Yearly Archives: 2013

121 posts

Living outside the binary

In August I wrote a post for Caleigh’s I Have a Voice project about gender – gender identity, gender expression, specifically mine. It’s been interesting since then – nice to have finally gotten it out there, because it had been welling up inside – I think I’ve come to understand myself a bit more and I occasionally write addendums in my head.
Today’s kinda started off on a not good foot(?). I feel sick, I’m sleep deprived and (I think unrelatedly) I feel so tired of feeling like my very existence is both a threat and threatened. Not physically, but because…. I don’t know. Live alternative to the way you grew up, get married, do not have kids, and watch as your friends get married and have kids, and try not feeling the pressure from everyone and the world and your upbringing to conform and join the rest. Try not feeling vulnerable when your existence flies in the face of everything you ever knew and were taught; and while you wouldn’t trade it for the world, sometimes, it just, gets old. Because even this has stigmas attached.
I don’t identify as a woman even though I have female anatomy. I don’t really connect or feel at-one with my body most of the time. It’s a weird state of flux – I often feel as though my body and I are at odds if not all out war, but also, like, I still feel “fat”(thanks hormones!) and sick and hormonal and self conscious and all of those things. I occasionally disassociate, and holding my partner’s hands keep me tethered and grounded (this really doesn’t happen that often, but, it’s happened).
I identify to myself as gender-neutral or genderless, for ease when talking to people, I use genderqueer. I don’t feel like I am a man the same way I don’t feel like I am a woman. I don’t embody the binary roles we try to split people up into at birth. I am me, I am human, I exist, the end.
I frustrate myself though, because gender identity and putting people into categories of binary gender is so ingrained that even though I don’t accept it on a personal and logical level, it’s still a thought pattern that I’m trying to unlearn. I still find myself trying to categorize people – the way it kills me to be categorized – instinctually, which is when I stop myself and step back and say “that is a beautiful person” end of story. Because gender really doesn’t matter – not as a category and certainly not as binary.
Gender is a social construct that we force people into because we can’t accept that people don’t fit outside of our two boxes. Which leaves those of us who exist outside the boxes feeling broken and wrong. We either learn to suppress it and squeeze into the box, or we change and let ourselves live – but it’s lonelier out here, and the people who either embrace or have squeezed into the boxes don’t really understand.
Gender presentation is often mistaken for gender identity, but they are not the same thing. Just like not everyone who wears plaid is a hipster (and not all hipsters wear plaid). I present myself in the way that gives me confidence. I spent far too long hiding my body in baggy clothes and layers, so I present as femme. I accept female pronouns because existing is complicated and I don’t feel like correcting people (not that it’s not a valid thing, because it is, I really want gender neutral or genderless pronouns to become common – I just don’t have the emotional energy do it; I don’t even have the energy to correct people’s pronunciation of my name, which is largely why I go by Kiery now), but, if you use hen you will win all of the things.
The idea of women are this and men are that is soul crushing. The idea that your life and path and interests are chosen for you at birth because of your anatomy is ridiculous.
The culture we breed of women must want babies or something is wrong with them and all men care about is fucking and their own pleasure is archaic. We are human, and we are more than that. We are more than one organ of our body. But try accepting that and living as though your life’s worth does not depend on the use of your reproductive system, and you’re bombarded with social stigmas of something is wrong with that person.
I’m 99% sure that guys deal with this too. Nice, considerate, empathetic guys are ridiculed and shamed for their lives – not being manly enough. Like women not having children are shamed for not being womanly.
However you identify, however you present yourself – your worth is not (well, should not be) in your anatomy.
But that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’m still fighting old thought patterns and habits, I get angry because I’m not where I want to be. When I think I’m making progress accepting myself (and others) something happens and I feel like I lost it.
I don’t know how comfortable I am sporting the genderqueer label, but it’s better than getting angry whenever someone refers to me as a woman (strangely enough, _lady_ doesn’t bother me, but that’s probably because I say it in a sexy voice…laaadeeey and it doesn’t hold the same connotations for me that woman does and as I said before she/her are okay, because I present as femme but hen is best).
Or maybe it’s because I don’t feel queer about it (even though that’s kinda the best term we have atm). I am a person, gender doesn’t apply.

Background in chronological order (AKA previous posts on the subject. It’s like you can watch the evolution and how I’m still dealing with the same things a year later!):
Women are less
A Freeing Realization
Because of What it Means
Coming To Grips With Gender (Profligate Truth)

On Femininity

Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be perfect. They’re supposed to be Pollyanna, Elsie Dinsmore, and Jane Bennet.  They’re supposed to be completely innocent, unnoticed, modest, graceful, but still look beautiful and unblemished (while not thinking too hard about it).

Good Homeschooled Girls are impossible. All of us are wearing masks, we’re all acting feminine, we’re all hiding ourselves, because none of us are that perfect.

Instead, we are berated – we are told we are never enough, that we’ll never be good enough, that we don’t measure up. We’re told we need to fix our hair and only wear makeup to cover our acne, we’re told we need to look just so – but not focus on it. Our appearance and personalities are shamed, muted. We are turned into china dolls – empty, silent, porcelain – while we die slowly inside. Our unique identities are stripped – told to be sinful – our independence denied, and to fight for it is to abandon all that we were raised to be.

Our dreams – if they exist outside the chosen path – are cast aside, scoffed at, or allowed under very specific circumstances and made to end upon marriage and/or pregnancy. And if we abandon this dream, or if we seem to have a particularly hard time measuring up to this standard? We are broken, and there is something wrong with us. To base our worth in who we are instead of when our uterus is used flies in the face of this ideal.

Elsie DinsmoreBeautiful Girlhood, and Jane Austen are the books that are handed to us as examples of femininity and how we should conduct ourselves. Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be quiet, demure, masters in the art of domesticity – never raising their voices or asserting themselves, never doing heavy lifting (unless it’s babies or laundry baskets), always walking with poise, always graceful, always innocent and perfect, never loud.

The first two emphasize the devaluing of self as godly and feminine. I can’t speak to Jane Austen because I’ve never been able to make it past the first chapter.

Innocent, all with Hayley Mills and a yellow house in Maine and everything, harmless. Right? If we leave it at the movie, sure(?). I didn’t know at the time, but the outdated standards they sing about – is something that is invisibly expected of all Good Homeschooled Girls.
The line: hide the real you while it was probably meant to be funny and absurd was essentially my way of life.

I’ve always been stubborn, strong-willed, and independent – when it worked in my parents favor, this was a good thing, otherwise it was something to be squelched.

I was never really a tom-boy, sports bored me and seemed pointless – which, I suppose naturally meant I was a good candidate for the social experiment of super-girly-femininity. I was given books – Elsie Dinsmore, Beautiful Girlhood, Pride and Prejudice or Emma or Northanger Abbey (I don’t remember which ended up in our collection), and etiquette 101 for tweens (I can’t remember the name). I had to learn to be hospitable and submissive, though my parents never (or rarely) used the word feminine. Submissive and feminine are often synonymous here.

I read them, dutifully, internalizing the expectations (well except Austen. I just couldn’t, but that comes in later). My parents never really talked with me about this, they had a tendency to just give me the books and expect I learn from them. Elsie is less fiction and more a not-so-subtle way of giving young girls impossible and unhealthy expectations and telling them they’re worthless if they can’t master it as Elsie did.
It didn’t take long for me to realize Elsie is an impossible set of standards that I was never going to meet. Though the real line was when she married her father’s best friend. I couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore, arranged marriages to a man who’s old enough to be your father who was creepy as hell to you when you were 8, AND you’re too perfect and ideal to even exist or be relatable. Just, no.

The appeal of the civil war/regency era vanished – because I saw through what they were trying to do and I think it was my own secret form of rebellion, sort of. Good Homeschooled Girls are given these books as guidelines – Beautiful Girlhood literally is a guideline for femininity and social conduct.

As much as I tried to mask my nature, to hide the real me, I was never able to do it well enough to be the pinnacle of femininity that I felt I was supposed to be.

Austen bored me, because I couldn’t get into the obsession with ribbons and dresses and who’s-courting-who. Elsie and Beautiful girlhood just made me more painfully aware of the inadequacies I was already painfully aware of.

I felt broken. I felt broken because I didn’t live up to this idealized standard of godly womanhood (or girlhood). I felt broken because I am not delicate, and no amount of silencing myself was going to re-write the core of my DNA. I come from a line of stubborn women, you can’t demure you’re way out of it. Or maybe you can, but I couldn’t. I felt like that meant I was less desirable (the end-goal of being female being married and having kids).

Being born female meant that I had my entire life and code of conduct set in front of me, no personality required. I was required to follow the program. I felt wrong because the very fiber of my being was in direct opposition to it.
It still is. 

I remember when I was 11 or 12 trying painfully to write fiction about an edwardian-era girl (instead of my book about the secret society of women who fought in the Revolution via spying because the Quartering Act) who sat in a garden in her frilly dresses and waited for suitors. I think I got maybe 4 paragraphs and then became frustrated because it was impossible for me to even write about that without getting bored.

The idea of being locked up, spending my life in waiting for someone to whisk me away, and then to spend the rest of my life locked up birthing and raising children horrified me. No matter how hard I tried to make it not, or how hard I tried to make it seem…as ultimate as people were telling me, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself it wasn’t certain death.

I couldn’t escape the feeling of the futility and meaninglessness of my life if all I was allowed to do was wait, and then have kids, and hope that one day they’d grow up to do the great things that I wanted to spend my life doing.

That meant something was wrong with me. I was too independent and god wouldn’t like that.

I remember being told, on several occasions, when I chose to fight for my autonomy, “independence is bad [for a woman], how do you think GOD feels about that [me being autonomous]?”

I was wrong and broken because I was not, am not, could not be demure, quiet, and feminine. I would never live up to the standards that good homeschooled girls are supposed to live up to – no matter how many masks I put on, or how hard I tried to hide myself.
I may never have been a tom-boy, but I was never the epitome of girlishness either.

Masks could only cover so much. I found ways to let myself be stubborn in subtle and approved ways. I was compliant to a point.
The things is, I know now that those books are poison to my rose-soul, but I still feel the need to embody all that is wispy delicate and feminine. I still feel broken because I don’t fit  the mold when other people project it onto me. Because it is impossible for me. It would require giving up my autonomy and a complete change of taste.

I can’t watch Pride and Prejudice without raging, I generally hate dramas (there are exceptions to this), I’d rather read a good fantasy or scifi novel or comic than a book about amish courtship (don’t get me fucking started), I love a good action movie – Give me robots fighting monsters any day.

None of my most basic preferences are even considered in the world of godly womanhood and good homeschooled girls. It is assumed that I LOOOOOOOVE anything by Austen, that cooking, courtship, and children appeal to all of my tastes and interests, that robots and monsters and other-worlds are boring and unnecessary, and action movies are for boys. When I express otherwise, it’s all but laughed at or ignored.

I watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries without raging (loved it, even). I know Austen was groundbreaking for her time (a woman author? *gasp*), but I can’t read her – not just because I find it dry, but because of homeschool culture.

Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be looking waiting for their Mr. Darcy (an asshole, really?). Good Homeschooled Girls are supposed to be Jane Bennet (Lizzie is far too independent) which doesn’t make sense because Jane marries Mr. Bingley? I know too many people who are trying to hack the 21st century into a Jane Austen novel and it frightens and sickens me.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were balls and you married the person you danced with? I feel like that can’t be the point of Pride and Prejudice, but you wouldn’t know it in this particular subculture.
^ Don’t start thinking about it too hard, it’ll hurt your brain.

It is the obsession with denying women humanity – autonomy – and worth that pervades this whole idea. Good Homeschooled Girls have no needs.

Good Homeschooled Girls are whatever they are told to be.

Good Homeschooled Girls must gracefully and perfectly meet and fulfill contradictory requirements (look perfect, but don’t obsess about it! learn things, but don’t use your brain!), while never having a bad day or a human moment.

Good Homeschooled Girls aren’t allowed to be.
All in the name of femininity.

I have something to say

I have a story to tell, a story that’s been hanging over my head for months and I haven’t said anything out of fear and now I just need to release it so I can feel better.
This summer, I was cornered by people I trust – put into a situation against my will that triggered an onslaught of PTSD, flashbacks, and sent me back into the past where I was 16 years old, sitting on a couch, being berated and interrogated and told I was a horrible person.  
I’ve been dealing with the psychological and emotional fallout of that since – it’s gotten better over the last month or two, but for what felt like an eternity, I couldn’t write, draw, or even use my voice for fear of it happening again.
I forgot I was an autonomous adult because the situation sent me back to a place where I was powerless, because the people who cornered me kept calling me back every time I tried to escape, because I was already in the middle of a tunneling flashback, I shutdown, which for me looks like this:
 become robotic and stoic, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore, because I just became a shell running on autopilot, giving the answers that they want to hear as best I can without giving away more than I am comfortable with. Sitting calmly, listening to my accusers, showing no emotion, giving reasoned answers, trying to end the interrogation as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, I am hiding somewhere in a cave warding off nausea, panic attacks, and tears. Somewhere they can’t see. Because I can’t let them see, it’s not safe to let them see that I’m bothered, that will validate their point.
I am well practiced at this. I spent my childhood perfecting this response. This is what my fight or flight looks like, because I was never allowed to express emotions or explode at my parents. 

Note: if I ever become stoic, cold, and reasoned during a discussion that is uncomfortable, I am not there. In general, I can’t talk about anything in any other way than passionately or emotionally.

When that finally ended, I was sick. We went to the lighthouse – as far away from the cottage as we could – and I curled into a fetal position and bawled and screamed for what felt like an hour.
I can’t really put into words all of the ways it hurt. My mind is a minefield and they tripped on all of them. Everything exploded in a dozen different directions – trying to figure out how much is PTSD and flashbacks from the past, how much of it happened, how to deal with the feelings of betrayal from people who “are just concerned”. Even writing about it now, almost 4 months later brings back all of the complicated feelings that are still a tangle of wires.
I made a point not to give them answers to their questions, and in the process a lot of very hurtful things were said and assumed in their own right.
I threw up all night that night, after everyone went to bed, assuming I was fine.
I told them it was food poisoning, but I lied. It wasn’t food poisoning, but I didn’t want to deal with more questions and “worry” and weird apologies-that-aren’t-apologies when I just wanted to be left alone. I am good, too good even, at telling people what they want to hear – often at the expense of myself and my own preferences. You could say I was trained to do so.
I was asked questions about my lifestyle and faith from a place of fear and worry, I was asked who my friends were and if they were christian (because you don’t want to get answers from the wrong places and they didn’t know who I was friends with). As if I were a 14 year old starting high school with friends doing drugs and they (complete outsiders!) were entitled to know.
At various points, even on autopilot, I did somehow find enough mental capacity to reiterate that I am an adult and I don’t have to tell them anything and I have no obligation to them. I’m proud of that.
They admitted(?) I wasn’t obligated to tell them anything as they continued to pry and confirm whether or not I am indeed a christian (or good person) and tell me that I should have come to them with questions (they don’t know where I’m getting answers!) because they’re pastors and know all of the things.
But the thing is, I didn’t have questions – I knew the answers, and ganging up on me, forcing me into a conversation and berating me, making wild assumptions and accusations and saying things that just show how misguided and misinformed they are about the world and how it works doesn’t make me want to talk.
I didn’t expect to have to deal with this kind of situation as an adult, I wasn’t prepared to feel trapped, again, and the fact that it happened bothers me.

Survivor's Guilt

Maybe it’s because I’m on that high from just finishing a comic after not drawing in way too long because set backs and busy-ness and certain-life-things just completely zapping any creative drive out of me, or because I’ve been rocking out to music in my headphones (which I’m sure looks entertaining), but, I’m really happy right now.
Dude, I make comics.
And I make videos about gaming.
The first of season 3 is yet to be out because reasons (not limited to, but including computer failure). I do have it planned though…And all but one piece of the puzzle has come in, so yay! Computer thing is being fixed tomorrow *crossfingers*
I had an epiphany in the shower a couple days ago…about how I don’t have to feel guilty for, I guess just the whole circumstance I am in where I am actually in a place where I can create and not have to worry about stuff. I realize I’m fucking lucky and that it’s so fucking rare for that to be a thing, and more often than not I have some weird kind of survivors guilt and feel like I should shelf it and join everyone else, you know? Because I almost feel like there’s something wrong that I have the ability to do these things and lots of people don’t.
But then I realized, that’s not actually helping anyone. It’s not helping me, if I’m sitting at home, paralyzed by guilt and anxiety because I can choose the work that I do, and I’m not desperate. It’s not helping me if I force myself to go spend my time doing something that isn’t helping me actually grow when I don’t absolutely have to.
What does help people, and what does help me, is if I actually use the crazy lucky situation I’m in and create, and keep creating, and doing those things and bringing stuff into the world that makes it better, or bringing in the stuff I want to see. I don’t know how long anything is going to last, no one does, so who am I to not make things while I can?
I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else. I just realized…I don’t know, I shouldn’t feel guilty or like something is wrong because my life and journey looks different. I shouldn’t be paralyzed by survivor’s guilt because I can choose where to dedicate my time.
Because I really do feel bad about it a lot. Which I realize is idiotic. *shrug*
And now I’m remembering this poem, which I first discovered years ago when I watched Akeela and the Bee:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
– “Our Deepest Fear” Marianne Williamson

And the more I’m trying to figure out who the fuck I think I am and what the hell I’m doing here and what makes me so qualified, the more apt it is, because….
If I’m quiet
and if I’m honest
and if I look deep within myself
In the corner I don’t want to admit exists
I’m terrified of my own power.
And that’s holding me back in the light of sudden…success
I’m really not that scary of a person
(you hear that psyche? I’m really nice!)
But for some reason, something dwelling in the cavern
who the fuck do you think you are?
and I just have to remember
who the fuck am I not to be?

Good Reads

I’ve been going through some stuff this month – between my medications trying to get back to normal from being kicked off because vicodin, and the lovely little guilt-anxiety cycle and general overwhelmingness, I’ve felt a little lost. Some of the truths I discovered in Spring, this year and last, are more distant, which isn’t cool because they’re kindof…..really super important to my being and my confidence and my artistic journey.
But, over the last few weeks – as I’ve been taking the situation back into my own hands – I’ve run across several posts from the Rebelle Society that were just…perfect. Maybe it’s the universe, or maybe it’s coincidence, but, I thought I’d post them here:
Facing the Darkest Side of a Beautiful Person
Self-Criticism: The Way You Break Your Own Heart
So, yes, stress is good
I think I’ll come out on the other side of this stronger, for having, I don’t know, been in a sad-sauce hole for a while. I hope, anyway, because I sense something starting to come back to me, and I think that’s a good thing.

Failure and Creatives (me)

I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.
I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.
That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).
Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.
I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.
I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?
Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?
Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.
Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.
But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.
Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.
I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.
I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).
I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.
I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.
I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.
But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.
I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.
But I can’t not do it.
And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.
I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).
I have to (and I love it).
I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.
I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.
(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? begs)

Strangely Quiet

I feel like I’ve been spending the last two weeks trying to catch up from when my teef were taken out of my face. I feel like I missed an entire week of stuff – probably because I did.
Honestly, it’s been a little stressful – I’ve been overwhelmed trying to get things going, or done, or out of the middle – and I’ve been exhausting myself while doing it, which creates more stress, so I’ve lived in a stress bubble for the last couple weeks. Not as fun as it sounds.
On top of that, the vicodin negated the effect of my antidepressants, so that’s been exciting to deal with. I’ve been paralyzed in a cycle of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing because of those reasons + hormones, so yeah, that’s why it’s been so quiet. I can’t relax and everything in my brain is all scattered and overwhelmed and I generally feel like I’m made of fail.
Writing this out, I realize I just need to let go.
But I needed to see it in front of my face first.
Sims 3, tea, and candles for the rest of the day it is, while I ride this out.

Bravery, Voices, and (lack of) Childhood

I’m able to actually sort of think straight for more than 10 minutes. Everything is still in a fuzzy poofy-face and vicodin haze (seriously, can’t wait until I don’t need to take painkillers, and can have pizza..). I have some thoughts that carried over from PAX that got lost earlier this week because it was all I could do to hold ice to my face and somehow swallow pudding. Some of them I was reminded of today, over twitter, and my weekly existential crisis. Some things of myself make a little more sense today, but that could just be the haziness too.
I made a comic last week, because I was frustrated about the whole “check your privilege” thing, and I’m not going to get into it here, because you can just go see it. I don’t like being silenced – and I’ve realized over the last couple years, as I learn about who I am and what I like (not who I’ve been told I am and what I’ve been told to like) that it’s really hard to find my voice and hold onto it, after it’s been taken from and used for me for so long.
It’s so easy to lose myself, because I was never allowed autonomy; I’ve always had to fight for it. I feel a lot of pressure sometimes, to say this or not say that, or to write with certain people in mind – and every time I do that I am losing my voice, and crippling my process. When that happens I don’t follow the “rules”, I just stop creating, I stop writing, because suddenly my voice – my autonomy – feels threatened. Which quickly leads to frustration because writing and creating is just as important as breathing or drinking water to me. I can only go so long without it before I start to lose it.
Aside: this week’s been rough largely because I haven’t been able to draw. holding an icepack is really frustrating when you *have* to because pain, but all you really want to do is draw comics.
So, I get angry when I feel censored and then I shut up and it’s a bad thing.

Erika Moen wrote a post today, which I guess really sums up a lot of how I’ve been feeling lately – about being vulnerable and using her voice. Which triggered this and unleashed a slew of other thoughts that don’t necessarily have the coherency to see through to the end.
It’s hard, and it’s scary to say things, and to say things on the internet. It’s hard to live on the internet so much sometimes. Some things happened in the last couple months that terrified me, and even terrified me to the point of being paralyzed creatively. I live publicly (because, living on the internet is largely public) and it’s scary to be honest and vulnerable and real, but I can’t not be.

I can talk to more people with less social anxiety on the internet than I can in real life – and finding my community has been beautiful. Interestingly enough, I think my depression was masking my anxiety, and all of my social anxiety, because now that I’ve fixed that, I’ve noticed….a lot of anxiousness, especially when it comes to interacting with people. I think I used to not care more, because, depression, but now I care and it’s….I’m a lot more self conscious.

It’s strange, seeing people I know turning into adults. It’s weird because I see them, and I can’t relate. I don’t see me when I was 18….because when I was 18, I was basically 40. It’s strange when I see 18 year olds being…18. And I’m hit with a shockwave of reminders that I didn’t have the luxury of being a teenager or a child. From the time I was 12 I was a full-time care-taker, though my “training” for that began when I was 8. I was never allowed a carefree exploratory childhood, I had to be an adult the entire time.
I panic occasionally because I feel so behind in life. I’m not where I want to be and I feel like time is running out and I have to step back and remember that I’m only 22. I feel like so much of my adulthood has been lived already, and I’m learning what it’s like to relax, and enjoy, and not take responsibility for everything or everyone’s kids. I’m caught between feeling too old, and having no experience…
I have to learn to relax, and to explore and enjoy my 20’s. I’m just now experiencing what most people experience in their teens. I’m forever playing catch-up, but also fighting to figure out how to adult, but not be overly responsible for things that aren’t mine.
I felt like it was too late for me to take my SAT or apply to college or do things that normal 18/19 year olds do when I was 18. I thought I was too old – because my reality was so…completely fucked up. Hint: it’s never too late.
I think this is what happens when you’re stripped of your childhood and expected to be an adult from the time you can reach a stove. You’ve aged, and not aged, in weird places and wrong ways. It’s too much pressure.
Growing up being told to act like an adult, but also, that you’re inherently worthless….it kills a lot of things. A lot of passion and a lot of drive. All the responsibility but none of the power is devastating.
The further away from childhood I get, the more I wonder how I – and how anyone who’s gone through similar things – managed to survive it. It was all we knew, so we adapted. I promised myself, when I was young, that I would always remember how it felt – so I wouldn’t forget and inflict the same wounds on others. I intend to keep that promise.

Being a person is hard, finding and keeping and using my voice is hard and scary, growing up is weird, but I think it’s all worth it – at least, it is for me right now. This is a lot more rambly and meh-ish than I intended, but on the bright side, this is the longest bit of almost coherent thoughts I’ve been able to put together all week.
Oh, and I CHEWED today!