A southern girl in the Pacific Northwest

I accidentally hosted a fairly spirited debate on my FB this morning about Plan B, so-called “emergency contraception.” Everyone kept it respectful, at least I thought so. I pretty much stayed out of it and just let folks converse. The woman in opposition is someone I have been friends with for a very very long time (since early high school), and I know why she holds the position she does, so I was ready to step in and ref if necessary, but it stayed civil.

In non-exciting news, I’ve just gotten word that our Friday Fun is suspended again, this time because of one of the attorneys. I’m tired of the whole thing.

I’d like to thank you all for your thoughtful comments on that essay I posted about intimate partner violence. I really appreciated the time you took to comment. I did not reply to the comments (in order to keep them screened), but they meant something to me.

On the heels of posting something with a “trigger warning”, I saw this interesting (but super long) article entitled You Are Triggering Me!, which explores the notion of triggering. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because I’ve been spending some time on tumblr and find the trigger tags to be absolutely ridiculous. There were huge arguments about how food bloggers should tag their posts as “NSFR” – Not Safe for Ramadan… I mean give me a freaking break. There is this rhetoric that tumblr is “safe space” which is also completely ridiculous – there are no filters, no ability to be truly anonymous, no security for posts whatsoever. Anyone in the world can look at your posts there, and anyway, I think I could argue that the internet in general isn’t “safe” in the truest sense of the word, although we certainly do carve out our own niches.

Anyway, the demand for “trigger warnings” (in the context of microblogging on tumblr anyway) seem frequently to be the manifestation of en vogue hysteria of teenagers, who make up a huge portion of that site’s users. But this article also expresses my opinion that this notion of triggering does little to empower survivors of whatever trauma, and instead shifts the responsibility for survivors’ mental and emotional well-being onto others. This not only serves to coddle people but also to remove an important component of surviving and then thriving: the ability to overcome through reclamation of personal power.

Obviously that’s not a blanket statement. Some things are certainly worthy of trigger warnings. And I applaud the efforts of people to be thoughtful of how something they write or post could affect another person. Certain things are more traumatizing than others, but who is to say which trauma trumps which trauma?

My point is personal responsibility, though. For example, yesterday without warning both times, I came face to face TWICE with extremely large, extremely close up, truly horrifying spider photos. Last night I had terrible nightmares involving said images writ even larger and come to terrifying life, requiring me to get up and turn on the lights and read for a while. I don’t insist everyone post a “trigger warning” on things though – I merely limit where I browse and adjust my expectations. For example, my friend who is a naturalist often posts stuff that squicks me out, and so I took him out of my daily feed, and I visit his page separately, so that I can control my scroll, so to speak. The other one was on tumblr, and I simply unfollowed. It’s about taking responsibility for ourselves and for doing our own part to manage what we consume via media. If you’re sensitive to a certain thing, then do what you need to do in order to keep your own sense of mental health, rather than relying on the internet to do it for you, and then freaking out if it falls short.

My final point is that the term “triggering” has become overused and misused, in my opinion. Being bothered by something, even bothered very deeply (for me, this happens with instances/images/stories relating to animal neglect or cruelty), is very different from what happens to someone who has experienced trauma firsthand. Saying you’re “triggered” by seeing a stack of cookies during Ramadan makes horrendous light of the experience of someone who actually has endured and survived trauma.

My two cents, anyway.

Finally, it appears that I am getting a new fridge. My freezer has been going out and this morning the fridge wasn’t as cool as it usually is either. I’m taking measurements at lunch and hopefully will have a new machine in place sooner than later. What a pain!

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