Let’s Talk About It: the complexity of feminism

This is something I’m labeling as a “Let’s Talk About It” here because I ended up talking at length about this topic, but it originated from an ask on tumblr. Below is the ask, as well as my answer. I’m posting here because it’s a long answer and others may find it to be of interest, or I may want to find this post again in the future.

Copied tumblr post below:


feministetalquestion

I answered the ICoS questions in a different post so here I’m answering just the feminist question. I split them because whether I consider myself to be a feminist is a complicated/long answer on its own.

You may be wondering why this part took me so much longer to answer. It’s because no matter how many times I started this post, it always devolved into way too many topics way too quickly and somehow it involved a rant. Although you said it was fine to rant, I felt like I wasn’t explaining my thought process well and I kept getting way too sidetracked. To me, everything is interconnected so there are several really big topics that can get pulled in from the simple question of “feminism: yes/no?”.

This is probably try #6 on this post and hopefully this will be the last attempt. All of this is, of course, merely my personal opinion– other people could think completely differently than I do, and it doesn’t make them less valid than me. It simply makes them a human being with a different opinion, which is not something to judge but rather something to accept and even love.

The short answer is that I don’t consider myself to be anything in particular. Without going way too much on a tangent, the way I personally feel about things (others could feel otherwise and be totally valid) is that labels are limiting, both externally by what people make assumptions about based on the label, and internally by what people will allow themselves to think/feel based on trying to fit in with whatever label they’ve self-assigned.

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Finding the right bra: tips and information

For everyone with breasts: this is about finding the right bra for you (both size and style) and knowing your breast size/shape. This post, which may seem a bit random and personal, is because of a conversation on Facebook where I talked about a lot of this information, then realized maybe it would be good to share with others.

I saw this video a few years ago and it’s what made me first realize I had measured myself completely incorrectly– I recommend you watch it too:

If you don’t want to watch that video or even if you did already see it, here’s more information below.

MEASUREMENTS, TYPES, AND STYLES

Ok so, bras are weird. I was never educated on these things so there’s a LOT I didn’t know about before I decided to measure myself one day. I had no idea that for most of my life, I wore bras that were way smaller than I should have had.

What I found for myself was that as soon as I wore the correct size, it was so much more comfortable– and people kept telling me that they thought I’d lost weight or why did I look so good? When I told them it was just that I was wearing the correct bra size now, they were surprised. And doubtful that it would make such a difference, but it does.

My recommendations/tips:

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The calm to hide a storm

I wrote this on facebook but then realized I didn’t want to lose it, so I’m posting it here too.


Do you ever assess yourself as if looking from the outside, and wonder at pieces of you? For instance, I am weirdly calm in emergencies. I’m not the person running around freaking out; I’m the person who’s instantly identifying the problems so I can figure out the solutions. But that also means I probably seem heartless to other people in the first moments of being told someone is missing, or someone is in the hospital, or this person is sick, or that person was in an accident. I don’t freak out because you don’t know what will happen. It may be fine, it may not. All you can do is try to identify the ways to stack the cards in positivity’s favor.

But afterward– after I’m away from other people and the outcome is clear, that’s where I have that moment of release. Shuddering tears, perhaps, or sudden harsh breaths, like releases of all the air in my lungs at once, again, again, because I didn’t realize I was holding my breath, I didn’t realize how much I was controlling my body, until I knew I didn’t have to do it anymore.

I wonder, sometimes, where I develop these reactions. I think this part of me is because I never want to hurt or worry other people, and I want to help. So if I hear of something bad, I’m instantly trying to find the ways to fix it, or to help mitigate the disaster. I’m instantly aware that panic will only make it worse and will only scare everyone else more so I have to be as calm and strong as I can be, as casual or darkly humorous if needed, to keep everyone on task and distracted from all the ominous What If’s of the world. But even though I cut out the heart in the first moment, even though I go all brain, it doesn’t stop my heart from feeling in the background. And so, when I’m alone and I know it won’t hurt anyone, I let that fear or pain be acknowledged so the denial doesn’t become my own tragedy; my own self-prophetical pain.

I wonder what you’re supposed to do in those situations. And I wonder if, to others, my automatic reaction to shut off emotions and be calm is more comforting or frightening in the greater scheme of the world. Does it seem strange to them that someone who spends so much time talking and smiling and joking doesn’t seem to care about something bad happening, or does that inconsistency make them stop and reassess their own emotions? Am I helping or am I hindering, and in the end does it even matter? Because that is my automatic, instant reaction and I can’t change it. I don’t know if I would want to, even if I tried.

I think about these things sometimes, because psychology and human behavior is interesting to me, even when it’s my own reactions. Do you do the same?

Anti-bullying, and remember: you could become someone else’s bully

I received this message at tumblr, and after I posted my response I decided I wanted to add it to my blog as well– both so it wouldn’t be lost, and because this is something I believe very strongly that will never change. I see way too many people use their own real or perceived hurt to hurt others, and that is exactly what bullies are often thought to do. Don’t let yourself become so certain of your own moral superiority that you are blinded to the impact of your own actions or words.


anontothisday

Wow, thank you so much for pointing that out! I hadn’t seen it before and it was amazing! Since I think everyone should watch it, here’s the video:

I love the message in it, and that it stands for anti-bullying. I really like how it talks about the different parts, how something small can become something so huge. I could really identify with that, both for me and for some of my characters. I want to take a second to remind everyone how much words can hurt, and how verbal or emotional abuse can cause as much– if not, in some cases, actually more– long term damage as physical abuse.

But I also want to mention something else: I think we should all strive to treat others the way we wish we would be treated. This is unrelated to this video but sometimes, especially on social media, I see people get so wrapped up in whatever cause they’re trying to champion that they start attacking everyone else, labeling them as XYZphobic or XYZist even when they aren’t. Even when the behavior they’re demonizing is, at best, ignorance that could easily be changed through education by treating the other person with the respect those people are demanding they themselves deserve. Calling people names doesn’t help any cause. And I know some of those people don’t want to hear it, but if you start down that path you could easily become someone else’s bully.

Be kind to one another, and always be willing to understand the other side. Because when you start making snap decisions about other people based on one comment or one moment or one aspect of who they are as a human, you can become no different than the background voices hurting others with their words like in this video.

Anon, sorry to segue that video into this topic but it’s something that’s been really bothering me lately, and seriously upset/angered me earlier today, and when I saw this video I loved it so much. All I could think about was how all the perspectives can come together to tell a story that could be a tragedy, or an inspiration, or anything in between.

We all hold responsibility for our own actions and our own voices. We can use them to try to help or, whether purposeful or not, to harm. Always be mindful of the power of your words and your reach. You aren’t invisible and you aren’t screaming into a storm, so if you use that power well you can be a light in someone else’s darkness, or build a bridge where before there was only a rift, or be a bandage to cover a wound. You can and do make a difference everyday, so let’s all try to make sure that difference is a positive one.

Please read: addressing an ongoing issue of harassment

I know this is unusual for me, but I have to say something completely serious. I also need to say upfront that if, during the course of reading this, you realize you know who I’m talking about DO NOT NAME HER. DO NOT HARASS HER. This post is not about continuing the cycle of cyber-harassment. It’s about getting out the truth so that people can make informed decisions. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt over this, including her.

First, if you don’t know me well it’s important that you understand me as a person so you understand that this is not some sort of mean message trying to hurt someone because I’m evil or misled.

ThisiswhoIam. I am an INFP – T person who avoids/dislikes lies, manipulation, drama, any of that. I don’t present myself one way online and act completely differently elsewhere. The worst I ever do is get really upset about a topic and rant about it to a friend, but as I’ve said in a post the reason for that ranting is almost always going to be because I’m upset that other people are hurt and I can’t help them– or because I want to understand something so I can help, but I don’t understand it. That last linked post was actually not about this situation– that post was about something else entirely that was making me very angry and I am not angry at all in this post– but the basic idea that I will speak up if it gets to a certain point is true.

Santino and I have been cyber-harassed for the past two years by someone who once claimed to be our friend. If it were just someone targeting us privately, I wouldn’t say anything publicly about that because it doesn’t affect others.

But the problem is, she has been telling outright lies to the point of damaging reputations, and she has also drawn the ICoS fandom into it by targeting friends and readers. Santino and I interact genuinely with our readers and as a result over the years, some have become friends. This person has been targeting anyone who is perceived to be close to us and has told them sometimes manipulated truth and sometimes outright lies, for whatever reason she has.

This is not a misunderstanding where two people miscommunicated and there was a falling out, or where we are somehow being mean and targeting her because she said something negative about us/vented one time to one person. I would never speak out about something like that because everyone has the right to their opinion and I’m not going to get mad at someone if they express it. I support diverse opinions; it’s what makes the world interesting.

This is a situation where multiple people who are from different groups and never talk to each other have individually come up to us to warn us of the behavior because they were concerned or alarmed by the level of slander/libel being committed. This is someone who has very purposefully been trying to ruin friendships, turn people against each other, spread personal information given in confidence, and we also strongly believe has spammed friends with anon hate mail on tumblr and engaged in other inappropriate behavior to retaliate against people who didn’t believe her. There have also been some strong allegations she’s made about perceived bad behavior that didn’t exist the way she says it did.

It is also important to note that we have tried talking directly to this person in the past about the activity but she denied it all, and then later there was an attempt to give her a second chance– but the result was continued escalation and her doctoring emails to create her own “proof” of allegations. Including the very email that was sent trying to make peace with her. We have screenshots, emails, and other proof to show her lies compared to reality. It has gotten so bad that we had to seek legal advice about the libel, and were advised to no longer communicate privately with this individual for any purpose.

There is a lot that could be said on this topic but for now I am keeping this short simply to warn others that this is happening. I am speaking out now after nearly 2 years (this started in 2013) because it’s become obvious this person will not stop on her own, and because she is hurting other people in the process.

Because I’m an honest person who therefore is very consistent in the way I act, I imagine once she sees this post she will come up with reasons for how she is still unfairly being victimized, for reasons that don’t go against my personality and how I’m known to interact/act.

I imagine she will tell people that Santino made me post this because I am too nice to have done this on my own. He didn’t. I am someone who doesn’t want to hurt others, but I also do not condone bullying or hurtful behavior. Because of that, I wanted to say something about this publicly a long time ago because it upset me that people were being hurt by this, and he was the one who asked me not to because he thought if we gave her more chances she would stop. She might say that I was manipulated by people who want to make us mad at her, but the only manipulation that has occurred has been on her part. The facts speak for themselves, as do the screenshots and proof of actual conversations from multiple, independent sources.

She might also try to say something like how Santino and my friendship is fractured and somehow that is related to this–I don’t know how she might try to spin that tale, but I know she’s tried to tell people something similar in the past and that she allegedly was my advocate. That isn’t true now and none of that claim is true for the past.

She might come up with all sorts of other reasons for why I posted this. But there isn’t some dark, malicious, conspiracy theory reason for this post. It’s exactly for the reasons I’ve stated. This person has been harassing us, our friends, readers, and peers for two years. We’ve given her chances to stop and she hasn’t, so now I’m letting everyone else know it’s happening so they can directly ask us to get the full story, and develop their own opinions with all of the information instead of what is probably a very incomplete, and possibly completely fabricated, version.

I’m not telling people what to think or what to do. I just want you to know about this so your lack of awareness on the topic isn’t taken advantage of by someone who is using it to their own advantage.

My true hope for this post is that the person in question will finally stop what she is doing so everything can calm down and no one else has to be affected or pulled in. Because not only does it upset me that she’s hurting everyone else in this, I have to imagine that this behavior (constant rumination, obsessing, lying) is also not healthy for her.

In short: don’t take rumors at face value. ASK US. We want you to have the full story.

Thank you for reading this far into the post. I wish I didn’t have to post about this, but unfortunately this person has given me no choice. For anyone reading this, I hope you have a good day and I hope you have not been affected by this previously and won’t be in the future. Brightest of blessings to you and yours.

Validity and truths and the opportunity for understanding

Below are two posts I wrote in a row on Facebook today. Normally I don’t post personal things at this blog but this was an instance where I wanted to retain this thought process. Like the asexual post I did previously, this is pretty indicative of my general view on life, so it feels relevant to this blog.

I guess this is kind of me thinking aloud, and kind of coalescing thoughts from many months and years of rumination.


first post:
There are so many things I have thoughts on that I don’t write posts about, because I tend to have a complicated view of most things. So to explain my view, it would need to be a dissertation for someone else to truly understand what I’m trying to say. Most of the time, I feel like it isn’t important enough to do this because my opinion is simply one of many, and I don’t feel that it’s more valid than anyone else’s, so it seems like the expenditure of energy is unnecessary. I thought of this because there were about 4 topics I could have written an essay about today.

second post:
I tend to see both sides of the situation and generally speaking often think there are valid points on many sides of any argument (which is what complicates things). But sometimes I am confronted with the unexpected truth that my more empathetic/neutral view on things isn’t always the norm, which means sometimes I’m in a unique position to bridge a gap. My natural inclination to want to help others means I see this as a good thing, but my equally natural inclination to think I’m not good enough for anything means I constantly question if I’m doing something well enough or if someone else would be better at this. Still, it doesn’t stop me from feeling accomplished by some minor goals.

I thought of all of this because of something I’ve been working on for a while at work and mostly finished today. I was very pleased with myself, especially because it was a thing I self-assigned simply because I felt there was a need for it. I’ve done this many times in the past on many topics and I’ve always had good feedback but this particular thing is more meaningful, I think. It won’t change things in some massive way but I think ultimately in the future it has the potential to help others in some minor way. And I forget a lot that there’s any point to my existence because I figure I’m some sort of freak of nature who’s never part of the norm but who equally doesn’t matter to that same norm for that reason. I’ve always seen myself as completely forgettable and am constantly surprised when people remember me or say they were sad when I was gone or say anything nice about me.

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An asexual’s view of love

I’m going to use this blog now and then as a normal blog, not just related to specific excerpts or art pieces to share but also about some thought processes that are central to me as a person or writer. I hope no one minds.

A week ago Sonny mentioned a blog post he was writing about tropes vs reality and said he wasn’t sure how to conclude it, because tropes don’t always work out the same way in reality. I wrote the below post but then forgot about it in the holiday rush. Today he wrote a post about what descriptions or exposition to use in a diverse cast (read here), and through the ensuing conversation I was reminded of this post.

Everything below is what I originally wrote.

The question of tropes vs reality got me thinking about the romance genre (regardless of whether it’s straight, LGBT*QA, or something else) and how it seems to me it’s a fetishization of love.

You might have seen me mention in the past that I’m semi-asexual. There is a specific list of terms I can call myself that gets at what I am but I don’t really go by that. Basically, I’m not often attracted to other people, and when I am it’s usually first for their personality, and then I’m only interested in other women. But most of the time, I have no romantic interests in anyone.

As a result, I’ve spent most of my life seeing the idea of “love” from the outside. Throughout high school, I couldn’t understand why all my friends seemed obsessed with constantly cycling through boyfriends, and in college when others seemed to have hooking up and/or partying as a priority, I wanted to sit in my room and watch anime with friends. After college, when people started to settle into long-term relationships, I lamented that I couldn’t get a dog.

This may or may not be normal for other people who identify as partially or totally asexual; I really don’t know, you’d have to ask them. I can only say what it’s been like for me, regardless of whatever labels I might give myself to try to understand why I am how I am. Even now, I don’t know how asexual I am except I think I must be because when I’ve read the descriptions of different terms, they fit.

As the years have passed, I’ve watched the lifecycles of all these other people doing the things that are “expected.” Friends and family settling down with their significant others (SOs), moving in together, getting pets together, buying houses, getting engaged, married, having kids… All of this feels so disconnected from me as a person, yet as a writer I’ve found it to be interesting to watch the way “normal” people progress.

I don’t truly understand love. I mean, I understand it in terms of how much I love my dog, my family, my friends. But I don’t understand the human connection of love between two significant others: the way it might differ from other forms or the way different people experience it. All I know of love I learned from books, fanfiction, movies, and the way people interact around me.

Despite not understanding it on a personal level, I’ve come to recognize the variations in other people. Friends ask me for advice in dating or love a lot, and I always say, “Well, I don’t really know anything, but it seems to me…” and I explain based on my objective view of what seems to happen with two humans in love.

What’s interesting to me is that I’ve started to notice trends.

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