A true story (maybe a series of them?)

When I was 14, I became Wiccan. I think that’s also the year I became vegetarian. There are a lot of stories that stem from those two turning points in my life, but this is the one I want to tell you now:

Maybe it was my willingness to believe in magick and foresight, or maybe it was something else. But I remember knowing with certainty after I became Wiccan for sure, but maybe even since before then, that I wasn’t going to live past 18.

I knew it deeper than I’ve ever known anything in my life. And I knew how I was going to die, too. A car accident. I didn’t know if I would cause it or if it would be out of my control, I only knew that was what would happen. I felt the vibrations of the violence of it in my dreams at night; not as nightmares but as a dread conviction.

I knew it so completely that I came to simply accept it. I woke up in the morning, I breathed, I knew my time was limited. It became something that was comforting, in a way.

And because I knew I would die by the time I was 18, I knew I had to write at least one of the stories that wouldn’t leave my mind. So I started what is now Incarnations, but back then was called Calling of the Onyx. I started it when I was around 12/13, around there, and wrote about 150 pages before I had to stop and start over because it wasn’t right. It wasn’t right. And this was my only chance, really, to write the right story before I would die.

Time passed, high school continued, my attempts to write my story marched on.

I don’t remember how old I was on that day. I was in high school still, definitely younger than 18. Was I 16? 17? I hadn’t yet had my 18th birthday, I’m sure.

Back then, my older brother drove us to and from school, and he also picked up or dropped off friends of mine along the way when it was convenient. This day would have been like any other day, except it wasn’t.

When school was out, my brother said he’d drop my friend Tara off at her house. The plan was to drop her off and then I’d go home with my brother. But for some reason that day, Tara asked me last minute as she was stepping out of the car if I wanted to come inside and hang out–study for a math test that was coming up the next day.

Was it a surprise test we’d only just learned of that day? I don’t remember.

What I remember is there was a moment where I hesitated, sitting in the passenger seat. I kind of didn’t want to go to her house, because I wanted to go home and watch TV and roleplay online and just chill. And in that hesitation she urged me to come inside, it’d be fun, and I said I wasn’t sure, and she said come on just come in, so I asked my brother if that’d be okay and he said he didn’t care.

I went inside and my brother drove off.

Tara and I spent the next hour half studying, half goofing off. Until her phone rang and she picked it up, and said it was for me. I answered the phone, heard my mom’s voice and figured she was about to ask when I wanted to be picked up, but that wasn’t at all what she was calling to say.

My brother had been in a really bad car accident, she told me. His car was totaled, she said.

Within blocks of Tara’s house, he had gone through an intersection properly but an SUV hadn’t paid attention to the stop sign and had sped through the intersection. It slammed into the passenger side of the car, T-boned it. Destroyed the car.

My brother was okay.

But if I had been in that passenger seat like I was supposed to be, I wouldn’t have been.

I felt that that was the car accident I had felt all these years. That was what had been weighing on me for years, knowing it was coming, thinking I had no choice. But at the same time I thought, surely that can’t be the accident I expected? Because I somehow missed it, by pure luck and Tara’s insistence.

I think that happened around the time I was 16, because I think I remember there being years after that where I still anticipated that vehicular death even as I no longer felt the certainty as I had before that day at Tara’s.

I wondered for a long time after that why I hadn’t died like I’d expected. When I turned 18, and then 19, and then beyond, I didn’t know what to do with this life I’d never expected to have. I didn’t understand why I had been spared something that had been written in stone for so long.

When I got into fanfic writing and saw the community that came from fandoms, when I had to come up with a reason for why I was alive, I thought that a dream for this unexpected time I had on Earth was for there to someday be something I could write that could be meaningful in whatever way possible to even just one other person. I thought that if I could have anything, if I could find meaning in a dream, then my dream was for something I was involved in writing to have a fandom, no matter how small it may be.

Just one fanfic, one fanart, one anything, would be incredible. Anything beyond that would be astounding, and would fulfill that dream I didn’t dare breathe aloud.

ICoS ended up accidentally fulfilling that dream of mine, which left me feeling free to go back to that story I started all those years ago. Back when I thought I’d have only a few years before I was gone. Now I named it Incarnations, and now I’m trying to finish writing it this year.

Because of ICoS, because of the amazing readers for that story, because at least one person found it meaningful, because at least one person made fanfic or fanart or anything else, because of that community, I’ve been able to dare to have another dream.

This one may never happen, and if it doesn’t I’m honestly completely okay with it. The fact that my first dream was met is more than enough for me. I hardly dare hope for more. But if I could have it, it would be this:

I would love, someday, to be able to quit my job and write a book that gets published. I would like to make just enough money to be able to scrape by as a writer (I don’t expect to ever be rich or well-known). But mostly, even if I can’t do those things, what I would really love is to even just change jobs so I could do what I’ve really wanted to do for years:

I would love to be able to meet people in person. I would love to be able to go to a convention. I would feel incredibly lucky if I could ever be on a panel in a convention, or be a main speaker or the only speaker in one of those panels. I would love to be able to do a book signing sometime in my life. I would love to be able to sit in an Artist’s Alley with books and draw little Ais’ Terrible Art cartoons for anyone who is interested and who was kind enough to stop by. And I would love, someday, to be able to somehow incorporate charities into what I do, like somehow make just a bit more than enough money to scrape by so that extra bit could go to one of my favorite charities, so the people who want to donate know it’s going to a good cause.

I would love any and all of these things, but I also know it’s entirely likely none of this will happen. And I know that even if I were lucky enough to be able to go to a convention as Ais, no one would probably know who I am or care. If I were ever on a panel, particularly if I were the only speaker, or if I ever did some book signing, I would worry that no one would care and no one would show up.

I would have to convince some friends to come so I wouldn’t be sitting there alone in silence. But at least with friends we could hang out and talk, so it’d still be great.

But as much as I would love for any or all of that to happen, I also know it doesn’t have to happen because I was lucky enough for one dream to already have been met, and that alone is more than enough. That alone is more than I’d ever hoped to have.

For every person who ever wrote to us about ICoS, who ever cared about the series or a character, who ever drew anything or made an edit or wrote anything or made music or anything else–to each and every one of you, I can never thank you enough because I don’t have the words to explain to you how incredible and important that is to me.

I wondered why it was that day after school Tara was so insistent, and why I went against my nature to unexpectedly stay at her house. I wondered why I lived when I was set to die.

A few years ago I realized, was it so ICoS could happen? That life-changing event that also wasn’t planned, that also happened accidentally, but that also had positive repercussions in my life going forward? Was ICoS important to someone who needed it at that moment in their life, for whatever reason? Was that why I was spared, so that accidental event could happen for them?

I don’t know, really. Maybe I was also spared so I could rescue my dog. Maybe there’s something I don’t know of yet. I don’t believe in fate, exactly, nor do I think everything has to happen for a reason. I think a lot of things just sort of happen and we roll with them and it’s our reactions to them that affects our options in the future.

That’s how I generally feel, but I can’t feel that way about that accident, because that accident was something I felt the repercussions of years before it happened. That accident was something I knew would happen. That accident is something that so very nearly did happen to me. So the fact that it didn’t is what makes me curious the reason why.

And most days, lately, I feel like the existence of ICoS maybe is that reason.

A series?

There are some true stories I’ve considered sharing, or things I struggle with sometimes, in the event they are helpful for anyone else or even just interesting to read.

In particular that’s been on my mind the most has been my struggles over the years with anorexia and ways I’ve dealt with it or tried to get over it, as much as can be done. For example, lately I’ve been struggling with how a person loses weight when they don’t know if they should be losing that weight and are afraid of triggering right back to where they started on anorexia.

Would that be useful and/or of interest for anyone? Let me know if so.

Never regret you

I received this anonymous post on tumblr, and since I wrote a long answer I thought I may want to reference it later. To make it easier to find, or in case it helps anyone else to see this who would miss it on tumblr, I’m posting it here.


 

lovedieanon

I feel that way a lot too, anon. I can understand that feeling well. Since I’ve always felt like some sort of weird outlier to life at large, I’ve struggled a lot of my life with refusing to be anyone other than myself, while constantly having to recognize how being “myself” meant that a lot of who I am will not be understood. It’s been getting better over time but that feeling still remains, even though I’m lucky with having some great friends and family.

Actually I wrote an article along these lines for Queer Romance Month if it helps at all: The Equality of Differences.

Anyway, because of all that, and compounding the issue with me being asexual and a lesbian, I have always felt like no one I could ever come to love will ever love me, and I’ll end up dying alone. I still feel that way now. I’ve kind of resigned myself to that inevitability, in all honesty. I just don’t feel like there’s a reason anyone should bother with me, and even if they did then the trouble is with me being an asexual lesbian I have a VERY small subsection of people who I may even be attracted to in the first place who also would be okay with who I am, without one or both of us having to seriously compromise on what is important for us just so we can be together.

But the thing is, I’ve spent many years watching other people cycle through all these relationship hurdles and roller coasters and becoming co-dependent or being too afraid to exist on their own and always jumping into relationships because they can’t love themselves individually. I’ve watched people in relationships spanning years, decades, split up later because they grew apart or maybe they never should have actually been together in the first place but they thought they had to be because that was what they thought love was. (I wrote about this in January 2015 on my blog as well which maybe you would find interesting if you want to see that thought process in more detail: An Asexual’s View of Love)

The conclusion I’ve reached over time is that it isn’t bad to be alone. Honestly, it isn’t. There is a lot of freedom in being alone; you can dictate your time much more efficiently, you can explore ideas or hobbies or adventures at your leisure, and you can take all the time you need to recognize, really realize, how important you are as yourself. I’ve always been really big on people being themselves, whether or not that happens to fit mainstream.

For me, in any group of people I’m in, there’s almost always some pretty big part of me that is pretty fucking weird to the people in that group. So there’s a part of me that always feels like it doesn’t belong, like I stand out, and that has created dual reactions over time for me.

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The Equality of Differences – QRM post

Hey all — my blog post for Queer Romance Month is out and I wanted to mention it here because I think people might be interested in it. I called it The Equality of Differences and I don’t think I can totally copy the whole post over here (since that wouldn’t be fair to QRM) so instead I’m showing you just the beginning of it below.

Follow the link at the end to read the rest.


I have spent most of my life feeling like an alien on Earth. The main reason for this is because it has often felt like, at every step of the way, I was different than what society expected.

My earliest memory is of being at recess in elementary school and running up to a teacher to ask, “What’s a lesbian?” I know I asked that question because somebody called me one, but I don’t remember exactly what they said, nor what the teacher’s response was. All I know is whatever the teacher said gave me the impression it was something very bad, because I remember running back and yelling at the other kid that I wasn’t a lesbian at all.

I was too young back then to know I actually was a lesbian, and way too young to know I was asexual as well. Maybe if I’d known I wouldn’t have denied it to that kid, because later I would grow up to realize how important it is to be myself. Even when that means I feel like I don’t belong.

For anyone who’s interested, I wrote a blog post earlier this year called An Asexual’s View of Love which talks about how, to me, romance can seem like a fetishization of love. I don’t want to be repetitive so I focus on different topics in this post than I did in that one.

The topic of having romance be accessible to everyone is something very dear to me, as a woman who is definitely a romantic at heart but who also happens to be both asexual and a lesbian. I’ve often felt that the things that are expected of human beings, and especially female human beings in the US, are things that are utterly foreign to me.

There are different ways of feeling alienated or consistently “not normal.” For me, it’s always been a whole lot of little things that added up to me feeling like a freak of nature as far as mainstream is concerned. Stereotypes shouldn’t be expectations, but in aggregate they are.

Women are overtly sexualized in the US (which creeps me out as an asexual), with the expectation that men should get the most out of her and have some control of, or accessibility to, her beauty (which creeps me out as a lesbian), and with the further assumption that her end goal in life must be to have children, marry and settle down (which creeps me out as someone who didn’t like kids as a kid and doesn’t want to be around them any more as an adult).

In short, if you imagine what is assumed to be “normal,” I was almost always the opposite.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.queerromancemonth.com/ais-lin-2015

Hufflepuff Pride, motherfuckers!

Anonymous asked: Ais. I hear that you’re a harry potter fan. What house are you in?

lol does it show just how much of a nerdy Harry Potter fan I am, that at this question I thought to myself, “Well, I can’t sort myself on this. Only the Sorting Hat can do that. And of course Gryffindor seems like a cool choice and Ravenclaw seems great for intellect but I bet I’m probably actually Hufflepuff. But I’d better get the official answer on this.”

So I went to pottermore and made an account and went through the sorting and…. I got Hufflepuff.

Which, ngl, my first reaction was, “Man! LAME. How’d I get the lamest house?? I knew I’d get the boring one!” So first I was gonna try taking other HP tests to see if I was sorted somewhere else on random internet quizzes, but I mean. Pottermore is Pottermore. I gotta go with that one. That’s the official answer.

Then I figured maybe I should read about Hufflepuff to make myself feel better about this, and after I read the pottermore wikia article on it I feel much better! I’m okay with being Hufflepuff! I mean, it’s the sort of house people dismiss and overlook but I resonate with what it said about Hufflepuffs and why they are the badger (”Our emblem is the badger, an animal that is often underestimated, because it lives quietly until attacked, but which, when provoked, can fight off animals much larger than itself, including wolves.”) also Hufflepuffs have all these cool pieces of history to it like did you know that the world authority on magical creatures AND the founder of Hogsmeade are both Hufflepuff? Plus, then I saw that John Green is also a Hufflepuff! ESTEEMED COMPANY, MY FRIEND.

And then these two Buzzfeed articles were like YEAH HUFFLEPUFF and now I’m like FUCK YEAH HUFFLEPUFF PRIDE, MAN! I don’t care if I’m in the House that people are dicks about! Me and my people aren’t dicks back, that’s all that matters! You look down on us all you want Hufflehaters! Honey badgers don’t give a shit!

So that’s the story of how I am a really big fucking Harry Potter nerd who also now suddenly has major Hufflepuff pride 😄

btw my wand is Larch with a unicorn core, 10 inches, slightly yielding… which sounded cool to me because YES UNICORN (I don’t care that phoenix feather is fancier, although dragon heartstring would’ve been cool– but Remus fucking Lupin has unicorn core wand and that makes it fantastic to me <3) but when I started to read the overview of what all the wand stuff meant and I got to the meaning of the wand length I was like MAN I FEEL INSULTED lol But then I read the meaning of Larch and saw that info about the unicorn core so I’m all good now ❤

…I wonder if you thought I would answer with just the house name 😄 I bet most normal people would. BUT OH WELL GONNA HUFFLE IT UP OVER HERE AND TRY TO BE UNNECESSARILY HELPFUL OHOHUFFLE <– my new laugh. Not to be confused with my new dance: the OHOHUFFLE SHUFFLE.

I’ll be done now. Don’t mind me. Gonna be chillin in the only common room that hasn’t had an intruder in over 500 years because we’re fucking boss down here.

Let’s Talk About It: the complexity of feminism

This is something I’m labeling as a “Let’s Talk About It” here because I ended up talking at length about this topic, but it originated from an ask on tumblr. Below is the ask, as well as my answer. I’m posting here because it’s a long answer and others may find it to be of interest, or I may want to find this post again in the future.

Copied tumblr post below:


feministetalquestion

I answered the ICoS questions in a different post so here I’m answering just the feminist question. I split them because whether I consider myself to be a feminist is a complicated/long answer on its own.

You may be wondering why this part took me so much longer to answer. It’s because no matter how many times I started this post, it always devolved into way too many topics way too quickly and somehow it involved a rant. Although you said it was fine to rant, I felt like I wasn’t explaining my thought process well and I kept getting way too sidetracked. To me, everything is interconnected so there are several really big topics that can get pulled in from the simple question of “feminism: yes/no?”.

This is probably try #6 on this post and hopefully this will be the last attempt. All of this is, of course, merely my personal opinion– other people could think completely differently than I do, and it doesn’t make them less valid than me. It simply makes them a human being with a different opinion, which is not something to judge but rather something to accept and even love.

The short answer is that I don’t consider myself to be anything in particular. Without going way too much on a tangent, the way I personally feel about things (others could feel otherwise and be totally valid) is that labels are limiting, both externally by what people make assumptions about based on the label, and internally by what people will allow themselves to think/feel based on trying to fit in with whatever label they’ve self-assigned.

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Finding the right bra: tips and information

For everyone with breasts: this is about finding the right bra for you (both size and style) and knowing your breast size/shape. This post, which may seem a bit random and personal, is because of a conversation on Facebook where I talked about a lot of this information, then realized maybe it would be good to share with others.

I saw this video a few years ago and it’s what made me first realize I had measured myself completely incorrectly– I recommend you watch it too:

If you don’t want to watch that video or even if you did already see it, here’s more information below.

MEASUREMENTS, TYPES, AND STYLES

Ok so, bras are weird. I was never educated on these things so there’s a LOT I didn’t know about before I decided to measure myself one day. I had no idea that for most of my life, I wore bras that were way smaller than I should have had.

What I found for myself was that as soon as I wore the correct size, it was so much more comfortable– and people kept telling me that they thought I’d lost weight or why did I look so good? When I told them it was just that I was wearing the correct bra size now, they were surprised. And doubtful that it would make such a difference, but it does.

My recommendations/tips:

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The calm to hide a storm

I wrote this on facebook but then realized I didn’t want to lose it, so I’m posting it here too.


Do you ever assess yourself as if looking from the outside, and wonder at pieces of you? For instance, I am weirdly calm in emergencies. I’m not the person running around freaking out; I’m the person who’s instantly identifying the problems so I can figure out the solutions. But that also means I probably seem heartless to other people in the first moments of being told someone is missing, or someone is in the hospital, or this person is sick, or that person was in an accident. I don’t freak out because you don’t know what will happen. It may be fine, it may not. All you can do is try to identify the ways to stack the cards in positivity’s favor.

But afterward– after I’m away from other people and the outcome is clear, that’s where I have that moment of release. Shuddering tears, perhaps, or sudden harsh breaths, like releases of all the air in my lungs at once, again, again, because I didn’t realize I was holding my breath, I didn’t realize how much I was controlling my body, until I knew I didn’t have to do it anymore.

I wonder, sometimes, where I develop these reactions. I think this part of me is because I never want to hurt or worry other people, and I want to help. So if I hear of something bad, I’m instantly trying to find the ways to fix it, or to help mitigate the disaster. I’m instantly aware that panic will only make it worse and will only scare everyone else more so I have to be as calm and strong as I can be, as casual or darkly humorous if needed, to keep everyone on task and distracted from all the ominous What If’s of the world. But even though I cut out the heart in the first moment, even though I go all brain, it doesn’t stop my heart from feeling in the background. And so, when I’m alone and I know it won’t hurt anyone, I let that fear or pain be acknowledged so the denial doesn’t become my own tragedy; my own self-prophetical pain.

I wonder what you’re supposed to do in those situations. And I wonder if, to others, my automatic reaction to shut off emotions and be calm is more comforting or frightening in the greater scheme of the world. Does it seem strange to them that someone who spends so much time talking and smiling and joking doesn’t seem to care about something bad happening, or does that inconsistency make them stop and reassess their own emotions? Am I helping or am I hindering, and in the end does it even matter? Because that is my automatic, instant reaction and I can’t change it. I don’t know if I would want to, even if I tried.

I think about these things sometimes, because psychology and human behavior is interesting to me, even when it’s my own reactions. Do you do the same?