kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[Content notes: living with trauma, basically]

A thread that keeps coming up in speculative fiction I'm reading at the moment (which is probably more indicative of what I'm seeking out than any publishing trends?) is the necessity for artificial intelligences to have emotions, in order to facilitate making arbitrary choices (the Imperial Radch; the Wayfarers; ...). Logic alone isn't adequate for a complex responsive intelligence: they'd stall out agonising over minutiae.

I've also been having a fair few (they say, wryly) conversations around emotional reactions and responses to contexts and events. I've known for a long time that going "okay, but that's not what's going on, here's a coherent model for my actions and behaviour and motivations that demonstrates that the thing you're scared of isn't actually happening" doesn't actually seem to have as much effect on most people's decision-making and behaviour as I'd (naively) expect. And then yesterday my interlocutor said: doesn't impact how I feel about the thing ;-) just what I logically conclude

... and -- oh. oh. Between the BPD or c-PTSD or whatever and the depression, I've in fact had to spend a lot of time working on... precisely that, right? I have to spend a lot of time and energy directing myself away from reacting based on compelling emotional "truths" and toward responding based on logical frameworks. I don't have to act as though people I'm close to want me to vanish absolutely from their lives unless they directly tell me that in fact they have changed their mind and they do*. For me, having a logical framework that contradicts my emotional understanding of the world doesn't stop me having feelings. It just -- informs what I do with them? I can free up a lot of processing power because I stop "having to" worry about how accurate they are, how much I should be taking them into account, whether I should be acting based on them. The solution to the feelings then becomes self-validation ("wow yep feeling like this is pretty rubbish, have some hot chocolate and do some stretches"), rather than their being an additional constraint I have to try to solve for, that's usually mutually exclusive with what other people are actually telling me they want.

"This information changes what I logically conclude about the situation" seems to be pretty powerful for me in a way that, as far as I can tell, it perhaps isn't for many folk? And I'm just... amused by having fitted together a model for why "no, that's not what's happening" doesn't do what I expect, that is superficially such a contradiction to the fiction.

I think it isn't, of course: this is how emotion interacts with making big decisions, not trivial ones. I'm simultaneously (still) exploring the potential of having unjustified or arbitrary preferences, particularly in the context of modern art. Just: goodness, but the inherently contradictory nature of existing. Think, two things on their own and both at once.

* Yes, we're aware that puts them in potentially awkward positions, but we've negotiated this very carefully in specific instances where I get the strongest compulsions to Just Vanish.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
A concept I've been playing with over the past few days runs a little like this: you are the protagonist of your own story.

What's your character development?

-- simultaneously and consequently, I've been thinking harder about what constitutes character development. Where I am at the moment is at trying to tease out the difference between how one thinks and what one thinks; I suspect I would more reliably consider changes in or to the former character development than the latter.

(So what's my character development? Thought branches down two paths: the first, of internalities versus externalities, and legibility in each; the second, that an awful lot of CBT is aimed at facilitating what I've here described as character development, and the most obvious example in myself to me is, well, nobody has to be wrong, and the associated reduction in splitting.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
A Matter of Life and Debt. Entertaining physical theatre, excellent use of minimal props, somewhat incoherent story but it gave the impression of being designed to showcase as many different Things Each Actor Could Do as possible... in the format of a bureaucracy montage. Think Jupiter Ascending meets Wizard of Oz (in that everything was green and occasionally velvet). I was kiiiind of uncomfortable with one scene's handling of disability and some language in general, but pleasant enough.

Le Gateau Chocolat: Black. SEE THIS IF YOU POSSIBLY CAN. I WAS CRYING BY NOT VERY FAR IN AND THEN JUST... KEPT CRYING. I INTEND TO SEE IT AGAIN BEFORE WE LEAVE IF I CAN POSSIBLY SWING IT. Pro tip: the level-access entrance to this venue is up the fucking hill from the main entrance, and bears a sign which reads FIRE EXIT NO ENTRY. Autobiographical one-man cabaret; trigger warnings for racism, lynchings, gender policing, homophobia, homophobic violence, abuse, abusive relationships, sizeism, depression, suicide, and probably some other things I'm forgetting -- but it was brilliant, and it is important and it matters and on top of that it is absolutely stunningly gorgeous, and I am absolutely serious about wanting to go back and see it a second time. Or, you know, every day.

Plus two I didn't much care for, which carry all the trigger warnings. (Yes, this is a trigger warning for trigger warnings.)

Read more... )
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
Over in [community profile] access_fandom, [personal profile] jesse_the_k quotes from an article on prosthetics in Fury Road:
Again, the Punch & Judy department of Warner Brothers throws a faked disability, a faux handicap, at us, in their Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) movie, and again, we consider it, just as we considered the attempts in Kingsman, or, Home of the Brave (2006), or, maybe in the ill-fated attempt for cinema titled “Hancock”.

[...snip...]

So, here they go again; what do they do there? Is it good? And, before glorifying it just because (they even write “watch Furiosa punch Max in the face, with her nubbins” which she really doesn’t; she punches him with her hand while sticking the nubbins out in the air) – why not actually *use* our eyes, to look, to ogle, to view, and (in a more strict sense) “watch” it? It is so much a visual and so not much a verbal movie so we really have to switch on our eyesies. What is there to be actually seen, what do they really show? Is this empowering or what does it really say?


... and I went and read the article and then I had OPINIONS, mostly "I am interested in the mechanical details but I am absolutely seethingly furious about how he interprets the final sequence and the story arc", and then I expanded on that a bit more in comments, which I am reproducing here for my own archives.

Read more... )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
Here is a thing that is nice: not being triggered by my partners' faces. In particular, catching a glimpse of t'new boy's face at an unfortunate combination of lighting and angle no longer sends me cowering across the room; instead I just get "huh, weird, for a moment there you looked just like..." and that is it.

I'm a little bit sideways at the moment and not quite sure why. I'm eating reasonably, sleeping not... less sensibly than normal, and not walking ridiculously much more than my normal too-much; but still I've twice in the past week ended up going home to bed, intending to have a 2-hour nap, and coming to seven hours later.

hello I'm a human I am not very human
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
it is okay to have feelings.
Feelings are the language of your body
the self that runs ahead of thought
like an eager dog
the reservoir of your vital rhythms
it is not that your body wants
to command you, control you, confuse you, overwhelm you, no-!
it just wants you to listen
because feelings are information
and your body, your most personal of assistants,
in its own awkwardly earnest way
really wants to make sure
you get all your messages.

-- from Sensuum, [personal profile] jjhunter


Noodling about PTSD, )
kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
[personal profile] sebastienne is a rock star, okay. (This is literal as well as metaphorical, which is why it's my favourite way to describe them being incredible. I mean, in part it's just a lot of fun to explain to people that they're having a bath LIKE A ROCK STAR but! also!)

-- right, so, today I had a GP appointment about whether a PTSD diagnosis might be appropriate. Upshot: hurrah my GP is awesome.

More details. )

s. was brilliant about letting me hold their hand & Just Dealing With It when I went "um, I'm really sorry, I can't unpack, can you explain what I mean by and then facesfriend pulled a face and Dan Was In My House?" and then letting me drag them around the Natural History Museum (new stegosaurus! an entire minerals gallery I'd been oblivious to because it's sociology-of-minerals not the scientific collection!) to calm myself down and then letting me feed them such that I ate dinner - housemate is off having dinner with my boything tonight, eyeroll ;) - and. yes. things? things happened.

And I got home and wrote a first draft of the sodding conference abstract; it will need lots of reworking BUT I HAVE WORDS DOWN ON PAPER. I win.
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
OKAY SO I have a 20-minute appointment on the 29th with my GP. To discuss whether a PTSD diagnosis might be relevant for me.

Consequently I have promptly forgotten all of the reasons I think it might be relevant! Erm. Do you feel like crowdsourcing concrete examples of Me Doing An PTSD so that I don't have to think 'em up myself? Much obliged.

(Here is absolutely not the place to get into debates about the validity of self-diagnosis. Like, if you want to have this fight, I will win, but right now is not the time. Okay? Okay. Find me after.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  • On Getting Free, by Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous
  • you're made of memories you bury or live by (Vienna Teng)
  • who only by moving can balance,/only by balancing move | here is temporarily who I am (Michael Donaghy both)
  • you're growing old so young (Stars)


The thing I learned, that I needed to survive, was to make myself small. (I have talked before about the monstrosity inherent in learning to read and mould interactions; about how uncomfortable it makes people; about how it's a skill we learn because it is necessary.)

I learned that I was too loud and too messy and too opinionated and too much and too me. I learned to be silent and I learned to keep my hurts to myself and I learned not to trust people and I learned not to ever ask for help. I learned that I damaged people by existing. I did my best to make myself not exist.

It helped me survive.

It will not help me to get free.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
Unfamiliar but meticulously planned route (mostly on tube) to friend's house in Peckham earlier: actual panic including some capslocky flailing text messages.

Improvisational night buses back: not a problem.

Which, as best as I can tell, is because (1) nobody was expecting me/waiting for me, and (2) it was travelling homeward so the journey got progressively easier. Anyway, the upshot is that it took me 90 minutes to get home (via three buses), of which half an hour was walking; I could probably have shaved some extra time off by taking a route I was less familiar with but hey, whatever, I got a lot of code written on the buses and successfully made it home, so.

Ten good things:
1. Awesome ex-housemate C's birthday not-a-party; pizza + cake + a bafflingly preposterous film.
2. ... I made a cake while simultaneously making dinner and reducing the washing-up pile to tractable size...
3. ... and just about squeaked it all into the available time after getting back from work, where I sorted out cleaning up the mass spec.
4. Lots more of the ridiculous script! Really I should not be at ~200 lines to plot some bloody graphs I think, and on the other hand I'm doing rather better error handling and abstracting lots etc etc etc. (Well, relative to an early incarnation. It's still preeeeeetty specific to my particular data and how I've piled it up.)
5. I am continuing to derive more satisfaction than is perhaps reasonable from the silly computer game I'm being ridiculously completionist about.
6. I am having a lot of thoughts and feelings about being-imperfect-in-public, and what it means that I am proud of putting up shoddy code and poem drafts and such, and maybe there will be a longer post on this.
7. Housemate (who is a pretty integral part of my support system at this stage) has told me about a couple of medium-duration trips away from home she'll be taking in the next few weeks. I continue not freaking out despite the relevant trauma (like, it isn't even sitting up and sniffing). This continues incredibly validating.
8. Having articulated that I have spent the past couple of months pretty continuously low-grade triggered, I am much calmer and much more together and much more relaxed and it is awesome. It is so, so nice. It is so nice.
9. ... Korra 4x04 went some way towards redeeming the terrible politics of the first three seasons??? Decidedly partial, but!
10. Sleep-tracking app appears to be having the effect of encouraging me to consciously work on catching up on sleep (and to be more aware of what I do need to average). I'm currently averaging ~8hrs/night; I really do need to get it up to 9, and while that clearly isn't going to be happening tonight it's very nice to have the information. The downside is that when I'm getting ~enough sleep I get much more vivid and memorable (and often unpleasant) dreams than when I'm in continuous major sleep dep, but hey.

Oh! And I washed my hair, and Ancillary Sword is more and more appealing the more I sit with it, so I suspect I will be going back to it for a slow-and-steady reread sometime soonish.. General Please.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Clearly I am not terrible at writing in general; clearly, in general, I enjoy writing, hence the fic and the poetry and the blog essays. I'm even pretty comfortable sitting down and bashing out an explanation of my work for lay folk.

I think my key issue is probably audience: not knowing what knowledge it is reasonable to expect, and so on. I think this is something that will get easier with (1) practice and (2) better-defined writing exercises - the kind of detail required for a transfer report is apparently huge amounts of extraneous background that you would never include in a paper, and that's some of the stuff that trips me up.

Currently I am working on trying to practice doing at least a tiny amount of technical writing for a known target audience every day. It is hard and maybe my supervisor will hate it, but then again maybe she won't and I'll have a draft paper I can rework then submit?

I also seriously need to work on the fact that I genuinely have trauma around this (partly arising from the winter of my discontent; partly from various other things where I have Done It Wrong and been hideously stressed, as cumulative thingy) (wow I really need that formal PTSD diagnosis) - I go into panic reaction when I start trying to write, I have to come at it sideways - open the file up, do something else, remind myself what else I needed, do something else, open up the necessary adjuncts, do something else, etc - and this is a problem. And. I kept shying away from writing this post because I don't believe I really have trauma; I'm putting it up half-baked as it is because it hurts to look at straight on.

This is a step.
kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
This is something I have apparently spent a lot of time working on, just because it makes life easier. In a lot of ways it's a superset of other skills I've learned: sometimes more conscious - like when I deliberately switch into Posh White Lady mode - and sometimes it's completely automatic, like the way I codeswitch defensively (I tend to reflect the accent of whoever I'm talking to).

I chatted about this a few weeks ago with TOL - I'd sent an offer-culture-esque e-mail to the tune of "I'd still really like to see you but I know you've got a lot on your plate at the moment, so if e.g. x or y means you'd rather postpone that's fine", and she'd had to read it a couple of times to reassure herself that I wasn't trying to get her to cancel for me. We talked through ways to avoid hitting that particular miscommunication-in-potentia in future; I said I was happy to phrase such e-mails in whatever way worked best for her, because it was effort-neutral for me.

And then we clarified: it's actually that I'm already translating-to-allistic, and which variey-of-allistic I translate to ist mir egal; but not translating isn't any easier, because code-switching to "natural" speaking - with someone who doesn't ping me as autistic - is just as much effort as anything else.

And... that's the thing. There is such comfort in the ways that I can, with other autistic folk, frequently just... talk. Relax the monitoring and the double-checking against my learned scripts and just get on with it -- but so much of it is so automatic at this point that I don't notice I'm doing it until I'm... not. Which in turn makes it hard to pass on the skillset, because when the answer is "I have a checklist for how to handle a situation where someone has just received news of a bereavement and I follow it automatically" it can be... quite difficult even to expand what the checklist is, never mind help the other party absorb all the checklists for all the different possible situations to the extent that they come that automatically. (I have talked a little about how the intersection of autism + being an abuse survivor means I have very consciously learned to... interact in ways that look like "gaming people". It isn't actually that simple.)

I don't, I'm afraid, have any tidy conclusions; I just know that passing-for-allistic is at this stage something I do reflexively, except that when I'm triggered/exhausted/whatever I find it much, much harder to do the "basic" shit like reflecting the language and modes of communication other people are using with me, and I think that ties into being perceived as hostile/aggressive.

(In turn, I seriously need to work on the extent to which I freak out when people say that they're perceiving/experiencing me as same - I know why I freak, but it is a criticism I need to be able to hear. It's on the list for discussion with my counsellor next time I see them.)

I've watched people wince when I am Obviously Autistic In Public, because I'm exhausted or overwhelmed or whatever. And maybe that's actually the conclusion, I suppose: successfully passing for allistic takes energy, but is still less work than persuading people to interact with me in ways that are easier-for-me, at least for me, because of how long I've been learning this particular lesson. This is some of what I mean when I say I've "run out of people" or "am not fit for human company" - there's a bit of constructing-self-as-monster in there, on which topic I have a first draft of something that is approximately a prose poem - and some of why it hurts so much when I get told that I'm unfairly dictating modes of communication (through e.g. advocating active listening over formal debate in one-on-one informal interactions, to pick an actual example).

And on that note I shall sleep before I ramble more, I think.

Elementary

Apr. 11th, 2014 10:39 pm
kaberett: Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson sit side by side, facing forward, heads slightly tilted towards each other. (elementary-faces)
So I've had a good but very long day, and then friendperson came round and I went "actually I want to be horizontal in the dark" & abandoned friendperson & housemate to one another's company and watched last night's Elementary, and, um, wow.

Spoilers. )
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
My supervisor for my first attempt at my Master's just gave a half-hour talk; within the first five minutes she'd put up a slide containing some of the data I'd been trying to obtain.

I kicked into immediately pre-panic-attack state - adrenaline, increased heart-rate - and then got so caught up in what she was saying, and what she'd done with the science, that I didn't.

Two years ago I was triggered every time I heard names even a little bit like hers. Before her talk I managed to have a short chat in which we talked both family and shop.

I feel so very, very lucky.

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