It’s funny…

It’s funny how seeing people publish your private communication without context or permission after a prolonged period of abuse and control makes you guard yourself so closely.  It bleeds into everything, at times.

“Will this person respect that my feelings about xyz in this moment might change?”
“Are my feelings publication-worthy, publication-safe?”
“Can I trust this person?”
“May I express something I don’t fully endorse right now?  That I might not endorse later?”
“Am I free in this relationship?”

Am I free in this relationship.  Free from?  Free to?
Is being fallible permitted? Will it be permitted after the relationship terminates?
Will words uttered in frustration now be used to alienate, control, shame me later?
It’s an excellent isolation technique.  It’s excellent blackmail.  It’s superb at silencing.

It’s extra strange because so much of my communication that was published by third parties was a product of how I was treated.   Of course I flatter you when I reject you; it’s the only way to pacify an ego that is dangerous and unrelenting.  Of course I counsel you; you’ve made it clear that’s my only use to you — you won’t engage with me outside of the context of care.  Of course I am kind; you’ve made it clear that if I direct my frustration at unapproved sources I will be stonewalled.  Of course I laugh; you’ve directly said that when my tears are caused /by you/ that they are ‘too much.’  I am only allowed to suffer at the hands of others, never you.

A lot of folks get rull pissy about lying.  My perspective on that is perhaps a bit different. Lying is a survival tactic.  Dishonesty, omission, misdirection — these things are armor.  Like all things, it’s morally neutral and its wisdom is based largely on its utility and use.  At it’s core, though, dishonesty is always about managing someone else’s experiences.  Sometimes we do that to protect ourselves or preserve relationships during periods of limbo.  Honesty — and our insistence on honesty — is the same way.  Honesty and our insistence on honesty can be used for good or for ill.  I’m now highly skeptical of too much honesty talk.  If you spend more time talking about honesty than you do actually fostering and nurturing it, you’re probably trying to control me, my speech, my experience, or all these things.

It’s not hard to keep yourself and the people around you honest and eschew it being a Thing.
Reward honesty, even when it’s hard.

If someone tells you something you don’t want to hear, chances are, they already knew that was going to be a thing and have put themselves through some emotional gymnastics to get to a place where they’ve opened their mouthtalker about it to you.  Honesty, no matter how routine, is always an act of courage, because when our truths are known, we are vulnerable to and accountable for them.  There are easy ways to do things like express disappointment or frustration while still rewarding the courage required by the mouthtalker in question.  You can say things like, “That wasn’t the answer I hoped for, but I know that must have been hard to say.  Thank you for being so honest.  I value that far more than the answer I hoped to receive.”  You could also try, “That was hard to hear, but I’m so glad you told me!  I care about you.”

There’s a difficult line to tread, especially with more difficult truths, between fostering and nurturing honesty and keeping the burden of care on the appropriate shoulders.  In cases where someone has done something genuinely hurtful/dangerous/whatever, that burden of care should still rest with them.  Confessing a difficult thing does not shift that burden on to the Confessor, no matter how hard it is to tell the truth.  And nurturing honesty goes both ways, right?  So here’s an example:

Person A: “I fully expect this truth to hurt you, and I am prepared for that.”
Person B: “You’re right that does hurt.  Thank you for including my feelings in this.”
Person A: “I know I screw up, and I feel bad about that, but I want to carve out space for both of us to field our reactions and thoughts productively.”
Person B: “Thank you.  I will do my best to do the same.  Neither one of us is perfect, and I admit I am angry/sad/disappointed/hurt.  Let’s take a break if we start to have trouble with it.  I am here with you in this, and we can always come back to it, if we need to leave things unresolved to preserve the integrity of our conversation.”

Different people in different relationships may find that their mileage varies, but I have found that leaving out punitive measures has fostered far more honesty in my interactions on both sides of that conversation than any amount of pontificating ever could.  In the example above, both speakers have positioned themselves such that they are not adversaries locked in a struggle for dominance and recognition, but rather cooperative interlocutors with a shared common goal: to heal and move forward, while moderating their own behavior in their own and in their shared interests.  Ideally, both people walk away feeling truly heard, and that despite the emotional charge of a hard situation, that their honesty was rewarded with acknowledgment and care.  That’s how one fucking nurtures a fucking thing.  Cradle gently, treat with care and respect.  It’s okay to raise your voice a little.  It’s okay to express frustration.  But don’t tell it what it wants to be when it grows up.  Don’t steamroll it.  Don’t invalidate it.  It isn’t a time to talk about intentions or motives or what’s really real in the universe.  It is time to discuss facts, reactions, and plans to move forward.  Reflection upon and skeptical engagement with intentions can occur later, and is, ideally, a cooperative project about which both parties feel enthusiasm, if not a little trepidation.

Because here’s the thing.  No one is entitled to your truthtelling.  Maybe that’s a radical thing to say, I don’t know.  People ought prove themselves worthy of your honesty.  The people who fail to do should maybe have their role in your life questioned, sure.  I try now to only keep company with people who have shown that they have earned, will respect, and ultimately cherish and nurture my honesty.  That data is far more important than their explicit views on the subject, or whether or not they even have explicit views on the subject.  I’m no Kantian when it comes to ethics — dogmatic beliefs are lame and cultish, and I’m far too pragmatic, and far too comfortable with the notion of my own limitations and flaws for that.  I neither demand nor desire any kind of moral absolutes from the people I love.  Dishonesty is not a sin — it’s a problem to solve.  What is making someone’s lie necessary?  Who and what might it serve, and what other ways to serve that purpose could we generate together?

This is especially true since it’s often the case that being truthful, even with ourselves, can be a challenge at times.   We can sometimes hide the truth even from ourselves, and that is perhaps when we need the most help of all.

It’s funny…

Polymathing it up

I spent my weekend sleeping, spending time with family (and my brother in particular), and coding.  It was pretty dreamy, even though Tom was sick and my brother’s having a rough time of it.  I’m helping a friend give her web content a new, sleek dress to wear out at parties, and really enjoying the process.  I’m picking up a teensy bit of the interplay between HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Jquery while I’m at it, and I have to say I’m loving the entire thing.  I’m hoping to have a skeleton up and running for her off of my own domain to demo by mid-April, and for her content to be fully fleshed out, reorganized, and have filled out the details of the frock it wears and how it’ll dance by May.  It’s my first real effort building from the ground, and it’s teaching me a lot.  I also think it will be rather chic by the time we’re done.

In other news, I’m starting to make some real progress on my new website, as well.  I treated myself to some components on Fiverr today, including a new logo and a chibi-me to act as my avatar (I got the line sketch today and MAN is she going to be super, purple, and cute!).  Hanif gave me some skill trees on trello that involve PROGRESS BARS and I’m pretty excited to level up a lot in the next few weeks.  I am always more diligent and productive when I have a dynamic and goal-oriented view of where I am and where I need to go.

For my birthday, my mom bought me really excellent (purple, abs, wheeled, hardbody) luggage, with a note that she hopes I get to use it for job interviews and traveling to clients very soon, which was very thoughtful and generous (seriously, this luggage is swanky!).  She also gave me a note about how much we’ve grown together in the last two years, which is true and something I’m deeply grateful to acknowledge.

The wise and wicked Thomthulhu is recovering from a plague of some variety and has a Hella Week ahead of him, but not so Hella that we won’t get to see our NEW NEIGHBORS Tim and Felicity tomorrow night after work!  WEST PHILADELPHIA WILL CONSUME YOU ALL BWA HA HA HA HAAAA.  No really, come live near me.  We will get coffee randomly, and you can pet our cats, and I’ll make rooibos lattes.

We also had a pretty unexpected windfall this weekend that may mean that T’s daughter may get to come stay with us this Summer for a bit, and I am hungry to help make that happen for them.  She’s just about the coolest tween on the planet, and I want to help her cosplay all her favorite Homestuck Trolls.

Them’s the haps, for the mo.  Hopefully soon, I’ll  be unveiling my website with a portfolio and some widgets and an outline of all my current projects.



Polymathing it up

Birthday Recap

Y’all, I have the best of friends.

I missed seeing Amanda in NYC, but am eyeing up weekends in which she does not Nurse It Up in April to make up the time with her.  We’re currently seeking venues that have small, soundproof rooms with heavy doors in which we may yell with wild abandon.

Meanwhile, we arrived mid-snowstorm in Madison Square Gardens around 8:15 on Friday night.  We met up with Sam and saw the Bounce eXchange office in the New York Times building.  From there, it was back to Brooklyn for late night German food and some drinks, followed by me crashing right the hell out on an air mattress with Thomthulhu.

Up the next morning, and Sam wasn’t feeling like pants, so we caught the ACE uptown and met Kurticus Maximus for brunch at Cafe d’Alsace which was, NGL, bomb.  I ate too much and drank too much delicious coffee and consumed like a pound of cheese.  From there, we hoofed it over to the Met and gawked at art for many hours.  Kurt brought us to Pip’s Place and I got to eat a pastry for the first time in 4 years.  They specialize in gluten-free baked goods, and had one blueberry and lemon danish left. It was a religious experience, and I now dream about that pastry.  A nice long walk later, we were at the Raines Law Room with Kurt, Sam, and Becky.  We did a non-trivial amount of cocktailing and I had a habanero and pineapple concoction that was life altering.  We wrapped up with late night Hookah and an assortment of meat-based snacks.  It was grand.

Becky made us breakfast the following morning, and we caught the bus on the far west side of the city and slept the whole way home.  Thomthulhu successfully completed his Colonialism paper, and I finished everything Hanif and I had filed under “in process” for our demo org in [redacted].  T interrupted his paper-writing to make out with me and tell me I’m special, I made Tikka Masala, took a bath and a nap, and was in bed by 10 after watching a few episodes of the X-Files.

Kurt, Sam, and I are planning a hackathon once Sam settles on his house in Rutherford and gets comfy in his new space.  If one more smart dude I know tells me to learn Javascript so they can hire me, I’m gonna do a back flip!  I’m seriously considering cancelling my performances in April to give myself the breathing room to devote to Javascript and Swedish, maybe pick up another paying short term gig or two over the month of April, and getting ready for LARP season to start.

It definitely looks like we’re going to be suing my former landlord, unless he provides the paperwork I’ve asked for (and to which I am legally entitled), so I have that complaint to draft over the next week, and will have the funds set aside to file it on April 8th.  He’s released my expected security deposit, but retro-dated the check and engaged in a lot of other shady bullying and f*ckery that both T and I agree that he could stand to go on public record about trying to frighten me out of asking for documentation that would substantiate his deductions to our deposit, and proof that he held my deposit in escrow as he was legally required to do.  I’m still willing to let myself be talked out of it and just cash the check for $500 and have done with it, but I am, after all, in love with a Tauran man who wants to take this dude to the gallows for how he behaved.

So that’s birthday re-cap.  I think Mom and I might go clothes shopping, and I’m supposed to get Indian food with my excellent brother this weekend.  And we might move my desk to Sarnath finally!  Thirty-three is looking like the best year yet.

Birthday Recap

We are the Makers of Meaning, and We are the Dreamers of Dreams

Today, kids, I’m learning about Object Model Diagrams.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with UML (we’re talking… 2002-03, probably) so I’m pretty rusty.  The use case I’m working with is fairly straight forward but remembering the details of parent-child diagrams and how many-to-many relationships work in practice, and how to properly note the carry-over of an object in one area of the system to its role in another area is for sure, a thing.

I’m also doing mah jerb, and looking forward to a birthday frand-date with Ginny and potentially, Caitlin later tonight.  I’ve been tired as all get out this week, and I’m looking forward to the trip to New York this weekend in a big way.  In the plans are: frands, ice cream, tea, cocktails, brunch, ART, and me remembering that NYC is huge and wearing the correct shoes.  I’ll be doing work on the Megabus ride both there and back, with the goal of conquering some interview-relevant milestones.  There’s a company I have my eye on in a big way, and they have some openings for Associate Technical Consultants who are open to filling a lot of different roles and taking on a lot of new experience.  It’s a little more Dev Heavy than the positions I originally envisioned, but I like the salary curve, and coding does make me pretty happy.  Sadly, I’m missing the Girl Develop It Intro to Java Class this weekend, but might start to take a peek over on Code Academy to see what I’m in for the next time it’s offered.  I’ve also really enjoyed the work I’ve done in Ruby and front end stuff like HTML/CSS, so it helps knowing that development does agree with me.  ::casts dreamy looks over at the Flatiron School’s new program in Philadelphia and blows it kisses post-dated for 2017-18::

I really do wish I could find some way to have more hours available to me to devote to all of this in a day, but that is sometimes how life is.

I’ve also reflected a lot on the contents and pace of my life and interaction lately.  So many things I have valued and missed terribly are just run of the mill, now.  The pace at which I learn, process, emote, react, communicate: It’s All Just Fine Again.  I am often left with long stretches of time in which I am alone with my thoughts, which is invaluable to me.  I am surrounded by people who carve out and hold space for me.  No one in my life has the One Right Way to do anything.  Everyone seems to understand that truly silly humor and true exchange allow me to maintain my presence and availability.  I sometimes go a whole day without checking my email or text messages, and no one complains or gets hurt feelings or demands an explanation — because my need for space and time alone is not about or because of anyone but me.  I have a lot of open social invitations, but they’re truly open for me to accept or decline with the confidence that the people I love know I make good decisions about how to spend my time.   This is pretty vital, especially now that professional skill development is probably as high or higher on my priority list than… well, nearly anything.  That’s a temporary state of affairs, obviously, but people hanging in there with me on weeks when I’m like, “I’d love to see you but I have to stare at a computer and mess with this piece of code for an indefinite period of time.  Want to come over and read while I do that?  I’ll heat up something to eat,” is pretty fabulous.

It is pretty stellar knowing that the only person in my life who is entitled to my time … is me.  It makes my choices about the little time I do have feel… better?  I don’t have a lot of standing dates or obligations to people who are not myself.  I try to schedule an hour a day at least of “professional leveling up”, read 50 pages (though it is usually more) of something daily, and practice Swedish for a little bit.  Tom and I try hard to spend time together one day a week (though these days, there are a lot of quietly working in the same room and offering to make each other tea type dates) and I try to keep my weekends pretty low-key.  I haven’t attended a party of more than five people in at least seven or eight months (GLORIOUS AF). It seems that I’ve found a space and tribe for myself that is perfectly happy with the set of challenges I’m interested in facing (sticking to tasks, making good decisions, supporting my health and well-being, advancing my career) and don’t feel the need or desire to add things to my list that don’t align with my values or character or quirks.  Like honestly, what I need in life right now is someone to remind me to prioritize things like remembering to eat when I am hungry, laugh a lot, let people take care of me when they offer, be more okay with saying no, enjoy small pleasures, be proud of my successes, and not work all the damn time.   Basically none of those reminders have anything to do with meeting other people’s needs, being more available, doing more things, or showing up places to please others, or being around people that take more than they give.  Introvert.  Dream.

I’m filled with gratitude, and so excited to share my gradual successes, milestones, and prosperity with the people who are actively supporting me and making change a more living possibility for me. In the meantime; Work, Reading/Diagram Drawing, Snacks and Fun, Sleep.  Tomorrow is my Friday, since I’ve taken off for my birthday to prepare for NYC trip, and I have to say that for a birthday week?  This is one of the best and most promising yet.  ❤

We are the Makers of Meaning, and We are the Dreamers of Dreams


Over the next few weeks, I’ll be migrating my web presence to my new domain.  I haven’t yet decided if this blog will remain here, if I will migrate and password protect my content, or if I will migrate the relevant content to a tumblr where narratives of problematic relationship dynamics reside, as a reference.

For those of you asking, I won’t be responding to That Thing.  It’s seventy-four pages of pretty transparent tripe, and I just don’t think it requires response from me.  It demonstrates more of my points than I ever could have hoped to explain; so frankly, my interlocutors have done more to show the unrelenting toxicity and disregard for agency inherent in their choices than I ever could have done.  Moreover, a great deal of what is printed in it appears without the consent or request of any of the parties involved, and I think linking to it, discussing it, or bringing more attention to it stands to magnify the damage, hurt, and violation That Household insists on perpetrating.  The people who know and love me know what I went through because they saw it happening, and see the person I’ve returned to being since I made the decision to leave.

The advocates and organizations with whom I’ve corresponded have removed a highly problematic person from a position of authority and authoritative speech about consent and autonomy.  That needed to happen, and I am satisfied with that outcome.  The other outcomes I desired were personal, and largely orbit around my willingness and ability to accept myself, and allow others to do so with gratitude and joy.  My friendships and relationships are happy ones, chased by this stupid black cloud that will, eventually, dissipate.  I’ve fulfilled my obligations to vulnerable members of my community and I am happy with that choice.  I have used my voice, good outcomes obtained, and I will be handing off my part in this process to key leaders and trusted friends.

I would like to be free from the jingoism, pugnacity, dogmatism, and entitlement engendered and enacted by That Household, and choose at this point to excuse myself from all but essential dialogue about it and them.

I have a few (paid!) web design projects to work on, in addition to an (unpaid, but hopefully long-road lucrative) [redacted] project, so you might see me post about those things here, but gradually things are going to be archived, cataloged, and handed off to the appropriate parties for safekeeping and entrusted use, should the need arise.


Happy Birthday to Me — almost.

I want to open with a thought that passed through my brain this morning, as I watched the sun rise from my train window.

Break the Silence

If your worst nightmare is being called to account for the way in which you have become accustomed to treating people, perhaps their actions are not the ones upon which you should be myopically focused.  Perhaps, if being held accountable is your nightmare, the person whose actions that require your immediate attention are your own.

Like, if two three five six eight nine whole human beings step forward, after being independently asked, risking embarrassment, humiliation, shame, rejection, trauma, re-victimization, blame, and dismissal to be like, “my experiences with this person were really negative and I’m not sure I would attend events where they were going to be present because I do not feel safe around them,”  maybe this is not so much an ‘all of these people are full of sh*t and only I have access to the truly true truth’ problem, and more of a ‘perhaps you ought to recognize’ problem.

I combat this happy horsesh*t by enjoying a hashtag I started on twitter, originally inspired by Ashley, and noting that I look cute AF today, from rabbit print tights to petal pink cardigan.  Nan always said, if you’re gonna have a rough day, wear a cute frock.  It is advice that has never failed me.

So my birthday is a week long celebration.  Perhaps we’ve met and you know this already.  If we haven’t… hi, this is RD, and my birthday lasts from the Friday preceding my birthday to the Sunday following it.  This particular year, my thirty-third, falls on Friday of this week.

Tonight, I’m meeting up with Celia, my little sister of the heart, for supper after work, and then going home to my diligent Thomthulhu, who is finishing a paper tonight.

The rest of the week is mostly going to be devoted to some [redacted] formulas with Hanif, and spending some time looking at the CSS code for Ashley’s website to see if I can change things up for her, design and presentation-wise.  I’m looking forward to both of those tasks, especially given the pretty shiny laptop I was just given on extended/indefinite loan.  I also need to remember to check on my Rails Girls sponsorship letters this week, and look up the javascript for putting progress bars for my projects onto my new website.

Then, Friday evening, Thomthulhu and I are heading to New York City to see Amanda and her Lovely Husbo, son, and fetal daughter (who will be joining us ex utero so soon!), Our dearest Sam, and The Inimitable Kurt Yungel.  We have a trip to the Met planned so that T. can complete a project for Roman Archaeology (he does not Art, but I do, so I will likely be googly eyed over by the impressionists and ancient sculpture while he stares at some things and blithely takes notes.  Other than that, though, we plan to play some board games, eat some good food, have some good drinks, and sleep on Sam’s air mattress.   We’ll come home after breakfast on Sunday and get ready for the week.  We haven’t traveled together much outside of LARP so this will be nice.

Happy Birthday to Me — almost.

Like the Wu Tang Clan, Effing with Me is Inadvisable.

So my horrendous landlord from my previous apartment has been trying to squeeze every little dime out of my security deposit he can.  Apparently up to and including $322 of power usage I –now confirmed — did not incur.

Conflict in communication is really, really hard for me; but I have been trying to learn to do better with it.  It can be hard to balance anger (and when it comes to financial stuff, a lot of fear and other mixed up feelings about worthiness and stuff) with the need for clarity and the enforcement of reasonable boundaries.  Given that we moved out on 12/28/14, and I paid our lease per his request through 2/8/15, my patience with his bullsh*t has worn way thin.

Here is what I just sent to him:

I have just spoken with Delmarva.

My  $190 deposit with Delmarva was correctly and as per my instructions, applied to my balance due for November to December. 

The entire usage from 12/5/14 through 2/5/15 was in fact, $72 owed by me after my deposit was applied.

They are sending me a statement to that effect, along with the proper consumption diagrams.  The bill you have attached to your email to me is not my usage, as per the power company.

I am happy to pay the $72 you may have had to cover for usage of mine prior to our lease-end date.  I am not sure what the $322.52 is supposed to be covering, but according to the power company, they show no record for Apt 5 incurring those charges during the dates of my lease with you.

I expect the necessary documentation from Delmarva to demonstrate what we spoke about on the phone today, and I will scan and email you a copy upon its arrival. 

This would adjust the amount of my security deposit to be returned from $177.46 to $428.00.  Please let me know how you would like to proceed. 


My documentation from Delmarva is being mailed today, and should arrive at my address in Philly early next week.  If, by a week from my sending you the documents from Delmarva via email , I do not have the full amount of my security deposit I am owed, I will be filing a complaint with the Court of Common Pleas,  and asking as is my statutory right, for double the amount of my original deposit for a late return on my deposit as per 25 Del C. Section 5514 (f) and (g). 

I would strongly prefer to avoid litigation.  I absolutely understand that you would want to see my documentation from Delmarva showing the charges for which I am actually responsible before we resolve this.   

Hilary Nunes
Paralegal to [redacted], Esq.

I am so, so frigging done.

Like the Wu Tang Clan, Effing with Me is Inadvisable.