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On trauma aftermaths that don't advance the plot

The way TV shows trauma can lead people to expect every reference to trauma to be a plot point. This can be isolating to people coping with the aftermaths of trauma. Sometimes people treat us as stories rather than as people. Sometimes, instead of listening to us, they put a lot of pressure on us to advance the plot they’re expecting.

On TV, triggers tend to be full audiovisual flashbacks that add something to the story. You see a vivid window into the character’s past, and something changes. On TV, trauma aftermaths are usually fascinating. Real life trauma aftermaths are sometimes interesting, but also tend to be very boring to live with.

On TV, triggers tend to create insight. In real life, they’re often boring intrusions interfering with the things you’d rather be thinking about. Sometimes knowing darn well where they come from doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes it’s more like: Seriously? This again?

On TV, when trauma is mentioned, it’s usually a dramatic plot point that happens in a moment. In real life, trauma aftermaths are a mundane day-to-day reality that people live with. They’re a fact of life — and not necessarily the most important one at all times. People who have experienced trauma do other things too. They’re important, but not the one and only defining characteristic of who someone is. And things that happened stay important even when you’re ok. Recovery is not a reset. Mentioning the past doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in crisis.

On TV, when a character mentions trauma, or gets triggered in front of someone, it’s usually a dramatic moment. It changes their life, or their relationship with another character, or explains their backstory, or something. In real life, being triggered isn’t always a story, and telling isn’t always a turning point. Sometimes it’s just mentioning something that happened to be relevant. Sometimes it’s just a mundane instance of something that happens from time to time.

Most people can’t have a dramatic transformative experience every time it turns out that their trauma matters. Transformative experiences and moments of revelation exist, but they’re not the end all and be all of trauma aftermaths. Life goes on, and other things matter too. And understanding what a reaction means and where it came from doesn’t always make it go away. Sometimes, it takes longer and has more to do with skill-building than introspection. Sometimes it doesn’t go away.

On a day to day level, it’s often better to be matter-of-fact about aftermaths. It can be exhausting when people see you as a story and expect you to advance the plot whenever they notice some effect of trauma. Pressure to perform narratives about healing doesn’t often help people to make their lives better. Effect support involves respecting someone as a complex human, including the boring parts.

The aftermath of trauma is a day-to-day reality. It affects a lot of things, large and small. It can be things like being too tired to focus well in class because nightmares kept waking you up every night this week. TV wants that to be a dramatic moment where the character faces their past and gets better. In real life, it’s often a day where you just do your best to try and learn algebra anyway. Because survivors do things besides be traumatized and think about trauma. Sometimes it’s not a story. Sometimes it’s just getting through another day as well as possible.

A lot of triggers are things like being unable to concentrate on anything interesting because some kinds of background noises make you feel too unsafe to pay attention to anything else. For the zillionth time.  Even though you know rationally that they’re not dangerous. Even though you know where they come from, and have processed it over and over. Even if you’ve made a lot of progress in dealing with them, even if they’re no longer bothersome all the time. For most people, recovery involves a lot more than insight. The backstory might be interesting, but being tired and unable to concentrate is boring.

Triggers can also mean having to leave an event and walk home by yourself while other people are having fun, because it turns out that it hurts too much to be around pies and cakes. Or having trouble finding anything interesting to read that isn’t intolerably triggering. Or having trouble interacting with new people because you’re too scared or there are too many minefields. Or being so hypervigilant that it’s hard to focus on anything. No matter how interesting the backstory is, feeling disconnected and missing out on things you wanted to enjoy is usually boring.

When others want to see your trauma as a story, their expectations sometimes expand to fill all available space. Sometimes they seem to want everything to be therapy, or want everything to be about trauma and recovery.

When others want every reference to trauma to be the opening to a transformative experience, it can be really hard to talk about accommodations. For instance, it gets hard to say things like:

  • “I’m really tired because of nightmares” or 
  • “I would love to go to that event, but I might need to leave because of the ways in which that kind of thing can be triggering” or 
  • “I’m glad I came, but I can’t handle this right now” or
  • “I’m freaking out now, but I’ll be ok in a few minutes” or 
  • “I need to step out — can you text me when they stop playing this movie?”

It can also be hard to mention relevant experiences. There are a lot of reasons to mention experiences other than wanting to process, eg:

  • “Actually, I have experience dealing with that agency”
  • “That’s not what happens when people go to the police, in my experience, what happens when you need to make a police report is…”
  • “Please keep in mind that this isn’t hypothetical for me, and may not be for others in the room as well.”

Or any number of other things.

When people are expecting a certain kind of story, they sometimes look past the actual person. And when everyone is looking past you in search of a story, it can be very hard to make connections.

It helps to realize that no matter what others think, your story belongs to you. You don’t have to play out other people’s narrative expectations. It’s ok if your story isn’t what others want it to be. It’s ok not to be interesting. It’s ok to have trauma reactions that don’t advance the plot. And there are people who understand that, and even more people who can learn to understand that.

It’s possible to live a good life in the aftermath of trauma. It’s possible to relearn how to be interested in things. It’s possible to build space you can function in, and to build up your ability to function in more spaces. It’s often possible to get over triggers. All of this can take a lot of time and work, and can be a slow process. It doesn’t always make for a good story, and it doesn’t always play out the way others would like it to. And, it’s your own personal private business. Other people’s concern or curiosity does not obligate you to share details.

Survivors and victims have the right to be boring. We have the right to deal with trauma aftermaths in a matter-of-fact way, without indulging other people’s desires for plot twists. We have the right to own our own stories, and to keep things private. We have the right to have things in our lives that are not therapy; we have the right to needed accommodations without detailing what happened and what recovery looks like. Neither traumatic experiences nor trauma aftermaths erase our humanity.

We are not stories, and we have no obligation to advance an expected plot. We are people, and we have the right to be treated as people. Our lives, and our stories, are our own.

Don’t Take Up Spaces that Aren’t Meant for You

I go to use the elevator in a high rise building only to find a sign that says “Please ask security for access to this elevator”. A week ago, that sign wasn’t there. When I ask the security guard why the sudden change in policy, they said that people from other floors in the building had been abusing their access to the elevator and that they needed to lock it down. 

Let me make this perfectly clear: I could no longer independently access the only elevator available to take me to this part of the building because other people decided to use / abuse a space that was not meant for them instead of taking the stairs right next to the fucking elevator.

Here’s another example: In order to have access to an accessible room on a cruise ship, I have to submit a form stating that I do in fact  have a physical disability that prevents me from using a normal state room on the ship. I have to do this because able-bodied people have, in the past, been dishonest about the level of accessibility they require in order to have access to a larger stateroom without having to pay a premium.

How about this one: I go into the restroom of a massive convention center. Every single stall  in this restroom is empty except for the one handicapped stall in the back, which is being occupied by someone who does not need to use a handicapped stall. I now have to wait for that one person to exit the stall before I can use the restroom. Remember: This bathroom has 7+ other stalls that are built specifically to work for them, but they chose  to use the one space that is available to people like me.

Dear able-bodied people: Handicapped bathroom stalls, seating areas, staterooms, and elevators are not meant for you and you should not use them.

I do not care how big of a hurry you were in and how that elevator got you to where you needed to go faster. Because of you, I have to go find someone every time I need to use this elevator and if I can’t find them I GET NOTHING. 

To you, that cruise ship can house 2000+ people and you have an opportunity to get a massive stateroom at no extra cost if you’re wiling to fib a little. To me, that cruise ship has a capacity of around 12 (the number of accessible rooms on the ship) and if they’re all full, I GET NOTHING.

To you, that movie theater has four really great seats right in the middle that just happen to have a handicapped accessible sign on them. To me, that theater has four seats and if they’re all full, I GET NOTHING.

And let me address the bathroom thing in particular. I don’t give a flying fuck if the handicapped stall was the only one available. You should pretend like it doesn’t fucking exist and wait in line like everyone else. *

Don’t take up spaces that were not meant for you. Because everything but those few precious spaces were not meant for us. 


* Unless it’s literally the only stall in the bathroom or you’re about to absolutely shit yourself. Then it’s fine. 

Regarding Fractals and Non-Integral Dimensionality

Alright, I know it’s past midnight (at least it is where I am), but let’s talk about fractal geometry.

Fractals

If you don’t know what fractals are, they’re essentially just any shape that gets rougher (or has more detail) as you zoom in, rather than getting smoother. Non-fractals include easy geometric shapes like squares, circles, and triangles, while fractals include more complex or natural shapes like the coast of Great Britain, Sierpinski’s Triangle, or a Koch Snowflake.

Fractals, in turn, can be broken down further. Some fractals are the product of an iterative process and repeat smaller versions of themselves throughout them. Others are more natural and just happen to be more jagged.

Fractals and Non-Integral Dimensionality

Now that we’ve gotten the actual explanation of what fractals are out of the way, let’s talk about their most interesting property: non-integral dimensionality. The idea that fractals do not actually have an integral dimension was originally thought up by this guy, Benoit Mandelbrot.

He studied fractals a lot, even finding one of his own: the Mandelbrot Set. The important thing about this guy is that he realized that fractals are interesting when it comes to defining their dimension. Most regular shapes can have their dimension found easily: lines with their finite length but no width or height; squares with their finite length and width but no height; and cubes with their finite length, width, and height. Take note that each dimension has its own measure. The deal with many fractals is that they can’t be measured very easily at all using these terms. Take Sierpinski’s triangle as an example.

Is this shape one- or two-dimensional? Many would say two-dimensional from first glance, but the same shape can be created using a line rather than a triangle.

So now it seems a bit more tricky. Is it one-dimensional since it can be made out of a line, or is it two-dimensional since it can be made out of a triangle? The answer is neither. The problem is that, if we were to treat it like a two-dimensional object, the measure of its dimension (area) would be zero. This is because we’ve technically taken away all of its area by taking out smaller and smaller triangles in every available space. On the other hand, if we were to treat it like a one-dimensional object, the measure of its dimension (length) would be infinity. This is because the line keeps getting longer and longer to stretch around each and every hole, of which there are an infinite number. So now we run into a problem: if it’s neither one- nor two-dimensional, then what is its dimensionality? To find out, we can use non-fractals

Measuring Integral Dimensions and Applying to Fractals

Let’s start with a one-dimensional line. The measure for a one-dimensional object is length. If we were to scale the line down by one-half, what is the fraction of the new length compared to the original length?

The new length of each line is one-half the original length.

Now let’s try the same thing for squares. The measure for a two-dimensional object is area. If we were to scale down a square by one-half (that is to say, if we were to divide the square’s length in half and divide its width in half), what is the fraction of the new area compared to the original area?

The new area of each square is one-quarter the original area.

If we were to try the same with cubes, the volume of each new cube would be one-eighth the original volume of a cube. These fractions provide us with a pattern we can work with.

In one dimension, the new length (one-half) is equal to the scaling factor (one-half) put to the first power (given by it being one-dimensional).

In two dimensions, the new area (one-quarter) is equal to the scaling factor (one-half) put to the second power (given by it being two-dimensional).

In three dimensions, the same pattern follows suit, in which the new volume (one-eighth) is equivalent to the scaling factor (one-half) put to the third power.

We can infer from this trend that the dimension of an object could be (not is) defined as the exponent fixed to the scaling factor of an object that determines the new measure of the object. To put it in mathematical terms:

Examples of this equation would include the one-dimensional line, the two-dimensional square, and the three-dimensional cube:

½ = ½^1

¼ = ½^2

1/8 = ½^3

Now this equation can be used to define the dimensionality of a given fractal. Let’s try Sierpinski’s Triangle again.

Here we can see that the triangle as a whole is made from three smaller versions of itself, each of which is scaled down by half of the original (this is proven by each side of the smaller triangles being half the length of the side of the whole triangle). So now we can just plug in the numbers to our equation and leave the dimension slot blank.

1/3 = ½^D

To solve for D, we need to know what power ½ must be put to in order to get 1/3. To do this, we can use logarithms (quick note: in this case, we can replace ½ with 2 and 1/3 with 3).

log_2(3) = roughly 1.585

So we can conclude that Sierpinski’s triangle is 1.585-dimensional. Now we can repeat this process with many other fractals. For example, this Sierpinski-esque square:

It’s made up of eight smaller versions of itself, each of which is scaled down by one-third. Plugging this into the equation, we get

1/8 = 1/3^D

log_3(8) = roughly 1.893

So we can conclude that this square fractal is 1.893-dimensional.

We can do this on this cubic version of it, too:

This cube is made up of 20 smaller versions of itself, each of which is scaled down by 1/3.

1/20 = 1/3^D

log_3(20) = roughly 2.727

So we can conclude that this fractal is 2.727-dimensional.

🌟 Ten Magical Ways to Spruce Up Your Car 🌟

Originally posted by audiovisual-dept

🚗 Enchant your windows and mirrors so that you can pay more attention to the road and the other drivers around you!
🚗 Hang a protection amulet on your rear-view mirror (if legal) to keep you safe on the road.
🚗 Keep tiger’s eye in your car to protect you against accidents!
🚗 When you go to the car wash, visualize your car being cleansed at the same time!
🚗 Enchant your steering wheel for easy turns!
🚗 If you have to have a parking permit on your rear-view mirror or on your car, enchant it so that it will bring you luck in finding a good parking space that’s available!
🚗 Keep an ash leaf in your car for protection.
🚗 If you’re a secret witch, keep your magical items locked in the trunk of your car.
🚗 Enchant your car radio so you can always find good music to listen to while you drive!
🚗 Keep a talisman in your car to ward off bad drivers!

even is still and quiet where he stands at the foot of their blanket-nest bed.

isak can’t see him, from where he’s flopped out among the pillows, studying. can’t see much of anything really through the notebooks he’s holding like a canopy above the tip of his nose.

but even can see the stress thick in the grumble together of isak’s eyebrows.

and he knows just how to soothe it.

he climbs his way soft up isak’s body from his toes. hands and knees sinking down into the blankets on either side of his legs, his hips, his waist.

and isak doesn’t react - not yet. so even dips his head, nuzzles the soft curve of his tummy until he feels isak’s shoulders huff out the ticklish squeak of air.

even.” he tilts the notebook in his hands back an inch.

even tucks his head into the shiver of space made available. props his chin gentle and beaming atop isak’s chest.  

isak’s eyebrows twitch up, curious.

so, even sings. voice like melting caramel, he sings.

he loves you. yeah, yeah, yeah..”

and the smile flickers at the corners of isak’s lips.

so, even scoots higher. closer. palms on the pillow on either side of isak’s head, where the golden halo of his curls skirts even’s fingertips.

and he leans in.

all you need is love.” his grin is a whisper, breath of their lips dusting each other. “love is all you need.”

this time, isak’s smile flowers free. tiptoes all the way up to sparkle as silky mirth in the hazel of his eyes.

he drops his notebook aside, and he cups his hands around the back of even’s neck.

easing him in, he kisses him gentle, and he sings it back:

he loves you. yeah, yeah, yeah…

The Middle

Written for @spnpolybingo​. This fills the “Who is the middle spoon?” square.

Summary: Dean, Sam, and Cas change their sleeping arrangements after a scary experience. Takes place after 12 x 12.

Warning: 12 x 12 spoilers, Wincestiel, mentions of smut

Word Count: 545

A/N: This one is short, but I hope you like it! Only tagging @justanothersaltandburn and @purgatoan because I’m not sure who else wants to read the poly. XOXO

They fall asleep wherever they land in their gigantic bed.

Sometimes, they’re exhausted from a hunt- or worse, injured from one- and they gingerly settle into the first available space on the mattress. Whoever is best able is the one responsible for getting all three of them undressed, Sam pulling off Cas’ tie or Dean gently working Sam’s jeans down his legs, both Sam and Cas helping Dean stretch out with bruised ribs as he cusses at them. Once the injured party is taken care of, the others just fall in where there’s room, contorting their large bodies if necessary, never sleeping like ordinary people.

Keep reading

Dear people who think dating someone with a Service Dog is weird,

Yes. We all know it’s a little awkward to be out and about with someone who constantly gets screamed at by little kids and followed around because “oh my god you brought a dog to Walmart”

But please keep in mind that we are people too. And that dog is there to save our lives.

If you ever have the opportunity to date/be friends with someone with a service dog, expect the following:

- Increased “getting ready time”. We aren’t just getting ourselves ready.

- Extra time before going into a store while we put our dog’s gear on. (Some people let their dog ride in the back seat and therefore, it’s a lot easier for them to just grab the dog and go. Some of us will have our dogs ride in crates for their safety though. People really like to pull out in front of me, for instance, so I prefer to crate my dog in the car to keep her safe. She’s also more comfortable in her crate while travelling.) so expect us to need a minute to grab our stuff after we get parked.

- Yes. People are gonna be nosy. They’re gonna shout and we are typically a big attention source.

- I dunno about a lot of SD handlers but I know that I carry a backpack with stuff for my dog in it. Her mat, a first aid kit in case of an emergency, lots of water, our doctor’s note, vaccination records, and dog license papers in case of an access issue (no, not “registration” papers because they do not exist") but just be warned. There’s some days where I may look like a backpacker.

- If my dog alerts me and I leave promptly, I’m not trying to abandon or ditch you. My dog just told me I need to do something relating to my illness and I may need more space than what is available right in that very spot. Feel free to come with us to wherever we end up going, unless we tell you to please wait until we get back.

- People may stop us to ask about the dog. I hate it too but my anxious ass will not allow me to ignore people when they ask me a question because it’s “rude”. Plan for extra minutes in the store if this happens.

- I personally like going to restaurants that have booths where I can hide my dog from the public so I don’t have to hear “THERES A DOG” every five minutes while I’m eating. Please do not suggest that we eat at the most crowded place in the city. Some of u don’t mind siting at smaller tables, but I’d rather hide my dog while I’m eating to save myself the frustration of everyone in the restaurant throwing a fit.

- Yes. My dog does wear shoes when it’s hot out. People will point it out. Ignore them.

- Somedays I’m just not going to want to go out. Please understand that this is no fault of your own. It’s usually because I don’t have the spoons to deal with the public.

Please never ask if we can “just not bring the dog today.” It’s not an option. Don’t even try.

Generally please don’t treat us badly and please don’t use it as a “holier than though” thing.

You don’t need to say “oh yeah I date someone with a service dog!” Unless someone asks. You don’t need to announce it to the world. We are people too. Don’t use us as an excuse to be a “model citizen”.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, just because you’re our friend/partner, DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET PETTING RIGHTS. THE DO NOT PET RULE STILL APPLIES TO YOU WHILE THE DOG IS WORKING.

things i learned about mit today:

- there’s a phys ed requirement of four half-semester courses (i think) in order to get the nerds to go outside for once

- if you take fencing, archery, rifle training, and sailing as said four courses, you can get an honest-to-god pirate’s license. like a license to be a fuckin pirate.

- kids wanting to get their pirate’s license have made these courses so popular that mit students compete at writing programs that will automatically enroll them in these courses within a fraction of a second after spaces become available

- in addition to the pe requirement, everyone has to pass a swim test in order to graduate. and now im thinking of a beginner swim class filled with 5.0 gpa, genius engineering majors flailing desperately in a kiddie pool and there has never been something i’ve more wanted to sit in on