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Jan. 2nd, 2014

me new 2008
It's snowing here. It has been since about 3:30 pm... first just a smattering of flakes, but then it turned into the largest clumps I've ever seen in my life... like 2-3 quarters put side by side.

The flakes are smaller now, but no less numerous. It's really coming down out there.

I've left the lights out in my house and it's just illuminated by all the holiday lights I have up, plus the LED candles I have decorating my "mantle" (really the top of the tv/shelf unit).

I'm feeling warm and fuzzy inside but the house was chilly so I heated up some cider and put some caramel apple instant cider spices inside of it. It's basically flavored sugar, but it's tasty.

It's warm. I'm warm.

I believe this emotion is called "content". I like it an awful, awful lot in a very quiet kind of way.

I have so few moments in my life with this emotion. I have to grasp those that I do have, but the act of grasping it can change it, much like Heisenberg's principle.

So I will smile and drink my cider and be happy in this moment.

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Picking this up again... hopefully

thoughtful, me pensive thoughtful, pensive
I have been writing things on my computer, exploring ideas, but I haven't been posting them anywhere. I think I'll start posting them here again.

I think I might need new icons... or just stick with 1. I feel like icons aren't so important anymore. Tumblr has gotten us out of them.

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Holiday Traditions

me new 2008
I've always been a bit fan of traditions. Some might even say a bit obsessive or fanatic. (Familiar and repetition… knowing what to expect and when to expect it… seems to be helpful with my brand of mental illness.) Tradition is comforting, and something to look forward to that you know won't disappoint you or let you down. Holidays are important to me, too. It's a time I always knew I'd feel happy, a special time that almost makes up for all the hell of the other times.

But of all the times of the year, Christmas and the winter holidays were always my favorite. They're big celebrations, they last a long time, there's many different things to enjoy: the music, the food, the decorating, the lights, the buying of presents & the wrapping of them…

I'm supposed to choose 1 holiday tradition. I don't know if I can. I'll share many.

I grew up in a Catholic family so we always had an Advent wreath with 3 purple candles and one rose colored one. I always enjoyed the Advent wreath and I still have one as an adult. I've created my own traditions surrounding it, including singing the first verse of O Come Emmanuel while the candles are lit.

My mother and I take a trip to Bethlehem PA every year before Christmas… we've done it since I've been in 4th grade. When I was a kid, I was a lot closer to my dad, so this was the one mother-and-me time. It's almost always been a "no boys allowed" venture, and, when I got older, it was a "no partners allowed" deal. (Last year I broke the rules and spent the day with a good friend of mine. But it was very very nice to share with him the places and traditions I've loved.) We often times listen (and sing along with) the same Christmas music in the car on the way there. The length of the trip has changed over the years (starting as a day trip and turning into a 3-4 day trip), and we've stayed in just about every hotel in the area, but we like to eat at a lot of the same places (and throw in a new place or 2 each year), go to the same shops, take the same bus tour. As the years have gone by, we sometimes drop some of the traditions (like the bus tour… sometimes we drive around and I narrate a "tour" myself, with a lot of silly joking around) but add new ones in… like the house tour (which happens every other year) and seeing a play at their local community theater on the non-house tour years.

On Christmas Eve, one year my dad decided to do a buffet at home. It evolved into everyone having a favorite food for Christmas Eve dinner. I always requested Dad's cheese fondue (which he only made at Christmas) & which I brought tonight. My parents often times had shrimp.

When I lived in Toronto, I'd go to Neighborhood UU church on Christmas Eve. It's located in the Gerrard India Bazaar, and I have fond memories of taking the streetcar and watching the Christmas lights in the windows of the shops glisten in the sequins and jewels on the beautiful saris, while snowflakes fell outside. One year, me and my boyfriend went for Indian buffet right after church (because, why not?). I was looking forward to that turning into a tradition, but we broke up in the next year, and it was not to be.

On Christmas morning, I always open only my stocking before breakfast. Then we have breakfast, and then we open the rest of our gifts. Sometimes we'll go out driving around and looking at Christmas lights after the sun goes down.

My father always bought me just 1 gift. Well, he always bought me 1 main big gift every year. I usually have no idea what it will be. He also would lie to me about what Mom's gift would be, because he never trusted me to keep it a secret.

One year, when I was a child, we read a book called the Glass Angels. In it, Tilly, born poor to a widowed seamstress mother in the UK between the 2 world wars, goes and visits the elderly Mrs. McBride next door. Mrs. McBride has a large trunk full of trinkets and memories from the glorious time "Beforethewar" that she'll often times bring out things for Tilly. This time, when she goes to the bottom of her trunk, she finds 3 beautiful blown glass christmas ornaments… a pine cone, a bell, and a bird.

That year, on Christmas morning, I found a box under the tree. It was labeled "Mrs. McBride has been to the bottom of her trunk again." In the box were a few old fashioned glass ornaments. My mother explained to me that some day I'll be an adult and I'll have my own Christmas tree, and she wanted me to have ornaments for it. So every year, I would find the box from Mrs. McBride, with yet another ornament or 2 in it. As I've gotten older, my mother has not stopped the tradition. I've received angels, fruit & vegetables, a sun, moon, & star, candles and bells and snowmen and Santa Clauses and all sorts of animals of the land and sky. (And yes, I have a few birds, at least 1 bell, and, my favorite, a red pine cone covered in sparkles like snow.) And sure enough, over the years, I have amassed quite the collection of glass ornaments. To the point that my tree is almost exclusively these beautiful fragile treasures. As an adult, I will sometimes buy myself a glass ornament to add to my collection. (I have a beautiful Harlequin mask with rainbow designs that I bought at the GLBT bookstore to celebrate my Pride. I also have a slice of cake that looks suspiciously like the cake in the video game Portal.) Now, often times while in Bethlehem, mom & I will look at the glass ornaments in the Moravian Book Store, and I will go "ooh, I don't have one of these. Maybe Mrs. McBride will find one of THESE in the bottom of her trunk!" And, of course, I never receive that ornament (for Mrs. McBride had probably already been to the bottom of her trunk already), but that's still part of the fun… trying to guess what ornament Mrs. McBride will find at the bottom of her trunk THIS year.

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Advent for Humanists & Non-Christians

me new 2008
I'm a big fan of Advent. Growing up, I always enjoyed the small celebrations leading up to Christmas… the lighting of the candles, the songs, the preparations that go along with Advent in a Catholic environment. Although I no longer identify as Christian, each year I take out my wreath, go shopping for purple and rose candles, and enjoy lighting them while singing the first verse of O Come Emmanuel (my own personal ritual surrounding it). I always bemoan that the candles don't last longer, as I would burn them all day, every day during Advent, if I could. They set the tone for the season for me… they bring me back to myself and my center. They are the cornerstone of the religious festival I choose to celebrate along side the secular celebration of what I like to call Chrismas (notice the lack of T.) (I also celebrate a number of other holidays, including Hanukkah, Solstice, HumanLight, and this year I'll be celebrating Chalica for the first time.)

This year, I picked up a book called "We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to the Family Use of the Advent Wreath". While it turned out to be a bit too Christian for my tastes, and I passed it on to my devoted Catholic mother, I got to thinking about a few things I read in it, and, as I have a tendency to do, started trying to figure out how to translate Advent and its messages to non-Christian, non-theist, or Humanist folks (esp. Unitarian Universalists that are the above things, as I am).

Often times the message of Christmas at a UU church is how blessed the birth of each child is. I'd like to take this a step further and adapt some liberation theology (as best I know it, which isn't well at all). Advent means coming, and Christians wait for the coming of their Messiah, their Christ. I think we can celebrate a similar waiting for a birth. We've had many prophetic women and men who have fought for justice. But we still wait for that justice to happen; we still fight the good fight. We've had many great leaders in the past. Maybe someday we'll have another great leader who will help us establish justice for all… a wise and charismatic leader. So we can wait for that birth… or perhaps those births, if instead of a singular leader, it's a group or movement. We can work hard, fight for freedom and justice, and hope and pray for the coming of those who will lead us even further, who will teach us how to not just live well but create a world where everyone can live well. Hope and pray that the coming generations are even more enlightened than we are. (And, of course, we can teach our children well so that they will surpass us.)

So we, too, are waiting for the coming of a wonderful blessed birth… we just don't know who it will be, or what they will achieve. They're probably not going to be the Son of God, but they may well be a Savior of the World.

The book mentioned that the devotions within will focus our attention on our relationship with God. We can focus our attentions on our relationships with others, our relationship with ourselves, and our relationship to our personal spirituality, or, for those so inclined, our relationship to our ethics, to doing what is Right.

The book mentioned that there are many names for the 4 candles. It chooses to label them promise, light, love, and hope. These, I feel, don't need any translation. The promise of a better world, the light of knowledge and goodness, love (which stands alone), and the hope for a better future.

So this year, I'll probably still sing O Come Emmanuel (because I find the song to be beautiful and haunting). And I'll use this season to prepare myself for the coming of not a Savior, but perhaps a Liberator. I'll work on making good relationships with those in my life and I'll work on bettering myself ethically & personally so I'll be in a place, emotionally & ethically/spiritually where I can do the Blessed Work of Establishing Justice.

The thing is, since we're not looking for a single Savior, since we're not looking for the coming of God, we may never know who Our Messiah is. They may never come. They may have already been born. And, as it may well be multiple people working together, some may have already died, while others may not yet be physically conceived (while they are, indeed, conceived in our hearts), and still yet others may be in our wombs currently while they are in our hearts. They may be wandering around already doing nothing of the sort. They may be me, they may be you. And since we may never know, perhaps we have to act as if they're already here. Or perhaps we need to act as if they'll never come, and step up and be our own Liberators. But we can step back, reflect, better ourselves and also create a space for centering & peace in the crazy holiday season. It can give us a religious festival for those who don't celebrate the Christian solemnity of Christmas but would like some kind of religious or spiritual practice or celebration to counterbalance the fun but often times frenzied & stressful secular celebration.

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me new 2008
So there was this survey and some of my answers got so long I wanted to put them in my Notes so that in case the page borked, I'd still have my answers. These are unedited... they may be incomplete. But I thought they were interesting so I thought I'd share them here.

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fucked up
1.) Any therapist/psychiatrist is NOT better than none at all.
I'm tired of seeing the posts that tell people to go to therapy or find a psychiatrist and that then very clearly insinuate that if you don't, that you aren't working on your mental illness. It's important to have the RIGHT mental health professionals. The wrong ones are a waste of time at best and actively harmful at worst, esp. when we're talking about psychiatry (remember: these folks have the ability to literally change your brain. Their Rx pad & signature is extreme power over you. When improperly used, it can make you end up in the hospital against your will… and if you're committed, you lose a number of rights forever even once you come out.)

Many folks find traditional treatment options to be ineffective. Many folks have been harmed at the hands of the mental heath profession and it's very traumatic for them to even consider going again. Many folks use alternative treatment options instead. Going to therapy or being on meds is one option, one choice. Others use group therapy, peer counseling/support, alternative medicine (herbs, acupuncture, etc.), yoga, tai chi, exercise… there's as many options as their are people. Support someone towards wellness, even if that means not being in therapy at that time. Support their right to not choose that path. Listen to them when they talk about how they've been hurt by it… take their pain seriously.

And that being said...

2.) your mental illness is like any other illness… yours to treat or ignore as you see fit. (Also, it's not all or nothing. most people sit some where in the middle.)
Many people ignore physical problems they're having… that sore knee, that rash, the twitching in their eye. It's their right to do that. It doesn't make them a bad person or not worthy of doing whatever (dating, owning a house, etc.) just because they're not taking care of it. It's the EXACT SAME WAY with mental illness. If someone's not treating it, that's their prerogative. You should do everything possible to not make that the conditions of your dating or relationship or whatever hinge on them taking care of their mental illness in a specific way… or to the amount that you think they should do. Respect their right to get as much or little treatment as they see fit, just as you'd want them to respect that you don't feel like getting that clicking in your elbow looked at. We have the right to do whatever we want and get treated or not get treated or get treated the amount we want.

Now, when it affects you, you have every right to have boundaries. Communication is essential. Maybe you'd rather have couples therapy for learning how to deal with their illness. And it's ok to lovingly and gently say "you know, this really seems to be affecting you. Have you considered that it might be time to get more help? It's totally ok to get more help… no shame! What kinds of help might you want to get?"

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me new 2008
(Note: since writing this, I'm coming to realize this is almost everyone/most organizations that the majority of the members or the founding members are at or above a certain socioeconomic level, and not just UUs.)

If a congregation wants to say that they're truly welcoming to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, they need to truly represent them. They need to not just have food drives for the community… they need to offer food to people in the congregation, and not just "our neighbors" in the surrounding area, as if those people aren't actually part of the church, but rather separate. (As if the church is "In the world, but not of the world"?) Helping to establish social justice needs to start in the home, or rather, in the church, amongst its parishioners. Otherwise poor people will come to your church and feel disenfranchised and leave. They'll feel like you care about strangers in Uganda but not about the people directly in their midst. (This has happened to me directly a number of times. I've been asked to give money when I've been deeply underinsured and desperately needing specific medical care with no organization to give it to me. I mentioned my problem to the regional head of the board for UUs for SJ and the best he could come up with was "we've failed you". No "oh god, that's awful… we'll have a meeting and see what we can do to fill this obvious gap in the system." Just him giving up. Such a position of privilege. Forget me, make me go away, make me be someone else's problem. But I don't have that luxury to give up. This is my life I might lose if I don't get treated. Way to REALLY care about SJ. You fight for the environment but not for a person who came to you with a desperate need.) And it shows that those of higher economic class don't even consider that there are those of lower economic class in their congregations… we poor are left invisible, unseen, unnoticed in UU churches. People are unaware. They are so privileged that it doesn't occur to them that they worship with people not as privileged as them. They assume everyone in the congregation not only, say, has enough to eat and adequate health care coverage, but can afford to give away food and money towards health care coverage in developing countries.

People in poor churches all band together and help each other and are aware of the socioeconomic backgrounds in their churches, but people in rich churches never consider that some there do not have enough and would like to receive some help from those in the Beloved Community. Social Justice isn't something we do to or for other people, but something we do TOGETHER for EACH OTHER. It requires those of higher socioeconomic levels to consider themselves not allies, separate but caring, but rather ONE OF US. It needs to become their struggle too. It needs to mean something to them because it's happening to those they consider equal and the same... one of us, one like us, not separate from us. They take on the struggle of their parishioners because they understand what happens to one of us happens to all of us. That our fights are their fights and vice versa. Social justice is about identifying as a whole and acting as such.

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On Submission, Identity, and D/s not M/s

me new 2008
I also find myself wondering, yet again, if I really am a submissive or just someone with submissive like desires. For a little back story, I wish to be in a D/s relationship. I am not a slave, nor do I wish to have a Master. So I try to buy books on D/s and not M/s. I try to buy books that address submission and dominance. But so many of them seem to use D/s and M/s interchangeably, or they describe their own M/s or O/p (Owner/property) relationship to talk about submission. (I feel it's a bait-and-switch.) Many of the "core concepts" in these books are not things that resonate with me… they are things that I do not want, that scare me, and that would probably be damaging to me as a person, esp. considering my childhood history of abuse and manipulation, and my current struggle with pervasive mental illnesses.

So I find myself wondering… are they improperly interchanging M/s with D/s? Or is this really what submission should be about, and I'm not a "real" submissive, but someone who just wants to play one? (I feel there's nothing wrong with wanting to play at it, but considering some of the play I wish to do with it isn't in a formal BDSM scene, but is in more real life situations, and to be of more extended time than just the occasional scene…)

And if it's the case of calling M/s D/s, then where can I find a book that is TRULY about D/s and ONLY D/s? And where can I find support for D/s and D/s alone? I've found there's lots of support for M/s under the guise of the Power Exchange sub-Scene, but I need a place that's for D/s and D/s alone where I can talk to other Dominants and submissives about our way of doing things. So I can see if I really am a sub by comparing myself to the way they all do things. Where can I find the D/s scene?

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Thoughts...

fucked up
I'm realizing that I'm not fully honest in my writing and I want to challenge myself to do what I haven't ever done before… write what my life is REALLY like, completely uncensored. The problem is, I don't want to show how I feel as some horrible afflicting mental illness (even though, frankly, it is), I want to just incorporate the intense moods as just part of my daily life… because they are. I think that's a far more accurate way of showing my life than isolating an episode and talking about it.

I've always been afraid of really expressing what goes on inside my head. Part of it is lack of ability to really communicate it… I don't want people to not get it… I need to get it right. Another part is… really, I don't want people to think I'm crazy. Rather, I don't want to be viewed as crazy and interacted with as such. I want to be treated like anyone else you know, but possibly with a bit more cultivation and care.

I really want to get PERSONAL.

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The Balance

fucked up
I know I've written on this before. But I feel the need to say it again.

Everyone goes too far.

The establishment is fucked up. We already know that. There are things in them that doesn't ring quite true.

But here's the other truth to the (non)/(alternative)power…
The alternative is also messed up too. They go too far in their rejections. In their assumptions. And they say things that are actually even more scary to me, in their rejections of everything establishment. What if it actually happened they way some propose? I think I would feel even less safe.

I don't belong in either. Both are wrong.

And yet, I need parts of both.


Mainstream psychiatry? You need tweaking. You need overhaul. You have a ways to go. You need to sit down and listen to us. Nothing About Us, Without Us. Not everything we think is crazy, and maybe you need crazy to treat crazy. Maybe you need to believe in crazy a bit… and you'll see it's not so crazy.

The Mad Pride/anti-psychiatry/survivors folks? You guys go way too far. Seriously. You get on the right track, but then you shoot so far ahead you careen off the track and into the ditch… and insist the ditch IS the track. Yeah… no. Temper your ideas. Step back and do a sanity check. Not everything they say is wrong or crazy. (Just like not everything WE say is wrong or crazy.) And, yes, some of us ARE crazy and DO need treatment. And some of us WANT treatment.

There's multiple ways of looking at things. HYBRID APPROACHES ARE POSSIBLE. In fact, I think it's the hybrid approaches that get it right. A balance between the 2 extremes.

But remember that different people need different approaches, and that it's important to look at all the options for wellness.

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Passing & Mental Disability

me new 2008
All my life, my mother tried to teach me how to pass. It was expected of me to pass. To pass as someone who didn't have mental illness, who didn't have disabilities, who didn't have Psychiatric Challenges, as I like to put it.

I tried for YEARS to pass. I tried very very hard. And while I was discovering my other identities… my queer/bi identity, my Geek identity, my kinky identity… those I could pass if I needed to, or I simply didn't care to pass. But I had never figured out, even when I knew I had to pretend to be normal and act like I didn't have problems, that what I was doing was trying to Pass in regards to my brain.

I have read about passing over the years. Mattilda's Nobody Passes is good reading on the subject. But it never occurred to me until right now that I have my own intimate passing story as well.

Hello, everyone. I'm a person with psychiatric challenges. And for DECADES, I tried to pass as non-Challenged.

As I said earlier, it was expected of me to pass. Mother made me perform up to societal standards, and I got chastised sometimes (it felt like all the time) when I didn't/couldn't.
Now my mother realizes the extent of my Challenges. (She knew about them before but didn't know they were strong enough that we should stop trying to make me stand up to societal standards.) However, she taught me how to Pass. And in some ways, I've learned very well. I'm quite good at passing sometimes, in some environments, in some ways. I can pass well enough to get a job. I can pass well enough to keep it for a short period (months to a small number of years). I can talk to you, and you'd probably just think something was a little off… I can't really hide the ADHD completely.

There are people who have known me for years and knew little to nothing of the depression that plagues my existence. When they find out, they are surprised, incredulous, and sometimes in complete doubt. Part of it is the nature of my brain… social situations make me feel good and pull me out of my depression. Part of it is the passing.

We must pass, we are told. It's not an option… it's an imperative. And I believe everyone with a mental illness is told to do it. Depressed people? Keep working and put on a happy face. Bipolar folks? Temper those moods… take the depressed advice and add on top of it controlling your highs. You can't let anyone know you're flying right now. Peeps with schizophrenia? Man, you gotta hide that shit… your crazy terrifies people. And on and on and on.

Now of course, some of it deals with other people's boundaries. You can't harm other people. That's fine.

But we are expected to keep up a façade. Not let people see it on us. And we are expected to be able to keep functioning at the same level as everyone else, or a mildly modified level. "Sure, we'll make reasonable accommodations, but WE get to decide what's 'reasonable', and if we simply don't feel like doing it, it's not 'reasonable' anymore." Fuck that noise.

Passing HURTS. It does. The expectation has given me anxiety problems. Not being able to pull it off gives me guilt and depression problems. And this constant struggle to just be someone I am not… it wears you down. The one time I passed the most, I ended up having a drinking problem. And even then, I got let go from my job for not passing enough. Corporate America is the Great Passing Entity. You MUST PASS or else you're out.

And let's say you do pass. Let's say you are able to do something society expects of you. How are you rewarded? A "thank you for doing that. you can relax now."? No. It's held up as proof you CAN pass, and then you're expected to pass even more. You are rewarded for passing with the expectation of more of the same. It never ends.

Forcing yourself to do things when you can't hurts. It hurts SO MUCH. And it's traumatic too.
Forcing yourself to appear to be fully functional and normal hurts. In part because then you are expected to be fully functional and normal. In other part because you have to keep up the charade of being someone you're not.

I'm not passing anymore. At least, I'm not passing as an imperative. If I want to pass as something, I'll give it a go, but I'm not going to try to live up to others expectations of me. I'll do what's right for me and my health. Self-care and care from others is more important than being "good" or being "normal". At least, that's what I'm going to try to do. (Good luck with that, really.)

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me new 2008
How come in pictures of women dominating men, if the woman is getting her pleasure, it’s ALWAYS of her getting cunnilingus?

Not all women like to be licked. I, for one, mostly hate cunnilingus.

It’s like there has to be physical, overt, obvious to the point of stereotypical signs of dominance in these pics. Namely the woman has to be physically over the man. Whether it’s sitting on his face or riding him, she’s over him. And I don’t like cowgirl. Frankly, it’s too much work (I’m such a Do Me Queen) and if the man is broad enough, my legs don’t straddle him right and I can’t touch the bed with both legs properly because I’m so short.

For once, I’d like to see a picture of a woman making a man fuck her. Of a man being forced to give it to a woman doggie style or missionary. Because if it’s all about me and my pleasure, well, that’s what I like.

I don’t understand submissive men who say they only care about the woman’s pleasure & not their own but then if I tell them to do things that actually please me, like them being dominant and fucking me, they don’t want to do it. Is it REALLY about my pleasure or is it about the fantasy in your head of what submission should be about? It’s fine if it’s about the latter… if they have fantasies they want fulfilled, that’s great, but then don’t say it’s about my pleasure. If you’re REALLY out to please women, then PLEASE WOMEN. If your fantasy is to pleasure a woman in a very specific way, SAY THAT. And find the women who want to be pleasured in that way. But DON’T say you only care about my pleasure when you’re not willing to do what it takes to genuinely please me.

And, frankly, where can I find the men that are willing to do whatever it takes to please a woman? I think I would really enjoy making a sub be dominant to please me. It would make him squirm and it would be fun. Plus, I’ve noticed a lot of male submissive fantasies are regarding some form of degradation and humiliation. It’s about tearing down of masculinity. I’m wondering where are the sub men that are like “I’m not a real man… I’m a wuss… I wanna learn how to be a strong ‘real’ man!” Is there a name for this I just don’t know of? Because that would be fun to do and help with. (Or does it not exist because society is so strict about “making guys into men” and they get that pressure all the time and submitting in the above way is a welcome respite & relief from this?)

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Busy Weekend

me new 2008
I have a busy weekend this weekend. I’d love to see any of you for any of it!

Tonight I’ll be going to the Games Club of Maryland’s Silver Spring games night @ the Tastee Diner for gaming & socialization. They meet every Friday. They seem to be more into the Euro board games than the card games, but I’ll bring Chez Geek anyway.

Tomorrow, me & my housemate are going to go to MAC. I know zie’s getting some more makeup, but I’m not sure if we’re both getting makeovers. Tomorrow night, we’re going to DC Dungeon for Open Play.

Sunday, I’m going (maybe w/ the housemate) to see Marian Call perform. She’s a pretty awesome musician, but not very well known. Sometime's she more "a girl and her guitar", more folksy. Sometimes she's more jazzy with a touch of torch singing. And it’s only a .7 mile walk from my house, on the road that my road turns into! Here’s the info on it.

Silver Spring, MD // Sun. 09.09.12 - Great Big House Concert
Open to the public, join us in the D.C. area for a Sunday evening show! Bring a snack or non-alcoholic beverage to share if you wish, or just come with the optional $10 artist donation. All ages, 7pm. 7981 Eastern Ave., Silver Spring, MD.

Also, I've been doing a lot more of my blogging on Tumblr. If you're really interested in reading what I have to say on various issues, you might want to check it out. http://c4bl3fl4m3.tumblr.com Most of my blogging there is brought about by someone else's post (and there's a LOT of reblogging), but... This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/12870.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Meds Update

fucked up
The meds are getting stronger & stronger and I'm getting dopey-er & dopey-er. I have no depression anymore, but I have little other feelings. I'm living in a giant haze. Having serious difficulty functioning at all. I have no drive whatsoever to do anything. I'm also having problems with my brain... I can't spell properly anymore, I'm having difficulty gathering my thoughts & finding the right words for speaking out loud, and now I'm losing things and can't remember for the life of me where I put them & can't seem to find them. (If anyone knows where I put my external HD, please let me know.) I'm losing myself & becoming someone else, someone slower & stupider. This wasn't supposed to happen. I'm going to beg my therapist to contact my psychiatrist tomorrow and see if I can halve my dose.

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Update: Home

fucked up
I was released today after a visit with the clinic's psychiatrist (if you ever have the chance to see Dr. Norman Robertson, do so. He's absolutely WONDERFUL.) Had a visit with my psychiatrist, Dr. Donesky (who's no slouch, either. I'm quite fond of him as well). Realized how truly lucky and blessed I am to have mental health professionals that have my back and empower me to make my own psychiatric decisions and to live my own life. It's just a great cycle of me feeling empowered so I make decisions that further empower me via working with people who think I should be empowered. Yay! Hooray for people in the mental health profession who believe in putting the power to make healthy choices for ourselves into the hands of the individual. I'm glad I get to run my own show, but with help and support when I need it. My body, my mind, my mental states, my choice!

Anyway, I'm home now, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Still not fully pleased with my mood, but I'm going to keep trying the drugs for a few more weeks and see how I do. At least I don't have god awful side effects... I do have some side effects, but so far, they've been reasonably manageable.

But now's the time when I need you all more than ever. Transitioning back to living at home and having to work on building a life worth living requires a lot of support, perhaps even more support than when I was in the crisis center. When I was there, I was assigned a therapist 24/7 to assist me whenever I needed assistance. It was quite the relief, not to mention quite helpful to have someone to talk to whenever I wanted, someone who I know was trained & knows what they're talking about. But now I don't have that support, and I know I'll miss it, as it's something I've always wanted anyway. So I really need the support of my friends. I need you all to check on me every now and then. I need you to invite me out to socialize with you, whether it's a party or just for a cup of tea. I need to know you're there if I need to talk or a shoulder to cry or or a hug.

I'm realizing that I can't keep operating as I did before, not trying to "burden" anyone, because it's part of what drove me to where I was. I have needs and it's time I start acknowledging them and I stop hiding them from my friends & society at large. If I don't start taking care of myself in that way, I'm going to wither again. I don't want to wither. I want to bloom. So I'm going to take care of myself in a way to promote that. But it means being honest with who I am and my needs to my friends and it might mean having to become more distant from people who can't accept me for who I am, for the mental illnesses I have, and for my needs.

So... yeah. That's where I am right now and where I'm going in the future. Come with me? Be my friend?

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Another Update

fucked up
So we're trying to get me in at Fenton/McAulife House, but there's just not an opening right now. So we're gonna keep trying every day. If there isn't an opening, I'm going to be staying at T&E through Tuesday, when I see their psychiatrist (whom I really, really like) again (I really hated the psych that's gonna be in on Monday & apparently my request to never see her again was respected) and my own psychiatrist (whom I like) again and we'll see whether I'm safe & stable enough to go home or what.

We've tried a mood stabilizer which, while I'm not sure how well (if at all) it's working, it's at least not having gawd awful side effects, and because of the kind of medication it is, the likelyhood that it would happen in the future is almost nil, so that's good. We're adding another antidepressant medication with it that'll have a synergistic effect with it. Took the first dose of that a few hours ago... no bad side effects, but no positive ones yet, either. We'll see.

I have no plans for the weekend, currently, other than video chatting with 8T tomorrow. Some plans would go well. I'd go to the Crucible, except I have to be back every night by 11, so that wouldn't work (and I'd ask for special dispensation, but I'm pretty sure that telling them I'm heading to a kinky sex club won't go over well). Anyway, if you'd like to visit me (the center is in North Rockville) or take me out somewhere or whatever, I'm totally receptive to whatever plans. I can have visitors until 10 pm.

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Update on my Situation

fucked up
So I've spent some time on the T&E unit & they're probably going to be transfering me to a better facility for cases like mine, a facility they wanted me to go to to begin with but there wasn't a space for me at. But they're filling out the referral forms and finding a place for me there.

So I'll (hopefully) be at Fenton/McAulife House in Rockville (near Twinbrook Station). I have quite a bit of autonomy there, which is really what I need to feel comfortable & safe seeking help, and yet I'll also have the help & support I need while we try different diagnoses & medication and get me stable, which is what I really need to feel safe during this quite scary time. I'll be there for up to 10 days. I can come and go as I please, and I can have visitors (that I know of... my current facility allows & encourages visitors), so if you'd like to come and visit me, I'd love to have company. I have no idea if I'll have Internet there or not (I hope so... no Net makes CableFlame sad... and by sad, I mean bored out of my mind), but I have my cell phone, so you can always call or text me. And to those who've already texted me their well wishes, thank you so much, everyone! It really does mean a lot and makes me feel supported & less alone.

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Away for A Bit

fucked up
My mental health has taken a turn for the worse so I'm spending a few days in a facility made to stabilize cases like mine. (Specifically the Triage & Evaluation unit @ the MoCo Crisis Center.) I'll have limited to no access to the internet, so don't worry if you don't hear from me. If you want to reach me, and you know my cell number, I'll have my cell on me.

I'll write all about my experiences when I get back, as I think this is stuff that people should know about.

This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/11648.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
me new 2008
(Please, go read my policy for political debate on my journal before replying to this. Thanks!) (Also, x-posted from my Tumblr.)

Dear Liberals & Fellow Lefties,

Hi. You know I love you dearly. I do. I love what you do for the world. I love your commitment to helping people everywhere, for siding on the side of love and compassion, for trying to make the world a more fair place. For trying to make sure that everyone has enough food, shelter, and medical care. Seriously. I just love that. That’s what it means to be GOOD. And I’m hella proud to consider myself amongst your ranks. Truly.

But we need to have a little chat. A small sit down. It’s because you’re misguided on a couple of things. But there’s only 1 I want to talk about today.

Liberals & other lefties, we need to have a talk about guns.

Yeah, that’s right. I need you to listen to me for a bit. I mean seriously sit down and listen and consider what I have to say. I know the standard liberal thought on guns. We see the horrific gun violence that happens on TV and even in our own neighborhoods sometimes. It’s just truly AWFUL. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. It’s hard for you to see why guns should be allowed around. Quite a few of you never grew up around guns, nor have you ever even touched one. You think getting rid of guns will solve gun violence. I’m afraid I need to call you out on this.

It’s not gonna work. No, really, it’s not. I’m sad to say so. I wish it was that easy.

As liberals, we like to deconstruct things. We like to get to the bottom of why bad things happen. Bombings, bullying, etc. We usually find out that it has something to do with the social problems of our world. Racism. Class inequality. Poverty. Homophobia or Transphobia. Intolerance. The rest. You know these things. You probably fight on a regular basis to get rid of them (and good for you!)

Liberals? THIS IS WHY GUN VIOLENCE HAPPENS. I have to tell you this, and if it makes me sound like a conservative, well, maybe they happen to be right this time on 1 tiny little detail. (Remember: even a broken clock is right 2x a day.) Guns don’t actually cause gun violence. No, really, they don’t. No gun hops into someone’s hand and makes someone shoot someone else. They don’t whisper thoughts into your head of a mass killing spree. I promise you. I have held guns, I have shot guns. I have never once committed a gun crime, nor would I EVER do such a thing. It’s the same way your steak knife doesn’t make you go stab people. You use knives all the time. You might even carry around a knife in your pocket or on your keychain. Knives can be used as weapons. But you never use your knife as a weapon, do you? Of course not. You probably find it deplorable. Instead, you use it to cut things, from your dinner to rope. The same thing here. Most guns are used for hunting for food or sport, target shooting for sport, or for personal protection (which I have my own issues with, but that’s neither here nor there). Most of those who own them find the idea of committing gun violence sickening. But for those who DO commit gun violence, remember that it’s committed by human beings using guns. It is *not* committed by guns using human beings. It is NOT the fault of the gun, but of the person shooting it. (And even that is sometimes in the air, as i think, in certain cases, those committing gun violence are mentally ill & can’t help themselves. But even in those cases, it’s still not the fault of the gun.) (Guns make it EASIER to commit certain crimes and types of violence, I will give you that.)

Also, I hate to say it, but if someone wants a gun, they’ll always find a way to have one. Do you remember how well banning abortion worked? Yeah, it didn’t, did it? People just had unsafe ones. Coat hangers and all that jazz. Women bled to death. It was awful. So we fight long and hard for the right of a woman to decide for herself what her morals & ethics are surrounding abortion and then the legality to have one if she decides for herself that it’s moral & ethical & the right thing to do. How about banning drugs like marijuana? How’s that going? Oh, yes, it’s not, is it? Or remember prohibition? We sure did get rid of all of the alcohol in America. Except we totally didn’t. And I don’t even need to bring up prostitution. Hate to say it, but the same thing’s gonna happen with guns. Sure, it might make someone who insists upon going through the proper channels have a harder time to get one. Hell, it might even make it a bit harder to obtain one for someone who doesn’t care how they get it. But, make no mistake, they WILL get one. And this time, it’ll be through a black market system, possibly heavily corrupted, with lots of opportunity for blackmail & abuse all along the way. (Sounds a lot like the current state of sex work for many. Which is why so many are trying to get it legalized or decriminalized.) (I’m not even going to go into the jaded adage of “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”. But there is some truth to this.)

So maybe it’ll slow down gun violence. But incidences of other types of violent crime will go up. Knife crime will increase. Etc.

But, really, in this case, the gun is just a tool, just an accessory to the crime. Remember when we talked about WHY gun violence happens? Shouldn’t we, as liberals, be working on solving THAT instead of spending our time banning guns? Why aren’t we making it so that there’s no NEED to commit gun crime? Why aren’t we fighting for a world without poverty and hatred? Isn’t that the REAL issue here? Isn’t gun violence just a symptom? It genuinely surprises me that the left’s position on these things is a position of removing the gun from the situation instead of digging deeper and removing the social injustice from the situation. Aren’t we usually all about the end of social injustices? Isn’t that the touchstone of who we are as liberal people?

Also, as stated earlier, a number of you have never touched or possibly even seen a gun in person (except for on the side of an officer’s belt). I encourage you… get to know them. Properly and safely, of course. There are organizations that can help you do this. Gun safety is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn, even if you choose to never shoot or touch a gun. You NEVER KNOW when having that knowledge might come in handy and save a life. You’re asking to ban something of which you have no real knowledge. How fair is that? So go take a gun course. Or even go to a gun shop or a sporting goods outfitter and ask the owner to teach you the basics of guns & handling. I’m sure they’d be more happy to do so… most gun folk have a vested interest in teaching others gun safety. Learn about the parts of a gun. Learn where the safety is & how to make sure it’s on. Learn how to tell if a gun is loaded or not. (You can do all of those things, btw, with an unloaded gun.) Learn how to tell if a gun is cocked or not. Learn what makes a gun go off, and what makes a gun NOT go off. Learn that, while they are dangerous tools, they don’t just fire willy nilly at random. They require certain steps to be readied for firing (loading, cocking, the removal of the safety if applicable). If you’d like to, go target shooting with a friend with more experience. Learn what it actually feels like to fire one. Learn their true power. Learn what they can and can not do. Change your fear of guns from an unhealthy fear based on ignorance to a healthy fear/respect based on knowledge. Isn’t knowledge ALWAYS a good thing? The More You Know, and all that jazz? Why hate something you don’t actually know (accurate?) things about? Isn’t that just as bad as conservatives hating gays because they don’t actually know them?

Above all, know this. Gun crime isn’t the real problem. It’s the symptom. The CAUSES of gun crime is the problem. And it’s a crying shame that we, as a political movement, and ESPECIALLY as a political movement that cares so much about social justice, don’t seem to understand that. Social justice, NOT the banning of guns, will stop gun crime. The same way that hate crime legislation, while still a thing I think we need to have, sadly won’t actually stop the root of hate crimes. The only thing that will do that is instilling a love for diversity & difference. You can’t fight ideas in the physical realm… the only way they can die is in the realm of the mind, and is with other ideas.

So that is why, as a liberal person, using traditional liberal values, I think that banning guns is not the answer to ending gun crime. (FWIW, I do support other forms of gun control, but that’s a different letter.) (And, of course, none of this deals with accidental shootings. But proper gun safety & handling takes care of that most of the time, the same way proper driving should take care of most auto accidents.)

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Bring On The Beach!

me new 2008
I now have a fabulous 2 piece bathing suit. It's not a bikini (it's a tankini). I wanted a bikini. I told my mom such and she's like "I don't think you're quite there yet". (She knows I've lost some weight.) I told her about the new "fatkini" movement, the whole "this is my body and I'm going to wear what I want" movement. She was like "ok". (She knows once I have my mind made up on something, I'm going to do it and there's no talking me out of it.) Anyway, the reason I bought this suit is because it was an amazing price, it fit me fabulously (and gives me a reasonable amount of support on top for being active), and it has a gorgeous print and colors. I liked it & looked good in it and that mattered far more to me than the fact that it happens to cover my stomach. It's something I don't feel bad about wearing on the beach. (I was only going to clothing optional beaches because I felt more comfortable with my body while naked than while stuffed into an ill-fitting bathing suit with a design that I didn't like [that I had because it was a hand-me-down].)

Pics here!

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Update on Living Situation

me new 2008
So I'm crashing with my It's Complicated in NJ until I can find somewhere else to stay. It's not optimal, as we were planning on spending some time together and now that time has turned into 2 weeks (which is quite a bit much) but I'll try to make plans with friends in the area to keep us having separate lives. (BTW, I'd still like to crash somewhere else for a few days in there. If you can take me, let me know.) Still haven't heard if I have power yet or not. Pepco isn't being helpful, but they're probably so ridiculously overwhelmed that they can't keep the info up to date. I don't blame them. This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/10950.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

URGENT: Need a Place to Stay

me new 2008
Still no power. No idea when it will be back up. (Vague rumors about 11pm tonight, but that could have been misinformation.) Desperately looking for a place to stay for a few days. Looking at Philly/NYC area as I was planning on travelling there for vacation at the end of the week anyway. If you can put me up, please send me an email (this username at gmail), or, better, text or call my cell phone. I can contribute food and/or a little money in exchange.

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Fat Shaming Ridiculousness

me new 2008
Warning: this is pretty evil. You might not want to read this. (This is as close to a "trigger warning" as I get.)

So MikeJMyers (I refuse to protect the guilty) just wrote me this publicly on Fitocracy:

Size positive? Really? That's a thing we have to deal with on FITOCRACY now? There is nothing positive about being fat. It's not healthy. It's not attractive. The only places it can benefit people are cold water swimming, being a lineman on a football team, or being a Sumo.

This really touches a nerve for me. You should no more accept being a fat person than one should accept being a drug addict or alcoholic. Fitocracy is supposed to be a place where we motivate each other TO GET BETTER.
Wow.

1.) Attractiveness is an extremely subjective thing. (I just want to blow this guy's mind with the entire FA and feederism thing. Seriously. I mean, if I end up replying to him, it will ONLY be about this point. I really would love to see his brain explode when he learns there are thousands, if not MILLIONS of people who find fat attractive.)

2.) Being unhealthy is unhealthy. Sometimes unhealthy people are fat. Sometimes they're skinny. Sometimes they're inbetween. There is some correlation between fat and health, but it's far from direct. There's FAR more correlation between exercise and health, and even that isn't 100% direct.

2.5) Whether or not someone is healthy or not is between them and their doctor. AND THAT'S IT. It's no one else's business. It's a CHOICE.

3.) "You should no more accept being a fat person than one should accept being a drug addict or alcoholic." WOW. SERIOUSLY? WOW. I wonder if all of your friends and family and coworkers are skinny. Do you feel the same way about them? Do you speak to them in that way?

4.) Fito is there to motivate people towards their fitness goals, whatever they be. Everyone gets to define for themselves what "better" is. (Fitocracy calls it "awesome". Their motto is "making you more awesome". I like that.)

5.) Skinny != better. Fat != worse.

You know, I might have to make a "the stupid, it burns" tag JUST for this post. What a small little man who lives in a small little world.

(I don't want you to think this person is representative of Fito at large. Fitocracy is one of the most awesome communities I've ever been on... supportive, welcoming, friendly. I love them so much. Most groups focus on the positive and on supporting people, regardless of their size or fitness goals. Some are intentionally size positive. This is just 1 of a few assholes who don't seem to get that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.)
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Not Strong Enough for What I'm Called to Do

me new 2008
I originally posted this in my Tumblr on June 15th.

I wish I was stronger. I wish I had more emotional energy to deal with arguments. You have NO IDEA how much I don't reblog with my own take because I simply can't deal with backlash. ESP. when I know the backlash will be from people I consider to be "my own people." Esp. when I know the battle will be long and hard and it seems like I never change anyone's minds anyways. Yes, I know, others not involved in the battle may read it and have their minds changed instead, but I just can't cope most of the time.

I feel like such a bad activist. I feel like such a bad person.

It is SO HARD being different amongst the different. It is SO HARD seeing things differently and not toeing the line of liberalism/feminism/queer theory/fat liberation theory/whatever. And don't tell me there isn't a line... there very much IS a line. If you're liberal/feminist/whatever, there are certain things you're expected to believe or take at face value or not argue with otherwise you're "the oppressor"/"bad"/"not really a feminist"/whatever. And I find that kind of "accept it w/o questioning" just as bad as the conservatives. Yes, I said it.

Remember folks, it's called THEORY for a reason. (Theory as in ideas, not "theory" as in science where a theory is 1 or 2 steps away [if I remember correctly, which I may not] from fact.)

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me new 2008
This is VERY VERY VERY VERY hard for me to go public with, so please, please be gentle. This is something that has bothered me for a VERY long time, and I have never said a WORD about it (because of, well, some of what I’ve written below.)
 
I feel the “calling out” culture we have is contributing to censorship, self-censorship, and a chilling effect amongst people. I feel this way because I know it has for myself. (Please let me finish.)
 
As someone who struggles with social interaction and who struggles with understanding people’s reactions to my words, I have to think about everything I say before I say it. I have to second guess EVERYTHING I say, because I simply don’t get the social nuances sometimes. (I’m sure my friends can attest to this. I mean, just Tuesday night I said something to 8T, that after it came out of my mouth, I realized how awful it sounded, when that wasn’t at ALL what I had intended. I’m glad my friends understand I don’t mean things the way they sound sometimes.) I’m constantly wondering if I’m talking ok. I’m constantly second guessing myself and what I’ve said. It’s not just about oppression based speech, it’s just putting my foot in my mouth and other things. (Honestly, it’s amazing I talk at all. If I wasn’t such an extrovert, I’d probably be HORRIBLY shy. Hell, I GET horribly shy in certain company. Which is saying something.)
 
I also have depression, which saps my ability to deal with debate, discussion, and other forms of social conflict. (Note that my use of the word “conflict” here, I don’t want to have a negative connotation. I just mean 2 people disagreeing on something, with no judgement to either side.)
 
Between the 2 of these things, I do a LOT of self-censoring, even at times when I probably didn’t need to, because I’m never sure what’s going to set people off (because it seems to me that the rules are always changing and different people accept different things as being offensive) and because I often times don’t have the emotional wherewithall (“spoons” to people who know the Spoon Theory) to deal with repercussions of what I’m saying, even if I didn’t say anything offensive, and I just expressed a controversial opinion. So I shut up. Because I’m afraid.
 
Yes, calling out culture has made me afraid. I live in fear of expressing my opinions. Congratulations. (And, for what it’s worth, I’m SURE I’m not the only one. I want all of you to think about that and think about what the repercussions of your actions are.)
 
I understand that the reaction to being called out is supposed to be “oh, thanks for telling me”. I realize you’re not supposed to take it personally. I am OFFENDED at other people telling me what I’m supposed to FEEL about their words, in the same way that they are offended if I would say “Oh, well, it’s just a joke… don’t take it so seriously”. I find that to be highly hypocritical. I am allowed to feel what I want to feel, and I refuse to make it so your words don’t have consequences (because that’s EXACTLY what you’re telling me to do there.) If my words have consequences, so do yours. Deal with it.
 
I DO take it personally. VERY personally. I feel like a failure and a loser and like all of my hard work that I’ve done and all of the progress I’ve made has just been a delusion in my mind and I wonder why I even bother talking at all. Sometimes I don’t bother talking at all… I just walk away (metaphorically, if it’s online). More often than you might think.
 
So… I would appreciate it if you DID NOT “call me out”, especially in public. It’s not that I don’t care… truly. You must believe me in this. It’s about the METHOD used. If you wish to simply inform me that, hey, someone might find ABC offensive because of XYZ, I’m fine with that (truly), but it must be handled with great tact. Doing it highly non-confrontationally in private after the fact would probably be the best way to handle it.
 
Thank you. (And now to get up the nerve to press “create post”. Ahem.)
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When Trolling Hits Home

me new 2008
Last night I was video chatting with 8T, my "It's Complicated". We had been talking about videos of ourselves on YouTube, and he found a video of himself teaching how to make a Rorschach costume up that he forgot that he had made for his hackerspace. The other hackerspace videos had between 7 and 54 hits... his had 74,450. It was... well, it was ok. Even he admitted it wasn't his finest work.

But the comments. OMG the comments. Some of them were pointing out the mediocrity of his work. Others were just dumb. But quite a few were downright abusive. Making fun of him and his looks. (Some of them were a bit astute and made me giggle a little, I must admit.) Calling him fat. Calling him an idiot. Calling him a failure. Questioning his sexual orientation. (As if being gay is an insult.) Questioning his mental competency. I could only read about a page of them before I had to stop. (I've gone back tonight to read more and gather more data for this post. It's been very hard.) I was hurt. I was angry. I wanted to don the costume myself and go fuck some assholes up. Sneak into their houses and avenge him. (I'm loyal to the people I care about.)

These people don't know him. They don't know that I and others find him quite handsome. They don't know that he's kind and sweet and generous and funny and silly and a lot of fun. They don't know that he likes nerdcore hiphop & video games & taking pictures of graffiti or that he loves to Kickstart things. They don't know about his awesome collection of nerdy Tshirts, which, I swear, is almost half from w00t, almost half from Kickstarter, and the rest from donating to Off The Hook. They don't know how much he means to me or how much he's helped me in the past couple of months. They don't know that sometimes he's my lifeline to this crazy spinning rock we call Earth. They don't know that he strives to be a better person in many different ways and beats himself up over it a little too much because he's not doing as well as he hopes to. All they really know is that he took the time to put an ok video of how to make an ok Rorschach costume up on the Internet for his hackerspace 2 years ago. He took the time to create & share. They took the time to destroy.

To be fair, however, a commenter called MGTGR123 came to his defense and said the following:

A lot of the people commenting on here are such douches.
So it doesn't move...Duh. You are also not Rorschach. The comic is fiction!
What does the guy's weight have to do with anything? Just because you're hiding behind a computer does not give you the right to be a jerk. Let have you upload a video of you doing anything besides talking crap. No regard for people's feelings... terrible.
Keep doing what you're doing , I used this tutorial and I got many compliments on my mask. ;)

I asked 8T how he felt about it. He didn't seem phased by it. I asked him how he did it... how he just didn't care. How it could just not matter to him. I don't exactly remember his answer, maybe because it was simply "I don't. These people don't matter." He even mentioned that he trolled himself a little in one of the comments (using his personal username instead of the hackerspace's username) and pointed it out to me. (I read it and laughed.) I told him that I can't do that. I can't just "not care". And that I can't abuse that way... I remember that it's NOT "just the Internet". I remember that at the end of every keyboard is a person with thoughts and feelings.

I was so shook up by this that I took the videos I made (that have been luckily ignored) and made the comments moderated. Sadly, this won't actually stop people from being abusive. It won't even stop me from seeing it. But maybe it'll make someone think 2x. (Probably not.) I wonder if I could find someone to do my moderation for me.

So, yeah. I don't get this bullying & abuse culture. But I know it absolutely must stop. And the only way we're going to get it to stop is to make people genuinely feel and understand the inherent worth and dignity of all other human beings. (Which, BTW, is the First Principle of my religion.) How to make people stop and think and empathize, well, that's the trick, isn't it.

In the meantime, I think I might go watch Watchmen. And maybe afterwards I'll make myself a neat costume. Thanks for the instructions, 8T.
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New Yorkers & Philadelphians!

me new 2008
I'm trying to plan a NYC vacation around the HOPE conference. I'm not sure if I'm going to plan it for the week before and the week of or the week after and the week of... I'm flexible. (Or both, depending.)

Anyway, I'm looking for different people to stay with in NYC. I'd prefer to stay in Manhattan the week of... during the conference (from Thursday night the 12th-Monday morning the 16th) I'll be at the con hotel, but otherwise I'll be crashing with you. On at least one of the weekends other than the con weekend, I'll probably be staying in NJ (and would like to keep the majority of my stuff at your place and just take a weekend bag). I'm happy to stay in the other boroughs the other times... in fact, I think I might like that because I have little experience with Brooklyn & I've never stayed in the Bronx or Queens. (I suppose Staten Island is doable, as long as you have transit access.) I do require transit access, obviously, and I prefer a more urban environment than the suburbs.

As per Philly... I wouldn't mind making part of my trip a Philadelphia trip. Esp. as it's so easy to get to Philly from NYC and DC. So the 1st or 3rd weeks in July... do you have space for me?

I'm happy sleeping on a couch or an air mattress. My only unusual need is that I sleep in a room that a cat can't access... I have phobias around cats crawling on me in the night. I'm a good crasher.

So... can anyone put me up for even just part of the time?

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Achievement vs. Personality/Interaction

me new 2008
I seem to be one of those people who doesn't care what you've contributed to the world... I care if you're a nice person or not. I've met a person who everyone else raves over... she's made some seriously important contributions to tech. I can't deny that. But she was downright rude to me when I met her... and I simply don't understand why everyone else likes her so much because of such. I mean, people rave about her. Magazines rave about her. But all I can remember is how she gave me the brush-off. Maybe I'm the only one she's done that to? Maybe she wasn't rude to everyone else? Of course, maybe she's the type that only likes talking to you if you've done something important or if you want to talk tech, and, frankly, I don't like those type of people at all. And this isn't the only person such a thing (or a similar thing) has happened with.

Am I the only one who cares more about how a person is as a person rather than what they've done? I don't care if you've done something that improves all of humanity on a daily basis... if you're rude or mean, then I think you're an asshole (who made a major contribution to humanity. I mean, I give credit where credit is due.)

It's frustrating. Sometimes I want to go up to people and say "you think they're so great... you don't know how they've treated me." And sometimes I think if I did that, the other person would be like "so what?"

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Argh.

me new 2008
So we lost the Internet in the middle of a thunderstorm and, at the time, I was just finishing up a long post for my Foodie, Interrupted blog (which, btw, you should follow and read. ‘Cause, ya know, no one’s following it yet that I can tell and I’m pouring my little foodie heart out into that thing.) And, instead of remembering to copy & paste the text into a text editor to save until the internet came back, I forgot I was even working on it (because I was doing something in another tab at the time, which, btw, I remembered to save) and shut down my computer so I could pull it out of the wall so it didn’t get zapped (because I’ve lost computers before that way, yes, even despite having a surge protector).

So, yeah. I’m a moron. Damnit. I hate rewriting things. They never come out as long, detailed or good as the first time I wrote it.

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me new 2008
(this writing was x-posted from my Tumblr)

This was the first Father's Day after cutting my dad out of my life for being verbally & emotionally manipulative and abusive. I've tried for YEARS to get along with him, to reconcile with him, and, in the end, to set boundaries with him so that I could have some kind of relationship with him that wasn't destructive to me, as there have been a number of interactions we've actually enjoyed together. He walked right through the boundaries and refuses to even realize or admit that he has any kind of problem. He chalks up my grievances to my mental illness... completely dismissing them and brainwashing me into thinking that maybe I *am* the wrong one all along and he's right. He has this uncanny way of "winning" arguments by twisting things around and making you agree with him even when it's beside the point or not the whole story. (Sometimes I think if I was just better at arguing & debating... if I was more cool & rational...) Part of the reason I have a very hard time believing in my own opinions & my own truth, esp. when they involve human interaction & behavior, was because he pretty much convinced me at a formative age that, regardless of the situation, I was the wrong one because of my mental illness and the other party was right. I STILL have a hard time trusting my own judgement to this day. I struggle with it CONSTANTLY. (So simply telling me to trust myself isn't helpful... reality checking with me when I ask for it is. Then I can see that I actually AM having healthy reactions and thoughts about the world and can start actually trusting myself.)

But, yes, yesterday was HELL not calling him. Esp. as he has forgotten completely about the incident that made me disown him. Esp. as, if I would do the "good thing" and call, and he DID remember it, one of the issues is he simply doesn't respect me ("You have to earn my respect" he always says) and one of the reason why he doesn't is because I say things and don't follow through, so this time, I'm following through with my saying that he no longer has a daughter.

I called up my grandfather. I called up my old mentor (whose phone number I think has changed and I don't know his new one). And I even called up my housemate, who's my parents' generation and sometimes sits in as a father figure when I need some parental-like advice. I have father figures in my life, and I let them know how much I appreciate them. And I talked to my "it's complicated" about this whole thing with my dad, and got some good reality checks from him.

My dad & I were inseparable when I was a child. We had SO MUCH FUN. I was Daddy's Little Tomboy completely. He taught me so much about nature, conservation & ecology, & popular music. I think in part one of the reasons my brain is screwed up is because he implanted that fucked up shit thinking while I was young and believed every word of it. When I hit puberty, I started thinking for myself and realizing how crazy he was. But I miss our closeness from when I was a kid. And I miss his cuddles... he definitely started pulling away from being huggly-wuggly when I started developing. (Which sucked, because I actually needed it more then.)

But, yes. I'm glad you have a great family. Hell, I'm glad you have a dysfunctional but still mostly ok family. But remember that some of us have actually abusive families that we have to not interact with for our own health & safety. Do NOT try to make us feel bad about choosing to not interact with our families. For some of us, it was excruciating enough to come to that conclusion, and when you guilt us, we start to question ourselves again, even though we came to the right conclusions.

(And remember, not everyone has a dad. Some of us never knew him, some of us he died, and some of us are from female same-sex couple families.)

And cherish your own good family. Don't take them for granted. And if your family sucks, too, know that you will get no Judeo-Christian "Honor thy Mother & thy Father" bullshit guilt from me; you'll only get support in doing what's right by you and your health & safety.

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me new 2008
Inspired by the following quote from this article:

[...]the girl craves the activities normally pursued by boys. [...] This is where they feel they belong; in a world that is denied to them because of their sex.


YES. This is it. It doesn't talk about bodies (I never had a problem with my body before and I rarely have a problem with it now), it talks about a world to belong in. Almost the only times now I have body dysphoria is when I am denied entrance to the world of men because people see my body and proclaim it to be girl. Every now and then I have straight up body dysphoria and feel I should have a man's body (or, more often, traditionally male attributes, like the ability to grow facial hair or having a penis or having broad shoulders or the ease with which one can develop muscles), but more often it's the world of men I feel I belong in, not necessarily the body of a man. I don't really care which parts I have. It's like my brain doesn't believe you have to have certain parts to be one gender or another. I want to be a man, and for the most part, I am a guy, and the body I have has nothing to with that. I don't think it would have to do with that even if I was born with a penis and all the other trapping usually assigned to men. The times I want to be a woman, I don't feel like I have the right body for it, but rather that the body I have helps to accent my feelings of being a woman. It helps to convey it to the outside world and helps them understand that I'm a woman at that time.

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Dream II

me new 2008
he tells me to dream
while driving in the car
through Jersey
the leaves coming out on the lindens along the lane

he asks me what my goals are
stubble on his face
if I even have any goals
eyebrows furrowed and worried

I get indignant
but know it's a good question

I say something about getting mentally well
As the sun goes down
I mumble something about returning to college one day maybe

i don't have any goals
but i don't want to be made to feel bad about this

my goal is living through today
through tomorrow
my goal is being happy
one moment at a time

it sounds so noble
so zen

it's not

people without mental illness
without chronic depression
don't understand what it's like
to have their life stolen away
by the fog in one's head
to not even conceive of dreaming
because it's simply
a ludicrous proposition

I mention happiness as a goal
he states that I probably have
a better chance at it than his

he gives me hope for the future
thoughts that maybe I could really do something
I wanted

I've learned to stop even wanting
ages ago

but there's some part of me that knows, however
that it's never going to happen
I'll never achieve
because I was never given the power
to accomplish my dreams

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Dream: A Piss Poor Poem from the Heart

fucked up
They tell me to dream
what they don't tell me is
the pain that will come with it
the desperation
the agony
the feeling that you're
never quite good enough
don't have what it takes to achieve
that dream
that desire
that goal

they told us we could be anything
they told me that I was smart
that I would do great things
no one told me
I didn't have to
it was expected of me

they didn't tell me that
my ADHD might hold me back
that depression would
engulf my days
"blind my eyes
& steal my dreams"

he tells me to dream
wants me to think big
i prefer to think little
baby steps
it's more feasible
and tiny steps'll get me there
as long as I keep taking them

I'm afraid
I don't want to dream big
I don't want to dream at all
dreams hurt
gossamer promises whispered
in my ear after dark
seductive but deadly

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*Fanfare*... MEME!

me new 2008
Stolen from [personal profile] maize on DW (Well, stolen from his LJ, but still).

Read more...Collapse )

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One Month Later...

fucked up
Re-read my last entry into my journal from April 2nd... so full of hopes and dreams and promise.

How things can change in a month.

About 2 weeks ago, I tried a new psychiatric medication to try to help with the depression. Instead it had extreme side effects of extreme moodiness, dissociation, agoraphobia, and intensification of light & sound. It was so bad that my psych doctor pulled me off of it after 1 dose.

My brain has not returned to its previous level since.

It took days for the dissociation to revert to a manageable level... same for the agoraphobia. Hell, I still have dissociative episodes... the last ones were with my lover, which, while I was in good hands & was treated with care & respect, was not the place nor the time I wanted to deal with that kind of retreat into my own head.

But the most insidious side effect is that it's made my depression worse. That feeling of things going well and me being able to manage my own life is gone completely. I feel the same way I did before I started going to therapy back at the end of October. All that hope and all that confidence has vanished, and I don't seem to be able to figure out how to get it back. (Previously, everything felt like it was "turning up Milhouse" & I was waiting for the other shoe to fall... I think it's fallen.) On top of that, my depression has been steadily getting worse... I took a trip to Pittsburgh recently for sightseeing, hanging out with friends, and attending an unconference. I didn't have a very good time at all... I was depressed most of the time that I was by myself (note to self: stop taking vacations alone) and I had a breakdown at the unconference (thank God for the organizer, who took me under her arm and let me cry and basically did aftercare). My lover wanted me to go to the conference for professional development, but I honestly don't think any of that happened.

Starting on Monday, I've entered one of the worst depressive episodes I've ever had. I've been in great pain a lot, I've been crying a lot (A LOT), and I've had a lot of thoughts about self-injury & suicide. I haven't felt like this in AGES, and, previously, it's only happened because of some kind of drama or crisis. I have some life stuff that's bothering me (lover issues, a large medical bill that I don't have the funds to pay), but nothing huge.

I just feel like I've lost all the footing I gained over the past 6 months. This is frustrating, esp. because I don't feel like I'm in a place where anyone would want to date me or that I'm in a place where I can deal with the emotional challenges of any form of relationship right now. Of course, I have a lover and I'm really trying to figure out if I can handle that (I need to do some serious changes of expectations in my head, and even then I don't know if it's worth it... I'm also realizing that any of the serious stuff to work on with that absolutely needs to be put on hold right now, because I don't have the emotional energy to deal with it and it's really adding to the depression and the pain), and what I really REALLY need is a life partner, someone to help me through this crap.

OTOH, I know that there's one way I *haven't* lost some footing. I'm still doing everything right. I'm eating right (or close to it), I'm sleeping right (or close to it), I'm exercising, I'm going to therapy, and I'm trying new medication (rather, an old one that worked previously but had unacceptable side effects. We're trying it a different way this time to see if we can get it to work.) Any other time I'd go through this, everything would get dropped. Also, this time, I know I'm in dire straits and I'm reaching out for help. (Unfortunately, all of my friends are busy/in other places and can't help me. This is BAD. It's hard enough for me to reach out for help, and then when everyone that I'd trust to do it or want to do it can't do it, it feels like a slap on the face and like just another realization that I don't deserve/I'm not loved or cared about enough to feel better or to be taken care of .) And, granted, some life stuff has gotten dropped, but I also had the wherewithall to find someone else to take care of 1 of the major pieces of life stuff that was just too much for me to handle. (Ok, it was my mom, but this time there was little shame in asking for her help... just the knowledge that asking for help when you need it is the adult thing to do.)

So, in some ways, I have grown up and have come a long way since 20. In other ways though, the ones that make me feel good and give me hope for the future, I had it in my hand and it slipped through my fingers, like a wave upon the shore.

Can I go back to those golden moments where I felt like I could actually have a life, a real, honest-to-goodness life? Can I go back to that place where the sun set upon me and my lover beside the river and everything felt RIGHT? Can I go back to that place where I felt like I was finally MAKING IT?

I'm just trying to trust my therapist when he says that this will pass and I will return back to that confident place where I genuinely feel like I can handle my life again. I'm just hoping it happens soon. I'd like my life back, please. I was just starting to have it and get used to the fact that I had one and, well, I kinda rather liked it, after the shock wore off.

(And I think good meaning people will tell me to "just do it" or "only you can decide when it happens", and, in this case, that's not how it works. I'm doing the things that need to be done for said life, but now I have to wait for my brain chemistry to catch up. There's nothing I can do about the brain chemistry parts that aren't already being done.)

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Musings from the Megabus to Pittsburgh

me new 2008
So many mountains. I've been up and down a thousand times now. Having a hard time keeping my ears clear… I need to keep popping them and they don't want to pop.

We're in the part of the country where the trees haven't come out yet. They're just starting to, and so they're covered with bits of yellowy-green, red (from the redbuds), and orange (not sure what those are). It's like Fall in reverse.

Reading Microserfs for the umpteen-millionth time. Reading about the changes happening with Dan and Karla and the rest echos of the changes in my life and my lover's too. This time of being 30 sure is an interesting one. We're blossoming and growing.

I need to figure out what I want to talk about at the GrUE on Saturday. You're supposed to talk about something you're passionate about, but my passions these days have been leaning towards figuring out interpersonal relationships and exercising instead of towards sexual theory and kink. I'm just not sure what to do. Maybe I'll be inspired once I'm there? Maybe someone'll request a class that I have the knowledge to teach? Or maybe I'll just teach about fat fetishes or fandomsexuality. (I kinda hope not… I mean, I love those classes, but they're not big for me right now.) Maybe I'll pull together a class I've been mulling over and teach that. The problem is, a number of those classes are for specialized audiences, and I have no idea if we'll have people specialized enough for those classes.

I should ping O and state my special dietary needs. The form asking if you had special needs had check boxes and didn't state my needs as one of them.

Still very sore in my right rotor cuff. I'm going to ask the person I'm staying with in Pittsburgh about it… he's a nurse.

*****

I spent my twenties figuring out who I was. I'll be spending my thirties figuring out what I can do. What I can make myself of this life I've been given. Or what I can make of my life with the cards I've been given.

And for the first time, I feel like I actually have hope of being able to make something that I want of my life. I blame my therapist and my lover. They're actually the most important men in my life right now.

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Shutting LiveJournal Comments Down

me new 2008
Because I'm trying to transition to using ONLY Dreamwidth for my journal, from here on out, I'm blocking comments on crossposts to this journal. I requested in the past that people comment on the DW journal, but people keep commenting here. I'd like to request that in the future, if you come across a post that states that it's originally posted on DW, that you go there to comment. I don't want to have 2 different discussions in 2 different places.

Dreamwidth uses OpenID (just like LJ), so you can sign in using your LJ username & password (or whatever other OpenID you prefer to use) to comment.

Thank you.

(Also, FWIW, if you're reading this via RSS, please drop this RSS feed & go subscribe to my Dreamwidth's RSS or its ATOM feed.)

Apr. 2nd, 2012

me new 2008
(Some of this is x-posted from Twitter, with greater observations mixed in.)

Oh man... Lovers in a Dangerous Time as sung by Barenaked Ladies just came on. SO many memories of Canada, living with Boon (my ex), and Winter 2011 came flooding back. A feeling of inner peace swirled with inner pain. There were certain parts of my relationship w/Boon that went unnoticed at the time that I have to admit, I really miss now. And, yes, some of the stuff was stuff that was there even at the end.

I miss the cohabitation mindset. I miss the feeling of being in a long-term, committed, cohabitating relationship. That place where you're their sweetie, they're your honey, and being that person's partner (and them being your partner) is just a part of who you are, part of your identity. (I STILL have to remind myself that I'm not his girlfriend, that that is no longer part of my identity. I STILL don't think my psyche believes it/is used to it yet.) I miss our easy comfort with each other's presence. I felt like I belonged with him, as opposed to the feeling I get when I'm with my current lover that he's too good for me, that he's out of my league, 1 league above mine.

Maybe I hold my current sweetie on too high of a pedestal. Actually, more likely, I don't realize I've bumped up a league since my ex. I mean, other than the job thing, I've got my life under pretty good control. This is very, VERY new for me, and I'm still trying to accept it.

Identity in relationship to other people can be a very tricky thing.

But with this song on, I can remember speeding by the snow covered hills of upstate New York on an overcast day around Sunset, heading towards my parents' house. So much time spent on a Megabus. But, honestly? There's no way in hell that I feel that everything that happened in those past 2 years was for nothing. And I don't always think that's good. I still am not totally sure I've let go of all of those hopes, dreams & promises. I don't want to move to Toronto anymore, and I've gotten over not being able to live in Toronto. I've mostly gotten over not being able to make a fresh start in a new country, although I still kinda wish that was true.

Sometimes I don't think my current sweetie understands that, while he wants me to keep my own life because it's healthy, at the time, one of the things I really liked about my ex is that being with him was the ability for a completely fresh start it was giving me. I was bored with living in DC. I still am. I WANTED the opportunity to drop everything and start anew. I've done a lot of growth since then, and I have a me that I like being now with things in my life that I like being and doing. But the same old desire for a new life is still there. And, I must admit, having things in my life I want to keep (regardless of the fact that I can still do them no matter where I am) is feeling awfully inconvenient. I don't know HOW to fit things from an old life into a new life, even if those things are newly fought for and won and even if they ARE good. It feels too much like kludging. Awkward and weird.

So many thoughts... so few answers. Being alive is an amazing thing. (And the nice thing about 30 is that enough of the fear is gone that you can enjoy the amazing without all the terror. I really like being almost 30.)

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me new 2008
Here's a post my long time readers probably never thought they'd read. ;-) This is a very hard post for me to write, so be very gentle in the comments, ok?

Since I got my gallstone, I decided to start exercising. I figured, I'm already on a (low-fat) diet anyway, I might as well exercise as well and see what happens.

Knowing that if I bought something, I'd feel obligated to continue exercising. (I also dig having all the statistics & graphs & such.) I picked up a Nike+ Apple sensor to go with my iPod Touch on December 1st. My friend Jolly gave me his old UP band at the end of January. I've been walking since the beginning of December, sometimes just tracking my walks to the bus, sometimes hitting the treadmill. Since the middle of March, I started lifting weights again, too, as I've seen the muscles on my new sweetie (who has a similar story of body reawakening, only not prompted by illness) and realized that the muscular arms and back I've wanted for a while is, indeed, possible.

I can walk a 5k now. My pants no longer fit me (which you think would be good, but it's annoying). I've even started jogging a bit (even though I REALLY shouldn't because it DOES fuck up my knees more). I can run for 90 seconds solid... I couldn't do that when I was skinny & in shape as a teen.

I have a lot of feelings on this. One of them, frankly, is anger & betrayal at the fat acceptance movement. Frankly, they lied to me. They told me no one ever loses weight, and no one keeps it off. They told me diets always fail. I genuinely didn't think it was possible to lose weight or get back in shape. It is. I'm doing it, and, frankly, I'm loving it. They have lied to me, and I am PISSED. For YEARS, I could have been feeling this good & enjoying my body this much, and I wasn't. I wasn't because I genuinely did not think it was possible to go back to a place of better fitness. I thought, once fat & out of shape, always fat and out of shape. This is wrong. I'm not there yet, but I'd like to get to the point where I can ice skate & rollerblade again and it won't hurt my ankles. I'm a long way off from there, but I miss skating and I want to do it again.

I still believe in the goals of fat acceptance in society. I do NOT believe that we should lie to further those goals.

First off, let me speak truth to the movement. This has been a long time in coming for me... it's taken me a LONG time to gain the self-confidence & courage to state the following. Weight loss, strength gain, endurance, and a greater level of fitness ARE ALL POSSIBLE. It IS possible to get in better (notice better, not necessarily "best". Just bettER.) shape (not necessarily lose weight) if you want, and it doesn't necessarily have to suck balls completely. (I'm proof of this.) Now, weight loss may not be possible for all bodies. I'm not going to state that it is. I understand, everyone has unique situations. I understand about genetics and untreated thyroid conditions and the whole shebang. But Health At Every Size needs to modify itself a bit. Maybe not everyone is healthy at every size (I know I wasn't healthy at the size I was. I'm still not where I'd like to be, healthy wise. I'm getting there, though.), but there is a size (or sizes) that's healthy for each individual, and it may or may not be skinny. Yes, HAES is trying to make the person as healthy as possible at the size they are instead of focusing on changing size for health, and I agree, that's a fantastic goal that should go without saying, but people should also be encouraged to find the size THEY want themselves to be at for what feels right for them.

(On an aside, we've gone from encouraging people to like themselves at their size to making it mandatory for people to like themselves at whatever size they are. Frankly, as a feminist, I find it offensive to be told how I'm supposed to feel about my body, and I find that the fat acceptance movement has been in some ways as bad for my self esteem, telling me I HAVE to like my body at its size, as the world has been telling me I have to HATE my body at its size. It's taken me a long time to learn to be confident in myself enough to come to terms with the fact that I want to change my body. Yes, you read that right. I had to learn to be confident in myself so that I could dislike the way my body looks (sometimes, in some places, with a certain [healthy?] amount of dislike... there's things about it I like, too!) instead of just parroting back "I love my body" all the time. I'm tired of ALL the judgements on my body, good or bad. My body, my feelings, my choice! The fat acceptance movement needs to go from "love your body!" to "you don't have to hate your body... loving it is an option!" Then people can decide for themselves how to feel about their bodies & their weight.)

Fat acceptance is a VERY important goal. Our society needs to stop judging people on their size. That being said, we can't do it by telling fat people that they'll never be able to eat healthier, so why try, or that they'll never be able to have more energy and endurance, so there's no reason to go exercise. Fitness needs to be an OPTION, not a MANDATE. But, God damn it, I want my option to fitness.

I also owe an apology to those that I told those things to. I'm sorry. I was wrong to take that tactic. Maybe 95% of diets DO fail within a year. But is that a reason to not start small and to try eating healthier if that's what you want? No. I spread around their discouragement and lies as a reason for fat acceptance. Fat acceptance stands alone without discouragement and lies. We don't need to say "diets & exercise fail, and that's why we should accept fat people." FUCK NO. We need to say "we should accept fat people because they're people and judging people off of the way they look is fucking bullshit & totally uncool".

What will happen when I no longer need a low-fat diet & I get my gallstone out? Will I gain the weight back (and more)? Maybe. Frankly, I just don't have the taste for super fattening foods the way I used to before... they just don't seem appealing to me anymore, at least not nearly as much as they used to. Will this change once I'm not scared to eat them anymore? Maybe? The times I have eaten a few bites of fried food, it was good, but not NEARLY as good as I remember. Which, in a way, is a bit sad, because I used to revel in bad for me foods.

Will I stop exercising? Doubtful. The truth is, I LIKE exercising. It feels GOOD. I was a very active child & teen, and as a teen, I used to cycle to get out of the house. My body knows what it's like to fall into a rhythm, into a cadence. It knows how to create exercise high. It always has. It hasn't forgotten that over the years. And it feels FANTASTIC. (The cardio feels fantastic. The weight lifting, however, makes me shaky and want to cry and emotionally feels like crap, and I'm not sure why, as I used to lift weights as a teen and I always enjoyed it then. [Back then, I always saw results within 2 sessions or so. Now I'm not seeing any & am just having to hope it's working.] Any ideas?)

There's another part to this, a part on how hard it is to find size positive folks & sites & ideas in the exercise & fitness sphere of the Internet, and how that also keeps (both SP & other) folks that would otherwise like to exercise & participate from going out there & doing what they want with their bodies. But this post has already been long enough, so I'm going to post it now.

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Adventures in Cooking, #197

me new 2008
Invented this recipe out of necessity (gallbladder problems have led me to need to be on an extremely low to no fat diet) and I never imagined that it would be so good! It looks good, it smells good, it tastes good, and it's HELLA easy. What's great about it is that it's actually extremely low to no fat (however much fat is in your chicken) but that it can easily be adapted to a full fat recipe (replace non-fat cream cheese with half or full fat, or perhaps even Velveeta). That being said, it's REALLY good the way it is.

This is how I made it. Feel free to substitute for whatever you have.

6 skinless boneless chicken tenderloins
1/2 box of fat free cream cheese, chunked up for easy melting
1/3 jar of REALLY GOOD salsa

This is important... don't skimp on the salsa. Buy a really good one instead of the cheapy stuff. I used Salpica Mango Peach with Roasted Tomato. Don't expect it to taste like mangos and peaches... it has chipotles in adobo sauce in it, so it's quite smoky. NOM. It claims it's "medium" but I found it to be quite hot when eaten alone, HOWEVER, the dairy in this dish cools it down to just the right amount of kick. But, yes. GOOD jarred salsa. (I'm thinking something of the more tomato sauce-y variety. I don't think a pico de gallo would be good for this.)


Brown the chicken till it cooks on the outside. (if there's any fat that comes off, drain it)

Turn the heat down way low and wait till the pan cools a bit. (THIS IS IMPORTANT.) Then put the cream cheese on the pan itself and move it around so it starts to melt.

When it's about half way melted, dump in the salsa. Note that you can put a little more or a little less, to taste. Mix it up, continuing to melt the cream cheese.

Simmer it until your chicken's done. (cooked all the way through and juices come out clear) (5 min? 10 min? I didn't pay attention.)

PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, you claim? Fine. Here's pics.
https://twitter.com/#!/C4bl3Fl4m3/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FBkZheEZ7
https://twitter.com/#!/C4bl3Fl4m3/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FctEKCEf8

This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/6263.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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me new 2008
This is something that's been bugging me for a while. I wanted to do this on Twitter, but I've been trying to get away from having nuanced discussions in a medium that only allows 140 characters per post... let's just say it doesn't turn out pretty for my emotions.

The UK-based Bisexual Index has been claiming for a while that bisexuality doesn't insist there's only 2 genders.

I'm really, truly sorry to have to do this, as I truly like the group, and I think they're doing great work, and, frankly, and I'm glad that Britain has a seemingly greater bisexual movement than what I've seen in North America, but I call bullshit.

Until the prefix "bi" no longer means 2, the word "bisexual" still implies there's only 2 genders, regardless of individual knowledge. Notice I said the WORD "bisexual". This doesn't mean that every bisexual person (by identity or behavior) is transphobic or trans-unaware. This doesn't mean the bisexual movement as a whole is transphobic. And, frankly, stating this fact about the word itself is NOT biphobia. (As you all know, "bisexual" has been a part of my identity for years, I've bemoaned bisexual invisibility in the GLBT community at large, and I've proudly flown our colors and marched under them on many occasions.) But you simply can't deny that the word itself does, indeed, imply the number 2. And until bisexual organizations stop trying to deny this fact, they've lost a degree of respect in my eyes.

I think the best way to approach this isn't to say that "bisexual doesn't imply 2", but rather to say, "This word started at a time when our knowledge and understanding of gender wasn't where it was today. The prefix 'bi' implies 2, because at the time we (that is, the bisexual movement) adopted this word, we thought there were only men and women. Nowadays, we know that gender is far more complex than that, and many, perhaps even most, people who identify as bisexual aren't truly BIsexual, but rather are non-monosexual... that is, they love and/or are attracted to more than one gender. These people may also identify with the word pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, or a number of other words. We keep the word "bisexual" for a number of reasons, including the gains we've made under this word historically & the movement we've created therein, but wish to make it known that we recognize and celebrate the breadth and diversity of gender as we know it today."

(On an aside, if you're reading this on LiveJournal and you'd like to comment, PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ON LIVEJOURNAL. I'm trying to phase that journal out. Come over to my Dreamwidth entry on it, sign in using your LiveJournal credentials [using OpenID], and comment there. Thank you!)

EDIT: Thinking about this more, I'm realizing that the word actually doesn't imply there are 2 genders, but rather states that the person is sexual for 2 genders. It doesn't say WHICH 2... it could be any of them. Hmm...

This entry was originally posted at http://c4bl3fl4m3.dreamwidth.org/6085.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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My Take On "It Gets Better"

me new 2008
I have been meaning to write this for a while. I finally wrote it up in response to someone else's blog. I thought I'd crosspost it to my journal and I figured, oh, hay, what a great way to inaugurate my new DW journal.

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The Switch Pride Flag: Update & Usage Rules

me new 2008
Apparently people have been using my Switch Pride Flag (sometimes even as the official one!), even though I EXPLICITLY put that it was a draft. And some of these people using it haven't been putting the attribution that I created it or the Creative Commons license that I have it licensed under.

Note:

You MAY USE that flag.

IT IS *JUST* a DRAFT. It is NOT the "official" one yet, nor is it the final version. It needs to be cleaned up. (As soon as I can get Photoshop, I'll make the final version.)

You MUST give attribution (to me) AND copy the Creative Commons license (the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported version) ANYTIME you use it OR any derivatives you create on it (icons, buttons, whatever).


Thank you.

My Experience With the Enhanced Pat Down

me new 2008
I flew from EWR (Newark) to YTZ (Toronto Downtown Airport) on December 13, 2010. They had the millimeter wave scanners and were requiring almost everyone to go through them. Before I went to the airport, I had decided that if I was asked to use one of the new scanners, I would opt out, as was my right, due to both health and safety concerns as well as my desire to have complete control of any naked pictures taken of me, as is my right. This is my story doing such.

Note that this is simply MY story. I'm not stating that anyone else's story is inaccurate. I'm just giving people more data so that they could be informed. I also realize I'm writing this part of this almost 10 days later and the other part more than a month later. I intentionally made sure I was paying attention to my experiences when they were happening, I went over my experiences in the plane, and I already told this entire story to my partner on the day of my flight so that I wouldn't forget any of the details. I'm confident I'm remembering everything accurately.

The Story InsideCollapse )

I'm putting my story out there because there's so little data on people's experiences and that I found no information on what's actually supposed to happen on an enhanced pat-down and I found no non-horror story experience pat-down stories, so I had no idea what to expect, which is why I was very afraid going into it. Hopefully this allows you to make better decisions on whether or not you wish to fly and whether or not you wish to opt-out of the machines, knowing what the enhanced pat-down is supposed to be like.

I'd also like to throw this out there. I am a fat woman, and you might have noted in my story when I said there were parts she didn't touch or check, namely between my thighs (which were not completely and fully spread) and up underneath my breasts. I was not carrying anything illegal on my body, but some other fat person with folds or hanging breasts or very heavy thighs easily could hide things under their folds and get away with it, if everyone's pat-down was as this one was. I understand the need for appropriate pat-downs and I'm not suggesting they take a more aggressive pat-down stance, however, I am pointing out the ways in which their techniques are flawed and the process is merely security theater.

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On My Vegetarian Days

awesome, email little guy
I keep ovo-lacto vegetarian 1x a week (usually Monday) to take part in Meatfree Mondays. (Meatfree instead of meatless because we're not LESS meat, we're not missing the meat, we're FREE of the meat! We've been liberated! :-D) I started about a year ago and have only missed a week or 2 (make it 3 if you count the times I said "fuck it, I'm doing pescetarian instead"). I've been surprised how easy it's been, but it hasn't always been completely easy.

I haven't done it because of animal rights (I'm ok with eating animals, but not a fan of the mass farming practices... the farms where I grew up all raised their animals humanely [it never really occurred to me that there was any OTHER way to raise cows than to let them out to pasture and to bring them into their nice cozy-but-not-too-small stalls when it's cold or rainy], as well as my dad hunted and fished [always stressing to do it in a way that creates as little distress and suffering for the animal as possible] to supplement what we bought from the store) but more for sustainable reasons (it's far more environmentally friendly to raise plants than animals… there's more harmful gas caused by cow farts than by the entire food shipping industry, not to mention the amount of acreage it takes to raise animals could raise way more food if it was growing plants for humans to eat) as well as the excuse to eat tasty, tasty (hopefully healthy, but not always) vegetarian and/or vegan food 1x a week. I've found that I eat less meat on my omnivore days now as well, as I've realized that eating meat doesn't have to be a default... I only have to eat it on the days I'm hungry for it. And about half the time, I'm not hungry for beef, chicken, pork, fish, seafood, fowl, venison, lamb, goat, or veal. (And, yes, I enjoy all of those at some point or another. Mmm…goat curry.) So I eat vegetarian. I've also realized that there's a whole wealth of delicious vegetarian recipes & cooking (including all sorts of interesting vegetables, fruits and grains) available that omnivores never see or eat. (When was the last time you've seen a recipe with both meat and quinoa?)

However, I'm still not quite good at figuring out how to make sure I'm getting enough protein & other nutrients on my vegetarian days. If I don't eat meat enough days in a row, I always find myself craving it for a few days. I need to figure out how to make sure I'm still getting the vitamins and nutrients I need on the days my protein is coming from non-meat sources. (Fortified soymilk seems to help. Mmm… soymilk.) Also, what's up with the vegetarian options on restaurant menus often times being superhealthy? Not everyone who's eating vegetarian wants the "diet" option... sometimes you want fries with that veggie burger. Also, not all meatless burgers are created equal. I know a place that has a nut-based burger that's AMAZING with blue cheese on it. Also, Lick's Nature Burgers are great.

It's also been interesting keeping a food-based discipline. I've had Monday meals in environments that weren't set up for vegetarians (I just passed on the bacon at breakfast, even though it looked terribly tasty), I've had Monday meals at other people's houses (some asked me ahead of time if I had special dietary needs and accommodated my Monday vegetarianism, others did not [I had to make my own bean salad at my parents' house... oh well]) I've had Monday meals at a funeral wake (you'd be surprised what people sneak meat into), I've had Monday meals on an airplane (I think the vegetarian option I got was better than the meat option), I've had Thanksgiving on a Monday (Canadian Thanksgiving is always on a Monday) & made a vegetarian feast, complete with a stuffed Tofurky with the best gravy I've ever had. It's been an interesting journey.

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Writer's Block: Children of the sun

me new 2008

How do you think aliens would regard our society? If an alien ship landed in your backyard, would you run away or bring a bundt cake?

First question listed was submitted by marienomad. (Follow-up questions, if any, may have been added by LiveJournal.)

View 1444 Answers



Bring a bundt cake! I hope the day when we get to meet people from other worlds is within my lifetime! I greatly look forward to it! (I also hope the day when robots are at the point that they become people is within my lifetime too. I'll bring a digital bundt cake on that day.)

My Take On Christmas

awesome, email little guy
So I'm going to start cross-posting my long Formspring.me answers here so people can comment on them.

Sidepocket & rob_t_firefly asked my take on Christmas.

So I love holidays in general. My life has always been enriched and comforted by ritual, and there's much, much ritual that surrounds Christmas. And it's a holiday that, better or for worse, the entirety of Western culture seems to get behind or get into.

Keep on readin'!Collapse )

So yes. Christmas. FUCK YEAH CHRISTMAS.
Eight thoughtful lonely alone

What was the last juicy generalization from which you freed yourself? What caused your perspective to change?

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Well, I don't know if it's the most recent, and it's one that I go back and forth on, but it's the thought that most people suck and are genuinely stupid. Most people don't suck, they're not out to get me, and they're of average intelligence (which can seem stupid when you're brighter than others). That everyone's focusing on their own life so much that they really don't give a shit about me, so the world isn't a hostile place where everyone's looking to fuck me over.

What caused my perspective to change? Honestly? My sweetie, morningboon. He's been working on this in me for a while now. And when it's working, god, my life feels so much better, so much freer.

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Oranges

me new 2008

I've decided to start blogging again, as the 140 characters of twitter just don't cut it sometimes.

I bought an orange at the store yesterday. They were on sale and I was hoping it would be good. I was hoping it was enough of the end of the off season that it was the beginning of the on season.

It's horrible.

I wish I would have kept it whole, intact. I liked it better with its skin on, when it was the promise of an orange, all that anticipation, instead of the sad reality of a poor one.

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