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...
for those who read my journal: how old are you?
bunnika and I were talking about the olden days of LJ (when we were about the average age on the site I think) and realized it's been 10 years. Now I'm wondering if LJ has aged in its average user in my little corner, answer pls!

Poll #2001991 age of people who read my LJ (only I can see your responses)

in what range does your age fall?

17 and under
0(0.0%)
18-22
0(0.0%)
23-27
10(18.2%)
28-32
23(41.8%)
33-37
12(21.8%)
38-42
5(9.1%)
43-47
2(3.6%)
48 and up
3(5.5%)


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progress?
at least I got something done today. I applied to the Allied Media Conference to give a skillshare on intimacy. And I mostly tidied my room from the post-trip chaos (though my art corner is full of stuff that doesn't belong). And I re-made a ritual jewelry piece that had broken. Didn't do any homework or real writing or reading though :-[

So tired of being stressed out over this same fucking conflict. can it be done already please.

#uselesspost


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overwhelmed / my friendship needs
Sorry for my absence; things have been wild but they should be settling now for at least a few weeks.

One of the major aspects of life taking my thoughts and energy lately has been my friendship with Kei-Won-Tia. I won't go into details for fear of betraying confidence, but we had a major, two-week clash over what it meant to be open, and then they expressed a need that I cannot meet and still be a whole person, so we can't be friends right now, and not in the future unless they no longer need that thing I cannot do.

It made me realize that I have a need from all of my friends, which I am not sure if I have expressed recently or clearly. I need to be able to trust that you are not going to lie to me -- that you are not going to deliberately deceive me. That is a dealbreaker for me. My dealbreakers are:
1) deceitfulness/insincerity
2) disrespect
3) manipulative behavior
4) destructiveness of self and/or others and/or living things (see original post for details)
5) indifference/apathy

and mapped out with more specificity: my minimum requirements for friendly acquaintances and actual friends / my ideal friend's qualities.

Hopefully I'll write something of more substance soon.


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spy-teller
[peeper at hotel]Was sitting by the pool with Topaz, noticed someone in a dim-lit window looking out, and mentioned it to Topaz, who said it was creepy. I thought maybe they were just looking at the firepits down below. Then they pulled out binoculars, staring across the way. I went and put my back to the wall to see what they were looking at: other hotel windows. I wouldn't care but I know some people would feel very violated if someone spied on them that way so I told the front desk who called security (wasn't sure if they were serious but then I saw someone with a security badge walk through and look in the direction of the peeper). Went back through a bit later and looked at the window and the peeper was gone.


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blergflwrgughhhhhh
[tiiiiiiiired]I'm at Xenacon and should be happy, right? but I'm sad and I feel so adrift. Everyone keeps talking about how accepting people are here but I know how fuckin quickly that changes as soon as you point out a problem, or expose yourself to BE a problem by your very (non-binary) existence. I know this is being exaggerated by my exhaustion after an extremely stressful week, and my recent profound disappointment in realizing that what I had counted on in one of my friendships is just not there. I just feel so weary at the idea of investing even a little in new people - but at the same time I really want to. So, I end up in a state of frozen indecision, and feel sad about it. I am not being fully myself, because I just don't have the energy to be.

I'm so fuckin wiped out. About to go to sleep and hope this many hours bring me enough energy to be a little more outgoing. I'm not lookin for advice so please don't give me any.


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drained from all the things / speaking against trans erasure / need more SJ call to action / aunt KC
icon: "feminist(the trans-feminist fist symbol colored in a rainbow gradient, with the words "intersectional or bullshit" on top)"

I still fully intend to answer all of the prompts, but it is unlikely that they will all get answered this month *grimace* I'll just make my way through as I have time and energy. I've been dealing with a lot, particularly confusion and heartbreak-dread (that feeling where you are dreading heartbreak but have just enough hope that you can't resign yourself, ugh) as one of my friendships appears to be undergoing an intense and very unexpected change. Also homework has been heavy and I've had so. many. interactions that have taken a shitton of energy. I have met with biofamily FOUR TIMES, had at least four major conflicts with close friends, met two new people (who were both great, but meeting a new person always takes a PILE of energy) and attended two major public events where I got a lot of attention, all in the last three weeks. Last Saturday I participated in an event for the local chapter of One Billion Rising, where I spoke this (they wanted it close to tweet-length):

I'm rising for the transgender people who are hidden.
When you decide my gender based on how I look, you violate my identity.
Who I am is not decided by my body shape or my clothes.
Making assumptions based on the average erases those most vulnerable.


I at least managed to speak clearly, though my heart was beating so hard that it actually HURT and I felt shaky shaky shaky. I hate the feeling of adrenaline. But I was glad to be at that event partly because it was SO binary and SO trans erasing and me saying that ^ was SO needed. (those weren't the only issues) I felt a murmur of shock when I finished the first sentence, but Topaz told me that people applauded extra loud after (I was so out of it at that point that I had no idea), and several people came up to me and thanked me after. So at the least, they might be open to critique, and it was way better with regards to race and nationality than other reform-based feminist events I have witnessed.

Topaz shared with me their criticism of the event afterward, which was that there was no call to action. I heartily agree. I mentioned that those tend to come in the form of conferences rather than short events and Topaz said that shouldn't be the case, which kinda blew my mind with how fuckin true it is. You know what would be fantastic? a monthly meeting where all the SJ groups in the area come in and each share like a 15-minute blurb on what actions they are taking or planning and what their needs are for participation. Also, another monthly event that is just skill-sharing, people go and share solutions they have found and victories they have won or even recent victories they've heard of, or fuck, even old victories that have been erased from history. I could go to an event like that and get so much practical knowledge AND it would be so SO good for motivation, since I think the #1 motivation killer is the idea that we can't get anything done. People are getting shit done ALL AROUND us and also it is fucking insulting to the memory of people like Bayard Rustin and Sylvia Rivera for present-day people who care about social justice to refuse to use the tools of reform as well as the tools of revolution. VOTING MATTERS TOO.

I went to this event because of my aunt KC, who a week ago led a shared art project in my city that I also participated in. I really like KC -- I don't feel like I have to hide things, and they understand a lot of social justice issues already so they have the framework for me explaining more things. They're also open to learning from me, which I find to be rare in people who are a generation older than me. I feel upset with my parents for having not really allowed them to be part of my life, because I feel like we could be super close if my parents had invested in them like they invested in other people who were not critical of my parents (KC wasn't directly critical but would point out some of their bullshit). My number one problem with my parents is that they don't try to learn and grow, instead they flee from criticism. There could have been SO MUCH LESS SUFFERING if they had ever been willing to admit their ignorance and mistakes. Anyway.

So, KC is a professional artist who works for social and ecological justice. Last week we went to coffee for just a little while, and I showed them my fractals which they liked very much. I wish I had had more time with them, but I was so swamped that I really had no chance to spend more one-on-one time with them. I found out that there is ADD on my mom's side of the family too, which makes me want to get to know that person (I find that people with ADD tend to be people I like, which is annoying because they also tend to be people who are hard to connect with). I am not entirely sure how to build a relationship with KC now but I intend to.


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the intersection of openness, intimacy, and privacy as it relates to me
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

So a friend of mine told me something that had an intense emotional impact on me (and was then unavailable for conversation), and I talked with another friend about it to try to process it. Several days later, the first friend told me that they wanted it kept secret. So as not to lie by omission, I told them that I had already told a mutual friend of ours as it literally did not occur to me to think of this as a secret, or to think of the friend as the wrong person to talk about my feelings with. The first friend is upset with me now because they feel I broke their confidence. So that this doesn't happen again, let me issue the following PSA:

I do not understand social assumptions regarding privacy. I do not know what qualifies as 'private' to you if you have never told me. If you have never told me that something you are sharing is private, expecting me to know that is not okay. If you want me to keep a secret, tell me it's a secret. I cannot know what you want to hide. And if you want me to keep things secret, don't tell me you want to be open with everyone.

In most cases this should be irrelevant. Most events are not going to affect me in a way that mentioning you specifically is important. For instance, if you describe a fight with your partner and that sparks memories and feelings in me, the specifics of your situation are not relevant and I wouldn't feel a desire to share them. However, if something happens between us or if something happens that could change or end our connection, then mentioning you specifically is relevant because our connection is unique and my feelings about it are going to change based on who you are and the history of our connection. If Kylei was moving away, that wouldn't feel at all the same as if Heather was moving away. If they didn't tell me "keep this a secret" then it wouldn't even occur to me to keep it to myself because I'd be thinking about it a lot and I'd want to discuss it and/or write about it.

If you ever ask me to keep something in confidence, I would do it as a matter of course. In any case whether you tell me it's private or not, I am not going to tell an abuser, authority figure, or dangerous person something that makes you vulnerable to them. That would not be me sharing my feelings with someone I love and trust, that would be me exposing you to danger for no reason. Of course I would not do that!! but if you have never told me that a person is dangerous to you, and I love and trust them, then I may unknowingly do that. This is why I must be told who not to talk to about something you want kept secret. In the rare case where I want to share something that involves you, I am willing to suffer a loss by not sharing if it will keep you from feeling hurt.

If you want me to default to not talking about you at all, tell me and I'll do that. That will seriously impact my desire to be close to you, because I loathe making secrets out of things that have personal meaning to me (like my close people). I would never have a secret lover, for instance, because that would feel torturous to me, and would disrupt my intimacy with everyone else I cared about. I don't want to be told lots of secrets, because the sheer amount will cause me extreme distress considering that my memory might make me fail at that point. But conversely, if you're gonna keep secrets from me about things that would impact our relationship, I can't trust you. So, secretive people do not work for me as close friends. I can be casual friends with secretive people and even love them, but I cannot be close to them.

For me, there are literally hundreds of people I am okay with knowing the details of my life. I warn my lovers that if they want to be a large force in my life they need to be okay with me writing about them (about their actions and their words to me) in my LJ. The exception I will make is that I will lock it if it is something they don't want shared publicly, and/or use a pseudonym. This is something I try to mention fairly early on, as it's extremely important to me. I spent my first relationship not talking about that person with anyone and it hindered my growth and nourishment extremely.

I have one friend who values privacy very much. They have made this clear to me. I ask them which people I can talk about them with and what I can talk about, unless I'm being very vague (vague being something like "a friend of mine was talking about media consumption"). This is possible mostly because we have a very specific methodology of sharing with each other. I could not be happy with that situation if we were in a more intimate relationship, because people who affect my daily life are part of my story. I would need at least to be able to talk about them (without checking) with a few people they had vetted. If I love you and invest continually in you, what happens in your life is a part of my life. I need to be free to be open about my life with the people I trust at the very least.

I value having a circle of people (most of those in intimacy practice) who all know each others' business, who all call each other out and point out when someone is getting off track. This is why I put myself in uncomfortable situations for intimacy practice and have conflict resolution that is witnessed. if I fuck up, I want everyone to know about it, so that if there is something I could learn, I have the greatest chance that someone will teach me. I would rather be embarrassed than ignorantly problematic.

In short, here are your privacy choices with me:
-anything is fine to share unless otherwise specified.
-anything is fine to share with identifying information removed. (this doesn't work if people know you well enough to guess)
-nothing specific is okay to share unless specific permission has been granted for what to share and with whom.

or come up with your own preference and ask me and I'll let you know if I can do it, and then you can make an informed decision.


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free public education is necessary but the current system is mediocre bordering on abusive
icon: "bluestocking (photo of a book laying open on a table in front of an open window, with light streaming in and a yellow spiral fractal overlay)"

from bunnika: What are your feelings on education at large? Its necessity (or lack thereof), benefits, downsides, cost. Feel free to include all levels of education that you have opinions on from preschool through grad school.

I think free public education is absolutely necessary, and the way the US does it is super shitty. I think at least 50% of what kids are taught is USELESS and the other 50% is barely a beginning. Also the way schools are funded is horrifically classist and awful. There's a zillionty problems with it. I'm just gonna talk about what I think should be done instead.

I think writing is a necessary class every year, and maybe 3 grades of arithmetic. In addition, critical analysis (where people learn to absorb media in critical ways) should alternate with self-development (where people learn to be self-aware and express themselves) every year. Every year there should be a 'basic skills' class which teaches things like laundry, gardening, nutrition, stretching, etc. Other than that, kids should have to take one class in each of many practical specialties before high school, and then in high school they should choose their own classes. It should be possible to go to 9th grade and learn neuroscience, baking, construction, gymnastics, and horticulture (in 101 classes of course). The idea that every kid should learn the same basics for THIRTEEN FUCKING YEARS is part of the reason we have so few actual thinkers and so many people who get stuck in their ruts. If it was all mixed up and by choice, kids would absorb new information from their friends constantly and naturally, and it would be actual consensual learning instead of meaningless obedience and memorization. Kids would learn that the world is full of really cool information and they'd develop an interest in learning and in self-educating. Also, other than tests on reading and basic math (not quite sure how those should be handled), everything should be graded by portfolio. You should be judged by how productive you have been and how much you have improved, never by how well you meet an external standard.

College should not need to have any 'core classes' because everyone should already have been exposed to enough paths to feel sure of which one(s) they want to invest further study in. And college should not be restrictive! if a person can do the work in a class they should be able to take it even if it has nothing to do with their main courses of study. For grading, a teacher should collect work and give feedback along the way and then at the end of the course give pass or fail (you learned the basic concepts or you didn't).

Grad school? I think if college was done right, this would just be a part of regular college. There should be further classes in any specialty that would benefit from a deeper understanding, but they shouldn't give you a new title/rank. You should take them only if you actually just want to know more. Classes should be things that get listed on resumes, not degrees.

I think most of the education system as it stands is mediocre bordering on abusive of both teachers and students (which is why so many good teachers burn out, and so many creative people drop out). I hate it. But I love and admire everyone who gets in it to try to make it better for the students. A teacher with enough passion can make up for a lot of the failures of the system but that is NOT the system functioning as it is designed. Those teachers have to break the system to save their students. The system is built to create drones, not educated lively productive people.


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overwhelmed and ineffectual / cowardly and shit at making friends
I've been so overwhelmed this week; social without a break and a lot of that social was stressful. Last night I had planned to read for class and write and LJ, but instead I just watched hour after hour of Netflix. I couldn't get myself to stop, until an hour past when I had intended to go to sleep. I'm not entirely sure if the problem is meds-fail or emotional exhaustion or both. I hate it. But it helped to be uselessly absorbing for a while. I was able to finally do some necessary things today (bills and cleaning).

I went to my black feminisms class today which was really fantastic as usual; we talked about friendship and at one point, one of the professors asked everyone who wanted deep meaningful friendship to raise their hands. Everyone did. All but two of that class are people I think I'd like to be friends with. I wanted to ask people afterwards... even just one, but I couldn't do it. I left, and once I got to the parking deck I just started crying. I felt so useless and cowardly. I just can't initiate friendship in person: online is all I know how to do. I feel like someone who can't perform the most basic task of socializing. And I feel shamed because of the social attitude that online communication or online anything is inferior. So I don't want to make my inferior invitation to friendship.

Also I seem to always fail when I try to make friends. The only ones that have stuck are ones that reached out to me first. I have so many failed attempts. I'm not actually passive at starting friendship, I just fail constantly. I don't get it. Am I shit at choosing people? Or is there some quality that only exists if people initiate with me? Does no one take the way I initiate seriously? Or what? why can't I overcome this? maybe the strangeness is in the other direction, that I try to match or exceed the amount of effort the other has invested, but most people don't.


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forms of intimacy and societal assumptions made: there is no highest form of intimacy
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

from delicatexflower: what do you consider the highest form of intimacy? does it vary on the person?

I think the most intense form of intimacy does vary both from person to person and interaction to interaction. I recognize many different kinds:

mental, physical, romantic, creative, sexual, resource, spiritual, dwelling, amusement, trauma, historical, exposure, access, conflictCollapse )

The two kinds with the highest esteem in society are sexual and historical. People refer to loving someone "like family" when they mean "with great intensity and closeness" but rarely do I see families with any real level of mental intimacy: they just have a lot of historical and exposure intimacy. People are assumed to hold sexual intimacy as a special kind and once they have it with someone, it is assumed that some kind of bond is formed (which is true sometimes but nowhere near always). I feel deep resentment that these two kinds are held as more important than the others, because they are not better and they are not necessary for deep intimacy!

Also, few people realize that more kinds exist than sexual, historical, and exposure. And because of this, they think that you can only get intimacy on accident, because you 'fell in love' or fell in lust or because you were raised with/by someone or because you went to school together or worked together. But those can be such shallow types of intimacy. Historical intimacy in particular tends to stagnate people: they have intimacy with someone because of what used to be true, so they are afraid to change because if they break with their history, they break with those that they connected with through it. Exposure intimacy is only meaningful if it is current or if everyone involved is stagnant. For instance, if you spent every single day with someone for five years you probably know them REALLY well unless that happened ten years ago, in which case you might not know them at all. Sexual intimacy can be completely shallow if people are just following scripts without thought or intention. I would say most of the others can be shallow too; no form of intimacy is inherently more intense than another. It all depends on what kinds you have access to and what you do with them.


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prompts: what angers me in religion / desperation-fueled religious phases / what is the bible?
icon: "ma'at (photo of a scale with a feather on it, and underneath it the word "Ma'at")"

from topaznebula: What about [Christianity] and its followers makes you mad? Why? Have you chosen to abandon that religion and/or part of that religion and/or it's followers, why or why not?

What infuriates me is when people use a religion as a weapon - any religion, but since I know so much about Christianity, that one upsets me most. There is no fuckin excuse for trying to control other people's behavior with Christianity, for instance, as the Bible makes it extremely clear that your job as a follower of Jesus is to deal with your OWN shit. The bible says don't judge, deal with your own flaws first (and you'll never run out), use the bible as a mirror, work out your own salvation, love is the highest commandment and if you do that the others don't matter, etc. Instead, 'Christians' do not try to grow and change, they don't bother checking themselves before trying to fix others, they use the bible as a lawbook with which to justify their behavior and condemn others, they don't do any real work at all for their 'faith' and they sure as fucking hell don't bother to love. They're rotten little abominations and they disgust me. I can't say if I have abandoned the church, as if I were to find a church that actually lived up to the radical self-examination, generosity, and compassion that Jesus taught, I'd be very excited and probably add Christian to my self-labels again. However, while I check every time I come across a new church, I doubt very much that I will ever find one that is not rife with oppression. So, I keep Jesus as a part of my life, and I take inspiration from parts of the Bible*, but I do not engage with the church. As for its followers, I feel great love and admiration for ones like Jimmy Carter and bell hooks, but the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians I would call whitewashed tombs, and I want nothing to do with them. Failing to be compassionate and growthful is far more shameful if you are claiming that as your life path. Wanna be a selfish stagnation? Go ahead, but don't dare claim that you give a shit about what Jesus taught.

---

from darkestgarden: could you say that any of your spiritual or religious phases were fueled by desperation of some kind? if so, what was the nature of the desperation? how did it help or hinder your growth?

Hmm, I guess when I was trying new churches and spiritual groups constantly that was fueled by desperation. I yearned for community. I don't think it had any significant effect on my growth one way or the other. I never sought out spiritual things as a solution to a problem in my life though, not that I can remember. I looked for healing but as a support for the processes I already had going. I think I always hoped for something shockingly life altering to happen to me with organized religion, but ultimately my choice to seek was for its own sake and not for what it could bring me.

*I was about 19 when I realized that the bible is not a book of answers nor is it pure truth, despite being told that it was those things. It's 'good for teaching' like it says (that is the boldest claim it makes about itself), and that's it. It became much more useful to me when I stopped trying to use it like a search engine and instead used it to spark deep reflection. Honestly any book with enough words and not too much repetition would work this way, even the dictionary. I've read the bible cover to cover three times, and read parts of it upwards of eleven times. It's not a primary tool of mine now but when I come across a discussion of a part of it I tend to reflect on it for some days, examining the falseness that the church has invariably attached to it and tumbling the real meaning over in my mind. If logic worked on prejudice, I could talk all Christians out of their oppressive bullshit.


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spiritual transitions, why and how: religions, deities, spiritual concepts
darkestgarden asked me to describe my spiritual transitions: how did you transition from one spiritual phase to another? what thoughts and questions and feelings sparked those transitions? were the individual transitions easy difficult, painful? have you suffered loss of any kind because of a transition? have you faced someone else's anger and/or disappointment and/or scorn for changing? has a change ever destroyed relationships? have you ever felt angry or disappointed or foolish for having believed in something, once you've transitioned away from one set of beliefs?

The first transition between one belief set and another happened when I went to my pastor and gently, respectfully inquired how they could reconcile their "witnessing (getting people to convert) is the most important goal in life" with what Jesus said, that love is the most important goal in life. There was no good reason but they were invested in their evangelical attitude and so rather than reconsider, they attacked me. They told me that everything about my life was wrong and useless and I wasn't really a part of their church, because I wasn't part of a small group. (I had tried several small groups but they were all just interested in socializing so I kept trying to find one that would actually be growthful. Essentially I had not failed, the small groups had) I had been attending for about 13 years, always sang and usually danced in worship, took notes during the sermon and often talked with the pastor afterwards to process it; I always took everything profoundly seriously. There was no possible way to actually doubt my devotion. This pastor just wanted to maintain their bad doctrine and was willing to eviscerate my soul to do it. At one point their spouse came up and tried to get them to stop and they silenced their spouse rudely (also the only time I'd seen them be rude to another person). Eventually they told me that they were not my pastor. This is the equivalent of being disowned by your parents, if you loved them. I kept their photo on my wall: that is how important they were to me. So I left, crying my eyes out, and didn't go back for a while, because it hurt too much.

That church had been the one thing between me and giving up on the institution. I admired how they did anti-racism work and how the pastor used to say before each sermon "this is just my human interpretation: check with God, your own spirit, and the Bible to be sure it is right." They sure turned their back on that. I have visited every once in a while to see if they've gotten better but they have descended into worse and worse blasphemy, advocating that women put up with spousal rape, advocating that you use violence to 'save' your children, being violently anti-queer, hanging a bunch of flags instead of doing anti-racism work outside the church building, etc.

Anyway, for a while I had no spiritual community and I missed that so much. I looked and looked. I began exploring other ways of connecting with deity, since I couldn't do my old methods. I came to realize that the perception of Godde presented by the church was wrong. I studied things alone and realized the intense levels of sexism and hierarchy that were imbedded in the worship music, which had always been a haven for me and now I couldn't have that either. I studied other religions but they all had something wrong with them: sexism and/or codes of ethics that included things I could not agree with. So I started the lonely road of creating my own belief system.

There have been other transitions, but gradual and natural ones based on new experience or understanding. I moved from believing in a male 3-in-1 god who sometimes wore other faces to a gender-neutral Godde and male Jesus and gender-neutral holy spirit, to a life that is all things and manifests as various deities sometimes which are no more or less important a manifestation than are planets or oceans or humans or fish or ants. I have transitioned my belief in ownership of an eternal soul to a belief in a transitory experience of beingness, upon realizing that the former did not make sense in light of my understandings about who "I" am. That was a realization that shook me intensely, as it was foundational, but it wasn't painful. It was a little uncomfortable as I know it moved me further from the possibility of fitting with a larger spiritual community, since so many are based on an eternal soul, an afterlife, and/or an inherently "more important" deity. These transitions happened as I learned more about the universe and myself, and integrated what I learned.

I've lost many things in transitions, but most were illusions. For instance, the profound sense of unity that comes with believing the same thing as another person: inherently an illusion, since no two people believe the exact same thing even if they have the same belief set and religious/spiritual education. I feel nostalgic for the comfort of those illusions sometimes but I don't miss them.

I've never felt angry or embarrassed or anything for having believed something spiritual that I don't anymore: my old beliefs are the fertilizer for my new ones and I don't think it would have been possible for me to get to where I am without having believed those things. The only things that I have been ashamed to have believed are the ways that I reinforced oppression in my religion many many years ago, but I always feel a little removed because those were things I never truly believed, yet accepted because I couldn't find a way to resist them.


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on nonstandard pronouns such as bun/bunself or fae/faeself and transphobia
icon: "Renenutet (a relief carving of Renenutet, represented as a winged cobra, overlaid with a fractal coloring)"

volamonster asked me to give detailed thoughts and feelings on a person requiring others to use pronouns for them such as bun/bunself, fae/faeself, and other uncommon choices.

My initial reaction to learning of these pronouns was that they allow the benefits without the stigma; it seemed unfair. A way to use the hard work of trans people for a fun little idiosyncrasy; tourism in the world of the gender non-conforming. I have definitely seen this emotional reaction in the trans community and I get it. But the more I thought about it and the more I was exposed to it, the more I realized that even though some people will just use it for tourism, those who use nonstandard pronouns of any kind in a serious manner (such as asserting and requiring) make the world ultimately a safer place in the long run.

While defaults being presented with "bun asked me to carry bun's stuff to the car, but I told bun to do it bunself" may indeed react with mockery and respond to further nonstandard pronouns with mockery, I don't think that's something that bun was creating. Any pripoi was gonna mock anyway; trans people haven't lost a chance to get taken seriously because of this other pronoun. On the flip side, having been exposed to non-standard pronouns in a way that is less threatening to their world view, they may take trans people's pronouns less seriously in a good way. People don't murder what they think is harmless; they murder what threatens their entire framework of reality. If being exposed to bunself or faeself gives phobic people a chance to experience non-typical genders without having to re-think their whole life, that could be a good thing.

Also, I don't approve of respectability politics: we don't need to act near-default to have respect (for instance, using he/she/they). And if a fae-ish or bun-ish person (no idea of the proper way to frame that gender) is willing to face the same bullshit, they are sharing the burden and I appreciate it. I like the idea of eventually having a language that either allows for every person to have their own pronoun, or simplifies to a single pronoun for all living beings. I could see it going one of those two ways.

Also, anytime a person thinks to themselves, "is this way that people treat me true to me? no? then how could they treat me in a way that affirms me?" and then takes that answer and asserts it, I feel they are doing valuable self-reflection. And if that becomes a cultural norm, it makes it easier for others to assert their own needs. Questioning the norm is always valuable, including when it is of a less oppression-resistant variety.


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Intelligence vs admirable thinking
webgirluk asked how I would define intelligence, and I have two answers to this.

Overall, intelligence is something I consider to be like 'attractiveness': a harmful social rating system with no useful applications. It is an arbitrary measure of worth, defined by how well a person's thinking reproduces society's values. For instance, someone who fails all standardized tests will be called "unintelligent" because they cannot predict what society would say is the correct answer. IQ tests are not a good measure of the skill or quality of a person's thinking but they are an excellent measure of how society will rate a person's intelligence, because the way the tests are formed favors those who have been exposed to certain concepts and values. Intelligence is held up as a virtue, but while it can be useful it is morally irrelevant, and I get extremely angry when people use 'unintelligent' (or slurs that are synonyms) to mean 'morally inferior' (for a whole host of reasons). I don't consider the category of 'stupid' to actually exist either, just like 'ugly' doesn't really exist. There are people who don't think like society wants them to, and those people are oppressed because of it, but they are not actually less able to think nor are their thoughts inferior. It is just a difference that is stigmatized.

Sometimes people use intelligence to mean "thinking that is valuable and worth admiration." Regarding this, I consider "admirable thinking" to be thinking that questions assumptions and looks for new ideas and perspectives. Thinking that is curious and expressive, that seeks to learn and reshape thoughts rather than to reinforce current ideas, that finds enjoyment in realizing their mistakes because it means they learned something new. This admirable thinking is present in a wide range of 'IQ levels' and expression-skill levels; however, it is not available to everyone, as it is a type of thinking that usually requires time, energy, and access to new ideas. So, a lack of it is not a moral failing UNLESS you have the privilege of those things. It is always morally negative (harm-creating) in the context of privilege. I don't consider this to be 'intelligence' but it is the closest thing I actually consider to exist.


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stepwise processing: lists both ordered and otherwise / how I set goals
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

The other day Abby gave me feedback about my post on 5-steps to educate or eliminate that made me realize that I have subconscious processes for a lot of things, and when I make those processes conscious and concrete, they become more useful to me. So I'm probably going to be making more stepwise-processing posts in the future, and I'm gonna go back and tag the ones I can remember. The first one that comes to mind is how I apologize when I have hurt someone -- 1) empathize 2) explain 3) change (the order of that is VERY important). I'm including lists in this too, even when they are not ordered lists, such as my draws and dealbreakers: my reasons to fight for a relationship and my reasons to end one. If you can think of any of my posts that involved processing through lists, that would be super helpful if you'd tell me about them, even a vague topic would help me find them.

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How I set goals: I set goals by my desires, and figure out those with these questions. I used to set goals out of guilt or fear or shame, but not now. I have to be pulled to make something a goal, not pushed.

1) What do I most feel a lack of in my life? What do I have the most unfilled yearning for? What do I most quickly start missing when I don't have it?

2) What are some ways I could get more of those things?

3) How can I make small daily habits or once-a-week tasks out of #2's answers?


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steal this idea and make this program please.
icon: "writing (a relief carving of Seshat, overlaid with my fractal "Colorflight")"

OMG I just had the best idea. Much of rhetorical power is in structure, so it should be possible to create a computer program where you can write a speech, then have it process it into a format that would create the desired result - being remembered and taken seriously. Things like repetition of key words, sets of three, rhyme, alliteration and assonance, even puns, those would all totally be programmable. ARGH wish I had the skills to do this.

Of course, it may already be done.


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5-step educate or eliminate / when I realize I'm wrong / reducing privilege effects
icon: "passionate (a red stylized gas mask: the Benjamin Gate symbol)"

Being able to tell when someone is not interested in learning is a vital skill in resisting oppression, I think. I have a system now. If you make a problematic statement, I will follow these five stepsCollapse )

If at any point, someone comes to me with a request for resources to learn, I will courteously and generously try to come up with the resources I think would be most helpful. I will give of my time, energy, and thought to do this. But I will not waste any time on someone who just wants to try to verbally fence with me. Pripois often find it entertaining to fight about social issues that have no negative effect on them, and I have no interest in providing their entertainment. (pripoi= privilege-poisoned person, one who denies privilege and/or refuses to try to reduce its effects)

I consider it a radical and important action to tell a privileged person that their opinion on oppression is useless. They are almost always shocked by this, and it sticks in their memory. Being flat-out told you are wrong and uninterestingly so is a rare experience for pripois. It encourages them to self-examine. I know this was true for me when I was privilege-poisoned. (I am still privileged of course, but no longer to the point of denying my own privilege or refusing to attempt to ameliorate its effects)

On realizing that I'm wrong, I often feel embarrassed if I think I should have figured it out already, but I also feel happy because it means I learned something new. I prefer to realize things myself because that's less embarrassing but I feel grateful when someone tells me information that makes me realize I was wrong about something with a lot of impact, because it feels like the world is suddenly profoundly changed and I have potential for many new understandings. It's a gift to have someone correct my misunderstanding -- yes, even if it's done rudely. Also, one of the habits I have built as a protection against embarrassment is to say, "yeah, I was wrong" as soon as I realize it. It prevents me getting defensive, and it allows me to stop calculating the extent of my wrongness and focus on figuring out a way to do better. It sort of short-circuits the shame cycle, for me. (if it is something I feel really bad about, I can fret about it later where the person confronting me doesn't have to deal with my self-centered guilt/shame)

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How not to be a pripoi: an example.

An example of reducing the effects of privilege would be: you're a man and you're hanging out with a woman and a man. The man makes a sexist comment and the woman responds explaining the problem. You resisting oppression and reducing privilege effect would be saying something like "I agree" or "you need to listen to this" rather than making your own argument in the same vein. Men have the privilege of having their arguments taken seriously while women are ignored, and you can push back against this by being supportive without adding your own voice, if there is already someone who is not a man speaking. If no one else speaks up, then by all means, express your issue with the sexist comment. But if after your initial statement, someone who actually experiences that oppression takes up the discussion, remember that it's time to pull back and be supportive.

I learned that^ method by example, when a default (white hetero cisgender nondisabled male) posted a really sexist article and myself and three women had pointed out various issues in it. The default ignored all of our arguments. Then an ally who is a really great person (also a default) came in and said something that was a rephrasing of one of the same points. The pripoi default then suddenly acknowledged that point, while criticizing the rest of us. This was a fail of allyship because it allowed the pripoi to dismiss 90% of what we had said, and when I noticed it I realized that I have done the same thing before with issues where I am the ally (such as racism or mobility impairment). I determined that I would do my best to express only support in a discussion of an issue that doesn't affect me when others have it handled. However I have a shit memory and I know I have fucked up since then, so if you ever notice me failing on this please call me out.


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Writing prompts: only ones that would be hard for you to answer please! {FULL!}
icon: "voltaic (me, face at a sharp angle staring out of one eye with a slight smile and streaks of rainbow light on my face)"

Well, since bunnika, keiwontia, and aliki (and someone else I'm forgetting) are doing it, I think it's a good time for me too. Please pick up to 3 days and give me some writing prompts for February! But please, ONLY ask questions that if you were to ask them of yourself, you would have to think for a while before knowing the answer. You can use questions I have asked you before, if you want, and if I have already done them I'll give you the link *smiles*

[finished]
1--How would you personally define intelligence?

2-- detailed thoughts and feelings on a person requiring others to use pronouns for them such as bun/bunself, fae/faeself, and other uncommon choices

3--spiritual transitions: how did you transition from one spiritual phase to another? what thoughts and questions and feelings sparked those transitions? were the individual transitions easy, difficult, painful? have you suffered loss of any kind because of a transition? have you faced someone else's anger and/or disappointment and/or scorn for changing? has a change ever destroyed relationships? have you ever felt angry or disappointed or foolish for having believed in something, once you've transitioned away from one set of beliefs?

4--What, if anything, about religion A (place name of any applicable religion here) and it's followers makes you mad? Why? (You don't need to actually place a religion here, just talk about the patterns in any religion). Have you chosen to abandon that religion and/or part of that religion and/or it's followers, why or why not?

5--could you say that any of your spiritual or religious phases were fueled by desperation of some kind? if so, what was the nature of the desperation? how did it help or hinder your growth?

6--what do you considered the highest form of intimacy? does it vary on the person?

7-- What are your feelings on education at large? Its necessity (or lack thereof), benefits, downsides, cost. Feel free to include all levels of education that you have opinions on from preschool through grad school.


8--Has your interest and preference for art changed over the years? What sort of art styles and genres were you interested in as a child, teen, in your 20s, vs now? Has your interest range become more specific or has it widened, or both? Why?

9-- deities: if a god (or gods, or goddesses, or some other kind of divine entities) has ever factored into your spirituality, what drew you to them? how did you perceive them at the times you felt most connected with them? as beings that exist, or more as mythical constructs? something else? did you ever feel that you genuinely had a two-way means of communication with those entities (say, for example, through prayer or meditation), or were they silent? have you ever felt that a god has intervened in your life directly, for better or for worse? if you did feel like you had a two-way communication with a god, or felt that they intervened in your life, but later your beliefs changed, how did you perception change of those experiences? did you feel mistaken about the nature of those experiences? have you ever felt that you were just plain wrong somehow about prior beliefs?

10--How do you define trust in your relationships? Do you believe it is a black and white issue or a grey area one in that you can trust people in different ways?

11-- What, if anything, do you think you've learned FROM me; And, what, if anything, do you feel you've learned from being with me; And, what, if any, big things have you learned since we got together? (From Topaz)

12--If you could listen to an hour's audio footage of people talking about you behind your back. Would you listen to it or not listen to it? Why or why not?

13-- What is a gift you've always wished to receive but haven't yet? This can be as literal or figurative as fits.

14-- Talk about dysphoria (social, bodily, etc) in relation to your own gender id. Do you experience it? If so, how, and what means do you take to fight it? What kind of affects does it have on your mental life? What would you say to others who have dysphoria too?

15--While embracing criticism and critical analysis, as well as optimism, describe how media has impacted your life. What benefits have you and do you take from media, and how does media hurt you? Focusing specifically on few different categories (treat each category as if I asked the question about it individually): a. journalism/written news (including your favorite news sources and something like Fox News written stories) b. TV/radio entertainment (music, shows, commentary on "news" channels); c. Art, social and mass communication media (films, music, email, LJ, Facebook).

16-- have you ever had a spiritual mentor? if so, what was the relationship like, and if you are no longer close or in contact, was there anything specific that caused the disconnect (aside from moving away from the religion/spiritual practice in general)?

17-- What is a skill you've always wished to have, but don't? What had stopped you from pursuing it, or what stopped you from achieving it?

18--How would you define luck and would you consider yourself lucky relative to the society you live in?

19-- do you currently have any spiritual practices? are you developing any in particular at the moment? have you abandoned any recently? what rituals in each phase did you connect with the most? the least? have holidays ever held any spiritual meaning for you? has that changed at all as you've grown?

20--What steps do you take to make your LJ (Facebook, etc, but I am mostly interested in LJ) into a place you want it to be, which of them work, and do any of them happen to trap you in the image of yourself you have already created here and impede you expressing everything of yourself here?

21--literature and relics: what sources (like spiritual tomes) did you consult or study for increased knowledge and guidance in each phase, if any? what, if any, physical objects have held spiritual significance for you over your journey? if you transitioned to another belief system, did you keep those objects despite the change? did you re-purpose them? get rid of them? give them away? how did individual objects become charged with meaning? was it instantaneous, or did it happen gradually, over time?

22--Have any defense mechanisms you have created that seemed good at the time you created them turned inside out with time? If so, how do you notice the have and how do you work to put them right again/stop using them?

23--what are your most powerful spiritual experiences? if you've transitioned to a different religion/spiritual philosophy, did you recontextualize the experience in any way? did the power or depth of an experience diminish at all due to a transition? if so, why?

24--What mental problem is the most difficult for you to speak about/work on right now? Why?

25--what are your experiences with spiritual communities? what would your ideal spiritual community "look" like, given your beliefs now?

26--Have you ever morally contradicted yourself?

27--spirituality and my daily life and goals: how do you hope to grow as a spiritual being? what direction(s) do you wish to go for the future? how has (and does) your spirituality shaped your day-to-day existence? how does it intersect with your own concepts of identity? how much or little has this fluctuated over the course of your life? how do you benefit from your beliefs? on the other hand, are you disadvantaged in any way by them? what, if any, challenges has religion/spirituality posed to you over the course of your life? is there any aspect of your life that spirituality doesn't enter into? have you ever compartmentalized your spirituality (at any point in your life) for the sake of others, or to otherwise protect yourself?

28--Have you ever had any "spiritual" experiences that challenged your perceptions of reality? I put "spiritual" in quotes because even atheists can be spiritual in having a sense of awe and wonder. That word seems to mean different things to different people. What are your opinions about otherkin, therians, faeborn and similarly identified people?


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spiritually inspired/nourished / how I meditate / what eye contact feels like for me
icon: "woven souls (me and Hannah lying naked on black cloth, with legs entwined, laying on our sides facing each other with one set of hands entwined with each other's, and the top shoulder leaning back, relaxed. there is a red and violet overlay with the violet coloring me and the red coloring Hannah)"

I haven't been this regularly spiritually inspired and nourished -ever. I was gonna say "in a long time" but really, I think the previous longest streak that felt like this was a week and a half. I can't express how good it feels. I think part of what is fueling it is the fact that I've been keeping up with writing and daily photo-taking and daily unprompted openness and regular time with friends and time in nature. The flow of creativity and connection is very inspiring. Also I think I'm in a great place where I am starting to develop things that I have already discovered, and it builds much faster than when I'm initially just fumbling around.

This Wednesday I met up with Cass (a close friend of Heather's who I have known peripherally for a long time) and we had some great talks. Partway through we parted so that I could do my weekly meditation, and I sat on a dock next to the river and stared at the water for a while, and closed my eyes for a while, and had a difficult time settling in. Eventually I was able to get in the space (it is much harder for me when I am not in my sanctuary) and as I was meditating I realized that I want to re-make my sistrum with a heavier handle, perhaps with stones embedded. I felt really pleased with this prospect. After meditation Cass asked if they could ask me what my meditation was like. I said firstly, you can always ask me any question ever, and on the rare occasion when I don't wish to answer, I will just say so. Then I rambled about what I do and as I did so came to realize what it is that I do.

I don't ever do emptiness meditation. Sometimes I hold an object and focus on it, sometimes I gaze at something and focus intently on that, sometimes I look through a deck of oracle/tarot cards, sometimes I read a book, sometimes I chant, sometimes I dance, sometimes I focus on my breathing, sometimes I focus on a situation that I want to change. In a good number of these, I am thinking. But when I start going down a thought-trail I have already explored, I stop. And I just block off old thoughts, one by one, until new ones have a chance to come up. I developed this totally unintentionally but I really like it.

Cass also asked me what eye contact feels like for me, which was also a question I hadn't considered. I reflected, and said that with most people I become a mirror, they look in my eyes and see themselves reflected, but through a lens of compassion. The first time I did silent prolonged eye contact with someone, the person cried and cried (that one was at least 10 minutes). People always seem to have a strong emotional response. I tend to get a strong sense of their pain or longing when this happens, sometimes seeing bits of memories that aren't mine. I enjoy giving them feelings of being noticed, of being cared for.

I'd really like to get that feeling others seem to get, but I think that maybe that requires a skill most people don't have or maybe I unconsciously block off the flow in that direction or both. I know I need to trust the person on multiple levels: trust that they want to see me truly and without a role or pedestal, trust that when they see me they will be reverent, trust that they can handle my full self without crumbling, trust that they will not use what they learn to manipulate me whether on purpose or accidentally, trust that they will not attach to me or pull my energy from me. So, yeah, writing this out I realize why I have rarely had eye contact be so emotional for me; that list is a rare and extremely high level of trust. I have such a deep level of easy-vulnerability that the vulnerable-to-me level is something most don't seem to look for. Few people seem to realize that more exists, much less ask me to open that up for them.

I have had transcendent eye contact, mostly during sex. I feel like that is when people get in a space of focus where it is easier for them to try and see me without getting distracted by their reflection. Also, there was this barista I met in a coffeeshop when I was 19, who from the moment I met them locked eyes with me and it felt comfortable and easy and natural and loving, and we had amazing conversations for the 6 months that I frequented that coffeeshop. But between that person and now, I have had a number of experiences where people would make eye contact with me and try to attach to me or pull from me, both of which feel like someone trying to sneakily rub their genitals on you. It's awful. But then the people that I do trust tend to consider eye contact too difficult. So I don't make a lot of eye contact now, relative to me. Relative to your average person I make a SHITTON of eye contact.


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free small fractal print if you tell me your favorites in this poll!
icon: "hypnotiq (my fractal "Windwheel" -- an abstract swirl of yellow red and orange with a little green)"

Well, I got distracted attempting to build a website to function as a central hub for my art, so I didn't catch up on my flist yet but I hope to tomorrow.

If you will do me the HUGE favor of looking through my current fractal gallery (sorry no image descriptions yet, the site is still mostly non-functional) and telling me the titles of your favorites (the alt text gives the title, as well as the full-size page), I will delightedly mail you a small print (one of your favorites). Just fill this out, then comment with your address if you want a print (comments are screened). This offer is only good for the first 22 who do the poll* and request a print (not that I think there will be that many, just don't want to sign myself up for more than I can afford!). Yes I will send internationally. Good god so many parentheticals (too many).

Poll #1996460 fractal favorites

title 1:

title 2:

title 3:

title 4:

title 5:



I'm asking because I am attempting to put up some of my art at local coffeehouses, and I want to give myself the best chance by printing the most popular ones for display.

*unless you need image descriptions to do this, then I'll do it anytime after i get the descriptions up.

ETA @11pm EST Jan 26: so far, 10 claimed.
connecting: ,


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why "can't we all just be PEOPLE" is not a valid critique of labels
icon: "ma'at (photo of a scale with a feather on it, and underneath it the word "Ma'at")"

Labels are important because people can find community using them (which is necessary for survival), and they give others a starting place to understand or learn instead of making assumptions in favor of default identity. There isn't this kind of "why can't we all just be people, I hate labels" backlash against political party labels or familial role labels or religious labels, because people don't feel like acknowledging variety in that way makes them take a new look at themselves. The reason privileged people push back against gender, sexuality, ability, and racial labels (and others related to oppression) is because those labels make one have to acknowledge privilege, which is quite uncomfortable.

If you have to label yourself as straight/cis/non-disabled/white, that is an acknowledgement that you do not suffer the oppression that queer/trans/disabled/people of color do. It recognizes that you have a different experience, and if you are at all aware, that experience is clearly privileged.


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Dream: revamped home, gardening, my paintings, jail, execution, flying, mushroom
icon: "mysterious (photo of the snow leopard Shingizu's face, staring straight forward)"

Dreamed I was coming home, and my mailbox was new and incredibly fancy. Some people, maybe neighbors, came over and looked at that and came inside, and looked at the house, and were very impressed. The house had purple and green trim. Then there was a storm coming up and as it started to rain I was sitting on the porch and the ground was red clay but as the rain came down it turned into a very rich brown soil. There was a tree planted in it and one of the neighbors stepped on it and broke it from its root. I took both pieces and put the larger piece without the root by into the ground and took the little piece which suddenly no longer had roots and put it in a glass cup with something else that had roots, so it could learn to grow them. The weather was getting much more intense and I picked up all of the loose little containers of plants and put them on the floor underneath the table on the porch. One of the plants started growing roots into the porch and seemed to be very disturbed at being moved, so I poured water over it to help.

The scene switched and I was at a restaurant and it was a weird combination between the glass divider prison tables, and a sort of ruby tuesday place. Across from me was an old black woman and we started talking about how we made a difference in the world and they got up and put mayonnaise in the oil lamps and told me that they did this so that it would be used instead of exploitative oil from other places. I asked wouldn't they just dump it out and use even more oil and they said no that no one ever noticed the difference. I asked if they had to come back to look and they said yes. A little later they started talking about the Constitution and how they felt that our country could have been well off with fewer amendments, & I said well I think the most recent ones are some of the most important, and they disagreed. They told me that they were around in the day and knew better than I did. I said yes they likely did, and I wasn't trying to argue but I didn't understand and wanted them to explain.

Scene switched again and I was in jail. Weirdly Bridget was there and my paintings were on the walls, and Bridget looked at one I had done and said that it was amazing. it was a self portrait and I had done really perfect perfect paint on the front part, with colorful shading on the lower left curve of my belly. But this painting apparently had two sides and on the other side on the back, I hadn't put enough shading underneath my butt.

Then I was in the bathroom with a bunch of other people and I was in a stall that was covered in pee and trying to clean it up with toilet paper and I finally got it cleaned up. A new person came in it who was supposed to fix it and they started measuring my head! They were talking about various aspects of my head and measuring it in various ways. Then we were listening to this voice telling us about how to handle rape, they were this horrible person who was hiding at first, and then I asked who is saying this, and they put their head out from these blankets from where they were laying on a mattress on the floor. Then another inmate came out of the next room started talking about how they did absolutely everything they could to resist what they were told to do. They would eat everyday sitting on the floor with their legs drawn up and crossed, reaching under and through their legs to eat from the dish. Then the person who was telling people how to deal with rape took a fork and stabbed them in the hand and they slowly pulled it out of there and then started stabbing themselves more. It became very chaotic and they took us, all of the inmates, out to this place in the water where they performed executions and they called out this person's name and then threw them down a long long long long tunnel to an electrified section of water at the bottom. They got burned up to nothingness. There's something in this that I can't remember, about someone getting punished and another person having to watch them knowing that it wasn't their fault. They executed two more people for even less reason. Then they called my name and went to throw me down and at first I was terrified, and then I realized that this was just the impetus I needed to be able to start to fly. So I flew up out of the tunnel and pulled off the giant net over it, and flew away. I dropped the net on the front of a ludicrously large sailship and went flying more. I realized I needed to fly higher in order to avoid having to follow the deep and wild flow of ocean waves, so I started doing that. Then I came upon someone from my past, Finnegan, and I tried to catch up with them, but they dove away from me into the ocean. I grabbed on to the symbol of them (a mushroom) and was pulled underwater, deeper and deeper, and started to worry I wouldn't be able to come up for air, when I woke.
connecting: , , ,


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smelling like a human is forbidden truth, non-verbal communication
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

I learned shame about my scent from my biofamily and my first lover (who I was with for 8 years). They complained about my smell, or told me about it in lowered embarrassed voices, and so I washed it off, chemically murdered it, covered it. I learned I had to choose between the happiness of smelling like myself or the respect/admiration of others. Smelling "bad" (which for people read as female means not smelling like flowers) is associated with all manner of things that people judge for, like uncleanness, laziness, irresponsibility, lack of self-awareness, lack of 'intelligence.'

This is disappointing because frankly when I am alone I love the smell of my sweat and vulva. I can read my emotions in my smell and when my body is happy it is 'louder' and it sometimes smells like spices and sometimes smells like fresh donuts. I will draw it in deeply and feel the delight some people feel at smelling a flower. If everyone around me didn't care or liked my smell I would just wash my sweat off once a day so it was fresh and not wear anything to tone down my scent (which, if I do nothing after washing, emerges after about 3 hours). What I do now is wear deodorant that is 'natural' and doesn't mask my scent or add smell, but it tones it down a lot and keeps the spicy smell from happening. As for my vulva, I get embarrassed whenever someone might smell it unless I am in the process of having sex with them (and even then, most of the time I want to keep their face as far from my crotch as possible). The only person with whom this was not true was Kylei, because they were quite vocal in liking how I smell. Other people have commented positively on my smell, but that is just the toned-down version as I've only been willing to be "smelly" around Kylei.

I love the smell of other people's fresh happy sweat and will sometimes sniff the armpits of people I love, if they don't get weirded out by such things. I wish people weren't so violent in their rejection of this part of humanity. I think its a kind of 'privacy' in that body scent gives as much information as posture or tone of voice. People don't want to know or be known because the first brings too much responsibility (when you smell fear, loneliness, what then? you likely feel a responsibility to react) and the second takes too much risk (what if they don't like the real you?). If someone rejects their own human scent I feel sure that they will reject mine as well, or silently wish I would go erase it, so I just remove it before it has a chance to offend their sensibilities.
connecting: , , ,


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Very productive day: school stuff, oneness blessing, connection ritual
icon: "woven souls (me and Hannah lying naked on black cloth, with legs entwined, laying on our sides facing each other with one set of hands entwined with each other's, and the top shoulder leaning back, relaxed. there is a red and violet overlay with the violet coloring me and the red coloring Hannah)"

This Thursday was a very eventful and nourishing day. school stuff in the morningCollapse )

I spent the rest of the day with LilyWolf: we talked for a while and then had prolonged eye contact (like, 20-30 minutes, way more than others can usually do). At that point I realized how tired I was and asked them to drive us to the oneness blessing, which they cheerfully did. The blessing circle was at someone's house instead of a church, and it felt much better. We used to meet in the rooms where the age 10-18 kids spend time, which feels rather chaotic and exposed: the room we meet in now is set up as a sanctuary and you can feel the calm infused throughout.

During the blessing, I first felt energy go into me in a kind of shower, flowing through me from the person's hands into the earth and then it sort of bounced back, so it was this ellipse flowing through me. That was true for the first few times, and then I started to feel a sort of pressure/fullness in the center of my forehead each time. As usual my thoughts got more clarified and creative as the hour moved forward, and I felt a sense of relief in my brain. I was really glad to have gone, just for that, and reminded of how good it is for me to go regularly because it has a cumulative effect and one of the things it seems to do is heal my mind a little from the ways that ADD stresses it.

Giving the blessing felt a little awkward and barely-trickling at first, because it had been so long since I did it last, but it opened up with each instance. With one person, I felt they had a sort of stern maternal deity, and when I let it flow from them through me to the person, I started to feel like I was floating up from my feet! I've never felt anything like that before and it was really unexpected from such a deity. The next person in the circle, I felt a sense of white flowy sweet gentleness that reminded me of Isis or Quan Yin but I don't think it was either of those, perhaps a saint. Then there was the one who always feels so open that it is super easy to flow with them: every time I give them the blessing I see a moonlit waterfall in a dense forest, and I feel that space giving to them (I think they worship a deity but it is always only nature I feel giving to them). Then I gave to LilyWolf and felt/saw a greenish face surrounded by leaves, felt a sense of Celtic isles, and heard the name Caerdwynn (later I looked this up and found Ceridwen). It was shorter than the ones I'm used to but it was every bit as powerful if not more so. I feel very inclined to go every week, and hope that I motivate to do so. It'll be difficult for the next few months because going out in the dark cold is so repulsive to me.

As we headed home we realized we were both very hungry and stopped at one of my favorite Mexican food places (the one with the best salsa) and I impulsively invited Topaz, forgetting how stressful last minute plans are for them. They'd already had a long and shitty day, and it was the last straw. I asked LilyWolf if they minded driving me to Topaz' to give them some delicious food, and they were happy to help, so we went and dropped that off. It helped Topaz feel better, thankfully.

When we got back to the house we had tea and coffee and I asked if they'd like to participate in a ritual for drawing connections in (both general and heart-kin) and they were quite enthused about the idea. So I let them copy my spells down, and gathered the necessary items.

I lit a yellow candle for joy, and then turned on some music so that we could raise energy through dance; that was really powerful. At first I was self-conscious but then I just poured myself into the music and gathered emotion from it. I haven't used dance in ritual deliberately before, but I realized that when I danced in church, it was like this. With singular focus, pulling up emotion deliberately, reaching to connect, to open myself for messages. (with this realization I am astounded at how terrible a structure the church service is, building energy that then doesn't get used at all because they go from that to a break where everyone just mills around! At the very least people should be encouraged to end with a prayer that focuses all that energy) As I danced, I felt it shift from just being my body interacting with the sound, to being my emotions interacting with the words, until it became movement that expressed the song as purely as if I was singing it straight out of the initial inspiration. Like a rebirth of the song, through motion.

Next I lit a rainbow candle and LilyWolf and I chanted my spell for drawing in positive connections, and then lit a green candle and together we chanted the spell for drawing heart connections, three times. At some point I lit vetivert incense, and after chanting the spells we just sat and silently meditated until the incense burned out, repeating the spells once more before the end. We took the candles upstairs and let them burn for a while longer until we went to bed. I re-lit them the next day and plan to light them whenever I am at home for a stretch of time. We infused them with the spell so that every flicker of those candles sends out the same intentions.

So far (within 48 hours), there have been five new sprouts of connection. I'm feeling very positive about the effectiveness of this!


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dream: reject commands, organize stuff, see art & flirt, go to party & witness sex, rescue recycling
icon: "dreamy (painting of a person in a cage, reaching out with swirls of color and light coming from their hand)"

So, I failed to keep my streak going, so I'm starting my 22-day over again. Here's a dream from January 7th:

Dreamed about living with my parents, a small child escaping abuse with my help, they also drove a car. M told me to do something in a rude way and I refused, they got angry, I got angrier, screamed at them in front of their guests. I went to my room and worked on rearranging my stuff- I had like 10 pairs of boots (in waking life I have one pair of daily shoes and an interview pair and that's it: I do not own boots). I went outside and next door someone had hung a big print of two women of color kissing, and I wanted to know who lived there. An Indian woman who was pretty butch came up and put an arm around me and I asked who lived there (their aunt and niece) and who the artist was (Stan something). They were flirty with me, we both went outside (out from under the awning I was under, where the print was) to the party and lots of people were having public sex, in sometimes very odd ways (a pregnant woman climbed on a cage that was full of people and spread thier legs as all of those people started kissing/licking/ stroking). I talked with some people and watched some, and the butch person came up and I petted their arm. When they left I went inside and started tidying the kitchen, sorting the fridge and pulling the recycling from the trash.
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why I use 'they' as my standard pronoun / I now require gender-neutral pronouns in reference to me
icon: "queer (the logo for Transcending Boundaries Conference overlaid with the words "genderfree, queer, + trans / never a 1 or 0")"

For many years I used ze/zir for everyone, and fairly recently I changed to they/them (still working on it, I have all of the slip-ups). I made the switch for several reasons. One is that even though ze/zir does not refer to a gender and is thus a term for any person, it is taken as meaning "something other than he or she" and I have to acknowledge the common perception even though it's inaccurate. So I use they/them because that is actually taken as gender-neutral. There is also the fact that I am not the clearest enunciator, and people sometimes hear my "zir" as her and my "ze" as he. That doesn't work either! And lastly and most importantly, they/them is inclusive of people who are bigender or multigender and plurals (people who are multiple systems, multiple people living in the same body. FAQ). And because of the misconception about ze/zir, using that set for all people can be hurtful to binary trans people because it may be perceived as stripping gender, but "they" is less likely to be perceived as an invalidation of identity. So, overall I switched to 'they' to communicate more accurately and to be more inclusive.

Also, I realized recently that as a person who only feels mild discomfort at people using gendered pronouns about me, I am relatively privileged, and I need to mobilize this privilege for the sake of those who feel deeply wounded by gendered pronouns. So I have decided to require people to refer to me in gender-neutral terms, because that will make it easier for others to require it when they need it. I am not entirely sure how to go about this, because I haven't done it before, but it's my intention. Please poke me if you notice me failing to do it; that will help me to remember and/or have the courage to do it. And if you do not care what pronouns people use in reference to you, I urge you to also require gender-neutral from those who refer to you. You won't be hurt if people tell you no, so your risk is much smaller and you can make the world a safer place, in a small way. You never know who around you is wincing inside every time someone says "he" or "she."


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relationships: Kylei / Abby / Anika / Heather / KWT / Lilywolf / Topaz / Allison / Jaime / Adi / Kat
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Reflecting on my relationships this past week, I realized that I have been pouring a lot of energy out and not getting much back. This isn't a problem when I'm in a period of abundance, because I don't mind it in and of itself, but I'm still recovering from my 2012 suicidal depression, and last November/ December were hugely draining - so it's not something I can healthily do right now. So I have to figure out how to spend less energy and/or get more, hopefully without hurting feelings or sparking resentment. I feel a bit of a failure about this, because I was working so hard on reconnecting with people I love, and I feel sure that if I stop putting so much in, some of those connections will wither. But this is a pattern, and it's a bad one. I have to stop doing this. I need to be okay. I've been crying pretty much every day this week, and wanting to cut everyone out of my life. That's not a practical desire or something I would actually do, but it is an urge I get when I am not being nourished. It's a very bad sign.

relationship updatesCollapse )


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poll: naming that thing that means family without all the gross blood stuff
icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

Poll #1995242 that thing that means family without all the gross blood stuff

pick no more than TWO please

tribe
20(48.8%)
nest
4(9.8%)
truekin / trukin
3(7.3%)
foundkin
7(17.1%)
lifekin
6(14.6%)
realkin
1(2.4%)
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strange feelings
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I've had a very weird day, extremely strong emotions about lots of things. Feeling a little insecure about absolutely everything. Feel unspecial, unsexy, unimportant, lost, useless. No good reason.

The only thing I can think of is that I am very scared of school this semester. I feel the need to take a class that is really intense and scares me. I don't think that this fear is rational? But last semester I felt on the verge of losing my mind from stress for a solid month. I don't think that would happen again because my classes all seem to be well organized but now I am afraid I will forget some of the billion assignments. And one of the classes is online which is so easy for me to forget about. Ugh. Need to reset my brain.


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maybe I have a very bad habit - thoughts?
icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

I have a problem with the sometimes sounding 'mean' especially with my favorite people. I think I throw bystanders for a loop when I talk with Topaz or Kylei sometimes because I will make fun of them sort of? but it's always about things that I have already discussed with them and they know I'm not being mean but expressing that I know them. I think it can come off mean though, and sometimes I'll forget and do it with someone who doesn't know me as well and they might take it as a passive-aggressive dig. I have definitely done it with Kei-Won-Tia and Anika and then realized that they might not feel like I am expressing affection for that aspect of them, and tried to explain, but I worry that that comes off as insincere. I feel regret for this habit whenever that happens. Not sure if I should try to unlearn it. Thoughts?

Like, if someone called me "as subtle as a brick to the face" I would feel loved and flattered that they were expressing this understanding of me, because I feel that my lack of subtlety is a quality that is fairly essential to who I am. But that may be a very strange quirk and what if I am making people feel like shit in my attempts to show understanding and affection? Ugh, dreadful possibility. If I have ever said something that was pointing out of one of your outstanding qualities in an over-the-top way, did it make you feel bad? or..?


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Self-awareness and other-awareness
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

Question from a friend: ...our culture actually encourages thoughtlessness and poor self-awareness and poor other- awareness. And yet, you have honed (and continue to grow) these skills better than anyone I've ever known. Did anything set you on that path? Was it just innate? A combination of things?

My self-awareness began with the church, I think. I went to a revival when I was 11 and promised God I wouldn't lie or steal any more (which I had done a lot before then). I stopped, and through monitoring my own actions I became aware of what led to them, slowly over time. But it also stalled out for a while because I shut down to everyone and everything to survive living with my parents and living in a city full of terrible painful energy. Later I started LJing and met Hannah, whose wonderful prying questions helped me open up to myself and others. When I started going to therapy for the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I became self-aware more acutely and I became aware of others in a deep way.

I realized that every hurtful action came from a hurt person, and that people didn't hurt you because they were just nasty people but because their experiences led them to think that their behavior was an appropriate response. It wasn't until I was with Kylei that I realized that most of the time, people don't realize the pain they are causing. Kylei and I loved each other so deeply and yet often caused each other terrible pain, never intentionally. I came to understand that my reasoning is just my point of view and that another person could have a positive intention for an action even when it seems to me like there could only possibly be negative intentions.

The biggest help for me with learning other-awareness is asking questions instead of deciding for myself what someone's motives are. Nowadays forgetting to check is the outlier, but it still happens. The biggest help for me with self-awareness is writing often and having at least one chunk of alone time per week. Self-awareness is a privilege, because it takes free time (at least for me) and free time is a privilege. Another thing that helps HUGELY is people asking meaningful prying questions, which is part of why I take them as a gift.

And reading people's introspection helps a great deal with both self- and other- awareness, because I realize new perspectives that others have and I realize my own perspective, in contrast. It helps me to notice the air I'm breathing, so to speak, to notice my ways and thus be able to engage with them deliberately rather than through habit. This is a huge part of my love for LJ.

Also, I think there is a part of my awareness that comes from my neuro-type; I see things in pieces rather than as a whole, especially people. So I notice small shifts that signal meaning, more often than I would if I was considering the whole. And lastly, part of it is a reaction to trauma. As a kid I learned how to avoid pain by paying close attention to my parents' moods and reacting accordingly. This is some intense training in reading emotion, in being aware of others. The harder to learn has definitely been self-awareness, for me.


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active, thoughtful LJ friends: recommend your friends and yourself!
icon: "vivacious (me, hugging myself and smiling engagingly)"

I've had a number of friends saying that they want to find more active, thoughtful LJ friends. And I always want more friends who write about stuff like:


  • an interaction they had with someone that made them realize something new

  • their introspective, thorough, and specific take on concepts that are often assumed to be the same for everyone: friendship, romance, sex, gender, relationships, parenting, etc

  • an experience they had that conveyed deep meaning to them

  • their specific desires, especially ones that aren't common

  • their core values and how they live them

  • events in their past that shaped their present

  • previous intense relationships (friends, family, lovers)

  • their daily life and how they learn from it (not interested in a recap without the thoughts and feelings that went with it)

  • their spirituality and how they invest in it (ritual, meditation, prayer, self-education, etc)


Have some friends like this? recommend them in the comments! if you have a lot like this, pick a random set of eight or fewer.


You are an LJer like this? Fill this out!


also feel free to spread the word!
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Dream: leading, escaping cult, tricked by Aurilion, sentenced to execution, flying, battle
icon: "dreamy (painting of a person in a cage, reaching out with swirls of color and light coming from their hand)"

Dreamed that I went with my mom to a place selling plants, and there was a woman feeling bad, like they were too staticy or were gonna get hit by lighting. I told them I am good at grounding and offered my hand, and they took someone else's hand also and started circling around me. I first followed then stopped them and started leading, as heavy things began falling out of the sky and almost hitting us. I made us all dodge and be safe, then went back inside and my mom was there. There was some kind of cult leader who was making everyone take suicide pills, I pretended to but didn't. I ran away with some others and came upon a place where the cult used to be, looking around this weird house that had a strange number of heights, and floors that could be pulled aside to let things (people) drop through. We got captured and taken to the main house, giant building. Aurilion was there, and I was upset that they were ignoring me, I didn't interact directly. Aurilion eventually sat with me and handed me a strange device which I tried to figure out the use of. It was for sending messages and I realized they were trying to tempt me to send a message of help, I refused but because I trusted them I told them it was only to avoid punishment, so the leader came and had me taken off to be executed along with others. The method was catapulting. But the person in charge of the catapult was one of my people and we had already planned for this. Some of us could fly occasionally. The catapulter was gentle with the little kids (all of us were under 18) and with me was very precise, throwing me to a far distance where someone was waiting to help me land gently. I landed, me and this other one put on camouflage, and we could both fly and flew back. We arrived to the battle already happening, and we slowly took over. One interaction was one I had with a 20ish woman, who I shot with arrows but none of them went deep enough to kill right away. I was about to stab them with another when they rolled over and were like "I could have had you, you know" I knew (the people in charge told them to rape me). They told me they wanted to, but sex not rape and I said I know, that I wanted that too. They told me they were gonna die anyway, why was I still attacking and I said because they're probably in pain. They looked sad shocked and loved, and then I smashed their head with a heavy bottle and they died instantly. I flew off to the main hall and did disarming of enemies, grabbed one kid and made them go eat. Up in the corner there was an invincible enemy and I convinced them to go home and come back and work for us when we won, or work for the others if they're still around but avoid the hassle. They required three of my people to carry them off home. At that point there was very little fighting left to do, I had the leader and their 2 or 3 closest totally surrounded and outnumbered. I woke up.
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books/pages read:
23 / 44
6,889 / 13,131
self-educating