Here are some of the awesome things I have read this past week, my recommendations to you.
This advice column by Rachel on Autostraddle feels like it explains something critically important about trauma and ways we go along with other people’s realities. It’s focused on biphobia in an intimate relationship, and it feels like it ends up going much wider than that in it’s frame. TW for brief descriptions of child abuse and longer descriptions of the long term impact of childhood trauma. (including the quote below)
“If my partner is in the next room over and hasn’t spoken to me in 15 minutes, I can easily convince myself that it’s not just because he’s reading but because the last thing I said to him was wrong somehow, and he’s stewing and ready to scream at me any second now about how awful I am. This belief, though, is wrong. He doesn’t get upset about infinitesimal things, and when he is upset, that isn’t how he handles it. He’s not my father.
It absolutely makes sense for me to process information this way — in many situations I’ve been in, that instinct would have been correct, and helped me stay safe. But it isn’t correct anymore, and it would be unhealthy — and unfair — to act as if it were. I’m not wrong for feeling the way I do, but if I forced my partner to treat my feelings as reality — if I called him five times a day while he was at work to have him reassure me he wasn’t mad at me, if I forbade him from ever taking time to himself without reminding me it wasn’t about me, or ever being outwardly upset about things like having a bad day at work because it makes me anxious — that would be a terrible relationship for him to be in. I’m not wrong for feeling how I do, but it’s on me to make a plan for how to cope with it: to remind myself to look at the evidence and ask whether there’s any suggestion that I’m actually about to be harmed, to develop my own coping strategies, to be self-aware of my own history and the way I map it onto my present. I can certainly ask my partner for support in this, or to make some concessions to my history that he agrees are both fair and healthy for him, but I can’t ask him to bend over backwards for me because I’m not willing to do the work at all. We can’t justify harmful things we do to others by pointing to the ways they’re related to how we ourselves were harmed — a reason isn’t a justification. Even when bad things have happened to us, and even when those bad things influence how we see the world, we’re still capable of respecting other people’s autonomy, their needs and wants and identity, and treating them as they deserve. To think otherwise is, I think, to insult ourselves a bit.”
This post by Tobi Hill Meyer on pushbacks against discussing dating politics.
“When people talk about dating politics, nobody is saying you should get involved with someone you don’t want to be involved with.
When I suggest that social prejudice is a factor in someone having a “preference” or a “rule” that they will not date people of a marginalized population, I don’t want that person to start dating folks from that marginalized population! Think about it for a second. If you are acting from social prejudice, the last thing I would want is you impose that upon someone who is vulnerable to it.”
This post on writing while autistic by the Autistic Academic.
“Writing is a compulsion for me, but not in the way one means when one talks about obsessive-compulsive disorders – although the difference can be hard to explain. It’s a need the way food, sleep, and exercise are needs: basic to my fundamental health. I don’t write to avoid feeling bad; I do it to feel well.”
This post by Camryn Garrett on antiblackness and anger is amazing and you should read it.
“I’m angry. Whether or not I’m allowed to be angry shouldn’t even be a question. I hate the stereotype that black women are always loud and angry, because most of the time we are taught to shove it back, deep within us so that we don’t bother white people. Grief isn’t pretty, nor is it quiet. It’s the sound of a mother sobbing as she buries her child. It’s the co-founders of Black Lives Matter Toronto camping outside to protest.”
This post by Delilah Dawson on how to make a book playlist.
“I learned very early on that music is a great way to build books and preserve sanity.
That means that for each book, I have a specific playlist. When I’m building up the idea, writing the first draft, or editing, I listen to that playlist exclusively– in the car, while on walks, while cleaning the kitchen. I behaviorally condition myself to be in that world with those characters when I hear that music. That means that if I need to switch between projects– say, stop a first draft halfway through to revise a book for my agent or editor– I can easily switch gears and reimmerse myself in the book that needs attention.”
This post by Cat Graffam on intersex identity. Trigger warning for discussion of genitals, coercive surgery, depression, self harm and suicide.
“I remember sitting on the floor of my first apartment late at night, secretly researching the “deformity” that I had kept hidden throughout my life. I felt alone in my experiences, and almost never discussed what I had been through with anyone. It goes without saying that I was still very emotionally scarred from my traumatic medical history. One click lead to another and I found myself reading The Intersex Roadshow, a blog by Cary Costello. The particular post I read pointed out the ways that society hides intersex identity from people who are designated male at birth and have intersex traits, and instead labels these bodies as “deformed” or merely “inadequate” rather than somewhere along the spectrum of sex. I could barely finish it, being met head on with ideas that shook the foundation of my identity. I began rapidly shuffling through my experiences and the ways I thought about myself.
Staring blankly at my laptop screen, I realized…shit, he was talking about me. “How could I have not known about this?” I kept asking myself.”
This interview with Tiq Milan has some lovely stuff in it.
“Well, I think the reason that there is more visibility around trans women and their issues really comes down sexism and misogyny, really. So one, it’s important to understand that like 97% of the decision-making in media is coming from men – and mostly heterosexual men. So we have to deal with male gaze. Femininty and feminine people are always going to be a part of that male gaze. There’s something, I think, in media where they look at femininity as something that’s performative whereas masculinity just is. So there’s that aspect of it, and also femininity is policed more than masculinity. Somebody will see a woman who is 6’3” and will be looking for indications of her femininity, questioning her femininity. But nobody is going to do that to a guy who is 5’4”. So we walk in the world differently because masculinity isn’t as policed and people don’t have this feeling that they want to control masculinity in the same way — people want to control femininity and feminine folks. So I think that’s where it comes from.
Even if we look at these “bathroom bills” — no one wants to meet in the ladies room. But we are still saying that I would have to go into the ladies room, which lets me know that this was never about trans men! It wasn’t about trans-masculine people. This has always been about controlling who is feminine and who has the authority to embody femininity. And I think that’s the issue. All of these violent attacks — don’t get me wrong. I definitely know of trans men who have had to deal with sexual assault and sexual violence at the hands of gay men and men in general. And I think that it’s not reported on a lot and I know this has happened to indviduals and it didn’t get reported at all because the stigma of trans men and being in your trans body and having to experience sexual assault is something that’s traumatic in and of itself. So there’s that that’s happening, but the rate of murder and the just insidious hatefulness that’s spewed towards trans women is really at an epidemic. More trans women have been murdered this year than in all of 2015 and it’s only May! And the thing is that’s happening because of misogny! This is just coming out of a hate for women that is coupled with homophobia in a weird way. So it leaves trans men out of the equation, but oftentimes I think people try to pit trans women and trans men against each other, like who is going to fight for more visibility — and that’s not what it is. What we have to understand is the problem is the sexist patriarchy this is putting trans women and feminine people in general in a more vulnerable place than me.”
“In most parts of my life, I have a hard time shifting focus. I want to focus my mind and my energy on one thing at a time because shifting focus requires a lot of effort from me. Sometimes shifting focus from one thing to another is so demanding that when I’ve managed to do the shift I need to recharge for quite some time before I have the mental energy to commit the my new focus. This can include sex. Often, it actually does include sex.”