Monthly Archives: August 2015

Use the Block Button

I dislike when people make my online experience unpleasant. Maybe they’re bullies or trolls, maybe they’re the type to loudly and aggressively express their opinions, maybe they never have anything nice or positive to say, maybe they’re passive-aggressive, maybe they’re sexist or racist or homophobic, maybe they’re selfish and demanding no matter what the circumstance. Whatever their reasons, they tend to piss all over everything and ruin it for the rest of us (me, they ruin it for me). Or, worse, they make me dread something I previously enjoyed, or want to enjoy, and then their crap starts spilling over into my real life and that’s just not cool.

So I’m a fan of unfriending, unfollowing, and–if need be–blocking. Even people I love. Even people I’m friends with. You know why?

1. Because I can.

The unfriending, unfollowing, and blocking functions are all easy to find and easy to use. If something as simple as clicking a button is going to vastly improve my online experience, why wouldn’t I do it?

2. Because not doing it allows them to affect me in ways I don’t like.

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m way more sensitive than I like to let on. Bad reviews, anon hate or badly-worded criticism, fandom negativity and drama, newsfeed negativity and drama… it upsets me and sucks the energy and joy right out of me. Why would I let that happen if I could stop it?

3. Because I don’t need the stress.

I have enough stress in my life. Especially this year, oh boy. Why on earth would I add to it if I don’t have to?

4. Because my mental health is important.

I’m eyeballs deep in PPD right now. I have bad days. Really, really bad days. Allowing things in my life that make those bad days worse seems like a really stupid idea. I try not to make really stupid choices when I can see they’re stupid.

5. Because people like that need to understand their behavior won’t be tolerated.

I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior. It took me a long, long time to learn this lesson. I don’t like rewarding poor behavior with the attention that person so desperately craves. Unfollowing, unfriending, and/or blocking someone allows me to disengage. They can seek attention elsewhere.

Power

He waits: stripped naked, blindfolded, his ankles tied to the legs of the chair and his wrists tied together behind the back of it. His lips are red where he’s bitten them, slick where he’s licked them. Back arched, it’s as if sitting is too much stimulation. Maybe it is. Maybe the anticipation has done him in.

The balance of power has shifted. He has given it all to her.

Because she asked.

He must hear her. His body tenses, his hands curling into fists at his back. He doesn’t say anything. He tips his face up and he waits.

Five: Characters I Love

Last time, I did five lady authors I love, so I thought this time I’d do five women characters I love. I definitely have a “type” when it comes to leading ladies in the books I love to read: unlikable. She’s probably the villain in someone else’s story. She likely defies what it means to be ladylike–either by the standards of her own society, or by ours. And when it’s time, she’ll make the decision that’s right, even if it’s not popular, or maybe even if it’s not Good.

1. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

This is hardly an original entry, I know, but it deserves the #1 slot because I just love her so much. She’s brutally selfish, ambitious, determined, and practical. Scarlett O’Hara didn’t let a little thing like the Civil War keep her from getting everything she wanted. Her selfishness was toned down in the movie, and things like the children she had by her first two husbands were removed. Scarlett is the benchmark against which I judge all female characters and she’s the reason I like “unlikable” women leading stories.

2. Bronwyn Lewis, How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn’t Called You Back?

Bron starts the book a teenager, and so most what makes her unlikable is just normal adolescent selfishness and short-sightedness. I was twelve or so the first time I read this book and it was important for me to see that as bad as things could get–and for Bron, things got very bad–it could all turn out all right in the end. That selfish mistakes you make can be forgiven, that you can learn from them.

3. Heris Serrano, Serrano Legacy books

I wanted to be Heris when I grew up. I still wouldn’t mind. She’s tough, she’s capable, and she’s willing to stand up for what she believes is right, and for people who can’t stand up for themselves. Heris was much more masculine than I thought straight women could be, but in the end, she gets the guy she’s wanted, and that was an eye-opener for me. (This is actually referenced in a later book, when Esmay Suiza’s therapist points out that by the standards of the society Esmay grew up in, her choices–choices much like the ones Heris made–defy her gender role, but by the standards of the Familias Regnant, she fits in fine.) Heris made tough choices and stepped on toes. But she kept going.

4. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games books

I think one word sums up Katniss: survivor. And I loved the conversation between Gale and Peeta in the third book when Gale said that Katniss would choose whichever one of them could help her survive. She’s so practical and single-minded and she has such great capacity for caring–look at just her relationships with Prim and Rue if no further–and she is so determined. She reminds me so much of Scarlett in her ruthless pursuit of what matters to her.

5. Jaina Solo, Star Wars Expanded Universe

Jaina is bossy, a little bit reckless, and can at times be incredibly selfish. I feel like I grew up with her because I started reading the Young Jedi Knights books when I was just a couple of years younger than she was when they started. She’s tough and she’s capable and no matter what, she just keeps moving forward, even if she makes mistakes, even if she has to do things that hurt more than anything should ever hurt.

Sites I Love: Zen Habits

zenhabits

Zen Habits is minimal and efficient. I always feel much better when I visit. Best of all, it’s full of useful tips and tricks and suggestions to slow down, clear out your mind and life, and be more peaceful.

Things To Remember, pt. 3

50. Take care of yourself.

Drink a glass of water. Have a healthy snack. Take a ten-minute nap. Wash your hair. Masturbate, if you’re the kind of person who benefits from regular orgasms. The little things matter–do them. You’re the only you you’ve got.

55. Strive for contentment.

Happiness is nice. Contentment is nicer. Contentment is also more sustainable and easier to attain. Figure out what will make you feel the most consistent contentment, and do it. Start small if you have to and build up until everything in your life just feels nice.

57. Appreciate what you have.

It can be difficult to remember to appreciate what you have. Try not to take the people in your life, your opportunities, and your things for granted. They could vanish in an instant. What would your life be like without them?

58. It’s never too late to start over.

This piece of advice is aimed specifically at women over the age of fifty, though it can apply to anyone: it’s not to late to start over. No matter how entrenched you think you are, no matter how impossible you think it is, you can always pick up, move on, and try again.

61. Make time for downtime.

I know people who fill every waking hour with activities and obligations. It’s important to do the things you love and the things that matter to you–but it’s also important to make time for nothing, too. Give yourself a chance to reset and recharge.