Today, I Cried

CN: sexism, ableism, internet harassment

 

Today, I cried. It didn’t last long, but it finally got to me, and I cried.

 

Three weeks ago, I was participating in a discussion on a site I regularly go to, where I felt comfortable saying the a-word and the s-word, and the thread was stated to be closely moderated for things like the s-word, and harassment and.

 

I was, pretty much immediately, told that other people were allowed to have opinions too and if I couldn’t handle that I didn’t belong on the Internet. My actual post wasn’t referenced in any way; it was just a personal attack. I pointed out as much. The poster went off at me, calling me various names, outright stating that they didn’t think I was worth talking to as they’d decided I had a mental health condition, said it was weird I called them out because they didn’t actually say anything relevant anyway (you know, what I pointed out), claimed that the harassment was actually them sharing their privilege and I was silencing them by calling them out for it, and for the last two and a half weeks, it’s been the same comment, over and over.

And over.

Now, since the post was meant to be closely monitored for such things, naturally I assumed that reporting it would result in some kind of mod action, and in the meantime, kept explaining. I ran it past my mum, past people on Facebook, and I was both sure and reassured that he had actually screwed up. My mum pointed out that if I stopped replying, it looked like I ‘lost’, and asked where the mods were.

 

So it’s been three weeks of me receiving multiple comments a day where my mental health was called into question for standing up for myself, and then painting themselves as a victim (did I mention that they called social justice irrelevant?).

 

Today, I napped for an hour and came back to find another one, accompanied with a mod comment.

The mod comment boiled down to ‘I’m not saying he’s right, but I think he set up a bot to harass you so you should just move on because you probably have better things to do!’

 

And that’s why I cried.

Instead of taking action to stop or prevent the harassment of people like me, the mod position is ‘let it go’.

Because, of course, instead of speaking out when people deliberately act to hurt us, we should just take it, since they’ll be allowed to set up bots to harass us anyway (nvm that it’s apparently a bot that’s only online when he is, and has no regular scraping interval).

 

I don’t even have words for how wrong this feels, and that’s why I keep starting to cry.

 

Firstly, that it was allowed to go on so long, in a post where they explicitly said they were policing such things.

Secondly, being told to move on places the burden of dealing with this firmly on the victim (which is me). It says there’s a threshold for how much these things are allowed to hurt us, and a correct way of dealing with it. It minimises how these things affect us. Someone designs a bot specifically to harass you? Move on. Never mind that you can’t go anywhere online without it telling you you’re insane, feeding those little dark anxiety monsters in your head.  However, that’s not the point. The mod requesting action from me to end this, instead of taking action against the person who is hurting me, is displacing the burden of their actions on to me – it says they’re allowed to harass me, but I’m not allowed to show that it hurts me or explain why.

Thirdly, ‘lol it’s a bot it’s pointless because he moved on’. It’s a bot specifically designed to harass me. They didn’t move on. They explicitly took action to minimise the amount of effort to put into harassing me because that’s how much they cared about the effect of what they were doing. The mod is like ‘it’s pointless because he’s not reading it’. But that’s part of the point – that they can casually and simply harass people, and have a large impact from a small effort. It strengthens the already normalised and internalised structural inequality. It’s saying ‘lol it won’t work anyway so why try?’.

 

The mod’s actions here have compounded and crystallised the hurt I felt from the initial reply and subsequent harassment – by trivialising the ease with which the harassment was allowed, and placing the burden on me to deal with it in a way they feel is appropriate, they are tacitly approving of it.

 

Did I mention this is a gaming forum? Post-Gamergate?

 

The only words I had for the mod were ‘If that’s allowed here then I can’t stay anyway.’ Because after three weeks of someone targeting me specifically because I dared to be open about how I was being treated, I’m all out of words. I have spent my life being harassed, for various reasons. I started ignoring it sometimes around high school, and it became a game to them, to get worse and worse just to see if they could make me react. I learned that the only way to stop harassment is to make people understand what they’re doing is wrong; that’s not done by telling them directly, because they get offended and defensive, but by creating an environment where it’s not okay, where people are allowed to stand up for themselves and are made to feel safe about doing so. If people see that someone who is sexist, or ableist, gets called out, they will, eventually learn that is the consequence of hurting someone that way. People who don’t want to do that will learn not to do it; in this case, the person hurting me didn’t care, and they got away with it because I was the one being told to move on, to behave appropriately.

 

Because, you know, when someone hurts you, you’re meant to act the right way so as not to upset anyone else.

 

I can’t even make this make sense or adequately explain why this is the action that is so hurtful. I’ve said that it comes across as allowing the harassment, that it’s placing the burden on me to behave the acceptable way instead of expressing my hurt and saying why it hurt me, that it reinforces the privilege that lets people think they can do this instead of making a safer environment for everyone.

 

But this has hurt me, and if I can’t say it there, I’ll say it here: it’s not okay. It is not okay for a privileged person to dismiss my opinion as emotional because I am not male and therefore subject to such things. It is not okay for a privileged person to (repeatedly!) tell me that my opinions are not valid or worthy because they decided I have a mental health issue (that’s right, I’m not out there as neurodivergent, they just… came up with it on their own…). It is not okay for them to repeatedly dismiss and hurt me for pointing out that they hurt me.

It is not okay for the mod to choose to behave the same way instead of taking action against them. It is not okay to allow them to continue at the cost of hurting me.

 

‘You know, he doesn’t even have to put effort into how he’s hurting you! Just move on!” is how structural inequality is reinforced.

 

 

 

 

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I finished P5! It’s over!

I finished Persona 5, thank goodness. I like RPGs, but not ones that go for so long and have balance issues. (By which I mean, by the time I was reaching the final dungeons, I already had those Personas and was not gaining experience due to being so far above the enemy levels just by doing the story dungeons and the social link requests. Given that there’s so much to do, that basic level of gameplay shouldn’t be making the entire party OP enough to one-hit kill physical resistant enemies with melee attacks.)

 

More spoilers below the cut, finishing off my thoughts on Futaba.

Continue reading I finished P5! It’s over!

Everything Wrong With Persona 5 – so far…

The amount of Gladio hate just builds and it makes my life. Though explaining to white male gamers that psychological conditions are not a sign of weakness of character is an uphill battle, the discovery that the stairs in Altissia have white lines painted on the edges (an aid for people with low vision, so they know where the steps are!) makes my argument that certain other low vision accoutrements aren’t up to scratch a tiny bit more grounded, and I’m happy in my spot on the Descartes graph.

 

But while I can still go on about FFXV (I got the Afrosword before my brother, and I acquired the Black Hood without using a glitch, unlike my brother, so I am very happy), I just went back to Persona 5 after taking a break after being spoiled and having some ragey moments.

 

I don’t have a good history with Persona, and quite frankly this one is more upsetting than the last. Persona 4 Golden was generally upsetting due to its weird fixation on a flawed perception of sexuality and stereotypes, but certain aspects of Persona 5 are quite personally upsetting.

Spoilers below the jump:

Continue reading Everything Wrong With Persona 5 – so far…

“means well” means nothing

 

You know how you point out to someone, or their superior, that what they’re doing is hurtful to you? And they say “well I/they meant well” as if that’s the end of it? And you feel that little curl of rage?

 

I tried to go back to dance. I found a small school that was meant to be “a great community” and had rave reviews from people who said they felt accepted and like family. I wrote to them to say I have a disability, can I chat to someone to explain it and see if I fit? I heard nothing. I tried again. Nothing. I signed up for a trial class.

“Oh, you’re the one who emailed me! I starred it, and I meant to get back, because I thought ‘I really want this girl here!’ but I was so busy!” Strike one. It also involved hugging. Definitely strike one.

We went around in a circle and said our names. I signed, and people murmured. “ohhhh that’s so pretty!” Uh. What?

 

So then my (former) psychiatrist found out and made it a part of my therapy, despite me explaining carefully as best I could how I had this thing now that was mine – not therapy, not paid for and monitored by my mum, but a thing I wanted to do that I was doing that I could look forward to because it was mine. That was where I found the spoons to finally break ties with him, because spending one’s entire life as ‘treatment’ is exhausting and fruitless.

 

I kept going with it, because I’d been cornered at the end of the trial lesson and interrogated on whether I was coming back and only allowed to leave once I’d agreed, so I’d paid for the term anyway.

Continue reading “means well” means nothing

it never ends

TW: privacy, dentists, grief, references to inter-family abuse

 

So, I managed to get home for my grandmother’s funeral after all. This came about because, by virtue of not driving the six hours each way to collect me, my mother attended the meeting with the funeral director and took the responsibility of organising the priest and so on. (It was also necessary that she attend since she’s the one who has the lease on the grave, but such practicalities don’t actually rate as necessary when one isn’t thinking rationally.) A few days later, she offered to pay for a flight down, and then couldn’t understand why it didn’t cost several thousand dollars.

Then she admitted that she hadn’t wanted me to come because she thought the funeral would be too short to be worth it and she didn’t want me to remember it badly. (Or something, I mean, seriously?), and then that she should have handled arranging things better rather than letting everyone else take over, after it came out that other people were upset about it too, but too afraid to speak up, because about the only thing that part of my family doesn’t do to each other is resort to physical violence.

Continue reading it never ends

Road Rage strikes again

TW: MVAs, verbal abuse, police people

 

I have my new computer at last and there are so many little things I know now to appreciate – a dimmed monitor, a seat that hurts less, an ergonomic keyboard…

 

This just means that I am able to relate to you today yet another example of why I, as a person with a disability/disabled person/neuroatypical person/etc., will go out of my way to avoid dealing with the police. A lot of little things happened today to put me out of my routine and in a different place at a different time for this to happen.

Continue reading Road Rage strikes again

In Which I Don’t Matter

TW: anxiety

 

So I spent most of the day stuck inside my house, crying and terrified.

Why?

Well, I woke up after two hours to a banging outside. I thought it was the next door neighbour, because he works construction and he does that. Except, you know, it didn’t stop. And then it started closer – in front of the door kind of closer. There are two ways out – the front door and the garage, right next to the front door. So I couldn’t leave.

The only way for me to call the police is to get someone to do it for me or use the relay, which, well, means I have to get someone else to do it for me. So I messaged my mum. Who didn’t get back to me for two hours.

 

It turns out that like last time, a bunch of repairmen came and started to work on the house without telling anyone – not the property manager, not the presiding officer, not the landlord, nobody. Last time, it was someone fixing the roof, looking down on me in the shower through the fan cavity. The time before, I had the guy insist on coming in several times and he turned up a few days later asking for my phone number. The time before that, after I had been told they were done, I had someone trying to get in the back door (which is fenced and blocked off by way of two six foot fences and two locks, and the back gate is blocked by my dad’s random handyman whatever). None of these times did anything come of complaining – my landlord (i.e. my mum) said it was too hard and just to deal with it.

 

So today, like, they came, blocked off the exit, and started working on the house, while I was in it, without me knowing. I was terrified. My mum did nothing.

So then she’s like ‘wah I didn’t get your text! but the neighbour wants you to open the gate for them tomorrow!’ And, of course, I’m like ‘no’. Because, you know, if someone wants access to do repairs, they’re meant to give 48 hours notice, and if they don’t, or they can’t get access, they just do what they can without it (as long as they gave notice). At least, so I thought. I had even checked the mailbox over the weekend, and there was no note, nothing. Also, I’m meant to go to the doctors’ tomorrow, oh, and the anitbiotics for the pain I’ve had for over four years because “it might be an infection!!” have given me the flu.

Here’s the thing: I told my mum this and she’s like “well why can’t you go?”

Because, like, someone wants access to the house?

“It’s just the backyard,” with, you know, all Dad’s expensive tools?

“I don’t like being told what to do and I can’t deal with the neighbour, so just do it because otherwise he’ll make trouble.” It’s 2017, we’re past gender minorities having to play nice to satisfy men.

“Okay,” I said. “Who are they and where are they from?”

She didn’t know, and wanted to know why.

“So I can make sure they’re who they say they are.”

Incoherent rage. Because, you know, she’s tired and the weather’s bad and instead of saying no, she went to a funeral or something and she’s tired and she can’t be bothered dealing with the neighbour, who actually has no legal authority to order anyone to let anyone in?

“Mum, are you saying you want me to let people on to your property without knowing who they are, without legal notice, because you can’t deal with the neighbour?”

Yes, she said.

“Even though it’s my safety this affects?”

Yes, she said.

 

Well, I don’t know if I’m the unusual one, but if your mental health is such that you would rather put people in danger because you’re not emotionally capable of caring for yourself enough to handle your responsibilities to your family (ones that people explicitly offered to take over and you rejected because you wanted to keep it)…

 

So then, after crying so much I had to do my makeup again because I turned into a panda face even before it dried, I went to dance.

My knee buckled, once, because I have the flu and I am tired and I wasn’t able to put all my energy into hiding all my body’s little quirks.

“Are you okay?” The teacher, who knows full well that I have a physical, mostly invisible disability, asked, in front of everyone.

“Are you sure?” she said, because I said I was fine.

And this continued for the rest of the lesson. And afterwards. See, a few weeks ago, it was really bright, and I closed my eyes for a second because I’m officially now light sensitive and bright is bad. “Are you okay? Are you sure? You can sit down!” Her mother is a student, and feels like every time the teacher asks if I’m okay, she can get involved too. Then it was “You can sit with me!” Today it was “She’s just sore”.

Not a she.

Not sore.

My body does different things sometimes but it’s normal and fine for me and it’s really rude to constantly bring attention to it. My knee buckles when I walk unless I make a conscious effort to keep it straight. I have to wear a brace so I don’t hunch when I walk. I can’t lift my right arm all the way up, and how far it goes depends on the day. I have a migraine all the time now, because of the Incident (but remember, if you don’t have a period then it’s okay to have a migraine all the time because not having a period makes everything okay! /SARCASM), so I have to function with it. A lot of the time that means resting a ton and barely getting by, but still.

So then like, I was leaving and this started again and I stopped and typed out that I was fine, it was just my disability. And, now, after eight weeks, they wanted to know if I’d be okay getting down the stairs. You know, the ones I’ve been fine with given enough time for all the weeks before this one? Those stairs. I said I was fine. Believe me, please.

 

I’m just done, except now I have to spend all night working in the back yard and I don’t get to sleep until goodness knows when AND I don’t get to go to the doctor to find out why I have the flu.

 

And also, I can’t leave during business hours, so I don’t get to reup my prescription either.

 

But I guess I don’t matter.