zetasyanthis: (Default)
The rage within that I now feel
compels me now to write,
to share a vision, bloody red,
of your last desperate night.
 
The rage within that rises strong
that rips throughout my heart,
it sings the song of pain and weight
and rips my mind apart.
 
The anger, despair, knife's edge deep
lodged deep within my heart
compels me now to put pen to
this most accursed art.
 
For I now write to share my pain
to spread my hate and rage
to shatter walls and countries vast
with bloody, ruined page.
 
And so I say, to you who chose
to you who chose this path
to you who hatred chose and mocked
you will now feel my wrath.
 
And when these words are done at last
you will not then survive
the blasted hulk of your rent bones
will shatter, and divide.
 
For now I summon wrath and hate
to make my message clear;
I summon futures now destroyed
and children, raised in fear.
 
I summon furies of the storm
and monsters dwelling deep
and now I sick them all on you
to haunt your broken sleep.
 
I summon demons, horned and black
to scar your heart as mine
until you shake and scream and cry
and drown yourself in brine.
 
I summon children who you've killed,
or who you've forced to live
abandoned, bereft, starving husks
who nothing would you give.
 
I summon your own futures now
and those of your own sons
of darkened dreams and lost last hopes
that you've at last undone.
 
I summon those who you have pushed
beyond their mortal coil
those who you chose to hurt yet more
and in whose name I toil.
 
You have no future, shining fast,
atop this slope of blood,
for nothing you have built will last
I now summon the flood.
 
The fear you feel, the rage you hate
that pierces deep inside
I look straight, deep in your eyes
and now the flames arise.
 
In front of you the flames reveal
the destruction of lives,
the children, listless, learned not,
your symphony of lies.
 
I sear your eyes with those you've killed,
with what you have have now wrought,
the hearts you've torn and ripped with glee
that you've left to rot.
 
I compel you to hold my gaze,
the fire in my eyes
a window into deepest pain
reflected in your skies.
 
I slaughter you with your own mind;
it's terror's truest form,
a demon, dark and glistening
a screaming, tearing swarm.
 
A future, black, I show you now
with torn and blackened skies
with storms unending and at last
your own children's death cries.
 
I show you their hearts full of pain
at what you have now done
and I commend you now to death.
Begone, you foul one.
 
And when you see what future holds
what hearts you have destroyed
and when you see your blood so cold
your soul will be devoid.

Chaos

Mar. 5th, 2017 01:41 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
(Content warning: Depression, some politics, maybe anger? EDIT: Yeah, a *lot* of anger.)
 
I wish I could stay that the start of this year was going smoothly.
 
I kinda wish I could even say it was "Meh."
 
In reality, it's been absolutely fucking terrible. One of our kitties has been on death's door far too many times in the last few months; hidden memories are resurfacing, and it's taking everything I've got to just keep going. It's a heavy weight -- to keep moving forward, day after day.
 
Oh yeah, and the world's apparently gone mad.
 
I had such hope once, and things were genuinely getting better for people all across the world, and especially here. Yeah, some stuff absolutely fucking sucked, from violence against minorities all the way to the archaic and dysfunctional school system that we desperately need to rip apart and rebuild.
 
But we were making progress. People were safer. People were kinder. People worried less about what the future held. We were cleaning up our pollution, and breaking down walls, and even breaking down hearts.
 
And that's changed now.
 
All because of fear.
 
We have an administration that is utterly determined to destroy things, and the damage already hurts my heart. And it's brutal, because I know those affected by almost every one of these things. And because I know what it's like to be a child and to desperately need help and not receive it.
 
Here's the list so far:
 
* Revocation of Title IX transgender student protection guidance.
* Halting intake of all refugees while those programs are restructured.
* Muslim travel ban.
** Swatted down by federal court, luckily, but version 2.0 is due tomorrow.
* H-1B premium visa processing suspension.
** This immediately threatens the livelihoods of thousands and thousands of people.
* Massive immigration crackdowns, sometimes picking up parents after they drop their kids off at school.
* New this week, plans to intentionally separate undocumented children from their families at the border.
* Nationwide (state-level) assaults on abortion access and voting rights.
* Massive attacks against news agencies, calling them "The enemies of the American people"
 
And this is to say *nothing* of the abuses of power in state governments around the country.
 
How you can call yourself a human being and do these things? How can you even call yourself a human being if you don't fight these things? Forgetting even the effects these things are going to have on the adults, can you imagine what this is going to do to the children? This is going to break so many tiny minds, minds who have no capacity to understand why someone would wish them pain. It will ruin their lives to their have parents lose jobs and be deported, to have them disappear shortly after dropping you off at school, to have them ripped away and held in separate facilities, to be stuck in limbo while on travel and unable to return to safety. It will rip the hearts of teenagers from their chests when they are terrified and shaking, when they learn that they are pregnant or beaten for their eyes.
 
We are so terrified of their eyes, their eyes that only ask for hope and compassion. We are terrified of ourselves, and for ourselves, and for others that we care about. And we have to stop this, however we can, and with all the fury we can muster.
 
I swear by all the gods and men and stars now in the sky that on this day when hope was lost I would not let it die.

Anger

Jun. 26th, 2016 02:33 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Apparently this is my week for controversial journals.

First off, I want to say that I went to San Francisco's Transmarch yesterday and had an amazing time. Seeing city hall lit up in the colors of the trans flag, myself, in person... was astonishing. I could have hugged the goddamned pillars that held up that roof.

Sadly, this journal is not about that. It's not about the first public image of myself ever posted to the internet. It's not about the fun I had with a friend, or the exhaustion of a march that was maybe a wee bit longer than I expected it to be.

This journal is about the flag.

Milling around a few minutes after the end of the march, my friend and I were trying to figure out what to do next. Out of nowhere, we smelled burning, and though we didn't know what it was, we figured it was a good idea to stay away. And it was. In front of news crews from NBC, a group of marchers set light to, and burned, the American flag.

I don't know exactly why they did it. I wasn't close enough to see faces, wasn't sure what was even on fire at the time. Had I known, I *would* have pushed through the crowd to try and put it out.

I know burning the flag is legal. I think it *should* be legal. I can't really imagine a situation in which I would do it myself, but I can understand frustration and symbolism just fine. What I don't get is how this makes any kind of sense.

As I see it, this was a hell of a step backwards. The *very same day* that the President of these United States named the Stonewall Inn a national monument, these people burned the flag of that same nation. This, after numerous executive orders protecting transgender individuals, and after the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, stood up for us, publicly, on national TV. After she spoke *directly to us*, telling us we would not be alone going forward. I'm not saying things aren't still pretty fucking broken, but is this how we respond to those that would call us friend? Is this how we treat our allies? If so, we don't fucking deserve them.

The videos of the incident (and there are several) are not going to disappear. They're going to spread, and those who hate us will have even more excuses to hate than they already do. This is not the way.

I'm pissed.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
As much as I'd rather do anything but, I need to write this out, so here goes. >.<

I've been really depressed the last few days. Even beyond that, I've been really out of it the last few weeks. Some of that has been medication-related (insomnia, now dealt with), some of it's been family-related, and some has been all the horrible stuff in the news. A lot of it ties into my last journal, too. >.< Deep therapy has played its part too, unfortunately, as though it's really important, it still has smashed me in terms of mental energy. >.<

So... my sister called me a week or two ago. I still haven't talked to my parents, and she's a bit upset with me. Note that she's not upset because I'm not talking to them, but because I haven't at least let them know what my decision is about them being in my life. I think she's right about that, as much as I wish she wasn't... and as much as I know many of you may disagree. I don't know how to do it though, because I'm fairly sure that I'd do far more damage trying to explain what they'd done in the inevitable "Why?". I don't respect them, don't love them, and wish like hell I could program them right out of my brain. >.< They have caused immeasurable damage that I have no idea how to recover from, and I probably would have been better off with *wolves*. >.<

I want them gone, I want to be healed, and I want the family I wish I had. And though I am making progress on all three, today it doesn't feel like it. >.< It hasn't felt like it for weeks. >.<

One thing that I just want to cry endlessly about is that I don't even know how to have a relationship with my sisters, even. Both are close to my parents, and I have no idea what cutting them off would do. I don't think it'd be intentional, but I feel like if I cut off my parents that I will inevitably lose them too. And honestly, I don't even know how to maintain a relationship with them without being constantly reminded of my parents, which I may not be able to handle anyways. >.<

I just want a safe and deep connection with my family, and I can't. >.< I'm fucking terrified. >.<

My therapist and I have been working on this stuff for weeks, really fighting it every session, trying to work on resources and honest-to-goodness healing, but every unlocked memory hurts more than the last. The part of me that's hiding even from myself is really, horribly, shattered, and I wish like hell she wasn't. That poor girl never had a fucking chance and never even knew it. >.<

She's still hiding in the stairwell, a place I used to go where no one would think to find me. Whether the back stairs that no one thought to check, or the unfinished wooden boards of the basement, it doesn't matter. She's still sitting there in the dark. She can't go down, nightmares of flames too terrifying to hide even deeper, in the not-even-lockable room with the gas-powered furnace, but she can't go up, into the brightly-lit kitchen either. There is nowhere that is safe. >.< And so she hides forever, or at least as long as she can, cold and alone. She hid other places too... in the bathroom that used to lock until her brother broke the handles, in the closet behind the clothes... she even hid in the crawlspace, that closet within a closet that only she knew she had opened. She lost that one to ice one winter, when the water crept inside the house, but at least she had the downstairs bathroom. Not even hers, in the middle of everything, the door could be barred with drawer as well as latch, making her feel a little safer... as long as she pretended not to hear the yelling through the door. >.< She hid *so much* and from *so much* and no one even realized she was scared. >.<

That poor little girl never even had a chance. As far as I can tell, she died there, alone in the cold, and I don't know how to bring her back. She's shivering, shaking in the tremors I feel even now, pausing every few seconds to let out a shudder of nervous energy that simply *will not let me be*. >.< Any time I get even close to this, it rises like a fucking tidal wave. I'm still terrified that it will one day put me in the hospital, possibly for good. >.<

On top of all this shit, the cultural rejection from my parents, we have the recent news, which really needs no explanation. The "bathroom bill" that just passed in North Carolina makes me want to just fucking sob, because I can already see the lives it will end. I know how badly the *explicit message of erasure* has hit me, and I can only imagine how bad the depression will be for bullied school kids as they are told by even their government that they are not worthy to exist. Madness. How the fuck do we expect *any* kid to not be destroyed by the fear resulting from this, in much the same way I was? >.<

I'm still hiding in that stairwell... and I don't know how to leave. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
As usual, expect this journal to be a bit rough. Discussions of abuse are contained within. (Note that I have not yet internalized a lot of what I'm writing about, but *am* trying to come to terms with it. And yeah, I'll reach out when things get bad, because I have a feeling they're going to...)

---------------------

Today, I need to talk about abuse. I don't want to, desperately do not want to, but I have to, whether I like it or not. Today... I have to acknowledge a lifetime of abuse. And even as I type this, I have to acknowledge that I keep trying to sugar-coat it, to some way or somehow make those who are responsible somehow not at fault, but... we know where that path leads.

Today, I need to talk about two forms of abuse.

--------------------

If you're reading this, there's a chance you've heard me reference my father's anger issues. There's a good chance you've also heard me dismiss them, often with words like "but he never struck me" or "I can understand why...". It's hard not to think like that, when you grow up in a randomly hostile household, but those are classic responses by victims of abuse.

It doesn't matter why someone abused you, what limits they set on that abuse, or even if they fought with themselves and hated themselves for doing it. It doesn't matter that your other parent defended you over and over whenever they were there to see it, or that they had heated arguments "outside your hearing" as a child about these things. It doesn't matter, because the consequences don't care about any of that and are just as devastating. They could be even more devastating, because those rays of hope kept you coming back to experience it over and over rather than finally breaking fully away.

[Editor's note: I've read a lot about these behaviors, but sure as hell never expected to be writing these kind of words about myself. >.<]

My earliest memories of my father are not happy ones. I don't remember a lot of what growing up was like. But I do remember some things. I remember, way back in early grade school, my homework assignments being torn apart in front of me because I failed to sign my name at the top. (I had to redo them completely.) I remember my father so angry he chased me around the family room of our house. (This happened multiple times.) I remember the night he got so angry he left me idling in the car, driver's side door wide open, sitting in the passenger seat as he walked towards home. These are not normal memories. And these are not things that should ever happen to a child.

My father may hate himself thoroughly for a lifetime of choices he wish he could undo, but there was no excuse for treating me in such a manner. I was innocent, and did not understand why these things were happening to me. I could not understand why someone who loved me could suddenly flip from Jekyl to Hyde, and so, I lived in fear.

I guess it's no wonder that I tried to build myself into a weapon... Fortress walls are awfully comforting when there is a real monster on the loose. And though you might yell "Fuck you!" or other such things from the top of those walls, you're still just as vulnerable if you step outside them. It's no wonder that I locked those doors. :S

I don't know what else to say about this for the moment, so I'm going to leave it here and switch tacks to my mother, and the environment in which I grew up...

--------------------

I am not precisely sure how to describe what's wrong with this, but I need to try. I guess I'll start with my mom being Catholic, and very, very conservative. I've been trying to make peace with that world-view for about 29 years now, but I have failed, and this is why...

My mom's branch of conservatism is the one everyone commonly associated with Fox News. When I say that, I mean it pretty literally, as that channel was on in the kitchen, and in the upstairs TV room pretty much every hour my mom was awake. (She'd leave it on high volume so she could just walk through the house listening. When the TV wasn't on, Rush Limbaugh was, the radio in the kitchen blasting his broadcasts loud enough to be heard through a closed door. Now, I'm not going to sugar-coat this one. That stuff... *all of it*... is extremely toxic. Without even touching on the political content, which has its own problems, the way things are framed to create constant anger and feelings of victimization create an /extremely negative/ environment, 100% of the time. The simple lack of any real source of inspiration in that media is /itself/ astonishing to consider.

Bluntly, my mom is anti-gay marriage, anti-transgender rights, and quietly racist to boot. Some of that is theoretically because she is Catholic, but like many conservatives, that's not really the underlying reason. She is uncomfortable with anything that violates tradition, and uses her religion as an excuse to disparage anything outside the sphere of what she deems acceptable behavior. (See prior journals re: shame and passive-aggressive behavior for context there.)

So... Is this abuse? I'm asking honestly, because I don't know how to think about this stuff. Is it abuse to bring your child up in a house where there is a constant influx of anger and hate? What if your kid is (as I was) a member of one of the groups that is being attacked? What if you don't know?

Just to give an idea of where things are currently at, I need to share my mom's words to me when I told her I was transgender. No words of anger were spoken, but words of devastation were. "I wish I had died not knowing."

Those words have not changed since.

--------------------

At this point, I'm seriously considering cutting off all contact with my parents, permanently. I'd be willing to revisit that in a few years, provided some serious on-going therapy work, but I don't know that they have that many years left. (They're older than most folks assume.) If I cut contact for 5-10 years (the kind of time period we're talking about), it's pretty likely that one or both won't be alive at that point.

Basically, I'm still processing all this, but I sure as hell don't know what to do. Input is welcome. >.<

--------------------

Links:
 - https://drsharongalor.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/why-do-trauma-survivors-blame-themselves/
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I originally wrote this post on February 22nd, 2015, but had refrained from posting it until now.  Now, its time has come.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is going to be a difficult post. I'm a bit shaken after having returned from a movie that hit way too close to home in far too many ways... And let's get this out of the way up front. I am *very* angry.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By now, some of you will have seen The Imitation Game. If you have not, do so. The movie is about Alan Turing's work as a cryptographer during World War II. Since you're reading this on a Turing machine, it's safe to say he's someone worth knowing about.

Alan's story is a difficult one, one of the most intensely personal tragedies of the modern age. Already a social outcast due to his odd personality, he had very few friends in his life, and only one person he ever truly bonded with. And, were it ever discovered, as it was at the end of his life, even that was forbidden him. You see, homosexuality was against the law in Britain at that time. Even though his work quite arguably won the war for the allies (estimates put him ending the war 2 years early and saving 14 million lives), he was, in the end, driven to suicide by the very country he helped save. He was forced into accepting hormone therapy, chemical castration, in order to remain out of jail, and his downward spiral found only one outlet.

In him, we lost one of the most foundational geniuses of our modern world. He not only *proved*, but *built* a universal computing engine, capable of solving any problem rather than fixed functions. It is his gift that powers the very screen you read this text on, his gift that connects this entire world. He could not have known exactly how it would grow and be shaped with time, but he *knew* what a fundamental change his discovery would cause. It is a poor testament to our legacy as a civilisation that we failed him and continue to fail others to this very day. The means may be different now, but our failures endure. *That* is what this post is about.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, I knew this story before I saw the film. I thought I had grieved and dealt with the tragedy, but I was wrong... Why? Because his story is also, in some small part, my story... And it is also a difficult story to tell.

I've never had an easy time connecting with others... For a long time I made friends, interacted, and appeared to function normally to a large majority of folks I interacted with. Previous journals detail a bit more of than than I currently want to delve into, but a major part of finding myself over the past few years has involved the discovery of the term transgender, and the fact that it applies to me. I have been, and still am, fearful of judgement, even though I am trying daily to work a little bit at a time towards comfort in my identity.

I put out a few feelers via HR at my current workplace, trying to discover if there was insurance coverage, but beyond that, I've not really signaled very much. The few who I asked basically dropped the issue as soon as I was done asking the question, so it's clearly something that's still uncomfortable to them. I *think* the engineers and management I work with will be accepting, but it's going to be a struggle for me, especially as some of my roll is customer-facing. I'm not a field applications engineer (FAE), but I do stand in as one on occasion, and I doubt there are very many transgender ones of those...

That's today though, after my move to California, to a place that's hopefully more accepting than the state I had been living in. Arizona may be beautiful, but the minds of many of its inhabitants are sadly not as inspired as the geology that surrounds them...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While in Arizona, I worked for a small defense contractor, the name of which I'm choosing to leave off here. Said contractor isn't a name you'd recognize, but their primary work is in a similar area to Turing's. Although it's been about 20 years since being gay would result in the loss of your security clearance, transgender employees are still rare enough (and security personnel paranoid enough) to result in all sorts of awkward questions. Having gender identity issues hanging over your head makes you a prime target for blackmail if you're not out as trans, something that can result in immediate loss of clearance.

As such, I lived in fear.

Though the president signed an executive order forbidding discrimination along gender lines in all federal contractors two years ago, it only takes one person to declare you a security risk and you're done. Job, lost. Career, in tatters. Hope you've got some savings, because who's going to want to hire someone who had and then lost a clearance, even in the private sector? I thought I could probably trust my coworkers with my secret, but what if I couldn't? It only takes one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If that wasn't problem enough, I began to have ethical problems with my work that I simply could not overcome. In the movie, Turing quickly realizes that an intelligence source that the enemy knows about is useless, a fact that remains true to this day. In order to protect access to German communications, he (and the other members of his team) had to carefully manage what intelligence they used, making sure to guard against the possibility of discovery. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands died while they watched on, knowing that to save one ship too many, one in just the wrong way, would result in the Germans changing all of their codes. They became the arbiters of life and death, a position none of them had ever desired.

And so was I. Many still are. To work with these technologies, even to build them for another's use, must imply knowledge of their purpose. These agencies, these departments, compartmentalize their knowledge, seeking to remove the ethical choice from the builders, to place it on the users of the machines. But compartmentalization is damned from the start. These people know what they're building, they know how powerful it's becoming, and they sure as hell know exactly what it's being used for. As such they are as ethically liable as anyone else. As I was.

That is not to say that these technologies are bad, that the ability to intercept and read communications is fundamentally flawed. But it does mean that when those systems are turned into targeting systems, or handed to foreign governments who abuse their own people, that we are responsible. A lot of people have asked me why I left my job in Arizona, despite knowing how "important" it was. I know there are people alive today who would not be if I had not worked there. But I also know that there are the dead.

I am no naive innocent, imagining that every conflict can be solved without the use of violence. Though I now seek peace more directly, I fully recognize that there are some people who can only be dealt with through the use of deadly force. My problem is with neither of these statements. It is with the avoidance of responsibility. And even more fundamentally than that, it is that I am a healer, and that is not my path.

So yes. I left defense contracting. I will never return. I have seen the lack of accountability that comes with secret decision making turn into erroneous claims that "you know better than the public," that your "special access to information" gives you the right to make the call that affects so many others without their knowledge. And I am done with it.

Had I been discovered with these views in my time working for them, I would also have been escorted from the premises. It's dangerous to profess Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden as heroes while working for the self-same industry, even on projects that are far less egregious than the ones they disclosed. But the end is the same. I could no longer trust those who I built machines for to use them in good faith, or to not hand them over to 'allies' who imprison their own people in the name of political expediency.

No human being should have to make the choices Alan Turing made as he decided who lived and who died. We *still* make those same choices now, though we are told that others will make that decision for us in the end. It does not absolve him of his responsibility then, and it does not absolve us of ours now. Some actively avoid this knowledge, safe in the fact that the system is geared towards that isolation, but others, like myself, are leaving because we can no longer stay. We are asked to be trustworthy by a system and by people who cannot be trusted themselves, and that can no longer endure.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm tired of living in fear. I'm tired of living with guilt. I'm tired of pretending that this shit isn't broken, and that we aren't failing both those who serve and those who they intend to protect. I am fucking pissed, and this is the end of my imitation game.

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Zeta Syanthis

June 2017

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