days!!! SIX MONTHS). But then I got frustrated with the application asking me to enter all the shit in my resume into their fucking boxes and (saved and) quit.

Also my short-term memory is already significantly worse and the impact of forgetting to eat is much stronger. I was feeling anxious and lonely and hopeless all of a sudden after getting home today and not sure why because I had taken my anxiety medication. After eating I felt okay again and realized that I have to be much more careful because the effects of not eating go from making me feel a little off to making me feel really awful.

There's all this other stuff I wanna write about but I do have to force myself to go to bed now if I don't want a shit tomorrow.
connecting: , , ,

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polls: audio recordings of my posts? / opt-out for sex talk filter
icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

Sometimes I read my posts out loud to Topaz while they're cooking or otherwise have hands and eyes occupied, and lately I was thinking about recording them for broader use. I'd like some feedback on the idea -- no one but me can see what you answered! I'm screening comments in case you want to give a private response but will unscreen unless you request otherwise.

How would you feel about my posts including an audio recording of me reading them aloud?

completely indifferent - I wouldn't play them, don't care
mildly curious - I might play them once or twice, but it's not likely to have a significant effect on me
pleased - I'd save them to listen to if I don't have time/space to read, or would enjoy them for another reason
put off - that sounds objectionable (reason in comments if you're willing)
other (comment with explanation if you're willing)

Oh, and I realized that those new to my LJ might like some context for the people in my life, so here is my most recent version of the characters in the story of my life. It does need updating, but it mostly has the people I reference often.

Oh! and I automatically add people to my sex talk filter. It's the only content filter I use, and I don't use it often but if I am talking about sexual experiences I friends-lock them if the person/people I am having sex with prefer it that way (as is usually the case). Here is your chance to opt-out:

wanna be on the filter?

don't care

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Hi new friends! about me / slurs hurt me / if I hurt you, lemme know / sincere questions are welcome
icon: "hopeful (close-up photo of me wearing cat-eye makeup, jewels on my cheek, and a violet glitter goatee. I'm gazing off to the side with a hopeful smile.)"

I have added a lot of awesome new people recently, and I'm very excited to have the chance to get to know you! I recently wrote an 'about me' that is exceedingly dense and comprehensive: it describes my identity, core values, personality characteristics, my attitudes about language and art and friendship, my access needs, and my spirituality. That is very long, so here is a summaryCollapse )

The most important part is the part about slurs. You probably use some of these (ableist slurs are really common), and it will probably break my heart a little bit every time. Sometimes I will take damage and betray my beliefs rather than discuss it, because I am afraid of losing people, but when I feel strong enough, I will ask people not to use these. I can handle it when it's an occasional slip-up and generally people try not to use them, but if it is constant, I just can't take it. So, here's your easy exit if you feel this is an incompatibility -- you can unfriend me with no ill will (please let me know with a comment, because LJ has been failing to notify me).

If there is ever something I do or say that hurts you or seems to be adding to systemic injustice, please let me know. I can promise that I will look at my behavior and if there is a way for me to change my behavior to prevent hurt (without violating my core values) then I will absolutely make that change as quickly and completely as I can. Relevantly, I'm bad at guessing what needs a content note/trigger warning but tell me and I will keep a list and do my best to remember.

I can be rude but I am never disrespectful on purpose, and I am never (intentionally) rude to people who are open to learning. My gentleness is most often expressed privately, because that is usually how people with sincere questions approach me. Feel free to ask me any question anytime, as long as it is sincere and you're not going to get angry if I take a while to answer or need a reminder because I have forgotten.

CN: ableist slurs used in comments (by a new friend who is now unfriended).

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request for shares! (friending meme)
Hey y'all, even if you're not looking yourself, if some people on your friends list might be seeking to add some active users, please spread the word!

just copy-paste this business:

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why I call myself an erotic mirror: I do not have intrinsic desire for any role in sex
icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

I don't call myself a switch, because 1) that implies a binary where I choose to either be one or the other but I can't merge them, which is not true of my experience, and 2) other people who identify as switches usually do so because they have active, intrinsic desire to be submissive as well as active, intrinsic desire to be dominant. I don't have either of these things.

I call myself an erotic mirror because my access to the erotic is reflective. I don't have much intrinsic desire for sex in general (I am demisexual) and I have zero intrinsic desire for roles in sex. I don't daydream about particular kinds of sex or power play, for instance. I find the idea of imagining sex or power play to be very boring; when I masturbate, it is usually while paying attention to music or just meditating. I don't masturbate out of desire for sex; I do it as a gift to my body, or because I want menstrual cramps to go away, or to be able to fall asleep quickly, or because I want to meditate and can't focus enough without involving my body.

Rather than from within me, my sexual desire comes from an interaction with a person where they have a particular desire and my desire mirrors that: they want to submit and thus I want to make them submit, or they want to take charge and thus I want to allow them (though that is rare because I dislike how most people try to take charge: a person has to have an innate connection with their primal self for that to be appealing). Or if they want me to give them a particular sensation, or want to give me a sensation, then I want to do that too (unless receiving the sensation is actively unpleasant: if I am neutral on it and they want it, then I want it). If they have no particular shape of desire, then my desire is somewhat random -- whatever memory comes up of an occasion that was particularly emotionally intense is what I will want to do.

The only things I really love for their own sake are biting, kissing, and energy play. Even if the other person doesn't have an active desire for these things but is like "they're okay, I like them a little" I will want to do them. Not as much, but at least a little bit. Whereas with other things like genital touch or bondage, if the person feels only mild desire, I won't want to do them any more. I only want those things if the other person is really into it.

This is also why I think there is very little that someone could want me to do to them that I wouldn't want to do. Unless it violated one of my core values or risked serious bodily harm, I would probably be down.

I think I have had sex with one person who was also an erotic mirror, and our sex was so intensely connected that sometimes I wasn't sure which limbs were mine. It was transcendent: the emotional equivalent of two mirrors facing, endless recursion. I'd love to know more people who are erotic mirrors.

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Friendzy Summer 2016: find active LJers who write the way you wanna read!
icon: "polyamorous relationship anarchist (a rainbow-colored heart with the 'anarchy' capital letter A cutting through it, over a brick texture that suggests the heart is graffiti)"
arms of two people who are back to back - each arm has one half of a heart with the word besties on it

Looking for more active LJ friends?
Post about yourself and find new people!

also please spread the word!

It's been a while! I have some awesome friends now and I want to share the wealth, and meet any of your awesome friends!

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poll: how would you respond to this greeting?
icon: "incitement (painting of a bald purple-skinned naked person standing among thick vines and ferns: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

If you said "hi" and I responded "share the day" how would you react?

I'd say "huh?" and wait for explanation.
I'd think you're weird, smile uncomfortably, and go on with my day.
something else (explain in comment)

explanationCollapse )

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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.