Talking about trigger warnings

Hello there, readers! I know, I haven’t really been around much. Sorry. Life’s been busy, and with another blog, the outlines of a novel, and just other everyday stuff going on, I’ve ended up letting more time than I wished to go by. I’ll try my best to get better about that.

With the apologies out of the way, let’s go to the theme I came here to talk about: trigger warnings.

A recent article has been making the rounds that basically states that trigger warnings are harmful to those they seek to help. The study behind the article hasn’t, from what I understood, worked with a large group, so I’m still weary of its validity. Being involved in the collaborative writing community, though, trigger warnings are a hot-button topic.

Anyone who has read my previous post has seen that I’m not completely opposite to them, since I have used a trigger warning on top of my post. But I do have a problem with them sometimes.

When? Well, when they’re used to make someone’s mental health everyone else’s responsibility. I believe trigger warnings are a useful tool, but not for everyone and everything.

A good example of the usefulness of trigger warnings: You’re planning on watching a movie that’s free for the whole family, but at some point during this movie, there’s a very disturbing scene or storyline. It’s nothing graphical, but it can be disturbing. So there’s a note there: This movie may contain disturbing scenes involving (insert theme here). So you, as a responsible adult, read this warning, heed it and opt out of the movie.

A bad example: You’re going to watch a horror movie, the latest installment in a franchise you know to be violent and gory. You watch it anyway and then complain that you got triggered by the violence. You knew it was a violent movie! 

Basically, what I mean is that trigger warnings are not supposed to make your/my mental health anyone else’s responsibility. They’re supposed to give me tools to manage my own mental health. If I ignore them and get triggered? Yup, that’s 100% on me as the adult I am.

Well, I have spoken my mind on that, and I’m sure it’s a pretty unpopular point of view (at least in the communities I’m involved in), but I’d like to hear your point of view, readers. Please do share it, and remember to be civil, both in your comments and possible replies to other people’s comments. Remember the human.

Thanks for reading, and see you all on the next post!

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Living with intrusive thoughts

Hello there, readers! How are you all? Well, I hope! I come here today to talk to you about mental health yet again. 

Warning: we’re gonna talk about matters who might be triggering for depressed/suicidal people. If you are on shaky ground with your mental health, please, don’t carry on reading. Thank you.

For starters, I’ll just give you a short Wikipedia definition (I know, I’m lazy): An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. Source: Intrusive thought (Wikipedia)

From the same article, I have seen that those are associated with conditions such as depression (check), PTSD (double check), and post partum depression (never checked, never will). That’s actually something I didn’t know. Due to the nature of my own intrusive thoughts, I thought it was solely a symptom of depression.

Every day, especially at night, I live with suicidal intrusive thoughts. 

They often come when I’m in bed, trying to relax enough to fall asleep. I just try to stay still, and then the thoughts come. I could slash my wrists now. Then the mental image comes. Sometimes, I can even feel the blade running against my skin. They come, stay for a while, bug me for quite some time, and then they go away. But I know we’ll have a date again next time I try to fall asleep. 

It sucks. It’s annoying, disruptive, and stressful. Especially because I don’t want to kill myself. I want to live for… I think at least another 45 years is a pretty nice plan. I want to do a lot of things, meet a lot of people, and make a lot of mistakes I have yet to make. I want to annoy the hell out of people. I want to be old with my best friend, because we promised we’d become a pair of crazy old ladies. I’m sticking around here.

But the thoughts still show up every night. Bummer.

Well, I guess that was it for today. It feels good to get these things off my chest, and out there so someone who might deal with the same things knows they’re not alone.

Now, readers, it’s your turn to speak. Have you ever struggled with intrusive thoughts? Are you dealing with them now? Do you want to share them? The comments are open, my contact form is open too! You’re not alone!

See you all on the next post! Love your faces! 

On boundaries and creating them

Hello, readers and visitors! How are you all? Well, I hope. I also hope you haven’t been thinking you were getting rid of me because I have been sort of absent from the blog for a while. Ha. You’ll never get rid of me, get used to it. I have just been busy with work, writing and making plans for global domination, er, I meant career changes. That’s all, nothing to see here.

Wait, no, where are you going? There’s definitely something to see here. Namely, yours truly rambling on about themes you’re probably not interested in. You know, same old thing as usual.

Boundaries. I’d say that’s something today’s world really struggles with. I partially blame social networks for this blurring or outright erasing of boundaries. Part of it is our own fault. We crave visibility, and with that, comes the weakening of boundaries. It usually takes one question too many for us to see how low our boundaries have become.

When you’re a woman, it becomes even harder. We’re socialized to be ‘nice’ (if only you knew how much I hate this word). It’s not very nice to tell your nosy aunt to mind her own business when she wants to know whether or not you’re dating someone, is it? Or to tell that person who ‘has’ to know all about your sexuality that this is really not something they should know about, thank you very much. Or to tell that person who’s holding onto your arm for dear life that they can let you go, you won’t run away (even if you’d love to do so). Or even to let your adult parents know that no, they do not need to meet your boss and know every detail of your work day.

Boundary stomping is basically everywhere. And, at some point, we get sick of it. And then we start wondering how to repair those boundaries.

But how do we do it? It sounds pretty tricky. It sounds like hard work.

And it is. I’m sorry, there’s no easy way to repair boundaries once they have been ignored for too long.

From my experience as a person who has allowed everyone to stomp all over my boundaries for a long time, these are the things I found useful:

  1. Establish them early on with those people you’ve just met. It’s much easier to stick to your boundaries if they’ve been clearly established right off the bat when it comes to new relationships. If you feel like relaxing them later on, it’s easier than establishing boundaries that weren’t there at first.
  2. Talk openly to the people you know who will be understanding. If some friends or family members will be understanding of your need to establish boundaries, talk to them. Explain that you need this space for your own quality of life and mental health.
  3. Simply establish them with those people you know wouldn’t understand. Change the behavior patterns which have weakened your boundaries. Start saying no when you want to. Start cutting the supply of information flowing in the direction of those who don’t really need to know that much about you. People will be okay, I promise. They will get used to it.
  4. Be consistent. Don’t keep going back and forth between upholding and boundary and ignoring it. If you don’t drink beer, don’t accept it just to be nice. Say a polite ‘no, thank you’, and don’t let yourself be pushed into drinking just a glass to be pleasant. If you don’t want to go to that party, say you already have plans (staying home and doing nothing does count as a plan!), and resist the temptation to say you’re going there but ‘just for an hour’. The more you stand your ground, the easier it becomes.

Well… I guess that’s all I have to say about boundaries for now. Which means it’s your turn to speak. Have you ever had a hard time establishing boundaries? Do you have a boundary-stomping person in your life? How do you deal with them? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Thanks for dropping by, and see you on the next post!

Is English my first language?

Hello, readers!

How are you all? Well, I hope! 

I’ve been doing well enough – and busily enough. Despite being busy, I’m trying to always post here as often as I can, so you won’t feel abandoned. I know, that would be quite the tragedy, wouldn’t it? ;) 

Stupid bragging aside, I come here today just to answer a question. Though it’s been answered already on my About me & the blog page, I still get this question every now and then, so here it goes:

Is English your first language?

Answer: No, it’s not.

Okay, this post’s over, I’ll go make dinner. Bye.

Oh, no, wait. Looks like we’re not done yet. Damn. I think I forgot to tell you all (who don’t know it yet) what my native language is, and why I write in English. So, here we go.

I’m Brazilian, and my native language is Portuguese (I know it’s most commonly assumed that it would be Spanish, it’s a common misconception. But we were colonized by the Portuguese due to the treaty of Tordesillas – go do your homework on that, kiddos).

I have started having English classes when I was around six, and kept them until I was out of high school. Then I took an extra three years of classes to brush up on my conversation (I’ll always sound Brazilian, but at least my English-speaking friends can understand me now). After that, it was mostly consuming media – books, movies, YouTube channels, etc, so I don’t go rusty.

And I write a lot in English, especially for roleplaying purposes (the nerdy kind, not the kinky one), since it’s sort of universally understood and that means I can write with several people. And connect with several people through this blog as well, which has put me in contact with some lovely human beings.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to say for today. I’d love the other lovely people who are also native speakers of a language other than English to share their experiences in the comment section!

I’d also like to open this space for any other questions you all might have. Nothing is off limits!

See you all on the next post!

On being asexual/demisexual

Hello, readers! How are you all? Well, I hope!

I’m here again today to blabber on about things you probably don’t care all that much about. But hey, gotta keep the blog updated, so you know. Things must be posted.

You see, I could regale you all with tales of how I have managed to burn some hair off my arm today while I was cooking lunch because I’m obviously not a responsible adult, but I won’t. Apart from the burning hair smell that lingered in my kitchen for a while, the incident didn’t cause any harm, so let us move on to the actual theme of this post.

Sexuality. That’s a theme that pops up here and there on the blog, mostly when someone asks me something about it – either my own sexuality or sexuality in general. So, since I was grilled by my own mother about my sexuality earlier this week, here we are. 

For starters, and for those who don’t know much, my mother is 68, so her memory is not exactly pristine. I haven’t lived with her for about six years, when I moved away for work and found my own place. Before that, our relationship was never really close, and well, she’s an extremely self-centered person, so I wouldn’t expect her to pay close attention to me. I’m just her youngest child, you know. Not a big deal.

She wanted to know why I’m always alone. Then why I don’t really do much more than going to the mall for dinner and to the store for basic necessities. Then why I don’t invite a friend to go to the mall with me (all of my friends are in other cities, and I haven’t made any new ones here because I’m an unsociable little bitch). Then why I’m another kind of alone.

She decided she wanted to know why I don’t have a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. Or something. You know, the way mothers act when they go into mother mode. She was never really desperate about that, but she’s now gotten into this weird ‘I’ll die and you’ll be all alone mode’, which is a bit odd, since she was never much company. And since when I lived with my parents, dating was a dirty word. You’d think I was talking about killing the President or giving my grandmother poisoned candy for her birthday. Every time they found out I was dating anyone, it was basically police state in the house. Including, but not limited to, listening in on phone calls, turning off the internet connection at night, reading my correspondence and raiding my bedroom. It was serious business. 

So, you’d think I would either be put off dating at all or desperate to date the moment I escaped this ridiculous environment, right? Well… I was somewhere in between. I did have a few relationships – both in and out of the police state. Some were good, others were meh, others were absolutely nightmarish (I’ll probably talk about them at some point in the future). 

But I didn’t have any desire to sleep with anyone, or very little. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I felt actual sexual desire. And honestly, it was so mild I could barely bring myself to do anything about it. I fell in love just like the next gal, but that was it. It was sentimental and romantic, but not sexual.

For the longest time, I thought there was something wrong with me. Something broken that I needed to fix. And I tried. I even went in for a full check-up, because there had to be something wrong, right? How come I didn’t feel anything like other girls normally did? 

No, readers, there was nothing wrong. Everything was in tip-top shape physically. Emotionally, well, I had my issues here and there, who doesn’t? But nothing so severe that could make me a sexual hermit. And I had felt some measure of sexual arousal a time or two, right? So… what was it?

I decided to read on about it, and started googling things like it was my job (oh, how I wish my job could be googling shit. I’d be a millionaire by now). And after looking here and there, I hit information on different forms of sexuality I had never heard of. Two terms grabbed my attention: asexual and demisexual.

For context, and giving you lovely people a very short and simple explanation, an asexual person, also sometimes referred to as ace, is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. A demisexual person is someone who cannot experience sexual attraction unless a personal bond is formed first.

With this knowledge now in my hands, I stopped to thing. What was I? Was I asexual? I thought so for a long time, because I didn’t really feel much in terms of desire. But I did feel a little, didn’t I? Just not too easily, or for just about anyone. But I did. So I thought more. And thought about the situations in which I had felt sexual desire. It was never random. It had only happened with some very few wonderful people with whom I had built a strong bond. Bingo.

I know it sounds silly, but it felt as though a weight had been lifted off my chest. I was finally something other than a weirdo who had no place in this world. I could finally explain myself in a way that didn’t take me ten minutes. Heck, I could even tell people “Google this” without feeling so awkward.

My relationships became easier, or I started feeling better about them. I even started having fun with dating and being with someone.

But I couldn’t make my mother understand that. Oh, well. She still thinks I had a bad relationship and became traumatized. What can I do? I can go on trying to explain it to those people who will understand, or at least try.

Phew, I think I’ve talked way too much today.

How about you, my dearies? What was your ‘eureka’ moment in your life, or the moment when you learned something about yourself, the world, life, universe and everything (42) that made everything make sense?

Share with me in the comments!

See you all on the next post! <3 

Living with impostor syndrome

Hello, readers, how are you all? Well, I hope!

I’m doing fine enough, enjoying a lazy weekend at home and not much to do other than resting. Oh, well. I’ll have plenty to do tomorrow, I’m sure.

While I don’t, though, I’ve come here to talk to you all about impostor syndrome.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m basically the poster child for it.

I live alone, and every time I do something – washing the bathroom, making a shopping list, cleaning the fridge -, I feel like I’m obviously doing it wrong and should be doing it differently. I’ve been living here for over five years, and nothing has spontaneously burst in flames or exploded so far, so I guess I’m doing something right. 

I have a job, which I have been keeping for a little over seven years and in which I’m in a managerial position, but I keep expecting my boss to fire me because I obviously don’t know what I’m doing and have been deceiving him all along. Even though I manage one division and wear many hats in our small organization, I still feel like this.

And I write – this blog, another blog, and currently working on outlining a novel. And you guessed it. I haven’t even started the actual process of writing the novel, and I already think it’s gonna be so horrible I should include a voucher for therapy sessions if I ever get it published. Because you know, reading it will scar people mentally for life.

It’s nerve-wracking, I’m not gonna lie. But at the same time, it’s somewhat liberating. I mean, if I think I’ll do it badly and then end up doing it well enough? Well, that’s a really nice outcome, isn’t it? Or that’s how I try to frame it in my mind.

Well, I’m done with this rambling session now, and I’ll add an interesting fact. I don’t have one sliver of impostor syndrome when it comes to cooking. I’m actually extremely enthusiastic about doing anything that involves crafting a meal, and often go in the kitchen with the firm idea that whatever I’ll create there will be good. I haven’t been disappointed so far, in my defense. 

Now that I’m done, why don’t you all share your own cases of impostor syndrome with me in the comments? And the things you feel at ease doing too? I love hearing from people!

Be good, you all, and see you on the next post!

Why I’m considering minimalism

green wooden chair on white surface
My dream home – Photo by Paula Schmidt on Pexels.com

Hello, readers! How are you all? Well, I hope. Tired of me yet? Hopefully not. 

After the monthly update, I come here today to ramble on a little again, as it’s basically my habit already. What I’m planning on talking about today is minimalism.

First of all, we need to define what we’re talking about, right? Let’s get down to it:

According to Merriam-Webster, minimalism is a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. When it comes to a basic lifestyle, it could be defined as owning less stuff. 

And that’s pretty much what I’m getting at.

As I grew up, our family home was always full of stuff. My mom is not a hoarder-style housewife, but man, she loves her stuff. She loves furniture, and pretty much everything she can use to fill space. I get stressed out when I see a lot of stuff around.

My home has exactly five pieces of furniture: my wardrobe, my bed, a couch, my work desk and a coffee table. Everything else is stuff that belongs in the house but not furniture, like a fridge, a stove (I have been secretly considering getting rid of), the microwave, and cabinets and stuff that are permanent fixtures. I own a sizeable clothing selection, because my mom is constantly buying me clothes (I have asked her to stop, to no avail), and three pairs of shoes – a pair of flats, a pair of trainers and a pair of boots. 

And I still feel like there’s so much stuff. Every time I look at the couch – where the laundry lives -, I feel kind of unhappy. So much clothing, I even feel a bit disheartened with the idea of sorting through it all. I pull a few pieces out every now and then, donate them and move on. But I know I could get rid of 50% of that stuff and not miss it. I work from home, and honestly? I feel like I just want to keep all of my black pants and skirts (because they’re key pieces), my solid color blouses, maybe a nice dress or two for a special occasion and my 4 or 5 pairs of jeans – and everything else can find new homes.

I’m sure I can get rid of other stuff as well. I’ve been meaning to switch my wardrobe for one or two dressers, depending on the size. It will make my bedroom look less busy and make moving furniture around (one of my passions) a lot easier. I want less stuff around my house, and it makes me a bit sad that I can’t afford the new stuff I want to replace the old with (and I must remember to get screwdrivers to disassemble the wardrobe – that’s gonna be fun). 

I live in a tiny apartment for a reason – because I don’t want stuff. But I still feel somewhat trapped, even though I have moved stuff around enough that I can move more freely. But I feel I won’t be happy until I get the dressers, build a couple shelves for my books (and then the coffee table can go) and maybe use the extra space in my bedroom to get my desk in there so I can work and write at a quieter space in the house.

A girl can dream, right?

Over to you all now. Is there anyone else who’s into minimalism? Are you a wannabe like me, or did you actually take the plunge? If you did, how are you faring so far? Share your ideas and experiences with me in the comments

See you all on the next post!