[img[https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6923686/zoe.jpg]]\n\nBlond, shoulder-length hair, baggy green-grey sweater, skinny jeans, green high-heeled boots.\n\nShe had recently shared with you how impossible it feels for her to be "selfish."\n\nYou wonder if [[at this party]], she is doing what she really wants to be doing, or if she is acting out of a desire to make others feel happy and comfortable. You know she is mature beyond her years, but in this situation, her depths are a secret, maybe a talisman. \n\n
You're always aware of the ways in which others spend their precious time-energy, [[but your awareness is particularly keen this evening]]. \n\n
Phenomena: "quick-witted" \n\nJudgments: if I get these guys to laugh, it means I am better than they are and I can feel good about myself\n\nMid-level thoughts: women are social currency, I want to be "a good guy" \n\nResulting phenomena: confident, chivalrous\n\n[[back|now I can show you]]
Do you leave with [[Zoe|Lila]]?\nZoom in on [[the jokester]]?\nTry to talk to [[the young woman]]?
"Come on Stinker," you say. "let's go."\n\n[[You retreat to the house|Lila1]].\n\n\n\n
"And by the way," you say without smiling, "you'll have to work hard to understand who I am...because you haven't put any work into understanding the perspectives of others unlike yourself."\n\nHe squints at you. "No disrespect, but, if something's worth sayin' you should be able to say it right out."\n\nYou don't respond to his words but you do note this information in your writing. You think it fits because it resonates with [[your experiences]].\n\n"Now, about my portrait of you. I'm missing some details which I think [[you can help me]] fill in."\n\n"Shoot." He's amused by the novelty of you.\n\n
The laughter subsides again and you take advantage of the relative quiet.\n\nYou walk up to and address this woman: "Excuse me, but I don't think we've met. I'm Erin."\n\n"I'm Ashley." She replies, through clenched teeth.\n\n"I've noticed you've been a bit quiet. I'm quiet myself. I actually wanted to show you something I was writing about that."\n\nShe lets out a single nervous laugh.\n\n"Uh...sure?" Her jaw is still tense.\n\n"You want to go sit by the fire?"\n\nThe two of you [[walk over to the log and sit down]].
"So...\n\nThe crowd quiets down. \n\n"My friend gets a cahd with a hawt pin-up girl awn it. An' the pin-up girl says:'" \n\n(He puts on a sultry voice and narrows his eyes...)\n\n"'I know just what a man wawnts.'"\n\nThe crowd silently anticipates the [[punchline.]]
You are sitting on a log next to the [[bonfire]]. Zoe is next to you.\n\nThis is one of the few parties you've been to with your younger sister and the first of [[any significance]].
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Too many times you had felt as if you had nothing to say, or that you "had no point," because a man demanded a simple explanation.\n\n[[back|:)]]
[[At the Bonfire|Start1]]\n\nby finny\n\n
Phenomena: your quietness\n\nJudgments: I'm <<replace "boring">><<replace "depraved">><<replace "inferior">><<replace "bad">><<replace "slow">>[[lost in my head]]<<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>>\n
[[And you're still eager to communicate...|And you're still eager to break through...]]\n\n
You sense others' [[good will]], but you want to //communicate//...because now is a moment in which justice is possible. You can articulate yourself because you can see yourself, and for this reason you are not, at the moment, afraid of listening to [[others]].\n\n
Phenomena: your quietness\n\nJudgments: I'm boring, depraved, inferior, bad, slow, lost in my head\n\nMid-level thoughts: <<replace "feelings are bifurcated (ie why doubt your sincerity?)">><<replace "you've done much">><<replace "you've come far">><<replace "it doesn't matter if they judge you for sitting here">><<replace "we are perfect if we exert ourselves">><<replace "you do have thoughts--they are molecules of H2O in a rippling sea">>[[lost knowledges come together]]<<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>>\n\n
Before, when you didn't know how to let go, you found it frustrating, even enraging, to hear "words of wisdom" from people who were liberated from that cycle of self-deprecation you knew so well. They would tell you to "stop fighting yourself" and you would fight to stop fighting, then fight to stop fighting to stop fighting. \n\n[[back|You want to say something to her.]]
You're dividing your time-energy in the most efficient way you can.\n\nYour agenda consists of: \n\n1) [[sketching]] a snapshot of your perspective in your notebook so that your realizations might not be lost\n\n2) [[interacting with others]] in the group enough and with great enough zeal to let them know they matter to you\n\nand\n\n3) [[noticing others]].\n
She looks away.\n\n...\n\n"I don't know how to do that."\n\nYou think: "She's worked so hard in her life to understand others...applying her time-energy to the visible. She has used perhaps no time-energy to explore that world of 'self-obsession' one can get lost in."\n\nBefore you realize you're lost in thought [[she says...|worry]]\n\n\n
You're startled. "I'm not worried...?"\n\n"I'm proud of you. You are...//rich//."\n\nShe looks for words using her hands. "You're...substantial. \n\nI mean, you used to think of everyone except you as a human being. Anything could hurt you."\n\n"Yes..."\n\n"But now, like when you told that joke earlier, you felt so present to me. [[Tell me about that]]."\n\n
You open your notebook and show her your snapshot perspective. \n\nYou narrate it for her. \n\nYou're thinking "Perhaps she thinks I'm a weirdo, and/or because I am confident, she accepts what I'm saying."\n\nYou can't tell what's going on in her head as she listens to you, occasionally nodding and never interrupting. You know that in situations in which you'd done the same, you'd been [[afraid, absorbent, and vulnerable|Perhaps both.]].
[img[https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6923686/2012-06-020.jpg]]\n\nThough you're not usually moved to take pictures, tonight you are.\n\n[[Beautiful|sense]]
"[[Don't worry]]." she replies.
Your partner used to be considered male by most people. She's the hottest thing to you.\n\n[[That's the association.|You're not sure.]]
[[He hangs his head for a few moments, then looks up at you.]]\n\n\n
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Here's the [[hierarchy of your thoughts]], working from the most superficial, inward...
Phenomena: your quietness\n\nJudgments: I'm boring, depraved, inferior, bad, slow, lost in my head\n\nMid-level thoughts: feelings are bifurcated (ie why doubt your sincerity?), you've done much, you've come far, it doesn't matter if they judge you for sitting here, we are perfect if we exert ourselves, you do have thoughts--they are molecules of H2O in a rippling sea, lost knowledges come together\n\nJudgments: [[faith in genuineness, valuation of your happiness]]
Someone lights a [[roman candle]].\n\n
"You're an asshole." you say, taking out your notebook.\n\n"Ha. How long did it take you to figya that one out dahlin?"\n\nYou open your notebook. "Here let me make a few changes first."\n\nYou scribble a bit.\n\n"There. Okay [[now I can show you]]."\n\n
She grabs two beers from the fridge and you sit together on the couch in the TV room.\n\nYou admire her use of time-energy--what you imagine is a suppression of her own agenda for the sake of others--[[but you suspect there is pain in it]], as evinced by the growing number of beers she's consumed.\n
"[[Don't worry]]."
"[[I'll see what I can do...]]"\n\n
She's unphased. She inhales in prep for response. It's an ordinary-enough question. :P\n\n"Well...I see life and people like dominoes. I know just what people are going to do. They almost never surprise me, or challenge themselves."\n\nAnd you're not surprised she had a ready answer.\n\nHow do you respond?\n\n"[[Is]] that what selflessness means to you? Protecting others from their own faults?"\n\nor\n\n"[[Yes|worry1]]. You're free from self-obsession. It was the world I recently realized I had always belonged to." \n
I made this semi-fictional twine game for Zoe.\n\nThis game is meant to be explored and replayed.\n\n[[Restart|Start2]]
After you've finished talking, and silence fills the space between you, you wait.\n\nHer lips are pursed. Her brow is creased.\n\n[[But finally she speaks, and not particularly quietly:]]\n\n
The necessary seconds go by, then smiles turn to hooting and one-upmanship-style, I'm-no-faggot-style laughter.\n\nThe young woman's unfocused gaze is directed at the alpha male. She chuckles softly. \n\nYour sister turns to you.\n\nTime-energy is [[precious]].\n
"I judge myself a lot too...for being quiet. Like back when we were standing ovah there...I was thinking about how unworthy I felt of any of those guys...because...I couldn't make a joke if I tried."\n\nYou nod.\n\n"On most other days I would feel the same way--unworthy, I mean--but tonight I just know that one thing is true: apologizing is not necessary."\n\nAshley smiles and scoffs. A reflex: "[[Easy for you to say]]."\n
The laughter subsides again and you take advantage of the relative quiet.\n\nYou walk up to and address this man: "I'm Erin. I've been drawing your portrait. [[Would you allow me to continue?]]"\n\n\n\n
You shrug and look into the fire. "Not really. I'm just taking advantage of the moment, and hoping I can make these lessons last for myself and maybe others."\n\n"Right." She looks into the fire.\n\n[[You want to say something to her.]] \n\n
//Pick the scenario you think is more believable, or more interesting. Just click on the one you'd like to see really://\n\n(1) Then he says, quietly, and almost warmly: "Congratufuckinlations. You've joined the ranks of the non-fucked up."\n\n"And by the 'non-fucked up' I assume you mean 'the guys' right?"\n\n"Ha. Mmmmaybe."\n\n[[He asks if he can put his arm around you...]]\n\n(2) Then he snorts and says: "Erin, right? You're one of those bitches from Billerica High...one of the twins. Yeah I've heard of you. Well fuck off dahlin."\n\n[[He gets up and goes over to joke with the guys some more. He turns back, looks at you. The guy-crowd laughs.|He gets up and goes over to joke with the guys some more.]]
You ask her, with perfect innocence and self-assuredness...\n\n"Do you drink so much because it takes more to effect you or because you are just especially capable of holding your liquor?"\n\n"Both." she replies, looking straight at you without nodding mindlessly. "Mostly I just can't feel it unless I consume a lot."\n\nHer voice sounds different to you. You can't recall it ever sounding so even. It occurs to you that it is //your// confidence that allows you to see at all. \n\nHow do you respond?\n\n[[Tell]] her: it's okay to be "selfish," that she can have her own agenda, that she doesn't have to keep everyone happy.\n\n[[Ask]] her how her brain feels.
She brushes her hair behind her ear.\n\nIn the firelight, you can see the touch of lip gloss she wears, and the crust of mascara.\n\n"You see," you say to her, "I'm quite aware that I am perhaps being presumptuous, but I thought that since you looked so pensive at times we might have something in common, and really, I'm just looking to communicate with a few people at this party."\n\n"Okay. Yeah, [[I appreciate that]]." She nods, deadpan, eyes wide. She's still not relaxed.\n\n
"So he opens the cahd. An' it says: 'I should know, [[I was one...]]'"
You think you said it loudly, but no one seemed to hear you. \n\n[[You get a scared look from the guy next to you.|You're not sure.]]\n\n \n\n
You appropriated a punny joke about koalas from your partner. It went off well. :P\n\n[[back|but your awareness is particularly keen this evening]]
She takes them unquestioningly.\n\n"[[It was nice talking to you Ashley]]."
[[Anyway, your words are not self-explanatory.]] \n\nYou are torn.\n\nYou're still thinking of good will, and of talking.\n\nYou figure if you're going to take on assholery it would be most effective to do it [[one-on-one.|If you're going to take on assholery you figure it's safer to do it one-on-one.]]\n\n
"So tell me...why joke with the guys about women? [[Why would you talk past the women standing next to you?|So tell me...why joke with the guys about women? Why would you talk past the women standing next to you?]]"\n\n
How do you respond?\n\n[[Say]]: "Thanks I LOVE hugs." And squeeze him.\n[[or]]: "No thanks. I don't like to be treated like a lady."
Phenomena: your quietness\n\nJudgments: I'm boring, depraved, inferior, bad, slow, lost in my head\n\nMid-level thoughts: feelings are bifuraced (ie why doubt your sincerity?), you've done much, you've come far, it doesn't matter if they judge you for sitting here, we are perfect if we exert ourselves, you do have thoughts--they are molecules of H2O in a rippling sea, lost knowledges come together\n\nJudgments: faith in genuineness, valuation of your happiness\n\nResulting phenomena: confidence, turning outward, noticing others, challenging yourself, ceasing to question love or 'appropriateness,' ceasing to apologize, no worry, no second-guessing\n\n[[You envision your perspective as a three dimensional bubble, and you transcribe it 2-D as this list in your notebook.|but your awareness is particularly keen this evening]]
Like that one young woman over there...\n\nShe is petite, with long, flat-ironed brown hair, Uggs and a pink Northface jacket. She might be around twenty? She hangs with the crowd by the beer, laughs a beat or two behind cue at every joke, stares at the ground. Her time-energy seems especially divided. \n\nYou two seem to share the "quietness" bond.\n\nThere are others whose usages of time-energy are more locatable in the visible realm...like the guys surrounding her who guffaw readily at every punchline, and the alpha male who keeps them laughing. His arms drape over a couple of women. These guys are all dressed in the Greater Lowell uniform--low jeans, baseball caps, t-shirts and hoodies.\n\nAnd then there's [[Zoe]].
He breathlessly takes in [[your work|as he takes in your drawing]].\n\n[[the verdict?|...]]
Zoe gets up to join the crowd by the beer. [[You follow her]].
"[[Ah. Okay]]."\n\n
You make some scribbles and say "Well, thank you. I'll just say it was nice talking to you Eric. [[We learned a lot about each other]]. Now I know about assholes, no disrespect."\n\nYou get up to go.\n\n"Wait..." \n\nYou pause, look back. \n\nHe frowns, touches your shoulder gently, and he says: "[[I'll try to be more considerate in the future]]."\n\n\n
"[[That's hot...]]"\n\n
Phenomena: your quietness\n\nJudgments: I'm boring, depraved, inferior, bad, slow, lost in my head\n\nMid-level thoughts: feelings are bifuraced (ie why doubt your sincerity?), you've done much, you've come far, it doesn't matter if they judge you for sitting here, we are perfect if we exert ourselves, you do have thoughts--they are molecules of H2O in a rippling sea, lost knowledges come together\n\nJudgments: faith in genuineness, valuation of your happiness\n\nResulting phenomena: <<replace "confidence">><<replace "turning outward">><<replace "noticing others">><<replace "challenging yourself">><<replace "ceasing to question love or 'appropriateness'">><<replace "ceasing to apologize">><<replace "no worry">>[[no second-guessing]]<<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>><<endreplace>>
You decide you'll go talk to someone more amenable to communication.\n\nDo you go find [[Zoe|Lila]] or [[the young woman|the young woman2]]?
I made this semi-fictional twine game for Zoe.\n\nThis game is meant to be explored and replayed.\n\n[[Restart|Start2]]
You are sitting on a log next to the [[bonfire]]. Zoe is next to you.\n\nThis is one of the few parties you've been to with your younger sister and the first of [[any significance]].
"That's a wei'd hello." He chuckles, and extends his hand. You shake. "Eric. You may certainly draw me.\n\nPlease, let's sit Erin."\n\nHe gestures towards the log. And the two of you [[sit down]].
I made this semi-fictional twine game for Zoe.\n\nThis game is meant to be explored and replayed.\n\n[[Restart|Start2]]
"Ha. //Yes//." She replies. "But also protecting myself from disappointment.\n\nAnyways, [[don't worry|Don't worry]]."\n\n
After thinking about it for a while, you realize that no one has ever said anything to you that has actually helped you. \n\nMaybe others' words came to make sense. But never had [[others' words]] jolted you out of pain.\n\nSo you say: "[[Do you want this pen and notebook?]]"\n
He almost asks: "Women just have less to say in general. Isn't that true? I mean, to be frank, they're not...//quick//...in general, [[no disrespect]]."
Many months later, you share with her [[a twine game]] you made.\n\n
[[You look at him steadily, holding your chin.]]\n\n
He laughs. \n\n[[:)]]
Phenomena: [[your quietness]]
You envision the bubbles associated with each of these people--Zoe, the jokester, the young woman--and you start to transcribe them, but there are holes. [[You're curious|someone]].
You walk up to and address her: "Excuse me, but I don't think we've met. I'm Erin."\n\n"I'm Ashley." She replies, through clenched teeth.\n\n"I've noticed you've been a bit quiet. I'm quiet myself. I actually wanted to show you something I was writing about that."\n\nShe looks startled. She lets out a nervous laugh.\n\n"Uh...sure?" Her jaw is still tense.\n\n"You want to go sit by the fire?"\n\nThe two of you [[walk over to the log and sit down]].
"What, in this case, is 'sensing?'", you wonder. Maybe sensing good will is to embrace the fact that confusion can easily be mistaken for malice. You question that malice even exists.\n\n[[back|sense]]
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When you get home the next day you look up "mental effects of testosterone" and read an article called "The He Hormone" in the NY Times. The cis male author who injects himself with testosterone says it makes his "wit quicker, [his] mind faster, but [his] judgment...more impulsive." You are sad that Eric and so many others mistake testosterone for wit.\n\n[[back|Ah. Okay]]
You're so moved that you tweet his words on your phone.\n\nThis tweet is dear to you: "Humbly said by the person next to you: I'll try to be more considerate in the future."\n\nHowever, no favs when you check later. It's always been hard for you to communicate context; [[there's just so much]].\n
"What ah you then?"\n\nYou show him your snapshot perspective and narrate it for him.\n\n[[:)]]
[img[https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6923686/bonfire.jpg]]\n\n[[back|Start2]]
Zoe jokes a little with the guys next to her.\n\nThen the alpha male [[asserts his presence again]].\n\n