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Open Thread for Personal Stuff, Part Deux

Hugs if you want them.
Hugs if you want them.

An open thread to discuss personal stuff, continued from here.

No trolls, no arguments.

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LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Ally

Sorry it took me so long to hit this post. But regarding internalized transphobia… you CAN get out. I’ve noticed that if you’re around supportive people, who aren’t constantly haranguing you about your appearance or gender performance, it’s easier to push past.

I own a book of photography called Assume Nothing, by Rebecca Swan. It’s a lot of photos of genderful people from the Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and other places. I don’t know if it’d work for you, but part of what helped me was seeing pictures and hearing the stories of all these people, some of whom were much older and hard-bitten than I am, and seeing them in all their glory, and being able to recognize them as beautiful, moving human beings, regardless of how they looked. It helped to think that maybe I could be too.

katz
7 years ago

LBT: Aww, that comic gives me feels.

But that’s also not how I interact with my characters. At all.

katz
7 years ago

Well, it is over. We didn’t get a chance to take him to the vet.

cloudiah
7 years ago

katz, I am SO sorry. Hugs if you want them.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

So sorry to hear about Robbie, Katz. He was lucky to have you guys.

Ally, I’m so sorry about all the stuff that is happening to you. I’m glad venting here helps, please never feel bad about it.

Ally S
7 years ago

Thank you so much, everyone. :>

[Trigger warning: attempted rape, rape apologia, domestic violence, rape threats]

Speaking of venting, I just found out something from my mother (I have her permission to to talk about this to internet folks) that is extremely disturbing to me. Apparently, my father tried to (and probably did) rape my mother several times when they were still married. He locked her in closets, threatened her with weapons, etc. in order to try to coerce her, which he claimed to be his “right.” This happened a long time ago, so hopefully he’s changed since then, but so far I see no reasons to be optimistic. I just want to be hopeful because the alternative attitude is just too much for me to handle.

I feel so sick and worried. This is the worst thing she has ever told me about her relationship with him. Once my mom comes back from the store, I’m going to give her a big (wanted) hug. I’m so happy that her current husband is loving and respectful.

kittehserf
7 years ago

katz, I’m so sorry, and all the hugs. Poor little Robbie, I hope his passing wasn’t hard.

Deoridhe
7 years ago

Ally, I hope this doesn’t feel like me coming in as fix-it-Deo, but I had a thought and an offer of Jedi hugs if you want them.

I hope I don’t sound too self-pitying but it’s almost as though I’m cursed. I’m trying my best to just hold on and calm down, but I feel like I have no hope for any kind of peace coming into my life soon. I’m just surviving and nothing more.

One thing I’ve found that works well with myself and some of my clients is to pretend that we are actually a friend to ourselves. Usually, people who are cruelest to ourselves can be kindest to others.

This can be an empty chair kind of activity (Place two chairs facing each other. Put your friend Ally, who is having a rough time of it, in the other chair. Talk to chair. If you feel up to it, try switching chairs and see what it feels like.) This can be a writing or artistic exercise (write about fictional Ally Doe, who really needs a friend, or draw Ally Doe with what you would like her to have). This can just be a way to practice self-talk (If your friend came to you like this… what would you say? Yes, it feels weird.) With one of my clients I have an “Only I (Deo) can insult you” rule, so when I notice she’s spiraling I ask her whose job it is to insult her and she says me and ends up giggling, since she knows i never will.

It is totally not unusual to have very viscous negative self-talk, especially if you grew up in a household that was abusive. In a sense, it’s a way for a part of yourself to keep the rest of yourself safe (for varying definitions of safe) by making you small, and humble, and as invisible as possible so you wouldn’t draw attention to yourself. It’s also a way to comprehend the violence/abuse which makes sense to a very young child – all children are gods of their worlds, so if bad things are happening it must be their fault. An adult mind can look at this and say “this is demonstratively false” but the response is not to abuse the child, who after all is already suffering, but instead to love and reassure the child, because all children deserve to be safe and happy.

I don’t know if that helps or not… but from everything I’ve seen you are a wonderful person deserving of love and care, so I hope you are able to practice on yourself.

Another thing which occurs… we often kind of assume that a desire for connection and reassurance form others somehow makes us week, but love, affection, touch, soothing, and connection is a basic human need as fundamental as food and water, as far as I’m concerned. Being able to recognize and ask for what you need – that is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Deoridhe
7 years ago

katz: Sorry to hear about Robbie. 8(

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Katz: I’m so sorry about Robbie.

Ally S
7 years ago

katz, if I had a dozen of cute furry animal pictures with me, I’d totally share them with you. I’m so sorry. =[

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: katz

D: I’m sorry.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Katz — I’m so sorry; the kitty here offers a chin to rub, if you so desire.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Grey tabby chin rubs, awww!

Here’s a Maddie and Fribs fireside arrangement.

serrana
serrana
7 years ago

Katz, I’m so sorry about Robbie. You did so much for him.

katz
7 years ago

Thanks everyone.

As I may have mentioned, Robbie was on experimental medications since he had a terminal illness. His life may help other kittens in the future.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

I wanted to note, since you were all so supportive, that my grandfather’s funeral last week went very well (though there was some completely pointless and avoidable — or at least postponable — family drama, but it was fairly minimal). My step-dad’s prostate surgery also went well, and he is recovering quickly. His test results came back indicating that he is now cancer-free.

Thanks again to everyone who had a kind word to say through this difficult time for me and my family. Further thanks to the whole Man Boobz gang for just being good people and making this a good place to spend time when other parts of life aren’t going so well.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Good news about your step-dad, Viscaria — very glad to hear it!

And seconding what you say about the folks here being good people. Thanks also from me for all the kind words and support when my friend died. It really helped.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
7 years ago

Congrats for your step dad’s prostrate surgery being a success, Viscaria. And sorry for the loss of your grandfather and the stress of family drama during his funeral. I know that family drama is the way things go, but people ought to at least put it aside for a while out of respect for the dead.

katz
7 years ago

Viscaria, I’m sorry that your family is having so much trouble. It’s good that your stepdad is going to be OK, though.

Ally S
7 years ago

[Content note: rape jokes, attempted rape]

Last night, after hearing about my mother facing attempted rape when she was married to my father, I tried to get my mind off of it temporarily and relax. It was too much for me to bear at the time, so I decided to get high with some of my brother’s friends, who happened to be visiting at the time.

And while these folks I hung out with are nice in general, last night they kept making rape jokes directed at me. And due to being too high to speak up, all I could do was sit there and listen to them make some of the most graphic, disturbing rape jokes about me ever.

Eventually I just went upstairs and tried to sleep. Of course, I didn’t tell them about what my mother told me earlier that night, and I know that they aren’t hostile or averse to me (although that doesn’t excuse them for making such jokes), but I still felt horrible.

On top of that, they were complaining about my sister’s behavior, saying that they’ve lost a lot of respect for her just because she’s not yet willing to completely break up with her manipulative, abusive BF. They seemed to acknowledge that he’s manipulating her, but they downplayed that fact for some reason.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Viscaria: I’m glad your step-dad is cancer free (fuck cancer) and that your grandfather’s funeral went well. I swear, funerals bring out the worst in families, I have an aunt who will eternally get all the side-eye from me due to her behavior at not one but two family funerals.

Ally S
7 years ago

@Viscaria
I’m sorry to hear that you had to deal with family drama at such a time, but I’m glad to hear about everything else! =]

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Sorry to resurrect this thread at such a witching hour, buuuut I’m not sure who else to go to with it, so you’re my audience, Manboobz.

We haven’t spoken to our parents in over a year. Our father sent us an email asking why, because of course he’s forgotten the reason. (In our family, everything unpleasant is tossed into a Memory Black Hole, never to be thought of, spoken of, or acknowledged ever again.)

I still don’t know whether I’ll send it or not, but for the past two and a half hours, I’ve been writing a response that is finally saying everything I’ve ever wanted to say about how they’ve treated us, without the constant editing and ‘I statements’ and non-violent communication I’ve learned over the years, because I am so tired of making excuses for them and not calling them on their shit except in the nicest, politest of terms.

I don’t know. I just wanted someone to know I was doing that.

Ally S
7 years ago

Good luck, LBT! I hope it goes as smoothly as possible, even if you’re going to avoid sugarcoating things.

I know that I’ll probably have to write something similar one of these days to my father, and I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s probably way easier said than done, though.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Enh, I dunno that I’m even going to send it. They’re just going to forget it ever happened anyway, and they have NEVER handled this kind of shit well, and we’re dragging alllll the black hole crap out into the open. Plus, I don’t want to give them the lesson that all they have to do to get us talking to them is push our buttons in a specific way.

Still, it felt good to just write it. I was always so used to their behavior that I never expressed anger to them about keeping us around a child-molester, or suspecting we were getting raped in their own house and choosing to do nothing about it, or any of that. It felt immensely cathartic to write, “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE?”

kittehserf
7 years ago

LBT – sent or not, good on you for writing it. I can only say it gave me great satisfaction to tell my idiot father exactly what I thought of him when he tried the “I want to get to know her” BS (he hadn’t even the courage to write to me: he wrote to my mother). I don’t know if you’ll ever be in a place to do that and have an effect, since your family are far, far worse than he was, but I’m really glad you got it down on paper screen anyway.

Ally S
7 years ago

@LBT

I see. That really doesn’t sound worth sending, then. I’m happy to hear that it was cathartic for you, though. =]

One time I wanted to write my father a very cathartic email about how abusive he has been to me and the people closest to me. I decided to not send it because he doesn’t listen to me anyway. Every time I try to criticize him, he accuses me of trying to unfairly shame him and make him feel like the “enemy.” So I can definitely relate.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Sending that email will only be for when you’re physically away from him and safe, Ally (if you ever want to do it, that is).

So ironic: he is your enemy.

On the friends and their rape jokes, I just don’t know what to say. So disgusted with them.

Ally S
7 years ago

[Content note: rape jokes, rape]

Believe me, kitteh, if I try sending such an email to him before I’m away from him and safe, I’ll most certainly get another one of those panic attacks. And I don’t know what kind of ableist shit he’ll do to me if he sees me go through a panic attack.

About the “enemy” thing, he has the same bullshit notion for many people who are critical of his behavior. It’s a form of implicit self-pitying that he uses to manipulate people.

Oh, and those rape jokes? My brother once told me that his friends’ humor is entirely “deconstructive” i.e. doesn’t make oppressed people the punchline but rather makes fun of racism, sexism, etc. Well, excuse me, but I don’t think making a joke whose punchline is me (yes, me) getting raped by someone who has a fetish for transgender women is “deconstructive.” Pardon me for being a little critical of his assertion!

Anyway, I should get some sleep now. Night everyone! ^_^

kittehserf
7 years ago

Niters!

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Okay, having slept on it, I gave the letter an edit, but not as much as I figured it’d need. I still haven’t decided whether to send it or not, but I’m going to talk with a trusted friend about it in a couple of days, which’ll help me come to a decision. Especially since I added a postscript that was pretty much, “Just because I chose to respond to this email doesn’t mean that I, or any other system member, will respond to anything else. All of your correspondence will be sent, unopened, to a friend, who has kindly volunteered to filter it for me.”

It would be immensely cathartic to say it, especially since our father is LITERALLY asking for our reasons for why we aren’t speaking to him anymore. And the thought that if they do flip their shit, I won’t have to look at it or read it, or even notice its existence, is very nice.

Also, I admit, part of me hopes that maybe it’ll be a wake up call for them. Being polite and civil and passive didn’t work; maybe actually circumventing the family rules will be more educational for them. But I also realize that they very well may learn nothing at all, and I’m okay with that too. If I send them the letter, it won’t be for THEIR benefit.

kittehserf
7 years ago

“especially since our father is LITERALLY asking for our reasons for why we aren’t speaking to him anymore”

“Because you’re an abuse-enabling piece of shit, Dad. Bye now.”

kittehserf
7 years ago

Happy news from here: I had lovely clear memories of last night at Home this morning. There’s a hint of autumn not being far off; the morning there was very mellow. Louis and I did something quite different, having breakfast on the back terrace (we usually eat in the kitchen). Pancakes, syrup, cream (me), ice-cream (him), strawberries and bananas (both). And one pissed-off cat: Katie arrived for her usual helping and was Not Impressed that we weren’t having bacon and eggs. Didn’t stop her helping herself to my cream, but when I pointed out that she could create her own bacon and eggs if she wanted ’em, the reaction was like a little black thundercloud of a thought bubble. 😀

I also commented on cats having no manners and Louis said they’d taught him. Rubbish, I told him, your manners (or lack of) come from your era, you can’t pin that one on the kitties. He conceded that but said the cats do reinforce it … true enough, lol.

It was sweet as sitting there drinking our coffee (his coffee is the BEST) and holding hands and having a cuddle. We spent the day outside. He had some woodwork to do – just for its own sake – and I decided to do a watercolour of him working. ::Sigh:: … perfect way to spend the day.

I haven’t had a lengthy (fifteen minutes playing out, here) clear memory like that for ages.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Kittehs

Those times are always the best! (Though obvious I lack the memory issue.) Now that things are looking up again, me and hubby are being able to actually give each other more attention, rather than just fixating on base survival.

And yeah, pretty much.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Yay, Rogan!

Isn’t it a relief to have the time/mental energy to spare, too? That’s a bonus all by itself.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

True… though seeing as we officially became homeless again today and are back in That Damned Closet, I suspect we’ll get our energy cut again soon. But oh well, it’s only for a couple of weeks. Then… THE ROAD!

BlackBloc (@XBlackBlocX)

Ally S, if you ever need to rant off to a fellow anarcommie about Stuff, this profile links to my Twitter so you could DM me. Maybe. I think we need to both follow each other for DM to be available. But that’s basically the best I can do without divulging personal info on a public venue.

Ally S
7 years ago

@BlackBloc

Sure! I actually do have a Twitter account, although I haven’t used it in a while. And I believe I’m following you already.

Also, tomorrow I’m heading to Out Boulder, which has a weekly support group exclusively for trans* and genderqueer people – unlike my previous support group, it doesn’t have only trans* women and trans* allies. I think it’s the only LGBTQ community center in Boulder, CO, and it looks pretty nice. They seem to be committed to intersectionality and such.

Ally S
7 years ago

Oh, and here’s my Twitter: https://twitter.com/mxe354

BigMomma
BigMomma
7 years ago

OK, hi, looking for a bit of advice for a friend of mine from those of you in poly relationships or know people in poly relationships.

My friend separated last year from her husband of 12years. It was an enormous decision that pulled her emotions in every direction. She has made enormous efforts to move on and felt ready for some fun after a while. She said she would like to meet a guy that wasn’t in town, that she could have sexy times with, that wouldn’t be around her family (she has 3 kids). Lo and behold, she met such a guy and sexy times commenced. He seems like an OK guy, I have met him. He is 1 year out of an 8yr relationship and looking for a woman to have sexy times with.

She said she was cool with the whole concept of friends with benefits but she has always been monogamous at heart. They did have a conversation at the beginning of the relationship about this not being a monogamous thing but when he mentioned hanging out with other women, she became uncomfortable and brought up her feelings with him. He was clear with her that he wasn’t ready to commit, despite having strong feelings for her but didn’t want to hurt her.

She initially said she had decided she couldn’t be in a non -monogamous relationship after all and it was over. However, circumstances dictated that he ended up living relatively nearby for a bit so they talked and sexy times recommenced.

Recently, he slept with someone else but came to tell her about it. He was honest that he would like to see this other woman again but had strong feelings for my friend and wished to continue their relationship.

My friend is examining her life and her pre -conceptions, she’s been talking about her perception of her ego. She’s open to trying to a poly relationship but unsure what that could mean and if she can handle it.

I’m putting it out into this thread cos you guys are cool and know stuff about this.

How does her story sound? What expectations and boundaries can she have and set? The guy seems cool but I simply don’t know enough about poly relationships to sniff out any bullshit. Is this even a poly relationship?

Any help, manboobzers, is always appreciated.

P.s. she knows I’m posting this.

tenya
tenya
7 years ago

Sounds like a fairly standard scenario, actually – although I predict that eventually your friend or her current person of interest will settle into a monogamous situation rather than what they’re currently doing because it sounds like monogamy is their ideal, but not what works for them right now. What they’re working on right now is negotiate sexytimes with other people that is the least harmful to all – if your friend is cool with that, that is fine, but not everyone is. And further, it is completely valid to not be cool with that! Here is how the current scenario shakes out to me:
Friend gets to have a friendship relationship with Guy and sleep with him
Guy gets to have friendship relationship with Friend and sleep with her, and other women

If everyone is happy there, Friend, Guy, Other Woman and future Other Women – hooray! If not, something needs to change.
What concerns me is your friend’s decision that something must be wrong with her and that she wants to try poly (which nope, this doesn’t really sound like) because of Guy’s strong feelings for her, when it doesn’t seem like anyone wants a committed relationship and further that she wasn’t really interested in sharing her Guy with other women in the first place. That is an entirely legitimate way to feel! Although, granted, those Guys will probably eventually want to move into either a more open relationship, so they can have sexytimes with other people, or into a more monogamous relationship with her.
So, you know, you can help with examining her priorities:
How important is having sex with this guy to her? How important is having a friendship with him to her? Is it worth the feelings of misgiving she is having when he is going to be with other women? It is clear he isn’t going to stop sleeping with other women (nor check with her first) so it cannot be about how his feelings for her, it all needs to be on her. And, if she’s been in a long-term relationship, it can be difficult to disregard someone else and only think about herself, but encourage her to try. If this scenario doesn’t feel really okay, all around, there is no need for her to try to work on feelings and negotiate and adapt and change like one does in an invested long-term relationship – say screw this and move on and find something/someone else that does make her happy.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

The other thing to remember about “real” poly relationships that the openness is all about negotiating times, places, people and commitments and I get the impression your friend would really not be comfortable with discussing her friend’s intentions to sleep with someone else.

Do you think she’d be comfortable in such a conversation – or being introduced to one of his other partners?

If she wants a don’t ask, don’t tell, let him do as he wants so long as he keeps it to himself style of uncommitted relationship, he’d have to agree to not be “honest” about his other activities. She’d have to see if she thinks he’d be happy with that. At least for a trial period, say 3 months? That’d be up to the two of them, or maybe her on her own to see where she thinks this is going by some set period and then discuss it with him.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Unrelated, and uber-mono so can’t really give good advice on the poly arrangement. I just wanted to share that I decided to send my email to my folks. I put up a bunch of filters in my emails so unless they have ANOTHER account I’m not aware of, I shouldn’t get any nasty surprises, and my friend is going to filter all the content. I feel kinda relieved with this decision, and content; I’m ready to get on with my life.

Ally S
7 years ago

That’s awesome, LBT! ^_^ Hope the response is pleasant in some way at least

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Oh, I don’t really plan to them responding pleasantly. I pretty much shoved in their face all the dirty laundry and horror that our family has been sweeping under the rug for decades, and told them that because they refused to acknowledge or deal with it, I was leaving. I expect them to be highly upset. Now, I told them up front that all their responses would be filtered through a friend, so whether they flip their shit or tone it down for friend’s sake is up for grabs.

However, I am absolved of the burden of caring. These are the folks who thought it appropriate to have their kid spend lots of time with a known child-molester without any warnings or prepping, who when we DID get raped (by someone else) just pretended it never happened, and then when we went irrevocably multi in response, refused to deal with THAT. Sure, it’d be nice if they finally learned something, but they’ve been doing the same horrible shit for decades, and I’m at peace with the idea that they’ll never figure it out.

cloudiah
7 years ago

@LBT, Good for you. And glad you’re friend is filtering for you.

@BigMomma, Cliff has written a bunch about poly relationships over at Pervocracy:
http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/search/label/poly

Ally S
7 years ago

I’m going to post here since it doesn’t fit anywhere else:

Ever since I started my DreamWidth journal, I’ve focused a lot on trans* issues, sexism, and cissexism. But I don’t want to make the mistake of giving lip service to intersectionality and then talking about only two axes of oppression, especially since I have my own set of privileges. So I want to write more entries about other forms of oppression.

I started with an article about racism, which seemed to be well-received by everyone except the MRA troll who lurks at my journal. Nevertheless, there are probably a lot of things I don’t know when it comes to writing about forms of oppression that I haven’t really wrote about or even experienced. So I’d really appreciate if it anyone here (particular people who have read my journal entries) could give me suggestions, tell me about some things I should know before writing about some form of oppression, etc.

@BigMomma

I’m afraid I’m not able to offer any advice regarding polyamory, either, since I probably don’t know enough about it.

@LBT

I see. Well, I’m glad that it won’t be distressing or have any kind of bad impact on your well-being!

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Hmmm. Well, speaking for myself, I’d really like to see class issues addressed more in general. A lot of the queer/trans shit I read comes from a VERY middle-class perspective; these are folks who went to college, read their literature, and know about the statistics of homelessness and such among queers and trans folk, but don’t actually have it in their own lives.

Also, just the way shit can stack. Being homeless was pretty bad… but mental illness compounded it, because it meant I couldn’t get a job and had no hope of pulling myself out of the homelessness hole, until disability came in. (And I knew the moment I started that it’d be at least a year. A year can be a long, LONG time when you’re living in a closet filled with rotten fiberglass and rusty nails.) Being trans stacked with being mentally ill, in that our parents thought that it was just a symptom of us being crazy, rather than a different thing in its own right. And so on and so forth.