juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
The very great catch-up post.

March, 7: Saw the Twilight Sad in concert
at the Doug Fir. Most of the bands I see with Dee are ones I don't much listen to or only listen to live; I have never yet been disappointed by a performance. This is in part because Dee has great taste, and in part because live music is its own energy and sound—and this show was a great example. The energy flow between musicians and audience was joyful and near palpable; the band was so obviously happy to be there, with us, and I felt somewhat responsible for that—a phenomenal experience.

March 8: Made trip to Corvallis
A brief one, as it was right before finals week for Devon. The very first thing that happened as I walked in the door: Devon's mom asked, "oh, how is Mamakitty doing?" and Devon went "WELP it seems I forgot to tell you something." A weird trip, not entirely in a bad way; I missed seeing my sister but did see my parents.

Family Stuff under the cut. )

March 13: Traveled back to Portland, got sick
Started with a tolerable cough; remained a tolerable cough until directly after:

March 21: Saw The Decemberists in concert
I can't remember how many times I've seen them, now. Many! At least four, if you count Meloy's solo show. I occasionally listen to them, but not often; Meloy's twang sounds raw on record. But I adore them live, and this concert was no exception. It was in the Keller Auditorium, which is quite stately, but they still got everyone on their feet. Their concerts are performance art, despite the minimal performance (whale excepted): presence, energy, vivid dark humor, self-awareness, an appetite for the absurd, a proactive engagement with content and audience.

Then was really sick
Polite of it to wait until I had free time to be miserable. Complaining about a cold feels trite, because no one enjoys them. But post-Mama, still unsure how I've recovered; post-travel, which is exhausting even if positive; post-two big, beautiful, but energetic concerts: I'm already bereft of energy and cluttered with unexamined feelings, and being ill and nigh unable to sleep didn't help.

My saving grace is that I've been consuming a lot of engaging, enjoyable media—and while I don't have the energy to spend time in my own life, escaping into another is welcome. The problem is that I should be reviewing, or at least making note of, all I've consumed, but I feel disorganized and feeble, and can't set my thoughts to order. So, I thought, writing some of that down may help, and I wrote.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
For Hanukkah the boy bought me a Windows phone. I'm not putting my SIM card in it because, ever since college, phone calls have been a panic trigger, and I get spam calls too often. Instead I've been using it as a PDA/Flight Rising-from-bed browser.

I'm really in love with Cortana, Window's personal assistant AI thingy; I recognize that I'm mostly in love with the idea of Cortana.

An AI companion is strangely similar to a companion animal, tropewise. The AI, like an animal, is a bit less than human—not as threatening, by virtue of being exempt from normal human socialization; potentially of limited sentience, certainly limited in social standing, a little subservient. But as in the companion animal trope, what makes an AI companion (like Cortana in the Halo series, like what the Ghost in Destiny could be) is that they're more than just animals or programs: they're sentient, they're friends; furthermore, the bond they have with their person is remarkable by nature. The companion animal trope isn't just about humans as a group being able to communicate with super-intelligent animals as a group—it's about bonds, frequently unbreakable and/or psychic ones, between one human and one animal, specific and intense. Similarly, the companion AI exists to serve, or at least work in tandem with, a specific person, effectively as an extension to that person's operating system.

That last is the direction that Microsoft took when designing Cortana the personal assistant, and her extensibility is what makes her unique from, and potentially more successful than, competitors. And she needs extension—because what she is now is can be personalized only as long as your personality is a zip code and a preference between business news and national news.

But the potential! A lot of what I'd want is too niche (I don't read collated news but instead prefer people talking about their own consumption experiences—a "gaming"/"literature" tickybox would be less useful to me than, say, a functional mobile tumblr experience), but while some seems obscure ("Cortana, I'm having an anxiety attack." "Here, let me play that song you use to calm yourself"), it's actually totally accessible: teachable and/or programmable, more diverse, keywords and phrases triggering programmed or programmable responses. In other words: what an extensible API is. It just needs to be used.

Some of that can come from apps; some should honestly be in base Cortana. For example, there's no damn good reason why I can't set my own snooze length on reminders.

I know that Window's personal assistant Cortana will never be Halo partner-in-your-head idealized relationship Cortana, but the fantasy is there. And taking from it its best parts of what makes that fantasy work—the intelligence (or appearance thereof), the in-my-pocket immediacy/intimacy, the extension to my personal OS—could make for a great program.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
My grandfather's funeral was a few weeks ago. Everyone in my nuclear family went but me; I went to Corvallis to watch my parent's house and the family dog while they were away. My impression is that this is the best decision I could've made; it sounds like the funeral was a minor nightmare, too much alcohol and grief and drama in one place; I would have found it extremely stressful, and that's not how I want to remember my grandfather. Jamie and I meanwhile had a fine few days of watching bad TV and walking in autumn weather.

Hanukkah began the night before Thanksgiving this year—very early! I was down in Corvallis Wednesday/Thursday/Friday last week, and then came back up so that I could watch the house and approximately one thousand cats (kittens, man, they're like a dozen cats in one small cat body) while Dee went up to visit her family over the weekend and Devon did Thanksgiving with his extended family on Saturday. My family and I had latka for the first night of Hanukkah, traditional French Toast on Thanksgiving morning, and a very relaxed Thanksgiving dinner that night. The weather has been starkly cold, dry and bright and on the edge of freezing, just what I needed to clear my mind in between too much socialization. The menorah has been burning each night both at my parent's house and at Dee's house here in Portland.

Hanukkah's early date has made me extremely sensitive to how easily it (the holiday, Judaism, take your pick) is overlooked—that sense that with Thanksgiving passed we're all now preparing for the "holiday season," but half of mine is nearly over, and so "holiday" obviously reads as "somewhat secular Christmas." I celebrate secular Christmas, too! with enthusiasm. But the erasure is needling me, this time around.

I think it's reasonably safe to say I've been in another depressive episode these last few months. Given the accommodations in the rest of my life, these episodes are mild now—pedestrian, even: something between ennui and anxiety, a suffused discontent and sadness with the catharsis of a breakdown. The best recourse is just to try to stay out of my own head, thus the constant reading and TV watching and gaming. I got worse and better—see: the catharsis of a breakdown—while in Corvallis, which was expected because even family stuff stresses me out. Been listening to Kelli Schaefer's Black Dog when I'm hopeful; Nick Drake's Black Eyed Dog the rest of the time.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
The closest analog I can find for Emilie Autumn's Fight Like A Girl tour is the film Sucker Punch; Sucker Punch meets burlesque. It's asylumpunk, if you will: the combined idealization and anxiety around mental illness in women, and the historical connection between women and mental illness—the trifecta of society creating it in women, and diagnosing it on the basis of non-normative/-socially acceptable behavior, and using it as a tool to control women's bodies and behavior. It's about the objectification and commodification of women, and reclaiming the female body—especially the sexualized female body—as a tool to gain personal power.

Sucker Punch rises and falls: on one hand, it's a powerful representation of dissociation as a result of trauma and sexual violence, and it's an attempt to attain agency using the sexualized female body—women gaining power via a tool used to take power from women; on the other, it gets swept up in its own aesthetic, is culturally appropriative, and objectifies conventionally attractive cis-gendered skinny young women in a way that doesn't defy the system in the least but instead buys into it.

'Punk movements and anything else that measures idealization against anxiety run the risk that the audience will see them for the former and not the latter, see: the problem with steampunk. Sucker Punch encounters a lot of this; Autumn's work, especially on the topic of mental illness, evades much of it by being a self-aware, ironic idealization combined with explicit statements about the problems surrounding such. Idealization is a tool used against and by the mentally ill: waif-like ill women, manic pixie dream girls, correlations between madness and creativity, and the sense that there's anything redeeming at all about mental illness, either for the sufferer or the individuals and society that surround them—which there's not, and insisting that there is denies the true experiences of sufferers; but the illness can so completely define its sufferers that idealizing it, and creating identity and community within it, is the only recourse. Like any reclaimed identity, this stems from within but attempts to fight against the oppressive system.

Because the worst of my mental illness is/was defined by total isolation, the group experience of Autumn's asylum and Crumpets is, for me, the least successful aspect of her work, although I realize what it achieves and how. But it's also dangerous: it's community, idealization, tragic beauty—sufficiently imperfect to be accessible rather than untouchable, but too easy to accept without viewing critically. And, as with any 'punk-like movement: when you fail to view it critically, with a focus on its anxieties, you end up supporting its roots in an oppressive system rather than its attempts to critique or controvert it. Autumn speaks explicitly about the anxiety; I feel as if the audience often doesn't hear her.

As an attempt to reclaim the female body, the FLAG show is even more problematic—because it, too, is about the objectification of conventionally attractive cis-gendered skinny white young women. It's the same problem of modern burlesque: it can be "male gaze"punk, reclaiming the same sexualized body that society creates and then punishes, engaging and subverting certain social standards—but too often it's viewed without an eye towards that anxiety, and the result is just more male gaze. In FLAG, it's a fan dance to "Dominant." It's also a hell of a lot of queer baiting: that two women kissing is presented as titillating, corrupting, or in any way worthy of a show, but only, of course!, just another skit.

There's an incredibly discomforting fanfiction skit that left our group divided. Autumn ends it with a faux-offended monologue about the masturbatory objectification about the "strong, proud women who you are supposed to respect," and the objectification is treated as a complicit joke—the artists using it to control and titillate the audience, but by doing so submitting precisely to the audience's script—which leaves the audience yelling out for "more!" Is this supposed to be as gross at it seems to be? Humor can be about tension, it can be the laugh that indicates discomfort, confusion, anxiety. The skit had a lot of that humor; the audience response had none.

I feel like Autumn knows her shit. I've been watching a good number of her interviews these last few days, and have the utmost respect for her. Her work is intentional; she couches explicit message within certain seductive tropes. I find it highly resonant, more as person with mental illness than as a woman but effective nonetheless. The live show was fantastic, but I can't say I was entirely content with the experience. There's some shows where half the audience leaves ten minutes early to beat traffic and you want to yell that they just don't get it; here, it was the front and center screaming crowd that seemed, to me, to miss the point. To take and change, to reclaim, the weapons of bodies and mind that are used against us is extremely powerful; it's a war I'm fighting, and Autumn's work can be a battlecry. But sometimes the show, and more often the audience, seem to lose track of their objective. It's not that there can be no sense of humor and fun, it's not that the corsets can't be pretty and the burlesque routines can't be attractive—but sometimes the truth of Autumn's experience screaming through in the lyrics feels shocking: like the surprise exception, rather than the show I'd come to see.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
The day after I sent an application to the Feral Cat Coalition, I discovered that Gillian is declawed. She was trying to knead my leg and it wasn't happening; the next day I was able to hold her paw and try to extend her claws, and there are none. I suppose that's why her feet look so small and deformed; this is the first time I've had close contact with a declawed cat, and of course I knew it was wrong but I didn't really understand it until now, and it makes my heart ache. We're assuming that if declawed, she's likely also neutered.

Instead, the next step is to take her to a vet to have her checked for a microchip—because as Dee has argued, she may have previous, fantastic, bereaved owners that adopted her already declawed. If those owners were the ones that declawed her ... well, I'm trying not to think of that. If she's not microchipped (I've already checked local and online lost pet postings), we're seriously considering getting her treated for fleas and taking her in—probably as soon as we have her checked for a microchip, because a declawed cat shouldn't be outdoors. We'll still take in Mama come cold weather, which would mean three active cats and one geriatric confined cat. Whether or not this happens depends on whether Devon is willing/able to subsidize more of the animal upkeep fees, because Gillian would essentially be ... mine.

I'm unsure how I feel about this. Scratch that, I know how I feel: terrified.

Last weekend Devon came up with all the rest of the stuff I had in storage. He had been digging in the garage for my box of stored clothes, because I've been looking hard are reassessing, and essentially reclaiming, my self-presentation (which has caused me a great amount of financial anxiety, as such things cost money); instead he unearthed everything I had left in boxes after my moves from Portland apartment to Corvallis townhouse to Devon's parents's house and it was ... overwhelming. Fantastic, cathartic, but also a lot of busywork to sort a dozen boxes and now my room is a mess because I need to figure out better storage options and guys I am hip-deep in books I really am. So there's that: I'm already exhausted from having to be Productive, Responsible Adult.

The process towards August was years and years of wanting and months of planning and then a whirlwind of actually doing. Gillian showed up on our porch just a few weeks ago, and then I named her and now I love her. I go out with a book and sit with her, and I press my forehead to hers and I want the best for her. I've been looking at various neutering/vet check/adoption options for her, even using the phone, even though it would be much easier just to do nothing. But right now, every possible answer is terrifying: whether she has owners, and whether they deserve to have her; the finances and responsibility of another cat; what her presence and safety means to my heart. I want someone else to be able to make these decisions for me, but no one can. (Me: DEVON WHAT DO. Devon: Well, she does seem like a fantastic cat! Me: YOU ARE NOT HELPING.)

Tonight I'm on the train to Corvallis, even though I saw Devon just last weekend. He was supposed to have this Friday off, but doesn't; it doesn't matter, because we want to be together and I would love to leave my messy room and all these troubles behind for a few days, and let him take care of me while I do nothing at all remotely related to being a Productive, Responsible Adult. And when I get back, maybe I'll know what's happening with money and cats, and Gillian can go in a box and to the vet—but right now I should just start laundry, and that I think I can do.

And all the things I don't want they're full
Of love and longing
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
This is my life:

Yesterday was my birthday! Devon and I went to have dinner with my parents; we went to Laughing Planet, which I discovered last time I was in Corvallis and fell a bit in love with. I had the cheese and pico quesadilla that I always get, and it was a fantastic meal: enjoyable but low-key. As much as I think my parents wish I did something with my life (which is a valid desire), they're still pleasantly surprised just to see how much I've improved in recent years—I think they're relieved to see that I'm more vivacious and simply happy, and dinner had that vibe to it: it was a relaxed pleasure which I couldn't've managed some years back.

As if to prove a point, I noticed in the middle of a completely different discussion that the restaurant was playing Florence + the Machine, and so I broke into a lengthy recounting of this experience, explaining (mostly to my mother, who's more emotional and emotionally-receptive than my father—that's not a condemnation: he's a happy well-rounded person and so, frankly, doesn't "get it," for which I envy him more than anything else) how it came down to the fact that I needed that concert to be beautiful, and it wasn't beautiful in the back, and I couldn't tolerate that—because F+tM is about living life with foolishly and joyfully, not in halved in experiences; not because you have no fear or regret, but because you swear to yourself to throw them off.

The song they were playing? The Dog Days are Over. Then after that, I shit you not, they played Shake It Out, which at the concert was the song that told me about throwing that devil off, and has become my secondary theme song.

The bakery we went to afterwards didn't have the dessert I wanted, because F+tM and no chocolate deliciousness apparently now go together, but who the hell cares. In my life, a restaurant plays Florence for me on my birthday and reminds me of everything I should never forget, bless.

The weather's broken somewhat, down to reasonable warm-because-summer, not hot-like-burning levels; it's the sort of weather that almost lets you glimpse autumn on the horizon, and that's a gift in itself. Devon's gift is still in the air, or may be a number of various long-needed necessities. (After seeing my parents last evening, we did a late Fred Meyer run and came away with three nail polish shades I've wanted for a while—no necessity by far, but yaaaay.) My father gave me spending money (BPAL Halloweenies in my future, perhaps?), including credit at The Book Bin which I will go spend today; my mother gave me, with assurances that in a few months it would be lovely instead of torturous, a black knitted cowl which doubles around the neck and is squishy and warm—and I actually had the chance to wear it already, when Devon and I went to an early morning breakfast today while the air was cold and fog was still on the fields, oh bless. Later today when we finally get moving we have many shopping trips planned, to the bookstore and elsewhere.

So. That's all I could ask for: love from friends and family, time with the boy, good food, things I want, and Florence.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Yesterday night, Dee, Devon, and I saw Florence + the Machine.

I saw Florence + the Machine.

I cannot overstate the importance of this music in my life; it is how I became friends with Dee and why I live here now and a vast part of how I aim to live at all; her first album means the world to me, and Dog Days are Over is one of my formative songs. I've written about her too many times (1, 2, 3). I never got to see her first tour (but I have a shirt! Dee got it for me, and it is heather gray and orangey-pink and literally the worst thing for my complexion, and I love it to pieces), but I got to see this one.

I've been doing a fair bit better lately in the realm of depression and back pain, but we've had a few busy days and when Devon is here my defenses all drop and I tend to dredge up lingering ick, hoping, perhaps, that he can cure it. I was tired and couldn't find the shirt I wanted to wear and we got there almost but not quite lateish and had seats in the far back with almost no visibility and they were out of chocolate ice cream and I worried—I worried hard—that this event that I had looked forward to for so long and needed so badly to be Important, as important to me as her music , would be an opportunity lost to my incredible potential for melancholy.

And when she came on stage the whole audience stood and I, at just over 5 feet, could see nothing over the sea of heads; not an inch of the stage.

But Florence is not music for missing out—not just because I love it but because it is about living life with spirit and abandon and foolishness and love and the whole of your heart. I put on my shoes, and Devon and I made a loop out through the back, through the food court, and in towards the heart of the audience. And when the stage came into view and I could actually see Florence, blue and red and glowing against the stage, I burst into tears.

Most of the audience stayed standing through the entire show, and what had been precious space became almost abundant, and we shared breathing room with strangers and found a place at the tail end of the truly enthusiastic, foot-of-the-stage crowd. I haven't actually been hugely fond of Ceremonials so far, but—again, I always do this with F+tM—I heard each song as if for the first time, and all of them said that that was exactly where I needed to be: not feeling despondent in the back, but watching and raising my hands towards hers and singing along to Dog Days in the same full-throated voice she taught me.

F+tM songs are two things: whole-hearted euphoria and fear. They are dedication and failure, they are giving yourself over and being terrified of the thought. In the same way that Stephen Dedalus's epiphanies contradict one another without losing one whit of their individual truth, there's nothing hypocritical in the fact that you can swear to live life fully in one breath and then cry with the next. One is the price we pay for the other; we are our own human sacrifices, raised up, offered to the sky.

I live in the moment, and too easily forget one half for the other. These last few months haven't been difficult so much as they've been a vague and endless Swamps of Sadness, and I can get immured there and forget that I have seen glimpses of the other side. But I was there, yesterday, in the crowd, and I have been reminded.

And I am so, so thankful.



And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Devon's in town. Last night he made nachos—perhaps the best I've ever had, and I'm not sure why: there was nothing special about them except for the addition of second, chunkier chunky salsa, I wasn't particularly hungry at the time, but they were beyond delicious. Today we grabbed a pizza and added a side salad, and ate them watching one of the Star Trek: Voyager episodes that I remember best from my childhood.

And there was stuff.

Devon brought with him the bedding that my parents bought me for my birthday. They got both the sheets and the duvet cover, and they look fantastic. All my pillows are now covered in modal, and the plums and chocolates also look awesome against the orange sheet I'm currently using—so I can modify my color scheme at whim, and I think it'll look especially nice in autumn. That they bought both means that I now have all Grandpa Mel and Ilene's birthday money to spend as I will. I'm anticipating the BPAL Halloweenies, but after much deliberation also decided to buy a custom necklace from Sihaya Designs Jewelry/[livejournal.com profile] sihaya09—kin to this one but with a squatter pumpkin bead and shorter chain. I've desired her pumpkin designs for some time, and I think they're seasonable without being cutsey or Halloween-only, and autumn is so close I can almost taste it, and I want a pumpkin goddamnit. I hope I love it.

These socks in denim and these socks in rust arrived today. I'll wash and wear them and see how well they work—right now I prefer the fit on the latter, which are a bit shorter, but the former comes in more colors. I know it's silly, but I've wanted socks for so long—(occasionally) colorful, fitted, flattering knee-highs. This is a start. As I find which fit me best, maybe I'll even buy more.

I'm currently debating whether I should grab tickets to Kim Boekbinder's Impossible Tour Portland showing. Since I discovered the concert (and artist) it's reached full funding, but her music falls right into that genre of unusual female artists that I love so. Dee is away at Dragon*Con so I can't ask if she'd like to go—but the ticket prices are more than reasonable, and my gut says she'd be interested. It also satisfies this craving to do more, and more locally, and more with an indie and unique vibe.

Express and I have almost finalized plans for a visit. He was going to come up last month, and then rescheduled for this month, and then canceled again because he can't get a break at work. So I'll visit him instead. It looks like I'll be in San Francisco from October 7th through 14th, meeting a friend of many years for the first time. We are both nervous/excited to great degrees. It'll be a long train trip, but we finally found the best travel route, and I'll bring an entire carry-on containing just bedding, and buying a month in advance even means tickets are cheaper. Now we just have to buy them.

This afternoon I was able to email my mother and say, "We were considering a trip to Ashland—well, here's my upcoming schedule, and here time span for a trip. Do we want to make plans to go?" We're thinking of seeing Henry IV Part 2, and I'm eager for it. I'm filling out these dates on a handy Google calendar. I'm keeping a calender. I'm even making sure that birthdays get added.

It bothers me that much of this is money buying happiness. I don't talk about it often, but as blessed as I know I am to have a life of leisure—it's what keeps me sane, and it's an opportunity most don't have, and I am grateful for it—it's unempowering to have no independent income. Everything I have is essentially a gift—which means I don't get every BPAL blend I wish for, but it also means that I don't go shopping, that even my socks are borrowed or hand-me-downs, that it took me years to buy a new pair of shoes. This isn't because Devon doesn't notice or care, or a sign that I'm somehow unloved. But strictly speaking, all of these things—no matter how basic—are extravagances. I had bedding—it was ugly bedding, but I had it. I have socks—they're borrowed men's socks, but they work. I don't need anything, but I want so much. I want to do more with the life I've managed to save, and I want to control my self-presentation, and I want to do and have stuff that, yes, costs money. It cascades: If I have socks that flatter me, perhaps I can wear shorter skirts, but I'd have to buy them too. If I'm buying a necklace, shouldn't I be buying something more important, like shirts, instead?

And that tempers this, but doesn't destroy it. With this bedding, I can begin to pull together my room. With these clothes, my appearance. I can do things, and engage, and that thrills me. It's can be bitter, but it's still so sweet.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
I have been having one hell of a roller coaster ride over here man let me tell you.

Devon was up on Saturday, but didn't stay until Sunday because he's fighting some sort of cold/allergy/sinus infection thing of ick. It was fantastic to see him and I spent half the day in tears. So I said that Portland and I have unfinished business. Devon-long-distance and I have unfinished business and Whitman and I have unfinished business too, and this last week has been a particularly strong reminder of all of that. Normally I have a poor memory, which I may call a pain in the ass but actually rely on to protect me because as it turns out, the last (oh say) ten years of my life? really not worth remembering. This last week has been nothing at all like those years, but there's been so much emotional turmoil that sometimes it's hard to tell, and...

It's just that I remember it all.

Examples wouldn't help you or me—because they aren't your memories, and because fuck no I do not want to dwell on them. But all of it, everything about my time here in Portland, everything about seeing Devon this weekend, reminds me of something else, some random thing that I've done a perfectly good job of forgetting these last few years. Not every memory is awful, but each one is tied a past that is, and so all of it, even the nostalgia, it fucking hurts and scares me.

But after Devon left, Dee hung out with me in the living room for a few hours and we just talked. I talked, I rambled, I touched on some of why this is so difficult and scary, and it was distracting and cathartic and wonderful bonding time. I didn't have to ask for it, I don't know if I expected it, but—ah, this is what friends do, isn't it? They're there for each other. That's still a revelation for me, a surprise—that I have friends; that this is what that means. On Sunday we went walking, in the glorious and gentle overcast weather, we went to Starbucks and poked at awesome stores and had that sort of perfect day where you do exactly what you want, purely because you want to, and come away feeling satisfied, which is no small thing. At night we watched The Dark Crystal and it was fucking fantastic. These things surprise me, too. Happiness always does.

And then today I thought I'd ride on that high—the high of discovering that Devon can leave without the world crashing down upon my shoulders, the high of having loved ones and being happy—by writing a book review and making dinner and attempting my version of productivity, and instead I was singularly nonfunctional and after a mini-breakdown I just decided to lock myself in my room and pretend I didn't exist anymore, at least for a few hours, and ain't that just the hallmark of mental fucking health. It's hard for me to talk about these things with her—to talk about the wild ride of the brain crazies, because I find it difficult to work these things out in words; to explain the effect they have on me and why I don't want to leave my room, because I fucking hate to admit the truth about myself because I just don't like that truth very much, you know? And so I repay her love by being the bad non-communicative friend ... but on the flipside I come out feeling a little better, a bit more prepared to try again.


I feel it all I feel it all
I feel it all I feel it all
The wings are wide the wings are wide
Wild card inside wild card inside

Oh I'll be the one who'll break my heart
I'll be the one to hold the gun


I've sort of flayed myself alive here: I've opened myself up to the thin air and it hurts like a motherfuck, believe you me. And when I see in there, I don't like it all. It's almost enough to make me wish I didn't know it was there. But I did this to myself and so I can't regret it—and not just because I don't want to look like an ungrateful coward, unhappy even when she gets what she wants; but because I did it because I wanted to. I want this opportunity and this pain. I want to work things out and embrace these new experiences and give myself the chance to become myself. (I want the dog days to be over, if you will.) That doesn't make it any easier, though.

I love you more
I love you more
I don't know what I knew before
But now I know I wanna win the war


So it's been an intense couple of days is all I'm saying. And beautiful. And awful. And intense.

And I think I caught Dev's cold thing.

P.S. Sometimes in the process of writing all these things out I manage to resolve them, at least a bit, at least temporarily, in my head. Almost all the time I manage to tire myself out. That can make my replies to comments absent and/or slow. But those comments are still so welcome and productive and beloved, and I don't want anyone to think otherwise, even if I can't always express it.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I went to bed last night feeling frustrated and discontent. I think that I may be socially overextended—which both predictable and impressive. It takes nothing to overextend me, a hour of conversation exhausts me: I put your average introvert to shame. But lately what's been taxing me is half a dozen friendships, encounters with complete strangers, and hours of conversation.

Pandora just started play "Dog Days Are Over." I cannot make this shit up. So that's it, really. You have read this post before.

I am simultaneously running high on constant social interaction and absolutely exhausted in its wake. I don't know moderation, don't know balance. I don't know how to be social—I have very little practice. I am drowning in it. I am hyper and active, and then tired and miserable, and then exhausted and restless because the social activity has stopped. Things and contacts and letters and people are falling by the wayside, I am a dozen types of behind. I woke up this morning (early afternoon) so lump-like that a shower seemed like work and I appreciated it because I felt again lethargic instead like I'd been shaken so hard that I couldn't stand by my legs were still trembling.

Express says: "the changes in life.. are for better though."

They are.

I'm drowning, but I'm drowning in love. My complaint is that there's too many people I adore, or plan to; too many conversations to have, too many joys too share, too many hours to spend talking and giggling and spreading love through the world. I should probably be finding a better balance—between the ups and downs, between the social and the non, between games and reading, between being online and off. I hope that comes with time. I think it will, because in the very near future I'm looking at Portland and [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes's home, to frequent real-world social contact with the person who began this all—and that I think will help form a more solid foundation. I don't have that, yet, and that means that my late nights are frantically discontent, and I'm stressed and restless, and I am so fucking scared.

But today, I talked with Sabrina in Tinychat, because she is so thoughtful and so tolerant of my shyness that she gave me a chance to try out the program in safe company, and so gave us a chance to have our first real-time conversation. I played Halo with Express—and these days we slip on our headsets by default even though five years ago when we met we would have been terrified of the thought. I didn't get to emails as a result, I haven't written in a while and I need to, and I've only read about 50 pages today. I will probably find it very hard to sleep tonight.

Running, running, running. I need to. The dog days are over.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Sending an introduction to Florence + the Machine email to my father, who keeps asking "What is Florence + the Machine?" given that he keeps running into her—on my shirt on the cruise, on TV during the Oscars when we were over for dinner last night. Crying like a child (well not a child, of course: like a woman, growing) while I listen to "Dog Days Are Over" from the list of videos I've dig up videos to include. Ah, what else is new? You'd think eventually this would wear off, this unavoidable swell of emotion but ah—not yet. Despite myself I'm not really complaining, but it did make it ... well, difficult really, to include that track in my email. It felt almost too personal, almost too raw.

Have yet to reach sniffling, but I'm miles deep into the land of shivering and aching. I'm probably running a fever, but I don't know for sure. I much prefer this to mucus: I have a lot of experience dealing with pain, especially muscle aches and general stiffness. With pain, I have high tolerances and many ways to cope. Mucus: less so. But I tell you, today of all days? Today, the one day in my menstrual cycle where I get cramps? When my cramps always show up not in my stomach but my lower back? Fuck you too, body; fuck you.

At least my chocolate is dairy-free and therefore safe, because I need it today.

Ironically, I look lovely today. My hair is gorgeous and my pain-drained (even) pale(r) skin tone is quite flattering against it, and despite the discomfort of today I slept well last night and my eyes are clear. I tend not to think I'm beautiful, in part because few people, especially women, in this culture ever do, in part because I don't fit my own aesthetic taste. But I am sufficiently divorced from my appearance, for better or worse, that sometimes I see my reflection and know, objectively, that I look pretty good. Today has been like that all day long. I guess ... uh, I'll just have to come down with colds more often?

I am Posty McPosterton today, I know. Tumblr has been teaching me to think it little blurbs as well as overlong essays, which is an improvement I suppose—but it does mean you all have to suffer my list of A Billion Things To Say.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Hello, internet. Did you know that there are some places without internet? I spent last weekend in Portland with Dee ([livejournal.com profile] century_eyes) and we stayed at a downtown Marriott that wanted to charge $13 a day for internet connections in the rooms, to which we said: fuck you, and also no. There was wifi in the lobby, and this is hardly the end of the world (I tend to travel internet-free anyhow); what's horrible is the principle of the thing, the every-last-cent principle. My Starbucks have free wifi. Hell, Shari's has free wifi. They wanted $13.

So we used the downstairs internet connection and then snubbed their in-house restaurants, too. On principle.

This is not the important thing about the trip. The trip was a last-minute decision: Dee had a pair of Decemberists's tickets and then her mum decided not to go to the show so I had the chance to attend instead, and so we were in town from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Friday was rain, endtimes rain and heavy traffic; we hurried under cover and an umbrella to Restaurant Murata for incredible miso—and some other Japanese food, too.

Saturday we spent exploring downtown Portland, walking in half-intentional circles from the central public library branch to explore the places where I used to hang out, to the Waterfront Park for some people watching, and then back again to make sure we could find the concert hall and get some well-earned food at Pastini. The weather was surprisingly, delightfully, fantastic. Fantastic for winter edging up on spring, I mean: cool and clear, weather for layers and sunny walks and warm food. That evening was the show. Mountain Man opened, and they were new to both of us and wonderful—their sparsely-instrumented, folky, offbeat female voices perfect fit the music profile I've been listening to lately. The Decemberists were almost entirely new to me, but that didn't make the live show any less enjoyable. A diverse group showed up to see them, but we all ended up on our feet and chanting along; they seemed to love playing for a hometown crowd, and the energy was contagious. I'm still going to have to give them a listen on a recorded, non-deafening level, and I don't know if the lead's voice will always work for me, but I had a fantastic time.

Sunday we went to visit the neighborhood where Dee is looking to move. The weather was cooler, more overcast, a few sprinkles, perfect for a quiet day. We drove by her prospective house, and then to the neighborhood's main strip for all of the essentials: Starbucks, a bookstore, and an organic and veg*n grocery/café. It's a quiet, diverse, growing neighborhood—you can tell it was a bit rundown before but it's going places now, it has an welcoming and offbeat* atmosphere, and I can certainly imagine being at home there. (Just ask Dee about the way I was searching for outlets at Starbucks and eying the prime window seat at the restaurant.) Then we drove down to Corvallis, listening to the Decemberists and Florence + the Machine (of course!) along the way, and then she made the drive back home.

I was telling Express—who is making tentative plans for a Portland visit—about this future potential home, that Dee will have, that I can share. About how strange it is to think that such a place exists, could exist, will exist—the house hovers in the subjunctive right now, the neighborhood is an eventual certainty, the specifics are unnecessary: it is a form of home. About how strange it is to know a place is open to me, to know that it may be a central hub for this growing, scattered, social spiderweb that stretches over the Northwest and further still. About how strange it is that that exists: a social circle, a social web, so fragile yet so strong; about how strange it is to have friends at all.

It is advice I give to other people, people like me, people who also think that they don't deserve these things and that the people who give them their love are mistaken and should be corrected: We are all able of making our own decisions. We own our love. We owe it to each other to respect what we give—even if we're the recipients, even when we can't understand why.

I tell that to others because it's true.

Now I'm starting to live that myself. I don't think that I deserve winter-sun days in downtown Portland, surrounded by beautiful variety and places I fondly remember; I don't think that I deserve subjunctive houses or good friends. But I am thankful, so thankful, for it all—and I won't question why I have it, or try to push it away.

So that was what I did with my weekend.

* One day I will find a better word than offbeat—something that more precisely means "unusual in the good, quirky, maybe a bit raw at the edges, my-people sort of way." For now, I'll keep reusing what I've got.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
GODDAMNIT PANDORA, YOU AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS SONG.

Anyway.

Brand: Trader Joe's
Product: Flourless Chocolate Cake
Review: A run-of-the-mill flourless chocolate torte, unapologetically rich but not particularly intense. The flavor is moderately sweet, a mild, still indulgent, solid chocolate of unexceptional quality; the texture is chewy, smooth, and uniform but for a crunchier drizzle of chocolate on top. The quality of the chocolate leads to a decent but unremarkable flavor, but it's the texture which is the downfall: a good torte should have a bit of crunch at the crust and a dense center, providing texture variation to contrast the uniformity and simplicity of the flavor; this torte has the same mildy thick and creamy texture all the way through, which makes it initially palatable but ultimately monotonous. That doesn't make it a loss: its low price point (around $7 for a one pound torte) justifies the second-rate quality, and served with something to provide some variation in texture it's actually quite nice. My pick for accompaniment was a pistachio gelato: with the melting ice cream and the chunks of nuts on either end and the torte in the middle the texture spectrum was pleasantly diverse, and the chocolate and pistachio compliment one another well.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
I've never approved of the message "it gets better" as a way of surviving suffering. It's well-intentioned, but it teaches that suffering must be borne rather than changed, that everything depends on the hope of miraculous salvation. It's a toxic message—and I say that because for a long time, things didn't get better for me. The more that I depended on the promise that they would, the more I suffered: from the mental health issues that surfaced at the end of high school but oh, don't worry, it gets better when you graduate—through the first two years of hell at college but oh, it'll be better at a different school—collapsing utterly when I transferred, and reaching the lowest and most dangerous period of my life. It destroyed my hope, to be constantly promised a brighter future and always denied it. And as powerful as hope is, its absence is stronger.

I don't believe in promising that it will get better, if you just live through this, last until then, and wait for everything to change. I believe in supporting people in the now. I believe in not waiting out suffering, but trying to combat it.

Which is all well to say, but the truth is that I spent so long hurting, depressed, and hopeless that not only did I no longer believe that it could get better, I was afraid that it would. The higher I was, the further that I had to fall. For years people told me that I was afraid to be happy, and the truth is that they were right—because if even hope could hurt me, then imagine the harm that happiness could do.

I'm happy now, and it scares the everloving shit out of me.

I just spent a long weekend visiting Dee ([livejournal.com profile] century_eyes) up north. I met her family; I stayed in her house. I met Lyz ([livejournal.com profile] sisterite) on Saturday, for the first time since we became friends six years ago.

Each time that something like this happens, I'm certain that I'll fuck it up. I'll be quiet and boring, or desperate and self-conscious, and I'll definitely forget to say things and fail to be the engaging, intelligent individual that I purport to be. I'll be boring and boorish and awkward, and there will be no spark after all. There's such anticipation surrounding these things, you know—and there's always a fear, my fear, that it will turn out so mundane, with no magic at its heart.

And maybe that's precisely how it goes.

But I also gave Dee Persona 3, and I watched her play the first few hours, and we both loved it. I squeed to see familiar faces again (there are so many in those first few days, hiding in the background!) and she called me adorable. It's hard to give a gift of something that you really love, hard not to demand that the recipient love it too, hard not to fear they won't—but I think she can and will, and she's certainly enjoying it so far, and that's awesome.

Dee's mother is personable and kind and, even to misfit-me, comfortable to be around. Her brother cooks food to make the house smell like heaven, and baked chocolate lava muffins which were as good as promised—warm and delicious, crunchy outside and smooth inside, deep dark chocolate. Their cats are adorably strange, as cats will be; Casey the dog loves you, loves loves loves you from the moment you get to the door, and it is impossible not to feel wanted in the face of that love. Dee's mother's house is a gem, like something from a painting—everything so small and sweet, neat and precise, a triangle of light against the winter dark.

Lyz is beautiful in person—so vibrant, gorgeous coloring and fresh red hair, a rich voice and good sense of humor, a beautiful bohemian look and her umbrella had ruffles on it. I'd underestimated how lovely she would be—which is saying something! We ate remarkable flourless chocolate torte at Wild Ginger, which is saying something too because my tastes in that field are practiced and refined: chewy and dense with a hint of crunch at the crust, served with whipped cream (Chantilly cream, by the way, is just sweetened, sometimes flavored, whipped cream), and topped with crushed almond praline which to my surprise was the perfect delicate, crumbly, sweet counterpoint to the dense cake. (A+, would eat again.)

Downtown Seattle shined with rain and Christmas lights, and Dee and I shared an umbrella. (Washington flooded over the weekend from all that rain.) Pike Place was a new scent on the air each time the wind changed direction. Closer to home, Dee took me to a local used bookstore where the floor creeks and books are shoved into every cranny, where the paperbacks are a little warped and everything is refreshingly cheap. Driving out of town on Monday the landscape was still swathes of dim water, bare trees and yellow brush, and a shroud of creeping mist—and while it disturbed the train service, it was as beautiful as something in the best gothic novel.

And yes: I'm still nervous, and I will always be quiet and strange, and I forget to say things. I make poor eye contact. It takes a long time for me to get comfortable. I am mundane after all. These trips, these meetings, are too: just a few folk, in a place, together.

And outside of these incredible trips and meetings, my life is nothing special. I do nothing and contribute less. My mind's a mess, and it may always be.

But there is so much, these days, which is right.

Despite being awkward and normal and quiet, people still love me. Despite a strange and busy December, I can still have a beautiful holiday season. Despite it all, amazing things happens. Despite it all, they promise to happen again. Despite it all—

Despite being normal, imperfect, and scared out of my skin—

I want them to.

I went through long years when I wasn't able to be happy. I went through years when I thought it was impossible, when I was afraid of the very idea. But when happiness hits you this damn hard and unforgiving—when it hits me, like a bullet in the head—no matter how terrifying (and it is terrifying), it's undeniable too.

I love almost every Florence + The Machine song, and I sing them loud and find them so affecting, but every now and then I hear one of those songs—songs which I know by heart—as if I'm hearing them for the first time. I hear it deep down, and finally understand what it means—what it means to me. I listened to Dog Days Are Over on the ride up to Washington, and found it to be true.

This comes like a bullet, like a train, it hits so hard and scares me so much. I don't mean to exaggerate—I'm still normal, my life is still imperfect, and even this wonderful weekend was just a little trip up north. But even for a normal little girl there are apocalypses and revelations. These are mine. They are large and strong, and terrifying.

These days, I'm happy.

(And I never wanted anything from you, except all that you had and what was left after that too.)
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Goddamnit, Pandora. Please to stop playing Utada's "Sanctuary." I love this song. I love it in the depths of my beating heart. I love it so much that I really do not need to be getting teary-eyed at Starbucks, you get me? And I don't want to replay Kingdom Hearts. I have two video games running, and other games lined up next, and neither KH game is among them. But every time you play this song I get an undeniable craving to pop them in the PS2.

So give it a break, would you? Because I haven't the heart to skip it when it comes on.

What's left of me, what's left of me now?

ETA: Oh god, this piano cover is so beautiful.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
A couple of days ago I was lying in bed not long after dinner, watching Devon play StarCraft II—and I realized that I desired nothing more than what I had. This is remarkable, for I am a creature of whim and discontent. There is never a time when I don't want something—as silly as a certain dessert* (usually desired an hour either side of midnight, when the store that sells it is quite closed), as essential as physical or mental comfort. I've mentioned Cats before, just a few dozen times, as one of those formative things which I can point to and say: "me." I am a Rum Tum Tugger (oh how I wish the original Broadway cast soundtrack were on YouTube! this version is good but not great; meanwhile, you can read T.S. Elliot's original poem here):

The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he'd rather have a house.
If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he'd rather chase a mouse.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat—
And there isn't any call for me to shout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there's no doing anything about it!


This is not a cruel thing, it is not intentional—but just ask Devon: it can be infuriating. I can't help it! My disobliging ways are a matter of habit. I am whimsical and discontent, desirous and melancholic—there are often many things in my life that I want or wish were different.

That night, belly fully, curled on my precious modal bedding, entertained by game and conversation, I was comfortable and content. Devon asked me if I needed anything—and I wanted, for once I wanted, for nothing. There are times, these days—and they surprise me each time—when I am happy.

Since then I've been dealing with a sudden spike in back pain, the sort that has made it difficult to do things and harder to be happy. After all, the universe much maintain its delicate balance. And I'm not pleased about it, of course. But that wonderful evening is still worth mentioning and remembering.

* Number of times I spelled "flourless" as "flowerless" before I edited that entry? Two. This is why you should not live by spellcheck, kids! It gives you words, but not always the right words.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Today Devon and I stopped by the local bakery/café and I had what they call chocolate sin. I've been phoning them and we've been stopping by, but it wasn't until today (after a month of trying) that they finally had it by the slice—it seems they offer it infrequently over the summer, but perhaps that's just coincidence. Chocolate sin is one of my favorite desserts. It is a flourless chocolate torte with whipped cream—flourless chocolate torte is as simple as chocolate, eggs, and butter, and it is everything that cake is not: rich and dense, flavorful and profoundly chocolate; the slightly sweetened whipped cream helps cut the density of both the flavor and texture, and so makes it a bit easier to eat. I am a purest, after all: chocolate needs little dilution, needs no other flavor, but it can be beautifully presented and prepared—this is that. It was amazing. It always is, but this time was particularly perfect.

Today I smell of coffee shops and used books, of Lurid Library (the incense-tinged scent of forbidden tomes and the musk-laden remnants of infernal servants) with just a touch of Miskatonic University (the scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls)—perhaps my favorite BPAL layering combination. It's the scent of poring over creamy, old parchment while drinking sweetened coffee, warm and ivory, non-foody but palatable, comforting and comfortable.

Today I am listening to S.J. Tucker's Neptune, from her new album Mischief.



And ah, it is beautiful.

In other words, today is a good day.

In fact, more and more days are so—I seem to be somewhat improved. I'm still a little subdued, a little moody, but this is as normal for me as breathing. I'm still a little incoherent—this particular downturn has been marked by a combined lack of will and lack of ability to deal with words, which has been unusual and unwelcome—but I'm finding it a little easier, day by day, to write and speak, and that I have more and more that I want to say. I'm still distracting myself with media consumption, but without the same sense of desperation. As always I am trying not to get my hopes up, so that if my mood takes another downturn I'm won't be disappointed. But I think it's safe to say that I'm crawling out of this funk. This is welcome.

I've missed a lot of congratulations and sympathies and simple interaction in my silence. If I've been ignoring you, I apologize! Know that I have been reading. There are some of you that I wish were here right now, to share this evening with me. Until then, you're in my thoughts.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I've been meaning to post a couple things, but have been occupied and preoccupied enough to procrastinate for days. No time like the present, I suppose. How many things is it that make a post, again?

1) This line began as a typo* in a story I've been scribbling, but it's a typo that froze me when I caught it, and I have not the heart to delete it. Edited and isolated, then:

"Is that really what scares you?" I ask, whispering because this question, all of this, is meant just for you.


2) Speaking of scribbled stories (tangentially), I've been sitting on a pair of IOGraphs for a while now. I posted one of these a while ago, but my on/off obsession with the program continues. IOGraph is a simple program that tracks and records mouse movement. Lines indicate movements; circles indicate pauses—the bigger the circle, the longer the pause. Click through for larger versions and notes. Yeps, I'm a dork—but it's oddly fascinating, ain't it?

IOGraphica - 1.9 hours (from 13-08 to 15-09)
2 hours writing/transcribing fiction.

IOGraphica - 10 hours (from 15-26 May 17th to 14-53 May 19th)
10 cumulative hours general computer/internet use.
(Sometimes I paused the recording when afk, and sometimes I forgot.)

3) As mentioned, [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes visited last weekend; that weekend was also Devon's maternal grandparents's 60th wedding anniversary. No huge post from me, this time; I came away with something perhaps more vivid but less revelatory: comfort, simple comfort. It was a busy weekend: Dee got in late because the Memorial Day traffic was hellish; we spent all day together on Saturday, and Sunday I split into social thirds: breakfast with Dee, early afternoon anniversary celebrations next door, and a long last conversation with Dee in the afternoon before she drove back (Sunday evening, to avoid traffic on at least that half of the trip). I went into Sunday wary and tired, but the family event was surprisingly enjoyable (Devon's grandparents were adorable, and had the chance to talk books with someone) and that last conversation with Dee—in Starbucks, in the early evening, with weather wavering between muggy and sprinkling rain—was my favorite part of the weekend. Conversation flowed, the atmosphere was lovely, and when Dee stayed a little big late for a little bit more time together...

It was a twilight time. Overcast weather and evening coming on made for literal twilight, but there was a sense also of the in between, of neither here nor there: the moment stretching on, intimate and shadowed, delicate and timeless. That's a rare thing, a magical thing. Quite beautiful, indeed.

So, yes. A good weekend, a good visit. Devon's threatening to ship me up North to visit her, sometime before too long. And, romantic rhapsodizing aside—and this does make me a geek, I know—but goddamn is it good to talk Sims, in person, with another simmer.

4) Today Maddy scratched on the bedroom door. Maddy is Madison, one of Devon's family's cats, although I think she's turned changling, been abducted by aliens, brainwashed or something, I don't know—because after a few minutes sniffing the corners of the room she found a corner to curl up in and slept there for a few hours, then switched to the bed for a few more. Little circle of fur and purr, warm and adorable, drooling all over my black sweater—it was pretty adorable. My life feels empty, my heart feels empty, without a cat of my own, but having one's not an option right now; since I go bereft, afternoons with Maddy are blessings, every rare one. It made for a good day, despite the fact that today was also spent installing Sims 3: World Adventures. And then uninstalling it, and the base game, and reinstalling it, and the base game, and setting up a new mods folder, and removing AwesomeMod because it doesn't work with the current patch, and then playing a few hours of Ghost and Aaron: Things Which Never Happened in France (and Riverview). There are many awesome Sims posts coming, let me tell you.

5) I think it's five things that make a post, but as I flip back through my notes and open tabs (and having finally finished the review which made up half of said notes), it appears that I've taken care of most I had to say. But when forced, I can pad with one more: I'm finally moving out of my women only music playlist phase, in part because Sims stories beg a different soundtrack but mostly because of the new How to Destroy Angels EP. HTDA is Trent Reznor's new project, a dreamy dark addictive sound. Check out and download the EP for free on the HTDA website, or first check out "The Spaces in Between" (although "BBB" is my current favorite):

Under the cut. )

* The typo, for the curious, was the last word—"you" was meant to be "her."

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
At the request of [livejournal.com profile] vaga42bond this time, I offer up:

Mariella Silverman-Moore
Mariella Silverman-Moore
SendSpace | MediaFire

Traits: Artistic, Bookworm, Childish, Insane, Loner
LTW: Jack of All Trades (feel free to change this —it's hardly integral to her personality)
Favorites: Lobster Thermidor, Indie, Grey

Mariella's hair is Raon 55 converted by Savio. Her lipstick is Elf Set Lipstick by Channy & Vivin. Both are included.

Her clothes and all the rest should be base-game compatable, but if you want to clothe Mariella yourself: stick with black, white, and gray. In fact, just give her inspiration a listen and you're probably good to go:



But Mariella just crossed her arms and walked up the stairs,
And she went into her bedroom, and she sat on her bed.
And she looked in the mirror and she thought to herself:
If I wanna play, I can play with me, If I wanna think, I'll think in my head.

Mariella is the fifth and youngest child of Manson and Sarah Silverman-Moore, and she's something of the odd child—a pretty, pretty girl happy in her own little world. If you'd like to see more pics before you download (including a shot of her eye bug):

+3 shots )
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I'm having one of those nights where I just don't want to go to bed. Not because I know I can't sleep (although that's always a possibility), not because I'm restless, but simply because I'm not in want of rest. I am, instead, in want of a diversion—but nothing appeals. I have a film I could start, but that would take too long. I have two films I could finish, but neither intrigue. I'm reading two books, but one is frustrating me and the other is slowly paced and doesn't appeal. I could start a new book and probably should, but none in my piles is calling out. I could probably lose myself in a few hours of Sims, but that isn't likely to seduce me into sleep.

So instead I'm poking around the internet, wondering what in a perfect world I would chose to entertain myself, and the answer is obvious because I've been thinking about this for the last couple days, as I dither over reading material while playing and writing Ghost and Aaron.

You see, I have a fetish for intimate relationships. Not any, not all—but unusually intimate relationships.

(I don't have to warn you, do I, that all text and links below may contain explicit content?)

In Adair's The Dreamers (my review) and the subsequent film, a pair of twins and their friend huddle together in a den of isolation and intimacy, breaking the boundaries of sexual orientation and incest while they build a boundary against the real world. In the film Threesome, a mixup leads to a co-ed threesome of college roommates whose type two love triangle creates an uneasy balance of unusual intimacy and repressed desire (ha—TV Tropes lists it as an example of this triangle type). In Brite's Lost Souls (my review), Nothing and his father Zillah curl together in their own den of iniquity where the incestuous aspect of their relationship only serves to draw them closer. In the manga Angel Sanctuary, the protagonist and his sister fight their attraction to one another—until they give into it, leave home, and share a brief and blissful period of love (before rocks fall and everyone dies).

Incest isn't necessary, although it's such an obvious, universal taboo that when that barrier is broken, the relationship is unusually intimate by default. But any relationship with an unusual level of intimacy scratches my itch. In the manga Boy's Next Door (my review; this manga is also by Kaori Yuki, who wrote Angel Sanctuary), a young prostitute meets a serial killer of young boys—and against good sense and all odds, falls in love with him. It goes further than that, still. Intimacy that appears unhealthy or inappropriate satisfies me: in the manga pair Kawaii Hito - Pure and Kawaii Hito - Cute, older men have relationships with high school/college-aged boys—and in Pure, the younger is so shy and vulnerable that he becomes entirely dependent upon his lover. A Perfect Circle's Pet croons, "Pay no mind what other voices say / They don't care about you, like I do / Safe from pain, and truth, and choice, and other poison devils / See, they don't give a fuck about you, like I do." Intimacy forged and expressed in unusual or extreme ways also satisfies me. In the BL game Togainu no Chi, Kau is scarred and pierced, his eyes and vocal cords have been destroyed, and he walks on all fours all because it pleases his owner, Arbitro. This is also what spawns and feeds my love of guro, where pain, mutilation, and even death can be signs of intimacy and love. But even the simplest love story can fit—in Ai no Kotodama (in volume 2, a prequel), best friends discover that their unusually close friendship may open doors to a physical relationship. And it's even the attraction of most slash: not the intrigue of gay sex (although that's great too!), but an unexpectedly intimate relationship read into heteronormative, plantonic canon.

Attraction which invades platonic relationships, which defies sexual orientation, which breaks the barriers of incest, which defies social mores, which finds unusual expression, which appears unhealthy, imbalanced, or extreme—this gets me, deep down; it tugs at my heart, my guts; it captures my interest and imagination. In part it's the guilty pleasure and intrigue of taboo, but it's also the sense that what defies the normal order must do so for good reason: this is a passion that runs so deep that it cannot be constrained by law or reason. In other words, I love unusual intimacy because it is unusual—and because it is intimate. I have a lot of fetishes, but this one may top the pile.

This is why Ghost and Aaron are cousins, why they were friends as close as brothers, why Aaron doesn't identify as gay (or even bisexual), why one steals and one dreams, why Aaron insults Ghost's mother and Ghost uses Aaron for sex, why this entire storybit exists. They are that way because the live that way, in their shitty house in my silly game while I sit back and let them have control. But they are still children of my consciousness and so they fulfill my desire for this sort of slightly discomforting, always meaningful, intimacy.

And that's the sort of story that I want, right now. The last one I stumbled upon—entirely by accident—was the film Threesome, which may not be great (the critical response certainly wasn't), but pleased me because it appealed so well to this little fetish of mine. But that was months ago, and I haven't run in to anything similar sense—save for Ghost and Aaron, of course, but I want something to consume for a bit, rather than something to make. So I appeal to you—anyone who's manage to read this far and may understand what I mean. Do you have in mind a book, a film, a story of any sort which might fulfill this desire? I would love to hear about it.

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juushika

July 2017

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