The Importance of Getting Out

Oct. 10th, 2015 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] muddycolors_feed

Posted by Vanessa Lemen

I've learned a lot from teaching, and one of the most curious things I've observed is how, even though students have committed to taking a class for a few weeks or months, it still can be difficult for them to allow themselves to try something new in that class – even when they've signed up in order to do just that. It's curious to me because I've always been on the opposite side of the coin with the belief that because it's a learning experience, there is room to try more things.

Especially in a facilitating environment (such as a painting class), you want to be open to the possibility of failure. The notion of expecting perfection on the first attempt or just fast results that come with ease is not something that's particularly challenging. Learning wasn't supposed to be easy. It requires effort and self-motivation, and your overall experience will be fuller because of it. When trying something new/different and it feels uncomfortable, that's when you're tapping into something that has the potential to be so many things. The possibilities are endless, as they say, and that's really an amazing place to be.

Learning is a form of personal change. To push back against learning something new because it's difficult speaks volumes about your own artificial mental boundaries, and honestly is just stifling your own growth. To stop when things become challenging is giving up, and knowing you gave up puts a huge amount of guilt on yourself eventually. There's an emotional investment that might feel difficult, but the satisfaction of accepting the challenge and pushing through is tenfold.
Try using doubt as a means of inspiration or ingenuity!
I've had students tell me that they're surprised at how slow and awkward they are in class, because at home when they work on their own projects, they're much faster and things come much easier. Basically, what they're doing is making a class-wide announcement that they are, in fact, “better” than what their class project would lead us all to believe. As if to say “Hey, everybody! I'm really not this bad!” This way of thinking is not productive, and is very limiting.

Projecting expectations of perfection onto your learning experience and onto your creative project can be a tremendous hindrance to your project's outcome and your overall well-being. The following are a few ways to think about getting out that will help to break through those productivity barriers.

Getting out of your comfort zone
You have to be willing to swim upstream. That is, to not only be willing to take risks, but to know that it might not be particularly easy when you do. In fact, I highly suggest doing what doesn't come naturally. You'll find that you will gain control by allowing yourself to be out of control.

The landscapes I see on a regular basis in my everyday surroundings definitely inform my painting and mark-making

Let go of perfection and invite randomness. This will help you to move beyond the everyday patterns and habits that you've formed. By doing so, you develop a method or strategy that allows for a reactive nature to the process that you are developing, and this may even eventually become a part of the process. Be open to trial and error, and be able to recognize a mistake as an opportunity to learn from it – either in order to avoid it next time, or to incorporate it in a productive way. Some ways to allow for this when creating art would be to try using new tools or new surfaces, or to try taking on new and unfamiliar subject matter. Create a way to force yourself to see and do things differently.

If you brainstorm to get ideas, when you do this, don't edit – just put it all in there. There shouldn't be any limits in the brainstorming stage. You can always edit later, but you might find that the ideas that seemed less feasible could make for the most interesting problems to solve creatively, even if for a different project than the one that you're brainstorming for. Overall, question things, be curious, and even be skeptical too. Find different ways to get answers or results. Take risks, and accept and embrace them as well.

Was out sketching the other day, inspired by the clouds.  This cloud looked like a woman flying

Thinking outside the box
Try not to limit yourself by wanting to do what others are doing or what others think you should do. Be patient and have perspective – even if it means taking on a different perspective than what you might be accustomed to in order to feel as if it's new to you, and in order to know what your perspective is (or isn't). To allow for this, you have to be present and open. This may require you to slow down, even be quiet, in order to really be able to pay attention and see what's there. And seeing what's there doesn't mean you have to agree with it or understand it. Just observe. That's when you will know what truly is 'outside the box' for you.

And on the flip side, in addition to slowing down, you can also be more spontaneous, throwing yourself into a situation last-minute is a great way to find out what you do and don't know, and how you'd react in the moment with that awareness that you quite possibly didn't know you had unless you had done that spontaneous act. Through spontaneity, you can learn what you are truly capable of doing and creating.

This is the top portion of a WIP, inspired by cloudy sunsets
I get a lot of inspiration from sunset colors and shapes of clouds too

Getting outdoors
This doesn't necessarily mean you have to go somewhere you're not familiar with, but that's definitely a good idea. Just at least get out of the house/office/studio, and for sure get out of your chair! Getting outdoors can bring clarity and can revitalize your thought process. Just by going for a walk or sitting underneath a tree for a bit, you will feel refreshed and might just gain that jumpstart that you needed to dive in to that big project you've got looming, or bring a nice burst of energy while you're in the midst of an ongoing project.

When you go outdoors , you might think to bring a journal and plan an outing with a goal to go on a short adventure each day, even if it's just for a half hour's time. Try doing a compare and contrast note-taking and sketching exercise. For example, go somewhere familiar and observe what's in your surroundings, then go somewhere new and observe what's there. What are the similarities/differences? How do you feel when you're in each place? What is happening around you? What do you hear? What colors are there? Look at things abstractly. What kinds of different characters do those objects or surroundings take on when you blur your vision or squint to see big shapes? Like finding a dragon in the cloud shapes, what do you see in other objects and surrounding elements? You will get to know a lot about your own temperament and personal perspective by allowing yourself to get out, even if just for a small bit of time each day, and to observe.

So.. Go. Get out. And get IT out.
Let go of perfection. Be open. Be authentic.
Get out!  :D

(no subject)

Oct. 10th, 2015 11:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] busarewski and [personal profile] hano!

(no subject)

Oct. 10th, 2015 03:58 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
This eloquent fury from [personal profile] kaberett
reminded me of a conversation that happened at dinner at Nixie's graduation last May.

I was sitting between my brother and my husband, across from my mom; also at the table were Mungo and Nixie, my brother's wife and their daughters, and my sister and her sons and her boyfriend; thirteen in all, but I think the rest were involved in other conversations when Chris reminisced about a time when he was running away from Dad, running from the hall to the kitchen to the dining room to the hall and around again. Our dad used a cane and a leg brace, and couldn't run, but he kept chasing Chris and Chris kept running, "because I knew that he was going to kill me."

I was surprised that my mother didn't interrupt him there, didn't protest that of course he wasn't going to kill you, that's just silly! Is it because Chris is a man, now, that Mom no longer feels entitled to police his mouth? I don't know! It is true that living with Dad was like waterboarding: it makes you feel like you're about to die, over and over, but it doesn't actually kill you. Probably.

Chris paused there, as if he also expected Mom to interrupt, and then repeated it. "I knew he was going to kill me. So when I got a little bit ahead of him, I ran into the bathroom and locked the door. And I went out the window."

Mom said, "Do you remember, when you were two, you locked yourself in the bathroom and you were too scared to open the door, so he said gently, 'Open the door. I won't hit you.' And you opened the door, and he hit you. He said, 'I'll teach him not to disobey me,' and I said, 'Jack, you're teaching him not to trust you!'"

Chris said, "This time, I wasn't ever going to open that door."

Mom said, "You were almost at Woodward when I found you." We lived here, between Woodward and Telegraph, two busy highways:,+Bloomfield+Hills,+MI+48302/@42.5949209,-83.2805787,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8824bf313f5644eb:0x462a4f0b1c5df266

Our school was on the other side of Woodward. A classmate of Chris's, a third-grader named Marcello, got killed crossing Woodward, but this story happened before that. Still, we all knew that Woodward was dangerous.

Mom said, "Do you remember, I told you, if you need to run away, just keep turning right. I will always come find you. Just keep turning right, and I'll find you."

We both looked at her stone-faced. Why would you keep turning right when you need to get away?

Game mechanisms and accessibility

Oct. 10th, 2015 10:36 am
green_knight: (Gateway)
[personal profile] green_knight
(Pulling this out into a separate post so I can tag it and hopefully so it may catch a few more people's eyes)

[personal profile] greatsword wrote:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on which games made a fast-paced game more accessible. Most of the games I've worked on treated some level of reflex as part of the mode of play; the ones that didn't were either user-controlled pace or turn based.

I'm simply going to list various things from easy to difficult. Each of the points below is an axis along which you can move; fight mechanisms usually involve several of these. I'm not even sure all of these are _practical_ to implement, at least not in a setting where you may get twenty or more enemies on the screen at once.

Immediate effects
I want to say 'core combat mechanisms' but that's maybe not entirely accurate.

Hitting enemies )

Strategic Effects
The simpler combat overall, the easier it is to learn. In this section I'm listing a number of things that can make combat more confusing and thus harder. (The more options I need to choose from, the more likely I am to get flustered.) Here the progression from 'easy' to 'hard' is less clear.

Choices influencing strategy )

Things to make life easier:
This is a mixture of gameplay and interface elements.

Why Interface matters )

So that was a list off the top of my head.

Which shows me that I seem to a) play a lot more games and b) take in a lot more about game design than I have realised, because apart from Crafting Systems I felt pretty comfortable that I understood the phase space for each of these, the possibilities of what can be done with them and why a designer might or might not implement them.

There's one major point that is missing from this post, and that is anxiety - game designers often deliberately try to ramp up their players' anxiety, but rather than giving me a more thrilling game experience, it often ends up giving me an experience that is not enjoyable at all, because being in a state of high anxiety IS NOT FUN when you're an anxious person. I want to play games that make me feel competent, not games that make me feel that I'm always about to fail; and most importantly, I want to PLAY, to be able to make mistakes without having my session ruined.

A change in my state

Oct. 10th, 2015 10:24 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

I must, of course, write to my dear ones, but find it surprizing hard. I do not want to disclose all, before the necessary instruments are sign’d and seal’d, and the marriage service spoken over us (for indeed, when I think about the poor Marquess, from his looks he may go off at any time). In the end I say that they may hear news of a most startling change in my state, but they must not believe that I shall ever be proud and distant to my best belov’d F-s, indeed, am in some hopes that this may resolve some of our difficulties.

(For indeed, what could be more respectable than a Dowager Marchioness? Sure she may enter at the front door, rather than creeping up the back stairs.)

There has been some talk of opening up B- House (which has been under dust sheets these many years), so I have sent Hector and Phoebe to look at it and see whether this can be contriv’d without very great effort.

They return very much shaking their heads over the matter. Bats, says Phoebe, nesting in the attics. Sure the one that has been caretaker sits in his one room over a cosy fire and does nothing, except, I daresay, go about emptying the cellar down his throat: the place cannot have been cleaned in I know not how long. 'Twould be a most arduous task to get it in order and take some months.

I thought that would be so, I say, Lord B- will be much better staying where he is at R- House for the moment, poor fellow. Let his heir deal with those problems.

Hector and Phoebe look from one to the other and then Hector says, madame, this will be a considerable change and I daresay you will wish to think about alterations in the household –

Oh, pooh, I say, unless you have some dislike to being in an aristocratick establishment, I have no notion towards making any changes. Sure we have all been through a good deal together and this is just one more adventure. I do not propose to live much different.

Except, I say, that perchance His Lordship might suitably come to live here once we are wed – but he is an invalid and we would not be receiving company.

Later in the day comes Mr Q-, most extreme prepossesst with me for making such an excellent match and also being so prudent about tying up my own little fortune, and bringing me many documents to peruse.

Matters go on very fast. A special licence is obtained. It is proposed to have a very quiet ceremony in the family chapel of R- House, with just a few guests so that no-one can say the deed was done hugger-mugger.

I write to Lady W- desiring an urgent conclave at Mamzelle Bridgette’s, which she is gracious enough to concede me. I disclose the business to her and she remarks that this could be a most excellent thing, sure she will certainly call upon me and urge other ladies to do so.

What I should most particular beg of you as a favour, I say, is that you and Sir B- W- attend the ceremony. For otherwise on my side there will be only Mr Q-, that insists on attending to ensure that all is in order and that it is not, as in a Gothick novel, some matter of a pretended priest and a false marriage, and that none comes in declaring just cause and impediment. For he is really quite carefull of my interests.

We should be quite delighted, she says. She gives her charming crook’d smile. To be so beforehand with the intelligence of the matter will be entirely charming.

And entirely by the way, she goes on, as the S-s are decamping to go about this business of the M- estate at N-, Miss K- is coming to reside with us – her brother goes with them, as he can make himself useful to Mr S-, but Mrs S-, I think entirely rightly, considers that so remote and desolate a place is unsuited for a young woman that is so inclined to melancholia already. Staying in Town she may keep up her studies, and I can take her around in Society a little in hopes that this may overcome her fears in the matter and chear her somewhat.

That is very kind in you, I remark.

O, she has become quite an agreeable quiet girl, will make herself useful, and goes about to educate herself. ‘Tis pretty to see her quiz Sir B- W- about what goes forth in Parliament.

She concludes by remarking that all say that the Duke of M- is taking a grip on matters in spite of his sad loss, and she is sure this is ow’d to me. Perchance, I say.

We say very affectionate farewells.

I go to R- House to dine. I convey the intelligence concerning the poor state of things at B- House and extend the invitation to consider my house as the matrimonial residence.

But of course, says Lord G- R- very warmly to Lord B-, you are entirely welcome to remain here. I see a glance exchanged 'twixt him and Sandy and suppose that it may be that even such a modest change would be deleterious for the Marquess.

The Marquess says that he will consider, once all this brouhaha of a wedding has past. But there is a thing I have not yet done, he says, which is to introduce Madame C- to Marcello. (I see my two dear friends exchange a further glance.) May he be summoned here?

In due course enters a young man that could model for some painting of romantick banditti, and has the air that somewhere about him there is a very sharp knife that he is not afraid to use, and will use very skilfull. He looks at the Marquess with an air of prideful devotion. The Marquess addresses him in what I take to be Italian, but as I see Sandy looks a little uncomprehending, suppose it to be some regional dialect.

I explain to him, says Lord B-, that you are to be my wife, and that he is to give you the respect due, and to defend you as he would myself.

Marcello throws himself to kneel at my feet, takes my hand and kisses it. Signora.

Tho’, Lord B- continues, he will return to my villa when – in due course – in order to see to the packing up of my collections that I intend shall be donated to the British Museum. But that is all in the Will.

Marcello stands (sure he is a gracefull creature), bows to the Marquess, and leaves the room.

Provision for Marcello, my dear Madame C-, is one of the matters that I am leaving for you to undertake. I daresay – for it is the way of these fellows, they will display quite remarkable devotion to their patrons yet the customs of the country remain very strong in them – that he will desire to marry and set up a farm or vineyard or some such enterprize and beget numerous bambini. I would leave him my villa near Naples. This is in with my other instructions, with the direction for the trustworthy notaio that has been handling my business.

Sure, what should I do with a villa near Naples? I say, Tho’ I daresay 'tis very picturesque.

Matters proceed at a great pace and it is quite soon that it comes the wedding day, which is just as well, because one can discern Lord B- fading quite visibly day by day.

Indeed, I am sure it is a great effort for him to get through the ceremony, but he insists on standing without the aid of his cane for the duration. It is indeed fortunate that it can all take place at R- House and that he is not oblig’d to be rattled around in a carriage.

A magnificent wedding breakfast has been set out, with a particular fine bride-cake that I know dear Seraphine has made entirely herself. There is champagne wine served.

Sir B- W- comes up to me and says in an undertone, was this not the fellow that was sent away out of the country to get him out from your influence, so many years ago? I perceive that he makes a confusion with Biffle being sent into the Diplomatick by the old Duke, but confide that this misunderstanding will serve well. I smile and nod, and am in considerable assurance that this will be all around the clubs by nightfall, if it is not already the on-dit.

In order to prevent any servants’ gossip about the matter, I must spend the wedding night in my new husband’s bedchamber.

I recline upon a chaise longue, as I fear that my presence in the bed may cause him discomfort. Sure he looks particular pale and worn this e’en.

I take a little concern that there may be eavesdroppers, for I still place little trust in that scoundrel Frederique, and then smile. I wait a little while and then stir enough to make some rustling noise, and say, o, Milord, sure, that is quite uncommon large. I wonder shall I contrive to accommodate it. I make several sighs and bounce a little and indeed, I think Mr J- would commend the dramatique art with which I proceed to counterfeit consummation.

I then hear strange noises from the Marquess and rush to his side, fearfull that he is having some kind of fit, but see that he is trying to stifle laughter. A very apt precaution, my dear, he says at length. Sure, I am sorry that I shall not enjoy a longer acquaintance. Now, if you could fetch me a glass of that brandy over there, I should be most grateful.

Late to the party

Oct. 10th, 2015 02:24 pm
yifu: (young mustang)
[personal profile] yifu

♦ The upside of starting to read a series years after everyone else did is that I don't need to wait until the next book comes out. The downside - well, there's none, really, unless I happen to see spoilers. Said series is penned by an Indonesian singer and writer nicknamed the Queen Mother (no idea is who is supposed to be the emperor of Indonesian lit). Amusingly, she's younger than me. The series tends toward fantasy.

♦ Listening to Root Five's songs for Saint Seiya Omega reminds me of that series and its sadly wasted potentials. Toei then learned from their mistakes and went on to produce Soul of Gold. It's not perfect, but it does its job of selling action figures, with a story that ends on a businesslike and logical note.

Shingeki no Kyojin 13: After the fights from vol. 10 onward, it's now time for the characters to... make plans. No big reveals for the next one or two volumes, I don't think? Favorite scene: when Levi touches a dusty tabletop and says, "There should've been enough time..." Trust him to find the single dirty spot in an entire house.

♦ True story: For some reason, there's a fanmade trailer of [personal profile] qian's The House of Aunts in my phone's video folder. The baby, who's learning to operate cell phones, clicked on it. "What's she eating? That's blood, isn't it?" Kinda awkward heheh. Moral: go read the novellette, folks.

Kim Stanley Robinson: Aurora

Oct. 10th, 2015 02:31 am
bibliogramma: (Default)
[personal profile] bibliogramma

In his latest novel Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson takes on a beloved science fiction theme - the multigenerational spaceship - and turns it into a relentless exploration of the limits of small-scale ecologies and long-term planning, an illumination of the dynamics of human communities under pressure, a profound meditation on the evolution of consciousness, and a celebration of the human will to survive.

As the novel begins, the ship - as everyone, even the AI that controls the ship refers to it - is nearing the end of its long journey to Tau Ceti, where the plan is for the roughly two thousand inhabitants to attempt to start a colony on Tau Ceti E's moon, which they have already named Aurora. The first section of the book focuses on the family of Devi - the closest the ship has to a Chief Engineer - her husband Badim and child Freya. Through Devi's eyes we see how narrow the survival margin has been, as imperceptible imbalances in the original ecological design of the ship have magnified over time, testing her ingenuity to its fullest as she struggles to diagnose and repair one malfunction after another. Further, in the ship's closed system, microbial life has mutated faster than the larger lifeforms, and the consequences of this have not all been beneficial. The initiation of deceleration has made subtle changes in the forces acting on the mechanical parts of the ship. Over time, the accumulation of minor shifts have taken the ship and its lifeforms closer to the brink.

Indeed, Devi and others have noticed slow changes in the ship's inhabitants even across the seven generations of the voyage - with people on average being smaller, slower to develop, a little less capable of grasping complex intellectual concepts - as if humans too, affected by the growing entropy of such a small-scale world, have been falling out of balance.

As arrival at Aurora grows nearer, Devi sets the ship's AI an unusual task - to write a narrative of the journey, not as a reportage of facts and figures, as a computer might, but as a story, as humans might tell it. The central portion of the novel represents the ship's - or more accurately, Ship's - attempt to do just that, and in the process we see the transition of Ship from AI to full, conscious personhood - or something so much like it that no Turing or Voight-Kampff Empathy test could ever tell the difference.

As the narrative progresses, Ship selects Devi's daughter Freya as the focus of the story, and indeed Freya becomes in some ways a crucial character in the events that follow upon the ship's arrival in the Tau Ceti system.

The novel is in its own way both deeply pessimistic and triumphantly optimistic as it presents the essential, indomitable stubbornness of humanity in the face of a vast and indifferent universe, and its own limitations and mistakes.

Daily Happiness

Oct. 9th, 2015 11:24 pm
torachan: a cartoon kitten with a surprised/happy expression (chii)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I stopped at Campos and got burritos for dinner.

2. Work was so hectic today but I'm glad I wasn't working tonight, because apparently the power went out all over the neighborhood the store's in, so at least I didn't have to deal with that! (I hope it comes back on before all our frozen shit is ruined.)

3. It's sooooo nice having my good bike back.

4. Bathroom kittens.

Edition 3,349

Oct. 10th, 2015 05:56 am
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#764: Darth Vader + Guns = Bad

Oct. 10th, 2015 05:21 am
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Guns, domestic violence, and other terrifying things below the cut, especially in linked material. No comments. Perhaps there can be a discussion at the forums. I cannot moderate that discussion at this time.

Hi Captain,

Partner and I have been together 7 years, living together for most of that time. We definitely have communication problems, exacerbated in part by less-than-ideal childhood experiences along with mental health issues (some of which are being treated). How we handle arguments with one another is WILDLY different. Partner prefers to argue it out until we’re done. I feel trapped and need to get away to process things and get out of my “fight or flight” mode (a mode that is often activated via conflict, especially Partner’s anger).

We also have VASTLY opposite opinions on guns. Partner enjoys guns quite a lot and believes them useful both for hunting and for protecting me should my safety be threatened by someone breaking into our living space. They feel safer with a gun in the house. I, however, am extremely NOT okay with guns. To me, they create a possibility for unmitigated violence in any situation, particularly since I have had suicidal ideations my whole life. Before Partner purchased the gun they own, we talked about precautions they would need to take to ensure my personal safety. These precautions include me not knowing where the gun is, not having access to the key or combination, and alerting Partner if I am feeling actively suicidal. I was still incredibly uneasy with the idea, but agreed that I would not say no to them buying a gun.

It’s been over a year, and I’m still not okay with it. I hate having it in my living space. It makes me feel terrified and uncomfortable and unsafe. When I bring it up to Partner, they say that it’s unfair for me to express displeasure about their gun, and that them having their gun is synonymous to me enjoying my hobbies. I tried to explain that part of my terror is that I must factor the existence of the gun into scenarios in which we break up. (Aside: running possible scenarios is both a thing I do as part of my personality AND is part of my anxiety disorder.) But Partner insists this scenario isn’t something I need to ever fear.

Thing is, 4 years ago, in an argument where I tried to leave the living space to clear my head and feel safe, Partner chased me down our stairs and slammed my head into a wall, then knocked my phone out of my hands when I tried to call 911.

Partner has not been actively violent to me since that interaction (passively violent, yes, but even that has stopped altogether 18mos+ ago, after many conversations explaining why things like blocking my exit or following me if I leave are abusive). I tend to not view Partner as An Abuser, but as a Person Who Has Done Abusive Things But Tries To Learn And Do Better. There isn’t the typical honeymoon period or anything of that nature, but a genuine growth.

And yet I cannot help but draw the equivalency in my head between Partner assuring me they would never hurt me followed quickly by me laying in the floor with a migraine that lasted for days watching my phone fly across the room, and their current promise that they would never shoot me, themselves, or others.

I haven’t brought up this equivalency for fear of being told I am dredging up the past to hold over Partner’s head. But I can’t fathom a situation where either of us feel that we win. In one scenario, they keep their gun and I continue to live in fear and discomfort. Another, they get rid of their gun but resent me for forcing them to. Another, we break up so they get to keep their gun and I get to live in a gun-free living space. I suggested another scenario today, where Partner stores their gun at Not Our Living Space, but they told me that wasn’t a logistical possibility.

Any advice or validation or any such thing you have for me would be greatly appreciated. I also understand if this just isn’t something you’re comfortable addressing (or even have time to!). Thank you for creating a space like Captain Awkward — it’s definitely made my life so much better by giving me better tools and strategies for viewing myself and others.

Unapologetic Gun Hater

Dear Unapologetic Gun Hater,

I don’t know where to start but I know that your letter is going to boil inside me until I answer it so here we are.

Your partner could be a total sweetheart with no history of controlling or violent behavior and also be General Goodperson of Gun Mountain, Olympic Gold Medalist in Gun Stuff, Annie Oakley Award Recipient For Neat-o Gun Tricks, Sworn To Only Eat What They Personally Kill and there should still be no guns in your shared house, ever. Constitutional rights, state and local ordinances be damned, growing up in a culture where guns are common (military family, hunting, etc.) be damned: You do not put a quick-acting and irreversible means of causing death within easy reach of a person who says, “I can’t have guns around; it makes me feel unsafe.” You get to set your own personal risk tolerance, and you get a say in whether deadly weapons come into your home, and one thing that your partner could do to make you feel instantly safer about the prospect of gun ownership in general is to actually listen to you and believe you about the part that specifically affects you. Instead, what we have is:

  • A person who has done abusive and terrifying and violent things to you brought a gun into your house against your stated wishes,
  • A person who claims to love you, who knows of your history of anxiety and suicidal impulses, brought a gun into your house against your stated wishes, and kept it there, knowing how its presence haunts and terrifies you,
  • You feeling that you are not “allowed” to bring up your “displeasure” because something-something-hobbies-fairness-hunting-fun-logistics, and,
  • Your suggested compromise, that partner gets to have gun as long as they keep it somewhere else, completely dismissed; and,
  • Your partner took multiple years to “learn” that you are allowed to leave a room when you want to.

In addition, I don’t think this is a rifle, useful for outdoorsy hobbies like hunting. I think this is a handgun, useful for shooting people. The “don’t criticize my hobbies, I’m not controlling, YOU’RE CONTROLLING” reaction to your displeasure mixed with the justification that it’s all really for your safety, to protect against intruders who might hurt you, does not pass my smell test.

When you run scenarios about breaking up (which I suggest is less a quirk of your personality or a symptom of your anxiety than a completely reasonable response to all of the above sent by your fear which is trying to protect you), the gun is a factor because how could it not be? It’s a factor because all the research says that the presence of guns in the home increases risk of suicide and homicide and because (I think) (deep down) you suspect that you are not really “allowed” to leave this relationship (alive). You remember what happened once when you tried to leave the building, you remember that ‘passively violent’ things occurred until 18 months ago (until…they bought a gun). It’s not unfairly dredging up the past for you to consider all of that history when you assess your partner’s fitness to be a gun owner, it is entirely fair, it is MORE THAN fair. People who smash their partner’s head against a wall don’t get to decide what it’s fair for that partner to consider when it comes to personal safety.

When someone with a history of controlling and violent behavior buys a gun, it is a red flag and it’s not a coincidence to me that they would become interested in that specific “hobby.” In fact, I have a theory that your partner’s sudden improvement in behavior and interest in guns possibly coincided with some great improvement in your life – a new & better job, some increase in confidence or improvement in finances – some event that increased your independence and spooked them that you might actually leave someday. I hope I am wrong about that. While we’re talking theories, I have to raise the possibility that on some level, your partner likes your discomfort with guns, and that’s part of the reason they insist on keeping one in the house. They like “winning” the argument to logick you into agreeing to let them purchase one. They like the drama of “where is it?” They like knowing that there is this powerful, scary force that makes you run scenarios about how hard it might be to leave them. They like it because they like controlling you, and the constant presence of a weapon that terrifies you as a trump card of their control. You’ve had to do the calculus of “partner would never physically harm me” and now you are doing the the math of “partner would never shoot me” and Letter Writer, it’s the same:

I tend to not view Partner as An Abuser, but as a Person Who Has Done Abusive Things But Tries To Learn And Do Better. There isn’t the typical honeymoon period or anything of that nature, but a genuine growth.” -You

“There’s good in him, I’ve felt it!” – Luke Skywalker

Luke deserved a better dad, and you deserve a partner who doesn’t do anything abusive, ever. You deserve a partner who doesn’t have to “grow” into basic decency and kindness and, um, not terrifying you. You deserve a break from having to justify their behavior and calculate their “growth” and from wondering if today is they day they finally kill you or if today is the day the suicidal darkness takes over when you find the gun in the china cupboard. If your partner wants to grow and leave behind their abusive past, that’s good, but it doesn’t obligate you to stay as a reward. “Not abusive” is literally the LOWEST possible bar to set. They should want to do that anyway as the bare minimum of being a good person, not just as a means to keep you invested.

Let’s look at your scenarios:

“In one scenario, they keep their gun and I continue to live in fear and discomfort.” NO! Do not recommend. Though your partner seems strangely okay with your terror.

“Another, they get rid of their gun but resent me for forcing them to.” I read this as “Your partner will get rid of the gun (or pretend to) and then punish you constantly in a million small ways.”

“Another, we break up so they get to keep their gun and I get to live in a gun-free living space.” 


“I suggested another scenario today, where Partner stores their gun at Not Our Living Space, but they told me that wasn’t a logistical possibility.” This was a brave compromise on your part and its rejection does not speak well of your partner. If only their needs are important, yours are dismissed, they are okay with you being totally unhappy and nervous, what choice does that leave you? If you wrote to me hoping for scripts for convincing your partner to relent on this point, I’m sorry – I think you probably made this request just fine and there are no words that will change the mind of someone who has contempt for your feelings.

We are people of action, and lies do not become us: Leaving is scary and opens up more than just the uncertainty of heartbreak and starting over domestically, since most domestic violence-related murders take place when the abused partner decides to leave. That gun is blocking your exit at the same time it is making leaving a matter of urgency, and you are the only one who can decide the safest path. I hope you will call a trained person and talk with them about what’s going on. I hope you will make a safety plan. I hope you will gather up Team You. I hope you will get out of there. I hope I’m wrong about all of this, that I’m totally overreacting and misreading the situation, that I’m just on edge from living in a country where this is happening.

Your letter sounds like an emergency to me, and the call is coming from inside your house.

Booklog Blitz

Oct. 9th, 2015 09:41 pm
ase: Book icon (Books 3)
[personal profile] ase
Sprint update!

Gunnerkrigg Court v.1, Siddell )

Fairyland, )

Inda, Smith; did not finish )

Trying to force through the Hugo nominees and Inda killed my novel reading momentum for months.

The Dark Forest, Liu and Martinsen )

Go Set a Watchman, Lee )

The Just City, Walton )

(no subject)

Oct. 10th, 2015 12:08 am
kittydesade: (black ice)
[personal profile] kittydesade
Day 9: The Narrator
Ah yes, this jerkass. The narrator is, well, the narrator of a couple of my Black Ice stories in the anthology. How the hell do I explain this person.

Writing the narrator is tricky because it's always in the first person, and there's no gender to speak of. Yes, the character interacts with others, no, there's not much in the way of physical description on purpose. The ones the narrator interacts with on more than an occasional basis either seem to know what's up there or what the deal is, possibly even more so than the actual narrator. Because there is a deal there. Oh yes. There's a fair bit of deal there, and it's all tied in with the nature of the city and am I being cryptic enough yet?

Actually, I'm not sure I've entirely explained the narrator (narrators, plural, there's actually more than one) even as far down as Gray Matters. Maybe I did. That part's hazy.

So, okay, the narrator is an integral part of the Black Ice world, appearing in Black Ice, I think briefly in White Lightning if at all, and definitely appearing in Gray Matters at least at some point. Gray Matters has some issues going on with it, so the narrator won't appear in the flesh so to speak all the time, but will definitely appear in some shape or form.

By now you've of course guessed that the narrator isn't quite human. And you'd be right about that.


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