Week in review: March 31-April 6, 2018

Better process? Eh. “Process” isn’t so much my thing, not mostly. I tried doing the quantified self thing back when that was cool (was that ever cool? I feel like that was always deeply uncool) but gave up on learning that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ was not an acceptable value in any of the relevant tools. So F it, this is my thing and I’ll do it how I want. Even if that’s on my phone, curled up in bed under a warm fuzzy blanket!

Had a couple of rough days this week. It’s been a little while since that happened – this is the first time since I got the flu back in January that I’ve really felt myself unequal to the world, as I so often did before. Felt myself worthless, I should say. As if I had nothing to offer and no reason to be. I’d hoped I might be done with such things for good, and it was an unpleasant realization to find that I am apparently not – not yet, at least. But it did help, some, to try to keep in mind that these were just that – rough days – and would pass, as such things always do, and I’d find my way back to myself. That, and getting fourteen hours’ sleep last night – that helped a lot! And I find I’m fine today. So maybe, even though I’m not done with such things for good, I’ve nonetheless found something that makes them not quite so awful to suffer through before they’re done with me, and I think that’s not the worst thing.

I’ve been drawing – but not on paper! I got a Wacom tablet that turned up early in the week, and I’ve been getting just sort of generally familiar with it. So far, it’s good! I actually kind of like that the stylus tip is wearing down with use – makes it feel more real, if that makes any sense. I haven’t drawn anything yet that I want to share here, but I’ve been really enjoying the process of getting to suck with it less – although it is going to take me a while to get really good with brush control; that’s a part of Photoshop that I’ve never really needed to investigate before, so I’m not good at it, yet. Layers are amazing, though! Big part of the reason I got the tablet at all was because I wanted to be able to do things that paper just doesn’t support, and that’s working out really well so far!

I’ve been writing, too. As I think I mentioned, one of the stories I had underway is now finished – at least to the extent of its first draft, and I’ll be making something more polished of it in the fullness of time. I updated the other of those stories, and mean to do so again in the next day or so. I’ve also been investigating more systematic approaches to managing and publishing story content, and it looks like the Standard Ebooks publication toolchain may have much to offer here. I don’t particularly care for their approach to “modernizing” orthography and usage, but their work is nonetheless valid, and I’m looking forward to adapting that toolset to my own purposes – that, and having more to say about it next week!

Finally, it occurs to me that there’s some useful context to be had around posts like this one, in which I talk about abuse – it’s possible that will be the last such post here, but I think it unlikely. In particular, I want to be clear about my intent in doing so.

I think it’s not always easy for people to identify abusive behavior as such. I mean, sure, physical violence is extremely obvious, but when abuse takes other forms, I think we frequently find it quite difficult to recognize for what it is. Certainly I did! It took me years, and I think in large part that was the case because the abuse I experienced almost always took more subtle forms than the physical. It was always something I could find – or, on many occasions, be given – a way to write off as something other than what it was.

It was a bad day. Or a misunderstanding. Or a moment of distraction – whatever it was, though, it always resulted in something that might seem cruel, but really wasn’t. And it was always something for which, in the end, I’d be made to understand that no apology was really necessary, because, really, no one was in the wrong. Except for me, because I should understand that it was just a bad day, or a misunderstanding, or a moment of distraction – understand, and not make it worse still by complaining about it. And it was wrong of me to think it might be anything else.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t. Except that the pattern I kept seeing, and kept being convinced I wasn’t – was, in the end, really there. Except that it really wasn’t just a bad day, or a misunderstanding, or a moment of distraction. What it really was, was abuse. Whether or not it was deliberately so, I don’t really know. But I don’t care, nor need I. What matters is the way I was made to feel, over and over again, over the course of years. Sure, abusers are people. They have real problems of their own. And that’s a shame. But their problems don’t excuse their own toxic behavior. And feeling sorry for them doesn’t mean we have to put up with them. It doesn’t mean we have to accept whatever they do to us. It doesn’t mean we don’t get to hold them to account. And it doesn’t mean we have to stay with them, despite the ways they make us feel.

I’m not interested in calling out any specific person here. Who it was doesn’t matter any more than why she did what she did. What matters is that, even though it took me years to figure out what was going on and get the hell out, I did. And what matters more than that is – you can, too.

That’s why I’m talking about it. That’s why I don’t intend to stop talking about it, unpleasant though I find doing so to be. Because if I’d recognized sooner what was happening, I might have found the wherewithal to end it sooner, too. Maybe even before it had had a chance to properly start – or maybe not, but sooner all the same. So I’m going to talk about it, and I’m going to keep talking about it, in the hope that someone in a similar situation might happen upon what I’ve said about it here, and recognize in these words something of the cause of her own dismay. Because it’s in realizing the nature of what is being done to us that we begin to make ourselves free.

Because I wish someone had done the same for me.

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