Dangerous Compassions

nipple check

“Is this clothes ok?” I asked Ming.  Yes, my syntax can be idiosyncratic.  It was a nipple check.

He looked at me.  He was standing in the doorway of our bedroom, getting dressed himself.

“Yeah, looks great,” he said.

“Can you see my nipples?” I asked.  The shirt is sheer.  I might have worn it with a bra long ago.  But I don’t wear bras anymore.

“No?” Ming said, evaluating.

“You’re allowed to see the nipple shape.  For some reason, culture decided the shape is ok.  Seeing the color isn’t.  So can you see the color?” I asked.

“No,” he said.  “Weird.”

“Ok–good.  Thank you,” I said, comforted that I could go out in those clothes.


“Yeah, it’s weird,” I added.  “Kinda like culture decided you could hear people having sex in movies, but not see them.”

Also culture decided you can eat the foods of other cultures, but not wear their clothes.  The clothes are appropriation.  Not sure who makes up the rules–the rules tend to prioritize the visual.  The taboo thing is about being seen.  I guess you could be seen eating too.

Recently a housemate was mentioning a book he “listened to on audiobook, not read.”  I think it was by Octavia Butler.  Some people think reading with your ears is inferior to reading with your eyes, to the point that audiobooks don’t count.

Feels dismissive to blind people.  All bodies are valid bodies, and all senses matter.  Yes, it feels different to read with your ears.  Still real.


I knew full well that if the sun was shining on me, my nipple color might be visible through the sheer shirt.  So really, Ming’s nipple check was just a first step.  But I can only worry so much about being appropriate.  It feels exhausting, like red tape.

How much energy do you dedicate to being appropriate?  Sometimes it feels like a slog.  Maybe because of autism, being appropriate doesn’t come naturally to me.  So much work!

Yes, sunshine changes things.  When we gratitude journal, Ming is grateful for the sun just about every time.  There’s a reason for that.

I want to hug in the sun.  I want a gentle shine on me, and to feel safe in the warmth.


Now it’s almost solstice.  We are about to hit the peak of sunshine light.  Yesterday I went to bed at 9-something, and it was daylight.  I’ve never lived at this latitude for summer solstice.

Yesterday I visited the eye doctor–they dilated my eyes.  I’m fine.  Afterward it took hours for me to recover.  The light felt wrong all day.  This cherry tootsie roll pop was my treat in the car.

fat person in orange tank top eats a red lollipop

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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