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So back in february [ profile] taraljc, bearing witness to me freaking out about the ongoing car saga, sneakily passed the fandom hat, and I (1)cried and (2) fell off the face of the internet

I owe my most heartfelt thanks to my [ profile] taraljc, my [ profile] aj, my [ profile] browngirl my [personal profile] celli, and to Elise whom I haven't met -- you are all amazing people and my life is better for having you in it. I never thought that I would stumble into such a glut of quality friendship with real, true, good people or what I did to deserve it.

(Also, crying again.)

The state of the car is in flux: half went to initial repairs, the other half to savings in case of ongoing car problems. My mechanic has no idea what's wrong with it, other than what whatever it is is temperature related/it only starts when it's warm. And presently, it's not warm and not starting in a (thankfully) non-metered spot on Devon and I'm putting out feelers to dealerships for a brand-certified diagnosis.

What very well may happen is the car being scrapped in favor of a bicycle, since it wouldn't add any time to my commute and would add cardio and movement of the body to my life, plus, it's going to be spring soon and I want to spend more time outside during spring. And because of you all this is not a terrifying prospect.
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[Gif credit | originally here]

So here’s a thing: Dad Mills was almost definitely a flooring installer.

My dad has been laying floors for 40 years this year; I grew up being hauled around between shop and warehouse and job in the summer, because I could entertain myself and my parents didn’t trust childcare. When I was eight, I got sat down with a hand-stapler and a roll of carpet binding and the remants my dad had cut down to welcome-mat size, and he and mom and I made welcome mats that we sold on the side of the road. (And God, I haven’t thought about that in nineteen years.)

There’s two kinds of kids who show up at carpet stores: the children of people who are having their houses done, and the children of people who are doing the installation. And the “used to take” implies that it was a repeated visit (like when you go down to hound the owner for your check; god, how many times I sat in the car while Dad wheedled and cajoled and got paid less than his work was worth), that repetitiveness implies that someone in her family — someone charged with either worked in the store itself (sales, reception, receiving), or acted as labor for the store.

And I’ll tell you something about the carpet industry: it’s feast or famine. Some months Dad worked 12-16 hour days seven days a week, and some months he didn’t work at all. You pay your help before you feed your family. Supplies come out of your check, and 90% of the time the boss doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing and doesn’t pay you like he should and has a power complex the likes of which I’ve never seen in my life.

(My experience is Southern California and Nevada - Mom and I are white girls, but Dad’s Mexican-American with an East L.A. accent so thick you can slice it, and he’s brown. He’s also a fucking craftsman - his work is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, his seams are invisible even with patterned carpet, and I’ve literally watched him bend the laws of physics filling a room with carpet that is smaller than the room. For the last 20 years, since the family lost the store we owned and he started working for other people, I’ve watched boss after boss defer to his dumbass [white] helpers, speak to him insultingly slowly despite his English being flawless due to being a native speaker. I’ve watched my uncle - his brother, same parents, but Joe caught the white genes and Dan caught the brown ones - climb and climb and climb and make more money and receive more respect than Dad ever did, in large part because this trade is racist as fuck.)

It is not a fun trade or a stable trade in general but it is an especially non-awesome trade to be a minority in.

And just. So much sympathy for the Mills sisters because I would never wish growing up with parents in the flooring business on anyone.

(Incidentally climbing on top of the rolls of carpet all stacked up like a giant pyramidal mountain is the best thing in the universe when you’re 8 and full of imagination and daring-do.)

[Permission given to link this particular post.]
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GetYourWordsOut: Year Six!
Pledges & Requirements |

I signed up - I am both excited and terrified.

New Year Resolutions:

Make 2014 a better year than 2013. Finish something, even if it's silly. Maybe get back into therapy for brainly housekeeping?
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Maybe my tea will brew faster if I apply some meme.

Okay really. December 13th: your guilty pleasure fandoms.(rustydragonfly)

Okay so, I try really, really hard to not have guilty pleasures - if something brings me joy and does not directly hurt other people, then I'm not going to be guilty about it. (There's some room there for, "you are allowed to feel how you feel, but it's unreasonable to tell me to stop enjoying what I enjoy because you have baggage to deal with" wrt the "hurting other people" - see also "gripes incessantly about Moffat/Moffat's Doctor Who" as my litmus test for unfollowing people on tumblr.)

When was a kid I absolutely Was Not Allowed to watch or read or otherwise consume media that didn't pass some kind of never-stated, never-explained degree of Christian Wholesomeness. And after a while, it didn't have to be enforced; I'd absorbed it. I enforced it myself. And the things I were guilty about consuming were media that had sex and swearing in them, or things that allowed for a world without Christianity.

I watched Die Hard III for the first time in 1998 or 1999, and I did so in one and two minute chunks - flipping back and forth between it and another channel, terrified that I'd be found out and lectured on how bad movies like that were for me. I watched Enemy of the State one summer when I was at my Nana's, and I remember really distinctly that she told me "That garbage will get into your heart and you'll never be able to get it out again" - "That garbage" being Will Smith saying the word "fuck" a lot while being chased by scary people who wanted to kill him.

And then I discovered Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Universes where there had never been a Christianity were exempt, based on some mental gymnastics on my part.

I first read Dragonflight when I was, what? 16? and struggling with my faith and my politics. Reading in publication order I got to Dragonsdawn inside a couple of months: I struggled a fuck of a lot with the idea that everyone on Pern was an atheist, and that among them were good people and bad people and okay people, and that based on the theology I'd been raised with every single one of them would have gone to hell.

I asked special permission to read Harry Potter after reading articles about how it wasn't about demon worship, and convincing my mom that I was mature enough to put the books down if I felt like my soul was being endangered.

Around the same time, I was interacting with people whose upbringing and political leanings and religions differed from mine on the Dancing Dove for the very! first! time! and struggling a lot with the idea that these people I cared about so much and who accepted me even when I acted like a brat and wanted me to be the best me I could be ... that they were going to hell, by the theology I'd been raised with.

Something had to give -- the thing that gave was belief in hell. And after that cornerstone came out, the rest of my faith fell down around it over the next eight years or so. You can see remnants of it in my Star Trek fanfiction.

TL/DR I spent a lot of time in my childhood and young adulthood feeling ashamed of the things that made me happy, and when I shed the last pin of identification about three years ago (Christian to agnostic), I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't feel guilty about the things that bring me joy. I've done okay so far with keeping that promise, I think.


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January 2015



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