Trans people shouldn't *have* to be brave.

Trans people shouldn't *have* to be radical.

Making your entire existence a protest is *exhausting* for many, and not tenable for many more.

It should just okay to be trans.

But society is hostile to us, so I have no choice but to be radical about my own identity.

I would rather expend my energy on other problems, like helping others, rather than expending it on something that shouldn't be up for negotiation.

WOW. Yeah I've been on mastadon for like only five days now but I'm already flabbergasted at the world that should have been...

Like literally how did we all agree to just NOT have interoperable social networks??? Looking at the activity pub docs makes it clear how ridiculously easy that would have been. You want my content? Just GET my outbox. Want to send me something? Just POST to my inbox. The server can be anything you want, just format your messages in this (VERY INTUITIVE!) way. It's so simple it's STUPID.

I'm very new to all of this, so I'll admit that there's a lot I don't know, but what is painfully obvious right now is how, yet again, the tendrils of Capitalism have fundamentally altered the STRUCTURE of the Internet to make it less open, less empowering and generally WORSE for most users. However, what's also becoming clear is that it does not have to be that way, and being here is in some small way, bringing about that better possible future.

Rant, Virtual Reality 

First, a quick primer. IPD = Inter-pupillary distance, the distance between the centers of both your eyes. For most folks, it's between about 55mm and 70mm.


I hate how the rise of VR has led to a whole new, completely silly category of "haves" and "have-nots", and the "haves" are absolutely ruthless.

If you're using VRChat in desktop mode, you'll be teased relentlessly about it. At best, this is people rubbing their disposable income in your face, which would've always been a shitty thing to do. For me, though, it's something else entirely.

I have a really big head. On that big head, my eyes are spaced really far apart. For years, I thought they were 72mm apart, but a recent eye exam and self-exam revealed they're 75mm apart. That's in the top 1% of people. It may be in the top 0.1%.

VR headsets are binocular optical devices, so they adjust based on your IPD, and how far they adjust is limited by their design. Some go wider or narrower, but many stay in the top of the bell curve (55-70mm). You simply WILL NOT find a headset that is under a $1,000 investment that supports an IPD of 75mm, or can be adapted to support that IPD in any non-destructive way, and you'll only find ONE between $1,000 and $3,000.

I've been spending time in VR for two years now, and I can't count the number of times I've had to answer the question, "Why don't you have VR yet?" It already wasn't an easy question to I talk about years of chronic depression and sleep problems, resulting in me not being able to work regular schedules and thus making less money? Or do I just say "I just don't" and move on?

Now, though, I'm realizing that it's not only cost keeping me away from VR, it's my own body. It's a physical limitation I didn't choose and can't change, and that makes the teasing feel so much worse.

I never thought, in my 30s, I'd find something new about my body to feel self-conscious about, but here we are, and I hate every second of it.

Obesity, Weight Loss 

I'm a big guy. A really big guy.

I find that there are two kinds of conversations I have about my weight:
- The ones with other people my size, which mostly center around how to accommodate our limitations, how to treat little issues that pop up, and how to live a more pleasant life, and
- The ones with people who have never been my size, which are almost always, without fail, about how quick or easy it would be to lose all the weight.

I am so, so deeply tired of that second type of conversation. Any time I feel it about to happen, I breathe deeply through my teeth, anticipating the worst.

It always goes like this. "You can lose the weight, if you *just want to*! I promise! You'll be skinny and happy again! Just think positive!"

That may seem innocuous, but let's unpack why it bugs me.

For one, I'm tired of people looking at me as if I'm an unsolved problem in desperate need of fixing. I'd only be lovable, I'd only be happy, if I was just thinner.

Second, who the fuck doesn't "just want to" be happier and healthier? I didn't get this way by "wanting to" be severely obese, so you can't just 5-second-therapy me out of it. You damn sure can't pick me up out of the soul-crushing, hypercapitalist society that made me so miserable in the first place, tell me to "stay positive", then drop me right back in it and expect me to come out skinny.

The other bigger folks, they get it: it's a multifaceted problem. The world isn't built for us. Our insurance doesn't cover weight loss surgery. We have poor mental health care. Doctors hate us. The cheapest food is some of the worst for us. Depression and sleep apnea create vicious cycles. Fatphobia is rampant and ever-present. Tomorrow feels very uncertain.

Almost all of that isn't something you can lecture out of existence.

The best we can do is to try to make every day a little better, and to advocate for the societal, systemic changes that we need for that to happen. If we're happy today, we'll push to be happier tomorrow.

Please, understand that.

Antidepressants, Self Harm 

The Twitterverse is abuzz right now with criticism of Elon Musk, and one of the things people are criticizing is a tweet of his, where he points out that he's heard numerous stories about Wellbutrin being tied to suicidality.

While most of this hate is probably just because of who Elon is (and his relationship with Twitter), some of it is from folks who believe that any criticism of antidepressants (ADs) will scare people away from taking them when they need them most. I also don't want to do that, so let me preface all this by saying: if you're in a crisis and you need ADs to help save you from it, by all means, TAKE THEM.

That said, for as long as ADs have been around, there has been active suppression of any downsides they may carry. At first, it was mostly done by the drug manufacturers themselves, who all but sold ADs as a "happy pill", an incorrect view that persists today. Now, the general public has picked up the torch, believing that the good outweighs the risk, no matter what.

I would argue there are two cases where that's VERY much not true:
- For teenagers/young adults who are just starting or changing ADs, and
- For people who have been on them for years at a time.

The problems with the first group (that energy comes first, and mood follows a few weeks later, creating a very high-risk period of possible suicidality) are so well-known that ADs carry a "black box" warning about it.

The second, that after years of constant AD use, your brain adjusts to the "new normal" level of neurotransmitters, yielding a more chronic and harder-to-treat depression than the one you started with, is called "tardive dysphoria" and is only recently gaining recognition and research.

I have experience with both stories. I lost a friend in that high-risk period, and I've lived for years with that chronic depression that is very, very hard for ADs to treat.

All this is to say...don't be afraid of the meds. They are literal lifesavers. Just respect them. They are an imperfect solution.

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