he who doomed himself to die and not the wild.
This is for things I want to keep.
My writing tumblr is here.
a fist sized hole in the wall, but it was not my fist that made it.(3 days ago)
complete your name with accents I can’t place(4 days ago)
and so skeletons, I guess, are just like scaffolding for humans and their bodies. where our architecture is kept.(5 days ago)
(6 days ago)
I want to address consent personally and specifically I want to talk about the wrong things I’ve done, not the things that have happened to me. I think this is important.
I think I understand where a lot of the apologist posts, the waffling posts, the derailing posts come from in threads about abuse, harassment, rape. I think a fair amount of it does come from fear. There is a fear that in a culture of people being called out, of victims fighting for transparency, there will come a time that you will be accused of rape or violating someone’s consent. And perhaps this is true. Perhaps the probability over time that every person raised to be masculine will be accused of violating someone’s consent becomes 100%.
What will you do when that happens? How will you respond? Will your first response be to deny it or will it be to ask what happened and learn?
I think that by men (perhaps people in general) there is almost always a time lines are crossed, boundaries transgressed. As society becomes more likely to talk about those boundaries, for people to push back, it’s more likely you will learn you’ve crossed one. I think that learning is overwhelmingly a good thing, but we’re in a period where people are mostly learning from mistakes - there’s very little structured education. Most people’s parents hardly talk to them about STIs let alone consent.
I’m going to talk about where I’ve gone wrong. I’ll avoid specific names and details out of respect for the other people in my life.
About 14 years ago now I was in my first relationship. I’d only kissed one person before this and I feel it’s safe to say I knew just about nothing. My girlfriend and I had gone below the belt a few times and I felt it was in limits, but one time she didn’t feel like it and indicated so. A little bit later that afternoon I pantsed her - I thought of it as joking around. We did a fair amount of wrestling about in general and I thought she would find it funny. She didn’t. I didn’t understand why not - I wasn’t far from the age where stuff like that would be common among my guy friends. It was embarrassing maybe, I thought, but certainly not a big deal. I was wrong.
It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks, it was a big deal to her.
She brushed it off at the moment, maybe not knowing how to express feeling violated or why she felt that way, but she later told me she felt like she’d been raped. I was extremely worked up about this, being very sensitive in general and reacted badly. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to touch me anymore and when we broke up I told myself it was because of another person she liked and not my own actions. Seeing stuff between us, we were called into the guidance counselor one day and she said she hadn’t actually been raped and didn’t believe she had, which placated my guilt and I then went years feeling like she’d done me wrong by telling me that I’d hurt her when “I didn’t do anything.” I was wrong.
People set their own boundaries. Not me, not you, not any outside force.
Years later, at the start of what would end up being a much longer relationship, I was just entering around the same stage of intimacy. I was extremely inebriated. My partner later told me that they’d asked me not to go down on them, had said no, but I had anyway. They didn’t push it further at the time since they decided to go with it, but were upset afterwards, and needed to talk to me about it. My initial response was “But you kept going, right? Wouldn’t I have known if I’d done wrong?”. This is a common reaction and it’s absolutely flawed thinking.
My memory of the event is terrible - but let me make this clear, I absolutely believe them. I trust them a lot. What I don’t trust is myself. As much as I don’t intend to be a bad person, in a situation like that my actions are my responsibility, drugs, alcohol, whatever aside. This instance (along with some embarrassing but not quite terrible ones and some health issues) contributed to me spending most of my time sober now, especially when I don’t know people well.
Even closer to today, I was fooling around with someone and we took pictures. We were members of a group that shared pictures like that and I thought they had understood we were taking them for this reason. I hadn’t gotten explicit consent to share them, just to take them. They were understandably upset, asked me to take them down. Again, I learned.
I’ve learned that not only are my partners more comfortable when I make more efforts to communicate, I am too. Clear consent can remove a lot of anxiety from situations.
In all of these instances I’ve been overwhelmingly lucky to be with partners who not only expressed to me what I had done wrong, where I had transgressed, but even patiently explained to me the idea of consent, how consent doesn’t just mean ‘no means no’ or come into play with what people consider ‘rape’ in the sense of a stranger with a knife. How even people close to you can hurt you and people often continue relationships with those who have, forgive them, and get better. These are the instances I’ve been able to know - not a comprehensive list of every time I may have made someone uncomfortable or pushed too far. I couldn’t possibly know that.
I think about what it might be like if one of these people publicly called me out. How it would be correct to respond. I can’t say I really know. Would I deserve the lash that comes with such callings out? It would hurt a lot, but for the role I play in this culture and considering the other privileges I’ve gotten along with presenting as male, I don’t feel like feeling sorry for myself is one of the correct responses. My response is always to strive to be better and to share things I’ve learned so other people can avoid my mistakes. So they can avoid hurting the people they care about.
I don’t think I’m a monster and I don’t often tell myself I’m a good person either. Actually, it’s something I’ve been working on, not being too hard on myself. But I think things like this are places I absolutely should be hard on myself, should consider carefully.
If carefully considering your actions while being sexual sounds hard, perhaps it’s because treating people right takes work. Real work. This doesn’t mean don’t have casual sex, don’t get into situations where you’re comfortable being nonverbal, it just means think about it. Develop patterns and habits that help make consent clear and all parties comfortable.
If you find yourself in a place where you really are freaking out “What if she doesn’t remember this? I can’t tell how drunk she is.” then maybe don’t do it right then. If you’re thinking “What if this person lies about this later” maybe just ask - “Hey, I just want to make sure you’re completely comfortable - are you down to do this?” I honestly think communication drastically lowers the chances of things going wrong.
If you’re scared of being falsely accused of rape, or scared of something being ‘blown out of proportion’ when it wasn’t ‘really a big deal’ or it seemed like it wasn’t to your partner at the time, I can understand that. What I’m hoping, really begging, of society at large, is that people will also understand the fear that comes from people who are on the other side of such actions.
Maybe be scared more not that you will be accused of something but that you will actually do it.
Maybe you have done it and will only realize it later by reading a similar account from the other perspective. Hopefully you can learn from that.
a belief is just a thought with a lot of feeling behind it(1 week ago)
SIP TO SURVIVE(1 week ago)