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Welcome Mat Post

First, an important note:

The default in my journal is to screen all anonymous comments, so no one sees them. I can remove that screening at my discretion, though, on an individual basis -- and I have only one criterium for unscreening things. If you are commenting anonymously, and you want your comments to be pubically seen, please sign your name in some way when commenting -- either with your real name, or give yourself a nickname. Otherwise I'll leave them screened. Thanks.

...Periodically, I re-link to an older "who am I" post as occasional new "friendings" turn up, but I've decided to just finally put it right up front here and just edit it as necessary. I am shamelessly stealing the idea of a "welcome mat" post from cadhla, because damn it's a good idea.

But it's long, so behind a cut:Collapse )
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Where I Am, Where I've Been

Things fell very, very silent in here. I know.

Mainly because I was going through some really, really difficult few years and I didn't want the world at large to know; hell, I was having a hard time telling even my family. I was stiff-upper-lipping it all, and just getting on with the business of getting through things because "what other choice do I have", all the while coping with Tom breaking up and then Zach dying and then three or four straight years of unemployment and then breaking a foot and then about 68 roommate changes and yadda yadda yadda.

On the one hand, I'm really proud that I was able to function through all that; I am stronger than I thought. But on the other...I was really, really exhausted from having to be that strong for so long. Not only did I not want to tell anyone what I was going through, I was just plain too tired TO talk about any of it.

Things started to ebb in 2014, but I was still kind of braced for impact for another year and change afterward, all "okay, what's next." And it's only within the past year that I've been able to finish emotionally processing everything, and start to trust that the world is actually not out to get me. I've had a steady job for over a year (it pays less than I'd like, but it has an amazing vacation package), I'm still single but have developed a weird sort of flirtation with a guy in Paris, and...I've been to Paris.

And I'm starting to come back out of that shell a bit more. Recently I found myself browsing through travel guidebooks with a notion towards "let's make a list of where I want to go". And I absolutely wouldn't have dared to tempt fate like that a year ago.

I'm blogging more regularly somewhere else - over on Wordpress. I've been over there for a couple years now, but it still took a couple years to wheeze more into life. But there are signs of that now.

I may still keep this site to read other people's blogs, but I probably will not comment much over here. Come visit over in my new home. Thanks.
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(Finally Pokes Head Out Of Door)

So. Yeah. Been quiet in here.

I should probably let people know that I've largely moved over to another blog - WadsWords. It's a bit different in tone - more polished, more big-thinky.

My relationship to writing has changed, and I'm finding I want to keep the more rambly stuff to myself and be a bit more polished in public. The past few years have been intensely changeable and transitional, and I'm still finding my way; but that's been one change that's happened. I've actually slacked off writing a lot because I just didn't have the energy, and am slowly building that back.

But that's where you can catch me.
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A Life Lesson Learned Later Than I Should Have Gotten It

So in a tongue-in-cheek move, I decided to adopt the text of a parody of one of those motivational posters as my resolution this year - "Stop worrying about what could go wrong and just focus on butts". For some reason it's turning out to be the perfect way of short-circuiting the second-guessing you always do that ends up psyching yourself out of something.

And I'm telling ya, since I adopted it...it's been working.

1. Even before New Year's Eve, I got an email from someone suggesting I apply to a job as a staff writer for [name of institution redacted]. Now, in the past I would have hemmed and hawed and fretted about whether I would be up for the challenge, and would have decided I wouldn't be able to do it and would have not bothered to apply. But this time, when I started doing that, I remembered "just focus on butts", pictured a couple of my favorite such examples and then went ahead and applied. And...I consider that a victory already. Even if I don't get that particular job, I applied for it, and nothing bad happened. Now I can just keep doing that more often.

2. I've been working on an article for the web site Atlas Obscura about various Worlds' Fair sites, and needed pictures. And I hemmed and hawed about how I was going to get them - surely if I asked the press offices for them, either they'd charge huge amounts of money or they'd turn me down. But then - I thought about butts instead for a minute, had a good giggle, and went on to look up various press offices and ask for pictures. And - I'm actually starting to get them. For free.

3. I'm working on another article for Atlas Obscura, one that's going to have something to do with frogs. And my editor had a question about frog behavior. And I fretted - how was I going to answer it? Even if I did ask someone, wouldn't they blow me off because I was asking a stupid question and they were busy?

But then, as before - butts. And then I pulled up the web site of a university, picked a couple people to write to, and asked my question. Within five minutes I had three people all refer me to the frog behavioral student they had two years ago, who is now serving as an adjunct professor on frogs at another university.

I'm telling ya. Butts. They're turning out to be the solution to a lot of problems.
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Two rooms all to yourself in a Brooklyn apartment for a good price! Act now-ish!

Am in a strange spot roommate-wise - the current roommate is moving out, but not until February. But I really don't like the whole hunting-for-a-roommate process, so I'm looking now.

So I'mma put a brief note here, and have people contact me so I can send the more details in more private cover. But the details behind a cut - check here for more on an apartment in Brooklyn.Collapse )
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An Open Letter to Eric, of Riverhead, NY

(This was actually originally posted over on what is becoming my main blog. But this could do with some signal-boosting.)

August 17, 12 pm

Dear Eric:

It’s now about 90 minutes since you – someone I’d never met before in my life, and had never given my phone number to or contacted in any way – called me out of the blue, and attempted to ask me out. And it’s about an hour since I told you, at length, why that was a supremely bad idea.

Although, I suppose I should thank you for one thing – you alerted me to a bit of online security I didn’t know I needed. You said you got my home number by doing a search using the online handle I used for a personal ad on a site; I did that same search, and saw a place where I’d stupidly used my full name for a fanfiction site. (Although, I should add that I didn’t know that would be publically visible – I need to write to the owners of that site and alert them.) And from that, you were able to get my home number on a handful of public-records search sites. Thankfully, I was able to take care of getting all that down, so I probably should give you some grudging thanks for alerting me to the need for that.

However, you should probably also know that the rest of what you said to me, I fear, was a total crock. You claimed that a “friend of mine” who used to live here had moved back to Riverhead; you said she was “Sue” from FIT. I don’t know anyone by that name who lived here in New York, nor do I know anyone from FIT. You also say you were going off my personal ad for a particular site – I still am at a loss to know why you didn’t simply contact me through that site, or how you failed to notice that I hadn’t logged onto that site in about three years. (But thanks for letting me know – I’ve taken that profile down.)

Also, I don’t quite believe that you were really paying attention in those “classes on women’s rights” that you claimed to have taken when you were trying to defend your actions, because you would have understood that not everyone seeks out a woman’s phone number because they’re trying to have some damn romantic-comedy meet-cute moment. I know that you know that you had good intentions, but what that class would have told you (if you really did take one) is that there is no way I would have known that. There is no way that I could have known that you weren't another guy who called me up and threatened to “rape and mutilate me”, and told me in graphic detail just how that would happen. (And yes, that really has happened to me.) You didn't consider this encounter from my perspective at all – you didn't pay attention when your professor told you – and your professor most certainly WOULD have told you – that just about every single woman alive has had some kind of sexual harassment, or threat, or violence done to her. And so you would have understood that your good intentions didn't magically make this situation special – you would have known that my experiences as a woman would have gotten in the way of this call having “had good energy,” like you said.

In short, you didn’t think about this from my perspective. If you had — if you had honestly wanted to get to know me – you would have started with a respect for my own comfort, and sought out a much, much less startling way of reaching out to me. Through that personal ad you said you saw, for instance. Or maybe through that “friend from FIT” you claimed knew me. But no, you thought your sheer niceness would somehow make everything okay – and that kind of thinking, that my own comfort should take a back seat to your wish for “a connection”, is the height of self-centeredness and arrogance.

But you know what, I now have your number – got it from *69. That’s how I was able to figure out you lived in Riverhead. And – I’ve also got the number of the Riverhead police department. I think I’ll hang onto both those numbers for a little while just in case. But don’t feel bad – isn’t having a girl hang onto your number a while what you ultimately wanted?

Have a nice day,

snoopy dance

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Y'all, I have to share this site. I've talked in the past about how frustrating the tradition of skanky costumes for women is - this year seems to have reached some new lows with the release of a sexy body bag costume. Which has been making a lot of people say "what the actual hell".

But in one of those discussions somewhere, someone linked to an awesome site - Take Back Halloween, which is a whole site devoted to DIY costumes expressly for women and girls. They don't sell the costumes - they instead show you how they designed it, and link to places where you can purchase the elements if need be (or, just tell you what they are so you can find them on your own). Some of them feel a little bit "parent trying to be educational" (I don't think too many people would really "get it" if you dressed up as Emma Goldman or Lise Meitner, say), and all the different medieval ladies and queens would be perceived as just being "medieval lady" by most. But "medieval lady" is not bad, especially with the resources they've found. And they also have some really kick-ass ideas for DIY costumes for the goddess Freyja (which would be perceived as "Viking lady", but never mind, that's still one cool Viking lady), the goddess Pele, Lizzie Borden, and Queen Boudicca.

And I have changed my costume plans after reading the instructions for the goddess Demeter - seriously, all you need is one green flannel sheet, an orange scarf, a chunky necklace and a crapton of fake flowers and fruit in a cornucopia basket. I can get all of that at either Target or Ikea in two hours tops, and reuse everything after Halloween.