Dangerous Compassions

content warnings

content warnings

Hello, how are you doing?  I’ve been thinking about content warnings as a way to help people navigate conversations and social connections.


Do you like content warnings?  I find them very helpful.  They help me know what I should / should not engage.  They seem respectful.  They’ve given me a useful heads up, about what I might encounter in media or what I might encounter in a conversation.

Because I’m particular about what I want to let into my consciousness, content warnings can help me maintain my ability to socialize.  They seem good for people like me who are neurodivergent and traumatized.  If I can avoid depictions of certain types of violence and horror, my life is much better.

The reason I need to avoid the depictions is that I’ve lived them.  My needs aren’t based on weakness or selfishly wanting myself centered.  I work hard to heal my trauma, and my whole deal is love.  It’s just that I have so much trauma, I will be working my whole life and probably still in the middle.

I care for myself all day, in countless way.  Yet I remain harmed by things that I’ve experienced and witnessed throughout my life.  Like all people, I’m unique.  My needs are unique also.

I give a lot.  It’s ok to ask for a few things also.  I ask for content warnings.


I’ve lived in community with folks who would not limit graphic depictions.  I was told it was too much, for those in power of that community to track my needs.  The idea was that my needs are too much, and too much to remember.  The community member in power told me that she couldn’t track the needs of all of us, so she wouldn’t track the needs of any of us.

Of course, her own needs were appropriate and fine.  In any group with lopsided power relations, the persons in power choose whose needs matter.  I hope I will never again live with people who believe I’m too much and my disabilities make me less valuable.

We’re all free to choose what we will and won’t do for one another, in all our relationships.  Consent is wonderful.  But being in community with people who considered my needs too much, meant I needed to engage the community much less.

So I pulled away from that community, taking a break from participating in meetings.  I was blamed / shamed for setting those boundaries also.  Taking a break to take care of myself by withdrawing wasn’t punishing anyone.  It was a way to care for myself, since no one else would.  Even that was considered too much.

content warnings for other people

I like using content warnings for other people because I love consent.  The needs of others matter to me and are worth prioritizing.  I don’t want to deeply disturb vulnerable people who might not have signed up for that.

It’s true that we all can be disturbed by vastly different things.  But some broad categories of squick are common.  And a warning is just a warning.  I can choose many a response.

  • disengage
  • proceed with caution
  • ask for help
  • take a break
  • ask for more info
  • weigh consequences of stepping away
  • turn the volume way down
  • find a summary instead
  • ask less-sensitive spouse Ming to read / hear / view the material and give me his thoughts
seeing reality

I’ve been working on this post for some days.  I find this sentence randomly? stuck in here.

White people have the opportunity to help other white people see reality.

Not sure how, but maybe it belongs here.  It has to do with power, which I think about a lot.  White people are often the ones in groups who decide whose needs matter.  And I move through the world with white privilege.  So maybe white people will listen to me if I say this.

Caring about the people you’ve signed up to care for is not one thing or two things.  It’s a big undertaking.  And if you can’t do it respectfully, please change how you rule.  Please learn.

  • diversify
  • delegate
  • ask for help
  • step back
  • educate yourself about basic justice ideas
  • ask questions
  • read books by people of color, queer people, disabled people, mixed people, fat people, people of religions other than your own
  • admit your mistakes, rather than attacking someone for naming a mistake
  • do better

Crushing disabled people like me and calling us too much, for asking for a crumb of consideration, is huge harm that might stay with us for a long time.  Just like respect and love can cause healing that reverberates out, disrespect causes harm that can reverberate out.  It’s bad for the world.

thank you

Thank you for considering these ideas, along for the ride.  I see myself riding / writing the motorcycle of this blog, and you in the sidecar, sweet reader.  Thank you for being here and counterbalancing my great weight.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “content warnings”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *