A Tribe That Would Have Me

The title comes from “Kitchen Confidential,” the Anthony Bourdain expose that set The New Yorker and then the world on fire. It’s how he describes the brigade, and how I use social media. Many people do not think of this when it comes to me, but it’s easier for people who aren’t neurotypical (ADHD, Autism in particular) to connect on the internet because we have enough clinical separation to express our emotions. In public there is no delete key. You have the option to go back and erase your angry paragraph, and it’s a damn shame most people don’t use it. Intellectuals are caught between two ideas…. the internet is a place of wonder because we can share so much knowledge, and the person who decided everyone should be on the Internet should be handed their ass on a platter.

Even the way I use social media comes from a different place than most people. I helped power the Internet. I was one of the first account administrators in the nation for distance learning. I helped professors take their offline courses and turn it into media content before anyone really knew how to do that. It was 1999. I was part of the team that wrote copy for the Information Technology Daily News at University of Houston, our journalism club of three or four depending. This was 2000. In 1999 was when I started learning unix, Linux, and VMS/VAX (yes. I had an account on jetson. Touch me. Inside joke, talk to your parents.). I can tell you why I thought Fedora was difficult and Debian wasn’t. I have slowly turned into a curmudgeon who doesn’t want to learn CentOS because I’ve picked a team. It doesn’t limit me in any way. Debian (Ubuntu) in some form is the most popular distribution. I chose the underdog (for the time) and I was right. That means something to me.

I was on IRC. I know the reasons behind what you think is funny. I was an early adopter. I can’t keep up now, but I was part of the wave of people who did it first. I read Slashdot and Kottke religiously. It’s one of the reasons I’m hardcore pro-Finland. Anyone who can produce a programmer like Linus Torvalds is okay in my book. The only thing we disagree on is desktop. I like Cinnamon and Mate (like the tea), he likes KDE. It’s all the same shell, the commands like you’d use in DOS. I don’t care if you don’t want to know computers and just want to click a button. I can launch programs as fast as I can think on a keyboard. It’s only now that I’m beginning to be irritated by it in the general sense of going the Microsoft route and choosing the option that launches slowest for everyone if you don’t have the newest and fastest computer. It used to be the best way to put life into old hardware, but you don’t know that unless you’re willing to do the deep dive on which desktops hog memory (KDE, anything but vanilla Gnome) and which ones don’t (Mate, lxde). It’s too much work. What I don’t like is that the alternative only has one desktop, so if you’re a DOS person, Windows is irritating as shit and there’s nothing you can do about it, die mad.

I don’t like being handheld through goddamn everything and not being able to turn it off without installing hacks like OpenShell. It replaces the whole Windows 10 interface with something more reasonable, like easy access admin tools and turning on old school Explorer. In linux, I am free to wipe my entire computer if I wish… while I’m still on it. I just can’t reboot. 😛 In the beginning, everyone was like “fuck it. They’ll rebuild. Life is on the wire. The rest is just waiting.” So, whenever Windows trys to configure things for me I feel murderous toward every single Microsoft employee who ever lived, even though 2000 was great because there was so little difference between running a web server that I could afford to be operating system agnostic. Every OS sucks, it just sucks according to your personal definition of what would make things easier… a phrase with many transitive properties.

With Windows, I’m in the place where I can’t afford to go bigger, so I have one drive dedicated to it because I like older games like Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Fallout New Vegas. I know they’re all Bethesda games, but that’s just a coincidence. I liked Fallout 3 because I could navigate without a map. It was a smaller version of DC, I just had to learn quirks instead of directions. My brother-in-law introduced me to Skyrim, but Oblivion wrecked me. The priest as Christ writ large in Bethesda-speak. The Lone Wanderer is also a Christ figure, so that’s probably why I love the game so much. I can think about that world in terms of what’s best for it without thinking of my own problems, translating interactions between personal and in-game. Communication is therefore a two-way street because it informs me about my real life, this creation of who I wish I was. I have never played an evil character. I have tried so many times just to see what would happen, and I have rejection sensitivity disorder and can’t go there. Watching people actively hate me is bad enough in real life. I choose to live in the real world instead of being the characters’ god. I use cheat codes in everything because I just want to see the story, choosing to act like an intelligence officer instead of killing everything I see. In Skyrim, I use the invisibility spells and potions more than anything else so I can steal what I need before I get unalived.

Here is the one commandmant in Skyrim that should not be ignored under any circumstances. Do not kill a chicken.

Here’s what I won’t do. I won’t kill the other Christ figure in Skyrim, a dragon, either. I have never even watched the video. I have never blown up an entire city in Fallout 3 just to see what would happen, getting to rule the violent Capital Wasteland with even bigger violence to keep things calm. Even in a video game, I can’t be that mean… unless someone starts a fight with me. I will damn sure finish it.

I have a very loyal personality, with teeth and claws. No one in my inner circle would dispute this.

I think that where I get the most hung up is with friendships with women, because to be a woman is to be a fixer/pleaser who serves at her husband’s pleasure, according to the men that wrote the system we live under today. Therefore, because I know what I want and say it, I come across as demanding. In reality they could have asked me for anything, they just don’t, and not because they don’t want it. They’ve been taught not to want anything.

I can give what I require, and asking for it doesn’t require getting it. I just might not come to you again. I also don’t realize I’m asking too much if you don’t tell me that and instead, expect that I think you’ll be what I need you to be at all times with no thought for your needs at all. In a way, that is true. I am not reading your mind and thinking of all the things in it. I am calculating my responses based on what you need, and trying to figure out how we can help each other with the least amount of effort so that neither one of us feels put-upon. We’re a team.

So whether you think I’m the holy or the moly is generally dependent on your ability to tell me what you want, because I tried for so many years to read minds and I am, in fact, terrible at it. I have had too many relationships with Type A ballbreaking bitches (in a good way, truly) on purpose not to accomplish two things… feeling totally run over in most conflicts and learning how to stand up for myself, but only after everything else didn’t work. I have managed to pick the wrong tack in most relationships, because I had and continue to struggle with rejection sensitivity disorder. Over time, the symptoms have changed. At first, it was feeling like I needed to do everything someone said to keep them happy so that I didn’t get rejected. Now, it’s shutting down emotionally and not creating new relationships so that I don’t have to worry whether someone is happy or not. My world doesn’t break apart when someone is (generally rightfully) angry with me. I either push someone away first so that the story can’t be that they left, or won’t open up at all without significant evidence that I am wanted.

I am also hugely capable of telling you what my love language is so that if you want to say something, I’ll hear it. I don’t like walking-the-tightrope anxiety in trying to figure out if something is up and when conflict is going to hit so that I can prepare for every eventuality. I am an INFJ. If there is conflict between us, it causes me physical pain. My emotions are large and I am not medicating them away as much (I still take them; just different doses). Too much serotonin and I’m not really in touch with me anymore. We just chat at the office.

I’ve been this angry the whole time. I’ve been furious since I was born, because I have not lived a moment of my life without trauma. My mother said I cried all the way through physical therapy when I was a baby and I wish I could tell her that history repeated itself when I hurt my back a couple years ago. Again. Not one moment of my life has gone without me being physically or mentally seething with rage at myself.

I had a college doc say that he’d really never seen anyone with self-esteem this low… and that wasn’t after a session. That’s after I took an electronically graded personality inventory.

Now, it’s time to take that information and figure out why, letting myself feel the anger and process it out so that I’m not constantly a time bomb. I self destruct so easily it’s like a magic trick, because I cannot navigate the system as female, queer, and physically disabled. This is not to say that I am incompetent. This is to say that my voice isn’t as loud as others. They get what they need without asking because the system is built for people who already fit in that box…. which is white, cis, and straight (most of the time).

It is hard to be a person that wants to change something and is routinely ignored. This is micro and macro. Everything from speaking my love language to minorities in the system in general.

Personally, speaking my love language is not giving me gifts. They’re great, but I’d rather hear about your emotions. If we are in conflict and you send a gift, it’s not that it doesn’t matter. I just won’t connect those two things and automatically infer what you were trying to say. In my world, only the words “I’m sorry” actually mean you are. If you treat me differently after a conflict than you did before, I’m going to sense it before you even say anything because I’m excellent at reading body language. I’m good at inferring things from text…. and you can only push me away emotionally so many times before I decide that when you say fuck off, you mean it.

Equally easy to let go when you’re the one I go to with issues, but you’re not the one who comes to me. I don’t divine problems, but I feel when there is one. For instance, saying that you’re exhausted by what I need when you’ve never given me a chance to refill your energy stores so it doesn’t feel like that. If you handle conflict by saying “I’ll deal with this on my own,” how am I supposed to know that I’m doing anything wrong?

Additionally, freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. This is with all my friends, including you (plural). I don’t think I’m untouchable. I think I’m being honest about what is true according to the filters in my brain. It is entirely subjective and doesn’t take into consideration anyone else’s feelings because I assume that if you have a problem with me, you’ll say what it is and we’ll work it out.

By far the biggest reason that I won’t work things out (generally) is when we are in conflict and I have heard you, but I don’t agree with you. Generally, when people disagree with me, they turn very pedantic. There are many things I need explained to me like I’m five, but emotions aren’t one of them. I’ve been feeling the emotions of the whole world since I was born. The dark side that no one will tell you is that INFJs are very, very prone to addiction, because they’re trying to numb out everyone else’s feelings. I absolutely feel your emotions that deep, I’ve just learned how to handle it (most of the time). Handling it comes from saying the thing I’m most afraid to say, because when I set boundaries, other people do, too.

It’s a negotiation, unless I feel that the conversation will end with only you being happy because I gave up everything. I know what that looks like and I become a shell of myself. I will become frightened of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, breathing the wrong way. I will bleed internally so you don’t have to, which has been great for my partners over the years because they never had to figure out how they felt about anything.

That is doubly problematic in close female relationships, because both halves of the relationship do the same thing to each other unto time immemorial.

“Being Loud on the Internet” is just my way of having a voice. Spilling out how I feel about relationships so that hopefully it accomplishes healing my flaws and failures while pointing you in the right direction of finding yours. I don’t need you to try and make me happy. I need you to make you happy so that we can stand in each other’s stage lights.


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