Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nightmares of Madden: Life in a Chicago Public Mad House - Part One

     I've got a new addiction. It's Orange is the New Black.  As I was watching it, I started having flashbacks. Not to prison. I've never been. I flashed back to a place where the inmates are treated like prisoners. Where people who have been to prison say the food, and atmosphere in general, is worse than prison. A place where people die, are sexually harassed, are raped and then blamed for being raped by the people who failed to protect them, are denied basic nutritional and medical needs, are encouraged by the guards to physically fight without being truly protected from threats of violence, where powerful drugs are administered that turn you into a walking zombie. A place that is supposed to have been a mental health center, not two years ago, roughly October 2013, right after my birthday, in Chicago, USA.
     It is not always easy for people without mental illness to understand it, but most people know what it feels like to be extremely sad, and everyone experiences moments of irrationality and delusional thinking. Irrational thinking is not a mental illness by itself, because it is so normal.  A mental illness is when something is happening in your brain that causes your mood to be unstable enough and your thoughts irrational enough on a consistent basis that it interferes with your life. People with mental illnesses may often be seen by dramatic films as violent, highly delusional stereotypes, but most mental patients are completely normal people who just happen to have an illness.  In my case, it was a severe depressive episode.
    A family member had been sexually assaulted.  It was the first and only time I had felt a literally murderous rage shake my body, and I understood that "seeing red" is actually a pretty much literal phrase. I had always been afraid that I would be raped, and I had of course feared for other family members, but it still felt like something impossible had happened, like a monster I had dreamed of had walked out of my nightmares and was lurking in my every shadow.  Watching her go through the pain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - crying, screaming, grabbing for a knife to cut herself with right in front of us while I wrestled it out of her hands, not wanting to be touched by anyone for any reason, always needing a light on and not wanting to sleep on a pillow because her rapist had used one to try to suffocate her while she was intoxicated and helpless but trying to struggle and scream, knowing how her body had been damaged as she went to doctors to get medical treatment, watching people in her life blame, shame, and deny her as they continued to hang out with a rapist whose ex-girlfriend was also terrified of him, the entire family going to court to get a restraining order because we were unable to get criminal charges filed because she did not at first think a man holding her down, hitting, choking, and suffocating her was really a rape.... the experience was not only traumatizing for the direct victim, it hurt our entire family, and the person who did that is still free today, because of how our society mistreats rape victims.
    At the exact same time, I had just lost my independence and my home due to my work hours being cut back and difficulties finding a second job.
      But it wasn't just those things. Something chemical was happening inside me, in my brain, that caused a Depressive Episode.
      I have been poor and struggling my entire adult life, and I had for the most part been perfectly happy that way.  There is a difference between depression and regular stress or feeling "bummed out" or ennui. When I am not having a depressive episode, something terrible like a family death can occur, every day stresses of poverty like barely having enough money for groceries can wear on me, but I do not hit the depths of sadness - barely able and totally unwilling to summon energy to do basic things like clean my room, obsessive self-hatred, paranoid thoughts that long time loyal friends secretly hated me, little ability to find even a few moments of joy in my life.
    Depression runs in my family. More than one family member has "successfully" committed suicide, and many of us have tried, or at least become obsessed with the idea.  So when I became so obsessed that the part of me that still wanted to live and still was sane enough to want to protect my family from the pain of losing someone in what I knew damn well was the most terrible way to lose someone, I turned myself in to a mental hospital because I believed it was where I needed to be to recover and keep myself safe.... from myself.  Because part of me was still sane enough to know I could be happy again, and I desperately wanted to be happy again (and now I am!). After all, when it really comes down to it, the idea of living your life in misery so other people can be happy (to have a miserable loved one in their life rather than losing that loved one) is a terrible proposition. A suicidal person can be persuaded to endure a painful life for their family, but it is far better to be able to know that you will not always have to endure constant pain - and the intense sadness of depression is very painful.
    When I went to get help, I thought the hospital would be like the other hospitals I had been in, back when I was still on the family insurance. Strict, constant monitoring by guards who kept us safe. Really good food, better than I ever ate on the Outside, food that I could just feel repairing my weakened body and brain with serious Nutrition; boiled eggs, fresh burgers, crisp broccolis, a different feast every day that we were able to choose for ourselves. Consistant groups and classes. Sure, there were downsides, too, it wasn't a paradise - only compared to Madden.
   I was in the ravine in the woods sobbing.   Trying to gather the courage to slit my wrist.  After a long time I realized I really couldn't do it. I called my sister. She sang Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" to me over the phone.  I laughed, not because she didn't know the second verse began, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Death", but because she really did remind me why I really wanted to live. For her. and not just for her. For all of us. For me too.
    My mom called the cops and then called them off when I came up muddy from the woods, ditching my blade in a hollow tree where it must be rusting now.  I was wearing three day old clothes with no underwear and I probably hadn't showered in a while so I surely reeked.  I had cuts on my arm from trying to work up the nerve to slash the big one. I hid the sleeping pills and aspirin I had brough to take as a back up because pills are expensive; my mom found them later and got rid of them. We went to County hospital ER.  I was nearly catatonic. I remember the nurse snapping her fingers in my face and saying "hello!" because I couldn't or wouldn't answer questions, like where I got that big cut. I always think it's stupid when they try to bandage me up after I cut myself, like they're taking care of a wound when I don't deserve or need it, when I'm in that state.  My mother stayed with me until I asked her to leave because in wanting to fix me, somehow, she was just stressing me out, not that she wasn't doing her best from a place of love.
   I was visited by a few doctors and counselors.  One man I remember in particular because he talked to me about transgender issues and how he works with trans youth.  He had a very realistic attitutude about things like drugs and medication - most counselors in these places will take a very Just Say No hard line, but he acknowledged that something like marjuana might vary in efficacy from user to user. I trust people like that much more than the Just Say No, Not Even Once crowd.
   I was put in a room with two Latina ladies. The tiny elderly woman wanted to watch Telenovelas and I was happy to oblige. I practiced my Spanish talking with her. The younger one got sick of the TNs and we made a compromise. We were all in there overnight, almost 24 hours. The nurse got really angry at one of the women for vomiting at one point, but she was old and sick and couldn't help it and had been trying to tell them, I was angry at the nurse for being like that in front of the patients. In the middle of the night a man who only spoke Spanish was brought in in restraints, with a cop guarding him, and was screaming. The guards were saying he was a drunk who abused his wife and daughters. I heard them talk to each other about how to tell him things like calm the fuck down, so I taught them a few words in my pigeon Spanish. I felt good, useful. I felt like being in the hospital would be good for me.
   I was transferred to Madden. The regulations are that I had to be restrained in a bed, I had to wear a paper gown.  It makes you feel like less of a person, like an animal. The young man who sat with me in the back of the van was very nice. It was comforting.
    When I got to the facility, I went through the usual routine - surrendering my dirty clothes and wallet and phone and whatever else I had on me, answering a bunch of questions that I had already answered to someone else.  I knew right away that this facility would be awful. The younger Latina who had been at the ER had been so nervous about the hospital had been so worried, I had comforted her, and one of my major selling points was the food. All we got here, after over half a day without food or shower or real rest, was a burnt bowl of oat meal. I could picture her face and I felt like I had betrayed her, The bathroom was worse than at a Public Chicago High School in the 'hood. The guard treated me like I had personally done a series of terrible things to her and was now being imprisoned instead of someone who was suicidal and had turned myself in to get help and had just arrived.  Then I was transferred to my ward.
     As they processed me a guard made a joke about how I cut myself, like it was funny or cool or criminal when to me it was sick and painful and shameful. I was so angry at her for that moment of being so unprofessional.
    When I got there, I didn't want to see or talk to anyone. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was in a psych ward. When I am in a deep depressive state, I am afraid of all people and try to hide as much as possible; I get massive anxiety about things like people looking at me, large crowds, and using the phone. So I stayed in bed. I slept for a long time, then slept some more.  I finally had to come out for meals and slowly began engaging and socalizing. I wanted to get better.
   There was one advantage at Madden over other facilities that I want to mention before I really trash the place, because it really wasn't all bad, and there's one very strong reason why, and that is (most of) the people, especially the women (but there were certain men in particular who will always have a place in my heart too).  In other facilities, the psychologists were elite and unreachable, and a lot of the staff had an elitist attitude like they couldn't really understand our struggles. The staff at Madden had a few Rotten Assholes, but there were a lot of people there who were working really hard, for very little money, as a labor of love.  I was able to see my counselor by my own request after a few days, whereas in richer-people hospitals you got one, maybe two, visits on your way out the door. I was able to talk to a lot of people about my issues. They couldn't necessarily do anything about it, but they listened, they really cared, and they really felt me. There was the lady who played Scrabble and the Deaf man who gave a quiet strength and a big heart to our recreation, and the social workers who knew most of us had been abused and taught us not to blame ourselves.... there were a lot of good people holding up that shitty roof. And they were honest. They knew the food was bad, they knew it wasn't the best place to work. They put up with a lot of abuse from the patients and (except for the Rotten Assholes) were remarkably patient and understanding.  The staff are not the main problem at that place. The main problem is the main problem the poor always have - no money. And yes, getting screwed by a system that doesn't care about the poor and sick.

Next installment, I will talk more about what happened when the shit really started to hit the fan - about why a hardcore Atheist found zirself leading Bible studies, whether or not I actually killed a "wealthy" bitch over some coloring book pages, just what kind of drugs you can get when you throw a tantrum there, what a panic attack feels like, the war veteran who thought I was his cheating ex-girlfriend when I was actually a mental patient asking him to intervene agaisnt sexual harassment, the girl who couldn't remember her name or how to deal with her period, and more. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Recommends!: Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls

Jessica's comics are amazing because they give the reader an unapologetic look into the life of a trans woman and teach trans feminism some comics are just about her own life, like human awkwardness at a party, others are biting criticisms of mainstream transmysogyny in our culture. I would describe her art style as conveying the general feeling of a bubbly but awkward girl next door and the writing as a sensible SJW, which is a compliment. I recommend her not just to trans people but to cis people who want to be good allies to trans people. Manic Pixie Nightmare Girls is on Tumble and Facebook for free, pretty much weekly. She is strict about maintaining a safe space on FB but can also be very kindly indulgence with people who just need a little help understanding her POV, not that she should have to indulge us in that way.

Bill Clinton is (almost definitely) a rapist and sexual harasser

While Bill Cosby is finally having to pay for his lifetime of serial rapes, Bill Clinton has never had to pay. Most people don't even know Bill C. was accused of rape and sexual harassment multiple times, and that it was THOSE accusations that led to a national "scandal" about one consensual sexual ecounter he had as president.  Take a moment to think about how fucked up that is - people got really upset and pissed off that the man had consensual sex with someone other than his wife, and completely forgot about a string of rape and harassment allegations.
In (probably) 1978 at the Camelot hotel, according to five witnesses and the victim herself, Clinton allegedly raped a nursing home administrator. This was covered in the Wall Street Journal and other prominent news publications.  The brave survivor of this rape, Juanita Broaddrick, said that Clinton tried to apologize to her in 1991, and she told him, rightly, to "go to hell", because she does not owe a rapist her forgiveness.  After all, the most powerful man in the country certainly was willing to keep hurting her by continuing to deny it publicly and legally. One witness found the victim "distraut" directly afterwards, the others were informed by the victim afterwards.  The victim did not come forward publicly for many years, as most rape victims do not, especially in the 70s.
In 1998, a woman named Kathleen Willey said Clinton had groped her in a hallway in 1993. Her case was dismissed by authorities.
Clinton was also known to use the Jeffrey Epstein private airline, which solicited underage teenage prostitutes (which is rape; a young teenager is not old enough to consent to sex work with adults). Epstein refused to admit or deny his relationship with Clinton.  Epstein's victims, the teenage sex slaves, later sued, if anyone reading this is sick enough to doubt that young girls lack the agency to be prostitutes.
Paula Jones brought a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton.  Jones was raked through the coals in the media, and Clinton is still seen as a hero whose only crime was consensual sex, but Clinton ultimately had to pay her $850,000 to settle the suit, indicating that it was not without merit.  Most people forget that Jones was talking about HARASSMENT, not consensual sex. They also forget that the Clinton impeachment was based on perjury, not consensual sex.

Why is a powerful white man who was president able to get away with rape? Well the answer is self evident in the question.

But it is past time that we started holding him accountable for his crimes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Believe Them: Cosby and Rape Culture

When women first began telling people around them that Bill Cosby had raped them, over 30 years ago, the victims were discouraged from reporting to police, victim-blamed, made to believe that taking on a powerful man would destroy the victim's life and result in no justice.  This was the typical handling of rape victims at the time and prior to that time for thousands of years in a sexist society in which women had only recently earned the vote. (
When one woman got some small measure of justice in court, and the man admitted to activities that confirmed he was a rapist, those records were kept from the public, the woman presurred to settle out of court, the press ditched the story, and the powerful man was able to go on to rape over 40 women.

When women again began reporting on this rape years later, older and more secure in a society that is less sexist and beginning to rebel against rape culture and fight for the rights of rape victims, the first women to report were told by the public that their word was not strong enough evidence to be believed. It's only one woman, they said, she is lying for money. Even though there is no money to be had from saying a rape occurred many years ago, and there certainly isnt any positive /attention to be had when people are calling you a liar and worse.  Whenever a rape victim stands up for herself, men and even women come crawling out of the internet woodwork to call her names and harass her.  Not that it's only online; in real life, women have been driven to suicide by angry mobs after taking their rapist to court, even when there is enough evidence including an actual photo or video of the rape that the rapists actually are convicted. (

Of course, when rapists are convicted, even the rapists of children are too often given a slap on the wrist.  We read about people who raped children being freed after a handful of years - such as the rapist who was recently dating "Honey Boo Boo"'s mother, the rapists who live in "Miracle Village" (, the judge who reduced a TODDLER rapist's sentence because he "didnt intend to harm" a TODDLER when he RAPED A TODDLER (, the prosecutor who called a ELEVEN year old gang rape victim a "spider" and blamed her for being assaulted by GROW MEN (, the young teen mocked online for being a rape victim: (, the Stuebenville case in which an entire community harassed the victim and protected the rapists, all while documenting the rape, then the proven rapists got less than two years in jail and the adults complicit got a slap on the wrist (; then of course there's rapsts like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Stephen Collins, the latter a confessed rapist, who are beloved while their victims are attacked.  Then there are men who raped women or other men who walk free, like Mike Tyson, a brutal rapist who was offered a TV show after release.  People just don't care much about protecting people from rape.  Drug dealers get longer sentences. Homosexuals get more social condemnation.

Through all this, men are gathering online to express fear that women are demanding consent; of course, this fear for them is twisted into a fear of "false" rape accusations; many rapists don't truly understand what consent even is.  Many men even believe that being married to a woman, or having had a relationship with her once, or a woman being drunk or unconcious or seen as promiscuous, entitles a man to force her into sexual activities. This isn't something that evil Social Justice Feminasties invented, it's something that is well documented by science, such as case study interviews with rapists, and law enforcement like the FBI. 
Stats collected from FBI etc:

Yet as more women are finding the courage and the social support to fight more forcefully against rape culture, many men are reacting by simply calling women liars. Nevermind the data.

As more women came out to support each other and bravely tell the world that they are survivors of rape, people continued to defend Cosby, saying that all these women and the various witnesses that also came forward, and of course all the journalists and lawyers involved with the accusations and legal case, must all be working together in an elaborate conspiracy to destroy one man for no real reason.  Because it makes a lot more sense that 60 or so people would work together flawlessly on a seemingly pointless conspiracy. It makes no sense when you break it down. Does the man really even have enough money to go around to this cabal? Why wouldn't the Evil Conspiracy keep their numbers smaller to get a bigger share and ensure secrecy? Why out him when threatening to out him - er, I mean falsely accuse him - is a better way to get money; why would he give people money AFTER they already have spoken against him, when the statue of limitations is up?

Speaking of which - a man recently killed a known child rapist ( because he was unable, after many years, to prevent the man from raping.  The judge lowered the charges and the jury applauded the man. Yet online, the rapist has his defenders, who again believe that the multiple adult survivors of this abuse coming forward today to suppor the survivor who killed the child rapist are all in on some grand conspiracy together - because a man killing his old scout leader for no reason and making up a lie about rape, and somehow getting other people to have his back while in police custody, makes more sense than a man wanting to get revenge and protect kids from a rapist.

People will go to all sorts of insane lengths to excuse and protect rapists. And it needs to stop. Becuase ANYONE can be a victim and the only way to protect ourselves is by making the world safer for victims to come forward and less safe for rapists to walk free.

The majority of rape victims never report. Of those that do, the majority of rapists never spend a day in jail, nevermind getting a serious sentence of more than a few months. 

Police have turned away rape victims by blaming them or denying that they were raped, or even prosecuting them ( and then covering up their mistake.  Police have also, of course, tortured and raped and murdered people. 

Police, judges and other people tell sex workers they cannot be raped ( because apparently being a sex worker means your body is public property in their view, to be tortued as much as anyone wishes, because being a sex worker (which is often not even a choice, some women, girls, and boys and men are sex slaves) makes you subhuman in some way to their eyes. 

People make a joke about men being raped in prison (women are also raped in prison, often by guards, and they dont deserve it for things like being a drug addict), people think men cant be raped by women. 

Tens of thousands of rape kits have gone untested. For decades. Meaning police ARENT EVEN INVESTIGATING rapes when victims come forward.

Society blames and shames rape victims and denies the realities of rape.

What can you do? Properly educate yourself. Talk  to your loved ones, especially young teens and pre-teens, about consent. Stand up for rape victims when others say ignorant things.  Vote for politicians who will support victims. Get in touch with your local police and pressure them to support victims. Donate or volunteer for rape crisis organizations. Attend a Slut Walk or other protest in support of reforms. Write you respresentatives and demand change, support change in your social life, online, in your workplace. And keep educating yourself throughout.

What we need is a social change. We need people to be educated about consent and rape. We need police and the general public to be supportive towards rape victims. We need rapes adequately investigated and prosecuted. We need to end the statute of limitations and increase sentencing and sentences so that rapists are kept away from the general public. We as a society need to decide that rape is a serious crime and do something about it. And that starts by not pretending the problem does not exist. We need to start believing victims instead of automatically condemning them. We need people to be able to trust us with their pain, and we need to help protect those people - and in doing so, we can protect ourselves and our children.

Need help?
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. (via RAINN)

edit: I was thinking a bit more about the racial aspect of the Cosby case in particular.  I won't go too much into it, but I would like to say that (1) black men are certainly more likely to be seen a predatory (see my open letter to Dylann Roof), and more likely to be punished for rape. White men like Bill Clinton (who, yes, was accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault) are more likely to get away with it. (2) Of the very, very, VERY rare instances of actual false rape accusations, black men have disproportionately been victims (ie lynching), although in some of those cases a rape had actually occurred, the lynching victim just didn't get a fair trial and may not have been the actual rapist; in some cases, consensual sex may have been misconstrued as rape by white men (not by the female in question) with proprietary attitudes towards women. This is also true of most unjust rape accusations that are later exonerated - a stranger rape did occur, but the wrong offender was imprisoned. (3) Black women deserve to be protected from rape. Black women were systematically raped by white men, but they have also been raped by black men, and some of Cosby's victims were women of color, so while it is certainly racist that Cosby gets more negative press than men like Woody Allen, it is also racist to presume that the women of color are not victims of rape deserving of protection.

Edit: I would like to add that in Cosby's own words, in his own deposition, he said no woman had asked him for money. All they asked was for an apology. He refused.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Machina Treatment; Hyana: the Dead Marsh March

tentatively titled "The Machina Treatment", the story takes place in an (alt universe) earth city called Shikaga not long after earth is invaded & colonized by aliens.  Some humans, called "homs", have been essentially transformed into cyborgs. This is a flashback scene, but the main narrative will take place thousands of years from this point, at which point there will be very few homs left, all of the cyborg variety, basicly in hiding - until a young hom of unknown origins appears & ignites a revolution....
Other the shit you should know about this world : there is a zombie-like plague that the aliens brought with them, & the cyborg technology was partially modeled after a biological process call "vorm-ing" that some aliens are capable of, which is essentially changing your body from a solid to a liquid &/ gas.

Hyana: The Dead Marsh March

Yip realized he was shivering, shaking the sticky rotten visceral guts he was stuck in like a giant tape-worm thrashing around in the beast’s corpse, as if it were still fighting for life.  He fought to keep his body still, focusing on the sound of moaning, scraping feet coming closer, but he still had no power to control his limbs. He opened his eyes slowly, a sliver at a time, seeking through the bloody slit of furry skin.  He could see the faces of the Dead Men glowing, just in sight, through the weeds – bony fingers like claws outstretched - & in the distance, lit up by a giant red moon, his eyes struggled upwards through the bloodied fur & guts, reaching up to grasp the lone loping shadow staggering over the highest point in the Black Hills with the small body of a fresh kill slung over its’ back. As he clutched his teeth together to keep them from chattering and shut his eyes tight to silence their light & their horrible visions again, Yip thought bitterly that when had dreamed of adventures in the wild, this was not what he had pictured.

this thought had first come to him early on- after  weeks of aching feet and aching bellies crossing endless expanses of Nothing, silently listening for danger, searching the dry cracked ground for weeds to eat – if this was adventure, he thought, how much more exciting to be safe at home in bed with a viewscreen!  But all that was gone now – he’d be lucky to live through it.  No Hom had- why did he think he would be any different?

As the days wore on, Yip’s hope that the food would last the journey through the Dead Marsh had slowly drained away.  Griff did not mind – Marlocks store nutrients in the large bumps sticking out all over their skin like bulbous zits. & Zelop was a small, spiky reptilian, he could go a very long time with very little but bugs to eat.

Griff did what he could to comfort Yip, carrying him for long stretches..  Yet Hyana, a mere hom like himself, did not seem to fear death,  tho she herself had said that no hom had crossed the Dead Marsh and lived. With her it sounded like a challenge.

Nothing ever seemed to worry Hyana, the Shadow Huntress. She may have been a hom, a primitive Earther ape native, but Yip often thought she must be part machine.  She wore a cold stone mask no matter what happened, whether tredging hours through sinking mud or starving or skinning a fresh kill, it made no difference to her – she never seemed to suffer, to feel the slightest pain, never complained, always moving steadily & silently – she could kill as easily as one swats a fly, with that much emotion.  It was only when she was hunting – stalking her prey – that Yip could almost see almost see light behind her eyes -  hidden though they were behind a thin bent panel of black glass.  She was grim, but not solemn, exactly– the corners of her mouth seemed permanently lifted in a smug little smirk, as if she were always laughing at the expense off the rest of the world, holding deep within her a cruel joke that only she had the wisdom to understand.

Her skin seemed to shift into the shadows or whiten in the sun like a DawnScraper,  seemed to Yip she could be black as night or white as the sands of the Endless Desert.

If Yip was puzzled and awed by Hyana, the Marlocks were staggered by this strange hom. “Our fem Hom there, it no sleep?”  Griff grumfed, shifting his aft-hump closer to the watch fire.

“All homs sleep, Griff, even the Huntress- sometime.. right, Yip?” Zelop said.

“yup” Yip said.  Yet he thought to himself that he had never once seen her so much as close her eyes completely.

“that one there, no sleep.  Griff watch. Huntress has open eyes – starlit, dark, every breath.   Homs is Darkers, no?”

Zelop snorted. “Shit, Griff, how long you been on this planet? Homs ain’t Darkers or StarSiders.  This planet rotates, scumsucker. Even the slowest shadow stalker could see that!  Day and Night are a matter of time, not distance –  or didn’t you notice?”

Marlocks never laugh, so Griff did not, but he did seem amused – “Homs is Dawnscrapers, then – dark & light- sun & shadow.”

“yup. We sleep at night cuz we can’t see so good, tho.”

suddenly he felt himself grabbed from behind. A squeal emerged from his throat into a leather gloved hand.  It was Hyana.

“Never tell anyone your weaknesses, noob.” She hissed in his ear, “& especially never attempt to discern mine.” she tossed him lightly back to the ground. With her other hand, she pulled a string of critter corpses from her shoulders – all she’d been able to catch on the dry plains –little birds & rats.

 “meat” she glowed,  picking up a knife and bending to strip away the skin.

Yip looked around at his companions, who didn’t seem to have noticed – they were drooling towards the meat.  Hyana set the naked meat on the spit.  Her eyes glittered as he glared at her – but his eyes lowered to the meat and he held his tongue.  Hyana did not-

“take what we call Firebirds.  Guess what their weakness is?”

She flicked her fingers and flames shot out into the sky,

Yip shrieked and cowered under a rock.

The flames exploded colors into the blacknesss.  Orange and purple and shades the hom-eyed watchers could not see.  Glinting off Hyana’s shark-teethed as she grinned against the lighted sky...

Yip watched as two red & yellow winged birds suddenly appeared, screeching, flapping down at them as if to stamp them out or scratch them up and eat them.  Hyana drew her bow, shot them down, & began carving them up.

“how did you do that?” Yip asked Hyana wonderingly, “what was that thing?”

Firebursts”. Hyana grinned,”a hom  spawn, scum-ape earther , who does not know firebursts? Tsk, tsk, what is this world coming to?”

“Well, I didn’t come from Homs…”

no shit, let me guess - you were raised by Japners? those pointy headed little spider fucks  with skin like jagged rock?”

“don’t call them that. They’re Jasperians.  They’re my family.”

“Our Huntress is Speciesist.”  Griff grunted.

“How can a Hom be Specieist?” Zelop said to him, “We’re the ones who took over their planet.”

“you’re their dog,” Hyana taunted Yip,  “They cut off your balls and teach you to do tricks?”  

Yip blushed and scowled.  “you don’t know anything.”

Zelop made a screeching sound & flicked his upper tongue in the air like a razor-edged ribbon – “Japners are scum.  They take other species as pets.”

“My Jasperian family respects me!” Yip protested, rising, cheeks flushed red.

Hyana did not even look at him. He threatened her about as much as a small child might. “If you like them so damn much, why aren’t you with them instead of out here crossing this death trap like a fool?”

“Same reason as you –  I wanna lay my stakes on that Asteroid.” Yip pulled his small pickaxe from his belt where he kept it for use as a sort of multi-tool.  He didn’t have the first clue what he’d be mining, but a giant hunk of rock fallen from space had to have something useful inside it, if the memes of smiling miners on his viewscreen’s book of faces were true as they felt.

Hyana seemed to creep forward, through the shadows, her white eyes gleaming- “Seems to me like you’re running from something.  I know the scent of desperation, and it’s all over you.”

Yip said nothing – swallowing hard, he slumped back down in his seat, put away his axe, packed up & pulled smoke from his pipe to keep water from flowing from his eyes. He had started to think he should hide himself from Hyana, curl up inside his shell. Bow your head and follow. Good Dog.

Hyana tore off a small chunk of raw Marshrat in her claws and began chewing it as the fire crackled over the tiny bodies tied in a line to the spit. Griff had begun chewing on the feathers the Huntress had discarded.  Zelop, uninterested In meat or fire, had crawled uphill to stare at the sky.

“Ice storm coming” He screeched.

Hyana nodded.  “gonna stick your head in the mud, Lizard-man?”

Zelop bit at his front claw “& sleep away my share of the bounty?  I’m a better digger than any of you hot-bloods.”

He scuttled out to the edge of a rock to catch moon-rays while the  mammals settled under furs before the fire.

The next morning when Yip woke, Zelop was gone.  They looked all over, but there was no trace of the lizard.  Finally Griff said he must have dug himself a hole and hibernated after all.  The ice storm never hit.

Soon there were fewer and fewer animals to kill for meat,  less edible vegetation, & only the greenest of water.   Yip began to really understand that the Dead Swamp was not a casual nickname, & it finally occurred to him that he, too, could die. The fear he would be the next to fall gripped him like ice.

But he was wrong. It happened shortly after a rare miracle occured, & Hyana was able to catch a snake & make snake stew with some foragings. As they crossed the muddy swamp on fallen trees, suddenly Griff kneeled over in the mud.  He began to sink.

“pull him out!” Hyana screamed.  She had already fashioned a rope, which she threw around his head.  “Get down there & push!” she called to Yip, cracking her whip against his ankle.  Yip was afraid to go in the mud, but he thought of all the times Griff had carried him, and he struggled against the big body.  Griff seemed dead already, seemed to push against him as if to bring him into the swampy afterlife with him, but Hyana pulled hard on his neck and they laid his massive body out on the shore.  Yip thrust his head to one of the creature’s hearts and listened until long after it stopped beating.

“What do we do now?” Yip asked mournfully, looking up at Hyana through Griff’s still silent fur.

“We eat him.” The Huntress said calmly.

“We can’t!” Yip cried.

“Why not?”

“What if he’s poisoned? We could get sick.”

“Oh, he was poisoned.” She grinned, “ but we won’t get sick.”

“What do you mean?”

“carrots.” She growled. “they’re poison to Marlocks.”  She began slitting open Griff’s sagging hump, “but not to us. “

“how do you know that?”

“Nevermind how I know. He’s dead. meat’s meat.”  She flicked her hand and out shot her knife.

“Griff isn’t meat!” Yip protested.  He wanted to get down and hug his friend’s carcass, but he could not make his leaden legs move.  He trembled.

“Fuck’s sake, Yip, you dumbfuck Jarp-licker, he’s just a shaggy scumfuck humpback alien fatsacks.  If we don’t eat him, we starve, it’s simple as that. Why do you think they call it the Dead Marsh?  There’s no food anywhere, as far as I know there’s no other way to make it forward or even back & I know better than anyone; no way to carry enough food...  Marlocks, on the other hand, carry their food on their backs. & now he’s dead, and it’s our food.“ the corners of her mouth twitched.
 Far off, Yip thought he heard a Mad Dog laughed.  He gazed out at the rocky, jungle swamp around him, thick weeds reaching dead fingers towards dark clouds reflected in still green water. He wanted to look anywhere but Griff’s giant shaggy corpse being split under Hyana’s knife.  Suddenly a fury overwhelmed his more sensible cowardice -

“You – you – you only brought him here to kill him!” he screamed at her.

Hyana considered him a moment.  She seemed to hold his eyes with hers, a shock of white ice and deep midnight jungle black.  Yip felt wild panic but could not will himself to move.

“yes.” She said finally, rising slowly, body twisting towards him, bloodied knife in hand at her side.  Yip could not help it. He sprang back a pace and yelped.  Hyana chuckled low & spread her fingers, dropping the knife; both homs knew this didn’t truly disarm her. “Yip, my hom bro, I ain’t got shit against you if you got nothin’ on me, dig?”


“As it happens, Yip, I’m the only way in hell you’re going to survive this, even if it’s only for a few days....  All you have to do is listen to me & try not to do anything stupid, you understand?”


Good. Homs gotta stick together, right?  Build a fire.”

She stripped & flayed the meat and made a thick soup and pemmican balls out of the fat that had been stored in the hump.  Hyana made Yip help her drain the water first, through a bladder.  Yip kept thinking of Griff rubbing his big shaggy face against his in greeting and it made him dry-heave.

Hyana gave him water and warned him, fingers lightly tapping the back of his neck, “If you puke him up after we eat him, you’ll have to eat up the puke. We don’t have enough to be wasted.”  This, of course, only made him sick, but there was not yet anything in his stomach & he gasped dryly like a fish, half hoping he vomited his guts up and died right there.

He did not bother to ask if she knew what had happened to Zelop.

It was that night that the hail storm finally hit.  Hyana did not allow them to make camp.  They struggled against the rocky stones below two great shields Hyana had made from Grif’s circular bones.  Even in death, Grif was still protecting Yip.  And so was Hyana-

“So why do you keep me alive?” he shouted to her.

“You won’t stay alive long if you don’t pay attention.” She said flatly, just loud enough to be heard.

He ran a few paces and swung around to stand in front of her. The ice rocks hit against his spine.

“Why didn’t you kill me, too?” he moaned, staring into her silvery eyes.

“I need you, Yip.  Sometimes two do better than one.  Besides, Homs have to stick together.”  She pushed past him and continued climbing against the storm.  Yip ran after her.

“How do I know you won’t betray me?”

“I would never betray my own kind.” She said.  The corners of her mouth dancing.

In the morning when the storm settled Hyana made Yip another soup of Grif’s innards – she herself ate only the pemicin -& insisted on carrying him on her back so he could sleep.  He dreamed of riding inside of one of Griff’s humps, stuck inside the viscera, unable to breathe -  He woke to the sound of howling. Night had fallen.  Hyana, with him on his back, had shot a giant Darkwolf and her cub, which lay at her feet.

you’ll want your pick.” Hyana told him, handing the simple miner’s tool to him.


“I don’t need it. I’ve already got one.”

“What?” he gasped groggily, hoping this was still a dream.

A shadow fell across Hyana’s face.  The flashing panel wrapt tight below her eyes turned deep space   black – the corners of her mouth still teasing a smirk, the deadly snaggle-toothed grin of a shadowcat – only her eyes betrayed a flashing light – she spoke in a low purr, a growl as she slunk closer-

“don’t you know why homs never cross the Marsh Wastes?  It’s a fuckin’ breeding ground for the Corpse Plague, man.  The Dead walk deep in the Dark Marsh Waste – and you know what they like to eat, don’t you?”

Yip began to tremble.   Of course he  did.  Homs everywhere still spoke of the Corpse Plague in hushed voices.  The bodies of the dead rising to feed on the flesh of the living – suddenly he thought he could hear them groaning through the trees

“No!” he sputtered – “it’s not true! They’re all dead!”

“oh, they’re dead all right.” Hyana said.  “they’re dead and they smell blood. Can you run?”

“I can’t m-move my legs.”

Hyana grinned.  “Marlock liver.  Poison to homs. Paralyzes you. Those Dead Eaters love blood – especially hom blood.”  She reached down and shoved Yip into the wolf’s carcus.  In one swift motion, she lifted the cub over, onto her shoulder.  She grinned down at Yip, tucked inside the wolf.

“This bitch was following us long time, waiting for us to die.  They’ll smell her first, then they’ll smell you.  They have a preference for living hom hosts.”

“W-why are you doing this?  Yip called, fighting & failing to move his leadening limbs.

Hyana grin never faded.  “sometimes two go better than one” she growled.   “ I needed another hom to keep these fucks busy while I get past.”

“you said you’d never betray your own kind” Yip whined, eyes filling uselessly with water.

“I lied to you, Yip. I hate homs more than any other creature. You’re just meat to me like all the rest of them.”

As he pleaded weakly to her, she turned her back on him and continued her journey East as the Dead Eaters began stumbling from the woods towards the fresh meat.  

Years later they would talk of seeing a single figure walking alone down the mountain, and wonder how it was that all of Hyana’s party died and yet she seemed so unchanged, well fed and cheerful even, when she returned alone.

Trans People Are Tired of Holding Your Cissy Hand

    Trans people are constantly asked - demanded - to justify our existence, prove we are natural, prove we really have a right to dress how we want and control our own bodies how we want, prove aren't sick in the head, prove we aren't evil pervert sodomites who want to rape lesbians and diddle kiddies and trick men into sucking dick just because we break gender conventions.
     Most of this hate is focused on trans women; akin to the homophobic ire lashed against gay men that often forgets lesbians exist. For example, when AIDS is brought up as a reason homosexuality is wrong, it is logically inconsistent due to the fact that lesbians have a much lower rate of AIDS than straight women. If higher AIDS rates makes a sexual orientation incorrect in some way, logically women should be lesbians.  This is, of course, just one example of the dysfunctionality of homophobic rationalizations. The anger towards men who break gender boundaries - whether by having "feminine" qualities, by having sex with other men instead of women, or by rejecting their assigned male sex altogether - is generally thought to be generated from misogyny, from the desire to keep women in a lower social status. 
   Men rejecting, or failing to fit in to, the superior male status threatens that system. In the same way that bigots often ignore lesbians, they also often ignore trans men. As a result, activists also often ignore trans men.  Even more ignored by everyone are Non-Binary trans people, who identify as both man and woman, or as neither. There is also such a thing as the existence of intersex people, who are born with ambiguous genitalia that is often mutilated to conform to female or (rarely) male.
  The hateful narratives don't have room for any complexity, compassion, real data, or science. Bigots are not known for their research skills.
  When bigots demand answers from trans people, they don't listen to the answers.  Trans people, allies, human rights groups, and scientists who study transgender have put out tons of information in recent years. Organizations like the APA ( and the WHO ( have tons of info up on their websites. The scientific consensus supports trans identities and the human rights consensus supports trans rights. History books are starting to include us, there are blogs, there is just tons of information out there where once, very recently, we were virtually invisible. Rational, compassionate, informed people get it. So why don't the bigots? Because they don't want to.
  Every forum and (*shudder) comment section in which bigots are arguing with trans people and our allies is filled with the same misinformation/rationalizations over and over, and the same explanations being ignored, like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving bulldozing over their "libtard" niece with his conservative radio talking points without letting her get a word in. These bigots demand, relentlessly, to be proven wrong, and then when they are proven wrong they don't even follow links or take a moment to consider the rational arguments offered them in favor of equality, because they are too committed to feeling "right" about their original ignorant hate that they insist is neither hate or irrational, even when they are literally threatening trans people with anger-fueled violence (just because we are trans).
  Trans people are sick and tired of holding cis people's hands - even the "nice" ones who *want* to learn - and walking you through who we are. We are sick and tired of begging for simple equality and basic safety.  Even begging you to be quiet and go educate yourself before declaring us inferior in some way really should be beneath both of us. You, cis people, are capable and should be responsible for doing some basic study about us on your own before speaking against us.  I certainly don't speak against, say, the Bible without having properly read it (and talked to many Christians) first. You really should never be criticizing someone when you haven't taken the time to listen to their point of view first; and really listen, really try to understand and feel them.
  Demanding someone *prove* their worth and humanity to you is degrading. It's just another form that bigotry takes. & trans people shouldn't have to deal with that shit all the damn time. Enough is enough. It's 2015, you have an internet connection. Grow up, grow a heart, and educate yourself properly. Stop asking trans people to hold your hand and walk you through why we are equal humans who deserve to be safe.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Abuse & Redemption

One of the chief pieces of advice we tell abuse victims today is that abusers don't change. This is great advice for abuse victims. If someone is abusing you, sticking around in the hopes they will change is a terrible idea.  Of course, it is naive to think that all abuse victims really have the ability to leave - some fear if they leave, they will be murdered or become homeless or leave their children alone with the abuser, and sometimes that can indeed be the consequences, so we should not judge abuse victims who are forced to stay and assume it is always a choice. But generally, if someone is abusing you, and you are able to leave them, you should leave.
However the narrative that abusers do not and can not change is simply not true, and it is harmful to abuse victims, in another way, to cement this narrative so forcefully; people who abuse others are making a choice, a choice that may well be compulsive and difficult to resist, but a choice that can be changed. Many people who abuse do not have the reason and empathy necessary to change - but some abusers CAN CHANGE, and they should be pressured to change, we should expect and insist that abusers take responsibility for their choices and not feel helplessly compelled to hurt others.
I say this based on personal experience. Now, personal (anecedotal) experience is not in any way scientifically valid for several reasons; one, becausre there are billions of humans and my personal experience involves just two of those humans, which is a pathetically small sample size; two, because my personal experience is obviously heavily biased. So you shouldn't take it as Gospel (well that's an ironic phrase, given the Gospels are made up), and I'm not offering it up as such; it is simply my own limited personal experience which has caused me to question the absolutism of condemning abusers as monsters.
I grew up with abusive parents. The abuse didn't fully start, to my recollection, until I was around 11 years old. At this time, my mother lost her damn mind and I became a target, an outlet of her inner turmoil. The abuse ranged from private interrogations in which she would accuse me of thinking terrible things about her that I did not think, that were in fact her own worse fears, to hitting and smothering me. There were times where I feared for, and was in danger of, my life - smothering someone can, after all, kill them, and this was a frequent tactic of hers. In her mind, I think she thought I was out of control and she was calming me down, but in reality, she was losing her temper and physically attacking me, I was resisting, and then she would smother me to feel she had gained total control over me.  By gaining control of me, she could feel she was gaining control over her own life - after all, she had given over her life to Motherhood at a young age, so if she could control her children, she could feel in control of her life. 
However, this did not solve her problem, because her real problem was her own out of control irrational emotions and thoughts. She was filled with high levels of anxiety and anger, and in her mind this became self hate, hatred towards others, fear, and paranoia. 
She lashed out at her husband as well.  I bore the brunt of the abuse - in fact, when I would hear her getting angry at my younger siblings (I am going to be vague about myself on this blog precisely because stories like this are private - as you can tell from the introduction, there has been some reconcillation in my family for one thing, and I do not wish this to be traced back to my true identity, in part because I fear internet harassers like those who attacked Anita & Zoe as I mentioned on two previous posts) - when I heard her attacking my younger siblings, I would run into their room to deliberately put my own body in the way of the abuse and force her to re-focus her anger on me.  She treated my siblings differently, and until recently, some siblings denied the abuse altogether, while others had different experiences with it.
My father was also abusive, allowing himself to lose his temper and screaming mean things at people or hitting them.
The physical aspect, aside from the terrifying and dangerous smothering, was never the worse part. As a young teen who desperately needed my parents to prioritize love for me in their lives, the worst thing was feeling like my parents hated me. I became bulimic and self-injured by age 14.  It was at this time - a few years later, actually -that I first saw that my mother was not really entirely a monster, because it was at this time that my mother first saw the monster she had become for what it was.  When she saw the scars and fresh wounds on my body, she finally stopped seeing me as if I were her enemy and started seeing me as the child in pain that I was.  
No one should injure themselves; at worst it can kill you, at best it is a terrible thing to do to yourself. It hurt me in many ways and I still carry the scars with me.  However just as the narrative that abusers can't change is a good thing to say to people but not necessarily true, saying that self-injury can get you attention and help is a terrible thing for people vulnerable to that self-destructive compulsion to hear but it is actually the truth, and it is one reason why people self-injure.  Not that I wanted people to know I did it - I hid it for years, terrified people would know I was fucking crazy. but I am sure a part of me also did it because no one would recognize my emotional pain, the self-hate that I had been taught, the real fear for my life that I lived with, the fear most abusive victims feel that someday their abusers will seriously injure or kill them, the fear that I would commit suicide due to my misery and self hatred. 
People often don't recognize emotional injury as a real problem or a real danger. People like to pretend our emtions arent real or dont matter.  But that isn't reality; our emotional lives in most ways ARE our life, our quality of life, and if you are miserable in your life, it is a real pain that makes your life genuinely difficult to endure.  For me, the worst part of my abuse was how it made me feel about myself. I hurt myself because I turned my anger at my abusers inward. I was angry at myself for doing and saying the things that would cause them to be angry at me. All I wanted was for my parents to love me.

So when my parents found out that I hurt myself like that, they put me in therapy, and they started really looking at their own behavior and trying to change it.

The abuse did not stop altogether. The abusive behaviors still have not completely stopped. My parents still have that terrible combination of selfish choices and mental illness that cause them to fight with other people and be mean to loved ones for really bad reasons.

But my parents are not monsters.  They behaved as monsters for a time, and sometimes they still do. But they are people, complex people capable of empathy and capable of change.

My mother fought herself from that moment on, she started trying to force herself to become a bettter person. The monster fought back. Sometimes the mother won, sometimes the monster won. And gradually, over time, with medication and therapy and a lot of hard work, the monster started to weaken.

It took time, and it went back and forth in phases, and she will never be fully cured. I expect someday when she is old and her mind starts to go that it could come back again. But I do not hate her. She is still in my life. Because she fought for me. I forgave her, for no other reason than that she made it clear to me over and over again that she did not want to be a monster anymore, that she was truly remorseful, and she put that emotion into action in her life and maintains vigilance over herself.

At 18, I left my mother's house (almost) for good - she kept hitting me, and I kept getting up, refusing to fight back, and then I left. I barely spoke to her for many years. This was one of the best things I did for myself and for her.  If you are abused, and reading this, and hoping that your abuser can change too, first know that you should not expect that to happen and what you should do is get out as soon as you can and don't look back.  The best thing you can do for yourself, and for your abuser, is to walk out and lock the door behind you.  Not that your abuser deserves anything from you, but the only way they will learn to stop abusing you is if they truly lose you, especially lose control over you. They need to know that trying to control others is not going to help them control their own out of control emotions and thoughts. They need to understand that people have a right to their own lives and are not tools for the abuser to use. They need to see that when you hurt people like that, you will lose them forever.

Unfortunately, this was not the last time I would be under my mother's control.  In my late 20s, I was at risk of homelessness. With few options, I returned to my parent's house.

But this time, things were different.  I would have slept under a bridge first if I didn't feel they would be different. Which is not to say things were perfect. There were still fights. My parents still do not know how to control their anger. But the anger now is limited to real problems, not imaginary ones, and there are now limits and accountability where before there were no holds barred.  There is also a lot of love and support where before there was primarily abuse. We are all adults, and what happens is not abuse, it is fighting - which isn't great, but there is a difference between an adult raising her voice to another to say "I am mad and this is why" and an adult telling a child that the child is worthless, or smothering the child.  If you seperated their behavior today from the past, you would not call it an abusive relationship, you would just say they had bad tempers and could be assholes sometimes; and in all honestly, after enduring that terrible dynamic, I could now be the shit-starter and finisher myself, and there were times when I imitated the abuse towards them and they took it. I'm deeply ashamed of that, and did my best to control it and get my shit together, and it has never played out with anyone else, but the truth is that when you grow up in an abusive dynamic like that one thing that can happen is that you can learn to imitate that behavior. The point is, even at my worst, my parents now showed a new restraint. They learned and changed, something I once thought impossible. 
I have learned and changed as well. I am stronger now, I am peaceful, I control my anger and keep my mental health under control with treatment.
I still need boundaries with my parents, and none of us are perfect or ever will be, but we can now really spend time together in a loving way. I have forgiven them for the past because they have truly shown remorse and self-improvement. I have my parents back and my family now feels like a normal, loving, fun family. That is precious to me. While I would never tell an abuse victim to hold out for that hope, the reality is that redemption and forgiveness can happen, and did in my life, and I am happy to have my parents back. & I only have that because they truly made the choice to change and put the hard work in. We can and should demand that from anyone with a history of abusing others, because it is their duty and within their power. I am grateful to my parents for being the rare ones to do what they needed to do to be better people, and help me be a better person.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sure, Harassment is Bad, but Anita Sarkeesian is an Evil Sith Cunt-Lord Who Must Die!

'Just like in real life, women online often face a disproportionate amount of violent, often sexualized anger from men just for being women, particularly for being women with rational opinions like "women should be treated equally". This harassment has gotten so out of control that the mainstream media is starting to take notice. And just like the bigots of today always do, the HaterGate mob is flooding the comments of videos and articles to say that they do not personally support harassment, but harassment isn't really a problem, and also that bitch had it coming. Almost every video or article about harassment has comments from men attacking one woman in particular; Anita Sarkeesian. She has been threatened with death, driven from her home after her address was published online with a death threat, threatened with rape countless times, with multiple images of violence against her, even a "game" where haters punch her face.
& what horrible thing did Anita do to merit all this hate? 
She made a few YouTube videos on her channel, Feminist Frequency
Yea that's it.
Here are some of the truly terrible things she has said that deserve death:
"Objectification and sexual violence are neither normal or inevitable. We do not have to accept them as some sort of necessary cultural backdrop in our media...the patriarchy has not existed throughout all all can be changed...when we see fictional universes challenging or even transcending systemic gender oppression, it subverts the dominant paragdym within our collective consciousness, and helps make a more just society feel possible, tangible, and within reach." - "Women as Background Decoration Part 2: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games"

"We are asking for games to acknowledge that [women] exist and we love games... We've been playing games our whole lives."
"Do you believe that women should have equal rights to men and that we should fight for those rights? - Great, then you're a feminist." - Colbert Report

"Stop using violence against women as a way to further the storyline of a male hero, and start writing us as full and complete human beings. Okay?" - Women in Refrigerators vid (a response to a female comic book writer, Gail Simone's, similar observations).

"[women are] full and complete human beings with our own troubles, interests, and creative endeavors" - Manic Pixie Dream Girls Trope vid

"Instead of believing that [female] sexuality is something to be explored and celebrated, we are repeatedly told that our only form of social power." - "The Evil Demon Seductress

Ooooh, the horror! 

Clearly this vile harpy is LYING, because sexism in media can't possibly exist, right fellas?! It's not as if women are over half the population but roughly 12% of leading roles on film (I mean, unless you count actual data and facts, but that logic shit is for feminazis). clearly the only possible way to respond to a woman saying such terrible things as "I think things are not equal and I would like them to be equal" is to make her fear for her life and talk about how you want to violently rape her, right guys?!

Or you could just, you know, ...not watch her videos. maybe create a response. Maybe even listen to her and treat women like equal humans. 

Links: - Women in Refridgerators