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Sep 15, 2018 132 tweets 26 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. This does not fit into #TailorSnarkWars
It doesn’t fit into #Fiction.
Maybe #MediaCrit and #RecentHistory with a dose of #HowTherapyActuallyWorks

It’s my experience, and not everyone’s. I’m a behaviorist, and trauma is my jam.
2. So new tag: #MediaPTSD
Superheroes Need Shrinks: Batman, Wanda & Pietro Maximoff, 9/11 and mass casulty events

(or how we and our government participate in mutual gaslighting, and some thoughts on breaking the cycle for the benefit of our politics.)
3. When I decided to be a shrink, back in the dim dark days of the 1990s, my university still ran most of the student computers as terminals attached to a mainframe. There was one Win3.1 lab and 2 Apple labs. For 30K people.

We just didn’t use ‘em. Some of us still TYPED.
4. MRI existed, barely. CT existed, barely. PET existed, barely. They were all REALLY expensive and we didn’t know how to use them to image brains for behavior. fMRI did not exist.

Computing of all sorts was expensive, including imaging.

Too expensive for grad students.
5. I was still an undergrad when Windows 95 was released.

Though I did most of my computing on MacOS7. (Back then, Apple used a lot of Motorola sourced hardware, and Motorola had a lot of plants around Phoenix, plus partnerships; Used Macs were pretty cheap.)
6. One of my 1st internships was VA hospital. Mostly Vietnam vets. We now called combat fatigue Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (we’d realized that it was more than just a combat issue!) well before I came along, but... we didn’t have tools for it yet.

My gen built the tools.
7. The pros in the 80s & early 90s were feeling their way, but because *they* were trained in the 60s & 70s, they still had a lot of Freudian nonsense in their training. Plus all the batshit noise that came out of the 60s & counterculture. (Which was sexist & racist AF.)
8. Minimal imaging. They barely understood neurotransmitters. They treated the brain as a black box because they had no clue. The best drugs they often had were industrial strength antihistamines (tricyclics). Which aren’t necessarily bad, but mostly put people to sleep.
8.1 (And helping people get enough sleep is surprisingly effective for helping to manage mental & physical illnesses & injuries. The brain is very good at self-regulation — our internal hacker doesn’t wanna die, after all. It’s just not a long-term cure & not reliable.)
9. My generation was the first to treat psychology like a science, with access to the scientific method & testing & big computational iron & imaging & feminism.

Which is a technology! It’s the radical idea that saying, “no it’s not penis envy” isn’t radical.
9.1 (It IS privilege envy; it’s a social justice issue, not a psych one. But you can’t tell male Freudians that we’re gunning for their tenure & paychecks and throwing them out because they’re abusive without them calling us hysterical. #MeToo has been coming for a looong time.)
10. Which means we early Sci-Psychs were also feeling our way. No maps of the territory.

We ended up using a metric shit-ton (bigger than an imperial shit-ton) of metaphors & analogies & story telling devices because we needed to describe behavior without outing a patient.
11. With this backstory, please understand I was a baby shrink, not specialized, doing (mostly court-ordered) public mental health work, in April of 1999, when 2 kids shot up a high school less than 100 miles from me. Most of my clients were punks & goths & outcasts. (So was I.)
12. I lasted another 8 months & all of us (me & clients) are fortunate that 101 therapy is 90% effective even when therapist isn’t.

At least the dot-com boom was hot. I had coding & stats skills & many companies wanted shrinks for interface design & human factors &tech writing.
13. If I hadn’t been able to find another job to pay rent?

I would have stayed & become a destructive therapist.

I burnt out. I was out of empathy. I was too fucking young for my job.

This is why there are so many BAD therapists.
13.1 Our culture doesn’t value mental health, we pay therapists badly, we abuse them & give them no out.

(Don’t get me started on the student debt that goes into making a therapist.The worst thing we can do is indenture a person in a helping profession.)
14. So... a little under two years later, dot-com fell apart thanks to Enron, 9/11 & anthrax. I’d spent those 2 years being a good maths & science geek.
In early 2002, a friend asked if my stats skills could be bought for $2K, a bus pass & a research recc (no credit)
I took it.
15. I was unemployed anyway, and healthy enough to figure where I was gonna go next. I was pretty sure I didn’t want private practice, and I wanted to see what research looked like. For a couple months’ work, it was good.
16. That’s how I went back into academic psych, built a rep & small client base, started killing drugs & doing parallel studies, & eventually building treatment protocols, specifically for triage, trauma & PTSD.

But I kept using stories. Lots of stories. Mostly myths.
17. Mostly modern myths. Okay... comic books stories. I used XMen, Buffy, the DC universe. I can mine the MCU for weeks.

Because we don’t out clients and it’s often easier for everyone — client, student & therapist — if we’ve got a tightly edited example of [DISORDER].
18. There we were, in September, 2001. Trauma therapy: infancy. We had NO protocols.

We were just publishing the early research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis, the brain structure that is in charge of fear & controlling it) & starting to build models.
19. We weren’t yet sure if selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors worked for PTSD. (Still not, actually.)

Dopamine? Epinephrine? Cortisol? Corticotropin? A bunch of other hormones & neurotransmitters?

That research hadn’t even begun.

Painting on the cave walls, that was us.
20. The best guess then was still to

Debrief people as soon as possible once they were out of a traumatic moment
Make go over their account a few dozen times, even if that meant keeping them awake

Yell at them when their stories shift.

No rewards, not bathroom. Maybe water.
20.1 (Um... pro-tip? This improves the chances the person will acquire a dysfunctional trauma reaction. Let people sleep. Feed them! Let them talk on their schedule, and don’t challenge anything. Be kind, be calm, chill the fuck out and help them be in a kind, calm, quiet place.
20.2 There’s a very good chance that the much lower rate of debilitating PTSD amongst WWII vets, even ones returning from the horrors of the Pacific & Europe, is
it took them longer to get back, so they had time to rest & process on the ship, amongst others doing the same and...
20.3 Since there was so much broad, cultural commonality, the entire cohort got more support. The cultural structures flexed better to encompass PTSD symptoms, even w/o a treatment model. We don’t know, but we do know post Vietnam & Iraq I/II/Afghanistan look much worse.)
21. Don’t get me wrong: there were a lot of people being traumatized by war & bullshit all over the planet on September 10, 2001. And on September 12.

But having a visible mass casualty event with a shit-ton of witnesses did change the equation on developing trauma therapy.
22. If nothing else, there was money: from NIMH, VA, DoD, NSF, NIH, and a LOT of pharma money. Bet your ass we used as much as we could. (Money means hardware, and computers were getting good enough by then.)
23. We knew we didn’t have good tools. Xanax was about the best drug we had, and group therapy circles (which don’t work well) was community support.

At the end of that week, a few of us Sci-Psychs got together at a bar to try to build a metaphor because we knew we’d need one.
24. The best one that came out of that night was Batman.

Recall, this is well before Christopher Nolan, so we were working from Michael Keaton version, the comics, and the Animated series. (No wikipedia yet, either, or at least, none of us had access to Wikipedia that night.)
25. Bruce Wayne is victim & survivor of a crime (his parents’ murder, to which he was sometimes a witness) whose guardian lacks good therapy or tools to help him. (Dammit, Alfred. Fucking enabler.) Bruce lives in a world where he has almost limitless resources...
25.1 ...but fairly limited access to *justice* because factors beyond his control (as child & victim) have corrupted the legal process and placed both the perpetrators and investigators of the crime outside of each other’s reach.
26. We knew, even on the 15th of September, that the big issue was that a *crime* had been committed, and the US was not treating it like a crime.

We were being told to carry on like nothing happened.

To go shopping.

That we needn’t worry our pretty little heads about it.
27. This coming analogy isn’t perfect. Warning & Trigger Warning.
But many people in long term relationships get coerced, shamed & manipulated into unwanted sex. Their partners often tell them they wanted it, and in the aftermath, they do their best to believe that.
27.1 But it’s rape. Their partners committed a crime. Partner rape is emotionally devastating not just because it’s a violation of the body, but a destruction of trust.

Which is why, when told they wanted it, a victim of partner rape often cooperates with their own gaslighting.
28. That’s the US, in the days after 9/11.

We were told we were innocent, that it was unprovoked, that we had no idea anyone wanted to do anything like this, that nothing like this had ever happened, that it was an act of war by non-state actors.

We wanted to believe that.
29. No, it was a crime. Committed by a gang. Not terribly different from the crime committed in Oklahoma City on a Federal building not long before. 9/11’s bombers had grievances similar to domestic & foreign gangs; they’d been harming others & us, in other parts of the world.
30. New York was still smoking when our government started gaslighting us. DC told us lies, from the very first.

The people who pointed out those lies were demonized, and those who insisted on calling 9/11 a crime were called liars & hysterics.

And it got bad, very fast.
31. This, too, is a condition that creates PTSD. When a person cannot trust their own senses because they’re being told that what they perceived isn’t real, when everything around them says their senses are wrong, that creates the conditions for a conflict that can’t resolve.
32. The United States? We’re Bruce Wayne. We’re stuck in his fail mode. The GOP lies: we’re so far from broke it’s not funny. We have near unlimited resources.

But we’ve spent generations failing to build/breaking international laws; we thought we wanted Gotham’s courts.

32.1 (And even back in 2001, we talked amongst ourselves about if Thomas Wayne might have done something — even w/ good intentions — that provoked his murder. Depending on which Bat, which year the Waynes would have died gives different social contexts for crime...
32.2 Cuz wealthy doctors outside a theater are not usually at risk. White Male Privilege has existed for a very long time. We weren’t blaming Tom Wayne, but psychs know that violent crimes against men with no antecedent are just... rare.

And this is relevant because...
32.3 It translates to the US: yes, we inherited the awful decisions made after WWI in the Middle East, which were the result of the British Empire & France & the commodification of colonialization... but we got our hands plenty dirty. The gang didn’t hit first. They hit back.)
33. So: How did Bruce Wayne fail to cope with the trauma he experienced? He denies it affects him & beats the shit out of anyone he deems bad or who reminds him that bad things happen, or just get in his way.

We don’t know how often the Bat is wrong; he’s an unreliable narrator.
34. That’s how I feel about 9/11 now. And have for a while. We were victims of crime. Now we’re survivors of crime.

Unfortunately, enough of the country decided to take the Bruce Wayne route to (not actually) recovery and we’re all stuck in the Bat’s fail mode.
35. Look: Batman has cool toys. A cool suit.

And he’s so profoundly damaged he cannot function if he doesn’t regularly beat someone up.

He *justifies* it by only going after bad guys, but he’s not an objective judge of good & bad.

He’s paranoid & delusional.
36. Bruce Wayne is a vigilante, not an instrument of justice.

Consider how much better Gotham would be if he focused his wealth on providing every child with Pre-K.

Equal pay.

Affordable housing.

Nutrition programs.

Instead of fancy armored cars & personal guns.
36.1 (Does he never think about friendly fire, or the unintended consequences of the disasters he creates? Probably not. Never once considers what property insurance in Gotham must cost. No wonder there’s so much crime.)
37. His parents were murdered. That sucks. And yet nobody got him into therapy and helped him process. (This is why I hate Alfred.)

Guess what?

Bruce wasn’t alone, not in Gotham.

And it’s not like Alfred lacked the resources to get him out of Gotham for therapy.
38. And I recognize that Gotham’s therapists ARE AWFUL!!!

They mid-century Freudian look good.

But DC has been carrying the Scientologists’ anti-psychology/psychiatry water for 50 years.

They’ve rebooted the Bat a billion times.

39. Instead of getting the help he needed, Bruce literally lashes out. Without super wealth, he’d be getting into bar fights or trying to bombing clinics or fallen into some gang. Trauma is no excuse.

He has a brain, it works, he knows right from wrong.

These are choices.
40. He’s not chaotic good. At best, he’s chaotic neutral, and perhaps neutral evil.

He excels at excusing his own conscience, and convincing weaker people to go along with him.

Like all knights, he’s no instrument of justice, but of the preservation of private law - privilege.

(But not by making Gotham into a Randian paradise. That’s how they got in this mess in the first place. They need to import She-hulk & Daredevil & Froggy to supervise the DA’s office...)
42. The United States has Bruce Wayne’s money. And tech. And influence. The problem is we’ve also got Bruce Wayne’s delusions & paranoia.

For 17 years we’ve been terrified that someone is going to hit us again.

Which has made us vulnerable to hitting ourselves. A lot.
43. You know what?

Gun fatalities are 10 times a 9/11 every single year. We’ve endured almost 200 9/11s by gunshot ALONE and we’ve done nothing.

Medication mistakes kill a WTC every year.

Bathrooms are 2-3 annual WTCs.

Opiates make 9/11 and gunshots look like a minor rash.
44. Our environmental disasters cost far more than cleaning up the WTC site, and we incur those every year.

If we put one year’s cost of cleanup money into flood & fire mitigation and building better structures, we’d be a lot safer and healthier and have fewer fires & floods.
45. Oh, opiates? Part of the reason they’re big & back after we almost stopped having people die of bad junk is 9/11. When we invaded Afghanistan, their primary cash crop became opium again.
Because poppies don’t need high tech.
We broke what little tech USSR didn’t destroy.
46. So we’ve not only poured most of our money into dubious means of preventing getting hit, we’ve used our money to go hit those we think had something to do with hitting us, and instead, we put banana peels under our own feet & have been whacking ourselves.

Go us.
47.1 This is what PTSD makes people do.

In a mentally healthy brain, when we experience trauma, we process it, it becomes a bad memory, and we can self-talk ourselves through the fear when we feel vulnerable or are reminded of our trauma.
47.2 One of the better models of PTSD says that PTSD happens when we don’t properly form a memory of the event.

Since it’s broken, it keeps getting cycled back for re-work, like a broken part on an assembly line with insufficient quality control.
47.3 Part of forming a functional memory is getting enough sleep in the immediate aftermath so the hacker in our brain can run our memory subroutines without interruption.

This is why immediate debriefing is so damaging. It sets up the conditions for broken memory formation.
48. When we reexperience trauma because we’ve got a broken circuit, we can’t talk ourselves out of the cycle. We lash out (or in) because we’re looking for relief from the malfunctioning fear circuit.
It doesn’t make us better, but it makes us feel better, for a little while.
49. Respite is the scarcest commodity when our own brains break bad.
We drink, smoke, toke.
(We hoped cannabinoids worked on a faulty HPA/amygdala, but they don’t. Long term use w/o actual behavioral therapy makes the paranoia worse. Sorry, all. It’s respite, not a cure.)
49.1 (And respite is not nothing, so I’m not saying put the bong down. I am saying you need at least 20 talk sessions a year & you gotta do the damn homework. Get over your ego & go. Don’t be a future pain in my ass. You’re better off eating beans & rice & paying for therapy.)
50. There is no magic PTSD treatment. Drugs treat symptoms, but mostly? You gotta sit with the fear & trauma. You hafta acknowledge it. Recognize it. Accept it & make peace with it.
Then start working to amend the causes & right the injustices that caused you to experience trauma
50.1 (EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing] is cognitive/mindfulness/meditation therapy with a woo-woo component. It doesn’t work better than regular talk therapy but it appeals to Intelligent Design types who need to believe God put a reset button on the brain.)
51. To borrow from religion: Faith w/o works is dead. Works w/o faith are dead. Therapy/meds w/o social justice is useless.
15 years on the couch talking about your dad is you buying your therapist’s boat. (Note, I said destructive therapists exist. Classic example, right here.)
52. Yes, some clients do prefer to just pay a therapist for an hour a week of venting. (It gets old)
TBH, it’s part of the reason we graduate clients to other therapists. Some of us are happy to take a client’s money & let ‘em spin their wheels. But it’s not good for the client.
53. Thus, once a client is stable in their own process, most responsible therapists send them out into the world to rescue the ones still down in the hole, and fix the processes that made the hole in the first place.

We encourage activism. Cuz nothing is all about you.
54. I’m liberal, so I tend to encourage “go reinforce good government” and “extend your privilege to others”, but the *responsible* conservative view is to encourage the client to engage in private charitable work, to pass on what they’ve learned.
55. Either side, we do this.

We just don’t tell you this is the end-game until you’re ready for it. Most people get there on their own, without us telling you to get to work.

Shhh. I’m letting you in on a secret hack. It’s part of the homework near the end of the course.
56. Guess what the US has never done? All of this.

At best, we’ve been lying on a couch, whining to our friends. Mostly, we’ve been getting drunk and breaking shit.

You can see how this might be a problem.
57. Back to Batman:

Was OBL the Joker? No. Not even the Riddler. Penguin, at best. Money to buy influence, personal charm of a mollusk, ideas of a half-educated reddit conspiracy theorist.

Was Saddam Hussein the Joker? No. More Harvey Dent to Two-Face to scapegoat. Dolt.
58. Think it through, though. It’s not like the Bat’s rogues’ gallery actually teamed up that often. And never for long because they’re fucking dysfunctional, too.

Striking Riddler doesn’t get Poison Ivy doesn’t hit Penguin or Mr Freeze.
59. And the few times the Bat managed to make common cause with someone, it often went very badly. (Cough Selina Kyle cough)
(Cough Supe cough)
(Cough like every single attempt at an Avengers style compendium because they’re all so fucking broken!!!! Cough)
60. Not because alliances are inherently unstable, but because Bruce Wayne/Batman are inherently unstable. He can’t sustain relationships because he’s so damaged.

(You know who else can’t sustain relationships? Personality disorders. The extreme end. Sociopathy & psychopathy.)
61. As a metaphor for how uncontained wealth enables psychopathology and dysfunction? Bruce Wayne, jadies & lentilmen.

It’s not actually a surprise that the Chris Nolan Bat did so very well when it came out. It was talking to the US very specifically.
61.1 (Yes, I could use Tony Stark, too. And have! Though he’s *slightly* better at acknowledging his trauma than Bruce Wayne. Tony’s broken, knows it.

And no, I’m not drawing on any specific Batman cycle. Myth as metaphor; don’t at me because I didn’t pick your preference.)
62. So here we are, 17 years after a cultural crime, and we’re busted.
I’m not saying forgive. I’m not saying forget.

I’m saying move on. Deal with the trauma. It keeps getting us into messes that keep getting worse, because we throw stupid punches & hurt mostly ourselves.
63. Part of the reason we’re in this political mess is because we’ve spent most of a decade refusing to look at the disaster we made while we were in the midst of acute trauma.
We kinda liked the gaslighting, because it meant we didn’t have to do the work.
64. I’m not saying it’s easy.

Trauma isn’t *easy* to fix, but it’s like any other wound: You gotta leave the bandaid on. NO PICKING. If you make it bleed, it won’t get better.

1st thing? Set this in your calendar now: Don’t participate in next year’s performative martyrbation.
65. No “I will remembers” or “Never forgets”.
Fuck that.
Not thinking about it every day means we’re HEALING.

Not participating in the retrospective re-traumatization on THAT day means we have accepted that justice requires OUR work and attention and we go forward.
66. But...
what if...
(switching universes)

Let’s consider Wanda & Pietro Maximoff, in Age of Ultron. They’re villains for most of the run.

They have a goddam good point: Tony Stark is a monster who has enabled the death & destruction of millions of people for personal gain.
67. They’re right. The way they go about trying Stark Industries’ thread is... suboptimal, but that’s the power they have.

They’re not Saudi Arabia (OBL & the hijackers, remember?), but... Serbia? Croatia? Yemen? Small, without much voice/resources but willing to fight? Yeah.
68. They are opponents *because* they’ve been abused & harmed: both by HYDRA (take your pick, from KoSA to Putin) and by American interests, as portrayed by Tony Stark. They have every right to be FURIOUS.
69. And yet, they come to be allies. They recognize the danger of Ultron, and because other members of the team take them seriously, take time to talk to them, and hear them.

So what if we all start to view world events from Wanda’s perspective?

(First step towards healing!)
69.1 And Steve called it early on.
Steve: What kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on them to protect their country?
Maria Hill: We’re not at war, Captain.
Steve: They are.

(I want more of Steve & Wanda, or Steve & Pietro. Not as ship, just friends.)
69.2 It’s not like the whole MCU doesn’t need a helicarrier full of PTSD specialists. (It does.)
(So does DC, at least for the Bat & Supe. Diana’s got her shit under control.)
69.3 (To go out on a sturdy limb: Most MCU women cope well & set good boundaries.
Nebula’s reaction to her abuse is fine; her targeting system is flawed. Valkyrie perhaps drinks too much but Asgardian. Wanda is just way too young. Nat’s fine when Whedon doesn’t write her.)
70. Where do we go from here?
1st scenario: client comes into office, angry & bitter, disrupted sleep & eating, lashes out at those nearby. 17 years ago, someone close was killed in a hit & run; unresolved.

We call that complicated grief & work through it as grief & PTSD.
71. It’s not normal or desirable to be unable to cope with grief after so long.

Cross-cultural mourning rites & rituals peg grief ~1-2 years for most close relationships.

If you’re still having problems coping w/ death at 5 year mark — come see one of my peers. We have tools.
72. That describes the 0,1 & 2 degree survivors of those at WTC/Pentagon/PA, those who died or who have died since of 9/11 illnesses & injuries.

In fact, most survivors are doing much better than the general public because they had therapy, support & meaningful work available.
73. 2nd Scenario: Client is court-ordered. They’ve been vandalizing & getting into fights + bad sleep et al. Client reports they witnessed, were not involved in, a fatal car crash years earlier. Since, they’ve smashed green Hondas & beating up people who look like the driver.
74. The original incident is most of us who saw the events of 9/11 on TV. Most of us didn’t know anyone, or even someone who knew someone. We were bystanders.

Most of us are NOT doing this, but a significant few are, & they drive a lot of policy.

74.1 None of us have the right to lash out at anyone.

Vigilantism is an absolute wrong, all the time, every situation. There is no moral stance that allows individuals to extract vengeance on behalf of others.

Vigilantism deprives the OTHER victims of their right to justice.
74.2 It’s been 17 years. This is a deeply unhealthy reaction to stress.

That’s getting stuck. Refusing to move on. Reveling in the past.

If nothing else? It’s lazy.
75. I don’t care if you don’t like it.
Nobody said therapy coddles you when you’re wrong. Therapy means facing hard truths.
I expect to lose followers over this.
There’s no functional reason why anyone not currently in treatment for 9/11 related injuries should still be bleeding.
76. If it’s unreasonable for someone to smash green Hondas cuz they saw a green Honda in an accident 10 yrs ago, then it’s unreasonable for a nation to harass, abuse & kill people and nations who happen to share a language, religion or skin color with a gang of criminals.
77. It really is that simple.

It’s not easy, and it requires being at least a little vulnerable during therapy sessions to admit this and then a lot vulnerable to work through it; it requires self-awareness and self-criticism...

but it is simple.
78. In 2001-2, our Cheerleader in Chief gaslit us. He told us to go shopping.
We wanted normalcy, so we went.
It was more comfortable to pretend nothing happened because we didn’t want to accept that we’d been victims of a crime.
And most of us suffered more from ENRON than 9/11.
79. Our government caused MOST of our trauma by pushing us to get back to normal and demanding we trust them & their decisions.

In fact, our process would have been better served by public grief, and significant public mourning, and a focus on international justice & courts.
80. We knew, early on the perpetrators were Saudi. We didn’t sanction Saudi Arabia. We should have. We didn’t bring international criminal courts case against KoSA, since KoSA were Bush/Cheney business partners.

More gaslighting, which contributed to our unacknowledged trauma.
81. The cultural coping methods after Pearl Harbor weren’t great - internment being horrific & vile - but rationing? Victory gardens? Employing everyone who could work?

Those were functional. In grief, we want to express our sadness in defined ways, and we want to contribute.
82. That’s the social justice aspect of therapy that I referred to above.

It’s fixing the holes so this doesn’t happen to others. Which we’ve never done.

Instead, we’ve been committing the type of crimes committed against us. We’re smashing green Hondas. And we’ve got to stop.
83. Most cultures have strong mourning rituals that include feeding people.
We sit shiva & don’t let people make critical decisions while their world is shattered.
We used to give widows & widowers a LOT of space. We dressed grief for visibility.
Many rites around death & burial.
84. I love the idea of celebrations of life, of putting the fun in funeral if that’s what the *survivors* WANT to remember the dead. (The dead person does not care.)

What I hate is pretending it’s all done two days later.

Bereavement takes a lot of time to process.
85.1 I was responsible for my granny for the last 3 years of her life. She had dementia. In the last 6 mos, I couldn’t let her see me when I visited her nursing home, because she’d forgotten adult me, and my presence distressed her. She knew she should remember me, but couldn’t.
85.2 Our relationship was complicated, because she had... ISSUES before dementia got her. (Dementia improved her temperament since holding grudges & gaslighting takes memory.)

She didn’t tell me she made me responsible for her until I had no choice because she wasn’t competent.
85.3 It was like getting handed 200 pounds of infant who had a driver’s license. I didn’t even have 40 weeks of pregnancy to come to terms with the idea.

So when she died, part of me was deeply relieved. And glad she wasn’t suffering. And glad it was quick in the end.
85.4 Yet I still spent almost 2 years sorting out all the complication. I’m a pro - I have all the tricks & contacts. Grief takes a LOT of mental cycles.

Now do it on a national scale, witch everyone going through a level of grief & the people with the few tools being silenced.
86. We were all told to lie back, think of England, hand over the credit card & buy a doormat with a flag on it (?!?!) to take our minds off the crime being committed.
Not planes being flown into buildings, but the destruction of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th amendments.
87. We spent a decade being gaslit.

It’s not surprising why those in power at the time wanted us compliant.
1) they were traumatized, too and
2) their brainstrem function is grift & screw people over.

Profit Uber Alles is on the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rove family crests.
88. We lack good definition, but Cultural PTSD exists.
Since I’m gonna lose followers anyway: I think Israeli society has a multi-generational, epically bad case. I think the Palestinians do, too. Northern Irish, on both sides of border & religion. POC USians.
& now white USians.
89. Culturally, across cultures, we have limited tools for addressing mass trauma, either culturally or behaviorally, because historically, when mass traumas happened, most people died & nobody else saw the trauma up close. The Black Plague wiped out towns, CNN wasn’t watching.
90. The few tools we ever did develop for mass trauma have have been broken by capitalism. We don’t know how to make a country, let alone a planet, sit shiva. Commerce thinks it must exist, and most people can’t afford a lot of time off to process anymore.
90.1 (And yes, I use shiva specifically because it comes with such strong cultural rules. It’s the strongest remaining mourning rite in Western society. Nothing else compares. I hope Judaism is kind enough & generous enough to share their rite because it works.)
91. Thus.

It’s time to move on. Even if you’re 1 degree of separation from one of the dead. (Likely, if you are, you’ve already had this therapy. And if you haven’t, well... look, I’m not the person you should be talking to at this point.)
92. The first step to healing is to stop making it worse. Don’t pick the wound. If you lost someone, make a ritual. Go visit their grave or what you’ve designated as their grave. Tell them everything. Take a bottle or flowers. Say goodbye. And be done.
93. If it takes a full day, it takes a day. If it seems like it will take more, then, first, call a therapist. Any therapist. We’re all pretty good at 101 therapy. And grief is 101.
Make the appointment.
Go talk to the dead, then come talk to the living.
94. If you didn’t lose someone but can’t let go?
It’s time. Find a therapist. Start talking.

Plan to unpack, especially if you’ve got islamaphobic inclinations. Dig in, sit with it, figure out why it’s OK when a white Midwestern Xtian does a thing, but not when they’re brown.
95. Because you don’t have a right to be a vigilante.
Batman is evil; don’t be like Batman.
You have far more access to political power & tools as an American, even if you’re blue in a gerrymandered red district, than Wanda & Pietro.
Use your tools & words.
And keep using them.
96. If you’re Christian, your faith is premised on “Love Thy Neighbor.”
That does not mean the person sitting beside you in church. It’s the person who looks nothing like you, who eats foods you don’t understand, who speaks a language you never tried to learn.
Love them first.
97. If you’re not Christian, your faith probably has a hospitality clause, too, and doesn’t allow you to take justice into your own hands, either.

This is humanism 101.

And it’s basic decency.

So nope, not coddling you.
98. Now: For perspective. Here is the google search page for New York Times December 7, 1958. 17 years after Pearl Harbor. Go look. (Wrong on the ice!)
Were 1958 people better? No, in many ways they were worse. But they weren’t dragging around a burden of unexposed grief & anger. Image of google results for New York Times December 7 1958. Headlines: United Fruit Fills PO;No Rest for the Restless Hero; About a Trespass on a Monument; Frozen Key to our Climate: the World’s ice masses may be ushering in a fifth ice age.
99. Let us stop worsening our own trauma.
Let us emulate them.
Let’s work in our local Victory Gardens.
Let’s speak to our town, county & state elected officials about local, county &state matters.
Let’s bring sanctuary to our towns, encourage better training & oversee our cops.
100. Let us put our efforts into improving our towns before we end up on national news magazine cover.

We go to City Council & ask our chief of police how our town manages implicit bias.

Learn if our town calls ICE when someone without documentation gets pulled over.
101. What we hate seeing is happening within our daily orbit.

We can make it stop at our local level... if we do the work.

The work is our therapy.

It is how we mend the social fabric and prevent others from experiencing the crimes done to us.
102. City Council or County Commissioners meetings are 2 hours a month.

School board is 2 hours a month.

I’m not asking for 100% of your time & attention.

I’m asking for 1 movie a month, that doesn’t cost $15.

Let’s fix ourselves.
103. All politics, and all healing, are local. /End

As always: I write fiction, too! With many of these same themes, but 100% fewer typos and far more sex & gore. If you like this?

My first two books are available now at Amazon & Smashwords.…
My 1st book is free at Smashwords or from my site. My second book costs a cup of coffee. If you like my work, that’s how to tip me.
They ^make ^ freudians look good. Sorry.

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More from @CZEdwards

Oct 7, 2018
Let me tell you the story of the State Lege trips.

My mother comes from a small town; her family has been in the area for almost 200 years now. Her g’g’grandparents on both sides founded 3 of the small towns in the area. She’s related to everyone.

#TailorSnarkWars Foundation
(Yes, it’s possible to be both local aristocracy & white trash.) She’s also one of those people who will claim someone else’s tragedy if it attracts attention to her, especially if she’s far enough away that she doesn’t have to actually DO anything about the tragedy.
Which happened. When I was a small child. A distant family member got HIV from a blood transfusion, got kicked out of school, and Smother became an HIV/AIDS activist, 2000 miles away from the actual sick kid. Her activism consisted mostly of throwing parties (aka fundraisers.)
Read 36 tweets
Sep 22, 2018

2019 Spring Runway: Free Shots of Brain Bleach Edition
Step Away From Pinterest Edition
Designers are Agents of Patriarchal Oppression Edition
We’re in the Fucking Stupid Timeline Aren’t We? Edition
Dear Hecate How Can We Appease You & Make This Stop? Edition
Commence repetition

Links to earlier #TailorSnarkWars fashion threads:
This one is mostly me being a Sewist who really does love fashion & fabric being appalled that I can’t get paid hundreds of millions for this shit.

It’s not models’ fault; this is a capitalist scam. I don’t even entirely mind the scam part that separates $$ from wealthy dicks.
Read 51 tweets
Sep 11, 2018
Ruffles are not Melanoma’s fault. They’re what happens when fabric and assembly labor gets too cheap, and designers are allowed to exploit it.

Florals come around when fabric print tech has an incremental improvement.

A relatively short thread.
Battle of Opportunity
Floof, folderol, furbelows, ruffles and the horrors that are trends of technology.

Florals first: Printing a floral fabric takes good printing tech. When chintz first hit the scene in the 1720s, it was block printed in 2-3 colors, thusly.
That’s from the Victoria & Albert, 1730s. I think it’s configured for maternity wear, which just goes to show that we’ve always made pregnant people suffer.

That is a chintz, and for about a generation, people wore a lot of those patterns. Because they were hot, new tech.
Read 18 tweets
Sep 10, 2018
B-C cup. All side boob, probably cuz he’s blown the clavipectoral fascia; he’s got a shit golf swing & doesn’t practice, tears up connective tissue. 44-48 band.

Look at thin & fragile hair under cap. He’s been letting the Miss Clairol sit too long.

#TailorSnarkWars driveby
Since this is a common misunderstanding: Cup size is a designation of the difference in circumference between the largest part of the chest (usually over the nips) and the smallest part, over the ribcage, with no breast tissue. 1/4

A= 1
B= 2
C= 3
D= 4
DD/E= 5
DDD/F= 6
Clearly, a D cup looks MUCH bigger on someone with a 27 inch ribcage than it does on someone with a 36 inch ribcage, but the volume in the cup is the same. When someone says “giant double D’s” the bustier amongst us just roll our eyes. That person has no clue. 2/4
Read 5 tweets
Sep 8, 2018
A bad word day can mean a good hardware day.

Spouse worked at home; is having gout flare. At least flares are rare.

I couldn’t settle, because Friday=end of sprint=phone calls.

My 99UK is gorgeous; its replacement case was stinky/fragile.

I built the grey base. Old black Singer Sewing machine in a grey wood base.
And the secondary Frankentreadle that shouldn’t exist.

6 months ago, that treadle base told me the bearings were failing, no parts available. It’s 106 years old. I rebuilt, but had little faith. It seized.

I put it in garage to turn into a table. Replaced it w/ working base... An old Singer sewing machine on a black treadle base with a wooden top.
And apparently, moving it performed percussive maintenance. It turns perfectly fine now. 🤷‍♀️

The head is my first 99, a beat-to-hell that was frozen when I picked her up for $5; I learned repair on her.

So now I have two working treadles (below is primary) and a handcrank.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 2, 2018
#TailorSnarkWars #Metabattle: Satanic Panics, Daycare, Memory, Pantsuits, Nerve clusters.
The war for all the marbles.

(Or at least one of the wars.)



When last we left our protagonists...
our brain’s hacker was deep in the throes of writing subroutines

women were wearing pants as they flooded the workforce in the late 1970s & 80s

breastfeeding & daycare were about to crash into a mess.

Welcome to the collision point.
Growing up an Xer in the late 80s & early 90s (Started sleep away college in 1992) my mental image of the 1960s was really ~22 months: 1968 & 1969.

Started with Tet Offensive, through DNC & Woodstock, ended with the Hells Angels beating the shit out of people at Altamont.
Read 195 tweets

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