Anatomy of a Bullshit Sandwich

Top bun: rational-seeming argument

Lettuce: claiming familial/friendship/romantic ties

Cheese: crocodile tears

Meat: HEINOUS FUCKING BULLSHIT

Bottom bun: supposed sincerity

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

The wonderfully snarky individual previously referred to as “Card-Geek” will be referred to from here on out as “Alex”, and backdated content will be changed accordingly.

Because I love my people, and if I’m going to blog about them, I need to be respectful of their wishes. For my own peace of mind, if nothing else.

*blows kisses*

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

Another Official Edit

News and Changes

So, I’ve talked before (a lot) about writing, and the possibility of being published. Recently, I mentioned that I finished writing a book. But what I didn’t mention is that my writing projects didn’t exactly stop there.

Because I decided “what the hell?” and responded to some open calls for short fiction. Short, queer fiction, to be precise. And I heard back from one of them — Torquere Press. They want to publish one of the short stories I’ve written for them.

And, on the one hand? OMG, DREAM COME TRUE, I’M OVER THE MOON. On the other? It means that some things will have to change.

For starters, it might get a lot more busy round here. And I will have to change my name on this blog to reflect the name I’m publishing under. “Dominique Hayes” is who I’ve been on here for three years, and it feels . . . strange, for want a better word, to think about changing that. To give that up.

I’m trying to remind myself that not all change is bad. That this is less a loss than it is an evolution. Everything else is going to remain the same, here. This is still my corner of the interwebz, still the place I get to post thinky thoughts and rants, weird anecdotes and OMGWHAT? moments. This is still the place I get to write, and share that. This is still the place where I developed my voice.

It’s also going to be the place I let readers find me. Which. It’s odd, that the idea scares me so much when that was why I started this blog in the first place, but there’s a degree of safety in being an anonymous nobody on the internet. In having a readership under 50 people. It’s scary, to be one step closer to achieving a dream I’ve been quietly feeding for the better part of two decades.

But carpe diem, right? So, here goes. Goodbye, Dominique Hayes.

Hello, K. Martin.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

My Take On Body Mod

It’s no secret that I’ve always been fascinated by body mod. I’ve written about it before. But that was on the attitudes people often throw at the modded, and I think that there’s so much more to it than just the obvious, than the tattoo or piercing or dye itself. Body mod is often dismissed as tacky or a fetish, possibly as youthful indiscretion. On the more extreme end of the spectrum, it’s associated with criminals, with people who are “trashy” and “don’t respect themselves.” But I don’t see it that way at all.

It takes a certain kind of confidence to get your mod done, whether you display it or not. You have to be self-assured to display it, because you will face backlash and judgement and never-ending commentary from the peanut gallery. And even if you don’t, even if you only put your tattoo or piercing or other mod in a place that is just for you, a place your clothing always covers and you never show anyone else, there’s no denying the fact that you bared your body to a professional, to a needle or gun or other tool. That you trusted in another human being’s skill and artistry to change your body permanently. You made yourself vulnerable, and that isn’t an easy thing to do.

There’s a certain courage in making that decision, but what I find most powerful about body modification is the fact that making that choice—to change the body you live in—a person is deciding for themselves what they find beautiful or meaningful, and then stepping inside that construct. So much of our culture is concerned with policing bodies, and it’s so pervasive that we don’t think about the norms that exist around hair length and clothing and weight. Body mod isn’t about pleasing other people—it’s not holding off the aging process to look attractive to others or maintain social status, it’s not about creating or maintaining a perfect body shape or colour or size. It’s not about trying to seem beautiful by conventional standards. It is a very obvious form of modification that doesn’t pretend to be anything else, that doesn’t seek outside approval. It is an act whereby you commit to living your truth, to putting your money where your mouth is regarding how you view the world.

And that kind of courage, confidence, and commitment is damn attractive.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

 

Luck of the Irish?

I have a complicated relationship with my Irish heritage. On the one hand, it was “gifted” to me by my biological father, and if I could put some genetic distance between me and that abusive fuckhat, I would. It feels like I’m letting him have a part of my life, lay claim to some piece of me, by embracing the cultural heritage he donated along with his DNA. I want him and everything to do with him as far away from me as I can get it, want to deny everything he ever believed in, reject everything he so much as touched.

And, on this one? I can’t.

Because I am more closely tied to my heritage than I like to admit, most of the time. The Irish are known for a lot of things, like an irrepressible and inappropriate sense of humour. (Check.) They are known as pottymouths. (All the checks.) They are, of course, legendary in their drinking  habits. (I’m not a big drinker, but I do jokingly call myself “an Irish drunk”.) They are known for their music and art — their love of it, and the creation thereof. (Check and check.) More than anything else, though, they are the survivors. They’ve endured poverty, famine, war, death. And they are still standing.

It’s easy, in a way, to romanticize that. That endurance, the “unbreakable spirit”. It’s easy to look at them and decide that they are heroic, that they are role models, that tragedy and misfortune rolls off of them like water off a duck’s back. It’s not true.

Because that kind of misery and pain, it takes a toll. Individuals can endure all of those things, sure, but it comes at a cost. Booze and crude jokes can only carry you so far. That kind of stress breaks a body down. That kind of hopelessness erodes ambition. Years of poverty and scraping by destroys the belief in a better life. Not the hope for it, but the belief that it can be had. An abundance of trauma breaks people — leads to alcoholism, bitterness, a jaded worldview, self-destruction.

And, if someone does “give up” in the face of that, if their spirit proves breakable, all too often that is considered the real tragedy. Not that this person put up with years of suffering, but that they allowed it to “break” them.

Having lived in poverty and with various forms of abuse my entire life, I have to shake my head at that attitude. Of course a plethora of negative life experiences are going to take a toll. It’s unfair to blame the person who lived through them for being affected. Because no one expects positive life experiences to have no effect, to do nothing to a person’s life or personality or perspective. Why the double-standard? If life experience shapes us, then that has to count for all experiences, good and bad.

My father called me “resilient”. As much as I wish I could prove the bastard wrong, the very fact that I am standing after what he put me through argues otherwise. I haven’t let the ravenous ghosts of traumas past consume me, even when it would be easier to give in than keep fighting.

For me, being Irish means acknowledging the hurt, the unfairness, the tears, and refusing to lie down under the weight of them. It means holding onto the determination to keep moving forward, because even if my pace is glacial, that is still better than letting my knees fold in resignation. It means remembering that I am not the first to hurt, not the first to survive, but that I can choose what that means — I can decide to self-destruct with bitterness and alcohol, or I can decide that I deserve better. It means remembering how important hope is, especially in the moments it is hardest to hold onto. It means knowing firsthand that the world is not a kind place, that the risk of rose-coloured glasses are greater than the reward. It means refusing to be silenced, to choose to speak out despite hopelessness or fear. It means being the voice of morbid humour in the midst of bleakness. It means finding beauty in dark places, and not valuing it less for being dark.

More than anything else, it means art and its creation is a way of life, a way to keep going, to keep the ghosts at bay.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

“Victim” vs. “Survivor”

I don’t like the word “victim”. Mostly because I don’t like the connotations—the dictionary definition is “a person harmed, injured, or killed as the result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.” But when people talk about victims, they aren’t just talking about a person who was hurt or killed. They’re talking about the hurt, the death, the tragedy that made the victim. The word conjures a certain image of frailty, of brokenness.

And that’s not fair.

The word “victim” is appropriate in some cases and some contexts. The justice system and academia uses it in a precise way. In the dictionary-definition way. But all of that gets twisted round by how the media and people on the street use it. Social workers, support groups, and counsellors of all stripes encourage people who have been victimized not to adopt the label of “victim” because of the connotations attached. Because of the way it can warp your perceptions and expectations of yourself.

The word most commonly used to replace “victim” is “survivor”—if, of course, the person did live through the incident in question. But I don’t think “survivor” is a great word, either. It’s definitely better, because it emphasizes the fact that it was an incident you lived through, and is a positive trait when turned into an “I am” statement. But it still focusses on the wrong thing, in my opinion, because it puts the emphasis on the incident, on the trauma, and less about moving on from it. Because, yes, it is undeniably powerful to say “I’m a survivor, I lived through this”, but we deserve more than just survival. We deserve to heal. To live. To have our lives defined by more than just our trauma.

When I talk about what happened to me, I don’t use those words. I talk about things that happened to me. Or things that someone did. I don’t dance around words like “abuse”, “assault”, or “afraid”. I use them if and when they are appropriate to describe my experience. But “victim” isn’t appropriate. Not for me. And neither, really, is “survivor”. Depending on what I’m describing, I might use “target”. As in, “I was the target of a hate crime”. Which I was. But my word choice there makes what happened about the person who did it, rather than about me, and my trauma, and whatever I “must’ve done” to bring it on myself. It argues that the important part of that sentence, the takeaway point, is not that I was confronted with unnecessary violence and hatred, but that someone felt the need to subject a complete stranger to violent hatred for no good reason. It makes it about the person who did something wrong, and the fact that it was wrong, rather than glorifying my pain.

Because I’m not interested in living in the past, inside all the hurt that others have heaped on my head. It was bad enough to experience the first time. I don’t want to give the people who hurt me the satisfaction of crippling me forever. I want to find a way to be happy. To do things that are meaningful. To grow and learn and love and live as fully as I can.

I’m not a victim. I’m not a survivor. I’m a person.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

Words of Wisdom: Pt. XVII

Age is not representative of who a person is. Life, and the experiences it throws at people, are not counted and measured by years. Just because someone is young doesn’t automatically make them immature or a typical example of their age group. Similarly, just because someone is older doesn’t mean that they are necessarily mature, wise, or capable of offering guidance. Life is a journey, and we don’t all start in the same place, the same way we don’t travel with the same number or configuration of people, or go the same places. The experiences a person has will shape them, and no two people will have the exact same set of experiences.

Assuming that you know what a person is capable of based on age alone is not only premature, it’s actually dangerous.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.