-Kate is actually an alien (but a good one, sent here to earth on a happy mission)
-Some sinister time-travelling aliens (like the Master) maybe are here to harness the outpouring of goodwill for nefarious purposes; or, similarly, to take advantage of the fact that everyone’s watching the wedding to pull some sort of mass mind control trick.
-The royal family is party to an ancient conspiracy and some important culmination is happening on the wedding day, but it mustn’t be allowed to happen because of some alien’s nefarious plan or some impersonal universal event.
-the Doctor is Kate’s childhood friend and he goes to see the wedding because he’s happy for her, but wacky shenanigans happen and the Doctor must do a ridiculous amount of running, sonicking, etc, to save the day.
-Prince Harry is actually an alien
-Some kind of Booster Gold type plot where the wedding happens completely in the background and there’s a plot about saving a squirrel or something.
When I first started to see my counselor, I was afraid of getting better. My fear came from a lack of self-esteem. I thought if I wasn’t “sick enough,” then I wouldn’t deserve counseling and I would have to stop seeing her. And I didn’t think I could handle that, so I didn’t think I could handle being well. I also didn’t think I could handle it because if I became capable of daily functioning, it meant I would have to function every day, which was overwhelming to me. There was also a very strong fear of pain. If depression was about numbness, denial, pushing-back a massive, looming wall of self-hatred and despair, then getting better meant opening myself to all of that. Feeling it. Being vulnerable to it. I felt like I was willingly breaking a dam.
I’m not where I want to be, mentally. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. But sometimes I have moments of clarity. I’m having one right now. Right now, I’m telling myself “If you can’t get it across in writing, that doesn’t diminish the importance of what you’re feeling.”
Accountability and the possibility I can change have terrified me in the past, and they are still pretty scary to me now. It’s difficult for me to think that I have the choice to learn something new, do something new, think of myself differently.
But right now, I want to get better. I am so glad to have done the work I have done with myself and so eager to do more of it. I can tell that my life will be better when I’m better. I want to make up for lost time. I’m ready to be the me who looks at her past selves and loves them. I saw a me I could become and I want to meet her some day, when time and hard work carry me to her. I saw myself winged.
Am I ready, even, to forgive myself?
I had just been thinking seriously about the impending zombie apocalypse* and how I would like to work on obtaining more skills and resources for surviving in it. I was thinking about how easily I’d given up on sewing in 7th and 8th grade, dismissing myself as “bad at it” because I didn’t succeed right away.
Well, I washed my sheets two days ago, and, when putting them back on, I discovered a rip in my sheets. I kind of thought I could ignore it. Then, just now, I elongated the rip by accidentally catching it with my hand. It was only then I realized that this was something I could, possibly, fix myself, and that it would be a good way to try my hand at sewing. If I were religious, I would say that I was being given an opportunity, and, after choosing to ignore it, a reminder.
*This is my catch-all term for possible serious changes in world order such that it drastically affects me and most people around me; it’s a term chosen to be non-scary, since zombies are fictional.
I am often the last person people sit next to on the bus, this is a genuine pattern, because I’m a fat girl who doesn’t always brush her hair or wear clothes that fit or have a bra or look like she’s all there mentally (talking to myself, staring into space, etc). I usually wear clothes like a baby wears clothes, with very little understanding of how they fit on my body or what they look like from external eyes. I don’t usually look in mirrors unless I’m naked or in my underwear. My socks don’t match. My shoes are peeling.
I also prefer feminine clothes, skirts and flower patterns and necklines and turquoise. I think they’re pretty. They make me feel good. I don’t know many other ways of expressing my femininity—never do anything with my hair, never wear makeup, don’t walk gracefully, and so on. I feel like a feminine person.
I am shy and graceless and there is very little art to my femininity but I still get read as straight by straights and queers because I guess that’s the default way people view women, and popular conceptions of queer femininity are usually really high maintenance (from my perspective). All that stuff I don’t know how to do. You know, dyed hair or colorful makeup, well-placed accessories (I don’t do accessories) and an obvious awareness of how the clothes fit on their bodies. How they look externally. Not the way babies wear clothes. Piercings maybe or tats. Deliberation and purpose.
I feel really invisible to the queer community, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my type of femininity celebrated…I guess I just have a really neuroatypical relationship to clothes and femininity. But I want to be respected as a femme and as a queer woman even though there’s a lot of expectations of femininity and queerness that I don’t meet.
It was almost all me talking, but hey, if I hadn’t set aside the hour with her I wouldn’t have worked some of this stuff out.
I started with a question that someone on Tumblr asked, I think cuntymint: what is mental health in an unhealthy destructive society? What sense does it make to not worry when things are so precarious globally and locally? How do you forgive yourself for a human mistake when that mistake loses you your job or has you flunk your class? I said our lives are so unnaturally regimented–down to the minute–that there’s very little room for human variation or for being allowed to listen to our bodies.
I gave examples of when I knew that pain or abuse showed up on people’s bodies, especially when there wasn’t access to help or a conscious realization that there was a problem. (People in abusive relationships feeling anxious or icky and not knowing why, for example, or eating disorders, or self-injury, or suicidal ideation.) I know that stuff can really affect us physically even when the invasions or attacks are psychic (see black women, racism and miscarriages.)
I remembered that when I was very young my parents (not yet divorced) discovered that I had hidden a lot of gum and gum wrappers under my pillow. My dad, I think, was irritated, but my mom said that maybe it was time for me to have a goodies stash and that’s what ultimately happened. I was surprised that I didn’t get in trouble. I also remember being a little older on Halloween night after all the trick-or-treating had been done, we were in the living room together watching TV and all of the bags of candy were in the kitchen. I circled continually around from the living room to the kitchen and back, and each time I went into the kitchen I ate a piece of candy from someone else’s stash. I remember trying to take from different people’s each time so that it would be fair. They caught me that time and I did get in trouble. These things happened when I was really young, too young for me to remember what might have been going on that would cause me to want to sneak food. So there’s no key I can find in my past, it’s just a behavior I’ve had for a very long time that I get to decide what to do with now.
OK. So tying this back in to mental health and what meaning can mental health have in an unhealthy culture. What I said was I don’t want to stop overeating. I don’t want to stop overeating. All I want to do is be aware of when I’m eating and not hungry. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself by saying “oh, I’m healing, so that means I should stop eating when I’m not hungry” or “oh, I binged, that means I’m doing badly on the mental health front today.” All I want to do is, when I feel the urge to eat even though I’m not hungry, I want to say “OK, I want to eat but I’m not hungry. Now I get to make a choice about whether to eat or not.” And then, whatever I decide, THAT’S OKAY. Being aware of what I’m doing is the sole goal I have re: overeating right now. Subverting the compulsion, and making it a choice.
It’s Friday morning and I have a busy couple of days coming up, which will probably mean I’m absent for most of them. I thought I’d detail where I am and what I’ll be doing during that time.
-At 1 PM today, I’ll leave for my 2-6 work shift.
-At 6, three of my friends will pick me up at my workplace, and we’ll drive down to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. There, we’ll meet another friend, visit, and spend the night. I don’t think I’ll bring my laptop because it’s too much hassle and risk to bring it on the bus and keep it in my locker for the work shift, and I wouldn’t want to be online while I’m with these friends anyway.
-At a little before 2PM on Saturday, I’ve asked that those of us who are returning on Saturday (one of us is going to stay with our friend at the UPS until Sunday) head home in order to get me home at 2:30, because I work Saturday from 4-8.
-If we do this right, there’s a small window of time, about half an hour, between 2:30 and when I’ll probably leave for work at 3. I can probably use that time to check in online.
-Then I’ll be back home a little before 9 PM on Saturday. I might be pretty tired depending on how long I slept Friday night!
So that’s the story
I do also work Sunday 2-6 but that’s my only obligation for Sunday, and then I have Monday off.
Medusa, the Gorgon [a feminist reimagining of Medusa]
The stunned stones
They turned toward ugliness
and never found it.
But there was beauty
like the vivid sun
trembling with the heaviness of light.
Tall, taut she strode
like a black panther
out of the heat
of Libyan mirages.
The gods turned from her,
would not look,
but muttered lies
and myths grown bitter
Jealous gods, we are, they said,
petulant in legends
casting the first stones
as she knelt in the
sands tracing lines of lyrics
from ancient truths.
Sands of time and winds of change
men of gods and gods of men
profane the glory of beauty strong
sung deep to African rhythms
loud, delirious the joy
and holy the beauty
to stone like stares.
Oh who thought
could kill like that,
Monstrous muse of
man’s worst fears.
she is hideous and
to look upon.
And let’s say
the hair lashing
around that face
the color of night
is a frenzy of vipers
seething from the pores of
her dark soul.
the dreadlocks coiled thick
around that superb
taunt of her face
writhed into lives of their own
and her laughter
like heat dancing,
dervish ghosts of
Mercy is mine, she said,
and leaned deep to the
edges of time and watched
to see what on blue earth man would make
of his reverence
and what gods
he would name.
vengeance is mine, she said,
her fabulous, furious head in
the pale palm of her black hand
as horrors seeped from man’s
sickening the sweetness of deception.
Vengeance, too, is mine,
the vengeance of a terrible love,
the only love they will not destroy.
And thunders bellowed
like war’s merciless clamor
from age to age
and hot light shredded the dark musings of
the brightest of men
and rain fell soft
down the Danube
up the Amazon
across the sea Atlantic
and soft over the lands
water, sky and seas that hold
secret the forgotten
names of she who will not be forgotten.
and all men and women we
like ancient worshippers
the breadth of history
long ages of lies, slanders and myths
grown quiet with rage
and god remains where she began
inside the world’s
strongly like African rhythms
sung deep to
the glory of beauty strong.
From Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War, compiled and edited by Marijo Moore.
Two thousand years ago at Pompei, people knew Vesuvius was going to destroy the city, but it takes time and money to leave. The less money you have the more time you need and there was only so much time. Some of the ash-preserved molds of people we have are down by the shore waiting for the ferry. The wealthy people escaped and the poor people died. But that was two thousand years ago and eventually the wealthy people died as well.
Life is full of death. There’s yours at the end. Then there is everything you’re connected to in some way that dies while you’re alive. Then there’s everything that has to die so that you live. Whatever you eat used to be alive or could not have been created without the death of something or both. So every person who is alive or has ever lived only got that time based on the death of other living things. This is true for all living things that eat to my understanding although I am not a biologist. Even plants may need death to survive in a few different ways; for example if their pollination depends on an animal species like bees that eats. Life cannot therefore be separated from death even if you were able to put off your personal death indefinitely. Life implies death.
(Riot Nrrd is a webcomic about marginalized nerds.)
1. Most important. I don’t understand where the characters come from. I mean, why they are the way they are. Even though Wren says a local book store is “the only queer place [she's] ever had,” she and every other main character exudes incredibly high self-esteem, quick-wittedness, eloquence, and sense of belonging when it comes to their marginalized identities. And they’re all 18 years old. How does this happen? I mean that truly–how? How can these four live in a town where it’s mostly not safe to be queer or fat or otherwise marginalized and at such a young age feel so good about themselves? And that they found each other and seem to be up on other marginalizations? How come they always know the right things to say? Where did they learn that?
And they’re all of them going to college, and although their roommates were all problems for them, they switched around or moved off campus. I guess we haven’t seen much of classes for them, but no one’s mentioned feeling like they’re nervous about being able to do it. I get the feeling they believe they are capable of getting through college and getting a degree.
What’s wrong with that? I guess it’s just that as a fat depressed queer, I don’t understand what they have that I don’t. I always had difficulties with college, flunking most classes I ever took and definitely did NOT believe in myself. At 18 I was barely beginning to grapple seriously with my own oppressions, let alone others (in Riot Nrrd we haven’t seen any problems with intra-group oppressive dynamics, like racism on Sam’s part for example.) I’m having a really hard time identifying with this group of people living in the same town who are so with it and proud of themselves.
2. Related but more specific. Sam is a fat woman. She is a physically active femme vegetarian. In other words, a good fatty. When people criticize her weight, she has a ready defense in talking about her diet or exercise, or demonstrating her physical strength. I’m a sedate (cuz introvert and depressed) femme?butch?queer meat-eating poor-diet can’t-run-a-mile fat girl. A bad fatty. It seems like as a character, Sam was written partly to subvert fatphobic narratives, but her ability to respond to them by saying “Actually, I rode my bike four miles to class today” also makes me feel separated from her as a fat character. I guess…it almost seems like, given what I said above, Sam’s good-fattiness is one of the ways in which the main characters have “figured things out.”
This is probably going to sound pretty harsh, but I actually have an easier time relating to & reading characters who struggle with inner demons in non-SJ comics (like Order of the Stick) than characters seemingly in full possession of themselves in SJ comics.
I think the way my friends and I try to live our lives is beautiful. We don’t criticize others’ bodies. We ask permission before doing something intimate. We try to communicate fairly even when we’re angry. We don’t criticize each other for missing classes or not having a job or getting an abortion or cutting off contact or not cutting off contact with our abusive families.
We believe in the right to self-determination and self-identification. We believe in the absolute right to bodily autonomy. We live that. We’ve expanded our understandings of violence and abuse beyond what we were originally taught violence looked like, and we live our lives trying to eliminate our perpetuation of violences onto ourselves and others. And I think that is beautiful.
That’s why, even though I know all about why we don’t give people cookies, I think it’s okay to profoundly appreciate, and even be thankful for, each other. Even though we say what we’re trying to do is only be decent human beings. Sure, some people are only out for having their ego stroked when they begrudgingly allow us a part of our lives. But to those people who have made a commitment to living with us accountably, safely, and beautifully–it’s okay to be thankful. Even though everyone should be like that.
So if you have a significant other or friend who’s treated you better than you had been accustomed to expecting, because your expectations were warped by violence and abuse, even as you adjust your expectations–I don’t think you have to reject all the warm fuzzy feelings you get from your beautiful, beautiful relationship. Even if it were what most people do, it would still be beautiful.