On carrying the weight of the world

I’m tired, of a lot of different things.

I’m tired of repeating myself when it comes to people expressing suspicion and denigration of trans identities. I’m tired of educating my “allies.” I’m tired of being told to hold their ignorance despite the pain it causes me, yet lamenting about their lack of initiative is met with “not all cis!” I’m tired of having weird emotional reactions to a private thing I won’t get into, because I thought I had a grip on this adulting thing but, you know, curve-balls happen and suddenly you feel infantile again because your brain doesn’t know how to process it.

I’m tired of navigating people’s prejudices in my dating life.

I’m tired of fighting. For myself, for my community, for sense and reason and human decency in general.

I need to take some time to decompress. There have been a few stressful developments in my life and I need to ration my time carefully lest I burn out. So, for the short term, the blogging is what’s on the chopping block.

Not permanently. Every time I rally I am re-possessed by the burning need to squash bullshit, so I anticipate a return. I don’t know exactly when, but I most likely will. But I need to take care of myself, and I hope you take care of yourselves too.


Dear McCrory: You have a gender identity too

Perhaps one of the more common manifestations of cissexism is the belief that cisgender people don’t have a gender identity–as in, gender identity is a strictly trans concept. If the person pushing this opinion is a man, I can often get the point across when I suggest they next enter their work place or class room wearing a frilly pink dress, gel nails, and twelve-inch stilettos, at which point the response is often some variety of repulsion. (This tactic doesn’t work so well with women, since our patriarchal cultural system can and does, albeit inconsistently, reward women for adopting masculine norms).

Clearly our identities as they relate to gender matter to many of us. Clearly they matter enough to Governor McCrory that he felt compelled to Legislate on the issue despite admitting he had no prior knowledge of the concept. The thing about your identity is that you don’t have to question it or conscientiously test it to understand, at least intuitively, what hierarchies exist within that identity. That’s why you might not be repulsed by the idea of being “mistaken” for a woman if you don’t identify particularly strongly with masculinity or manhood to begin with, or conversely that you are repulsed by the idea because those things do matter to you.

Cue my utter shock when McCrory says gender identity is a “radical concept.

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Seasonably Miserable

“Get the attention you deserve.”

Despite the protestations of Edmontonians, autumn continues apace. The temperature dropped below freezing, and with precipitation, brought the season’s first snow. It would bring with it a cutting wind that at least had the courtesy to make me feel what I had felt for some months: a sense of cold, numb, a stinging pain made distant, but never entirely gone.

Several hours after her words flashed across my screen, I made my way to a busy downtown street. I wawhytented the histories to tower over me. On either side of the avenue stood scowling sentinels, snow-peppered witnesses to drunken revelry and crime of desperation. So too did they bear witness to hapless little me, waltzing straight into the black widow’s web. I traced my steps past her apartment, the grocery store we’d walk to, the drug store where she’d buy her stupid “all natural” this and that, the corner where she first called me girlfriend, the pizza parlour we had our first date at, the restaurant of our second date, the pub where we celebrated with friends, the place where we celebrated Valentines, the bus stop where we’d await our public chariot to the local dungeon.

“Get the attention you deserve,” or so sayeth the dating profile from the app that had the indifferent cruelty to tell me my rapist was, evidently, a “great match.” Her piercing blue eyes filled my screen, her hair flowing behind her as if she posed for a shampoo commercial. Knowing her, she did. Of course it would be her profile picture. She was beautiful, stunning, statuesque. Every bit as alluring as when we first met. The app, in its ignorant calculus, specifically recommends her.

“Get the attention you deserve.” What a way to introduce yourself. She is an escort, I suppose. Perhaps that was the logic in her mind when she humiliated me while I was at her mercy. You couldn’t convince her she did anything wrong that night–certainly a select few of our mutual friends tried. Seeing the first line of her profile, the profile so graciously specially recommended so we’ll send it straight to your phone! by the dating app, brought to the surface the flood of our peers. Their indifferent scoffs and eyerolls and “I don’t do dramas,” composing a tangle of silk all leading back to her hands. After so many months stumbling through the “why” of it all, the answer delivered itself to my phone: She thought I “deserved it.” She says so herself at the start of her profile. The attention I deserve. 

In a sense, it is clarity. I stare at the street ahead of me, knowing the web I am about to traverse. The wind has the common decency to make my plunge into ice literal. I thank it. I trace these good memories not as a testament to the good person I think she can be, but as a reminder of how skilled her act is.

She may spin her web. I will burn it down.


Confronted by the word

At pretty much the exact same time I accepted a probationary offer from FtB to write on New Frontier, my relationship at the time took a drastic nosedive. What had previously been a subtle form of chipping away at my self esteem (which I would later learn is known as “grooming”) abruptly exploded. Shouting matches, belittling, cornering, threats, gaslighting, compulsive lying–daily. Near fucking daily. It all culminated in a scene at one of the local BDSM clubs where she… well.

I suppose I always knew what happened. I’ve used the words before. “She hurt me,” “she violated me,” etc. It’s one thing for you to recognise what it is from the other side of the fog installed by gaslighting. It’s one thing to try and recognise the fog for what it was–a survival tactic used by a serial abuser to keep her victims dizzy and unwilling to fight back.

It’s another can of worms to have someone else look you in the eye and say, “girl, she raped you.”

My counselor doesn’t quite understand BDSM. There was no sexual contact that occurred that night, so arguably the legal applications of sexual assault are ambiguous at best (regular assault might be more plausible?). But that’s not the point. My abuser will never be charged. At least not for what she did to me. The legalities aren’t important. What is important is fully capturing the following:

  1. She removed my ability to consent;
  2. She proceeded not knowing or caring whether I consented;
  3. She blamed me for being upset

I didn’t–couldn’t–consent, and she proceeded anyway. I knew this. So why is it so different to have someone else say it? Have I been so inundated by skepticism from the community that having someone believe me feels so alien?


Free thought doesn’t mean every asshat is entitled to a platform

I haven’t written or even signal boosted the heightened violence occurring in Amerikkka right now, in part because my colleagues are doing a fantastic job of covering it themselves and in part because these tragedies are coming in so fast that paying attention to all of them is emotionally overwhelming.

I can’t necessarily verify that the racists hurling racist abuse in the comments of these articles are from the Slymepit, but a lot of them have a whiff of freeze peach about them which leads me to believe they’re of the same breed. They argue they should be permitted to hurl their racist abuse in our comments, that it’s not free thought if we curate the participants on our blag and cut out the noxious weeds.

What they don’t realize is that the PoCs on this network have been talking shop for a lot longer than your pastey racist ass has. The writers that live race relations, not just discuss them, could make a bingo card for your predictable bullshit. You’re peddling your ideas like you’re the Mr. Clean of original thought when in reality we can dig into the post history of PoCs and find lengthy refutations of your predictable bullshit. Your ideas are old hat. We pay them no more credence than we do creationist arguments, because they’re the same shit, over and over, and we’re tired of trying to explain to you why you’re wrong through a never ending game of racist whackamole.

Listen, I don’t debate quantum mechanics with physicists because I know very little about physics. Take my advice: You white? Your job in race relations is to shut the fuck up and listen.


Happy Canuckistan Day

It’s Canada’s birthday, I guess.

Proud to be… humble…?

Canadian nationalism is weird.



I also posted this video before, but it’s too Canadian not to repeat:

It’s The International season

While the normal (or at least less weird) colleagues of mine are watching football (soccer for you yanks) or basketball, I’m doing something a bit more eclectic.

I’m watching Dota 2. Specifically, The International 6, aka TI6.


I feel like E-Sports is a guilt-free pleasure. Retiring players don’t have to deal with massive brain injuries that impair them for the rest of their life, there’s no college apparatus elevating players’ unhealthy egos leading them to acts of violent entitlement, there’s no changeroom and therefore no locker room antics, and most of all, it’s not yet big enough to blackmail cities into building new arenas to host them.

Big tournaments, like The International, are played on a Local Area Network. The stakes are high, and lag would be unacceptable. Even though the LANs often rent arenas to throw the game onto massive monitors and fill out the audience with nerds like myself (or I would be there, except America terrifies me), they’re not typically blackmailing cities the way sportsball sports do. Perhaps most importantly to me–teams do not represent nations. There is no nationalist under current in Dota 2, because the players often are from all over, and they just don’t represent a country. That’s a big turn-off for me in sportsball sports. Now I can like a team because of the way they play without being seen as a “traitor.”

Rewind a bit–I’m in high school, depressed as fuck, with no idea why this is the case. I find a game I’m kinda okay at, and play it obsessively, going from kinda okay to pretty alright. The competence rewards my self esteem and keeps me alive long enough to not kill myself. So here I am. Still playing Dota 2 now and then, though I’ve found other pursuits which are more fulfilling and less stressful. Every now and then I’ll do a few rounds of matchmaking just to make sure I still know how to play in the current patch.

I’m cheering hard for Escape Gaming, because syndereN is one of my favourite team captains, and his team has been performing fabulously in the qualifiers so far. Don’t post spoilers. I know as of this writing that the second Euro qualifier has been decided, but I haven’t finished watching Escape’s games, and if you spoil them I will see you banned from every blag on this network!


The “Shiv explodes from stupidity” program re the Orlando shooting

I just got back from a vigil held in Edmonton in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando shooting. So, first up, I’ll be posting my coverage of that event.

Second, there is way, way, way too much stupid on the internet regarding the shooting. I have to say something to set the record straight. I think I can even parse it down to a few hundred words, though no promises. When I get angry, I get wordy. I feel like it will be important to try and distill this if I can.

Depending on how things go I might be able to tie points one and two together, but then it definitely won’t be a short article.

Third, I’ll need a mental health break, so when I’ve finished point number two, I’m taking at least a week off from the internet and FTB for some full time self care.

The roommate’s kitties are going to hate me.