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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! :)
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 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 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.
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. :)
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