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Human Horrors, Marginalizations, and the Faltering of Words

So, I was thinking.

There are a ton of marginalized people. Marginalized for different reasons. Race, sexuality, gender identity, disability…..and more. Sometimes people are marginalized in more than one way.

But something bothers me.

I remember, within the last year, someone (from one of these groups) was angry because they weren’t seeing their more privileged friends speaking out about terrible things that had happened.

And something in that bothered me. There was an assumption that everyone that they wanted to speak…even could. Or would be listened to if they did.

It’s not that I don’t think you should speak out and protest evil things being done to others. You should. But there are multiple ways to be marginalized, so if I don’t belong to your group of marginalized people, that doesn’t mean that I’m free from any type of marginalization.

I’d like to channel my privilege into something productive, but I’m not free from marginalization myself.

And again, the assumption that everyone even can speak out..is just not true.

I am autistic. (Or I am a person with autism, if you prefer.) For me, this creates trouble in understanding language, as well as producing it. I mean, I realize that I sound like there’s no problem, but here’s the catch: the problem I have is applying the proper words to the right contexts. I have a rich vocabulary, but I can’t use it effectively.

And as your emotions grow (and mine too), my ability to express myself even passably falters greatly. I know that the event at hand was awful. I am appalled that people treat each other with such disregard for their common humanity.

But I also know that your heightened emotions require carefully planned words, because I want to be supportive. I want to help you, not hurt you. I don’t think that you need my faltering, stumbling words in such a moment. You need someone who can actually say the things that don’t hurt.

I mean, when I’m hurting badly, I really don’t need more pain, even if the other person means well. I would need friendship and love at such a time. I want to be that person for you at this time.

I just..I want you to remember this when you are upset about how few of your friends decry a horrible event.

Sometimes, I just can’t say anything, because I just do not have the language skill that I need to express myself. Sometimes, I can work it out. Sometimes, too much time has passed and it feels like saying anything would just get me yelled at.

Please remember that there are real reasons for people to not be speaking when it would be helpful for you for them to do that.

What Does the Wind Carry?

What does the Wind Carry?

What does the Wind Carry? (c) 2016 Windy Johansen

What Does The Wind Carry?
harsh winds
what do they carry?
isn’t it just air?

a sound to shatter the skies erupts
and rocks break into sand
as if they were made of glass

a sound to shatter the skies erupts
and glass breaks into sand
as if it was made of foam

everything crushed
beneath my diamond will
do you taunt me still?

harsh winds
what do they carry?
remnants of sand

— (c) 2016 Windy Johansen

Telling Positive Stories to Ourselves

So I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. (That happens in the span of more than two years.) I thought about the stories we tell ourselves.

I like positive stories. I think that’s because my mental landscape creates dystopian fiction at an alarming rate.

I know dark, gritty stories might seem more realistic. There is a realism in admitting to ourselves that people aren’t perfectly good or perfectly bad. Life isn’t always full of “happily ever after”. Life is messy and imperfect.

And then there’s this excerpt from a Superman comic. Continue reading

Writing Prompts: Broken Times


(c) 12 Nov 2013 Windy Johansen

Write something that incorporates this incomplete poem.

broken times
but we still have all the right pieces
corrosive times
but we are still worthwhile people
broken times
but we are still moving, rebuilding
and we are still working, working
broken times

Use either the actual words, or if you like, write about these rebuilders. What pieces do they have? How much do they have to rebuild (bridge, city, country, civilization, or world)? How did they keep hope alive? Is this part of a speech a leader is giving?


Writing Prompts: Post-Apocalyptic Utopia


(c) 12 Nov 2013 Windy Johansen

There’s been an apocalyptic event. Nearly everything’s wrecked. Write about a utopian society there. How did they manage to make utopia possible when dystopia would have been easier?

Some thoughts:

For reference, a lot of the stories told as part of the Star Trek universe center on just such a society. People do argue that the Federation is actually more dystopian than it first appears, but to me, it has several compelling utopian elements irrespective of the possibility of co-existing dystopian elements.

Trying times can pull people apart, but has often brought people together. Think of how people come together in a crisis. They don’t look at one another as strangers; they see fellow beings in trouble and they care about and for one another.

Quite the fertile ground for the seeds of utopia. :)