jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

PlayStation Home is closing down next week.

It was like Second Life, but with long loading times for managing your inventory. It ran only on the PS3. It was funded by microtransactions, both directly to Sony and from their cut of third-party developers' takes. Players could choose their wardrobes and decorate their homes and clubhouses, but could not create items or spaces themselves.

Final Fantasy XI is ending its content updates late this year.

It was an early-2000's era MMO, with far more haters than fans. The Final Fantasy name inspired a number of people to try it out, while its punishing mechanics and near-complete lack of in-game directions left most of those people disappointed. Those who toughed it out were rewarded with stories and cutscenes which were sometimes incomprehensible, but always breathtaking and epic ... just like in most Final Fantasy games.

These games were my homes.

FFXI got us through the worst years of our family of origin's abuse, and helped us find the self-confidence to take on a leadership role. Home came installed on a PlayStation 3 we received as a gift, soon after coming out as transgender, and it was one of our biggest lifelines. We were too scared to go outside, but we could log on and feel like we were actually with other people. And explore spaces we never could otherwise.

We tried to log in to Home tonight. It hurt too much, to see the place all but abandoned. I think it hurts more than it normally would, because of all the other people and things that we've lost in just the past few years. Just this month, someone we care about deeply and used to be able to call family told us to GTFO, apparently because our religious beliefs are now unacceptable to them.

Nearly everything that we've known in our life has basically died in a fire, and sometimes we feel like we died along with them. Sometimes, all we can do is sit here paralyzed and wish that someone would come back. Or that we hadn't driven them off, or that we hadn't been unable to be around them, or even just that we knew why they had gone.

Either way, we're sorry. And we hurt a lot, sometimes. Like right now.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

It's a great name for a metal band. And they are, in fact, metal.

A photo of four metal miniatures of winged female characters, from the Warmachine miniatures game. In the background are indistinct metal pieces and black tools.

Aurora's the one with the bigger wings, on the left.

These are some of the Convergence of Cyriss models I've been putting together for [personal profile] burning_ground. In the background, you can see some of the pieces for the other squad of Clockwork Angels I still need to work on, along with some of the tools that I'm using to work on them (and a mechanical pencil that snuck in there somehow).

These models have been unusually difficult (even demoralizing) to clean and assemble, with spiky bits going every which way and incredibly tiny surface areas to glue together. I think we're learning from this project, though. For instance: It seemed like using more glue would make two parts stick together more securely, but it actually just seems to make them take longer to dry.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is how my day went

Today I went to the clinic, and talked over my lab results with the endocrinologist. She decided to increase my estrogen prescription, so that I can look and feel more feminine and complete my transition more quickly. The trip went pretty well, and on the way there I stopped at my favourite coffee shop downtown, and got a cup of iced hazelnut coffee and a chocolate chip scone to go.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way back to get things for [personal profile] rev_yurodivy, including vegan hot dogs and some hard cranberry lemonade, since they are working hard on a project and asked for something sweet that has alcohol in it to help destress.

Once I got home, I unwound by going online, checking art sites like DA for updates and peeking in on the Mormons and exmormons to see what both groups are up to. I bought more than a half dozen games in the PlayStation Network's flash sale, where they're all being sold for under $1, and spent awhile playing the remake of Flashback. Then I snuggled with [personal profile] aliaspseudonym some, to help reassure it before it goes to an unfamiliar venue early tomorrow for a Magic: the Gathering set prerelease. Now I'm settled into my den, playing Xcom (I've almost platinumed it!) and sipping some of the hard lemonade myself.

This is how I was taught to see it

An unrepentant, coffee-drinking, alcoholic apostate went out on the town, to buy sex hormones and alcohol. After that she had sex with one of her sexual partners, looked up pornography on the Internet, and played violent video games while drinking.

(Transphobia and poverty-shaming mercifully omitted from the above.)

Why I don't see it that way anymore

I was taught that when you rebel or leave the Mormon church, you become "past feeling," in the sense of having gone past something, so that you can no longer feel the Spirit or anything good. You start chasing empty pleasures, to distract you from the void that fills a life you feel deep down is meaningless.

The thing is, that's exactly what I felt like while I was a Mormon. The emotions that ruled my life then were shame, fear, anger, and lust. I was taught that I had to be a certain way, just like everyone else who looked like me. And I was ashamed that I wasn't the perfect Mormon, afraid of my parents' and church leaders' punishment, and angry with myself and with "worldly" society.

I secretly longed to be in a world where my feelings -- like sexual attraction, fascination with bodies, and a desperate wish to have female gender identity -- were okay to have. I had been beaten down so hard with shame and punishment that I let myself explore these longings, locking myself in my room and going online and imagining being the characters in furry and fantasy art. Reading stories of love and friendship and transformation.

It took me awhile to realize it, but while I felt like I'd hit rock bottom I'd really found a lifeline. A window into worlds that I thought were impossible, feelings I never knew I could have, and people -- both fictional characters and their fans and authors -- who were kinder and more understanding than anyone I knew at church.

On some level, I knew this was good. And as time went on, I choose the good over the bad, until there was much less room in my life for the bad, hurtful things I'd been raised with.

Who is really "past feeling?"

Look at the two descriptions of my day above, and ask yourself which one's more honest, more accurate, and more fun to read. It's like the difference between enjoying a zesty stir-fry with rice, and saying "eww, vegetables."

Imagine being raised on nothing but honeyed gruel, and being told that everything else is awful and shameful and dangerous to eat. That's what my Mormon upbringing was like, with regards to the feelings and stories and people in my life today. And the occasional ice-cold beverage.

I can still empathize with Mormons, see the world from their perspective, and even appreciate the frisson that they call "the Spirit," which their music and ads are designed to evoke. But a lot of them can't appreciate anything I go through, and experience unsettling feelings of cognitive dissonance when they see something that contradicts what they've been taught. They're told that this dissonance means that they're losing the Spirit and displeasing God, and they need to stop whatever they're doing immediately.

They are literally trained to be unable to feel or to empathize. And one of the ways they are scared into doing this, is by telling them that if they do they will lose what feelings they have left, and become the people they're most afraid of.

In closing

I don't know what I would have done, if I could see my present self ten years ago.

I do know that I prefer being her. That "gender euphoria," the opposite of dysphoria, is a real thing. And that my real, chosen family and friends are more loving and genuine than those I was forced to be with, growing up.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The people in the faith community I used to be a part of are scared of anything that could lead them to cheat on their spouses. Since they view any and all sexual or romantic activity which does not involve their spouse, including masturbation or flirting, as cheating, this leaves a lot of them emotionally stunted and sexually repressed.

Measures I've seen them take, and publicly recommend, to avoid "cheating" include:

  • Shared social media accounts and/or passwords. (Yes, they're among those who have the "couple" Facebook accounts.)

  • Draconian limits on Internet use.

  • Avoidance of being alone with -- or even close to -- a person of the opposite gender, to the point of employment discrimination so that they won't have to share an office with someone they find attractive.

Jewelfox rants about Mormons' unhealthy, untrusting relationships )

I personally feel that anything which can be destroyed by love, friendship, and emotional closeness, probably should be destroyed. Whether it's a bad religion, a patriarchal society, or just an unhealthy relationship.

If you really love someone, you don't stop loving them just because you (or they) have found someone or something new to love. Whether it's a person, profession, or hobby. And I say this as someone with two autistic partners, who both have intense focus on interests which dominate their lives for months or years at a time.

I don't love them despite that, I love them partly because of it. I love seeing them come alive, with the same excitement we had for each other right when we declared our romantic intent. They're more fun to be around, and more fun to snuggle as well.

I'd have to lock them in boxes to keep them from finding new things to excite them. Sort of like what Mormon spouses are taught to do to each other.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, I went back and edited the Mythic playtest document some, to add in a link to Yamikuronue's deconstruction of This Present Darkness as inspiration for Mythic's example mythos. But then I got caught up in reading said deconstruction, and in the process it occurred to me at one point that the tag cloud in the side bar was kind of funny if you read tags together and out of context:

"Costume Deconstruction"

"Endless Summer enjoying tea"

"gender roles Got Your Number"

"Java Jesus language"

"Mary Sue memories"

"personal poetry politics"

"Steampunk tao"

"Twilight Vampire Ryan wedding"

I don't know about you, but I definitely like a little steampunk in my Tao. Or the other way around.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I've been kind of uncomfortable with Pathfinder and D&D both for different reasons, and started looking for another role-playing game that has the rules for free online and lets you write your own stuff for it.

So far I've found two that look promising: Dungeon World and 13th Age. You can find their respective SRDs, or free online rules documents, here and here.

Both are strongly inspired by Pathfinder and D&D, with stock fantasy adventuring tropes and more or less stock fantasy character options. But the authors went in two different directions with them ... especially with regard to how accessible their games are to newbies. Whether those newbs are players, or fan / professional authors.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

When I was around six to eight years old, my mother of origin told me there were two ways a woman could get pregnant. The usual way, that I knew a few of the terms for from reading children's books about them, and when God just gives her a child.

I decided that when it came time to start a family of my own, I would opt for the second way.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Mythic is a roleplaying game, or a game about taking on the role of a character. The character you play as in Mythic is a creature of legend, from Chinese dragons to Biblical seraphim. You can choose pretty much any kind to play as, and you can make your character's abilities true to historical lore or base them on movie or video game characters.

In order to use your mythical powers, you need to draw on sources of Faith, which can be anything that affirms or is part of your Mythos -- a set of beliefs about how the world works, which all of your powers are based on. A fey creature might commune with a sacred forest, for instance, while a guardian angel draws strength from the prayers of a child. Meanwhile, a woman with "fake" fox ears and a tail might carry a mysterious jewel at all times.

The one thing that all Mythic characters have in common is that they appear to be fully human (or object, or animal). Some of them actually are human, at least some of the time. But whatever you normally look like, through an act of will you can manifest your true nature for a short time, inspiring awe and leaving no doubt as to what you actually are ... at least, to anyone familiar with the stories that make up your mythos. It's up to you what this looks and sounds like, from the infernal heat and damned wailing that heralds a demon's ascent to the shredded clothes and ear-splitting howl of a werewolf's transformation.

While your nature is manifest, you can use your powers without spending faith, and you can draw on an additional reservoir of power to do things no ordinary person can. But the more you draw on it, the worse the consequences are for you and the people around you. You may become a "corrupted" version of yourself, accidentally kill or injure a person you care about, or even break the foundations of reality.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

A black-and-white, stick figure-y comic from Cardboard Crack. The Magic: the Gathering player on the left side of the table asks the one on the other side 'Did you see that the character Alesha was revealed to be transgender?' The other says 'Yeah, I can't stand it! Why can't I just enjoy a fantasy storyline without some political statement?!' The first replies 'People aren't transgender to make a political statement.'
Comic used without permission.

Before I came out as trans, I wrote stories about “becoming your fursona,” or a furry-fied version of your “true self,” which were meant to encourage people who were hurting because who they were was not accepted by the people around them.

When I started writing these stories, I was still Mormon. And as someone who’d just entered the furry community, I was getting to know a lot of LGBT individuals, who honestly didn’t seem any different from the people around them despite what I’d been told. This put me in a quandary: How do I encourage people to be their “true selves" if their “true self” is someone the prophets have said is a pervert? [CN: Homophobia]

I had to choose one or the other.

Some of them, mostly orcs, boasted of their ancestors’ deeds and spoke of their pride in adopting those ancestors’ names. She had been so different—only sixteen, a boy in everyone’s eyes but her own, about to choose and declare her name before the khan and all the Mardu.

The khan had walked among the warriors, hearing the tales of their glorious deeds. One by one, they declared their new war names, and each time, the khan shouted the names for all to hear. Each time, the horde shouted the name as one, shaking the earth.

Then the khan came to Alesha. She stood before him, snakes coiling in the pit of her stomach, and told how she had slain her first dragon. The khan nodded and asked her name.

“Alesha,” she said, as loudly as she could. Just Alesha, her grandmother’s name.

“Alesha!” the khan shouted, without a moment’s pause.

And the whole gathered horde shouted “Alesha!” in reply. The warriors of the Mardu shouted her name.

-- The Truth of Names [CN: Violence]

There are those who would say that I made the wrong choice. But the only reason I had to choose to begin with, the only reason trans people’s existence in person or in stories is a political issue, is because the people who say that are terrible people.

And they are afraid that the people around them are not what they look like.

About us

Furry, fantasy, and fanfiction writer. Miniatures hobbyist, Mi'qote White Mage, 4E DM. Windows gamer, fangirl, and developer. Pronouns she/her, they/their.

Transfemale plurality, otherkin, fictive. Polyamorous pansexual. Proud introvert. Inari worshiper; xenotheist.

We wrote Jewelfox's Otherkin FAQ.

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