Tag Archive | Relationships

Destroying Bigotry Through Relationships

One of the most interesting things that came about because of Porcfest 2017 is that I realized just how ignorant I am of “average” Muslim behavior. Given that I’m an atheist and have no more interest in Islam than I do Wicca or Zoroastrianism, I’m okay with that. I’m also an individualist, so I also make it a point to treat each person as an individual, not a homogenized blob because they happen to have this or that characteristic. I knew intellectually that all Muslims couldn’t fulfill “the stereotype,” but what stereotype is that? Certainly, there’s the “OMG TERRORIST” stereotype, but everyone except the most idiotic conservative knows that not all Muslims are terrorists. However, some idiotic conservatives do think that. I quote a local writer who recently gave me a copy of his book (yes, the book is trash) (and yes, the motherfucker signed it):

“There are no Peace-Loving Muslims, no Moderate Muslims, no Indifferent Muslims. No Radical Muslims. Just Muslims. A Muslim is a Muslim. Period.”

Yes, someone not only wrote that, but got it published in a book.

While most people wouldn’t go that far, it remains true that familiarity is the destroyer of stereotypes–which is the primary reason that I’m currently considering staying in Mississippi*. But before we get into that, let’s talk about paleo-libertarianism. The question of free markets and discrimination is one that a lot of people would like the answer to, because “let the free market deal with it” is not a satisfying answer when discussing people like me who could end up in situations where they can’t shop at critical stores because everyone in the area is transphobic/racist/homophobic/etc.

They have a point.

It doesn’t really make a difference that 50s era segregation was enforced by the state, because many of the business owners of that day would have carried on that policy regardless–and did so well into the 70s in some places. It’s a nice cop-out to be able to say, “There was nothing ‘free market’ about American segregation; it was legislated and enforced by the state, not the market.” Such a statement is true in a limited sense, but we can’t pretend like segregation and discrimination magically disappear if there’s a free market in place, because they don’t.

Last night I spent a while thinking about a friend of mine who immediately identified someone else as Jewish by their last name. Until this “someone else” told me so, I had no idea that he was Jewish, and even afterward it was worthy of nothing but a mental note. When I asked him how he identified the guy as Jewish, he said it was the last name, and that he knew most/all of common Jewish last names. Then I thought of the many borderline anti-semitic things this friend has said in the past. While he doesn’t deny the Holocaust happened, he does take a position closer to mine, that the truth is lost to history and that wartime propaganda twisted the story until it bears unknown  resemblance to the truth. It also occurred to me that, if asked, I would insist to people that this friend isn’t racist. Finally, I wondered whether that was true. Perhaps my own whiteness keeps me from being able to see his racism.

However, I was also repeatedly interrupted during every conversation at Porcfest a few weeks ago, and, when I mentioned this to someone, I was told that “Women traditionally didn’t have a voice at the politics table,” and that was why I was being interrupted. However, this was demonstrably false. It would have been all too easy to play the victim card and cry about sexism (it would also have been nonsense, given my voice), but instead I observed, and what I saw was everyone interrupting everyone else all the time, without regard to age, gender, or race. Seeing sexism in the interruptions would have been confirmation bias; if I went into it expecting to find that, that’s what I would have found, even though the issue is something larger and much more serious.

In fact, the idea that it was sexist struck me as odd from the start. Although hormones have certainly begun to affect my face and body, my hair still isn’t that long, and from some angles I don’t look very feminine at all. On top of that, my voice is certainly on the deeper end–an issue I haven’t yet worked out. Even wearing a dress, some people instinctively called me “he,” something else that I didn’t and don’t get worked up about (although, as I said to someone Friday night, there will come a time when calling me “he” must be intentional, but that’s after more physiological changes and, ideally, vocal surgery), and people tuning into Call to Freedom would have no idea that the person they were listening to identified as a chick. The idea behind the “They’re sexist” argument is that they’re sexist instinctively and without their conscious awareness, but that falls apart when instinctively they consider me a dude.

All that said, the entire reason my rant at Porcfest was so successful is that I’m transgender. How much power would my rant have lost if that wasn’t the case? Many people told me afterward that I broke through their stereotype of transgender people. One of the judges even said that he’d pre-judged me, and was surprised to have that prejudice shattered. I’m no stranger to stereotypes, and they aren’t really a problem; the only problem is when we cling to them and refuse to allow individuals to break them.

I’ve experienced this more than simply at Porcfest. A friend of mine has a grandmother who strongly disliked transgender people, and this friend handled it by showing her grandmother my posts on Facebook from a year ago about just wanting to live in peace. Stereotypes are built of straw people, and they very rarely apply fully, and sometimes they don’t apply at all. The reason they persist is due more to unfamiliarity than anything else. They imagine in their heads some amalgam of all the terrible things they’ve heard about this or that group, and various factors lead them to believe that their imagined person is representative of everyone in that group. It’s just human nature, and it’s not something to condemn people over.

I wouldn’t be able to fully explain my Straw Muslim. The Straw Muslim wasn’t a terrorist, but they were extremely devout–uncomfortably devout. Your Straw Southern Baptist is pretty much what my Straw Muslim looks like, and I’d go even further and suggest that your Straw Muslim also looks a lot like mine. And while the faith of the people involved with Muslims 4 Liberty cannot be doubted, they don’t fit the stereotype at all. Prior to meeting and spending a week with Will Coley et al., I had no idea how pervasive that perception of Islam was, but why else would I have been surprised by the generosity they showed during Ramadan? I’ve been equally surprised by some of the Christians I’ve met within libertarian circles, such as Thomas Knapp, and I’ve been surrounded by Christians most of my life. Prior to meeting some of these people, I probably would have said there’s no such thing as a moderate Christian. In fact, I’m sure I’ve said that in the past. And there’s no doubt: people like Thomas Knapp are entirely the reason I’ve eliminated anti-Christian rhetoric from my repertoire.

However, even as vehemently anti-Christian as I used to be (and I’m still anti-fundamentalist), I was more than willing to allow people their right to free association, and have been arguing in favor of that for years. I look back on an article I published about a year ago and badly want to remove it, because it’s so close to being anti-Muslim in its tone. And that came from myself; it came from within. There was no talk of individualism in that article. It was a lot of bullshit about social customs, integration, and assimilation. I’m positively embarrassed that I wrote that spiel, although that sentiment was present before I met people of Muslims 4 Liberty and goes back at least 7 months, to the first time I re-read the article.

Under no circumstances have I or would I ever deny service to someone because of their characteristics, it must be stated unequivocally, but most people aren’t like that. The same people who condemn Trump for his ban of Muslims also praise Canada for refusing to allow entry to members of the Westboro Baptist Church; the Westboro Baptist Church, on the other hand, would adamantly refuse to allow me into their building, and people like Steven Anderson (not with the WBC, but every bit as hateful and vile) whine and bitch when companies don’t want to do business with them, even as they explicitly refuse to do business with others.

We saw the same thing when Obama became president, and everyone who wanted to see his birth certificate was dismissed as a racist. The reality for most people, however, was something different: through their entire lives, an old white man had been in charge. Suddenly, a black, relatively young man was in charge. They were uncomfortable and afraid, not hateful. And while it’s true that fear often motivates horrific behavior, it didn’t on this occasion, and manifested primarily in cries that Obama was a Muslim or wasn’t from Kenya. It was a knee-jerk reaction to an unfamiliar situation, and one by one these people adapted and realized their world wasn’t coming to an end. Anyone still going on about Obama being a Muslim or a Kenyan is probably just racist and attempting to mask their racism with those allegations, but the birther movement died out because people adjusted and moved on, leaving behind only the racists.

It’s ultimately a matter of cognitive dissonance.

When Bob is told his entire life by his fundamentalist church that gay people are evil abominations, he’s going to experience cognitive dissonance when his best friend of 17 years, Jim, confesses to Bob that he is gay. At this point, Bob is presented with several choices for resolving the dissonance:

  1. My church is wrong. All gay people cannot be evil abominations, because Jim is gay and isn’t an evil abomination.
  2. Jim is wrong and isn’t really gay. He isn’t an evil abomination, and my church is right; ergo, Jim isn’t really gay.
  3. My church is right. All gay people are evil abominations. Therefore, Jim has managed to hide his evil from me for the last 17 years.
  4. On rarer occasions, Bob might craft a special exemption for Jim. “Jim is different… He isn’t like all the other gay people.”

Which of these Bob lands on is ultimately going to come down to trust and relationship importance. If his friendship with Jim is more important to him, then he will decide on #1. If both are equally important to him, he will decide on #2. If his relationship with his church and his religious beliefs are more important, he will go with #3. We can immediately see, then, that Jim has his work cut out for him; there aren’t many things that will be more important to Bob than his religious beliefs, because religious beliefs are “core beliefs” that form the foundation of other beliefs. Asking Bob to accept that his church/religious beliefs are wrong is a much greater thing than simply accepting that Jim is wrong, because Bob’s entire worldview stems from his religious beliefs. If we pull the foundation out from under his worldview, the entire thing collapses.

“Muslim call to prayer while hula-hoppers [sic] groove nearby.”

…And?

That’s a pretty awesome event to be at, if you ask me. People hula-hooping, people stoned, people drunk, people tripping, people dancing, people praying… Everyone getting along, everyone celebrating, and no one hating anyone else over squabbling differences… That sounds to me like a fucking utopia, not something that should be mocked or looked upon with disdain. Indeed, that’s how our entire society should be. I fail to see how anyone has a problem with “Everyone is doing their own thing, and everyone is friendly with everyone else. If they can’t get along, then they just leave each other be.”

In fact, Porcfest is proof that you can put Muslims, Jews, atheists, Christians, transgender people, straight people, gay people, black people, white people, Asian people, and all other people with various characteristics into a society together and end up with something that is really awesome. Yet this douchenozzle from CNN said this with disdain and contempt, and people who replied to the tweet made even more contemptuous remarks: “They don’t pay you enough to attend that crap.”

There are only three ways that liberty can work: homogeneity, diversity, and individualism.

Homogeneity is obviously broken as an idea–it’s simply impossible. There will always be differences between people, and those differences will always be highlighted. Hitler wanted to basically produce an all-white society, and what happened? The differences among white people were immediately targeted as points of divide: those with blond hair and blue eyes were considered superior to someone who had brown hair and brown eyes. By definition, a society can never be truly homogeneous. Even if Hitler had succeeded in eliminating everyone but white people with blond hair and blue eyes, the divisiveness wouldn’t have ended; instead, it would have become “tall people are superior to short people” or something else. I’d venture the statement that the more homogeneous a society is, the more petty are its points of division.

Diversity is flawed for other reasons. A homogeneous society of 99% white people (in addition to still being divided, as the previous paragraph contends) discriminating against the 1% black population can’t be fixed by “the free market” alone. However, what if the society is 75% white and 25% black, and the white population is uniformly racist? With these numbers, it’s true that the black population could simply shop at black-owned stores and work for black-owned businesses, but at this point we aren’t dealing with one society; we’re talking about two societies that just happen to reside in geographic proximity. This is still true if we add in an 80% straight population that doesn’t want to associate with the 20% LGBT population; we aren’t “uniting” society. We’re segregating it into many different societies.

It’s similarly true that diversity fails to take hold in homogeneous societies because of social pressures and economic concerns that often conspire to make it impossible for a person to “come out.” This is a problem that never magically vanishes, and there will always be one group or another who cannot openly admit to being in that group because of the adversity they will face upon doing so. Suppose our society was 99% Christian and 1% atheist, but no atheists were even allowed to speak out without being put to death (as was the case until about 300 years ago). Atheists would not be able to band together to create their atheist stores because coming out as an atheist resulted in death. Diversity requires openness, but there will always be disenfranchised people who simply aren’t allowed to be open about who they are.

Instead we could take the approach of individualism, that a person’s characteristics shouldn’t matter, and that a person should be judged by their actions and behavior rather than being judged over what characteristics they happen to have. This is precisely how Jim breaks through Bob’s anti-gay bigotry. Instead of being lumped into that foreign group that has been painted as a bogeyman by Bob’s church, Jim has an in-road directly to Bob’s heart by being his friend–someone he personally knows. When Bob accepts that Jim isn’t an evil abomination, it is because he isn’t lumping his friend into that group and therefore isn’t applying that group’s alleged qualities to his friend.

Often, we aren’t aware of what stereotypes we harbor, and we’re capable of harboring them regardless of how individualist we are. The destroyer of those stereotypes is the individualism that allows us to have a relationship with someone regardless of their characteristics. Only then can we see how wrong we were.

* As stated elsewhere, the state arresting me and extorting me for nearly $2,500 six months ago ravaged my bank account and basically put me back at square one, albeit with $250~ or so. If I pursue this avenue, all funds contributed to that campaign will be returned, either directly or via matching donations to donors’ campaigns.

In Memory of a Day

I’m not sure what I’m really about to write about. I’ve been fighting off depression the past few days, but it’s not really depression–at least… it doesn’t feel like depression. There’s certainly a bit of surrender in it, in a sort of “Meh, who gives a shit” way, but it’s not really depression as I’m used to it.

Although, it also is familiar, really.

I’m bored, really. Not “bored” as much as “lonely,” perhaps, though they’re one and the same for me these days. I keep running into unexpected problems with females, and the one I’ve run into most recently is her apparent inability to recognize me as a female. I didn’t think it was an issue until I mentioned that I focused on my legs and ass when exercising because I want a sexy butt, and she replied something like “Ew. TMI.” When I asked how that was too much info, she said “I thought about gay stuff.”

I stopped replying to her, and I’ve only said one other thing to her since, a tangentially related thing about how guys are really bad at sex, with very few exceptions, primarily because most guys think that it’s something that would come naturally, and so they think if they spend any time reading about how to actually pleasure a woman it means they’re lesser men. It doesn’t help that American sex education is a joke, and I’ve been saying for years that sex ed should separate boys and girls, and then spend a semester teaching boys from the book The Black Box of the Female Orgasm, because it would go a much longer way toward making the world a better place than another lecture about STDs and condoms.

It was strange to me that this chick who I was talking to romantically interpreted me talking about my butt as “a gay thing.” While there’s also that underlying idea that she seems to think I’d want my butt to look sexy for anyone’s benefit but my own, that’s not the issue here. But yes, I want to have a sexy butt. I don’t care if you think my ass is sexy. Why do people have such a hard time understanding that? It’s really not complicated.

But why would she think that my butt has anything to do with “gay stuff” anyway? She knows that I identify as a female–or a shemale, if you will–and she knows I’m only interested in women, that I consider myself a lesbian. How badly does she have to not be listening, in order to interpret what I said as having to do with gay stuff?

She replied to my message about guys and sex with “Yeah, blah blah, only one guy was different, blah” and I said “Yeah, that’s what I figured. Guys always struck me as pretty selfish.” I mean, I don’t have a lot of experience with guys, and that’s why I had texted her about it.

She replied: “Uhh… Feeling guilty?”

As though I needed it nailed in, she essentially confessed that she views me as a guy.

You know, it was the Vegas chick who really made me realize that I couldn’t keep parasitically deriving feminine beauty from women as I’d always been trying to do, and I no longer do that, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to find that, even without that, the chances of me finding anyone who is even somewhat “on my level” are slim to none. That’s why the Vegas experience was so damaging; for years, it had seemed that she was “on my level”–which is not to say my level is above or below anyone else’s, because it could be parallel. Then it turned out that she was, how to put this kindly…

Just like Toni.

Oh, but I haven’t told you that story, dear readers. Oh, goodness, what a story that one is. Not really, actually. She was just a manipulative, drug-addicted sociopath who was a fucking tornado that destroyed everything around her.

fly away–fly away, phantom

Rainbow is in heat again. I say “again,” but “still” would be just as accurate, because I don’t think there’s been more than 5 days this entire year that she hasn’t been in heat. And if you’ve never experienced it, you just can’t imagine how extraordinarily frustrating it is to have a cat constantly walking around the house, meowing loudly.

I still think about the Vegas chick, but not very often. Surprisingly, it’s only been about two months since we last communicated. It feels like much longer than that, but my measurement of time isn’t exactly reliable anyway. I try to slow it down as much as I can, by forcing myself to constantly remain aware of its inexorable passage, but sometimes entire weeks pass me by without me noticing. I hate that. I hate time.

I don’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to age. I want to stay pretty much as I am (except for the obvious changes, of course), and then randomly die a few decades from now.

I should probably play the guitar.

I haven’t done that in a while. Not in a meaningful way, and it kinda feels like I could use that release. I can get lost in my music in a way that I can’t really explain.

Another day has died.

Goodbye, moments of the day.

Countless opportunities were squandered today, and I can think of plenty of ways I could have seized the day better than I did. Carpe diem, after all. Or, for the stupid, YOLO. But I didn’t. And I’d wager that you didn’t, either. An entire day was born, filled with countless moments that waited to happen, and then never did. And we all moved one day closer to death, those lost moments forever gone and beyond our reach.

But we still have this moment, at least. In fact, we’ll always have this moment. Even if you’re reading this five years from the time it was posted, we are still in this moment.

Well, this was utterly pointless, but I think I do feel a little better, so that’s something. And Rainbow shut up, but she’ll be back at it in a few minutes. I am almost able to cast off the wig entirely, which is good because I found out recently that one of my cats put my wig through hell after knocking it off my dresser and then deciding that it would make a great bed.

Humans are funny creatures. We’re easily the most vicious species on the planet.

Think about the dozens of things you do every day that your cat or dog hates. I won’t hesitate to start playing the guitar if my cats are sleeping. There have been several times I pushed Rainbow off my pillow so that I could lie down. And she never hissed at me for it. But reverse the roles, and imagine yourself sleeping on that pillow, only for the cat to come along and try to take it for herself. The human would wake up angry, grouchy, and would probably yell at the cat. A lot of humans would even slap the cat.

Honest to fuck animals are less vicious and temperamental than we are. My cats never yelled at me because i accidentally kicked over their water bowl, but I’ve certainly yelled at them for doing the same. These days, I catch myself, of course, but I’ve still done it in the past: “Goddamnit, cat!” Who the hell am I to bitch at the cat? The cat doesn’t bitch at me.

Transgenderism: Who Needs To Know?

It wasn’t terribly long ago that I unfriended this transgender girl on Facebook, and I did so for a number of reasons. First among those was that she was extremely derivative of myself, essentially following in my footsteps with her online presence, but was exploiting her sex appeal and the fact that she performed shows and gained a fanbase that way. I found that to be cheap and tawdry, but that wasn’t the reason that I removed her.

No, the reason that I removed her is because of this long “Oh, poor me” post about how hard it is being transgender, and how she had once been beaten and raped by this guy when he found out that she had a penis. Her excuse was that it never occurred to her to point out that she was transgender, non-op, and that she didn’t think it was her responsibility to go around telling people that she had a penis. And while I agree in many ways, there’s certainly a grey area there, and the point at which she should have told the guy that she had a penis was long before he was taking her pants off.

People like that who think it’s everyone else’s responsibility to cater to them piss me off, because it’s that ultra-liberal, anti-progressive bullshit, and it’s much simpler than that. So let me just say for the record: Yes, if you don’t have the sexual organs that the person who you’re sexually involved with expects you to have, then it is your responsibility to inform them. I know we’ve seen shemale porn where the guy pulls off the girl’s pants and is delighted to find a penis staring up at him, but this isn’t porn; this is the real world, and you’re an entitled moron to put yourself in that position.

I’m not justifying that the guy attacked her and raped her–two pieces of information that don’t quite fit if you remember that the reason he became angry was that he did not want to have sex with what he felt was a guy. And she can argue that with him all she wants, but it’s not going to change how he feels about it. That conversation should have happened long before that point when they were getting naked. People like what they like, don’t like what they don’t like, and aren’t interested in what they aren’t interested in. There is very little someone could do to persuade me to put my dick in a dude’s ass. And while I would absolutely have sex with a shemale, I don’t consider shemales to be men–hence myself. But there’s also a wide range of people there, and it would depend more on the individual than any simple, universally applicable statement.

However, if I was removing a girl’s clothes in between drunken kisses and suddenly felt a hard dick, it would absolutely give me pause, and it might even be an enormous turn-off. It certainly wouldn’t go down like in porn; I wouldn’t grin and moan and bend down to slob on it. I don’t know if this is what the girl I’m talking about expected, or if she just expected that the guy would ignore her penis, but one thing is certain:

He wasn’t expecting to find a penis there.

A lot of men out there simply aren’t willing to have sex with another guy. This does NOT make them homophobic. Being unwilling to have sex with a non-op transgender woman, or a pre-op transgender woman, also does not make a person homophobic. People like what they like, and they have their own inhibitions. I wouldn’t want to have sex with a guy–does that make me homophobic? If I removed a girl’s clothes only to find a penis, only to find out that she wasn’t even transgender but was just a cross-dresser, I would feel both betrayed and unaroused. I have very little control over that–I’m not attracted to the male form. I like curves. I’m not going to apologize for that. And removing a girl’s clothes to find out that the curves weren’t real would ruin her sex appeal for me. This does not make me homophobic; it is simply my preferences.

If you think it’s unreasonable for a guy who is removing a girl’s clothes to expect to find a vagina there, then you should probably re-evaluate what you think is reasonable and unreasonable. People have expectations, and one of those expectations is that women have vaginas. If you knowingly go against that expectation that is shared by pretty much everyone on the planet, then it is your responsibility to let someone know that before you become sexually involved.

Does it have to be the very first thing you say? Do you have to tell every random person you see that you have a penis? Absolutely not.

My dream is to be able to just live as myself, to have a job as myself, and to just be able to exist as myself. To everyone who saw me, I’d just be a woman, and they’d know nothing more than that. My co-workers, employees, colleagues, friends, whoever–would see only a woman, and that is all they would know. They would never need to know more than that. However, the girl that I was dating? Yes, she deserves to know, and it is my responsibility to tell her. Letting her pull off my clothes and find a penis there when she expects a vagina would be betraying her entirely reasonable expectation.

I unfriended her when I saw her attempt to gain sympathy about how hard it is to be transgender, because she can get attacked and beaten “just for being transgender.” This wasn’t even remotely what happened. She was attacked and beaten for betraying someone. Whether she intended to or not, she knew that the average guy–even 99.9999% of guys–expect that removing a girl’s clothes will reveal a vagina. She knew that she was going against that expectation, and she knew that the guy expected her to not have a dick.

Her defense that “Being transgender is just normal for me, I never think anything about it” is utter bullshit. If you “never think anything about it” to the extent that you’d let someone have sex with you without telling them that you don’t have the organs that they expect you to have, then you are being wholly irresponsible, reckless, and ridiculous.

Things are no different for me. Just because it would be a girl undressing me and finding a penis doesn’t mean I have no responsibility to inform them–there are plenty of lesbians out there who wouldn’t be interested. But it’s humorous for me to note that it has only become easier for me to find interested chicks, when I imagine that the opposite would be true for a non-op transgender man who was into men. God, this terminology is so sloppy. You have to stop and think too much about what “non-op transgender man” means–what sexual organ does that person have? A vagina. This terminology is far too clunky.

That’s why I love the term “shemale” and will continue using it no matter how many transgender women tell me that it is somehow an insult to them that I use this word to characterize myself. It’s even better when they try to tell me the connotations of “shemale” like I don’t already know that it’s tied to porn–in fact, it’s rather important to me that I break that connotation, and it was an important milestone for me to see that “anarchist shemale” has me as the #1 result on Google search, beating out a fair bit of porn to get there. Breaking how “shemale” is tied to porn is a major part of the reason I use it. But do people ever ask about that? Nope. They just assume that I don’t know that shemale is tied to porn, and that I’m not aware of how I’m offending them by calling myself a shemale.

Just think about the absurdity of that, and how it so obviously requires group-think. I can’t even call myself something without it somehow being applied to all non-op transgender women. What kind of madness is that? I didn’t say you are a shemale, lady. I said that I am a shemale. If your ego and narcissism are so out of control that I can’t call myself something without you somehow making it about you, then you need a serious reality check and a firm reminder that you and I are different people. I would suggest such people remember that, first and foremost, they are individuals; they are not the characteristics they happen to have.

What do they want me to do, call myself “The Anarchist Non-Op Transgender Woman”? God, that’s so catchy! Of course! Why didn’t I think about it before? It’s so obvious! I was originally going with “The Libertarian Shemale,” of course, but swapped it out for Anarchist. I did this for two reasons. First, because I am an anarchist, and not a libertarian. Second, “Anarchist Shemale” sounds a whole lot more memorable and awesome than “Libertarian Shemale.”

facebook

You don’t own me. I can call myself any goddamned thing I want, and it has nothing to do with anyone else. I hate to belabor the point, but it’s an important one, and it has happened multiple time. I’ve been chastised several times for calling myself a shemale, told how “offensive and insulting” it is to other people, and lectured on how the word is tied to porn. I’m well-aware of the last bit, and anyone who spends any time listening to the things I say will conclude that I’m obviously well aware of that. But the notion that it can do injury to other people (because to offend them is to commit some offense upon them, to make them a victim and injure them in some way) by calling myself something is patently absurd.

Well, I got completely off track. I apologize for that.

Hey, but if you like what I have to say, you might enjoy my latest video:

Or if you’re more interested in things that pertain to transgenderism:

You could also check out my podcasts at www.ariadimezzo.podbean.com–there are 37 or 38 episodes there, most of them are Rantings & Ravings, about 1/4 of them are Food For Thought, and another 1/8 of them are Transgender Frustrations, which are mostly just me bitching about things here in the real world, not creating my own problems and then bitching because I landed myself in a horrible situation and faced disproportionate consequences.

Transgender people face real problems in the United States, and especially here in the south. I went into Wal-Mart today to buy a new microphone (I have no shame shopping at Wal-Mart), and while there I walked by the flip-flop aisle and saw a few pairs that would actually fit me. Since I wear a size 12.5W/11M, it can be hard to find flip-flops that fit. And these were adorable! But it was mid-afternoon in Wal-Mart. I couldn’t just buy a pair of women’s flip-flops. So I whipped out my phone, took a few pictures of the aisle, and sent them to a friend on Facebook, pretending that I was picking them up for someone else.

That’s the kind of real issue that a transgender person faces in Wal-Mart. I’m thrilled that this transgender chick in freaking Michigan has no problem going to Wal-Mart, and that no one will follower her home and burn her house to the ground. That’s fantastic. But what does she do with that wonderful ability? She creates her own fucking problems, and then screams and cries about them like her self-created problems are even remotely on par with actual transgender problems that people have to face all over America. I would sell my soul to be able to just walk into Wal-Mart and shop for clothes, but I can’t. I wouldn’t make it home, and I probably wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot. In fact, I would probably have the police called on me.

Oh, yeah. For sure. Some old Christian woman with her young daughter would be “creeped out” and would notify the manager. Without doubt–I mean, really. That would happen. If there was anyone else shopping in that area, that would happen. And the manager would immediately think “Pedophile” not “Transgender” and would call the police. Then, after extensive searches of me and my phone to verify that I wasn’t taking pictures of little girls in the changing room and repeatedly demanding to know why I was in the girls’ clothing area in the first place, I’d probably just be banned from the store.

That’s my reality.

So I’m not going to cut some stupid bitch slack when she creates her own problems.

1134 Words on a Psychopath

Anyone who has ever been the victim of a psychopath sees the clear parallels to domestic abuse. I grew up watching my mother be thrown through windows by alcoholic Everett Barber (yes, that’s really him, because FUCK HIM), beaten, punched, kicked, and choked. Everett is reformed now, and has been through AA, but I will not accept his redemption as valid until he’s actually apologized to my sister and me, and to our mom–I’ll accept the apology on my mom’s behalf.

I’ve certainly seen my fair share of domestic violence. So please understand that, when I make this analogy, I do so with full knowledge of the unbridled horror of it, and with full awareness of the helplessness of the people involved. Because that’s what perpetuates the violence–helplessness. As a child, I was helpless and powerless to affect the situation. But I tried. That early Saturday morning as my mom choked out, “Everett, I can’t breathe,” I tried, pulling two sharp knives from the kitchen drawer. “Mom, I’ve got a knife!” I shouted and took two steps toward the bedroom.

And then I stopped.

Because I was 8 years old. I was in the second grade, and this was a grown man. Knives or not, I knew I couldn’t take him.

I turned back to the drawer and, standing in darkness, dropped the knives. And then I burst into tears and repeatedly said, “Mom, I’m sorry…”

It only recently occurred to me why I apologized. I never thought about it until I reached that point in Dancing in Hellfire. I apologized because I couldn’t help her. I apologized because I was helpless. I apologized because I was powerless. There was NOTHING I could do.

You can’t imagine how badly I want to go to Everett’s house and totally fuck him up. I reject violence in all its forms, and that is the only thing staying my hand. I’m not a scared little kid now, and he’s not a big adult. I’m in my prime and he’s almost an old man. By all rights, I should now make him helpless and powerless.

But I won’t.

But neither am I able to forgive it or just let it go, and I doubt anyone would be able to. Not if they saw what I saw and heard what I heard.

So I know exactly what I’m drawinG parallels to. And I’m doing so for a reason. Because the psychopath systematically establishes power over the target until the target is helpless, and if you don’t know it’s coming the psychopath will succeed. And, often, the psychopath will succeed anyway, because the psychopath has spent a lot more time perfecting their craft than you will have spent perfecting your defense.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

Get back from me, demon, or be exorcised.

The psychopath knows what to offer you to entice you. Me, I was looking for a soulmate, someone to connect with on a different level, a kin spirit. Whatever you want, the psychopath knows how to make it appear that you’ve found it. The psychopath is good at this.

But it’s not just about lying to you. It’s about making you lie to yourself. It’s about using lies to make you tell and believe your own lies; it’s about the psychopath enticing you so much that you engage in self-deceit, because then the psychopath truly has power over you.

The psychopath will tell histories that conflict with what you remember. You are right. Never, ever lose sight of that. When something you know conflicts with the psychopath, you are the one who is right. Don’t let yourself believe the psychopath’s version thinking that you can secretly hold to the truth, go along with it, and play the psychopath’s game.

You can’t. You will lose.

The psychopath knows doublethink better than you, and the psychopath will not only use it, but will manipulate you into using it, and it’s then that you are nearly her thrall. By this point, it’s almost certainly got to run its course, which will be painful for you. Very painful. Don’t let it get this far. You are the one who is right. Don’t allow your memories or thoughts to be overwritten. Don’t play along.

The psychopath expects you to play along. Remember, the psychopath is several steps ahead. The psychopath knows fully that when you agree, you have conflict internally and that you are agreeing because you want to believe and that you’re entertaining the possibility that you misremember. When you say, “Hmm… I think I remember bits and pieces of that,” the psychopath knows you’re conflicted. But if you cede the ground that you are wrong, you’re giving the psychopath license to rewrite your memories in her favor. And the psychopath will do so.

A lot of people think that victims in abusive relationships are fools for hanging around, but it’s important to understand that there are a lot of emotional factors there. It’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome in nature–the abuser fulfills their needs and gets emotional highs from it, or some other kind of pleasure from it. But the victim gets something, too.

Yes, you are.

Yes, you are.

The victim is always chasing a carrot on a stick, and the psychopath is always dangling it and tempting with it. Your hope is the strongest weapon in the psychopath’s arsenal. Your hope that it will work out, that the abuse will stop, that you’ll get what is on offer… These are what give the psychopath power over you. The psychopath knows that you hope, and knows how to keep that hope alive. The psychopath keeps the tiny embers burning, kindling the fire just enough to keep it from going out altogether.

You have to let that fire die.

It’s not easy, and the psychopath knows that, too. It’s never easy to stop chasing the carrot, to give up hope and accept that you’ll simply never have the carrot, and it’s made harder by the psychopath’s insistence that you can have the carrot, often “one day.” But you want the carrot, don’t you? Isn’t the carrot fucking everything you ever wanted?

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

So knowing how to deal with a psychopath, and how to keep yourself protected (because the psychopath lives and loves to play games) is useful, but it doesn’t help much until you’ve identified a psychopath. That’s obviously a lot easier to do in hindsight, isn’t it? Only hindsight gives us the clarity to realize what has happened, how we were played with from the start, and how we were merely victims. How can we distinguish sincerity from psychopathy? How can we know we didn’t misremember?

We can’t.

Ego and Bait

This post is no longer 1134 words. I’m okay with that, because the preceding section is. Anyway.

One of the biggest telltale signs of a psychopath is an out-of-control ego. This doesn’t necessarily manifest in pride; obscene amounts of pride don’t necessarily mean psychopathy, and the psychopath is too clever to display large amounts of pride. The psychopath doesn’t do anything that blatantly gives away the ego.

Ego manifests in many ways, and perhaps the most obvious way is a lack of empathy. But it also appears in harder-to-notice condescension.

I’m saddened to think that I’m absolutely correct, but I don’t know what else to think. Between the stupid “communication through blogging” shit and the way she repeatedly tries to elicit an emotional response from me, only to immediately fall back to one sentence replies and silence, there’s nothing else I can think. She just keeps throwing bait out there and then running back to the shadows, presumably to laugh and enjoy herself when I take the bait. But I didn’t take the bait this time. I kicked it toward the bushes she fled to. And I won’t take the bait again.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

Truly the most appropriate image there is for this.

This time I didn’t try to kick the football. I turned and tried to kick her (remember we’re being metaphorical here). I’m not going to do another somersault because she cajoled me into trying to kick the ball again. I’m not a fucking dolphin at Sea World. I’m Charlie Brown, and I’m no longer trying to kick the ball. Could she convince me to try again?

Absolutely. But not with words. No matter what she says, there are no words Lucy could use to get this Charlie to try to kick the ball again.

Random Poetry From Another Life

Just feeling like sharing some old poetry, since I’m a bit distracted by other matters at the moment and don’t really feel up to writing anything. Still, I like these poems, and they remain some of the best that I’ve written. This isn’t actually the most recent version of “The Hill in the Meadow,” but the most recent version is in my emails somewhere, and I don’t feel like digging for it.

The Strings of Fate

Surely the Fates do jest by intertwining strings,
And leaving so obscure all possibilities—
What ear can hear the best tone from the bird who sings,
When we are left all deaf and without any wings?—
With which to glide the winds of ever-coming change,
With which to guide us in, to be safe from the cage
That ever seeks to bind within a given mind,
Ensnare, entrap, and dine on what could have been mine

Yet even in the dark, the light must still exist
Because without both, there is nothing to miss
We know the Fates conspire to create the flame
That one day becomes fire, or one day leaves us tame
Is it on us to know which fire will burn on?
Are we to trust and hope that nothing will go wrong?
Can we not adjust to the strings of Fate
When we cannot trust what lies beyond the Gate?

Are there only corners in this sad charade,
From one to two we go, yet we stay in place
Is it the only way—to tear down the wall,
And leave behind the Fey, who betray us all?
And should just one mistake condemn all future days
To bored, complacent rage, or defeating delays?
Should, then, there be a time when we embrace Fate
And move between the Twine, break open the Gate?

There is no guide to this, there is no one to trust
And I can’t trust myself to do what I must—
Should I embrace the wind as it carries me
Into unknown Tempests, breaking monotony?
Though this is what I must come eventually to do–
Surrender and trust in what I know is true:
Embracing what may come and what dreams lie ahead;
For if we live unhappy, are not we really dead?

 

The Hill in the Meadow
I’ve never seen a moment pass where I would know nothing to say
But what I thought would always last is now fading away.
Climbing our hill, a meadow’s breeze had pulled me down to my knees
Yet still we danced in Summer’s haze, your beauty inspiring a daze
Of this perfect, one harmony, this perfect unity,
This union formed of you and me—this bond we had that no one sees–
Something beyond matrimony, and something more like inner peace;
Something more like inner grace, and nothing bad could touch that place.

The clouds we saw as they came on–should we have surrendered our place?
Would this storm send us separate ways, or would we fight it, stand our place?
We stood our ground, for good or ill, because I left you on that hill.
I could not bear the pouring rains, the lightning strikes and thunderings
I slipped and fell, you grabbed my hand, you pulled me back to solid land
But I had not stabilized, the lightning struck, I went sliding
Down that hill and saw you cry while I was caught in my slide,
Unable to reach you there, being pushed too far to care.

The storm raged on, you cried to me while I cried out in misery
But through thunder’s drums and beating, we could not hear the other screaming.
The black of night’s torrents obscured—could not make out your silhouette
I climbed back up at where I thought would take me right back to your heart–
The more I looked, the more I fought, the more I screamed; the more I sought
To find you where I thought you’d be, the more distance ‘tween you and me
You didn’t know where I fell down, I must assume you looked,
Though the way I failed you there gave you the right to feel forsook.

And when the storm had finally passed, I looked for you, you looked right past,
While we both stared up at our hill, having the strength, but not the will.
I looked at you, you looked at me; offered my hand, you turned from me.
But through the waters, I still see the soothing calm—the meadow’s breeze
The one that brought me to my knees, while still you stand, looking past me.
I looked down and offered my hand so that we could climb up again–
You shook your head, I looked again at that perfect harmony,
Shattered in the only storm that ever touched that place.

Now when I look at the hill, the air is ice and still
The green of spring now brown and gray, all life faded away
Winter has finally set in, which means the lightning’s gone
A memory in distance now, no chance to right its wrongs.
I reached out to you one last time, still wanting to take your hand
Because of all the times that we helped each other stand
This was our hill, though not perfect, as neither of us were–
But now it’s just a memory that I wish I could forget.

 

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A Psychopath and Her Victim: Abusive Relationships and Walking Away

Sunday night, I received a message from the Vegas chick: a strange apology fixated almost entirely on herself rather than me, the recipient of the apology, which was so blatant in its narcissism that it contained references to herself 46 times. While I do have to give the Vegas Ordeal its treatment one day and fully describe the thing from start to end, it is likely to soak up thirty thousand words alone, so it’s almost certain to be reserved for Dancing in Hellfire. But it’s okay–I don’t intend to harp on about it today. It was damaging, it was severe, and it was unparalleled to anything most people will ever experience.

And it was, I see now, nothing more than the sadomasochistic dance of a psychopath and her victim.

She knew of my needs, because I’m an upfront person. I’ve just honestly been through too much to have interest in playing games, so I’m straight up with people. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve by any means, but I don’t beat around the bush. If I expect something of someone, I tell them that; I don’t leave it to them to guess what I want, what I need, or what I expect. A lot of people make this claim, in my experience, but I actually mean it. If I say “I need direct communication from you, or I’m walking away,” then take it at face value: if I don’t get direct communication from you, then I’m walking away. I don’t throw ultimatums lightly, and I never back down from them. A great deal of consideration and introspection goes into me and everything I do; I do nothing lightly, and I do nothing to manipulate. When I make such a claim, it is because I want direct communication, but that’s hardly manipulation; it’s a warning that I’ve been pushed to the brink, and that I will tolerate no more.

Between my old website, many long conversations with her, and years of circling around, she knew me very well; she knew exactly how to exploit me. She knew exactly what to offer me, exactly what to say, and exactly how to say it. She knew exactly what to do to turn me into her thrall, and she succeeded. I thought she was genuine, because she knew that I sought someone who was genuine, and so she knew to present herself as genuine. It was like this in every area. She knew what to do and what to say to take me off my guard, to manipulate me, and to bring me under her control. And she succeeded, as she knew she would, because I’d given her the tools she needed to do it over years of friendship and borderline relationship.

It was jarring when I realized, shortly after my return to Mississippi, that she had done this exact thing to me before, when she lived in Alabama and offered for me to come see her on one of my birthdays. I was excited; she seemed to be excited. And I got about halfway there when her sister texted me and explained that we couldn’t go through with it because of some ridiculous bullshit. Before the Vegas Ordeal, she knew that she couldn’t do that again, and that if she tried that shit when I was halfway there I was likely to absolutely hate her forever, no holds barred, and would be uninterested in ever speaking to her again. But what would have been the next closest thing? Turning me away within days. And that’s precisely what she did.

Blinded by the hope that we could repair our relationship and unable to see that I was playing directly into the hands of a psychopath, I stayed in touch with her; we immediately went back to talking on the phone every night, and I did my best to keep a smile on my face as the fallout from the Vegas Ordeal struck me repeatedly. As I said, evidently I was supposed to be more cheerful about the inevitability of living out of my car then, because she turned away from me for being a downer. Yes, this chick for whom I’d given up my entire life, closed my company, spent all my money, and moved across the country to be with… threw me out of her life because I was being a downer about the incredible consequences I faced from all of that.

Then I dabbled and thought about reigniting my old site, and she almost immediately contacted me through it. I emailed her explaining something she’d misinterpreted. She replied with a post on her blog. I replied via email. She replied with another post. Soon we had fallen into a cycle of posts, where I would post something direct and meaningful, and she would post vague, non-sensical poetry that had to be interpreted–and even then didn’t make a lot of sense. I grew frustrated and threw the gauntlet at her feet: engage me directly, because I’m finished with this stupid shit. And it was stupid, to be communicating that way. She clearly wanted to communicate with me; I clearly wanted to communicate with her. But she wouldn’t give me the “satisfaction” of doing it directly.

Through all of this, I was motivated by need–the same need I’ve written about before–and it’s no coincidence that I was only ever able to go to her blog to read her replies as Aria. Otherwise, it was just too painful. And though I’ve minimized that need substantially, and though she went to great lengths to make that a need for her (as psychopaths do) and succeeded, I did force myself again to throw my hands up and walk away, which made this the third time I’d had to do it. If you’ve ever walked away from someone you love, you know how difficult that is. And I had to do it not once, not twice, but three fucking times. It is more complex because of the psychopath/victim game that she has played, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do love her, and that this is merely on top of the standard relationship interplay of a psychopath and her victim.

The manipulation in the apology she sent is blatant. Out of respect and love for her, I will not post it here, but suffice it to say that it’s the most unapologetic apology I’ve ever seen. While professing to be sorry, she creates a shadow version of herself that “has no empathy” and magically has an “undiagnosed mental disorder” (a refrain I’ve seen so often from women attempting to excuse their fucked up behavior), and, here is the best part, “a work in progress.” As though we’re not all works in progress. But it’s more insidious than that, isn’t it? You can’t be too harsh on a work in progress. When aspiring musicians share their music, they say it’s a work in progress as a buffer against criticism. Shitty Early Access games on Steam hide behind “It’s an alpha build” or “It’s a beta build” as a matter of policy, because they know–we all know–that you can’t judge a paper too harshly when it’s still a “work in progress.” It is the phrase of a coward, someone who wants to indemnify themselves against criticism and consequences; it is not the phrase of someone who admits they were wrong and is genuinely apologetic for it.

It’s of extreme significance that among the last things she’d heard from me, before I walked away in October, was that I demanded an apology. Because it made her aware that the only way she could keep playing with her toy would be to offer me an apology–and so she did. In the most insincere way possible. At the end, she also added that she wants me to know that it wasn’t my fault. That blew my mind to read.

She didn’t have to tell me that. I’ve known that from the beginning. I have never said or believed otherwise. I have said countless times that I rolled the dice, but she was the one who determined the outcome. I have never said or implied otherwise. Why does she think that she can make me believe it was my fault? She can’t. I was there; I know what happened. I know how it went down, and I’ve known from the beginning that none of this was my fault. That doesn’t have to be said.

This would be the fourth time that I’ve had to walk away from her, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But I know now… that walking away doesn’t do any good in this sort of relationship. It simply doesn’t. I have to make her lose interest, and I do that with the Gray Rock technique. You can’t always walk away from a psychopath who has targeted you as her toy, because she won’t leave you alone; like clockwork, she will pop back up and rip the wounds open again, all while denying that it was her intention to do so and all while apologizing for how sorry she is in the first place. See why I can’t accept the apology as sincere? The very fact that she would contact me to voice her apology is ipso facto proof that it isn’t sincere and can’t be sincere.

In talking to a friend, I was asked what kind of apology I would accept as sincere. If she showed up on my doorstep one morning, in tears with her arms wide, saying, “I’m so sorry” when I answered the door, then I would accept that as sincere. But she wouldn’t do that under any circumstances. But I don’t want that, really. I don’t. What I want… is for her to be sincere. And she can’t do that. Or she won’t do that. It doesn’t matter, whichever is the case. The result is the same.

If you’ve never been in such a relationship, count your blessings, because it’s much easier to become ensnared than one might think. The psychopath knows what you want. The psychopath knows what you need. The psychopath knows where you are weak, and the psychopath knows how to exploit those weaknesses. The psychopath knows where you are strong, and the psychopath knows how to avoid those areas. The psychopath knows how to get into your head and into your heart, and how to keep herself there. The psychopath knows how to hook you, and the psychopath knows how to keep you on the hook.

And walking away doesn’t always work; it depends on what the psychopath is getting out of it. The key thing is that the psychopath has to lose interest. The psychopath has to come to believe that her toy is broken; only then will she move on to find a different toy. As long as she is getting what she needs out of the toy, she will keep picking it up. I don’t pretend to know what she wants from me or what she is getting out of this, but her apology was most assuredly not for me or my benefit, and her immediate switch back to cold, one-line responses is all the proof that I need of that. She just wanted to elicit an emotional response from me, and I gave it to her, because I reacted emotionally–because she knew how to stir those latent emotions back up, how to rip those scabs back off. The psychopath has to be made to lose interest. And this means I must be a gray rock to her.

Because she won’t leave me alone… And goddamn it all part of me doesn’t want her to leave me alone. Part of me wants her to be the person that she pretends to be. But she never will be. That’s what I want, though: I want her to be the person she pretended to be, to be the person she ostensibly wants to be. But she isn’t that person. And I’ve accepted this. I accepted it long ago.