November 2017
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If you find me to be in error (causing harm), then call me on it.


I do not care to be tolerated.

If you are on my friends list and you learn something about me that you believe to be causing harm to myself or others, I expect you to either speak up about it or unfriend me. If you speak up and you tell me something I hadn't previously considered, or point out something I hadn't noticed, I will be happy for the chance to grow and change. And if you speak up about something I don't consider to be harmful, I will explain myself. I might end the conversation feeling that we are incompatible as friends, or I might end up with new admiration for you, or both. But I do not want to call people friends who consider my actions harmful and do not call me on it. If I think some of your actions are harmful I will express that (if I care for you) or unfriend you (if I feel neutral about you). I want to be able to trust that my friends believe I am not causing harm, so I will assume silence to be neutrality, not disapproval.

There is plenty I do that makes people uncomfortable, but I do not consider that to be harm and if you do, we probably won't get along. Causing harm means something different to each person, but generally if you feel something is always wrong in every instance, then that would be something you consider to cause harm.

If you disapprove of anything that is a pattern in my life, I feel that it is very dishonest to keep that from me. Instead I would like you to express that in a respectful way, with the expectation that the issue will turn out to be a misunderstanding. Always assume that there is something YOU have not considered, and I will do the same. There is a lot about my life that I share, but it is not possible to put absolutely everything in words, so do not think that you know everything about me and therefore can judge. Not even I know everything about me or my life. When you speak to me, do not judge by saying "you are [negative adjective]!" or "your actions are [negative adjective]!" but instead ASK questions like "why did you do this? it seems to me that that would cause harm because ____" or perhaps "I find your actions to be harm-causing because ____. What do you think/feel about that?" If you're not coming at the subject with an arrogant attitude, there's no way I'm going to be offended. I do not at all mind being questioned or challenged in a respectful way -- the goal of my life is to learn, and how can one learn without being challenged?

I want to be treated kindly but I do not want to be humored. Just be honest with me. If you have a problem with bisexuality or polyamory or nude photography or any other way I live my life, then tell me so, and tell me why. And maybe I will understand your reason and be able to agree-to-disagree. Or maybe I will find your views repugnant, and while respecting your right to have them, choose not to be around them. If you want to be my friend, take the risk.

sounds: William Zeitler -- "Royal City"
connecting: , ,

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Comments
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paravati ══╣╠══
Oh no! Is somebody being mean about your lifestyle choices? I don't understand; I haven't seen anything. Have I missed it?
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
oh no, no one has been rude, but I just realized that someone who was previously on my flist considers various parts of my life inherently wrong (rather than, as I thought, a choice that ze would not want for zirself but did not consider harmful), through vague and indirect posts. I then realized that there might be more who were tolerating my 'misbehavior' and that isn't something I want.

I think some people consider it polite to be silent when they think someone else is causing harm, but I consider that dishonest and disrespectful. I deserve to know my friends' honest opinion of me rather than being allowed to believe a lie out of nice, tolerant falsity.
paravati ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
grace_in_spades ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
grace_in_spades ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
grace_in_spades ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
paravati ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
pmax3 ══╣╠══
Hiya! No I'm perfectly cool with your lifestyle choices (though many in my country would be mortified if the learnt about them lol stupid jerks). I am a glad to have a person with perspectives different from me on my friends list. I won't go along with some of the choices you have made, but that in no way diminishes my respect for you.

Also, now that you are asking for an honest opinion, it sometimes occurs to me that your considering gender an artificial construct and using neutral pronouns is taking things too far. But it's just my thought, I'd love to hear from you about your thoughts behind it.

Take care! :)
belenen ══╣iconoclast╠══
cool!

Well, as long as you don't think I am causing people harm, there's no need to tell me. Though if you just feel like it for the sake of openness and honesty, feel free!

I'm not really sure what you mean by 'taking things too far' but I know that some people consider it to be silly and over-the-top, and I see how they might feel that way. If I hadn't learned all that I know, I would probably consider it silly or even offensive. It's okay with me if others think that. All I can do is encourage them to educate themselves and reflect on the effect that gender concepts have on human beings. I know that I cannot change the whole world, but I can change myself, and I feel that I will be happiest if I do not allow myself to be restricted by gender or to view others in gendered stereotypes, so that is my path. It's been a long and winding road to get here, and it's really something that has to be experienced to be understood. I can point you to some books that enlightened me, if you'd like! There are a few fiction novels and some non-fiction books which really opened my eyes and might be interesting to someone who is willing to question gender (even if you think abolishing it is silly ;-)).
grace_in_spades ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
fire_my_spirit ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
fire_my_spirit ══╣╠══
febrile_lune ══╣╠══
camilleyun ══╣╠══
I can't imagine you causing harm. Does not compute. It's just not in you.
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
awww, thank you ♥
notashamed ══╣[jolie] young smile╠══
i am always impressed with the amount of thought and effort that you put into your life decisions, not to mention the amount of time and effort you put into your LJ posts! You have reminded me to be true to myself, to behave in a way because it is true to ME, not because it's what I should/shouldn't do. there are many decisions you make that, when it comes down to it, i don't understand. at times, I read through your explanations of why you live your life the way you do, and to be honest, sometimes I don't read it. I don't feel that I need to agree with you on everything. I can know about your life, sit here on the internet-sideline of your path and be a spectator. I wouldn't make the same life choices that you do, but I don't feel that I need to in order to be friends with you. It's possible that we disagree on this, and I'd want you to say so if you feel that's true. I know how deliberate you are with your friends list and if you feel that you would like to keep your list down to people that are able/willing to be more involved, I would completely understand.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
Thank you for this thoughtful comment ♥

As long as you don't believe that I am causing harm (and speak up if you do believe that), I am more than happy to be friends with someone who would make different choices. I am curious as to how often you don't read my explanations, heh, as I tend to do a lot of that (I like to think about the whys behind my own behavior), but if you still feel that you get something positive out of what you do read then I guess I don't mind. I feel like our friendship is going somewhere -- maybe very slowly, but still forward. ;-)
aetheric ══╣╠══
I completely agree with everything you said. It makes me worry about you though, that someone would prompt you to write this! I hope everything is okay. <333
belenen ══╣progressing╠══
It is, no worries. ;-) I've just had an unpleasant surprise and want to prevent it happening again. And I want people to know that I prefer respectful bluntness to polite silence (if they didn't know that already, heh).
melissarose8585 ══╣╠══
Yet again, a post from one of the many neutrals on your flist. But I can explain why my silence usually means that, too, much in the same way you explained it yourself.

Many of the decisions you have made in your life are not paths I have followed. That does not mean I haven't looked down the path, though. I think we all have a right to choose our own road in this life, and no one road is right for everyone. And while I may not comment on everything you write, I do read much of it. It's a life journey, and your thought process is always so clear to me in each of your many life-altering decisions. I can understand it, relate to it, and make myself think about life in ways I may not have before.

So while I might be prone to silence, it isn't the polite, just not saying anything kind. It's usually me looking at your posts and seeing where I am in my own life on that subject. For example, your post on religion and the Quaker faith. Religion is something I've constantly battled with, as my spirituality seems to never fit one specific religion. But that post made me think and introduced me to new, previously unknown ideas. So it made me think about my own life and where I was.

Does this make any sense? I hope so. Many of your posts give me ideas and new viewpoints that I am really grateful for, even if I might look at first and think something is far from normal. Because far from normal gets me thinking and opens me up to other parts of this big world, and that's a good thing in my opinion.
febrile_lune ══╣╠══
I admire you so much! I just wanted to say that I think you put a lot of thought and effort into the decisions you make regarding your lifestyles, and you also very much believe in openness and being honest with oneself. So while everyone is fallible and will at times overlook things or even develop defensive mechanisms to overlook things, I see you as overwhelmingly responsible and accountable in regards to your lifestyle choices. Just wanted to say that.
aerialmelodies ══╣Supportive╠══
You're happy and confident in your choices in life, and that is all that matters. If you sounded unhappy, I'd speak up. I know we've not been on each other's flists long, but of course it's great to read new viewpoints regardless of whether or not I'm going to follow them. As you said, it's what keeps our minds expanding. :)
rapidrabbit ══╣oh really?╠══
Hmm. I've honestly been sitting here trying to think if I consider your lifestyle choices harmful. I think this is a rocky area for me, just because I know we used to disagree on something (I don't know what your stance is now): I believe that whatever an adult chooses to do in the privacy of their home is just peachy so long as it doesn't cause harm to others, and is not...(I'm stuggling for the right words here)...unintentionally, irreparably harmful to themselves. I even think adults have the right to cause themselves some harm if they wish. (I drink sodas and coffee, and I believe caffiene to be harmful. I have friends who smoke, and I believe cigarettes to be harmful. I don't think it's wrong if a person's sexual preferances include BDSM, and that can be harmful. If an adult chooses to do something when they are fully capable of understanding the risks, I don't think it's my place to cast judgement. I'm very harsh in what I consider wrong for myself so I'm not entirely sure where I draw the line on morality in general, or if I have the right to do so at all. A knowledgeable decision by an adult should be honored, I think, so long as it isn't hurting anyone else. That's where things like drug use get hazy for me, because while I think an adult can make decisions for themselves, so often those adults hurt everyone around them through their choices. But I'm getting off-topic here. I just wasn't sure how to exemplify what I'm talking about.)

I'm quite certain you and I disagree on a lot. (Want a big one? I don't believe in Jesus as divine; I believe he was a man who lived, did good, and died, just like a lot of completely human men.) But I can't think of anything that we disagree on that I see as being harmful. (Just like I certainly don't cast any judgements on your eternal soul for believing in a diety I don't. But it would be different if you were prostelytizing - I find that downright wrong, and definately harmful.) I also know that polyamoury wouldn't work for me, but so long as you aren't causing Ben to weep in a corner every night (which I get the impression you're not) I don't see why I'd have reason to call it "wrong."

I will assume silence to be neutrality, not disapproval

Exactly. I think sometimes people don't keep silent out of disrespect or politeness, but simply because they consider things a nonissue. You and I have had our issue debates in the past. Frankly, I think I've grown up a lot since then, and if I don't comment on something that we have different views on, it's not because I'm silently passing judgement, but rather because I just think the disagreement is a nonissue. I would have silently assumed that you wouldn't condemn me for not believing in the Christ story, just as I wouldn't condemn you for believing in it.
girlslovegirls7 ══╣╠══
you
i support you because you are my sister and i love you. i wont sit by and not tell you my opinions but thats only because i care about you.
frecklestars ══╣sad╠══
I do worry a little that this was directed at me as well (reason being: I referenced a quote that said something to the effect of "don't saddle me with your god by praying for me"). If I may explain myself...

I have absolutely NO problem with the way you live. It's actually what I adore about you. And while I cannot always understand fully why you worship the way you do, I would never ever mean to insinuate that you are doing harm to others or yourself. You live your life the way that pleases you, and above all I find that admirable.

If there has been a misunderstanding or bad vibes held over from that or another incident, I'm more than willing to discuss/explain. Do let me know.
harmonixer ══╣cetula╠══
I'm only new to being on your Livejournal, but I'm enjoying it so far! I was really curious as to what you meant by 'being harmful' and I can't really understand how what you may discuss in terms of sexuality or how you express it could be considered as harmful in the slightest. Then again, I know people can be easily offended. =/

Anyway, this was a bit of a rambling comment! I hope to read lots more from you soon, especially about things that others may consider 'harmful'! =)
lady_hoshi ══╣Smiling me "Don't take" Gift╠══
I'm new as well. At first I just friended you so you could see that I had entries so I could join curvygirls but I enjoy reading your journal and I am glad and honored you friended me.

I don't comment alot but I do find your posts very mind expanding. I get to see things with a different view. I find it helps me understand some of friends better.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
heh, the only thing "harmful" about you is that you are completely yourself and demand respect just as anyone should. you know I don't think there's anything causing harm about what you do, or at least nothing that I've seen so far, and I'm sure you would be wise enough to be informed or ask about any other lifestyle, etc choices you would make.
tralfamadore ══╣╠══
I think you've made an extremely important distinction here in your dealings with the difference between discomfort and harm. So much of society has made us slaves to discomfort in ways that we don't even realize. Hair removal, high heeled shoes, tight clothing, beauty regimens... I dealt specifically in feminine issues with my answer, but I know there are discomforts to be felt in the masculine camp as well. The point is, we've almost desensitized ourselves to this kind of discomfort. It's become a way of life to push our bodies, to overwork and overstress them and try to fit them into what we believe to be the "perfect" model. But far be it for us to do something of the same thing to our minds. No, by and large, we balk at the idea of mental discomfort. We have pills to mask it, therapies to hide it away, and a million and one ways to keep ourselves from experiencing the least bit of psychological strain. Discomfort mind you, not harm. Harm is always a negative in my mind, harm should always be ended as abruptly and cleanly as possibly.

My goodness, what lengths we'll go to in order to keep ourselves from feeling this discomfort, all at the expense of truly harming those around us. Because let's face it, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is harmful. Perhaps if we all put ourselves through a bit more discomfort in terms of our ideas and our values we'd truly grow stronger and more beautiful. They say so much of the time that "beauty is pain." Why does this only refer to ripping hair at the roots and changing our appearance?
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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.
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.