2020.02.28 09:41 naive_clockenabled and ghosted an incel for my own
IRL, I will go to the grave with this. All the mental health and self harm trigger warnings apply. Buckle in for a long ride with a dumbass fifteen year old... My sophomore year of high school, I was having an incredibly difficult time. I was trying to balance an insane amount of commitments at once- seven courses, the school newspaper, an internship, speech and debate, tutoring, a changing friend group, and one class I couldn't do well in no matter how hard I studied, and I was in the most elitist and toxic high school ever- people would brag about how little they slept and a solid half my graduating class was valedictorians. Yeah. One particularly terrible night after I'd just failed another exam, I turned to an online listening/help site to vent. I got calmed down, and I joined as a listener, inspired to help others. This, as you might tell, was an obviously terrible idea when my mental state was down the drain to begin with. I started self harming the night one of my 'friends' had a suicide attempt and kept doing it for a year. I self diagnosed with things I never had. This is shameful to admit, but I even went so far as to create more problematic behaviors within myself (skipping meals, isolation, suicidal thoughts) to empathize more because I was oh-so-sure I'd found my tribe. I finally felt like I was needed (probably because everyone there was suicidal and I, being an eloquent little shit, was great at talking people out of it which, also shamefully, made me feel better about myself when I should've encouraged those troubled souls, no older than me, to seek professional help). Anyway, one night, on random chat, I matched with a guy we'll call Jake. Jake and I started casually talking and kept casually talking on-site for a while, until some drama got me banned and we moved it off-site to Discord. This is where shit hit the fan. Jake claimed he had anxiety, was depressed, hated his parents (they were honestly reasonable if a little harsh based on the 'worst of the worst' I heard from him but he claimed emotional abuse often), had an anger disorder, lonely, and never could fit in. He also tried to add on new diagnoses to this all the time. He was 18 and drank like a pirate. Being a psych major in college today, I'd say he was actually BPD and hit just about every symptom, but of course, I'm no therapist so take it with a grain of salt. And I fell for it. He told me I was his only true friend. I was talking him out of suicide multiple times a week. Meeting me someday was the only thing giving him hope. He'd kill himself if I left. I was one of the only good girls left, because all women wanted was bad boys and cheaters and tall guys (Jake was 5'5 if I remember correctly) and why could such a wonderful nice guy like him not find a girlfriend or friends and why did everyone in his life hate him and every college reject him except the one he didn't want to go to. Lots of incel stuff especially- you get it. And for what I have to confess is unfortunately close to two years, I enabled him and encouraged his attitudes and toxic behaviors. I didn't know how wrong what I was doing was. He confided in me so much that I have his social security number and home address. Yeah. It was that bad. Predictably, he also confessed to being in love with me one day (and I hate to say it, but in the name of full honesty, I will) I had a crush on him too and trusted him enough that he knows where I went to high school and my name (which I still regret sharing). We never dated, but he swore if we ever met IRL, he'd take me on a date someday and constantly sent messages like "huggles" that I wasn't comfy with. He tried to convince me to apply to his college (I didn't, but only because I knew I would never go if it wasn't for him). Every night, he told me he loved me. I shouldn't have said it back, but I didn't want his blood on my hands, and I honestly thought those were the stakes. At some point, it clicked for me probably the summer before my senior year that this was horrible and toxic and terrible for my own mental health and I told him college apps were keeping me busy, signed out, and never logged on again. It was tough at first. I wanted to check in and I wondered every day if he would kill himself, but I became happy and healthy and loving caring of/for myself and others in a way I hadn't been for a long while. People see pictures of me sophomore year and senior year and comment that I somehow managed to glow up so much in so little time, and I attribute that to leaving Jake. It's my second sem of college. It's been well over a year since I left Jake. I tried to log into my old Discord, see if he was still alive, what he'd said over that year once. Thankfully, the site locked me out because it was a new device and I used a throwaway email to create it, so I'll never know. He only tried to contact me once, on my birthday very recently, through my personal Facebook (real name basis. yikes!) to wish me a happy birthday (The message was literally just 'Happy 18th birthday, naive_clock'. I blocked Jake, and privatized my accounts so he can never try again (and look at that, he DIDN'T kill himself this Valentine's like he swore he would if I left). Because although right now, I'm not in the most amazing place, I will never, ever take myself back to that dark place again where I enable myself and others. I am a healthy, happy, and beautiful woman who doesn't need to do that shit anymore. And that's what I'm proud of in this fucked up story. In the name of new decade, new beginnings, I decided it was time to tell Jake's story, because again, otherwise it would've gone to the grave. So Jake, if you're seeing this because I know you're on reddit, here's a message for you, and yes, it is in code so you don't speculate on whether it's me or not. I hope you're not dissatisfied anymore. I hope your panic has ended. I hope someday you find your disco queen. I hope you get over your god damn attitude and be a better person (yeah this bit isn't code). You don't deserve it, but I hope you do anyway.
Hey. Here's another terrible HFY story. So rip it to shreds folks.
So you want to know how we survived longer than anyone thought possible, huh? By the skin of our collective fucking teeth, I say. The rest of my merry band of survivors says it was all me, of course. Seems like everyone in the Galaxy has a different theory on what about humanity makes us so great. Most seem to agree that it has something to do with good ol' shithole Mother Earth, not that I'd ever been there. Never will go, now, I guess. But no-one can say what exactly. Some think it's our infectiously self-delusionary madness, and I'm sure that played its role. Others say it's our superior lateral thinking and ability to skip huge parts of in-between logic to reach a conclusion. I sure as shit love the first time an ET has a conversation with a human like me only for one of us to skip half the damn thing and improve on whatever point the alien was tryna make without them having to say it. And sure, it's that too. But I think what's most important is the whole ingroup-outgroup thing we do. Oh, sure, the same thinking sprouts everywhere the taint that is organic life shows up, but we didn't just tolerate it or grumblingly accept its influence, we canonised it. Believe me, as a former head of station security, I'd know. Shit, the ingroup-outgroup aspect of our psychology is why humans are hired in HR offices and police departments all over the Orion's Arm. Thing is, everyone thinks about the negative side of it. Sectarian violence between one group of people who see Prophet Reborn Muslims as the ingroup and one group who see the Reformed Hindu Society as the ingroup. Lefties and Righties tearing each other apart because they think each other evil. Conservative Christians vs. The Gays; the KKK vs. the Blank Panther Party. Robo-rights vs. Humanity First. Whatever you think of either side, it's always the same old 'the other guy/girl is the outgroup' idea. No one writes Op-Eds on how we can make just about anyone the ingroup. It's a powerful force. Once, wolves stole our livestock and hunted us in packs. Now, a few tens of thousands of generations on? People not only keep them for work but for pleasure. Hell, I had this vegan friend in college—yet despite her devotion to only eating vat-grown dairy products and meat, she bought herself a German Shepard killing machine as a friend. Called him Huggles, to my endless amusement. Same's true of aliens. Before we met them, the Khorians never fought a war that wasn't for self-defence. Or a trade war. Now? those spindly-ass three-legged fucks are right there in the trenches with us—metaphorical and literal. We stopped the Unurgha from cracking the planets of their traditional enemies of Halath by introducing them to Buddhism of all things. And hell, when the war with the Greys came, there no longer were corporations or companies or nations. Just humanity, a unified force giving those shits the collective middle finger. Hm? Yes, yes, I'm getting to that. It was an ordinary day on the L-1 orbital O'Neill cylinder Spin This, Bitch. Which I suppose in itself is a jinx-worthy sentence. Anyway. I'd been called out to a dispute in the trade sector, down by the aft airlock. Down there, it's pretty much us humans and Khorians, probably because of our cultural attitudes to trading and such. 'Cept a few months ago, there was this new guy down there. From a race called the Ashtai Remnant. Obviously, if you know even the pub-trivia version of Galactic history, you know the Khorians and the Ashtai have serious beef. "Last, I swear to the almighty Gods old and fucking new, if this is another social call about the others undercutting you for oranges, so help me God I'll rip off your trunks, stuff them down your throat and use your blood to write you up for wasting police time!" Lastafhai su Ashtai, despite being taller than an elephant and having five legs and two trunks with which to trample or squash me, almost stumbled over itself like something out of a psychadelic slapstick comedy. If you imagine a wet fart trying to imitate the late Professor Stephen Hawking, that's roughly how the Ashtai Remnant's translators sound. For some reason, no-one ever built an app for a hand terminal that can work out their native tongue, so we're stuck listening to voices that sound like bees speaking a foreign language. "Female Prime-Age-Captain-of-Security Jennifer Saunders su Humanity, greetings and hello," the walkie-talkie-looking-thing on Last's chest said, their bizarrely formal language translating badly. "I would like to register a complaint against Brother-of-Hasl/Nephew-of-Aund Lying-Swine-Trader Mali su Khoria for disturbing the peace, threatening behaviour, misdemeanour assault and clock-manufacture." Ouch. Lying-Swine-Trader was the kind of name most Ashtai saved for warlords, terrorists and investment bankers. I gave the slightest hint of a laugh at the last charge, which I rightly parsed was some kind of alien joke, and evaluated my options. On the one hand, I didn't trust Last as far as I could throw it—which wouldn't have been very far. Call it bias if you will, but we'd always had better relations with the Khorians and accepted their view of events. To most, listening to an Ashtai would be like listening to a Neo-Nazi or the guy who ran the Gulags or whatever. Maybe that's alien-racist or something, though. On the other hand, trusting Mali wasn't exactly high on my list of priorities either. While his uncle had boosted the trading sector here thirteen months ago, Mali's sister Hasl was a well-known face throughout the human Galaxy for her kidnapping of the children of some Buchannan Industries miners and prospectors. Neither option seemed trustworthy. Mali hobbled over on his three legs, barely out of Khorian adolesence and already a head taller than me, and started relaying his side of events. I'd just gotten to the bit where either Mali had stolen some of Last's produce or else Last had thrown the food he usually sold at Mali, both versions of the crime acted out intensely by the complainants (much to the amusement of a mating pair of Halath) when I felt the thump. It's a funny consequence of Sinclair Space starship drives that when they stop anywhere, they somehow generate a vibration in massive objects. There are ways of masking that, obviously, but they require the starship to slow down first. Which meant that sure as shit wasn't a trader vessel out there. Then came another thump. And another. The ground shook beneath me. I fished my hand terminal from my jumpsuit pocket and checked the exterior feeds, seeing what I suspected was true: thirty angular, dart-like Khorian starships and seventy Alcubierre Drive human craft had just appeared, ringing the planet below us in a higher orbit than our own. Shit. Worse yet, amongst the human craft I counted a few heavy-hitters I recognised from the documentaries on the war. The twinships HMS Don't Panic and Mostly Harmless, the IUNS Was It Something I Said?, the USS Hold My Beer, alongside a few Chinese warships. What came next I remember only in snatches but figured out later. I grabbed the two complainants and the two Halath onlookers and half-shoved, half-dragged them to the atmosphere shelter. I pushed the Khorian and Ashtai to opposite ends of the shelter and stood between them. I tried to ignore the whimpers of the two tourists in the room when the sound of shrapnel from the battle outside struck the Spin This, Bitch like rain on a tin roof. I tried not to scream when I felt gravity vanish and heard atmosphere screaming around us. What was happening was obvious. The world we orbited, Freeholm, was one of the most developed planets outside humanity's main sphere of influence, technically not under the control of the Imperial UN (which were really just the Brits playing Empire again), the USA, Martians or Chinese. It had been a First People relic-world, still ringed by orbital infrastructure we built upon, populated by earth-like life forms, which made sense considering how the First People had allegedly directed our evolution sixty-seven million years ago. It was a highly populated planet, too. Half a billion humans on the major Pangean continent, three billion amongst the various orbital infrastructure. Made sense that the Greys would go after it as a trophy. One of their ships must have tried to deorbit us and ended up colliding by accident, God knows how. We landed in the far north of Freeholm's single continent, away from any settlements. The whole O'Neill cylinder had come down, gouting flame and gutted like a fish. Somehow, we'd managed to survive: the atmosphere shelter, designed to withstand fires, boarding action and pressure loss, had held despite being torn from its housing and thrown across the middle of the station, slamming through the spinal elevators and reinforcement. Maybe that's why we survived, our impact absorbed and inertia arrested by the parts of the station we crushed, who knows? I crawled out of the ruined shelter to find Last and Mali scrapping it out, disoriented by the slightly lower gravity and lack of Coriolis forces in their inner ears. I felt it too, trying to stand upright made me feel like I was leaning one way or another. "It's hopeless!" Mali bleated, framed by the orange of autumnal leaves around him, occasionally strobe-lit by the battle in orbit. "I'm going to die on this planet, and worse, I'm going to die here with one of you." One of the Ashtai's trunks lifted a ritual blade which it unsheathed in one fluid motion. And then it didn't get any further than that, because I raised my ACE and fired a low-powered laser shot into Last's tangle of legs, and then one into Mali's alien knees. "No, it's not fucking hopeless, because I say it's not. Get the fuck up, you three-legged bastard." It's funny how much difference a little work can make. I started assigning tasks to the others: Mali's Khorian expertise went into scavenging power generation, and the components for electronics and sensors; the uninjured Halath, Js'tor was sent to scavenge for food (dislocating jaws, while gross, are a good advantage when hunting); while Last was set to work on healing the injured Halath, because between its trunks and multiple tendrilous manipulator-legs, Ashtais... uh, the Ashtai? Whatever, turns out they happen to possess incredible muscular precision. At first there were... points of fricton. Last tried to kill Mali once or twice, and vice versa, but the fact of the matter was that when Mali was the only once who could find the parts to build surgical equipment or crack open sealed medical compartments without the key, Last decided that it was actually going to bloody well succeed even if that meant a working, and later friendly, relationship with a Khorian. Meanwhile Mali injured himself often while picking through the enormous ruins of the Spin This, Bitch, and more than once came back needing the Ashtai's medical assistance. Me? I mostly handled defence. Big Fucking Guns seems to be another thing my lot have a monopoly on. That's probably the most surprising part about it all, really. Within maybe a month, I'd turned two people whose respective species hated one another into friends, entirely without intending to. Hell, when the battle in orbit flared up again five weeks after we made planetfall and we all watched the orbital skyhook ring first waiver, and then begin to collapse, I saw the Khorian lean against his Ashtai cohort for comfort. I watched them both coo over the child birthed by the Halath couple under Last's medical supervision. And when the tables were turned, and it would have been so easy for Mali to kill his illness-stricken once-time enemy? I watched a Khorian finally become aware of just how much of his hate he'd let aside, watched him treat Last's wounds carefully and dilligently, watched him nurture the elephantine ET back to health. When we were attacked by wild Wolfbears—and let me tell you, gentlebeings, those are a story you'll wanna hear in their own right—I watched bewildered as the dynamic duo worked together to outsmart the predators. We ate well that night, and I think that's enough said. I think that's what makes humans as a species so strong, and it's also the reason my six-being band of marauders survived: I built a family, made an ingroup they all identified with. But it's not magic. I just took what was already there, and taught those two vastly different and yet all-too-similar sophonts how to cooperate. Maybe some other time, I'll talk to you, gentlesophs, about the remarkable things we did on that world to survive. But I think that's enough testimony for today. ——Jennifer Saunders, 2588C.E. excerpt from transcript of her debrief-turned-testimony-turned-speech to multi-species peacekeeping force.
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