Tagfear

Scaring the piss out of people

Rolling Stone has a great post about Why Conservatives Increasingly Care Where You Pee. In short, this law (and the others like it in other states) have nothing to do with protecting people and everything to do with fear. The Republican party has gotten very good at scaring their constituents into action. Emphasis is mine:

It’s troubling that bathroom bills could be used in a naked ploy to dominate downticket races in this election, as it further demonstrates that American conservatives have perfected the art of striking fear into worried audiences. All it takes is the suggestion of danger to create a highly reactive response that could restrict trans rights even as the community makes its way into the daylight.

And that issue of safety of trans men preying on little girls in the bathroom. It hasn’t happened. But trans people are the targets of harassment.

To date, there have been no cases in which a transgender person has committed assault in a bathroom — but 70 percent of trans people have experienced harassment and assault when trying to pee.

Good job opening up an already misunderstood, harassed segment of society up to more harassment. Honestly now, how you even intend on enforcing this law? For the party of small government, it seems they’re awful curious about what’s in our pants.

Here is a promise, and a fact: you will never, in your life, ever have to deal with anything more than the next minute. However much it feels like you are approaching an event – an exam, a conversation, a decision, a kiss – where, if you screw it up, the entire future will just burn to hell in front of you and you will end, you are not.

— From “You were not born scared and self-loathing”: Read Caitlin Moran’s heartfelt open letter to troubled teenage girls

What I Learned From Pro-Gun Twitter

When I wrote about President Obama’s Executive Order about guns I specifically wasn’t trying to change anyone’s mind. There’s a reason for this. I am not trying to strip my opponents of their identities. Guns are their identities.

Obama coming for your guns

Jenny Trout posted a single tweet. My child is more important than your gun.

The replies are what you expect. Threats against her. Threats if she tries to come and take their guns. Fear. Yes, she picked the replies but what she posted was indicative of what happens when anyone says something even remotely about guns control online. Remember, this started with her saying my child is more important than your gun. She’s not coming to take them away. It’s not a pro-gun-control message. It’s a mother’s statement that her child is precious.

But she hits upon some truths I think we overlook when trying to have a debate about guns in this country.

The pro-gun right has one weapon, and that is fear. If they can’t make you fear “terrorists”, they’ll try to make you fear “thugs”. If they can’t make you fear “thugs”, they’ll jump to the hypothetical rape of your pretty white daughter. If they can’t make you afraid at all, they’ll become violently afraid of you. Then they’ll kill you, and say it was in self-defense because you tried to take their guns. Self-defense, because their guns are their selves. That’s why they’re panicking; if the government legislates their guns away, they’re legislating these peoples’ identities away.

For a group who uses fear as its main tactic, fear is at the heart of the issue. They see gun control as an attack on their guns which they view as part of their identity. Their guns are their selves. That’s why the government is so scary. It’s threatening to remove part of their identities. How do you even begin a discussion that starts with wanting to remove part of someone’s identity?

Update

Richard makes a great point. We need to deal with The Anger before we deal with The Gun.

The Anger is in all of us. The Anger manifests itself differently in each person, to different degrees. The Anger can be eased, it can be released safely, but it never goes away. You have to be taught how to deal with The Anger, but few people ever learn on their own. Fewer still know how to teach it. Instead, we try to sublimate The Anger, hide it, pretend it doesn’t exist. But it doesn’t go away. Without a way to acknowledge The Anger, to release it in a safe way, The Anger explodes, increasingly in a hail of gunfire.

The Anger feeds on the Fear. The result is a much darker version of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch.

I have everything I need to create something great

“You have everything you need to create something great. Something compelling. Something human, You also have what you need – the constraints – to make enough excuses to keep you from your work for the rest of your life, or to get creative and make something amazing. Something authentic.”
via Enough.

This is a new lesson I am learning as I start new projects.

First, with Origin Story I wanted to create a series of interviews with people about why they chose the screen names they use. But I waited. I thought why would anyone want to talk to me about their internet handles?

Lots of people! There has only been one person who has declined the invitation to take part. Everyone else has obliged my curiosity and contributed their Origin Stories.

I’m always looking for more people, get in touch!

The next project took two tries to get going. March2March is my 365-day photo project.

I wanted to do a project but I didn’t want to start January 1st. So the idea of running it from March to March got into my head and stuck.

After a false start last year, I got it going this year and have made it through everyday so far.

My latest project I wanted to be more tactile. I am taking part in The 100 Day Project. The idea is to make something for 100 days. I am making small post-it creations. The link goes to my Instagram feed, which is basically all Post-Its for now until I move them to my site for safekeeping.

It’s sometimes a small drawing. Other times it’s a saying or through for the day. Everyday it’s different. I let the mood of the day inspire me and go where it takes me.

It’s been a fun, finite project. It’s important to have an end date on some projects. Whether it be seasons or a number of days, I can’t keep up with everything forever.

Everything has to end.

I do not regret starting any of these projects. I have enjoyed them all and it makes me feel good to have made them.

They aren’t the best anything. They aren’t going to change the world or anyone’s life. But they make me happy and I enjoy them.

That’s success in my eyes.

Secrets

Derek Sivers started writing again and in a recent post called Why my code and ideas are public he recalls a conversation with a friend. during a dinner conversation, she said:

“I’m not worried about someone finding out my secrets, because secrets are just facts, right? So if someone is going through my private things, for example, and gets upset about what they find, then that’s their problem, not mine!”

He liked the attitude and it caused him to question his own secrets just as I did mine many years ago.

I had my secrets. They too were locked away in a notebook. I used to keep one in my pocket or backpack when I went to school. Growing up, I wrote in it everyday. I wrote poetry, terrible teenage angst poetry.

I wrote about the hurt I was feeling over my parent’s divorce. I wrote about how I felt isolated in the small town where I grew up. I felt like a freak to those around me. Being 6’5′ and preferring poetry to football helped that alienation.

It was all so real and raw and painful. I let myself out upon those pages. In varying colors of ink my emotions flowed out in words.

And I never shared them. With anyone. For any reason. Ever.

sunset hair
By Alexander Shustov via Unsplash

I was sure, if found, it would lead to questions I didn’t want to answer. It would lead to trouble. Because when I let my uncensored words out, they were painful. They were emotions I didn’t know what to do with so I wrote them down.

I kept my writing secret. It was for me. It didn’t need to be shared with anyone. It made me feel better. That’s all it needed to do. That’s all I required of it. Helping me to get through the dark nights and sometimes darker dawns.

Then I got involved with my school’s literary magazine.

I read writings from my peers. I read their pain. I read their confusion. I read their love. I read their passion. And I learned I wasn’t alone.

I wasn’t the only person who had fears and confusion and hurt. It was universal. I was not alone.

Learning this was the greatest lesson of my life. I am not alone! And it was liberating. It made me reconsider keeping everything I had secret.

I realized it didn’t matter how people reacted to what I wrote. It was what I felt. It was my reality, my life, my pain, my joy. It was me. My writing was myself on paper.

So I shared.

I submitted some of my writing to the magazine. Some of it was good enough to get published. Much of it was garbage. But some was good enough to earn a spot in the magazine.

This build my courage. When people told me they liked a line or a phrase, or even the entire piece it was a huge confidence boost.

It was very liberating to not only know I wasn’t alone, but to know I had found people who understood me.

My secrets, when confronted with the harsh light of day weren’t so important.

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