Guest Post: Breaking The Low Mood Cycle

Absolutely, 100 percent this.

Captain Awkward

Image: a cheerful orange blob monster is chatting to a friend using a speech bubble containing a question mark and exclamation mark. The friend is a grumpy grey blob monster who looks away expressing grumpiness. Its speech bubble contains a grey scribble.

Hello friends! It’s Elodie Under Glass here with a guest post on Low Moods.

I particularly want to thank Quisty, Kellis Amberlee and TheOtherAlice  for their kindly help in reading and editing this piece. It would not have existed without their care, support, compassion, and wonderful editorial abilities. They are truly remarkable humans! (edited: And thanks to the radiant and patient NessieMonster, who let me come to her city and follow her around, burbling insensibly about this post, for far longer than most people would have.)

So recently, I went on a Stress and Mood Management course, and I thought that you all might enjoy sharing what I’ve learned.

This post is something of a correction/update to Adulthood is a Scary Horse, a post for the Captain which I was never quite satisfied with. It really crystallized for me on this course, in our…

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Interneting while female

Perhaps it’s just the spaces I frequent, but being a woman — and being unapologetic about it — seems a radical statement these days.

It took me a few days to distill the roiling rage I felt at seeing my beautiful, lovely friends — and strangers, too — being hit with these types of things, but I think I’ve got enough control now to talk about it without descending into a fiery hate monster that just spews f-bombs and other curses like napalm. We’ll see, though.

Sharing experiences on Twitter is apparently crime enough to get not just the not-all-men types to crawl out of their holes — the “ladies, please: not all guys are unsafe; look at me. I’m awesome” dudes who just can’t keep their mouths shut long enough to learn something (and, seriously, guy, this isn’t about you) — but death threats and rape threats. The former are bad enough but the latter — well, I can only hope there’s a special place in hell waiting for those who carelessly utter the latter.

So because it apparently needs to be said: This is not OK. It’s not all right to respond to something someone says with threats of violence. At all. There. Now you can’t say no one ever taught you this.

Being a woman in meat space means taking special precautions. When I work late (as I do), I pull my car as close to the door as I can. I walk those few steps cellphone in one hand poised to hit send on a call to 911 and my sharpest, strongest key shoved between my index and middle fingers because, honestly, something’s better than nothing, and a key to the face has to hurt. When I go to cover stories, I always make sure someone knows where I am, and I insist the people who report to me do the same. I do all this and a hundred other things because I know well enough the dangers I face simply from being born female, for identifying as female, for existing while female.

Few of these strategies work online.

I am too pragmatic to think I don’t need similar precautions on the Internet, though.

(And if you want to hear some people talk about this more eloquently than I do — well, one of them is eloquent; the other has lots of f-bombs — check this out. To see how quickly you can go from zero to #notallmen, have a look at Cassie’s post. I read the comments. It was a rookie mistake.)

Why #YesAllWomen matters

One of my brilliant, amazing, talented friends wrote a moving post about the intersection of #YesAllWomen, bullying and boundaries. (Trigger warning: Does contain references to sexual assault and rape.)

I’m not going to rehash it here; just go read it: #YesAllWomen, and it starts young.

The hashtag sprang up in response to a young man’s decision — fueled by misogyny and rage and the mistaken belief that he had a right to others’ bodies — to kill six people in Santa Barbara, California, and wound 13 others.

Reading through the millions of responses — and sifting out the predictable whining of dudebros getting their sensitive feelings hurt and conservative blowhards who honestly can’t see the connection between the murder of six people and the stories shared through the hashtag — is heartbreaking and upsetting and makes me so very angry.

What it’s not, however, is surprisingly.

I felt a flash of recognition in so many of these stories: a woman running into a Starbucks to avoid a man who’d been following her; the thrill of fear in being approached and then harassed on a subway while reading a book (and, of course, not smiling); being judged for wearing something too short or not short enough. And, of course, there are stories of sexual assault and rape, stories of bystanders who did nothing or, worse, who just laughed and let it happen.

Every woman has a story they could tag. Every woman you know — your mum, sister, best friend, the girl at the coffee shot who makes your latte — had experienced some form of sexual violence, even if it’s just keeping a key clenched between her fingers as she walks to her car at night.

It’s outrageous that this is a problem, that there are those who believe misogyny isn’t read, or it it is, that it hurts no one. The shooting last week disproves it. My friend’s post — of a 6-year-old girl getting attacked by a 7-year-old boy — illustrates that.

And it starts even younger than that. I’ve personally heard and seen cases of girls as young as 3 years old being assaulted.

This needs to stop. Misogyny hurts everyone.