Mandesty Monday: Aussie Edition

Brave Mandesty reader CS informed me of this ridiculous display. You thought the Outback with its weird and wild creatures was scary? Well just feast your eyes on this!

I do not believe this man has the proper koalafications

For 24 years the Not-So-Wonderful Land of Oz has published a slutty firefighters calendar. This year there are three versions; slutty firefighters posing with wild animals, puppies, and just themselves. The proceeds got to children’s charity. 

Save the children! But the fine print sells your soul. 

This isn’t the first time firefighters are featured here. Nor is it the first or even the 5th time that I’ve talked about animals being exposed to such sinful flesh. 

How Australia recruits firefighters
Mandesty Monday: Aussie Edition
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EMERGENCY HELP NEEDED

A good friend of mine has family in Puerto Rico, specifically a brother and her grandmother. For days now she has been trying to get in contact with them to find out if they made it through the terrible hurricane that hit them just recently. For over a week she hasn’t been able to reach them, but finally she managed to get through.

Her family survived the hurricane, but her grandmother was injured in a fall. She broke her hip. Usually such news isn’t terrifying. The surgery needed to fix it is pretty routine HOWEVER because of the hurricane, the surrounding area has no power, intermittent running water, and many areas are running out of food. The hospital doesn’t have enough power in the generator to complete the surgery and they are trying desperately to have her moved to a larger metropolitan hospital a few hours away.

My friend HAS to get to Puerto Rico. Her brother cannot handle everything on his own, especially because of the devastation from the hurricane, while also trying to help with arranging the transfer of their grandmother from one hospital to another while so many emergency resources are currently otherwise occupied.

Areas that are not known tourist destinations are also struggling quite severely and not receiving the same attention as San Juan.  Many people are running out of food with little to no ability to purchase more either due to poverty or just it being unavailable. Any help being sent will go specifically to helping send this friend to Puerto Rico and supplying people in the area with what they need to survive.

PLEASE! If you cannot donate, share this fundraiser directly from the site as far and wide as you can. Please help make sure that the hurricane doesn’t do more damage than it already has.

EMERGENCY HELP NEEDED

Coming out!

Hello I am Nozomi and I am Non-Binary! My pronouns are they/them.

I am still figuring out the finer points of my own gender which is awesome, after realizing that a lifetime of feeling wrong in my own body was not unique. That I wasn’t broken or needing to be fixed, I was just me, and I was different. Learning that this is something that other people had too, but in their own ways was amazing. To learn I wasn’t alone that my feelings and experiences were valid. I just wanted to give a big loves and hugs to my queer community and all the wonderful flavors of peoples I know and love. You all made my own coming out possible.

Growing up there were always these pressures to do one or the other. Either you are a “girly girl” or a “tomboy”. Either you like dolls or legos. Everything was this weird forced binary. I was lucky enough to be able to have some freedoms as a child and growing up. I got to play with barbies and homemade clothes for them, as well as building blocks. I had hotwheel car races and tea parties with stuffed animals. I read books in my treehouse, I climbed trees wearing dresses. I went fishing with my grandparents and could clean and fillet a fish. I could also sew and play the piano. I could read books about dinosaurs as well as ones that taught me how to crochet.

I was lucky enough to be able to do these things as a kid growing up when so many kids are forced into gender roles and all the stuff that comes with that. Like science is for girls, boys can sew, any one can do anything. Needlessly gendering things like toys, books, even clothes and careers, I never understood. There is so much more out there than the binary stuff which also falling into the gender binary is super valid. Also being in between that or completely outside that is super awesome! We are awesome! <3

I am definitely in a wibbly wobbly, and gender bendery areas of time and space. I fucking love it here. It’s even more awesome to be able to have my pronouns recognized. I was playing games with a couple of people a few weeks back and for a few hours I was being mostly gendered correctly constantly. It was so affirming and empowering. It felt amazing, and something I hadn’t really experienced before on that large of a scale. This also helped me in my decision to come out and that it was the right thing for me. Being gendered correctly feels wonderful.

I would to prefer to always go by they/them pronouns. For my more close friends and family. . . I have even been able to play with changing my pronouns on occasion. Depending on how I am feeling I might be honored by she/her,and other traditionally femme coded terms. Some days I like he/him and other traditionally masculine coded words like handsome or Sir.

It’s awesome to be able to have people care and care about me and who I am. This has been super good and wonderful. I only wish that everyone could be safe and able to be themselves while staying safe. If you can’t come out, and things are not safe. Don’t worry you are not alone and even when it sucks, being safe is important.

For the future and for all general references to myself they/them pronouns are always safe and honor me. For even more reasons than just being non-binary. Many times things that are not gender neutral can cause me dysphoria.

As for the rest of my Queer identity. I am SUPER Queer!!! I am all manner of parts of the queer community, I don’t really discuss things that much, but since this is a coming out post I also wanted to say I am Demisexual, I am pansexual/panromantic. I fall in love with people, not genders, bits, presentation or anything else. There are so many amazing and beautiful people in this world and just as many ways to love people as there are people to love.

HAPPY PRIDE!!!!

-Nozomi the Non-Binary (2017)

**A few notes for terms people might not be familiar with.

Non-Binary: Is an umbrella term that includes any gender identities that do not fit within the gender binary of male and female. There is a lot under here like genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, gendervoid.

Gender Dysphoria: Is a discomfort and disconnect with the gender someone was assigned at birth. This can take many forms and is very unique to a lot of people and also a lot of us experience similar things. The opposite of gender euphoria the feeling I talked about above when I was being gendered correctly.

I encourage you to do research and reading on your own and find good resources written by people with these experiences.

Coming out!

Learning to let others love me.

I am sure you have all heard the idiom in some phrase or way.
“You have to love yourself before you can love others.”
“You have to love yourself before others can love you.”

Whichever way you paint it, its bullshit.

Not all of us are able to love ourselves. I have been working my entire life to achieve this seemingly unattainable goal of “loving myself”. . . because if I don’t who would? This has made life fucking miserable and unnecessarily hard.

I am currently abandoning the idea that I need to love myself. I don’t know if/when loving myself will happen or how it will happen, or if it is even possible. Until then I am learning to let other people love me. Learning to accept love, accept that people love me because of who I am not in despite of who I am. Especially when it comes to things I can’t change about myself like my physical disabilities, my fatness, my queerness, my neurodivergencies. I am allowed to be loved, and be loved as I am and for who I am. I am going to learn how to let other people love me.

This is a fucking game changer for me to be honest. I haven’t even got to the point where I fully believe the people who love me do love me. I still have my times of feeling like this will all be a joke. That I will be a joke. That people have before spent a lot of time and energy on me and I was still a joke, the relationship or whatever it was was a joke. I wasn’t worthy of love and affection. However even just believing them a little bit, believing sometimes that they do love me. Believing that I am loved and cared about even a fraction of the time, has drastically improved many aspects of my life.

That is what I have been told my entire life, that I am unworthy. Not worthy of love, care, attention, affection, accommodation or understanding. I wasn’t worthy of feeling safe, I wasn’t worthy of being loved or understood. I was always something to be fixed, to be made better. I had to change because I wasn’t good enough for the people around me. I have spent my whole life being told in large and small ways, by my “family”, friends, and strangers, that I need to be different. There is always something wrong with me and things that need to be fixed. Things that could be better about me.

I need to be changed and fixed and have extra things that are desirable cause if not then I have nothing. Every abuse, every trauma, every laugh, every hateful word, shaped my entire existence to the point where I have self hatred in spades. I do not have self love. Since I can not love myself, since I can’t walk by a mirror without wanting to break it, since I cry myself to sleep hating every fiber of my being. Since I have been a self-harmer for over half my life, and just now stopped self harming for over 9 months. (Which is probably the longest I have ever gone.) I am going to stop trying to love myself. I probably won’t give up forever . . . although I make no promises, because fuck unrealistic expectations!

For now though, it is a smarter tactic for my continued survival to stop trying to love myself. At this time in my life it is unrealistic and an impossible feat. I need to learn that other people can love me. I need to learn that I can be loved, that I can be cared about. I want to focus my energy on people who tell me they love me and why. I want to focus on their words, their actions which lift me up, which make me feel warm fuzzies. The words and actions that give me space butterflies. The things that make me feel like I could be myself, that I don’t have to hide. The things that feel so indescribably good.

I already listen to other people when it comes to a myriad of other things about me because my troll brain, my anxiety brain, and my self hatred will not let me see a clear image of myself. Everything I see about myself is distorted, and warped, and smudged, and dirty, and cloudy. Every part of me is covered in the hand prints of trauma, the smudges of self hatred and the scars of hash words from others as well as the ones my brain continually throws into my brain and life.

The loudest parts of my head are the self hatred, the parts of me that know that everyone else would just be better off if I wasn’t around. Those parts lie. I know that because I have many people who have told me how I am kind, nice, caring, compassionate. I am sweet, I love fully, I trust maybe too much, I care, I really fucking care about and I really fucking love other people. I try to help, I try to be safe, for other people because they are worth that. Since I can that is what I always try to give to others. Since I can’t give it to myself.

So since I give this to others, that means I think other people are worthy of these things. Being loved, without having to love themselves, heck loving people especially when they don’t love themselves. That is what I am going to let others do for me. I want to in small and big ways learn that others can and do love me. Really truly believe it one day. Instead of doubting everything and “what if”-ing myself into a spiral of sadness and depression so deep that climbing out takes days. Instead I am going to learn to hear these things and believe the people who say them too me.

I am loved I am worthy of love. I am worthy of love and affection, as who I am and not who others want me to be, or who I could become, or who I was. Who I am right now, right here, the me that has been crying all day, be it the self hatred that prompted this post, the breakdown I had this morning, the part of me that happy cried because I was told I was loved, loved for who I am, no in spite of these things that to me make me broken and unlovable. The things that people have told me that make me unlovable. Those things are here, and I am being loved because of them, because they are a part of me. All the parts of me make up the whole of me, and that whole of me. . . every single part; is loved, and can be loved. Not with ulterior motives, not with the intent of fixing me, or to mold me to something that is more suitable for whoever is giving the loving.

I am loved with no expectations, I am just loved, period. I have people in my life who just want me to be happy. Who have seen, and listened to my pain, and just want to give me good days, or a good few hours. I have people who love me so much, and care so much, that they really do just want what is best for me. It’s so fucking confusing and relieving and refreshing and confusing, wait I said that already. Right! It is confusing because I have been told my whole life that I have to love myself in order to love others and to be loved.

Well fuck all of that. I am going to let people love me, I am going to learn to let people love me better. I am going to learn and teach myself that I can be loved because of myself not despite of myself, or parts of me. I am going to learn and teach myself that I can be loved without loving myself. I don’t have to love me to be loved. I am going to learn and do better, like not arguing with them when they say they care of love me or find me sexy. I am not going to let my troll brain and my own self hatred push those who care about me away. I am going to learn to not add to my own isolation. I am going to keep on loving and being loved and I have high hopes for it being a huge positive direction for my life.

I am going to let this happen and let this be a positive change for me and for my life. I have spent too much of my life not being capable of letting other people love me. . . or at best having a REALLY fucking hard time with it. I want this to be like turning a new page. The chapter is over and we are moving on to the next one. This chapter is promising, and I am going to keep turning those pages and find out what happens next.

This should be a very good thing for me and for all of me. I am wondering what an impact this will have on everything from little to small things. Things like my relationships, things like my depression and various other things that can really get me angry and lash out. Trying to hurt people I care about which I HATE and I never want to do, but sometimes we do stuff even if we don’t want too. I don’t know if its parts of my trauma or maybe its a bipolar bit of me, maybe I just have anger issues even though I hate being angry. Maybe it is something entirely else. I need to be able to be loved without having to love myself. If that was a prerequisite for being loved that means that I have never been loved in my life.

That means that everything so far has not been anyone loving me cause I am incapable of being loved when I can not love myself. This is what we know for true if we are to believe the idioms above. Which we shouldn’t cause they are crap!

Why would I ever want to limit someone else in that capacity. Why would I ever want to tell someone who is hurting that they can not be loved because they don’t love themselves. That sounds like the worst kind of help or advice or solace I could give anyone. It is tragic and terrible to tell people who are hurting that they can not be who they are and be loved. Because sometimes for some of us part of ourselves is the fact that we do not love ourselves. Because that has been made hard if not impossible by the other people and the world around us. Do we never get to be loved because the world gave us a shit hand? I don’t think so. I certainly want that for no one I care about, which means that I too am worthy of love without loving myself.

I am worthy of love, and being loved even when I don’t love myself.
Especially when I don’t love myself.

You reading this, are worthy of love, even if you don’t love yourself.
Especially when you don’t love yourself.

Learning to let others love me.

Grace & Frankie: Nick is a Creep

Netflix’s original series Grace & Frankie returned for it’s third season March 24th. I love this program. However, a plot point which begins towards the end of the latest season bothered me and I needed to write this.

Spoilers ahead, content note for stalking and manipulation

Episode 11, The Other Vibrator
Grace and Frankie now have their own company, Vybrant, and they’ve launched a vibrator made specifically for older women. 
They discover another company , Onmi Tech, has stolen their idea. They send a cease-and-desist letter via their lawyer and then have a meeting with the other company’s legal team. It’s during this meeting that the head of the company, Nick, spots Grace. He immediately walks into the meeting.

Untitled
Spoken like a true entrepreneur

The whole time he’s in the meeting, he doesn’t take his eyes off Grace, to the point that even when he’s responding to Frankie, he only looks at Grace. He’s told why the meeting is taking place and proceeds to kick out his legal team (which by the way, includes his own son). Grace dismisses her lawyer as well. Grace can already tell this man is interested in her and her intent seems to play this to her advantage. Which, I can get behind. Nick is the type of man who likes to feel powerful and have his ego stroked. If Grace can use her “feminine wiles” to save her company, then by all means. There’s some flirtation and Frankie’s attempts to also be a part of the conversation, which honestly save the whole scene. Otherwise this is a very run of the mill cis hets being bland. Nick suggests he and Grace go to dinner so he can “make this all go away”. Frankie however sees what’s going on.

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I love you, Frankie

Frankie tells Nick they’ll sue him. He says, “Ok, I’ll see you in court”. He turns to Grace and says, “At least I’ll get to see you again.”

Episode 13, The Sign (Episode 12, focuses on Sol and Robert which is why I’m skipping it)

In this episode the women is served cease-and-desist papers from Omni Tech.

Untitled
Really, Frankie is the star of the show

Later in the episode, Grace is on the phone with Nick. And well, see for yourself:

Grace: Are you kidding me? You can’t sue us! It was our idea!
Nick: Grace, you said you were gonna sue me, but I never heard from you.
What’s a guy got to do to get your attention? 
Grace: You’re suing me so you can see me?
Nick: I’m being proactive, one of the things you like about me.
Grace: [scoffs] There is nothing I like about you.
Nick: Oh, come on, it’s cute. I’m a scamp. 
Grace: Oh, stop. This is not a game to me. We built Vybrant from nothing in our 70s. And it was just starting to take off. And not filling orders is not good for business. And if you think that I’m going down without a fight, you’re not as smart as you look.
Nick: You think I look smart?
Grace: What is wrong with you?

And scene! (emphasis mine)

So, what do we see here? Nick used the legal system to get a hold of Grace. She and her new company are vulnerable and he knows this. He dismisses her very legitimate concerns by laughing it off. He tries to gaslight her by making it seem like she is the one who likes him, he’s doing this for her, really. This is a joke to him. Like Grace said, she and Frankie built their company in their 70’s. If you’re familiar with the show, you know they’ve dealt with the topic of ageism and how society views (or doesn’t) women over a certain age. This is clearly a way to manipulate Grace. He’s counting on the fact that as an older woman, she’ll feel like she can’t say no.

Later in the episode, Nick shows up at the house, comes in even though Grace never invited him in. Grace tells him Frankie has had a stroke, he shows concern for a second and then it’s back to pressuring Grace to go out with him.

Again, emphasis mine:

Grace: Would you stop playing games with me? Things are hard enough right now.
I can’t even work because of your cease-and-desist.
Nick: I just wanted to see you. Look, Grace, my original offer still stands. Have dinner with me. One little dinner. I’ll drop our vibrator, nobody sues anybody, and we all go on with our lives.
Grace: And what do you expect to get out of this dinner that will never happen?
Nick: Nothing untoward. I want us to get to know each other. Come on one dinner.
Grace: That’s all I’d have to do and you’d drop everything? Stay out of my business? My life?
Nick: Yes.

Then there’s a back and forth about what type of meal, where it’ll be, how they’ll get there, even what they’ll eat. I’m sure it’s meant to be cute. It’s meant to show that Grace isn’t easy and just look at how hard poor Nick has to work to get a simple date with Grace.

After shaking hands on the “deal”:

Grace: Why are we doing this?
Nick: Because I can’t get you out of my head.
Grace: Then you should get a new head.
Nick: I would, but I have great hair.

See? He’s so funny. How very charming.

The “Date”:

Grace arrives and brings along paper work for Nick to sign saying he won’t pursue the lawsuit. Once that matter is settled, Grace begins to tell Nick about herself in a very disinterested tone. Nick offers her alcohol which she at first refuses because “pre-late lunch drinks” had “not been negotiated”. Nick then says he’ll have “to pour out this extremely dry martini with olives flown in this morning all the way from Spain”. Again, if you’ve watched the show, you’ll know a dry martini is Grace’s drink of choice. She asks how he knew that.

Nick: Because I did a little research on you.
Grace: That’s terrifying.
Nick: I got the lowdown on Say Grace.
Grace: Oh, did you?
Nick: Solid growth ten quarters in a row, despite the beauty market’s volatility.
Grace: Well, it’s 11 quarters, but who’s counting?
Nick: We are. It’s so us.

From the beginning, Grace has been rightfully upset about Nick’s behavior. She correctly identifies that his STALKING is indeed terrifying. After another charming  obnoxious back and forth:

Nick: If you’re an expert, explain them to me.
Grace: Oh, God, no. I am a nightmare when it comes to relationships.
Nick: Yeah, well, I read that in the research.
Grace: Where are we going? There’s no restaurants out here.
Nick: We never said “restaurant,” we said “food”. I’m meeting all the criteria of our negotiation.

So, we know that Nick is aware of Grace’s past with Robert. He knows she’ll be hesitant to start anything with him or anyone, so he’ll be prepared to use whatever he can to get her to do whatever he wants. He has so far.

I wish Nick wasn’t in this show. His character is gross, a creep who doesn’t respect boundaries and who is willing to use the legal system to bully Grace. This isn’t cute. It isn’t romantic. It’s stalking, manipulation and abusive. This plot line is extremely common, all you need is to look at the synopsis of any “romantic” movie 

But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t speak up about it. I am hoping next season won’t involve Nick but I know better. I just hope I’m proved wrong, because I love this show and I’d hate to have to quit it, but I will if it comes to that.

Grace & Frankie: Nick is a Creep

Dilemma: Explaining Racism to Other POC

So a recent text exchange about white privilege and racism with a potential date (a person of color) made me have a bunch of feels. This is my attempt at parsing them.

Explaining why white supremacy exists to a person of color feels like I’m splainin’ their oppression to them. But he kept blaming racism on mental capacity or ability. I needed to say something about the ableism he was displaying.

He was “not all white people”-ing me and saying “you can have white privilege and not be racist”. Except you can’t have one without the other, white privilege exists because of racism.

I know how frustrating it is having this conversation with a White person. So how does one manage to talk to a person whose facing similar bigotries as you without coming off as condescending? How do you strike that balance of not compromising your message but also wanting to educate them? Personally I’m not a fan of educating White people. My writing is intended for people who are well versed in Social Justice and for people like me so they know they are not alone. This blog serves as a sort of journal and I do not have the desire to explain my existence to someone more privileged than I.

But when faced with a person of color who isn’t well versed in these things, I feel there’s a moral imperative to educate them. Because bigotry isn’t simply “just how the system is”. It isn’t some phenomenon without an explanation. Obviously you’re not going to pick a random person off the street and rant at them but if you’re speaking to someone and they mention the bigotry they face and wonder out loud why it’s happening, it’s a little hard not to want to want to grab them by the collar and just spill your guts about how and why The Man is keeping us all down. I don’t need to reach white people, I need to reach others like me. There is strength in numbers.

Someone who doesn’t understand why bigotry exists but is willing to learn is obviously not the issue. What makes this an issue for me is when faced with someone like Potential Date. Apart from the ableism, his responses smacked of complacency. He wasn’t interested in attacking the root cause of the bigotry. It may be easier to be ableist but it doesn’t do anything to combat the oppression we face. What it does is further stigmatize people who are mentally ill or who have cognitive disabilities.

Potential Date isn’t disabled so he won’t understand why ableism is an issue, at least not right away. Not without someone to explain it to him. So I’m back to my dilemma. I don’t want to waste time educating someone with able privilege but then he’s also a person of color. I feel like he needs to understand. I feel he should understand because he’s faced racism. So, naively, I wish he could just get it. He’s straight and cis and that adds more layers of privilege.

So then I guess the real issue is how do you talk to someone who has privileges over you, but who isn’t at the very top of the racial hierarchy? And if they’re open to talking about it, how do you do it in a way it won’t alienate them? Because I feel that conversation can end up making the other person feel like they’re being talked down to.

As I’m writing this, I have a million thoughts running through my mind. For example, if the text exchange had been about sexism, transmisogyny or homophobia I probably wouldn’t bother to educate him. Because in those cases he’s privileged. But then again, I can’t just separate my transness or queerness, or the fact that I present as “female” from the racial oppression I face. These things do not occur in a vacuum. I’m interested in hearing your take. Is this all just an exercise in futility?

Addendum:
This is why dating advice that says to go out and just meet people in meat space doesn’t work. As a loud feminist and sjw is so fucking tricky and most times impossible to meet someone in the wild who is like-minded. Which is why online dating is the way to go for me.

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Dilemma: Explaining Racism to Other POC

Secret relationships and overt shaming.

One of my earliest memories before I started living with my grandparents was getting off the bus and walking to the apartment my mum and I were living in at the time. Everything is fine on the bus cause I am the “loser” who sat in the front of the bus. I liked Sitting by the front tire cause there was a bump in the metal underfoot and I could scrunch down and have my feet up on it and my knees resting into the seat in front of me. (Which no one was ever in so I wasn’t being rude). One thing I learned very early was to be quiet and small, so people would hopefully ignore me or not even know I existed.

I get off the bus, other kids do too, I don’t know them or maybe I do, and I have to start running home because they are throwing rocks at me. It was always a game to get home before they could. I sat at the front of the bus to get a head start, regardless I was slow and fat, and was an easy target for these things. Another one from the same time is playing on the playground. The apartment complex had a playground in the middle of the U shaped road that the apartments were on. It was nice, it was even nice if it was just me and one other kid. As soon as there were more tho, they would all turn on me and make fun of me and throw rocks at me. No one even at that young age (Before I was 7-8) could bear to be seen being friends with the fat kid.

Fast forward to early adulthood, I was on a really simple small get to know you date. We met up at Dennys, got coffee, you could still smoke there. We spend at least 2 hours just talking, eventually got food, spent at least another hour talking and then decided to get some deserts cause one can only drink so much coffee without needing some food. We order deserts, we keep talking. I am thinking wow this is awesome someone I can just talk with. My date excused themselves to the restroom, and I poked at my whatever I had ordered drank coffee, had a cig, then I realized it seemed like it had been a while. I finally started keeping track of time on my watch. About 20 minutes later the waitress had come back again to find me fighting back tears. She looked at the place across from me, and looked around scanning the place. I shrugged at her and said something about how I guess that was that. I just sat there finished my desert and smoked more, had another few cups of coffee. It had been well over an hour at this point, this person wasn’t coming back.

The waitress was really nice, maybe because I was a regular and maybe she just felt bad. He never came back, and I never heard from him ever again. The waitress actually paid for our food, because yeah he left and left me to pay for everything including his stuff. So I spent the money I was going to that eve and just tipped her. She even hugged me and said something refreshingly derogatory about men.

There is this constant need for me and my fatness and the fact that anyone could possibly find my company pleasing or even find me attractive to be squashed down, hidden, and made sure that no one ever finds out. Even friendships, just being the “when I have nothing else to do” friend, or the “friend I hangout with but only alone”, no one can see me hanging out with this person.

I am as fat now as I have ever been, and even back then I was still of such little value that I was this secret. The secret friend, the secret flirt, the secret fuck, the secret partner. I have always been a secret because I am not valuable enough to be a celebrated part of anyones life. It has been this way since some of my earliest memories and it’s been this way recently as well.

Even around “family” I was reminded how little worth I had and how overt people can be with that. There was a year where we did our annual Easter egg hunt (I was raised Roman Catholic). There was always snow, but that was half the fun. I followed my clues to find all the eggs, and then yay I found my basket. This one year in particular I remember very vividly. While my cousins were opening their baskets and oohing and awing, I was slowly poking around my basket. Everyone else was laughing and having a good time. I was not. My basket had some fruits and veggies in it, some like grapenut granola shit, there was other things too, but no candy. I couldn’t have candy cause I was fat, as a child they told me this by making my communal “family” time a lesson in humiliation. Also in my basket was some deodorant, and some like face wipes for some “beauty” reason or another.

I left everyone out on the deck, I set my basket inside and I went to my room to cry. Crying myself to sleep because of how much I hate myself, because of how others treat/ed me, because every moment of my life was a reminder that if only I was different and not fat, maybe I too could have got candy that year for easter. I remember my grandpa sneaking me a hot cross bun, which was always my favorite during this fucked up holiday. He understood, he was also policed about what he could and could not eat. The cookie jar was always full of cookies, but me and gramps weren’t supposed to eat them? We both routinely snuck around the house and stole cookies at night, because we weren’t allowed to eat them otherwise.

I used to think and probably still do on many levels that I should be lucky I even get to have any of this. I mean that is what society has told me since my earliest memories. Just be grateful for what you get. Be grateful you got raped, cause no one would fuck you normally. Be grateful people even notice you enough to throw rocks at you. Be grateful anyone would even spend time with you. Be grateful to be that secret 11pm call to hangout and watch a movie. Be grateful you even got anything for a holiday, be grateful you get to eat with the family even if your plate and portions are policed.

When it’s one on one, people are totally different. That has been my experience even through adulthood. So many intimate moments that I would never dare tell anyone because it was made clear no one would believe me anyway. So many quiet confessions of my positive attributes, of my prowess, my talents and skills. So many things that can only be said in the darkness in the quiet times that are just the two of us. No one can know how much that fuck rocked your world. Oh dear fuck, if someone finds out your going to be branded a “fatty fucker”. I mean you can tell them it was a pity fuck, that makes you feel better and makes you look oh so charitable to your mates.

This door does happen to swing both ways. Where I am embarrassed for people I care about. I have such little self worth right now that I feel like I should be the one making efforts and keeping myself a secret. I don’t feel like I am worth enough to be noticed and cared about. People should probably just pretend they don’t even know me because my value is so little; I am a negative, a detriment. If I am a secret, then maybe I don’t exist in this reality where everything hurts. Maybe it’s better to be a secret than to be hurt.

I really don’t know.

Secret relationships and overt shaming.

My future is pain.

What does my future hold?

For many people this is a question of awe and wonder. It’s exciting and even inspiring to think about the future. What could the future hold. What will my mark on the world be. What amazing things can I do with my time. Then there are things like bucket lists, dream vacations, a certain thing someone wants to do before they die, we could go on. I am sure you get the picture.

While I don’t know everything about my future, and it would be disingenuous to say as much, I do know this. I know that my future holds pain. My future will always hold pain and suffering. I get to live the rest of my life (barring any sudden drastic leaps in science, technology, and medicine) in pain. In daily pain. Not only physical but mental and emotional pain.

My future is pain. Of course as I said before I don’t know what the future holds, no one can predict the future or often times even have the faintest idea of what will and will not happen. However I do know that whatever happens to me, wherever life takes me however long that is, and no matter what gets done or doesn’t. My future will have pain in some aspect or another. Daily pain.

I have daily physical pain, from the Fibro/ME catch all diagnosis for you have pain and we don’t know why. To my more specific things like the degeneration in my knees, chondromalacia patella, patella femoral joint degeneration, osteoarthritis. Two knee surgeries later and being told I need new knees, but that I will have to wait until I am older. To the bursitis in my right shoulder from cane use because of my fucked up knees. My carpel tunnel which I have already had one surgery for, making my main hobbies and interests already harder. Using my arms and hands and having to take constant breaks while painting, or doing models, or even gaming. My dowagers hump, which means my spine and neck are just always fucked, no matter how good I slept, if I use my neck pillow. I do daily at home Physical Therapy because that is all I can do to give my neck/shoulders/spine some relief and the change at not getting so tense and bound up that my whole day is rolling with a disadvantage.

To the pain that is my entire body, revolting at the fact we are still existing. Just every single joint in my entire body hurting, pulsing with pain or even just screaming at me while I am doing literally nothing. A bumped arm or toe that can send me into bed for 3 hours in excruciating pain. If not from the pain from the bump/wound, then the crying and bawling that happens because the pain in so intense for however long, then I have to lie down anyway because I have a migraine. The fact that water from a shower head hurts like hundreds of tiny stabs and punches all over me. I also have nerve pain and damage on the right side of my body from having Shingles outbreaks at least 6 or 7 times within a few years, and another more recently. Nerve pain is really fun like electric shocks and a very stingy deep pain that is miserable and doesn’t take well to anything I have tried.

Pain also gives me amazing nausea, so I am either nauseated because of body pains, or maybe because I haven’t eaten in so long because of being nauseated, or maybe I am nauseated because of eating. Then when I do eat I often get more pain because of eating. I have a sliding hiatal hernia, and refractory GERD. I also already have esophageal damage, not only from being a former bulimic but also because it took a full year of tests and procedures to find out what was making me get sick and vomit almost every single day for multiple years. IBS is also super fun and causes me all kinds of pain and discomfort, which also ties into my anxiety, since a LOT of people with anxiety disorders also have IBS.

My own disabilities make me more disabled in so many cases. How hecking effed is that?

I also have daily emotional and mental pain. The anxiety alone, making me tense adding to my physical pain. The anxiety is about anything, and everything. The bouts of agoraphobia that cause me more stress, mental pain and anguish even just thinking about leaving my house. I have nightmares at least half of the days of the week. This adds more stress, anxiety, maybe even triggers my PTSD. All of this adding more to my mental state, emotional pain and then all making my physical pain worse. It’s this constant swirling mass of things that keep feeding each other. Physical pain adding to my depression, the depression making me less likely to do things I enjoy which adds to not only making the depression worse but my pain as well.

PTSD is it’s own beast as well with the fact that flashback can also trigger body memories and pains associated with that. Or even just the stress of the nightmares, flashbacks, the intrusive thoughts which make me tense up. I deal with muscle spasms on the daily as well be it from pain, tension, stress, or just more body weirdness that doesn’t have a name and probably just gets lumped into my Fibro Dx. Which doctors have told me is a catch all for “you have any number of these symptoms and widespread pain and we have no idea why”.

Constant anxiety over how much I am being a burden to everyone I care about. Constant anxiety about the fact I have been told I talk too much about my disabilities. Can’t I just be happy? Can’t I just not talk about things that affect my daily life. The anxiety about finding new doctors and trying to access new pain treatments, or new options in general. Trying to seek out help for my bodily pain which adds to my anxiety more because I have to find new doctors, make appointments, do that first meeting. Bring all my medical history over and hope they even glance at it rather than just at me. Then these things just add to my depression more when appointments with doctors go terribly, either because they can’t help me or because of the more sinister shaming that they love to do so much. Or maybe another test is “normal” and we are back to square one.

Another doctor dismissing me with “go diet and exercise”. Another addition to my daily shame for existing as a disabled person, for existing while fat. Another addition to my emotional pain, the distress, the hopelessness, my depression, which in turn swirls and adds to everything else. Knowing that my future is pain, and will contain pain is hard. It is hard to keep wanting to go when I know this for a fact will a part of my daily life. Sure I don’t know what else my life will hold, but I do know it will be all through this lens of pain. A large spiky bubble that is my constant companion. Ouch, pain here, ouch pangs of sadness here, fuck I just got triggered, ouch more emotional pain, more crying, crap now I have a migraine. A cycle that is not always the same, but is constant none the less.

Every single day of the rest of my life will be in pain, and I don’t know how I feel about that. It makes living hard, it makes gaining inertia hard, makes having fun or even a “not shit day” hard. It makes everything harder and I am tired, and I want a break.

My future is pain.

What Narcissists Taught Me about Talking to Allistic People

In case you’ve been in a beautiful fantasy world for the past few years, I have a sad truth to report: the world is, just, full of allistic people. Not only that, but despite their comically overstated deficiencies at staying organized, attaining intense mastery of niche topics, and being at all bearable to be around, they control almost everything. Learning how to deal with their bizarre needs is a necessary life skill for the rest of us, and I came to learn what I have about how they operate from a still more noisome source: narcissistic, emotionally abusive parents.

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What Narcissists Taught Me about Talking to Allistic People