Farewell to the New World.

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You’ve seen this screenshot on my blog before, and now it’s back to mark a somber occasion. I heard the news last night that after ten years of operation, the Singapore servers hosting Granado Espada (Sword of the New World) are finally closing down. I became a little bit famous in the community of players in SEA because of my NineMoons Family blog — well, famous and notorious at the same time. And now the game is gone and the only way to play now is on the North American servers (accessible via Steam, I think?) and — well, that’s a lot of memories for me to look back on and remember.

(Unfortunately, the links on the blog that used to go to the Singapore-based home site for sGE no longer work.)

a Twitter story, 1

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Thoughts from Friday night.

The Ann Leckie referred to in screenshot 3 is the writer of the Imperial Radch series of novels (Ancillary Justice / Ancillary Sword / Ancillary Mercy).

The statement “The point is, there is no point” continues with a declaration: “Choose your own!”

So this is a thread in which I am trying to look for a point of my own, considering what my starting position at present is.

just something I’m happy to keep showing off

And also, sort of a goals thing, because there are one or two really lovely blue inks I want to buy this year and so I hope to put them to use on the pages of my current journal, soon.

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In photo: three fountain pens on a page of the journal in this Instagram post. Above the three pens is the line “meet the pens!” written three times, to correspond with the various nib sizes of the three pens. The fountain pen at the top is a fine or extra fine Manuscript with its own proprietary ink cartridge, while the two lower pens are both Lamys using converters.

my hat is very pink.

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and I am wearing it because I am a woman and I am fighting for all my sisters all over the world, whatever the bodies they are in, whatever the colors of their skins, whatever languages they might speak. I stand with my sisters all over the world.

(I came up with this particular pattern on my own after looking up several other crochet and knit versions online. The yarn and hooks came from GantsilyoPH.)

my anniversary

About two years ago, I saw a mental health professional for the first time. I was diagnosed as having major depression / clinical depression. I started to take medications for my condition. (Two medications to start with: escitalopram and aripiprazole. I eventually dropped the latter one.) I started to go to therapy sessions with that same mental health professional.

At roughly this time last year, give or take ten days, I got broken up with, and had to get out of the house that had been my home for a while, in a big hurry. I moved back in with my family. I was forced to face the facts and the root causes of the problems that I had been having with my ex.

So today is 16 March and I am celebrating the fact that I am alive.

In fact, right now I am not just surviving. I am actually doing well. I have a steady job, I am writing, I turned in a story for submission to a national anthology of new fiction, I am out as a queer woman, and I have shoes and lipstick and crochet and I am alive. I am well.

I got through those dark days. I have no doubt that there will be hard days ahead, too — but I’ve survived, I’ve gotten through, and I was able to ask for help in order to get through those terrible times. I got help, I got meds, and now I have my life in some semblance of actually better working order than it once was.

I had no hope two years ago, and then one year ago. I had no hope. I had no strength left.

I am here, today, and it is my anniversary of life, and I am alive. I am doing well. I am here.

something I had made, because I thought it would be a good idea

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(In image: single dog tag with embossed information, on a ball-link chain that also includes a military-style mini can opener. The dog tag contains the following information: a last name, a first name plus initials, blood type, date of birth, and nature of chronic illness.)

I don’t need or want to tempt fate. But I had this made in case of emergency, and as an additional means of identification, should it ever be needed. *knocks on wood* Maybe it might give others an idea, too, I don’t know — but if it should be useful, I offer it up here as an example.

a little less trapped, a little less helpless

In one of my previous posts, I talked about why I thought that I needed to hurt myself in small but very painful ways, and one of the major reasons for my self-harm has to do with fighting to stay anchored inside my own body, with trying to stay grounded.

Since I was a child, I have had these terrible moments (sometimes longer) of being a disembodied thing: that my mind and body were fundamentally separated from each other. That can lead to two different feelings, both of which happen to be pretty scary.

One: my mind was trapped in my body.

Two: my body was unable to follow the commands sent to it by my mind.

Those are some of the extreme reactions that might be linked to dissociation: and that is exactly what I have been struggling with for a long time. I read somewhere that one or two instances of dissociation is pretty normal, like maybe when you wake up for the first time in a new place, or next to someone new. Or maybe when you’re in a high-pressure situation and you’re trying to convince yourself to perform. We all dissociate from time to time.

My problem, and likely the problem of some others who might be drearily familiar with this phenomenon, is that I dissociate a lot. There are no actual triggers. There is no visible proximal cause. I could be reading a book and be hit with that terrifying sensation. I could be sitting at a desk working and feel that dizzying awful disorientation.

I could be walking or commuting and feel that I am actually literally not part of the body that I am in — and believe me, that turns into a horror show really fast, especially when traveling late at night.

I could never find out the causes of my dissociation.

I only found out later on that dissociation was very very frequently linked to major depression — but yeah, I did sort of heave a sigh of relief, because then at least I could see that there was some kind of twisted sick sort of sense in my feeling the way I did. Dissociation in and of itself is a stressor — and stress, as we know, does contribute to depression. So combine the two and — yeah.

I am writing about the topic now because I was surprised to realize that right now, the spells of dissociation have been sort of receding. I mean, they still happen — but they’re not as intense or for as long, and that really does tell me that the circumstances of my life have changed.

Next week will mark the second anniversary of finally getting something to help me fight my depression.

So it’s really — it really makes me feel a certain kind of relief to say that things have sort of improved in my life, and things are not as desperate and painful as they used to be.

I’m actually not just surviving. I’m actually thriving in my own way, though my idiot brain refuses to understand that concept completely. Hence the still-recurring bits of bad things like being depressed and being joyless and dissociating.

But I’m still here. And that’s an important thing, not just for myself but for, maybe, others who might read my words. I got help and I got support and things changed in my life that were shatteringly painful at first but have actually contributed to my overall better state of being.

I was hopeless and nearly suicidal two years ago. I was nearly suicidal one year ago.

But today — today is a good day.

I hope you find the courage to find your way out, too.

happy International Women’s Day, all.

Don’t forget the mothers and the sisters and the daughters and the grandmothers and the nieces and the wives.

Don’t forget those who want to become female, those who are already becoming female, and those who cannot become female in their bodies but are in their minds and in their hearts.

Don’t forget the sisters all over the world who are working to make the world a better place.

Don’t forget the many many many sisters who have died to right injustice both great and small.

Don’t forget the sisters who are struggling through the days and the nights with illness whether of the body or of the mind.

Don’t forget the sisters in whatever form or body they might take.

the razor dance of memory

Dilemma:

I want to talk about the forms of abuse that people might be subjected to: and while it’s probably easier to recognize the signs and reasons and manifestations of physical abuse, it’s not really so easy to do the same for things like emotional abuse, and the kinds of subtle hurting that can take place within different kinds of relationships.

Like, yes, it’s often true that a person who will not listen to your concerns — and particularly if those concerns are about that person and their behavior and their treatment of you — is probably going to wind up really not caring about whether your concerns are addressed or not. If they don’t listen to you when you say, “Could you maybe please help me do the dishes?” they may well wind up not listening to you when you say, “The things that you are doing to me hurt me.”

And if the general response to this kind of concern is, “Yes, it’s all my fault, I am a monster, please care for me” — well, I think that the other person might have problems, and that you might not be the best person to help them solve those problems.

Also: the stark contrast between two and sometimes three sets of Holmes and Watson. Yes, as in Sherlock and John, or in my case, Joan.

The BBC version, with Cumberbatch and Freeman, depicts a friendship that quickly turns abusive and manipulative — I mean, just the first day in that lab is the prime example. Sherlock is at the microscope doing science, and his phone goes off, and he asks John to get the phone — but the phone is in Sherlock’s own jacket pocket, and Sherlock is wearing the jacket. This Watson enables this Sherlock’s assholery by reaching into the aforementioned pocket and extracting the phone for Sherlock to use, which sends a signal that, basically, Sherlock can and will inconvenience or outright hurt Watson just so Sherlock can continue on his merry way through the world, without inconvenience or hurt, because he is forcing Watson to be his shield and his defense against those things.

The Elementary version, with Miller and Liu, depicts an actual friendship between two human beings with their own agency in the world. Living together in the brownstone, the first few days sees Joan making a pot of coffee for the two of them to share, and she tells him that the coffee is ready to drink. Sherlock, being engrossed at his computer, holds out his coffee cup, expecting her to walk over to him to fill it from the pot. But she says, “The coffee will be right here when you need it” — and leaves it on the kitchen table, where Sherlock is not working. She provides for him, because that is part of what people who share a dwelling space do, but she does not do it in a way that enables his assholery, because she does not bring the coffee over to him, and tells him that he can get his own coffee because he is capable of doing so. And that is basically the dynamic of their relationship — and bless this Sherlock, he comes to think that this dynamic is important to his own well-being, which is key to him becoming an agent in sustaining it.

As for the third — well, only briefly, I think of the Downey Jr. and Law version, and I think, well, they are more of codependent on each other, but then again Watson in this case does not take all of Sherlock’s shit sitting down, so it is a half-point in their favor.

The problem with talking about abuse like this is that I will have to — well, I have to remember how I was abused, right? I have to remember the incidents that hurt me, in order to use them as illustrations, in order to glean the warning signs that I can then tell everyone else about. I have to remember how and when I was abused in order to tell others how not to be abused.

And that means having to think about the person who abused me, having to remember the things he said and did to me.

I don’t want to think about him at all.

But, look, this is abuse: after he declared that he was a polyamorous person, I went off and did a little research of my own, and also fortunately at that time I was already reading the blog of a pair of people who seemed to be happily polyamorous. I even went so far as to contact the man in that pair of people, asking him for advice about this kind of relationship.

I brought my knowledge to my abuser and suggested that he might want to speak to someone who was, shall we say, of his persuasion — get some insights, get some pointers, that kind of thing that I thought was good for self-improvement and also good relationship management.

What did my abuser do? Run the fuck away from my advice. He didn’t want to speak to a man who was openly polyamorous, who had some advice and hard-won experience to already back him up. I wondered, at the time, why he shut himself off from the idea. Now I know better. Now I know that he didn’t want to speak to the others who were actually already living happily in polyamory because some small part of him already knew the disgusting truth: he was either going to get raked over the coals for doing polyamory wrong, or he was going to be confronted with the knowledge that he was an abuser. He didn’t want the aggravation and certainly did not want to hear that he was an asshole.

It should have been self-preservation, except that he did it at my expense.

And like I said, I don’t don’t don’t I really don’t want to talk about my abuser, and I hell to the no don’t want to relive the things he did to me, and yet I have to remember if I want to share those stories with other people so that they can get away from their abusers, and — well, I want to know, what do I do in order to take a break from this dance upon my sharp and painful memories? I don’t intend to bleed out for the sake of others.

It’s a bloody balance to find.

oh. that was a thing I always wanted to do

I’d been seeing those — well, they’re not really ads — calls for submission, anyway, to a local anthology of new Filipino fiction. The idea seems to be that you had to be under 45 in order to submit? And of course you had to turn in something that had never been published anything else. That’s the whole point of an anthology of *new* fiction. That anthology would have been the first place that published that piece.

Anyway, so in the past couple of weeks there had been such a deadline coming up — that deadline was for the very end of February and I finally thought, well why the hell not?Really, what was stopping me?

So there. Item on my bucket list, checked off. I turned a story in. I had been sitting on that one for about a year, maybe. And as far as I know, it had never been published or anything. Maybe there’ll be an unpleasant surprise related to that coming up, I wouldn’t know — the past year has been a little bit hazy to me, no thanks to getting my whole life uprooted and turned topsy-turvy.

But yes. I did turn it in. I submitted the story for submission to an anthology and that is one thing I have never tried before, and — so. It’s out there. I don’t really want to dwell on its chances for publication, and either it will or it won’t and that is out of my hands. Short story was short — less than 2000 words — and we’ll see what happens in the next few months.

I just — it feels a little nice to have overcome that particular set of fears. Accomplishment? I think so. *tentative smile*

the blunt end of the story

cheating

This post was going around on Tumblr, and I saw it, and I had to write something to go with it, because why even are people talking about justifying cheating on one’s partner/s?

(Yes, I mean that, that can be singular or plural, please read on.)

Here’s what I added:

Speaking as someone who was long-term cheated-upon and then dumped – if he or she or they cheats, just walk away and never go back.

Oh and tell everyone that he or she or they cheats, so everyone else can be protected from that person.

I thought I was allowing my ex-husband to be happy and be polyamorous. Turns out he was abusing the label and designation of polyamory to hurt multiple women at the same time.

Yes, that does mean exactly what you think that implies for me: I was abused by this man for a very long time. I was abused, and the other women he slept with were probably also abused, and I am going to bet that he will wind up abusing whoever he is currently with right now.

If he had actually been polyamorous, I would like to think that he would have put in a little more effort into taking care of his partners. Apparently and not surprisingly, that was beyond his ken. After all, he was only ever into the relationships for himself.

I am for polyamory but never will I be for cheating. I don’t want to hear about cheating being a morally valid choice. I don’t want to hear about normalizing cheating. I don’t want to hear about cheaters whining that they’re good people after all. I have heard those arguments and they are nothing but bull.

Take it from me: if you’re cheated upon, walk away and tell everyone you’ve been cheated upon. Oh, and yes, let the punishment fit the crime. Always.

Polyamory, sure, if it floats your boat and everyone is okay with it. But abuse? Never ever ever.

I didn’t know I was being abused till I got out. I know better now. I want to help. I want to talk about it. I want to fight it.

ain’t moving on from this one

I live in a country that is currently a seething mass of sexism and hatred and bloodshed and malicious obfuscation, and no, that doesn’t mean I live in the US.

In my country right now, the *leader of the country* is actively engaging in actual gaslighting. Come on, local media, educate yourselves on this thing and then tell the world that this is what is happening. And while you’re at it, tell the world that there are so many people who are not only working to be complicit in such gaslighting, but are also happily cheering it on.

And no, that doesn’t mean I live in Russia either.

Oi the Philippines, what are we all doing to ourselves. Every day it seems like we might be slipping closer toward certain nightmare elements of Orwell’s 1984. This post was in fact inspired by that terrifying thing that is known as the memory hole.

Go look that up, please, if you need to. It’s a thing that I think everyone should be learning about.

I mean, this president and his lackeys, okay. They are *still* yammering on and on about “moving on from history”. Which, wtf even? Is history one bad breakup, or is it perhaps a series of bad breakups, in which case shouldn’t the point be self-betterment instead of just merely turning one’s back on it and forgetting the lessons that were learned?

More insidiously, the government is asking us to move on from recent history. From that which is still firmly within living memory. Move on from martial law? Move on from the deaths and the hunger and the killings and the famine and the treachery and the corruption and the plunder?

Why? So we can suffer through them all over again — and I don’t actually know if I should end that clause with a question mark or a period. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. If I turned it into a question, it’ll be easy to dismiss it with a flip response or with so-called irony. If I turned it into a sentence, however, I will have soured my own mood and yours as well, for something that might still be staved off.

(Although, yes, as a dyed-in-the-wool cynic who’s trying to change those colors, I can’t help but think that bad things are always in store.)

They’re telling us to “move on from history” and what they’re really trying to tell us is, “forget the history of your parents and grandparents”. What they are really trying to say is, take martial law and those people who perpetrated it, and the revolution that got us all out of it — and throw it all down the memory hole.

I say that is ridiculous — not to mention impossible.

You can move on from a breakup — in fact, that’s totally recommended and the thing to do because to do otherwise is self-harm.

But moving on from history? How even?

So many people in my country saying it again and again and I’m already half-convinced that so many people take it for truth and for granted.

Fuck that.

Ask me a question about martial law, and I will do the research and get back to you with a proper answer, not the self-serving gaslighting bullshit that the leader of my country is trying to force down our collective throats.

I need sleep and coffee and food and I know that doesn’t make sense

But I also need a break from the voices in my head, so: here is a quote from the show Elementary, which I think might offer a glimpse into that same unruly head of mine. This is from the episode “The Eternity Injection”.

Sherlock Holmes: If you must know, Watson, I’ve been feeling a little bit down of late. It’s the process of maintaining my sobriety. It’s repetitive. And it’s relentless. And above all, it’s tedious. When I left rehab, I… I accepted your influence, I committed to my recovery. And now, two years in, I find myself asking, ‘is this it?’ My sobriety is simply a grind. It’s just this leaky faucet that requires constant maintenance, and in return offers only not to drip.
Dr. Joan Watson: You have your work, you have me. You’re alive.
SH: I’ve told myself that many times. So many times, it has become unmoored from all meaning. Odd. I used to imagine that a relapse would be the climax to some grand drama. Now I think that if I were to use drugs again, it would in fact be an anticlimax. It would be a surrender to the incessant drip, drip, drip of existence.
JW: I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. What can I do to help? Do you want to talk more, do you want to maybe speak to Alfredo?
SH: Yes, I think perhaps I will see Alfredo. But in any case, I shan’t be using drugs this evening.

Pick myself up, keep moving, try to make some of those movements into steps forward.