Back in 2010, I was a young college student. I was massively depressed and confused about my identity. My mental illness had isolated from me from my friends and family, and my life felt hopeless. So, as many young people do, I channeled all of my heart and soul into creating fanart, fanmixes, cosplay, fan fiction, and meta posts about my favorite webcomic: /Homestuck/, by Andrew Hussie. I was SO prolific in the fandom that in 2012, Andrew asked me to do the canon art for a fangirl parody character, “Calliope”. Of course, I accepted right away! It was so much fun getting to put a lot of myself into this character through her art.
Calliope is an alien character that shares a body with her “brother”, Caliborn. Together they live in complete isolation, chained up and only allowed to talk to people on their computers. Caliborn is a raging misogynist who is determined to break down Calliope’s will to live and ultimately kill her. Calliope’s goal was to reform her brother, to make him more like her, so that their personalities could integrate into one powerful being, with her as the dominate force.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, my popularity and following in the fandom grew due to my insanely prolific nature. (Seriously, my mental health was so bad that Homestuck was the ONLY thing I let myself think about. I lived my entire life in a dissociative haze.) I became, as they are called, a “big name fan”, and as such, I started to receive a hell of a lot of harassment. A lot of it was misogynist in nature, and a lot of it came from my own blunders and mistakes as I tried to figure out my identity and sexuality while in the public eye. (I made a lot of mistakes in my early 20s, as pretty much everyone does!)
Online fame has a way of making you lose yourself in the hatred. I related more and more to Calliope, and grew increasingly attached to her character and fictional plight as a coping mechanism to deal with all the abuse and isolation. The more I isolated myself, the less people online treated me like a real person. It was a vicious cycle!
At some point though, the constant harassment became too much to bear. I stopped allowing myself to enjoy my hobbies, and I focused hard on building my life again. I started writing original fiction! I killed the part of myself that enjoyed fanwork, because at a certain point, she was bringing me nothing but misery. I became afraid and ashamed of how deep I was into my coping mechanisms, and several toxic people around me just reinforced this view over and over again. I retreated into obscurity, leaving my fandom days behind me and trying desperately not to think about the kind of person I was in those days.
I never left Homestuck behind, though! I continued to do freelance work for the comic, and became increasingly involved in What Pumpkin Games, where I now work full time on the Hiveswap series. But I told myself over and over again that this was just a job, that I had left behind my embarrassing fandom days that in my mind, had brought me nothing but misery.
But… here’s the thing: I was lying to myself.
Through the Homestuck fandom, I met my amazing wife! I had so many opportunities to share myself with an audience, I found inspiration and meaning in my life, and it launched me into a promising artistic career! A LOT of good things have blossomed from that strange coping mechanism. to think that it brought me nothing but pain was nothing but my distorted, PTSD-addled brain telling me that I was garbage.
So, why did I let myself stop enjoying something I loved SO MUCH? I don’t have any one good answer, but I do know one thing now: I’m done living like that! I am a queer person, I’m an abuse survivor, and I am a writer and an artist and a cosplayer and god dammit, I fucking love Calliope and Caliborn. So, this mix is for them, but it’s also for everyone out there in this awful culture that makes women feel like shit for daring to speak, for daring to like things and have opinions, and for being weird fangirls.
I have news for everyone, though. Weird fangirls are amazing, and we are going to win!
never forget that not only did dirk strider, upon being ordered to draw pornography of him and his friends, cheerfully agree before realizing caliborn would demand fairly tame imagery, he also expressed interest in reading callie’s fanfiction about them after confirming it was explicitly romantic, and upon being told that said fanfiction was deviant and possibly disgusting he literally said “but that only makes me want to read it more.” incredible. i love him. his palpable disappointment that caliborn didnt want him to draw himself and jake kissing followed immediately by him morosely dragging their scribbled renditions together for an illicit smooch regardless remains one of the most memorable moments in the entire billion word saga to me like he was ready. he was absolutely ready to send self drawn smut of him and jake to all his friends with the excuse of well an angry space alien made me do it, soooo
also never forget that roxy made the art of her and jake her goddamn phone background i love her
Something has begun to whisper in the back of your head. Each day it grows louder. You feel the urge to tie an orange ribbon around your wrist. You check your snapchat frequently, waiting for updates. A copy of Con Air has appeared among the box of DVDs from the library. You dare not watch it. You open your backpack and discover a bottle of Faygo, unopened, at the bottom. You’re beginning to see those zodiac posts floating around again. The beast is awakening. Those shitty 3-D glasses are staring at you from the drawer you’d put them in. You stare back. Your heart is racing. The voice in the back of your head is loud enough to make out now. Something honks outside your window. The voice is not one, but dozens of voices, reawakened from their slumber. They whisper, and you feel sick. You can hear them, chanting over and over and over again: “4/13 is coming, 4/13 is coming”.
It’s tomorrow. You are terrified. Cal’s awful yaois are behind your eyelids when you blink. You begin to say it with them.
4/13 is coming. It’s tomorrow. Homestuck is awake. Brace yourselves.