Being a Jerk #3 – Trigger Warnings

NOTE: This is the third of three articles I wrote about things that bother me in both online and “real life” interactions I have with others. Since my views are often contrary to the PC rules of the social circles I frequent, I decided to vent out in my own corner of the Web. Read it, comment it, critique it if you want but be warned: I don’t give a fuck about your opinion about me. Enjoy.

One of the things that really, really pisses me off in both online and real life interactions with people is the use of stupid “trigger warnings”. Honestly, I understand the concept that certain contents or situations can make people relive traumatic events in their lives – at one point or another, all of us had experienced a traumatic event in our lives -, but what some people in the USA call “trauma” is life. Nothing else. For these people, the simple mention of certain words or phrases can “trigger” self-mutilation, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. The situation has gone to the extent that now, college professors are being required to place “trigger warnings” on their courses’ descriptions due to possible offensive topics or even text passages in books used in class.

I have to admit I come from a different culture and a different time. I grew up during the Ancient Age known as the 1980’s, when cell phones did not exist, the Internet was the domain of a handful of people connecting through Compuserve, and when participating in any sport activity required winners and losers. During those ancient times, content warnings were limited to three things: descriptions of sexual abuse, graphic pictures of mutilated bodies, and news clips of people dying while the cameras were rolling. Still, the content was shown after the warning and the topic was discussed. I remember watching Karl Wallenda dying on live TV (1978), photos of the burnt corpse of TV presenter Luis Vigoreaux (1983), and the DuPont Plaza fire newscast (1986). All these events were graphic, but still they were discussed after a brief warning by the newscasters. BTW, there were no warnings on written material. One newspaper (El Vocero de Puerto Rico) was super famous during that time for the big, bold red headlines and the detailed black and white photos of dead people on the cover.

But of course our views are being changed after the internets became omnipresent. Bloggers became  common and feminists were part of the new citizen class of bloggers. They revived the issue of warning about sexual content and with the advent of social media (specially Tumblr), the concepts of “safe spaces” and the use of  “trigger warnings” has spread. Now in 2015, the web denizens had pushed the limits of “triggers” to ridiculous levels. Just to see an example of what are considered “common” triggers, just go to this tumblr page. Fuck, even holes can be a source of anxiety on this society!

Holes, seriously? Since when US Americans became such a wimpy bunch?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that according to studies, this is a nation of mentally ill people. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 25% of Americans suffer some sort of mental illness – we are talking about depression, phobias, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia – and about 50% will suffer some sort of mental illness during their adult life. Statistics from other government and clinical sources like the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) agree in the 20% general population estimate. Basically, the people in the USA – and according to statistics mostly White people – are nuts.

Why are they nuts? The answer beats me… After all I am not a medical researcher – I just fuck sex toys as a hobby. But I do have an idea of why this happens: Because US Americans like to avoid pain at all costs.

That is why we don’t allow our children to walk barefoot on the grass anymore, or why we create “safe places” to avoid possible child molesters, or why we “child proof” our houses to avoid kids getting hurt with tables or figurines. That is why we give participation trophies to the losing team and even stopped limiting the number of lives of our video game characters. We do not want our children to suffer growing pains and that is why now, when these children born during the 1990’s and beyond are becoming young adults they cannot handle real life.

In Latin America, life is tough. We expect it to be tough, specially when you come from the lower levels of society. What many US Americans consider “traumatic” like being harassed by law enforcement officials, being discriminated because of your skin color, having fingers pointed at you because of the way you look, having mall security shadowing you because you “look suspicious”, and many, many other “microaggressions” are simply our daily lives. And dealing with them had made many of us stronger.

Life does not carry trigger warnings. You don’t notice the shit hitting the fan – you realized it when you and everything around you is covered in shit. Sometimes, you realize  you were covered in shit years after the event…

Personally, I consider real traumatic experiences opportunities to grow. Yes, that’s the way I see it, and by the way, I consider the following as examples of REAL traumatic events:

  • Homicide witness.
  • Violent crime victim (assault, mugging, stabbing, physical abuse, etc.)
  • Suicide witness
  • Being raped. I’m talking about the forced sexual attack type, not the “yes means yes” or statutory rape types.
  • War (Either as a soldier or as a civilian)

I consider those REAL traumatic events because they leave permanent scars – both physical and mental. And I know how bad they are to deal with because  – with the exception of war –  I had experienced them in my 40 something years of air-breathing addiction.

I experienced violence since a young age.

Imagine growing up a fat, nerdy kid in the 1980’s in a poor section of San Juan,Puerto Rico. Being a nerd / geek was not cool at all, and being the

Nobody likes to be beaten by a Little Buddha.

fat kid of the block did  not help. Since I was 6, I was bullied in school and by neighbors. And I am talking about the physical type of bullying, with an older kid punching you to get your money or a group of kids your age beating the shit out of you because they could. Talking to adults would not stop the bullying, in fact it made it worst. The only solution was to fight fire with fire. So I learned to fight – the dirty, nasty type of fight that makes you earn respect with capital letters in the barrio.

As a pre-teen (12-15 years), the schoolyard fights took a different color and knives got into the mix. By the time I was 15, I already had a couple of minor cuts easily disguised as playground rough play. After one of those fights, a kid whose nose insisted in hitting by fists introduced a 9 mm gun in the mix. I got shot a few days after my 15th birthday – and I decided to change my ways. My relationship with violence changed at that time because I discovered other interests rather than hanging out on the neighborhood basketball court.

After that, the only violence I had experienced has been as the victim of muggers. I had been robbed at gun point or threatened with a knife enough times to know I should always carry at least $40 with me: $20 inside the wallet, so the junkie at least has enough to buy his dose and a spare $20 in a separate pocket to eat something or get back home. Trauma becomes knowledge.

I was (technically) raped

Oh, the memories!

I had sex for the first time when I was 14 years old. As many other Latino boys of the 1980’s, we had two options to have our first taste of sexual bliss – either we went to a whorehouse and pay a pro to “make us a man” or we found a willing female neighbor to fumble with her and cum awkwardly for the first time without using our hands. In my case, I did the nasty for the first time with my neighbor from across the street. It was weird as anyone’s first time, but there was a catch… she was 20.

Technically speaking, I was raped. After all, she was an adult and I was still a minor. If that happened today, she would be categorized as a sexual predator because she took the initiative of giving me an erection, sucking my cock, swallowing my cum, then getting on top (cowgirl style) to get my penis inside her vagina and moving for a total of 5 minutes to make me cum inside her. If the situation was reversed even back then (mid 1980’s), I would had been considered a rapist, I would have gone to jail and there I would had being raped by a few inmates. Thankfully, I was the minor and I kept my mouth shot – so I could hit that pussy later!

Was the rape traumatic to me? I would say no. I was already a horny kid well before that, masturbating regularly since I was 11. At 14 I was jerking off three times daily (at least) with any lingerie, swimsuit, or leotard advertisement and catalog I could find. I loved Christmas season because my parents would pickup the catalogs from Sears, JC Penney, and Spiegel, giving me at least 6 months of new material for my jerk off sessions. The outcome of this traumatic event? I was raped by this woman (and her sister) about four or five times in two years. Every time I kept my mouth shut because I wanted more… Although I never got to fuck her in the ass.

I have witnessed both suicides and homicides

During my life I had witnessed a couple of homicides – people fighting with knives or machetes, getting shot on the street, or dying after being brutally beaten with a baseball bat or a steel pipe. Unfortunately, those sights are pretty common in low income areas both in Latin America and in the United States. Every day I walk around the area I live in The Bronx (not as rundown as people think) and I see young men and women with the shirts custom made to remember a friend or relative who died too soon thanks to a bullet or a knife wound. That is the sad reality of low and lower-middle class minorities in this country.

I also witnessed the suicide of a close friend in college when he could not manage the pressure in engineering school. We were the darkest people in our courses and unlike me, he grew up in a higher class setting where he had been sheltered from failure and pain by his family. When he had to face life by himself he could not deal with it. One day he forced his access to the roof of the tallest building in campus and jumped. I saw him jumping from a neighboring building but did not know it was him until I helped to identify the body to campus police. We were 21.

As you can see, I had experienced a few tough events in my life – some of them considered “triggers” by the college kids and the feminists populating the internets. I am a mid 40’s, Afro Caribbean, Puerto Rican immigrant that has gone and still go through a fuck-ton of shit on a daily basis. Most of them are what you wimpy fuckers call “microaggressions”, I call them LIFE. I experience LIFE, making the point to use each and every one of these experiences as a learning tool. So far, I survived each and every one, making myself better, wiser, and stronger every year. I believe that is called growing up… And I am not the only one thinking like that!

BTW: Chloe, you should post a trigger warning on that video… Beautiful young women showing me their nipples trigger erections I have then to attend. Don’t worry, I forgive you because you did not know that…

NOTE: I almost forgot…

Trigger Warning: This post contains possible behavioral triggers such as language, nudity, cursing, rape, cultural differences, misogyny, holes, phobias, stupidity, breasts, exposed nipples, racism, sexism, feminist bashing, insulting, violence, homicide, suicide, references to penises, white privilege, machismo, knives, machetes, guns, semen, oral sex, pedophilia, sexual predator, fat shaming, micro-aggressions, scatological substances, corporal fluids, common sense, pain, blue balls, masturbation, catalog destroying, political discussion, socio-economic references, racial profiling, consumerist bullshit, Internet history, interracial sexual innuendo, kid shaming,  brown-on-brown violence, and lots and lots of fucking sarcasm. I am being a jerk – and I know it!

Mine says “LIFE”…