Sunday, July 18, 2021

It Was Supposed to Be Over

 I've had two COVID vaccinations.

So has my whole family, in fact. I've been terrified of losing my Dad to this disease, because he's in his fifties and has diabetes and the COVID risk prediction tool gave him a 30% chance of death if he contracted COVID. But he never did, and now he's almost entirely immune.

A couple days ago, I forgot to grab my mask when I accompanied Dad to the store. And for the first time in over a year, instead of staying outside or wearing one of the dirty masks my Dad had left in the car, I went into a store unmasked.

I'd just barely made it through the door when I remembered the nightmares. I'd started having them shortly after mandatory masking started. Nightmares of somehow finding myself in a public place without a mask. They reminded me of the nightmares I used to have about finding myself nude in public, except those nightmares tend to have a happy ending as I discover that nudism is OK. These maskless nightmares, on the other hand, have no ending, and nothing but the dread of sickness.

By the time we were at the till, I was shaking.

Last night, we ordered pizza, and I was so preoccupied with the fear and uncertainty I felt over the delivery guy's suggestion that I didn't need a mask, and my decision to take that suggestion, that I was confused when my brother complained that he hadn't brought the pizza sticks in.

I thought being double-vaccinated would mean it was over, at least for me. I've been looking forward to the time when I can go into a store without sensory discomfort on my face and the inability to see through my glasses.

It hadn't occurred to me that after almost two years of training myself that going without a mask was dangerous, I might not be able to unlearn that so easily.

I hadn't thought of this as a traumatic experience, not for me. Aside from a couple online friends, and a right wing asshole anti-masker who was part of the reason I stopped going to karate, I don't even know anyone who got COVID. I certainly don't know anyone who has died from it. My Dad does, because he's more active in the church, where the majority of parishioners are over 60, but I could never keep the old ladies straight in my head, and didn't form any bonds with them.

So it feels like "trauma" should apply to people who have had it worse than me. But this is a trauma response. These are trauma feelings.

And if I'm traumatized, and I have barely been affected by COVID, what does that say for everyone else?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Elephant Family

 Carnival of Aces April 2021 focuses on the idea of a “new normal”, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the question of how asexuality influences your plans coming out of the pandemic.

Two years ago, I made an appointment with a fertility clinic. I ordered sperm from a sperm bank, had three unsuccessful IUIs, and ran out of money, so I took a year off to save for more sperm. Just as I'd saved up enough, the pandemic hit.

If I was heterosexual, maybe my partner and I might have spent our time sheltering in place trying to conceive. Especially in the latter half of 2020, once the data was pretty clear that COVID-19 doesn’t have much interaction with pregnancy, and it’s probably reasonably safe to try to conceive. For me, resuming trying has been more complicated than it is for many heterosexuals. (Although of course there are heterosexuals who are trying to conceive without a significant other, or who have fertility issues that prevent unaided conception, so I could be in the exact same situation regardless.)

Besides the simple delay, the pandemic has also led to restructuring my plans.

Before the pandemic, my parents lived and worked in different cities, and I traveled between them. My plan was originally to spend my pregnancy and my child’s first few months of life living in my mother’s apartment. I found it a lower stress environment, got more exercise there, and had more places worth walking to. And it was a place with a spare room that could be easily adapted into a babies’ room, and overall would have been relatively simple to childproof.

I formed plans, I dreamed dreams. And then my mother got laid off due to the pandemic, and no longer had any reason to stay in that town.

Now, I’m most likely going to be raising my child, once I finally have one, in the office building we run our family business out of. My brother and I have been sleeping here most nights for a couple years, and I could probably readily set up some rooms to be appropriate for a little one. They’ll need more supervision here than they would have needed in the apartment, and it’s less friendly for going for walks. But it’s workable.

Asexuality, aromanticism and autism aren’t really separable things in my life. The fact that I’m 31, single and dependent on my parents isn’t due to any one of those alone, but all three combined. The same is true of the fact that my brother is the most important person in my life, and the one person I most want as a role model for my child.

The family I hope to build isn’t the standard two parents and one or more children. Nor is it the stereotypical ideal single mother by choice family, one high-powered executive in her early forties and one child. It’s a family of generational interconnectedness, where independence is an unnecessary and superfluous concept. In some ways, it’s like an elephant family, where a younger female is impregnated by a male she might never see again and has her matriarch mother help her raise her calf.

And things are coming together. Pretty soon, I’ll likely be getting a special retirement savings plan specifically for disabled people, giving me something in case I can never make it in the employment world without my parents support. My family has survived the pandemic. My Dad, the one of us most at risk, has already been vaccinated. We're looking forward to the future again, not just surviving day by day.

Friday, April 02, 2021

ABA Practitioners: Put Your Words Into Action

 If you're an ABA practitioner who responds to criticism of ABA by saying that the ABA being criticized is "bad ABA" and you practice "good ABA", then I challenge you to put your words into action.

There are a lot of former ABA recipients and their families speaking out against ABA. Including families of children who have received ABA recently - not just people who had ABA in the "bad old days" when Ivar Lovaas was spanking children to make them stop stimming.

Which means, if all of those are examples of "bad ABA", there's an epidemic of bad ABA. And if you really want children to be able to reap the benefits of "good ABA", you need to do something about it.

As it is, given how common "bad ABA" must be, a parent considering ABA treatment for their child is essentially playing Russian roulette with their child's mental health. Maybe they'll luck out and get a good ABA practitioner, or maybe they'll get one of the bad ones, and their child will have PTSD. They have to weigh whether they want to take that risk.

In other fields, you can often look for accreditation or credentials to help rule out the bad ones, and if a bad one slips through, you can report them to make them lose their credentials. For example, if my mother, who is a lawyer, scams or abuses a client, she could get reported to the Canadian Bar Association and lose her license to practice law.

Ideally, the BACB certification process should serve that purpose, but it doesn't. There are BCBAs who work in the Judge Rotenberg Center, which is still running as of 2021 despite repeated efforts to shut down the center due to human rights abuses. The Judge Rotenberg Center uses aversives, mostly notably a wearable electric shock system known as the GED. 

If you claim that "good ABA" doesn't use aversives, then clearly, a BCBA who accepts employment in the JRC and cooperates with crafting behaviour plans involving the GED should lose their certification. The fact that they don't should be something you are outraged about and lobbying to stop.

Similarly, if a parent says "my child's BCBA ordered the therapists to hold them down while they sobbed for hours", this should prompt you to encourage them to report that behavior to authorities who will get that person to lose their certification. Or, knowing that such a report would not be effective - let's face it, you know it wouldn't - you should be joining those parents in lobbying the BACB to stop certifying child abusers to practice in your field.

The fact that you criticize "bad ABA" only when people are saying that no child should be in ABA treatment, and only to defend the existence of "good ABA", makes it clear that you're not trying to help autistic children. You're not trying to make sure that parents don't have to play Russian roulette with their child's future.

You're like the Catholic Church, when parents made allegations against sexually abusive priests - you're covering up the problem, and covering your own asses, at the cost of the children you're supposed to be helping.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Belief in the supernatural makes me feel uncertain and scared

Belief in the supernatural, in someone else, makes me feel uncertain and scared. I have often felt bad about it because I can be hostile to other people’s religious beliefs sometimes, and I wonder why it bothers me so much when it doesn’t really affect me.

It just occurred to me that the two major sources of trauma in my life both came from people with supernatural beliefs I don’t have.

My parents have mentioned that one of my cousins who abused me used to regularly insist that there were ghosts in his room. We figure he probably had borderline PD, and this was a reflection of the stress-induced psychotic features associated with that condition. The times when he was seeing ghosts were also times when his behavior tended to be worse. Given that his behavior issues included sexually molesting me and getting physically violent towards my parents (once even strangling my mother), I probably learned a pretty strong association between “person seeing things that aren’t there” and danger.

And then, my school. The teachers who abused me all had very strong Catholic beliefs, and used them to justify the abuse. I was a bad child, doomed to Hell unless they could brutalize me into changing pretty much everything about my personality. Instead, they simply trained me to view anyone who tries to convince me to believe in their religion, especially Christians, as automatically a dangerous and harmful person. It was during my time in that school that I became atheist, with an antitheist bent (I hope God doesn’t exist, because if He does, He’s probably evil and wants me to suffer).

So it shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, that even hearing someone talk about praying or doing spells or any other practice that implies supernatural beliefs sends chills down my spine and makes me want nothing to do with them. Even people saying what Zodiac sign they are like it actually means anything frightens me.

The only exception is my parents, who are devout Christians and also people that I trust absolutely, but they don’t flaunt their religion in front of me. They don’t try to tell me what God thinks, and they don’t talk about their prayers to me, or pray for me. They respect that Christianity is a source of trauma for me.

Ironically, nowadays it’s often the pagans who tend to trigger me. Even though many of them have trauma related to Christianity, too, they don’t seem to consider that their own religion could trigger anyone. And yet some of the things they believe mirror what my abuser used to hallucinate.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Crafting Non-Ableist Behavior/Learning Goals

 I've been putting a lot of thought into curriculum design lately, since I got inspired to try to plan out my future child's potential homeschooling curriculum. And since I've had a lot of struggles with life skills that I wish I'd been taught earlier, my curriculum plans are including those skills. Looking into premade life skills curriculums, however, I've run into numerous examples of normalization/ableism in the goals, such as goals like "dressing appropriately for a job interview" or "turning on the lights when they're in a dark room". And it got me thinking, how can you tell if a learning or behavior goal is actually a valuable goal for the individual, or just something that will make them look more normal without improving their life?

So, here's my general idea of a guide for how to tease those apart:

First, consider the pros and cons of doing the thing for the student. I get the feeling most teachers don't think about the potential cons of learning life skills, or don't think there are any cons. And certainly some skills, such as being able to independently put on the clothes they'd be wearing anyway, don't really seem to have much of a downside. But many life skills do have cons, which should be weighed along with the pros.

One example: diversifying food selection, or being more willing to eat new foods. This is often a problematic goal set for picky eaters - personally, when I got autism treatment as an adult, their attempts to impose this goal actually led to me quitting the treatment. Let's look at the pros and cons of this goal.

The biggest con I can think of is that it involves asking the student to eat things that they might find extremely unpleasant to eat. For me, the argument that drove me out of the treatment centered around mushrooms, a food that disgusts me about as much as eating mold disgusts me. 

It's also important to keep in mind that many of the sensory issues that contribute to food sensitivity may not be subject to habituation, or may be very slow to habituate, so this con doesn't just apply during the training. Whenever you try to train an autistic person to tolerate a sensation they find intolerable, there's the potential that they will never stop being bothered by that sensation. For example, I have taken karate, but as soon as I got my first gi, I found that it was very unpleasant to wear. I tried to wear it anyway, but it would continue to bother me the entire 2-3 hours I was in class, and the only thing that helped partially was to periodically throw myself against mats to get deep pressure. Rather than getting better over time, however, my sensitivity to the texture of my gi actually got worse.

So, what are the pros of greater food variety? Potential for a healthier diet, depending on which new foods are targeted. Less likelihood of finding themselves hungry while surrounded by food they can't eat. Possibly reducing food costs, if cheap foods are targeted. Better ability to adapt if they need to make dietary changes in the future, such as if they develop type 2 diabetes or move to a place where their favorite foods are hard to find. And less likelihood of getting into conflict with people who insist on getting offended if you don't want to eat food they picked out for you.

Another example: toilet training. The cons of toilet training involve the discomfort and bother of having to hold your pee and poop until you get to a bathroom, the potential of being somewhere where a bathroom isn't readily available, and less physical comfort if they enjoy the sensation of wearing a (used or clean) diaper.

The pros include less risks of skin breakdown and bladder infections, less odors that others around them may find unpleasant, less production of garbage and/or use of laundry, less risk of transmitting intestinal diseases, greater physical comfort if they dislike the sensation of wearing a (used or clean) diaper, more independence with personal hygiene, and avoiding the stigma that incontinence carries for those past early childhood.

So once you've identified the pros and cons, look at each item and ask:

Is this factually true?

Is this the student's problem or someone else's?                                                                       

What other behaviors could allow them to gain the same benefits without the cons?

For example, although this is a common concern, in most cases, picky eating does not actually place the person at risk of nutritional deficiency. Studies have shown that most picky eaters actually have diets that are about as balanced nutritionally as those of non-picky eaters. The exception is those individuals whose list of acceptable foods is extremely small - say, single digits. It's valuable to consult a dietician if there are concerns that an individual may not be getting enough of any nutrients, rather than assuming that a picky eater's diet is automatically unhealthy.

Meanwhile, the problem of getting into conflict with others over food is not actually the picky eater’s problem. Just because there are social conventions around giving and receiving food does not make those conventions right, or give people the right to penalize others for not conforming to those conventions. In addition, people who take offense at others not accepting their gifts of food harm more than just picky eaters - people with other reasons for avoiding food, such as health, religious or ethical reasons, also frequently come into conflict with such people, too. And in the case of health issues, people who take offense at others refusing food have sometimes contributed to people dying or getting seriously injured, especially if they use deception or exert power to get others to eat food they don’t want to eat. Given that the pattern of “insisting that others must accept and eat food given to them” causes serious problems for multiple groups, including life-threatening problems for some people, it seems pretty clear to me that this is a more serious, concerning behavior than rejecting certain foods.

Of course, recognizing that it’s someone else’s problem doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to protect yourself. A good example are rape and sexual assault prevention programs that target potential victims and teach them tactics to keep themselves safe. It can also be valuable to talk to disabled students about tactics to protect themselves from ableism. However, in these situations, merely complying with harmful actions from others is usually not the best course of action, and even if it’s best to comply in the moment, it’s insufficient to keep them safe in the future. All students need to have strategies for opposing unjust actions, even from people in positions of authority. At this point, the third question above comes into play.

Similarly, the stigma of incontinence is not the problem of the person who wears and uses diapers, and harms both people who could be toilet trained but aren’t and people who can’t be toilet trained. However, there are also health concerns for not being toilet trained, to the point where the average lifespans of people with severe disabilities differ depending on their toileting abilities. This is especially true for non-ambulatory people, for whom using diapers greatly increases the risk of skin breakdown from pressure sores. However, even if toilet training isn’t an option, measures can be taken to improve skin health, such as frequent changes, good cleaning practices, etc, many of which the individual may be able to learn to deal with. For example, if they can change their own diaper, they can ensure more frequent changes for themselves. Or if they can recognize when they need a change and ask for it, they can encourage caregivers to change them more often.

So, based on the analysis of our two example tasks, I would say that in most cases, toilet training is a worthy goal and being less picky about food is not. However, in both cases, there are situations where it is or isn’t a good goal. If an individual accepts only a single-digit list of foods, diversifying that is probably a good idea. Meanwhile, if a person can’t hold their pee or poop well enough to prevent accidents unless they limit fluids, avoid activities where bathrooms aren’t readily accessible, and/or allow for frequent interruptions in activities, toilet training may not be worth it. Of course, all of those things are likely to be true in the short term, but if they’re not improving, it may be worth going back to diapers.

Lastly, I also encourage, if possible, discussing these pros and cons with the student. Some students might not be able to understand even if you explain it, but for others, telling them that wearing a used diaper can be bad for your skin could be a good way to motivate them to cooperate with toilet training. And if there’s any room for uncertainty, it’s better to give explanations that aren’t understood than fail to explain something the student could have understood.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Growing Up Kinky - My Story

I came across a news article about research into the formation of kink/fetish identity, and it suggested several stages of development. So I thought I'd take a look at these stages, and see if I can identify anything matching that in my life experience.

1) Early Encounters: This stage encompasses early inklings towards kink, typically taking place before the age of 10, where kinky people experience an attraction, draw, or fascination with a kink or fetish interest, often without the words or concepts to understand it, and often without sexual arousal. Examples include always wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show.
This stage definitely defined my childhood. One of my earliest memories is of watching The Jungle Book, around the age of 4, and getting fascinated by Kaa, the hypnotic snake, to the point where I wandered around preschool the next day bugging my eyes out and singing "trust in me".

With regards to my interest in disabilities, that came later. I had a sometimes-friend in elementary school who had cerebral palsy and a mental disability, but I remember liking her in spite of her differences, which quite frankly repulsed me a bit. I also remember being forced to read about Louis Braille, and resonating with his conflicts with teachers while having basically no interest in his blindness.

It wasn't until right around the cusp of puberty, age 10-11ish, that I suddenly developed a fascination for disabled people. I remember my attention being caught by an autistic child I met, though I have no idea how much of that was dawning fetish and how much was a subconscious recognition of a person with a similar neurotype to myself. On the other hand, the fact that seeing one kid about my age with a limb difference at the pool prompted me to obsessively draw similar limb differences in my school agenda is pretty clearly an early sign of my fetish for disabilities. And even more so my reaction to my school's unit on disability awareness, which motivated me to spend time pretending to have various disabilities as well as learning the Braille alphabet and fingerspelling.

2) Exploration with Self: This stage encompasses kinky people exploring their kink or fetish interest with themselves, typically between the ages of 5 and 14. This exploration typically occurs via fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.
OK, here I feel like the stages start overlapping. For mind control, forced transformation, kidnapping, whump, etc, this stage started in elementary school, several years before the dawning interest in disability I mentioned above. I was obsessed with the Animorphs series in elementary school, going to the point of conceptualizing my least favorite teachers as Controllers as a coping strategy. I also liked this one series about the daughter of a veterinarian who investigated crimes against animals, and thought up elaborate hurt/comfort scenarios involving tortured animals. I also developed a fascination for the 1994 movie Pet Shop, which featured an alien couple disguising as human and starting a pet shop with the intention of kidnapping humans to sell as pets on another planet. In the movie, they were foiled quite easily - in my fantasies, they succeeded, and I had long-running stories about kids in cages, trying to cope with captivity, wondering what fate awaited them. After I got anti-drug education around 10-11ish, I'd always throw in an addict character undergoing withdrawal.

For me, this stage continued well past 14, easily into my twenties. It's important to note that all of this occurred through fantasizing, first expressed through playing with twist tye people, and then later through writing these stories down, and none of it involved me paying any attention to my own physical body. The only scenario I recall where my body was even relevant at all was one where I was a giant who'd captured tiny people to torture and play with.

I certainly never conceived of any of this as erotic, or paid any attention to my genitalia whatsoever. I generally tried to forget that I had genitalia altogether, and apart from trying to make sure they remained clean, I never touched them. Any conscious awareness of sensation in my genitalia was likely to trigger flashbacks to my childhood sexual abuse, so I suspect that I heavily dissociated from my own body.

3) Evaluation: This stage encompasses the process by which kinky people evaluate what their kink interests mean for their identities and lives, and typically takes place between 11 to 14 years old, at the same time when other identity development processes are often in full swing. It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.
I probably unconsciously stigmatized my own kinks due to both a fear of any sort of sexuality and the negative reactions I got from people (mostly my teachers) who took my fantasies too seriously and stereotyped me as violent. In addition, my kinks heavily line up with my mom's triggers, so any discussion of them with my mom tended to get shut down very quickly, leaving me feeling guilty for having upset her.

My first exposure to direct kink-stigma, however, was through the Courage to Heal book, which quoted from a contributor who'd used BDSM to self-harm. Her account heavily implied both that BDSM was inherently unhealthy for anyone to participate in, and that healing from trauma could and should involve shifting your sexuality away from BDSM to more vanilla interests. At the time, I uncritically accepted this account, and even proceeded to try to convince kinky people I met online later to believe the same way.

I remember at one point posting on an LGBT forum wondering if there was something wrong with me for liking stories where characters were tortured and hurt. Some people mentioned hurt/comfort fics, but that just left me feeling more broken, because I didn't really care about the "comfort", just the hurt. I felt like I was supposed to feel bad for characters who had bad things happen, and write about bad things mainly as a serious exploration of dark themes that resonate with real life, but I still found myself relishing descriptions of characters being tortured and feeling disappointed when they got rescued.

I also regularly, starting around 10-11ish if not earlier, had revenge fantasies about torturing and maiming harmful people and this somehow leading them to be reformed. Those bothered me because a) I couldn't think of how to make it realistic, and b) my self-insert character doing the torturing and maiming and proceeding to use the character's vulnerability to manipulate them into reformation usually came across at least as villainous as their victim, if not more so for the extreme measures they took.
4) Finding Others: This stage encompasses the process of realizing that there are other kinky people out there and often takes place after the age of 11. The discovery of other kinky people often occurs via the internet, magazines, and is often accompanied by a feeling of kinship, such as finding their home, tribe, people, or family. This stage often includes a process of developing resilience against kink-related stigma and developing a positive sense of kink identity. Physically attending a kinky club, group, event, or conference also often comes up during this stage, though typically not until they are at least 18 years old.
In July of 2012, when I was 23, I wrote a description of several categories of "identity weirdness" I'd discovered, including ABDL and transabled. I had absolutely no inclination that either would be in any way relevant to my identity, or any idea that it was anything more than my ongoing special interest in psychology and my recent encounters with a trans boy that led me to be interested in the subject. (Ironically, I've since realized I am somewhere on the spectrum of each of those, though not the particular points I described in that post.) Around that time, I remember wondering briefly if I might be interested in ABDL, and then firmly shutting away the possibility because I didn't want my life to get harder.

I don't remember how I first discovered ABDL, it might've been through transabled discussions, given how I mention the potential confusion between the two. (I still think a significant subset of DLs would be accurately described as transabled/BIID people who desire incontinence.) But later on, I rediscovered ABDL sites while researching incontinence for a story I was working on, and this time, I stumbled across ABDL fetish fics. At first, I skipped past them as irrelevant - I was there to research, not read fiction! - but I kept getting distracted by them and sucked into reading them despite my efforts to stay focused.

One of those times, I was 26, sitting in the backseat with my parents on a road trip for my mom to do a job interview. I was researching incontinence on my phone, and I once again got sucked into reading fetish fics instead. And this time, I noticed a wetness in my crotch - the first time I remember ever noticing anything about my genitals while engaging with my kink fantasies.

My immediate assumption was that I'd started my period. I don't remember what I did for supplies - I might've had a tampon in my jacket pocket, or else asked Mom to give me one from the glove compartment. But I do remember vividly the shocking moment when I wiped myself and it came out clear, not red. And I remember suddenly realizing that it was sexual arousal, not my period, that had made my crotch wet.

I was horrified. I fortunately had a counseling appointment only a couple days later, but those couple days I waited were miserable. I kept feeling compelled to read fetish fics and then hating myself for it. Once, I hung out in my office reading fetish fics while my family were painting (we run a law firm as a family business) and I was feeling guilty for not helping, but I couldn't convince myself to stop reading. And then my brother walked in to ask what I was doing, and I was horrified. I stammered out something nonsensical and fled to the bathroom, and proceeded to have a panic attack while cleaning myself up. I had another, very similar panic attack when my dog sniffed with interest at my crotch at home right after I'd been reading fetish fics and I realized that she could smell my arousal.

That counseling session helped me calm down. The counselor talked to me for quite awhile about the difference between fantasy and reality and encouraging me to remember that fetish or no, I absolutely didn't have to kidnap and torture someone in real life just because I'd fantasized about it. During that session, I realized that for the sake of my mental health I had to come out to my family, and we talked about that, too. And afterwards, I called a family meeting and had one of those awkward, formal and anxiety-inducing "coming out" discussions that you see people posting videos of online. Ironically, when I came out as asexual at 18, and more recently as nonbinary around 28 or so, those were nothing like the standard "coming out" narrative you tend to hear, and yet telling my family about my fetish felt exactly like that narrative in every excruciating way.

But fortunately, as my logical mind had known all along but my self-hating kinkphobic inner voice refused to be convinced of, my family was completely fine with it. My Mom took some time to accept it, and we've had some arguments about how to balance her triggers with my need to speak openly in order to accept myself, but we've gradually worked out an amicable solution. And my Dad and brother have had absolutely zero issues with it whatsoever. It felt like a weight off my shoulders when, a couple hours after my awkward coming-out, I was grocery shopping with Dad and he started asking me questions trying to analyze exactly what it was about my kink fantasy that appealed to me. We've always bonded over analysis, so it was the perfect sign to me that he fully accepted my kink as just more fodder for our ongoing analytical discussions.

Shortly after I came out, I made a Tumblr account with the express purpose of exploring my fetish and what it meant for my identity. I became notorious among the more kink-negative sections of Tumblr for being "that ableist kink person", but at the same time, I stumbled into two communities that helped immensely with my self-acceptance - pro-shippers and the paraphilia/minor attracted person communities. When Tumblr banned porn, I followed both of these communities to Twitter.

Both of these communities accepted my kinks without question, and included people with far more taboo sexualities than my own (MAPs in particular have probably the absolute most stigmatized sexuality it's possible to have). And both regularly argued with trolls who were saying the same sorts of things my negative inner voice often said to me, and arguing with research citations, logically-thought out arguments, and civility and respect against people who uttered death threats and had arguments consisting of illogical one-liners attacking strawmen. I found watching these arguments incredibly healing, as if I was bandaging the wounds in my souls with the reasoned and compassionate voices defending people I identified with.
5) Exploration with Others: This stage encompasses the process of actually engaging in kinky play and/or kinky sex with another person, and typically takes place after 18 years of age. For many kinky people, they only really felt kinky when they actually engaged in kink with another person.
I've done a little bit of experimenting here and there, but mostly I haven't done any kink play, and yet I very much see myself as a kinky person regardless of whether I practice it IRL or not. I'm content with reading and writing fiction, to be honest. The stuff I've tried IRL I've enjoyed, but it's not really necessary to me, and right now I have other priorities that are more crucial to me, such as starting a family.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Knowing No - A Response

Coyote has an interesting post here:

What is "knowing" no?

It got me thinking about something that happened recently. Dad asked me to do a chore that I really wasn't feeling up to doing, and I hesitated. Mom chimed in with "you can always say no." I immediately said no.

And then I decided to explain to Mom how the phrase "you can always say no" did not feel like an accurate phrase when Dad is asking me for chores. How, very often, I feel like saying no to doing a chore is not a safe option for me.

Housework not being done seems to trigger my Dad's depression a lot. He has relatively high standards for cleanliness - I don't know how he compares to the average, but his standards are definitely higher than mine or my brother's, and maybe higher than my Mom. And the idea that he is helpless to get and keep our household at his standard of cleanliness triggers feelings of despair and resentment in him that I really don't understand.

He also frequently expresses the feeling that he's not getting enough/any help keeping the house. Even when my parents were living together, and Mom probably did about an equal amount of cleaning to him, he would complain about not getting help cleaning. I remember arguments about it, because Mom would get offended that he was discounting the work she'd done.

So, when he asks me for help with a chore, I never know if a refusal will be fine or if it'll set him off. When I help, I don't know if my efforts will be recognized, or if he won't notice, or if he'll start complaining about something else. He also seems to vacillate between remembering that I'm autistic and having realistic expectations, or randomly assuming that my lack of cleaning is because I'm deliberately trying to force him to live in a pigsty. And periodically, he'll just start ranting about it, with no real warning.

Meanwhile, when I stay at Mom's place, my efforts get more consistent results. If she asks me to do something, I can give an honest assessment of my likelihood of being able to do it. If I forget to do it, she accepts that without much emotion. If I do it, she might not notice, but if she does, she'll definitely be happy about it. And she basically never gets into random tirades about how the house is a pigsty and she feels like just giving up.

So there's an example of what 'not knowing I can say no' feels like.