defira has thinky thoughts

I’ve been thinking about wish fulfilment stories recently and especially the way here on tumblr that we tend to be embarrassed about some of our (female) characters and how there’s a lot of apologising that goes on when we talk about these characters

I do it too, I’m no different

But man, how great is wish fulfilment in our stories? How great is it to write our characters in love and enjoying life and being domestic and being badass? How wonderful is it to have the prettiest pink princess and have her saving the world? How amazing is it to have badass space marines who settle down and get married and drop the kids off at school and get their nails done?

These are our stories, and they’re important to us for a reason, and if I want to write a ridiculously overblown power fantasy about Simone the Vampire Werewolf Mermaid Queen who also runs a triad and is secretly a Sith Lord and has two wives and a husband, fuck everything, I’m going to write it

We’ve spent our whole lives being told our stories aren’t important, that the things we want to see in stories aren’t important or interesting, and instead we get to watch an endless parade of male bodied wishfulfilment in every form of media in every culture

Our stories are important and wish fulfilment is important and having stories that make us feel powerful and happy is important 

I have a lot of feelings about Warden Bethany versus Circle Bethany, about how W!B has to grow up super fast, whereas C!B has a chance to go at her own pace. That’s not to say that she’s not in a violent and dangerous environment, she’s traded the immediate threat of death and a slow insidious deterioration for the threat of abuse and personalised violence. 

But for me, I’ve always felt a kinship (or as much as one can with a computer game character) for Circle Bethany, because in going to the Circle she has a chance to confront the horrors of her religion and her prophet, she has a chance to live the life her faith demands of her, and she has a chance to grow beyond that. As a Warden, she’ll never have the opportunity to reconcile her faith and her magic, and in Act I when Bethany talked about maybe it would have been better if she’d been raised by the Circle and maybe it’d be better for everyone, my heart broke for her. Every single time I get that convo, it moves me to tears.

I know what it’s like to sit there and question the structures of your faith and wonder why it doesn’t fit and wonder what you can do to make it fit. Feeling at odds with your own personal faith is one of the most jarring and painful experiences you can ever go through. And some people make it fit and some people abandon their faith and some people are just… stuck there. They’re wedged in tight and they can’t really turn either way and they can’t get out and they can’t even draw breath to scream out for help. 

I know what it’s like to want to cling to the tendrils of your faith and the safety of the system you were raised in. And even if it’s toxic, even if it hurts, you’re stronger for it on the other end. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through that journey. 

So for me, I find it easier to let Bethany go to the Circle than to make her join the Wardens, because at least, in a way, she has a chance to make peace with something that is as defining to her personality as her magic is. Bethany is a woman of faith, and she needs the time and the space to reconcile that faith with the reality of living in a world that condemns mages. She needs to find a place in her faith where she is comfortable.

I know there’s people who find it abhorrent to send her to the Circle but that’s just my two cents worth because that gif got me thinking

A sort of personal post I guess

I had a fairly good therapy session yesterday and I’ve also been having a lot of really helpful conversations with friends lately and so I’ve been thinking that I might throw this out there again

I am always happy to talk to any of you about personal questions you might be having, personal worries, personal fears. The reason I’m so open about the stuff I go through is that for a very long time I had no personal support network, I had no one to answer my questions or listen to my fears, and I had to fumble my way through some pretty nasty shit without any help. 

I’ve made my way through a lifetime of emotional abuse at the hands of my family and church community, including being ostracised and publicly shunned by the church family I chose for myself as an adult. There’s not a lot of things more devastating than your spiritual family treating you like a pariah. It wasn’t until I found an online community here on Tumblr that I came to terms with my faith and my treatment by family and religion.

I’ve fumbled my way through a poor education in sexuality and gender and sexual health problems, and I’ve built an amazing fucking marriage despite the fact that my acceptance of myself as a woman on the asexual spectrum came well after we were married (for reference, we’ve been together nine years this July). I’ve had invasive physical therapy for years, including pain so bad I’ve passed out from it briefly, I’ve had surgery on my genitalia twice, and I’ve gone through years of counselling that, while extensive and amazingly supportive, never discussed the various shades of desire and sexuality that exist in the world. It wasn’t until I came to tumblr that I was exposed to these ideas, which encouraged me to research and explore myself further. 

I have also come to terms with the fact that I struggle with disordered eating, and extensive self sabotage when it comes to my physical and mental health. Again, it was Tumblr that encouraged me to seek help for the former, and in the process improved the latter. 

On the whole, Tumblr has been the best fucking thing that could ever have happened to me apart from meeting Mr Defira. This community has nurtured and loved and developed me in ways I couldn’t even imagine prior to coming here. And I want to give that back, I always want to pay it forward, because I know how very alone I was for such a very long time, confused and depressed and struggling with anxiety and a myriad of other mental health issues. So I will continue to talk openly about the things I go through, because more than anything I know how powerful it is to realise you aren’t alone. I’m always here if any of you need someone to listen. 

indigomuffins  asked:

Circle Bethany always bothered me because of the self hate. Either she's EXTREMELY privileged within the circle or she willfully ignores the abuse that's going on when you speak to her(or Ella referencing her) in later chapters. Then again Warden Bethany becomes extremely bitter and jaded towards everyone. The difference between Bethany and Carver to me always seemed to be that as she gets older, she becomes sadder/angrier. Carver gets older and finds himself.

See, the self hate never angered me so much as upset me, because I could relate to that? Being condemned by your own religion is painful, hurtful, scarring- it’s a cycle of vicious self loathing and despair and it’s really hard to break out of it. Especially when you’re clinging on to that religion and trying to do the right thing and all it does is hurt you more.

I’m inclined to say that there’s a lot at work with Circle Bethany- privilege, wilful ignorance, and I dare say she’s lying to Hawke and being censored at the same time. We know that Hawke is a rather untouchable figure and that clearly extends to a sibling in the Gallows- consider when Hawke kills Ser Varnell during Offered and Lost. We know there’s a fanatical faction of Templars in the Gallows, we have ample proof of it throughout the game, and yet there’s no repercussion for the Hawke Sibling for the death. No bullying or abuse or mockery, or at least there’s no mention of it. Either the Hawke name shielded them from abuse, or they chose not to mention it to Hawke, or they’re being prevented from saying anything about it. Despite being allowed out for MotA and Legacy, we also know that the Templars censor the mages and regularly burn mail, so we have no reason to suspect that they wouldn’t regularly censor Bethany as well.

I think, personally, when it comes down to the siblings, Carver has had a chance to step out on his own and find himself without the shadow of Hawke looming over him, and for him that’s a big deal. Whether he’s a Templar or a Warden, he’s had a chance to make a name for himself, separate to his older sibling. For Bethany, she doesn’t necessarily want that. It’s obvious from some of her conversations with Hawke and some of her in game banter that all she wants is peace and love and a family of her own. She doesn’t want the glory of the Wardens, even if she does find love and a ramshackle sort of family in the ranks, and once she’s had the time to experience the Circle she knows that’s not what she wants either. Carver has had time to find himself, whereas Bethany is still looking. If she’s Warden Bethany, she’s almost at peace with it and has accepted the life of freedom she has been blessed with, and if she’s Circle Bethany, she’s had a brief glimpse of motherhood in nurturing the children of the Circle but it’s still a toxic environment, and she’s had time to see just how poisonous the religious system is. You can see her shaking off the last ideas of the Chantry condemnation of mages in the scene before the final boss fights, where she talks to Hawke and says she doesn’t believe Andraste intended for them to live like this. 

Carver has found himself- Bethany is still looking. She’s close, but she’s not quite there yet. 

(Defira’s personal opinions may not be right for you. Please check the product disclosure statement before purchasing)

It occurred to me last night, while I was lying awake unable to sleep from stupid arm pain, that I actually have a lot more characters identifying on the ace spectrum than I realised. And that made me happy because a year or so ago I would never even have considered trying to write a character who reflects that part of my life, so to speak

There’s Josefina Hawke, who is loyal and fierce and an amazing friend and sister who is asexual and aromantic

There’s Vinh Shepard, who is guarded and angry and powerful and who is asexual homoromantic

There’s Elissa Cousland, who is broken and wild and charming and who is pansexual aromantic

There’s Tahrin Dara, who is cold and terrifying and naive and who is demisexual demiromantic

And I forgot I even had a Marian Hawke from ages ago, probably my first attempt at writing an ace character, who was Gray A and heteroromantic

And I guess I’m proud of myself in a way for normalising it so much that I didn’t even realise how many of my girls were on the ace spectrum. To have women I’m proud of and envious of who are no less compelling and no less amazing for being ace. And I guess it shows I was a little more desperate to see parts of myself reflected in powerful women than I realised.

In a similar vein to the Margaret Thatcher stuff, that’s why I’m always so uncomfortable when I see things being reblogged about Julia Gillard (current PM of Australia) singing her praises- the most common one I see was the gifset of her calling out the Leader of the Opposition for being a sexist, misogynistic pig (which he is, btw).

Because yeah okay it’s great to see a woman in power in my country and it’s great to see things like that being in the national discourse BUT that’s not the only thing she’s done.

She’s also got an appalling track record for queer rights, going so far as to say that ‘what they have is good enough’ and that since she isn’t married to her (male, heterosexual) partner and is happy that way, then queer people should just be happy with the rights they currently have too. Because she’s happy without marriage, so gosh why do they need it???

And our human rights standing in regards to refugees looks appalling and I know that the issue of people smuggling and boat people (I hate that term) is divisive but jfc the whole thing has just gotten so messy and hateful and people are dying because we can’t get our fucking policies in order   

She’s a conservative leader and yay for representing women and all but I’m not gonna stan for her just because she’s a woman in power. 

So after my sad last night about my writing, I gave myself some goals and deadlines. Decided what to focus my energy on, etc. Treat it more like a potential job than like a hobby. 

I have until the end of the month to finish the plot outline and chapter breakdown on the sci-fi ladies story.

I have until the end of May to assess my completed high fantasy story and work out whether or not it’s salvageable (I’m not holding my breath; as much as that thing was my baby for a good ten years, given how much common sense tumblr has slapped into me in the last two years, I’m almost cringing thinking about the rampant sexism and racism and slut-shaming and rape culture that crept into the narrative without my realising it).

I have a few avenues to pursue of “knowing someone who knows someone” including knowing of a friend’s publisher who is opening novel submissions soon. 

I’ll keep going with the fan fiction because it makes me happy. But I have to start working this stuff into my routine if I want to do something other than reception work with my life. 

So. We’ll see how this goes, I guess.

Something that occurred to me over the last few days while I’ve been attempting to write Zaeed/Hackett was that I’m struggling to stay away from the idea of two men having a pissing match over the rights to a woman. We see it endlessly in our fictional narratives- in our movies, in our songs, in our stories, the idea that it’s both natural and expected that the two men should and will be rivals and will need to work to outwit both the other man AND the woman- because it’s not like she can just choose of her own volition, right? No, she has to be wooed and bedazzled and flattered and swept off her feet and she’s not in the most accurate frame of mind to be choosing between suitors because she’s in such a whirlwind of emotions.

/end sarcasm

And I’ve gotten really angry at myself every time I’ve slipped back into that while writing, because that narrative, that assumption of male dominance in the relationship- that it needs to be essentially an alpha male showdown- really pisses me off. Shepard is, to me, a woman worthy of immense respect and love, and fighting over her and presuming that the course of a relationship can be determined without her input? Really fucking skeeves me out. I want Zaeed and Hackett to respect her and to show they respect her and to avoid that cliche- and I think I’ve done that rather well so far. 

But that doesn’t exclude the possibility that one or both of them have a right to be jealous, or at least unsure of the bounds of their relationship with her, given that she hasn’t had the opportunity to sit down and talk to the both of them about it. I want it to feel organic, but I want first and foremost for them to treat Shepard and each other with respect.

tl:dr OT3 writing is hard, especially when not all three members of the relationship are present, and avoiding cliches is even fucking harder.

What I Want from OUAT

I want to know more about Mulan and Aurora. I want to know more about Arthur’s Court, where Lancelot was from- did they survive the curse? Are the cast of characters from Arthur’s Round Table fighting the ogre wars? What about the land that Mulan was from? 

Did Kathryn find Frederick again in Storybrooke, because they came so fucking close. Did Leroy ever go and speak to Nova? Does no one care about the multiple dudes that Cora has killed off, do they not have families who are begging for news of their loved ones? Oh no it’s only important if it’s one of the main cast, my mistake. I want Regina to have a redemption arc, because I sure don’t give a shit about Rumple getting one. 

What I want is nothing that the show is giving me. I don’t care about the Charming family anymore. At all. 

I want to see Neverland. I want to see Arthur and his knights, and I want them all to be POC like Lancelot. I want to see Mulan and Aurora, in love and happy. I am sick of being forced to care about characters and pairings that do not interest me at all. 

I loved this show so bad. Now it’s just… bad.

Every couple of months there’s a post that goes around about “soul mate watches”, that you wear on your wrist and it counts down to the moment you meet your soul mate. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea, if only because I’d love to see what happens if your watch stopped counting and you smiled and looked up at the person in front of you and they looked straight through you and kept walking- and in the moment they passed you, you glanced at their watch and saw that there was still another few years on their timer. 

They were your soul mate, but you weren’t theirs. 

And I was thinking about it in the context of Once Upon a Time and the way they portray True Love™ and especially more recent episodes. Belle was able to break a curse as powerful as the one that is the very essence of The Dark One, but Rumple cannot break a side effect of the very curse that he helped to create? Rumple, who we have led to believe is some kind of Machiavellian overlord of the game, always a dozen steps ahead of every one else…

Maybe True Love™ doesn’t need to be reciprocal, but if it is the consequences are stronger? Hence why Snow and Charming’s love was something that Rumple wanted to keep in a bottle, but it’s not something he understands himself.  

Also I couldn’t get to sleep last night until about 4am so I just lay in bed thinking about Yesmin and Ashley getting married because shhh that can happen in my headcanon

They would get married on a beach somewhere, barefoot, Yesmin would have a gorgeous long sleeve lace gown in cream and a matching hijab and Ash would have some funky little 1940s style dress with a high waist

Proper old fashioned ceremony for Yesmin’s anneannen

And then I started thinking about how Yesmin, despite being soldier class and being well over six foot tall and solidly built is really soft and feminine and likes to paint her nails and when she has shore leave she’s always wearing soft and girly things, like I can picture her doing half of Citadel in soft pinks and purples and she’s the type to follow fashion blogs and idk I’ve never gone out of my way to write a female character who openly and passionately enjoys being feminine and being femme and I know that a lot of that is because of my upbringing and my views on femininity and how I shunned that for a very long time as a teenager and young adult and now that I’m older I’m only just realising how stupid that was, living down to other people’s expectations and not allowing myself to feel pretty or soft or feminine

So Yesmin, giant tank of a woman, likes lace and painted nails and soft toys and I am okay with that

Driving in to work this morning and listening to the radio, they were talking about the marriage equality bill being passed in New Zealand yesterday and I got ready to change stations. We were listening to what you would politely refer to as a conservative rock station, it’s the sort of station the appeals to families and older generations and a lot of the time the chat segments reflect that. I really didn’t want to listen to idiots ramble on about why this was a bad thing, and got ready to flick over to something else.

But they surprised me. All three of the hosts were utterly jubilant (there’s no other word for it) at this bill being passed in New Zealand, and the people that rang in were the same. They had couples ringing in talking about going across the Strait to get married, even if it’s not going to be recognised over here when they get back. They were excited, all of them, and adamant that it had to happen here asap. 

I really wasn’t expecting that- I spend so much time on tumblr insulated from the idiocy of the world that I often expect the worst of people. And a mostly conservative radio station with older DJs… I feel a little ashamed of myself for simply assuming what their stance would be.

And I honestly think that if one of the major Australian parties got their act together and backed marriage equality, they’d win at the election in September. 

I shall be cautiously optimistic for once.

katiebour  asked:

QUESTION: You tend to love the unromanceables; why do you think that is? They tend to have less screen time than the romanceables; do you think that plays into it because it allows you room to headcanon and write stories (creation as opposed to consumption?) Other reasons?

There’s certainly an element of “DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T HAVE” playing into it all, which is melodramatic but fun, but I suppose there’s also a lot more freedom in romancing the unromanceables as well? Like you say, there’s a lot less screen time, a lot less confirmed canon so I’m free to build a much more elaborate world around them. But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t do that if I were romancing one of the official LIs as well.

A large part of it is the women I create as well, and the way their stories play out. Using Elissa as an example, she’s in a place where she doesn’t need a love interest so much as she needs someone to believe in her unfailingly, someone who looks past the legend and sees her, but also someone who looks past her struggles with her mental illness and is able to grasp that they’re a part of her. And honestly, the way I wrote her and the way I built her character, I don’t really believe that there are that many characters with the patience to deal with her as she is. She’s petty and she sulks and she’s frustrating and she’s clingy and she’s distant and she wants sex but she doesn’t want affection and she’s such a bundle of contradictions and she’s so hard to keep a hold of that nobody, canonically, would have been able to handle her. Justice though? He sees things differently, he reads a situation differently, and he doesn’t have the history of social cues and human interaction to find her irritating. He was patient with her where other people weren’t. And he believed in her when other people didn’t. 

It’s the same with all of my girls- there’s a reason that certain characters called to them more than others, and maybe that says something about me as well and how I approach character development, but Yesmin loving Ash has been a fundamental part of her character since I created her. And Elise was a good fit with Zaeed, but I didn’t realise there was an imbalance there until I acknowledged that she had more love to give, and that was when Hackett just miraculously fit into place. And Tahrin wouldn’t be the character she is today if she hadn’t had Pierce there to counteract her ways of thinking- he threw her off, made her think outside the box she’d been forced into. 

Any of my girls could just as easily have “canon” LIs (and a couple of them do, for the sake of gameplay at least, because it gets lonely being ForeverAlone sometimes) but they are the women they are because of the relationships they built along the way.

And why do I love the unromanceables? I think, as I said above, it started off as a joke, and now I’ve developed a bit of a habit of just glancing over the shoulders of the canon LIs to see who might be standing in the shadows, wondering about those people and the life we could have built together were it not for a choice in the development cycle. 

Also because I’m a sucker for causing myself angst.

anonymous asked:

Yeah your PM's opinion on same sex marriage pisses me the hell off. Lol, no, just because you don't want to get married doesn't mean you should keep others from the ability to do so! UGH.

It is completely embarrassing and it makes me ashamed to be an Australian, because she’s the fucking leader of our country and yet she doesn’t give a shit about a huge portion of the population. It’s pat-on-the-head belittling is what it is. Everybody got excited about the idea of an atheist lady in power but her moral compass is so fucking skewed. 

I am ashamed and appalled that the leaders of our country ignore such a crucial issue and deny basic human rights to the people they represent and do it with such a “talk down” sort of attitude. This is the 21st century, we need to have fucking grown up conversations about the fact that people think it’s completely acceptable to treat part of the population this way. 

I FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THIS TOO NONNY, FEAR NOT

I have a really weird relationship with my body

Like I’m completely comfortable with it as long as I’m not aware of it, if that makes any sense

So I will walk around with no pants or no top or I will go to the beach in a bikini top despite being a fatty princess with no boobs, as long as I’m unaware of my body

Which sounds strange because on the one hand I’m HYPER AWARE of what my body is doing at any given moment- am I breathing too loud? am I talking aloud as I read? is my shirt accidentally caught in my belly fat? is there a foofy bit in my hair that’s escaped from the hair lackey?- but at the same time I’m also… blissfully ignorant?

As long as I can’t see myself, I’m happy. The moment you give me a mirror or a photo then the crushing self loathing sets in. And I mean that’s been my modus operandus for over a decade now, I hid all the mirrors in my room when I was about thirteen because I didn’t want to look at myself and it made me happy not to. 

Therapy is hard, man.