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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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..."

and if you post it in your journal I will be sure to respond!

Comments are screened but will be unscreened unless you request privacy.

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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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resolving conflict in 5 steps: ask myself what hurt, assume the best, ask them why, accept, resolve
icon: "distance (two hands (from a brown person and a white person) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

prompt from secret_keep: What is the first step for you when resolving a conflict with someone? What is your ideal first step when someone is trying to resolve a conflict with you?

1) Ask myself why I am upset. Something the person has said or done has upset me, and I have to figure out why before I can productively discuss it. So let's say that someone invited all my friends to an event, but not me. My first reaction will be to feel hurt, and when I ask myself why, it's because this seems to me to be deliberately excluding me. But this is not necessarily the case!

2) Assume the best. I consider other possibilities -- maybe they thought I was busy, or uninterested, or they thought they invited me already but didn't, or they accidentally double-clicked and unselected me (in the case of evites). If one of those possibilities is true, then it is not hurtful any more. So, I am prepared to accept alternative reasons. Sometimes I can resolve a conflict all by myself by using these two steps.

3) Ask their motives. I approach the person and tell them what I was feeling and why, mention the other possibilities I thought of so that they know I am not automatically assuming the worst, and ask what their reason was for their behavior. It is very important to explain that I am not assuming some negative motive, because assuming a negative motive sets up something that they have to prove to be false rather simply asking a question they can freely answer. Unfortunately, people will often assume that you are assigning a negative motive anyway, because they are so used to only being confronted if someone has made them into an opponent. Pre-emptively empathizing by explaining how you can see positive motive usually helps but not always. There is also the problem that sometimes what I think is a neutral motive others will see as a negative motive, and so they will feel defensive if I mention this 'neutral' motive as a possibility. I don't see a way around that, but explaining that I see it as neutral sometimes helps.

4) Accept their reason and ask for clarification if necessary rather than assuming a particular meaning for their reason. If their reason was one that didn't hurt me, yay! all is better! If their reason was hurtful, then there may be a discussion or I may have to accept a painful truth. Let's say in this case that the person didn't invite me because they didn't think of me, but I would have expected them to think of me if they desired my company in general. I would tell them that I wanted them to desire my company and why (probably because I desired theirs), leaving it open-ended or directly asking if they desired my company. They can either tell me that they do desire my company but didn't think of me because of some other reason, or they can tell me why they do not desire my company, or they can drop the subject, or they can express empathy and leave it at that.

5) Resolve any remaining issue. If it still hurts after I understand their motives, I will ask them to empathize and/or problem solve with me. Sometimes despite the motive being fine, the action itself is upsetting, and then I discuss that with them and try to find a solution. For instance, if they didn't invite me because they were inviting someone else who wasn't comfortable with me being around, I could accept this as not personal, but if I was close to this person it would hurt each time unless they messaged me to say "it's about so-n-so again, sorry to not invite you, still love you." or perhaps they could alternate inviting me or this other person. Sometimes there is no solution to be had, and then all I can ask is that they consider how I feel and express empathy.

My ideal first step when someone is resolving conflict with me is the same. I want them to 1) figure out why they are upset, 2) give me the benefit of the doubt in assuming that my reasons are not hurtful ones, 3) tell me what they felt about what I did/said, why they felt that way, and ask me about my motives in an accepting and non-blamey way (for instance "what was the reason I wasn't invited?" not "why didn't you care enough about me to include me?"), 4) accept my motives and empathy, and 5) help me figure out a solution for future occurrences if one can be found.

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what I am proud of about me: skills/knowledge about intimacy & consent
icon: "garrulous(a photo of my lips with the skin greyed out and the lips overlaid with a green and blue fractal pattern)"

prompt from antuvschle: Describe the one thing about yourself that makes you most proud.

I am very skilled at creating and nurturing intimacy. I have been practicing one-on-one for 20 years (since my first intentional friendship) and practicing with the public for 13 years (through LJ) and practicing in groups for 4 years (through intimacy practice). I am always eager to learn, and quick to change my behavior when I come across a new concept, but it is rare that I come across someone who has a deeper understanding of intimacy.

I confess that I do feel pride about my level of skill, which can be very annoying because when someone I know re-posts something that is a simplified version of what I have been writing about I get miffed that they don't take me seriously but they'll take some random white dude with a Ph.D. seriously. If we dueled I'd win, and I'm very confident of this because it literally takes up the majority of my waking life. Some people with doctorates might know as much as me on how to create intimacy but I am certain that most of them don't. Frankly the literature available is mostly devoid of intersectional analysis (which means they miss even the basics), so if you're not learning from personal experience and/or justice-focused blogs you'll just not know much.

I also feel offended when people with less understanding of consent, power, and privilege get asked to talk/teach about sex or relationships. I keep this to myself because I don't think I have a legitimate cause for complaint, since I do not seek out platforms like others do, and I know that is a factor. But yeah, I can tell that I have pride there because I expect to be treated with more deference than most on the topics of intimacy, interpersonal power & privilege, and consent.

I don't think I should take pride like this -- it has no value and serves only to get me miffed over imagined slights -- but I do!
connecting: , ,

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Don't put sex jokes in my mouth without my consent. Do not.
icon: "antagonistic (a photo of me in cat-eye makeup with violet hair, snarling with bared teeth and staring intensely into the camera)"

There is this repetitive and predictable act which is passed off as 'humor' where people imply that what someone else said is meant in a sexual manner. Examples: saying 'giggity' or 'that's what she said' after someone says that an experience was really hard.

This always bothered me but I only just figured out why: it's a violation of consent (unless you know for sure that the person doesn't mind). A mild one, comparatively, but a violation nonetheless: you are symbolically forcing someone to talk about sex without checking to see if they would be okay with that. You are assigning meaning to someone else's words that you know they did not intend. You are not engaging in a mutual act of creating a funny moment: you are laughing at someone else's expense.

In fact, most of the people* I have seen do this only enjoy it if it makes the target uncomfortable. More often than not when it is done around me there is an attitude of attempted sexual dominance. If you do not laugh when someone does this to you, they will react as if you have taken something from them. People will react in ways that show this is not consensual and attempt to play it off as okay; they say "I walked right into that." Conversations should not have traps that one has to avoid.

I can't stand it when people do this, to the point that I never use the word hard when I mean difficult unless I trust the people around me not to do this. I will avoid ever talking to people who do this regularly. I will do verbal gymnastics to avoid someone shoving their empty, unfunny, worn-out joke into my mouth for their enjoyment. It's not cute and it's not funny.

From now on if someone steals my words and assigns sexual meaning to them, I will say, "please don't do that" and when they say "what?" I'll say "don't assign a different meaning to what I'm saying." or I may just say, "don't twist my words" depending on how annoyed/bold I am feeling.

*some people just love making people laugh and do this word-twisting in an attempt to be funny without realizing the effect it has. I can understand that. I have made such jokes before, feeling vaguely uncomfortable as I did so but dismissing it because I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Now that I have, I will not be doing it any more.

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why I am practicing polyamory (relationship anarchy) even when I am dating one person or no one
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)"

I used to wonder if I could still call myself polyamorous if I was dating one or zero people. Answer: yes, because polyamory is about how I do ALL of my relationships, not just about what set of rules I put on my romantic relationships.

For me, polyamory is not about what I DO want so much as it is about what I DON'T want. I don't want to have to put people in roles or privilege my sexual relationship over my friendships in order to make one person feel loved and safe. I don't want to have to limit all my connections so that they don't accidentally develop romantic aspects. I don't want to have to define some cuddles as platonic and others as romantic. I don't want to spend so much time and energy on one person that I cannot imagine my life without them and my identity becomes intermingled with our relationship, thus making it impossible to really know if I even want to be in it, or to know who I am without their influence. I don't want them to get that dependent on me either. I want to feel like my connections to others can be changed at any point by either person without anyone suffering damage (pain maybe, but not damage).

For me, polyamory is not about having multiple partners, it's about refusing artificial limits. My polyamory is practiced just as much when I am single or dating one person. It's easier and more fun when I am dating more than one person! but it isn't any less of a part of who I am.

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I'm going to start trusting my intuition over others' claims for the first time in my life
icon: "nascent (a painting by Michael Whelan of a person with long flowing hair and large breasts sitting naked and cross-legged inside a green egg, which is being held against the sky by giant translucent blue hands with pointy nails)"

So today, at age 33, I realized I have never even tried trusting my intuition. After I realize something is a mistake I can easily remember feeling 'off' about someone or something but I never trust that feeling. I always assume that somehow, perceptions external to me are more correct. When my intuition disagrees, I try to get enough data to silence it. My first assumption is that my feeling is wrong. If the thing I am getting a sense about only affects me, I may trust it, but if it affects someone else I always distrust it.

Part of it is because it feels arrogant to me to say, "This person says X about their feelings/behavior/desires but my intuition says Y. I will trust my intuition and act as if they are wrong." Instead, I dismiss my intuition and act as if they are correct, and this almost always turns out to be a mistake. People don't know themselves. I was married to someone who told me over and over how much they liked and admired my ideas, behaviors, and self-understanding until we broke up and then they were like "oh actually I think it's wrong to be queer, pagan, polyamorous, or genderqueer, and I have thought that this whole time." I think the truth was in between, as they didn't have a firm opinion, but my intuition that they weren't fully sincere was correct. It galled me that I sensed that they weren't wholehearted yet dismissed my sense, over and over until I didn't even notice the twinges. There have been other shocking and painful instances of things like this. Sometimes I get completely numb and lost because I am dismissing so many twinges.

Another part is that there is no good way to communicate about this. If I feel like someone doesn't know their own motives and that is what I am basing my decisions on, I can't notsay that if they ask why. But I can't really say it either because there is no way to say it that doesn't sound cruel or dismissive or (at best) super arrogant.

I'm just going to wade into the thorn-bush though because I need to stop ignoring my own feelings and trusting other peoples' interpretations of situations above my own. If it feels wrong to me, I need to honor that. I may be entirely wrong about someone, but I need to be able to make that error instead of constantly erring on the side of self-betrayal. I need to be willing to be disliked, to be considered judgemental or even mean. People thinking ill of me is better than me crushing my own internal barometer. If I get a feeling about someone's motives, I am going to act as if it is correct. If I can, I will check with them first to be sure I have all the information: but if the same feeling comes up over and over, I'm going to trust it.

I'm going to start asking myself questions like "is it the best choice for me to invest in this person?" "do I feel sure this person knows what they want?" "Am I feeling a 'yes' on this or just the absence of no?" and I'm going to trust that even if I am wrong about the actual cause, I am making the right choice about the effect. I will ask myself also (as usual) "do I have a fear or insecurity that might be causing this?" and even if the answer is yes, I will not dismiss my feeling (but I will factor that in).

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poem: inside
icon: "feral (Frazetta's "Cat Girl": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, pale skin and very dark hair, standing among gigantic moss-covered vines/roots in a dark forest, arms reaching out to embrace the vines/roots)"

insideCollapse )

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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)"

Dear my belly,

I know it's been a long time coming, but I want to say I love you. You are soft and sensual like my breasts, but not so sensitive - perfect for casual petting. Having nuzzled other bellies, I know that nuzzling you must be so amazingly soft and sweet. I love your deep belly button and the way you make a fat teardrop shape when I sit. I love how I can squeeze you with my hands or wrap my arms around and hold you; it feels very comforting. Having you on my middle is like having a comfort pillow with me at all times. I love how you balance out my boobs enough that I can lay on my front (sorta) without pain. I love how you trick people into thinking I am not strong. Most of all I love how you feel to touch. If you were on someone else I love, I would want to pet, kiss, and nuzzle you constantly because you're so damn cuddly! I need to remember to treat my own parts with such love and attention.

I'm still learning to love some of your aspects. Like how you can't stand waistbands and are forever shoving them up right under my boobs or shoving them down to poke out above them. Probably if I wasn't concerned that other people would hate you I'd let you do what you want, but I feel I have to protect you with clothes and you make that a constant struggle. I also can't quite love how much you move. I love how it feels to touch you now that you're not dense, but feeling you move around when I run or jump makes me extra fretful that you're going to throw off my clothes. I also get a little worried that you are taking up too much space when I hug someone. I like to flow, to melt together, and sometimes you're not very melty.

I'm working on accepting and loving those things. Ultimately, I wouldn't trade you for a flat belly no matter what. You're my own soft cuddly poky belly and I am glad you exist. I'm going to try to be more expressive of my love for you and get you more rubs and pets. Thanks for being part of me.


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changing my attitude toward 'hi'
icon: "exuviate (photo of a dragonfly with shimmery green wings after its last metamorphosis, standing next to its previous exoskeleton)"

After posting that I hate it when people use greetings like 'hi' and reading the responses, I realized 1) other people don't hate this, 2) other ADD people in fact feel a particular need for this, and 3) the reason I hate this is because it makes me feel forced to participate in something meaningless on fear of being punished, because I was not allowed to ignore people as a child. I can fix this by assigning meaning to my greetings and practicing ignoring whatever I do not want to respond to.

I honestly thought that most people didn't care one way or the other and people who reject norms would also hate it as meaningless and useless. I thought I was being kind by not making other people do this! So it's a good thing I posted about it because I have been unintentionally making people feel off-kilter or unimportant for decades *concerned frown*

So I'm going to do my best to change my behavior. I thought about how to make the ritual meaningful for me and decided that when I say 'hi' I mean H.I. which stands for hierarchy incinerate, a wish for all hierarchy to be burned into nothingness. And I will picture sending them a gift of flame, which they will hopefully use to destroy oppression but they can also just use for any positive purpose. If they say hi-how-are-you in a situation where it is not appropriate (such as walking by each other in a hall), I will ignore the question and respond with 'hi.' If they ask how I am when I can actually respond, I will offer them a summary phrase and one fact that has affected how I am lately - whether they want to hear it or not. It is disrespectful to ask someone a question and not care about the answer, and I'm going to assume people are not being disrespectful.

When I was forced to participate in this ritual as a cashier, I asked, 'how's your life?' because it was different enough that it shook people out of their rut sometimes and they gave a real answer. Plenty of people just said 'fine' though, so I am going to try 'how's your day been?' For me it is much easier to answer than 'how are you?' which is a damn huge question.

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quote from Lisa
icon: "Ma'at (a photo of one side of a brass balance scale, with a feather inside the bowl. The background is sky blue. On the bottom of the image, below the photo, is the word "Ma'at")"

"I will not disrespect myself by ignoring my feelings." - chillychilly22

This was really powerful for me to read, so I wanted to share it.
connecting: ,

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I hate empty words like "hello" oops I'm super rude
icon: "ewwwww (a photo of me making a disgruntled/disgusted face)"

I hate it when people say 'hi' to me. It does not convey any meaning except 'pay attention to me now' and you're not even explaining WHY you want my attention. I hear 'hello' either as meaningless noise or as an irritating demand. Just go ahead and talk!

Unfortunately, greetings DO convey meaning to other people. What meaning, I cannot fathom. But this gets me into trouble because rather than going through back-and-forth exchanges of meaningless words, I just want to jump right in. I want to walk up to a person and say "I need to drop off some papers for so-n-so" or "do you know where blahblah is?" without irritatingly insincere questions and uselessly vague answers! I do not want to ask how you are when I don't actually have the time or interest to hear a real answer, and I do not want to lie to you with a vague expected response, ughhh. Can't we just be practical and stop this fucking pretense?

Do other people actually enjoy the ritual of "hello" "hi" "how are you" "fine, how are you" "fine." before the actual conversation?? How does that not annoy the shit out of people? I don't want to exchange names unless I plan to talk to you again. Why would I?

It took me this long to realize that this is probably part of the reason that other people think I don't like them - I do not want to make pleasantries, ever. Ugh. I gotta figure out a way to make it interesting for me so that I stop seeming like the rudest person.

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Euphoria 2016 / why I go to burns / new housemate feeds me, helps clean & tidy, & crafts with me!
icon: "burn baby burn (a photo of me silhouetted dancing in front of the effigy fire at my first burn)"

I went to Euphoria and camped with Topaz, Kylei, Heather, Brian, and Hope. It was a mix of pleasant and irritating, leaning a little to the irritating side. The best bits were sitting around the fire talking with people, smoking hookah with Topaz while petting Evelyn's hair, running an 'intimacy roulette' game, having people gift me and Topaz with exactly what we wanted, giving Rocky a meaningful hug when I came across them seeming in need of one, kissing Topaz, and kissing Evelyn.

The worst bits were our hugely inconsiderate dudebro neighbors who made loud noise and pointed floodlights at our tent all night, the unbelievably selfish shitsop who squeezed in front of me at the burn itself and blocked all my vision with their body which was a foot and a half taller than me, witnessing far too much waste and ableism, and getting sunburnt. I really was not expecting to get burnt because 1) I had been taking vitamin D religiously, and 2) I stayed in the shade the entire time. But I think that I didn't absorb what I had been taking, because [supplements blather]I've been taking zinc and apparently it blocks magnesium sometimes, which is necessary for absorption of D (if I understood what I read on it). I started taking magnesium daily since then, and the purple-pink has turned tan far, FAR quicker than usual, so that's good at least. I ordered a calcium-magnesium supplement to balance out the zinc, and copper because the zinc I currently have doesn't contain copper and zinc can deplete copper. I recently started taking iron too, because I found a vegetarian source and I know that it is unlikely I get enough from my diet. Once all this stuff arrives I have to figure out what not to take with what, bleh. Never thought I'd be taking a bunch of supplements every day -- but I only take what I can actually feel an effect from, with the exception of these new minerals and curcumin, which I take because I've read that it helps with dementia, both prevention and cure.

I talked with Topaz after and realized that the reason I go to burns is purely to skill-share and/or for art. If I was not going to do that, I wouldn't be motivated enough to go, because I've never met a person at a burn who became important to me. Even though I have a lot of burner friends, I've met all of them in some other way. (technically I met Seth at a burn I think, but I met Seth through Abby so the burn was just a convenience) Other reasons to go to a burn are not relevant to me because they are already part of my daily life: self-expression, nudity, play, cuddles. For a lot of people burns are where they can really be themselves and feel accepted, but accepting me would require a lot of learning that people do not do, so I never feel accepted (it is nice that people try, but there's not much that can be done in the moment).

I go to burns because I like that people there are often willing to try new things, and so if I bring a skill I think will help make the world better and people are willing to practice, I can make change there in a way that is not possible elsewhere. This time I felt like I did kind of a bad job with planning, and that meant that the intimacy game I made did not reach many people, but it was still worthwhile. I think the few strangers that came and participated appreciated it.

In other news I have a temporary housemate, Serenity (also called Twilight) who has been WONDERFUL to have around. They were in need of a place to stay and I had a room which wasn't being used so I offered it to them. I didn't ask for anything, but they have cooked for me four times (delicious healthy vegetarian meals) since they got here 10 days ago, and have done dishes and swept! Also, having them around as a tidy person helps me to be better about tidying also, so the kitchen table is usable again for the first time in ages. And they wanted to craft which got me crafting too -- now I have a new project half-done that I think I will actually complete soon. They have a service dog who is INCREDIBLY sweet and Kanika is slowly adjusting to them. I am really enjoying having them stay with me. We've talked a lot and I feel a lot of resonance with them.

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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.