An examination of our armor from the inside out (Trigger warning?)

Possible trigger warning?

We thought it might be a good self-reflection, and even possibly provide some ideas for others, if we tried to put down in a post the things we use as armor. Both our internal, and external security measures. We have attempted to explain them to individuals when asked, but it is tough to just list them off the cuff. This may all seem a bit much to some and we understand that. If you find just one thing you find useful and throw the rest away then it is worth your time. We also understand that some of this may come off as paranoid or extreme but as we try to remind ourselves daily, we are all here with different pasts and experiences. These are the things that work for us. This is our OPSEC

Internal Measures: This can encompass virtually anything but here are a few highlights. Opsec includes shutting down emotion, as it can be seen by others as a weakness. We have identified only 3 useful emotions, the rest are clutter at best and dangerous at their worse. Being aware of the room or space. Calculating egress points and positioning yourself for the best defense or escape route. Sitting with your back to the wall but near enough to block an entryway with your boot. Analyzing and evaluating the threat level of persons present. Always planning your actions to respond to a threat. Remembering to always lock doors at the house or to keep a vehicle locked if you are in it. Remembering to keep curtains closed. Listening intently for any noise that seems out of place and investigating it immediately. Calculating and questioning the words of others and their motivations. Silence is safety and as such thinking twice before responding to others (although we fail at this periodically). Listen to the advice of ipes. Attempt to avoid or remove emotional response from conversation. Pay keen attention to the inflection and meaning of the words of others for appropriate response. Do not engage strangers if it can be avoided. Do not agree to engage in activities off the compound unless they take place in remote places. Limit exposure to uncontrolled areas in general. If you do engage with others, offer as little as possible, if that cannot be avoided double check your anonymity. If there is no way to do those things, if you must engage with persons (like a doctor) tell them as little as possible, but own the space with your presence. Keep those persons off-kilter using your opsec to remain as unapproachable as possible. Short and gruff. Not there to make friends and neither are they. We often use inappropriate humor to keep them off balance when they attempt to get more information than is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Interview and interrogation techniques are on the table at all times. Manipulate the situation to your advantage, and calculate your responses to acquire the information necessary to retain your opsec at all times.

Personal External Measures: We do not leave the property without the following items. Dark or mirrored Sunglasses (to allow you to scan your immediate environment, calculate threats undetected, egress, and maintain the unapproachable image). Personal body armor (for obvious reasons but also because it just feels right. It also keeps people at a distance and keeps those pesky doctors off balance when they see you remove it for an examination). A brimmed hat like a baseball cap etc (the less they can see the better and the less identifiable you are the better). Chelsea our service dog (not only does she help us scan for threats and identify episodes, she creates space, always standing between us and anyone else, as part of her job). Our appearance is also an opsec measure. The beard, the tattoos, the scars, the bald head, these things say to others that we are not someone to casually approach and say hello to. On the flip side, they say to others who understand what those markings are, that we are one of you and those people are the only ones we want to engage with anyway. Win-win. There are other items things that we will not mention here for opsec reasons but they are a 13+1 force multipliers. Some things you keep close to the vest.

Greater External Measures: Our remote location limits our exposure to others and other communities in general. The fence is an opsec measure as are the cameras that cover the grounds recording 24/7. The dogs provide audio cues and we encourage them to alert to unknown or unidentified presence. Our cabin sits on what you might call the back 40. It is furthest from the road and a person must first park at the motorpool area, cross the front property, pass the big house, and take the path to our cabin. This allows us ample opportunity for the dogs, the cameras, and the motion lights to alert us. We recently purchased barriers for the building windows that provide a one-way mirror effect that is most effective, allowing you to see out and no one to see inside a structure. Down in the motor pool our vehicles are always kept topped off and loaded with necessary supplies along with a pioneer kit. They are suitably four wheel equipped for opsec and as a practical measure for our remoteness. We have many overlapping contingencies in place, as is necessary, living up here.

There is so much more, little and big things that we do. We pondered carefully whether or not posting this was in itself an opsec violation. After much time, we examined the anonymity of MS and decided it was worth the risk to us if even one other person could relate to any of it. We understand that it may sound odd, extreme, isolationist, pick your descriptor. We further understand that "experts" will criticize and others will scoff. Having said that, there are things that all of us do, every day, that contribute to our opsec. Those things may not be as obvious, but they serve the same purpose. Your opsec may not include many of these things, they may include others we have not incorporated into our own opsec. One way or the other, we all have our measures in place.

We like to think that we are always learning, what opsec measures do you employ?
 
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Jacob S

Registrant
Mindfulness meditation has been a big help to me in learning how to evaluate how I'm feeling without judging myself.
 
Hi iaccus

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I do some of the same things. I can see where too, as you have trained for OPSEC we are different I do not have the same senses you have. I was never trained like that but I defiantly project an image that not many will approach sunglasses, hat, collar up on my coat not much of me is visible. I am trying hard to leave that part behind not doing well at it. I say hi to people and lots move away. Had a lady almost running to stay away from me on one of my favourite trails. I started to walk faster and she did run. She was running away from my appearance that must be an unapproachable appearance. When she started to run I knew it was me she was nervous about so I backed off. I believe that happens a lot, people move away from me. I have tried to alter my appearance to see if it makes any difference it doesn't so I am not sure how I project this stay away from me but it sure does work.

Take care
Esterio
 
After I grew out my beard and added a "flourish" - Random people will come up to me and ask me about it, asking me about it, men asking for tips, compliments, etc. It actually has helped me on my Healing Journey and my own self-esteem.

My default before this was to hide in my sameness. Somehow the beard made me more approachable!
 
Thank you for acknowledging that there are things you do for your own opsec. perhaps we are not as crazy as we think we are.

Hi iaccus

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I do some of the same things. I can see where too, as you have trained for OPSEC we are different I do not have the same senses you have. I was never trained like that but I defiantly project an image that not many will approach sunglasses, hat, collar up on my coat not much of me is visible. I am trying hard to leave that part behind not doing well at it. I say hi to people and lots move away. Had a lady almost running to stay away from me on one of my favourite trails. I started to walk faster and she did run. She was running away from my appearance that must be an unapproachable appearance. When she started to run I knew it was me she was nervous about so I backed off. I believe that happens a lot, people move away from me. I have tried to alter my appearance to see if it makes any difference it doesn't so I am not sure how I project this stay away from me but it sure does work.

Take care
Esterio
 
Interesting sir.

After I grew out my beard and added a "flourish" - Random people will come up to me and ask me about it, asking me about it, men asking for tips, compliments, etc. It actually has helped me on my Healing Journey and my own self-esteem.

My default before this was to hide in my sameness. Somehow the beard made me more approachable!
 
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