serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

Let's Rant
What part of your job (or other daily routine) do you hate the most right now? Why is it so troublesome for you? If you could change one thing about your job (new boss, new co-worker, new location) to try to improve it, what would it be?


I actually love my job. It's great fun, I really like meeting people, I get real satisfaction from it, and I'm good at it. Most of the time, I even get to work from home, and just go into the office for meetings and such.

However, it's not a secure job (no guarantees of how much work I will get at any particular time), and it's not usually a full time job, which means that I could do with a bit more money at times. I know I'm incredibly lucky to be able to survive on the money I do get, and still have enough time to be able to go out and do the things I love, but I'm not saving any money at all. My outgoings don't tend to be over my income - but neither are they much under, either.
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

What To Do
If you retired tomorrow (or in some other way no longer had to work a job anymore), how would you spend the free time you suddenly had? Would it be new hobbies, volunteering, visiting family/friends? To what age do you think you'll have to work before you can retire?


This depends on how much money I have, whilst retired.

I would love to just be able to travel around, visiting friends and partners, going to festivals (like the New Orleans Jazz Festival, for example, or the Carnival of Venice), going to different conventions around the world.

I would also like to go back to university, and learn more things. Perhaps something like culinary history, or philosophy of science, or something even more niche. I just like to learn!

And I would also learn and practice the (already too numerous) hobbies I have, perhaps whilst picking up a few more! And perhaps finally read the books on my list quicker than I keep adding to it....

Basically, not needing to work anymore isn't quite enough - if that's all I wanted to do, there are ways to manage that. I would want the autonomy to go and do the things I want, the physical health necessary for those endeavours, the time to be able to dedicate to them, and the money to be able to pay for them (and to survive in the meantime).

Considering what I'm currently doing, I just can't see how I'm even going to get to a point where I can afford to retire, even though the job I do tends to be a young person's job.
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

Sound Off
Donald Trump as presidential candidate -- what's your opinion? Among your circles of friends and family, is your opinion the norm or does your opinion of him differ from those around you?


Oh. Hell. No.

If Donald Trump ever becomes president of the US (and I would have said this was an absolutely absurd, entirely impossible to consider, totally ridiculous concept when this whole mess started), then I think the whole world is in trouble.

Like it or not, the US is a major player in the world. And, like it or not, the president of the US is an extremely powerful person, one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful single individual) in the world - certainly in the West.

I think the best that could happen if he became president (and there's a part of me that is still disbelieving that I'm seriously considering that) is that the US turns entirely inward and isolationist. No, it still wouldn't be great for the world, but is the alternative that they turn outward any better? Because Trump will certainly not just do nothing and maintain the policies of the current POTUS (not that I think he has the political ability or will to do so). He seems very much to be the type of warmonger that would encourage the US's imperialist empire-building tendencies overseas. He's not the type to reach for a diplomatic solution to anything.

I can't ever see that being good for the world.
serina_ds: (Ocean)
Question:

Drink Up
What's your favorite beverage that you drink often (daily or near-daily)? Why do you enjoy it so much?


Anyone who knows me, knows that I drink green tea - well, I'd say religiously, but it is practically a religious activity in Japan, so that might give the wrong impression! It does have an incredibly soothing, meditative effect on me sometimes, admittedly. It works with practically every food I eat (although I wouldn't have it with some Western entrees, just Because. It's inappropriate, you know.)

At it's height, I was drinking approximately five pots of tea a day. Yes, that's five pots of tea, not five cups. Because insofar as it's possible, I make it with loose leaf, in a proper pot, drunk with the appropriate small, handle-less teacup (and without milk or sugar, of course, because only heathens drink it with milk or sugar to any extra condiments of any kind. Whoops, there I go again.)

I might occasionally Have Opinions when it comes to tea.

Naturally, if I'm drinking tea made by others, I will be polite and appreciative of the care they are showing. I still prefer only to drink green tea, but it's hardly fair to expect someone who usually only drinks Builder's Brew, or even coffee, to have decent tea making accoutrement. I used to be a lot more fussy about the type of tea I would drink too, but managing a professional development course and working 10-14 hour days for a week at a time in a place where the only green tea available is that awful Twinings tea bag stuff that tastes like it's been swept off the factory floor maybe a year or two ago...

Well, you make do. I needed something to get me through the day. Generally a takeaway cup every hour or two would do it. Over time I grew, well, not exactly fond of it, but at least to tolerate it. I've come to realise that there's worse green tea out there (including some of the other Twinings green teas - it's bad enough on it's own, but with lemon flavouring? *Shudders*)

But still, the first thing I do when I get home? Make myself a decent pot of green tea.
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

Shy Away
How would you define being an introvert? Is it different than just being shy, or are they the same thing to you? Would you classify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?


The difference between an introvert and an extrovert (and very few people are entirely one or the other at all times for that matter) is purely what drains your energy and what renews your energy.

For an introvert, being around people, even when it's fun and exciting, will tend to be very draining and tiring. Introverts need private quiet time away from people to recharge their batteries. Extroverted people gain energy from being around others, and feel refreshed and enlivened after social activity.

This means that yes, it's possible to be a sociable introvert or a shy extrovert - or even both, at different times of your life.

I'm a introvert, but I tend to be *very* sociable when I'm out and around people, then require lots of intensely private, quiet time afterwards to recharge.
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

They Really Like Me!
How important are the opinions of other people to you? Do you actively try to find out what others think of you? Whose opinion do you value the most?


John Donne once said:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

This rings for me, true down to the heart. It doesn't mean that the opinions of every person is important, but treating others with compassion and kindness and generosity is.

The people whom I love the most are those whose opinions I tend to trust totally and utterly. They've proven, time and time again, that they want me to be happy and healthy. I want to be my best self, my most ethical, genuine, compassionate, thoughtful, curious self. They help me to make that possible, they encourage me to keep improving and changing and seeking, whilst also making it clear that they support me and love me. These are my Tribe, my people, my family. They make me want to gift them with the best self I can be, because they deserve that for all the love and joy they bring to my life. So for me, their good opinions are paramount.

For the rest of the world, however...

I am sufficiently non-mainstream that if I cared too deeply about what the world thought of me, it would merely make me desperately unhappy in the long run. So I don't. I treat people compassionately because that is a good thing to do, but if they have negative opinions of me, that doesn't matter. I'm not delusional enough about myself to believe that people thinking bad of me is not hurtful, but it's a shallow, temporary hurt. We are after all, as Donne says, connected to one another. It's so fleeting a hurt, and often from a place of ignorance or fear or confusion or misunderstanding, however, that it doesn't touch me inside. It doesn't impact the heart of me the way that a negative opinion from someone I loved would, so I don't seek to redress or clarify it the way that I would if I cared more.
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

Addiction
Have you ever been addicted to anything? If so, what was it? If that addiction was a negative addiction for you, how did you break it (or how are you working on doing so)?


I don't know that I've ever truly been addicted to anything. I joke that I get a little obsessed with things sometimes, and that may be true in the short term, but there's never really been anything that I was unable to stop myself from consuming.

Except maybe reading. Now I come to think of it, that may be the only thing I could ever say that I have continued, even when it would have a negative impact. I will read to the detriment of all else. I will happily consume and voraciously text in a way that I would find unhealthy if I did it with anything else. I will find justifications/reasons/excuses to sit and read even when I really should be doing something else.

I would regularly miss meals at lunchtime when I was younger, because I didn't notice the time or my hunger in my fascination for a good book.

The night before I left for university, when I should have been completing my packing, I stayed up till 4am reading.

I read every day, including standing in front of the mirror with an ebook whilst brushing my teeth. I read whilst travelling, whilst walking, whilst eating, whilst making tea. I read when I should be sleeping.

I would stay up reading till 6am at least once a week, dragging myself into school the next morning just on the fragments of my determination. I would spend all my mental efforts to avoid falling asleep in class that afternoon (hence why I remember none of my French classes).

Who am I kidding, I've not improved in my sleep discipline. I will still occasionally (erm, often) stay up until 6am, 7am, or even later in order to finish a book. I recently stayed awake reading for 36 hours straight because I wanted to finish a book.

If addiction is "is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences" (thank you Wikipedia!) then I guess this would fit. If I calculate the amount of sleep I've lost over the years, and the things I could have been doing instead of reading, the number of nights out meeting potentially interesting people I bailed on because I was head down in an enthralling book (and not always for the betterment of my mind, either! I do love a good piece of sci-fi or fantasy fiction.) I'm aware that I could probably have made a bit better use of the time.

But for all that, I don't regret any of it. Me without a book is...inconceivable. It is such an intrinsic part of my psyche that I wouldn't know who I am without that connection to reading. I've certainly had wonderful experiences because of my reading, and I've chatted to some fantastic people.

Overall, does it count as an addiction if I don't really think it's doing me any harm? Or does it make it even more of an addiction?

Regardless, this isn't something that people are going to tell me I should stop doing - bibliophiles like to band together and egg each other on (usually in various geeky tomfoolery)! What other kind of 'addiction' would bring this much joy, and such wonderful people?

Excitement!

Oct. 6th, 2015 02:14 am
serina_ds: (Ocean)
Ooh, the Writer's Block is back! You may just see me on Livejournal more often from now on...
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
I was having a conversation about human rights campaigners, and a comment came up about the 'genuine' or 'good' human rights campaigners. This got me to thinking about the subject. What is a 'non-genuine' or 'not good' human rights campaigner? Is this someone who campaigns for human rights for the people you disapprove of or disagree with? (I'm including terrorists and criminals in this category.)

Surely it's a mark of our humanity - not how we treat those we approve of and agree with, but whether we treat even those who have done something we consider horrific as human. Because we must never, ever, forget that they are human, just like us. We can, and should, punish them for hurting others, and perhaps even lock them away forever if they're a continued danger, but we must not stop trying to reach them or rehabilitate them. We must not stop thinking of them as human. If we forget that, if we try to treat them as just monsters or boogeymen, then soon we can pretend to ourselves that 'our kind of people don't do these things', and only the monsters do it, and we stop watching ourselves for signs that we are doing bad things. Instead of thinking of ourselves as people who do decent, good things (which we generally are, of course), we start thinking of ourselves as just decent people who of course will never do bad things, and therefore things we do must be good. It happens - decent, genuine, honest, kind people doing horrific things because they've assured themselves that it's for the greater good and they're being selfless, and they wouldn't do something bad because 'they're good people'.

We need to keep thinking of ourselves as 'people who do good things'. We need to remind ourselves that this is an ongoing struggle, and that we can't be complacent. We need to keep examining whether the things we do are genuinely helpful and kind and beneficial.

And one way we can do that is by extending humanity even to those people who we feel don't deserve to be treated as human (and yes, sometimes I feel that way about certain people too. Rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc etc. It's very tempting to treat them like monsters). But accepting a world in which we can designate some people as 'not deserving of being human' is not a good place to be. Who gets to choose? Who gets to decide whether we are deserving of being treated like a human being? Who gets to decide the criteria by which this is decided?

In reminding ourselves that we can be monsters too, we remind ourselves of what it is to not be a monster. To be a human who treats others well to the best of our ability.

The good we can do, instead of the bad others can do.

Humans aren't automatically nice, but they can be good. We can be good. We just need to keep an eye on ourselves, and keep campaigning for a better world, in which it's easier to be good. This world is not yet it.

Also, I just want to point out that I don't necessarily think of human rights campaigners as innately any better or worse than, say, soldiers, as people. There are good and bad people in every profession. We should all be striving to make society a better place, in any way we can, no matter what our job.


serina_ds: (Dark eye)
So I recently was involved in a conversation with a guy about why women should be friendlier to him in the street. All he wanted was a nice 'Hi!' or smile back when he said hello when passing them in the street, after all! Why, oh why, was every female so impolite and unfriendly, and in some places downright rude? They would ignore him, or just look through him, or even walk quickly to the other side of the road. Why couldn't they just show normal, common decency and respond to his 'Hi!'?

Since I've filled multiple comments about this subject before, and it's getting a little tiring to repeat it each time, here are my main points, collected together where I can just point people at it in the future:

So. This is addressed to and for the guys (and please, please, for love of chocolate, please, don't leave a What About The Menz! or Not All Men or 'Women are X too!' type argument in the comments. I've heard it all before, and that's not the point of this piece). If your reaction upon hearing this is not "Wow, that sucks!" or "We need to make society better" or "I think I understand, but I want to find out more" then you may want to consider how your experiences might have influenced your reaction to this piece. If your reaction starts with "But...!" or "This is a blatant exaggeration" or "I have women friends and they don't think this!" then see what I said about leaving comments, above.

I'm not trying to speak for all women, I'm trying to bring some points up that might be helpful in understanding why women don't always respond to your friendly greeting in kind.


I don't disagree that as a society we should be more friendly and open, and it's great that some people really enjoy saying hi to strangers. I'm sure that many of you guys reading this are decent blokes, and I'm saddened if you were upset at an unfriendly reaction you received when you just wanted to say hi.

May I just bring a few things to your attention, however.

1. Women often discover, from a very young age, that nodding back, or saying hi, or responding in any friendly way, even if a bit distantly, is considered by a lot of men to be a come on. A flirtation. An invitation to approach you until you're backed up against a wall in an empty car park, and put their hands on you. An offer for something, anything, everything, which they have decided you're being coy about, and that they need to 'persuade' you that it's ok to follow up on, even if you say no (because you're just playing hard to get, right?)

2. If you do actually manage to persuade them that you were just being friendly and polite, the same men will call you a cocktease, and a slut, and a bitch, and all sorts of names, because they felt a response meant that you wanted them. They will swear at or harass women, or worse just ignore the no and carry on going anyway.

3. If you are harassed or raped or killed, people will say it is your fault. For responding in a 'friendly' manner, or returning a greeting, or for not putting them off quickly enough. For engaging. Men will tell you that they aren't like that, and that they would only have come on to you if you gave some kind of strong suggestion that it was wanted, therefore this is what must have happened, that's what you must have done to that stranger who hurt you and ignored your no. Except that this line is different for every single guy, so how can we tell that this particular man isn't one of the ones that treats "hi" as a 'strong suggestion'?

4. When this sort of response happens again and again, with varying levels of intimidation and/or aggravation, you learn not to respond, or to put men off very quickly, because otherwise you're 'asking for it'. The likelihood that we will meet that guy who will be a soulmate or a great lifelong friend or launch our careers from a friendly greeting in a dark street is infinitesimally small, compared to the likelihood that we will meet a guy who follows us in his car, honking and commenting on our boobs, or walks 2 metres behind you all the way home, or swears at us and screams that we're just a cockteasing slut, or tries to get a kiss, or sticks a hand up your skirt, or, or, or....

Now, I'm pretty friendly. If someone says hi, I respond, if someone smiles, I do the same or nod back, assuming I feel safe enough to do so. I live in a big city that is well known for its extensive and frequent public transport system, as well as the large numbers of tourists and multicultural options. I'm lucky enough to have never been raped or badly harmed. I got over a mugging pretty quickly and was going out by the next day. I've walked home alone at 3am on a saturday night. And you know what? As a woman, it's in the back of my head each time I walk home in the dark. I can't help myself, thinking 'is this going to be the time that I'm killed?' when someone moves quickly out of the shadows on a dark empty road. I've held my keys in my fist, in case someone attacks me. This is what society tells women they should be doing to protect themselves. I know that if I got badly hurt, walking alone at night whilst having the audacity to be female, there will be people that blame me for stringing along the guy. Police won't take my rape case seriously. I will have practically no hope of ever getting someone charged, let alone a prosecution.

I'm sure that you, the reader, are a nice person, and maybe we could have been friends had we randomly bumped into each other at some sort of event and got to talking. But if we walked past each other on a dark empty road in the middle of the night, I'm not going to say hi. Because history and society tells me that if a man takes that as an invitation to do something more, then I will have deserved whatever I get.

I know some people hate this word, but it's still true: part of your privilege in life is that you don't have to experience this sort of stuff. You don't have to think 'is this the time I get unlucky?'. So please don't tell me 'you women are so unfriendly, why don't you respond!' when you don't know the history of the person you just said hi to. You don't know what they've gone through. Maybe they are just impolite and rude as a person, but *you can't know that from this interaction*. You can't tell whether she's thinking you're not worthy of her time or whether she's shaking internally because she fears you. And equally, we don't know you, so maybe we're being overly, unfairly cautious. We can't tell from you just saying hi. I keep coming back to this quote:

“Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”
― Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

When the scales are so unbalanced, please don't tell us from your place of privilege that we're all rude for not responding. Please instead try to help change society so that we can feel safe to respond (or perhaps even take it further if we're interested in that). Try approaching in ways and places that aren't inherently dangerous or intimidating for women. If we're alone, in the middle of the night, walking along a dark street, please try to respect that we don't know you. We don't know what you'll do. And for us, the risk in getting it wrong is far worse than your risk of being laughed at or ignored.

serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/855402.html

"Are you all this busy? Are you busier? What do you do to maintain a life and/or personality when you're always 'on'?"

Oh, I'm always busy! My weekends are generally planned out at least a month and a half (often more) in advance. Even my weekday evenings are usually organised at least a few weeks earlier.

But I'm highly aware that even though I love to be sociable, I also have an intense need for private time. I have to have at least 2 evenings a week on my own. The 'social me' isn't any less a genuine presentation of myself, just as the 'introvert me' hasn't lost the love of being around people. It's merely that, in order to recharge and maintain my energy levels/mental equilibrium, I need time away from others. Time to refresh my inner world. Time where I can ignore society's requirements and just concentrate on appreciating being in my own skin. I like to read, or cook, or just chill out and listen to the radio. Lots of small, comforting activities that don't require much brain power. Perhaps chatting casually about unimportant subjects.

It's rare that I can find someone that I feel relaxed enough around to be able to recharge when I'm with them. When I find that, it's a wonderful, exceptional and beautiful connection, and I'm very grateful for this.

In the end though, being busy has not made me 'lose' myself, or any less intensely me. I just balance it with the demands of the less social me.
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/853878.html

"If you could be an eyewitness to a weather phenomenon (e.g. an earthquake, a hurricane/typhoon, a tornado, a tsunami, etc.), what would you want see up close or experience if you could be guaranteed safety? Why? Even if you couldn't be guaranteed safety?"

I love the thought of being in the midst of a beautiful, destructive, indifferent, chaotic hurricane. Can you imagine standing in the middle of the eye of the storm, in an area of eerie stillness, whilst only a few dozen miles away, the full power of nature rips and hurls and crushes everything in its path? Walking through the edge of the storm, strolling in ever-tightening spirals through that barrier between the destruction and full fury of the hurricane, and the centre? Feeling the winds rip at your clothes and hair and flesh? The thought sends shivers down my skin, and I can feel the increasing thud of my heartbeat ripple through my limbs.

Don't get me wrong, I feel great sadness when I see what destruction a hurricane has wrought on homes and communities that people lived in, cared about. The places that were the physical representation of so many (hopefully) good memories, shattered in the dust and debris. For those people who are hurt, I feel even more pain, and they have all my good wishes for their recovery. For those, saddest of all, who lose a loved one to the power of nature, my heart breaks for your sorrow. Nature is an indifferent force, and cares nothing for the pains we feel.

But then, we as a race also inflict so many hurts and injuries on our ecosystems, so it's not like we're blameless innocent victims. At least nature doesn't do it with intention and conscious knowledge. And the effects of our encroachments on the natural world are also felt by other species - more so than ourselves, in many cases.

But for all that, I still feel hope and joy and optimism when I think of our future. Maybe we will learn to live in sympathy with our surroundings. I wonder what that world would look like?
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/851101.html

"Has a friend's significant other ever lead to the ending of that friendship?"

The short answer would be...I don't think so. Not directly. But then, being poly makes it slightly different, I feel - this question is much more easily answered in a monogamous situation, where people really do occasionally expect their partner to be everything to them, and withdraw from their friendships groups and family as a result. It's most likely very possible in a poly situation, but hopefully a bit more difficult when an abusive, selfish or possessive partner has metamours to contend with. We all want our partners to be happy, even if this sometimes involves an Intervention to get them to look at a situation that might be making them unhappy (or at least, that's what I would imagine - having not participated in one before!) That's not the same thing as making the choice for them, I think, merely getting them to look at the relationship objectively, and then making sure that they have all the support they need to take the path they feel is best for them.

Of course, I don't know how I would feel if that situation actually came up. I've been with someone that I felt were in relationships that weren't healthy for them, but never staged an intervention, or tried to suggest they no longer date. I just tried to be supportive, and let them make the choice. Perhaps my horror of accidentally enacting a veto caused me to swing too far in the other direction? Should I have stepped forward earlier? I'm not sure how else I could have acted and still remained true to my policy not to veto or take sides. I find it hard to walk that line, that could tip me over from being concerned, to being controlling or patronising. My partners are adults. I trust them to make the correct judgements for themselves - even if it's not the judgement I would have made myself.

Anyway, back to the question itself.

No, I've not lost a friendship due to a friend's choice of partner. But I have come very close to that with an old old friend who uses her relationships to get away with stuff ("Oh, I'm sorry I'm an hour late, I need to help Z with something", "Y totalled my car, and he lost his job recently, can I borrow £200 until next month?", "X has just spent all his money on his kids, and the rent is due, I know I still owe you £200 but can I borrow another £600?", "I wanted to introduce my new bf W at dinner tonight, but he's just changed his mind about meeting up. I know we were supposed to be there 5 mins ago, can I reschedule?") Having known her so long, I'm aware that it's probably her, rather than her partners. She's always been like this, and I wouldn't let anyone else get away with it, but for her, I just used to treat it with frustrated patience. I can't change her, so there's no use getting too angry about it, she'll just do it again. It's a shame to throw away such a long friendship.

Last time we talked, though, I snapped. Although she still owed me £200 from about 4 and a half years go (after promising to repay me in 20 days), she had the temerity to contact me on FB to ask to borrow £1000. I said no, and also pointed out to her that she only ever seemed to contact me to borrow more money. £200, £600, £1000. When I said no to lending more money, she would disappear off the radar again and not bother to contact me until next time. The amounts only ever went up, and the amount of contact went down. The last few times we arranged to meet up, she was either significantly late, or never turned up. I was getting very upset at what felt like her taking advantage of our long standing friendship. I lambasted her over FB a while, and then arranged to meet again. One last time to really make the effort to repair the friendship. She agreed. We arranged it for when she was coming into London for something else anyway. Then she said that she needed to meet up with her dad at 8pm that same evening, so I said fine, we'll meet earlier and spend a couple of hours in a coffee shop or whatever.

I waited about an hour and a half. She never turned up.

That should really be a hint, right? I suspect that next time she calls though, I'll still forgive her and I won't be angry. She just won't be a friend anymore. Just another acquaintance. I haven't got enough time or energy to waste on someone, friend or partner, who treats me like that.
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/848080.html

"What do you think of gun control?"

This is a far more complex question than it seems on the surface. My own inclination is for all firearms to be illegal for anyone except the military (during a battlefield situation) and a few carefully selected and highly trained units of the police. However, that ignores huge issues relating to corruption, abuse of power, institutional racism, and potential police brutality. It is still more likely that non-ethnic-minorities will successfully enter the police force, and there is the potential for this to cause friction with ethnic minority communities, particularly when it's felt (often with some evidence to support it) that they are unfairly targetted due to their skin colour.

Now, add sexism, trans*phobia, rape apologism and all the other institutional prejudices that can impact on how the authorities treat individuals...and it's worrying handing over that sort of power, with no way to prevent injustice done by those who should be preventing it.

But in the UK, strong gun control still works. It makes it a lot more difficult for criminals to get hold of guns (although not impossible), but that's not really the main issue for me. Overwhelmingly, when people have guns lying around, the most likely person to get shot will tend to be a member of your own family. This happens again and again. Kids getting hold of guns and shooting themselves, or each other. Your teenage son getting drunk and thinking it would be hilarious to shoot some beer cans in the back garden, but hitting their best friend instead. A parent hearing a sound in the middle of the night, and getting out the gun to protect themselves, only for it to turn out that they just shot their 5 year old who got out of bed for some milk. It happens. Every single life that is lost for this stupid, unnecessary reason is a tragedy, and one that is preventable.

If you want to shoot for fun, you go to a shooting range, and hire your firearms there.

If you want to shoot game - you go to a shooting range first, to practice, and then once you have been given the ok, you hire your guns from the organisation that manages the woodland area (including wildlife culling). They would be required to do all the necesssary checks, and have all the necessary insurance.

If you want to protect your home, the one thing you don't do is keep something on hand that is not only likely to escalate the situation to potential murder/manslaughter/killing in self defense, but also is far more likely to be used against your own family. When everyone carries guns, dying of being shot just becomes more likely.

In the end, the big thing is trust in the institution of the police and the government. If that's lost, is it any surprise that people arm themselves for protection? So, first we work on the authorities, particularly the police. Make them decent, make them trustworthy, make corruption unthinkable, elevate and support whistleblowers. Make the policeman someone we can all look up to, and trust to protect us in a just and impartial but compassionate way. Their role should be to protect us from each other. Give them clear guidelines, give them the power to do their job, and then let them get on with it. Don't make them moral authorities over us, and don't let them make judgements on our behaviour except where it has a detrimental impact on other people. We can have moral guides, and guardians of our conscience - people we choose to remind us of our better selves.

Just don't make it the police, it fuzzies up the boundaries of their role.
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/847832.html

"What things from your parents and elder relations have become your legacy to pass on?"

I think, at this stage in life, I wouldn't really know who to pass things (whether items or knowledge) on to. I don't have any much-younger relatives (children, nieces, nephews) who would be appropriate/old enough to teach, and I certainly don't want children of my own. With that caveat, however, this is what I would like to see passed on:

1. Cooking skills. My mum is a fantastic cook, but she didn't really start learning to cooking until she got married, so I still have plenty of time. For quite a while now, I have been getting together with my sister and cousin once a month to practice Chinese cooking skills, and we make a full dinner. (Although this is probably going to fall by the wayside, now that my sister is moving to New York.)

2. Love of education. My parents both feel very strongly about the importance of education - and more than that, the importance of having a continued love of learning, and reading. I cannot overstate how much joy this has brought to my life.

3. An appreciation of friendship and social community spaces. My parents have been heavily involved, for many years, in lots of community activities and groups. They are well known in the London Chinese community, for example. They have lots of friends and they are very sociable.

4. Practicality and common sense. My parents believe in good budgeting, logical solutions, and problem solving without fuss. On the other hand, my mother is somewhat of a force of nature.....

And most important of all:

5. Love and support. I have absolutely no doubt or uncertainty in the support and love I receive from my parents. This is something that I want to make sure I spread to everyone that is important to me. Absolute, unhesitating love and support, plus a commitment never to take the people around me for granted. I am so lucky and happy to have them in my life, and I hope they are never unaware of that. 
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
Question from this post: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/846092.html

"What do you do when you need cheering up?"

I'm usually a pretty cheerful person, so it's not often that I need cheering up. Mind you, that could partly be due to the fact that the things I do in normal life are often things that make me cheerful. Reading, listening to podcasts, cooking (and eating!) a lovely meal, baking a cake, talking to partners, cuddles, sitting in the sunshine. The normal, everyday, typical things in my life, things I call my happy-making activities.

For those days when the weather outside is dreary, and I'm feeling fidgety, and I need that extra effort to get to that mindset...well, first I meditate. I calm my body down, until I can feel every inch of my body (this is best done naked whilst on lovely soft fabric I've found). I listen to my heartbeat. I imagine sunshine pouring over me like lovely, warm, golden syrup. I bask in that for a while, and I remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life, and how very lucky I am.

Then I get up and do more of my happy-making activities! :)
serina_ds: (Dark eye)
I've been missing the old Writer's Block questions that used to come up, before LJ shut that function down, so I've started to look around for alternatives. I started writing a couple of paragraphs every few days, and this encouraged my writing in other areas. Looking back, I still feel that many of them are some of my most thoughtful, philosophical, well written posts.

I just want quick questions, not about writing itself, or about character creation, world building, plots, etc etc etc (which are the staple of most creative writing LJs). I want to answer questions about life (it would be my life, of course), and my thought processes and viewpoints about the things that are important to me. It needs to have ongoing questions I can pick every so often (the Writer's Block questions came once a day).

So, the closest I've found are the Chatter Post questions here: http://brigits-flame.livejournal.com/tag/chatter%20post

They're a minor part of a larger creative-writing-and-editing blog. The chatter posts come about 3 times a week, approximately, rather than every day, and not all of them are interesting and applicable. However, other than the very wordy posts that often come before the question (which I don't want to read before answering, because it might influence my answer), and the fact that I need to copy over the question, rather than answer it in the comments on the original post (as most people do) this is pretty much the sort of questions I want.

If anyone has any recommendations that are better, I would love to hear them! Wish me luck in building up my writing muscles again!
serina_ds: (Default)
Feel free to ignore this, I'm just going to spend a bit of time stream-of-consciousness-ing.

I am a poly, bi, geeky, kinky bibliophile who loves to dance and can get easily distracted on occasion. This is me. I don't pretend to be anything I'm not, and I'm as WYSIWYG as it gets, to the point of being flirt-blind and totally unable to pick up signals directed at me on occasion. If you tell me that you're flirting, or have a problem, or need support, or that something I did upset you, I will do my best to respond appropriately. 

But I need you to let me know. If I ask you 'is everything all right?' and you say 'I'm fine', then I will take you at face value. I'm very happy to communicate, but I need you to be the same. If you just need time to process something, and I can't help - just tell me. If it's something to do with me, and you didn't really want to talk right now - tell me. If you think I've just been an idiot and done something stupid - tell me. Even if it's just that you think that colour really doesn't suit me, and what the hell was I thinking putting that hat on, tell me. I won't be upset. I'll thank you for being honest. Because you are dear to me, and I know you care, and you wouldn't say something deliberately hurtful. That means you're saying this to help me, to help our relationship, and to let me know that something is up.

The majority of the people in my life do this. I have the most amazing partners, wonderful friends, and absolutely fantastic family. They are all loving, supportive, caring, fabulous people. I could not ask for better. This piece is not to those people. This piece is about/to someone who will never read it, will never know about this, and who will not be getting any contact from me, because I refuse to be That Ex.

Even though I'm leaving this post open by default, please be aware that this is more hostile than my usual style and is not aimed at anyone who has access to my LJ. I dislike negativity in my life, and this is just to process a recent event. So with that caveat....

I'm glad you're out of my life. There, I said it. You're not who I thought you were.

You do not get to tell me I'm a princess for having an opinion that disagrees with yours and a strong enough belief in myself that I'm willing to debate the issue.
You do not get to tell me that I'm 'insulting your intelligence' because I'm bubbling over to talk about stuff you haven't read about. You do not get to say I'm ranting at you, merely because I'm trying to tell you that feminism and rape culture do not mean what you think it means.
You do not get to accuse me of repeatedly not turning up to events that you were already going to be at when more than once you were supposed to come pick me up and you were 2 or 3 hours late or just didn't turn up.
You do not get to accuse me of only contacting you when I wanted something when this is a mode of communication that you instigated. All those times you didn't respond when I just poked you to say hi? How did you think I would react?
You do not get to stop dating me after three years by just blocking me from your phone and not bothering to respond to messages for a month. Especially since I was already used to this behaviour from you, assuming that you genuinely were ill those times when I wouldn't hear from you for weeks on end. Each time I worried about your health? You threw that right back in my face with this action.
You do not then get to tell me I'm childish and 'don't understand subtlety or irony or manners' for not having picked up the hint that you just weren't interested anymore.
You do not get to not bother to tell me about relationship issues (knowing full well my blindspots when it comes to picking up signals) and then blame me for being oblivious and rude to excuse your way of breaking up. You do not get to take advantage by telling me that I'm just not acknowledging my obliviousness and rudeness when I warned you about my tendency to miss signals, and my need for open honest communication, and my worries about missing things. 
And most of all, you do not get to ever make me doubt myself just to justify your own childish and immature behaviour.

So, yes, I'm glad you're out of my life. I won't waste more time on you, or your fragile bruised ego. You are not worth my energy, my affection, or my emotional support. I will never say that time spent in a relationship is a waste, but to let you be a part of my life anymore would be.

So goodbye, thank you for the good memories, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. This girl won't be changing herself to suit you.


Good news!

Apr. 16th, 2012 01:43 pm
serina_ds: (Default)
Woot! I have a new job! I keep doing naked squee-filled dances around my room at random moments. :-)

I just put in my notice today. This time next month, I'm going to be working in the Royal Academy of Engineering. I'm so excited!
serina_ds: (Default)
Question:

FWB
Sure, the pros are obvious—but what are the cons of having a friend with benefits?


I've spotted a lot of answers about how it's 'inevitable' that someone will want more, or it would ruin a good friendship, or it's not safe (from a sexual health pov), or that it's somehow 'not as good as a proper relationship'.

Yes, I guess all these are possible - if you're doing casual sex and not FWB. I make a distinction between the two - one is a one-off, one night stand with someone you will likely never meet again, whilst the other is affectionate non-relationship sex. With casual sex, most of those issues (other than sexual health) won't be an issue at all.

The 'friends' bit is more important to me than the 'benefits' bit, but I don't see why you can't have both if the fancy strikes. I trust them to have good sexual health, and regular tests, and to let me know if something turns up. If I didn't trust them, I wouldn't be friends with them. I do care about my friends but if I wanted a relationship with them, I would have told them that. Just because I sleep with someone doesn't make me more likely to want a relationship with them. It's their personality, rather than their body, which would encourage an emotional connection with them.

In fact, if anything, most of these issues are a bonus for me - I will never end up in a relationship where I am totally emotionally and mentally incompatible with my partner just because I really really fancied their body, and society tells me that I need to be in a relationship in order to sleep with them. Once I get any sexual chemistry out of the way and sated for a while, I can see their personality without the haze of lust, and be able to tell if I would be happy in a relationship with them. If not, well, we're still friends. No harm done.

Oh and if just sex with someone is the thing that makes you feel like you've fallen in love, not the endless chats and the nights watching DVDs together and the messages that make you smile.......you're in lust.

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