@funereal-disease​ asked some people on Facebook what kind of environment they needed from a safe space. I thought the responses were really interesting. It seems like you could break down needs from a safe space into a couple categories:

tone: “I need a space where I won’t be scolded for my anger”/”I need a space where people aren’t acting angrily”; “I need a space where you’re expected to communicate compassionately and patiently”/“I need a space where I won’t be punished for being bitter or impatient or unable to extend the benefit of the doubt”; “I need a space where jokes and flippancy are encouraged”/”I need a space where people take the things we’re discussing seriously”.

content: “I need a space where I don’t have to debate whether I deserve to exist”/”I need a space where I can try to explain and empathize with and inhabit the opinions of my political opponents, even where their beliefs are abhorrent and scary”; “I need a space where people like me are not discussed as scary violent abusers”; “I need a space where I can talk about my scary violent abusers”; “I need a space where my religious beliefs will be respected”/”I need a space where I can complain about the religious beliefs that harmed me without worrying about being respectful”. 

social rules: “I need it to be easy to leave”; “I need it to be easy to change your mind”; “I need to know that if I make a mistake someone will talk to me in private instead of calling me out in public”; “I need transparency about moderation and what people get banned or excluded for”; “I need to know that if someone harasses me they will get excluded”. 

In other words, needs about how to communicate, what to communicate, and how to handle transgressions. 

I would be so delighted if instead of ‘this is a safe space’ posters on doors it became conventional to have signs that said “this is a safe space for emotional expression and venting” or “this is a space where harassment procedures have been refined a lot and work really well” or “this is a space where you can express hurtful and wrong ideas and expect people will try to argue with you but not shame you or attack you or exclude you, with an expectation of confidentiality, and with really emphatic moderation on the ‘not attacking people’ rule”.

I guess it’s a little too big to fit on a sign.



british summer is here.

[rain pouring] [thunder rumbling] [car horn blaring]
“go on. wheyyyyyyy!! Oh no.”
[in distance: “YOU IDIOT”, uproarious laughter]
“why would you go through that. what are you doing. ahhh no, he’s actually floating!”
“well of course he is. what a fucking bellend!”
“what a knobhead!”
“fucking hell.”

Positive Thinking Can Be Harmful



I reposted a thing from someone I follow and like and added a bit of negative commentary to. I am not linking or referencing it here because I really like the person’s online person.

Ancient Guardian read my repost (all my communications are monitored, for reasons irrelevant to this) and got angry. We went for a walk while he smoked his pipe and calmed down.

Ancient Guardian has several pounds of titanium in place of leg bones. He has that titanium because when he was younger he had pain in his hips. He is nearly immune to pain – his brain doesn’t tell him “you are in pain” any better than my brain tells me “you have to pee”. So he ‘pushed through’ the pain. It was minor, he could walk. Push through it – he could get through anything. He’d overcome cocaine, he’d overcome alcohol, he’d overcome depression. He could overcome this.

His bones were dying (see ‘avascular necrosis’). When he finally went to a doctor to see why he couldn’t lift his legs high enough to step over a pillow on the floor his bones had deteriorated too far to be saved. He had powered through the pain.

Yay! The power of positive thinking! He could walk on bones that were not much more than fibers of dead calcium.

Guess what fibers of dead calcium are not sufficient replacement for? Bones.
Guess what the titanium he walks on are not sufficient replacement for? Bones.

Guess what the surgery to replace bones with titanium can do?
It can cause nerve damage that cannot be repaired.
It can cause scar tissue around nerves, causing chronic pain.
It can cause tissue damage around nerves that can cause sporadic, unpredictable pain.
It can cause muscle damage, particularly in the tendons connecting the muscles to the remaining bones, making them unreliable.

Ancient Guardian walks with a cane because he cannot trust his legs to keep working. He cannot drive because the random blinding pain is too distracting to function at 80 MPH. He needs someone to be near him almost as much as I need someone watching over me because he cannot be sure something really bad won’t happen.

Because he ‘powered through it’. He was positive he could do it and he did. Until biology proved that positive thinking is not enough.

A follower added the comment that “getting help counts as getting through it”. No, it doesn’t. The ‘positive thinking’ post and its ilk imply ‘by your own will’. That’s the point of them.

This post has been presented by the Association of Random Babbling Faeries and is fully endorsed. We do not subscribe to the ‘positive thinking’ ideology in any way. If you need help, feel free to ask for it.

Also, positive thinking can be really damaging on a psychological level. My depression worsened significantly because everyone told me I had to be positive, that negative thinking was bad, and that it was the reason I was sick. They placed the blame on me and invalidated my feelings. And because it was all I around me, and depression is always looking for another reason to hate yourself, I blamed me and invalidated my own feelings.

If people had told me it was okay to feel like that, I would still have been depressed, but it might not have been so bad.

There’s nothing wrong with negative thinking. Deal with your situation however you want. If you need to feel like crap, that’s okay. If positive thinking helps, that’s okay too. Just don’t invalidate how other people deal with their life.