So it appears some work that I’ve done has been undone, without my permission.
I see I have some new readers (Hello, I’m so sorry for the circumstances under which you arrived here), and it appears that while normally, I would introduce myself, that work has been done for me.
Which is a shame. The reason I didn’t ever link my true identity with this blog was, in part, to shield the identities of my former polycule so that I could speak freely about my experiences knowing I wasn’t exposing them to judgment or stigma. That work is undone, and for at least some of you my identity and real name are known; as are theirs. It gives me sorrow to know that you were placed in that position socially, and I will do my best to make sure that I’m available for any questions you might have. Just click the “comment” button, and you can reach me. No comments are publicly posted without my approval, so you’ll always reach me first. If you have a question that I can comment on publicly that serves the community here, great! If our conversation would be better for a private venue, I’ll make that happen for you. I’m a very strict comment moderator, as even several friends will attest, because it’s important to me that this is space that I control, and that my voice prevails here. My writing will not change to accommodate your presence or their invective; this is me pulling the veil back over their identities and names. You will not read those names here. You may stay or go, as you please knowing you are welcome in either case.
For the rest of you who have been my readers all along: Dudes, What in the Actual. Yesterday was a day.
We got some bees, y’all.
I’ve made it my policy since June of last year to make sure that I avoid the mistakes I saw (and sometimes participated in, when I was still voluntarily involved) in my former relationships. I think that part of building a robust culture of consent means drilling all the way down to even our most basic social interactions. I’ve been known to start asking things like, “Hey, so what’s your bandwidth for [emotion/content] right now on a 1 to 10?” This is partially because I personally struggle with bandwidth. I am in the middle of a career change, I’m suddenly the sole breadwinner for a household of 2.5 (Huginn and Muninn are essentially .25 of a person each budget wise between food, insurance, litter, and occasional veterinary/preventative care), and legit, I am home for maybe two or three hours a day before I have to be in bed for the night Monday through Friday, unless I have a show which nearly always involves a whole lot of caffeine and adrenaline. So my in-person social life is pretty darn limited — and one on one social interaction is part of my recharge strategy! So, there are days when I’m like oh man, I so want to be there for you about your joy/grief/anger/excitement and externally, there is no reason that you’d guess that I’m /falling asleep on the train/ or /thinking about throwing the dishes away instead of washing them because I can no longer adult/. I think asking people where they are on a given day or social situation is important. This is especially true of uncomfortable situations and situations with competing narratives or emotional discord.
Not everyone has the f*cking time for that. Inundating people non-voluntarily with negative content is shitty and invasive. It has the capacity to draw people into conflict and hoover them into taking sides, without asking them if they’re prepared for that. That’s why I’ve very nearly always kept this blog and my social media separate, until yesterday, and will try to maintain that separation in my own writing, even if others will not. And honestly, if my experience is any sort of indicator, even people who ask don’t always actually want to know the answer to “Hey so whatever happened with you and wossname?” A lot of people really love the ability to claim and enact neutrality. It means you can still go to parties and reap the benefits of a myriad of relationships without having to fret over ethical quagmires or providing the kind of support that either someone who victimizes or someone who was victimized needs to thrive. I think some of this, as I mentioned on Carnalcopia last week, is that we are often taught and internalize the idea that relationships are intrinsically valuable and worthy of preservation, regardless of their content or their service to us — a notion I’ve been known to label as, you know, false. But I think the other part of it is that not everyone is socially positioned to abandon a support system, even if that support system is shitty and exploitative, or even toxic. It’s important to me to give people the freedom to choose the relationships they desire — even if those choices are choices with which I strongly disagree.
With all of that in mind, I decided a while back that I wouldn’t share my full narrative of Galactic Collision 2014 with anyone unless they directly asked me, and expressed sound reasons for desiring I share it. I stand by that decision. The stockpile of emails, screenshots, text and Facebook messages are not a part of the narrative I share; they are a precaution in the event I need to go to the police — something I know better than to rule out entirely. My writing here has always been oblique, and ultimately, is writing for the joy of writing. We write our lives, and sometimes, my life is full of cats and joy, and sometimes it’s full of emails from friends being like, “dude, get a load of [screenshot].”
Which brings me to Maleficent.
In a moment of gobsmack, I selected her as a representation of myself. Here’s the thing y’all: I am here to tell my story; because for a time long enough that I’m ashamed of it, my story was co-opted and perverted. I allowed my own narrative, in which I am the autonomous main character, to be manipulated by others. I saw that my silence only served to amplify this narrative-not-of-my-choosing. As I wrote, I regained My Self. I remembered that I am still Queen Lucy, Mina Harker, Lyra Silvertongue;
and that my life and love are my own, freely given from a place of abundance and joy. I remembered that I am wise, see clearly, and judge well. I remembered that I deserve space as a flawed, limited, beautiful human. I remembered that the one person I cannot afford to lose is myself, and I very nearly did. I remembered that harm comes in all kinds of forms. I remembered that being loved well by worthy people is not contingent upon my willingness to obey them. I remembered that I was once wary of people who, in adversity and frustration, seek to control others, and should remain so. I remembered that you learn a great deal about a person when you have to tell them “No.” And I had to make amends with people I hurt, badly, in order to abide in that habitat I had lost and regained. I had not only to speak my truth, but listen to theirs, make judgments, take risks, and attend. Just as Maleficent had to abide in her anger, loved in spite of it, and regained the power she had lost at the hands of those who desired to limit and control her, I found myself changing my mind, changing my heart, truly listening, and firm in my voice. These choices are, perhaps, selfish ones, and thus, are bound not to please everyone.
But then, I’m not here for everyone. I’m here for my wings.