Aug. 14th, 2013

pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
At the end of June, my doctor advised me to drop milk, eggs, wheat, yeast, and some miscellaneous produce. I was...against this. it was based on tests (igG response) that produced pretty graphs, but the test seemed to be unerringly detecting the foods I actually ate. And it turns out that the test is pretty controversial, with my friend's allergist telling her that it did exactly that, and my naturopath (and hers) saying that it detected actual problems. But I decided to give it a shot. I would eat whatever I wanted until the fourth of July weekend (which gave me five days), go through the inevitable withdrawal over the four day weekend, and then commit to it.

My reaction has been... weird. First, even though I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted in those interstitial five days, I didn't use it. I kept going with eggs at work in the morning because there was rarely a better option, but without even thinking about it the others started dropping out.

I made a few rules: one, I would not accept substitutes- no cookies made with rice and vegetable oil. If I was going to give these things up, I was going to embrace what I was eating instead, not taunt myself with inferior substitutes that were quite likely to cause the same problems anyway. Two, I was not going to be afraid of food. Work very helpfully labels food with potential allergens, and I could control what I ate at home, but if I was at a restaurant I was not going to worry about trace contaminants or interrogating the restaurant staff.

My reaction was heavily bifurcated. Once I gave the foods up for good, I didn't want them. Or rather, my brain missed them. I had a memory of wanting them very badly. I bitched endlessly to my friends about the things I couldn't eat. I hated having to tell myself no. I lost ~five pounds over a month. I'm probably not getting enough protein, because I'm still slowly ramping up my meat consumption. But my body did not want any of the banned foods. It was inconvenient to eat nothing but meat and produce, but that was about it. I hadn't noticed a huge physical change, but I my chronic low level heartburn did dissipate.

The mental cravings increased, to the point that I *dreamed* about cheating. I decided that I could break the rules for feast days, especially for emotionally significant foods. My birthday is coming up, and my !boyfriend cooks, so I concocted a plan in which he would make me ice cream cake and I would have pizza, which is how I celebrated birthdays as a child and also Samhain two years running.

I did not make it quite that long. The day after I dreamed about ice cream, I had an early birthday dinner with my best friend, and decided that since it was A birthday celebration I could get crab wontons. I crashed afterwords, but that could mean anything. The interesting part is that a few hours later, my lymph nodes swelled up, and they still haven't gone done. And now that I noticed, I remembered that they used to be chronically swollen, and that must have gone away at some point

I'm not going to cancel my birthday, partially because one day is not conclusive and I need more data, partially because I couldn't stand to see the look on the boy's face if I told him I didn't want his cake anymore, and partially because ICE CREAM CAKE. But if this pans out, I think the food sacrifices are going to stick around.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
I quit martial arts a year ago, but my best friend from the dojo just contacted me asking for my opinion of another student, who has been trouble in general and for me in particular. He wasn't the reason I left, but the school's handling of him certainly was a major contributor. The safety issues are fairly well documented, but I had discomfort with him that extended well beyond that, and my friend wanted more information on that, so he could take it to the leadership.

I went fairly scathing in my response. Not just "if he hasn't raped someone, it's for lack of opportunity", but naming names on the teachers who had blown off my concerns, and laying the blame for me leaving on that. It's not the letter I would have written if I was still trying to effect change. I wasn't deliberately antagonistic, but I didn't soften the truth as I saw it, and people tend to get defensive when you accuse them of suborning rape culture.

More than that, as I wrote it, I was worried that the sheer size of my accusations would render them uncredible. Here's an excert:

proving he's awesome was consistently more important to him than anyone's safety. Hitting me in the head wasn't just bad because ow, my head, it was a boundary violation, and he not only never expressed remorse for doing so, he was resentful for being called on it. It bothered me when he would attempt to engage me in a friendly manner, or hold boards for me during tests, without acknowledging that I had told him I had problems with him, much less the legitimacy of those problems. When I told him not to touch me (during sparring, but when we were partnered with other people), his immediate response was "but that's what I do." Everyone, including me, speeds up during slow motion, but he was resentful when called on it and barely deescalated. I don't know if you get this as a tall muscular man, but those things are all incredibly scary. I have nothing I can do to physically stop [Full Name], I am dependent on his sense of decency to restrain himself, and he wasn't even bothering to pretend to have one.
...
I never close-sparred with him, but he did attempt a wrist grab on me once (when I had called slow motion, no contact), and when he did everything in me screamed "kill him before he rapes you" ([Blackbelt] knows this, and his response was "well that's on you"). I once asked myself if I felt safe talking to him alone, and I shouted "no" out loud before I even finished the question. I firmly believe that if he hasn't raped someone, it's due to lack of opportunity, not inclination or ability. And that's based on sparring. I literally cannot think about grappling him, everything in my body goes "NOPE" and shuts down the thought.


Those are very strong accusations for someone I've never seen touch someone inappropriately- except I did, he touches people inappropriately all the time. Consistently hitting people in the head when it's not allowed is inappropriate. Touching me to establish where I was in space when we were sparring other people became inappropriate when I told him not to do it. But I'm supposed to ignore it because it's on the sparing floor and not explicitly sexual. Anyways, I'm still extrapolating from gut feeling + minimal data, and I feel like the reaction is going to be "well we can disregard all of this, she's clearly insane" by which they mean hysterical and not "wow, he must be really awful to inspire such a strong reaction."

And that's people who know me, who saw me put a lot of work and energy into that school, who know I never had problems with other students,* and some of whom actively wish this guy would leave. And yet they still shamed me for recognizing this guy as a predator.

Now that I'm both a year more mature and a year away, I can see pretty clearly what's going on, and it's one of those tragedies of good intentions. They want to welcome everyone, because the whole place is the island of misfit toys and is grounded in the idea of healing emotional and spiritual wounds through martial arts, and telling someone they're too broken to be healed feels awful. They also want to treat everyone at the school as equal and want the students to do the same, first because letting each student declare different limits with every other student is a logistical nightmare, second because it's bad for the people being excluded, third because it can be bad for the people doing the excluding and part of the treatment is learning to trust in the school and in people you normally wouldn't. And everyone feeling comfortable all the time is explicitly not a goal, because learning to lean into discomfort is another part of the training.

But you cannot have an open door policy, and a policy requiring everyone to be treated as if they have reached a minimum bar of safety, and genuine safety. I got a lot of static because I didn't trust in the school to protect me, but the school wasn't trying to protect me. They had higher priorities. I am still angry they did that to me, because there were a lot of things I liked there and now I can't have them.

And it won't matter what they do with this guy, because the rot is entrenched. I wish them well, I especially wish my friends who are still there well, but this consistent inability to make the hard choices is not going away.

*Although, to be fair, that was because everyone paled in comparison to this guy. Without him, other issues might have gotten more attention.

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