xenologer: (one)
Part of me is really touched to see it on the outside, portrayed by someone outside, and part of me is just sort of... sad that yeah this feels like the reality of it. Most of the time the system takes care of itself but every now and again on a very rare day something needs maintenance that's hard for me to reach with my own hands. And at that moment the illusion is broken.

robot by lanxingxxxx on DeviantArt

Image description: A boy and girl kneel on the bathroom floor. The skin of her back is open to expose mechanical workings, and the tools for repair are on the floor around them.
xenologer: (angel/11)
Sometimes I want to tell Mitch that Brian and I are poly. The only problem is that I know that he would tell my mother, and my mother would pretend to be fine with it… until she had too much to drink. Then all of a sudden she would have all kinds of things to say about the way that I live my life and she would invent whatever she needed to so that it would fit her idea of what kind of person I am. I think the most insulting part of all would be her assuming that I’m as much of a failure as a human being as she has always been. I don’t want to hear theories about how weak and stupid I am. I don’t want to hear her compliments that she only gives when she wants to follow it up with a slap to the face.

So unfortunately as a result Mitch does not get to know. I cannot trust his wife.
xenologer: (bye bye)
Logicgate and I have decided that my personal polysphere is basically Paradigm City.

Here. You'll want to play this in another tab.

Nobody in our poly/kinky/gamer/burlesque monkeysphere appears to have any memory of their past. If they are smart enough to figure out how to operate cell phones and each other's genitals, they can have something of civilization. People can survive without knowing what did or didn't happen in the past. And each day they try their hardest to do just that.

Logicgate was concerned that because she has memories, she will be murdered. But I reminded her that she has the option of achieving mecha apotheosis instead, which is the option she is choosing.

Me? I perform a much-needed job in this city of amnesia. We even made a list of all my (pro bono) clients, and it was surprisingly long. Embarrassingly long. Such a long list, growing name by name without me noticing. Looks like even I live day to day playing out this role, the role of Paradigm City negotiator, without any memory of how I got here. But memories, like nightmares, sometimes come when you least expect them, these memories that tell me I am this person we call blueXenologer.

No matter what, no one on this planet can possibly know everything... no one. Just because it comes naturally does not mean it's my destiny. When others turn away from the lessons of their own pasts, do I always need to be the one to remind them? When they turn their eyes away from their own memories, leaving them in the dark that causes humans such instinctive fear, can I conquer that fear for them?

No. No one can conquer another's fears. Even when it comes as naturally as opening an umbrella in the rain, even if my memories tell me that it is what I have always done, people are not ruled by their memories. We have choices. Some people like to stand in the rain without an umbrella. That's what it means to live free.
xenologer: (happy!)
So rings are a thing for me. They are a Thing, even. I have rings I wear every day and they mean specific things or help me keep my focus on certain tasks, all that. I only have one or two that I switch out to any degree at this point.

Well, I have a spoon ring that I got when I was five, my mother hid from me for more than a decade so that I wouldn't lose or break it, and which I have worn every day since I filched it back for myself as a young me. But it's so old and made from an actual spoon, so it's kind of bendy and ready to snap.

Brian bought me this.

He knows rings are a big deal to me (I have three I wear at all times and another that I wear every day in addition) and that if he wanted to get me one he'd have to get one that replaced a ring I was going to have to stop wearing anyway soon so that I "wouldn't have to make any hard decisions." That is so many things he paid attention to! That makes me feel good. He saw me favorite it on Etsy and apparently went into the bee folder in my favorites and ordered this one for me!

xenologer: (bye bye)
Love's Not the Way to Treat a Friend by
Richard Brautigan via greatpoets on LiveJournal.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I wouldn’t wish that on you. I don’t
want to see your eyes forgotten
on a rainy day, lost in the endless purse
of those who can remember nothing.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
I don’t want to see you end up that way
with your body being poured like wounded
marble into the architecture of those who make
bridges out of crippled birds.

Love’s not the way to treat a friend.
There are so many better things for you
than to see your feelings sold
as magic lanterns to somebody whose body
casts no light.

I have known a lot of people who seem to cast no light. They grab at anyone else's that they can see through the trees and they do it for their own survival, but the really frightening thing about them isn't that they suffer so badly. The really frightening thing about them is that they used to be just like you, wandering through the woods with a light until they were mugged and left in the dark. They're scary because unless you have some way to defend yourself from them, they're your future.

No thank you.

So sometimes it means going without that desperate grasping love that reduces the one so desired into a faceless and nameless carrier of lanterns, but I am really not too sorry to miss out. What I can't understand is how many people seem to think that making it through with a little light left of my own would mean I gave nothing. There are more ways to give than to die.
xenologer: (always shine)
TW on this whole entry because I am sure there's gonna be a whole lot of ablist shit in here that not everybody needs to see me wade through and get over. Also .gif action is happening, which I am going to start trying to remember to warn for specifically.

Sometimes holding my shit together has its disadvantages. Sometimes I (briefly) envy the people who don't.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Other people do a funny thing that doesn't make much sense to me. See, there are people who want me to fall apart, because apparently me falling apart is part of being friends with them. I can see the reasoning, but it makes me angry.

I know why it happens in at least some cases.

There are people who measure intimacy by how often they see me in moments as weak as theirs. There are people who measure intimacy by how frequently they are permitted to be present during a total breakdown. The only language of love that they understand is being caught in someone else's wreckage; is it any surprise that the best way they know to be a friend to me is to drag me into theirs?

So they wish I'd cry, to assure themselves that if I cried they'd be allowed to see it. They wish I would bleed, to assure themselves that they're the kind of person I'd turn to for help. They want me to need their advice about a situation they can't help me with, because me being let down by their lack of wisdom and perspective is a fair price to pay if it means that they get to congratulate themselves for being someone I'd ask.

When they don't get what they want, when they go for too long without seeing any histrionics, they feel isolated and unwanted and unloved, and so they try to carve out of me what they need to feel included. I'm not saying that it's a constructive response to loneliness to hurt the people who aren't hurting enough where you can see it happening, but I am saying it's a thing people do.

There's a certain intimacy in a good fight. Everything is laid right out and everybody is getting a lot of emotional stimulation and everything in the world besides you, us, this... it all fades. Drama is the only way some people know how to feel connected to other people, to feel engaged, to feel like they are effectual and like the world they're in can touch them with anything meaningful.

Fuck those people.

I find them so distasteful that I'm not even going to focus on them here, because I don't keep them around. I'm primarily talking about your garden variety emotional vampire habit of lashing out at all the people around them to prove that there are living breathing bleeding humans close enough to strike. I'm talking about the usual, "I'm hurting! You need to hurt too!" misery loves company sort of act.

I'm talking about the people who see my armor as a barrier between them and me. But you know what? Maybe it is. If you're going to try to sink your fangs into me and drag me down into your misery with you, you're damn right that the armor is there as a barrier between us. If your only way to feel close to me is damaging to me, you're not going to persuade me that you're the victim here because these steel plates keep catching in your teeth.

I know it's rooted in love, but lots of awful things can be rooted in love and still be awful. I'm not confused about where this is coming from; it's a very real desire for closeness and fellowship with me. I'm just not going to adjust my ways to make people feel loved at the cost of my own stability.

I have too much shit to do to pretend to be less strong or less wise than I am for the sake of consoling people whom I could only comfort by staging a catastrophe my life doesn't need and handing out tickets to only the most select of audiences. I have too much shit to do. I've got real shit to do, and if anybody can help me it's not these people. I'm not going to apologize to these lampreys for my refusal to speak to them in their dysfunctional love language that requires others to bleed affirmation.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
When you are sitting and waiting and bracing for a thing
even if for once it doesn't come
you are
living it.

Maybe she doesn't break anything tonight
like you thought
she would.

Maybe just this once,
you find out that he had
to say about you when you weren't there
this once.

And maybe, just for tonight
it matters to somebody
when you say no
and however much you're
willing to give is good enough
without anybody needing to steal
parts of you
without anybody needing to hold you
and silent
and cut out of you what they think
have earned.

But when you are
sitting and
waiting and
bracing for a thing
even if for once it doesn't come
you are already living it.

Even if it doesn't happen tomorrow
this tomorrow any tomorrow
or every tomorrow
it has

Even if it doesn't come
it will always
have always
been there
in the nothings you worried about.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
It has rained for five days
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
and drown easily.
xenologer: (happy!)
It was lovely.

Perhaps most important were the people.

I got to hang out with the next generation of Thalians who despite being quite young are some of the most well-grounded, thoughtful, and entertaining humans I know. The children of my friends are also my friends. What a funny age I am!

I also had some serious bonding time with someone I only sorta knew, but had always gotten good vibes from. It turns out that she wanted to go get bubble tea with me because she'd always wanted to try it.

I suggested that we eat at Noodles & Co. since she's sort of into raw food stuff, but when she realized that I would also dig Skyline for chili spaghetti, she expressed a profound love of Skyline and we ate there instead. Turns out she just likes the raw food thing and is not actually making a whole lifestyle out of it. Which, y'know, it's all good either way, but it was amusing to be all ready to adjust and then to find out that actually what she really wanted was the thing I'd chosen not to suggest out of consideration.

Life lesson, right?

Then bubble tea!

Then we talked about haters and relationships and parental generational shifts and baggage and went back to my place so that I could make her mix CDs and we drank tea and talked more. We may have a sleepover. We will probably watch Spice World. I am pretty jazzed about it.

I only got like three hours of sleep but that's okay because I have friends and sleep is for when I am not busy being pleasantly surprised by profound human connections. Like maybe in an hour or two. We'll see how long I can sustain articulate consciousness.

Happy, though! Yay.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Considering my two life options: kicking everybody out of my life who betrays my trust, or learning to repair relationships tainted by betrayal. The former option keeps everything temptingly simple, but on the other hand... nobody is perfect, and if I kick everybody to the curb after a single strike, that means I won't get to keep anybody.

I suppose that's an unfair way to portray it, though.

Generally I give people one opportunity to prove that an instance of awfulness is not reflective of their real priorities and values, because there are people who just don't think clearly enough or deeply enough about what they do, and it's possible to just hash things out with them and give them the data they need to be the kind of friend they want to be.

The rule is double-edged. On the one hand, that's basically the "take them or leave them" moment for the relationship, whether I drop them right that moment or not. Generally if I am going to ditch someone, that's when the decision got made, and everything in between that decision and its actualization? Just damage control, no matter how it looks. The other edge, though, is that I don't trust people until we have had this moment. How can I know whether someone really gives a shit about me and whatever relationship we have if they've never needed to demonstrate it? How can I possibly know someone until I know how they handle conflict?

Knowing who a person is when everything's going their way is not knowing them at all, because there is no healthy and reasonable way to keep them happy all the time so that I never need to know what kind of person they are when things get thorny.

I really do think it's when people show their true colors. Not in the "be perfect and never fuck up" period, but in the "well somebody fucked up so now what do we do?" period. Whether I have fucked up or they have, here is what needs to happen. Anything short of this is grounds for immediate friendship termination (with only a couple of exceptions).
Rebuilding trust is something two people do together. You just can't say, "You go off and become trustworthy and then come back and we'll see." It doesn't work that way.

You're needing to talk to each other, to share information about what things mean to you. You've got to talk about things that are difficult to say and difficult to hear and do so without making each other miserable. You've got to share hurt feelings without creating more hurt feelings. You've got to listen when you're itching to make yourself heard and make yourself heard when you're tired of talking. - Mira Kirshenbaum

Remember. Fail here by being a shitshow, and it's done. Succeed here and we're actually bros now. Remember that this is a standard I hold myself to as well, and that my refusal to implode is not a sign that I don't care, but that I care too much about solving whatever problem we have to collapse at this crucial moment.

It's a risky time. No matter which side I am on, it's the moment when I know whether to trust this person and accept them in for real, or whether they should be cut loose before they have the power to do serious damage. So basically, people have one chance with me to demonstrate that they deserve chances at all. If they use that first chance well, they'll get more (up to a point, until I see them squandering those opportunities).

The lovely thing about this approach is that it pretty well protects me from betrayal. I don't take too many emotional risks if I refuse to get invested until I've given someone's risk level a favorable evaluation.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. - Maya Angelou

It has a drawback, though. It means that the better I get at assessing who is likely to betray me and how, the longer I go without practicing dealing with betrayal. I think I deal with it okay, despite not having very many opportunities to hone my skills. Perhaps the definition of dealing well with betrayal is knowing when the cost-benefit analysis tips in favor of just cutting them off, and then acting accordingly.

Every now and again I do wonder if I am missing out, but at the same time... I think I am generous enough. My life has a lot less drama in it than many people I know because "tends to introduce drama" is fully enough reason to show someone the door whether they need my support or have some other reason why I should keep them around out of pity. I'm having a moment of second-guessing that instant willingness to turn and sever, but deep down I'm still satisfied with my results.
Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife - chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now, it's complete because it's ended here." - Frank Herbert
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
CaptainAwkward #247: Marrying into a family with awful boundary issues, or, secrets of dealing with Highly Difficult People
Here are some underlying principles that might help you in dealing with Alice.

You cannot control Alice’s behavior. You cannot predict Alice’s behavior. You cannot prevent Alice’s behavior. Alice is gonna do what Alice is gonna do, which is cry and shower displeasure and guilt on her family, who will cheerfully pass it onto you, because that’s how they roll.

Alice is going to throw tantrums and be shitty NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. I think that is helpful to know. Keep reminding yourself. Alice will find ways to be shitty and intrusive, because she is a shitty intrusive control freak who needs to make everything about her and who will projectile vomit blame all over everyone.

Also, Alice is not going to get better. She is not going to have a sudden revelation of self-awareness and stop this stuff. She may mellow with age and time, but she is always going to be somewhat like this.

Here’s what’s powerful about realizing this: Once a person shows that they don’t give a shit about the social contract and have no shame about throwing adult temper tantrums in public, it kind of frees you from giving a shit about what they think of you. They hold the threat of their tantrum (displeasure, guilt trip, sulk, whatever) over the family if they don’t get what they want, but you have the power to say “Huh” and not really even acknowledge that it affects you. (...)

When Alice throws a tantrum, she wants you to inventory your behavior and wonder what you’ve done to upset her, and she wants you to walk on eggshells and be worried about upsetting her and to actively try not to upset her (Secret: This will always be a mysterious, moving target and you will never figure out how to prevent upsetting her). Her family wants this too – it’s like they are afraid she’ll turn green and bust out into nothing but purple shorts and wreck the secret flying Avengers lair dining room. Once you figure out “Oh wait, what did I do to cause this…NOTHING, because Alice reacts like this to EVERYTHING” you are free of running that little guilt-game on yourself. Alice, like Hulk, is always angry.


I will say that the de-escalation techniques that Captain Awkward mention do work. It is a tried and tested way of talking someone down out of the Crazy Tree to continue talking to them like they aren't having a complete shit fit because eventually they will realize that your ruthless sanity cannot be impacted by their childish bullshit, and if they want their way they're going to have to stop throwing feces and sit down on the ground under the Tree with the adults and actually work shit out like a human.

I will also say that this is fucking exhausting, and some people aren't worth it.


Yeah, I fucking said it.

Read more... )
xenologer: (bye bye)
It is hard. Getting it? Hard.

Getting it is especially hard if you're like me have a lot of friends who are mentally ill or elsewise having problems that really should be the purview of an actual mental health professional. I have thought more than once in the last week that if mental health care were more widely accessible, my social circle would be cut in half.

I am feeling a little rantypants about it.

Seems like every social circle has at least one person who is the cheap substitute for a therapist for everybody else. There are several problems with being this person. The first is that people pretty much only talk to you when they want something.

They know that you won't offer advice unless they ask, so they will talk to you about everything because nobody else they know learned the trick to just listening. They also know that if you do offer advice, it'll be geared toward figuring out what they really want and not necessarily a specific thing that they should do because you want it. You are fairly reasonably familiar (even if not always from personal experience) with diverse relationship structures, and supportive of the innumerable array of orientations and gender identities, and so they'll never hear, "Well have you ever tried not being who you are?"

You see that, though? Those aren't the qualities of a friend. That is a résumé.

Read more... )
xenologer: (bye bye)
Great Pervocracy entry on escalation and de-escalation of conflict.
How much conflict there is in a relationship, or the seriousness of the conflict issues, are not predictors of whether there will be violence. The biggest predictor is the degree to which conflicts in the relationship escalate. (...)

De-escalation means bringing someone down from an irrational, emotionally hyperaroused, screamy-hitty state, but it does not mean appeasement. It can sometimes mean talking someone down by comforting and reassuring them, but that's far from the only method and it's only useful if they're just mildly agitated. If they're screaming or threatening violence, saying "honey please honey it's okay" is usually not the best way to de-escalate them. Setting firm limits is not just more empowering for the de-escalator; it's more effective.

This is a skill I have, but now that I'm an adult? I don't use it with the same person more than once or twice. If someone is up in the crazy tree and it's my responsibility to pull them down and keep things from getting ugly, now that I'm an adult and have some agency in my life? Nope. Screw it.

I've watched too much of this crap in my young life and been trapped in with too much of it, too. Tolerance = gone.

I think that is the thing that's hard about having these skills: knowing when it's okay to stop using them. Just because someone can de-escalate like a frigging conflict sorcerer doesn't mean that it should always be their job, and it certainly doesn't make it their fault when the other person doesn't dutifully submit to their wiles and act like a grown-ass human being.

That was my big realization. Yeah, honestly, I can corral and manipulate people into being less awful to me. But who the hell are they to make me need that skill all the time? Who are they to put me back in the kind of circumstance that taught me how to do it in the first place? Do I really owe them shit?

A lot of people asked Holly to write this entry on de-escalating oneself, and I think that it's really important so I'm going to link it as well. The Pervocracy Guide to Not Doing Stupid Things Because You're angry. Or, as I like to call it, how not to be the kind of person I kick out of my life.

Part of the reason why I'm so happy in my current relationship is the way we handle conflict. My super-cool headshrinker calls it "sophisticated." I call it "problem-solving." Identify problem. Solve it. Be less upset, due to absence or at least reduction of upset-making stimuli.

xenologer: (snail cuddle)
I don't talk about my relationship very much, which is probably a good sign, no news being good news when it comes to journal site entries about a romantic relationship. That doesn't mean there's nothing to say, though. It's just that the years have been kind, and I suppose that doesn't motivate me to write as much as the years that came before.

It occurred to me tonight that I think the very best part about my life is how long it has been since I was truly lonely.

Thinking about the world we live in and what an ugly mess it can make of people, it's been years since I wondered whether there were any intersection between the set of people who knew me and the set of people who loved me.

It's been years since I had to live without the certainty that there is someone who wants me to trust them badly enough that they will actually be trustworthy, who wants to be reliable badly enough to be it.

It's been years since I realized I'm beautiful.

It's been years since the old days when I had to promise someone my own destruction to keep them from theirs.

It's been years since the first time I realized that someone else could want me to succeed simply because they wanted me to succeed, and that they could want it without mixing it with resentment.

It's been years since I lived a life that was deformed around the fear of ugly things, and it's been years now that I can twist a life around the lovely ones. My life is slowly losing the shape of those pained and straining habits, those razor-edged defenses that I never used on the people who deserved the blades. It's losing that incessant keening stretched out wordless rage shrieking day and night behind even the best of hours.

It's been years since I figured out who I am when I'm happy and for years now, despite all of the areas for improvement and all the old growth that may never fully unknot itself, I've been someone I could respect and call good.

It'd be easy to believe that these are the best years of my life. They could be the best years of anyone's life. But y'know, we're still going. I see no reason to stop. We never promised forever, but we made certain promises for now, and as long as they're still working... so will I.

It's been more than worth it so far. Even if it ends, even if it somehow ends catastrophically with us somehow hating each other or the world or something equally enormously bad, these years... these years will always have happened.

Wherever the time goes, whatever the world does to me or to him or to the other people we love... we have been traveling a particularly breathtaking stretch of the path, and it has already happened. Wherever we go next, at least we got to be here. Whatever happens to our bodies in the distant future, whatever we become will have at some point in its history been as happy as I have been with Brian these last several years.

So to whatever we'll become whenever we become it, you're welcome. Try to pass it on.

So... huh.

Sep. 13th, 2011 03:05 am
xenologer: (happy!)
I am using Facebook more and more for political links and stuff since people actually seem to get more use out of it there. People on DW/LJ who want politics are probably going to get their links from some of the same excellent sources I do, whereas the people I know on Facebook really... don't.

I didn't think people would like that my Facebook feed is ALL LIBERAL ATHEIST FEMINISM NEWS ALL THE GODDAMN TIME but I keep getting little notes of appreciation and admiration for it. I have had people tell me that I'm their main news source, which is terrifying but at least I am gratified to be providing a service in a way that works for them. If what they check is Facebook and the news they want is the sort of issue-based stuff I care about, I guess it's good that I'm bringing it to them.

What this does mean is that I am not using my journal for that so much these days. As I look over my last several entries, they've come about every two weeks and they've been *gasp* about me.

I know, fucked up, right?

That's what I've done for the past few years. I haven't had much else to say because like a lot of people... I don't post too much about myself when I'm happy. I have been. I have the kind of marriage that parents should tell their kids they may not have because it's so unrealistically great. I don't even really have much of a list of First World Problems. I'm... happy. I'm happy and I'm pretty stable and I've got a bunch of new hobbies that have brought a lot of joy to my routine.

I go to burlesque shows now. I will inevitably start performing at some point. It's a matter of time, because we're all just so fucking happy when we're there and I want to be part of the happy. Also, as I told the members of a local burlesque troupe where I have friends, I am really amused by my own ass, and would like to share that with the world.

So maybe you'll be hearing about that! Or maybe I'll just post to tell you how much I love my new bicycle, my new home, and my husband. Maybe my journal will be about me again.

xenologer: (YAY)
...I am now legally married.

How awesome is that?

(Now for the rest of my LGBT family who aren't allowed to. Need to get you in on this shit, because this fun should be shared. Your inevitable marriages will lift something of a shadow from everybody else's, so we've got some politicians to harass until they explode. Let's do this shit.)
xenologer: (angel/11)
Brian, after a long silence, blurts out, "...We should kill some merfolk and make suits out of their skin."
xenologer: (ooh!)
"We will not survive in this apartment without locomotion," Brian says, after I tried to convince him that I cannot get up and make food, because I am sessile now.

He offered to go make rice, since now that I am sessile he must provide for all my needs.

I told him no, because I want him to be sessile too.

Evidently this would result in our deaths.

April 2016

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