Well, actually we're feeling exhausted, since burning_ground has come over from out of state and we've spent as much time playing Warmachine as sleeping in the past 48 hours. Plus nervousness and stress because we don't do the social thing all that often. ^^;
Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures of the games. We think you've all seen most of the miniatures used, though, if you've been following our WIP tag. We're going out to museums tomorrow with mom and rev_yurodivy, at any rate, and have asked Cortana to remind us to start taking pictures once we get into town.
Also, we changed our journal's theme. What do you all think?
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Content note: Enforcing of gender roles, lack of respect for others' identities.
After going to the psychiatrist the other day, we and rev_yurodivy went to the local games store to play Warmahordes. I still haven't finished painting my models, but I cut out a bunch of counters and cards so that we can play games using proxies for the models in the other starter box sets. Also things like blast and spray templates. (This was a lot of work, and I'm very proud of the results.)
( Read more... )
And now that we're feeling a little better, aside from having ground our teeth all last night ...
I think what's more egregious than the fact that my parents of origin stalked my blog, said absolutely nothing for possibly years, and did nothing to make up for the damage they'd caused or otherwise intervene in my life until finally doing so in the most ham-handed and destructive way possible the other day ...
Is the fact that they didn't just call a suicide hotline to have the police intervene, but that they did it three times in a row. In the same day.
Thank goddess rev_yurodivy deflected them, for most of the times after the first. At least one of which was while I was trying to sleep.
I have to ask (rhetorically, since I don't actually want to talk to them), wtf prompted them to do that? I mean, I know they did it the first time because they have no empathy and no comprehension of the damage they've done to me, and so instead of actually addressing the issues I've brought up (to them directly and here on DW) they've tried to use blunt force methods to "fix" me. Like this, and like the time one of my brothers bullied me until I snapped and attacked my hoarder mom's innocent cardboard boxes, and her response was to get me Mormon therapy so I would learn to live with his bullying.
(Which, the therapist and I actually ended up discussing ways to get me to stop touching myself instead, and he's the one who asked me to describe my sexual fantasies to him in detail. Thankfully, I declined.)
But the second and third times? Seriously?
What even gave them any indication that I was in danger, those times? Was it that I deleted my Dreamwidth? The message I left there was "Dreamwidth is no longer safe," which I wrote because at the time I thought someone I trusted here had done this to me. How does leaving an unsafe situation somehow equal self-destructive behaviour?
Oh wait. These are Mormons we're talking about. Never mind! Mystery solved, carry on folks.
At one point I was GMing a game of Demon: the Fallen that took place in an AU where the Confederates won the Civil War (at Yuro's suggestion), and Yuro and Alias were trying to talk to this Christian homeschooling lady in a trailer park whose kids got possessed by My Little Pony characters after a failed attempt to summon Cthulhu, and in the front yard was a statue of Robert E. Lee beating up the bear of Communism, with the inscription "BETTER DEAD THAN BEAR."
This isn't a dream I had last night, this is something we actually did. That was an awesome campaign.
Ia Celestia ftaghn!
Yuro brought home a loaf of banana bread when they came back from visiting family of origin over Christmas. We ate a slice a few days ago, and immediately came down with traveler's sickness. >_o Ever since we've felt nauseous, especially in the evenings.
We're trying to take probiotics to help. In the meantime, we're still feeling kind of overwhelmed and having a hard time finding the time to check on Dreamwidth. We try to invest a lot of ourself in reading, writing, and replying, since the people here are important to us. So we paradoxically end up just setting it aside when we don't feel like we have the spoons to manage.
On top of that, it's a lot quicker to get feedback on something if we share it on Skype, partly because we suspect everyone else doesn't check here all that often either.
One thing I think might help in breaking that habit is setting up email posting, especially on our phone. We also still have a dream of writing a Windows Phone app. A few months in, we still love our Lumia 520 -- they're currently $59 on the Microsoft Store, with no contract, and make excellent MP3 players and portable game consoles. Especially with all the exclusive games.
(I think part of the reason we're gushing about them is to make up for telling people to buy Android stuff when it gave us so many problems, and caused frustrations which made living with disability worse.)
Anyway, um ... yeah. We're not ignoring you all, sorry. >_>
Logically they know they're looking at a person in a costume, unless they're a small child and still have the capacity to believe in anthropomorphic animals. But they start to act like they're actually dealing with a five-foot-something two-legged [insert species here.] I can't tell you how gratifying that is, especially if it brings a bit of magic into someone's life.
There's a phrase I once heard that seems to describe the way to look at this: "Ha ha, only serious." It means that what you're doing is, at face value, a joke or a game of some kind. But it means a lot more to you deep down, and the fact that the people around you think it's a joke or a game means that they're okay with playing along.
The best part is, no one is being deceived. The fursuiter really is what they appear to be, and the people around them choose to treat them accordingly. In a way that they wouldn't, in this world, if Yuro physically appeared to be an anthro.
(Yuro takes fursuit commissions, BTW.)
Small is beautiful.
Conveniently enough, my roughly 12 square foot closet was about the same size as that space. Once I realized this, I started planning to move in, including finding small items of furniture and planning out how to organize cables.
It's not done yet, but the place looks and feels kind of cozy. I'm not used to having my movement restricted, and I feel a tiny bit claustrophobic ... but I also like how warm and quiet it is in here, and how it has its own door and no one else has to go in and out of it. It feels sort of like a personal den, which is what I wanted all along.
I'll post pictures once it's farther along. In the meantime, I'm considering printing things out to put on the walls. I'm not sure how tacky that is, but I don't really own all that many posters or other decorations. I'm also considering stretching a tension rod across the doorway, and putting a soft blanket or curtain there to make it feel less bare and spartan.
In the end, I may get a Japanese-style futon so that I can sleep in here. >_> We'll see how it goes, and how well my spine adapts. It helps that I'm small enough to stand upright beneath the overhead shelf (5'5" / 165 cm.), and can actually pace in here.
Many thanks to rev_yurodivy and aliaspseudonym for helping with this project. Here's hoping it turns out okay, and wondering if anyone has any suggestions for furnishings or decorations.
Trigger warning for talk of depression, parental abuse, terrible trouble with socializing, and canned sandwiches. Especially the canned sandwiches.
( Read more... )
The main thing I'd like to add is that in the place that our campaign takes place -- a forested valley on the far side of the human lands from the lions -- most of the conflicts mentioned happened long ago and/or someplace else. This is more or less a quiet part of the world, where deities like redsixwings' badger god(dess) can find safe places for their followers. That's not to say that other powers can't encroach or new ones can't arise, though; avia's Church of Flight is one of the many new religions starting, and her character has already become a prophetess for it.
The humans and lions, of course, have much more simplistic views of the religious landscape.
( How so? )
If you're playing in the RPG, feel free to write this stuff into your backstory and/or play someone who works for/with one of them. You're likely to have heard of some of them, either way, plus the info is very detailed and well-written.
They say that coming out shows you who your real friends are. This is the second time now that I've had to ask for help; the first was when I was moving out for the first time, and didn't make much from writing and didn't know what I could do. Both times, people came through for me and/or Yuro. That says a lot about you. Thank you.
( Why I have trouble asking for (or believing I'll receive) help )
It hurts so bad when people act out aggression towards me, or when I'm afraid that things will be taken from me. But it helps me feel more confident when I realize that people care about me. Everything seems easier when someone I love is there to help me, whether it's Alias or rev_yurodivy. And knowing that I have a safety net -- from the government, and from my friends -- makes it easier to just enjoy myself and create things.
I'm open to other suggestions for things I can do to get past my blocks. Thank you all again.
Here is an example of a partial they made. It's since had the fuzzy headfur trimmed a bit. They also recently made a fullsuit but haven't posted pictures yet.
I've lived with them for half a year now, and they're very much into this fursuiting thing and have been learning and working extremely fast. This is their passion and obsession. They'll do a good job on whatever you ask for. We're taking donations if anyone wants, but Yuro wants practice as well.
The reason we're asking for this is because we're in trouble.
( Long version )
The upshot of all that is as of a couple days ago, our savings were basically gone, the rent has gone way up, I have to wrack my brain for several articles every day just to keep from falling behind, and if something traumatic happens and I lose even one day things get really bad really fast.
I'm running on a treadmill, I'm getting tired, and there's no one waiting to catch me. And I'm still doing almost all of the cooking and cleaning, because of sensory issues and inexperience on Yuro's part. There are days (like today) when we have to eat cereal and sandwiches because I feel too miserable to cook anything.
They feel rotten and want to help. Besides contributing more with the chores, this is how they can. They're good at this. Let them know what you're interested in.
It's not all bad news
And it's not as dire as it was a few days ago. I'm getting a large bonus this month, and I got an enormous bonus (equivalent to a whole month's pay) for winning an "of the year" kind of award. Apparently, they like my writing.
I can't rely on this happening again, though. All this does is give us some breathing room. Frankly, I don't know what to do. There's noplace significantly cheaper than this that we have the credit rating (or spoons) to move into, or be able to move into on our own. I know I can't make 3x this place's rent anytime soon, especially since they want a whole year's worth of earning info since my writing's unstable. And because it is unstable, I have to save every windfall I get.
I don't even know how I'm going to transition while we're going through this. I don't know if or when I'll be able to at all. I don't have anything to hope for, except that somehow something I make will catch on. And I don't have the energy to make anything. I just want to curl up in a corner and die.
I'm open to other suggestions.
A lot of it probably goes against what you expect. They're an angel of death, and their concept of heaven is one without rulers or hierarchy -- that's part of what makes it heaven, for them, along with a non-euclidean geometry which makes this world (and having a set form) difficult to relate to. They also consider the furry fandom a lot more welcoming than the otherkin community, and are especially dismayed by the identity policing that happens in otherkin.
The impression I've got is that most angelkin think they're God's Space Marines sent here to Smite All The People, so this was a really refreshing take on things, by an author who's being genuine and vulnerable in the process. Did I mention they're also my mate rev_yurodivy? ~.^
Speaking of my mates
aliaspseudonym wrote a really good summary of how he sees himself, too. I think the most important point he makes is that things that are a part of your identity don't have to be literally, or verifiably, true for them to define you. Even before I knew I was otherkin, I realized the power that stories and symbols have to shape how we see ourselves and our worlds, and that they can be -- and usually are -- more true than dispassionate collections of facts.
Atheist skeptics have done a good job fact-checking demagogues, just as otherkin skeptics have helped rein in people who might have become those otherwise. But past a certain point, "skepticism" becomes identity policing and telling others they have to see themselves the way that you see them. And disregard any evidence they see and experiences they have which contradict the "skeptic"'s point of view.
It's things like that which made Yuro afraid to talk about their own experiences for so long. And it's this urgent need some "skeptics" have, to be selectively 100% right about some things and call out people who aren't, which makes them into demagogues themselves.
I'm going to try to talk it out, in order to get through to myself about this and face my fears. If anyone wants to help reassure me, or share techniques to get past this, it'd be appreciated. After aliaspseudonym helped me with some of my earlier fears, though, I feel like a lot of the problem would be solved if I could just do it once and realize that I won't be hurt by it.
Some of the things here may not be because of my upbringing specifically, but may be harder for me because of it.
( Sexuality-related triggers )
( Transition-related triggers )
Can anyone help me with any of these things? Does anyone have any suggestions?