I have a lot of feelings about how often they are separated

I’ve wanted to talk for So Long about the portrayal of anxiety in YOI but I’ve been having so much trouble putting together what I want to say in the most effective manner. I kept trying to come at this in a more analytical fashion, but considering that this is such a personally important topic to me, I’m going to try a more emotional approach. Something I don’t normally do.

So really, to start off, I wanna say that I’m so damn thankful for the way Yuuri is written. Really, seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever had the ability to relate more to character; Yuuri is close to a mirror of my own experiences with anxiety and it’s so fantastic to have a model of development and growth for me and people like me. I found the portrayal to be frighteningly accurate, from types of thoughts, behaviors, mannerisms… I think the episode that stood out to me the most in terms of Yuuri’s anxiety was ep7, aka Yuuri’s on-screen panic attack episode. 

The first thing I noticed was this: 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself in that exact position. I bounce my legs when I panic, just like Yuuri is doing here. Head in his hands, breathing heavily, bouncing and jostling limbs. This isn’t the Mary-Sue cutesy portrayal of anxiety–this is a real anxiety disorder. It’s not pretty. It’s not easy. It can’t be fixed with a single word or a touch or a person. Quite frankly, it’s ugly and you lose control of your body. 

Keep reading

Hey, it’s me again, subverting your favorite tropes,

So we all know Yuuri Katsuki would be the kind of person who wouldn’t tell you he didn’t like mushrooms and would let you feed him mushrooms three meals a day rather than actually let the words “I don’t like mushrooms” emerge from his mouth

Because Anxiety™ am I right folks

But here we can flip this on its head.

Yuuri loves mushrooms.

Mushrooms are Yuuri’s favorite part of any given dish, which is why he separates them out from the rest usually and eats them last. That’s some excellent fungus right there.

Along comes Viktor Nikiforov, he of the lust-inspiring good looks and astoundingly poor social intuition. He watches the Love of His Life pick the mushrooms meticulously out of his dish and says, “Are you going to eat those?”

Yuuri Katsuki is still in a state of complete and utter stupor at this point, because within the last week two discrete–not discreet, mind you, which they are the opposite of–Russians have arrived uninvited to his fucking house, ingratiated themselves to his family an are currently dismantling the very threads of his existence. One of these Russians is his longtime crush (who is currently occupying most of his time lounging around in a provocative manner all but holding a sign over his crotch that reads Reserved seat for Yuuri Katsuki but Yuuri is a little bit feelings-blind so he’s reading it as Look how beautiful and untouchable I am! If you stare at me too long I will literally scar you like the sun and also I CAN HEAR EVERY THOUGHT ABOUT ME YOU’VE HAD SINCE AGE TWELVE! I’M DISGUSTED!) and the other is the actual inspiration for the My Chemical Romance song Teenagers.

So Yuuri can’t quite be blamed for saying no when Viktor Nikiforov asks him if he’s going to eat his favorite part of the dish.

“I’ll take them, then,” Viktor says, and picks them off his plate.

HOW ROMANTIC, Viktor’s brain screams.

Thus begins Yuuri’s mushroomless existence. Viktor loves Yuuri and wants him to Be Happy Always, and so makes a point to ensure that a mushroom never even so much as winks at his fiance ever again. He doesn’t put them in food and always ensures that, if he’s ordering something for Yuuri, it’s without mushrooms. When a dish shows up with mushrooms in it, Viktor deftly picks them out.

“Excuse me, my husband does not like mushrooms,” Viktor says so often that it could be his catchphrase, or perhaps a nickname. Viktor “My Husband Does Not Like Mushrooms” Nikiforov.

This continues until they return to Hasetsu for a visit and Yuuri’s entire family watches as Viktor picks every mushroom off Yuuri’s plate.

It’s a dish with a lot of mushrooms in it.

“You must really like mushrooms,” Mari says to Viktor.

“Oh, not particularly,” Viktor says, picking away. “But Yuuri hates them, so.”

“Oh no,” Yuuri whispers.

“Um,” says Mari.

“That’s funny!” says Hiroko, smiling and leaning her head on her hand. “Yuuri used to love mushrooms! He stole them while I was chopping them.”

“Wow that’s weird,” Viktor says.

“Yeah,” Yuuri mumbles. “Haha, weird. Yeah, weird.”

Viktor slowly turns his head. His plate is now Mount Mushroom. “Kitten,” he says slowly.

“Ahhhh,” Yuuri whimpers.

“Do we need to have that conversation about communication again?” Viktor asks.

“AHHHHH.” Yuuri attempts to crawl under the table.

The answer, for the record, is yes. They’ve had this conversation fourteen times since Barcelona.

“Why am I like this,” Yuuri whispers to himself later that night. Viktor kisses his shoulder and, when they get back to Russia, makes him a pot of Stroganoff that is roughly 89% mushrooms.

Moon thru the signs 🌙
  • Aries: emotionally comfortable in the thick of firey adventure, extremely uncomfortable with stagnation in life, things always need to be exciting, they are on the go go go towards new life, will shake things up even if that means they have to ruffle some feathers, they can't sit still with the concept of boring.. Feeling bored is something they have no patience for. The sense of Self is a strong component to their emotional balance.. "What do I need right now? Will this feel right for me? Is this what I want to do?" Aries is all about personal will. They need to feel like they are expressing that will in ways that ignite their passion. Being forced into exerting energy towards something they don't care about is a deep root of distress. Emotionally quick tempered, their emotions are always evolving and morphing into something new..their emotions hit them like fireballs that encompass their entire being.. In the heat of their emotions that moment is the biggest and most intense moment ever ever ever !!! ...for a few minutes.. Then they're onto something new. When your Aries Moon is flying around on fire in the heat of their emotions, sit with them and LISTEN to the experience they are having. A deep therapy for the Moon here is to be able to express their emotions to you within their personal "I" experience. They matter a lot to themselves. Hold space for this.
  • Taurus: slowww and calmmm, Apple pie and lemon balm... I've seen this placement be wonderful and disastrous.. These people are comfortable in their home, in sensual pleasures, earthly delights. In a lower context they are way too attached to the material world, they will acquire so much random stuff that they don't know what to do with themselves but they feel like they need all the stuff.. If they ever got to a moment where they needed something completely random and they didn't HAVE that random thing.. Well that would be distressing for them. While their dependence on the material world can hold them back at times, it is absolutely admirable just how deeply in touch with it they are. They take the home very seriously, they are ones who will just stay home and be grounded instead of going out and running around in life.. Like a happy bear in its cave.. Within that cave there they are listening to awesome beautiful music, making great food, working with herbs, stacking wood, loving their good company.. Why would they ever want to leave that ?? Because there's a whole world out there moon in Taurus.. A whole world:)their emotions hit them on a bodily earthly level where they process and move through the emotional realm with the help of the natural world.. A moon in Taurus needs to be connected with nature more than any other moon.. They are the grounded ass f**kers.. They are emotionally comfortable BEING grounded.. So on the flip side when they can't find grounding or comfort in their material home they are in a state of perpetual chaos..
  • Gemini: emotionally comfortable anywhere and everywhere!! As long as they're having fun and being stimulated by interesting things it's all good! Moon in gemini's really can and will talk to any sort of person. They are comfortable in any situation they are in. Moon in gemini's often have to learn how to find a home within themselves, they could be all dirty playing music on the side of the street with a nice hobo, or they could be in a rich million dollar apartment around a ton of people they don't know.. Where ever they are, they are super curious and interested in everything happening.. Happy to be there..Needing that stimulation from all things interesting.. They are very socially adaptable folk.. They know how to dissect conversation and meet people where they are at.. Which often entails them wearing a mask and not being their truest self.. Being who someone wants you to be in a situation.. It can be distressing at times once they realize how much energy they put into connecting with ones on a shallow level, it takes a lot out of them, they have to bring it back and realize.. Yes this is all fun and good but they ones who will feed my soul are the ones who KNOW my soul.. As for emotions.. It's mutable so the experience of emotions is very impacted from the rest of the chart but this conscious moon energy really rationalized and intelecualitzes emotions.. Sometimes they box their emotions up for a rainy day.. They need to learn how to let themselves feel emotions, they have emotions but they are literally capable of making themselves not feel them.. A way a moon in Gemini would relax and calm down would be through researching, chatting, and thinking about thing.. Here the moon lives within the mind. (My placement)
  • Cancer: to put it simply, uncontrollable emotional state. This is a beautiful thing.. Moon in cancers have an emotional inner world that renders a fine work of art.. So many colors. What they experience in the waters of human emotion is special and unique because the moons archetype is fully at home here.. The moon is felt deeply in this person.. There's so much beauty.. But the conflict here is that the cancer moon doesn't have control of their emotional state, so it can be really difficult to do things because their FEELINGS are first priority.. They are likely to feel more comfortable within the comfort of soft lights, warm tea, nice fireplace, and loving company. However this is fully dependent on the rest of their chart. Water signs are fluid. Maybe they are more emotionally comfortable partying and having adventure because of a Mars in Aries and a sun in Saggitarius.. no matter what influences their emotional world goes so deep. They care. They want to nurture. They FEEEEEEEL. The moon is integral for these people, its important for them to connect with the moon through ritual or meditation.. This will help balance their emotions.. Even if they don't understand it on a conscious level, creating a personal relationship with the moon will subconsciously help them with emotional balance. A moon in Cancer wants to make you feel safe. They want to take care of you and your emotions. They will give so much... Sometimes too much.
  • Leo: these ones feel comfortable in the spotlight, whether that is within an intimate relationship, their family, their social sphere, or literally on a stage.. their comfort state lies within broadcasting their life for all to see. They have a need to share everything.. they want to share themselves, share their experience, their relationships, even the clothing on their back. This moon energy is so warm and generous. In return, these ones need a lot of admiration, attention, and affection in their relationships, they need to feel validated through being so expressive or insecurity will arise. Moreso than other Leo placements, the Moon here truly needs that attention from others, their emotional state depends on it. They draw life energy through being among different influxes of energy and shining their bright creative light within it. As for emotions, they are dramatic, hopeless romantic sonnets of internal poetry for the ones they love, dramatic boisterous crying when a sharp chord is struck, or totally uncontrollable angry fire rage when provoked. A series of extremes. They must channel their emotions into creative expression, they must have people who can give them the attentiveness they need in their bouts of emotion. Pushing them away will hurt them. They want to be close to you, themselves, their life.. they don't want to feel separate and distant. You'll find your moon in Leo being the life of the party, the friend in the group who brings all of the creative fun, their light is strong.. Its their emotional state. This placement has its challenges but I find it so beautiful.
  • Virgo: A strong need for everything to be in order, for life to be in order in all of its finer details. Whether the moon in Virgo reaches that or not reveals their level of emotional balance. They are going through life on the outside looking in. Anylizing, discerning, critiquing, this will either be deeply channeled inward, outward, or both. If you meet a Virgo Moon who does have their life in order, looks put together, has a clean organized place to live, is actively working and integrating into the structure of the world.. They are probably emotionally balanced.. And their emotions express themselves as a steady stream of relaxation due to a success of implementing order in chaos. So on the flip side.. If you meet a Virgo Moon who, to put it simply, does not have their shit together.. They are likely extremely ungrounded with their emotions scattered everywhere and nowhere living in the mercury depth of their overactive mind. They process their emotions by THINKING, they need to understand everything about what it is they are feeling and why before they can ever reach a state of peace in that feeling. Overthinking, irrational worrying, vicious self criticism are shadow elements to this placement. This is a very challenging place for the Moon. The moon is the fluid intuitive waters of emotion and Virgo is the Mercury virginal energy of mental structure and organization fine tuning life to be perfect. They don't exactly mesh well together in their natural archetypes. However, if an individual has a well aspected Virgo moon or learns how to make good use of this placement.. its an extremely competent energy. Their life will be ordered and structured to the 9's.. No worry will ever need to surface about anything because they have their shit together in the most perfect way. And in that state they experience ultimate relaxation.
  • Libra: to feel emotionally comfortable these people need a balance. They need to feel like there is a balance in their workplace, relationships, home life, and within themselves. They need to feel like there is an equal contribution on the part of everyone involved in every aspect of life, that everyone is contributing equally to establishing a balance. If it's imbalanced there is distress.. A distress that either causes emotional turmoil or a distress that motivates them to mediate the energy of the imbalanced situation. They have a very calm and .. Well.. Balanced approach to their emotions. It hits them in an intellectual way where they really observe everything they are feeling and transmute it into a steady stream of balance. They could repress emotions because of this. If emotions are going upppp and doowwwwnn they are gonna try and pull it to the center and push it forward. A continuous evolution of feeling. This steady stream causes them to have challenge with experiencing intensity of emotion.. To experience the full spectrum of emotion.. They don't want their emotions to hold them back or bring them out of alignment in any way. Hence, the repression.. And repressing anything leads it to bubble up and explode... That's where the intensity comes in.. When the bottled up and down emotions are forced up to the surface they HAVE to face it and deal with it or else they feel unable to move forward. Another component to this placement is that they Deffinetly feel emotionally comfortable and fulfilled with Venusian things.. They are gonna really value art, atheistic beauty, the beauty of ones soul, physical features, and emotions.. Because it fills THEIR emotion to experience such pleasure. The pleasureful side of life integrates with them on a deep level. They are likely to be pretty romantic in relationships, they completely romanticize and paint their love emotions like a beautiful painting of exquisite design.. Whether the reality of the love experience lives up to that is either their emotional challenge or their emotional exaltation.
  • Scorpio: INTENSE EMOTIONAL WORLD. Uncontrollable deep waters of emotion like moon in cancer.. Accept in a life or death kind of way. Emotions go to the core of ones soul. "I LOVE you." "I HATE you" "You have BETRAYED me" "I NEED you" Nothing is shallow or superficial in their emotional world..they are literally incapable of that. These people will love you to death, litterally. There is a likely hood for possessiveness with this placement. A likelyhood for nothing to be taken lightly. I remember I was babysitting a moon in Scorpio girl one time and she dropped a bunch of cards or something and they were scattering everywhere inbetween the couch cushions. I watched this girl get so distressed, heavy breathing, intense look on her face, super not at ease as she was trying to collect everything that just fell apart. My Virgo self completely cleaned up and organized the cards for her. She was passionately thankful that turmoil was taken care of for her. These people are very perceptive.. They have a really acute sense of awareness in their surroundings.. The psychic eyes.. They pick up on the subtleties around them.. They are empathetic to the energies in their life. There is a strong possibility for metaphysical psychic ability with this placement of they are exalting their energy. A moon in Scorpio on the light side will have a deep power and capacity to have such an amazing passionate colorful emotional world. A less evolved moon here will be experiencing such intense emotions they can't help but burn bridges with people. Their emotional needs and requirements are strong. With this placement they are also likely to keep their emotions very secretive from the world. They don't think anyone needs to know what they are feeling. This can cause deception and being super guarded in themselves. On the flip side, there is a powerful opportunity for transformational beauty when they do open up their inner world to someone. I'd say overall moon in Scorpio is awesome but it's extremely challenging. Like the moon in any water signs- emotions come FIRST.
  • Sagittarius: ahh the endless explorers of life. These individuals need a sense of expansion in their life to feel emotionally fulfilled. They need hope, inspiration, purpose, a promise of adventure.. Of growth.. Of a new horizon. They are comfortable in the action of expansion, whether that is going to a new place, learning something, or integrating into new relationships. It's hard to emotionally pin them down. They are on the move in their fluid state. In a relationship they need some who can hold space and swim with their currents because of they are in a flux state of perpetual evolution in regards to their emotional world. Like moon in Gemini or Aries.. They are so forward directed with going towards some new energy with their emotions.. They can be flakey. With these folk there can be room for emotional shallowness. Not always, but Saggitarus is the one who wants to have fun! They are the lighthearted archers prancing through all of the parties and people and foreign lands. It is a potential challenge for them to get caught up in some dense, heavy, stagnant emotional turmoil. They don't want to experience turmoil, they want to be having a good time! However, this is a fire sign.. The heat of their emotions DOES hit them. It's not like moon in libra where intense emotions come in and immediately get brought to a neutral line of balance. No, the intensity of emotion IS there. It's a matter of them taking the time to let them go deep into uncomfortable emotions. They would rather not be concerned with uncomfortable emotional depth at all if they didn't have to. But they have to deal with it or they will totally explode into a fire ball of saggitarius aggression. Give your little moon in Saggi some space in the heat of emotional turmoil and know that with a gentle touch and soft heart they will come to a place of opening up their emotional world with you.
  • Capricorn: Emotions here are very guarded. This is a hard placement for the waters of the moon. One may even fear their emotions with this placement, they may be mechanical and cold in this sense. Their emotions will not be tolerated if it's holding them back in anyway. Their emotional comfort lies in knowing they are competently moving forward into success with their life. The feeling of having their shit together is key for emotional balance. A moon in Cap won't want to be held back due to their emotional world. This is powerfully beneficial because they can really get shit done without having to deal with any of that cancer moon emotional stuff. However unless there is water in other places in their chart.. It leaves them in a place of emotional lack. They just aren't capable of feeling to the extent that others do because they don't let themselves. And that can be a conflict in itself because maybe it would give them a deeper feeling of competence if they COULD feel how others do. They really need to feel safe and secure and sturdy before they open up their inner world to someone. You have to win their trust to get to break that shell. This placement has a lot of good potential but also an immense possibility for challenge. With any moon, especially this one, that is all correspondent to the other aspects in a chart.
  • Aquarius: Emotionally comfortable in the realms of individualism.. they like their own kind of music, their own style, their own unique "fit" into the world.. They are emotionally satisfied in their inner world of "ME". Not "me" in the bright beaming self-centered way of Leo, no, its in the sense of "I am standing here feeling so different than all of you people" Whether they find solace or distress in that.. its a deep archetype that they feel. These people are living on the outside looking in- they are extremely extremely observant. They often they feel separate and detached out in the world, observing, putting all of the pieces together like mechanical machinery. They are very interested in life, in you, in your thoughts, in why things the way they are. They are taking it all in. With their emotions they need a lot of space to process it. They can really distance themselves from their emotions and the people who are making them feel emotions. Emotions are a lot for them to intellectually grasp, they want to grasp and come to an understanding of every facet of it, and they need time on their own to do this. Theres also room with this placement for close mindedness towards other ways of doing things. There is a likely hood for these people to feel they are doing and handling things they absolute best way possible, better than anyone else, they know how to handle their emotions, their life, their inner world. Its possible for arrogance and ignorance to be found here. Maybe they do really know how to handle their inner world better than how you think they can..... But also maybe... They really could use a word of advice. Theres a rigidness to this moon placement. These people find self-justified satisfaction in doing things exactly the way they think they should do it, it eases their emotional realm. There is room for complacency in arrogance here as their is room for extremely positive inner innovation and evolution of self.
  • Pisces: Your inner world is the ocean. Where does it begin? Where does it end? You don't know, actually, no one knows. Your emotions are the definition of fluid. Interchangeable and uncontrollable. You are melting into your emotions. When you fall in love, you FALL in LOVE. When you feel sorrow, you FEEL sorrrrrrowww. Emotions are so real for you. You feel your emotions in your blood. Your emotional world is operating in the dreamstate. You are comfortable in ethereal experiences, the surreal beauty of nature, the most amazing poem recited at a word slam, looking deep into the eyes of your lover. Life just holds a more surreal note for you. When you feel emotionally comfortable, every single particle of who you are integrates into a peace and calm of giving everything to the moment of emotional comfort. When you feel emotionally uncomfortable, red sirens are going off in your being, everything is viciously not okay. You might have issues with boundaries, you let people in so deep into your emotional realm and you share so much. Yet, when you draw a boundary, you aggressively instate it into being. You want what you want, you may disregard what is good for you, or you may draw every boundary in the book to make sure whats happening is good for you. No matter what situation you're in- good or bad, you're in it for the feeling, for the essence, the energy. Moon in Pisces will bring you into a different world.
Best way to get started with spirit work: Talk to plants (No I’m serious. Talk to them.)

So I talk a bit about my spirit companions all too often and to be honest, it’s still a very new experience to me and I’m still learning a lot about it. I’m also learning how to travel astraly (which I’m getting a little better but still need a lot of practice). And I’m sure some of you have been wanting to get into it and don’t know how. But I’m about to share with you the best thing I’ve learned about trying to communicate with spirits:

Learn to communicate with plants first.

And here’s why I say this:

Imagine a hedge that separates you the physical plane from the astral plane. And to be able to get to the astral plane and talk to the spirits and astral beings on the other side, you have to get on the other side of that hedge. How do you do that? You can’t cut down the hedge; and you can’t walk right through it. You could probably find a way to go over it but that takes a lot of work. So what’s the easiest way to get there? 

By befriending the hedge. And how do you befriend the hedge? By becoming a friend to all plant life.

Plants have a presence in both the physical and astral realm. You see a tree here, you’ll see a dryad in the astral realm. You see flowers, you’ll see their spirits. All plant life, big and small, make up the hedge. They border on the physical and spirit worlds and are the gatekeepers. They let those who pass who they feel are worthy. If you befriend them, they’ll open a path and help you. They’ll guide you and teach you how to work in both existences.

And to be honest, they have a lot to say if you just listen to them. The tall trees have been around a long time; they have stories to tell. The flowers love when you notice their beauty. The grass will teach you things from their perspective. Just get in touch with nature!

Befriend the animals too. They coexist with them and they coexist with you (when we’re not hurting them with our destructive human nature). The plants look after them, and if they see that you care for all forms of life, they’ll start to see you as a friend.

If you can learn how to talk and listen to the plants, then you’ll learn how to talk and listen to spirits. After all, in order to befriend the dead, you have to befriend life; no matter what shape or form it comes in. Even if you’re not a green witch, this will really come in handy.

I really do believe that at least part of the problem of people distrusting science has to do with how we as scientists portray ourselves.

We have actively created a system where we derive authority from being seen as better/smarter/more competent than everyone else and then when people ask why they should trust us we respond with a very condescending version of ‘because SCIENCE IS FACT’ or something along those lines.

Like, consider how that would feel from the outside? Here are a small group of people who you have never met/interacted with who sequester themselves in impenetrable ~elite institutions that you can’t access and don’t feel party to who then tell you that what they say is fact because they’re smarter and better educated than you. And if you ever try to question them (no matter how reasonable your objections may be/seem to you) they condescendingly pat you on the head and say something like ‘don’t worry we know better. you can’t possibly understand what we do.’

Why the hell would you trust them? 

No one likes being told that they’re not smart enough to understand something, and no one likes feeling excluded from something they’ve essentially been asked to accept sight unseen. 

I don’t really have a solution to this, except some vague notion about working harder to portray scientists as people working a job, rather than geniuses who are above it all. 

And like trying harder to understand where people are coming from when they question science. And remembering that being better educated than most doesn’t make us smarter than most. It just makes us better trained in certain types of thinking.

I just think we need to keep in mind what we are asking of people. Which is to put a whole hell of a lot of faith in us.

6

The Ultimate SOUL MATES

Each sign has a soul mate. Some are combined by means of their oppositions, some by means of their similarities, but they are the absolutely perfect match for each other. It generally considers the SUN sign, but you can also use the rarer compatibility indication & check your VENUS (F) + MARS (M) / VENUS (F) + VENUS (F) / MARS (M) + MARS (M). Enjoy the aesthetics!


“Red & White” - ARIES & LIBRA

Both of them absolutely need that collision of opposites! The balanced and calm Libras need more drive in their life and so they are attracted to the restless, emotional and forceful Aries. Also, Libra is Venus ruling, so their sexuality is quite strong but reduced by their peaceful and quiet personality. So they seek for someone to open up their hidden desires and no one would do it better than the Mars ruling Aries.

This is a couple where both of the lovers are ready for new experiences and changes for the better. Even though Aries is incredibly stubborn, they get naturally cooled and matured by the help of the wise Air sign. Libra on their part, becomes more entertaining and free. As art lovers, they are ready for adventures that the crazy Aries is bringing into their life.


“Once and For All” - TAURUS & CAPRICORN

They are unchangeable and having a hard time accepting anything unfamiliar, but why should they learn to get along with someone they don’t feel comfortable with if they can be together? These are probably the 2 most similar signs in the horoscope and they make a perfect match. They have the same values & priorities, the same intentions and beliefs, they will support and understand each other entirely. One of the reasons for this perfect compatibility is that they have both, separately, fully complete personalities. They are able to have a great time being alone for the simple reason that they don’t need an opposite to get completed. Both of the signs are likely to fall for the other’s flaws, the flaws they are familiar with. Finding similar traits in each other is what they do best and it’s what keeps them together. They will make one of those couples that are just meant to be, together, they are capable of anything. Their stubbornness and their melancholic view on life might make them argue a lot, but their love is too deep for them to be apart. 


“The Sunshine” - GEMINI & SAGITTARIUS

They are completely on the same level. They get bored of anything constate, any routine, they can’t sit still, always moving forward. This clot of energy isn’t for everyone to handle, but perfect for each other! This is the couple who might end up travelling in a van all around the world, raising children on the road, and won’t stop until they’ve seen everything. They are made to be wild together! Partying, living their lives to the fullest in every way. Gemini is the mind in this couple, though. It’s usually the one who has a higher salary, a more stressful job and is the boss in the family. Sagittarius is totally cool with that, though, they aren’t seeking control, they are there to enjoy every second. Their love is strong, passionate but yet so peaceful and spontaneous. 


“Inseparable Dreams” - CANCER & VIRGO

Even though Virgos aren’t too romantic themselves, they like to absorb the tenderness and the open love that Cancers are ready to give. If a Virgo feels cherished, adored and appreciated, they will give the double of it back! This is a couple that will improve each other’s self-esteem, which both of them absolutely need. Completing each other, the Cancer becomes stronger emotionally and the Virgo outspoken and finally dares to open up. This is a love that won’t fade easily, won’t get destroyed by small, insignificant complications, it’s stronger than that since the partners depend on each other on a spiritual level. They might seem too attached and even grown one into another, but they are completely glad about it, they need each other more than they need anyone.


“Two Sides Of The Same Coin” - LEO & AQUARIUS

This couple is the definition of the famous saying “they are like two sides of the same coin.” They are very different at first sight, the Leo seems confident and outspoken, while the Aquarius is rather calm and shy, in fact, they are the same if you get to know them. The, so often artificial, Leo confidence turns into an incredibly generous love, care and harmony and the Aquarius’ timidity fades, they become open, talkative and a passionate. They hold each other so dear, they feel so fascinated by the fact that they are together, that they completely forget about everyone around. They can’t get enough of each other sexually and communicatively, they suddenly become affectionate and stop being attracted to many people at once, as they were used to be, because both of them finally feel like they’ve found what they needed most. A gorgeous couple worth admiring, and the main thing is, they know exactly how to make their partner look good! 


“The Domination Game” - SCORPIO & PISCES

These two are about opposites attracting. Even though they are both Water signs, I don’t know any other personalities as different as this couple. Not many people are ready to put up with the amount of emotions a Scorpio gives their partner. Intense love, hypersexuality, jealousy, impulsive hysterias. But this looks good for a Pisces. They are flattered of the attention they get, they enjoy the emotionality and know how to calm their lover. On the other side, the quite passive, patient and nonviolent Pisces doesn’t seem boring to a Scorpio at all. They love the fact of domination and full control they have over the adaptable Pisces, basically no one is standing in their way to live the life they want to. Which is perfect for the indecisive Pisces. They are also compatible sexually, their intimate life reflects their public one. And finally about their similarities: the sensibility and intensity of love Water signs are feeling, especially for each other, is beyond compare! 

Prints

Summary: You and Sam leave your mark on the Impala.

Word Count: 2300

Warning: Smut, dom!Sam, dirty talk

A/N: Just something that happened. Enjoy! XOXO

“Is that a foot? Is there a footprint on the window?” Dean glares at the window through the rearview mirror, and you shift a little in the backseat to avoid his gaze.

It’s foggy and damp out, exactly the kind of weather that makes the windows fog up no matter what you do, and the three of you are piled in, ready for your next adventure.

Except there’s a footprint on Dean’s precious car.

And you know exactly where it came from.

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prejudice in fantasy lit and the use of metaphor

reallybigshadowhunterstvfan said:

what can you say about making Simon a shadowhunter, Mrs Clare? it seemed odd to me that after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races, the downworlder had to become a shadowhunter. not only he basically ceased being a minority, he also became a part of a privileged community, and it just didn’t sit well with me.

Just for the record — I’m not Mrs. Clare; there is no Mr. Clare. I am married, but my pen name is not my husband’s property. :-) 

I think this is a very interesting question that brings up a ton of issues, but there are some aspects of it I’d love to clarify — for instance, I am puzzled at calling Simon “the Downworlder.” Is he more a Downworlder than Magnus? Things like that actually are really important when discussing stories — if he were the only Downworlder in the story, that would be one discussion, but he isn’t, and therefore his story does not speak for the experience of all Downworlders or even a small fraction. 

I am sorry you were surprised negatively by Simon’s story in TMI. Simon never wanted to be a vampire — he always hated it, and unlike Raphael and Lily, he never joined the community of vampires but instead spent all his time with Shadowhunters. Being a Daylighter had already changed him from being any kind of regular Downworlder, as did bearing the Mark of Cain: both made him even less “the Downworlder” and more of an anomaly. It also separated him from the other Downworlders, who treated him with distrust. In my experience, very few readers expected Simon to remain a vampire, given that it was something he never wanted or got used to, and that it was not his dream. More on that in a bit.

As to the question, to me the suggestion that Shadowhunters are “the privileged” and Dowworlders are as a block “the marginalized” — instead of being a complicated metaphor in which they sometimes but not always stand in for people who have had their rights curtailed —  overly simplifies the situation. It is an argument seems to ignore the fact that in fact, humans exist along axes of privilege and marginalization: that people can be privileged in one way and marginalized in another and that when Simon becomes first a Downworlder and then a mundane and then a Shadowhunter, he is not moving clearly from marginalization to privilege, but rather exchanging some types of privilege for others (he remains white as a Downworlder, and is a Daylighter), and exchanging some types of marginalization for others (the marginalization of being a Downworlder for the marginalization of being a mundane-born Shadowhunter and a Jew in a world where Shadowhunters are meant to have one religion). 

Because the argument disclaims spectrums of privilege and marginalization, it also suggests that the world of the Shadowhunter Chronicles is one in which there are no gay or POC or trans people in existence; one in which there is no racism, homophobia, ableism, cis privilege, or bigotry against the neuroatypical. But that is both problematic erasure, and also not true of these books. Downworlders don’t stand in for people of color or LGBTQ+ people because people of color and LGBTQ+ people are in the books; they have not been subsumed into metaphor. (I know the showrunners said there was no homophobia in the Shadowhunter world, only warlock-phobia, but that’s the show, not the books, and it has a different world and world-building. I notice this is a question I get since the show came out, and I sometimes wonder if it’s a question of confusion between the two different universes? It’s easy for that to happen.)

Fantasy prejudice metaphors are complex and confusing and they rarely work as a one to one comparison (in other words, there is a difference between saying that this fantasy situation is reminiscent of this real world thing and saying this fantasy situation is exactly the same as this real world thing. For instance, one of the really interesting things about True Blood is that it made many deliberate parallels between “vampire rights” and GLBT+ rights — referring to vampires “coming out of the coffin” and “God Hates Fangs” on church signs. However, its vampires were also often violent predators who killed and ate people. The argument that Simon “basically ceased being a minority” (while, somehow, remaining Jewish) is similar to making an argument that True Blood was saying that gay people kill and eat their neighbors; I’m fairly sure in fact, they weren’t. They were reaching for a resonance — the echo of a real world situation that would give a layer of relatability and meaning to their points about difference. But they were not creating a literal “these things are the same” comparison or they wouldn’t have had vampires chewing off people’s heads.

So: are Downworlders discriminated against? Yes, sometimes, by Shadowhunters, who are a small specific group. Do they “stand in” for a specific minority group? No, they cannot, because they are accessible as a metaphor to any marginalized group or groups whose rights have been abridged. Also: the world at large does not discriminate against Downworlders because they do not know they exist, nor do they privilege Shadowhunters because they don’t know they exist either. It would be one thing if this was a high fantasy and Shadowhunters and Downworlders were all there was, but these books are set in our world, and the characters experience real-world bigotry, racism, homophobia etc. because of it.

Alec sighed. “Sorry to wreck your vision of our happy family. I know you want to think Dad’s fine with me being gay, but he’s not.” 

“But if you don’t tell  me when people say things like that to you, or do things to hurt you, then how can I help you?” Simon could feel Isabelle’s agitation vibrating through her body. “How can I—” 

“Iz,” Alec said tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now.” He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s. “It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”

 *** 

“He hurt you. It was a long time ago, and I know he tried to make up for it, but—” Bat shrugged. “Maybe I’m not so forgiving.” 

Maia exhaled. “Maybe I’m not either,” she said. “The town I grew up in, all these spoiled thin rich white girls, they made me feel like crap because I didn’t look like them. When I was six, my mom tried to throw me a Barbie-themed birthday party. They make a black Barbie, you know, but they don’t make any of the stuff that goes with her—party supplies and cake toppers and all that. So we had a party for me with a blonde doll as the theme, and all these blonde girls came, and they all giggled at me behind their hands.”

***

If we carry the theory through (Shadowhunters are THE privileged, Downworlders are THE marginalized) that means that Alec, as a gay Shadowhunter, is more privileged than Simon, a straight vampire. That Ty, who would be locked in a mental institution if the Clave discovered his autism, is privileged beyond white, rich, immortal and powerful Malcolm Fade. It’s saying that when Cristina encounters a wealthy, white, straight, misogynist male werewolf in Lady Midnight who tries to force sexual attention on her, she, a Latina woman, is the one who is the privileged character because she is a Shadowhunter and he is a Downworlder (though Sterling has arguably, given that he lives outside the supernatural world, never experienced a whit of prejudice because of it.) So I’m sure you can see where the problem lies.

It also erases Simon’s Judaism entirely. Stating without caveat that Simon has become “part of a privileged community” means ignoring the fact that Simon is Jewish; that he decides in Tales that he will continue to practice, and that he was the only Jewish protag written by two Jewish authors that I’m aware of having been on the bestseller lists last year. He didn’t think about being a vampire as he was preparing to transform — he never wanted to be one or consented to be one, nor was he part of the community, as Raphael constantly pointed out — though he does later think of having previously been a Downworlder when interacting with vampires and Shadowhunter prejudices. He thought of the important thing to him: his Judaism, which he both couldn’t and wouldn’t give up. To me it is personally painful to think that for any reader, Simon’s status as a vampire is more significant than his status as a practicing Jew.

I think sometimes it is possible to invest yourself so heavily in a metaphor that you forget the real world that surrounds the metaphor and the flexibility of metaphors in general. The Shadowhunter/Downworlder situation could stand in for the systemically privileged and marginalized of our world: sometimes it does. However it also can stand in for the way totalitarian governments abuse their own people: there are echoes in Shadowhunter history and current events of the Cambodian genocide, of Stalinist violence against intellectuals and resistors. There are also echoes of police brutality — what Shadowhunters have is the privilege of the Law, specifically: the Law is what allows them to enact bigotry in the name of justice, and when they abuse their jobs, it has resonances of the way police can abuse their jobs and use the privilege conferred on them by their authority to murder and abuse the helpless and marginalized. There are also echoes of the way soldiers carry out immoral orders given by superiors: the Shadowhunters are taught to be obedient to the Clave, and one of the ways we know who our Team Good is in any TSC series that they question that obedience. All of these are echoes and resonances: they are not saying that the Shadowhunters are the police, or the US military, or the Khmer Rouge; the resonances provide context and hopefully add a sense of realism to a situation that is fantastical in its nature.

 (It’s also a wise idea not to so totally buy what the Shadowhunters are selling about themselves. They think they’re special and better and awesome, but the books constantly question and problematize that. Shadowhunters also pay a high high price for their runes and their sense of superiority: they die young and often and experience brutal constant violence and the pressures of a repressive society that allows for little divergence from an idealized norm.)

There are reasons that the Downworlders were never constructed to be a specific marginalized group and their situation was never meant to be limited in its relatability to one situation— for instance, it’s very hard to not look askance at the argument that Downworlders are meant to be specific “race” when you can become a Downworlder and then stop being one: when you can, as Simon does, change what kind of magical creature you are, because there is absolutely no correlation between that and what race or ethnicity means in our world. 

 So yes, Simon becomes a Shadowhunter: however, what I don’t see acknowledged here is not just his ethnicity and religion, but the fact that he becomes a Shadowhunter partly because he is aware of the prejudice of Shadowhunters, and fights against the bigotry they show not just to Downworlders but also to their own. He is part of Magnus and Alec’s Shadowhunter-Downworlder Alliance. He continues to work for change from within the system, arguably something almost no one else could do, because there are almost no other Downworlders who have become Shadowhunters. It is odd to me to consider Simon as simply ascending to a height of blithe privilege when he is fact much more like someone who has become a police officer in order to root out corruption and racism in the police, and brings his own knowledge of marginalization (which he still experiences) with him.

That is why Simon in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is constantly fighting and bending the rules in the name of his evolving social conscience, though I understand if you haven’t read TfTSA. One of the things about having had a flood of new readers enter fandom because of the TV show is that I’ve seen a lot of arguments based on the idea that TMI is the entire story of Downworlders and Shadowhunters, or the entire story of these characters. I see people talking about characters getting a happy or sad ending in TMI even when those characters go on to feature heavily in the sequel books and could by no reasonable account be considered to have any ending, happy or sad — unless you thought TMI were the only Shadowhunters books that existed rather than a chunk of a larger ongoing mythology. In no sense has Simon’s story ended: you have no idea if he will remain a Shadowhunter or not. Perhaps if you consider the fact that TMI is not a story that has ended for Simon, but rather one that continues, the fact that he has now been two magical species and might well move on to become another will sit less poorly with you? After all, this is not “after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races” this is “in the middle of a whole series of battling for equality between species/races.” Usually the middle of a story isn’t the place it’s best to draw all your conclusions from. :-) 

Libra & Emotion ♎️🎭

(I’m not a professional but I’m a Libra Sun, Libra Moon, with Libra Dominance, and a 7th house stellium so I think this comes from a place of first hand experience)

Libra suns, like other air signs, do tend to detach from their emotions but not in the same way. Libra hates conflict. They hate tension and uneasiness. They need stability and reliability. Because emotions can be unpredictable, Libras feel the need to water their feelings down. Think of it as a filter. They try to rationalize and sort each emotion, find out the source, and put it into its proper place. So say if someone was rude to Libra, instead of reacting like their sister sign Aries would, Libra would accept the rudeness and then continue about their day thinking how and why that happened.

Libra also tends to put their feelings on a larger context. They ask themselves, I feel this way because this happened to me, but doesn’t everyone feel this exact way when this happens? So by concluding that everyone experiences a certain feeling, Libra decides they don’t need that feeling. If emotions don’t help a Libra, they get rid of them. And by get rid of them, I mean they either try to rationalize them so they don’t exist or they just try to ignore it.

Libra will ‘reject’ feelings if they do not believe they have the right to feel that way. For example, if a single Libra sees a cute couple they might have a pang of envy and feel resentment towards the couple in love. But then Libra will go “oh this is just my own bitterness, they haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just being unreasonable” and they’ll tell themselves to stop feeling like that.

Libra will also pick and choose what emotions to experience based on their environment. This sounds really weird I know. But if they’re in a group and everyone is wild and goofy and impulsive, Libra will match their behavior and try to match their emotions. For example, I won’t be excited about a something until someone else is and I feed off their energy.

Libra moons are a little more difficult to understand. They filter their feelings based on what’s “just and proper,” what benefits those around them, and what benefits themselves. Libra moon will choose to delete emotions they don’t know how to deal with. They also tend to never talk about their feelings. Or, and I’m guilty of doing this, will complain about small things so that their friends won’t ask what’s REALLY wrong on a deeper level (because if I never complained about anything, they would be concerned). Libra moons will avoid talking about their feelings. They like to help others though and by helping others, they learn about themselves. They can sometimes act as therapists, asking others how they feel about a certain situation and then those Libra moons will apply what they learned to their own lives.

After talking to other Libra moons on here, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in that Libra moons often feel hollow. Like there’s a cavern in our hearts. Most days it feels unfillable. Our emotions can overwhelm us and so we feel numb. Happiness is dulled, sadness is dulled until everything feels “meh.” There are many days when by all accounts we should be happy or excited but aren’t. It’s like eating bittersweet candy. You don’t really understand the flavor. It has both the sweetest and the sour mixed up together. Our emotions get all jumbled up together, we have trouble trying to separate them because we see how things can have both pros and cons.

Many Libra moons (and suns and 7th house stelliums) feel a continual longing. Specifically, longing for a relationship. There’s an incessant need for partnership, for a companion, to be understood. When that isn’t being fulfilled, it makes our lives imbalanced, throwing our emotions even farther off balance. At the end of the day, despite deflecting attention onto others, we secretly need love and a lot of it. The angsty phrase “I build walls just to see who cares enough to climb over” really applies here. Yes, we give other people a lot of attention. Part of that is to weed out who just likes us to listen and who actually wants to listen to us. We sort out the people who use us for validation from the people who actually care about us. When we find that there’s way more people who only use us, we can become depressed. There’s nothing quite as disheartening to a Libra moon than realizing that all your friends and family don’t ever stop to genuinely wonder how you’re doing. Despite Libra being called the fakest sign, we put that front up on purpose just to see who’s brave enough to look underneath. And unfortunately, very few people are willing to do so. Libra is a people pleaser and will seek companionship even if it is only superficial, but we will never be satisfied until we get that soulmate level connection we are looking for.

If Harry Potter had been sorted in Slytherin House.

In the first year, Harry Potter decides to shake Draco Malfoy’s hand when he first offered to be friends. Even though he doesn’t like to admit it, it is Voldemort that spoke for him at that moment. Immediately after, he’s sorted with the blond in Slytherin. They team up quickly and Harry convinces Malfoy that Snape is not the nice guy. Harry discovers how Draco Malfoy was raised by a racist family and fights a lot with Malfoy and his nasty comments because he knows what it is like to be rejected for something you have no control on. Harry (and Draco, though he doesn’t want to admit it) becomes friends with Ron and Hermione when they find Ron, by himself, looking for Hermione at Halloween. Draco and Harry were sneaking out, trying to find the troll for the lols of it and Ron was doing according to the canon storyline. The four of them don’t completely get along first, mostly because Draco cannot stand the mudblood, but after heated arguments and a deal on the quidditch field (”If I catch the snitch, and I will, before you make a single goal, Malfoy, you stop calling Hermione a mudblood.”) he finally accepts to keep his mouth shut and roll his eyes a minimum when they hang out with the Gryffindors. The four of them goes in the trap for the philosopher stone. Draco helps Hermione carrying Ron to the infirmary.

In the second year, by having a true friend, Draco jerk attitude gradually fainted. Harry and him, both understand each other without words ever needed. They also hang a lot with Ron and Hermione. Draco is always quiet when they are with them. He’s too busy rolling his eyes. Harry tells Draco about Dobby and Draco forces Dobby to stop trying to kill his friend and tell them about the Chamber of Secrets. They practice Quidditch together all the time. Draco complains about his dad a lot. They use polyjuice to spy on the teachers to learn more about the chamber of secrets, instead, all they learn is about McGonnagall’s wife. Draco and Ron are both with Harry in the Chamber of Secrets but are separated when Lockhart uses Ron’s wand. They let Harry go find Ginny and stay quiet for a bit. After a couple of minutes, they start talking and recognise that they have a lot more in common than they thought. They start arguing about their collection of chocolate toads cards.

In the third year, Draco was with Harry, in the train, when the dementors strike. He says a sassy comment when Harry wakes up after fainting, yet he did hear a woman screaming. It was his mum. Screaming at his dad. They always fight. He’s jealous that Harry spends time with Lupin. He feels lonely. He hates the other Slytherins. Especially, Pansy Parkinson. She’s always following him around. He finds himself spending more time with Ron and Hermione in order to avoid her. They talk about how shitty is Divination class. Pansy Parkinson is the one that gets hit by Buckbeak. She wants to impress Draco. She’s the first one to notice that Draco is hypnotised by Harry Potter. She hates it. Draco is the one that falls off his broom. He cannot participate in the saving of Buckbeak nor Sirius because he’s in the infirmary for a long time (don’t worry Harry visits him often).

By the fourth year, we get to see both of characters to evolve together, tease each other, flirt with each other under sassy comments. Draco helps Harry getting ready for the Triwizard Tournament. Harry finds Draco tied up in the lake; he’s the person he cares the most about. Harry tells Hermione about how if he was a girl he would invite Draco to the Yule Ball. Draco invites Pansy (because he knows she’ll accept) to make Harry jealous. Harry goes with Parvati to convince himself he doesn’t have feelings for Draco. He promptly realises he’s been lying to himself when he sees Draco holding Pansy tightly. Draco starts going out with her. Lots of drama. The third task happens. It kills Draco to see Harry so devastated after Cedric’s death. If finds him in Maugrey’s office with Dumbledore and Co. Harry is angry at Draco because he saw his dad that night. Their dads. Draco is petrified, struck for the first time of the horrors his father took a part to. Maybe even is mother. Reconciliation. Draco’s character development of the end of the seventh book happens.

By the fifth year, Harry sassy comments to Draco’s father made Draco realise that his home is not at the Malfoy’s manor. Narcissa, loyal confident of her son, offers that he moves definitely with Andromeda after a torrid fight she has with her son about their link with Voldemort. She knows he will be happier there. She also knows Voldemort plans and she wants to distance her precious son from this toxic household. Andromeda’s house is also very close to the Dursleys. Draco teams up with Harry for the Dumbledore Army. They also team up with Fred and George to prank Umbridge, a lot. Harry and Draco kiss for the first time at a meeting everyone forgot except them. Harry tells Hermione. Draco tells Ron. Draco goes to the Christmas party at 12 Grimmauld place. Harry tells clumsily Sirius about his bisexuality. Sirius is moved by Harry’s confidence and tells him about how James and Lily would be proud of their son. How he is proud of the man he became. Harry and Draco cuddle secretly and it helps Harry with his nightmares. Draco freezes at the fight of the ministry. What if his father or his mother are there? He cannot risk hurting them. He holds Harry when Sirius dies. He holds Harry after Voldemort’s fight. His parents learn about it. Narcissa knew. Lucius is infuriated, goes to Andromeda’s to talk his son out of the noxious relation he shares with Harry Potter. Draco stands up for the first time against his father.

In the sixth year, they accept their affection for each other and team up with Ron and Hermione to destroy Voldemort. The whole Halfblood Prince thing isn’t happening nor is Draco plotting against Dumbledore, Snape is charged to kill Dumbledore and he’s the one that lets the Death Eaters into the castle. Draco is constantly haunted by the face of disgust of his father when he looked at him the last time they met. He accepts to help Harry but makes him understand he won’t be able to fight Death Eaters if they meet any. 

It all goes according to canon until they are at the Malfoy’s manor and Bellatrix tortures Draco for having betrayed his family and his blood. The scars he gets replaces the one left by Sectum Sempra in canon. Narcissa is at Andromeda’s when it happens. When she learns about it, she breathes in painfully and promises to herself to help Harry when the time comes. Lucius tells her when she comes back in order to win back her trust. She’s so angry at Bellatrix but she hides it impeccably, she volunteers to do extra work for Voldemort to conceal her rage. It makes her gain even more his trust for when the Moment comes. Everything goes as canon, except that it is Pansy Parkinson that goes hysteric in the Room of Requirements and set fire to it. Draco was the one that went in the Chamber of Secrets because he always hears his boyfriend talk in Parseltongue in his sleep. Draco has a breakdown when he sees Harry in the arms of Hagrid and Narcissa, helpless, by his side. When Harry moves, he automatically runs to him and throws his wand at him. He then runs into the castle to find another wand but ends up helping Sybil Trelawney with an injured student. He understands that even if he despised her classes, she’s a good person and is worth respect.

The epilogue is that after the war they both become professors at Hogwarts; Harry is the D.A.D.A. teacher and Draco is the potions teacher. They adopt Teddy Lupin and it makes them want to adopt more children: James, Scorpius, Neville and Lily. All is well.

Writing Series #8: How do you stay invested?

What I hear most often from writers switching from short fiction to novels is: how do you stay invested for the long haul? How do you care about the same story for the time it takes to finish an entire book?

As someone who began with novel writing and never really mastered the art of the short story, I’ve always had the opposite question (how do you keep it to a minimum? how do you condense your ideas into just a few pages). But this doesn’t mean I’ve never had that age old book commitment problem. Even the best stories can drift away from us, and even the most dedicated writers will experience the occasional hiccup in their writing schedule. Too much time away–whether it be a busy schedule, a new child, an illness, or just general lack of inspiration–it can make coming back to the book after a writing drought seem impossible. You sit down in front of your story, see these words so old you hardly remember writing them in the first place, and think, how can I possibly keep going? 

Coming back to an old story can feel a lot like a high school reunion: bumping into people you once knew so well but who have now become strangers, and now you hardly know to strike up a conversation. But just like a reunion, you have two choices: runaway and give up on the relationship for good, or force the smalltalk until you break into something real. If you’re lucky, by the end of the night, you can be laughing and having a great time, saying it’s like things “never changed at all” before you’re through. A book is the same way. 

Just as we bring up “the good ‘ol times” in conversations, it’s important to revisit what made you write the book in the first place. Some things that have helped me have included: 

  • Taking notes of my character’s planned emotional and physical arcs over the course of the book. This way if I lose investment or take too much time away and begin to lose that connection to their emotional state, I can return to my notes and see where I wanted them to be and start to understand their state of mind again and their purpose in my story. 
  • Take notes of your planned plot or, if you’re not a structured planner, some things you hope to happen in the story or directions you might like it to go. This will be your road map later if you get lost along the way. 
  • Make a playlist (or other art form, if you’re a painter, poet, etc.) that reminds you of your story. Listening to these songs later can help you to revisit the mindset you were in while writing and spark that creativity. 
  • Go back and reread some of your older, already written chapters. This can help you to remember what the tone of the story was and how the dialogue was sounding. If you don’t and take a long break in the story, there’s a large chance that your story will end up disjointed with two separate narrative styles and tones that will be jarring for the readers (and yourself as you read it back later). This can also trigger the memory of how it felt to write this story last time and to hopefully help you to continue writing it again. 
  • Practice writing a scene with your character(s) that won’t make it into the book. Jumping right back into the novel can seem daunting at times, so it may help to open a new document and write a random event just for practice on regaining and writing your character. Other useful exercises might include an interview, biography, or sample social media account for your character if applicable. 
  • Just keep writing. Sometimes you have to write something terrible to break through to something good. But don’t worry. The delete button exists for a reason, and the editing process will be a lifesaver down the line. 

To all the writers out there: how do you keep yourself focused and interested during the course of writing a novel? Do you have any tips for maintaining writing momentum?

Feel free to add to this post or submit your own advice to share with your fellow writers at ancwritingresources.tumblr.com

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LGBT+ MASTERLIST PROJECT BY ROCIO @nuevayor​

Week One: TELEVISION
Week Two: MOVIES
Week Three: BOOKS
Week Four: POETRY
Week Five: MUSIC
Week Six: COMICS
Week Seven: DOCUMENTARIES
Week Eight: PODCASTS
Week Ten: HISTORY
Week Eleven: RESOURCES
Week Twelve: THANK YOU + GOODBI

Week Nine: Hello again and welcome back to the LGBT+ Masterlist Project!

I had originally named this post ‘BLOGS + VLOGS’ but after the overwhelming amount of suggestions specific to YouTube channels, I figured to dedicate this week’s post entirely to YouTubers. Voilà, here we are!

The genres vary this week, as always. We’ve got beauty vlogs, lifestyle vlogs, cooking vlogs, music vlogs, talk show set ups, and a bunch of other types of content! One thing is for sure, and the whole point of this entire project: these are all LGBT+ YouTubers. A lot of them are here on Tumblr too! So I added their @’s for you as well. 

If you think I’ve mislabeled someone (as in, if I have put them in this list or in the gifs above when they aren’t LGBT+), please tell me immediately as there’s nothing I value more than accuracy - I will be sure to follow up. In addition! If you’ve got recs, don’t hesitate to send them my way (particularly LGBT+ YouTubers who are people of color - I was underwhelmed to see the vast yet not so diverse YouTube vlogging landscape when it came to popularity.)

Next week: LGBT+ HISTORY - a compilation of academic journals, articles, autobiographies, YouTube videos, and other types of media that cover the long and too often glossed over history of the vast and diverse LGBT+ community. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

Enjoy: LGBT+ YOUTUBERS

  • Pero Like - “Pero, like… You know what we mean. Weekly videos of tu vida.” A Latinx-oriented vlog in which one of the YouTubers is Salvadoran and gay, but LGBT topics are not the main thing they vlog about
  • Shannon @now-this-is-living​ & Cammie @the-2nd-star-to-the-right on their channel nowthisisliving - A lesbian couple who are “just sharing [their] story/love/life with anyone who wants to listen”
  • Claudia Boleyn - A bisexual YouTuber who makes videos about mental health and social justice issues
  • Miles Jai  (giffed above) - Posts improv sketches, parodies, “beauty tutorials”, as well as vlogs
  • Kat Blaque @katblaque (giffed above) - “Opinion Vlogger, Children’s Illustrator and Thrift Store Addict”
  • Sara @rnashallah(giffed above) - Totally not putting her up here because we’ve been mutuals on Tumblr for like mad long and I’m just very fond of Sara as a person. She vlogs about her life and tbh that alone is worth a sub in my book!
  • Eileen W. @peeves(giffed above) - Another good friend of mine (let me live). HILARIOUS, sarcastic, honest, and is pretty much always there to Validate You, so support her and subscribe!
  • Marina Watanabe @marinashutup​ (giffed above) - “Part time feminist vlogger, full time sass machine. Biracial, bisexual, bipedal.”
  • Kid Fury @signedfury - “Born in Miami and raising hell in New York City, Kid Fury is a media mouthpiece with a whole lot of nerve. This channel is one of many avenues Fury uses to cover life, pop culture and more with a unique and sharp flare of truth, shade, and fuckery.”
  • AriFitz @itsarifitz - Lifestyle + style vlog

Keep reading

Jikook fic recs masterpost

Hi everyone! So, as any jikook shipper, you all know that there is a variety of great fics, old and new, about our fave ship. I, personally, tend to like reading more about the new ones (not because the 2014 ones aren’t good anymore, but like, u know what i mean, dynamics of the ship changed).

So as someone who spends……. alot….. of their free time reading and writing fics, and as someone who’s been in the fandom for a couple months now, i tought it would be a good idea to write down here some of my faves for you, old shipper who thinks they’ve read them all, or new shipper who doesn’t know where to start :) 

I’ll try to recommend complete ones for the most part, and recent ones, but you know…… some of ‘em are classics. Here are my personnal all-time favorites.

Let’s start ! (in no particular order)

* - awesome

** - extra-awesome

*** - life-changing

1. Constraint, by Harlot. ** One shot, 40k, complete. “Jungkook is young and he is more acquainted with confusion and poor-decision-making than he’d like to admit. Despite being only 19 years old, he sometimes argues that he’s been through and seen some shit. He is never sure where he’s going to end up and he’s not entirely sure what kind of future is waiting for him. He is often not sure of a lot but he is certain—absolutely certain—that he’s not gay.
Alternatively, a story in which Jungkook meets Park Jimin and doesn’t like him whatsoever. There’s just something about him… there’s just so much about him. Jungkook really can’t stand him. In fact, he can’t stand him so much he can’t quite seem to get him off of his mind.
” ((So this one is quite lengthy, i know, but totally worth it ! Jungkook is a real douche in the beginning, but his reactions are so believable and relatable that you forgive him instantly. Great caracterization. Smutty parts in the end.))

2. Loverboy, by gangbang. *** One shot, 9k, complete. “this much jimin’s figured out: sometimes, somehow, his words make people fall in love with him.” ((Okay so this one is my personnal favorite, if I had to chose from all the jikooks fics, and probably all fics of all ships of all times, this would probably win the 1rst place. There’s something about it. Magical realism. Ansgt. Incredible storyline and characterization. A+++))

3. More golden than a golden snitch, by arborescent. ** Series of 3 One shots. 4k for this one, complete. “Everyone knows that the first year Slytherin seeker Jeon Jungkook’s biggest fan is not from his own house but a third year Hufflepuff named Park Jimin.” ((Okay so another old one… but a true classic. This one is a series so be sure to read the 3 of them, aren’t long, but truly amazing. HP au, with a lot of misunderstandings, a tsundere jk, and a fluffy muggleborn jimin. Don’t have to have loved HP to read this.))

4. And back again, by novilunar. * One shot, 3k, complete. “Jimin wishes he could stay away from Jungkook.” ((Ok so this is also an old one BUT i had to link it cause i read it 4 times by now and it is  THE fic that started me into Jikook. Basically, Jimin doesn’t do one night stands, and thats all jk does. Jimin falls. Happy ending. Great writing. Good smutty parts. Love it.))

5. The Bet, by jonghyunslisterine. ** 11 chapters, 46k, complete. “Where Jeon Jungkook makes a bet that he can get the notoriously single Park Jimin to sleep with him by the end of the semester. Needless to say, things don’t go exactly as planned.” ((Okay, another old one, classic, that you probably already read. If not, then  d o   i t. Quite lengthy, but a safe bet. Great great great character development. Jimin is such a complex but lovely being and jk is such a douche but then gets it and it all goes well in the end. The jeonlous is gold. University setting, and jk’s concerns about school are so well written and so relatable. Great one overall.))

6. Flowertalk, by soranosuzu. * One shot, 3k, complete. “Jimin works in a flower shop and Jungkook is a delivery boy who drives a pastel pink van.” ((Tooth rotting fluff. Short and sweet, perfect for when you’re feeling for it.))

7. You’re ripped at every edge (but you’re a masterpiece), bykafeuka. * 3 chapters, 34k, complete.  “Jimin swore there was nothing worst than having Jeon Jungkook as a sergeant.(Or,In which Jimin was forced to enlist in military and he was under the sexgod Sergeant Jeon’s monitoring division and god, Sergeant Jeon really needs to stop being a douchebag)” ((Ok so this one is maybe not an ultimate fave, but it’s only b/c of the end. Overall, it’s great, tho’. Military AU. Sexual tension. JK is sexually frustrated and frustrating. JM is a rich boy. Both characters are douches. Loved the idea.))

8. One upon a time share, by namakemono. * 5 chapters, 32k, complete. “Jungkook is in desperate need of a vacation, but spending two weeks in Namjoon and Hoseok’s timeshare in Okinawa with his recently separated ex of three years was probably (definitely) not what he had in mind.” ((I don’t know why i like the ex trope so much??? anyone with me??? there isn’t enough of those. JK and JM broke up, but their friends are still friends. And want them back together. Oops. Love it.))

7. White T-shirt and Brown Timberlands, by Rose_gold715. ** One shot, 11k, complete. “Jimin is filing for divorce after eight years with Jungkook. He needs to let go, and yet, he wants to hold on a little longer.” ((Aaaaand another ex trope, but not really. Established relationship that doesn’t go well for a while, but happy ending. Original idea. Kinda angsty, and heartbreaking. Loved it.))

8. You’re a hard soul to save with an ocean in the way (but i’ll get around it), by namakemono (great author ok bye). ** One shot, 20k, complete. “Jimin has the whole ocean at his fingertips, but for some reason he can’t help but look up to where the humans are, and wonder what it’s like to be part of their world.(or: the Little Mermaid AU that no one asked for)” ((Ok so now move on to something a lil’ fluffier. I DID NOT KNOW HOW MUCH I WANTED A LITTLE MERMAID AU. But i did. Jimin w/ red hair. Rich boy JK that has to take care of him. Funny and cute. A little jowel of a fic.))

9. You Don’t Bring Me Flour, by superbroc. * One shot, 3k, complete. “In order to graduate, Park Jimin must convince cute grocery cashier Jeon Jungkook that this sack of flour is his beloved child.” ((Soooo funny. Happy and fluffy. Great when you’re in the mood for something lighter.))

10. Let’s play for keeps, bykaythebest. * One shot, 4k, complete. “Jimin plays games for the entertainment of the Internet. Poorly. In fact, his entire schtick seems to be entirely based on how terrible he is. JimJams tries. He rarely succeeds.” ((Youtuber AU. Funny. A lot of Pining. What’s there more to ask.))

11. A touch of sin, by pettey. *** 10 chapters, 102k, complete. “After his transfer to a quiet seaside town, Jeongguk was prepared to face a year of uneventful CID work, but found himself dealing with a series of strange murders instead.” ((ULTIMATE FAVE OF THE MOMENT. Last fic I actually read, yesterday, in the middle of the night. Terrible idea, ‘cause it’s so spooky. I’m not a fan of gore, so i was scared when i read the hashtags, but really there isn’t that much, and it’s so well written that you barely notice it. The story is so well written and plot-driven. It could litteraly be a book. The universe is so intriguing. Ghosts. Witchcraft. JK is a cop, JM is a witch, sorta. Weird murders happen, JM is suspected. Sexual tension. So soooo much sexual tension. Characters are amazingly written. Slowbuilt. The end is bittersweet, if you don’t like much of happy endings, you’ll love it, if you only like happy endings (like me), you’ll love it too. Also there’s smut. And amazing song recommandations.))

12. Nu ABO: A Memoir by Park Jimin, by decompositionbooks. ** 6 chapters, 34k, complete. “The world didn’t think it was necessary to give him a guide when it shoved all of these omega hormones at him, so here it is, Park Jimin’s handbook on dealing with heats, unrequited love, and Jeon Jungkook.” ((You kids are so lucky to be able to read this fic in one go. I had to wait for every chapter. E v e r y   o n e. I know not all are fans of ABO dynamics, but try this one, please. It’s so good. Jimin is hilarious. Jungkook is emotionally constipated. Sexual tension. Jealousy. Great writing. A+))

13. Leave Your Mark, by snarcsics. *** 3/10 chapters, 49k, not completed. “The first time Jimin meets a gaunt, small beta boy named Jungkook in the examination room of Namjoon’s lab, he can’t seem to take his eyes off him. The second time he sees Jungkook it’s because he refuses to eat without him. The third time they meet, Jungkook is more teeth and claws than Jimin can handle.” ((OK SO I KNOW THIS FIC IS NOT COMPLETED. BUT LISTEN it’s worth it. Ohhh so worth it. Plus the author tends to finish all of her fics. Superd kind, replies to all comments. This fic is the beginning of a masterpiece. Not like any ABO. The plot is so great. The characterization is A+++. So much tension. So intriguing. JM is an omega. JK is a beta that will become an alpha artificially cause they are extinct. It doesn’t go so well. Please read it. Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.))


So this is all of my ultimate favorite fics! I still have plenty I would like to recommend, but I figured too long posts annoy everyone. Tell me if you liked this list and if you would like me to do some others :) I was thinking about doing thematics ones, like fluffy, smutty, angsty… Tell me if that would be something you’d like! 

If you have any fics to recommend me, please please please do so!

This fandom is great. This ship is great. Don’t forget to comment on the stories you read to encourage these fabulous authors!

Thank you for reading!

INTJ Weaknesses Examined

According to 16personalities.com, INTJs display the following weaknesses:

Arrogant
Judgmental
Overly analytical
Loathe highly structured environments
Clueless in romance
As an INTJ myself, I will try to discuss these different weaknesses and expand on it, adding on to other weaknesses INTJs have.

Arrogant – INTJs tend to be arrogant, especially at the earlier stages of their life when their exposure to more intelligent groups is limited. Once they find more intelligent peers (if they don’t, they will likely remain arrogant for the rest of their life), the INTJ will respond in one of two ways. The INTJ will humble themselves, and stop treating others as if they are much more superior, and will only consider themselves superior in the regards they know themselves to be (which may be most things still). Or they will deny the discrepancies to keep their ego intact, losing themselves into worlds where they are superior, leading to them developing issues such as workaholism or gaming addictions. INTJs even have books on the link between their type and narcissism too. INTJs will be inwardly arrogant, but they won’t directly tell you how much better they consider themselves to be than you. Unless the INTJ is younger/more immature, they would rather imply it passive-aggressively or not imply anything at all. Why risk having ego damaged?

Judgmental – Less developed INTJs tend to assume a lot, because their dominant introverted intuition has subconsciously analyzed many different patterns before, although the problem is that it may be an incomplete analysis. This leads to intuition that is unrefined and prone to being wrong, especially with more complex situations like those involving people matters. It’s akin to learning the mechanisms of a pond before stumbling upon a river and finding out the same principles don’t apply. The problem with this is that INTJs apply their auxiliary extroverted thinking too soon when it comes to matters that they think they already have a firm understanding of, when they would be better off making sure that they know all the details before making a judgement. This could easily apply for many personality types, but can be particularly troublesome with an obstinate INTJ who is convinced that their understanding is correct as it is.

Overly Analytical – INTJs tend to over analyze a lot of things which is helpful within the logical realm of theories and ideas but it falls short when applied to the real world, especially with people. Not every human act can be explained easily, and this will annoy the INTJ who wants an explanation for why things happen. This can also lead to quick judgements to relieve themselves of the pressure of finding out the real reason behind an act, or the possibility that there was no big reason.

Loathe highly structured environments – Contrary to what most would expect, INTJs tend to actually heavily dislike school. INTJs like learning a lot, but they would rather direct their own education rather than having a separate body telling them what they need to learn. The added factor of socialization within the school environment is also painful as it serves as just another distraction from their learning, forcing them to learn how to navigate the politics of multiple people being involved in a structure. However, just because many INTJs dislike school, this doesn’t mean that they won’t play the “game” and try to win by getting the best scores possible. For INTJs, their future vision of what they can accomplish by winning the “game” fuels their desire to withstand adversity. However, the weaker their vision as a result of completing a task, the less likely they are to invest time within it. This is also applicable for most people, but especially amplified for the INTJ who spends most of their time in their head.

Clueless in Romance – For the younger INTJs, this is especially true. They will have no idea when anyone is interested. But after being caught off-guard a few times, they become acutely aware of when people are interested in them. However, after that, the INTJ is practically clueless. Their humor is very different from most other types, their flirting is abysmal, talking can be a chore at times and they aren’t often aware of social cues and people’s feelings. It can be a disaster without an understanding partner that doesn’t judge immediately or without strong personal growth from the INTJ. As INTJs are less than 2% of the population, it may not be a surprise that this type is not in abundance.

My additions:

Weirdly Emotional – This depends on whether the INTJ has a “hot” or “cool” personality. The INTJs with a cool personality tend to remain more detached and analytical while the hot INTJs will be more in tune with their emotions. This can lead to them feeling emotions more greatly but also arising poorly, leading to an emotional reaction that is often more than it should be. INTJs with hot personalities tend to have more associations with their tertiary introverted feeling. Whether any personality type is hot or cool also seems to be more associated with their enneagram type.

Just Weird – INTJs spend a lot of their time in their head or on the computer/phone gathering information. For someone who is generally very detached from the world, this can lead to them developing a very niche personality that will deviate greatly from the norm of the social groups they have access to. Pair that with their natural unwillingness to talk to many people, they can become very closed off from others and hide their real selves as a result. They can fear showing what they really think due to being ridiculed, although it prevents them from finding out who would actually appreciate those thoughts too.

Self-Doubting – INTJs are so self-doubting about themselves, they are the most likely out of all the types to try researching their own weaknesses. They have to know what’s wrong with them and how they can get better. This self-doubt can be transparent when they speak because they are willing to show their level of certainty or lack of it, which can come off poorly in the workplace and in relationships because other types would prefer certainty in their explanations.

Too Serious – Younger INTJs often don’t know when people are joking, at least immediately. They will generally take many things at face value because of how often they take themselves seriously within their own thoughts. INTJs have high opinions of themselves in relations to others, “armor up” for social interactions and are constantly analyzing what people are saying, all of which leads to their solemn outlook when dealing with the external world.

INTJs have a lot of work to do when it comes to their weaknesses, but a well-rounded and mature INTJ will generally become a powerful force to be reckoned with if they are able to master these weaknesses.

Beauty and the Beast Post-Curse headcanons

In the past week, after seeing the new live action Beauty and the Beast (twice thus far. Still jonesing for a third viewing) the movie has taken up a permanent residence in the back of my mind, thus creating many a headcanon to frolic about in the space betwixt my ears. I personally enjoy reading other people’s headcanons so here are a few post-curse headcanons of mine, organized by character…

Belle 
- Belle uses the library to start a school for the village children, bringing the village’s literacy rate higher than anywhere else in the country. The children often give her drawings and short stories they’ve written which she displays prominently.
- One of her favorite things is watching Adam interact with children. He was a bit concerned at first that they wouldn’t like him, but it turns out he is great with them! She’s had to enact a “no piggyback rides in the library” rule. 
- She and Père Robert start a book club.
 - She is almost constantly tinkering with ideas and inventing things to make things easier around the castle. Washing machines, kitchen gadgets, carts with built in book shelves, and so on and so forth. Adam is more than happy to provide her with anything she could possibly need and often watches her work, helping when he can, but mostly just admiring her mind at work. 

Prince Adam 
- Now that he is considerably less hairy (and over all less beastly in terms of body mass) he gets cold easily. (Mostly at night or in the early morning since early post-curse is summer.) He can often be found in the library by the fire and occasionally making his way through the castle wrapped in a sort of mobile cocoon of blankets.
-Since the curse has been lifted he is trying to encourage a lighthearted atmosphere around the castle, attempting to undo the “when I enter a room, laughter dies” reputation. This ends up manifesting itself in quippy remarks and the occasional pun (much to the surprise of the staff at first) and ultimately learning to laugh at himself more. 
- He finds himself gravitating to Belle. Absentmindedly taking her hand in his whenever she is close by. Reading over her shoulder from time to time. Overall just preferring to be near her. She makes him feel safe. Yes, this is real. The curse is broken. She really does love him.  
-Having Phillipe around has proven very therapeutic for him. He goes for walks around the grounds with Phillipe and talks with him, pampering him with lots of apples for being such a good listener.
-He waits a while to propose to Belle, but he keeps his mother’s wedding ring on his person pretty much from the start of their post-curse days. He just didn’t want to make Belle feel rushed. 

Lumière
- After years of having no taste buds,  Lumière has become a foodie. He relishes being able to savor the simplest ingredients, often enticing Plumette to try whatever he is most excited about at the time. “Plumette, you must try these strawberries! They are positively exquisite!”
-He often forgets that he can no longer produce a source of light at will, and can often be heard muttering as he stubs his toe in the dark.
-When Belle and Adam do get married, he is Adam’s best man and delivers the greatest speech. Lots of laughs. Even more happy tears.

Plumette
-Plumette maintains a feather-like touch and learns how to paint from Maurice. Her landscapes become famous for her delicate brushwork. 
-She has never lost an argument with Lumière. Any time he is being stubborn on a point of disagreement, she tickles him until he is willing to talk things out. 

Cadenza and Garderobe
-After their long curse induced separation, Cadenza and Garderobe take a second honeymoon and are nearly inseparable. 

Mrs. Potts and family(plus LeFou)
- Mr. Potts ends up moving into the castle and commuting to the village for work. Any time he has to leave he takes a moment to hug Mrs. Potts and Chip, studying their faces with a smile so that he never forgets again.
-Mrs. Potts and LeFou end up becoming good friends. She gives LeFou motherly advice and Chip ends up looking up to him like a big brother. 
-LeFou makes sure to encourage Chip to follow his heart, be self assured (but remain humble) and to have the courage to stand up for himself, even if it means standing up to a friend. 

Buffing a Low CR Encounter

Class Levels

The most straightforward method of increasing a low CR creature’s CR is by giving it class levels or by increasing it’s stats using the table in the back of the DMG. It’s a bit tedious, but it makes a more interesting creature once you are finished with it. No one expects the goblin with wizard levels or the kuo-toa with levels in monk!

More of them

Don’t do this one often, but you can always send a large number of low-CR monsters at the party. While adding class levels requires a lot of prep time, lots of monsters requires a lot of wasted in-game time, and that has potential to bore the players. But every once in a while, you can just send a whole bunch of monsters at them. When it doesn’t happen every single session, it’s a fun romp for the players to be able to feel powerful but still run the real risk of damage. Thanks to 5e’s bounded accuracy, more enemy attacks means more potential harm.

Lasting Effects

When players realize that the normally low-level encounter they are facing offers a lasting debuff attached to it, suddenly the encounter becomes more meaningful. They will have to take extra steps to avoid diseases, poisons, magical effects, or injury. For instance, a regular old giant rat is no threat at all at a pathetic CR of 1/8. But the locals have all been suffering from a plague carried by vermin, suddenly a bunch of rats has potential of ruining a PC’s entire day if they fail a save. Melee characters might opt to fight from range or spellcasters might need to burn a higher-than-normal spell slot to take them out quickly. A drow that drops a large creature with a small cut before going after the PCs suddenly becomes a hit away from poisoning a PC with who knows what sort of diabolical substance.

Hazards

Environmental hazards can make advantages for enemies and disadvantages for the party which together can significantly alter an encounter’s CR. If kobolds are firing crossbows prone from high ground and have cover firing upon the PCs in an open area with plenty of traps hidden all over and a lava moat to find a way across, the PCs will take plenty of damage before ever reaching them. Even if they don’t take damage, they will likely waste valuable resources over a handful of kobolds. Carefully tailor your encounters in the enemies’ favor if they are a lower CR than the players, who will have to get lucky or clever to overcome the tipped scales.

Special Abilities

There’s always a handful of abilities that you can throw at the PCs. Whether it’s the ones in the book (shoving, grappling, flanking) or ones you invent as a DM. Matt Colville once defending 4e D&D and its Powers for enemies. They always did something, and in terms of monsters they were occasionally unique to other editions of D&D. Try adding some unique abilities to your lower-level monsters that make sense for that creature. When I ran a game with an Aboleth, I heavily homebrewed some new abilities for it to surprise my players. I gave it a sort of Mind Blast (like a Mind Flayer) that would only knock creatures unconscious, making it easier to capture and enthrall players that got separated. I also gave it the ability to phase through ice as it was in a giant “aquarium” with ice walls, so it could either observe the PCs from its murky water or attack when it chose to reveal itself, or even drag a PC into the tank with it to coat it in its diseased mucous. Admittedly, an Aboleth is not a low-CR monster. But on its own, the PCs would have easily taken it out so I gave this guy plenty of advantages to tip the odds in its favor and the players still pulled through eventually. But I had made an easy encounter into a very challenging one.

Stakes

Increasing the stakes of an encounter can alter how PCs approach a challenge. If players have to stay undetected, then even a bunch of orcs will be a threat to a party trying to sneak by a low-level monster, because it’s no longer about “can they kill it?” but “can they kill it before it has a chance to yell or else sneak by it?” Another option might be a requirement NOT to kill the creatures in an area. Maybe they are breaking into their own allies’ palace for information or to ‘borrow’ some magic item, but have no ill intent against the guards. Killing one might put them at massive fault. A time limit can increase the stakes of an encounter where they actually need to consider “should we waste time to kill these low-level creatures?” Perhaps those low-level creatures need to just be avoided instead so the players don’t spend too many precious rounds dealing with combat. There are plenty of other ways to increase the stakes of a battle, so get creative!

Astral Travel vs Astral Projection

This is honestly one of our most requested posts right now. We’ve got numerous anons in our inbox asking us “what is astral travel, how do you do it, and how is it different than astral projection?”

So first off I’m going to address what the astral is so we’re all on the same page. The astral is, in essence, a variety of different realms/dimensions/spaces that can be accessed and is populated by astral beings. Spirits often live here, various deities and entities, and even human souls who simply exist there or are dead or will exist in the future. (Time is weird in the astral.) It’s basically an Otherworld or perhaps the Otherworld often described in myths and legends. It’s not always safe. Just like you shouldn’t trust every single human you meet here on earth, you shouldn’t trust every single spirit you meet in the astral. 

So now on to different ways to access the astral, primarily astral projection and astral travel. 

Astral Projection 

Personally, I find astral projection a lot harder. It’s essentially a form of self-hypnosis. A quick google search/preliminary research will most likely tell you that astral travel and astral projection are the same thing.

Astral travel and astral projection are not the same thing. 

Astral projection typically involves a very deep meditative state. It’s pretty much synonymous with inducing an out of body experience (OBE). Your mind is on the edge of sleep and has to stay there in order to induce the right state for astral projection.

Personally, I find this dangerous. First of all, exploring the astral is not safe. Take a guide with you or make sure that your body/self is personally protected. (Sprinkle some black salt on your forehead, carry a protective charm, make a spell jar that will protect you during astral travel, etc. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just keep yourself protected!) There are potential dangers to astral travel and astral projection.

The biggest concern I have with astral projection is that it can often induce sleep paralysis and other hallucinations that are not necessarily related to the astral realms. People who have experienced sleep paralysis may see shadow people at the edge of their bed, demons attacking them in their sleep, etc. Your body is asleep but your mind is awake. Brains are weird. It can also induce a state of panic because hey, your body isn’t moving but your mind is very awake, sounds like the perfect time to panic and make you believe that you’re being possessed by demons. Which, if you’re already scared of demons or negative/evil entities, your mind will be more likely to create those and some very real spirits like to feed off your fears. 

So now that I’ve probably scared most of you out of astral projection, let me talk about the ways that astral projection can be a good and useful way to access the astral. 

It’s easy to believe that what you’re experiencing is real. With astral projection, your soul is literally separated from your body, and things are a lot more vivid. When successfully and safely practicing astral projection, there’s a lot less room for doubt over what you’ve experienced because typically it is incredibly sensory. Humans have a tendency to believe what they can see/feel/touch/smell/hear. 

It’s also easier to be aware of what you’re doing in the astral. You’re experiencing a very vivid trip to the astral, so it’s easier to know and control what you do. Messages are likely to get through easier. It’s very similar to lucid dreaming in that you’re aware of what’s happening so you can respond appropriately. That’s not to say that you can’t be aware of things during astral travel, it’s just a bit easier with projection. 

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for some to astral project for a variety of reasons. Personally, I have a very difficult time doing astral projection. Your energy might be blocked or your soul may just really wanna stay inside your body. Realizing you have a hard time doing astral projection can be really discouraging if you believe that it’s the only way to get into the astral. 

So if you’re discouraged because astral projection seems really hard and unattainable and kinda scary and now you’ll never be able to do the spirit work that you want to, don’t worry. I’m about to talk about astral travel.

Astral Travel

Just like astral projection, there are dangers to astral travel. I don’t want to make this post seem like it’s perfectly safe and harmless to astral travel without concern for your safety. Don’t be afraid, but don’t be stupid. 

Have you ever done a guided meditation or visualized what you want? Congrats, you can astral travel! It’s almost difficult for me to describe how you astral travel simply because it’s almost second nature to me now. Unless there’s something blocking or hurting me, I can pretty much access my astral space or explore at any time of the day. (Lol I’ve astral traveled at work before. I don’t recommend that, as astral travel can and does require some concentration.)

When you’re new to astral travel, it might be helpful for you to get into a meditative state. Not a hypnotic state, just a nice and relaxed meditative state. Now visualize somewhere that you like. The ocean, the mountains, a nice field, a city you enjoy. Or, if you have a hard time getting there, picture a door. What does that door look like? Tell the door you want to go to your astral space. Now open that door. 

Ward your astral space. Your own personal astral space can be modified and changed within reason. But the big difference between imagination and astral travel is that not everything will respond exactly the way you think or want it to. Your space will grow and change without your attention/care. You can even just practice astral travel by taking care of your astral space. 

Do you want to leave your astral space? Get your astral protections ready (please for the love of all that is good in this world WARD YOUR ASTRAL SPACE) and visualize that door again. What does it look like? Does it look different? How do you feel about that? What is your gut telling you about the door and where it leads? Listen to your gut. Ask the door to take you to your astral guide. That’s one way that you can find someone to help you explore the astral safely. 

I must put the caveat that not everyone will see things in high definition. In fact, it will mostly be in your mind’s eye, not your physical eyes. That’s part of what tripped me up when I first began exploring the astral. I was expecting to see things with my physical eyes but was ignoring my mind’s eye where things were happening. It is very similar to your imagination and personally, I believe that successful astral travel needs some creativity and imagination. So don’t worry if your astral travel mostly looks like a dark space with a vague feeling of what things are and where they are. Pay attention to other things. What do you hear? What do you sense? What do you just sort of know? What do you smell? What do you taste? Don’t worry if visualization is hard for you. It’s still possible to astral travel. A lot of times it’s very easy to overcomplicate it 

So there you have it folks! Astral projection vs astral travel! I hope this helps some of you!

~Mod Petra

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I’m sure as I rewatch I’m going to notice a lot more stuff but something that really stood out to me was how Rapunzel reacts to stressful situations. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but she does the same things that I’ve experienced in real-life so it popped out to me quickly, and intentional or not, I really like it (and will 100% self-indulgently use it as part of my headcanons/characterization for Rapunzel). There are already amazing posts on Gothel being emotionally abusive towards Rapunzel, and what I like about this series is that we get to see Rapunzel coping and adjusting after being away from Gothel, and how this specifically shows up with stressful situations. 

She’s very enclosed in on herself, and will often slightly curl up and try to turn away from the object that’s causing her stress (she’s turned away from the castle, turning only to look at Eugene, and an exception is when she’s on the bed, curled away from Cassandra, who’s not her true stressor, etc). But, overall she tries to shield herself - she literally hugs her arms around her body in the beginning, and when she speaks about not wanting to marry Eugene, she puts her hands over herself. 

I don’t remember it happening often enough so it could be a one-time thing, but I did notice that when her hair grows back, she seems to pull on it more often, which reminds me of her literally covering herself in her hair in the original movie when Gothel was singing about danger. She also tends to avert her eyes from the stressor and - what I assume is lip biting. Overall, she tries to make herself as small as possible, and look away from what’s giving her anxiety. 

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