August 2017
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struggles with lack of direction, desire / giving advice vs. sharing experiences


Last week I was having the worst time with my schedule, trying desperately to flip it around so that I could get more light and get back to my routine. I finally managed it a few days ago but those few days have been very strange. Even though I am up early enough to get plenty finished before my partner gets home, I haven't been able to motivate to do anything. I wake up and do nothing for hours. Even though I don't have anything that I have to do, I generally keep very busy with reading and writing and various creative endeavors, but lately? I just waste time and feel miserable, until my partner comes home on lunch. After that my mood seems to change and I'm able to do things like update my etsy (which is a big project -- taking photos, editing, writing descriptions, updating) but still, communication seems impossible. Last night I finally was able to make a post -- even though it didn't actually express anything, it seemed to help. Today I woke up and started my exercise & reading again. And now I'm writing.

but now I seem stuck again. agh! It really adds to my frustration that my car is not working because I get cabin fever something fierce when I can't go anywhere. and I feel like something is happening, something really strange and frustrating. I don't know what's going on. I do know there is nothing I can do about it so I'm just bearing it the best I can.

another chrysalis, perhaps? That's what it feels like, it feels like being trapped, unable to move.

---

I also realized that part of the reason I have a hard time expressing pain/unhappiness of any kind is that people immediately start giving advice in command phrasing. I find that disrespectful and unhelpful. When a moth is struggling to get out of a chrysalis and you cut it open for them they will always be crippled, because going through that struggle is necessary to make their wings healthy. I feel that people do this to me when they offer me advice which I did not ask for, and I find it very upsetting. ((note: this is not directed at any one person, it's a general trend))

Saying "Do this..." (including when prefaced with "you need to" or "you should") is a command, even if it is not the intention of the speaker. Say someone complains of a headache and I say "take this painkiller, it'll help" -- that is a command. However, if I say, "your headache sounds like one that I had, and I took this painkiller and it helped me a lot" -- then I am sharing my own experience without assuming that it is the best course of action for the person I am talking to. I am leaving them room to decide if what worked for me will also work for them. I'm also leaving room for the possibility that they have considered or are already doing that, or the possibility that I have misunderstood and their experience is not similar to mine after all. And I'm not assuming that they need to change their behavior. (AND if I have never had a similar headache then I am automatically stopped from giving advice which I would not be qualified to give)

When people say "you are this way" that might be a little presumptive but I don't mind it (in fact in some cases I like it). It is only when people use commands in their phrasing that it becomes unhelpful and upsetting. Even then, I try to be aware that they do not actually MEAN it as a command, and so I generally ignore it unless it is a habit in their communication with me. The irony is, most people generally only do it when I'm feeling terrible already -- and they're trying to help but they're just making me feel worse. I don't think anyone consciously chooses to command someone when they give advice, but for some reason it is considered selfish to talk about one's own experiences when faced with another person's pain. I disagree with that idea. It is not selfish to acknowledge that our starting point for every idea is ourselves -- it's honest. I don't want to know what you think is best-for-all-people -- I want to know what has worked best for you.

I love learning of experiences that people have had. I love when people share their thoughts and opinions. But when you phrase your ideas as commands, I find it very difficult to see your kind intention. So when I'm feeling bad and you want to help, please do not use command phrasing when you offer me your thoughts.

Also, this is something that I try to live out, so if I slip up and use command phrasing with you, please do call me on it if you are okay with doing so.


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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.