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belenen

June 2017

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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.

belenen: (intrigued)
time w Evelyn & Quinn: clearing tension, overcoming previous miscommunications, setting intentions
icon: "intrigued (a photo of a snow leopard with ears flattened, peering intently over a log)"

Back in early November Evelyn had told me that the reason they couldn't be with me was that it was too stressful for Quinn, and that Quinn felt somehow inferior to me and didn't want Evelyn to be with me. Evelyn has since told me that they told Quinn that they had set boundaries with me around touch (which they had not, but had thought about it so much that they felt like they had: not because they didn't want it but because they were afraid of Quinn's reaction) and that I had touched them anyway. Quinn was understandably resistant to the idea of Evelyn dating me with that idea in mind. Evelyn said they had cleared that up with Quinn but I was feeling like Quinn must have a terrible impression of me and I wanted very much to fix that.

I also just wanted to clear the sense of tension and establish that I feel a desire to community-build with Quinn, that I want to approach their feelings about me with compassion and be as helpful as I can be within my resources. I don't do the whole "keep your feelings about me to yourself" thing with metamours (lover-of-my-lover) and friends. I am not going to take responsibility for someone else's feelings, but I do want to know as much as possible so that if I am able to adjust my behavior to help someone feel more safe, I can. And it is my responsibility to take care of myself and let the other person know if I cannot meet their needs, NOT the other person's responsibility to guess what I can handle and not ask me for more than that.

So I went to Evelyn's yesterday after work to hang out with them and Quinn, who I hadn't ever had a real conversation with. I was so nervous I was shaking and driving distractedly, so I stopped on the way and got a coffee, which helped. (sooooo glad that it was payday and thus I could do this!) When I arrived, Quinn wasn't there yet because they had to do something before that went long. So Evelyn and I sat and talked a little but we were both so buzzing with nerves that we couldn't really connect. When Quinn did arrive, we sat around for like two hours talking about random stuff, while I tried to get up the guts to address the whole reason I was there. Evelyn talked a lot while we mostly sat silently. It was so stressful. At about an hour before I was supposed to leave I started feeling like I was going to end up leaving without ever doing what I came to do, having drained myself of days' worth of energy for literally nothing.

Finally Evelyn was distracted with looking something up on their phone and there was a long enough silence that I was able to ask Quinn, "can I ask you a really awkward and uncomfortable question?" (knowing that they'd already expected such a question) and they said yes, and I asked how they felt about me. They were taken aback but gamely attempted an answer. I don't remember exactly what they said, but it was sort of generally about feeling bad for having indirectly caused the distance between Evelyn and me. I assured them that I did not blame them for it, and we talked about the community-building emotional stuff I mentioned earlier in this post.

They then asked me if I remembered meeting them, and I did only in the most vague way (I remembered meeting someone by that name and I remembered the location). They told me that they had talked with me about polyamory and their personal situation, and that I said "oh, you're penis-monogamous" and laughed and then left shortly after. I was like holy shit, RUDE, so sorry! I have no memory of that conversation but it does sound like me. (the things I remember from that night were getting more drunk than I expected and leaving the party to go have sex with Kylei at the back of the apartment up against the wall: I was QUITE drunk) I can imagine that in my head, at the time, I was making a casual statement and then when they stopped talking to me I assumed they were done with the conversation and did not even realize I was rude. To me it was a summary of what I just heard, confirming that I was listening and making a joke by restating it in hyperbole. (this is why I usually don't make jokes, because god do I flop at them. My sense of humor makes no sense to other people) After Quinn mentioned this experience I was swamped with the realization that I've probably been unintentionally rude to a LOT of people. Especially during the time that I was dating Kylei because I met a lot of strangers then and it takes knowing me a little bit to be able to read me with any accuracy, since I express so differently than most.

Anyway, I was very impressed that Quinn brought that up because it was the only way for it to be recontextualized, but it is taboo to point out that someone has been rude. So I felt like they understood the need for telling me that, and they wanted to clear the static between us enough to break the taboo and tell me. And I was pleased that when I exclaimed over how rude I was to say that and apologized, they accepted my explanation without any resistance. It having been like five years ago, they could have built up a whole structure of belief in me as a dismissive, cruel person because I had seemingly mocked them when they were trying to connect in a way that was vulnerable, and they could have defended such a structure. Instead, they allowed me to be the one to give meaning to my actions, which is so utterly necessary for me to feel safe.

I'm really not talented at communicating. I know it seems like I am, especially here, but it's because I am so naturally terrible that I have built up amazing skills through LOADS of practice. In my most natural state, I say shit backwards and upside down to how most people talk. And my skills are mostly non-oral in that I am skilled in writing, not in speaking out loud. I can't organize my thoughts well enough to speak them most of the time and when I can, it's through dropping the filters that protect me from insulting people. My options are: communicate through text and say what I mean and be understood; communicate audibly and don't share anything meaningful but manage to avoid hurting or offending people; or communicate audibly and share meaningful things and definitely upset anyone who doesn't know me very well already and/or anyone who isn't willing to let me be the one to assign meaning to what I say. One has to be willing and able to say "it sounds to me like you're saying this ____. is that what you mean?"

This is part of why reading my LJ matters so much to me. You cannot know me if you don't read my LJ. Most people are really meatspace-centric and auditory-supremacist and they think that what you say out loud, in person, is the truest expression of what you think/feel. That is so fucking untrue when you have multiple lines of thought running all the time that often jump tracks AND you have an unbelievably glitched memory. When I go to a therapist without having written stuff down, it's completely useless. I usually can't have any important conversations without writing about it first. My LJ is more me than anything that comes out of my mouth, ever. Relatedly, Quinn also mentioned that they occasionally read my LJ and I instantly felt more understood and more trusting. I'm always surprised and flattered when someone reads my LJ without it being at least partly as a favor to me.

Since last night Quinn and I have texted back and forth a good bit and I feel like we could be really great friends. I feel excited and hopeful, but also nervous because it seems like every time I try to build connection with someone they leave my life, and that would be doubly upsetting if I became invested in them and then they cut me out. But things seem to be finally turning around for me after losing person after person last year. And Quinn and I relate in some ways that I don't have anyone else in my life to relate to (terrible biofam that's still trying to insert its unwanted self into our lives, for one) so I think that could be really nourishing for me.

I feel a little worried that Evelyn may lose interest now that I'm not essentially a symbol of the unattainable, but I think that's irrational? I think that they care about me for who I am and not just what I stand for. Also a little worried that they're gonna just want to hang out as a group and not want one-on-one time with me, and I don't have any proof to reassure myself about that so I'll just have to stick a pin in it and wait for time to tell.


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belenen: (ewwwww)
I hate empty words like "hello" oops I'm super rude
icon: "ewwwww (a photo of me making a disgruntled/disgusted face)"

I hate it when people say 'hi' to me. It does not convey any meaning except 'pay attention to me now' and you're not even explaining WHY you want my attention. I hear 'hello' either as meaningless noise or as an irritating demand. Just go ahead and talk!

Unfortunately, greetings DO convey meaning to other people. What meaning, I cannot fathom. But this gets me into trouble because rather than going through back-and-forth exchanges of meaningless words, I just want to jump right in. I want to walk up to a person and say "I need to drop off some papers for so-n-so" or "do you know where blahblah is?" without irritatingly insincere questions and uselessly vague answers! I do not want to ask how you are when I don't actually have the time or interest to hear a real answer, and I do not want to lie to you with a vague expected response, ughhh. Can't we just be practical and stop this fucking pretense?

Do other people actually enjoy the ritual of "hello" "hi" "how are you" "fine, how are you" "fine." before the actual conversation?? How does that not annoy the shit out of people? I don't want to exchange names unless I plan to talk to you again. Why would I?

It took me this long to realize that this is probably part of the reason that other people think I don't like them - I do not want to make pleasantries, ever. Ugh. I gotta figure out a way to make it interesting for me so that I stop seeming like the rudest person.


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belenen: (strong)
Open letter to self-proclaimed reasonable white dudes
icon: "strong (a photo of me in warm light with my hair down around my face, staring intensely into the camera in a defiant mood)"


Dear 'intellectually-minded' white men who just want to have a 'reasonable conversation':

You start out by asking me a question after I have pointed out something problematic. Even though I know that it's rare that people in general are willing to learn from a stranger, and that as a white dude you're far less likely than average to be willing to learn, I give you the benefit of the doubt. Just in case you're sincere (and for the sake of non-responsive readers who might actually seek knowledge), I offer you a starting point for you to self-educate. This is partly because it would take a minimum of several verbal hours or 20 written pages to explain even the basics, and partly to test your willingness to learn. You respond by explaining why that starting point is wrong (after a max of 20 minutes of web searching). You think this is a conversation between equals.

I know it's really fun for you to have a theoretical discussion where you get to feel all 'edgy' with your advocating for the devil. You feel mentally stimulated and awake for the first time in who-knows-how-long. It's a startling novelty to you for someone to bluntly disagree and it's refreshing to go down new neural pathways. You're excited to find yourself on a new intellectual jungle gym. Also, you feel really sure you can win because you think clever conversation is about playing tricks and laying traps and you think there is no objective answer, so you can claim to win no matter what. In fact, your rule for winning is "get the last word."

But then I don't want to play, and at first you just don't take my no seriously. Then, when you realize I mean it, you're deeply offended. You just offered me the greatest gift of all - your attention - and you expected me to respond with eager attempts to persuade you to join my side. You really feel I owe you my attention because you gave me yours. You handed me a one-in-a-million chance to affect your thinking and I just threw that treasure in the trash! You feel insulted that I didn't cradle and nurture that rare chance - after all, you rarely give it to someone who isn't of your class. It's like your opinion doesn't even matter! On top of all that offense, you feel cheated out of your fun, and worst of all there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Not that that stops you.

I tell you I don't want to talk to you, and like a bad telemarketer you respond by pulling out all the stops to try and force me to talk to you. You trot out a few carefully-aimed insults and explain to me all the wonders I'm missing out on by not talking to you more. You're super reasonable and if only I had tried a little harder you probably would have given me that carrot. Instead, my obstinence has removed the chance of you giving a shit about justice. I've ruined everything by not convincing you, the bastion of reason and kindness, that there is a problem you should notice and act on. Too bad for all those people suffering injustice (who were nonexistent before I stopped bothering with you).

Too bad for you, I've heard every single bit of this bullshit already.

I don't care about winning and I genuinely don't care what motive you ascribe to my disengagement. I know you will refuse to believe that it's because your ignorant regurgitation of societal norms bores me and talking to you wastes my time and effort. You, boring? Inconceivable! Literally! You can't imagine it! Instead, you decide (and you let me know) that I just don't care enough about my causes, because if I did I would put in the work to win you over (and you pretend that's a possibility; you may even fool yourself). Your ideas are unique and vital and of course I've never been in this situation before. Or perhaps you decide that I don't know enough to argue, that if I did I wouldn't be able to resist laying it all out to win. Maybe you decide I'm lazy, or that I was lying.

Guess what? I don't give a shit, because I know the difference between an argument and a conversation. I will not argue, especially with someone whose ratio of knowledge to me is kindergartner to PhD. You cannot contribute anything meaningful with such a knowledge imbalance, any more than a U.S. kindergartener could tell a Swedish history professor about the various aspects of Swedish government over time. When you act like your ideas have relevance it's just annoying. I know that if I try to explain that your ignorance makes your opinion useless, you will get excited by further argument without even considering the possibility that you might actually be ignorant.

I know damn well what an actually reasonable person does when they learn of an injustice they were previously unaware of. They do not try to 'disprove' it: that is not a reasonable reaction to learning something new. They self-educate. If it sounds ridiculous to them, they look up what experts on the subject who agree with this position say*. A reasonable person knows they cannot learn about a topic by looking up things that contradict it. If it is a faulty position, you can discover that by the lack of evidence (if you know enough about the subject to create a decent search). If it's true, you won't find that out by searching for how to argue against it.

When you reacted to my initial offer of resources with "those aren't legit because..." I knew that you weren't speaking from years of study. I knew you weren't actually interested in learning. You're just trying to win. You want to play with other people's lives like game pieces and wax on about your ludicrously fact-less theories instead of discussing practical methods of righting injustice. I will not give you pleasure at my expense.

* For example, when someone told me that men are oppressed by women, I responded by looking up articles in support of such a theory, even though as an expert on the subject I could safely assume that they were simply wrong. Their legitimate examples of oppression were misattributed to women when in reality they were caused by sexism and racism (unable to dress how they want, getting imprisoned more often, etc.) Most of their examples were illegitimate because they were factually wrong. For instance, white men tend to get custody when they ever make an effort and the apparent disparity in custody disputes is primarily due to lack of desire. There was nothing I hadn't heard before, and the whole concept displayed a ludicrous lack of understanding as to how oppression works. If I hadn't already known the statistics involved I would have needed to look them up. If I hadn't already done many hours of study on how oppression works, I would need to have done that in order to tell that what they were calling 'oppression by women' was not.

See also: The White Folks Who Need “Proof of Racism”: "The whole point of them asking me to convince them is so that could pretend and tout that they made a good-faith effort all while hiding the fact that the goal was always to never be convinced."


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belenen: (contemptuous)
Why I am rude to pripoi defaults on purpose
icon: "contemptuous (my face making the most horrified contemptuous frown, as though I just watched someone eat fresh shit)"

I have little understanding of 'common' etiquette because I have always lived in unusual subcultures. So if you think I am being rude to you, it is extremely likely that it is an accident. UNLESS you're a privileged person talking about oppression - then I am most likely being rude on purpose.

People seem to think that my recent development of rudeness toward defaults is a product of emotion or perhaps burnout. It isn't. I'm very skilled at remaining calm in conflict, and very skilled at phrasing things delicately when I feel the need. And I'm good at disengaging from unproductive conversations without emotional difficulty. It is much easier to just not engage at all with defaults. It's emotionally easier to obey their rules of conduct and thus deny them their favorite argument, "if you had been nice I might have let your thoughts matter."

My choice to be rude is deliberate. I know that a person truly wanting to be kind and decent will learn no matter the tone, so I say things partly for the silent observers.

But mostly, I do this because defaults (white cis etc men) never get called on their bullshit. They think they're right and they think people like them because no one ever tells them otherwise. I can do this safely because of my relative privilege, and so I will. If more people demanded evidence for their baseless claims and mocked them for their lack of skills at empathy and critical analysis, they might eventually start realizing that something is wrong with them. I can promise you that arguing politely is never going to change their mind. Scorn, dislike, and dismissal might, since it's a new experience. So, when I tell a white man that their opinions on things they haven't experienced are useless, ridiculous, and unwanted, I feel quite strongly that I am making the world a better place.

I know a few decent defaults, maybe 6 total. I know it is possible for me to be rude and for them to know that I value them and consider them worthy people. All it takes to be decent is to accept other people's experiences as reality, understand that you cannot understand oppression you don't experience without being taught, humbly seek to learn without being defensive, and apply what you learn.

(Pripoi means privilege-poisoned.)


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belenen: (passionate)
rules of engagement for my fb and lj: you are a guest not a resident.
icon: "passionate (the Benjamin Gate's symbol: a stylized gas mask inside a ring, both metal-looking, and all colored bright scarlet)"

My journal and my facebook wall are galleries of my thoughts. As the artist and curator I am NOT obligated to come talk to every viewer nor to listen to every response, and I'm certainly not obligated to allow others to put things up. You do not have a right to post your thoughts on my wall or your comments on my posts, because this is my space. Out of a desire to engage, I give initial permission which can and will be revoked if you don't respect my boundaries. If I say "don't comment about XYZ on this thread" or "stop bothering me about this," or "I am not interested in debating this" respect that and stop. I am willing to give you a warning, so 99.99% of the time I'm not going to get angry unless I said stop in that thread and you didn't do it. I think I have deleted a comment ONCE. I only do that when I specifically tell people to stop and they keep on. I like for people to share their thoughts and I like for future readers to have all the context.

If I don't want to 'debate', I still get to post on the internet. I don't have to pay for my expressions by publishing yours.

Defaults and near-defaults, there are spaces that are not for you. Live with it. Do what respectful people do when told not to invade someone's space with unwanted words: express them elsewhere. People who are used to getting their way and having their words treated with deference tend to think that is how it should always be. And privileged folk also seem to think that they should be able to use other people's space. I have never had a person who was not near the privilege pinnacle complain about me not letting them use my space for their expression.

For me, no matter what a person said, I would obey the rules they set for their page. I see it as a consent issue. My sites are my virtual being, my cyber body, and if you can't obey my rules for it, you're not fucking welcome.


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belenen: (voltaic)
random: safe space for marginalized means not safe for privileged / privileged poor / slur derails
In response to someone in a facebook group asking why bannings were explained publicly:
for marginalized people, seeing that oppressive behavior is not tolerated makes them feel more safe. If it makes you feel unsafe, you might be relating more to people who perpetuate oppression than you are to people who are being oppressed. There's also the aspect that the more privilege you have, the more you feel entitled to a space, so when you are told that you are only conditionally allowed, that is threatening to that feeling of entitlement. But most marginalized people feel only conditionally allowed all the time in every space, so no one is giving you an experience that they have not already had. It might seem unfair or uncomfortable but that is because re-balancing when you are used to being the 'winner' means having some perks taken away.

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The privileged poor are some of the worst exploitation and oppression sympathizers. Economics is the oppression that most rarely leads to a rejection of the system, probably because it's the one where the carrot is largest and closest. People really think they can get it

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I have dealt with many people who use the same derails when discussing slurs. I am sick of the same old shit. Derails like "well how do we discuss these important things if I can't even use the word 'l*me'" which is a red herring because a slur-use of the word l*me is not ever going to help fight ableism, and the same applies to other slurs. Or "I would have listened and cared about this important issue if you had just been more polite" which has never happened. People who are going to change when someone points out their error are not going to refuse to change because someone didn't point it out in the right way. Calling out oppressive behavior results in defensiveness or concern, and the only thing that decides which it is is the values of the person who is being called out.
sounds: Stateless - Assassinations | Powered by Last.fm
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