Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Worst Thing I ever Did (On the internet)

Edit: This page was part of a massive cluster fuck on my part. To see how I reacted to the cluster fuck, please visit this page

I figure I need to get this off my chest. It's been on my mind for a while, and since things today have reminded me of it, I want to get it out there. If you hate me for it, fine. If not...you are a better person than I.

Three things happened when I was eighteen: I started a webcomic called Blue Skunk, now on permanent hiatus, my parents split up, and I began having issues with self injury. The latter two did not blend well. The comic, though, became my outlet. Not because of the comic itself, but because of the webcomic community: Keenspace/Comic Genesis forums.

And one day while I was on there I said a horrible thing.

I was raised borderline fundie, and one of the things I was told over and over was that it was Wrong To Be Gay. Somehow, while on the webcomic forums, gayness was never a subject that came up, so I never had to really look at what my beliefs towards homosexuality really were. I had never met an openly homosexual person, and by the time I had the webcomic I was desperate to please my family. I thought if I made everybody in my family happy, it would stay together. Then I thought if I made them all happy, I could make them get back together. I was more than a little fucked up at the time.

And then I said the horrible thing. I don't remember why I said it, only that it involved publishers. It was something along the lines of "I wouldn't want to work with someone who published GLBT material."

The rest of the thought, which I did not write, was "Because then my parents would see my work sitting beside work they don't agree with, and they would think of me as an even more horrible, terrible person, and I have to conform to what they think, otherwise they won't love me."

Everyone (correctly) promptly blew their shit at me. They were right to. I needed to have shit blown at me for saying that.

I am now deeply ashamed that I held that point of view. I do not anymore. Part of the reason why I don't is because everybody lost thier shit at me. It made me think about what my views really were. I discovered I didn't have any. I was parrotting what my parents said because I wanted their approval. I needed to get my own views before I could say anything else.

And my views are now...exactly the opposite of what they were then. There's nothing wrong with being gay, or straight, or transsexual, or asexual. You are who you are who you are, and you have to deal with your life the best you can. I don't get to know what your story is. I don't get to pass judgement on you, unless I'm willing to be judged in the same light.

I'd say "I'd go back in time and undo that moment, if I could", but I wouldn't. Because if I hadn't said that horrible thing, I would still be a horrible person. I would still be biased against a group of people who hadn't done anything to me, who have every right to be happy, to live how they want, love how they want, and worship how they want. If I had not been confronted with my own awful views, I would still hold them. And I do not any more.

This is not something I will ever be proud of. I said a horrible thing, I learned a valuable lesson, and I respect you guys enough not to continue shoving my horrible, terrible former self under the rug.

And don't tell me it's good to learn from my mistakes. I shouldn't have held those views in the first place.


  1. (Responding to both this post and the previous one http://creativedoubledipper.blogspot.ca/2012/12/in-which-cw-defends-herself-probably.html )

    First, the bad news. The writer of that blog almost made a good point about language. 'Hooker' wasn't the best choice of words. It's derogatory, and there's no uniform for sex work. And 'bitch' is a heavily gendered insult: There's no male equivalent.

    Why didn't I mention that earlier? Because for me those words were brief roadbumps in otherwise good posts. And because you grew up in a Fundamentalist household (Nothing borderline about it, BTW) and you do actually get some time to unlearn old habits and build new ones.

    Now, the good news. Despite the fact that the writer of that post made a couple of good points, the overall post was pretty much just the writer firing a shotgun into the internet and hoping to provoke someone into a fight. So if it felt as though you were being attacked, it's because you were.

    "And don't tell me it's good to learn from my mistakes. I shouldn't have held those views in the first place."

    And how should you have known not to have held those views? You were raised by people who held those views, and you grew up in communities where everyone either held those views or kept their mouths shut out of fear. Where were you supposed to learn other views? Would it have been safe for you to hold other views?

    I think it's great that you've moved on, that you've learned. But if you're going to learn you need examples to learn from, and if you're going to move on you need a place to move to.

    In other words, you get the opportunity to learn from your mistakes just like everyone else.

    And since that other blog is a lousy place to learn - Since they assume that if you don't start out by agreeing with them, you're a hopelessly bad and stupid person, here's a few places I go to try and learn a few lessons myself:


  2. I will have to learn to work on my language a little, I think...but the thing is, I'm not here to be educational about feminism or promote the "right" POV. I'm here to have fun and let other people have fun.

    I don't know how to be funny without being slightly offensive. I've tried to learn, but I don't have the talent for it. I can be entertaining without cussing, but that's in my fiction writing, not my humor.

    And I identify as a bitch. By choice. Because I am one when I choose to be. Maybe it's a word that's got a lot of baggage attached to it, but it's MY word, damn it. I am a woman with a lot of negative personality traits and a nasty mouth when you really get me going right.

    I'll try to learn to be less offensive. I don't want to learn how to be more PC. Talking about how you're talking about things is how my Dad won all his arguements. It takes the conversation off the subject at hand and focuses it on something that is TOTALLY beside the point. IMHO.

    But then I've already identified myself as a bitch, so what do I know?

    1. "Talking about how you're talking about things is how my Dad won all his arguements."

      Yeah, I've seen that tactic of redirecting conversations. And it's pretty much what they were doing in that blog - Complaining about the language and making it clear that only bad people use that kind of language. It's a no-win conversation.

      But paying attention to the language we use is pretty damn useful. It's not about being politically correct, it's about knowing where the words we use come from and how they effect people. So go ahead and identify as a bitch, and feel free to use the word to describe yourself, but don't apply it to other women unless you know up-front that they're okay with it.

      "I'm not here to be educational about feminism or promote the "right" POV. I'm here to have fun and let other people have fun."

      Which is another reason I didn't mention anything earlier. It seemed out of place for the conversation at the time.

    2. So how would applying the word to a fictional person work? I can't ask Anita for her permission. She's not real. She's a sock puppet that I happen to find morally offensive, who does horrible things to other fake people and who rationalizes terrible things when they are done to her.

    3. Unless they've used that term in-voice to describe themselves, I'd personally not use it. It just puts too many landmines in place for people to trip over. My two cents* on that, anyway.

      If they have used the term in-voice to describe themselves and you want to turn it around on them, something like "The kind of self-declared bitch who gives the rest of us a bad name" is the first thing that comes to mind.

      (* Canada is phasing out the penny. Soon I'll have to say 'my nickel's worth', eh?)

    4. I guess.

      It's just kind of hard for me to understand how a word's baggage can be so huge the context can not matter at all. It's a book about a woman who sexes up under age boys and makes rape something that is okay as long as the rapee has an orgasm.

      And it's the word "bitch" that offends people. When applied to the woman verbally abusing another individual for attempting an intervention in a physically and mentally abusive relationship, as well attacking an uninvolved third party (the cop's wife) to draw attention away from her own risky relationship.

      ...which is a lot like what just happened, actually.

      I understand the baggage exists. I don't understand how the baggage can be so great that it negates ANY use of the word EVER.

      I guess I'll have to study it more.

    5. That's why I started with "The writer of that blog almost made a good point about language." Because the point they made required ignoring the broader scope of the review, and they were pretty much only making the point to make themselves look like Better People than you and pick an internet fight.

      Still, in the words of a crazy man who liked punching people in the spleen "Absorb what is useful, discard all else."

      'Bitch' is an easy tag for some people to jump on and try to claim the moral high-ground. Don't give trolls an easy way to misrepresent you.

  3. And in the interests of being honest - I've said stupid things online, and had to learn from the backlash. I've done worse things in real life to friends and loved ones, and have tried to learn from the consequences of those actions. So you're a long ways from alone in all this.

  4. "It would have nice to have had this explained to me the first ninty times I used the word bitch"

    I didn't bring it up before because I didn't feel as though it were my place to lecture you. I still don't, really. I'm just responding to the comments on that other blog and to your post here. I really hope I haven't been lecturing you in this comments-thread.

    Okay, serious question: Do you want me to bring it up if I see language that might be triggery for other people?

  5. I am a 53 year Southern Catholic widow and grandmother and I personally found nothing offensive in your description of Anita as acting like a bitch in this circumstance. Sometimes there are just some cultural norms that have come to be expressed by a type of literary shorthand that everyone recognizes. I know the difference between the literal definition of a "bitch" and the behavior that you you were referencing and so did the person arguing the point. Arguing semantics to claim a position of moral superiority is usually a sign that someone knows that they are wrong and attempting to make you feel bad about your choice of language is overlooking the service you are doing at tackling this swamp nest of a book.