There’s that saying that “you can never truly love someone else until you love yourself”…
Which I never understood because since the beginning of the time that I can remember, I’ve always loved so fiercely and unconditionally, yet couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for more than a brief glance.
And I recall my first real heartbreak.
How intensely I loved her and how much I hated myself for never being able to figure out what I could have done to hurt her so much and ruin everything.
There’s that saying that “you can never truly love someone else until you love yourself”…
And I finally understood that loving myself was never really about how I felt standing in the mirror or about a love I failed and lost. Self-love was realizing that the love I so eagerly poured into others, was being consistently absorbed with none given in return, leaving me empty and wanting for something I could never quite explain. It was gradually being able to differentiate between romance and emotional abuse, and seeing that my unyielding affection was being used to manipulate me into thinking that I was always in the wrong and ten steps behind.
Self-love was finally knowing and believing that I deserve better.
This is a story I wrote last year as part of my application to join Imagine. I published it on AO3 but never on tumblr - better late than never!
This takes place on Fraser’s Ridge sometime during Book 9…
Imagine Claire and Bree explaining Christmas traditions to Jamie
Jamie smiled at his daughter as she padded
quietly into the kitchen, clutching her shawl tightly around her
shoulders. The snow had started the night before, and was piled in
drifts waist-high outside the new Big House. It was impossible to see
outside – impossible to leave the house – so he’d wanted to keep all of
his family close. That was why Jem and wee Mandy had been tucked away in
one of the spare bedrooms on the third floor – it would be easier to
protect them, and Brianna and Roger, if need be.
Claire looked up
briefly as Brianna entered and sat across from them at the kitchen
table, before bending back to her work. The bones in Jamie’s maimed hand
always ached something fierce during rain and snowstorms, and she was
taking advantage of the warm glow of the kitchen fire to gently rub a
comfrey salve into his stiff joints. “All settled, then?”
nodded, propping her chin on folded hands. “Yeah – though they’re both
too excited to be sleeping over again to go to sleep. Roger is telling
them all about Santa Claus.”
“Santa Claus? Is that Spanish?”
snorted. “We called him Father Christmas, in England. He’s – well, he’s
a jolly old man who visits everyone’s house on Christmas eve. He leaves
presents for the children, and they leave him cookies and milk in
“A strange old man who visits yer home in the dead of
night?” Jamie’s brows rose in alarm. “Wi’ presents for the weans?
Wouldn’t they be scared to death?”
Brianna’s brows knit. “No, Da –
the kids are too focused on getting their presents. Really, though –
it’s just the parents giving their kids gifts.”
“It doesna matter, a nighean. Wouldn’t you be scared if I let strange men just come and go as they please?”
tugged on Jamie’s hand so he would meet her gaze. “It’s just a story we
tell – or will tell – the children, to get them to sleep on Christmas
Jamie shook his head. “I dinna ken why any parent
would feel safe, knowing that a strange old man was creeping around the
house in the dark. A good father keeps his family protected from all
strangers, and defends his house from intruders.” He narrowed his eyes
at his daughter. “Why are ye smiling? I dinna understand why ye’d
encourage the man to visit. We only leave food out for the Wee Folk so
that they don’t bother us. And yet ye say all the bairns actually want this man to come?”
Brianna rolled her eyes. “Honestly, Da –”
“Did you raise her to believe in such things, Sassenach?” His knee nudged Claire’s, teasing.
focused on his hand once more – but he could hear the smile in her
voice. “It gave her a bit of magic in her life – though God knows she
already had quite the imagination. Just like her father.”
Jamie bent to gently kiss Claire’s forehead. “Ah, well. I suppose the
lass turned out all right, anyway – even if ye filled her heid wi’ such
Ok so I know that the general consensus is that Jack is a low key sugar daddy and that Bitty is flustered and somewhat embarrassed by the money that is spent on him (like “Jack you can’t spend this much money on me it’s ridiculous!)
But consider: Bitty is a Fashion Hoe and loves being able to own actual designer clothes.
Picture Eric Richard Bittle, with an extensive collection of men’s Louboutins flats, silk French cut shirts, fitted custom Italian suits and a few Prada sunglasses.
His most prized possession is a Valentino tux that Jack got him for his birthday to wear to a black tie event for the NHL.
And like, Bitty is always looking Fierce, and when Jack and Bitty are out, and they make appearances together, designers start to notice Bits.
That’s how his career as a fashion model begins.
He gets approached by a Vogue exec at an event and at first he thinks it’s about Jack but the guy is like “no, we want YOU.”
And he gets some advice from Alicia and ultimately just goes for it.
He doesn’t walk very often because of his height, but he is on the cover of Vogue Italia and GQ and he is the face of Armani’s Fall collection and he becomes a close friend of Christian Louboutin.
He ends up being one of the first male model to wear stilettos for a Louboutin collection and it goes viral.
BEYONCÉ retweets a pic of the ad with the caption “he did that” and Bitty keels over.
Bitty has brunch with Alicia,Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum on a regular basis. This is of course where he is convinced to be a judge on the revival season of Americas Next Top Model and comes on as a guest judge a few times on Project Runway.
Eric and Jack have had lunch with Tim Gunn.
Jack, of course couldn’t be happier because now everyone gets to see how beautiful his boyfriend is.
And, when Bitty gets to the point where he has his own collection out, Jack is the photographer for the campaign.
Bitty doesn’t need Jacks money to buy designer clothes anymore.
About Pharah being portrayed butch - and the criticisms therein
Okay so I’ve seen a lot of people criticising Pharah for being ‘butch’ or ‘manly’ and while I completely understand this aspect as being bad for some women of colour, we must remember that Pharah is not black.
Pharah is an Arabic woman from Egypt, and while I completely agree with the argument that woc should absolutely not always be portrayed as ‘fierce and angry’, we must keep in mind that Arabic women, and speaking as a Palestinian, are so rarely portrayed in the media, and are so rarely portrayed as anything except meek and ‘oppressed’ by their religion.
As a butch Palestinian, I have found myself feeling hurt and upset that people are this
particular aspect of Pharah. I am very butch, and I am non-binary, and I have masculine traits, and seeing those things in Pharah I feel an instant kinship. Having spoken to other butch woc I have found that they feel the same as I do: guilty for ourselves and our identity.
Please keep in mind that Fareeha Amari is an Egyptian, Arabic, woman, and remember that different issues will apply to her.
You know that sad, awful, outdated, homophobic rumor that straight people use/say “oh well they’re so insecure with gay people it’s because they’re gay” like when I was younger before knowing I was gay I always fiercely defended us, I was always extremely and personally upset when I’d hear homophobic comments and slurs. And sure, a lot of us do struggle with self hate but to suggest that we’re the ones killing one another or we’re the ones who can’t stand to see each other is just plain fucking wrong
Pssst could you tell us a bit more about Khi and what she's been up to recently?
Hi there friend! So you want to know about Khi? I’m not sure how much, if anything, you know so I guess I should start at the beginning with some basic Khi facts
Her full name is Khiarna Kha
She’s 26 years old
She was born and raised in the western steppes of Othard
Her father was the chieftain of a small nomadic tribe (pop. roughly ~150)
Her mother died when she was a child
She practices a form of shamanism which involves combining the hand-to-hand combat of pugilism with the elemental enhancements of conjury.
Because her combat style involves heavy use of her fists, her scales have grown over the backs of her hands and hardened, acting as natural brass knuckles.
She’s always had a particularly fierce temper
Possibly because she’s 4′9″
She has a twin named Khiela (seen below)
Khiela was kidnapped and brought to Eorzea by a suitor who lost his bid to be her mate. Ever the dutiful (and enraged) sister, Khiarna immediately set off to rescue her and bring her home. Her first few months in Eorzea were awkward and painful. She knew none of the languages or customs and found chocobos to be abominations that should be eaten and not ridden. After a while she fell in with a free company that put her on her feet and taught her how to speak and assimilate. While Khi is quite prickly and will hardly admit to having friends, she’s secretly quite fond of the Pretty Guardians and their odd ways.
It’s through them that she met Stephan for the first time. Stephan, who changes his identity like a primadonna changes clothes. He purported himself to be both a knight, a pirate, and marauder. Whatever he was, Khi hated him instantly and wanted nothing to do with him, which is definitely how she ended up with him as her guide across Eorzea. For a price, he agreed to help her find her sister, and despite her pride she agreed. The continent was still largely unfamiliar to her, and she barely had any knowledge of where to look.
After months of traveling together, bickering and arguing and definitely not flirting, Khi became quite dismayed to find that she had feelings for her midlander escort. It was unthinkable, ridiculous, and not an affliction that she wanted, and yet she couldn’t change it. Eventually they fell into an unspoken relationship, that became strained the moment Khi received a letter from her missing sister.
Khiela informed her that she’d fallen in love with her captor and had no desire to return home, wishing to stay with the brute that had taken her. On the one hand, Khiarna was exasperated; her father would never tolerate this. On the other, she wanted her sister to be happy. And on the third hand, with the hunt for her sister over, would Stephan take the money and leave, as he’d always intended? Torn by her feelings, she hid the letter and lied by omission. Soon after, Stephan became grievously injured while following a false lead that she’d fed him. Eaten by guilt, she confessed the truth. And after the ensuing confrontation, Stephan left her.
Fast forward through a reunion, an apology, and several months of happiness together later. Khi discovered that her sister had returned home with her new mate, only for the both of them to conspire to murder her father and take over leadership of the tribe themselves. This devastating news came on the heels of Stephan’s proposal. With her need to avenge her father heavily on her mind, as well as clan traditions, Khi weighed the options of delaying the wedding to return home or marrying Stephan first. This decision would be taken from her when Stephan abruptly broke off the engagement and disappeared from her life, stunning her into even more grief.
Full of anger and her life in pieces, Khiarna left for Othard, returning home with nary a word to the friends she’d left behind.
Now, at present, Khiarna has recently returned to Eorzea with the blood of her twin on her hands and the new mantle of chieftain weighing heavily on her shoulders. Despite her responsibilities back home, Khi feels she owes her friends an explanation and has several loose ends to tie up. She plans to stay for a time, making amends and reparations and gathering knowledge of Eorzean ways that might benefit her people back home. For now, she’s content to just learn how to be herself again.
Will knelt down, and James ran to him to show off his spoon. Will admired the spoon as if it were a first edition, his scarred hand large and gentle against James’s tiny back.
“Spoon,” James said proudly.
“I see, Jamie bach,” murmured Will, who Tessa had caught singing Welsh lullabies to the children on their most sleepless nights. To his children, Will showed the same love he had always shown to her, fierce and unyielding.
“The Whitechapel Fiend” by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson
Belle French was a smart girl, usually. She was fiercely spirited—always looking both ways when crossing the street, and crossing her “t’s,” careful never to spill her hot tea…and always falling victim to her clumsiness. Perhaps her bubbly, adventurous energy had some magical effect, though Rumplestiltskin could never be sure. He had exited his small shop moments ago and twisted the lock shut. He was finished for the night, and was off to bed when he spotted her walking briskly down Storybrooke’s main street. She seemed panicked, which spiked his interest. They’d never met…not properly. Her memory had been wiped in the effects of a curse, and she knew nothing of him. He, consequently, knew nothing of her—except of course of their shared Dark Castle days when he was a beast and she was his lovely maid. The air was frigid and she wore a small dress unfit for the present cold weather. This truly captured his interest. He followed her, trailing twenty feet behind her, mindful not to catch her eye.
She tripped suddenly, and Rumplestiltskin’s eyes widened in shock. He wanted to run to her side and comfort her, sooth her now bleeding knees, but she knew nothing of him and he could not risk her being frightened. He continued, realizing she seemed to be running from something. His curious Belle was brave, this was unlike her. He turned to look behind him and saw nothing but a darkness and flickering street lights. He quickened his steps, and heard her crying.
“Excuse me, miss!” He called to her, uncertain of himself.