Poverty Math

Talking about this gives me anxiety but being poor is not a shameful state, it’s not a moral weakness, it’s not an indication of personal failure…so I am going to talk about it anyway. 
My brain is caught in a loop right now, 60% percent running life numbers that don’t quite add up. This started this time because I have another infected tooth, right now during the holidays. So it goes like this…

I need this tooth pulled, which will cost me minimum 100 dollars. We will be able to pay for that next pay day, in two weeks. Also there is something wrong with my ear, it’s hurt for weeks, there is swelling, maybe fluid, it may be another sebaceous abscess. My immune system is so tanked these days, I get other secondary illnesses more easily. I need to go to the doctor for that as well. If I go to the er I will need an extra 20 for antibiotics for that…I’d probably need another 100 to be able to go to urgent care instead, for copays. 

Until then I’m just gonna have to take to much ibuprofen and hope I’m not damaging my liver irreparably. 

Spending money on medical stuff in midnovember will push back holiday shopping for the kids until the mid December paycheck and limit is to 150-200 spending for 5 children. Ahhhhhh 

I have three pending commissions, that will be another 150-200 dollars. Will we have the money for groceries next week? It’s gonna be another tight week. If can I can make 2-6 more commissions by Xmas it will help us with groceries and allow us to buy a small something for each one of the kids. That will exhaust me but we will survive. I have been having difficulty writing often enough so that is a missed payment opportunity. I wish my body would just give me a break. I need to be able to do both. Milton is writing a ton, but he never gets paid as often as I do for it, no matter how beautiful and powerful his writing is. If only I could make sure that would happen. Is that what we really need to get by? I better do the math again. 

We will have to wait to go to the dentist for two weeks…

…Around and around I go. 

We work hard to take care of our family with the limitations and resources we have but it never seems enough. It can be deeply exhausting, frustrating, and hopeless feeling. We keep going and we always make it, though to often it is just barely so. One way or another my brain has been semi permanently turned into a bad math hamster, rerunning and rerunning those numbers. I’m always hoping we missed something that will help, that will make a lasting difference to our well being. Sometimes that even happens, sometimes we find something, make an opportunity happen that helps. 
Sometimes. 
Fingers crossed

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Coming Out Day or Something Like It

coming out is a process

coming out is a defense mechanism to protect us from your cis-heteronormative view

coming out is choosing between physical danger and emotional anguish-every day

coming out is colonized 

coming out is gate kept

coming out is not pretty or easy

coming out is as often as not, not at all empowering

coming out is not the answer for all our woes 

coming out is a laundry list

 • diamoric bisexual

 • nonbinary transmasculine

 • aro/ace spectrum

coming out is virtue signaling

coming out is bullshit

coming out is never done

coming out is ignored

coming out is erased

coming out is vilified

coming out is dismissed

coming out is survival

coming out is death

coming out is heartache

coming out is ecstasy

coming out is terrifying

coming out is comforting

Coming out is not our salvation

Coming out is not our salvation

coming out is not our salvation

!

coming out is just a thing

and you can do it 

or you can not

.

coming out is just a thing

and they can do it

or they can not

That Thing Where We are Expected to Suffer in Inspirational Silence

There is an attitude in our dominant colonizer culture that struggling in silence is both a sign of moral superiority and open suffering is either embarassing or infuriating for those viewing and consuming that pain. This no doubt serves to weaken and divide people, communicate to them/us how little value their/our lives hold for those that would judge that perceived worth. 

If I(and others) suffer in socially accepted and enforced silence* I’m told that I am sooo brave just for living, that they couldn’t fathom living my life which they perceive as terrible beyond measure,  then fundamentally patted dismissively and sent on my way to continue not bothering them with my hardships. 

If i have the temerity to speak up for myself or others, if I have the audacity to name my pains and pressures, I am called a complainer, faker, overly sensitive, mean, fanatical, angry, dramatic, or a liar. All labels meant to take away my value, to render my feelings and humanity meaningless and empty. 

This process is even more dangerous, insidious, and pervasive for IBPOC who are less likely to be believed, empathized with, supported,  or given the benefit of the doubt by white people. Black women and enbies particularly carry intersections of oppression that leaves them most vulnerable to this slow social death in “nice” comfortable middle America. 

My whiteness, my ability to speak in a way socially acceptable to middle-class white America, and my relative stability all protect me from broader and larger social violence no matter what other ways I am harmed by my culture and my people. That is not anything that I can or should ignore. I have much relative and literal privilege and protection.

.
Even with those protections, if I am silent I am a sweet nonthreatening paragon of virtue dismissed and held as example to guilt and control others. 
If I speak the shape of what harms me, speak my reality, I am an embarrassment, something to be avoided and ignored, something to be shamed, blamed, and silenced. 

.
What does it say about our culture that we have so little ability to sincerely empathize with people who have experienced different things than us? What does it say about us that we would rather ignore those around us that are hurt in different ways than we are or were, than acknowledge that we are part of that harm, or that it indeed exists at all? What does it say about us that we protect abusers and ignore the abused?*

It’s been said that existing is a radical act when society wants to peel you away from the world. I think speaking in the face of that crushing pressure is radical as well, even when that speaking is to simply say, this shit is terrible, I’m tired, I’m hurting, I’m not sure I can take this anymore. It matters. You matter. Your life and feelings matter. 

Today I am struggling with financial anxiety, deep painful and abiding dysphoria, physical pain and fatigue, acute asthma, months of autistic burnout,  executive dysfunction that makes everything ten times more complex or impossible, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and isolation. I refuse to carry shame for saying that outloud. 

I am a person not an inspirational video, you are too. 
Name your pain, struggle, your despair. 

Taste the shape of it without shame.
Share here if you feel comfortable

You are allowed to live, not just exist for others benefit, for others sense of self. 

Please also support, pay, and share writers, activists, and articles that have inspired you to be less ashamed or helped you feel less broken if you would like. Let’s give credit where it is due, spread some of that empowerment around. 

*Rhizome speaks often and with great artistry about the social pressures applied to oppressed people, especially multiply oppressed IBPOC in both wider society and numerous superficially socially liberal microcommunities, to keep them quiet and unobtrusive to the majority. I strongly suggest you check out X’s body of work. 

*Michon created the term abuse culture to describe this phenomenon, it is quite apt. Michon is involved in multiple endeavors to dismantle abuse culture including Cuil Press  and Postmodern Woman. Michon is doing important work that you should definitely check out. 

If you learn something or appreciate their work (and other IBPOC writers, thinkers, activists, and advocates) share resources and funds with them. 

On Defining Self

#30daysofpride: day 9: What subculture do you belong to?*

I have never really fit well into a specific group. In high school I hung out with the punks and stoners but didn’t consider myself a punk or a stoner. I hung out with the academic kids but didn’t keep my grades up at all, and over the years that lack of ease in a specific social group has carried over. 

I feel some connection to geek culture, to autistic communities, to non-binary communities, to the disabled community, to the chronic illness community, to transgender communities, to parenting communities, activist communities, multi sexual communities, kink communities, ethical non monogamy communities, art communities, fiber arts communities, literary communities, birth communities, and academic communities. But none of these sub-cultures explain me so thoroughly to leave it at that, to feel comfortable summing myself up as just this one specific thing. Just like everything in this world, each one of those sub groups has problems that need addressed or dealt with. 

In reality, just like anyone else I am not one thing, I am many things, I am none of them. I am myself. I am the sum of all my histories and all my futures yet to come. 

But I really like Dr Who, so there is that. 
*the original question used the word tribe, which is problematic for many reasons. Non indigenous people should not use the word tribe when we mean village or subculture, read more about some of the problems with that word here.

Ageism in Radical Queer Communities

Guest post By Rhizome Syndrigast Coelacanth Flourishing

​This is from a thread I participated in earlier this year where folx had allowed  a uncritiqued ageism to reign over me:
“Folx use Elder as a label for all older/aging folx they encounter should rethink that.
The word is loaded with, yes, cultural significance, that is never unpacked in terms of expectations for folx who have that label affixed to their existences.
Most folx who have this label affixed to who they are, have often already accepted it as construct, never having realized there was space to question or even refuse it.
I refuse it.

I challenge it.

I am not interested in having the label and any accompanying, unspecified, coercive expectations that might or might not come with the word affixed to my existence.
If we’re radically unpacking ageism, Elder uncritically used as a term, has no place in this thread.
I don’t need you to keep my words in mind.
I need you to hear me saying using Elder as a general word for all older or aging folx without their permission, given that Elder comes with a whole whack load of historical, cultural and social significance, is oppressive.
Where and when possible unless you’re already dealing with folx who you know have accepted/embraced the term, you really should ask.
I don’t like being referred to as Elder by random qt folx who do not share precisely what they mean when they use this term in relation to me. 
I don’t like not being asked if I’d like to have the weight of their need, hopes and expectations attached to my existence, to my place among young/er politicized folx, to my sexuality, to my resistance work.
Elder, when used by high profile up and coming folx in community can also be a competitive, patronizing death sentence.
I have never been so insulted by the tones of folx I’ve been attempting to engage with as I have felt in this thread.
The perception of who older or aging people are is completely infused with faux gentle, condescending tones that say “hush, hush dear older person. don’t work yourself up into a lather over this. it isn’t good for your heart. here’s your rocker and your knitting.”
Radical anti-ageism is probably not ever going to be a thing because so many marginalized folx who are older are struggling for daily basic survival.
This does not mean that folx who are younger and generally politicized get to uncritically assume a particular power relation/social dynamic. ”

If you learned from and/or appreciate this post. You can pay Rhizome for their labor via PayPal with the email rhizomesyndrigastflourishing@gmail.com

Generations

I have never liked shopping. Years of being hauled through row after row of pink fluffy torture/girl things made me infinitely defensive. Even once I was old enough to control where and how I shopped I did not enjoy it. I surveyed a store for possibilities, went in, checked sizes, made a choice and got out. It was efficient. I was even weirdly proud of it. Hullo unexamined internalized misogyny.

As I got older, came to realize my gender identity, and come out as the transgender person I was and am, I came to understand my shopping discomfort a bit better. Shopping still isn’t really fun for me most of the time. Clothes either don’t fit me right or are way out of my price range (boutique queer clothing companies I am looking right at you). It can be really exhausting and depressing. 

So that is where I was in my relationship with shopping when my daughter came into the world. When I was young and imagined having daughters, I imagined being the perfect tomboy’s mom, the mom I would have wanted. Of course things never turn out the way we expect them to. My daughter started choosing the bright and beautiful things as soon as I thought to offer her a choice. She fully embraces and loves everything about her girlhood…and she is no doubt a girl. She tells us that as well.  Z is in fact every aspect of girlhood that intimidated me as a child. She is everything that I was sure I would never be able to successfully parent, and she makes it an absolute joy. 

She is also, like myself, autistic, adverse to change that she hasn’t initiated herself, and has very specific sensory preferences and needs. So seasonal clothing and shoe style changes have sometimes been stressful for her and I. It can take time to get accustomed to shoes or clothes that touch our bodies in different ways. As such we have been going on sandal test runs the last few weeks, trying all the different types of shoes and walking away if it gets uncomfortable or overwhelming for her. 

It was under these conditions that I found myself sitting on the floor of a shop, surrounded by a pile of ultra femme sandals, two toddlers, my nesting partner, and enjoying myself immensely. She so earnestly loves shopping for frilly, fluffy, pink, and pretty things. It is impossible not to share in her joy as she hunts down unicorns, rhinestone rainbows, pink superheroes, and cute skirts. This week we had success too. She found a pair of shoes that were both glamorous and felt good on her feet. They have silver butterflies. She is stomping around the livingroom in them right now, singing about lunch. 

So at almost forty years old I have learned to appreciate shopping, fashion, extremely girly things, and even the color pink. I am extremely late to the party, my sincere apologies for all the times I thought all those things were insufferable. I have learned better now happily. I have the best, most fabulous teacher. She says she is a princess queen, and I for one believe her.