special joy

Violence, Abusers, and Protest

My grandfather was a generally peaceful man. He was a gardener, an EMT, a town selectman, and an all around fantastic person. He would give a friend - or a stranger - the shirt off his back if someone needed it. He also taught me some of the most important lessons I ever learned about violence, and why it needs to exist.


When I was five, my grandfather and grandmother discovered that my rear end and lower back were covered in purple striped bruises and wheals. They asked me why, and I told them that Tom, who was at that time my stepfather, had punished me. I don’t remember what he was punishing me for, but I remember the looks on their faces. 

When my mother and stepfather arrived, my grandmother took my mother into the other room. Then my grandfather took my stepfather into the hallway. He was out of my eye line, but I saw through the crack in the door on the hinge side. He slammed my stepfather against the wall so hard that the sheet rock buckled, and told him in low terms that if he ever touched me again they would never find his body. 

I absolutely believed that he would kill my stepfather, and I also believed that someone in the world thought my safety was worth killing for. 

In the next few years, he gave me a few important tips and pointers for dealing with abusers and bullies. He taught me that if someone is bringing violence to you, give it back to them as harshly as you can so they know that the only response they get is pain. He taught me that guns are used as scare tactics, and if you aren’t willing to accept responsibility for mortally wounding someone, you should never own one. He told me that if I ever had a gun aimed at me, I should accept the possibility of being shot and rush the person, or run away in a zig-zag so they couldn’t pick me off. He taught me how to break someone’s knee, how to hold a knife, and how to tell if someone is holding a gun with intent to kill. He was absolutely right, and he was one of the most peaceful people I’ve ever met. He was never, to my knowledge, violent with anyone who didn’t threaten him or his family. Even those who had, he gave chances to, like my first stepfather. 

When I was fourteen, a friend of mine was stalked by a mutual acquaintance. I was by far younger than anyone else in the social crowd; he was in his mid twenties, and the object of his “affection” was as well. Years before we had a term for “Nice Guy” bullshit, he did it all. He showed up at her house, he noted her comings and goings, he observed who she spent time with, and claimed that her niceness toward him was a sign that they were actually in a relationship.

This came to a head at a LARP event at the old NERO Ware site. He had been following her around, and felt that I was responsible for increased pressure from our mutual friends to leave her alone. He confronted me, her, and a handful of other friends in a private room and demanded that we stop saying nasty things about him. Two of our mutual friends countered and demanded that he leave the woman he was stalking alone. 

Stalker-man threw a punch. Now, he said in the aftermath that he was aiming for the man who had confronted him, but he was looking at me when he did it. He had identified me as the agent of his problems and the person who had “turned everyone against him.” His eyes were on mine when the punch landed. He hit me hard enough to knock me clean off my feet and I slammed my head into a steel bedpost on the way down.

When I shook off the stunned confusion, I saw that two of our friends had tackled him. I learned that one had immediately grabbed him, and the other had rabbit-punched him in the face. I had a black eye around one eyebrow and inner socket, and he was bleeding from his lip. 

At that time in my life, unbeknownst to anyone in the room, I was struggling with the fact that I had been molested repeatedly by someone who my mother had recently broken up with. He was gone, but I felt conflicted and worthless and in pain. I was still struggling, but I knew in that moment that I had a friend in the world who rabbit-punched a man for hitting me, and I felt a little more whole.

Later that year, I was bullied by a girl in my school. She took special joy in tormenting me during class, in attacking me in the hallways, in spreading lies and asserting things about me that were made up. She began following me to my locker, and while I watched the clock tick down, she would wait for me to open it and try to slam my hand in it. She succeeded a few times. I attempted to talk to counselors and teachers. No one did anything. Talking to them made it worse, since they turned and talked to her and she called me a “tattle” for doing it. I followed the system, and it didn’t work. 

I remembered my friend socking someone in the face when he hit me. I recalled what my grandfather had taught me, and decided that the next time she tried, I would make sure it was the last. I slammed the door into her face, then shut her head in the base of my locker, warping the aluminum so badly that my locker no longer worked. She never bothered me again. 

Violence is always a potential answer to a problem. I believe it should be a last answer - everything my grandfather taught me before his death last year had focused on that. He hadn’t built a bully or taught me to seek out violence; he taught me how to respond to it.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk recently about how, after the recent Nazi-punching incident, we are in more danger because they will escalate. That we will now see more violence and be under more threat because of it. I reject that. We are already under threat. We are already being attacked. We are being stripped of our rights, we are seeing our loved ones and our family reduced to “barely human” or equated with monsters because they are different. 

To say that we are at more risk now than we were before a Nazi got punched in the face is to claim that abusers only hurt you if you fight back. Nazis didn’t need a reason to want to hurt people whom they have already called inhuman, base, monsters, thugs, retards, worthless, damaging to the gene pool, and worthy only of being removed from the world. They were already on board. The only difference that comes from fighting back is the intimate knowledge that we will not put up with their shit.

And I’m just fine with that.

4

I gave my co-worker’s kiddos some of my SU stickers and they made these lovely draws for me in thanks! The Lapis & Peridot double feature was drawn by Sarah, and the Jasper and Lapis solo acts were drawn by Esther! Thank you both for giving me something to display proudly in my office!

“They were rescued from certain death back when they were very young, and I raised them as my own spiritual children. I don’t even call them rats. They are my daughters—Her Royal Highness, Princess Herpes the First and Her Royal Highness, Princess Herpes the Third.
I wanted to find out if they are just biological robots—simple creatures without any souls, as some people say—or if there is a meaning to their life.
I built them an entire paradise so that they could run around and explore. In the process of watching them grow, I realized the immense complexity of these simple creatures. Each of them have different personalities. Their dominance changes with time. One of them has anxiety and she eats to compensate. The other one is an explorer and tends to get depressed if she doesn’t get intellectual stimulation. When I make even small changes to their paradise, she just blooms. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. These attributes started to make me see them as almost human-like.
In a recent research paper, I read that you can actually tickle a rat and it will make laughter noises. They laugh at a higher sound frequency. I bought an ultrasound detector so I could hear them laugh. After I tickled them, they would run around in a circle, doing this special little hop of joy. It surprised me so much because people’s vision of a rat is of a dirty, vicious, ugly animal. And here is a social creature that needs other rats to be happy, that looks for maybe a little bit of love from me and can really react to getting tickled.
As I played with them, I thought, ‘Maybe the human journey is the same as the journey of the rat, the same as the journey of an insect. Just because I have a bigger brain and consciousness doesn’t mean that my journey is completely different from the rest of the animal kingdom. We are just getting there in different ways. Maybe every creature, no matter how small or simple, has a destiny and a meaning that should be respected.”

Lexington, MA

what ur fav new wave band says about u
  • adam and the ants: I will have sex with anybody
  • the b-52's: I will spit in your face and laugh
  • duran duran: I am a vain piece of shit
  • depeche mode: I blend into walls
  • erasure: gay
  • eurythmics: do you know how many shades of eyshadow I own? like at least a dozen
  • falco: I don't even speak german
  • inxs: I am wearing a bandanna and drinking cheap beer
  • japan: I'm special. so special
  • joy division: not even a new wave band also go fuck yourself
  • kate bush: I am an artsy piece of shit
  • new order: I never knew my true parents I was raised by a drum machine
  • the police: I hate myself I hate myself I hate myself
  • roxy music: the leather underpants I'm wearing are really chafing me
  • talking heads: what
  • u2: I appreciate the finer things in life and love getting my ass kicked
  • ub40: I think I'm an incredibly diverse and tolerant person

Detroit already had a perfect name for a post-BLI world: Motor City.

It’s a manufacturing capital again, BLI’s tech city, not just for cars anymore. The scientists there pioneered the droids over years of research. Rebooting the factories won BLI a lot of points in the early days. 

Of course it was a problem that the city was so sprawling- all those cars were built to get them somewhere, right? So they razed a lot of the surrounding area, some of it partially done for them during the wars. But the zones extend through the buildings that got away from the bulldozers and the bombs, going into the areas that were the suburbs once upon a time. The killjoys who occupy these places are the runners and raiders, mostly ones who got out but know it well enough to get back in and out without capture by the high-tech security. These joys work little sabotages, and get the supplies needed out to the ones who live farther away- they built all those cars, so they built miles and miles of highways too. 

Up and down the broken asphalt, reclaimed by nature through nuclear and natural winters, there are settlements that hide in plain sight. The trees have started growing back in, scrubbier than before, browner, but trees. The bright neons of the killjoys in the desert would stick out like a sore thumb here. The forest dwelling joys use things that glow instead, glitter in the day to create flashes in between trees as they run like deer, flares at night to guide travelers to safe spots. Most of them are not actively fighting BLI in any way other than living, truly living. They just wanted to get out and rebel in the simple way of feeling, and so they did. And they guide others on their way as well, up to the neutral northern towns. 

On a clear night, up in the top of the mitten, you can see the stars are coming back. 

4

a mixed cd i made for my friend made up of (mostly) classics.
super fun playlist:
a forest - the cure
cinderella’s big score - sonic youth
rock the casbah - the clash
how soon is now - the smiths
kiss kiss kill kill - horrorpops
love will tear us apart - joy division
murdermill - the kills
rebel grrrl - bikini kill
tear you apart - she wants revenge
This must be the place - the talking heads
deceptacon - le tigre
blue monday - new order
dance this mess around - b52’s
ghost town - the specials

B99 + Cooking Class AU: in which Kevin is a renowned but jaded food critic, who starts teaching a cooking class in an attempt to rediscover his love for food. 

Kevin had been chief food critic for The New York Times for over a decade, had published four best-selling cookbooks, and had appeared as a guest judge in hundreds of Iron Chef episodes. He had attained everything he once wanted as a culinary student (and more), yet he found himself unhappy; eating was no longer a joy, reviewing restaurants seemed like a chore, and appearing on TV felt unbearably fake. 

After a great deal of coaxing from his husband, he finally decides to take a sabbatical from the Times. He spends the first couple months of this break vacationing in Paris with Raymond and returns to New York considerably less burnt out. 

It takes another few weeks of soul searching, but he finally settles on starting a small beginner/intermediate cooking class for adults outside of the culinary arts field. (He isn’t quite ready to face pretentious aspiring professionals just yet, and he knows there’s a special sort of joy in helping someone make a perfect soft boiled egg for the first time.) 

The students of his class all sign up for different reasons:

  • Charles had been following Kevin’s career since his grandmother had given him a Times subscription for his twelfth birthday. 
  • Terry just wants to learn how to make healthy, delicious meals for his babies.
  • Amy’s convinced taking this class will help her get to know her boss, Kevin’s husband.  
  • Gina saw Kevin on Food Network once and is convinced this is her in for meeting celebrities. 
  • Jake had been dragged there by Gina and “wasn’t interested in this stupid cooking class at all” – until he saw Amy from outside the kitchen doors.
  •  No one knows why Rosa is there.

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First part of my “Metal GIRLS Solid” project is finished.

Strangelove, The Boss and Eva ( Metal Gear Solid )

Next part: soon!

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I think that it’s important to pay homage to Ramin’s unbridled joy at special-ordering a creepy mask with which to terrify his Les Mes coworkers.