(no subject)

 Hrm, nobody reads this anymore.

Or, if you do for some reason, I doubt you'll mind.

My brain has been tightly wound, like a corkscrew stuck in the top of my body digging into the rest of me for the past few days. I reckon a big part of it has been my highly erratic sleeping and eating habits, which have left me variously feeling weak and unstable. It's also a factor, I imagine, that my access to hormones has recently dropped off- as the events went, I had an injection accident, acquired a fear of needles, spent a few months waiting on the doctor to switch me to testosterone gel, switched to testosterone gel, and then had a month-long fiasco of unavailability of that, thanks to Walgreens failing me miserably. God fucking dammit, I cannot believe them. I tried to switch to a pharmacy that I didn't have to take a 40 minute train ride and a 15 minute walk to access every time, then found out that said pharmacy was the only reason my meds were affordable, thanks to the connection to my clinic, switched back and got them to agree to mail me my meds, waited a month, and then called only to find out they'd NEVER ACTUALLY MAILED THE MEDICINE. It's finally on its way now, but I've had to deal with limited access to hormones since springtime, and it's not done wonders for my brain.

Also maddening is the fact that I have not gotten word about the contract for this job. There's a very real fear that because I agreed to cover an article over the course of one day for someone (prior to being officially hired) but could not complete it due to never actually being sent the specs for it in a format that was saved anywhere and also having to spend approximately five hours on several trains/waiting in train stations with no internet connection the day I was meant to write the article, that they decided to not hire me and have just neglected to tell me so.

There's the pressure coming from my friends- we play FFXIV together, but due to money issues (said job issues, the fact that Square doesn't accept Paypal and me not having other ways to pay for things online, the fact that any money access depends on things related to legal information that I am still in the process of changing), I've had to rely on the kindness of others to afford the game for the past three months. I feel indebted to others. As always. It does not help that all but one of the other people in my Free Company have achieved level 50 and are playing endgame content, while I'm struggling through the 40s after nearly three months of owning the game. I feel pressure to catch up, to do the same things they do, and to CONSTANTLY play the game at an increased pace so I can catch up, which is a detriment to my free time. I love the game, I love my friends, but I also don't understand how they- many being adults with jobs- have rushed through the game so much faster than I have.

And dear god, I owe people art. I still owe Jen a commission from months ago. It's difficult doing commissions for people who normally request art from you, who are forgiving with time. I have pictures to do for my Free Company's auction. Someone is apparently going to commission me for dinosaur art, which is incredible- as long as I can actually do it.

I'm still not back in college. I don't know if or when that will happen. I'm trying not to think too hard about it.

I need to pressure my dad into actually remembering to take me to get a fingerprint card so I can get started on my state's hideous, byzantine system of legally changing my name. At least the paperwork for getting my gender legally recognized as male on my identification has been sent in. So that should be moving forward.

Still no idea of how I'm going to get the money for top surgery, since my family doesn't appear to have any inclination to help me out with that. It's frustrating, considering that looking at or touching my body lately has made me actually feel sick. I still hate it. I still hate being stuck with it. I also feel guilty for hating it, because of the anxiety that even with my background and my very real status of being trans, hating this body for not being right for me is somehow only due to internalized misogyny. I am sick of that. I know I've struggled in the past with internalized misogyny. I know that even now it's a thing I have to keep an eye on! But my stupid depression-riddled brain has been trying to guilt me about the fact that I am a man, a man who is attracted to other men, telling me I'm a bad person because of it. That if I wanted to be a non-bad person, I wouldn't be who I am- and then I think about not being myself, and I get sick to my stomach. Actually, physically sick. And it keeps going, guilting myself about who I am because of the people who walk my path for the wrong reasons, accusing myself of being like them even when I objectively know I'm not, even when the people who care about me know I'm not. And I can't even talk about it, because jesus christ I'm just a dude who's being a self-pitying martyr about being afraid of being a misogynist. Nobody has any time for that, so it stays in my head and winds up worse and turns into this black corkscrew twisting into my gut, trying to make me feel guilty for existing, then making that guilt turn into intense episodes of "why can't you just be normal" and then even worse dysphoria at the idea of trying to be "normal" against what my brain has been telling me for two decades. It hasn't helped that my anxiety about everything else has sublimated into this. I just want to not think about this anymore, to go through my life and make progress and achieve the body that my brain has known for so long that it belongs in. I just want to live life as the person I know I am, without feeling guilty about it.

Having written this, I feel like the corkscrew has been pulled out. Maybe not entirely- anxiety and depression hound me eternally, and I can't expect to remove them from my body any more than any other element of my brain, but the monster of guilt telling me "how dare you be a man" has, at least, been pulled out and slain. I know who I am, and I know guilting myself about it doesn't help me, nor does it help women. And I knew I had to slay it myself- this is no burden to be inflicted on other people. I can't fight my demons just by thinking, but by putting my fear and anxiety into words without handing them off to other people, I could make them a physical entity that I could cope with. My words are my weapon.

And the brightness of a future glimmers. By the end of 2014, my legal name will be Allen, and my legal ID will be marked with an M. I will have a job. My FFXIV character will be level 50. I'll do what I owe people. I'll eat dinner. When I get home, my hormones will have arrived in the mail. There will be a translation of Attack on Titan chapter 52 on Crunchyroll's website tomorrow.

And the monster will lie slain on December 8th.


Being Well-Rounded for Dummies

 We've all heard that piece of advice: "Have well-rounded interests, not just fandom." It's a good piece of advice! You can be as big a fan of any show, game, comic, book, or other piece of media as you like, but it will make you that much happier and more at-home in conversations with people inside and out of fandom if you have a broader frame of reference and outside interests.

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That thing. Stop doing it.

 Since apparently my ability to sleep is MEGA BROKEN right now, I'm going to write a post about a thing that I'm thinking about.

And by thinking about, I mean "am unreasonably annoyed about because it's on my mind and it's 9am and I haven't sleep since yesterday afternoon".

So, here's the thing. In a lot of stories I've noticed a pattern of writing magic/superpowers/psychic abilities/whatever as an allegory for real-world privilege, or at least in a way where it can be pretty easily interpreted as privilege. On the same token, it's also written in stories as a thing that makes people ~different~ in a way that makes others oppress them or react to them in prejudiced ways. MAJOR EXAMPLES WOULD BE DRAGON AGE AND LEGEND OF KORRA though it extends well beyond them and can at least partially if not entirely be pinned on X-Men as a trope. It's an easy way to make your fantasy/sci-fi story address real-world issues in a non-real setting, and can be used as a tool to get people to think about their views and beliefs and even change them for the better! Hypothetically speaking, anyway.

There's just a glaring flaw with the allegory here that sort of ruins the entire thing for me. There is no real-world equivalent in terms of privilege or oppression that matches up to the trope. Like, the thing about magic and/or superpowers in these stories is that they're presented as an in-born trait to the people who possess them, like skin color or gender or predisposition to heart failure. That on its own doesn't make them a bad allegory, since privileges are something people are born with in the real world.

No, the problem is that magic is the source of the power and privilege, without the crucial element of society that the real world has. Like, I don't think it's blowing anybody's mind to point out that the reason why white people have white privilege is NOT because their skin color gives them an advantage over people with different skin colors. The only people who think that are horrific racists. Society and its history and a lot of factors that are ultra-complicated and beyond my limited ability to sufficiently lay out are the reasons why groups of people with a common genetic trait wield power over other groups. And that's where the magic/superpower metaphor breaks down badly.

It makes it so that the in-born common trait of the group read as privileged is the direct source of their ability to oppress others, granting them some kind of superiority that isn't ultimately an artificial construct, but a real superiority granted by their genetics. And that's a big problem as a metaphor if your thesis is "those oppressive magic guys are bad and do things the wrong way", because it's also saying "but they are naturally *better* than everyone else" and undermining the idea of equality.

In the end, fantasy and science fiction are great fun to write and can be powerful tools for social commentary when used right. But some metaphors just don't correspond to reality in a meaningful way, and can even hurt their message if you don't think them through enough.


 This is a post for more personal reference than anything else, so it will not be the most coherent/well-explained stuff you could imagine. Comment if you have questions or really want to point out how awful this is and how bad I should feel about it.

Collapse )Granted, here I am just talking about games that have had an impact on me. Books, film, television/animation, artwork in other forms, and my own interests in real-world science, history, geography, and other academic topics have also had an impact on my creative output! As they arise, I will record them, hopefully in their own post.


 So, Brave Story. Some of you might recognize this as the title of a PSP game. Others of you might know this as a novel by Miyuki Miyabe and translated into English by Alexander O. Smith, or by the animated film based on this novel. Probably only [personal profile] handmaid , though.

I'm going to be talking about the film, though most of what I say also applies to the novel it was based on.

Collapse )So! Brave Story! Watch it sometime! Be prepared to wonder "how the hell is this a kid's movie?"