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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:33 am 
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This will be a personal thread for the expression of much crud that has accumulated over the years, as well as more current issues and undercurrents that surface in me.

Posts will range from innocuous to disturbingly violent and bizarre. Which is why I'm making a separate thread, so people can choose not to engage.

I will be






at times. I'm going to lack self-insight and courage; I'm going to regret making posts. And I'm going to be self-conscious about it. I will focus on all sorts of neurotic irrelevancies when posting, like stiff hands and thinning hair. Sometimes, like now, I will spend way too much time thinking about wording and presentation at the expense of letting it come forward. I will go long periods of time without posting. I will engage in viral activities, but really these have been happening all along, the only difference being external. Those are not the focus because the primary issue at hand is self-censorship, which will definitely not fall away immediately. When the seal is broken, either gradually or suddenly, the shit will inevitably smell. Hopefully the breakage will be worth it, because I don't know what else to do. I have to start somewhere, try something. Therapists, psychiatrists and glib advice can only do so much.

Working from the bottom up on double binds is messy when one is coming from a habit of repression and self-deprecation. So be it.

 Post Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:08 am 
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The Writer
by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

 Post Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:59 am 
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More than one person has told me before that it looks like I have a figurative noose tied around my throat chakra. An extreme cap on true expression, although it does make its way through the noise every once in a while, however mitigated and rigidified in its end product. Tailored to suit the audience, paranoid in its fear of proving hypocritical, perfectionistic, but still bearing a sliver of that inner truth.

I put the block there in my youth and buttressed it over time. The clearest memory is when a group of classmates asked me to run for them on the playground. They seemed so innocent of any false intent, yet I couldn't understand why they wanted me to run in front of them, what they were looking for. It felt slightly off, but because I was still innocent, trusting, and eager to please, I humored them. When I started off in my half-waddle, they broke out in laughter. I was utterly confused until one of them began imitating me, with the extra flourish of flapping his arms around. That's when it clicks in a child's mind: "I'm different from them." A self-consciousness springs into being that wasn't there before, a clear dividing line. I guess people don't run the same way I do. And somehow that's wrong. I'm wrong.

Most of my childhood is quite fuzzy, as I think it is for many people. There are holes and blurs and missing pieces, and most of it is left up to interpretation. What are the real reasons and events behind my childhood trends and events? What were some of those trends? Was I really as alienated from my peers as I think I was? When did I truly start regressing and turning inwards? Even my parents are fuzzy on the reasons I was first sent to a psychologist, and when. Was it because I was a transgendered child and didn't know it? I was never enthusiastic about boy's company, but as hard as I try to remember, I don't recall yearning for the company of girls. I never raided my mom's or sister's wardrobes. I didn't care that I had a penis, I didn't care how big it was, I was indifferent to the body hair taking over my body. I was pretty satisfied with the BB gun I got for Christmas, although I never had an inkling of interest in sports. I wore neutral clothes two sizes too large (both for comfort, and, as I'm beginning to understand, a kind of body armor).

Maybe I repressed transgender tendencies because I thought I already knew the cause of my unease: as a child and into my early teens, I attributed nearly ALL of my feelings of inferiority to the effects, both direct and indirect, of having an invisible physical disability. But how would I ever know this for sure? I never got much of a chance to be socialized as either a boy or a girl - one because the competitive, physical traits were lost to muscular dystrophy, and the other never considered because I didn't have the right anatomy. Even an androgynous scenario (with a mixture of all possible activities and traits) was lost because it never occurred to me or my parents. Besides which, I was too scared of people and holed up in my room to do any exploration. What is left is an undifferentiated individual, which would be fine if it weren't for the concomitant condition of being inflexible and afraid of zhur own shadow.

And then there are the psychoanalytic takes. Both of my parents were quite emotionally distant. I used to get quite boisterous with my mother, pushing her around playfully and wrestling with her arm as she cooked dinner or did work around the house. I suppose it was my way of exerting hyperactive energy and securing attention I felt I couldn't get otherwise. It was harmless for the most part, even if the conditions creating the behavior were unhealthy. However, there is one unsettling memory that keeps surfacing. I was doing my usual as she was putting clothes away in her bedroom, and when I got out of control, she wrestled me onto the bed and got on top of me to keep me from moving. But she stayed there too long for comfort, laid flat on top of me, and I remember hearing her sigh. I was young at the time, still in the single digits, and I was innocent towards all things sexual. I didn't know what was going on (or even, in retrospect, if it had anything to do with that), but I knew it didn't feel right.

I wonder what other memories, both negative and neutral, have evaded me. Would it even help at all in putting the puzzle pieces together, if I remembered more? Would I ever get the truth if I read every psychoanalytical, spiritual, and transgendered piece of literature in the world? There are already so many conflicting and complicating factors that it would be nigh impossible to trace and pigeonhole anything into a definite, one-track sequence of cause and effect. Whenever I read an autobiography, I can see all the makeshift patches and perspectives haphazardly placed so as to make some kind of coherent story. At every turn I see an alternative perspective, a different possible tone by which the rest of the story transforms into something completely different.

This goes beyond gender. It was not just these feelings which me from my peers. I saw the world inside out. I abhorred the coldness, calculation, and separation which permeated social institutions; I couldn't understand how people could be blind to the fact that the mentally ill were canaries in the coal mine of society. And instead of addressing the carbon monoxide, instead of finding its origin, they were applying makeup to the dying birds in the form of psychotropics.


Conceptual reality is really much more shaky than we think. I only have what I'm feeling now, I only have what I'm exploring now - the puzzle will never be neat and tidy; I will never have an unshakeable, fact-based foundation from which to spring. At a certain point when the spirit will stand no more stagnation, it requires leaps of faith. Which is scary as hell. There are no certainties, no projected outcomes and no context in which to fit everything. Only the faint, distant calls of a voice which could either be illusion, or the very core of me.

It's obvious that I keep the block on myself as a form of defense. The form of my spontaneous thought and action feels so incongruent with my surroundings that to let it flow in everyday life would have heads turning wherever I went. I am so terrified of that form of attention that the block has become ossified, so deeply hidden that I do not know how to release it at will. I don't even remember what this true, spontaneous self looks or acts like. It has most likely morphed so much over the years that I couldn't possibly guess what zhe looks or acts like. Zhe has only come out in rare friendships, on rare occasions, and never in full force.

 Post Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Effects of avoidant personality disorder:

    Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism
    Self-imposed social isolation
    Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, though the person feels a strong desire for close relationships
    Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus
    Feelings of inadequacy
    Severe low self-esteem
    Mistrust of others
    Emotional distancing related to intimacy
    Highly self-conscious
    Self-critical about their problems relating to others
    Problems in occupational functioning
    Lonely self-perception, although others may find the relationship with them meaningful
    Feeling inferior to others
    In some more extreme cases — agoraphobia
    Utilizes fantasy as a form of escapism and to interrupt painful thoughts

For my purposes I will treat this condition as a set of mutually reinforcing thoughts and behaviors rather than as something inherent to myself.

I'm distracting myself a lot at the moment. This is something I've been intent on writing about, but there are incorrigibly restless feelings popping up. There's something in me that really doesn't want to look at it.

Things are going to get messy. My writing isn't going to be completely coherent. That's ok.

Can I give myself the space to be honest? Even if just a little bit? I mean, in the end I usually get my truth across anyways. The thing is, it's highly tailored and prettified. I've learned what's ugly, what's unacceptable, and I filter that from my expression. Analyzing my words from every possible angle, it's exhausting. Maybe that's why I hate writing so much. I put perfection first. That ugly word. Perfection in lieu of me. A performance. Everything for the Black Swan performance. At the cost of my joy and everything else in it.

I feel an emotional response to what I'm writing, instead of the usual tenseness and OCD. That's good. That's a start. It feels more flexible. I deserve it. There are some places I'm safe. Some places.

Those places are mostly internal, I just realized. It's about what I allow myself to feel. What vulnerability I allow myself to show. All these years it's been a flat affect, an act, one that I never knew how to break out of. A chameleon shapeshift into whatever made me the least significant, blending into the background. Or, merely coming to the fore in a planned brilliance. And that, that was a farce. Beautiful, and I am willing to give myself credit for the true heart I did put into it.

This is actually kind of exciting. Just a little. I'm feeling looser.

I don't care. I was going to do my usual. I was going to torture myself and force my heart through another cheese grinder in this post. I was going to say something brilliant. And structured. And it was going to cost me another period of suffering and compression.

Fuck it. Maybe some other time.

I'm swimming in a new space.

I'm wondering what I'll find.

But there are some things I'd like to tackle now...

Namely, how this avoidant personality manifests... what are the virus mechanisms? What does it whisper in my ear?

It says I'm worthless. Everything is futile.

Yes, but what are the specific things it says? What are its undulations? Where does it start and end; where does it slip underneath the covers, underneath the rugs, underneath and back up as a prick in my foot?

"You need structure. Without putting logic in everything you do, without sucking your life dry with calculation, you will never size up."

I must be on to something. It wants me to stop now. "Just leave it for another day", it tells me. Which I would trust except for the fact that I caught the virus by the tail. I see it. And it's biting back. But really, I give it too much power. I give it too much reality. I am in charge. If I submit, that is my decision.

But again, really, I should give myself more credit. I am loved. By what, I don't know. Perhaps it could only be me at this point, where I am. The beginning of something new.

Let's repeat that: "You need structure. Without putting logic in everything you do, without sucking your life dry with calculation, you will never size up."

This was passed on from my parents. Something unconscious they never acknowledged. So much they never acknowledged that kills me. They cannot see the toxicity eating them away. When I point it out, or even when I simply speak my truth, in the cracked and broken voice fraught with anxiety and shame, it offends them. Even when no offense is meant. It kills me. I don't need to take it. But it's so convenient, so fucking convenient, to take it, internalize it. Why? The popular answer would be, "because it's familiar". I think that's true, but I feel like there's something more. What is it?


Hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this. It's more fun than I thought it would be. Start to wriggle my way out. There was always a way. Maybe I can use this to get to freer places. The challenge will be grounding it.

Back to topic... I think this thing is tied to so many other virus mechanisms, so let's brainstorm some more:

Starting to touch my hair now. Body dysmorphic it is. But you know what? It's really just another distraction. It still doesn't feel like it, but it's really just a way to divert self-renewing scenarios of past traumas into something else. Because the original memories are too painful. The pain body doesn't want to look at them.

"Don't reveal anything about myself that could possibly, in any way, be used to make any sort of judgement about me. Take no risks. Show a minimum of interest in the course of casual conversation, so that there are no mistakes. This way, I can size the other person up and decide if they're worthy of my trust. Most likely they're not. See? I told you."

This one is funny. OF COURSE they're going to run away at some point, or just lose interest, if I act like a rock. I may not consciously intend it, but it actually makes me seem aloof. Like "go fuck yourself, I could care less about you. I want nothing to do with you." When the truth is the opposite. I care too much, but mostly about what they say, not about them. There's a narcissistic twinge to the whole thing. Ironic.

I hunger for praise. I crave it like a fat kid craves ice cream. Healthy, for the most part, if that praise is internalized and put to use. Truly felt and then given back. But I never truly believe the praise. There's the short-lived sweetness of it, oh yes, but since the CORE BELIEF is that I am worthless, it is quickly diverted into the garbage bin. There are all sorts of rationalizations for this:

"If they like me, there must be something wrong with them, and their perceptions must be warped."

"They haven't seen all of me yet. If they saw just a little more, they would run away. They would think I'm utterly objectionable, lowly. It's only a matter of time. When they see the real me, it will end. Just as it always does."

Problem is, I won't ever see the true parts of themselves that correlate to my own if I'm holding back and not sharing interests which they may be able to return.

The kicker is: it's these thoughts and behaviors of mine that produce identical feelings in those other vulnerable people I come across. Through my acquiescence, I perpetuate the abuse. I am rejecting them before they can reject me. In turn, unless they are strong and courageous enough to remain authentic, they will begin rejecting others before they can be rejected.

Deep down is the heart that truly cares. That is warm. That bubbles and froths. Yes, it has its bad days. It gets pissy. But it lives. It is wonderful. But this part, this part of me, I smother it. It wants to come forward.

This is getting intense. Losing steam now. I wonder how far it all goes.

Something more about writing itself...

What a beautiful virus trick, making me hate writing. This, this right now actually isn't so bad. But when it comes to making some sort of coherent writing, some product, or at least something that helps me communicate more clearly with the outside world, it's like dragging my nails down a chalkboard.

Tempting me to hate my strongest talent. Ingenious.

There is so much that yearns to break through. So many understandings and currents. Language certainly is inadequate. But I keep trying to make it fit. The amazing thing is, sometimes it works. Poetry makes itself heard. Even further, a hybrid of poetry and straightforward, technical writing which sheds a ray of light on the matter. This is where it's at. But it's also some of the most painful. Perhaps it is somewhat unnatural. Natural or unnatural, it doesn't really matter, the question is, is there a way to make it more enjoyable for myself? More workable, more fluid? So that the thoughts and inspirations which pile up in my mind don't have to remain frustrated and eventually rot? So that there's real beauty in the process, not just the end product?

Just scratching the surface.

 Post Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:38 pm 
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This is such powerful stuff to read- I haven't read that kind of indepth stream of consciousness virus hacking from anyone other than my Self before and it makes me grin hugely to watch you triangulating the virus within you, because the virus squirms like a worm on a hook as soon as any individual turns the external focus inwards, uses the spotlight to search for the virus itself.


Your writings have also prompted me to consider things that also lurk within me. I'm going to go do some virus hacking my Self...


"For every lie I unlearn, I learn something new"- Ani DiFranco

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. ~ TS Elliot

 Post Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:05 am 
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With it you brought pain
A slow burning rising from the pit of my stomach
My hands, my feet
Fingers caressing each other

I can feel the wool hugging my frame
and see this skin of mine
living and breathing for the compassion of my own gaze
Ensconced as I am in this packet of strength
A little life flickering delicately
with searching, hopeful eyes

I cannot stuff this down with food
or distractions
What worked for my parents
will not work for me
The senses too acute
seeing too deep
I'm riding the crest of the tide
but I don't know where to go from here

People just want to be seen

* * *

Identifying threats
"This is this way, this is that way"
Missing lines inbetween
Nuances threading themselves through each phenomenon

Divisions on every side
Lapses in comprehension
Grasping at thin air and an ivory tower
built in the mud

There must be a way to live
Prelingual and fundamental
eye to eye
heart to heart seeking life from the flow
welling up these direct understandings
in glances, grunts, and silence shared

 Post Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Today I took a train into Boston for an appointment. Normally my parents drive me to appointments that are difficult or impossible to reach with the transportation system in my area, but both of them were working today. It's much easier and familiar to just rely on them rather than doing the legwork of researching, filling out applications, calling for information, and mapping routes.

Previously I had been vaguely aware that there might be a train near my apartment, but didn't know where it was, where it went, etc. I kind of kept it in the back of my mind. In a preconscious capacity I thought to myself: "Besides, how would I get to my final destination once the train got to the last stop?" Silly, of course, because there are buses and subways which go all over the city, even though the stairs on them can be a challenge for me. The next excuse was "but I bet it's so expensive", remembering the exorbitant parking fees I paid when I still had a car. Yet at other times when I really needed or wanted to go down to Boston and forgotten about the possibilities, I would stress over 'not having a way to get there'. There's a curious resistance in me to learning about things which might require the bits of finagling, trial-and-error, and psychological 'risk' involved in any new experience, no matter how much it may be worth it. It's amazing how these relatively minor mental disconnects can keep us from making new discoveries.

It was actually a lot of fun riding down, seeing the towns and scenery and such. I always feel more alive and gain greater insight when I'm walking or in a vehicle. After my appointment I walked around the city for a bit and found my way to a famous food court where I ordered my favorite flavor of bubble tea. It was refreshing and mind-opening after being very depressed yesterday and lamenting how dependent I am on my parents. My world opened up a little bit more today :)

 Post Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Quincy Market is good stuff.


 Post Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:45 pm 
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I've come to the point in my work with my transgender therapist where I'm considering a low dose of hormones (which would result in slight physical feminization and possibly better psychological congruency). Part of my therapist's routine before recommending anyone for hormones is to have a meeting with the family, to inform them of what is going on and work out misunderstandings. It turned out, as I expected, that my parents supported me, so there were no problems with acceptance of that factor. The persistent awkwardness and stoicism regarding personal and touchy-feely things were present between me and my parents, as expected.

I brought to the meeting a lot of issues and resentments related to my childhood, as well as a budding desire to express them. I knew that this would be a rare chance to share in a moderated environment which I felt was very needed to make headway and keep things from derailing. We went to a few different family therapists in my mid-teens, but there wasn't enough willingness or awareness yet on our parts to make it past the anger and accusations. Several years later my parents are willing to put more work into interpersonal things, and I'm more fit to understand and communicate my own emotional patterns honestly.

Breaking the ice with some of my more sensitive and mortifying memories caused a slight panic, but I think it was good to uncloak the largest elephants while I had the gumption, even if those elephants only existed in my own mind and memory. I am sorry for the pain it causes my parents, especially if the memories didn't happen like I remember them. But I had to bring them out into the open in order to begin clearing them and provide some space for the more productive work and healing we are to do.

I was able to bring light to some of the cycles that crop up between us and explained why they feel like they're walking on eggshells with me (which is true, to a degree). My parents' basic way of understanding and helping is to ask a lot of questions and try to distill a logical conclusion and subsequent solution to a problem. If that doesn't work, the problem is tucked under the rug and ignored as politely as possible. What's missing is the emotional support and simple acknowledgment. I guess that is the hardest part of being a parent - summoning the will to be present and feel, to listen, to witness what is happening even when there is nothing practical to be done to alleviate the suffering of your child.

Because my life and personality are so different from theirs, their attempts to help are often ineffective and sometimes feel dismissive when I am unable to present myself in a way they can understand. It feels like my experience is being rationalized away, with an undercurrent of "you shouldn't feel that way" or "you're just being negative". This weakens my will to communicate, and so in the absence of communication, I become resentful. I try to cover up this resentfulness with feigned agreeableness, but it inevitably resurfaces at seemingly random moments with the introduction of a trigger or simple accumulation of pressure. Other times the unhappiness just simmers in a continual moodiness. In either case, the randomness of such moodiness baffles my parents, who are understandably inclined to interpret it as anger specifically at them. It is true that I am angry at them sometimes, but along with the fake agreeableness it is actually a front designed to protect me from having to explain my inner worlds and struggles to them. The experience of having the validity of my experience denied or questioned is often more excruciating than the much simpler option of self-censorship. When I finally work up the courage to make a request of them or start a conversation, I am nervous and somewhat fraught, and this can be interpreted by my parents as an accusatory tone. This makes my father stubbornly defensive and can lead to a quick degeneration of the conversation into more fighting, thus reinforcing and restarting the cycle.

I explained to them that when I express unhappiness, I don't necessarily need them to jump into inquiry and problem-solving mode. It means the most to me if they can just hear me out, even if they don't understand the reasons behind it (hell, I don't understand sometimes). It also helps if I can just let them know that the frown on my face isn't necessarily anything they did wrong. And if it is something they did, at least they get a chance to know what it is and defuse some of that tension - simply through communicating it.

The therapist made a few suggestions, one that I sit down with one of my parents when I go home on the weekend and talk about anything that needs to be brought up. Sitting down with them individually is a good idea, one I hadn't considered before. It allows me to converse more honestly with one of them without the fear of having the other jump in with indignance and confuse things. For the past few weekends I have been doing this, first with my mom and then with my dad.

I definitely felt a bit lighter after doing this with them, even given the stiffness and awkwardness. We almost never had this kind of communication in the past because it never felt safe. It speaks volumes that my mother is willing to sit down and talk seriously, whereas several years ago she would have been fidgeting and waiting impatiently for it to end so she could go about doing chores. It helped to establish more understanding of cycles and pet peeves, as well as past trends. Not only that, but it helped to hear some of the more positive aspects of my childhood. It was astonishing to hear that on one occasion, a teacher sent reports home saying I was an excellent student but that I talked too much. Another teacher was notably impressed by my enthusiasm and skill in acting out a role for a class assignment. Given that I am one of the most reticent people that one could ever hope to meet, it is warming and encouraging to know that at one point the person I imagine as an inner self was an outer reality.

Improving the relationship with my parents is going to be continuous work. It would've been all to easy to skip over the parts that require my initiation. In the past I would have left these things to my parents, thinking that they were completely responsible for them and wanting them to prove that they cared through initiating themselves. The truth is that it is just as much my responsibility as theirs; even moreso now that I'm an adult. I know that I will have to find ways to slide around and in-between the more fundamental and taken-for-granted cultural assumptions and biases on my own. I accept that there might always be a huge disconnect between our very basic temperaments and understandings, but I also think that we can at least come to some sort of peace so I can finally move on with my life. I am glad I am starting this process while I am still young and they are still alive.

With a degree of internal peace achieved on my behalf, I think I will be better able to become a parent to myself in the ways that my own parents couldn't because of their own issues. I'll be less inclined to look for other people to parent me and look to in order to tell me what I should do (which can be very limiting and dead-ended). I'll benefit more from mentors, and even better, those who I can explore with as equals.

 Post Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:23 am 
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Some triggers are just too much. I'm typing and venting through the pain. Better than shoving it back down, even if it's much harder.

Whenever someone babbles about some political issue related to race, based on superficial biases, tidbits read in the Sunday paper and casual coffee table chats with bourgeois buddies, it's like reliving trauma.

My world stops for a moment and the horror of everything I've been trying to forget, for the sake of peace, for the sake of safety, bubbles to the surface. I suddenly perceive all the insidious strings of oppression stretching all the way back to the foundations of the matrix itself. I choke on anger and it stops somewhere between my chest and my throat, a fire burning in my brain.

Blaming blacks for their misfortune by saying something like, "well, if they didn't wear baggy clothes all the time and act like a hoodlum, they wouldn't be arrested". "AIDS in Africa? Well it must be their fault. All those civil wars and such." The same pathetic brands of logic that deny any involvement.

I see all the same oppressions that anyone as a minority has to face, all the same mechanisms applied, with only a change in actual content. Gays have been facing this shit for centuries. Disabled people have been facing it for centuries.

It starts with domination and attendant rationalizations. Blacks aren't human. Therefore, slavery is perfectly reasonable. Somewhere down the road someone realizes it isn't right. They are given some freedom, but the hierarchy remains. Long after the civil rights have been granted, the very status of being black, of being gay, of being disabled remains. No one wants to see or hear them, much less know that they have a heritage of their own.

The ones at the top of the hierarchy claim otherwise. "If only they acted like us, walked like us, smelled like us, there would be no problem. Why can't they just shut up and behave?"

Why? Because there's a thorn in their brains. Authentic expressions of their heritage have been desecrated into comedy, and, where comedy is not possible, shame. Think of the depictions of howling Indians, of voodoo savages huddled around a fire.

These representations of themselves are no longer taken seriously, and to live them is to invite ridicule, judgement, and dissection under the magnifying glass on a daily basis.

There are then three choices: First, be assimilated into the culture which utterly destroyed your identity. Or adopt a new, tough exterior that will gain you notoriety, but maintain some last shred, some last semblance of pride. Third, continue to expand and take pride in your own heritage, or create your own. This last one takes more courage than anyone, as part of the dominant culture, could possibly imagine. Therefore it is the road least taken.

Oh, their histories are kept as museum pieces. Just keep the shameful things, the unfathomable things, the sacred things away. We'll look at them from a distance and amuse ourselves with their trifling absurdity. Don't offend the white people. Don't offend the straight people. Don't kiss in public, gays. Don't look different. Don't act different. That's just gross. We can pay lip service to your freedom and equality, but please, keep your gayness, keep your blackness to yourself. Be like us. Please be like us, because then we don't have to feel insecure. We don't have to question our own behaviors, we don't have to look at what we've been hiding. Let's just have everyone conform to this fake, mass standard of politeness and dissociated soullessness that the destruction of the world is founded upon.

I have awful nightmares some nights in the presence of my family. In the dream there's always this feeling of persecution, of not being justified in my existence. I'm in some kind of argument with them, and if I lose, the core of me will be revealed for them to pick apart and rape at their will. Rationalize and rape away at their will, with what they think to be perfectly reasonable intentions. I wake up screaming at the top of my lungs, "FUCK YOU". I've never told them that it only happens when all of us are together.

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