Feb. 16th, 2017

via http://ift.tt/2lSMf5v:
Here are the parts, compiled! :)

fwiw, Bodhi reads very true to me, as a South Asian man in a mostly-white situation where racism is so obvious and naturalised there’s no way to point it out or protest, so you just have to shrug it off or laugh along with the bastards. Would it be cool if someone more directly sharing the same identity was also writing about Rook? Forsure, and maybe they are, but then one gets into dangerous territory. Does it suffice if someone of South Asian origin living in the homelands writes it?

Will an Indian, or Nepali, or Sri Lankan suffice? Do they have to be Pakistani? Do they have to be Muslim? Can they be Pakistani and Hindu, Pakistani and Buddhist, Pakistani and a minority in Pakistan? Can they be Indian and Hindu if they are are Hindu Dalit and therefore oppressed? Can theybe Bangladeshi, or Indian Muslim, or will that not work? Can they only be Pakistani Muslim English? Must they also be in the U.S suffering overt racism?

Further, while Riz Ahmed is a British Muslim man of Pakistani descent, this does not directly transfer to his character, whether in the GFFA or slightly-alt Earth AUs, especially since the name Bodhi to me at least indicates a Buddhist or Hindu character, c.f. the wiki entry on Bodhi.

Now, being a Buddhist differs from country to country–in India right now most Buddhists are Dalit converts, which conversion is very politically-loaded, in certain South Asian countries they’re the majority, while in, for instance, Myanmar, the Buddhists are ascendant and opressive to the Rohingya Muslims, many of whom–being Bangladeshi in origin–would look rather a lot like Riz Ahmed. So can I think of Bodhi Rook as a Buddhist from South or South-East Asia?

Rook isn’t a South Asian surname to the best of my knowledge, it is, however, very much an Anglo-Saxon one. So, an inter-racial Bodhi Rook, part English, part undefinable South Asian, probably *not* Muslim, just going off the name, stuck somewhere in the U.S that’s cold and lonely and white.

So who gets to write this guy, when we can’t even pin down his ethnicity or religion, beyond ‘brown’? I’m brown, and queer, but I’m Indian, and Hindu, and female. Do we go looking for a SW fan who is a queer brown dude, we’re not sure if Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu (I know Hindu men with Ahmed’s lovely drowning eyes who are called Bodhi or Boudhayan or Bodhisattva), and only let him write about Bodhi’s struggles as a recent immigrant to the U.S?

Does he have to be from a family settled in the U.K whose moved to the U.S? How authentic does he have to be before what he writes isn’t misappropriation? There is a line, maybe a fine line but an existing one, between fetishising and misappropriating a culture and delimiting it to only those deemed to come from that culture, besides which an actor’s identity may not line up perfectly with those of portrayed characters, and to transfer one to the other is also charmingly “race-blind” in a way that I’m realising might be endemic to white USians on this site.

If you really want to get into it, it makes a difference which bit of South Asia Bodhi is from, what religion he espouses in relation to his location and just how far back his family acquired the name Rook.

It all matters, rather more than you might think, and none of it changes whether he can be competently written by a white woman from the State of New York.

This is beautifully said, and outlines an excellent related issue to the one I went on about in the original response. If we need to leave the writing of sensitive topics to people who have firsthand experience with those issues, then we get into a thorny thicket of determining just who is qualified.

And there’s definitely an inbuilt kind of… how to phrase this. Endorsement, I suppose, or kind of approval, of the axes of oppression, as it were, in any kind of determination like this. Saying a woman can write about a man, but a man can’t write about women’s experiences, is a start. Saying a white woman can’t write about a Black woman’s POV. Saying a white woman can’t write about a man of color’s experience. I know it’s nominally about not punching downward, not speaking over those less powerful, but the unfortunate side effect here is that there’s a kind of tacit reinforcement of those divisions in that case. If you start viewing it through that lens, you wind up with an unproductive kind of ranking of oppressions. No, I’m not a man of color, but I’m queer, isn’t that just as– no! Not a productive debate!

But that’s where it’s headed. If you must be something, or equivalent, to write it– if to avoid “punching downward” you must only address things “above” you (wow, that’s offensive, even writing it, isn’t it?! relatedly assuming white male experience to be “universal” and being barred from writing something more “specific”– wow! I hadn’t really thought it through to its logical conclusion before but that is shocking to follow through on)– you have to make a lot of diagrams and assign values to things that ought not to be assigned values.

Cut for length– next up is the thorny problem of dehumanizing a group by assuming an individual can comprehensively represent that entire group.

Part of this, as well, is beyond labeling people experts in their own experiences– that itself is fine, but then you’re moving into the dangerous territory of making an individual a token who can speak for all of her cohort. That was where I started to feel weird about having had a Latinx-issues beta for Home Out In The Wind– it wasn’t that she didn’t give me phenomenal insights and help me refine my depiction– as I said before, it was a wonderful and valuable experience. But it put me in the position of considering fortifying myself against opposition by literally invoking the time-honored mantra of racists: “My [x] friend said it was okay!”

Nope! Not how that works.

Yes, a beta of that kind is a phenomenal resource for avoiding egregious errors, but it’s not always available and it’s not the be-all end-all of writing. You may wind up with a beta whose experiences are crucially different and so gives you incorrect advice. You may misinterpret the beta’s advice and still wind up making an incorrect assumption, and wind up attaching their name to something they wouldn’t really have approved. It’s not a foolproof thing: there is, as I said in an earlier ask response, no foolproof formula you can follow and at the end be Guaranteed Unproblematic.

A cowriter is also nice in theory and was suggested by the original asker, but I’ve literally never worked with one, and do not have any experience in how that would go. I’ve been writing for twenty-five years and would love to learn to collaborate but I don’t know where to start. Telling me I can’t address certain topics until and unless I find a qualified collaborator therefore means you’re saying I can’t write anything relating to those topics at all. And, as walburgablack outlined above, how would I determine who is a qualified collaborator? Which axis are we enforcing, here? Which facet of identity is relevant?

Either way– both of those things are great tools to use in a situation like this, but neither one is the only approach, nor should they be. Even with a cowriter, you still have to research. Even with a beta, you still have to do your homework and examine your motivations.

Relatedly, of demographics to which I do belong: the original asker stated that no one but asexuals should write about the experiences of asexuality. Well, I’m demisexual. I am a little hung up currently on a scene I’m writing in another series with a demisexual character who is having reactions I absolutely would have, but that I know from talking to other demisexuals that they would emphatically not have, and I’m concerned about the representation I’m providing in that scene. It turns out that there are a wide spectrum of behaviors and expectations that fall under that identity, and I am extremely aware that I’m not innately qualified to speak for all of them. Just because it’s something I am, and something I’d do, doesn’t mean I think others who identify the same way I do would see it as acceptable! And so I’m inwardly struggling with how to convey it in a way that won’t upset these people, who are very close to me but are crucially different in a way that’s hard to define. Being something doesn’t necessarily make you an expert on that thing: you still need to do research and give deep consideration to what your narrative choices mean.

Yes, marginalized voices should be elevated, there’s no question of that. But if I’m writing a story no one else is, I’m not talking over anyone. One can argue that absent plagiarism, all stories are unique. More stories being told doesn’t silence anyone. The more important thing than who has expertise of and ownership of an issue is that good stories be told about the world that issue exists in.

Prioritizing whose stories to elevate after the fact is another issue, and another worth discussing, absolutely. But restricting the field of stories told is not a good starting place for that discussion.
via http://ift.tt/2lPsT5h:

I’ve seen a lot of posts comparing the current political situation to a race – it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon! No, it’s not a marathon, it’s a relay! Well, if it’s a relay, then it’s fucking Ragnar (okay I haven’t seen that one which is kind of disappointing so I’m putting it out there) – and none of them have quite connected, which is strange to me because I’m usually a glutton for running metaphors of all kinds.  Today, however, as I was stretching out my painful, tight, still slowly-healing left hip and quads, I realized what did feel right to me, in terms of metaphors.  And that is that this isn’t a race at all.

This is rehab.

I’m kind of an expert in injuring myself, as it happens.  I’m good at it.  I do it all the fucking time.  So this is a very familiar process to me.  It starts, not with a sudden, catastrophic failure, but with a slow accumulation of symptoms that are categorically assessed and then written off as no big deal – a little tightness here, a little soreness there, increasing daily but still casually ignored as something that can be run on, as something that will certainly never get in the way of anything.  The proverbial frog in boiling water, if you like.  And then one day, midrun, it becomes clear that that little twinge is in fact a big fucking deal, and what should’ve been just another run turns into a painful, limping crawl towards shelter.  Next, the immediate rush of denial, of bargaining, of looking for miracle cures.  Maybe some homeopathic arnica pills!  Maybe a new foam roller, the kind with the knobs and spikes for deep tissue release!  Maybe yoga, or stretch bands, or hot baths or ice baths or maybe –  But the goal being that one week of doing this Weird Trick That Makes Physical Therapists Hate You! and it’s back to running again.

That doesn’t work, of course.  There is no One Weird Trick to recovery.

This is the point, for me, where I make a token effort at Being Good.  I resolve to foam roll every day.  I might pick up a stretch or two to add to my repertoire.  Utility doesn’t necessarily matter – it’s just doing something, because I need to be doing something, because I want to do something that will fix things but I don’t actually want to figure out what it’s going to be so I just do something.  I do this for like a month and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I have hit on the something that actually does help, but sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I spend two weeks for a miracle and then another month trying to Be Good and I still find myself completely unable to just lace up my shoes and go for a run, even for a little bit, even for three fucking steps.

That’s when the despair sets in.  I probably don’t have to tell you what that looks like.  Pretty sure we’ve all been there.

At some point in the despair period, though, I realize that just sitting around in misery is, in fact, not getting me any closer to running.  That I’m going to have to commit to the long, slow process of getting better if I want to actually get better, and that it’s going to suck and be painful and hard and I’m gonna have to just deal with it (and possibly even go to a doctor if it comes to that).  And I start taking my first, faltering steps to figure out what that process is gonna look like.  If I need a doctor.  Where the injury is, exactly.  What caused it, what will actually help it, and what I’ll need to do to prevent it from happening again.  I pick a place to start, and I start, and it’s fucking hard as hell and everything is awful and nothing is helping and then, one day, some small progress.  I get out of my car and my hip doesn’t hurt when I stand up.  I can walk without having to think constantly about what my left leg is doing and why doesn’t it feel like my right leg does.  I manage a single-legged squat without falling over.

Slowly, a new normal reasserts itself: not a normal where I go out for a run every day, not a normal where progress is a matter of miles, but where progress is a matter of tiny degrees.  Figuring the exact position of a low lunge to get the best stretch in my hip.  Getting my foot closer to my hand in Half Happy Baby.  Not having to put a pillow under my knees for Reclining Bound Angular. 

Adding form drills, one by one, to my warmup.  High knees.  Prone marches.  Leg swings.  Hip raises. 

I set a goal – to run to the corner and back. 

The first time I try, I walk half of it.  Wait a week.  Try again. 

Walk half.  Wait a week.  Try again.

Try again.  Try again.

But the point is, as the point nearly always is for me, learning to make incremental progress.  To let go of the idea that the goal is to set enormous goals and attain them easily, with no pain and no risk, but to work steadily towards small moment of hope despite pain, fear, and setbacks.

That’s what this shit feels like to me, at least right now.  Not a race, with a clearly defined finish and free water and bagels on the other side, but a long slog through pain and fear and frustration in the hopes that it will make me stronger, more stable, and able to avoid this kind of collapse in the future.

And if this resonates with you, then just remember one thing – the fundamental thing about recovery is for the most part, it sucks.  It really does.  It hurts and it’s hard and it’s scary, and that’s normal, and it’s okay, and it’s going to get better.  You’re going to figure out what works, whether on your own or with someone who’s been there or with a whole team of experts, and you’re going to do as much of it as you can do on as regular a schedule as you can come up with, and you’re going to make progress even if it doesn’t always feel like it, and you’re going to heal.  We’re going to heal.  Together, we’re going to heal this.

So if everything sucks today, and it very well might, that’s a normal part of the process and not a failure on your part.  Do what you can do, forgive what you can’t, and keep moving.

You’ll heal.  We’ll heal.  Someday.
via http://ift.tt/2lTjcQg:Psychologists Explain Your Phone Anxiety (and How to Get Over It):


this goes into the reasons behind why so many of us have a hard time making phone calls.

This article is sort of right and sort of doesn’t go far enough? I hate the phone because I don’t understand what people say on it, and I have a ton, now, of direct feedback of phone calls going poorly because I didn’t understand the conversation. There’s nothing irrational about it so it seems reductive to call it a phobia, for me. It’s more like empirical, observed experience: I hate making phone calls because I fuck them up every time. What was just nervousness is now downright dread. 

I can make phonecalls for work all day long, and do, because there are only ever a couple of things people need to know, there, and so I don’t have to really understand them on any deep level.

I can’t call someone and ask a question, though, because I know now that I’ll fuck that up. 



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