sometimes an asshole is just an asshole

Earlier this week, my baby sister did something super awesome. Apparently her college has a bit of an infestation of “preachers” who like to harass anything that moves, and one of them attempted to have a go at my brother. Welp, little sister is nothing if not protective of her people, and she decided that the correct response to that kind of wildlife was to pick a fight with him. (For reference, my sister is an adorable skinny blonde white girl. NOT the sort of person one generally expects to be the brave one in this sort of situation.) And sure enough, tiny badass ended up having the last word and got a heck of a video of the incident to post on social media.

So what does that situation have to do with the title of this post, you ask?? Simple – various people, some of whom I know and some of whom I never will, responded to that video with “you should’ve been nicer to him, he’s probably mentally ill”.

Newsflash, buddy – mental illness is not an excuse for being that kind of trash in a public place. If you can form coherent enough sentences to harass dozens of innocent passers-by, then you’re mentally present enough to take responsibility for your actions.

Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.

If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you’ve seen my own mental-health issues. I’ve written extensively about some of the stuff that goes on in my head. I am enough of a person to admit that a lot of the stupid shit I do has nothing to do with my depression and everything to do with my poor impulse control and maladaptive self-defense skills. Explanations that are character flaws I can fix (and am actively trying to). Not a screw loose or a hamster missing or one tiny screwed-up strand of DNA that gives me an excuse to do what I want without consequence.

Most of my friends are the same. Most of the people I care about have bad brain of some sort, and all of them take ownership of their actions. I’m constantly amazed by my wolf, who has been through more than I knew a human being could even survive and yet remains the most gentle and kind person I know. And really, everyone I know who fights monsters in their head is focused on being a decent and functional human being.

So no, longtime “family friend”, putting some label on someone you’ve never met doesn’t justify inappropriate public behavior. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole.

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life goes on

I took a mostly accidental writing hiatus.

It’s been an intense couple weeks. Lots of personal stuff. Very little of which is suitable for public consumption. I learned a few unexpected things about myself and what I’m capable of. And a few completely unsurprising things. I am definitely a better and more self-aware person than I was six months ago.

I’ve been getting much more into cosplay and trying to do that on a semi-professional level. I post about all of that on FB at Blue Butterfly Cosplay, so if y’all are remotely interested in watching me be a human disaster with photographic proof of my misadventures, go over there. At this point that’s gonna be staying off this blog because clearly what I need is two TOTALLY DIFFERENT public personas, but ya never know. (The occasional con story might wander over here, idk. Con people are FUN.)

I’ve taken on a bunch of crafty projects. I’m trying to do some side ventures. I’m working full time. I’m stressed as hell and in a strange way I think I love it because stressed!me gets shit done.

I just need to figure out how to translate the new practical gifts of my stubbornness into everything else in my life.

I need to sew and/or piece together like six costumes I’m lowkey working on, plus a Handmaid dress that I’m gonna wear for something at some point but idk what at this point ’cause I meant to wear it for my sister’s graduation but then life happened and I didn’t get around to making the darn thing in time soooo I’m gonna do that for SOMETHING. Idk. Maybe the next wedding within the former group, assuming there are any left I’m even gonna get invited to. We’ll see.

I kinda need to lose weight but that would require effort and honestly I’m too tired and I can blame my antidepressants for my thighs so whatev.

I need to write so, so much.

I’m not sure if posting all of this here will make me DO IT, but here’s hoping.

the strangest thing i have ever read (so far)

I’ve been reading a bunch of “how to be the perfect conservative religious woman” books as research for a few projects. For the most part, said books aren’t generally that bad. Sure, the relationship advice is usually questionable at best, but there are usually good intentions and at least vague points in the right direction and… okay, I really do hate self-help books and the addition of Bible verses does not change that one bit, but most of that genre (at least that I’ve read so far) is at least… not as horrific as it could be, I guess??

But all categories have exceptions, and the first one I’ve found in this particular one is A Return To Modesty by Wendy Shalit.

I almost feel bad writing negatively about that book because like… when it’s good, as it is in places, it’s really good. There’s a chapter about how a significant part of the problem is that we as a culture are not socializing our sons to be decent human beings, which I appreciated and did not expect to find in a book that’s otherwise all “BLAME THE WOMAN!!”. And even when Shalit goes some questionable places, she has extensive citations, so the book isn’t just personal opinion gone awry.

Unfortunately, another of the chapters is devoted to the strangest conspiracy theory I’ve ever come across, which Shalit believes completely – doctors are putting young women on psychotropic medications to take away their natural femininity.

Remember, y’all – I grew up on the fringes of the homeschool movement. I have seen and listened to some weird shit (for example, a longtime family friend is convinced that the iPhone is the Mark Of The Beast). I am usually much more accepting of heartfelt-albeit-unusual beliefs than the average person. But that one?! I just… I don’t have words.

Like, I’ve seen that argument used about why birth control is evil. Not frequently, because people who believe that generally have way more interesting rationale, but I have seen it. Never before about antidepressants, though.

And sure, maybe I’m a bit biased. I’m coming up on six years on-and-off meeds, mostly and currently on, so maybe my particular cocktail’s warped my opinion of everything holy. But like, I’ve heard a lot of the super-religious arguments against the mere existence of mental health issues and… this is still new and bizarre and I can’t even.

Seriously. How damaged does one’s brain have to be in order for one to believe that?!

A Return To Modesty was published in 1999, so hopefully Shalit’s taken some time over the last two decades to reassess some of her views and minimize her confirmation bias, but… I’m not holding my breath, nor do I think the odds are good enough for me to poke around online and find out. Congratulations, though – a nonobservant Jewish woman (not a religious tradition I generally associate with this scale of crazy) managed to impress me with the audacity of her bullshit. Well done, lady, well done.

listeners

I’ve realized lately that I’ve developed a bit of a magnetism over the last few years. Whenever I need to grow a new leaf, so to speak, someone new comes into my life and offers new perspective on elements of my story that I’d previously overlooked or seen with different eyes. The timing is always perfect, one of those few things that makes me feel divine presence, and I’m so so lucky to get that.

As someone who didn’t really have friends until a couple years ago, it means a lot that I have people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to help me. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it in a big-picture way, but in little moments…

Moments like today, when my wolf friend accidentally got two different incidents confused and made a hilariously wrong assumption about something I’d done and my heart melted a little because if anyone else had said that I would’ve hit them but I’m getting used to my wolf’s strange sense of humor and it was the best thing that’s happened to me in ages.

Moments like yesterday, when I was with a potential new romantic partner and somehow ended up explaining the complexities and curses of growing up female in the Bubble, again heart-melting because it was so clear my partner had no experience with what I was talking about but he wanted to understand because that world created me.

Moments like a couple days ago when my friend Sam and I had an intense text convo about mothers with boundary issues and for once we were talking about how our families interacted with the outside world (and really, there’s a time and place for trying to impress people but wow do they ever tend to miss it) and it hit me that sometimes having matching scars isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Moments like midnight “guess what I did today!!” messages to Dara and/or Miranda, who are always proud of me even if they do think I’ve gone a little too far.

Moments like telling Liv about flashbacks and being reminded that I’m not alone and that breaking free sucks but rising from ashes is so worth it.

Moments like updating Rhonda on how many hexis I’ve made.

Hell, moments like checking my email and seeing that some of you lovely people have liked and/or commented on one of my posts here. A lot of the time I do feel like I’m yelling into a void, but sometimes the void yells back and it means so, so much to me that y’all occasionally give me attention.

I don’t remember the last time I felt lonely. Weird – that used to be my primary emotional state. I still feel sad a lot, and there are still relationship shapes I want but don’t currently have, but the overall feeling of alone-ness is pretty much gone. I have people now. I have an eclectic bunch of misfits who genuinely care about my existence and continued well-being. That’s new and weird and idk how I’m supposed to feel about it, but… okay. New leaves growing. I can do this.

manifested nightmare

I’ve been realizing lately that I used to be a really shitty person.

Not that I’m doing all that much better now or anything, but at least over the last few years I’ve become aware of my flaws and my tendencies and I am slowly but surely putting leashes on them and teaching them how to sit and shut up. I make no claims about being a Good Human Being, but damn, at least I’m willing to admit I’m human.

Baby!me did not have that ability. Much to her peril. And it’s taken me almost a decade to admit it.

Blame an old friend for this, if you will. Beautiful thing about social media is sometimes people reappear out of nowhere after two years of awkward silence and it’s like the distance never existed at all. This one, he’s special. I’ve blogged about him in the past because he’s slightly more notable as the first love whose lack of interest in me led to me leaving the Bubble and ending up on antidepressants for the first time (wow, boy did a lot for me), but before that… before that, he was the only person who knew me in high school who did not want to fix me, let alone try.

I think I scared him. It’s been eight years since it happened, a third of my life, and I still vividly remember the cold November weekend our paths first crossed. Rarely do I have primal reactions to new people, and negative ones even less so, but I took one look at that boy and I wanted to bring him down. Over the two days and several hallway encounters that followed, I almost hit him several times – and not always by accident either. I’m pretty sure everyone has vague sociopathic tendencies at age sixteen or so, but I was something else entirely and I picked a pretty good victim.

Or so I thought. But in my chaotic brilliance, I’d picked the one Bubble boy in our region who could not only keep up with me but actually chose to. Chose to explain to me, a year and a lifetime later, that sometimes content warnings make life easier. (Not that I listened, but seventeen-year-old me was not good at following instructions.) Chose to reach out to me and treat me like a damn person, something I did not know how to respond to at the time (and still don’t, honestly). Chose to, in sweet Bubble-boy fashion, become the first real friend I managed to keep.

But oh, that doesn’t change how much of a bitch I was.

If it moved, I hated it. I was undiagnosed depressive, not to mention aforementioned sociopath-adjacent tendencies, and I’d been left in a perfect playground. A quick glance at the national news will inform any outsider of how succeptible such communities are to semi-outsider predators, but the young who aren’t eaten frequently grow up to be just as monstrous. I was merely more open and aiming in a slightly different direction than my peers. All of us were a bit feral, I think. I stood out as a lone wolf amidst the shifting pack of our homeschool group, but nobody survived unscathed.

Still, someone saw light in me. Someone my age, someone I never would’ve expected kindness from until it was shown. And that, more than anything else, is probably why I’m still alive.

(I’m gonna message this post to the person in question, for the record. I do follow the “if you write about them and you’re still on speaking terms, make sure they see it” rule. So… this could get awkward and lead to a follow-up post about how I’ve set my life on fire THIS month.)

I still have a lot of reflection to do, but at least I’m admitting it. That’s the first step.

love is…

… “she’s FINE, she’s one of the toughest people I know” followed a minute later by “what do you mean she might’ve spontaneously taken a trip to Australia?!?”

… being very, very thrilled when I do not find any arrest records for the above-mentioned person (who is still not accounted for, but probably off on some wild adventure. or somebody’s kid broke her phone. or both).

… friendships that feel like warm blankets and coming home.

… borderline compulsive worrying that usually ends up being TOTALLY NECESSARY because why oh why do I attract so many people with no self-preservation abilities.

… reminding my people that they mean a lot to me and that I am way easier to deal with when they tell me what’s going on instead of making me wonder. (and that in turn minimizes the above compulsive worrying.)

… making squishy knitted things because if I can’t hug you as often as I want to (or like ever because you’re on the other side of the freaking continent), that’s the next best thing.

… knowing that I’m 23 and I’ve got a really solid list of people I am honored to be friends with and be connected to.

… accepting that all forms of human kindness are beautiful, not just the kind that actually means “I want you”.

do something

I’ve had it up to here with passive-aggressiveness.

As usual with most of my frustrations, there’s a few contributing factors here. There’s the culture of random catfights at my work (for those of you who don’t know me in RL, I work in retail and that’s honestly a whole ‘nother post but sufficient to say, I have some INTERESTING coworkers). There’s the wildlife on Facebook who I can’t unfriend for whatever reason (usually ’cause I want to watch them completely trainwreck in a couple years) who post so, so many political things but don’t have actual SOLUTIONS. There’s similar bullshit on Tumblr, which is why I haven’t even checked my tracked tags on there in like a month because I can’t deal with people. There’s… guh.

Again, my background comes back to bite me. Again, having grown up in a fairly normal family that for whatever reason attempted to blend in with the conservative wildlife comes back and my disillusionment has roots somewhere in my teens.

I guess my frustration with people who have problems but don’t ACT ON THEM started with the pro-life movement. (I’m about to ruffle some feathers here, so if that topic is really important to you, this is your warning to quit reading.) Obviously, as a good Bubble kid, that was something I grew up around. Worse, as a good Bubble kid who was adopted right after birth, that was something I couldn’t escape. When I was younger, my mother was prone to waving the “I adopted three unwanted children” flag every chance she got. (She’s toned it down over the last couple years, but still brings it out for special occasions.) It was her sainthood, and as far as that goes… far be it from me to judge one of someone’s more harmless hangups, but as one of the kids in question it did feel an awful lot like a guilt trip.

But as per usual when dealing with the Bubble, my mother was comparatively tame. On this issue, a little more dramatically than most. Even outsiders know that pro-life is THE issue that defines the Bubble. It’s not an optional belief, like headcoverings or the more obnoxious strain of Calvinism. It’s a REQUIREMENT. But at least in my experience, it was dealt with the same way every other cause was – talk about it until lungs and lips turn blue, throw money at the problem, maybe serve on an organizing committee if you’re REALLY dedicated to the cause, and… that’s it. That’s where it begins and ends.

Now, apply that approach to literally any issue that bothers anyone. That’s generally how it works. For issues of a wide variety. By people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

I just… I can’t.

I can’t.

If something bothers you as much as you claim it does, DO SOMETHING. Time goes a hell of a lot further than money. Don’t just sit there and post shit on FB. DO SOMETHING.

And if you’re not willing to put up the effort to turn your beliefs into actions… maybe you should rethink them. Y’know. Maybe.