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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Odin's Day 
21st-Apr-2010 07:32 am
Still tired.

So far zero donations on Elayna's story. Um. What can we do as enticement?

The fingerless-mitts and jewelry-gift-certificate auctions are over; the custom baby blanket and key pendant are still up. Hopefully I'll get the "my entire BPAL sale box" post up this afternoon.

Out all day yesterday
Having much fun with lightcastle, but also that means no nap and no 'net time. Will catch up on nap today, but no 'net time means you roll your own link soup.

I am frustrated by money
Yes, even with job. Because we keep having these massive expenses like new glasses and, at ten times as much, Explo. I was kvetching last night that I need to get a passport, and I do, but every month there's something else that requires every penny of my paycheck. (No, I have not been buying yarn, not for over a month.) The basic effect of my paycheck so far is that we are not digging ourselves deeper every month, we are not living wildly beyond our means - but we are living exactly within our means to the penny, so the freedom I anticipated has yet to come about.

I need to make a list of things to prioritize after Explo. And Wiscon and Readercon.

I am frustrated by time.
I think I need to preserve next week; I am turning off my scheduling and doing nothing that's not already on there. Need home time.

I am frustrated by people grabbing me from behind
Which happened thrice last night at and around Diesel. I've lived here three and a half years by now; I think I can safely regard the people still doing this as unteachable. I need to get a sign made to wear to Diesel: "Not responsible for reaction when seized unawares". Which you'd think would be warning enough, but you'd think saying "Please do not grab me from behind" several times a month for three and a half years would be enough, wouldn't you? And yet.

And yes, I know someone's going to whine about me threatening people by saying "my reflex is to hit and I am controlling that, but you want to avoid triggering it", but what I am saying is that it is an reflex, it is automatic, and the fact that the person my body thinks is assaulting me is not a red smear on the floor is a testament to my control of my reflexes - but my control is not infallible, so maybe you could try to not do things that you know my body automatically translates as assault, especially when that's a thing you should never do to anyone you don't know welcomes it anyway. It is not like I've never mentioned this before.



EDIT: I have a few minutes more before leaving for work, so let me unpack this a little more:

When you grab me from behind, the first thing I have to do is consciously think "this is not a rapist."

This is not a rapist... but it's someone who doesn't think I'm allowed bodily autonomy.

It's someone who regards my body as their/public property.

It's someone who disregards my repeatedly-stated "no".

It's someone who doesn't think I have the right to say no.

It's someone who's fine with me going through a cycle of fear and anger so they can get a grope in.

It's someone who assumes consent is implicit and assumed and that my "no" doesn't apply to them.

It's someone who thinks they have more right to my body than I do, and will not let me assert my rights.

It can be difficult to get from that to "this is a friend". Sometimes impossible. I think you can imagine. And if I don't hang out with you, if you only see me at Diesel and cons and parties and wonder why I've been going to Diesel less and less - yeah.

If you want this to not be my train of thought every time I see you? Just stop grabbing me from behind. Which is, I reiterate, a thing many people hate, so I can't imagine why you'd find it acceptable anyway.

Credit where credit's due: people who ask if I'm huggable, I <3 you. I love hugs, I love physical contact, I just like to be asked or at least see the hug coming. No, I don't need a detailed permission slip every time; I just need to know who's touching me.

Work, nap, hopefully writing statements for my BARCC photo shoot, house stuff. Tonight is a much-needed home night.
21st-Apr-2010 11:44 am (UTC)
Enticement to donate: make my census paycheck get here faster? sorry.

Grabbing from behind: with you 100%. People just shouldn't DO that, I have no words. And I, like you, will react violently, entirely without conscious thought.

My one nitpick is over "instinct." I think it's not an instinct, but a reflex. Instincts are inborn, reflexes can be trained into you. And this reflex has been trained into me for a long. fucking. time.
21st-Apr-2010 11:53 am (UTC)
You are, of course, correct. Edit going in.
21st-Apr-2010 12:22 pm (UTC) - On touching:
I feel ya on the grabbing although for me it is more situational: When I am in MA in "safe spaces" my lizard brain thinks of itself as "safe" so when someone grabs me I relax into it (but ONLY if I'm in "I am safe" headspace... do it on the street and I immediately go into "break nose, kick knee" motions); But in NYC, my reflex to being grabbed is to kill ya. Blame this on strangers grabbing me on the street before, but I too have had to explain the "look, it's not that I don't like the loving, but from behind it is not perceived as "I wonder which friend is greeting me?" but rather "f*ck, am I getting attacked again?" far too many times, and while I am "lucky' to have never been successfully sexually assaulted, having experienced the attempts a few times sucks royally. (Same reason that grabbing my neck from the front without express consent is going to send me into full on panic mode... it's not kewl to trigger your friends because you think you are a special snowflake).

I try to only hug people from behind who have expressed a love of this... and even then I try to let them see me and acknowledge the contact before it occurs so it gets a reaction of "yay! Pisicutsa is hugging me and will soon hug me from in front!" and not "Who is touching me?!?".
21st-Apr-2010 01:10 pm (UTC) - Re: On touching:
Yes to all of this.

This is actually the reason I wear all the bangles on my left arm - because I know plenty of people who, like you and xiphias, need the heads up. So I approach from the side, and if it seems you don't see me, I let the bracelets fall down my arm and jangle - this at least lets you know that someone is there.

Mark likes hugs from behind, but I still make sure he knows I'm there first; it's hardwired into me!
21st-Apr-2010 12:22 pm (UTC)
I will always approach you from the front slowly. I have my own reflex when people come up from behind, but that's just a general anti-predator reflex from walking around inner cities. Probably, also being descended from creatures that had to avoid predators. It's hard wired!

Also in the passport dilema.
21st-Apr-2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
I gave what I could before the story started, but reassure Elayna, from me, that if I had it, I'd give more for her story.
21st-Apr-2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
And thank you! :)
22nd-Apr-2010 04:07 am (UTC)
Yes, this. I'd hate for Elayna to think her story wasn't being enjoyed, I just hit one of the pre-story buttons.
21st-Apr-2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
Hit them.

Seriously. They're not teachable any other way. But stop controlling your reflex. They will either learn through their own pain, or from seeing directly what kind of pain they're causing you. You've done everything that could be expected to attempt to teach them in other ways, but it's now time to just use your reflexes.

You HAVE those reflexes for a reason -- and if you're getting into the habit of controlling them? They may not be there when you need them. You're not the only one who hates to be grabbed from behind, and LOTS of us have trained reflexes to attack people who grab us from behind.

I once knocked Ny down that way. I felt awful, but she understood that these are things that happen.

Attacking people who grab you from behind is not only a benefit to you: it's a benefit to everyone else whom those people might grab from behind.
21st-Apr-2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
You know? I pretty much agree with this.
21st-Apr-2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, so do I.
21st-Apr-2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, what he said.
21st-Apr-2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, btw, for never being one of those people.
21st-Apr-2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I am pretty darn nice but I remember this girl in college who used to grab me from behind by the ponytail and yank me back all the time (also part of the reason I stopped wearing high ponytails for a long while), and I kept telling her to stop. One day I was in the mailroom, someone grabbed my hair and yanked, and I just turned around and slugged them. Turn out it was her. She never did it again. I wish I could say I felt bad but not so much.
21st-Apr-2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
I guess that my only queasiness here is the encouraging of active striking violence.

A good shove, on the other hand? Clearly appropriate, and a lesson that anyone ought to take to heart. It's physical, it's immediate, it's aggressive and is usually at least a little bit painful.

I guess my distinction doesn't really apply to repeat offenders, but if one is allowing reflexes through, those reflexes aren't going to differentiate.
21st-Apr-2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I don't think anyone is encouraging anyone to just start hauling off and hurting others, but people hit a tipping point... in my case I'd been getting my hair yanked 3-5 times a day for weeks when i snapped. And after that I didn't ever smack anyone if someone did it occasionally, but the tale of "don't do that to her, no REALLY" spread which was what stopped the pulling.
21st-Apr-2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
I don't think that you slugging the girl who was yanking your hair was reprehensible, no.

I think what got me a little hedgy was xiphias saying:
You HAVE those reflexes for a reason -- and if you're getting into the habit of controlling them? They may not be there when you need them.

That phrase, in conjunction with the first line of the post (Hit them.) reads like "Your reflexes are telling you to haul off and slug anybody who grabs you from behind, repeat offender or no."

I'd say that cultivating a 'SHOVE!' reaction to anyone grabbing you from behind is unassailable, and I'm not going to complain if a repeat violator gets decked.

But ... somebody who hasn't been raised around survivors and doesn't know better doesn't deserve to get punched in the face, and a post that implies that they do is gonna make me edgy.
21st-Apr-2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
I had a similar reaction when I was grabbed at the contra dance, and held back. Five minutes later, I wish I hadn't.

A while back, I used to be very fond of hugging my friends from behind, or playing the "guess who" game, but these days I'm much less likely, as I realize how much of an imposition it can actually be. And I definitely don't without permission.

But it wasn't until that moment, when someone grabbed me at the beginning of a dance to move me to the correct position, that I really understood.
21st-Apr-2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
"Hit" in my case encompasses "shove," "elbow," and other varieties of physical engagement, not just "strike" or "punch." It's not something I stop to think about -- it's more a matter of, I feel unwanted contact, and my reflex physical reaction is to try to disengage that contact, and my reflexes don't care about gentle.

I am not a large, massy individual, and 'Song is smaller than I am. I am not going to be overly concerned about the potential damage I'm doing to an unwanted grabber until AFTER they've stopped grabbing, and I'm certainly not concerned about their tender feelings. Not Grabbing takes priority.

Which is to say, if I happen to break someone's nose with my elbow getting them off me, and I discover it's a social acquaintance, sure, I'll help get the cold washcloth and all that. But if they'd had the basic manners not to go grabbing people unawares, they wouldn't have gotten their nose broken. And if I don't do more than bruise their ribcage? I expect the apology. They're not getting one from me.
21st-Apr-2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
And what if the person that grabs her actually is an intended rapist? What the fuck good is SHOVING going to do?

One's response to a perceived attack ought to be something that could reasonably get oneself OUT of said attack. "Shoving" ain't gonna cut it. We're talking here about self-defense. I don't see why 'song should be required to cripple her own self-defense for the benefit of jerks.

One does not go up and touch people from behind in the FIRST place.
21st-Apr-2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
I feel as though if I continue to try to clarify my points, I will be perceived as arguing a perspective that I am not, so I'm gonna bow out.

Suffice it to say, yes. People should NOT grab others from behind without warning and I won't cry if repeat offenders come away with a bruise.
21st-Apr-2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
That's totally not the message I got from the comment you quote. THe message I got was "One day, someone who means you harm is going to grab you, and you won't defend yourself in time because you've trained yourself that anyone who grabs you from behind is a 'friendly.'"

Someone who means you harm is almost certainly NOT a repeat offender, and taking the time to determine if the person behind you is a threat/is not a thread and then is a repeat offender/is not a repeat offender, takes *time* that you shouldn't have to spend making those decisions and second-guessing yourself.

It has nothing to do with whether the grabber "deserves" to get punched or not, but with what trained behaviors are going to make the grabbee less safe. And frankly, there's ~no one who frequents the Diesel who is not aware of at least the basics of not triggering survivors.
21st-Apr-2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
21st-Apr-2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
I'm not encouraging active striking violence. I'm DISCOURAGING stifling the well-developed-for-good-reasons reflex that these people have been well and truly warned about.
21st-Apr-2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Seconded. I'd hope for swelling up and increasing volume, shoving, and such. I do agree that some people certainly deserved to be struck, and may learn more effectively from being hit. However, I'd hate to hear that someone escalated in return, or that you had a legal problem due to striking or injuring someone.
22nd-Apr-2010 01:32 am (UTC)
This is similar to my response.
21st-Apr-2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Agreed totally. If you've spent three-and-a-half years telling these bozos, it's time to hit 'em. And if you can arrange to get some karate training so as to be able to hit 'em more effectively? BONUS.
22nd-Apr-2010 04:08 am (UTC)
Agreed. +1 wholeheartedly.
4th-May-2010 05:00 am (UTC)
This. Exactly this.
21st-Apr-2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
For new glasses: have you looked into obtaining them online? I have to get new glasses because mine are way busted, but I am highly broke at the moment.

I saw this guide (http://www.cheapism.com/cheap-eyeglasses) on WiseBread and now I have a new pair of glasses coming to me in two weeks for $50. If you don't have a complicated prescription, it is probably worth checking these out.
21st-Apr-2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
Sadly, my prescription is way complicated, and my lens needs specific and unwavering. :(
21st-Apr-2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Awww boo.

Well, maybe someone else in your household has less-complex glasses needs, in which case, this would be useful.
21st-Apr-2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
I really wish I could donate to Elayna. :( (You know I have a thing right now, tho, but I will be employed soon...)

I hate the way that having new income, rather than giving you actual money, usually just reveals all of the expenses you were forced to put aside previously. Blargh.

As far as the hugging from behind... you know what, I'm terrible and awful, but ONE really nasty elbowing, or a real scream, is a far more teachable moment than words are. For instance, people know not to play pranks on me of the jumping-out-and-surprising kind. People know this because people have been ear-shatteringly screamed at, and watched me collapse in a heap.

I know you don't want people to be afraid of you or to think you're a bitch, but srsly. They're doing the equivalent of baiting an allergy.
21st-Apr-2010 03:16 pm (UTC) - about people who don't respect physical boundaries
Don't hold back. If it's important to you to maintain self-control in social space, and not indulge in violence without pausing to think, maybe you won't deck them. But go right ahead and yell, "Get your hands off me!" in the voice you would use to alert a large room to the presence of a rapist. (I've found that more effective than a wordless scream. The uncivilized bullies we're talking about are all too likely to hear such a scream as the kind of cute squeal they want to provoke.)
21st-Apr-2010 07:34 pm (UTC) - Re: about people who don't respect physical boundaries
In the past "Jesus FUCK! Stop groping me you pervert!" has worked for me. I agree that a lot of these kinds of jerks *want* the wordless scream and will always interpret it as a delighted squeal no matter what you say afterwards.

Edited at 2010-04-21 07:34 pm (UTC)
21st-Apr-2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
Hrm. I've been waiting until next payday to be able to see if I could donate more. I'll stop waiting, and simply donate again if the cashflow works out that way.
21st-Apr-2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
It is not like I've never mentioned this before.

If you've said it twice to the same person and it keeps happening, the third time it happens, go ahead and let your instincts go, darlin'. Especially if it keeps happening in the same *place/situation* so that you know if you are in that place, it is likely one of the same perpetrators who SHOULD DAMN WELL KNOW BETTER, then you have already told them to stop it. If they have already received a "don't do this to me", then it legally *IS* assault, and you are defending yourself. ^_^

I actually came within inches of hitting a co-worker once who came up behind me and playfully patted me on the back of the head. I spun with my elbow headed impeccably aimed towards her nose...and stopped about two inches from it, once I saw who it was. She suddenly realized I actually *meant* it when I gave the "hey, new co-worker, I'm autistic" lecture, which includes both the "please don't touch my head, ever" AND "don't startle me from behind because I hit" (the latter is honestly more a factor of karate/warrior training from my youth, but the autism startle factor helps the speed reaction time. :)

I *have* smacked hands of random strangers who attempted to pet my pregnant belly or touch my toddlers/babies without asking first. If they *asked*, and they generally looked clean and nice, I would let them pet babies and toddlers, and even my pregnant belly as long as I wasn't feeling terribly antisocial, but without asking? Got a smack, a growl, and when they look at me like I'm a pariah, I point out, "People are not *public property* to be touched without asking first." Occasionally that actually gets an apology, though usually not.
21st-Apr-2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
It's interesting to me that you mention autism, because my daughter's school had asked me if she is autistic because she has exhibited similar reactions. She has never been diagnosed, but I do understand why they would ask that, based on her history of excessive shyness and sensitivity to external stimulation.
21st-Apr-2010 05:47 pm (UTC) - Hands off! or "My Traumaz, let me showz you them..."
*apologizes for length of comment in advance* Three examples of unwanted physical contact:

This reminded me of last night. I'd been talking to a bunch of pregnant women online after reading a recent Dear Prudie letter about unwanted belly rubbing. The reply had been to just allow strangers to touch you because it's such a wonderful experience, blahblah... which set off quite a chain reaction. The majority of people who commented feel that their bodies are not public property and were really upset when someone disregards their objections, no matter how well-meaning.

Since I lost hearing in my left ear, I am a bit more "hands-off" because I may not hear someone coming up behind me, especially in a noisy or crowded place. Acquaintances that I don't know very well tend to like slapping me on the back in greeting out here, which is really unwelcome. I can say, "Please don't do that; it startles me," but they will laugh it off and tease me about being spooked so easily. I don't feel that I owe every single person a detailed account of my traumas, not in the grocery store aisle or in front of the bank. I don't like being ridiculed for being too sensitive and lacking a sense of humor by anyone, including family, either. So I don't always handle this situation well. But seriously? I don't care about what is proper etiquette, especially when they are clearly violating my personal space.

After mentioning some of the discussions that have sprung from your posts, I can say that you have helped my mother and daughter's relationship. Mom was confused for some time over why Bree would withdraw and resist being hugged, even by me. She took it personally when Bree would get upset. What she hadn't realized is that sometimes she hugs too tight or startles Bree, Bree dislikes being tickled, and that some family members dig their nails in a bit when they do. Even as a baby, she didn't like being passed around to people and had difficulty handling lots of external stimuli at once. I self-corrected when I realized that I was doing the same thing to Bree, and encouraged her to show me how and when she likes to be hugged, and to speak up when someone makes her uncomfortable. Now she hugs me often through the day and will explain to relatives that she would prefer to just give them a high-five or that they ask first before hugging her.
21st-Apr-2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
3+ years and still doing it? They deserve to be on the floor, flat on their backs. I say toss them. Start slow, just a toss with, "oh, sorry, reflex. I've told you that before." then if they continue, increase whatever it is you can increase (distance, height of throw, pain upon landing, an arm bar in the middle, whatever).

If I ever do this, I give you permission to floor me ahead of time.

eta: er, not that I would, since I know better. Just saying.

Edited at 2010-04-21 08:39 pm (UTC)
21st-Apr-2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
It seems kind of odd to me that anyone would do the "grabbing from behind" thing in the first place. It would never occur to me to do that to someone. But then again, if someone did that to me, I would rotate an elbow into their face, and be completely unapologetic about it. I consider that sort of thing a form of assault.
(Deleted comment)
21st-Apr-2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
I think a loud, deep "NO!" might be even more effective than hitting the perp. Because it puts EVERYONE on notice this person has done something uncool. Dipshits that don't respect boundaries often are not dissuaded by getting hit. Granted, physical violence can be gratifying, but a potentially-humiliating public scene is longer lasting (and doesn't risk damaging >you< in the process).
22nd-Apr-2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Thank you for the hugs last week. They were unexpected and very welcome. I definitely took them as a compliment. :)

I agree with the grabbing from behind thing as well. I don't mind it from certain people, but it's much higher on the list of touching privileges.
25th-Apr-2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
I <3 hugs! I just have to know they're imminent. :)
22nd-Apr-2010 06:40 pm (UTC) - Fukkit
Hit 'em. Your reputation will do more to stop this behavior than any number of polite utterances.

Exactly once someone grabbed my hair from behind without warning. About 1.5 seconds later she was in a headlock and I was wide-eyed, nostrils flared and ready for more. Of course I realized what I'd done and let go and apologized.

But I got branded the bad actor because I was a guy and she was a woman and SHE got scared and told everyone I'd scared her. Fuck that - she deserved to get scared. She's lucky she didn't actually get hurt.

Then again, nobody ever did that to me again.
24th-Apr-2010 01:06 am (UTC)
I love the story, but like I suspect many people am pretty fucking broke until my next check hits (which should have been today, but I filed the paperwork with an error, so sometime next week). After my half of the rent & meds refills I should have a small amount of disposable income to throw into the pot.

Maybe one of those programmable shirts that has a mini-flatscreen? That way you can have a few messages including grab me from behind and I may kick you or elbow you without thinking, touching me without verbal permission is rude and may result in your injury and I will be upset even if it doesn't, and various other thoughts? Hell, this would make an awesome project if the base shirts were affordable; my best friend wants a light up shirt that says "What part of GAY do you not understand?" for the club, and I can think of a bunch of others.
24th-Apr-2010 01:10 am (UTC)
ETA - also, talk to the staff and promoters at Diesel. We've had more than one incident here in LA where promoters have noted on their flyers and websites that no matter who you are, touching a patron or performer without permission is grounds for removal and possible banning from the club. They should not have a problem with publicizing this, especially in light of the fact that it's Sexual Assault Awareness Month - make it a PSA that goes the rounds of your scene.
26th-Apr-2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
So far zero donations on Elayna's story. Um. What can we do as enticement?

The story is amazing and plenty of enticement - but I just do not have ANY disposable income right now. I feel guilty when I read the story but am really enjoying it though!
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