Incident - why a disabled asexual would feel uncomfortable with desexualizing PWDs
a song of ice and fire, disability, tyrion
ocelotofdoom
(This is mostly a personal, rather than a political, post, despite the title.  And yes, I do realize how ironic/WTF/whatever it is to have Tyrion for an icon in a post about asexuality, but I found it slightly more fitting than the Magneto icon, so yeah.)

There's a person on Facebook that I really should defriend, or rather have defriended a month and a half ago. (and already people know that this story is going nowhere good...).  I know this bro from the local chapter of Autistic Self Advocacy Network.  He attends for no reason I can tell, as he's not particularly interested in autistic rights or disability politics.  For whatever reason - possibly because I have been polite enough not to tell him to shove off, he's latched onto me, and keeps talking to me on Facebook.  Aside from making bad puns about my name and stuff, which is annoying in and of itself, he was talking and asking a lot of questions about my facial deformities, my voice and why I hadn't done anything to change them.  Even with having no tact or verbal filter, he'd sort of fucked off about that for the last little while after I'd explained about it, so I was giving him another chance, though still holding him at arm's length.

Tonight, the guy was talking (again...) about wanting to find a girlfriend.  Thankfully, there were no more questions from him on what neurotypical women might think of him if he approached them (a question that for several reasons I cannot answer with any accuracy, two of these reasons - my asexuality and my being Autistic - being ones he is aware of).  Guy gets to talking - thankfully in vague terms - about having fantasies about what he wants girls to act like around and do with him.  All pretty... meh, "normal" sounds legitimizing, but it was commonplace, stereotypical-straight-guy-sounding stuff.  Internally, I'm going into "Am I skeeved out because this is actually sexist, or am I just being a sex-negative asexual hating on regular straight relationships and gender roles?"  So I respond pretty neutrally, along the lines of "Eh, not my thing, but whatever floats your boat."

And then he responds with the following quote: "Your unusual mouth doesn't really do it for me but I respect you a great deal for having the courage to assert that your abnormal mouth is a part of who you are and that you wish to resist other people's advice to get it fixed." He goes on to talk about how we can't all be hot celebrities, and I have brains that I'm going to do stuff with, and it's just incredibly backhanded and unpleasant.  I eventually just fucked off.

I've struggled for a while with the following issue: As a person with disabilities (visible and invisible) and an asexual, I do pretty well in practice under a cultural assumption that people with disabilities are asexual, or at least nonsexual, beings.  And yet, it annoys me.  Usually it's only an abstract concern, but this kind of thing is why it pisses me off.  I don't want to be thought of in sexual ways by this guy or, really, anyone else.  It makes me uncomfortable, in part because I'm asexual and in part because of other ways that I am pretty sure the way in which I imagine myself would conflict with how others would imagine me, especially in a sexual context.  But his way of thinking (and possibly most people's, if my extrapolation is that most people have pretty much the same view of me except don't come right out and say it is correct) is that I don't get to avoid being the object of misplaced sexual desire out of respect for my being asexual or because someone just doesn't think of people in a creepy, objectifying manner, but because people like me - that is to say, people with visible disabilities - are inherently and squarely in the Do Not Want category.  It feels a little petty of me to make this kind of distinction, like I'm saying I want something to be offended over, but it bothers me, as a matter of principle and because of what it means for my chances of finding a close non-sexual relationship of any kind (given that most people experience and rely on aesthetic attraction).

I'm actually pleasantly surprised that this didn't outright trigger me.  I've had a pretty bad time of it this week, especially on Monday (suffice to say that my therapist had to talk me into going to the emergency room and I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problem getting out of there) because of a combination of personal and school/work stress, and I'm pretty sure that the only reason this didn't set me off is because I'm just too damn tired.  I've been having a lot of problems around realizing that my personal life's in all likelihood never going to be what I want it to be (finding someone who actually likes and wants - isn't just settling for, but actively wants - a geeky, repulsed asexual, Autistic person with visible facial deformities, among other things, for a nontraditional, most likely queerplatonic relationship?  Yyyyeah, good luck with that, self) and also that the substitute I imagined for myself - being able to excel pretty much automatically with my natural writing, analytical and writing skills and by devoting the large majority of my energy to my work - is not going to work out as cleanly as I thought, if at all... namely, if I can't even find someone to hire me. The "you're automatically unattractive on account of being abnormal, but you have brains" thing really isn't comforting right now, because as far as I see, I'm failing both in making and maintaining the kind of close connection I'm looking for AND at getting any kind of results by using my intelligence and skills, so that framework no longer works.  This just further reinforces in my head that one of those two is clearly out of reach, and given that I've been feeling especially hopeless about the other this week, it's really actually not awesome that this happened.

Other stuff has happened/is happening soon.  Some of it good, others (especially one thing, that's probably at least to some extent underlying a lot my stress right now) not so much.  I might write about that later.

Writer's Block: Daylight Saving Time
Torts, cat, book, Goya, cute
ocelotofdoom

What would you do with your time if you had one more hour in the day?

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Sleep.  God knows I need it.  In fact, I'm going to do that now, bringing the amount of sleep I will get up to an astounding 4.5 hours instead of 3.5.  :|  I feel bad for being so relieved that this is (probably...) the last week of Trial Team for the semester, but seriously.  I WANT MY WEEKENDS BACK.  And for me weekends mean sleep.

On a non-whining-about-things-that-are-completely-preventable note, I spend Guy Fawkes Day in an epic fashion.  Namely, I went to Occupy Boston and participated in a two-hour march through the city.  It included chanting "Remember, remember the 5th of November" for two blocks or so, and invading the Prudential Center and blocking the hallway right near the food court while loudly informing people what happened in Oakland and what the movement seeks to accomplish until we got kicked out.  I was one of the... 30 people, maybe?... who made it for the entire march.  Which felt really awesome.  Also, I may in fact have been carrying a sign reading "hOnK iF yOu SuPpOrT tHe 99%, BrO :o)" for about half of the march.  Sadly, I was not recognized by any other Homestucks.  The only Homestuck in sight was somebody who I most definitely did not want to interact with, and who I spent the entire time trying to avoid.  Once I was convinced that this individual was not in fact among the people marching, it was a most awesome time, though.

Also, my friend spent a whole week out here for my birthday (...well, really, it was because of the snowstorm burying Western Massachusetts in the days following my birthday, but still...).  It was fun.  Movies, board games, discussing fanfiction material and possible roleplays... good stuff.  :D  I'm glad she was able to come!

Writer's Block: Between a rock and a hard place
Torts, cat, book, Goya, cute
ocelotofdoom

What's worse: a pit of snakes or a pit of spiders?

First question listed was submitted by x_comeundone. (Follow-up questions, if any, may have been added by LiveJournal.)

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Spiders.  BY FAR.  D:  Snakes are cool and feel nice.  Spiders on the other hand are high octane nightmare fuel as far as I'm concerned.  Being covered in (tame, squeezy, non-bitey) snakes sounds kind of nice in a weird way.  Like a living weighted blanket of sorts.  Being covered in spiders is right there behind being operated on without anesthetics in terms of things that would permanently break my brain.

Writer's Block: Anti-bullying month
Torts, cat, book, Goya, cute
ocelotofdoom

Who is the biggest bully in your life?

One response chosen at random will win an Amazon Kindle. [contest details]
(sponsored by bullying_begone)

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Would that I could name only one!  As much as I can name numerous specific incidents of bullying, I think that the cumulative effect of all the actions and inactions that I would describe as "bullying" in my life have been more significant than any one person's actions or inactions.

In terms of who comes to mind when I think of the word "bully," whose actions most fit the commonly understood definition of that word?  That would be Jessica C., a person in my 6th grade class who I was friends with and whose later betrayal of me resulted in the only official diagnosis of PTSD I've ever received.  I really didn't like her at all at first.  Not for any specific reason, she just rubbed me the wrong way.  I ended up feeling bad for her after a while, since she was another person who didn't really have any friends and I knew where she was coming from, and decided to give her a chance.  We were never best friends, at least from my end of things, but we were the only two people that the other could hang out with at school.  At some point, she learned that I was incredibly noise sensitive (as in, some sounds, especially at certain volumes, feel like someone is driving an ice pick through my ear canal and into my brain) as a result of having Asperger's and probably some separate sensory integration/processing thing, which were at that time undiagnosed and written off as me being "oversensitive."  She not only started making noises around me to specifically set me off - whistles, shrieks, that kind of thing - but also told other people that I had these problems, which led to their going after me in similar ways.  I was disallowed from going inside and away from other kids at lunch or break, which pretty much meant I had no escape.  She eventually drove me out of the place I had hung out and eaten lunch for the entire time I was at that school for the last six years by this means and others I can't remember anymore. 

The worst thing I remember was one day after school when we were the last two kids in the classroom.  I was getting my violin to go to lessons down the hall.  She stood in the doorway.  She said something like "Do you want to play a game?" and then started chasing me through the hallways, shrieking and making every type of noise she could think of to hurt me.  I finally locked myself in the empty private study room where my violin teacher was supposed to meet me and waited for her to go away.  I wouldn't let my teacher in until I was sure she was alone.  No one did anything about this and no one cared.  There were other things that happened that year that I can't remember anymore - as in, I can remember specific conversations I had with my therapist about what was going on before or after these specific incidents without remembering the exact content of the conversations aside from being angry with her and wanting to break off with her. 

It might be unfair of me to attribute the entirety of what happened to her - much of what was scary and upsetting about what happened that year was a result of other kids joining in with her in doing this and of adult authority figures who knew what was happening sitting back and doing exactly nothing.  It's really the latter category of people and Jessica herself that I can't forgive.  The stuff that happened that year made my sensory issues worse (contrary to adults' assertions that exposure would make me "get used to it"), since now in addition to the raw pain that certain noises caused me, I associated them with people actively trying to hurt me.  What was left of my social life pretty much crashed and burned for the next three years following that, in no small part because I didn't trust other people my age and was very reactive to anything I took as a sign of betrayal.

By a somewhat more expansive definition, my parents also engaged in a significant amount of bullying.  They, especially my mom, were always going back and forth between the belief that I could never, ever do certain things by virtue of who I was (E.g., my mom's insisting that I could never be a trial attorney because people would never hire me what with my facial deformity and speech impediment) and the belief that I could do and in fact control everything and anything (E.g., my dad's insistence that such parts of my medical history such as becoming severely anemic to the point of requiring blood transfusions or having a seizure in a restaurant were things I did on purpose to get back at my mom).  My food limitations due to texture (again, due to Asperger's/sensory integration stuff) were always the subject of jokes or teasing, when they didn't lead to stuff like my parents forcing me to eat things that I knew would and in fact sometimes did make me sick, and in one particular instance, threatening to make me eat my vomit if I threw up.  My other sensory issues and trigger-type things weren't handled much better - stuff like preventing me from leaving the theater in parts of movies that had onscreen surgery or gore, or actively preventing me from leaving situations where I was facing sensory pain or overload (including during the Jessica situation, as my mom was the teacher's assistant in my classroom that year).  My father, especially leading up to and during the period of the divorce, would trap me in a car or a room with only one door, which he would be blocking, and yell at me for hours.  If I argued back, I was being disrespectful and angry.  If I cried, I was being manipulative.  If I didn't respond at all, I was being disrespectful.  Once he got going, there was no way to defuse the situation, especially if I was alone.  I don't think he actually made a distinction between my mother and I, because it seemed like the things he was complaining about seemed more to do with her, whether they were true or not, than they did with me.  To my mom, I was always "embarrassing" her or looking or doing something "retarded" or fucking things up by virtue of just doing what I did.  She never really explained why what I did was bad, even when I asked or tried to explain my side of it, and at the same time assumed that I was acting deliberately in making things difficult for her.  Both of my parents hit me - not frequently, but always for petty things, issues of control or perceived "disrespect," nothing that couldn't have been dealt with by much more gentle means.  And then they both had the nerve to assume that I was the one who needed fixing, when it's how they dealt with their kid, not how I was defiant or imaginative or hypersensitive, that was wrong.

This week. Just, this week.
Karkat, rant, frustration, ANGRY, Homestuck
ocelotofdoom
Okay, Karkat's rage face is not actually an entirely appropriate icon for this, since in the end things have shaped up to be more like Shain: 1, Life 0.  It's just that there was so much stuff going down this week.  3 written assignment... essay... things, at least; legal research for an organization I don't even technically work for anymore; doing liaison-ish stuff for my law journal position; 200 pages of reeading for trial team (and then they drop the bomb on me that, Oh yeah, that advocate position for going to competition that you definitely had?  Naw, you're going to have to compete for that one now.  Have fun!); and finishing my fellowship application for work next year at the very last minute, which, for once was actually not my fault but still involved me having to revise my essays during class that day in light of new information with only a few hours before the deadline to go.  Also the insurance process for getting compensated for all the stuff my asshole tenants stole from my apartment over the summer is finally actually getting moving, which is both draining and encouraging.

In good news that does not involve me being all "ASDFJKL I CAN'T BRAIN ANYMORE," I finally got the guts to talk to my therapist about something I'd been meaning to bring up forever and a day (well, okay, since about the beginning of summer) and... while it was still really awkward and I was inarticulate as fuck, it turned out really good in the end.  Like, the guy came up with an argument that pretty much made that part of my brain that's always picking everything apart go "...Damn, I have nothing to say to that one."  Also, I have been actually having fun doing a wardrobe revamp - for once, instead of feeling horribly, disproportionately short at worst and "Meh, I guess that works..." at best.  Oh, and dorking with people, both in person and on the interwebs.  Fun.

Less good in any sense is the fact that my apartment has mice... or at least one mouse.  Which freaked me out enough last night that I couldn't sleep for most of the night and then finally went to sleep on my couch, away from where I saw the mouse.  Apparently vermin in my house of any kind is enough to make me flip out.  My landlord was going to fix it, but then he brought in poison.  I demanded to physically look at the instructions on the box and informed him that it said that it could not be used around pets, which I'm glad I did because he was insisting my cat would be okay around it.  So.... hopefully the peppermint oil that I got works as well as pest control websites say it will.  At least I'm too tired to care at this point about the freaking mice and will probably crash after I finish this.

So yeah.  Sleep.  Getting on that now.

Making plans while sleep-deprived
Karkat, rant, frustration, ANGRY, Homestuck
ocelotofdoom
I have no pillows.  I'm creeped out being in this place, in part because of some of the weird shit that me and one of my friends found lying around left by the tenants.  In spite of it being in some respects a massively stupid idea to move partway through the year, I sort of want to be out of here.

...So, I'm coming up with plans.  Plans I might find immensely stupid tomorrow, but planning helps me maybe not feel like I'm trapped.  I'm under no continued lease for the year, and I believe I only need to give 30 days' notice before moving out.  I already paid last month's rent upfront way back when I moved in, so that would see me through September at least for that.  I'd leave all of my stuff that is currently in boxes from Portland in said boxes for the time being - most of it being nonessential.  As far as places to go - there's a place in Malden that's $25 more expensive per month than my current rent, with better amenities - laundry in unit, cable included in utilities, a pool, a shuttle to Government Center and to local public transportation... So, especially between saving on laundry and saving on cable (which I would assume would include the internets), I'd actually be getting better value then I'm getting now.   Would I have to shell out some money for moving expenses and new (shitty) furniture?  Probably.  But it might be the better thing to do.  And then I can be in a position to move right around when I get my bar results next Fall, if my lease starts/ends October 1st.  If I get insurance reimbursement for my losses, I can put part of it towards moving (as, while I'd like to replace the piano keyboard, I can live without an iPod stereo, a netbook, and a food processor).  Same with the security deposit from the Portland apartment and the (remainders of) the security deposit from this one.  Also, my financial aid check will be in by then, meaning that I don't necessarily have to rely on financial help from Mom.  Finally, doing this would probably get me out of going home from the holidays due to expense.  God, this idea just keeps getting better and better.

My dad thinks it might be a good idea, but is reserved.  I'm going to talk to my therapist about it tomorrow... after I tell him how right he was about all this bullshit and apologize for not listening about kicking these assholes out to begin with.

Fuck this. Fuck me. Fuck my life.
Karkat, rant, frustration, ANGRY, Homestuck
ocelotofdoom
So my tenants robbed me of a number of my electronics and broke some stuff (including punching a hole through one of the doors).  I wish I had gone with my gut on this one and stuck with not letting them stay there.  It's not like I ever saw a penny of rent.  I'm only half an idiot, at least, and I reported it to the police and started the renter's insurance claims process.  Still, I hate this.

Between how my last memory of this place was my cat dying (the blood and such on the sheets still makes me feel all kinds of bad whenever I think about it too much), and coming back to find that I've been stolen from, I kind of want to go somewhere else and start over.   Maybe to a new apartment, maybe to a new place.  Everything here feels unpleasant and tainted in a way... conflict, loss, stress, all that.  If it weren't for one more year of law school, I probably would be considering absconding to Seattle right now.

At least I finished my paper last night.   I can't sleep now, though.  Maybe I should leave the house.  I probably shouldn't go talk to Borenstein about helping to investigate the JRC in my current state, but... I don't know, maybe I could ask the Registrar for advice on a couple of things schedule-wise.  I'm thinking of changing some things up, after all.

So much for coming home to relax.

Starting a deformity pride blog
Torts, cat, book, Goya, cute
ocelotofdoom
...Because no one else has even suggested it as a possibility that I can tell.  Here's the link:

http://deformitypride.blogspot.com/

Who knows how much I will actually have to say there, but there are some things that need saying.

SHIT.
Torts, cat, book, Goya, cute
ocelotofdoom
Apparently one of the recent things I wrote for work has caused some drama with the board.  I don't believe I was wrong in what I wrote, and I (will) stand by my opinions, but on the other hand I want to avoid politics.  I really wish that my boss had read the thing before sending it to everyone, or at least thought it through more if she did read it, as I thought that it was for her alone that I was writing this.  I've probably made at least one enemy out of this.  While I disagree with this person on the issue in question, I did not need a conflict.  SHIT.  I hate this kind of thing in my personal life, and I hate it in work as well.  With the latter, I just want to do my job and do it well, without interpersonal stuff potentially interfering with that.  The last job where I had a personality conflict with someone, I ended up feeling really stressed out all the time and not getting anything done there even though I had really looked forward to working there.  I don't want that to happen again, especially when I've done so well so far and am really interested in the subject matter.

Also, money problems.  Bluh.  And my mom's riding my ass about it.  I do not need that.

I think things might be getting better...
pwnage, awesome, crafting
ocelotofdoom
Maybe it's too early to say, and I don't want to jinx it or anything, but things seem better.   I've still been scratching a little, but not as much and not as bad.   I'm still nervous about finishing the last paper, coming back to Boston and starting school again, but it's not filing me with unholy terror and making me feel like I'm trapped and can't think straight anymore.  Also, my brain has stopped with the heightened sensory issues and daily stress headaches fuckery, which is much appreciated.

Some good things have happened recently... I kicked some ass at my conference for work, for one, being one of two people who were being complete hardasses on representatives from the gulag school residential treatment industry.  Apparently, the other person who was fighting them put in a good word for me with a lawyer who works with our organization sometimes - the same guy who has sued a couple of gulag schools and won, and who I read about in a book this last February - and this guy personally emailed me to congratulate me and said he wish he'd been there to see it (OMG SQUEE~).  Even though the Wilton would have given me the Eyebrow of Disapproval for talking too fast and for forgetting to breathe when I talked, I still made my points and kicked some ass.  The whole thing might turn out to be a sheep party in terms of actual results, but MAN it was still pretty exciting. 

Also, Trollmegle... I feel far more happy about engaging in anonymous Homestuck roleplays with strangers over the internet than is reasonable.  I even have found a couple people who said that they'd like to RP off Trollmegle again.  I mostly roleplay as Jade and Tavros, though I will sometimes RP as Terezi or John if I feel like it.  I would love to rp as Rose, but I don't think I'd be good enough at it.

I'm going up to Seattle this weekend to a George R. R. Martin signing.  I hope I can find some geeks to accompany me to Cowboys and Aliens, because that would be awesome.

I've gotten a lot of stuff done, too.  I wrote 100 footnotes or so in the last week, and written an entire report on the conference in the last day.  1 more paper to go... well, and then 3L (oh yeah, that...).  I'm also working on plushies.  Slowly.  But I AM working on them.  Also, because I kicked ass speaking at a focus group for the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network back in June, I've been asked to do a presentation for the Portland ASAN group in August for another national event.  Also, the president of the Portland chapter, who is also a full-time employee of ASAN and the National Outreach Director, put in a good word for me with the founder of ASAN as a whole, which can only help my chances of potentially getting hired there after law school.  Also... grades, while not perfect as a whole (I'm looking at YOU, Federal Income Tax...), were much better than circumstances would indicate.

The only thing is that it's pretty lonely here.  I've gone to meetings for people on the spectrum, and I get along well enough with my boss, but I do wish I could hang out with people more in a somewhat more informal/personal way.  Ah well.  I HAVE THE INTERNET.  I will survive.

When I come back, I might see about dropping one of my classes and talking to Professor Borenstein to see if he needs help on writing any follow-up reports for the investigation of the Judge Rotenberg Center that he's in charge of.  Or I might just drop one class either way for the sake of my sanity.  I will have to see.

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