Dr Velvet Thong and Women Talking

I feel that trying to wrestle this entry into coherence/submission is killing me. I feel that it would be like killing myself in another way not to get something out, now. I'm trying to make a choice for now not to die. So, fuck editing.

Xesce: I want to say hello to all those involved with the writing and making of Women Talking, to the women of the colony the book is based on, and to all of those who relate. I want to say thank you Miriam Toews, thank you Sarah Polley.

I am not religious, but I can relate this to my personal sense of meaning - wanting to understand others, and not do harm to them, even when they have harmed me, and for most of my life, it has felt necessary to leave, in order that I could try to understand from a distance, while not allowing further harm to myself. Sometimes this is about needing distance from those who do not believe or respect me, or about how they might be unconsciously supporting the beliefs and conditions that made abuse possible.

And in a sense, my website could be seen as the minutes, the transcripts, an artifact of the discussions I've had with myself about whether to stay or go.

I can also see that it doesn't have to be a literal, in-person community, that although I am isolated, I know there are women all over the world who have made or would like to make a choice to leave an intolerable place, without having to feel they were shunned or forced, and so we are a kind of community the movie and the book help to unite.

I can relate to the feeling of having no invitation any more to the real.

I'll get back to Women Talking, and tie it in to some other material. For now I will be a woman talking about how it's getting harder or scarier for me to deal with official, legal identification issues. I recently went through a harrowing experience with my bank, which started with a notice filling the screen when I checked into online banking, a notice stating that I'd soon be locked out of my account, and that this would mean I couldn't do any online banking, my automatic payments (in my case, to my website) would stop, I wouldn't be able to buy or pay for anything online, and I wouldn't be able to use an ATM (this is sort of irrelevant to me because I haven't left the house in 3 years).

According to a government thing called Know Your Customer, which is ostensibly about preventing international money laundering, terrorism and fraud, it's been too long since I verified my identity.

It might seem straightforward to go into a bank and show my passport and get it over with, but it's not. I am too ill, too disabled to get there. I had to try to deal with it by phone, but I have phone anxiety/phobia. PD tried to speak on my behalf, but they said they needed to talk to me.

The whole time, I felt sick and on the verge of tears, with elevated heart rate, and by the end, my voice was shaking and I'm pretty sure I sounded like someone not only on the verge of a nervous breakdown - I was already there.

It took 8 days (and PD says a little under 6 hours, but it felt like a lot more) of phone calls, and mailing in certified copies of ID (PD had to do this, and there have definitely been times in my life when I didn't have anyone who could/would have - and the other factor is the embarrassment factor - when no one really believes you're ill and you know they'll say don't be silly, just get on with it, and you can't so you just say nothing so as not to inflict your problem on them), but in the end, I'm not really sure how or why it was sorted, everybody said different things, I'm petrified about ever having to talk to them again, and because I had no clear answers, and talking to anyone becomes starting from scratch, with all the history erased, it seems to me that the whole thing could happen again.

I gave up on having a phone in 2017 because I couldn't cope with identity verification. It's possible that if I'd had a phone, I would have been able to verify my identity online, but I don't know. I had to use a second phone of PD's to register for NetCode. My 10-year passport will expire in 2025, and I do not think I will be up to applying for another.

What I want to do is try to point out that I think there are others out there who have similar difficulties in obtaining access to essential services. I am lucky enough to have someone who helps me, although this situation has left me more dependent, and in the future, I don't think his help will be enough. I feel scared for all the people out there who don't have anyone to help them.

The government and the bank both inform me they are constantly collecting data regarding me. The bank tells me it can share my info with the government - or pretty much anyone they choose.

Know Your Customer - it doesn't seem like anyone is using any of my information to help me, not even when it comes to my disability and the importance of maintaining access to essential services, like banking.

For fuck's sake, the bank has even informed me that when I use online banking they check my typing speed and activity habits so they know it's me.

I don't even know what the whole story was, because every person said something different, and in the end, I don't really know if they decided to let me go due to a mistake or oversight. I know that the message saying I was soon to be locked out of my account was taken away - but I do not know how long this will hold, and I do not want to talk to anyone to verify, because I'm basically petrified that it would only start up the whole cycle again. I do not trust the bank to know what they are saying, about anything.

I do not blame the individual employees. I don't even really blame the training. I blame what's behind the training. I think there are those who 'know' that if the employees can blame stupid, rabid customers, and the customers can blame stupid employees, no one will ever have the energy to question the system. And to me, that's what Know Your Customer really means.

Dr Velvet Thong: It's the same old story. People lower down expend all their energy fighting each other and keeping grievances alive rather than confronting the policy makers who benefit from all this waste of time and energy. Survival, getting through the day, takes all one's energy.

Xesce: I don't really want to verify anything in my legal birth name. I feel like a fraud when I do, and like I have no chance for a stable sense of identity, but to legally change my name seems overwhelmingly difficult. And there's also the rebellion against a system of control that I don't agree with. I don't know if I would be allowed to have only one name, no last name.

I can't even get a library card in my name, legal or chosen. I'm currently using PD's. I place books on hold, he picks them up and returns them. I'm using the library card I acquired in Melbourne in 2015 as my bookmark. I admit what's occurring to me is that libraries are also in on the data mining racket.

I'm occasionally using one of PD's phones for convenience or survival, including banking, web things, and this further robs me of any chance of independence. The phone is kept in one of his drawers, and he takes care of keeping it charged. I only use it when I need to register for something.

Dr Velvet Thong: Do you think it could be possible that there are those who think the 'mental illness' angle is just a coverup and you're a mastermind terrorist?

Xesce: I do realize that my symptoms make me seem suspicious.

I think it's sad that people are still so prejudiced and uninformed about mental illness and addiction that they are more likely to believe I'm a terrorist than that I'm so ill I'm unable to obtain treatment.

Velvet: With families, there's a weird unconscious split. Some seem to be aware that mental illness is a thing, but most of their communication patterns indicate they don't really believe in it.

I wanted people to believe I was ill, not faking, not making it up in my head for attention. I didn't want to feel blamed for my illness. Most people can't genuinely give me this, and I end up feeling devalued, disrepected, misunderstood, isolated, invalidated.

When contact with others leaves me feeling I am perceived as a trivial person, with trivial thoughts and feelings, and that I have created my own imaginary problems due to low intelligence and literacy, and poor character, I used to try to be patient, and now I block people. And when I attempt to show people I can at least read, think and write, I know how to identify attempts made to discredit and invalidate me. There was definitely a problem with prejudice and lack of empathy - but not mine.

Has it ever been the case where an individual has been persecuted or punished for personal beliefs or ideals, and later, it is understood by the masses what that person was on about, and why they could not let it go?

In Women Talking, the issue of 'staying and fighting' - to me it feels like if I didn't draw limits for myself, if I didn't block people, I would be locked into a neverending 'staying and fighting' that would achieve nothing except more anger and escalation. This is the only way I can leave the colony and protect myself from further abuse and misunderstanding.

Velvet: I am also constantly stressed out by how mental illness and addiction are portrayed in Netflix and other streaming services, and how I feel not only misunderstood, and judged, invalidated, devalued, but kind of hopeless, and shut out of everything.

And, while Netflix makes an effort to include various different types of world issues, it does so from within a power structure that reinforces the continuation of the power imbalance that contributes to these issues, while stealing people's personal 'resources'.

Xesce: Many employees had access to my bank account details, including what I last spent money on (eg, $81 for Astroglide products - note: for menopause, not sex), but apparently were not able to access any info about the countless phone calls made, including sensitive personal details, even when these calls were recorded, so every call, it was like starting over, with the complicated mental health issues, and the Astroglide.

And when asked if it was ok to record the calls and I said no, they said well then, you must come into the bank with your passport.

Blinky: Just Fucking Deport Me Already, Australia

Xesce: It's not difficult for the bank or government to know who 'I' am, including that I have a website that does actually discuss how difficult it is for people like me to access essential services, or even have a phone.

As it becomes apparent I am in danger of being permanently locked out of my account, and the anxiety mounts,

Dr Velvet Thong: Just to summarize, you're not currently locked out, but you suspect you could be at any time. Can you explain where things stand?

Xesce: Most of the money that was in my account was transferred to an account of PD's. He removed his money from that account, and acquired a debit credit card for it which I will be able to use when I ask for it. Everything is in his name. This is a major blow to my independence and possible future independence. I do not trust the bank, and at least this way someone other than the bank or government (PD) has access to it. And, on the plus side, if I ever used the card for travel, and the bank noticed 'unusual activity' (like paying for a hotel room?), they'd call PD's phone, and he'd say oh yes, it's fine. Whereas if I was using my account and I got a call to verify, I wouldn't be able to pay for the hotel, because I don't have a phone. Sorry for how convoluted that came out. I hope you can see what I mean. I am plagued by identity issues non-stop.

PD and I are not married, commonlaw or de facto. I do not expect anything further from him, and if I did inherit anything, I'd be so panicked about having to prove my identity that I'd hang myself. And yes, I do keep a pre-tied slipknot handy.

The thing is, I don't think I really believe in 'my money'.. I guess in that sense, it's like trying to accept that no one in the world is 'safe', that at some point the whole economic structure could change or collapse, and who am I to think it's unfair when something like this happens to me? This attitude also makes it difficult to 'fight', but on the other hand, it's like if I don't, I put more burden on PD, I make him more 'responsible' for me, and I don't want that, so it was hard trying to figure out what to do in the circumstances.

And for those who think I targeted PD for money, (or an easy life, yikes!) I didn't. We both had problems we could not solve on our own, and could not go to our families for help, support, advice or comfort.

I think I understand and care for him, his future and happiness, more than any of his friends or family ever did. The inner him, the inner me, namaste.

I do kind of wish I knew people who make fake IDs who could make me a real one.

Dr Velvet Thong: I would also point out that the bank's ID forms make choosing a binary gender identity mandatory.

Xesce: With Australian passports, there's at least a third option, which is kind of an umbrella option - I'm not sure why this isn't also the case when it comes to essential services, like banking.

Xesce: I need to make a statement. [For those who don't know the history, I need to say I'm using an analogy that relates to identity issues. I'm CIS/F, and always feel embarrassed having to choose that box. My identity issues come from a different foundation.]

I don't know if this is a good analogy or not, but I'll try to think it through.

I guess this is so obvious that people have been talking about it for years and I'll end up saying the classic clueless noob things. But I am not enough of an academic to wade through endless internet philosophical debates and their sub-sects. At least not yet.

France is considered a city of high culture, and romance. French is still taught all over the world in high schools, or whatever, it's one of those languages that still has a certain international cachet.

But it's a binary language. Everything in the world is either masculine or feminine.

If you have a nonbinary gender identity, and you want to question the language, how do you do it? Most people just learn their articles and don't think about it, or were born into the language and take it for granted. And I can imagine people saying lighten up. It's the way it's always been. And it's not like anyone would want to 'cancel' French or any romance languages? But is this the beginning of the end, is it on its way out?

What if you can't just let it go, and the ability to have a strong identity depends on you finding a new language and a new people for yourself? Or you at least need to see that people are able to understand why it matters to you, and not that you're being a shit disturber for no reason. What if you want to know why every single thing was assigned the gender it was? What the reasoning and history of it was?

What if the more you think about it, the more it seems to represent something you just don't agree with? And you want to use the ability human beings have, to make a rational choice to change?

It might be bad to simplify in this way, but when I have contact with my family, I think the language and belief system eventually comes down to 'strong' or 'weak', and with PD's 'intelligent' or 'idiot'. That's why conversations end up feeling like a sorting test. I have to prove credibility before it will be accepted that I have the right to consider anything I experienced trauma, but that's only one level, and the test goes on forever, to get me into one category or another, and I strongly feel it's already been decided. (And with my family, also 'positive' or 'negative'. PD's: 'Good character' or 'bad'.) And all the time, I'm trying to establish a new category for myself not based on previous beliefs, and I'm trying to see all people as potentially nonbinary. So it's really hard to communicate with people when you get to the stage where it all seems like sorting processes are going on behind or beneath the scenes.

I want to claim a new identity that won't fit with the old language and customs. I'm tongue-tied in all social situations, because I won't be able to sell myself out, but it doesn't seem reasonable to ask everyone to learn my language.

And if I put this out there, I can already see some minds not trying to understand what I'm saying and why it's important to me, but trying to find the logic traps I've fallen into, or the holes or examples that make my analogy suck. And so, I think this is what the problem is. It can't be summed up as agoraphobia or social anxiety that could be treated with medication and talk therapy or mindfulness lessons. It's a philosophical problem.

If you can't change the world, change yourself? For me, it would be the wrong way to go. It would be a denial of my identity and all that matters to me. The old language and customs don't make sense to me.

Even with a cute avatar in Second Life with a non-glitching outfit, I'm constantly afraid I won't be able to cope with the language, that it won't be long before we reach some binary destination where discomfort will arise.

When people don't seem to understand this about me, it's hard to feel comfortable with them or to trust them. And even if I pass some test and am sorted as 'intelligent', it leaves me feeling uneasy, and that it's tenuous at best.

Dr Velvet Thong: As a side note, when was the last time you tried to leave PD's house?

Velvet: Just so everyone knows, each time I travelled, I was trying to leave permanently.

I tried a couple of times a couple of years ago, and as the years are all starting to blur together, I'm not completely sure when it was. Basically, I packed a suitcase and backpack, and was determined to leave, even though I was not able to be sober, I felt like hell and was in terrible physical condition. (I very rarely exercise any more. I have given up on it. It's just too much. If I exercised, I'd have to have a shower.)

Anyway, both times there were issues and I can't remember all of the issues, but things like the internet went down, so I couldn't book a hotel, and then I decided if I just called a cab and said can you recommend one.. etc. Well, both times I had everything packed and was ready to go, PD came home early, unexpectedly, (this is an oversimplification, BTW) and I lost all resolve, what with Covid and everything.

Over the years, it seems statistically weird that so many things would go wrong while PD was away for work. Phone, internet going down, hard disks failing, etc. But yes, that's something I often had to contend with while he was away, that I'd be disconnected from the world, or unable to use some of my usual coping strategies (eg, writing it out).

Dr Velvet Thong: What does he do, again?

Velvet: He's a Control Systems Engineer.

Dr Velvet Thong: Can you describe what that is?

Velvet: He is The Guy who programs the one important computer that controls all the others.

So I know the immediate reaction is to think it's him. He's probably trying to control me from a distance, make it harder to leave, etc, and with that extensive possum surveillance system, er, isn't this a no-brainer? That if I've felt someone's watching me, it's probably him?

It makes sense to at least consider this. With my experience in life, it's hard for me to feel sure I ever really know anyone. And it does make sense, he has the most access. He doesn't ever complain directly about anything, and so it's possible he might express resentment in other ways. I've been going with the theory that while he does possess controlling and sadistic impulses, he's one of the people with taboo desires who repress and suppress, and might never act, although hints of it will occasionally get through, and he might be a kind of grey volcano. But as for actually monitoring me, and filesharing my info, it's hard for me to get there. It doesn't mean it's not possible, and it's a really scary thought, and it's all scary, but I try to focus on what I am able to do, each day.

I want to state again that I think it's someone else who's responsible for the phenomena that I find the most extreme, and I think it's possible it's more than one person. And that when he's away, they find it fun to fuck with me, and know if he's not there to detect and stop unusual activity if I point it out, and if there's no proof, it might be fun to detect signs of panic. Or, if I do leave, the surveillance system they've invested in will no longer be as accessible.

I have to at least examine the possibility that he is monitoring me, and that others are monitoring him monitoring me. Or worse, that he's actually filesharing with them of his own free will.

I am just a little possum in a box no one thinks bad things about me I am just a little possum in a box no one thinks bad things about me...

Dr Velvet Thong: Are you saying that these people have the power to cut your (old landline phones), internet or blow up hard drives?

Velvet: No, but in some areas it does seem there are too many coincidences, and I'm not tech-savvy enough to know what incidents and details to focus on to help those who are understand.

But after those last attempts to leave, I think it's unlikely I'll be able to try again. I'm stuck now.

And even if individuals didn't try to track me when I left, I'd feel constantly watched by Big Brother. It just does not appeal to me. And besides, I don't have a phone, which will make doing just about anything difficult. I might not be able to access any funds, and my passport will expire next year and there isn't anyone who can stop this landslide and no that's not because I'm clueless about feminism or self-determination.

However I feel it is my duty to state I might have hidden internal resources, and that if I attempt to be honest and authentic and check all grandiosity, I don't think any of these fuckers would stand a chance against me in the fighting pits of Meereen, and that's eventually going to play out, however you define the 'real'.

Since this is a safe space, and there's no chance of libel issues here, I'm going to run a really insane conspiracy theory by you.

So we've got one Antisocial Predator based in the US, who has friends all over the world who identify as witches, and no one would think of him as antisocial. Some witches identify as good, but others embrace the darker aspects, and he's more likely to reward the latter. He has a grooming process that's bombardment. People barely have time to think. It's common for him to arrange meetups very soon after initiating contact. I think he starts hacking people, though, really early on, and knows a lot about them before ever meeting.

There's a female AP in Australia, whose partner is a submissive, and possesses all the tech skills.

There's another AP in Europe. I met this one in person. I usually don't invite people into my home, because I'm usually ashamed of where I live and how I live. He waited for me to ask, then had to force it on me. He was only there once. I think. During the days he was in town, he was often talking on a mobile phone, but in my place, he said something was wrong, and he asked to use my phone. Phone and computer were in the same place, I gave him privacy, and so at this point, he would have been able to place a bug or some other spying equipment. I was not a very suspicious type in those days. It did seem that after this had been accomplished, I had this sense I was being dismissed. I put it down to me not being seductive enough, he'd put in enough effort and it was time to cut his losses, but one theory is that he did what he set out to do.

I also know that he met various others from alt.suicide.holiday, flying to their locations all over the world. His cover was that he lonely and looking for friends, aliens like himself, but he'd never found one yet. He also said that the spark was gone with his SO, and he knew they had to get back to the drawing board of designing new patterns to bring it back. At the time, I would not have guessed it was anything like a nonconsensual BDSM filesharing ring.

[Isn't it funny, the things a delusional mind will come up with, isn't it a hoot?]

I was only in that apartment for a couple more weeks, before moving to Australia, so that effort was sort of wasted. At the time, I thought maybe the most evil he was up to was to get a record of my home phone number, because I hadn't offered it, and his 'home number' was maybe some safe throwaway. [Correction: he did have my number. I know this because he called me when he landed in the city, and he called me before coming over on this particular day.]

AP US had lots of access, and met lots of people. Lots of opportunities to invade further. I considered meeting him a few times, but never went through with it. I felt guilty about it, but it could be my instincts were right.

In 2004, I moved out of PD's house into my own flat. If his computers had been hacked before then, and people wanted to keep watching me, this would be a problem.

It was in 2004 that I started to feel like I was being hacked. The feeling started in my new flat. I didn't leave the flat often, but when I did, I often felt like someone had been in while I was away. There had already been some privacy issues concerning the behaviour of the rental company and possibly the owner of the flat. Anyway, while I was out, it's possible something was done to my laptop or that bugs were placed, or some other equipment.

It's possible I was just hacked remotely, but I did have the sense a few times that someone had been in my flat.

AP US has a lot of contacts with a varied skillset, and he attracts loyal followers. Someone could have been charged with some of these tasks. AP AU could tell her submissive to do it. There are more possibilities, but I'll leave it here for now.

Sometimes I get the feeling that when these people are watching me, and I'm writing that they think I'm just like the Secretary leaving little worms so I'll get punished, so I need to reiterate: NO NO NO I FUCKING HATE ALL OF YOU SICK FUCKS AND MORE AND MORE I ACTUALLY THINK YOU'RE GOING TO GET CAUGHT.

I was only in that apartment for 6 months before I moved back in with PD. But since that time, I have never felt surveillance-free. A little after I finally took an axe to my laptop in 2008, I spent a year only reading books, and writing, only going online to check accounts occasionally, but in watching PD, and perhaps listening in, they were perhaps still able to pick up on various things.

I think PD's system here is fairly hard to get into, and people would have to be really good, and so I guess it would feel like quite an accomplishment and that might partly be why AP EU bragged about what a cowboy he felt.

(I'm kinda liking how AP rhymes with HAP.)

I don't use computers very much any more. I don't like being online. Sometimes I feel I need to write. Sometimes I need to buy things. Sometimes I watch streaming services for a while and sometimes I fall into Google rabbit hole searches, but for the most part, I am in my room, allegedly disconnected from the internet and other computers.

I don't know enough to know what things they'd have to stay on top of, what might go wrong or need updating. I do know that it seems unlikely I'd be the only one targeted. What makes sense to me is that AP US and AP EU did necessary legwork.

I think it never occurred to me that these individuals might be filesharing, because they're all so egomaniacal (all would want top credit), I could not see them getting along with each other. And AP AU, it's hard to see anyone able to get on with her.

I guess there's room for different theories, and it's possible that these people do work on their own and have some similar ways and means of finding targets.

What they have in common: BDSM and suicide, and have identified their interests - and felt entitled enough to try to fulfill, not repress them. All have been on to the possibilities of the internet early on, the possibilties for expression and expansion, and aware of how hard it would be to prove certain things while the mainstream still struggle to identify consent in person.

Even if they're not working together, they probably all know of each other. It's a kind of level or degree that stands out.

I'm not sure why or if this is relevant, but I think they are all in a similar age group or generational category - I think they're all 3-6 years older than me.

They either are elite level hackers and coders themselves, or know people who are.

They all have beards of various descriptions. But while two can be connected to real life names and personas, I'm not totally sure about the other - I mean, you meet an actual person, but I'm not sure he ever gives a real name or address. I don't know because I didn't ask for more info. What I mean is that of the 3, I think there are 2 whose cover stories are in plain sight, and the other is the only one of the group who might live in a bunker somewhere. And that they've all made use of the services of I can't off the top of my head remember the name of the group or leader, I watched a documentary a while back, but when things go wrong, they'd maybe have to have backup plans. Was it something like Incite? It'll probably come back to me or wouldn't be hard to search. To help me put together more of how certain technical things might be possible. With that group, I know they were open to almost anything except pedophilia and even that seemed questionable, and we've all heard of pedophile rings and we know somehow they're sharing files.

Hi my name is Xesce, and I'm a Psychic Hacker.

If I go down the rabbit hole, I'll keep remembering more details, and I'm not sure I want to, but I might not be able to stop the process. Maybe there are some things I can address for now, and others I can get to later.

I think I've got down the basics, and of course I know I could be wrong about a million things and of course I know I would never be able to prove it. I have this tendency to go at things from different angles until it feels like I'm getting somewhere.

I think people took their cues from my behaviour, and they made assumptions about what I wanted that were incorrect, sort of a monkey loves you/monkey needs a hug situation. They thought I wanted Tyler, but what I wanted was to know him better, and I never got that, except through psychic hacking, through attempts to thwart me. I wanted a kind of connection and intimacy I was never going to get. It wasn't about Tyler, it was about what was 'right for me as an individual', and I knew I had a tendency to project things onto others, and I knew that sometimes I just had to let it play out in slow motion. And it does seem that when I was attracted to people, part of what I wanted to 'know' or learn was about how to confront my unconscious self-hatred. I now also think I was always trying to identify abuse I had encountered in my life.

And I ended up attracting a whole lot of people that represent power imbalance issues I encountered early in life. They're all pooling their resources to tell me I don't have a right to get past trauma and abuse, and that they want to make sure I don't. I don't want their option of getting in on the racket, and if I think it's something that might be actually happening, I'm someone who would speak up and try to prevent it happening to others. But everyone knows my mind well enough.. to know how I see it.. when people have antisocial inclinations, there aren't always many places to go for help or understanding, and sometimes there are no places. Don't get me wrong, I do experience rage and hatred and violent urges, but part of who 'I' am demands that I keep looking at my prime directives.

I don't want to get into any neverending philosophical debates with them trying to rationalize why they don't need consent, why I deserve it, or why I'm saying no but mean yes. No. All of that crap is in your heads and I'm not falling for any circular conversations. I'm telling you, it's wrong, it's causing harm and I want it to stop, but, I also am telling you you can't do this to anyone else. End of that conversation. Any attempts to punish me or shut me up will show your hand, I'll just feel more and more that I'm seeing more of the whole picture. I predicted the hate messages before I got them.

OK, moving on. On: Kiss Me First, the tv series, and the book by Lottie Moggach.

I like the series, even though I had a major issue with it. I liked it because Leila was an amazing hacker who didn't let Adrian get away with his attempts to control her and others, and that a group of friends, one member with bipolar, managed to pull together.

What I didn't like: it seemed to be saying that when a person is mentally ill or has an extremely shitty life situation, they will never be able to make up their own minds about their quality of life, they will always be vulnerable to predators who will try to push them over the edge. That in such situations, it's always exploitation, or that a person is not capable of making a choice despite exploitation.

I decided that that sizable issue was something I was prepared to cope with, in order to have a heroine hacker. I feel this is a positive fantasy considering my own situation. But after reading the book, I felt enraged on behalf of what the author tried to accomplish (although this feeling passed, and I still really like the series). The book is about the philosophy underneath. It's about a person's right to choose, and the series is saying that people who are psychologically distressed aren't capable of making a choice. I feel that if an author is brave enough to address this philosophical issue, you shouldn't invalidate her in order to keep things more simple or acceptable. You shouldn't cater to people's prejudices about online predators.

While I still believe people do have the right to choose and that I am competent to assess my future and prospects, I now think that some people I met online did try to manipulate me and others, and that some have complicated motives that might actually include philosophical stands and/or altruism, but that the vulnerable do need to be careful. I've had contact with someone who was like Adrian, but I would have interpreted his motives and complexities differently. I am not sure how to express that I am competent to assess the various layers, and still believe I am competent to make a choice that's right for me.

And the book attempts to sort this out. Leila is rational and logical. She also has the fortitude to sort through Tess's mess and just focus on the philosophical issue/her right to choose. So we get to see how this plays out and what a philosophy might mean put into practice, not just discussed in the abstract.

The real problem (for me) is how to define help. If you believe a person has a right to choose, and if you believe it is your duty to help a suffering human being, how do you help them?

I don't want to go into all the details, but what Leila doesn't know is that Adrian is engineering the same setup with a whole lot of different people, making them feel 'special' and 'chosen' for an important task - and that the 'help' is always an impersonation thing.

None of this negates the validity of the philosophical point the book is based on. It highlights more issues that have to be faced when you take something from the abstract and put it into practice in the real world - when you try to 'live your beliefs'.

I feel that this all comes down to society's unwillingness to talk about death, or suicide, and it's about the reality of poor treatment options for mental illness and many other types of illness. Because it seems impossible to challenge the status quo, people take things into their own hands and it all gets messier and more complicated and frustrating, and for example you get sensationalized accounts of internet suicide cults, when really it could be down to inadequate resources and understanding of illness, and you've just got a community of likeminded individuals trying to help each other, because no one else will. And then you get the kneejerk reaction of shutting down all such communities and finding ways to thwart internet searches, in the name of saving lives, but you actually drive many people further into isolation and hopelessness. Like me. Hi there. Is anyone still reading?

And you aren't stopping the 'Adrian Palmers' from targeting me, or the other 'Justines'.

I have seen it a lot, that many suicidal people are very concerned about those left behind, and so it does make sense to address this in some way, but I'm not sure how. I'm doing my part as best I can.

So, moving on to another series/book combo that is freakishly relevant to me (although PD is not a tech billionaire, I don't live in a Hub, I'm not physically like Hazel. I don't think I have a chip in my brain, but I'm not totally sure):

Made For Love, the book (by Alissa Nuttig) and the tv series, is about one of the new expressions of control, assault and sexual violence in the digital age.

It's hysterically funny, and I like it, but it's also not funny in a very bad way. I'm afraid of the issues getting lost in the humour, that most people won't see how serious this is.

I don't trust people to get it.

It's like a transfer or even expansion of the energies, impulses, and beliefs behind the kind of sexual behaviour that we now identify as wrong or illegal, into something that feels lighter and more benign even though it's not, and we have to start from scratch creating laws and defining consent.

If you're married, you can still be raped by your spouse. If you married a tech billionaire and didn't consent to a chip in your brain, and he puts one in anyway, it's not 'I should have known better'. He fucking raped you. It comes from the same instincts and rage and control issues as rape. He drilled the hole and filled it with his load.

It's a massive power imbalance issue. It's a valid point that he gets all her intimacy and she gets none of his, but financially, techwise, knowledge-wise and in many other ways, he is using his power to control her and limit her options. I think there might be a wish to see his side of the story, and figure out why these two are compatible, but I'm afraid people won't be able to hold onto the main issue, which is a massive power imbalance. I am not saying that odd men don't deserve compassion or understanding, but people need to see that because he has more power, he has the power to inflict more harm and get away with it. He's the one with power over life and death.

Velvet: It's important to identify the power imbalances in society that mean attempts to be 'fair' in depictions of relationships might not really be fair, and that because it's easier to make women feel guilty, prejudices regarding women aren't identified for what they are.

In the book, Hazel seems to feel he might kill her, and he actually reads her thoughts and does nothing to dispel these thoughts - this is a way to break her down, control her. Later, she comes to the conclusion that he just wants to control her and watch her suffer, until death. And this headspace is completely familiar to me, it's real to me. I guess it's one thing to read a book or watch a program and think that's horrifying, and another when you see fuck that expresses my reality.

And I actually related when the character (in the book) tried to make a distinction, whether to kill herself to escape this nightmare, or kill herself because even if she were free, she couldn't see anything in life for her.

There's more to comment on, and right now, I know I can't.

Ugh.. except.. Warning, I don't do spoiler alerts. In the book, Byron is killed by an ambitious woman who takes over his business. I guess tv audiences need their revenge fix, so the punishment has to fit the crime, he has to suffer forever. This sort of thing always bothers me, and I don't know if it's because I've thought more deeply about what forever means, or what, or if it's just about knowing that as time goes on, we'll learn what motivates the Byrons of this world - as well as how to address them in effective, but humane ways. I suppose this could mean I'm a dreamer? I think it does mean that I'm just one of the little ants who's gonna get stomped before we sort this all out.

So, his consciousness gets trapped in a virtual world and he has no contact with the outside world, indefinitely, and Hazel takes his business over. I don't want to get into all the details, but I'd choose a different option. In the book, one of the characters voluntarily undergoes an experimental procedure which ends up making him feel empathy. He comes to feel remorse for how badly he has treated women, and he genuinely wants to try to do better. I'm afraid that if someone like Byron is trapped in a virtual world, he'll just become the Count of Monte Cristo, or the Marquis de Sade, he'll find a way to rationalize upping the stakes.

Ideally, Byron would volunteer for such a procedure himself (empathy singularity).

I could see directions for the series that would last a few more seasons, and I would have watched every episode, until the end. Kiss Me First - Same deal. The OA, Sense8, ok I'll stop now, but often it seems that series are cancelled before I discover them. (Anybody sense a theme? In addition to many of the series and movies mentioned in this article, we also need to throw in Swallow, and Tau, and Rm9sbG93ZXJz also gets a mention, for reasons which should be obvious, but who knows. When I watch these things, it's a kind of mantra, an incantation, it's like performing the movements of The OA.)

It should be obvious I would vote for Women Talking as best picture. What people might not know is that my runnerup is Babylon. At first, I resented how gross it was, but I quickly came to appreciate the necessity.

Monkey Loves You!/Monkey Needs a Hug!

In the Black Mirror episode Black Museum, a woman's consciousness is implanted/trapped forever in her son's monkey doll. From inside, she has only two options for communication: Monkey Loves You! (smiley face) and Monkey Needs a Hug! (frowny face)

I am actually surprised I've not yet seen anyone from my life in some kind of Netflix documentary thing - I've known a lot of really odd and controversial people. I am also surprised I've never been contacted regarding certain people who probably have MOs that were eventually recognized. I'm surprised I've never been contacted regarding serial sexual and psychological abusers/predators - and I don't think it's just about my credibility or lack thereof.

I'm not sure how many people this is occurring to, but: it seems unlikely to me that there are only isolated instances of women being drugged and assaulted, that it's probably not just down to one ex-wife of a serial killer, one well-known comedian, and one Mennonite community in South America.

I do not like having to vote politically on Netflix, but it seems necessary. With only 'like' or 'not for me' options, it seems incredibly difficult to leave meaningful feedback. When Netflix added the extra option of two thumbs up, it threw all my previous 'feedback' into question and disarray, and quite frankly, I'm not sure what to do in response, so I keep it to just yes or no, and in my mind I emphasize and sometimes scream, the qualifications and exceptions and reasons.

I would give Women Talking two thumbs up.

Velvet: Also, while I'm here, I will express that it's not funny or benign when people make jokes about using tech to find new ways of spying on people having sex. Celebrities are not fair game. It's not fair to hunt them down, capture sex tapes, let alone profit from this activity. It's a violation. It's violence. It's rape. You don't own them. Every person deserves the chance to have intimacy that isn't violated.

It's not a valid answer that sex is the most natural thing in the world, and none of us would be here without sex. It's still a matter of consent.

Velvet: Once I started to understand that I had been not only mistreated, but actually assaulted and raped, it seemed that it was my responsibility to speak up, because those involved in all likelihood would repeat their behaviour with others.

I've experienced old-school types of assault and abuse, as well as new. I've never received validation, apology, acknowledgment.

I understand that people might find me inconsistent, unreliable, but when you have internalized society's opinions, you sometimes parrot them in a self-deprecating way. Language and interpretation can change when you have enough experience to reinterpret original experiences.

I know that something has happened to me, that it's not ghosts or demons, or non-corporeal fae, it's not wild female imagination, I'm not lying for attention, and I haven't created delusions due to guilt for something bad I've done.

I know I don't have actual proof. There's only my word, and I'm not sure anyone would see me as a credible witness. What I thought I might be able to do would be to write enough so that others with similar experiences could feel supported and believed, connected.

And I thought I might be able to remember details that could help others with actual investigations that would lead to the gathering of facts, interpretation of patterns, etc.

Dr Velvet Thong: What do you think viewers will think regarding the juxtaposition of Second Life images with serious subject matter?

Velvet: Do you mean it looks like I'm playing with Barbies, or doing to other women what has been done to me - that I'm trivializing their experience and pain? That once again, I'm showing my 'true colours' as a narcissistic, materialistic, shallow whatever? That I'm so out of touch with reality, so caught up in my own world that I can't see how I'm coming across?

It somehow seems to take away from what I'm doing to have to spell it out. I identify with these women, these characters, who have endured massive power imbalance, to the extent that I'm always living there, trapped, stuck, powerless. The only 'colony' I can escape to is a virtual one. But, even if I'm not really good at Second Life in a technical sense, and if due to low self-esteem I flee all social contact in Second Life, for me it's a source of positivity, and it's about choice. I don't think I would choose to live in a commune in a natural way, away from modern tech and modern conveniences (and I'd be scared anyway that I'm too broken to be able to contribute my share), but I know I cannot survive in the modern world as it is. I'm terrified, all the time, and when I'm in Second Life, I have a few moments here and there where I try to explore, and I try to reconnect with some part of me that can still be open and hopeful. But, even to do that, I have to face massive power imbalance and the illwill of others. I know there are those who have the skill to track my every move, and that they don't see it as wrong. Getting out there anyway, when I can, is a statement.

I support choice. I can't help that I've come to the conclusion I'd prefer a virtual future.

Yes, I'm damaged, and yes, I have low self-esteem, and maybe I have Pecola Breedlove Syndrome. However, I don't want anyone to waste their breath trying to convince me I'm fine the way I am and that what I want is just an understandable reaction to trauma and abuse, and a cold, harsh world that exacerbates damage and perpetuates sexism and misogyny. Yes, I see it, but it seems important to try to say that even if you understand where it comes from, you might be able to sort through all of it to make your own decisions. And for me, the way to forgive others who have harmed me - who I do see have harmed me because of their histories and and the ways they've processed experience - would be for me to imagine a very different kind of future from the ones humans usually imagine.

Xesce: I can't leave the house. The only way I can leave the colony is in a virtual sense. Blocking people was symbolic of leaving the colony. If I hadn't, I would have felt constantly open to attack, and every conversation would have felt like a fight. I saw enough to see I couldn't convince people. Instead of choosing to 'stay and fight', I chose to leave the colony.

There is nowhere in the world for me to go. I do not feel I would be welcome anywhere. I am not saying that conversation with the people I have known is like being drugged and assaulted - I'm saying that because people don't believe I've gone through something serious, something I didn't make up or exaggerate, that I am ill and can't snap out of it with willpower or logic, contact with them not only triggers a trauma response, it makes me feel invalidated. It makes me feel like they are constantly annoyed, disgusted or ashamed, and that out of consideration for them, or out of self-respect, I should shut up and/or kill myself. In order to kill myself in a way that has personal meaning, I need to get away from that constant pressure.

Everywhere now, I see power imbalance and its effects. I can't unsee it, and I'm not sure it will make sense to people who find my personal neuroses ridiculous (cameras everywhere), but it now seems to me that in order to do anything out in the world, including to have even simple social interaction, I will have to sign Terms and Conditions I just can't sign.

Dr Velvet Thong: The keeping of the minutes, the transcripts, the artifacts left behind for others to discover, regarding our decision to leave the colony - this website.

Velvet: I feel like I need to warn people.

The programs/movies I've mentioned above bring up the fear that as Me Too moves things forward, the same impulses and power imbalances will find new modes of expression, the whole cycle will start up again, we will have to redefine consent issues, and make laws, and meanwhile, there are always those who are fast enough on the draw to get away with it. And we have to keep redefining what it means to be the Luckiest Girl Alive.

Dr Velvet Thong: All we have are our dreams.

Velvet: It's not as simple as me saying 'if I had to do it again, would I?' What I mean is, there are many associated ideas, and I don't think I can cut through them all clearly to be able to identify where I stand. I can remember the intensity of some experiences, but new knowledge and experience makes me feel differently about them, and I wouldn't want to experience them again. I think what I thought was that each experience was leading me to understand more about the world and men, that I was developing into a more interesting person (not someone who accepted all default settings), such that I'd be more likely to have the kind of experience and connection I wanted - and I think that's how I've tried to see all my interactions.

All of the angles I've explored tell me I don't think I'd want to be me in any universe where I couldn't choose my own body and supplement or enhance my intelligence. I don't want to go back in time and relive any part of my life. I don't even want to go back and take advantage of any opportunity I failed to recognize in the moment. My mind is messy, and without erasing everything, I think the only solution is to have a kind of intelligence which would help me sort through it all much more efficiently. Because as the years go on, it feels like I have to try harder and harder to crawl to the computer to write, and that the process is killing me. I know, I'm a cliche´.

For me, although there are touching moments (yes, I cried, I admit it!), The Testaments is sort of horrifying for me in a probably unintentional way. I sort of remember something, a brief mention, (if I'd blinked I might have missed it) of how all the virtual stuff was wiped out due to energy/generator/backup issues or somesuch, and I suppose that's valid, but I still have a wish to explore the Sublime, and San Junipero, please don't take away that hope, or tell me I might have to wait aeons for it to be possible. If I had to go back in time and start all over, I'd wish there'd be some way I didn't have to have a period. To bleed or not to bleed.. I'd want it to be a choice.

Dr Velvet Thong: Back to images, for now.

Xesce: For now, I'd like to make a statement for all of us. (Me, you, Blinky, Okti and Velvet. And Nova Mnemonic.) If people want to associate different Second Life photos with us as individuals, I think that's interesting. But, for now, we're all still exploring who we are and who we want to be. I have some ideas about what I want to try before committing to anything. I want to leave things open. I do have favourite avatar outfits (I don't really like calling them outfits, although I suppose they aren't really separate avatars. They're facets. Like Nova, Velvet, Blinky, Okti and Dr Velvet Thong are facets of Xesce, and there might still be more. The other thing is that any time one of them speaks, I would like people to be able to imagine that they could be of any appearance or age or gender identity or sexual orientation, and as time goes on I will try to use more inclusive language to make that possible.)

I've got this weird guilt thing where I feel like I have to admit that the outfit with the coat and boots glitches, that the photo might be misleading. I thought it was for system avatars, or I wasn't sure, and gave it a try, and it wasn't. So, I can basically walk or fly in a straight line and take wide, soft turns, but anything else and we're in Glitch City. My bad. So, if I wear that to an urban setting because I want to blend in or comply with any role play rules, I have to stay far away from others and I can't sit down to have a cappuccino. Also, I admit that I think many people might put special effort into not constantly crashing into doors and walls and trees and rocks, etc, but I still do it all the time, so with this outfit, a big, wide street is for the best. I can sort of imagine having a conversation with someone, standing in the street and then the other suggests some activity.. ugh, sorry, not in this dress.

Velvet: Sometimes, when I teleport into a world, I notice that all the other avatars appear to be naked, but I wasn't given a warning beforehand. I don't want to gawk, or be a prude, or flee too fast, but I admit I feel startled and am not sure if it's bad etiquette to be clothed and sometimes it can take a while to find or read a covenant, or even remember to look for one.

It has occurred to me that in a spirit of exploration and unclosed-mindedness, I should try dancing naked or hanging out in naked worlds. The problem is, my avatar has no genitals, and I'm not sure if this would make me stand out in a bad way, or if I'd be breaking some rules of etiquette. No Genitals - No Service, fuck off noob. Also, because I'm not mesh, I don't think the Physics things that make things jiggle would work, and I'm wondering if that's part of the appeal of the naked scenes?

Dr Velvet Thong: Time estimate for when you think you might try again to go mesh?

Velvet: I can't really say. It's possible I'm stuck and can't move forward, that I understand how much energy it will take me and I just don't have it and can't regenerate it. I do kind of like my uncool unpolished avatar, though.

More on avatars, before I forget: I've said it before, but there is still a very binary thing with gender roles happening in SL. And I think there is a male dominance thing that affects things from the outset.

When you choose a base avatar, when you join up, most of the female avatars are of a certain height - the height of real life models, and in your info you can see how tall your avatar would be IRL. To simplify, I think women start out something close to 6 ft Real Life height proportion-wise, and men 7 ft or so. Men seem to choose to be massively muscular, and I think women end up adapting to the men, or can look too small in sims. So, men are still calling the shots, and I'm not sure it's about body positivity.

I don't want to go searching online to verify some things at the moment, I am too out of control to be able to deal with the neverending rabbit hole of exploring Second Life quirks.

Velvet: I need to leave this entry for now. I have reached a stage in the editing process where I know I need to edit it down a lot, but I don't have the energy to figure out how, and everything I read sort of looks like gibberish.

When I started, I wanted to focus on two things: my difficulties with identity and essential services, and I also wanted to comment on Women Talking.

There is something that has to be said, though. Even Second Life is problematic.

If someone calling themselves 'pinochet' sends me a 'gift' of a diamond engagement ring, I sort of know it's best to delete without opening.

But, Second Life is another place where I think some people are likely to abuse their skills to harass others. A power imbalance of those with advanced skills over those with less skill.

I had just blocked someone from emailing me. Someone from my past. Let's call him Adrian. (although this is a meaningful name choice, I probably won't stick with it, because of another Adrian, a person I'd describe as a basically kind, somewhat repressed English gentleman who's into spanking - and one Adrian does not deserve to be mistaken for the other.)

The next time I showed up in Second Life, the moment I rezzed in, Adrian was outside of my house. He was within 5m of me. And in SL, you can basically see through walls. I had also received a Friend Request.

It doesn't matter that he might have sent the request before I blocked him from email, or that I'm oversimplifying. I'm not missing the point and the point is, I never gave him my home address. Rather than finding it impressive he tracked me there and was there within seconds of me being in world, I was angry, and also felt panic. I felt invaded. I quickly hit Decline, but didn't have the presence of mind and also had no experience with it, and so I was frantically trying to figure out how to BLOCK THIS FUCKER FOREVER.

In email, I'd finally understood that he'd never cared about my best interests. He had some kind of philosophy that rationalized harm. And although if the transcripts are examined, people might think it's more complex than that, it was like I had a eureka moment and knew that anything I wrote would trap me in some kind of circular conversation. And he'd try to bulldoze me. It had taken me a long time, but I finally got it.

I know a lot of people in SL are looking for friends and partners. There are people there for other reasons, too. And, since I use the name Xesce, people from my past might on occasion show up wherever I happen to be. I get it, I'm hard to approach. But anyone who understands my issues would not show up at my house like that, unless they were trying to intimidate me or have some kind of control.

And yes, Adrian was already starting on his Asperger's Defence, so that I'd end up looking like someone politically incorrect and lacking compassion. OK, so I guess when you take things literally, that explains your love of puns, why you think American Psycho is a sexy book, not a satire, and that you literally want to torture women in horrible ways and see them kill themselves, it's not just fantasy?

It's a pattern of behaviour. Buy someone a gift and ask for her RL address when you already know what it is. Fucking creep.

It's a pattern of behaviour that's not impressive to me. To me, it seems like it's about trying to intimidate, control, throw someone off balance. If you feel misunderstood, I don't give a fuck. Tell someone who cares.

It has to be identified, because I think most people won't really see it as a big deal. When you become aware that there are those who can track you the second you land in Second Life, it feels creepy. It feels like a violation. Supposedly, only your friends or contacts would be notified if you're online, but it's a thing that some people know how to track anyone. I don't. And that's a power imbalance. And don't tell me I can always learn. No. The issue is that people should be considerate of others and that stalking is stalking, IRL and in SL.

Oh yes, the other thing. Still in the early years of feeling I was being stalked, hacked, harassed, he was one of the people I approached for advice or input, since he obviously knows a lot about computers. His comment was that maybe it was fae/fey. As in faeries, and as I know these beliefs are part of his religion and I know to be tolerant of other people's beliefs, I tried to think about it, and I also assumed he was being serious, that he was literally suggesting that actual magickal entities could be trying to initiate playtime with me. But, the conversation felt unfruitful and unsatisfying.

Dr Velvet Thong: It just occurred to me: what if he was being literal, in another way?

Velvet: You mean he has faerie-hacker friends who targeted me? Wow, what a thought. I mean, I know in SL he belongs to some faerie group that goes way back, and he wrote the covenant for it and it probably holds the record for longest covenant in SL ever, and there's even a part about how this is a role play community people, no cyberpunks allowed! (And for a small moment I wondered if this was directed at my Nova Mnemonic avatar, but I overcame that grandiosity.)


Dr Velvet Thong: If that's out of your system, do you think we can get back to more of a Women Talking kind of headspace?

Velvet: I'm honestly not sure. I'll try. I do feel a need to stress that I'm referring to a particular group of faeries, that I don't have this rage toward all faeries, and I even like being a faerie myself in SL.

Thinking it over, I always thought it was more complex than a binary problem, but it might not be. They might actually identify as 'evil', and I had trouble processing or accepting that. Maybe to them I've seemed stupid or gullible, but when I think of how much time, energy, resources probably went into persecuting me, all against one, it seems sort of funny or pathetic. Or so absurd it feels funny. It's just that it's hard to see how they aren't embarrassed of themselves? I'm being serious, not sarcastic. I'm trying to think this through.

I feel like in comparison, I come across as extremely heroic.

I know it's possible for others to try to humiliate me or take away more of my power or take whatever shots at me they can, but don't they see that that 'proves' how much power I have? That I warrant that much effort? And that I'm strong enough that even if no one is on my side or believes me, I do.

Dr Velvet Thong: Do you think there's any way, legal or 'creative' he or his followers can go after you? Do you think he would try to sue you for libel or slander, harm to his legacy (because he has a kind of status others could do damage to), or do you think he'd try to sabotage your website?

Velvet: Anyone who's paying attention should know it's not a good idea to duke out the power imbalance issues in the court of public opinion. Short-term gains v Long-term insight (your legacy is fucked. But let the record state that I have the kind of insight that can still validate talent, and I am all for people getting treatment for their mental health, substance abuse and partner abuse/unconscious sexism/misogyny issues, so maybe there's still hope for redemption).

As for my website, I do have various different types of backup, but perhaps the biggest is my memory. And anyone who's been stalking me for years will know that there are some things I've written a million times, and can write again. Save your energy.

And for anyone who wants to try to cast some kind of black magick blood magick death spell on me, I've been working on my reflective shields for years, and it's all gonna bounce back on you, motherfuckers.

Which reminds me, I need to take a short break, to back this entry up.

For the home audience, every time I turn on the computer (the one I use to write on that is not in my room, the one I usually only use once a month to catch up online, and also use during the times I use streaming services), it feels like that situation I just described in Second Life, that the second I'm on, someone's there, watching, judging. I do have feelings of panic, and it takes a lot to keep coming to the computer to write, or to use Second Life.

I feel like I need to make a statement, about sexuality, because in the past I supported Adrian's sexuality, but it feels like I have to publicly retract now out of a sense of duty to womankind, humankind, and myself. I don't find it sexy. I find it horrifying. And it makes me feel rage. The best thing it did was help me see how much I hated myself, such that I could start challenging the internalized beliefs.

The years are blurring together now and I can't remember when this occurred, but..

It's probably a known thing that many Electrical Engineers never really learn how to tidy up their cords and cables. In my room, I asked for it all to be as neat as possible, and I guess the thing is I don't really want to look at it all.

One day, to my horror, I discovered that my computer was connected to the house system and the internet, when it had been a major thing we'd discussed, that this always needs to be a safe space for me. And I didn't know if it had been connected for a month, or a year, or what.

There is a legitimate reason that everything could have been hooked up momentarily, and it's also valid that he might have just forgotten to unplug after, and since I didn't check every day, and things are hidden away, I didn't know. And, I can also see how even if a light in his office said I was connected, it didn't register, and maybe it's almost like how some people see brown smudges on light switches, and others don't. It's a quirk, it's human, it's forgiveable.

He wants to know how to help me, he has expertise in this area, he should know by now that this is part of how I deal with my issues. I can think of reasons it could have happened, and I can believe he forgot, but the important thing here is that this is the type of thing it's really important to remember. He remembers not to bring any phones into my room.

But that was a bad day, and at that point I felt like I never wanted to ever talk to him again, and I screamed you're evil and I threw one of my thongs (footwear, not underwear) at the door.

But somehow, we got through it and we're the best of friends again.

Little incidents like that increase my guilt and sense of debt. At times it sort of feels like in trafficking, when someone accumulates a massive debt they can never pay back, especially once they become an addict. Only I can't work and I have no sexual value, so there's not even a chance I will ever be able to get out from under my debt.

It's hard to feel trust in a friendship if the friendship isn't equal enough. But if I could forgive PD after shrieking at him, why not 'Adrian'? That's a different thing. If I think a rape is still ongoing, that not only is there no remorse, there's a wish to perpetuate suffering, there can be no forgiveness.

Today's probably not the best day to speculate about others who allegedly may have tried to approach me in SL. For people who are genuinely looking for friends or curious about Xesce, I'm basically too ill to make conversation easier. And for those who are just having a go.. look, it's an accomplishment if I can get in there and go somewhere by myself and try to look around and have fun. But I'm aware that there might be a whole lot of people with the ability to see where I am on the grid at any moment, and it's not exactly comforting to think I'm fairly safe because I'm not interesting enough for anyone to stalk, except past acquaintances with irrational grievances or control issues.

Dr Velvet Thong: Hypothetical. If ever anyone approached you with a view to publishing any of your writing, what are your thoughts?

Velvet: Let the record denote that I laughed out loud.

Every day I wake up on the wrong side of Academia.

OK. Leaving aside for the moment the philosophical validity of self-publishing.. maybe we can just do some kind of author role play thing, just go with the flow.

I guess there is an awareness of the tradition of 'difficult authors', and it's somewhat amusing to think about an intrepid editor being forced to conduct meetings in Second Life.

And as for contractual obligations and book tours.. I suppose the environmental and financial benefits of a Virtual Tour could be factored in..

There's something about the system that feels wrong to me. It's like I don't want my book to be another brick in the wall that keeps out anyone.

I think Henry Miller saw the snobs, understood their culture, understood the ways they kept out the untouchables, and wanted to say that he didn't think he was better than the untouchables. I have bedbugs, lice, cockroaches and nasty, nasty venereal diseases, fuck you. [Yes, he was sexist, and I sort of knew that would be the case and it would piss me off, but I saw some other important stuff, too. And I actually think many might be more sexist now, while seeming not to be.]

It's funny, though, what occurs to me is that I don't really have any monetary ambitions, and all I can think of in terms of payment would be VAD. [NO, THIS IS NOT CODE FOR COME KIDNAP, TORTURE AND KILL ME. IF YOU THINK THAT'S WHAT THIS IS, YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION, YOU SICK FUCKS.]

I think I might want to put in something about Darwin. How when I hear people throw around terms like 'survival of the fittest' and 'Darwinian', I'm not sure most of them know he didn't originate the term 'survival of the fittest', he asked to use it, but, more importantly, he struck me as a kind and compassionate person who believed human beings could choose to help each other.

Dr Velvet Thong: He also said that a monster in one environment could be a godsend in another.

Velvet: Yes, but that makes me think again that even evil fucking faeries might have their place, and I might just not be open-minded enough. And it's too much for today, and I need to put it on hold.

Xesce: Have I not expressed this before? Is it suddenly clearer, have I reached a new level, cracked through some ceiling?

Dr Velvet Thong: So, are you ill, or do you have a philosophical issue?

Xesce: That's a binary question. Unresolved, cumulative trauma became illness that has now been at Stage 4 far too long (approx.36 years). My experiences affected the way I developed philosophically, and what I focused on. I am competent to assess my situation and prospects and available world resources, and my choice of treatment is a humane, peaceful death.

Twenty years ago, I would have thought it wasn't this simple, that people's beliefs were more nuanced than this, but when I think back on all that's been said and not said and I run it through my algorithms, it seems to me that their algorithms don't believe in mental illness, so they filter out anything that doesn't fit what they're prepared to believe. I am something different that they didn't imagine could exist. I'm traumatized and ill, yes, but I also have a complex philosophy and sense of meaning unique to me, and when I have contact with people it feels like all of that gets filtered out.

If I manage to express this clearly enough that some of them get it, I don't know if I'll be able to suggest where to go from here with communication, because it will be easy to fall into old habits. It seems a better solution to leave this artifact, tell myself I've done my part for the next generations, and allow myself a peaceful exit.

Velvet: I have mentioned earlier it's important for me to be unplugged from the internet and the house system in my room.

Usually, if there's an incident like the one I described earlier, I also need PD to talk me through how WiFi works and if all of that is disabled or why it's not relevant, and it never totally makes sense to me. I'm also never sure my room isn't bugged in some way, or that it wasn't in the past, or that there's some kind of psychic ooze left behind.

However, after things are unplugged and PD waits patiently while I talk myself through the panic and focus on what it is possible for me to do now, a kind of fragile equilibrium is restored.

If I leave my room, I know there are computers and phones, and maybe other ways the house is accessed. Leaving my room is perhaps psychologically akin to rezzing into Second Life, knowing someone is always waiting nearby, watching. When I was talking on the phone to the bank, and the bank was recording me, I think it's possible someone else was, too. Leaving the house would bring this to another level. And I can't shake the feeling that the room might actually be the most unprivate place of all. That's my life.

My sense is that it might have changed over time and some involved lost interest or left for some reason, but that there are certain core individuals with long-term interest. I'll go with this idea for a moment. I can sort of imagine 3 different groups or sub-sects, all with their own quirks, but I think what they have in common is BDSM (which doesn't have to be consensual) and an interest in suicide - that's the starting point.

The sub-sects I can identify:

1. Those who use pagan religions and traditions as a beard, and a recruitment tool.
2. Those who use a cultural/arts blog as a beard.
3. Those who say they're lonely and searching for alien friends.

They try to find ways and means that are in line with their real beliefs and connections.

Dr Velvet Thong: I think I get it.. you're talking about a kind of pedophile ring for sadists, a kind of Videodrome torture or snuff filesharing, maybe even streaming thing where consent is not obligatory, that this is the thing they all have in common, and that probably an actual death is a big event, worth investing in.

Velvet: Yes. Maybe if you could imagine that Hazel was hacked and monitored by 3 or more Byron Gogols, none with any remorse, and they're all filesharing the material, and brainstorming how to get her.

And they're human, and even the good hackers or logical thinkers have their insecurities and imbecilities. And sometimes even women can have these sadistic urges. I can remember one of them telling me she'd read every word I'd ever written, when it was clear to me she wasn't a fan, she felt no empathy, and didn't really seem to understand the material.. so I think this was an attempt to intimidate me. She also attempted to shame me for my illness - not a very friend-like behaviour. When she loses her temper, she tends to communicate in irrational, immature and petty ways. Something tells me this occurs with some frequency. I don't think she knows much about computers, though - I think it's her partner who does - she's the dominant who tells her sub what to do.

In their own ways many of these people sort of admitted what they were doing, while feeling safe I'd never be able to prove it. (It goes so deep in me, empathy, that if the power imbalance were suddenly reversed, and this whole thing went viral, I'd start seeing the poor little sadists with nowhere to go and no one to talk to when they were discovering their inclinations, and nowhere to turn for support when the whole world turned against them).

They can only do it because compared to me, and people like me, they have underdeveloped empathy and Theory of Mind, and a strong sense of entitlement. They identify as sadists, and this includes dominant females, whereas the less dominant or skilled are probably under coercive control or are unwitting beards. If I have praised certain people in the past and now seem inconsistent because I am changing my story, it's because I didn't know at the time that I had been groomed as a beard.

[Back to AP US: in my case, the grooming process was a kind of bombardment from many angles, and I 'learned' what responses were likely to be rewarded. For a depressed and isolated individual, to be found sexually desirable is a big motivation, and you learn what fantasies get the biggest rewards. You also have a person who will respond very fast - even after years since last contact. With the suicidal, a common theme is that they feel everyone abandons them - but this person never will. Maybe it really was altruistic? Over time, I realized that this person never really seemed to listen to me, or understand what I was saying - every time I tried to break out of the original training, I was bulldozed. I ended up feeling he never cared about my well-being at all - that it was all just 'feed my fetish', or be a good beard now. Once, after not talking for years, he got right into it, no preliminaries, nothing, something like: let's slice off your nipples and fry them in a pan and then I'll stab you in all your holes, and I was like I told you a long time ago I'm not into all that and he bulldozes me, tries to make it out that I didn't really say it loud enough. This is what we're dealing with, people, but all his followers think this kind of conversation is totally normal.

File-sharing, sadistic hackers with a lot of skills, and who are highly organized, and in some cases able to build a religion or belief system to protect their real activities, and keep acquiring new followers. It's easy to shift things onto me, because it's easy to make women out to be privileged and spoiled. What right do any of us have to privacy? Isn't that just something the rich and middleclass have, a luxury that helps them keep their wealth? But these groups are not about transparency for all, or social justice, in any way. They know they're sadists, and in some cases actually self-identify as evil, sometimes even have religious beliefs to support the way they channel ancient energies into ritual. They're not sharing any of their knowledge or resources with their victims. It's a massive power imbalance, they know they're raping me, they know it's causing me harm, because I've told them, and they won't stop.

Of course I know I'll be dismissed as a paranoid delusional with conspiracy theories, or someone grandiose that thinks it makes her look sexy to have been part of an internet suicide cult, but what if I actually do turn out to be one of the people who's had contact with the Adrians of the world who inspired Kiss Me First, or Chatroom? What if, like Sawyer of Unsane I fight like fuck and prevail, but in the end I'll always be jumpy and unlikely to trust mental health professionals?

And if for years, all of this has felt real to me, but even the people who've known me don't really know what I'm on about or believe me? Or, if the best they can do is say I believe you believe you've been through something difficult or harrowing. It doesn't feel comforting, even though I do know how to meditate.

They are organized enough that they will always be up on the current laws and try to stay ahead of them, and they will have contingency plans and backups for how to deal with any evidence. I think what people don't realize is that really smart people can be sadists, and there aren't a lot of mainstream outlets, so they have to get crafty. And the other thing is choice of victim. I mean, look at me, I'm a wreck, and don't exactly make for a credible witness. And I am massively outnumbered or overpowered by those with more resources and knowledge and connections.

Ack I'm making associations it's best not to.. like how at the end of the book, when women leave the colony, it seems likely the men will just take up with the women of neighbouring colonies, and will be welcome, as a solution to all the inbreeding issues. Ack, focus, stay with the hope, the dream. O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted!

I can't even get a prescription for Valium, when I think my impossible life situation is one of those things which should warrant it. But even if I could leave the house (!) Australia's too afraid of turning into America, so over here, everyone's undermedicated for their pain, and told to go meditate, and to be entirely truthful I think it's more about prejudice than wanting to prevent addiction and ODs, and they just find other shady ways of making money, like fleecing old people of their life savings and making them live in fear, while undermedicating them for their pain and anxiety.

And if you could comprehend what it takes to sit at the computer feeling my every word and action scrutinized, all against one, you'd know I'm at least somewhat brave.

Ugh, I just cannot resist, can I? If I have even a little bite, I risk bringing another powerful group down on my head. I seem to piss off everyone, and it can start with families, such that even people who never lose their cool feel justified going all action hero on my ass. And still I can't seem to stop, so I guess that makes me look insane. Alright, I'll keep on with my defence, I'll try to stay consistent, at least in that.

And what happens when the enormity of this story finally breaks? I'll tell you what. People's Need To Know is going to push me over the edge, like it did Mercer in The Circle. So that's what I have to look forward to, even if I'm validated at last.

That said.. Another book/movie combo to discuss.. In the book version of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances already has a life partner, and they spend years researching and preparing before they move. In the movie version, it's completely different. Frances is going through a bad divorce, and although depressed, tries to remain open to the universe, and the possibility of love, and the universe comes through.

This movie doesn't make me angry, because I think it is coming from a place I relate to. After all this time, I think I still sort of have something in common with Frances: there's a point where she argues on behalf of two young lovers. She says that although she looked for it and didn't find true connection, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist (I'm paraphrasing).

Dr Velvet Thong: I'd like to discuss possible parts of the vetting process you've referred to a few times.

Something I see is that if someone says: hey, did you ever consider that life is just a videogame, and the way to advance to the next level or to solve things in the most logical way, you have to kill yourself?

..a person's responses might give some idea about their beliefs and inclinations. For example, some might say there's a whole lot of other fuckers I want to kill first.

And if the concept of downloading brains or filesharing brains is introduced, it might offer some insight into how the person feels about hacking, and how much they are beginning to trust you.

Dr Velvet Thong: And from what you've been telling me, it seems that 'Adrian Palmer' might have had some other patterns, related to gathering consent after the fact. Buying a gift, putting the person in the position of having to offer an address, when he already knows the address.

People might think he's more conscientious and trustworthy than he is.

Velvet: I think also it seems to be a thing that even when a man doesn't want you, he doesn't want you to get away. I've seen some bring up the valid point that if you were ever close, why should someone ever disappear from your life forever, isn't that a kind of crime, and they tell you about the pain of not being able to have contact with special people from their lives.. but I think it is less about abandonment and attachment than it is about control and anger, and I think this can possibly lead to a feeling of entitlement to hack, or attempt to hack. When I've tried to break out of these situations, I never get the feeling the person cares about what is right for me, personally, they don't care about my mental health or future, and a lot of them need to take parting shots at me, to take me down a peg. And it might account for my feeling that the hacking is a form of revenge. Another open-minded woman who wants to explore her sexuality, and her life becomes an updated take on Looking For Mr Goodbar, without the harmful gender identity stereotyping.

Dr Velvet Thong: We sort of need to rein things in and make sure we're not accusing everyone, or anyone. All of this is about what could possibly be the case, not what can be proved.

But, it is valid that if you have been hacked, stalked, harassed, you might be extra sensitive to it, and part of what's difficult is not having proof or validation regarding the actual details and extent of it. Not knowing puts one permanently on guard, in flight or fight.

Velvet: The thing is, if I was eventually validated, and people felt bad for feeling or expressing prejudice regarding me in the past, they should know I'd forgive them. They don't have to carry that burden. I don't need them to. And please understand that trying to approach me in person might Mercer me.

Give me time to process. I'll be back.

Well I went to school in Olympia and I eventually learned how not to fuck the same.