Archive for October, 2015

The Cursed Child

I usually have an opinion on all things Harry Potter.  That hasn’t changed.  What has changed is that I’m not as vocal about it as I used to be for any number of reasons.

Potter has reached the point in the culture where it’s morphed from a personal story beloved by a great many people into a cultural touchstone that is repeatedly abused to make tangential points about whatever pet issue the speaker  has.    Other feminists take great glee in finding the moments that seem to them anti-woman.   Asians take great glee in misusing and misattributing the story to make points about racism.   Harry Potter is no longer a thing you can just sit with quietly and meditate upon.   It is now a mass experience.

Potter was a refuge for me during what was the worst summer of my life to date.   It has served as a refuge for me through countless struggles with work, life, pain, death.

That would be why the fervor over the new play is something off my radar.    Making the newest Potter story a public performance underscores  the fact that this is no longer a thing you can experience privately.  That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not my thing.   So I’m waiting for the day I can sit in my home and watch the video of the play and experience the expanding canon inside the garden of my head.

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Reading through old posts I can see so many cases where I let my anger or frustration leak out into the words on the screen and I think while it’s therapeutic for me it’s got to be spectacularly painful for those who read it, and therefore it’s discourteous.   “Please read my blog and let me spit on you.”

I’m not alone in that.  During the years that I read a wiiiide variety of blogs for aggregation purposes I spent a good 10 hours a day adrift on other people’s anger.  Or frustration.  Or sadness.

So much of what our politics is now is really a complex attempt to punish other people for making life difficult.   A fair number of conservatives want people to pay for their mistakes by paying for food or children they can’t afford.   A fair number of liberals want people to pay for their comforts by paying for food or children that other people can’t afford.   Either way there seems to be more and more of an element of punishing to it.  No one has it easy, but it seems from inside your life that sometimes everyone else has it spectacularly better off than you.    No where is that more clearly said than in social media.

I find myself often mentioning the things that are hard about my life not so much to complain but to underline that in spite of the things that are good I do have struggles.   It occurs to me that I feel like i should have to apologise for the good things, that I can’t say “hey, I love my life” without having to detail the cost of that life.   In some ways this is good because social media is far too full of life-lovers who hide their consequences behind closed doors.   In other ways it’s really bad.   Because satisfaction and contentment are not things that are given to you.  They’re things you work at.

I’m not good at working at things.   I was born knowing how to read and ever since then I’ve eschewed the idea of practice.   If I couldn’t pick it up and do it flawlessly after two tries then I just wasn’t  going to do it.   That’s a childish mindset and it took me 40 years to work on overcoming it.  I’ve now been seeking out things that don’t come easily–drawing, for instance–and forcing myself to drill.   Satisfaction has been the same way.  In both cases I sit down in a quiet place and repeat the steps until my work looks like something worthy of foisting on people.   That’s what this blog entry is.  It’s me writing about how I’m trying to talk about being satisfied without feeling guilty about it.  Something I still can’t do.   I know that guilt is learned behaviour.  Sadly it’s the only thing I really ever practiced until I turned 40.

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Yesterday I had the dubious ‘pleasure’ of reading a (male) law enforcement officer’s opinions about how women get themselves raped.  It was the usual cant about “you need to take Personal Responsibility”.   I got to thinking about it and am in fact still thinking about it.

Because it’s never a person’s fault if they’re raped.  Never.   Never.  Never.   The fault belongs to the rapist.

I’ve always taken precautions in my life, and frankly I think every woman has.   We walk with our keys in stabbing mode, interleaved through our fingers to serve as ad hoc brass knucles.   We know to SING (Solar Plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin).   We’ve been told to pee on ourselves if rape seems imminent.   Et cetera.   But precautions are sometimes never enough.  And it isn’t our fault when they fail us.  It never is.

I haven’t blogged steadily for a very long time.   I have attracted the attention of some folks who think a good way to spend their time is to come and leave personal attacks in the comments on my blog.   Blogs are pretty porous and it’s not really a medium inclined to protection of privacy.    So I just stopped writing on my own blog, guesting on other blogs and commenting on the blogs of my friends.   As time goes by I’ve strained against the tether of FB, because I missed my 500 words.  Lately I’ve missed them badly enough to be writing “status updates” that are more like “editorial columns.”

I wanted to blog.

But I didn’t.

I was taking precautions.   I was not putting myself in harm’s way.  I was not attracting their attention.

And no, it’s not the same as being raped.  Not even remotely the same.  But the attitudes about “how to stay safe” are similar.    After all, you’re perfectly safe when you’re sitting quietly in your room in a flannel bathrobe and slippers.  Aren’t you?  No one is ever harmed in their own home!

It occurs to me as these streams get crossed and I see what I say to myself about why I shouldn’t blog and what these people say to women about why they shouldn’t look pretty or go to parties and I realise it’s all a subset of Trading Liberty For Security.

A person can die by inches as they let fear limit their life.   And I have enough limitations as it is.   So, I’m not staying away any more.   I’m not letting a bully scare me away from doing what I love doing.   Precautions are meant to keep you as safe as possible while encountering the world.   They aren’t meant to keep you from living.

The rape is the fault of the rapist.   The bullying is the fault of the bully.

A writer writes and if she isn’t writing she’s dying by inches.

**There are a lot of bloggers who no longer feel comfortable blogging because of the sheer sociopathy of web society.  Yesterday several of my friends confessed that they too had to stop blogging because of stalkers.  I can’t blame them and I don’t fault them for their choice.   Everyone responds to violence in their own way.   And it’s different when your stalker is local to you.  I’m fortunate in that my problem is with non-local people.    So this is in no way meant as an indictment of all the women who choose to quit blogging OR who choose to stay home in sweats.

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But seriously, is there anybody out there?  Probably no, since this blog has been, shall we say, dormant?

I’ve committed the serious misstep of going where the audience seems to be rather than writng and letting the audience come to me.   But as my blog continues to cobweb over itself and my facebook posts get longer and wordier it occurs to me that perhaps I should just freaking write on my blog.   And so. And so.

The world is full of people with Aspergers who are blogging about having Aspergers so I don’t know how much my voice is going to add to the chaos.   If you read through the 10 years of this blog it’s probably apparent to you that yes, I do indeed have Aspergers.   As long apparent to you as it was to me and those who know me but not to medical science who took awhile to catch up with the differences between female Aspergians and male Aspergians.   Basically, the females are the wordy ones, the ones who use 50 words where none will do.   The stereotype of the silent, staring Aspergian is that of a male with the condition.    So most female Aspergians are “weird” and “chatty” and “dress in baggy clothes” but aren’t what folks think of as oh-my-gosh-help-my-child-is-autistic.

I’m going into all of this because I feel like a lot of my life right now is spent in the act of trying to translate Aspergian into Neurotypical.   Case in point: a photoshopped joke on Facebook.   Twice now I’ve said “that’s photoshopped” and twice now I’ve gotten reamed by people who insist that I need to just let it go and accept that it’s funny.

Welcome to the Aspergian mind.   If a joke is factually incorrect we cannot without great difficulty move to the point of saying “but it’s still funny” because all we see is that it is _not right_.    Which, ok.  You can think it’s funny.  I don’t care.  But you need to allow me to see the world my way and that way, the Aspergian way, is to say that “it isn’t funny TO ME because it’s obviously based on an incorrect premise.”

I’m not asking the Neurotypical world to stop considering things funny.  I’m asking that you realise that I have just as much right to say it isn’t funny as you do to say it is.   My voice and viewpoint are just as important.   And no, this isn’t just about a joke.  It’s about the way the world is when you have Autism Spectrum CONDITION.  World, it’s only a disorder if we are harmful to ourselves or others.

So that’s what I’m blogging about today.   I guess it’s slightly more palatable than God or politics.  We’ll just have to see.

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