I’ve been wanting to make this post for months but I wanted to wait until I could do a proper review with pictures. This will be a long post because of that, but in order to be thorough I wanted to give you as much information as I could for me, personally, so you could calibrate to see if any of this might be helpful for you.
I have this thing where the more I want to do something, the less I allow myself to do it. Why? What even is the point of that sort of self-sabotage? It’s usually really innocuous things, too, like – I want to read this manga series, or, I want to write a story, or, I want to play Sims, or, I want to watch a movie. Where is the disconnect in my mind between that interest and my decision? Why is it that I have seemingly given myself a strict allowance of how much mundane satisfaction and happiness I’m allowed per week or day or month, or whatever other arbitrary designation I have apparently set without telling myself? I genuinely don’t understand why my brain does this, but it’s very frustrating.
So anyway. Lately I’ve allowed myself to play Sims for the first time in 3 years. There’s that.
Some things I will probably ramble about here and there – a warning in advance:
I am going vegan after being vegetarian for 20 years. It’s a process, but I’m figuring it out.
Also I’m trying to do health-related shit this year I’ve been putting off forever. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow I am 1000000% dreading but I’m going to go because I feel like I should.
I told the doctor at the first time I met her that I should probably see someone related to my anorexic thought processes that I’ve mostly conquered on my own but which still affect aspects of my life. She referred me to an ED clinic and they’ve tried calling me 4 times now but I haven’t answered yet. The first two times I didn’t know it was them, I thought it was just a random number. The second two times I had them added into my caller ID and I just. Couldn’t pick up.
I really appreciate they tried so many times to contact me. I’m trying to tell myself to contact them back.
That is one of my low-level goals going forward.
Anyway, I have the anorexia-related posts I wrote years ago but never posted online. You may see those at some point here, too.
Taking care of my health is the worst.
I hate going to doctors. I like doctors as people. I respect their profession. I just super hate spending all this time on my health ugh ugh ugh what a waste
But I know it isn’t actually a waste so I’m making myself push forward on things I kept putting off for years and years. It doesn’t become less important by ignoring it for years; it only becomes more.
I’ve been thinking about makeup lately…
Bear with me a second.
When I was young, my mom was an Avon lady and then later a Mary Kay lady. She used to use makeup all the time, and taught me when I was around 14ish how to do my own. Maybe younger? I forget. Back then I wasn’t super interested in “girly” things, though. She had this super cute, very fashionable style and she’d buy me things on these great deals at thrift stores or wherever she found great discounts, cute skirts or dresses or the likes, but I hated wearing anything but pants. Oversized ones, at that. I didn’t wear much makeup back in the day, but when I got contacts I did start wearing more because my eyes were more visible than they had been behind my thick ass glasses.
Time passed, it’s probably a boring and long story, eventually I started wearing cuter clothes. Venturing out in my own style.
YouTube became a thing. I started slowly learning more techniques by following people.
For my 30th birthday, I saved up and bought myself LASIK. My eyesight was ATROCIOUS. I literally couldn’t do most eye makeup looks because I couldn’t see. In order to see what I was doing, I had to be too close to the mirror. The brush handle would hit the mirror and I couldn’t do anything. But I didn’t like wearing my contacts while doing too much eyeshadow or mascara (at all, I HATED wearing mascara with contacts) because shit ALWAYS got into my eyes somehow and it was a mess with the contacts, and then I’d ruin the eye makeup getting the contacts out and flushing my eyes and ugh. Just. Ugh.
But after LASIK, my makeup game really accelerated. I realized I could actually fucking see now. I could actually do shit with my eyes. And the thing is, my eyes are the one thing about myself I’ve always loved, even throughout my anorexic episodes, even throughout depression or just, everything and anything. I have found reasons to criticize literally every part of me, except my eyes. I love their color. They’re like a mix of grey and blue with a bit of a weird hazel-green sort of??? When close enough in very certain light? Mostly they read as grey-blue. Usually they just read as dark blue.
I found that makeup made me really happy. I could switch things up completely day to day if I felt like it. Where my clothing was dictated by my weight, by my comfort, by my body dysmorphia, my face remained enough the same that I had a canvas every day that didn’t make me feel bad about myself. It didn’t matter if I looked ugly with or without makeup – it let me play up what I wanted to that day, or downplay what I wanted other days.
I have spent the past week and a half trying to compile some sort of response to everything that has come out recently with Sonny/Santino Hassell. Trying to understand what to say or how to say it has consumed me and still, nothing seems right. I’m exhausted.
I know people have a lot of questions but unfortunately, I don’t know that I have the answers anyone needs. I was blindsided by all of this. I met Sonny when I was 19 years old and in college, and at this point we’ve both known each other almost half our lives. I truly believed he existed, because I had no reason to believe otherwise. Having to rewrite that history in my own mind has been, to say the least, a feat.
I have a much longer post which talks more at length about various aspects, but I know a lot of people don’t want to read anything that’s too long or involved. So if you only wonder about what I think regarding the three main questions:
Unfortunately yes, Sonny/Santino does not seem to exist, although who exactly was talking/writing all those years I have no idea. I don’t know if it was one or both of them. I suspect only they know. They (or someone) did write the series with me, though, and we did spend a ton of hours on it. That, at least, I can verify is not a lie.
As for whether anyone actually has liver cancer or other health concerns, I honestly have no idea. All the information I was given was under the auspices of believing Sonny existed, and was always framed as Sonny’s story. At this point, I can’t say what I’ve been told was true or not, or maybe even somewhere in between.
Regarding bullying/abusive behavior, the only thing I’ve read myself is the confessions posted on the #SHConfessions thread on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sweetsakuradoll). If you scroll down, the screenshots are of the confessions themselves. I didn’t know about any of this happening, and to know it was occurring horrifies me. But if you ask me if I think you should believe those confessions, yes, I do. I’m very sorry to have to say that, because that means so much pain has been happening for so long, but despite not having had any knowledge of those situations occurring, I have many reasons to believe what they’re saying is true. The biggest reason is because when I ran across it, I was startled to see that parts of their stories were like reading something I had written myself.
If you want more information on any of this, you can read my much longer post. You can find it to read online or download in pdf at http://aisylum.com/statement_2018_Ais.pdf. Some friends recommended I pdf it instead of putting it as a blog post for ease of reading.
Part of the reason I couldn’t seem to get anything coherent out faster than a week and a half is I have nearly 16 years of knowledge I’ve had to undo in the course of a few days. It’s been surreal and so confusing and it brought up all sorts of things from the past I hadn’t thought about in years. Frankly, things I didn’t really want to have to think about again. I found old journal entries that reminded me of how unstable I was at different times, how unhappy I was, how often I doubted myself in big and small ways. There were so many things I never planned to talk about publicly, simply because I didn’t want to hurt anyone, and I thought that if I talked about all those difficult times, that was exactly what I would be doing.
Additionally, it’s extremely stressful to me to talk about anything I hadn’t planned to share publicly. Writing this, and especially posting it, is difficult. The way I cope is through humor and avoidance. Avoidance won out for years, and right now it’s fighting a hard battle once again. If I disappear for a bit or suddenly start talking excitedly about things I love, I’m not trying to be rude and it isn’t because none of this affects me or I don’t care. It’s quite the opposite. It’s simply me maintaining my internal balance through the coping mechanisms I’ve developed over the years.
Please know the reason I’m saying any of this isn’t to make any of this about me, it’s simply that I feel like I need to apologize for being unable to get something out sooner, and the only way I know how to do that fairly is to explain why it took so long.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who supported me both publicly and privately since this all came out. I greatly appreciate it; you are the reason I could get anything out even this soon, because you told me it was okay to take my time. Thank you so much for your understanding. I can’t tell you enough how much it meant and continues to means to me.
I’m so sorry to anyone who has been hurt in any of this. I wish I had known, I wish I could have helped, I wish I had been capable of somehow stopping anything. I talk more about it in the longer post but I’ve felt guilty since all of this broke, feeling like somehow this has to be my responsibility because I knew Sonny for longest online. Somehow, I need to take on this responsibility, find a way to help, find a way to make up for it to others. But I have to be fair to myself in a way that’s always been incredibly difficult for me. I have to acknowledge that I’m not responsible for the actions of others, especially when I didn’t know about it and never would have condoned it. I tried helping so many times over the years, and I was usually so unsuccessful. I thought I was trying to help a friend who was a victim of bullying and harassment, who was caught in endless self-destructive cycles he couldn’t seem to escape. It turns out a lot of what I was told was at the very least misrepresentative, and in some cases possibly outright lies.
I’m very sorry to everyone who is disappointed by this news, who believed in Sonny like I did and now has to question so much. I can’t speak for him (or, I guess, them); I don’t know what was going on all this time, or why. I don’t hate him/them, because it’s just too much energy for me, because at this point I just feel more tired than anything, because I would rather continue to try to put positive into the world to counteract any negative, but I understand that others will feel differently, and I understand that they may feel so with varying intensity.
I feel incredible sympathy for anyone who has been negatively affected by any of this. I truly hope you have been able to reach out to your support systems, and I hope you have gotten the support you need from them.
As for In the Company of Shadows, if you were someone who loved it and now can’t stand to think of it, as exceedingly sad as it will make me to know that all of this has affected something you loved, I want you to know that I understand. I don’t want anyone to be hurt further than has already happened. Thank you for the time and energy you put into your love of it in the past, and I hope you can find something to balance this heartbreak so you can feel empowered moving forward. If you are someone who can still love the series despite all this in the background, then please know, for whatever it’s worth, I myself continue to love ICoS, I continue to love the world, the characters, the story. Thank you for your kindness and patience, and thank you for continuing to believe in the story despite everything else that has happened. If you continue to have questions about the series, what the characters might think/do, feel free to ask me any time. I’m still happy to discuss the series if anyone needs it, I just might not be able to answer some questions related to characters which are not mine.
I’m very sorry, regardless, that any of this had to be a discussion point at all.
I wish Sonny (whoever it was) had told me the truth from the start, or told me at any point along the way, because maybe some of this could have been avoided. Instead, I truly believed in him right up into Friday March 9, and had to learn the truth when he posted it online. I can’t say I’m sorry I believed in a friend of 15 years, because I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing. But I am sorry I didn’t know, because maybe, somehow, I could have helped everyone.
If you never read anything else from me, because you’re too raw from all of this, I understand. Please, then, let these be my last words to you: please take care of yourself, and please don’t let the actions of others cause you to stop believing in other people. Or yourself.
tumblr fucked up all my links on the masterlist and it’s been a pain trying to find some of them. For a question someone asked today I wanted to check the September 2012 Q&A we did at The Slash Pile but I had to search separately on livejournal. Just in case that page ever disappears, I decided to try to paste it here. The formatting may be all jacked but hopefully it will be readable.
SOME FOREWARNING FOR BELOW:
- I wasn’t able to easily remove anyone’s names/userpics because my computer would only let me select all for copy/paste. If you have an old lj represented on here and you want me to remove your name/userpic from this and replace it with something generic, I will absolutely do so. Please just let me know your preferences and your name/pic to look for.
- I didn’t reread any of this. If anything is problematic or different below from what we’ve said since, sorry. It’s from 2012 and some viewpoints may have changed since then, with more time and knowledge.
- My lj username is starlite_gone and Sonny’s was cancelsonny, just so you know who’s talking below.
- Thank you again to TSP for hosting this Q&A! It was really successful with the number of questions 🙂
I just realized I posted about this everywhere but here.. Sorry if you already saw this on tumblr, but if you didn’t here’s a bunch of info in one post:
For the midday folks who missed my late night announcement, and for those who saw that but want updated links of stuff I’ve done since, I present to you:
I’m now on patreon! patreon.com/ais.
Do you have to be a patron to get my stuff? Nope, most things will eventually be free to the public too, but patrons get early access on items plus more. They get at least one chapter a month of Incarnations, and a wildcard option I decide every month, and they get to vote on another small project they want to see that month. Their names are also on a thank you page on my site. Plus maybe more in the future!
What I’ve released on Patreon for Incarnations will be released every quarter or so for free to the public so you can read it too if you can’t afford Patreon or don’t want to. I may change that timeline in the future to more like every 6 months or something, we’ll see. This first month in September, though, I’m releasing a lot of stuff to the public so you can get an idea of what to expect on Patreon.
Incarnations chapters one and two are already released! Find them here!
What is Incarnations/why should you care about it/what’s the quality of editing like on the releases? All those answers here: How edited is Incarnations, anyway? And other overview info
Did you know I have a newsletter for my stuff? (aka, not an ICoS newsletter, but an Ais newsletter) If you didn’t, you can sign up here, find past issues here, and I just released the newest newsletter today!
It’s right here: http://mailchi.mp/6568f7557ee3/ais-is-now-on-patreon
What’s the context on that? Find out here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/avoid-like-boyd-14434923
I think those are the main updates but you should really check out my posts at Patreon because I’ve already made a bunch of them: https://www.patreon.com/ais/posts