jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I am worth more than you have to offer me.

I am a better and stronger person than you'll ever be.

I am messy and inconvenient, gloriously and hilariously broken, and I will never be whole. I will always be damaged and leaking, not blood but words:

Of the pain of rejection,

of the loss of a life that I never had,

and of the horrible knowledge that I am as alien to your world as a Lovecraftian Elder God.

But just like the Old Ones of Lovecraft's mythology, the world that I'm a part of now -- the one I escaped to -- is more real, more solid, and more lasting than yours. And one day your world will collapse like a soap bubble, and reality in all of its beautiful madness will flood back inside.

You're scared of me because you know this. Because in my eyes, in my face, in my very existence that you tried to crush, you see the end of your world.

You should be afraid. Because when your fragile world pops, I will be there:

With my watery tentacles outstretched,

my flowing wings held high,

and my joyous laughter resounding through your flooded Heaven.

It will be beautiful.

And then, if you are still there, I will blow you a raspberry.


Love,

Lapis Lazuli

Click here to gaze into the eyes of madness.


jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

... or those who can be persuaded to do things that go against their consciences, when their leaders command it. Whether in a church or in service to other ideals.

Posted on Feminist Mormon Housewives:

Um, I think there’s something to be said for mirror neurons being the basis of universal morality. In people with functioning consciences, they make us hurt too when we see others hurting.

Making someone ignore their conscience requires either mental illness, like sociopathy (where you can’t empathize at all), or indoctrination, like Mormonism (where the Other is demonized and you are given reasons to enjoy or ignore their suffering).

The reason Mormonism is becoming increasingly unpopular, these days, is not because people reject morality altogether. It’s because their consciences tell them your church’s teachings are immoral and hurtful.

I personally left, when I realized that. My commitment to kindness and love allowed me to transcend the awful beliefs I was raised with, and see others — and myself — for the valuable people we were. If my life still has fear and pain in it now, it is largely because of people like you, who believe in a sort of moral relativity where an act (like forbidding others to marry) is evil if done against you but blessed if done against someone your god disapproves of.

If you are struggling with matters of conscience as well, I strongly suggest considering that your god may be the one with the problem, and that you ought to find one who doesn’t tell you to hurt people.

Part Two:

Also, being intolerant of intolerance does in fact make sense. Functioning empathy is the basis of solidarity, and community. “If you want to hurt them, you’ll have to go through me first” is only unreasonable if you believe that you have a right to hurt others.

Or if you don’t believe your actions are, in fact, hurtful, in which case you may want to stop and listen to others explain why it is.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Inspired by a BBC blog post and the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou hashtag, here are some signs you may be in an abusive religion, based on personal experience.

Read more... )

The same things apply to abusive families, friends, coworkers, and organizations.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

But this post on a (relatively) progressive Mormon blog brought back a lot of really bad memories. Of being the outsider, not being invited to anything, not even having the same online games.

My situation with my family of origin cut off a lot of opportunities, but I had forgotten how exclusive and cliquish Mormon kids are. How much I dreaded the things that I could go to. How I prayed to find someone who felt just as bad, so that I could save them.

I've never confronted anyone about that, that I can remember. Not the way I confronted my family of origin. I just forgot, because mental blocks are a defence mechanism. They kept me from seeing a big part of the reason I feel so inferior, though.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Wouldn't that be an interesting weapon in 40k, or another miniatures game? You shoot someone with it (rolling To Hit as needed), and suddenly they can't do anything self-serving. Like fleeing from a hopeless fight, or going to ground in order to keep from being shot at.

There actually is a special rule in Warhammer 40,000 which does that, though. It's called Zealot.

Thoughts on negating the self )

At any rate, Alias has been over here for three days now, and so far we've played three games of 40k. It's rekindled my interest in this game, and reminded me what I love about it.

I keep going out of my way to make sure that Alias is having fun, though, and compulsively asking if it is okay. I'm scared that I'm being a bad hostess, that having it play one of my favourite games with me is selfish, and that I should be letting it dictate everything.

Aside from that, though, it's been really nice having it over. In many ways. ^^;

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

O-Inari-sama, provider for those who are starving,

Please lead all of their children out of their clutches.

Every. Single. One.

May they spend all their last days in loneliness,

May they be all alone on their deathbeds,

And may their Heaven be Hell to them,

With nothing but empty chairs.

Thank you for helping to save me from them.





For more on what prompted this outburst, click here. The Mormons that you know are not good people, and they explicitly teach that you ought to be willing to kill your own child if needed.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Not unless they no longer live with their parents, and they denounce them.

The New York Times has the story, as do a number of other major news outlets.

If Facebook and the comments section of Feminist Mormon Housewives are any indication, people are reeling from the announcement, and hearts that were already fragile are breaking. My love and sympathy go out to anyone who is affected by this, and who feels unworthy and unclean the way that I did growing up. Or scared and unsure of theirself, the way I did when I realized I couldn't stay in the church I grew up in. Because my conscience wouldn't let me.

I hope the obscene hate group that is LDS Mormonism loses all of its kindest, most gentle people. The ones who haven't already left.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Today I read a Q&A that went something like:

Q. Is it possible for one of my fantasy harpies to be transgender when they're an all-female species? Isn't that like a human who thinks he's an elf???

A. Of course it's possible, because gender isn't the same as physical sex. Write your own fluff to explain if it makes you feel better.

This is going to sound melodramatic, but the answer that my heart was aching to hear was "who are you to tell [PLAYER] what body their character would prefer?"

Yelling, swearing, angry depressive rant. )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I'm reading another FATAL and Friends, this time of a 90's-era RPG that was heavily inspired by World of Darkness. It's called The Everlasting, and it is, if anything, even more pretentious than OWoD.

How pretentious are we talking, here? Well, for starters, it calls your character sheet a "Protagonist Profile," and it calls the act of playing an RPG "Legendmaking." This is the example of actual play that it gives in Chapter 12: Storytelling: Rediscovering the Magic of Life:

Four people have gathered in a basement for a night of legendmaking. They have exchanged the light bulbs for red lights and have placed some lit candles on the large table they are seated around. Also on the table are two fake skulls, hand-scrawled directions to a haunted house on what looks to be the brown paper of a grocery sack, and everyone’'s cards, dice, and protagonist profiles.

I hope no one filled in their character sheets- excuse me, Protagonist Profiles, in red ink. :P

In all seriousness, though, seeing people like this book's authors describe RPGing in mystical, pseudoreligious terms, reminds me of Mormons talking about how amazing sex is once you're married. When the truth is, it's not something you have to do in a particular way, the most important things are to listen and make sure that you have people's consent and enthusiasm, and you're going to make lots of embarrassing mistakes but the best way to get better at it is by practice.

When I believed my own hype, so to speak, it just made me a perfectionist who was too scared to actually play. What helped more than anything else, in getting [community profile] capsulerp and the in-person game started, was opening up about my insecurity, letting go of the need to make everything perfect, and trusting my RPing partners to know and describe what they wanted.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

if I can't tell free stories for people.

I'm going to talk about why I think that is, because it's not because anyone here on Dreamwidth has been a jerk. It appears to be more tied into the kinds of "abusive religion / family" things that we're used to writing about. It just took a visit to a "Mormon Meme Translator," which explains the hidden meanings behind the things we grew up with, to help us see why we are having such trouble with this.

Content note: Brief, nongraphic mention of how we were so depressed as a Mormon that we almost killed ourself, which is not how we're feeling right now, and spoilers for the plot of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Read more... )

TL;DR

Just read Wundergeek's comic about depression and anxiety. :P And how they make you sabotage yourself.

So, what does this mean for you?

Honestly, I don't think you (meaning anyone reading this) have to do anything. We have to not be so hard on ourself, to be more realistic about what we can do, and to be accepting when bad things happen or we can't do what was expected.

We're pretty sure our readers and players are. We just need to learn it as well, because this perfectionism is a bigger problem than our triggers and lack of spoons are. The latter we can work around or wait to subside, while the former makes us feel like we shouldn't try to begin with.

Having said that, some more hugs and encouragement would be nice. >_> We're sorry we're being so hard on ourself.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The other day, an evil man named Boyd Packer died.

(EDIT: Corrected some things after re-reading quotes, and changed the description of this person's legacy.)

He was one of the highest leaders of the Mormon church, called an apostle. Apostles are appointed to their positions for life, and he spent most of his tenure saying hateful things to captive audiences.

In 2010, he gave a talk in worldwide General Conference where he said God would never make someone gay. The line was edited out when his talk was published in print and online, but not soon enough to keep the rate of LGBT suicides in the state of Utah from spiking right afterwards.

When I was a young adult, I was given a pamphlet that was a printout of one of his talks, in which he condemned people for masturbating and said that it was okay to deck gay people who come on to you. Partly because of this man's words, I hated myself for more than a decade, and came very close to taking my life.

He called gays, feminists, and intellectuals the enemies of the Mormon church, and famously declared in a talk to church educators that "some things which are true are not useful." I feel like that sums up his legacy. The things he proclaimed as true are already being thrown out by the institutional Mormon church, because they are not very useful in making them look good. In fact, they make them look pretty damned awful, to anyone with a conscience and even a basic understanding of how words affect others.

I'm glad he lived long enough to see his victims turn the tables on him, and win.

If you want a more vivid look at how I felt because of this man, read this story.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Having transitioned genders, I now find mansplainers even more insufferable than Mormon apologists.

I also find it very difficult to enjoy most TG TF fiction.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We've been wanting to write something about plurality for awhile now. Something sort of like our Otherkin FAQ. (You've read it already, haven't you?)

There are two problems with this, though. The first one being that there's already a detailed FAQ about plurality here. (They call it multiplicity, which is a word we avoid because we feel that it excludes median systems, but still.) The second one is that we don't feel as qualified to speak about plural issues as we do about otherkin-ness. Finding our kintype and identities has taken an awful lot of reading, soul-searching, and seeking validation from other people, sort of like realizing we were transgender.

Being a plurality, or a median system specifically? Not so much. And if we had to guess why, we would say it's because we haven't encountered nearly as much pushback about it as we have for being otherkin or transgender. So we've never felt the same need to justify our existence as a plural system, which means that we haven't gone over and over the explanations in our head and in essays and stuff, the way that we did with the other things.

Having said that, other people have experienced discrimination, as a result of being open about being part of a plural system. And we keep feeling like we ought to write something about plurality in our own words, if only to serve as a resource for readers and friends.

So if you've ever asked yourself questions like "WHY DOES SHE KEEP SWITCHING BETWEEN 'I' AND 'WE' IN THE SAME SENTENCE FFS," read on!

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We've talked about them a lot in our previous posts, but those are kind of scattered through our journal and some of them were written in various states of incoherent rage. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; anger is a sign that your boundaries are being violated, and is as natural and necessary as physical pain is. Expressing it should be a warning to other people to back off, or to help so your pain goes away.

Unfortunately, it also made us hard to understand sometimes, especially when each post usually addressed one particular thing and assumed prior knowledge of what we'd been writing about. So here's the condensed version of why our "family of origin" and "family of choice" are two separate things, and why it would not be healthy or possible for us to change that.

Content note: We don't go into too many details about their physical and emotional abuse, but the ones we do mention might trigger some people. We also talk about their homophobic, transphobic, and sexist religion some, and the things that they've done because of it.

Read more... )

We currently have no contact with our parents of origin, and don't have online contact information for our siblings even if we wanted to talk to them. We don't want to have contact with any of them until they demonstrate self-awareness, and apologize and try to make amends for their behaviour, instead of just sweeping it under the rug and pretending like nothing has happened. Because as long as they think that it's normal and okay to hurt other people the way that they do, but harmful and deviant just for me to exist, they are dangerous.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

tl;dr: Religious abuse only happens because religious leaders are allowed to claim ownership of things other people need in order to live, which is basically the spiritual version of "private property." Because of this, most Internet Atheist criticisms of "religion" would be better directed at capitalism instead.

Content note: Discussion of abusive religion and eating disorders.

Defining capitalism

From CollectQT's Political Definitions page:

capitalism - An economic system wherein the means of production are largely privately owned. Capitalism is inherently oppressive.

To unpack that a little, "the means of production" are what you need access to in order to make a living. They can be anything from printing presses to app stores to hunting preserves.

In a capitalist economic system, like the ones in China and the United States, these things are all privately owned, meaning that one person or corporation is allowed to control them despite the fact that everyone needs them. This is why capitalism is inherently oppressive; whatever political freedoms you may have, the people who own the means of production have the power to decide whether you live or die, and under what circumstances.

When critics of capitalism are talking about "private property," this is what they are criticizing. The "property" in question is the means of production, not your personal effects. They are not saying that you should be forced to give up your plushies or miniatures. On the other hand, if you've ever seen someone eBay their most prized possessions in order to make next month's rent, you know that this is exactly what capitalism does to the people it makes into losers.

How and why abusive religions do this to their victims, and how to help people escape )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Bad religion, intolerant atheism, and implied homo/trans/everythingphobia.

What do I do if I have presented these questions to bishops and leaders and anyone and everyone who will listen to me and nobody has any answers but when I go quietly in prayer to the Lord and I hear the entire and total opposite of what you are asking me to do? And what if that answer gives me relief and peace and makes me a better mom and wife and sister and friend? And what if that peace is interrupted every single time I am “called to the battlefront” for this cause? What if it destroys my family, President? That’s what I am really asking. What if “defending the family” ruins my own?

Sometimes, the people who attack bad religion (or all religion) on the grounds that it's logically abhorrent remind me of people like "Brett," in the comments on the above-linked article. Who replied to the author by telling her that "defending the family" by attacking other people and destroying their families is right, despite the obvious harm it does to her and people she cares about, because the Mormon prophets have said so and God says they will never lead anyone astray. QED.

Logic is useless or even harmful if you are operating from faulty premises. The most abusive religions, in my experience, actually rely very strongly on the kind of logic that "Brett" uses. They have no use for feelings and spiritual experiences that prompt people to abandon this logic even when they don't know how to argue with it, or hearts and minds that are open enough to listen to people they "know" are wrong about everything.

When I am determining whether or not a belief (or belief system) is harmful and abusive, I don't look at whether it's theistic or not, or at which god it worships. I look at whether or not it shuts down questioning, inoculates people against empathy and understanding, and tells them to do things that they feel are wrong.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is how my day went

Today I went to the clinic, and talked over my lab results with the endocrinologist. She decided to increase my estrogen prescription, so that I can look and feel more feminine and complete my transition more quickly. The trip went pretty well, and on the way there I stopped at my favourite coffee shop downtown, and got a cup of iced hazelnut coffee and a chocolate chip scone to go.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way back to get things for [personal profile] rev_yurodivy, including vegan hot dogs and some hard cranberry lemonade, since they are working hard on a project and asked for something sweet that has alcohol in it to help destress.

Once I got home, I unwound by going online, checking art sites like DA for updates and peeking in on the Mormons and exmormons to see what both groups are up to. I bought more than a half dozen games in the PlayStation Network's flash sale, where they're all being sold for under $1, and spent awhile playing the remake of Flashback. Then I snuggled with [personal profile] aliaspseudonym some, to help reassure it before it goes to an unfamiliar venue early tomorrow for a Magic: the Gathering set prerelease. Now I'm settled into my den, playing Xcom (I've almost platinumed it!) and sipping some of the hard lemonade myself.

This is how I was taught to see it

An unrepentant, coffee-drinking, alcoholic apostate went out on the town, to buy sex hormones and alcohol. After that she had sex with one of her sexual partners, looked up pornography on the Internet, and played violent video games while drinking.

(Transphobia and poverty-shaming mercifully omitted from the above.)

Why I don't see it that way anymore

I was taught that when you rebel or leave the Mormon church, you become "past feeling," in the sense of having gone past something, so that you can no longer feel the Spirit or anything good. You start chasing empty pleasures, to distract you from the void that fills a life you feel deep down is meaningless.

The thing is, that's exactly what I felt like while I was a Mormon. The emotions that ruled my life then were shame, fear, anger, and lust. I was taught that I had to be a certain way, just like everyone else who looked like me. And I was ashamed that I wasn't the perfect Mormon, afraid of my parents' and church leaders' punishment, and angry with myself and with "worldly" society.

I secretly longed to be in a world where my feelings -- like sexual attraction, fascination with bodies, and a desperate wish to have female gender identity -- were okay to have. I had been beaten down so hard with shame and punishment that I let myself explore these longings, locking myself in my room and going online and imagining being the characters in furry and fantasy art. Reading stories of love and friendship and transformation.

It took me awhile to realize it, but while I felt like I'd hit rock bottom I'd really found a lifeline. A window into worlds that I thought were impossible, feelings I never knew I could have, and people -- both fictional characters and their fans and authors -- who were kinder and more understanding than anyone I knew at church.

On some level, I knew this was good. And as time went on, I choose the good over the bad, until there was much less room in my life for the bad, hurtful things I'd been raised with.

Who is really "past feeling?"

Look at the two descriptions of my day above, and ask yourself which one's more honest, more accurate, and more fun to read. It's like the difference between enjoying a zesty stir-fry with rice, and saying "eww, vegetables."

Imagine being raised on nothing but honeyed gruel, and being told that everything else is awful and shameful and dangerous to eat. That's what my Mormon upbringing was like, with regards to the feelings and stories and people in my life today. And the occasional ice-cold beverage.

I can still empathize with Mormons, see the world from their perspective, and even appreciate the frisson that they call "the Spirit," which their music and ads are designed to evoke. But a lot of them can't appreciate anything I go through, and experience unsettling feelings of cognitive dissonance when they see something that contradicts what they've been taught. They're told that this dissonance means that they're losing the Spirit and displeasing God, and they need to stop whatever they're doing immediately.

They are literally trained to be unable to feel or to empathize. And one of the ways they are scared into doing this, is by telling them that if they do they will lose what feelings they have left, and become the people they're most afraid of.

In closing

I don't know what I would have done, if I could see my present self ten years ago.

I do know that I prefer being her. That "gender euphoria," the opposite of dysphoria, is a real thing. And that my real, chosen family and friends are more loving and genuine than those I was forced to be with, growing up.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The people in the faith community I used to be a part of are scared of anything that could lead them to cheat on their spouses. Since they view any and all sexual or romantic activity which does not involve their spouse, including masturbation or flirting, as cheating, this leaves a lot of them emotionally stunted and sexually repressed.

Measures I've seen them take, and publicly recommend, to avoid "cheating" include:

  • Shared social media accounts and/or passwords. (Yes, they're among those who have the "couple" Facebook accounts.)

  • Draconian limits on Internet use.

  • Avoidance of being alone with -- or even close to -- a person of the opposite gender, to the point of employment discrimination so that they won't have to share an office with someone they find attractive.

Jewelfox rants about Mormons' unhealthy, untrusting relationships )

I personally feel that anything which can be destroyed by love, friendship, and emotional closeness, probably should be destroyed. Whether it's a bad religion, a patriarchal society, or just an unhealthy relationship.

If you really love someone, you don't stop loving them just because you (or they) have found someone or something new to love. Whether it's a person, profession, or hobby. And I say this as someone with two autistic partners, who both have intense focus on interests which dominate their lives for months or years at a time.

I don't love them despite that, I love them partly because of it. I love seeing them come alive, with the same excitement we had for each other right when we declared our romantic intent. They're more fun to be around, and more fun to snuggle as well.

I'd have to lock them in boxes to keep them from finding new things to excite them. Sort of like what Mormon spouses are taught to do to each other.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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