hopeful

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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.)"


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ADD-PI

for me, love and trust are separate

For me love and trust are almost completely separate, because I've learned that someone can have absolutely the best intentions and have ethics that I completely agree with, and yet they don't know themselves well enough for me to trust what they say: they can be wrong, or bad at predictions, etc. I can love them, and still not be able to trust them in many situations.

I trust people based on the situation. I know I could trust my dad to throw himself in front of me if someone shot at me, or otherwise literally die for me, and some people would call this a high level of trust, but it means nothing to me. I cannot trust him to respect my name or try to learn who I am, and that's what matters to me. A scenario that is extremely unlikely to ever happen has no bearing on my life.

I know there are people I can trust to care if I get hurt, but that's not the same as trusting that they will take any action for me. And I know there are people I could trust with every aspect of my emotional self, but I could not trust them to clean out my water bottle, because they aren't as thorough as I am. I recently realized that out of all the people I know or have ever known, someone I talk to maybe 3 times a year is one of the people I would trust the most when it comes to shared responsibilities.

I have seen how these things get tangled up, so I do my best to remind myself that they're not necessarily related.
ADD-PI

announcement: I'm now an omnivore

I'm not a vegetarian anymore.

11 years and 11 months and I was done!

Jessie Rose
Does it feel like a loss of identity for you? It did for me to some extent when I started eating meat again

Belenen
No, I never really identified with it as part of who I was. Also I had already realized that being vegetarian was bad for me like a year or two ago but I dreaded the transition so much that I kept putting it off.
I do miss having almost zero body odor but oh well. It's been pretty great to have my eyebrows start growing back in.

Jacqueline Hoyle
Why the change? If you don’t mind me asking.

Belenen
https://belenen.livejournal.com/696158.html
[image: livejournal's logo, a stylized pencil]
why I am vegetarian but do not recommend it for everyone / why I won't ever go vegan
here's a post where I talk about some of the nutritional deficiencies caused by not eating meat. I have been taking supplements for many years, but even the best versions taken in the best way do not absorb into your body at even half the rate that actual food does, because digestion is very complicated. In addition to the things listed in that post, I was deficient in minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium, as well as biotin, B12, b6, and b1.

I honestly feel that I have caused myself some serious damage by not eating any meat for so long. I hope that as i transition back, i will start to get back some of the cognitive function that i lost over the years.

Jaime Cooper
Wow! I’d love to hear about your transition back to eating meat.

Belenen
I have been taking digestive enzymes (pure encapsulation brand) with meat whenever I eat it and so far I have had no problems! I have realized that when I eat meat 2 days in a row, I have to increase my fiber or else my intestines will grumble. But that's pretty easy, I'll either have an apple or a fiber gummie.

Jaime Cooper
That’s good! Did you start with any specific foods?

Belenen
Yes! Haha I started with turkey pepperoni because it is the only kind of meat I actually like. Then I got my old favorite chicken taquitos. And Topaz has made me some foods using white meat chicken too.

Jaime Cooper
That’s awesome, I’m glad you’re finding some meats you like

Belenen
Oh! Funny thing that I have realized is that my body responds VERY differently to different types of meat. I ate a bite of Topaz's partial-beef burger and while it tasted fine, my subconscious started screaming like I was eating poop. Like that's literally what it felt like, but I didn't have a physical reaction just purely mental.
But then I ate a bite of dark meat chicken and almost puked, absolutely could not force myself to finish chewing and swallow -- I had to spit it out. My body said NO. So.

So far I have only really eaten white meat chicken and turkey pepperoni.

Laura Begley
regarding the chicken, dark meat has more fat in it (and more fat means more flavor) so that might be why you’re preferring white meat over dark.

Belenen
Huh! I didn't know that but it makes sense!

Ashe
If your body / taste buds are preferring lean meats, you may also want to try some venison. It is not usually sold in grocery stores, though some butcher shops carry some. If you have friends who are hunters, you can also talk to them about how they hunt so you know it is ethically sourced. When deer herds are not winnowed, and there are too many in one area, they can starve to death in bad times and otherwise just don't enough nutrition because there isn't enough to go around.

Belenen
I'm not sure that it's lean meat so much as being fowl? I'd be up for trying venison but not enough to hunt it down lol, I have a hard enough time eating without adding a search for hard to find foods *wry grimace*

Ashe Ida-Claire Wilson
fair. [Grin] but should I end up with some venison I will let you know if you want to try it.

Jay Bee
If I still lived in Montana I'd send you elk ❤ I find it much easier on my stomach than beef, personally, but I also hate venison. I struggle with meat because my body desires it but I think it's gross.

When I lived in Montana it was easy to get game meats at the local foodbank (out of state and trophy hunters donate their meat so its always plentiful). Feeding myself is already hard and anxiety inducing, so I don't look for ways to make it harder either, but ideally I'd like to be able to hunt or trade for my meat again one day because it's the only meat I've truly enjoyed and not felt digestional upset from...

Sending good feels to you as you find your foods

Sunny
I've been thinking about my own vegetarianism lately, and I do think I need to be more careful to ensure I'm consuming a balanced diet. (It's not BAD by any means, but I know it could be BETTER.)

I wonder sometimes if I will ever return to eating meat, but for me it was a strictly moral choice (literally having just had a weeping breakdown one night about how I couldn't consume animals anymore). I don't think I'll ever get past that, so returning to eating meat would be a constant source of sadness for me. I've got enough sources of sadness.

I think I just need to dive back into research and set aside snacks that I *actually eat* (it's hard with gastroparesis) each day that help fill deficiencies. It's going to be a lot of work and a lot of planning and just generally really hard to enact. I hate that disability is always there making things harder for me. [sigh]

Belenen
I feel you! Can you eat eggs?
ADD-PI

self-care is necessary: figure out your needs and the symptoms of going without

If I could teach every empathetic person one relational/emotional skill, it would be making self-care a priority that comes first at LEAST half of the time. Constant caretaking without sufficient rest is damaging for the caretaker, the one who is being taken care of, and the relationship itself.

People who are generous and strong and good at managing emotion often end up in a caretaking habit by default. We know that even at the end of a terrible day, if someone comes to us with a need we can pull energy seemingly out of nothing in order to take care of them. The thing is, we're not pulling that energy out of nothing, we're pulling it from our cognitive/emotional capacity and our future. That's a great skill for an emergency but it is not sustainable; it cannot be a way of life.

When I was married, I spent about 80 percent of my energy on my spouse, who had no coping skills to speak of and worked at a job they hated. Every day I would soothe them and skirt around their sensitivities, thinking I was helping.

However, what I was doing was enabling them to feel okay without having to develop any skills at self-care. Rather than think 'what can I do to help myself feel better?' they simply unloaded all of their stress and bad feelings onto me, and I managed those feelings for them.

After 8 years we parted ways, and later they were in a relationship with someone who was quite selfish and did none of their emotional caretaking -- so by necessity my ex learned self-care skills which made their life better. All my caretaking and compromising my needs for their feelings did not help them to grow emotionally. I'm pretty sure it actually hindered their growth significantly.

Since I was able to be so intensely caretaking for someone for so long, I imagined I had no limits to the help I could give others. Then I ended up in three relationships which all took far more energy than they provided (mutually, I believe, as none of us had compatible needs & abilities at the time), which stripped me so far down that I could not get back out of the hole without medical, chemical help.

Until I experienced being suicidal and reality-broken for months, I did not admit to myself that I could not give to everyone whatever they wanted and still be a whole person. Until it almost killed me, I refused to value my needs above even the desires of others, much less over others' needs. But you know what? I'm no good to anyone if I am dead.

And emotional death is real. I was absolutely useless to the world for at least six months if not a year after I ran out of energy and if I hadn't had access to free doctor visits and cheap meds through my university, it would have been a lot longer of a period. It took me more than five years to recover to a point that felt complete, and it may have permanently reduced my capacity to function.

And you'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but in late 2015 and early 2016, I got in a pattern of caretaking without paying attention to my needs again, and this time it was the fact that Topaz is independent that saved me. They realized that they were relying on me more than was healthy, and they asked to take a break from our relationship. We took about six weeks separate -- reducing our communication to occasional, not being romantic, and not seeing each other in person. This allowed us to break the pattern of me ignoring my needs and focusing too much on Topaz. I can still get that way, but I'm more careful now and I am determined not to fall into that again.

I have found that when I sacrifice my mental health for another person, eventually my survival instincts will kick in -- in ways that I really don't want them to. Either I stop being able to feel empathy for them and develop a dread for their presence or I start escaping constantly in my every spare moment and cease being an actual person, or both. These things are obviously not helpful for the other person and they can destroy a relationship.

So my point in all this is that caretaking another person at the expense of your own needs is not sustainable. It will destroy the relationship if it continues too long, it will destroy the person sacrificing, AND it is ultimately damaging for the person who is being taken care of.

Coming to depend on someone for your needs and then having that suddenly ripped away is profoundly destabilizing and terrifying, but it is inevitable because no one has infinite energy. No one has the ability to give endlessly without being nourished enough to refill. If you love the person you're caretaking and you want to help them the most you can, you MUST take care of yourself. Otherwise you are setting them up for a really, really awful crash (and setting yourself up for the same).

As I said to a friend, you don't actually have the choice of caretaking someone without rest forever -- that's an illusion or maybe a delusion. The only choice you have is in what the end of the pattern looks like. It's literally impossible to continue giving while your needs are not met, while you are not taking in nourishment.

The problem is that caretaking others at one's own expense is not always bad. It's only unhealthy when it is the norm, which usually happens gradually. This is why you need to know what your needs are and pay attention to whether or not they are being met. I am sure everyone's tells are different, but usually there are things people do when they are nourished that they don't do when they are drained. To know if you're nourished it's important to keep some kind of log of those things if your memory is not that great (like mine), or check in with yourself every so often.

I'll give some of my needs and tells as an example. To be okay, I need to
1) spend at least three work nights a week relaxing and doing nothing effortful;
2) have a chunk of at least 12 hours of awake alone time every week;
3) connect with people in a meaningful but soundless way every day, such as through reading each others personal writing, texting, or snapchatting;
4) connect with people in a group setting at least twice a month (during pandemic, this is as a structured group video call);
5) not discuss stressful things close to bedtime;
6) have at least two days a week where I don't have to speak out loud or listen to speech without captions. This means not talking to my partner either, including when we are both in a shared space. Literally saying hi will drain me. It sounds small but is NOT.

I can do without any one of these needs occasionally, and when there is a crisis then it seems time to put those needs aside. But when there are crises often enough that a month goes by without me practicing good self-care, it's time to be conscientious about providing myself with what I need.

The red flags showing that I am not getting my needs met (sleep, food, mental rest, alone time) are 1) if I have not written a post (longer than 1 paragraph) on facebook or livejournal in three days or more, and 2) if my room gets messy enough that it could not be tidied in 30 minutes. My yellow flags include: getting easily irritated, going to bed late on a work night more than twice a week, failing to do basic things like dishes and laundry, or not posting to my snap story every day.

If you tend to give more than is good for you to your partner, I encourage you to think about the things that drain you, the things that nourish you, and the symptoms that show when you are drained or nourished. I encourage you try to distill these needs into concrete actions and ask your partner to help you maintain boundaries around them so that your needs are protected. In my experience it is much easier and it feels less like a slight to the other person when you make boundary maintenance a shared project.
ADD-PI

I downloaded the new LJ app

So far I like it much better than the old one for reading my friends page, but the post editor is bleh. I'll probably still write in color note and then copy paste in here, if I use the app to post.

Ugh no, I just realized you can't even choose an icon in this post editor?!?! Terrible!!

Ugh and the tags don't work.

P.s. if you hate people using the new heart/like feature on your entries please lemme know, because I like it as a way to say "I read this and especially enjoyed it or related to it."
snarling

don't fucking spy on your kids

icon: "snarling (a photo of a snow leopard snarling in profile with teeth bared, whiskers back, and ears flattened)"

As a parent, you do NOT have the right to spy on your child NO MATTER WHAT. I don't care if they are suicidal or doing drugs, that doesn't give you the right to spy on them. You don't have the right to read their email or diary or texts.

Not only do you not have the right, literally no good will come from you violating their trust like this. All they will learn is hyper-vigilance against anyone who wants to get to know them, and they will learn to see you as the enemy and they will learn to hide things much better.

Instead of treating your child as a wild monster that you're trying to control, treat your child in ways that make them feel loved and trusted and able to trust you. Things like using drugs and having suicidal thoughts are a sign that they need more care, better care, more experienced care, not control. CONTROL ALWAYS MAKES IT WORSE.

edited to add:

sometimes I honestly feel grateful that my parents were so neglectful and disinterested in my life. Because they did not value consent at ALL and if they thought they could control me better by invading my intimate thoughts or alone time they absolutely would have.
bodylove -- me (belly goddex)

my body parts don't have any gender

icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddex)" (my bare belly and breasts covered in colorful washable marker drawings with spirals on my breasts and a butterfly over my belly button)"

My g-cup boobs are not feminine and do not become so when I put them in a bra. My wide hips are not feminine and do not become so when I put on a skirt. My body hair is not masculine and does not become so when I choose not to cut it.

Only I determine if my body and clothing has a gender and I emphatically reject gender for all my clothes, all my grooming and self-decoration, and all my accessories. There is no gender in or on my body and if you see gender here, it's because you're wearing gender-coated glasses.

Actually, my boobs are one source of big dick energy for me so *shrug* cogitate on that
curious

people make their answer based on the question given, whether it's gender or ice cream

icon: "curious (my face, looking straight forward with one eyebrow up and a sideways smile, head tilted down a little)"

Asking someone "are you a man or a woman?" is as illogical and leading as asking "what is your favorite flavor of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla? Circle one." When you ask a question and specify only two possible answers, almost no one* (statistically speaking) will choose an answer not given. But this is how people ask the question about gender, if they ask it at all.

Also, if you ask people "what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Check one: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, praline, coffee, blank," you will definitely get more answers than just "chocolate" or "vanilla" but people will still mostly choose from the options given, even if that list doesn't make sense to them.

By framing the question in a way that makes being specific more work, you increase the barrier to being specific. Also, social desirability implies that anything on the list is more desirable than anything not important enough to be on the list.

So instead of making their own answer, many people will choose the one that is closest. For example, people whose favorite is rocky road may choose chocolate. Or maybe their favorite is a very unusual flavor that most people are unfamiliar with, so they choose the one that is closest while still being familiar to others. For example, my favorite ice cream of all time was Sheer Bliss pomegranate dark chocolate chip ice cream, but it is no longer in production and I have hated every other pomegranate ice cream I have tried, so I never mention it -- I just tell people my second favorite, which is not even a fruit flavor.

People will also take a cue on the range of acceptable options from the list -- for example from the list of five I mentioned, they may think that only single-flavor ice creams are being compared, so choose "coffee" because "mint chocolate chip" is a blend of two flavors. Similarly, I think many people initially describe themselves as "man" or "woman" because they felt like they had to pick the one that was closest, rather than define their own category. We choose from what we feel is the acceptable list of options and for many people that list is extremely short.

I am confident that if we stopped asking binary questions or asking people to choose from a short list, we'd find a much greater variety in the ways people identify, and a greater number that identify outside of the binary.

*I have loads of non-binary, neurodivergent, and artist/writer friends so I know this isn't true for most people who read me, but most people in the general U S population will not make their own line and write in their own choice!
Renenutet

there is no "safe space" from oppression: instead we need a safer space where we grow and learn

icon: "Renenutet (a relief carving of Renenutet, represented as a winged cobra, overlaid with a fractal coloring)"

There is no way to exclude oppression by sorting according to identity. There is no space that is safe for all people in it no matter how specific you get, because oppression is such a tangled web of interconnected forces.

I face oppression for being trans, queer, ADHD, autistic, hard of hearing (auditory processing disorder), anxious, depressed, non-binary, lower class, read as a woman, and fat. I face marginalization for being femme and gender-non-conforming, non-monogamous, and atheist. Not a single one of these identities would provide safety for me as a shared-identity group.

In trans-only spaces, I have faced classism, ableism, sexism, binary-ism (believing that non-binary is not real), thin supremacy, and marginalization. In queer-only and fat-only spaces, I faced all of those plus cis-centrism. In fat-only spaces, I have faced all of those. In non-monogamous, femme, and atheist spaces I have faced literally all of the isms that exist for me.

Non-binary spaces have been a safer space for me because anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, and being poor are normalized, and of course non-binary people are affirmed as real, and straight cis people are not centered. However in non-binary spaces there is STILL a normative expectation of a "body journey" involving specific medical steps; there is a pattern of AMAB people feeling unwelcome or alienated due to being tokenized; being femme is devalued; and other oppressive forces like racism, ableism, and thin supremacy are present. Everyone is assumed to be non-disabled when it comes to sensory or motor disabilities. I have noticed that the thinner, white, masc-aesthetic AFAB people are more likely to speak up and come back and I feel like that means we are not providing enough sense of community to fat people, AMAB people, femme people, and people of color.

Disability justice has been a safer space for me because depression, anxiety, autism, and ADHD are normalized, and often being poor is normalized as well (but almost as often, classist assumptions are made). But there is still a lack of effort on the part of sighted, hearing people and people who do not have mobility or dexterity disabilities to make sure that all resources are accessible. There is still a stigma against people with cluster-B mental health diagnoses. Cis-centrism, sexism, and thin supremacy are common.

A lot of cis people can be accidentally hurtful and exhausting to be around due to their ignorance of trans-ness, but I have friends who I forget are cis, because they have put in real effort to unlearn habits that center cis people. And I have known people who are trans who make me feel incredibly unsafe because they want to enforce some kind of trans identity standard.

A lot of men enact oppression by talking over others, dismissing people, expecting to be served, etc, but I have friends who are men who are much less likely to do this than many women I know. That is because this behavior comes from being part of the dominant class and is just most OBVIOUS in men (where it is celebrated).

I have never felt safe from sexism in a women-only space, not to mention the lack of safety from cis-centrism and binary-ism. And I have read from many Black women and other women of color who have said that women-only spaces that include white women are usually (if not always) unsafe for women of color.

I do think that having groups where everyone shares an identity can be very healing and is absolutely necessary when that identity is devalued or erased. But there is no escape from oppression, and the illusion of escaping it only exists for those who are the most privileged in the space.

Instead of framing a shared-identity space as a safe space where people can be "free," I want us to frame them as a safer space where everyone is as open to recognizing difference as they are to recognizing sameness. I want safer spaces to be places where expressions of oppression are called out with the goal of everyone learning and growing, and the understanding that everyone needs to learn about their own privilege and change.