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The Journal Of The InnKeeper
Ranty Lessons by Joreth
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12th-Apr-2017 02:12 pm - [sticky post] My New Blog Home!
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
I've been on LiveJournal since May, 2006. It's amusing - my first post says "don't expect too much, I don't have time to keep this updated." Since then, I've gotten ... prolific. But recently LiveJournal moved its servers to Russia (having been bought by a Russian company quite a long time ago). Now, it's subject to Russian laws.

Specifically, it has 1 provision that affects me and 1 provision that could potentially affect me: according to Russian law, any blog or community read by more than 3,000 readers is considered a 'publication' and is subject to State controls on publications, including the provision that the blogger or moderator is legally liable under Russian law for any content posted by any user; and blogs are prohibited from "perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation."

I don't think that I have more than 3,000 readers, so I don't think I'm considered a "publication" by their standards, although I might someday have that many readers, or maybe I do and I'm just not aware of it.  I don't think of myself as being that big of a name. But Russia does have some laws regarding content. The Russian "gay propaganda law" forbids discussion of "sexual deviancy," which includes LGBTQ issues and "propaganda of non-traditional relationships" is forbidden by this law.

Now, I don't think I'm in any real legal danger here. I seriously doubt I'm going to be arrested or sent off to Russia to stand trial or anything. But my LiveJournal blog could just up and disappear someday.  And, frankly, that's been a possibility for a while, although not for reasons of archaic and barbaric "sexual deviancy" laws.

I've been wanting to move away from LJ for some time now, mainly because people keep telling me that it's an outdated platform. Which I think is a shame, because it does everything I ever wanted in a blog. It keeps a running log of my posts, it archives them, it allows comments and gives me control over comments, it gives me design control, it's free, it doesn't take up the limited server space that I pay for on my website, and it also gives me a convenient way to follow the blogs of other people. It's basically Facebook before there was Facebook with more personalization.

But every time I looked into moving my journal over to another platform, I came across technical problems. Until recently, there was no good way to copy everything from LJ (posts, comments, design style, user icons, permissions, etc.) and set it back up on another platform. There were some clunky ways to do it, but I always seemed to hit a wall - this exporter stopped at X number of posts, that exporter didn't get comments, this other platform refused to accept my LJ password even though it's supposed to transfer from one to the other ... stuff like that.

I was able to find an archival service that could back up my posts on my own hard drive, but I had other problems getting that archive to upload somewhere else. And there were a couple of other options that were just above my technical expertise, so when looking at the long set of instructions, my eyes bugged out and I just gave up.

But with this new Russian law thing, I was motivated to look once again and this service was recommended to me. Dreamwidth offered a built-in exporter/importer that grabs all the content I wanted it to grab and actually worked, unlike some other platforms that just kept telling me that my username or password to LJ was incorrect when it wasn't. It's a free service, and it appears to have a similar "friends list" sort of reader for other Dreamwidth users. Not that I really have time to keep up with a blog reader in addition to my FB and Twitter streams (which most people use to link to their blog posts anyway). But still, I like the option.  Which means that if you have a Dreamwidth account, hit me up with it and I can follow you back.

So, for now, Dreamwidth is my new blog home and you can find it at http://joreth.dreamwidth.org. I have it set up to cross-post to LJ, which is also set up to automatically tweet links to new entries. If I can figure out a way to cross-post directly from here to Twitter, I will do that instead of tweeting my LJ.  But comments are turned off on LiveJournal so if you want to comment, you'll have to come to the Dreamwidth site, which uses OpenID so that even people without a Dreamwidth account can still participate (a plus over LJ). If you choose to link to one of my blog posts, please use the Dreamwidth URL from now on. I *think* I have it set to include the Dreamwidth link on the LJ cross-post, but if not, I will.  I still have to go through all my 1,300+ posts and manually update links to LJ posts so that they now go to my DW posts, so that's a long-term project still in the works.

Also, Dreamwidth is still, as of this posting, importing all the comments from my past posts. Their servers have been working overtime lately with the mass exodus from LJ and things are taking longer than normal. As it was, I had to wait in the queue for about 40 hours before the blog posts imported.

As always, my website is www.TheInnBetween.net and links to my blog and my most commonly used social media can be found there. I have accounts on most social media but I only use Facebook, Twitter, and my blog regularly. But if you want to find me somewhere, search for Joreth, Joreth Innkeeper, or some variation on The InnBetween.



This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.
 
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
The thing about new partners, is that I end up revisiting a lot of memories of old partners. When I'm in a new relationship, we talk about ourselves, and part of ourselves is our past that made us who we are today. So I end up going over a lot of old stories, partly as illustrations for how I want to be treated or want not to be treated, and partly because I'm just sharing stories of my experiences and who I am.

I don't know if "ironic" is the right word, but what got me on this tangent tonight is not a "new" partner, exactly, but talking with my most recent ex-FWB during our breakup, rather than as part of the "get to know each other" stage in the beginning. Perhaps because our relationship was less than a month, and the breakup came suddenly, and he's actually doing his part of the breakup well, some things that I associate with a "beginning" didn't happen until the end. This isn't really relevant, I'm musing tonight.

Anyway, during one of our breakup talks (because a good, compassionate breakup where both people are being kind and considerate of each other often takes several discussions and check-ins to make sure everyone is OK), I got to talking about some of my abusive exes.

Here's the thing... when I was growing up, all of our "afternoon specials" about abusive relationships were about domestic physical violence. I knew all the warning signs for a physically *violent* partner, but I knew absolutely nothing about an emotionally abusive or psychologically controlling partner.

Over the years, I've told a lot of stories about a lot of exes. In the last decade or so, as I've had the opportunity to meet and know some truly amazing people, when I've told these stories, I've been met with horrified reactions. I was not prepared for the strength of the horror in these reactions. To me, these stories were about jerks, sure, but "horror"? I mean, they weren't great stories, but I also thought they were run-of-the-mill "bad", not "abusive-bad".

Now, with a lot more education on what abuse is, I can look back over my relationship history and see that I've actually been involved with a whole bunch of abusive men. Remember, when I started telling these stories, I was not aware that they were tales of abuse. So I'm not retconning my memories, which can happen pretty easily. I can look back over the time I told one particular story, and at the time I thought it was normal-bad, but now I can see that *the story I told at that time* was actually abusive-bad.

So I've been in a lot of abusive relationships. But what I always had going for me is a strong sense of self. You can ask my mother about this. She and I have been locked in conflict over my agency for literally my entire life. She describes me as "headstrong" and "independent". From day 1. What would happen is that I would get into a relationship with someone who I saw as confident and "strong", and because I was excited to be in that relationship, he would treat me well.

But eventually NRE would wear off, and I would start showing more enthusiasm for my own life than for his. And, being an abuser (which means he believed he was justified in controlling his partners behaviour to match what *he* thought they ought to do), he would employ various psychological tactics to bring me back in line and to behave more like I did in the beginning of the relationship when I was drugged out on NRE.

But my strong sense of self would kick in and I would always resist. And he would escalate, and I would resist harder. In a very short span of time, one of us would get pissed off enough at the other to break up. So I didn't recognize these relationships as abusive because the conflict would be relatively short-lived and always resulted in a breakup, usually with me angry rather than sad over it.

Over the years, I have been faced with some form of the question "how would your exes describe you?" from a variety of sources - Cosmo quizzes, new partners, friends, etc. One of the things I pride myself is on being honest about my "flaws". So I would usually answer these questions with something along the lines of "cold-hearted bitch". That was, I believe, the most common parting shot I would get from exes.

I have always been described as "cold", as "unfeeling", even been accused of sociopathy on more than one occasion. Some days I would agree with those descriptions. Other days I'm baffled how anyone could think that of me. You see, one of the reasons why I'm polyamorous is because I feel. so. much. I have so many feelings that I'm often overwhelmed by them. I sometimes feel like River Tam from Firefly, when her brother finally starts to make progress in diagnosing what her captors did to her when they experimented on her brain - "She feels everything; she can't not."

I went out with a guy not too long ago who is way into the woo. I find his beliefs to be completely absurd, but I do find some of the language he used to be useful as metaphor. When we first started talking, he described me as "empty". He said that he "looked into me" and found just this empty space where he expected to find ... I dunno, "me", I guess. Later, as I began to trust him and to develop feelings for him, I let my guard down and he noticed. He discovered what all that "empty space" was for. Whatever emotion I was feeling at the moment floods into all that space. He said he had never met anyone who felt so much at one time. He said he couldn't even see how he once thought I was "empty" before. I said that I was never "empty", I just had walls up and was only letting him see me controlled.

I feel a lot. I feel so much that it's just too much to keep up continuously. I have to shut down every so often, just to stay sane. In fact, one of the primary symptoms of my depression is apathy. When all the bad shit gets too overwhelming and sends me into suicidal ideation, I just stop feeling anything. I think this is the main reason why I haven't managed to kill myself yet - I want to be dead but I don't feel strongly enough about anything to go through with it.

Back to my long history with abusive men. Gendered abuse has some particular traits. Women are socialized to be nurturers, caregivers, to be polite, to consider other people, to do emotional labor. Men who want to control women can use this as a form of control.

"Why would you hurt me like that? You don't want to hurt me, do you? You should stop what you're doing so that I don't feel hurt by it."

"Now, now, be a good girl..."

"Stop being so hysterical..."

"Pull yourself together, you don't want to make other people uncomfortable, do you?"

When my former metamour was being abused by our mutual partner, he accused her of hurting him for wanting to be with her other partner. She wanted to do a thing, he would get upset by it, she would try to understand why he was upset, he would accuse her of hurting him. This would immediately stop her in her tracks, as she spent the next several days wracking her brain to understand *why she was hurting him* so that she could stop.

Not me.

I moved in with my abusive fiance, against everyone's advice. Almost immediately after moving in together, he began trying to control me. He wanted to change my clothing, change my career, force me into a homemaker role. I even asked him several times why he said he loved me, since he didn't seem to like me very much.

One of the many things that he would do was coerce me into sex. He would try to initiate sex very late at night when I had to wake up early the next morning. I would reject him, so he would wait until he thought I was asleep, and put his hands between my legs and try to take my underwear off without waking me. Most of the time I had not fallen asleep yet, but I would pretend to stay asleep, hoping to discourage him but it never did. Every single night I would "wake up" to him molesting me and I would yell at him to leave me alone, and he would start an argument that would keep me awake for *hours*, trying to talk me into having sex.

After a few weeks of this nightly molestation and some chronic sleep deprivation, I started trying to leave the argument. I would get up to go sleep on the couch. As I reached the door, he would threaten to break my prized figurine collection unless I remained in the room. So I would grab my pillow and sleep on the bathroom floor, which was *technically* still in the room.

When you're in a relationship with someone, you typically work under the assumption that both of you are operating in good faith. At least, people with reasonably healthy views on relationships do. Sure, there may be conflict, but we assume that we are both on the same team and that we both want to resolve the conflict, and that we both care about each other so nobody would want a resolution that actually compromised the other person's integrity or sense of self or value system.  We might be *angry*, but we don't feel that our partners are out to get us deliberately.

This is how abusers get their foot in the door. They are not operating in good faith. So I spent those weeks arguing with him because I earnestly believed I just had to make him see why this was hurting me and he would stop because he didn't *really* want to hurt me.

But by the time I was willing to sleep on the tile floor with my head next to a toilet? I no longer believed he was operating in good faith. I was not able to leave right away, but with all my big emotions and the constant attempt to wear me down, I had to find some way to live there until I could leave.

Enter the coldness.

Once I started to believe that he really did not have my best interests at heart, I went cold. I shut down. We weren't simply not seeing eye-to-eye, he fundamentally did not see me as a whole person. He saw me only in terms of how I could support his story arc. So I stopped caring about him in return.

One of the things I had suspected him of, was being a pathological liar. At first, his lies were ridiculous but, again with the good faith thing, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Looking back on them now, I can't understand how I ever thought they could even possibly be true. But I was young and naive and in love. He made up all kinds of outrageous stories, which I will save for another time because this is already very long. Now that I had lost the rose colored glasses and I could finally see the flags were red, I decided not to believe anything he said and to start calling him on his shit.

One day, we were driving home from my parents house (where I did my laundry) and we got into one of our repetitive arguments in the car. We lived in an apartment complex with a carport underneath the apartment units. I pulled into our slot, got out of the car, got my laundry basket from the back, and started walking across the low-ceilinged carport towards the stairs to our unit, all with him still arguing about whatever.

I had gone cold. I was simply refusing to argue any further. I just couldn't expend any more energy or emotion on this same fucking argument one more time.  I said what I had to say and that was the end of it, as far as I was concerned. He did not like that, and kept arguing at my retreating back. He hated it when I went cold.

Suddenly, he stopped talking, mid-sentence. I heard a rustling, and when I looked back, he was lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious. I assumed he was faking. I stood there for a moment, watching him to see if he would get up. Then I adjusted my grip on the laundry basket, turned on my heel, and walked up to our apartment, leaving him lying on the oil-soaked concrete.

I went upstairs and started putting the clothes away. Eventually he came into our bedroom, holding his hand to his head and walking unsteadily. Slurring his words, he said that while we were arguing, he somehow managed to walk into one of the low pipes in the carport and knock himself unconscious (he was 6'4" and the carport ceiling was about 6'6" high so he had to duck under the plumbing pipes).

And THEN, while he was unconscious, a mugger came and stole his wallet. He woke up just as the mugger grabbed it and ran away. Most of his fabrications were stories intended to illicit sympathy from me, so that I would stop being mad at him and start feeling worry and concern instead. This was the most transparent lie he had ever told (and he had told some whoppers!).

So I said "oh my god! A mugger! We better call the police right away!" He immediately tried to talk me out of it, while I "argued" how important it was that we file a police report. I mean, what if the mugger came back? What if he tried to rob *me* while I'm down there alone, at night? He doesn't want anything bad to happen to me, did he? I picked up the phone and actually hit 9-1 before he finally came clean.

He made the whole thing up because I was so mad at him and he just wanted me to stop being mad at him. So I dropped the act and the phone, said "no shit", and gave him the silent treatment for the rest of the night.

This story, and several others, have been running around my mind for the last week or so. Particularly the part about being "cold". It used to bother me. At least, when I wasn't actively in one of my defensive modes where all my emotions shut down, it did. But this week I realized something. I frequently go "cold" at the end of a relationship, but talking with my ex-FWB about some of my experiences with abuse, I noticed the pattern. I go "cold" as a response to abuse.

This abusive fiance was deliberately trying to manipulate my emotions to control my behaviour. In this particular story, I finally got him to admit it. He didn't want me mad at him, so rather than address the thing I was mad about, he tried to make me feel sorry for him and to feel concern for him. Because he was trying to manipulate me into *feeling* what he wanted me to feel, my response was to stop feeling entirely.

Well, not "entirely". Like Hulk in one of the Avengers movies, I still always feel rage. That's always bubbling beneath the surface, all the time. But it gets compartmentalized, and in these situations, I just stop feeling.

Abusers are not evil super-villains twirling their mustachios and consciously plotting the manipulation of their partners. They are quite often people in pain. They are people who feel fear, as we all do. It's just that their reaction to fear is to hold a metaphorical gun to someone else's head and make them do things to prevent themselves from feeling fear. They are calculating to a certain extent, but mostly they just feel fear and they feel *justified* in reaching for tools of control to address their fears.

My abusive fiance abused me because he was afraid. He was afraid to lose me. So he tried to direct my feelings towards those that would tie me to him. So when I stopped having feelings, he was terrified. Apparently it's very scary to have someone you love go cold on you. I wouldn't know. If any of my exes ever went cold on me, it was towards the end of a relationship where I was probably sliding into apathy myself.

But as I looked back over my history, at all the people who accused me of being "cold", these were also all the same people who, when I tell stories about them to relatively healthy, non-manipulative people, are the ones that my friends recoil in horror about and tell me that they were abusive. Apparently this is my last defense mechanism for abuse. You can't manipulate my emotions to control my behaviour if I don't feel any emotions.

I'm kind of surprised at the realization that all those accusations of being "cold" were A) probably all true, but because B) were in response to abuse. When I think of abuse victims, I see mostly afternoon special TV characters and my former metamour who was an emotional wreck at the end of her last abusive relationship. I see people who are beaten down, dejected, shells of their former selves, but most of all, *emotional*.

But when *I* face abuse, I get hard. I get cold. I get sharp. There may be a reason why I like knives so much.

I'm not saying that being in abusive relationships doesn't leave long-term damage on me. It usually takes me a while to trust people again. And I'm very cynical. I don't like to open up to people. It seems like I'm very open because I talk about so many personal things in very public spaces. But I can talk about things while being guarded. I'm not really sharing any intimacy, even though I'm sharing a lot of details.

Apathy and coldness and hardness are my defense mechanisms. It's when you know I've reached the end. These are what come out in response to abuse, control, manipulation. I can only extend my compassion so far. When I feel like the other person is not meeting me in the middle, when they're not operating in good faith, when they're trying to control me, I take away those parts of me that make me vulnerable to harm and control - my emotions.

Becoming a knife edge is my response to abuse.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397338.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Swing Dance, social events, dance
Y'know what? I complain a lot about the conservatism in my local dance scene.  I complain about not being able to develop strong connections to anyone because of their political values, their anti-science beliefs, and their religiosity.  But after reading some of the comments on the post that I made on my timeline and in a couple of groups, asking for inclusivity suggestions, I feel the need to express some gratitude towards my local dance communities.

In those dance circles that I frequent, we have the following values that I appreciate:

Yes, the dance scene is quite heavily gendered by default, but when people *do* take the non-conforming role, the community typically accepts it and often embraces it. Women and people presenting as women are more likely to take lead roles in the Ballroom and Latin scenes, while all genders can be seen switching roles in the Lindy Hop and Blues dance scenes.  The Lindy Hop scene also trends towards a younger and more liberal demographic.

I have not witnessed any ageism or fat-shaming.  This does not mean that it doesn't exist, but it does mean that it's not a common occurrence.  I would believe anyone who said they did experience either in my communities, but the people I talk to about it don't seem to have experienced it.  People of all shapes, sizes, and ages are welcomed at these dance events, get asked to dance often (regardless of gender), and are active participants in the communities.

In my local communities, dance is seen as a social activity and a "community", so the general cultural attitude is that we want everyone to dance and we want everyone to have a good time.  To that effect, experienced dancers of either role, and leads of all experience levels, feel that it is their happy duty to go around the room and invite anyone to dance that they see isn't dancing.

Ballroom dance events have a convention called a "mixer" especially for this.  Because of the gendering in the dance community and also the gender roles in the culture at large that discourages men from exploring or expressing an interest in learning how to dance (thanks toxic masculinity), dance events are usually 2/3 women and 1/3 men (-presenting people).

So ballroom dance events have at least 2 points in the event where a medley of the same tempo songs are played in a row, the follows (because follows are usually women, and the women outnumber the men) line up along one wall, and the less numerous leads line up across from them.  The first lead in line takes the first follow in line, dances her around the floor once and drops her off at the end of the line, and then moves up to take the next available follow for her turn around the floor.  This way, everyone gets to dance, if they want to.

This is also a good way to be introduced to other people in the complimentary role if you're new.  Now that they've had a chance to dance with you, they know who you are and what your skill level is (and vice versa), and that relieves some of the anxiety about asking someone to dance later.

The communities encourage more advanced dancers to see dancing with newbies as an opportunity, not a punishment or a chore.  We take delight in giving newbie dancers more chances to practice because that brings more *advanced* dancers into the fold later as they improve.  I'm *thrilled* to do the same 3 steps over and over again with a newbie if it means that they will develop more confidence and keep coming back.

My dance communities, because of that whole "community" and "social activity" thing, also see dating within the community as ... challenging.  Nobody thinks you should NOT date another dancer, of course.  But pretty much everyone looks on the dance events as meat-market-free-zones.  Dances are not the place to hit on people.  They are not the place to find partners.

They're like poly discussion meetings in that respect - when you spend enough time with someone at a social event, you might eventually develop a friendship out of that space, and that friendship may eventually lead to a romantic relationship.  But the event is for dancing, not hooking up, not flirting, not hitting on people, not propositioning people.  People frown on those who hit on other dancers in the scenes.

And because social dancing is a social activity, people also frown on excessive displays of jealousy in the scene.  Some people arrive as a couple and only dance with each other.  It's allowed, but it's kind of side-eyed.  Because of that above-mentioned cultural value of making sure everyone is having a good time (which means everyone is dancing as much as they want to), and because of the gendering of roles and the gender disparity, my dance communities see it as sort of rude to monopolize one person's time when you could be out there sharing your love of dance with everyone.

They don't go too far by insisting that people dance with anyone they don't want to, but having jealousy and not wanting your partner to dance with others is kind of a cultural no-no.  When someone in the dance scene gets a non-dancing partner, and the dancer starts to drop off the scene because their partner doesn't dance and they won't or can't dance without them, that couple is usually murmured about.  The dancers in my local community see it as healthy for couples to have separate interests, or, if they share the interests, to still be able to do the interest as an individual person, even with other people.

One of the things I liked about my local dance communities, is that when my FB status changed and people found out that I had gotten legally married, not a single person changed how they treated me.  Nobody asked me if my husband would "mind" if they asked me to dance, nobody changed their dance style to a more formal, stiff, polite, or distant style, nothing like that.  People asked where he was and if he danced, but nobody suddenly got cautious around me or treated me as if I was off-limits.

In my local dance scenes, people are also usually very good about rejections.   I can say "not right now" or "no thanks" and they just nod and move on.  I'm never afraid of a bad reaction because I've never been given one in my scenes.  Everyone sees it as a sign of immaturity and the men in particular are disapproving of people who can't handle rejection gracefully.  And the women talk to each other.

Women and/or follows are also encouraged to ask people to dance, so they don't have to simply sit around waiting and hoping for someone to ask them.  This is not one of my strengths.  I still prefer to be asked than to do the asking, but once I've developed a good dancing relationship with someone, I am more likely to ask them as often as they ask me.  There are no gendered rules about who asks whom, for as gendered as the rest of the social conventions are.

So my local dance communities are not perfect. There are still a lot of things that I'd like to see improve.  I'd like to see more gender-neutral language (switching back and forth between lead/follow and men/women is still too common), I'd like to see more POC (there are a few, but more Latinx and Asians than black people), I'd like to have more people who share my politics so that I could develop off-the-floor relationships with people, etc.

But not respecting consent, body-shaming, not accepting role-switching, and using the dance scene as a pickup spot are some of the more egregious violations in the dance world that my local dance communities do not support.  Not that these things never happen, but they are not supported by my communities. And I have to give them props for that.

For the record, when I teach my lead & follow communication workshop and when I give general dance lessons, I do my best to avoid or reduce all the other complaints as well.  So if you ever wanted to learn how to dance, find me at a conference somewhere (or bring me out to your local conferences or communities!) and I will be happy to give some instruction.  I don't even have to be at an event for the purpose of teaching dance - I'll teach dance anywhere, any time someone wants to learn.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/397201.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Super Tech, strong, feminism
Having one of those nights where I have several really complex and long blog posts brewing in my head, but not enough concentration to sit down and write them.

One of them is about the portrayal of abortion in pop culture and my own story about it. There was one show where one person asked another to procure some abortion pills for her because she didn't have access to them. The other person did, but lectured her about "now make sure this is *really* what you want to do, because there's no coming back from this..."

And the first person interrupted her by grabbing the pill and dry-swallowing it, whispering "please act soon, please act soon, please act soon".

I want to see more representation like this. And not all by women who have gotten pregnant through rape. Not everyone who has an abortion makes a "hard choice", or has to "live with it" forever after. For some of us, it was the easiest choice we've ever made and we are grateful for having had the choice more and more as time passes.

I wish I could concentrate, because my own story is struggling to get out, and I have so much to say in support of people for whom this is not something to be agonized over. And the deep sorrow for those who feel that way but are not given the option to make their own choice.

Another blog post was bumping around my head earlier today, triggered by, I think, a podcast I was listening to. But I can't remember which one and now it's buried under the abortion post's noise. Hopefully I'll remember it when I have some time to write soon.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396924.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
#ProTip Make your desktop background the conference logo so if you need to dump out of your slideshow for any reason it looks like you did it on purpose.

(like you forgot what your last slide looked like and you hit the next button one too many times and you didn't "continuous loop until esc" so it knocked you out, or you realize you have the wrong thing loaded up and you have to quit the slideshow entirely to put the correct thing on the screen - both of which presenters did today)

In a professional show, there is a team of video engineers in the back who will switch between content sources and usually a logo. It looks very unprofessional, and very under-prepared, for your desktop with your kids or your dogs (or your wife in a bikini!) covered by a thousand folders to suddenly show up on the big screen.

Or to want to back out of Presentation Mode so that your audience sees the Edit Mode of PowerPoint on the screen, like when you want to show a video but you didn't embed it so you have to escape out of your slideshow, open up a video viewer, show the video, close the video viewer, and get back into your slide deck.

These are all unprofessional mistakes. Make your desktop the conference logo and when you plug your laptop into the projector, change your screen settings to "extended desktop". Now, the only thing that will show on the screen will be nothing but the logo background, and when you start your slideshow, it will automatically go into Presentation Mode on the extended screen so that nobody sees the Edit Mode while you start it up.

Then, escaping out of Presentation Mode or closing PowerPoint or accidentally clicking past the last slide will all default to the activity happening on your laptop and a blank background (of your logo) on the screen.

I have this and many more pro tips in my Present Like A Boss workshop.

#LiveSwitching #AlsoGoToRehearsal #OopsWhereAreMySlides?




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396719.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
OK, so you know how Rey in Star Wars is not a Mary Sue because she has exactly as much (if not more) background to justify her connection and skill with the force as Luke did in the first trilogy?  And, like, how NONE of SW really makes a whole lot of sense, it's basically just a spaghetti western in space with literal white-hat good guys and black-hat bad guys and a pretty contrived plot? (Remember, I'm a huge SW fan, I'm just not blind to the flaws in my fandoms)

So you can't think Rey is a Mary Sue unless you think that of pretty much every (male) character in the entire universe, because she is consistent with the utterly fantastical (and by that, I mean "unbelievable) universe that is Star Wars - you can't think that about Rey w/o thinking of that for everyone else without that viewpoint being basically misogyny?

So, yeah, you can't think that the tech in Black Panther is "unbelievable" or "too advanced" unless you think that about the entire MCU, because totally unrealistic tech is completely the MCU's M.O.

To think that it's somehow suddenly unbelievable now that the people whose culture evolved for thousands of years literally around and on top of the super secret super amazing metal were not capable of developing that tech while Captain America in the '40s had fucking death rays can only come from embedded racism.

This doesn't mean you hate black people. It means you have some assumptions about what it means to be black (and African) that were deliberately created and fostered by white slavers and colonizers generations ago to do exactly what these kinds of thoughts just did - think that black people are less advanced, less "evolved" than any other people.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396461.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Y'know one of the reasons why I like the Deadpool movie? Because most of the time, I can't figure out why the female love interest is interested in the male lead.

Her character isn't usually a character, it's a placeholder. She's just this generic sort of "woman shape", with generic sort of "woman attributes" that male writers think all women have - pleasant, loving, nurturing, capable yet needy, wants to save her man, shows him the light, keeps him on the right path, likes flowers and sparkly jewelry (but not too much), and is sensual without being dirty. And maybe a little clumsy, because, y'know, that's relatable.

The male leads are diverse and flawed and colorful. Exactly the sort of men that a boring, vanilla, "blank" woman would not be interested in.

But Vanessa has the same sense of humor as Wade (Deadpool), which, let's be honest, is a little over the top, if I'm being generous. Outside of a comic book movie, he's fucking annoying. Nobody who doesn't share his sense of humor is going to spend years with him smiling tolerantly while he goes through life totally incapable of having a serious conversation. But she's his match.

I like Deadpool because I *get* why the romantic couple is together. She's not a carbon copy of Wade. She compliments him. She has strengths where he does not. But she also isn't his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She's just as fucked up as he is. As the character says right in the film "your crazy matches my crazy".

I like Deadpool because it's probably the healthiest, most compatible relationship I've ever seen on screen. It's at least up there in the top 10.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/396056.html.

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Bad Computer!, anger
Writer: [writes scathing review of 50 Shades and its abuse apologism]

Man: Nice review, but too many cuss words. Your emotions betray you. You should be able to discuss this topic calmly, or else people won't listen to you. You clearly have your own issues, so I can't take what you say too seriously. I identify with the main character, so he obviously can't be too bad, you just don't understand him.

Me: ♫ Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
Fuck the motherfucker
He's a fucking motherfucker...
If you don't like the swearing that this motherfucker forced from me
And reckon it shows moral or intellectual paucity
Then fuck you motherfucker
This is language one employs
When one is fucking cross about
Fuckers fucking abusing women and then making fucking money off the story by convincing everyone it's fucking "romance erotica" ...
And if you look into your motherfucking heart and tell me true
If this motherfucking stupid fucking song offended you
With it's filthy fucking language and it's fucking disrespect
If it made you feel angry go ahead and write a letter
But if you find me more offensive than the fucking abuse apologism
embedded in every word of this fucking story THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM♫


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-BJXb8E6Zo





This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395908.html.

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Nude Drawing, sex
https://theestablishment.co/a-womans-orgasm-shouldn-t-be-the-goal-of-sex-b0c15cc38c03

This is why I, not only disbelieve any man who claims to be "good" at getting women off (or who offers to get me off), but I actively am repelled by the claim. A woman's orgasm becomes just one more trophy for which men compete, not an experience for the woman. The woman as a person and her pleasure is incidental to the fact that *the man got her off*.

Fuck that shit.

A man who is genuinely interested in a woman's pleasure because he cares about her experience, not his own score card, does not generally feel the need to proclaim his prowess, either publicly or in private conversation as part of a proposal to talk a woman into sex with him.

"A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research has found that men derive a sense of “achievement” by bringing women to orgasm. But not just any achievement — not the sense of satisfaction that comes from giving someone else pleasure — but the kind that comes from self-validation"

"That’s right — a woman’s orgasm and pleasure have become about reassuring insecure dudes that they’re real men"

"Being treated like a project is exhausting." - Suddenly, not only do I now *have* to orgasm (even if my body or mind doesn't really feel like it), but I also have to do emotional labor whether I orgasm or not. If I'm the one who just had sex without an orgasm, I have to spend my time consoling THE GUY for "failing". If I did manage to have an orgasm, I have to put my own afterglow on hold while the guy celebrates HIS accomplishment and I have to properly thank and reward him for receiving the benefits of his hard work.

"Because of this, reaching orgasm can feel like work and often is. It’s tiresome enough, the constant self-objectification and pressure to perform like a pornstar, without the added pressure to “come” to validate the man."

MY ORGASM IS NOT ABOUT YOU. IT IS NEVER ABOUT YOU. MY ORGASM IS COMPLETELY AND SOLELY ABOUT ME, MY BODY, AND MY FEELINGS. YOU'RE FUCKING LUCKY THAT I ALLOW YOU TO WITNESS IT AT ALL.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395698.html.

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photography, Self-Portrait, personal
valarhalla -

Fun Fact: Tenochtitlan fell in 1521. From 1603 onwards, large numbers of honest-to-god fricking Japanese Samurai came to Mexico from Japan to work as guardsmen and mercenaries.

Ergo, it would be 100% historically accurate to write a story starring a quartet consisting of the child or grandchild of Aztec Noblemen, an escaped African slave, a Spanish Jew fleeing the Inquisition (which was relaxed in Mexico in 1606, for a time) and a Katana-wielding Samurai in Colonial Mexico.

Also a whole bunch of Chinese characters BECAUSE MEXICO CITY HAD A CHINATOWN WITHIN TEN YEARS OF THE FALL OF THE AZTEC EMPIRE.
I am going to use this to go off on a tangent about racism and Mexicans.

I have posted several times before about how I am treated as white, which means that racist white people say racist white shit to me, assuming that I'm "one of them" and not realizing that I'm chicana.

I've also posted about the casta system, which stratified racism to a whole new level of granularity in Mexico that the US only wishes it could be as racist. It literally took elementary school geneology (because we didn't have genetic studies back then) and separated *each generation* of mixed ethnicity into *its own caste*. So, depending on how many generations back your full-blooded indigenous or African ancestors went (parents, grandparents, only 1 parent, only 1 grandparent, etc.), that is what marked you for your appropriate caste.

On top of that, the white colonizer's solution to the "brown people problem" in the New Land was "breed them out". As a result, the population of Mexico is basically ALL MIXED.

A genetic study of Mexico a few years ago showed that pretty much everyone has a mix of African, indigenous Mexican, and Spanish (white) in them. The study showed that pretty much everyone had indigenous and African genes from their matrilineal lines and European genes from their patrilineal lines, confirming the "breed them out" policy.

Even before genetics confirmed this, the population of Mexico knew this to be true and made it part of their political platform during the last revolution, overthrowing the casta system and uniting everyone together politically (not that it really did unite everyone in practice - there is still some ugly racism there).

I don't "look Mexican" for two reasons:

1) I am the product of assimilation. This is what a mere 2 generations of assimilation looks like. Middle and upper class Mexican immigrants tend to be in favor of assimilation and my Mexican grandparents were middle class. "Mexican" is legally classified as "Caucasian" in the US, which means that we have access to certain areas of privilege that other POC don't.

So middle and upper class Mexican immigrants see assimilation as a path towards upward class mobility, away from their lower class "immigrant" status. If you have the right accent, the right education, the right clothing, and the right political leanings (and light enough skin helps, which is also mostly inherited through class, thanks to the casta system), the US is the land of opportunity for Mexicans.

My grandparents did not speak English. My mother learned English in school. By the time I was born, she had married a white man who did not speak Spanish, and so Spanish was not spoken in my home. I have probably the whitest American accent possible - a cross between "valley girl" and "rural redneck Californian". Add to that my light skin and my cultural exposure to mostly white interests so that I know little of my own heritage first-hand, and I "pass" as white.

2) Mexico is one of the most diverse nations in the world, thanks to colonization. There are African-Mexicans and Chinese-Mexicans and Japanese-Mexicans and Euro-Mexicans and Filipino-Mexicans and everyone else.

I don't "look Mexican" because the US has been bombarding us for generations with popular media that show "Mexican" as the poor brown thugs living in the barrio with the chinos and tank-tops and flannel shirts buttoned only at the top and colored handkerchiefs signaling their gang affiliation and feisty abuelas wielding their sandals and wooden spoons in the air and spicy Latinas with too much eyeliner, short skirts and shorter tempers.

When the truth of the matter is that Mexico is a very diverse nation with every skin color in existence. It is neither the land of the drug runners and prostitutes, nor the noble jungle tribesmen and wise, wrinkled old tias sitting outside their huts. At least, no more so than the US is the Wild Wild West.

Mexico is a melting post where people came because it was the land of opportunity for them, or they came because it was the land of opportunity for someone else and they had no choice in the matter. There might be fewer Swedes and Norwegians there than, say, Minnesota, but it is still a culturally and ethnically diverse nation.

So I don't look like the stereotype of a Mexican that the US has been frightening all good little white middle class children with for generations. I look like the type of Mexican who is part of a vast, diverse heritage, made up of people from around the world, some of whom were native to the soil, some of whom traveled there to seek their fortune, some of whom fled there to avoid their fate, some of whom were brought there against their will, and who all blended together to create a new future for the land now known as Mexico.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395278.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Everyone: please learn that you are lovable *to someone* and worthy of love and that anyone who thinks you are "too" something or "not enough" whatever IS NOT THE RIGHT PERSON FOR YOU.

If people don't like something important about you, you are not going to "scare off" potential partners, you are dodging bullets.

Gaslighters and manipulators will take advantage of the cultural trope (overwhelmingly applied to women) that you have no value without a romantic partner and you must change yourself to find a partner, to keep a partner, and to make your partner happy. This is bullshit. This is how they deflect and get you to accept toxic behaviour, abuse, and general shittiness.

Not everyone HAS to like you. Not everyone WILL like you. That's OK. Don't let that fact become a weapon to manipulate you.

Not only is it OK if people don't like you for a thing, it's what you want. It's how you tell who is compatible with you and who will love you for who you are, your core self. It's a valuable screening tool. Use it to your advantage, don't let it get used against you.



Brought to you by the boring response of men telling me that I'm "too intense" or "too aggressive" to "attract a man". The appropriate response to that is not to tone myself down. It's this:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

[deep breath]

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Dude. No, srsly, dude. Anyone who is intimidated by me or thinks I'm too much is not man enough to be worthy of being my partner.

I eat the weak.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/395219.html.

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Super Tech, strong, feminism
#ImaginaryConversationsIHave

Watching Age of Ultron & the trumped up love story between Banner and Black Widow, where the super assassin who has never known a "normal" day in her fucking life is putting the moves on the dude who turns into a giant green monster every time he gets pissed off.

So Banner, once he finally figures out that Natasha is actually propositioning him and not just "flirting", rejects her advances, not because he's not interested, but because he can't offer her a "normal" life on a farm with kids and a day job.

So, in my head, I'm getting pissed off at the hubris of men all over again, for not allowing her to make her own damn decisions, and for assuming that a white picket fence is even an interest of hers (and at the presumably male writers who made fucking Black Widow's big secret be that she wants kids & can't have them), so this conversation pops into my head:

Banner: I can't offer you this! I can't ever have a normal life!

Romanoff: I can't have this either!

Banner: What?!

Me: Hold on a minute here.

Banner: Hey, who are you?

Me: Shut up and listen because you're mucking this all up. Bruce, look at her.

Banner: [looks at Black Widow in head-to-toe black leather]

Me: Does she look like Suzie Homemaker?

Banner: Huh?

Me: Does Natasha *look* like the house in the suburbs kinda girl?

Banner: Well...

Me: Is she a child?

Banner: No!

Me: Then stop making her fucking decisions for her! She is not under any illusions about the kind of life you lead. She's the one who tracked you down in the jungle. She's the one who talks you down from your rages. She's the one who has no super powers whatsoever and yet she can keep up with your entire fucking team!

Banner: But...

Me: No. Just stop right there. Do you like her?

Banner: I...

Me: Stop. Do you like her, yes or no?

Banner: Yes.

Me: Are you attracted to her?

Banner: Yes, but...

Me: Uh uh! Stop with all the objections. This is very simple. Stop telling her what she can't have and tell her what she *can* have. What is on the table? What can you offer her?

Banner: Huh?

Me: Excitement? Danger? Adventure? Violence? Extra emotional labor? A very good chance that one or both of you will die young in a horrible way? Some companionship on the journey? Maybe a little nookie?

Banner: Uh, yeah.

Me: Great. Natasha, how does that sound to you?

Romanoff: Sounds great to me!

Me: Excellent! Negotiations complete - you're now dating!

Banner: Wait a minute! What about when this all gets old? What happens when she changes her mind?

Me: The same thing that happens when you change your mind - you renegotiate when the time comes. Muggles! I swear!

Banner / Romanoff: Muggles?!

Me: Muggles - monogamous people. Y'all make this whole romance stuff way more complicated than it needs to be. Just say what you want, ask if they want that too, hear what it is that they want, and if you can find a compromise, then go with it, otherwise, don't.

It REALLY does not need to be this much trouble.

Me: [wanders off, muttering to myself about monogamous paradigms]

Banner: [stares after me leaving with a glazed look on his face - half confused, half "who the hell was that?"]

Romanoff: Well, you heard her - we're dating now. So quit your bitching and get over here and kiss me!

#HollywoodIAmAvailableForWritingConsultations #JustFuckingTalkToEachOther #ItIsNotThatComplicated #WhatDoYouWant?




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394895.html.

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photography, Self-Portrait, personal
Just a tip: When you post a meme about abortion, and you are TRYING to be a good ally with that meme, you need to listen to the people who are actually in the category of people who could have abortions about how that meme affects them.

Or a meme about racism, you need to listen to the people who are the targets of racism. Or a meme about transphobia, you need to listen to the people who are the targets of transphobia. Etc.

Lots of memes are great for letting off steam and for posing hypotheticals intended to illuminate an underlying issue, but that are actually terrible ideas for people to do in real life. Not every meme, not every post, not every article is intended to be a reasoned discussion attempting to persuade the opposition. Different goals for different target audiences and all that.

Most of what I post is meant for in-group solidarity. I am a place to vent frustration, to feel rage, to express ugly emotions that are not "polite" or "acceptable" or even "productive". There is absolutely a time and place for that. And I'll even be liberal and say that many times and places that make people uncomfortable are still the correct "time and place" for it.

I give people a sense of righteousness and safety that someone has their back, so that they can draw on that anger to motivate them instead of having their fear immobilize them. My posts are not necessarily the best post for guidance on how to actually talk to people about these issues. I'm what happens when the damage is already done.

But when members of the group whom you are trying to support jump in and say "OK but this kinda makes things worse for me when it's acted on", the correct answer is "you are right, this is not intended to be real advice because that would not work out well. This is intended for this other purpose. We should consider how this would affect you if it were acted on in real life and not *actually* do this."

You get to keep your meme (unless they point out that even in-group sharing or your intended goal is also harmful), but you also don't dismiss the lived experiences of people in the group you are trying to ally.

We can see that there is a need for sharing things that wouldn't be helpful if they were reality. As a feminist, I'm quite fond of embracing the baby-eating, man-eliminating jokes and memes. But when I'm trying to convince other people to not hate women, probably telling them that all men need to be rounded up and shipped off to Siberia while we feast on boy fetuses and man tears isn't the best way to do that.

So when you share a meme that is intended to point out hypocrisy but not actually be advice to tell people they ought to go do this thing, and the group you want to ally says "this would be a terrible idea, don't do this", just listen to them, concede that it would be a terrible idea, and if you must, explain that you do not advocate doing this IRL at all but it makes a good hypothetical to point out hypocrisy, or whatever you think it does.

And if the members of the group say "sure, it points out hypocrisy, I can see that, just don't actually do this", then you're all good. But if members of the group say "it doesn't even accomplish that goal and it harms us in this other way," then listen to them.

You're not being a good ally if you aren't listening to the people you're trying to help. They're not "being mean" to you by rejecting your assistance, they're trying to show you how you can be of better assistance.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394656.html.

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31st-Mar-2019 12:34 pm - Yet More On Holidays In #Polyamory
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Hey, look, holidays in polyamory, even the "romantic" ones are much the same as any other holiday, only maybe with more schedules to consult (honestly, with 2 kids, godparents, and extended relatives, it's not any more schedules to consult than my monogamous childhood).
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they don't have any partners at the moment, like single people.
     
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because their partners are long distance, like many monogamous people such as couples with one or both in active duty military service overseas.
     
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they didn't win the priority to get that exact day to celebrate, like a lot of partnered people whose partners work in emergency services and have to work that day.
     
  • Many polys spend V-Day alone because they don't celebrate, like some monogamous people who are conscientious objectors.
     
  • Many polys spend V-Day with partners but not doing anything different than any other day because they don't celebrate, like some monogamous people who are conscientious objectors.
     
  • Many polys celebrate V-Day on alternate days, like many monogamous people who are busy on the exact day like when it falls in the middle of the week, and polys might choose to celebrate on alternate days for the same busy-ness reasons or because they have multiple partners so they have multiple celebrations.
     
  • Many polys celebrate V-Day with as many of their partners and metamours as they can get at the same time, just like many monogamous people who celebrate a romantic holiday with their partners and their friends, or make it a family holiday with the kids, or with their entire extended families.
It's really no different than being monogamous (meaning that there are all kinds of ways to celebrate holidays even among monogamous people), and it doesn't *have* to be a big, stressful thing - at least, it doesn't have to be a *different* stressful thing.  Some of y'all want to make this holiday really important and then stress out about it, no matter how many partners y'all have.

It's really very simple.  Ask your partners how they feel about the holiday.  Then find the compromise that makes everyone feel cared for without putting anyone out too much.  If this is a big deal to one or more partners, then make it a big deal.  If it's not, then don't.  Express your own preferences too.

Go out together as a group.  Have your own coupley dates all on different days.  Give gifts.  Don't give gifts.  Deliberately avoid the materialistic, couple-centric commercialism by NOT celebrating your romantic relationships, but by celebrating your *metamour* relationships instead.

It's really not any different from monogamous people, except for a small percentage of us who might have group sex.  That's probably different from monogamy.  Depending on your definition of "monogamy".

But other than that, most of us celebrate like monogamous people do.  If you're new to poly and stressing out about how to celebrate:  relax.  It doesn't have to be any more complicated than the holiday normally is.

But a word of caution - if you're new to this and you're starting out by "opening up", make a point to ask your newer partners what their feelings are on the subject, and try to prioritize *their* feelings, because they get the short end of the stick in most other things.

And if there's really a conflict between your partners, then opt for either the group date or the alternate dates where *nobody* gets The Day for themselves.  Part of learning to be ethically poly is learning that we all have to give up some of our privileges and expectations in order for everyone to feel safe enough to want to concede theirs in return.  You learn to trust by giving trust.  You get their cooperation by being cooperative at them.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394418.html.

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Bad Computer!, anger
BTW, it is not a criminal offense to be here undocumented, it's a civil offense. They are not "illegals", they are undocumented immigrants. You are more of a criminal when you take home office supplies, download a movie without paying for it, have ever snuck onto property when you weren't supposed to as a kid, ever TP'd a house, smoked weed before it was legal, or been drunk and disorderly in public (which I know a lot of you have done). Those things are *actually* criminal offenses.

You can dislike people circumventing proper channels when they immigrate, but don't pretend it's because you have a deep love for the law when you break it yourself. You might like a *particular* law, but you don't really think the law, as a general concept, is to be respected at all times and at all costs if you are willing to obey some of them and not others.

(P.S. Just to stop the argument now, I said BEING here is not a criminal offense. Sneaking in through the border without the proper procedures is a criminal misdemeanor, but merely being on US soil is not. The majority of undocumented immigrants came here legally and have overstayed their time limit (called "overstays") or otherwise violated the terms of their right to be here which is not a criminal offense, so they did not commit any crimes GETTING here in addition to not committing any crimes simply for BEING here.

P.P.S. "Undocumented" does not mean "has absolutely no paper trail whatsoever and therefore has no "documentation". The term "undocumented" in the immigration context refers to both illegal entry AND overstays / terms violations.)

"The term ‘undocumented immigrant’ refer to foreign nationals residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal visa that is no longer valid. " - https://definitions.uslegal.com/u/undocumented-immigrant/

"Undocumented Alien
An alien who entered the United States illegally without the proper authorization and documents, or who entered the United States legally and has since violated the terms of his or her visa or overstayed the time limit.
" - www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/immigration-terms-and-definitions-involving-aliens




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/394122.html.

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frustration, ::headdesk::
Hetero men, your profile pictures on dating sites suck. While you want to portray a realistic version of yourself in pictures, you also don't want to *start* with you at your worst.  Fuzzy, blurry shots of you being sloppy drunk, pictures of you glowering at the camera, and topless bathroom selfies are not good choices for your top profile photo.

Look straight at the camera from eye level or slightly above, have some kind of pleasant expression on your face that isn't intended to intimidate, and look like you *can* give a shit about your appearance when you want to. Especially if you have any expectations that the people you want to date give a shit about their appearances.

It doesn't have to be a suit and tie professional headshot, especially if that's not "you". Just don't look like you're an angry asshole or a fucking loser that your future partner will have to spend the rest of their relationship with you cleaning up after you and tucking you in.

Because I *know* that y'all don't like the kinds of relationships you end up with when your partners are attracted to exactly that sort of mate.

All y'all have the same shitty pictures. If you want to stand out among the crowd, put a decent picture on your profile and don't be an asshole. Seriously, like the BARE MINIMUM of being a decent human being with a decent picture will improve your chances worlds beyond your "competition".




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393750.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
So, if you really want to limit or avoid couple privilege in your relationships, you can't have a "primary". By definition, singling out one person above all others (whether we're talking the legitimate definition of hierarchy as a power structure, or we're talking the bastardization of the term with just default priority) is couple privilege.

If you really want to subvert couple privilege, you have to give up certain privileges. Like the ability to default to anyone or have them default to you.  Picking just one person to be the top priority and/or have power over you / your other partners is, *by definition* couple privilege.

Either let it go, or just man* up and admit that you like your position of privilege even when it disempowers others and you have no intention of inconveniencing yourself for the sake of others. At least then people would know going into a relationship with you that they will always be second class citizens to you and that their hearts are not safe with you.

Children do not change my point. Plenty of people co-parent who are not in romantic relationships with each other and who are not "primaries". Divorced parents co-parent just fine, and the children get the priority they need because they are *dependent beings*.

This does not justify *disempowering* the people we are in relationships with, nor does it justify default-prioritizing one adult among all the adults. Particularly if the *stated assumption* is that the person I'm addressing explicitly says they do not want "couple privilege" in their relationships.

This is an if-then statement. If the given is "I do not want couple privilege", then one cannot have a primary. They are mutually exclusive terms.



* I thought about not using the term "man up", but then I figured straight white cis men are pretty much the top of the privilege food chain, so holding onto one's position of privilege at the expense of disempowering others is very much a "man" thing to do, although admitting it may not be. But then again, the contempt for others being naked and blatant is becoming more and more regular in certain straight white cis men these days too.

** Also, I am extremely rage-triggery on people confusing "power" with "priority" and mixing up criticisms of hierarchy and couple privilege with a Motte & Bailey tactic of "priority".

I have no patience for it at all. Read http://blog.franklinveaux.com/2013/03/guest-post-polyamory-and-hierarchy/ and www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-2-influence-control for what I mean when I talk about hierarchy and know that I will not waste any time in my threads going 'round in circles on the definition.

These are the definitions that will be used in my threads or I will simply start deleting and blocking because I'm tired of not having made any progress on the discussion of power and hierarchy in the poly community in more than 2 decades.

See also www.morethantwo.com/coupleprivilege.html
 




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393638.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Q. What is a unicorn when it comes to polyamoury?

A. Everything that Jessica Burde said. I’m basically just adding some detail to add weight to what they said (more voices and all) because lots of people want to dismiss poly advice when they don’t like it. So I’m adding basically an agreement post to support their answer - their post is not just their “opinion”, it’s the observation of those of us who have been here from the beginning and have seen the origin of words and the intention of the coining of terms and what happens and why we came up with those words in the first place.

The term “unicorn hunter” came first to refer to a particular type of person / couple who uses predatory and (& this is the important part) *improbable* practices to find a partner that is so specific and/or so unattainable and/or so unlikely to exist, that we called the partner they are looking for a “unicorn” because of it, and therefore the person / couple became “unicorn hunters”.

The History Of The Term Unicorn Hunter - https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388631.html

We could have chosen another set of terms to describe this process, but the term “unicorn” (www.TheInnBetween.net/polyterms.html#unicorn) had some precedent. A lot of the early poly community was made up of people who came from the swinger community but found the lack of emotional connection unsatisfying and so built a new-to-them style of relationship that was more along what they were looking for.

In the swinger community, a “unicorn” is a bisexual woman who is willing to have a threesome with a couple and then go away without disrupting the primary couple.
 
So, when former swingers were trying to find more emotionally intimate multi-partner relationships, and when some of them brought some of their swinger habits with them, including searching for a bisexual woman *who would not disrupt the primary couple* even though this new style of emotionally intimate relationship would, by definition, disrupt the way they did things (I Love You, Just Don't Disrupt Anything - https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/275094.html), it was natural to adapt the term “unicorn” to a polyamorous purpose.

(https://www.instagram.com/p/BVOILerBElZ/)

But, remember, “unicorn” was never intended to apply to just bisexual poly women, not even bisexual poly women who are willing to be with two people in a preexisting relationship. We had a term for them back then - we called them bipoly women (www.TheInnBetween.net/polyterms.html#bipoly).

The “unicorn” bit was specifically because the person they were looking for was a fantasy, whereas bipoly women exist in abundance.

Some people are not familiar with the history or the deliberately intended insult in the term “unicorn hunter”, and think that a “unicorn” is simply a bisexual poly woman. Because of this, some bipoly women have started calling themselves “unicorns”.

While we want to encourage people to identify however feels right to them, and while we also want to encourage it when people “take back” offensive terms to turn around systems of oppression, this all becomes very problematic when poly people do it with the term “unicorn”.

Because the term “unicorn” *in the poly community* was never intended to apply to actual people. It was specifically chosen to refer to a construct that doesn’t exist, as a way to identify predatory behaviour. So it’s not really a term that should be “taken back” because it was never meant to apply to them in the first place.

And it’s a necessary term intended to discuss a deeply problematic, harmful set of behaviours in our community. People who do those things still exist and are still a problem. In fact, I would say they’re even worse now. It’s been almost 30 years and we still haven’t reached community consensus that objectifying and dehumanizing and fetishizing women is wrong.

Not only that, but they’ve become emboldened by another poly catchphrase “there is no one right way to do polyamory”. Sure, there is no ONE right way. That means that there are more than one path to successful poly relationships. But it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any WRONG ways. Certain methods and practices are harmful and also less likely to work than other ways. These would be “wrong ways”.

But because the community embraced “there is no one right way”, it has gotten warped over the years into “there are no wrong ways”, which is absolutely not true. So we still need to talk about this problem. And we have not come up with any substitute terms that so eloquently and simply elucidate this specific problem.

“Unicorn” = mythical creature that does not exist.
“Hunter” = predator.

A unicorn hunter is a predator, someone who is harming others and the community, someone who is *hunting* a creature that they made up and that does not exist, to fulfill their own fantasies of power and purity, who is so filled with their own hubris and delusion that they chase down figments of their imagination for their own gratification.

It’s a beautiful, elegant metaphor. Many of our early terms have fallen out of favor and been replaced by new terms that better resonate with the newer generations of polys. This one has stuck around because it’s so useful.

So when bipoly women choose to identify as unicorns *in the polyamorous context of a bipoly women who is willing to date two people who are in a preexisting relationship* (as opposed to outside context uses of the term “unicorn”), it muddies up our collective dialog about a systemic problem in our communities that need to be addressed.

Polys are all about “communication, communication, communication”. But then we take existing terms and tweak the definitions in a Motte & Bailey tactic (https://www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-1-tower-village & https://www.morethantwo.com/blog/2016/06/can-polyamorous-hierarchies-ethical-part-2-influence-control) and then get upset when people don’t see us as how we want them to see us.

Sure, language evolves and all of that. But the need for the term still exists, and if you’re trying to “evolve” a word while we still need that word with its original definition, then people are going to make some assumptions based on the original definition whether you like it or not.

So a “unicorn” is not a real person, within the context of polyamory. It’s a construct used to illustrate the predatory, harmful behaviours of objectification, dehumanization, and fetishization of certain people in the poly community.

Some people have tried to strip the term “unicorn hunter” of its intended offensive definition in order to avoid accountability for their harmful behaviour. Some people have similarly tried to strip the term “unicorn” of its intended illustrative construct because unicorns are pretty and magical and some people like thinking of themselves as pretty and magical.

But the term was coined for a reason. And that reason was not complimentary.
 




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393409.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Q. If you could reconnect with any of your exes, who would it be and why?

A. Almost without exception, my exes are exes for a reason. Some of them became friends after we broke up, but I wouldn’t get back together with them. With very few exceptions.

I have an ex who I broke up with because of political pressures. We remain friends and I still care about him. The pressures on our relationship have not changed. But I did recently consider having sex with him when an opportunity came up that was uniquely suited for a fetish we have in common. We will probably never get back together, but I might possibly consider the occasional hookup if the circumstances are exactly right.

I have another ex who I broke up with because we wanted different things from our relationship together. It has now been more than a decade and we are still friends and business partners. Every so often I consider possibly getting back together with him and then I realize that neither of us has changed what we want out of a relationship, so it wouldn’t work.

However, I have a much wider range of acceptable structures in my Friends With Benefits category. The things that we want out of a relationship are irrelevant if we’re not in a romantic relationship but we are friends. It may be possible to find a FWB type of arrangement that would work. I have not yet decided if I really want to pursue this or not, so I don’t even know if he would be interested either. But it’s something I’m thinking about. I’m on the fence and leaning towards “not likely, but not impossible either”. Our platonic chemistry was always stronger than our romantic or sexual chemistry, so I don’t know, we’ll see.

The only ex I would definitely get back together with if I could would be my high school sweetheart. We broke up because we went off to college and neither of us wanted to be tied to each other over the distance and with new experiences and opportunities to explore. A few years after that breakup, I discovered that I was polyamorous, while he remains steadfastly monogamous.

That difference is not a problem between platonic friends. Since he is still the same considerate, caring, intelligent, clever, funny, creative, and passionate person he always was, and since the years have taught him to be more worldly and aware than either of us were as teenagers, I continue to love him all this time.

But it is a love that can endure whether we remain platonic friends or not, through time and physical distance. It is a love based on character and compatibility and respect and admiration, which does not require any sort of romance or sex. So, as long as he is monogamous, our friendship will remain platonic, because he is honorable towards his commitments and I respect his loyalty and honor among everything else that I respect about him.

But he is one of the greatest loves of my life and I would pursue a romantic relationship with him if we were romantically compatible. Since we are not, I cherish the platonic relationship with him that I do have, not as a consolation prize, but because it is valuable all on its own.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/393030.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Someone exhibited confusion regarding the differences between Gift Giving (in the 5 Love Languages theory) and Acts of Service. They see their Acts as Gifts, so they don't know why there needs to be 2 categories.

Here is my distinction between the two:
A gift is a tangible reminder that someone is thinking of another person even when they are not physically present. It's a symbolic manifestation that someone really sees another person right down to their core. A gift represents what the gift giver perceives about the recipient.  A gift says "I see you, I see who you are as a person, and the thought of you is present with me even when you're not around, and here is a physical symbol of your presence in my life and how I see you so that you will know every time you see this that you are seen and considered and loved."

Acts of Service are physical or emotional acts of labor that are intended to ease another person's trouble, their responsibilities, their obligations. They are an action that says "I see you and I wish to share your burdens to make more time and opportunity for you to experience joy and to have a partner on this portion of your journey".
Some people exhibited surprise that the 5LL theory could be confusing, and I had some examples of how messy it can be when "theory" meets "reality":

A surprising number of people have a very hard time figuring out their own LL, or their partners' LL, or what category a particular thing fits under.

I mean, even Franklin has trouble with the 5LL theory - he keeps insisting that all these other, specific things are their own Language, rather than dialects that fall under one of the 5 umbrellas because he doesn't seem to see their connection.

For instance, he insists that "co-creating" is its own LL, whereas I think it's a dialect of Quality Time, because the point of QT is to build shared experiences together. That could result in a number of different outcomes - building a shared history, building shared memories, building shared in-jokes and language, or literally building *things* like co-writing books or co-hosting podcasts.

People also don't realize that "co-gaming" falls under Quality Time, if they think that QT means you have to be staring soulfully into each other's eyes for a couple of hours at a romantic restaurant or something. But 2 (or more) people sitting in the same room, basically ignoring each other and doing their own thing can be a form of QT for introverts, people on the autism spectrum, and others who value the idea of allowing someone into their "off-stage" space, when they don't have to "perform" or "entertain" anyone and can be their shoes-off self.

Sometimes Acts of Service and Gifts can overlap, such as when I bake and then give away my baked goods. So the basic concepts can be easy to grasp, but when you start to really dig into the subject, things get a little messier, as most human endeavors that we try to box up neatly tend to do.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392763.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Super Tech, strong, feminism
I remember expecting my mom to have dinner ready at night, and of Super Bowl parties where dad and the guests sat in the living room while Mom (and some of her friends more interested in friendship than sports) worked in the kitchen.

I remember my mom getting so angry that I didn't want what she cooked for dinner or that I whined about being hungry because food wasn't ready yet that she told me to make my own damn dinner. And I remember her getting upset when I started doing exactly that, because I was now eating at different times and not having our family meal together.

Because she was first unappreciated and then a failure for not keeping her family "together". And I didn't understand at the time the external and internalized pressures she had on her to do it all, to be it all, and how my separation from the dinner table played into all of that.

I don't live with my partners because I can't deal with exactly this kind of default separation of roles that *everyone* I have ever been with falls into, even if they happen to make some kind of exception somewhere (maybe he cooks, but I'm still the household manager, or something).

But even living separately, I still have to remind partners that I need to eat, I still have to *ask* for their help instead of them offering to help with anything that isn't a "manly" chore, I still have to remind them when we haven't spent time together or we haven't had "romantic" time together like dates, and I often have to plan the dates.

And forget "vacations" together - I am the travel agent every single time or nothing gets planned and I don't get to do things that I want to do because it doesn't occur to them to plan anything or ask for my input. I've had exactly one partner who did this - who asked me if he could plan something for me, to take some of the responsibility off of my shoulders, who asked for my parameters and then just ran with it.

One.

I'm told that they're just so easy-going that they don't really care what we do, as long as we're together. And THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM. They can't see how the responsibility falls on their women partners by default, or that we might have different priorities so that we *need* them to start caring about what we do together.

That's great that you don't care. However, *I* might want to do something with the fact that we're in a town I've never been in and I'm spending a lot of money to be here, so seeing nothing but the inside of a hotel room kinda defeats the purpose of taking *this* trip to *this* place.

So maybe y'all can do the Googling to see what there is to do around here, and maybe y'all can suggest some activities that you think I might enjoy, and maybe y'all can pay attention to the clock instead of me having to wake up early enough to get y'all out of bed, fed, dressed, and out the door in time to do the activities when they start?

And, again, maybe some people don't do *all* of the things - really only one of my partners is actually less of a morning person than I am, but somehow I still have to get myself up in time to make sure that they aren't distracted by something else and we leave late when that's one of my own weakest areas and maybe I need someone else keeping *me* on track for a change?

Anyway, now I'm rambling. Point is, even among "enlightened", "feminist" men, this is still a problem.

https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldMom/photos/a.723915847641604/1827440620622449/
I was a young girl when I realized there was a hierarchy in my home. Chores were designated by gender. Blue jobs for my brother, and pink jobs for me. Mom did the cleaning, cooking, and most everything needed to make our house a home. Dad mowed the lawn, fixed the cars, and played with my brother and I until he could barely keep his eyes open. An amazing Father.

It took me a long time to understand why my Mother scowled at my Dad when the three of us entered the house after an incredible summer night digging in the sandbox.

That realization came fast and furious once I had kids and a marriage of my own.

As latchkey kids raised in the seventies and eighties, my brother and I were expected to do our chores and start dinner before our parents got home from work. Every day it was the same. I spent my time tidying up the house, cleaning the kitchen, and starting dinner. Usually, spaghetti, because it was the easiest thing for me to cook without burning the house down. Okay, so this one time I almost burned the house down, everyone makes mistakes. Lesson learned.

While I domesticated myself, my brother would either mow the lawn, take out the garbage, or... come to think of it, there weren't a lot of blue jobs that needed daily attention. I noticed my workload was different, perhaps even harder at times, but I was the girl, and it was what was expected of me. There were multiple days I spent bickering with my brother because I was having trouble handling my workload. I still remember thinking, I just want his help. I felt like I was drowning and couldn't do it all on my own before our Mom got home. Why was this my responsibility just because I am the girl?

This same scenario played out in my marriage many years later.

It was in those moments I realized his chore list seemed a little heavier in physical weight but much lighter in actual duties.

Nevertheless, I didn't rebel. I didn't speak out, complain, or say anything. I didn't know it to be different, or wrong. But I did know without a doubt if I did complain I would be met with resistance. I might indeed be labelled, crazy. A nag. I had heard it all before. The word 'nagging-bitch' had no trouble spilling from my Grandfather's lips while my Grandmother waited on him hand and foot.

I had spent my whole life watching the women in my life carry the weight of the entire house on their backs while men sat back and watched them do it. It was normal, expected.

A Grey Cup party filled with food my Mother made became the norm, while the men sat in front of a football game expecting more. More beer, more food, more work. More take, more take, more take. No give.

My Mom was a goddess, and in my mind's eye, she could run the world. She was already running my world, beautifully.

Somehow, I knew at that young age, I wanted to be just like my Mom. She was spectacular to watch. She could do/and did everything to keep our house afloat. My Dad by her side, supporting her every step of the way, but mostly from the couch.

From my Father's spot on the sofa, tangled in his legs I would watch my Mother drudge over the dinner I'd half-prepared. Still dressed in her silk jumper, her purse barely placed on the kitchen table, she stood over a chocolate brown stove while the three of us indulged in the newest episode of M*A*S*H.

Every once in awhile I would notice her glance through the butler's window in our kitchen to catch a glimpse of her family. Sometimes she would yell, and I would wonder why she seemed so angry. Sometimes she would pour a glass of wine and drown us out. Sometimes she would smile so big her eyes would fill with tears stained by love. All the time. Every single damn time -- she made my entire family a sit down dinner fit for a King. Not a night went by that woman didn't feed our family whole real food. She is my super-hero.

I have an amazing Father. I do. He is strong, forgiving, loving, accepting, and, what has always stood out about my astounding Dad; is he speaks of equality, freedom, and humanity in almost every sentence that leaves his prophetic mouth. However, he was brought up in a generation filled with misogynistic values. Taught to be served by his wife. Doesn't that sound stupid -- "served by his wife". I am literally shaking my head as I am writing the words. He learned it from his Dad, my Grandpa.

It's no one's fault, except maybe the patriarchy, I grew up in a misogynist's world. Back in those days, things were different. My parents were instruments of their generations belief systems, and the belief systems of generations before them.

We can, and need to change this. The mentality of women "doing it all" is not only propagated by males, but females alike. Our belief systems insinuate that the Mom should endure the burden of household chores. This is wrong and unfair.

When I was growing up, both of my parents had full-time jobs. Careers, in fact. My Mother was a successful Bank Manager, yet when she arrived home she still cooked and plated my Father's meal. No one did that for her. She did it with love, she wanted to take care of him, but regularly she was exhausted. No less tired than any man in her position. Yet she was assumed to come home and feed her family. Expected to clean "her" house, only to be told she wasn't worthy of the title on the deed. Sometimes she wanted her husband to take care of her. To plate her meal, or fold her laundry. Most times she wanted to be respected and appreciated. This I know because I have lived my Mother's life. I have catered to the men I love. Not with regret, but often with repugnance.

I now know why my Mom grimaced at my Father when he spent "his" time playing in the dirt with us, especially after a hard days work in uncomfortable heels and constricting skirts. It was her time too. Perhaps she wanted to be the good guy. The "Dad" out in the yard getting dirty. Maybe, she didn't want to cook another meal. Instead, play catch with her babies on a soft summer evening. Maybe she didn't want to do anything at all but simply sit on the couch with her babies tangled in her legs.

I want to smash the patriarchy for allowing me, my mother, and all women to believe were not capable of doing it all, without being labelled. That we were and are crazy for resisting our overburdened and under appreciated workloads. When in fact we were and often still are, doing everything, to keep our houses afloat. Making homes.

We can change our world for the better if we allow our preconceived notions to change. Not just for women and men, families. Marriages. And, most importantly our children, and our children's children.

It is time men stop telling the women in their lives they are crazy. It's not crazy to be exhausted. It's not crazy to voice fatigue. It is not crazy to ask for help. It isn't nagging when a woman pleads with her husband to clean the toilet or help around the house. She shouldn't have had to beg him to clean his mess in the first place.

Women aren't crazy; they are tired. They are tired of picking up after everyone in their lives. Women are angry they have gone unappreciated for so long. Women aren't assholes because they are finally using their voice.

No.

Stop calling women nags and bitches. Start doing your job as their partner so they don't have to complain about the shit you don't want to do. This isn't about men helping women to run the house, it's about men actually seeing that it isn't only a woman's job.

If I learned anything from my superhuman Mother, it is:

"I can do it all, but all of it is not mine to do.”

Darla Halyk




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392458.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
Someone once asked me what behaviour in myself have I altered because of my experience with cis men. I think it might be illuminating for some men to hear about the kinds of things that at least one woman has changed about herself because this change was easier to make than to deal with men unaltered.  Let me repeat that:  it was easier to actually change myself than to deal with the shit men do when I am me.

And I feel that I have cultivated a space and enough armor that I can share these things publicly to make this lesson.

Other people who are not cis-men can contribute their own stories of alteration if you want to, but I'm not asking anyone to share this vulnerability in public. Because that's what this is - many of these alterations are protective behaviours and rely on the typical willful ignorance and deafness that men have towards women's emotional labor.

What I don't want is for cis men to tell me their own stories of altering themselves for women.  Everyone makes changes to accommodate the other people in their life, sometimes willingly, sometimes coerced.  This is a personal illustration of a gendered trend, and I don't want to get sidetracked with Not All Men or But Men Too.  I also don't want cis men to express more surprise at the efforts I or other women go to. At this point, nobody on my friends list should be surprised by these kinds of things - not knowing specifically what any given woman does, sure, but that we do it? Not any more.

So if you are surprised, I don't really want to hear yet again how blind men are to all the work that women do to manage men's emotional reactions.  That is part of the problem.

I also don't need to hear criticisms or anyone suggesting that the alterations were not necessary, that I was overreacting, or that I shouldn't have to do this with all men. Because you have no idea what the consequences for not altering are and also because fuck off.



I have to always cut the loaf of bread served at restaurants before dinner, and I have to do it discreetly.

I do this because I've dated too many guys who just mash the entire loaf by grasping it too tightly and using too much weight on the knife, and they grab the loaf first, ruining it for everyone else.

I do it myself because I've learned that suggesting a different way of cutting bread (as a person who used really soft bread loaves in my demonstrations as a cutlery salesperson) hurts their feelings and they respond angrily to the implication that they are not master bread slicers nor master knife wielders (whereas, I actually am).

So I just grab the bread first as if I'm really hungry (and my love of bread is usually well known), slice it about halfway, and take 2 of the slices for myself, leaving the rest of the slices for anyone else at the table who wants them. Somehow, they don't seem to notice that as a commentary on their slicing abilities.



I have learned to not ask to drive the car when I share a vehicle with a man who has access to his car. Doesn't matter if we're dating or not. I LOVE driving. I take great pride in my driving. I suffer anxiety on the scale of mild to panic attack when I'm not the driver.

And yet I do not request to drive, because I've learned that it's not worth the fight that comes from asking *the wrong man* to allow me to drive.

I've also learned how to have a panic attack silently and to hide the fact that I can't always look out of the window when I'm in the passenger seat.  Because then I have to do emotional labor, placating them that it's not because they're bad drivers, but because I'm "broken" in this way.



I never leave the house unarmed. I have had to pull a knife on 3 separate occasions in my life to warn off aggressive men - only one of whom was amorous.



I have learned how to go out alone even though I'm terribly shy because I've had so few romantic partners who are willing to do the things that I enjoy doing. If I want to go out in public with a romantic partner, it has to be for things that he enjoys, not for things that I enjoy. So if I want to do things that I enjoy, I have learned how to do them alone.

And I have learned how to deal with the feelings of loneliness that always accompany these outings without showing them "too much" to my partners because then I have to do more emotional labor in comforting them about how "hard" it is for them to do the things that I like.  For some reason, it's always a challenge, it's always difficult, it's always a sacrifice for them to do the things that I like, so my complaints about feeling lonely, feeling neglected, and feeling dismissed turn into soothing them about how much pain and hardship they're under when they accommodate me.

Sometimes they will insist that I do their things and not understand if I don't like them or not see how their feelings of rejection aren't comparable to mine when they don't like my things.  Sometimes they will be fine with me not accompanying them to their events, and then use their acceptance of me not attending their events as leverage in the arguments of why I shouldn't feel hurt when they don't attend my events.  And occasionally they actually don't have any interests outside of the home or us or the relationship, so if we don't go do my things, we just stay home and do nothing.

Even if I can drag them to an event that I like, they will inevitably take out their phones and ignore the thing that is the reason I want to be there and the thing I am trying to share with them, so sometimes I'd rather they not be there anyway.



I have developed a rather annoying habit of cutting people off and speaking over them because I've found that it's the only way I ever get to say anything when men are talking.



I tend to treat the men in my life like helpless blind people, becoming hyper aware of the space that they take up, and very gently, physically guiding them or maneuvering myself in such a way as to manipulate their own movements, to prevent them from having the sorts of accidents that so many men have - walking into people who will not get out of their way, walking in front of people because they don't notice other people are there, blocking aisles and walkways, stepping on toes, hitting people with overly large gestures, etc.

I stand between them and other people so that their large gestures can't reach the other people.  I hold their hand when we walk so that I can tug on it and hold them back from barreling into the street in front of cars just assuming that the cars will stop for them.  I take shopping carts from them so that they won't park them in the middle of the aisles.  I lean towards them when we walk so that they will be forced to veer to the side when other people are sharing the space and they would otherwise insist on maintaining their trajectory, forcing everyone else to go around them or bumping into people as if they didn't even see those people blocking their path.



I started holding my romantic partners' hands (back when I still did not like displays of affection - more on that below) just to keep them from sprinting ahead of me when we walk together. No matter what speed I walk, men keep walking ahead of me, and then complain that I'm always trailing behind.

So I hold their hand and tug on it when they go too fast.

Now that I have a knee injury to blame, I can get men to stop and wait for me when they get a significant distance ahead, and most will no longer complain about my slower speed, but the only way I can get many men to *pace* me is to hold their hand and then literally hold them back.

(Meanwhile, I have never walked with another woman or non-binary person who didn't automatically adjust their pace so that we walked together unless there was a significant reason, like a power imbalance, or someone was racing ahead to catch something for the slower people in the group, like a door or a vehicle that was about to depart.  Dancers, however, I'm discovering, are much better at keeping pace with their companions, regardless of gender, which shouldn't be surprising given the spatial awareness and the automatic body-matching that dancers do.)



I thought I disliked physical affection entirely because I did not realize at the time that all physical affection I'd had up until that point was entangled with displays of possession. I didn't know why I didn't like physical affection, just that I didn't. So I refused all physical affection except for sex in private.

It took until my mid 20s to figure out that I did actually like physical affection, and to deliberately use a relationship (with his agreement) to work on this. And, not only did I actually like physical affection, but it's one of my Love Languages, and because I had been denying it to myself for so many years, I was touch-starved, even with an active sex life.

To this day, I still have issues with instigating physical affection and from disentangling it from sex, so I am still touch-starved.



I stopped living with other people. Even though I don't make enough money to afford to live in a "safe" neighborhood, or in a building that isn't literally falling down around my ears, I choose terrible places to live because that's what I can afford on my single person's income.

I stopped living with other people because I can't handle being the Household Manager. Project Management is a full time, upper level position. I don't have the energy to do it as a second (or third) job, to do it without pay, or to do it in relationships that are not supposed to be business relationships.

And I have never had a romantic relationship with a man that didn't put me in this role by default. So I minimize it by making my living and sleeping space my own and not subject to Managing other people. I have other reasons for wanting to live alone as well, but I have tried cohabiting in the past in spite of those preferences, and it's the Household Management problem that made me alter my behaviour and stop living with partners.



I have started asking questions that I already know the answer to because I see men around me doing the wrong thing, they won't ask what the right thing is, and they ignore me when I tell them what the right thing is or they get upset with me for correcting them, and then I have to go behind them and fix it.

So when a supervisor comes along, I ask "wait, what am I supposed to do here?" or "how is this done?" or whatever, where the man in question can hear so that the boss can tell me within their earshot the "correct" way to do something, that I already know.

And I HATE that it makes me look like I know less than I do. I'm wicked smart, and I pick up on things quickly. But I have to look like I'm still a beginner at shit because men won't listen to me, so they waste my time and theirs and we all end up doing double the work.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392403.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
5th-Feb-2019 07:06 pm - But What Is My Partner Thinking?
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
"What does it mean when my partner..."

Dunno, ask them.

"But what are they trying to say when they..."

Dunno, ask them.

"Would my partner like it if..."

Dunno, ask them.

"What is my partner thinking when they..."

Dunno, ask them.

"Should I..."

Dunno, ask them.

"But they won't tell me!"

That's your answer then.

Nobody can read your partner's mind for you and translate what they're thinking. I don't care what that psychic with the neon sign says, nobody can do that. The only answer you're going to get is from your partner.

Silence is an answer. Probably not the answer you want, but it's an answer. If you have outright asked them, in no uncertain terms, to explain themselves, and they blatantly, clearly refuse to tell you, then you're asking the wrong question.

The correct question in this case is "can I remain in a relationship with someone who cares so little for me and this relationship that they won't communicate with me even with direct questioning?"

And that's a question only you can answer. Nobody in a forum or online group can answer any of these question for you. You have to ask the person you need the answer from, either your partner, or yourself.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/392025.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
5th-Feb-2019 06:56 pm - What #Polyamory Really Looks Like
Purple Mobius, polyamory
#WhatRealPolyLooksLike

“Oh you’re poly?! Are you dating lots of people? Tell me about your partners!”

"So, how many partners do you have, then?"

Well, I've been in a seriously long-term, low-key toxic relationship with the Entertainment Industry. It takes up most of my time and it interferes with all my other relationships, but I just love it.

Ballroom dancing is my secondary. I don't get to see it very often, but it's a wonderful change to my regular routine - I dress up, I go out, I get to forget all the daily grind stuff, and I come home all excited and giddy from the endorphins, and often a little too sore to walk straight.

I also have a pretty exacting Dom named Costuming. Every so often, Costuming decides to cut in and make me service it with long hours spent on my knees on the floor or bent over a table with a variety of textiles and a box of sharp pins. Everything else gets put on hold until I've completed the tasks that Costuming sets out for me.

My husband and other romantic and sexual partners have pretty well adjusted to being long-distance with all the others taking up so much of my time. I think things are working out, in spite of the challenges.

Tell us about YOUR partners! Use the hashtag so we can see all the diversity of #poly relationships! You can also just tell me in the comments if you want.

#polyamory #polyamorous #OpenMarriage #OpenRelationships #ConsensualNonMonogamy




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391709.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Super Tech, strong, feminism
Some day, I hope to cease being surprised at how many people are REALLY offended at the idea that a person might be able to end a relationship with someone *just because they want to* and not because the other person is a horribly abusive person.  I mean, if we can just end relationships for *any reason* or no reason at all, what's to keep our own partners with us? What's to stop everyone from breaking up with us just because?!?!

Uh, well, maybe how you treat them, for one thing. This might actually require you to keep putting in effort into your relationships because there's no point at which you've "won" and you're done.

But for another thing, nothing. There is nothing to keep our partners with us or to stop them from breaking up with us. Nothing at all. Because if there was something preventing people from breaking up with us, THAT WOULD BE COERCION.

Which is a consent violation.

And abusive.

If your partners are not with you because they actively want to be with you every single day, then you're duin it rong. Your partners can leave you. Your partners can die. There is nothing in the universe guaranteeing your relationships.

Now accept that and appreciate every day that you *do* have with your partners for the gift that it is, not the prize that you are owed for having completed the appropriate levels and making it to the castle.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391626.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
5th-Feb-2019 05:55 pm - Some Valentine's Day Suggestions
Purple Mobius, polyamory
For those who celebrate some version of Valentine's Day, consider sending your metamours V-Day cards or gifts, taking your metamours out for dinner instead of (or in addition to) your partners, and if you're into the whole gift thing, consider mother-jewelry to symbolize polyamory with birthstones to represent everyone in the polycule instead of the typical exclusive-heart type jewelry.

I mean, it can be emotionally challenging to figure out how to celebrate romantic holidays when one has multiple partners - who is going to be left out by not getting the fancy dinner on that exact day? So subvert that by sending the partners off and take your metamours out instead. Or go out with everyone all at once, and have the one-on-one dates *all* on some other day so that nobody gets The Day but everyone does.

Send a card to your metamour telling them how much they mean to you. Buy your partners and metamours jewelry that has room for more-than-one like mom- or dad-jewelry with birthstones. Turn a mono-centric, commercial holiday into a celebration of non-mono relationships with very little extra effort - just take your metamours into consideration and prioritize them instead of your romantic connections for this one day.

And what about metafores? Those former metamours who are basically still family even though you no longer have a mutual partner? Those people who, in some cases, are "the best thing I got out of my relationship with our partner was you"? Why not spend this day appreciating their place in your life, a place they might not occupy had it not been for a partner who is no longer in the picture? Send them a "glad you're in my life" card or FB post too!

Me, personally, instead of Valentine's day, I'll be celebrating Villaintine's Day by wishing my metamours and metametamours a happy Villaintine's Day and possibly scheming with my Villaintines, as good Villaintines ought to do.

#MadEngineer #Chaosbunny #KillerOfDreams #TheOutsideContractor #HarbringerDestine #VillaintinesDay #SinglesAwarenessDay #NeverTooEarlyToStartPlanningWorldDomination #IMeanGangingUpOnMutualPartners #IMeanExpressingLoveAndGratitudeForMyPolycule #PolyHolidays




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391348.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Bad Computer!, anger
Some People: I would never date someone with this trait that they can't help but that can be acquired at any time. I would dump someone if they got it.

Me: I hope everyone who says that gets that trait and their partners dump them for it.

SP: OMG that's so mean! How could you say that?! You're an awful person to wish that on anyone!

Me: O.o

Me: ...

Me: So, let me get this straight, you think being dumped over this issue is cruel and painful and you don't want it to happen to you?

SP: Yes!

Me: ...

SP: ...

Me: So... you gonna rethink your position then on dumping someone else over it?

SP: No way! I couldn't handle it if I had a partner like that!

Me: Either it's totes cool to do, and therefore I didn't say anything mean at all, or it IS cruel, in which case you shouldn't be so cavalier about wanting to do it to other people and the punishment fits the crime here.

SP: ...

SP: No it's totally unfair for someone to dump me over something I would dump them for and you're a big meaniehead for hoping that will happen to me!

Me: 0.o

Me: Yes, I am a big meaniehead for wanting people to feel consequences for harming others and for those consequences to be knowing what it feels like to be the person being harmed. That's exactly what I am.

#MySuperAntiHeroNameWouldBeRetribution #hypocrisy #NoSenseOfIrony #ButIHonestlyWouldDumpSomeoneForAcquiringLibertarianism #AndIfItWasThatImportantToThemAndIAcquiredItThenIHopeTheyWouldDumpMeTooBecauseWeWouldNoLongerBeCompatible #ForAsLongAsTheLoveShallLast #AsLongAsWeStillFindHappinessTogetherAndNoLonger




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/391119.html.

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frustration, ::headdesk::
So, my father, who is basically a centrist but in this political climate would be considered a liberal Democrat because he believes in climate change and hates Hair Gropenfuhrer with a seething rage, still had to be schooled on what a Sanctuary City was.

I went for a visit last month, and Dad obsessively watched talking heads on TV just so he could get all worked up and rant about the Orangutan-in-Chief. I forget what we were actually talking about, something to do with immigration, probably, and he threw out something like "except I'm not in favor of Sanctuary Cities..."

So I cut him off and told him that I fully support them. He sort of snorted and started to defend his position when I cut him off again to say "all that a Sanctuary City means is that they won't turn them over to ICE if they're not actually in the process of committing a crime."

So my dad just kinda stopped and said "that's it?"

And I said "yep, that's it, it just means that we don't call immigration on people who aren't breaking the law."

And he said "oh, well, if that's all it means..."

I think that my dad might actually be a raging liberal, if he only had the issues explained to him factually, instead of with fearmongering propaganda. He was raised his whole life by a racist "nice man" - someone who took care of his employees and loved his family, but still refused to attend his son's wedding because his son was marrying a spic. He watches American news sources. Even the Democrats believe the propaganda that the Republicans have been spreading about Clinton for decades because nobody bothers to actually explain this shit.

Even the name "Sanctuary Cities" makes it sound like we're offering hiding and protection from people fleeing the authorities. When the only thing it really means is that the various branches of law enforcement and public service aren't going to do each other's jobs for them. The cops and emergency medical personnel are not immigration, and are not going to tip off immigration if they come across someone not doing something harmful to society.

This has been proven to show lowered rates of crime in POC neighborhoods, increased cooperation with law enforcement to help lower said crime, and increased use of social services like medical treatment early on when problems are manageable and affordable, rather than later when they get expensive.

Shocking, but apparently when people don't fear deportation (whether they're actually here "illegally" or not) from authorities, they're more willing to cooperate with authorities.

As a kid in school, if we got punished for "tattling", what possible motivation would we have for reporting trouble? When the bullies knew that we'd be in just as much trouble as them for telling on them, they were able to bully with impunity. When rapists know that women will face scrutiny, disbelief, and sex-shaming for reporting them, they feel safer in assaulting more women in more contexts and in more ways.

My dad, who watches CNN and other news outlets (that aren't Fox) about 8 hours a day (until "the game" comes on or his favorite house hunter show starts), didn't know this, and didn't really think too hard about what a "Sanctuary City" was. All he knew was something something illegals something crime something protection.

Which is why it's so important that we have those uncomfortable conversations with our family when we can, and keep talking about it publicly, and use whatever privileges we have (white, male, cis, straight, etc.) to talk to others in our peer groups on behalf of those who don't have a voice.

My dad was simply uninformed, and he was uninformed *from his not-conservative news sources*. He married a WOC, whose parents were immigrants and never did learn English. And yet he still had a problem with "Sanctuary Cities", because he didn't really understand what they were or how they affected people.

I just wish I had the same success when talking to my parents' best friends, the wife of whom is also a WOC and even still has her accent (my mom lost hers as a child), and yet they're so conservative that my father put a moratorium on anyone discussing politics with them at their anniversary party, because he wants to continue being friends with them and not have anyone fight at their special day.

When even the centrists in the room say "just don't bring up politics with THEM", you know they have to be pretty far Right.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/390822.html.

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5th-Feb-2019 05:26 pm - Home Is Where The Heart Is
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
So, everyone already knows how much I hate living here in Florida. But I've been here for 18 years now, so while it doesn't feel like "home", it's *familiar*.

I've had 2 dysphoric driving episodes recently that are making me think that I really need to get the hell outta Dodge soon whether this whole Canada thing pans out or not.

The first was last week when my car tanked and I had to drive my RV to work because gas for the RV is still cheaper than calling Lyft.

I was driving home from my retail shift, so it was about 10 PM-ish. My car hasn't had a working radio for almost as long as I've owned it (maybe 10 years now?), so I've been listening exclusively to my iPod in the car for much longer than most people (because cars weren't easily converted to be able to listen to iPods at first).

But I actually like listening to the radio. I don't like commercials, but I like keeping up with what's new in the music scene in several genres. So, since I drive alone and there's nobody else to annoy, I just channel surf to avoid commercials.  Since I haven't had a radio in so many years, I have a tendency to listen to the radio whenever I rent a car or have another car with a working radio, even though iPods are ridiculously easy to hookup to a car system these days.

So I was driving home in the RV, late at night, listening to the radio and channel surfing when I came across a '90s rock station. I'm extremely susceptible to music. It immediately, noticeably, affects my mood, whatever is playing.  Because of that, I have specific playlists that I've carefully curated for driving with no songs that will make me angry or anxious, because I used to race cars until I rolled mine down a hill, so I need music to keep me calm while I'm driving.

I'm on the interstate, with no traffic (for once), surrounded by darkness, the streetlights whipping by, sitting up high in the seat and hauling 5 tons of metal and fiberglass behind me, listening to rock from the era of oversized flannel shirts and Doc Martins with really short skirts, and I'm instantly transported to October, 2000.

In October of 2000, I climbed up into my 1979 skoolie - a converted school bus into an RV - and set out across the country and away from home for the first time. I was sad and hopeful and more than a little terrified. But mostly I was excited.  For a few minutes in October of 2018, I considered just not turning off the interstate at my exit, just keep on driving north, and see where I end up. And I was sad and hopeful and more than a little terrified, but mostly I was excited.

To realize that I was not, in fact, driving my old skoolie and I was not in my twenties with my whole adulthood still ahead of me and that I was not leaving for an epic adventure across the country was such a disappointment, it was visceral. It was so strong that I'm feeling crushed by it again now, just remembering it.

But for that moment, with Steven Tyler screaming out at me from the speakers, I loved the road again, which the various city governments in Central Florida seem determined to teach me to hate with their piss-poor planning and reconstruction.

God I LOVED to drive! I still do, but there was a special quality to being 23 and on a road trip and leaving home to start an independent life that isn't like any other driving experience, even other pleasant ones like vacation road trips.

And I felt that same exhilaration tinged with that curious broodiness and loneliness that teenagers in Gen X seemed to take on as though we owned that feeling and nobody else would ever feel it again or ever did before.

Grunge rock brings that broodiness on for me, the way that Air Supply brings on the depression from the '80s I was in when I was being bullied and thinking that nobody would ever fall in love with me because I was so ugly and weird. Like I said, music affects me. But I digress.

Exhilaration tinged with loneliness edged with hopefulness, just as I felt in 2000, driving my ancient old school bus across the country with nobody but my sweet, possessive little kitten, frightened of the noise and the heat of the big engine. I was right back there, in that time, in that moment. I half expected to hear her distinctive squeaky meow behind me, as if to complain that we had been driving long enough and it's time to make the loud noises stop and curl up together to sleep.

Arriving "home", usually a relief after working a retail shift, was disappointing instead.

Then there was today.

I had a gig in a town 2 hours away, so I got a motel room over there for a few nights and I drove home today. Every time I think about returning to the place where I live, the word "home" pops into my mind out of habit as the word to use for the place where one lives, but then my mind corrects itself "this may be where you live, but this isn't home".

Every time. Every time for the last 18 years. I have never once thought of this place as home, even though I have used the word to label my dwellings as "home".

So, I had to drive "home" today, and the usual voice in my head made its usual objection that I mostly ignore. But part of all this construction on the roads have given them a lot of false altitude changes. Florida is basically a flat swamp, but as we drain the swamps to make room for more parking lots and McMansions and hotels, we cart in more "ground" from other areas, and we get a few rises in the roadways that like to pretend that they're hills.

As I topped one of those rises, something about the combination of literal heat waves and smog in the air, and probably my perpetual homesickness, made a mirage. I crested the pseudo-hill, and my brain insisted that the horizon was not the flat blue of the Florida sky, but the faint grey, blue, and white of a snow-peaked mountain range, so far away that I could only barely distinguish it from the surrounding crisp California sky.

This is something that I've only seen in a desert state, where there are miles and miles and miles of flat land surrounded by miles and miles and miles of mountains. Everywhere else I've been has either been just flat with no mountains, or hilly and mountainous with no flat vistas far enough to create mirages. And the air has to be crisp and dry too, in order to create that illusion and allow you to see that far into the distance at all.

There is a confluence of circumstances where the mountains are so tall and yet so far away, that you really can't see them, but you can. Sometimes they're actually below the horizon but optical illusions bend the light and make a reflection of them appear to float above the horizon. But sometimes they really are just that tall and the surrounding area is just that flat.

They turn a different color at that distance, with the atmosphere doing the weird things that it does, so it's almost more like someone put a layer of celluloid with the picture of a mountain on top of the horizon but turned down the transparency so that you see more of the horizon and sky behind it than you see of the mountain itself.

I crested that hill and my brain insisted that there was one of those transparent mountains right in front of me where the road cut a swath out of the surrounding skyscrapers and buildings and trees.

And it didn't matter how many times I told my brain that Florida doesn't have mountains, let alone snow-capped ones, and that this was a memory, not real, I couldn't make that mountain go away. I had to look away from the horizon and only when the view changed angles did the illusion finally break.

My dad was hinting about me coming home for Christmas this year. I haven't done that in several years. I have mixed feelings about holidays with my folks. But I just came back from a trip there in September, and I was out there twice last year - once for my own wedding in August and once for my sister's wedding in October. And I'm getting really tired of traveling when what I really want to be doing is *moving*. I'm also especially tired of spending money that I could be saving up to move.

What I didn't tell my dad is that I also don't really want to go home because it's getting harder and harder to leave and come back here. Every time I get off that damn plane in California, and I see those mountains in the distance, and I open the door to the outside and I breathe the thin, dry air instead of choke on the feeling of being smothered by a wet blanket, my brain screams at me "NOW WE ARE HOME!"

I feel like Adam's mom, in Blast From The Past, where Christopher Walken built a bomb shelter underneath their house that was an exact replica of their real house except underground and the family got trapped down there for 30 years and they finally got out and Brandon Frasier's character built another exact copy of their house but on top of a hill surrounded by empty land, and Christopher Walken just kind of sniffs and says "it's just like the bomb shelter" and Sissy Spacek is standing on the back lawn admiring the sunset that she hasn't seen in 3 decades and she turns back towards the house and throws open her arms and says "No, THIS is different!"

Everything here is kinda the same as there - we have houses and restaurants and things to do, and a lot of those restaurants and things to do here I really enjoy and I think we might even have more of them or better ones than back home - but back home is *different*.

And it's different in a way that my brain and my heart feels as a sunset over a lightly wooded field on top of a hill surrounded by hills after having been locked in a basement for 30 years different.

Most of the time, when I feel dysphoria over my surroundings, it comes as a kind of surreal realization that I'm living in a TV show, because the palm trees and ocean views and the 348 days of blue skies and bluer water and fluffy white clouds are what the rest of the world watches in movies and travel destination shows but nobody actually *lives* there, right? Except I do.

But this week, my dysphoria is different. I'm no longer here, in Florida, in this reality TV train wreck of a state. I'm on my way out or already gone. I need that to be my reality before my brain finally cracks and convinces me that it *is* reality when it's not.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/390550.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
People seem to think that triads are the starter pack to polyamory, when really they're the advanced level. You're trying to jump to the big boss level when you haven't really learned the mechanics of the game yet.

No, seriously, almost everyone who hasn't had a poly relationship yet, and especially those who are "thinking about it" or "trying it out" all opt for the triad model, somehow thinking that because everyone is in a relationship with everyone else, that'll diffuse jealousy. It doesn't. Not only does it *not* work that way, often jealousy gets amplified because it's like this little insulated cyclone where all the emotions just keep whirling around and around among the 3 people with no outlet, no pressure release, and no skills in handling it.

This was my introductory video to a vlogger named Evita, and she covers this pretty well:


In this video, Evita points out that, if you're going to feel jealousy related to your partner having another relationship with someone else, in a triad, that feeling is doubled because TWO of your partners are both having relationships with other people (each other):
"If you've never ever found yourself in a position where you've seen your partner be romantically involved with someone, see your partner be in love with someone, and seen what you're like with your partner being romantically involved with / in love with someone because you have no idea what that looks like for you ... going from never having experienced that to now putting yourself in a dynamic where it's happening *all the time*, right in front of your face, is naive at best and disillusional at worst.

Y'know, thinking that you're just gonna transition into this, going from never seeing it at all to seeing it all the time and you're just gonna be OK with it is super super naive. And most couples go 'oh, we're gonna feel *less* jealousy because we're with the same person' and it's usually the other way around.

Which brings me to my next point. It's usually double the jealousy, not less jealousy. ... Because if you think about it, both of your partners are interacting with someone else and the someone else that they're interacting with is each other. ...
The relationships will not look and feel the same and that is challenging for couples. There's usually what happens is the person coming in gets along much better with one than the other, the relationships do not look the same ... Your relationships are going to look different with the other person but these couples are approaching this going 'we're going to have the same experience' and you're totally totally not."
If you're going to feel jealousy, and remember, jealousy is a composite emotion made up of other emotions like fear of losing something you cherish, insecurity in your own worthiness, being left out - a bunch of really complicated stuff - if you're going to feel jealousy when your partner is with someone else, what do you think will happen with you have *two* partners are are both with someone else (each other)? As Evita points out, when her husband is off with another partner and she feels jealous, it's just regular old jealousy because she isn't emotionally connected or attached to that other person.

But if two of her partners are both off interacting with someone else (each other) at the same time, that's TWO partners she's feeling jealous over. And she might even be feeling different types of jealousy for each one, where her jealousy has different roots for each person. So now it's extra complicated, because regular jealousy wasn't challenging enough?

She later goes on to talk about isolationism as a separate bullet point. Newbies seem to think of triads as a single group relationship, when it's actually 4 relationships that all need to be cared for. There's the 3-person dynamic that is the triad, and then each couple within that triad is its own separate relationship and all of those relationships have to be nurtured and cared for.

A lot of newbies will try to ignore this by only nurturing the triad as a whole and never allowing any couple-time or dyad-nurturing to happen (or, rather, still nurturing the original couple dynamic, but not allowing either half of the original couple to nurture independent relationships with the new third person). Some think that if everything is "equal", if they do everything exactly the same with their third person and never have any differences or any alone-time with her (because it's almost always a her), they won't have to care for those two legs of the triad.

But a triad is more like a 3-legged stool. If you don't care for 2 of the 3 legs or any of the legs at all and focus only on the seat, you're gonna wind up on your ass when the individual legs fail and the whole thing collapses.

Each 2-person dynamic is going to be its own relationship. When your partner is off on their own with another partner, that can leave some people feeling lonely and bereft. So these people are usually encouraged to find themselves - to develop their own friends and hobbies and other partnerships so that they don't lose a piece of themselves when their partner is gone. That's co-dependency, when you feel lost or like you're missing a piece of yourself when your partner is not with you. It's OK to miss someone, but to feel as though you, yourself, are broken, partial, or you're unable to think of what to do with yourself without your partner, that's co-dependency. People in healthy relationships have other interests and other people and other intimate relationships in their lives besides their partner (yes, even healthy monogamous relationships).

So when your partner is off on their own with someone else, and that someone else *is your other partner*, that tends to double the feelings of isolationism because the other important person in your life who you would otherwise turn to while your partner is occupied *is the person your partner is occupied with*.

They don't even have to physically go somewhere and leave you alone. Just the connection that they share between each other can make someone feel left out. One of the most horrible feelings in polyamory is when you're right there, in the same room, watching your loved one share a connection with your other loved one, and feeling that you are not part of that connection, that they are sharing it with each other and not you, and it's right there in your face, reminding you that you aren't connected in that moment.

It's very isolating.

You have to level up to a certain point to gain the skills in relationships to handle this situation, and then you have to do the extra special side quests to gain the fancy armor that makes this situation not problematic and hurtful and needing to be "handled" in the first place.

Jealousy gets doubled when you have two partners to feel jealous about, but feelings of isolation also get doubled when you have two partners interacting with each other to feel isolated from. If you think you can just jump right to that level without learning how to handle your jealousy and fears and communication about that stuff first, you're gonna get slammed when the Big Boss Jealousy walks into the room. Because "if we're just always together and then jealousy won't happen" is not how you learn the skills to handle your jealousy. You have to actually face it, not just attempt to prevent it from ever happening.

Getting tag-teamed with the giant Two-Headed Jealousy Monster and Twin Isolationist Bosses at the same time is the hardest way to learn that. Passing the minor jealousy bosses in stages, where you learn their tactics and weaknesses in smaller, more manageable doses and defeating each one gives you a better weapon and better armor for the next more challenging boss, is how you eventually learn how to pass the giant Two-Headed Jealousy at the end of the game.

Triad relationships take some extra level communication skills, introspection skills, accountability skills, self-sufficiency skills, time management skills, and Relationship Management skills. Maintaining two independent relationships is actually easier on all fronts and, counter-intuitively, how you gain all those skills in the first place.

Newbies talk about wanting "training wheels". This is how they justify treating people as things. "But how are we supposed to learn how to trust people if we don't chain them in and prevent them from doing what we're afraid of?" "But how can we learn how to deal with jealousy without strictly designing our relationships and rigidly policing each other's behaviour so that nobody does anything that will trigger the jealousy?" I say all the time that "training wheels" are a horrible idea when the activity you're trying to learn is how to swim.

You don't jump in the deep end of the poly pool with training wheels. That will just weigh you down. You need water wings that will lift you up and support you while you tread water. Dating separately and learning how to disentangle yourselves and become whole, independent people again are those water wings. This is where you learn the fundamentals of swimming so that when you take the water wings off, you have the muscle memory to help you in the deep water. "Training wheels", in this context, teaches you the wrong lessons, so that you have to unlearn everything you learned with the training wheels *at the same time* you're struggling to learn how to swim. Water wings teaches you exactly those skills you'll be using in the water, just with less at stake. These are the beginning levels where you gain all those extra skill points and extra life-hearts and the fancy armor that protects you against the more powerful villains in the more difficult levels.

Start out dating individually first. A triad will work itself out when y'all are ready for it, not when you set out to make it happen.



"Ooh, that prize looks cool! I want one of those!"

"OK, but you have to defeat the final demon to win the game for that prize."

"Great, where is he, bring him on!"

"Uh, you can't just get to him, you have to go through all of these other levels first, collecting skills and tools that you will need to defeat the big boss demon."

"But I want the prize!!"

"Fine, but you have to defeat the demon first ..."

"Then show me the demon!"

"... and you can't get there until you've mastered the beginning levels first."

"OMG YOU'RE SO MEAN WHY YOU GOTTA GATEKEEP LIKE THAT YOU'RE SCARING AWAY ALL THE NEWBIES WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST PRIZES I'M GONNA GO PLAY THE GAME MY WAY OVER HERE STOP TELLING ME HOW TO PLAY THERE'S NO ONE RIGHT WAY!"

also "hey, other newbies, who else wants the prize at the end and can't get to it? Let's start a group for gamers who just want the prize, where other gamers can't tell us we're wrong!"

- Every #UnicornHunter ever.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/390353.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
A comment I want to expand on for a future blog post. The context is that Unicorn Hunters frequently accuse the poly community of being hostile towards anyone interested in a triad, and if we were just nicer to them, they'd eventually learn how to do polyamory ethically. But because we're so mean to "couples", they just leave the community.

It is my opinion that the couples who get all hurt and feel "attacked" are people who actually do want to do the bad, predatory things, are steeped in their privilege and don't want to examine it, and are generally not approaching the community in good faith to "learn". Even if all of this is subconscious.

That's why they feel "attacked", because they are seeing themselves in the "attacks". As I say in basically every post where I criticize people for something - if you're not doing the thing I'm criticizing, then I'm not criticizing you.

Most of the cismen on my friends list who regularly read my feminist posts and don't feel attacked are able to do so because they recognize that they are not my targets (even if they might have been at one time). They see how they are not doing the things I'm criticizing, so they can be part of the group of "men" and yet not be part of the group I am "attacking".

Or they can see themselves in my criticisms and feel humbled by the recognition and seek to change.

But people who tend to see themselves in my criticisms and don't want to change, even subconsciously, start to feel cognitive dissonance, which tends to make them feel attacked, and then defend themselves with straw-man arguments, sealioning, deflection, diluting the definitions, and Motte & Bailey tactics.

And then get personally offended when I, or someone, see through the smoke and mirrors and red herrings and call them on their bullshit.

But I'm the "intolerant" one who refuses to "teach" and who "scares off" well-intentioned but naive newcomers.

My comment that I want to expand on later:

I mean, how often do we hear about people wanting to get into birdwatching being "chased off" by other birders just because they're new to birdwatching and they make mistakes that could even be harmful to the very birds they're professing to be interested in and want to be respectful of, even though that totally happens all the time?

People who are new to an activity typically spend more time with their mouths shut and their ears open, learning how others do that thing and less time arguing that their inexperience is just as valid as the experience of the veterans.

When people *do* make mistakes in a new activity and the community tries to correct them on it, those who genuinely want to learn tend to listen to the corrections, even when some people aren't as "nice" as they could be about it. We don't have all these horror stories of would-be-birders leaving the birding community because birding veterans were mean and wouldn't teach them.

And it's not because birders are just generally nicer than poly people. It's because new birders are more willing to learn, so experienced birders aren't frustrated and burnt out with constantly "educating" people who are coming to the community in bad faith, pretending to be "open" and "willing to learn" but really steeped in their privilege and demanding concessions for their environment-trashing birding preferences.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/390118.html.

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1st-Feb-2019 12:45 pm - New Polyamory Term?
Purple Mobius, polyamory
I'm considering two new poly terms for the glossary. This is the definition:
a cishet person (usually male) who fetishizes his partner's bi/queer sexual orientation and who uses said partner to obtain new partners to fulfill his fantasy of group sex with people of the genders/orientations he is fetishizing.
Which do y'all like?

Fisherman / Fishing (he uses his queer/bi partner for "bait" to "fish" for another woman for FMF threesomes)

Muskratting (from Elon Musk and his creepy partnership with Grimes, particularly the weird unicorn hunting attempt with Azeala Banks)

I think Muskratting is funnier / more clever, but I also think it's less intuitive because it relies on a knowledge of current events and is basically a fad, so in the future (and not that far off), people won't really understand why it's called that. So I'm not sure which direction I want to push this in.

Thoughts?

(P.S. - I didn't come up with either of these terms so I have no emotional connection to them. I saw them in a poly forum and I think it's a useful concept to include in a glossary - I mean, since I have terms like "cowboy", "cuckoo", "polywog", and "french kiss" in there)




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/389640.html.

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statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
So, I'm adopted. I was adopted as an infant. I've always known I was adopted. I met my birth mother more than a decade ago. My mom (the woman who raised me) has always been supportive of me meeting her, but without actually telling me about it, I could always see the insecurity behind her eyes.

So I've always treated this whole situation like "opening up" a monogamous relationship and my mom like an existing partner who is nervous about me hooking up with an old partner. I didn't slow down or put any artificial limits on building a relationship with my bio-mom, but I was considerate and reassuring to my mom about how much she meant to me and how appreciative I am of my upbringing.

In all of these conversations over my entire life, of my mom explaining to me that I am a child of mommy's heart, not her tummy, of my mom showing me the letter my bio-mom left for me when I turned 18, of our heartfelt conversations about whether or not I was curious about my bio-parents and would I like to find them, of mom's tentative conversations about what my bio-mom is like...

in all of these conversations, fathers were almost never present. My dad (the man who raised me) never talked to me about it, although he was occasionally physically in the room when the conversations happened. These are just "mom" kind of talks. My bio-father deliberately chose not to be located by me, which both I and the social worker responsible for finding them respected. He is actually back together with my bio-mom and still does not want direct contact with me, which I continue to respect.

My family had strong gender roles, so it's not like the fathers weren't supportive or were antagonistic or anything. It's that my dad's role wasn't to do emotional labor for the kids. And my bio-father has a long, traumatic history that I've spoken about before but I won't go into here, for which I feel comfortable not having any contact with him. It's like we're doing parallel poly and I'm OK with it.

A bunch of years ago, both mothers got on Facebook and of course I friended them both. A handful of years ago, my mom started asking me about direct contact with my bio-mom. Very tentatively, like, I could tell she was really very curious about her, but also still a little nervous, and also afraid of what contact with my bio-mom would mean to everyone else.

Mom was concerned about how I would feel about it, and also concerned about how my sister would feel. My sister is also adopted, and her bio-family story is not as happy as mine. So, to put it into poly terms, I had a "partner" (my mom) who wanted to meet my other partner, her metamour.

But she has another partner too (my sister) who tried "dating" outside of her, and it didn't go well, and this "partner" (my mom) did not have any contact with *her* other partner's partner.  So she was concerned for how getting along with one partner's other partner would feel to her other partner when she didn't get along with *that* metamour. Follow that?

See, this is why poly relationships are just not very difficult for me. It's all the same skills as any other complex social web of humans. Mom gets uncomfortable every time I say this, but I learned all my poly skills from my Christian, monoheteronormative family-of-origin.

She deeply cares about the effect she has on those around her, and that instilled in me a sense of concern and compassion for how I affect others, and how others affect others, and how we are all interconnected. If you pull on a string in a spiderweb, you tug on all the others. Some of those connections will survive, some won't. Families are webs.

Anyway, Mom started probing a possible direct connection with my bio-mom, which I enthusiastically endorsed. So she started out first by just "liking" some of her posts. When the "likes" were reciprocated, they friended each other (I think mom actually asked me first if I would mind). After a while, bio-mom started commenting on Mom's family posts about what a beautiful family my mom had. So Mom started commenting back.

I wouldn't say that they're *friends* in the more classical sense. But we do seem to have the beginnings of Kitchen Table poly happening here. They're pleasant and appreciative of each other and can speak directly to each other.

So, with all that exposition, I'm finding it hilarious and more than a bit surprising to find that my dad and my bio-mom seem to be bonding. Over what, you might ask?

My bio-mom is very outspoken about Hair Gropenfuhrer and almost all of her posts are political. Since his retirement, Dad has really gotten into leaving CNN on at the house, no matter what he's doing, so he can yell at the TV about the Orange Menace and his sycophants.

When I think about my adoption and my family web and the whole story, the women are the ones who play prominent characters. Because emotional labor is women's work, dontcha know?  But all of a sudden, every post I see on my bio-mom's feed is "liked" by my dad and often has some comment from him. Dad doesn't post much himself, or else I believe I'd see the commenting being reciprocated.

My parents (the ones who raised me) have never been particularly political. They're liberal, but they're liberal *Catholics*. They were more concerned with shielding me from whatever injustices they believed still existed in society than in smashing the injustices.

This is how I grew up to think that sexism and racism were mostly over and feminism was unnecessary, we just had a few odd holdouts here and there that needed to be dealt with, like a couple of rogue squads who refused to believe their side surrendered and were still committing acts of guerrilla warfare.

My activism has always confused and upset them. Mom never liked upsetting the apple cart or making waves or other similar cliches. My beliefs were always more liberal than theirs too, but it was never the difference in beliefs that upset them (other than the atheism thing, but that's a whole other thing), it was that I was driven to action because of them.

And here, suddenly, my bio-mom comes along who pulls no punches and is very politically outspoken (if there was ever an argument for nature over nurture, my bio-family would be it, btw), and coincidentally at the same time my senior, retired father happens to have nothing really better to do than putter about the garden and watch talking heads on TV so he develops strong political opinions seemingly out of nowhere...

and just like that, two "metamours" who didn't seem to express any interest in kitchen table poly become buddies over a shared hatred of the scourge currently destroying our nation.

If I can find any reason to have everyone meet in person, that family reunion is going to be ... interesting.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/389513.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
People who proudly proclaim that their partner (almost always singular even when they're poly) has complete access to their phones, including their messages, because they have "nothing to hide" freak me right the fuck out.

They basically tell me that I can never divulge a confidence to them unless I develop the exact same amount and type of intimacy with their partner because nothing I say will be held in confidence.  They tell me that they are not actually whole and complete individual people, because I have to *treat* them as a singular unit with their partner, since anything I share with them will also be shared with someone else.

Whether they *feel* complete is irrelevant from my perspective because I can't *treat* them as complete, I have to treat them as an extension of another person, so anything I share with one must be something I'm willing to share with the other.

I kinda have to treat them like a ship's avatar, if anyone is familiar with The Culture book series by Iain M. Banks - a physically separate being, usually humanoid in shape, that can run autonomously when desired, but is inextricably linked to the mother ship and will merge and become one being (if you define "being" by the collective knowledge and experiences that make one up) at some point.

So nothing the avatar knows or experiences will be kept from the ship. When you interact with the avatar, you are, for all intents and purposes, interacting with the ship itself even when the avatar is, at the moment, cut off from contact with the ship, either by design or circumstance.  If I don't develop the relationship with the ship where I want to share something in confidence with it, then I can't develop that kind of relationship with the avatar either. And I can't develop intimate relationships with one "half" of a "couple".

My partners have *technical* access to my devices, meaning that it's physically and technologically *possible* for them to access the contents. It's not locked up so tight that only a master hacker could break into it.  They have this ability for safety - if something happens to me, certain individuals who I trust need to be able to take care of the business of death or incapacitation. But that's not the situation I'm talking about.

My partners don't have *permission* to access these things any time they want to. And I only date people who do not *want* that kind of access because they, too, value the intimacy that privacy protects.

The "but for safety" people, I'm not talking about you. However, the "it's just easier to have my husband read my text messages for me when my phone is ringing in the other room and I don't want to / can't get up to get it" people? You're straddling the line.

It's not about "hiding" anything. It's about being vulnerable and raw and choosing when, where, how, and with whom to be vulnerable and raw.

I have a fucking scan of my brain while having an orgasm posted on the fucking internet. I have nothing to "hide". But who can I expose my sensitive nerve endings to? Everyone knows that I *have* nerve endings, and a lot of people know what those nerve endings are connected to, but who can I *expose* those nerve endings to?

Who can I give access to my soul to? Not the person who will hold that access door open for someone else.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/389331.html.

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Bad Computer!, anger
Alright, let's get this down on "paper", so to speak, so that I don't have to keep retyping it several times every December.  It's the time of year for That Song.  You know the one.  The creepy date rape song.  "But it's not rapey!   It's about feminine empowerment!  Historical context!  It gave women an excuse in a time when they couldn't be openly sexual and needed an excuse to do what they wanted to do!"

Bullshit.

Basically all these "but historical context!" defenses are not exactly true.  They're a retcon justification because people feel guilty about liking a holiday song about date rape (and one that actually has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with Christmas).
ret·con
/ˈretkän/
noun
1. (in a film, television series, or other fictional work) a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events, typically used to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency.

verb
1. revise (an aspect of a fictional work) retrospectively, typically by introducing a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events.
Let's talk context then if you want to talk context.

Sure, in the 1940s, women did not have the freedom to openly desire sex and (I'm told - I did not verify it but I will concede that this is probably true because it doesn't matter for my point) some people used to use the line "hey, what's in this drink?" wink wink nudge nudge know-what-I-mean? to absolve themselves of responsibility or accountability for the sex that they were about to have.  That was a thing.

But that was not a thing *in this song*.

Let's start with the background.  The song was co-written by a husband and wife team, Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland.  In their social set, in the '40s in Hollywood, there was, apparently, very stiff competition for who could throw the best parties.  Hosts were expected to, not only provide the location and refreshments for said party, but actually *be* the entertainment, with singing, dancing, performing, whatever.  Whoever was the best entertainment got invited to all the other best parties.  And in Hollywood, who you knew was of paramount importance.  It not only determined your spot in the social scene, but also got you employment, which affected your livelihood.  So this was a Big Fucking Deal.

So the husband and wife duo wrote the song as the climax to their party, hoping it would make them popular.  And it did.  They literally moved up in social class because of that song.  "It was their ticket to caviar and truffles", Garland once said.  It made them so popular that MGM offered to buy the rights to it 4 years later and Loesser went on to write several other popular songs for movies and this one in particular even won an Academy Award.

The song is a call-and-response type song, with the characters in the song being named Wolf and Mouse, i.e. Predator and Prey.  Loesser even introduced himself as "the evil of two Loessers" BECAUSE OF THE ROLE HE PLAYED IN THE SONG.   Loesser would probably defend his line about "evil of two Loessers" as being witty, a play on words.  Shakespeare played with words all the time!   He certainly didn't *mean* that he was really evil, right?  It's just a joke!  Don't take everything so seriously!

Except that Schrodinger's Douchebag says that too.  Schrodinger's Douchebag is the guy who makes assholey statements, and only after his comments are not received well, tries to excuse them as "just a joke".  You don't know if he's seriously a rapist / racist / bigot / other asshole or just a dude with a bad sense of "humor" - he's both! - until you call him on it.

So, OK, that's a little ... weird, but a bad "joke" is just one thing, right?  Well, the next thing that happened was Garland did not want to sell the song.  She thought of it as "their" song.  But Loesser sold it out from under her anyway.  Garland felt so betrayed by this, she describes the betrayal as akin to being cheated on.  I believe the specific quote was something about her feeling as though she had actually walked in on her husband having sex with another woman.

This led to a huge fight which, by some accounts, contributed to the downfall of their marriage and they eventually divorced.  So here we have a man who puts his own wants above his wife's needs (or strongly felt wants).  Why is it so difficult to believe that he would write a song about pressuring a woman and not even understand that it was bad or why?  It shouldn't be so difficult to accept that a man who would do this to his own wife probably has no problem with "wearing her down" and doesn't think his song represents straight up assault.  

We have here a pattern where a man just, like many straight men, didn't think about what he was saying or how it would affect women, particularly the women in his life, and he, like everyone else that year, was merely a product of his time and not able to foresee 70 years later where we now recognize the deeply disturbing "boys will be boys" patriarchal reinforcement of the "what's in this drink wink wink" joke.

Frankly, I don't think he thought about his lyrics all that much at all, let alone tried to write some weird, backwards, 1940s female "empowerment" anthem.   I don't think he deliberately set out to be an evil villain writing an ode to date rape either, I think he just flat out didn't consider all the implications of a bubbly song where one person keeps pushing for sex and the other keeps rejecting but eventually capitulates.  Y'know, like the Blurred Lines song - it's bubbly, it's cute, it's got a catchy hook, but ultimately it's about street harassment, like, he literally said that he wrote the song by imagining a dirty old man yelling things out to hot chicks as they passed by on the street.  But people love it because it's bubble-gum pop.  Same as this song.

Only with this one, we're *defending* it as a "joke" people used to use because women couldn't be openly sexual.  THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM.  Women needed that kind of excuse because they were not allowed to have their own agency.  So romanticizing this song only reinforces the message that a woman's "no" is really just her needing a better excuse, so if you keep "offering" her excuses (i.e. pushing her), eventually she'll find one she can use and give in.  Keep pressuring her!  She wants it!  It's for her own good!  It's empowering!

That's some fucked up shit.

But back in the '40s, they didn't really know better, apparently.   Women used what avenues they had for expressing their sexuality, and at the time, "what's in this drink?" was what they had.  They, and Frank Loesser, were not thinking how, in the next century, women who had taken back some of their agency would be constantly fighting to keep what we have managed to wrestle back precisely because of this line of reasoning - that "no" doesn't mean "no", it means "try harder" because we just need to be given the right push in the right direction.

But as the saying goes, when we know better, we do better.  Not knowing any better back then isn't a good enough excuse to keep it around now.  It may have been considered "innocent" in the '40s or even "necessary" because of the restrictions that women had, but now we know better.  We know both the legitimately terrifying implications of the lyrics in this song as sung straight and we know the patriarchal implications of the lyrics in this song as sung "flirty".  He didn't know any better back then, but we know better now.

So now let's get to the context of the song itself.

When Loesser and Garland were performing this song at parties, it was a huge hit ... but only within their social circle.  It didn't reach mainstream attention until it appeared in the movie Neptune's Daughter, which is a really odd movie for this song, only partly because the movie takes place in the summer, not the winter.   The movie is about an "aquatic ballet dancer" and swim suit designer who mistakenly believes that a South American polo team captain is pursuing her sister but who really wants to date her, and who accepts a date with the team captain just to keep him from dating her sister.

Got that?  Swimmer lady thinks polo captain is putting the moves on her sister.  Polo captain is not, and wants to date swimmer lady.  So polo captain asks swimmer lady out on a date.  Swimmer lady agrees to a date with polo captain in order to keep a guy she thinks is a predator away from her sister, but she doesn't like him.  She ends up liking him later though, because it's a rom-com musical from the '40s.

Actually, I could have just said "because it's a rom-com" and stopped there, because "two people who don't like each other and don't communicate with each other end up married and we're supposed to think this is a good thing" is basically the entire motivation for the rom-com genre.

Meanwhile, her sister is pursuing some other guy who she mistakes for this polo team captain, and since he usually has poor luck with women, he lets her believe in his mistaken identity.   What follows is a comedy of errors and mistaken identity that somehow manages to go from two women who go on a date with two men, get mad at them for things they did not do, learn the truth eventually, and go from being mad at them to marrying them.  After one date.   Because the movie was written by men in the '40s who followed formulaic story-writing to sell more movie tickets.

This film clearly does not show a woman looking for an excuse to stay.  The scene is played as a woman legitimately trying to leave.  So, on this date where the swimmer is grudgingly spending time with the polo captain, he puts the moves on her.  But she still thinks he's a disreputable jerk who is courting her sister and she is only out with him to protect her sister from him.  She is NOT into him (yet).

She grimaces when she tastes the drink ("what's in this drink?") and it's NOT storming outside - the Wolf is lying to her about the weather to get her to stay.  It's summer in California, the entire premise of the song is a manipulation to get someone to stay against their will.  She is playing the character as annoyed and legitimately trying to leave.

The Mouse is not trying to save her reputation, she is trying to give him a soft rejection, as women were (and still are) trained to do, to avoid punishment for rejection by passing the responsibility onto someone the aggressor would have more respect for (her parents, the neighbors, etc.).  It's just another variation on "I have a boyfriend" - she is trying to give excuses that he will find valid without saying she's not interested and risking making him feel rejected and hurt by her disinterest.

The reverse gender scene in the same movie is even worse.  Later, the sister is on the date with the pretend polo captain and she is obviously, aggressively, and annoyingly pursuing him.  The man is visibly angry at her and trying to leave, and she is physically forceful with him to get him to stay.  Apparently, because it's a woman assaulting a man, that makes it funny.  But it's not any less rapey when a woman does it to a man, and sometimes it's worse because patriarchy.

Very shortly afterwards, each of the couples apparently gets over all of this harassment and mistaken assumptions and they get married.   Which is exactly the sort of narrative that "what's in this drink wink wink" promotes.  So even if it *was* the joke-excuse, it's *still* harmful to idolize it *today* because the lesson is that when a woman says "no", she means "keep trying until we find a loophole" and that eventually the man will wear her down and win the girl for himself.

Sure, maybe some women did have to find some kind of "excuse" to save her reputation because she didn't have the freedom to say yes back then.  BUT THAT'S ALSO PART OF THE PROBLEM, and also not the point. 1) That merely perpetuates the myth today that a woman's "no" can't be trusted because men just need to give her an "excuse" to say yes; and 2) that is clearly not the context *of this song*.

That is retconning the song to assuage our modern consciences for liking it.

The writer here is not a man concerned with either protecting a woman's virtue or subverting sexual mores for women's freedom.  He did not write some female empowerment anthem in which a sexually active woman gets to have the sex she wants by justifying it with the right excuse.

He is just what the Wolf appears to be - a selfish, egotistical man more interested in what he gets out of things than in how it affects the women around him, and fully believing he is entitled to whatever he wants at the expense of what the women around him, particularly his own wife, want.  Which was absolutely status quo then and still is today.

And the producers who bought the song and the director who directed the scenes did not feel that the message was "no, really, I want to have sex, just give me an excuse".  They very clearly saw the song as someone legitimately rejecting another person because that's how they directed the actors to play the scene.

AND THAT'S HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD SAW AND HEARD THIS SONG FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME

How's that for context?

Just admit you like the song even though it's problematic.  Own that shit!  Have y'all heard the music I listen to?  I listen to pop country for fuck's sake!  You like that song, the lyrics are disturbing but the tune is catchy. Just accept it.





This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388952.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
We have this damn argument constantly in poly forums.  Somebody calls someone a "unicorn hunter", somebody gets upset at the insult, someone else demands that there's nothing wrong with being a unicorn hunter, someone chimes in that they're a unicorn and proud of it, someone else tries to explain what the term means and where it came from, and then everyone yells "language evolves!" and "language police!" to justify whichever position they happen to hold.

And I'm fucking sick of it.

The history of this term is hard to cite sources for, because nobody really documented it at the time.   I mean, all our conversations were in text on the internet, but in old BBS boards and email lists and geocities websites that are all defunct now.

So basically it's left up to the old-timers like me who were around back then to try and explain things, and then the young'ins come along with no understanding of our cultural history and how that shapes our cultural present, insisting that things aren't the way that we experienced.  Most don't even realize that we *have* a "cultural history".   But the word "polyamory" was coined in 1992, and it was coined because people were already doing this thing that we wanted to name.  26 years is long enough to create a sense of culture, to create art and history.  It's long enough that we are now multi-generational.

So let me tell you a little story about How Things Used To Be.

The polyamorous community did not invent the term "unicorn" for a bisexual woman.   That came a long time ago, at least from the 1970s, back in the disco swingers' era.  It might even have origins earlier than that (as the wife-swapping version of swinging is said to have evolved out of WWII with soldiers on deployment, so swinging has been around even longer but it may or may not have been applicable to have "unicorns" in other iterations of the Lifestyle) , but since I was never part of the swinger community, I am not as up on swinger history as I am on poly history.  I only know it as tangential to poly history.

So, anyway, in the '70s swinger communities, a "unicorn" was a bisexual woman willing to have threesomes with a straight MF couple, and then go away again without causing any complications like coming between the primary couple or trying to "steal" anyone.  I'll be honest, I don't know if there is any subtext or any implications in that context.  I don't know if it was considered an insult or a compliment or if it was neutral.   Again, I wasn't part of that community, I just know that this is where I first heard the term to refer specifically to a bisexual woman.

However, when the poly community adopted it, the term was definitely used derisively.  When we used the term, we weren't actually calling bisexual women "unicorns", like we were complimenting them as magical beings.  We were insulting the people who were using women as breathing sex toys by accusing them of "hunting" for a mythological creature who didn't exist anywhere except in their own imaginations, to fulfill their own fantasies of capturing such a wondrous creature.

Back when the term first started getting widespread use, those of us who used it were not calling bisexual women "unicorns".  Bisexual polyamorous women were "bipoly" women.   That was our term for them back then.  We liked portmanteaus back then more than the slang today that prefers metaphor or pop culture references.  We used to say that you couldn't go to a poly potluck (because back then we didn't have "discussion meetings" or conferences, we had potlucks) and swing a stuffed parrot (because that was the symbol we used in public for people to find our gatherings) without hitting a bipoly woman.

We weren't calling anyone "unicorns".  Unicorns don't exist.  That was the whole point of using that term.  A "unicorn" was symbolic, not a real person.   It was symbolic of all the hopes and dreams and naiveté from monogamous couples curious about "opening up" their marriages.  As the unicorn has always been symbolic of hopes and dreams and naiveté.

And power.

The unicorn has also always been a symbol of power.   The brave and courageous hunter or prince or knight charges into the forest, seeking that symbol of purity and beauty and grace, hoping to overpower such a powerful beast, kill it, and tear its horn from its head to drink from and steal its magical properties for himself.  There are actual, real thrones made out of narwhal horns and billed as unicorn horns.  Ground "unicorn" horn powder was sold as medicine and magic.

Or perhaps the hero sought the unicorn be found worthy by the magical creature who only appears to the pure of heart to bestow its blessing.   Every myth and legend about the unicorn says something about how the men see themselves, or how they see their gods (which are further reflections of themselves).  Even the legends about unicorns being irresistibly drawn to virgins to lay their heads in the young maidens' laps and sleep (so leaving a young girl alone in a forest as a trap for a unicorn was a thing) says something about powerful men and their values.

The unicorn has never been about the animal.  It has always been about the ones seeking it.

So when the poly community adopted the term "unicorn hunter", we used it in this manner.  A lot of our early lexicon-creators liked literary allusion and historical references (some a little more "pseudo" than others).  The arrogance and ignorance and entitlement of the wealthy white fictional and real historical men who hunted unicorns was more than applicable to what we saw happening in our own communities, with hetero couples trading on their couple privilege to maintain an uneven power distribution in their relationships.

Back then, we didn't have the language of "disempowerment" and "privilege" ... not that this language didn't exist, but it hadn't made it into widespread social use as it is now.   A lot of us made a lot of semantics mistakes back in the '90s and early Naughties because we didn't have this language.  But we were talking about the same things we continue to talk about today - power.

I came into the poly community as a single, bi-curious woman back in the '90s.  I did not start out "opening up" a monogamous relationship.  I wasn't introduced to poly society as part of a "couple".  I didn't have the safety net of an existing relationship to fall back on if this "poly thing" didn't work out.  If my relationships ended, I didn't have an "existing primary" that I could "close up" with and try to go back to being monogamous, or who would stick by me as we tried again as a single unit, I was left alone to mourn the loss of my relationships, and possibly the loss of several relationships if I also lost my metamours in the breakup.  Unlike those couples who only lost a girlfriend, I lost an entire  *family* when a couple decided to dump me for not living up to their magical unicorn standards. 

From my perspective, the community was made up of two kinds of people - hetero couples and Free Agents.  Long before we had the term "solo poly", we had Free Agents - people who dated and who had partners but who always operated as individuals whether they had many partners, one, or none.   The men who were Free Agents were routinely looked upon with contempt for their callousness, lack of empathy, and selfishness.  Even by women who were also Free Agents.

But the women who were Free Agents... I did not identify with that term.   I had known too many men who treated polyamory as a way to have lots of sex without doing any emotional labor in their relationships (not that we had *that* term either).  What I wanted was to build intentional family.  So I didn't identify with the Free Agents.  But because I always maintained my own identity and independence whether I was partnered or not, I was seen, essentially, as a Free Agent by the hetero couples, who almost exclusively did hierarchical polyamory.  The fact that I wanted a "family" but was "unattached" made me extremely attractive to hierarchical polys looking for a bipoly woman to "add to their relationship".

So let me tell you how people treated me.  I have a whole inbox from an old poly dating forum filled with nothing but straight men asking me to join their households either as an equal threesome or as "sister-wives", raise the children, keep the house, and manage the chicken farm.

No, seriously, there was one in particular that actually opened up correspondence with me looking for a co-wife to raise chickens in Montana.  Or, South Dakota, or something.  And when I complained about his email online, a half dozen other women responded that he had sent them the exact same email, verbatim.   A form letter seeking a co-wife to run his chicken farm.

Many of them didn't start right out the gate like this guy, asking if I'd be interested in becoming a wife.  Most of them went through the motions of pretending to want to get to know me first, but really, all of these meetings and correspondences were interviews.  They had a job position to fill - co-wife - and they wanted to see if I could fit into that position.

The first couple of emails from the first couple of guys ... it's easy to overlook the feeling of being "hunted" at first.  Especially if you're in a category of person who, statistically speaking, never gets hunted and is expected to be the hunter.  Complain about catcalls to a lot of men, for instance, and many of them will respond with "I *never* get complimented!  I would *love* it if women would just yell out a compliment on the street sometime!"

When you're in a category of person who has a lot of social capital and a lot of cultural power, even if you, personally, have setbacks and challenges in your life, it's really difficult to understand how someone without that capital and power might feel on the receiving end of attention from people who have it.  Because part of the advantage of all that capital and power is the freedom from experiencing life without it and not ever needing to even notice what life is like without it.

So, the first few emails just sound like ... dating app messages.   But the next few emails, and the next dozen emails, and the next hundred emails, over years and years and years of them all being the same thing - hetero couples not listening to me, not seeing me, not getting to know me, all of them looking for what I can do for them and not really caring about who I am or what *I* may be getting out of the deal...

It's predatory, it's demoralizing, it's depressing, and it's dehumanizing.

Hence, "unicorn hunters".

So, before our history is lost to ... well, history, I wanted to make a record of what it was like back then.  I wanted to put in black and white what our intentions were when we were still coming up with the terms that people throw around, and away, these days with careless abandon.

Sure, "language evolves" and words change meaning.  But a word's *origins* are important. Words, out of context, might have just a simple definition. But within context, the word can say a whole lot more than just a line in a dictionary.  The origins of a word can tell you what a culture's *atmosphere* was like when the word was coined.   It can show you insight into how we got to any given point and when we turned a corner and where the culture was destined to go from there.  It can explain the subjective experience of the participants of being in that culture.

Words have power.   We started using the phrase "unicorn hunters" to describe a very specific set of circumstances and a very specific type of people.  We needed that term because we needed to be able to discuss a very big and very real problem we were having.  If we couldn't discuss it, we couldn't address it.

And now we have people entering the community who were in diapers back when the term was first being coined, arguing about "evolving language" and "taking it back" and being "proud" to be unicorns, as if all our history doesn't matter.  We still need to talk about disempowerment in relationships and predatory behaviour in our community.  The need for the term still exists, whether that specific term has "evolved" or not.  But we don't have a replacement for a term that is still incredibly accurate.  And the words we *do* use to describe what we mean when we say "unicorn hunter" are received with even more offense.

Because that term is meant to be offensive.  It's meant to describe offensive behaviour.  That's what we always meant when we started using that term nearly three decades ago and that's what many of us still mean when we use it now.  People might want to erase all the subtext and context that comes with the term "unicorn hunter", but I want to make sure that we at least don't erase the history.  That history will tell us where we came from, and show us where we're going.  


For reference:




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388631.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
http://qr.ae/TUNDQL

Thanks to some experiences with people who use "agreements" as weapons and who also hide their abusive behaviour behind social justice language, I have become extremely averse to words like "agreements" and the casual use of the term "rules".

I was always pretty anti-rule, but a lot of things are treated as rules while being called other things. And I've discovered that the words we use are important because they subtly and subconsciously influence how we think and view our partners and other people, especially when we use agency-denying language in jest or casually.

So I have written an answer to the common question "what are your relationship agreements" that I'd like to archive on my blog to share every time the question comes up:

I don’t have very many “agreements”. I learned the hard way a long time ago that some people use the word “agreement” as a blunt object with which to beat partners over the head. I don’t do “rules”, which are things that are imposed on other people that dictate their behaviour (and sometimes their emotions and choices). I do “boundaries” which are lines that I draw around myself where I don’t want other people to cross.

Some people treat “agreements” like “rules”. You can usually tell that someone is treating an agreement like a rule when you discover what happens when someone “breaks” the “agreement” or wants to change it. If there are punishments, if breaking or changing the agreement is seen as a “betrayal”, then it’s probably a rule in disguise.

What I do is, I have certain things that I *prefer* to do with my own body, and I tell my partners what those things are so that they know what to expect of me. If I change my behaviour for any reason, then I notify my partners as soon as possible that I’ve done or am planning to do something different, so that they can make informed decisions about their own body (mind, emotions, time, etc.) based on my choices.

The things that I prefer to do is to get tested once a year for HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, & chlamydia (what I refer to as The Big Four) and also HSV +1&2. If I have not had any new partners in the last 6 months, and my ongoing, regular partners have not had any new partners, then I might skip a testing period. But if I am considering taking a new partner then I will get tested right before so that my tests are the most current possible. Then I also prefer to get tested about 2 weeks after I take on a new sexual partner.

I prefer to see the actual tests results on paper for my partners before we have genital contact or fluid transfer for the first time, and 2 weeks after any ongoing partners take on a new sexual partner. I also prefer to keep an open dialog with all potential partners and ongoing partners about our sexual history, our current STD test results, our interests in potential new partners, etc.

I tend to use condoms only for birth control, and I tend to prefer having sex with men who have had vasectomies so that I don’t have to use condoms for birth control. I don’t consider condoms alone to be sufficient protection in the absence of discussing sexual history, STI testing, and sexual patterns so I don’t generally have even barriered sex with people I’m not comfortable having unbarriered sex with.

I prefer to choose sexual partners who have similar STI risk profiles as me - people who prefer to get tested regularly, only have sex with partners who get tested regularly, who openly and frequently discuss sexual risk and history and behaviour, who tend to have a relatively stable number of partners, who have had vasectomies, and who have paper test results that they are willing to share with me.

We do not make “agreements” to do these things, these are just things that I tend to do and I prefer to date people who also tend to do these things. Should either of us make choices that differ from anything we discussed that our partners can expect from us, then we talk to each other about the different choices we have made (or want to make), and we each evaluate the new situation and make our respective choices based on the new information.

I have found this to be the most statistically likely to prevent me from unwanted consequences for sex and to also be the most respectful of everyone’s agency. This allows everyone to be in charge of themselves, to have complete autonomy over their body, mind, emotions, and choices, and to still respect the risk we might place on our partners through our decisions.



**Added**  I  received a comment on my Facebook post of this article and I like my response to it that I'm adding it here.  The comment was about a person who responds negatively to agreements being broken, not because they're "rules" but because they believe their partners should find them safe enough to come to them and renegotiate any agreements that aren't working instead of just breaking them, because their own personal integrity requires them to keep any agreements they make and so only make agreements that they can keep, and because many times people will break an agreement and then dismiss this person's upset feelings as if they are not responsible for breaking their trust.

Here is my response:

And that's exactly why I don't make agreements. I basically treat them as promises, and I don't make promises that I can't keep. For most things, since I can't tell the future, I can't guarantee that I can keep an agreement or a promise. And, yeah, when trust is broken, it's understandable that someone would be upset and want that broken trust to be acknowledged.

For most reasonable people, things like "we both agree to pay half the rent" and then a few months in, having a conversation that goes "honey, I don't think I can make my share anymore, can we change this agreement?" are conversations that are had and people don't generally flip out about one person "betraying" them if they can't make their share anymore.

Those are expectations and agreements about how two people are going to treat *each other*. You will pay for half our our shared expenses, and I will pay for half our our shared expenses, and that is how we will help each other survive.

But most of the abuse that I see comes from "agreements" between two people about what one person will do *with their own body, mind, emotions, and time*. When someone makes an "agreement" about what they will do with their own body, time, mind, and emotions, and then they change their mind about that, whether it's something talked about before or after the fact, the other person they made that agreement with takes that as a personal betrayal, even though it was the first person's sole property, so to speak, to do with what they will, "agreement" notwithstanding.

The casual way that people mix these two types of "agreements" up under the same label of "agreements" is the danger, and, in my experience, most people are not savvy enough to separate these two things out when discussing their relationship arrangements.

I make "agreements" all the time, where I "agree" to come pick someone up from work because their car is non-operable and they need a ride somewhere, or where I "agree" to call them before I show up at their house to give them some notice, or where I "agree" with them on where to go for dinner so that we find a place that we both want to go.

These are not generally the sorts of "agreements" that get people into trouble. I mean, they *can* ... lots of people do things like agree to pick someone up and then totally flake out on them and leave them hanging. But when it comes to  people asking "what kinds of agreements do you make in your relationships", this is not generally what they're asking about.

Usually, they're asking about having sex with other people, falling in love with other people, spending time with other people, and spending money on other people. These are things that are better handled by discussing *boundaries*, because these are things that only one person can *own* and stake a claim to (excepting money, in states with shared property marriage laws).

I will make agreements with someone on how I will treat *that person* and how I want that person to treat me. This is discussing our boundaries. I say what my boundaries are, they say what their boundaries are, and we agree to respect each other's boundaries. Then, if for some reason, one of us feels that we can not abide by that particular agreement anymore, we discuss it.

But I will not make agreements with someone on how I will treat *my body, time, mind, emotions, or money* with respect to other people. My time away from my partners is my own time and I will not make agreements with my partners on how I will spend that time away from them. My body is my own, and I will not make agreements with my partners on what I will & won't do with my own body, etc.

It is the lack of awareness of that division (or the deliberate blurring of that division) that I see causing problems (and becoming abusive, in many cases).

It's one thing to get angry because a partner had sex with me without telling me that they recently had unprotected sex with a new partner without trading test results - that is a violation of my ability to consent. That is a "betrayal".

It's quite another thing to get angry just because they had sex with someone else, even if it was unprotected and without trading test results, and even if it goes contrary to their preferences. That is not a violation of my ability to consent. That has nothing at all to do with me. That has to do with *their* body, and I am not entitled to control of their body. That is not a "betrayal" of me.

And I will not be punished anymore for things that I do with my body, my time, my mind, my emotions, and my money just because somebody else had an expectation of the things I would or ought to do with my stuff. They are not entitled to those things, even if they have reasonable expectations of what I would do with those things.

What I do with the things that are mine are not a "betrayal" of someone else. But as soon as you say the word "agreement", people take any deviation as one.

So I don't make "agreements". I state the kinds of things I am *likely* to do and try to only date people who are likely to do similar sorts of things.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388384.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
www.imdb.com/title/tt3104988/ - IMDB
www.crazyrichasiansmovie.com/ - Official Website

So, I just saw a pre-screening of Crazy Rich Asians. And I fucking loved it. Seriously, put it on your calendars to watch when it comes out for wide-release and give it a good opening weekend box office return.

I normally can't stand rom-coms and rom-drams, although I watch a lot of them (film student, movie review podcaster, masochist). They basically all go the same way - by following the standard Rom-Com Formula (TM) and occasionally picking one step to change as the "twist" in the film:

1) Neurotic young, thin woman who is a) hyperactive; b) clumsy (because that's how you make unobtainably attractive women feel "relatable"), and/or c) brusque and perfectionist meets ...

2) Extremely attractive man who is either a) emotionally distant, b) charming and charismatic; or c) warm yet stoic.

3) Woman and Man have everything or nothing in common and get thrown together by circumstance, whereupon they immediately proceed to hate each other.

4) As more and more things go wrong, continuing to keep the characters together, they are forced to reveal a vulnerability or two that erases or excuses whatever character flaw that has been their defining feature up until this point, so that

5) The characters fall in love with each other, but are not aware of it yet, because

6) The resolution of the continuing conflicts happens so that the characters are no longer forced to be together.

7) In their pending or ensuing absence, True Love is finally revealed and one character rushes to share the revelation with the other character before it's Too Late.

8) Optional ending: It is already Too Late, and the rushing character goes home dejected, but then the Plot Twist intervenes and fixes whatever it was that makes it Too Late so that the other character now shows up at the first character's home to confess their own undying love.

Additional elements that rom-coms might throw in can include:
  • The ex-lover who sows seeds of dissension and mistrust in order to win back their love-interest (or just cause trouble).

  • A current lover who prevents the main characters from hooking up because one of them is unavailable, and who seems like an OK enough person at first but is then revealed to be a total douche so that the audience feels justified in rooting for that character to get replaced by the main character and the audience doesn't have to deal with the thought that they are wishing for the misfortune of a "nice person".

  • Alternately, a current lover who never turns into a total douche but is just a nice person who is also totally flat and boring so that the audience can mollify itself over rooting for the other main character, and because the current lover is "nice", they willingly step aside for the other main character because it's the Right Thing To Do and they acknowledge that there is no chemistry between them and their lover anyway.

  • The best friend who tries to protect the main character by sabotaging the budding relationship "for their own good".

  • The best friend who tries to keep the relationship together (or jump-start it) because the main character is clearly not capable of managing their own shit.

  • Goofy parents who wholeheartedly support the main characters in their every wacky endeavor.

  • Strict parents for whom nobody will ever measure up to their standards for a child-in-law.

  • A gay friend. Just because. Usually to help with someone's deplorable fashion sense and/or to provide comedic relief.

  • A pet that either knows when someone is an asshole before the main character does, that knows when someone is a keeper before the main character does, or that is an annoyance to highlight the flaws of somebody who doesn't find the pet annoying.
So, all this to say that the things I hate the most about rom-coms were not present in Crazy Rich Asians, even though there were enough elements present to make it clearly fall square within the genre.

A few spoilers, to explain what I mean, but not the conclusion of the film and I'll keep the details to a minimum (to avoid all possible spoilers, skip down to the very last paragraph for my final comment).

First of all, the main characters were not strangers who meet and hate each other. When the film opens up, the couple has already been dating a year and the relationship is going well. They clearly adore each other and are compatible with each other.

The next thing I liked about the movie is that *this fact never changes*. There is no big reveal that someone is a douche, or that someone has a secret past that the other person might leave them if they find out, none of that.

The premise of the movie is that Nick is so rich with old family money that he's basically "Asian royalty", and Rachel doesn't know that until he invites her back to Singapore for his best friend's wedding, where Rachel meets his family.

So, there *kind of* is a "big reveal", but it's not like someone used to be a sex worker or used to be married or invents a fake past that they get "caught" about and then have to own up to it.

Nick doesn't tell Rachel because Rachel comes from a very humble background and Nick is pretty down-to-earth himself so he *likes* being "just a guy" with Rachel, not the famous Nick Young the way he is with every rich woman who knows who his family is.

And he knows that she's going to learn about his family because he voluntarily invited her to go to this wedding. He breaks the news to her in stages, because it's kind of a lot to take in, but I wouldn't say that it's really the same kind of deception that make the usual rom-com plots.

The third thing I liked about the movie is that the main female character is smart and capable, but still a little messy, and it is her smarts and strength that move her along through each obstacle.

In fact, most of the women characters have some depth and nuance to them, even if they are put into a particular role for the sake of the plot.

Rachel is a professor of economics and very good at her subject. She specializes in game theory. Nick loves that about her, and praises her intelligence and accomplishments in her field both to her and about her to others.

In each setback that she experiences, a woman close to her reminds her of her strengths and supports and encourages her, and she walks into her next challenge (usually alone) armed with her intelligence and courage. Every gain she makes in the plot is because of something she *did* deliberately, using her skills.

Speaking of which, we come to the next thing that I liked about the movie. The conflict is never about incompatible personalities, "opposites attract", or that really irritating trope where someone has a misunderstanding and goes off half-cocked without discussing it with the other person. Nick and Rachel genuinely like and trust each other, which means that they *talk* to each other. So the conflict has to come from somewhere else, not lazy script-writing and secrets.

The conflict is a culture clash, which is a real, legitimate conflict that can be big enough to break apart a relationship. Nick's mother is the foil in this film. But unlike most American movies where the "in-law" type character is the "bad guy", Mrs. Young is not a flat, 2-dimensional villain. Her motivations are all understandable and make a logical sense if you know and accept her premises. The actor who played Nick's mother did that deliberately.

Mrs. Young comes from a very specific cultural background, with very specific priorities and roles. Rachel comes from another cultural background with very different priorities and roles. It's not that either are necessarily better or worse than the other. While it's clear which position the screenwriters feel should win out, they don't make the other position out to be evil or bad ... just not right for our main characters.

The actor playing Mrs. Young intentionally set out to make her motives clear and understandable, so that we as the audience could empathize with her and so that she would not become the "villain", even though she was the antagonist and the personification of the conflict.

There was another subplot in this film that I really liked. So far, I haven't really given any spoilers because I haven't mentioned any specifics and everything I've said is pretty clear from the trailers. But for this one, I am going to give some.

Nick has a cousin named Astrid. Being part of the family, she has access to the family money and doesn't even blink at a $1.2 million price tag for a pair of earrings. She marries a "commoner", a man of more humble beginnings and a military background.

Aware of the difficulty that comes from someone not used to her world marrying into it, Astrid does what she can to support her husband and to consider his feelings. She is aware of the immense privilege and power that she holds, and she tries to minimize her position and elevate her husband's.

But in spite of her efforts, her husband, Michael, is too wrapped up in his own toxic masculinity to accept what Astrid has to offer.

In the end, Astrid finally recognizes that all her efforts to make herself smaller can't help make someone who is fundamentally insecure feel bigger. While she still believes in loving and supporting a husband, she learns that this should not require losing herself in the process, that he needs to own his own shit and see his own value the way she always has instead of dismissing his value by comparison to her net worth.

In their final conflict-and-resolution scene, when Astrid finally stands up for herself, all the women in the audience applauded. She was not without empathy for her husband's difficult position, but as so many women have found themselves, she was done managing his emotions for him and done apologizing for who she is.

I found these three women characters to be the core of the film, with Rachel's mother, Nick's grandmother, and Rachel's friend to be terrific supporting characters.

Rachel is not our typical Born Sexy Yesterday ingenue, nor is she the cold-hearted bitch in desperate need of a makeover and a lesson in soft femininity. She is intelligent and resourceful and passionate and respectful and considerate.

Mrs. Young is a conservative, reserved, powerful woman who has made sacrifices, and those sacrifices show us where her humanity lies to prevent her from becoming a stereotypical Dragon Lady character. She is hard and unyielding, but not without reason, or without feeling. It is possible to be hard and feeling at the same time.

Astrid is quiet, nurturing, sensitive, and caring, with a sense of her own value and of the value of others. She sees the good in people, along with the bad, and accepts people for who they are.

Mrs. Chu is only seen for a short time on screen, but she is clearly a devoted, supportive mother, who manages to be the kind of mother who has made her entire life about raising her daughter without being overbearing or helicoptery. She is *friends* with her adult daughter, and yet still her mother, there to hold her when her daughter needs being held, there to tell her the things her daughter needs to hear but doesn't want to hear. She is strong and brave and loving and wants nothing more than for her daughter to find happiness.

Ah Ma (Nick's grandmother) is also only seen for a short time on screen. She is the revered matriarch of the family, the kind, hands-on parental figure who raised Nick and taught him the value and responsibility of family and tradition. She is also the woman who inherited the fortune and the shipping business that created it and married the world-famous doctor Sir James Young, giving the name to our current protagonists' and antagonists' family. She may not be very active in the Singaporean social life anymore, or in running the family, but her word is still law.

Peik Lin, Rachel's friend in Singapore, is new money, the source of most exposition in the film, and a member of a family that is perhaps the most 2-dimensional of the film and yet still manages to have some depth. She's crude and her family is tacky (with a delightful dig at Hair Gropenfürher), but she knows fashion (which is a *very* important skill among the über wealthy) in spite of (or perhaps because of) the outlandish outfits we see her in, and she genuinely cares about what happens to Rachel.

The acting of these woman portraying these characters was phenomenal, with nuance and tones giving them a realistic depth. Which is saying something, given that the movie is based on a book that others have said has enough material for a whole season of Netflix episodes but that was crammed into a 2-hour movie because the director felt strongly that we needed to see Asian faces on the big screen in romantic leads, in realistic representations, and in anything other than martial arts films.

The movie was not without its flaws. There is one scene in particular that was so cringey, where a guy does a creepy thing and the women laugh it off, that I actually said out loud in the theater when the laughter died down "that's not funny, that's fucking creepy".

Not all of the characters had enough screen time for the same amount of depth as the main characters, or even the 3 supporting characters that I mentioned. Peik Lin's family, for instance, were especially flat, as were some of the Mean Girls that Rachel had to battle during her Culture Clash.

The movie isn't perfect. But when we have so few examples of any given culture, the few movies that we do see can become All The Representation, either by design or by expectation, and it will always fail in that regard. When the last big all-Asian movie was 13 years ago (Joy Luck Club), having another one now has a lot to live up to.

It's like female-led superhero movies - when you only have one, it has to be "perfect" or else it's a failure. But, as one of the actors said of Crazy Rich Asians, movies with white male actors are so plentiful, that someone can make a crappy one, and Hollywood just throws more opportunity out there for more white male movies. Movies made with and by Asians should have the opportunity to be not-great movies without the fate of all future Asian movies resting on its success.

It's not a perfect movie. But the main characters who we are supposed to be rooting for actually like each other; the conflict comes from cultural pressures and not either incompatibilities that "love" is supposed to magically fix, nor foolish misunderstandings that could be cleared up if only the characters talked to each other; reprehensible behaviour is not rewarded with the prize of "a girl", of sex, of a relationship, etc.; the women are the real cores of the story; and the main women characters are realistic and nuanced.

That means that this movie is making it onto my *very* short list of all-time favorite romantic-comedies.

So, if you like romantic comedies, if you hate romantic comedies and want to see an exception to the tripe, if you like strong and diverse female characters, and if you supported any of the non-white big budget films to come out in the last 2 years in order to make a point about what kinds of stories Hollywood should be telling, then you should see this movie.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/388220.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Bad Computer!, anger
You know what I'm really fucking sick of? People who see all my independence and my relationship and poly experience and think that means that I don't need any care and feeding at all.

"Joreth is self-sufficient, so I can just put her on a back shelf somewhere and she'll just be there waiting for me when I have time to get back to her. "

"Joreth knows how to do introspection and stuff so I can just leave her to it while I put out everyone else's fires for them or with them. My other partners need help, but Joreth can handle all her shit by herself."

"Joreth is good at being alone so I don't need to pay attention to the fact that we haven't spoken in over a month, but my cohabiting spouse hasn't heard my voice in 20 minutes and they're getting anxious so I'll just put off talking to Joreth another day."

"Joreth spent years getting over her painful shyness so when we go places together, I can ditch her as soon as we cross the threshold because she already did the work on herself so now she doesn't need my companionship."

"Joreth and I have lots of common friends so I can ditch her when we go out together because all these people are her friends too so she isn't alone if I disappear for the remainder of the event."

"Joreth has been alone for so long, I don't really need do build up any common friends or shared activities because she's used to going out solo so she'll be fine if I never come along to her things or include her in my things - she'll still find a way to go out and socialize."

"Joreth has so much patience and understanding that I never have to worry about her emotional needs or pay attention to her Bids For Attention or manage my own issues in order to save some resources to help her with her issues because she will just serenely take everything in stride."

I do not have infinite patience. Sometimes I feel insecure and need reassurance. Sometimes I get a little selfish. Sometimes I need to do coupley things even when I don't like being part of a "couple" just because sometimes it's fucking nice to have someone else around to go to movies with or to walk into a strange environment with as mutual support or who knows me well enough to finish my sentences.

Sometimes I just want to be someone's priority. Maybe not their only priority, or even not their absolute #1 priority (that should be themselves), but A Priority. Sometimes *I* want to be the whiny troublesome partner who needs looking after instead of looking after everyone else, always doing the emotional labor in a relationship, or stepping back politely while the metamours get all the attention and energy from our mutual partner leaving none leftover for me.

Sometimes I want someone else to be the designated grown up. Being good at relationshipping doesn't mean I'm flawless at it. But even people who know me IRL and who should know that forget it.

And, of course, it's hard to talk about publicly as a community leader, because when we're not flawless, we lose credibility. So I can't turn to my community for support because they're looking to me to uphold the example, and I can't go to my partners because they're the ones I'm having the problem with and the problem is that they think they can get away with not being there for me and shouldering some of the burden.

Fuck all that. I need care and feeding and attention too.



From my comments in my FB thread:

Like, solo poly doesn't mean NO poly. I'm still a fucking partner, I still need to be treated like one, not the backup plan or that old college buddy who will be there whenever you get around to calling them. ...

I feel like a polite "hey, pay some attention to me, please!" should be sufficient and I shouldn't have to be a squeaky wheel, at least not in a romantic relationship where, presumably, the other person *wants* to exchange attention with me. It's not like I'm a passive communicator who requires people to read between the lines and magically divine my thoughts to figure out what I want.

But when other people expect to only notice when relationships are on fire before they start fixing things because that's how everyone else gets noticed, my polite "hey, pay some attention to me, please!"s get lost in the chaos of the rest of their lives.

So then I wait until I'm pissed off, and when I finally start shouting, people get surprised to find out that I'm at the end of my rope over here and when did the fire even start, let alone turn into a blaze, and oh crap, did this relationship have to blow up when everything else is on fire too?

Well, yeah, if there had been routine maintenance done, then this one wouldn't be blowing up while they were busy being distracted by other fires to put out. The check engine light has been on for a long time now. Apparently I need to start adding annoying beeping to my check engine light, to prevent people from ignoring it just because there are no knocking sounds coming from the engine just yet.

Have I mixed my disaster metaphors sufficiently yet?

The big problem is that by the time I start becoming that squeaky wheel, I'm actually pretty done and ready to start withdrawing too. So it's often too late to fix anything by then.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/387929.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Here's why my Simple Steps workshop is so important (the workshop where I teach using lead and follow exercises to improve your relationship communication):

I went to an all-night dance event on a Friday - the day after I got fired from a gig over a medical condition. To say that I was having a bad week is an understatement. At that event, I had 2 friends there - one who dances and one who doesn't.

I met them both at roughly the same time. The dancer, I actually met a year or so ago, but only barely. He doesn't live in the US, he only visits here for a couple of months a year. So he came to a dance event once or twice last year, where I met him. I'm not sure I remembered his name until recently.

About 6 months ago, I started doing a weekly dance thing that I helped to organize with this dancer's father. Because it was his father's project, he attended the first couple of weeks even though that style of dance wasn't really his thing. Because it was a late-night sort of event, some of us night owls started staying afterwards to just chit chat. That's where I actually learned his name and set him apart from just "one of the dancers".

We didn't have any alone-time or any particularly intimate conversation, but we got to know each other well enough, and the others who stayed late to talk, that we have formed our own FB chat group to coordinate weekly get-togethers even though that weekly dance event is no longer.

At this same weekly dance event, I got to know one of the employees at the venue. Again, not very well, but we chatted a bit as I arrived and as I left every week, as did some of the other dancers. Then, when the dance event was canceled, we invited him to meet up with us after he got off work, since he really enjoyed seeing all of us dancers show up and now we weren't going to anymore. He and I have since had some *very* personal conversations and some intense alone-time, and we have gotten to know each other pretty well.

So, the day before this particular dance event is when I got fired from that gig. I realized 4 days later that I have officially slid back into my depression, complete with suicidal ideation. But on that Friday, I didn't realize I was heading towards depression, I just thought I was sad and upset over losing the gig, which is to be expected.

On Friday night (the next day), I went out dancing. The dancer friend was performing at the beginning of the event and I wanted to support him. That was enough motivation to push me through my growing depression and make myself leave the house. I fought my depression all night, and on at least 3 separate occasions, I nearly left to just go sit at home and cry. But I didn't. I pushed through and danced all night.

Dancing releases a lot of endorphins. It's a pretty strong mood elevator for me. But "mood" and "depression" are not the same thing, just ask Robin Williams. Once I started dancing, I got into a good mood. But the depression was still there, bubbling under the surface.

Here's my point...

My non-dancer friend remarked on how happy I looked. So I just smiled and mentioned the endorphins. Remember, I didn't recognize my depression yet, but I was a little surprised that the sadness wasn't showing through. I often post a "sneak peak" selfie of my outfits when I get dressed up and go out, and I think it's glaringly obvious in the picture I posted that night.

By the middle of the night after dancing for a few hours, I was feeling energetic and confident, and I was happy to see my friends. And this friend saw that.

But my dancer friend had one dance with me and knew something was wrong. And it was our best dance ever, yet he still knew.

He's a better dancer than I am, and I am new to this particular style of dance. So over the last few months, he's seen me go from unconfident, hesitant, and wooden, to relaxed and confident and trusting with him. So on Friday, we had our best dance ever. He was amazed and said we should have gotten it on video. And I mean it was a *good* dance - I looked like I had been taking lessons and practicing for months, when the reality is that I've never had a lesson in this particular style and I've really only danced it a couple handfuls of times in social settings.

But later, when we left the loud music and walked around outside in the quiet and the dark, the first thing he did was ask me what's wrong.

I was smiling, energetic, and *killing* it on the dance floor. But I was sliding into a depression. The friend who had some really intimate conversations with me couldn't see the depression. The dancer friend held me close for 3 minutes and, even though everything my body did was right, he still felt it.

This is why my workshop is important. With a dance partner, everything is out in the open, laid bare, raw, exposed, vulnerable. You can learn to read that, and honor that. Dance is one of the ways that can be learned.

And, of course, my workshop doesn't teach actual *dancing*, just the parts of dance that are relevant to that ability to communicate on such an intimate, intuitive level. No musicality or physical prowess or ability to memorize patterns necessary. Just pure, unfiltered flow of primal energy between two people.

He was able to read me that easily, in spite of not being a romantic partner and not knowing me very long or very well, because he is a Very Good Lead and I am a Very Good Follow. I can teach you the exercises that will guide you towards those leading and following skills.

But they take practice. He and I have been practicing, independently, for most of our adult lives. We did not need to practice with each other to learn how to read each other. We did, however, need to practice. A lot. For a long time.

My workshop will give you the tools to grow to this level of proficiency. But it's not a magic spell, where you whisper the incantation and move in the ritualistic movements one time and suddenly you're a good communicator. You have to practice the exercises that I will teach you after you leave my workshop.

And I promise, the amount of commitment you put into it will be proportional to the results you will get in the end.

Because he could read me with one 3-minute dance, through the endorphins brought on by physical activity, through my active processes to be pleasant and sociable and pretend like depression isn't a thing, through all the noise and distraction and other dancers, even through the sensuality and flirtatiousness of the dance and the barriers we all put up just for not knowing someone very well. 3 minutes of full body contact, and he knew.

You, too, can learn how to read the people you are close to. If you are driven enough to learn. And I can show you how.

Simple Steps For Better Relationship Communication with Joreth - available to come to your event! My next workshop will be at PolyDay North - SquiggleCon in Carlisle, England. Get your tickets now!




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/387838.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
25th-Apr-2018 02:38 pm - TV Show Review: The Mentalist
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
The Mentalist (2008)

www.warnerbros.com/tv/mentalist-season-1 - Warner Bros
www.imdb.com/title/tt1196946/ - IMDB
https://amzn.to/2HsaqqC - Amazon
https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/70155590 - Netflix

I posted about individual episodes from The Mentalist that highlight what I really like about the show. I've finally finished the whole series and am ready to talk about it as a whole. I will try my best to avoid specific spoilers.

I've been watching this show for years. I still get Netflix DVD, and the reason I signed up for Netflix in the first place, back when it first came out, was I felt a monthly subscription fee was cheaper than all the late fees I wrack up from rentals. I get a DVD and then forget to watch it for MONTHS. Or I get it, watch it, and forget to send it back. If I like what I see, I'll obtain a copy to own.

My Netflix DVD subscription is also now used to help me archive movies for library collections, so I've had to bump shows for pleasure down the queue in favor of movies that I review and archive. So I've been making my way through the show for years. I had to put off getting new discs of the show for a long time, so I can only re-watch the seasons I've already acquired.

So I've loved the show forever, but I haven't finished it until now.

The premise is that a "psychic" who knows he is a fraud and a conman tries to increase his brand by going on TV to say that he's helping the police solve a serial killer case and he ends up insulting the serial killer, who kills his wife and daughter to teach him a lesson in humility. The show starts out with Patrick Jane as a relatively new consultant with the fictional California Bureau of Investigation on the day that the very newest agent joins the team.

The show is mostly episodic in a traditional Sherlock Holmes-style cop drama with one super genius of observation and a team of people who can't hope to match his prowess ranging from those who accept his methods to those who disbelieve his methods to those who resent his unorthodox methods. With the serial killer case weaving in and out throughout the show.

If you don't like cop dramas, with their police procedural format, their "cops are almost always the good guys and their prey are always the bad guys" tone, and their "sometimes the good guys have to bend the rules for the greater good" justifications, you won't like this show. I grew up on cop dramas in the '80s, so I love them.

If you don't like Sherlock Holmes-style shows with one character with nearly magical powers of whatever it is he does (investigate, diagnose, whatever) and, as a result, a personality that is very off-putting to most people, then you won't like this show. Jane is not quite the Dr. House grumpy, unlikable cynic because he is very charismatic and energetic and charming when it suits his needs. But he is cynical and brash and he doesn't quite see other people as real people, he often sees them as tools to achieve his own ends.

Patrick Jane is an out atheist, and pretty confident in the assertion that there is no God or supernatural of any kind. He shows us how many things that people think are supernatural are tricks that some people exploit because our brains are exploitable. He is arrogant and confident and fiercely loyal to those who have earned his respect. But still not above a practical joke here and there. I enjoyed seeing an atheist protagonist who actively pulls the curtain aside so the audience can see what's behind it.

As I've stated before, the show also routinely adds powerful women characters without stereotyping them; it has close to 50% female supporting cast; when the bad guys are women, they're almost always very intelligent women who get away with what they do for as long as they do because they are both very intelligent and because everyone underestimates them (although Jane does not underestimate them for being women, he knows how capable women are); and the main female lead does not have a romantic or sexual relationship with the main male character.



Now the criticisms.

Eventually, we have to wrap up the serial killer storyline. The killer takes on epic proportions, becoming Villain Sue, almost a God Mode Sue foil for our hero. He starts to get too big. So I feel that the writers wrote themselves into a corner and decided to take a left-turn to get themselves out. The killer becomes, in my opinion, too powerful and the plot becomes too convoluted, and then the character they choose to finally reveal as the killer is ... unbelievable, in my opinion. I don't buy it. It feels like they were running out of time and needed to pull someone in as the killer in a hurry.

But it's weird, because they wrap this arc up in the middle of season 6. The rush job that this feels like seems more like when a show gets a surprise cancellation notice so they have to finish up a story arc that they expected to have more seasons to finish. But in the middle of a season, that's not very likely.

So I don't like who they finally revealed as the killer. I feel that this choice doesn't account for so many of the, frankly, unbelievable details they used to set up the character of the killer. And I don't like how it feels rushed. So now, with half a season left to go and the main driving force behind our protagonist's motivation gone, the show takes another turn.

Now we have a cast change and a location change in addition to a plot change. The show needs to justify why Jane continues to work as a consultant with law enforcement now that the only reason he has for wanting to work with them is gone. He joined the task force originally because he wanted to take down the killer himself, and he needed to know all the details of the investigation to find him. Now he has no reason to continue doing what he does.

So the show invents a reason, having the FBI invite him to work with them doing the same job he did with the CBI. As part of his negotiations, Jane insists that his former CBI boss work on the team too. But now everyone is in a different role. His former boss is now not his boss, she's the newest member of the team and has the least seniority and the least authority. The senior agent under her at CBI started working with the FBI before her so he is now the senior agent, somehow, outranking all the other agents who we see only as extras because it's not very believable that the FBI has a task force made up of only 3 people. The new lead agent for the team is another woman who Jane has to start over from scratch to convince that he's so good at what he does that the rules don't apply to him. And, of course, there is a new Department Head who has to clean up after Jane's messes to justify having hired him in the first place.

Two of the characters from the old CBI unit leave the show and only give guest appearances. That's not so bothersome, I think they wrapped that story arc up pretty well. They had a sexual tension from day 1, so they finally concluded that relationship arc satisfactorily, IMO.

Now Jane works in Texas with a new team and a contrived reason for 2 returning characters but in different roles. These roles change their characters. The senior agent from the old team who is now the senior agent in the new team is not terribly different, but he used to be totally emotionless with only brief glimpses into an inner emotional landscape, and we see more emotion from him now. The new agent who used to be the boss agent, and who previously had no romantic relationship with Jane (which was a point that I liked), apparently stops being a hardass and lets her guard down now that she's not in charge, and the writers turn them into a romantic couple.

I don't buy it. They have no romantic chemistry on screen and they spent 5 years building a deeply intimate but platonic relationship. Suddenly, it's all "I love you" and jealousy shit and I think it's a terrible arc. I would much rather have seen both of them meet someone else in their new roles with the FBI and fall in love that way, because both of them *do* have emotional damage that ought to start healing by 5 years into the story. Just not with each other.

So, my final thoughts are that if you are OK with letting a story go unfinished, watch until the final episode of Season 5. In the final episode of Season 5, they reveal a list of names that Jane has narrowed down the serial killer suspects to. That list is where I lost my suspension of disbelief. If you can let go of a story, then stop watching before you get the unbelievable list.

*I* need to finish a story, no matter how terrible it is (and, to be fair, this was not terrible). Midway through Season 6, everything about the story changes and it becomes, in effect, a different cop drama. It was ... OK. I didn't hate it. If the show had been like that from the beginning, I might have still enjoyed it, if a little less. I just didn't like the changes that were made. I became invested in the characters and the story as it was, and I don't think the changes were an improvement on what had come before.

Season 7 was very short, about half as long as any other season. Combined with the fact that the change all happens midway through season 6, and it felt as though Season 6 and 7 were two independent seasons of a different show. Or, perhaps a spin-off show that didn't do as well. In my experience, very few spin-off shows ever have that magic of the original. I felt that this was the same - a watered down version trying to capitalize on the popularity of the original, but missing that magic that made the original work.

Season 6 (post midpoint climax) and 7 were just OK. It didn't quite grab me. Jane had already established his Holmesian powers so all the episodes just took his skill as a given. We didn't have any build up for him, he was just running on steam from his earlier establishment. Same with his boss-turned-coworker-turned-romantic partner - she was just kind of there because we already knew her. But she was also different, and there were no really intimate moments in the script to reveal where those differences came from, so they were just kinda there too.

I might have found the last 2 seasons as a stand-alone show mildly entertaining and unique for revealing the whole supernatural facade, but it all seemed so ... soft. All the sharp and rough edges were rounded off and there was just nothing really there to grip onto. Frankly, it felt like the writers were just phoning it in. Which is a shame, because I think the new Head of Department character could have become really interesting.

I kinda wish I wasn't the type who needed to finish a story and I could have let it go before the big reveal at the end of Season 5. When I re-watch the show in the future, I will probably stop there from now on. But prior to that point, I think it was an excellent show in its genre and I highly recommend the first 5 seasons.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/387345.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
frustration, ::headdesk::
I cannot stress enough just how important it is to plan your exit strategies with ANYONE you have any kind of legal connection or financial ties with - family, lovers, friends, strangers, exes, coworkers, anyone.  I don't know why this is such a difficult concept for people to accept, but you NEED to put down in writing how to split up with people when you're dealing with anything financial or legal.  And you need to do this when y'all still like each other.

If you get married, get a fucking pre-nup.  Like, seriously, get one.  It doesn't take the "romance" out of it, and it doesn't show a lack of trust.  It's a goddamn necessity.

If you are already married and didn't get a pre-nup, get a post-nup.  It's basically the same thing, but with all the verb tenses changed.  And the most recent post-nup supersedes any prior post-nup and any pre-nup, just automatically, so keep doing post-nups even if you did get a pre-nup, as your various assets and liabilities and debts change over time.

If you go into business together, don't just talk about how you're going to split the business while you're in it, talk about how to LEAVE the business.  PUT IT IN WRITING.  Discuss if one of you wants to leave the business to the other, how can you get out, and discuss if you both want to end the business, how you're going to split the assets and the debts.

Assume a worst case scenario.  Assume that the other person has been body-swapped with their double from the mirror universe and they are suddenly, without warning, totally evil.

No, seriously, have fun with this discussion - if one of you turns evil, how can you write an exit strategy to save the other one?  Then switch roles, is the exit strategy still fair now that the other person is evil?  Role play this out while y'all are on good terms and can laugh at the absurdity of the thought that one of you would try to screw over the other.

Because I guaran-fucking-tee that everyone who has been screwed over would have laughed at the absurdity of that thought at the beginning of their relationship too.

I have some friends who are going through a divorce.  OK, I know quite a few people going through divorces, so let's take a look at one hypothetical couple.  They're poly, they're "ethical", they totally agree with everything in More Than Two and everything I write about power imbalances, abuse, feminism, privilege, etc. They know a few things about a few things.

One of them is being blindsided by what appears to be the other one pulling a stunt like my abusive ex - after years of controlling behaviour that the first one never recognized, the second one is going around telling everyone else that the first one was abusing the second one all along. And they have all this legal crap to untangle.

One of our mutual buddies and I were talking the other day.  The mutual said to me, "I had a bad feeling about That One when I first met them. But I didn't say anything because This One was clearly smitten, and what do I know?  I had just met them.  But, do you think, maybe if I had said something back then, This One could have been warned that That One would do these things and maybe done something to protect themself?"

I had to say "no, I didn't think there is anything we could have said to protect This One, because some of us DID say something.  Over the course of their marriage, several of us, independently, did tell This One that we saw some red flags about That One, and a couple people actually argued with This One pretty strenuously, trying to make This One see.

But when anyone expressed concern about how deep This One was getting entangled, and how that was leaving them open for the potential for That One to do some fucked up shit, This One always said 'well that's just silly, That One would NEVER do something like that!  So I just won't worry about it.'

This One kept insisting, to everyone who brought up concerns, that none of us really knew That One like This One did.  Which is true, of course.  Nobody who said anything about the red flags we saw really got to know That One very well.  They were often absent from group events and did not reach out to most of This One's friends independently.  So we had to concede that point.  And This One felt confident that everyone coming to them with red flags was independently wrong for our own reasons, so there was nothing for This One to be concerned about."

All my friend could say after that conversation with me was "Huh. So there's nothing we could have done then?  Well, that's depressing.  I guess people just have to get bitten on the ass then."

No one who ever ended up on opposing tables in a bitter divorce court ever walked down the aisle and thought "y'know what? I bet, some day, this dearest angel, whom I love with every fiber of my being, will probably turn out to be the biggest asshole in the world!  But I love them so much, I'll just jump head-first anyway!"

Everyone who has ever found themselves at the point of a metaphorical sword held by a former lover thought that their lover was an OK person in the beginning, not likely to do anything horrible enough to financially ruin them or damage their standing with the law.

Take my aphorism about rules and look at it backwards here.  I often say that anyone who would follow the rules doesn't need them and anyone who wants to do the things against the rules, the rules won't stop them.

When it comes to legal and financial stuff, however, things are a little different.  You can't control another human being with rules without tromping on their agency, but you can protect yourself from *them* attempting to control or harm *you* using the leverage of money or business power with some contracts.  If they're truly good-hearted, compassionate people who care about your well-being, then they will WANT to protect you with documents, so things like pre-nups should not be offensive to them because if they really loved you, they would want to see you protected and cared for.

And since y'all are so confident that this is just hypothetical anyway because your love will never die and you are both the paragons of virtue you think of each other, then it doesn't matter if you have legal paperwork or not because you both know you'll never have to use it.  So might as well have it and not need it.  Just like any other insurance policy.

If they are one of these monsters in disguise who is managing to completely fool you, then you *need* that paperwork.

In addition, one of you will die before the other one.  That is almost guaranteed.  Part of these exit strategies can and should encompass how to handle assets and debts and property in the event of that kind of split as well.  Nobody likes talking about death, but too fucking bad. Put on the big kid pants and have the awkward conversation already. Like with most things in poly, or in any healthy relationship, if you want to adult with other people, you have to have awkward conversations, so roll up your sleeves and hitch up your britches and start talking.

And while you're playing at being grown ups with the conversation about death, you might as well go all the way and talk about splitting up too.  It's awkward and unsexy and you might learn something about your partner that you don't like as you hear them talk about how to divvy up property and cash, but if you can't handle that kind of conversation, you shouldn't be entangling yourself in finances or business or legal shit in the first place.

Treat your financial and legal presence as seriously as you treat your sexual presence - use some goddamn protection, and if you can't talk about it with each other, then you shouldn't be doing it with each other.

#IMaybeJustALittleAnnoyedAtWatchingYetMoreFriendsFindThemselvesInBadLegalSituationsBecauseTheirFormerLoverWouldNEVERdoThat




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/387270.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
More comments of mine that I want to turn into blog posts:

Q. I am a single mother and have more than one male partner. My religious family disapproves. Am I being a bad mother by being poly? How can I do this without messing them up or confusing them?

A. My sister is a monogamous single teen mother (well, she *was* a teen, now she's well into adulthood). Because of her circumstances, she raised her son with the help of me and our mono, hetero, Christian parents. That's 4 adults all living in the home raising one child.

For about a year or two, she moved to her babydaddy's town and lived with his parents, who were right across the street from my uncle, down the street from 2 cousins, and around the block from our grandfather, and a short drive away from 3 more aunts and uncles and a grandmother. That's 3 live-in adults, and about 10 more adults in the vicinity.

When she moved back with our parents, that was the 4 of us again, plus the new monogamous boyfriend (who eventually became her husband and father to her second child), and the kid's regular daycare provider so that she could finish her degree and get a good job. So now 6 adults helping to raise the child, plus a handful of neighbors and teachers and good friends who all played a peripheral role.

That kid grew up to be a decent student, an amazing athlete, and aspiring soldier, who loves his mother and all his other "parents". He's one of the most loving, considerate, compassionate people I've ever known. He became an assistant coach for the swim league that he grew up swimming for and he mentors young children. He also regularly stays with my parents (his grandparents) and does manual labor around the house now that my dad is getting too old to do it himself.

None of this has anything to do with polyamory.

The more loving, stable adults there are in a child's life, the better off that child is. My nephew could have become just one more statistic - a child of a teenage single mom. He could have been poor, he could have been "difficult" with his ADHD and not enough discipline, he could have gotten into trouble with too much unsupervised free time on his hands.

But instead, he had so many pairs of eyes looking in on him and so many people to support his mother emotionally and financially that she was able to finish high school, put herself through college, get a degree, and start a career while *still* being present in his life to coach his swim team when he was a kid and volunteer at his school and help him with his homework. She couldn't have done any of that without all the other loving parental figures around to help.

There was never any confusion about who the adults in his life are or how they are related to him. And he had so much love and support that he turned out to be a great young adult.

You mention being confused. This is something I have a personal beef about. My sister and I are also adopted. We were both born to teen moms who couldn't care for us and made the ultimate sacrifice to allow someone else to raise their children. Our adopted parents adopted us as babies and were the best possible choice we could have hoped for. They were always honest with us about being adopted. It was always clear that we were "born of mommy's heart, not her tummy". So I technically have 4 legitimate parents.

I have never once been "confused" as to who my parents are. I have 2 people who contributed genetic material and who loved me enough to let me go, and 2 people who dedicated their lives to seeing me healthy and happy and raised to adulthood.

Children need loving adults in their lives. They need some semblance of stability. They need security in order to develop healthy attachment styles of relating to other people. They need a reasonable amount of discipline to develop the skills necessary to survive as an adult. None of this has anything at all to do with the gender or relationship of the adults in the child's life.

This concern trolling "but what about the children?!?" for poly households just makes me so mad because I came from a wonderful home that has all the same elements of poly households but without any polyamory, and I benefited greatly from those elements, as did my sister and her children. I feel that we were given an edge over others, that we were *privileged* because of our family circumstances. And I wish more children had at least the same privileges that we did.

If you look at the actual reality of their concerns even a tiny bit, they fall apart completely. More adults who care about the children is better. Obviously they won't get "confused" any more than literally ANY child gets "confused" by their own families. More incomes is better. More resources is better. Turn it around and ask why they want to restrict access for children from more love and more resources?

If you want even more ammunition, pick up the book The Polyamorists Next Door by Dr. Elisabeth Sheff. It's about her longitudinal study on poly families with children - the longest running study on poly families ever. Her conclusions are basically the same as families with gay parents - if the parents are loving and attentive, then the kids turn out just fine and everything else the parents do is irrelevant.

Kids don't care who is sleeping with whom and usually don't even notice. Kids care how that adult is related *to the kid*. Is the adult there to buy them things? Is the adult there to play with them? Is the adult there to help them with homework? Is the adult there to drive them to their friends' houses? Is the adult there to keep them from messing up? It's all about "me", as far as kids are concerned. They don't know and don't care about their parents' genitals or what they do with them in private.

They care if they have a safe place to sleep at night, enough food to eat, and fun things to do (and they also care if their *parents* are happy, because that reflects on their own ability to find stability and happiness at home, so parents who are in alignment about how to raise the kids and who treat *each other* well are also important but whether or not they are having sex or even married or dating is irrelevant too).




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/386990.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
Purple Mobius, polyamory
Commitments Parchment
* I am committed to allowing the relationship to find its own structure and direction without forcing it into a predetermined shape and to considering alternate structures and directions before automatically resorting to breaking up when situations and priorities change.
I am committed to allowing the relationship to find its own structure and direction without forcing it into a predetermined shape and to considering alternate structures and directions before automatically resorting to breaking up when situations and priorities change.

This is the natural extension of the previous commitment. In addition to committing to being flexible with plans within a relationship, I want to be flexible about the relationship itself. As I mentioned before, I have a style of poly in my head that I idealize - the close-knit poly family. I need to be accommodating to the individual needs of each relationship and to make sure that the relationship follows its own natural path. Sometimes those paths twist and turn a bit. When they take a sharp left turn, it may not be necessary to get off the path entirely just because it's no longer going in the direction I thought it should. Sometimes, I may be able to follow a new path.

Just to make sure that metaphor was perfectly clear, I am reminding myself here that there are more than two states for romantic relationships - together or broken up. I have already established that I can accept a variety of relationship configurations and that I do not want to prescript my relationships. So here I am establishing that I will not let my relationship descriptions turn prescriptive once we get in them. If, some time into a relationship, one or the other (or both) of us decides that our life needs to look different than it currently does, I am reminding myself that it may be possible to simply readjust our relationship to look different too.

When I first started dating Franklin, we lived 3 miles away from each other. Then he moved to Gainesville. Then I moved to Orlando. Then he moved to Atlanta. Then he moved to Portland. If either of us had insisted that our relationship was a local relationship and could only be a local relationship, it would have ended with the first move to Gainesville a mere year or two into it. Instead, what I got was a long-distance relationship that has, as of this post, lasted more than a decade, brought me valuable life lessons, been a source of joy and comfort, taught me how to become the person I wanted to be, and introduced me to the people I consider my intentional family and those I feel the most connected to anywhere in the world (with the exception of my best friend, who I met through another partner).

When things change, I do not need to automatically reach for the breakup card. When things change, I can assess if we can change with it. The relationship may not be what we originally hoped it would be, but then again, it might be something just as valuable or more that we never anticipated if we give it room to just be.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/386617.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
April Fool's Day - the day when trust is a punishable offense.

I think April Fools Day is a cruel holiday because the generally accepted way to celebrate is to pull the sorts of pranks that humiliate the person being pranked. On the internet especially, they rely on telling someone a lie, someone who, on every other day has no reason to expect you to lie to them, and then punishing them when they believe a lie from an otherwise trusted person.

"Ha ha! You believed me! You trusted someone who has spent time building up a trusting relationship with you! Fool! You are so silly for trusting me!"

I do not enjoy or appreciate humor at the expense of other people's embarrassment or shame. And I particularly do not appreciate taking advantage of other people's ability or desire to trust the word of people they know and like, or even expecting a basic level of courtesy from strangers.

Some people like the idea that this holiday teaches "critical thinking", but it doesn't. It teaches cynicism and guardedness and that humiliating others can be funny like, ever. As both a skeptic and a cynic, I know the difference. If it taught critical thinking, it wouldn't last just for the day. It teaches *distrust*, which is not the same thing as "critical thinking", even though critical thinking requires the desire to verify information.  Skepticism (and the critical thinking that underlies it) is not a lack of *trust* or an active *distrust*, it is a lack of *credulity*, which is a *very* different animal.

The next most common way to celebrate is with physical pranks that startle, embarrass, or inconvenience others, such as swapping out the fillings on a sandwich or the classics like toothpaste or plastic wrap on the toilet seat.

If this were a day that *normally* celebrated something like "comedy" with jokes and puns or whatever, that'd be fine. If we only saw pretend products for sale and that was the extent of the "make someone believe the lie", especially if it was more clearly satire like The Onion or ads for obviously spoof products like "unicorn meat", I'd even be OK with that. I enjoy clever satire.

I don't even care that most of the people who like me enough to follow me here not do that other shit, because clearly y'all are not "normal" or y'all wouldn't like me so much. It's what's considered "normal" or common that I usually get up in arms about - social norms. That this kind of cruelty is considered "comedy" says a lot about our culture - none of it good.

It's hard enough to develop and maintain trust in this world without deliberately undermining it with a nationally-sanctioned holiday that seems to be nothing BUT undermining trust and causing embarrassment.

I hate this holiday.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/386478.html.

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Purple Mobius, polyamory
I just had an ah-ha moment - one of those things that I kinda already know but it somehow crystallized for me in a way that it hadn't before.

I come from an immigrant family.  It's true that both of the parents who raised me are natural born citizens, but my grandparents on my mom's side were immigrants (and POC at that, who never really learned English), and my grandparents on my dad's side were from that sort of white Norwegian immigrant type family that embedded their immigration status into their family identity, regardless of how many generations ago the actual migration happened.  Like, y'know, Minnesotans who still maintain ties with their second cousins from "the old country" and who are still baking the same old family recipes at county fairs and stuff.

Intellectually, I know that not everyone has the same kind of family ties that I was raised with.  I have the kind of family who still gets offended if their great-niece doesn't send her annual holiday letter every year, and the first time I drove across the country, I was required to stop by and meet my dad's father's sister-in-law's brother (who is my great-uncle by marriage) who my mom hadn't even met yet.  It would have been mildly offensive for me to not introduce myself while I was in the neighborhood.  Keep in mind that I hadn't even known of his existence until I announced the trip, but I sure as hell had to stop and say "hi" or risk ruffling some feathers (and as a product of this family, I thought it was kinda neat to meet family I didn't know I had).

I *know* that not everyone has these kinds of family connections.  But I just put it together that this was related to immigration.

I have drawn parallels before between polyamory and "normal" monogamous extended families.  People often ask me about scheduling in a poly relationship, and I always say that it's no more complicated than trying to schedule an extended family event.  When people seem to get stuck on that concept, it's clear that they've obviously never tried to get 3 uncles, an aunt, about 12 cousins, two grandparents who are divorced and don't speak to each other, a great aunt, a cousin-once-removed, two god-siblings and a god-nephew to Las Vegas for a wedding anniversary party.

And people look at me like I've just grown a second head - of course they've never tried to do that, who would try to do that?!

When I tried to explain to Franklin about the wedding guest list and the need for a large enough venue, he kind of boggled at me rattling off my list of relatives.  Why did we have to invite everyone?  Because of the family politics of *not* inviting someone! (Not that he actually balked at inviting people, but it didn't actually occur to *him* to invite second cousins and great-aunts and it certainly didn't occur to him that any of his relatives might get offended for not getting an invitation).

Meanwhile, I had to check in with him after the wedding to see if his sister was even notified that he had just gotten married.  He *thought* someone had told her.  I have no concept for this in my head.  My bio-mom's step-daughter's (from an ex-husband) cousins all heard (directly from me) about us getting married.  I can't even fathom the idea that a *sister* might have been told by someone, maybe.

So, I know that not everyone does family the way I do, but it didn't occur to me that this is, at least in some part, due to immigration.

If you look at recently immigrated families, you'll see some trends.  Often you will see entire sections of town devoted to preserving their culture, like having a "Chinatown" or a "Jewish" district.  Sometimes that's imposed from the outside, to keep the POC safely contained, but a lot of it is also because recent immigrants to a new country can rely on others of their nationality for support.  They might have immigrated in the first place because they already had family here.  Certain foods might be unavailable anywhere other than their own grocery stores.  They can be guided on naturalization, on language classes, on jobs that will hire them.  The schools in the area are more likely to understand and connect with the children who may be bilingual (or not yet speak English) and have different customs and foods and clothing.

To come to a foreign country is intimidating and there are often a lot of obstacles in the way of settling in.  So people who have had similar experiences, both with the immigration process and with their cultural background, often band together to form large extended family-like neighborhoods and communities.  People whose families have been here long enough for the descendants to no longer identify as a hyphenated-American, but simply as belonging to the US, don't have this same pressure to build and maintain ties to people whose ancestors came from the same place.

Not that they *don't* do that - the Daughters of the Revolution, for instance, is a good example of a purely US extended family construct that has many of these kinds of traits - pulling together as a community, pride in lineage, common cultural mores and foods and clothing and thoughts and behaviours, etc.

But if a person doesn't have, as part of their *identity*, the struggle to fit into an alien culture and needing those like them, even if not directly related, for support, that person may have an easier time adopting a "rugged individualism" sort of identity and maintaining ties with smaller groups like a nuclear family, and perhaps even experience a freedom of social mobility to move through communities and even physical locations without a sense of culture shock and loss of identity.

I have been told by several people that white people like to think that they made up this poly thing, but if you look at black culture, you'll see that something like polyamory has been around for much longer than the '90s when some neo-pagans coined the term, and longer than the Free Love movement that inspired them.  Sure, even white people will talk about how some form of non-monogamy has always existed, but talk of historical non-monogamy tends to be mostly made up of other white examples. While my POC friends point out that they've been doing this *in parallel*, not in response to or influenced by whatever it is that white people think is polyamory.

So, while black cultures can seem to be coming almost from the opposite direction as immigrants, seeing as how they didn't "immigrate" while trying to hang onto an old culture but instead had their culture stolen from them when their ancestors were stolen, the response seems to be to come towards the same place as immigrants - which is to build interconnected, dynamic, extended support networks of families. When you have nothing else, you at least have each other and your shared experiences as an unwanted "outsider" in a hostile land that you call "home".

So, when I was pulling out my usual "polyamory isn't any different from monogamy with extended families", it occurred to me that if anyone needed to develop better tools regarding extended family interpersonal relationships (like therapists, for example), one could look at the research on recent immigrant subcultures and communities in the US.

Which then led me to consider, if immigrant families are so prone to this kind of interconnected family networks, could that be where I picked it up?  My mom is from a recently immigrated, Mexican family, so yeah, probably there.  But what about my dad?  Oh, dad's Norwegian whose parents moved here from Minnesota, who are also pretty notorious for their in-group communities.  No matter how many generations have lived in the US, they still act like recent-immigrant communities, kinda like Jewish people do.

So, now this is a connection I have in my head that I can use to explain polyamory better.  To someone like Franklin, the idea of not talking to a sibling for months or years, or even needing to cut a sibling out for "differences of opinion" is an option that's totally on the table.  But for someone who comes from a Mexican family like mine, or a Chinese family, or an Indian family, the idea that, when two people get married, and the new spouse has a problem with the sister-in-law, the idea that the married couple can just stop talking to the sister because the "marriage comes first" isn't even an option.  It's not even considered, unless one is willing to cut ties with the whole freaking family.

You simply Do Not just drop someone who has a conflict with a romantic partner.  You fucking work it out, one way or another.  And, in some cases, it's the romantic partner who gets dumped.

I'm not saying we should stray too far in this direction where toxic and abusive familial relationships are maintained because they're "family" to the detriment of healthy romantic relationships.  But I am saying that this is a model, a framework, where (some) people understand that a romantic relationship is not the pinnacle of all relationships, and that interpersonal dynamics are complex and strong, and good conflict resolution skills are prized because winnowing down to just "the couple" is not considered the healthy option.

In poly relationships, when we make "the family" more important than the people in it, we stray into coercive territory.  But that's not what I'm talking about here - that's a whole other rant (which I've made several times before).  So I'm not talking about making the family more important than the people.

But I *am* talking about making the family at least AS important, if not moreso, than "the couple".  THAT dynamic needs to go.  That's a lesson we can learn from recent-immigrant communities.  The people in the relationships need to be more important than the relationship, but once that is prioritized, the *networks* of interconnected people needs to be at least as important as any given dyadic romantic "couple".

Because polyamory is not something that "couples" do, it's something that people do.  Your metamours are not people you can just drop when you're having your own issues inside your dyad, in the same way that your mother-in-law is not someone you can just cut out of your lives forever when you decide it's time to have a baby, to focus on your own nuclear family, or when you're having a time of stress between you and your partner.  In fact, calling on your mother-in-law when you start having children, or maintaining your connections with your siblings when you're romantic relationship is going through a rough patch are excellent tools for helping people get through those challenging times.

Poly networks can be an incredible tool for the same things.  When someone dies in a recent-immigrant community, everyone bands together to take some of the responsibility off of the grieving widow, for example - it's a trope to bring food to a funeral because, when this practice became popular, making food was a seriously time- and effort-intensive process (still can be) and if the person who died was the "breadwinner", a community can come together and make sure that people who are grieving, and potentially now out of income or labor to support the family, can still get fed.

And when the entire community pitches in, nobody is overly burdened.  When my grandfather died, my grandmother was not able to care for herself, so she got shuttled around from one of her child's households to another, adding an extra amount of food and financial obligation and labor to that nuclear family.  At least she had several children to keep passing her around to.

But if she had a *community*, with someone who could have dropped off a casserole every other day, and someone else who could have come by to play bridge with, and someone else who could have interfaced with the lawyers, etc., etc., none of her children's nuclear families would have been taxed to the point that she was needed to be "passed off" to someone else (the reason she only had her kids and no extended community has to do with my grandfather being an abusive patriarch type, but that's another story).

Or, as many other elderly people who didn't come from the kind of community-based background as my grandmother and didn't have nearly a dozen children who believed it was their obligation to take her in no matter what have had to rely on nursing homes and the kind of kindness of strangers that money can buy.

When I went into my suicidal depression, I had several people I could turn to, all with different ways of helping - the one who could show me love and affection, the one who could help me navigate the complicated medical system while looking for a counselor, the one who could just listen, etc.  When I found a low-income clinic that accepted my application for the most amount of financial assistance they had to offer ($10 therapy visits), and the counselor they assigned to me learned of me being poly, the first thing he asked was if the stress of multiple relationships was contributing to my depression.

I explained to him that my poly network was the only thing that *wasn't* contributing to my depression and, in fact, was actively helping by being my support network.  I could tell that this possibility hadn't even occurred to him (not that he was familiar with poly in the first place, but naturally the first thing he thought of when he heard "multiple partners" was stressful love triangle, jealousy, competition, superficial connections, etc.).

But, to me, it seems obvious that more people to love means more people to support me.  I credit a lot of my ability to grasp polyamory with my adoptive background too.  My parents instilled in me a very strong sense of "family is more than who you're related to, it's who you're connected to through love, not blood".  But a lot of people see adoption as a last resort, and not even that because they want children "of their own", they don't want to raise "someone else's kids".  And it occurred to me that part of my parents' ability to see adoption as "god's plan" for them and their adopted children as "theirs" might be related to the whole immigrant thing too.

The church I went to in high school was predominantly Filipino, with some Mexicans.  I sang in the church youth choir.  All of us choir kids called each other's parents "mom and dad", because, in our church, they were all our "parents" and we were all their "kids".  Lots of people in this area had adopted or raised "someone else's children" - siblings or children who were unwed teen parents that couldn't raise their children so they did instead, young cousins or their own siblings who had some kind of problem at home and needed to escape, their own kids' school friends with similar problems, a relative's child who lived in an area with poor schools so they took in the child to give them an address that allowed them to attend a better school, stuff like that.

For recent-immigrant families, seeing everyone as part of one big family is how we survived.  I think it gave my parents the ability to provide me with probably the most idyllic adoption story possible short of a Daddy Warbucks story, and that sense of family and my positive adoption experience gave me the ability to foster a healthy outlook on polyamory, one that sees the destructiveness and toxicity of couple-centrism and couple-privilege.

In recent-immigrant families, you can't isolate yourself down to just "the couple".  That's where you are in the most danger.  You can't lock yourselves into a "couple" because that leaves no room for family, friends, god, and community, and without those things, you can't survive.

Obviously, within monogamy, a "couple" is still important - you wouldn't want someone to "come between" a romantic couple by having more romantic connections, so the analogy starts to break down at that point.  But, even there, we have some room.  There is some precedence for "the mistress" being part of the family, or at least maintaining connection to the community.  As we see in The Color Purple, black families have had some romantic interconnectedness going on there too.

These things have happened, they're just not talked about in the same way as modern polys talk openly about polyamory.  A lot of times, kids grow up never really understanding that "Aunt" Sarah isn't someone's sister or a friend of the family that moved in to have help raising her kids, but her kids might be Daddy's kids too.  And in certain sorts of communities, while this might not be the norm or widely accepted, it has happened, and people are not thrown out for being "black sheep", because they're *family* and family is supported and helped to the best of the community's ability.

So I think we can look to the complex nature of recent-immigrant communities for some guidance and modeling of large, complex, interconnected networks of family systems.  And maybe all these damn "couples" can learn a thing or two by emulating the healthier aspects of communities with rich cultural traditions of extended families.

Lots of time, the Argument From Antiquity is a logical fallacy - just because it's "old", or "we've always done it", it doesn't mean that it's true or healthy or good for you.  But sometimes things are "always done" because it's a system that works.  Sometimes, it *is* in our better interests to "listen to our elders" and keep certain traditions alive - like valuing the larger family and not prioritizing couplehood over complex family network connections.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/386287.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
This is your occasional reminder that I have actually had to pull my knife on a man 3 times in my life, since I started carrying one.

Assault, harassment, and intimidation are regular, "normal" parts of most women's lives, and definitely a part of mine. In absolutely none of the cases where I had to pull a knife out and brandish it was I "dressed for it" or "asking for it" or "sending mixed signals".

In all 3 cases, it was actually after work and I was wearing my military cargo pants and steel toe boots with no makeup or attempt at hair styling. I was in a casino lounge with my other coworkers, minding our own business and not interacting with any other patrons, at a party at a friend's house in a conversation with my ex (who was not the one I pulled the knife on), and at a gas station working on my car.

There are *lots* of times when, in retrospect, I should have pulled a knife on a date or a "friend", but because they were not strangers, I just kept giving them the benefit of the doubt and trying to find non-violent ways out of the situation. I even remained "friends" with many of them or continued to date them long after the fact (or while the behaviour was ongoing).

Being attacked by strangers, while common, happens less often than being assaulted by "friends" and partners. Had I pulled a knife on someone I had some kind of relationship with, I guarantee you that I would have been accused of "overreacting" or of being the aggressor or the "assaulter" for having escalated it to violence with a weapon. We are taught to fear Stranger Danger when the worst of our danger comes from intimates.

But, the thing is, it has *never* occurred to me to pull a weapon on a partner or a "friend". Because each and every time, the severity of the assault is not fully recognized until afterwards, when I've had time to see that my brain won't stop replaying the incident and I'm getting more and more upset over it, since I couldn't afford to react in the moment or else risk escalating something, namely his wrath.

My instinctual response is to freeze, make myself smaller, and smile to placate him into thinking it's not a big deal so that he doesn't get angry at me. The last time I actively fought back against a "friend" who was assaulting me, I got my shoulder dislocated for the effort. I have not fought back since then (I think I was 14?). I go very still instead.

When my ex-fiance used to sexually assault me at night by touching my genitals when he thought I was asleep, if I would get pissed off at him and try to leave the room to go sleep on the couch, as I was attempting to get out of bed, he would tell me that if I left right then, my precious figurine collection (which I loved dearly, almost everything in that collection was a gift) would be damaged.

I know now that this is a clear cut case of abuse, but that's not something I knew back then and I'm not entirely sure that, had I been told, I would have recognized it as abuse while I was going through it. He never once laid a hand on me in anger, or threatened to, and I never feared that he would. *That* was something I would recognize as abuse. But not the sexual assault and not the threat of property damage.

It would never have occurred to me to respond with violence to someone who was not being violent towards me, particularly with someone I loved. Partner abuse is a much more complex and insidious thing than stranger assaults.

And I have had enough of both that I have pulled a knife in self-defense 3 times so far. I'm lucky none of them had a gun.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/386016.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
23rd-Mar-2018 08:32 pm - Ah, The Drama Of Living In A Slum
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
So, I had no idea, but the apartment upstairs (the one that leaks water into my place every day) was rented by a man. I have seen a man coming and going every so often, but several months ago, I saw a *woman* move in. She introduced herself, we've chatted a few times, I've given her cupcakes, and she was all apologetic when I ran upstairs the time my entire fucking ceiling started leaking all over the apartment to see what happened.

A few days after she moved in, I discovered she had kids when they peered out from the window at me, when her car was gone and I assumed she wasn't home. Shortly after that I started posting about kids having races upstairs and pounding back and forth across my ceiling.

Anyway, she wasn't a great neighbor but she wasn't terrible either. Fast forward to the whole leaky ceiling thing and I've been trying to get my management company to fix it since before the hurricane. Not that the company isn't doing anything, but the maintenance people keep not showing up to fix it.

Now, we have yet another maintenance guy here. He came out a few days ago to inspect it, and through him, I discovered that the apartment upstairs was supposed to be vacant on the 28th. I had heard that she was getting evicted (although she told me that she was leaving because she hated living here), but I didn't know when. Apparently, the *guy* on the lease told the company that he *was gone*.

But she still lives up there.

So the new maintenance guy has been trying to get upstairs to find the source of the leak. Yesterday, after confirming several times that the apartment is supposed to be vacant and the person on the lease verified that he is gone, he drilled out the lock on the door and put a new one in so his plumber can get in there today while I had the day off, to give him all day to work on the leak.

Today, the plumber tried to get in and found that the new key, that was installed yesterday, does not work. So he went off to do another job and the head maintenance guy came back to solve the problem.

In the meantime, her car came back and is parked in the yard. So now the head guy is standing outside with a cop pounding on the door above my head demanding to open up. Since she hasn't after several minutes of pounding, the cop gave the go-ahead to the maintenance guys to drill out the lock again. So now they're up there drilling, while the cop hangs out, eating a brownie and shaking his head over how complicated this whole thing is.

Y'know, if the first maintenance guy had just come back when I made the first complaint last fall, this whole thing would have been a lot more simple, and I wouldn't feel bad at the idea that someone who is in a bad living situation (like I was a few years ago) might be having her place invaded before she's able to get out.

Had I known any of this about her squatting before I started complaining about the leak, I might have lived with the leak a little longer, to give her some time. But when they sent (a different maintenance team) out who cut a hole in my ceiling to investigate *and then never came back to fix it*, I started getting more insistent. And my management company responded immediately with these guys who are actually trying to do work. But in order for them to do work, they had to get involved in the drama upstairs.

Apparently, when the lock was changed, someone actually climbed up to the balcony and entered through the balcony door, because that door was open. And then they did something to the new lock - don't know if they changed it over night or they just damaged the tumblers to prevent its use.

Cops just said they found some "drug paraphernalia" inside, and they gave the maintenance guy permission to just clear it out, so at least nobody is going to jail for drugs. I asked if he found any kids hiding upstairs, because she often leaves them there alone, but he said no. Her car is still here, but nobody is there.

So here we are.

And no, I don't think that buying a home would solve my problems either, because then I'd have to pay for all this shit myself, which I can't afford to do. This is just what life is like when you're poor.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/385582.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
I have very high self-esteem. Self-esteem doesn't mean that I think I'm awesome, it means that I see myself fairly accurately and I accept both the good and the bad parts of myself. Not that I don't think growth and change are necessarily bad things, just that I accept who I am right now and where I am on my path at any given time. There is a confidence that comes from knowing that I'm not perfect and that's OK. That's self-esteem. I am not blind to my own foibles.

Someone asked if we were to have a statue made in our honor but it would be made of an unusual material, what would that material be?

My answer is:
Something mostly stable under reasonable conditions but temperamental and explosive with the right catalyst - like C4.
I know I can be a loose cannon online.  It started out because I needed an outlet for my anger, and people who connected with the things I was angry about and the way I was angry started following me.  So I deliberately crafted "Joreth" to be that outlet, to be the place where that anger lives.

If I were to have any sort of statue made in my honor, the content of the statue can be any number of things about who I am, the things I do, and what I stand for.  But if the material is to be something "unusual", I think a tribute to my rage with a plastic explosive is fitting.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/385304.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
I'm working on my memoir. I've always expected it to be published (like, on my blog or something) either post-mortem by a loved one, or at least near the end of my life. It always felt ... I dunno, presumptuous, to write a memoir while still young enough to have more stories to tell. I suppose if one had a particular segment of life that had an identifiable ending to it, that would make sense.

My memoir is basically a chapter-by-chapter review of my poly explorations, to see how I've grown and the mistakes I've made over time.  I'm also working on a book about breaking up. This is more of a how-to, self-help sort of break up manual. Although, to be honest, more than a little of the "do not do" stuff is shit that I've done (and the rest is shit that I've had done to me).

Recently, I wrote about having to block an ex over something that, by itself wasn't really a big deal, but was symptomatic of a larger picture of abuse, and then I ended up telling the whole tale of our breakup where he physically tried to restrain me from leaving.

As I get more informed about what abuse is and isn't, I look back over my history and I've come to recognize that more and more of my past relationships were abusive and I just never recognized it because, to me, that's just how relationships go, according to my expectations from my culture and the sheer commonality of the behaviour I've experienced.

Like, early on in my relationship with Franklin, we discussed something that I call Octopus-Hands - how I've been on dates, and just hanging out with "friends", who have suddenly tried to touch my breasts, and when I knocked their hands away, they grabbed for my crotch, and when I tried to block there, they used their other hand to go for the breast again...

Franklin was appalled. He couldn't even fathom that this would happen at all, let alone be common. When he expressed surprise, I responded with surprise at his surprise, telling him that this is just what it's like being a woman who dates men. Like, it surprised *me* that someone was surprised that it happens. I think it was my first sign that my experiences weren't "normal" - or rather, they were "normal" in the sense that they were common, but they're not "normal" in the sense that they're acceptable or universal.

I talk about my abusive ex, who didn't abuse me because I didn't "take" it but did abuse someone else, and I talk about my abusive ex-fiance who *did* sexually assault me and gaslight me on the regular. But I never considered that other ex, who tried to prevent me from leaving, and who did the whole pussy-grabbing-while-asleep-after-I-said-no-sex-tonight thing to be "abusive" until I wrote out the story recently.

The growing realization of just how many of my past experiences were actually, unambiguously abusive combined with my writing of a book on how to break up, and the periodic drive to get back to my memoir all combined at once yesterday to forge an idea that popped into my brain.

What if, after my how-to breakup book is published, I rewrite and release a serial publication of some sort detailing every breakup I've ever had (that I can remember)? Maybe I can crowdfund it, and each breakup will get its own release, perhaps on my blog, perhaps as an e-booklet or something? Might this be something people would be interested in?

If not, I'll end up publishing my original story anyway, probably as the original blog series, but later in life as planned. I was just struck by the confluence of subjects and events and wondered if I could connect all these things together.




This post was originally posted at https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/385166.html.

This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.

 
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