lolcats and ink splats

‘If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.’

Lately I’ve noticed folks taking variations of this quote and using it on their journey to go barrel rolling round the internet at 11.

I’ve had an issue with this quote (which is very likely misquoted) for a while for the above reason and much more, and haven’t felt strong enough to voice it until now.

I seem to have developed some sort of fear of expressing myself online as often as I used to due to this rise in ‘with us or against us’ culture, and also perhaps because of feeling guilty that I am slowly losing the time and energy to actively contribute to any possible stated ‘solution’, vague or not.

This leaves me confused and out of the loop, sometimes unable to get on board with things due to simply lacking the information. Am I now problematic?

 

 

On another side of things, for those who do have the time and energy to familiarize themselves, it is very true that people can be resistant to change, and even outright refuse because it means more work to do what is widely seen as right, or simply commonly accepted. This lot can certainly be encouraged, but ultimately it’s their job/choice to take the steps.

 

However, speaking in absolutes where someone else’s feelings are concerned without substantial evidence runs the risk of being eerily impertinent.

Fall ’05, Los Angeles.

 

Does one misstep count as being anti-x? How mild or severe must the mistake be to rule someone completely out as being in your corner? How do we tell what a true apology is, and what a ‘fauxpology’ is when someone is in the wrong? Can we dialogue with those undecided on positions, or is it not worth it?

 

 

In hopes of finding some of these answers, I have been quieter and more observant of exchanges online, where possible.

Sometimes I do not even actively participate in them, save to learn terms that may be foreign/otherwise inaccessible to me, what not to say or do within certain circles to maintain that I respect people and would also like to be respected in turn.

 

Education is often an ongoing lifetime process as people and times change (and hopefully grow).

I don’t always succeed, but I try to exercise empathy for the folks who are going to 11, and to exercise patience for the ones who don’t yet understand something I’ve only just learned.

 

 

In a funny sort way, this rise of ‘barrel roll to 11’ culture has been a good thing for me, as it pushes me to engage in more exchanges offline, moderate exchanges I control online, and seek out one-on-one exchanges in general to further understanding.

 

I am not of the opinion that sharing is impossible in the face of difficulty (even where there are disagreements). 

I feel confident in my determination to create space for myself and others in which to safely speak and dissect, as well as call out where necessary. That in itself takes work, so perhaps I am doing some good, though it might not be observed by all.

 

Part II in a personal blog series about interactions on the internet.

Part I: https://kungfulasers.com/2013/08/01/emotion/

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think of the children

I feel inclined to preface this with a deep, warm gratitude that I had an opportunity to leave ‘the system’, though I did not understand foster care to be a bad thing, as I believe I had better experiences than most in my foster home in Los Angeles.

Also, I only had one foster home that I can recall, which probably illustrates my situation rather well.

Children who are given up at or near birth (and even later) are often overlooked, and I am certain I will hold a soft spot forever for those who’ve been through the foster care system and adoption, even if I don’t end up voicing it after this.

We are better than the unfortunate things that have happened to us.

I am not going to go into great detail about my childhood post-adoption – that is to say, I will not be discussing isolated incidents. I have decided that doing so has been and will continue to be detrimental to my moving forward as an adult, but I will say that it was not all rosy.

As a young girl, I was given most freedoms over sense of style, save special events and holidays. I usually liked shirts and pants. I was fond of stripes. I wasn’t most folks’ idea of girly, but I was a kid, so none of that mattered to me really. I had a lot of energy, and when I wasn’t reading, I was running around playgrounds chasing people I liked.

I did well in school without much effort, and people in my little family praised me as gifted, but I never felt anything out of the ordinary. Not until I started asking questions that some adults didn’t want to answer.

My personal history was not my business, I learnt.

‘You don’t need to know’ statements surfaced. It struck me as odd that there was such secrecy around the first few years of my life, and my curiosity was met with anger usually. Eventually I stopped asking, but my curiosity never abated.

Fall ’05, Los Angeles: I find an album with photos of me.

I am seven years old in this photo.

I only felt as good as my accomplishments, most of which I felt to the person raising me included getting high marks in school, being and staying pretty to be bragged about, and being subservient. Since I don’t tend to pride myself on any of those things for too long a time, that didn’t make me feel good at all. I grew distant, and got quieter.

As I am nearing my thirties, I find that I am not any closer to finding out about my past than I was 10 years ago. I find that disconcerting, and shall begin filling out California state paperwork to the best of my ability and limited knowledge, in the hope that I can figure this out and put it all behind me, if necessary. Some chapters ache for closure.

Summer ’07, San Francisco

I am slowly processing the observation that the person who raised me and I want and value different things out of our parent-child relationship. I cannot give this person what they want, and they cannot give me what I want. The other party takes personal slight to this, but as the years go on, I can only hope they’ll see it’s more a matter of accepting things as they are between two people who are so different.

I look forward to pushing the files of this closed adoption open, to learn about my medical particulars and maybe even see if I can connect with my siblings. I wonder, do they even know about me?

It is within a person’s right to seek out their own personal history, with whatever aid they can find along the way. I am lucky to have support. Here’s to this adventure I’m about to embark on, one that might be the most difficult ever I’ve ever attempted.

Seattle, I’ll not stand idle

I’ve been in Seattle 4 years officially now. The time has been… bittersweet.

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Yes, it’s a beautiful city and region. That cannot be denied. The state of Washington and the Northwest in general offers treats for the eyes that are absolutely unparalleled. There are a number of people that are genuinely nice, motivated, and a delight to be around.

It can take time to find these people.

 

 

I can count on at least two hands the number of times I’ve been told “go back to LA!” or something similar aggressively (or maybe even passive-aggressively in places I cannot access), because I said something about Seattle that someone on the internet didn’t like. Even offline it’s prickly.

You know what, though? I’m not going back to LA. And I’m not going to stop loving this city with a critical eye.

blasted

 

That’s what you do when you care for something — you spend time, money and effort. You pay attention. You call shit out. You think of ways to make things better. You remain steadfast.

 

 

Make no mistake about me. I want to work hard and live well and vote often and pay taxes that I know are somewhat going to the betterment of my surroundings. I want to learn, and to grow.

I understand that there are many people who’ve been in this area much longer than I, especially since I am not quite 30 years old and had to fight my way up here. However, that does not entitle natives or longer-term residents to bully me into silence when I say something that isn’t popular to dislike about this region, or commonly gets ignored in favour of other points on an agenda.

If I wanted to be purely antagonistic, I could step up to the stage, say I don’t care for Nirvana, drop the mic and be done with it. But that’s silly, because there are plenty of people who like the band and the culture surrounding it, which makes sense because this is grunge city and all.

Wisdom consists in not rocking the boat when there’s nothing to be learned or gained from it, so I don’t push that button.

surrealshell

You may be asking yourself what I find so contrary about this place. Well, there’s a separate post for that which may come later.

For now, I am using this space to reflect on how far I’ve come, and to acknowledge that Seattle, for all its shortcomings (as you’ll find that no place is perfect), has helped me immensely.

cheers for all the years

Today is my dad’s birthday. I won’t say how old he is, because he’ll of course murder me.

My dad and I never lived more than a couple hours’ drive away because of circumstances, but I was attached to him from a very young age.

My opinion of him is this: a seemingly fearless guy who is fun to be around, fiercely intelligent and has a firm grasp on things. I can think of few better positive influences for a young girl.

Much like my aunt, Daddio never hesitated to call me on my behaviour when I was being an unwise young person (which happens a great deal when you’re a young person). I could always count on both of them for mutual respect throughout my growing pains, tantrums and the like.

At the same time, they didn’t stifle anything about my development. I made my own decisions, and my own mistakes in the process. I learned from them, and I continue to learn with them.

whee

“You’re over 21 now, right?” I remember my dad saying once over a Sunday brunch table, and summarily ordering a pitcher of margarita for us to share.

These are how our hangouts go: walking about town, eating and drinking, and spending hours getting up to speed with one another again. They’re great.

I’d wager that my relationship with my dad is one of the truly most effortless relationships I will ever have in my life. He taught me the value of independence, of exploration of self and beyond, and of doing my part for long periods of time before enjoying the rewards that may come.

The lessons taught and the time spent wherever possible have yielded this love in which I hold for no one else, Daddio.

I love you, and thank you for all that you’ve done in helping me grow. Happy birthday.

emotion of the ocean

People on their own tend to find time and space with which to form opinions.

In a gathering, people can perhaps present opinions developed by themselves, but there seems to be a need lately to come to a forced consensus in group settings in the name of winning or being declared indisputably right.

What does that mean?

Imagine you’re at a party and someone says something off-base, or simply unexpected. The actions of just one other person can determine the reaction of others, or the party as a whole. The tone may shift as a reaction to the something.

Imagine also that there are 2 individuals in that party of what we’ll assume is 30 people whose body language or attitude becomes negative as a response to the reaction.

One person says, ‘hey, that thing wasn’t actually cool, because X, Y and Z.’

Another responds to this by suggesting they’re talking out of their arse, consciously or subconsciously preserving the overall tone of the party. This is what some call a derail.

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The internet can be a lot like that.

How often have you witnessed a thread on a forum or social networks where one idea forms and from there, through others, begins to take off?

Largely due to the internet, we live in a world where instant gratification is prevalent and is something to be expected, even in some of our daily lives in offline aspects.

Two people who say A is equal to B while another says no you silly persons, A is clearly equal to C hold more power than the one who is presenting an argument by themselves. This behaviour suggests that ‘hey, you’re only one person, no one here agrees with you, how could you possibly know anything of value?’

Granting audience to dissenting opinions is discouraged in certain places, as that takes extra time and energy, drifting apart from the flow of a crowd interaction. We may end up with That Thing, an accord about a behaviour/attitude for the sake of brevity and moving on, which leaves some feeling lost, confused and hurt.

elenawin

Why the urge to gang up on one or few?

There could be a number of factors for this. Many people are reticent to acknowledge or accept change, and so resistance to much outside their comfort zones may seem natural to them. Might be as simple as having a bad day.

Justifications seem insufficient for shutting people out of dialogue simply for views being new and strange. It may take practice, and all involved may not agree, but taking a moment to consider another perspective may be worthwhile to the masses.

A great deal of internet arguments are emotionally charged. Competition appears almost immediately, and with it the desire to one-up each other to declare superiority.

shoot

It’s a destructive cycle of attack or be attacked that has gained popularity in shared spaces, but no one really wins anything for that brand of effort long-term.

Folks do have the stuff to collectively decide on something in a productive manner, but there appears to be a rise online of people having knee-jerk sort of reactions to unpopular opinions, and thus thrusting their One Twue Magnanimous Way forth.

Arguments don’t always have to mean that people are enemies, or that one side is absolutely correct while the other has erred. Keep that in mind for the next time you participate in any kind of heated debate, whether on the computer or off.

 

Part I in a personal blog series about interactions on the internet.

no you don’t

Loyalty is one hell of a thing.

 

I maintain that we human beings sometimes do some silly things in the name of it, for reasons political, romantic and otherwise.

 

Loyalty is said to be an admirable trait, one heavily sought. Less often discussed is loyalty that is sought and gets taken advantage of.

 

 

I have spent most of my life working hard to keep someone in my corner who doesn’t seem to give me the same care or attention. My loyalty towards this person has been a long-established thing, and every time they (hopefully unintentionally) hurt me, I can’t find the words or way to justify getting them out of my sight. I’m not even sure they’d listen if I told them what was up.

 

In the several months I went through therapy, I learned to feel okay with releasing years of suppressed emotion. Most of this has to do with the aforementioned someone, some doesn’t.

At times, the suppressed emotions will come out at random — in the past, through uncomfortable and of course unwelcome panic attacks. I’ve overcome these with help from supportive friends (including my herbalist), and practicing talking myself down when they occur (example: breathing exercises, saying aloud ‘it’s okay, it’s going to be okay’).

More recently my mind sometimes wanders to old memories I wasn’t finished sorting through, which can result in me needing to take a short break from work or assorted activities until I get to feeling better. I tend to overwhelm myself with piles of things to do so I can feel I’m being productive, so taking a breather is something I should be doing out of habit anyway.

Bit by bit, the layers I’ve hidden away are coming loose, and I’m finding I’m stronger than ever.

 

The highest hurdle of all will be to detach myself from the someone for whom I’ve reserved a corner, if necessary. The trick is to suss out if my loyalty’s going to a place where it can be nurtured, or in the trash left to its own devices, because it’s something that’s expected of me.

time & distance

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted my birthdays to be less about me and more about putting effort into other people and causes that I believed fiercely in. At the time of making this decision, I hadn’t been living in the Northwest for a year yet, and wasn’t connected to folks or organizations.

branside

May ’10, Bellevue, Washington

These days, that excuse can’t really be used anymore. If the recent shockingly sunny weather has been any indication, summer is fast approaching and the season’s all but booked with events I plan on engaging in one way or another. Here are just a few I’m planning on volunteering a bit for:

    • Trans* Pride Seattle. A few local organisations (Seattle Out & Proud, Gender Justice League & the Gay City Health Project) have rallied together to make this happen on June 28. Here’s hoping that a good deal of dialogue and community gathering will take place between trans* and gender non-conforming folk in the Northwest.
    • Genderfest. Entering its second year, Genderfest is a queer all genders celebration going on July 25 – August 4 in East Vancouver on Coast Salish Nations territory.
    • GaymerX. This convention proudly boasts being the first of its kind to have a focus on LGBT geek culture. It’s all set to take place August 2-4 in vibrant San Francisco.
    • Vancouver Queer Film FestivalAugust 15-25 ushers in this festival’s 25th year, offering a beautifully diverse array of queer cinema, dedicated artists, panels and performances.

rainier5

May ’10, Seattle, Washington (Interstate 5 southbound)

This is a fairly tall order of activity, but it should provide valuable opportunities to learn skills, meet people and contribute energy to stuff bigger than myself. Good things to absorb right around the time I get a year older. Factoring in the few days I’m spending in LA in just a few weeks as well, I expect to have great fun travelling the west coast this summer. I am looking forward to the days ahead.