Abstinence-Only Education Criticism | Part 2

Due to recent events, here is a part 2 to my earlier post on abstinence “treatment”. Slightly more personal this time.

Eating Disorders

Reddit just banned /r/ProED and /r/ProEDmemes. I’m not sure what to say, other than that it sucks.

I’ve never had an eating disorder. I’ve flirted with it and my eating has never been healthy, but it has never interfered with my day-to-day functioning.

I liked ProEDmemes. Many posts were relatable, and the community has helped me through some dark spots. The people were lovely and caring, it was a place to relate and to vent. It wasn’t a place where eating disorders were encouraged, but one where eating disorders were accepted and everyone could work it out on their own pace, sharing and receiving help along the way.

Reddit is really convenient. You can easily participate in many different communities at once, so any single community can survive even when little fresh content gets posted. But for vulnerable communities, it doesn’t work so well.

I miss the old internet. I miss the old focal points.

What am I feeling

What do normal humans look like? Have my arms always looked this out of place? Are my arms too long or too short? Too wide or too narrow? They are wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger on what part is wrong.

My face looks off. All its parts have the wrong shape, size and location. My head looks fake and silly, not like heads are supposed to look.

Proprioception is bothering me. It constantly makes me aware of where my left leg is, even when I’m trying to concentrate on things that have nothing to do with anyone’s left leg. What’s up with that? Why a leg, why only the left one?

I want loud music, I want to stand outside in the cold, I want physical sensations. Anything to stop the goddamn noise.

I press my tongue against my teeth. Have my teeth always been there? They feel too widely spaced and too narrowly. They are too close to the centre of my jaw. My teeth don’t fit in my mouth and they definitely shouldn’t be where they are now. I want to grab a hammer and smash them from my skull.

Has my hair always looked this ridiculous?

All proprioception is too present right now, all over my body. My ears are bombarding my brain even though the world is quiet. My eyes are doing something equivalent that I can’t describe. My skin is crawling, itching to be cut. I wish my senses could turn off for an hour; I want some rest.

Everything about my body is deformed and in the wrong place and feels like it doesn’t belong.

Isn’t it strange that depression dampens your colour vision while also heightening proprioception? Because hypomania increases both and depression should be the opposite of hypomania.

I feel like a stranger in my own body. Maybe I would feel like a stranger in any body.

Interview with Beth ​

I have had the opportunity to interview the delightful Beth . Without further ado, the transcript.

Beth: Thank you for being here Beth. First off, what’s with the name?

Also Beth: It’s a pleasure to be here. The name is an in-joke with myself. Back when I got my first name changed, I had the amazing idea of changing my legal name to ☃ (the Unicode Snowman U+2603), while informally using my normal actual name. The little snowman was my favourite Unicode character when I was little, way back before it became the proper emoji is it today. Back then, the internet was still much younger, and my fave website back then was ☃.net, which was based on Punycode for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). Modern browsers don’t display the snowman anymore in the location bar, something to do with phishing.

But alas, the cleric did not accept that as a valid first name, so I went with a more conventional name instead. But the urge stayed, so when I needed a last name for my new internet pseudonym, it was only reasonable to choose , also pronounced zero-width space. But we’re friends, you can call me Beth Zero.

Why do you write under a pseudonym?

Let us look at the payoff matrix:

Pseudonym No Pseudonym
My writing is good People listen to me (+100) People listen to me (+100)
My writing is terrible Nobody will read this blog (-0) People IRL will know how bad my blog posts are (-100)

Considering the payoffs, this is an easy choice really.

Why did you start a blog?

Again, the payoff matrix is clear:

Blog No Blog
My writing is good People listen to me (+100) Nobody will read my writings (+0)
My writing is terrible Nobody will read my writings (-0) Nobody will read my writings (-0)

We can algorithmically calculate the optimal strategy in this game: create a blog.

So far for rationalisations and such fairy tales. The real reason is that I got inspired by the post Blogging is most certainly not dead on the ever amazing blog kottke.org.

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.

Blogging is a nice form of self-expression, and practising to be a better writer is always a good idea.

About the tagline: do you hope to one day make sense of the world for yourself, or to write in a way that makes sense to others?


Thank you for your time, this interview was great.