Again and again and again

12 08 2014

[Trigger warning – discussions of death, racism, colonialism, police brutality, abuse]

(This one wrote this post roughly 8 months ago, but never published it because of the exhaustion involved in getting it down caused hir to slip away from front, and then have difficulty coming back to it. However, given current events which I/we will also be writing about… — That One)

It never stops.

A vigil for a teenage boy who died mysteriously in police custody erupted on Thursday night in Durham, NC.  Police in riot gear fired tear gas into a crowd filled with friends and family of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta, who was killed by a gunshot wound to the head while handcuffed from behind in the back of a Durham police patrol car on November 19.

According to a statement last week by Jose Lopez Sr., Durham’s police chief, the gunshot wound that killed Huerta was self-inflicted. Huerta is the third young man of color to die in a shooting that involved Durham police in the past four months.

I don’t know how to say this anymore. I don’t now how to get people to listen. I don’t know how to get people to stop shrugging it off over and over and over and calling it a coincidence.

We’re dying. Apparently “mysteriously.” And we can’t even mourn. Much less display some well-earned anger.

And it’s not just the individual racists/colonizers that kill. It’s apathy on the part of people who claim they care. It’s in their ability to look away, their ability to say it doesn’t involve them, which enables systemic racism and colonialism to continue unchecked.

Incidentally, this particular brand of apathy is part of the bad shaped memories that play in the back of my head as I get ignored in more innocuous situations. Because this is trauma. This is constant retraumatization. Constant. And I mean this in a very literal “I am diagnosed with PTSD and incidents like this are among my triggers,” sort of way. My hands tremble, and thinking gets difficult. I hear these apologists pontificating, I see excuses flooding the comment threads, and I lose ability to function. The words echo, the letters burn into the back of my eyelids. I begin to seeing myself as a thing, one that is apparently unworthy of life to these people. I begin to wish for the abuse, because at least my mother had the decency to look like she hated me when she beat me. Not that patronizing paternalistic look, arms crossed, eyebrows up, picture of innocence in ignorance. Emphasis on ignore.

…And here is the part where that one looks over my shoulder (so to speak) and asks if it’s wise to show vulnerability here (there, anywhere), because she and I both know what tends to come next.

I can already hear the naysayers in my head. “Don’t be dramatic.” “You’re reading too much into things.” “It’s just a coincidence.” “They probably had it coming.” “Don’t look at me, I didn’t shoot him.” “You’re being manipulative.” “You’re making me feel like an asshole.

I’ve seen it before. I’ve heard it before. By people we trusted. People who claimed they would be there for us. But they will allow my family to walk in fear that the next police encounter will have nothing to do with serving and protecting, and everything to do with the brutal enforcement of existing power structures.

I don’t know what to say anymore.


6 04 2014

Well, damn. We’ve tried to deny it. We’ve tried to ignore it. Try as we might, however, there’s just no getting around it: we like action mmorpgs, and not just a little. There’s no point in keeping up the charade at this point. Our gaming binges have, for the most part, been in the Action MMO camp. Or action mmo flavored. (If you’re curious, the others seems to be city-building god-games, and, as usual, The Sims.) There comes a time — frequently after looking up to see the sunrise, again — where you have to admit, you just might be a fan. And if it so happens that a bunch of these games belong under the same heading, well, how invested are you in lying to  yourself?

I feel I should explain what I mean by “action mmorpg,” since there actually seems to be some squishy wiggle-room. I’m sure there are people out there who track the terminology better than we do, and might be very quick to point out that we’re wrong. Maybe. The point for us is not the taxonomy of games. We play, and ask for the genre name later, often after many blurry-eyed sleepless nights, and when want more, now. Then we play others with that same term and see if it hits all those same key points. Then we correlate until we have a general idea, a feel, we associate with the genre.

TL;DR: video game journalists, we are not, but this seems to be the best descriptor.

In any case, when we say action mmorpg, (or action mmorpg-flavored) this can include things with active dodge/block mechanics, even if there is some auto-targeting. (We’re looking at you, GW2.) There’s a combat flow that seems to come with it, and I know it when I play it. At least, I know the it that is attracting me to this genre when I play it. Interestingly enough there seems to be, and have been, individual classes and mechanics in other games that actually try to integrate some of this sensibility into it. Other people may not agree with me, and again, I may not be using the terms right. Some games which scratch this particular itch (to varying degrees) include: TERA, Neverwinter, DCUO and GW2. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping it short & sweet.

31 03 2014

(Or, at least, not rage-filled or rage-inducing. We have high standards here.)

A lot has been going on, some of which I might or might not get into.  I do have a summary post getting written up, but in the meantime I just wanted to point out that we’re sorry for not getting back to people on some interesting comments/conversations throughout wp recently.

Again, everything asplode, and there has been general burnout. Which is perfect timing for some really interesting conversations to be going on. It’s almost like people don’t sit there and set their clocks to my crises in order to avoid situations like these. Imagine that.

HALP! (No, but really. Help? Please?)

3 03 2014

I’m having trouble focusing on things like: writing short emails to professors, getting paperwork together, so on, so forth. To be honest, I don’t even know if this is the ADHD, or… I have no clue. :P I’m just confused, frustrated, and having trouble getting anything vaguely complicated done — unless it’s something I don’t need to do, like teach myself scheme in order to automate gif-making. Because, geek.

The above was a post one of us wrote on Feb 21st, 1:49pm. It was never deemed finished, because, as indicated in the post, focusing just wasn’t happening. It’s being posted now, because it serves as a fairly decent example of what I’m trying to deal with. It doesn’t take much for me to find hours have passed and I have gotten nothing done, not necessarily because I was dissociated, but because I couldn’t stick to any task for more than a minute. In the time it took for me to get from one room to the next, I was on to doing something else.

To say we’ve been scattered is an understatement.

Meanwhile, what’s been going on with our attempt to get treatment since this post?

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Done

16 02 2014

Remember how we were agonizing over whether or not to drop that course? Well, we did it.

We made our decision.

A screencap of our college's website for dropping courses. It indicates that a course has been successfully dropped.

No going back now.

It wasn’t easy, and practically required literal hand-holding to get through it. Just about everyone we talked to was on the same page. This was the right choice. We have all of the things we need to handle outside of class, and then there are the issues with the class itself. The risk/reward ratio was too low for it to be a good idea this semester. Maybe a later semester would have us better situated, financially (and, relatedly) mentally, at least. A five figure debt does a lot to your ability to study, for example, and none of it is good.

We attended one more session, just to get a feel for things, and to see if the various red flags that kept popping up in the first session were in our head, brought on by other students who were less than impressed with the class. This time around, there were still things that didn’t sit well with us. Again, it was difficult (or we are unwilling) to put our finger on it. That said, there were other, more readily apparent issues. One of the major ones being her policies about accessibility are actually kind of inaccessible — though not in any way that can necessarily be challenged. She’s very strict about having explicitly listed accommodations registered with the school’s accessibility office before allowing certain ones. Ones that, frankly, should not require it. All above board though, since the avenue you’re supposed to go through for accommodations is that office. Read the rest of this entry »

Choices, choices

4 02 2014

So, I registered with a course this Spring. It doesn’t meet requirements for graduation, or any of that. What it will do, theoretically is help with things I’ve been interested in, like community organizing — in fact, that’s the topic of the course. Given things like gentrification, stop and frisk, and whatnot being an issue where I am, this course has the potential to assist in the improvement of not only our living situation, but that of those around us.

That is, assuming we can maintain the energy required to do the whole community organizing thing. But the course might at least give us the skills and knowledge needed to, which may help it be less of a draining process, and either way, we can share that knowledge with others. Not only in our community, but beyond. (Again, assuming we have the energy.) And ultimately it reminds us of something Profesora said in class: “Si tú tienes la oportunidad para comunicar algo para el beneficio de tu comunidad, pues dale.” (Roughly: “If you have the opportunity to communicate something for the benefit of your community, well, go for it.”)

So this is part of where our head is at. And it was entirely where our head was at before we attended our first class, and why we were so excited to take the course. Our first session was not what we expected, and the course load looks like it will clash with the things we need to do this semester. Also, there’s something setting us off. Which can mean that we realize there will be personality clashes to a legitimate concern about our GPA. But, if you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that is a constant concern, and often unfounded.

Still, in addition to the class, we’re expected to volunteer with a community organization, and analyze a neighborhood, to assess the needs of the community. This will be done through things like attending community meetings, research, interviews with locals and so on. Incidentally, this feels weird if it’s not a community I’m involved in to begin with, such as the one I live in, or the ones I frequent regularly. I can’t explain it (at least, not without writing a whole other post), but it gives me a bad paternalistic taste in my mouth. I feel like I’ll be a neocolonizer, or something. Also, this might have something to do with having a community figure in El Barrio believe that was why I was attending a community protest over the summer. Picture me going back there and actually doing that. Nope. Not feeling that at all.

Meanwhile, outside of school, we’re dealing with two separate legal proceedings related to making sure we can go to school. (One being a fair hearing with our vocational rehabilitation program, and the other being a lawsuit filed against us by our old school.) Add to that, the potential need to file for bankruptcy, our mother’s breast cancer and the neglect of her health-care provider in the face of it, everyone upstate being broke and turning to me (and hir beau) to save the day, the fact that our two bio sisters are broke, feuding, depressed, and in abusive relationships, and the fact that this month our mother is getting genetically tested in order to find out how likely we all are to get breast cancer. After which, we may have to decide on whether or not to get a preventative mastectomy. There’s more we’ve undoubtedly forgotten — ah, yes, like updating our diagnoses to reflect the “attentional issues” we have, in order to modify our treatment. So on, so forth.

So, I’m not sure we really can manage all our responsibilities for this class, even assuming my vocational rehab allows me to. After all, the two cases were supposed to be handled over the summer, and then the fall.

So, now what do we do? Do we swap the course for another one, which might turn out to be worse insofar as expected time investment? Can we drop the course and get a refund? Should we do that? Would it look bad if we take only one course, when we’ve got so much on our plate right now? Will we ever have less on our plate? (Signs point to no.)

[Edited To Add: We’ve contacted the registrar and yesterday was the last day to drop and get 75% tuition back. Today-2/10 is 50% tuition.]

I foresee no problems

15 01 2014

Today, we get to see our psychiatrist again. Who has, since this post, proven to be frustratingly out of touch, again. (I’ve hinted at some concerns about this before. But first, some context.

Consensus in therapy, based on some exploration is that we in all likelihood have ADHD. Our therapist is prepared to make the diagnosis, if need be. When I asked our therapist what the next step would be, insofar as treatment, or diagnosis, or whatever, her answer was behavioral intervention.

… So, yeah, no. As she put it: “This will not end well.”

Our background is filled to the brim with people who attempted to groom us one way or the other, often to their benefit rather than our own. This has never worked. Because of that history, we also tend to feel restrained by the idea itself. Restless, and confrontational. Neither carrot nor stick has helped. She may not have realized it, but our therapist was probably biting off more than she can chew. It’s impossible to say with any certainty, but we know where our money is.

We managed to express to her our concerns: that she’s underestimating our capacity for self sabotage, and our difficulty in maintaining long term lifestyle changes, especially those that are externally motivated. Which she has some experience with, so… Dunno why she thought it would be a good idea. Although, to be fair, I don’t think she has a lot of options available to her. Read the rest of this entry »