So this blog is going to go quiet this month. I’ve been needing a little time to reassess what I’m doing in my creative life, and the beginning of spring seems like the perfect time to step back and meditate.
Another bullet point day:
- Still taking questions.
- Started a fiction project. Will see where it goes. Takes place in the COTG/Terminaburg universe.
- Been experimenting with makeup a lot lately. Y’all saw the pictures.
- Reading more Erikson. He’s got a surprisingly good grasp on humor.
- Lots of comic books. DC Comics: Good? Initial impressions say yes.
- Wild Wild World is really wild. Just a trip from top to bottom.
Sketched out a couple of characters this morning. Haven’t done something like that in a minute, and it felt really good—honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to happen.
Writing fiction has been really tough for the last few months. There was my burnout in October, which led to me taking an unintentional break from writing (that didn’t last for very long, even though I really tried to make this one actually stick).
November was quiet. Didn’t do much actual writing, but I did a lot of journaling and tried to sort out my thoughts on a lot of things.
December was mostly the same as every other December—in a state of reflection over the past year, thinking about what happened, how I processed it, how I’m going to move forward, and what I can do to make that happen. I suffered a lot of stress, anxiety, and depression in 2017, and it only felt more intense and close as the calendar rolled over into 2018. Doki Doki Literature Club didn’t help either, but it’s actually helped more than hurt overall—but that’s for another day.
Things got really heavy in January and February. I was struggling to write, struggling to function in a way that wasn’t just surviving, and struggling to stay positive in a world that didn’t feel like it was going to get better.
I started therapy to help me work through my addictions and compulsive behavior, and unintentionally began a process that would lead me to where I’m at right now.
Which, obviously, I’ll talk about more another day. Maybe not tomorrow, but sometime.
I feel good when I get it out.
When I was younger, I pretended to be a girl sometimes. I would play, have those kinds of imaginary adventures that children who love fantasy and sci-fi have. Giant robots, lightsabers, magical girls, big castles full of pining princesses praying for their prince to rescue them—depending on the day, I could be either one. I could be a robot that wasn’t a boy or a girl, and really took advantage of that design quirk. Clothing could range from big suits of powered armor to an incredibly revealing schoolgirl outfit—not in reality, of course. I could at least get away with playing if people were watching, but clothes? Nope.
And I’d never play in the company of others who I thought would judge me—which, in the mid to late 90’s, meant everyone, even my closest friends and trusted loved ones—this would be a completely solo venture. But in that world, that tiny world that existed in my own head, I could literally be anything, and I never really had a preference beyond overpowered and the center of attention in that particular, fan-fiction-y kind of way.
I was a new Sailor Scout—Saturn! (This was way before I knew there were more, cut me some slack—but looking back, “apocalyptically powerful, emotionally distant, and the wielder of a cool spear” was, um, actually a pretty good guess!)
Or maybe I was a super spy, comfortable in either a tux or a slinky black dress, able to use my wiles on anyone, as good with seduction as I was with a gun or any one of the dozens of gadgets I had on my person. I could move easily between one or the other—whatever was needed to get the job done.
How about an android, without any actual outward gender characteristics? Just a cool robot doing cool robot things.
I could be the pilot of a mech suit or some other powerful transforming machine, hidden in my cockpit, unseen and silent.
A prince or a princess, wishing to be saved or doing the saving.
A powerful wizard; a monster; an ancient heroine; a dimension-hopping, gender-flipping agent sent on a special mission through the multiverse. There was only me, and I could be anyone I desired in this little corner of my imagination.
There wasn’t boy or girl here. There was only Jeff, and Jeff could be whatever he, she, or they wanted. Why did I have to choose anyways?
But all of that had to end sometime.
Puberty set in, and the restrictions of masculinity began to assert themselves, reconstructing my body in a way that removed that ambiguity of childhood. Now I was seen as a boy, with everything that entailed. There was no way I could convince anyone—even myself, by that point—that I was anything but Boy.
So that part of my imagination was closed off, boarded up, cemented shut, and concrete poured over it to build out new parts of identity. Those parts of me were so hidden, it sometimes felt like they never existed in the first place, and I just forgot about it.
Except for those time when I’d see someone, almost always a woman. For a split second, I’d feel a deep, painful, longing. A desire that went beyond being with, a desire to occupy that space in a way that wasn’t lust. A yearning, a wish to exist as feminine.
I’d push it down and go on pretending.
APRIL 2, 2022
BY ANALIA RAINES
The entire city of Terminaburg witnessed visions yesterday afternoon during the appearance of what is being called an extradimensional anomaly.
A “hole in the sky” appeared over the Tondo Tower at approximately 2:15pm. It was suspended in the air, and did not look as if it was part of the sky or cloud cover around Heart. According to reports, the interior of the hole was black, dotted with white—witnesses on the scene remarked that it “looked like space”.
Jane Singal, an executive at Neely, Neely, and Davis, a public relations firm on the upper floors of the tower, remarked, “It was there. I could see right into it. How could I not? It was right outside my office window!”
Sandy Kanden, an astronomer from Terminaburg University, wasn’t as quick to agree with that assessment. “I was there,” she said, “and there’s no way those stars could have been there. I’ve never seen anything like that at this time of year, no matter the time of day.”
If the hole itself is the subject of speculation and discussion, its effect on citizens while it happened and after it occurred is not. At least 100 people reported fainting and blacking out, and others reported a voice speaking loudly in their own heads, enough to cause severe headaches. Others weren’t so lucky, suffering strokes, heart attacks, and aneurysms in the wake of this event.
A Department of Defense spokesperson issued a statement, saying, “We are allotting our full resources to this incident. Rest assured that we will find out how this happened, and we will do our best to ensure that this does not happen again.”
“They’re lying. We’re going to be working on this case, and we’re going to crack it,” Captain Nicodemus Cashew, a detective with the TPD Special Investigations Unit, said in a phone call after the statement. “Some crazy stuff happened, and they’re not going to touch it once they figure out that it wasn’t from Earth.” When asked if he knew any additional details about the case, he said, “Yeah.”
At press time, no new details have been uncovered or shared.
Yesterday, Facebook (blech) did what it does and showed me *memories*. <boratvoice> My wife </boratvoice> and I had been tagged in over one hundred photos together. It gave me a convenient excuse to go through my old pictures and see how I’ve changed in the intervening years, especially after the massive upending of identity I’ve just experienced.
Here’s a photo from 2011:
Very Boy. Nice boy haircut, stubble, no makeup, nothing fancy. Not outwardly a mess, but probably working through a lot of stuff inside, unable to articulate it yet.
And here’s me two nights ago:
Absolute mess. Genderless and loving it. Freshly dyed hair. Full face of Urban Decay products. Forced to take a selfie in the bathroom because that’s where the light was best. Ecstatic to live fully in my own truth for the first time in my life.
It took a long time to get here, but damn it feels good.
I’ve been wondering for a bit about what might be missing from my creative life. Fiction is getting written, but certainly not enough for how much effort I’ve put into it. I’m still fascinated by all of my stories, and I dearly want to expand on them in the hopes of truly sharing them with the world.
But lately, especially after dealing with all of this emotional and gender stuff in March, I have the distinct worry that something might be missing from my life. A creative outlet that really allows me to engage honestly with myself and my emotions.
Maybe it’s time I picked the music thing back up. I’m not totally sure, but maybe switching it up will be good for me in the long run.
Podcasts! I like them, they are good. Here are a few that I listen to regularly, and I especially recommend them to you if you’re interested in learning more, or are curious, about leftist theory and practice.
•Revolutionary Left Radio: Weekly interview show with Bret, discussing one topic or subject with a guest, from a distinctly hard-left perspective.
•Season of the Bitch: Weekly show hosted by and featuring women leftists of all kinds, discussing relevant topics and current events.
•Citations Needed: Reporters Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi take a media topic, reveal the nefarious bullshit behind it, and usually dive a little deeper into it with a guest who has relevant experience.
•Delete Your Account: Another roundtable style show hosted by Kumars Salehi and Roqayah Chamseddine, chatting with guests about different current events, from the political to the pop cultural.
•Struggle Session: Hosted by Leslie Lee III, Jack Allison, and Jonathan Daniel Brown, this is a show that discusses video games, movies, television, and other pop culture through the lens of anti-capitalism.
That’s five. In the future, I’ll discuss some of the hobby-focused podcasts I really dig, and round it out with some of my favorite writing casts.
This year has been non-stop for me. Juggling working with writing, and then adding on all of this extra stress from other stuff–it’s a lot! It almost made me miss my daily post, but even if it’s just a silly and short placeholder, it won’t keep me from providing you with the content you crave.
Unfortunately, it’s not something with a lot of substance. All I can say is that I posted, which I guess is a victory in itself.
First up: I want to do a Q&A in May! Send me any kind of question you want—leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send something, I don’t want to face the ignominy of answering a Q&A tag from a website.
I have three sock monkeys. They are all named Joseph.
There’s a mandolin on my bookshelf that I know how to play in theory, but I fear my fingers are too chubby to play it well.
My reading light is on, and the others have been turned off. It’s how I write. I like the shift in atmosphere that it provides when I sit down to create.
I have an honest to goodness makeup collection now. I need to get more lip color, but I think what I have is a good start—the trick now is actually learning how to use this stuff. My technique is certainly better than it was in 2016, but there’s always more to learn, right?
I am now the owner of a pair of extremely nice boots. Knee-high, no zipper, 100% leather. Little bit of a fight to get them on the first time, but they slid on like a dream the next time. The fact that I was wearing a pair of thigh-highs probably has something to do with that. I took pictures, you won’t see them.
Should I start setting this blog up to publish content seven days a week? I know I have a lot of stuff that would aid in that, even more if I keep it to the weekends. I might experiment with fiction or other things on those days. We’ll see.