kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I have very clear memories of my ten-year-old self being immensely, deeply unimpressed by Rothko and Mondrian. I was very angry about why this constituted "art"; my definition of art explicitly excluded square canvases painted a single colour.

My ten-year-old self is gently unimpressed every time I stop dead in front of a six-foot-square matte black canvas in an art gallery, wonderstruck, and go "hmm, yes, isn't it fascinating what's being done here, isn't this good."

I am nursing a theory that the main differences between me-then and me-now are:
  1. I'm no longer in a situation where my autism is actively decried, and have internalised that it's okay for particular colours or shapes to make me happy, just because, and (as a superset, really)
  2. I've started believing that it's okay for me to have and experience emotions full stop (and am sufficiently well medicated that I can and do).

Which means that, over the past few years, I've stopped interpreting modern and especially abstract art as, fundamentally, threats: I've stopped responding automatically with defensive suspicion and fury to forms of art that (crudely!) exist to make me feel things.

There is nuance to this, of course. Seeing the Barbara Hepworth exhibit at the Tate Britain, the (possible? probable?) reasons for my emotional response clicked into place when I read that a lot of her more abstract work was in response to or in dialogue with her feelings of being cradled by landscape, and particularly by the Lake District and by Cornwall; all of a sudden it was obvious to me that the sense of home-and-safety-and-familiarity I get off those sculptures is, in fact, the same sense of awe and belonging and recognition I get staring out to sea or feeling dwarfed on valley floors or what-have-you.

That was followed up by another visit to the Tate Britain, one day I wound up in the right area of London with some time to kill, where what I'd intended to do was poke my nose into some of the public galleries. I saw War Damaged Musical Instruments advertised on the website and ignored it -- and then stopped dead in the middle of the hall it occupied, the moment I got there, and spent twenty minutes sat there crying.


One of the things I've been gently sad about for quite a long time is that I'm a classically-trained musician who is mostly very, very bad at listening to classical music unless it's something I've played or am preparing to play, such that I'm listening as a technical study. (I think I've talked before about mostly relating to music as either a technical study or a vehicle for lyrics, but if not I can give it a go.) I'm starting to think it might be time to have another go.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
... because I have just made P read it, and then we stayed up til 1am talking about it, and I haven't talked about it here yet because Too Many Feelings, which I will now attempt to sketch.

(Spoilers within!)

Read more... )
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
I think one makes belief as one makes love:
think drystone walls of balanced masonry--
think of the hand that fits and shapes the glove--
think every stone cradled by gravity
secured in place by virtue of its weight
and no two are alike, but each is key.
I find I shy away from all the freight
attached to "anchor" as a term of praise--
but still each kindness settles into place:
a piecemeal ballast for my listing days,
or bearings set toward a kind of grace--
something to trust when cast adrift in haze.
So: tell me who I am, as seen by you.
Tell me a story; I will make it true.
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
[Content note: abuse]

There is a poem by Phillip Larkin. You know the one: They fuck you up, your mum and dad/They may not mean to, but they do...

It is bleak, and it is resigned, and it is gentle, and it is true.

And every once in a while I see somebody praising Adrian Mitchell's saccharine, self-congratulatory rewrite, and the world drops out from under me. Because: how dare you. How dare you. How dare you take my truth and painstakingly paint over it. How dare you take this thing, this thing that is mine, and tell me that it couldn't really have happened like that. How dare you look to me, smiling, and say -- no, that didn't occur.

You should be horrified by what has been done to me. I will not fold myself smaller for your convenience and comfort, to ease your forgetting. I will not fucking smile for you. Tell your own stories, by all means, but if you cannot understand what profound insult it is to hear my truth (my bitter, compassionate, accepting truth) and to twist it, to sweeten it beyond bearing and beyond breaking, because you cannot stand to believe me -- if you cannot understand what profound insult it is to smiling silence me because you do not wish to hear -- if you would look away and smugly say: the world is not, is never like that; let me tell you how it really is--

-- then you bear the guilt for the children who, like me, are ignored and overlooked and inconvenient.

How dare you chiding, stifling, hush us. How dare you bid us pray be sweet and silent. How dare you -- how dare you -- make of us a sacrifice to your comfort.

Shame upon you.
kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
So. That MetaFilter thread on emotional labour (currently at a whisker over 1500 comments, and I've read all of them). It's kind of an overwhelming job and I've spent most of the past few days reading it; ergo I am taking it upon myself to excerpt for you the comments I particularly adored against the eventuality that you don't actually feel up to reading the whole thing.

On describing this kind of discussion as "venting", and the dismissiveness thereof:
I think the thing that irks me about calling it venting is the implication that it won't change anything, which tacitly states that nothing NEEDS changing. Steam just builds up and needs to be let it off the system every now and then, nothing to see here.


+6 )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
VOLCANO SHARKS (actually that should maybe go in [community profile] capslock_dreamwidth as well, anyone feel like sorting that out for me)

10 things I wish I'd known about gaslighting. Quotation. )

[personal profile] happydork posted a thing about introversion, social anxiety, social skills, and change that made me feel very soothed and much calmer about some of the stuff I do. Hurrah paradigms that help.

Speaking of things that soothe me, [personal profile] recessional has posted another small commentfic about Bucky (in your blue-eyed boys-verse, which is actual MCU canon as far as I'm concerned), about trauma and safety and sleep and hypervigilance and how astonishing the people around you can be, in embodying traits and behaviours and beliefs you hadn't realised were possible but want to fold into yourself.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
First, a poem I keep coming back and back to through the years:

Between | Michael O'Siadhail )

Second, the thing I'm playing wall with most this week (and for the past few months, to be honest) appears to be the concept of desire. I'm tangled up in finding it hard to treat wanting as anything other than binary: something one does or doesn't, in effect, completely divorced from emotion (so "I want to, but it's impractical" is something I interpret - and to some degree experience as - "I don't want to"). Which - isn't healthy, but is also a very typical set of experiences/behaviours/beliefs/systems for people I shall euphemistically class as of my background.

Read more... )

It's clearly being brought to the surface by the current round with depression (about which I am feeling less immediately despairing this week, between no longer being in a high-progesterone stage of my cycle and working myself to pleasant physical exhaustion and having just spent three-four days in close proximity with one of my best friends), but this is an ongoing issue I ought to work on, sigh.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Words are the piecemeal sacrifice I make
upon the altar of humanity:
I'm half-convinced that if I merely take
sufficient care in choosing them, there'll be
some minor miracle. I'll burst awake
from dreaming myself lost and, lossless, free.
This could be all. What else is there to say?
Well, everything, of course -- unless I mean
to halt. A truth: I've learned the only way
to changelessness is death; to be unseen,
ignored, unmade. Fear craves silent decay
of self. Of hope. Of all we might have been.
So we'll know loneliness; we will know grief.
Now: here begins the hard work of belief.
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.

Bravery

Dec. 11th, 2014 08:19 pm
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
Lyrics to that one Vienna Teng song I keep quoting at people. )

Last night I sat on Brighton beach and listened to the waves come in and ate chips and onion rings and talked with [personal profile] sebastienne about this and that and the other and bravery - various different media we imprinted on, which boil down to: you can't be brave without being scared.

Which -- obviously resonates with all my current Feelings about being afraid, and the varieties thereof; but also ties in to something else I've been thinking, that I fake bravery by calmly and quietly making space in which other people feel safe to risk speaking their hopes, thereby neatly avoiding ever being the person who goes first or ever being the person who looks scared or, really, ever being the person who takes the risk. I close myself off with fear, and dress it up prettily enough that by and large people don't notice. (I'm perhaps being unfair to myself here: I put my shonky python up on github, and I put poetry up here, and both of those terrified me to the point of day-long adrenaline spikes when I started; and now they're just things I do, without fuss, and that represents more progress than I think about terribly carefully most of the time.)


A bit relatedly, I've been thinking some about compassion and generosity, and about how I might consider going about feeling compassion for people who've hurt me (specifically, I was thinking about how in the hells I might ever feel compassion for my father). And I... don't think I can. I think I can pick apart how they got there and feel pity for them, but that's condescending; compassion, I think, presupposes an equality I don't feel inclined towards; perhaps that I don't feel safe permitting? Something to come back to, I suspect.


& lastly for tonight - trees-post to come tomorrow - we have home internet again; and I am deeply frustrated that a gorgeous wing-backed purple corduroy sofa left on the kerb by some neighbours for rubbish collection tomorrow morning is just too awkward for me to have managed to get it down the stairs solo when I got home at 1am, so I am just going to have to hope that the "please don't take this away" note I left on it is respected and I can badger my housemate into helping me get it down the stairs in the morning, because it is squooshy and comfortable and the right shape for curling up on and I really want it, okay, and I even know where in my room it would live.


Goodnight, Dreamwidth. xx
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
The clouds that scud across the the heavens of my moods
are only water, for all they cast me into intermittent
shade. The tears that scour my face are only water, too;
so too my thunderstorms, so too the streams
through which I tread, on which I float, reminded
I can move. My heartbeat echoes through the spaces
between atoms. I am two-thirds water: I'm
composed of opposing forces; it's
the water with which I quench my thirst that snows
bitter-cold upon the seedlings in the garden of my soul.
I am two-thirds water. I am whole.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
In the moment when someone else's laughter tears
you away from joy
when their face turns mirror-mask, reflecting
back your past, when your breath
catches, and your heart stutter-
skips, the beat of time confused,
gone wrong, when you
startle awake to find you've gone adrift--

when you put down your anchor, set aside your anger,
settle once again into the fabric of your days--
when the details of your life burst blueberry-bright,
delight for all the landscape's swathed in mist--
when you notice you've forgotten to be scared--
this, too, has the taste of victory.

Hoard your small victories like sugar-cubes
or pearls, the coarse made sweet & light.
Remember that the everyday counts, too.
If it is all that you can do to wash your face--
even in this, you'll find you can find grace.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I applied for a disabled person's railcard, as "Mx Alex B[]", for the obvious reasons. I gave my gender as male because they forced a binary choice and it's a different kind of wrong (and one I'm more willing to tolerate).

There was a silent failure, which I found out about only because I did some serious chasing to check up on progress.

The silent failure was because my proof of eligibility is in the form of a letter from the DWP, who refuse to address me as anything other than "Ms E[] KA B[]". Apparently also including a scan of my passport won't do the trick. Apparently I must apply with "the correct details". Apparently they won't print the railcard as Alex rather than E[] if I apply with the "correct" details.

I am too fucking tired for this.

ETA I am sending them a slightly intemperate e-mail full of documentation that I am who I say I am, and that my name is what I say it is. I used the words "please consider this e-mail a formal complaint", and also "from a security viewpoint ... your position is indefensible". I do not expect it to effect change, but I do at least feel a bit better.
kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
The good Captain has several times now recently said "assume that if people don't get back to you/respond to contact that you should back off", and I am having problems with this for all the obvious reasons, namely:

1. I am terrible at responding to e-mails, particularly during depressive flares. One of the things I am genuinely enormously proud of is that I now respond to the vast majority of e-mails I receive within an hour of getting them, as opposed to letting them languish for three weeks unread, even the terrifying ones. This doesn't mean I don't want people in my life.

2. ... I have a whole lot of friends who do very similar things, including two or three of the people I consider among my closest friends, who routinely do not respond to text-based comms because of anxiety or depression or elsewise lack-of-cope.

3. ... and my at-this-point-instinctive reaction to a lack of response (and one I stop coping with if the lack-of-response rate goes above about 30%, even if it's "to pings on IM when I know our clients don't play nice" and even if it's "someone I'm dating who has made it very clear that they feel positively toward me") is "this person clearly hates me and I should disappear from their life as completely as possible with immediate effect", which is (see above) almost never the right answer.

This is one of the reasons DW/LJ works for me so well as a platform - I get to keep in gentle approximately-continuous touch with an awful lot of amazing people and let them know how I'm getting on, without triggering my comms anxiety.

I know I need to keep working on 3 - "I haven't heard back from this person and it's been TWO WHOLE HOURS, clearly they want to ERASE ME FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH, I am the WORST THING EVER" is obviously a disproportionate response - but the thing that the Captain's making me a little edgy about is how to balance giving people-in-general enough space with known factors 1 and 2.

For my own part I try very hard to make sure I say "if I do not reply to your e-mail it is because my memory's shit, if I haven't got back to you by date X please feel encouraged to remind me, I'm sorry about the extent to which this requires you to do extra work"; I try very hard to be someone it is easy to say no to -- but obviously that doesn't mean I succeed.

I suspect that my perspective on this is pretty alien to a lot of people, hence the ?inapplicability of the Captain's advice; I wish I knew what the middle ground in this situation looks like.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett

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