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My Complicated Relationship with “Pride”

Kay so here we go… I’ve been meaning to write this for quite some time, and it’s a bit nerve-wracking because this is the first time I’ll be posting about something without being behind my anon blog, or without putting a “keep reading” link thing to hide my post from my own eyes. So here we go… and if you didn’t know I was queer before, well…surprise! haha.

The recent VIDEO that came out of Manjinder Singh Sidhu and his mother having a conversation surrounding homosexuality and the dynamics it plays in the Punjabi community, really got me digging deeper into the subject. I mean as a queer amritdhari practicing Sikh, I know my own lived experiences, but I wanted to see if there are other videos out there. That’s when I came across one particular video (which I will not link for personal reasons) that left my heart shattered into a million pieces.

The video featured a Punjabi man talking about his life as a gay person. Basically, he began talking about how he felt something missing in his life, and when he came out of the closet he felt light and airy- pretty much the typical coming out story. However, here’s the catch. The man, whom I shall rename “Jeevan” for this thinkpiece, was a kesdhari Sikh (to all my non-Sikh friends, that means he was a Sikh that kept his hair uncut as per Sikh code of conduct, and wore a turban). Now he doesn’t say it explicitly in the video, but he implies that he had troubles reconciling his homosexuality with his Sikhi. Anyway, he decides to cut his hair, which is sad, but not the reason why my heart was broken. I mean everyone goes through their own struggles, and if he wanted to cut his kes, that was his perogative.

However, what made my blood boil and brought tears to my eyes is when he told the story of his haircut. He walks into the salon, and everyone begins staring at him. He sits down in his chair, and the barber gets to work. I will spare the details, because hair cutting can be very triggering to many Sikhs (I will explain why later), and during the process he describes that the entire salon was sitting and looking at him the entire time. To put the icing on the cake, as soon as he is done cutting his hair, everyone in the salon BREAKS INTO AN APPLAUSE. At this point I was so furious that I had to pause the video and go get a glass of water.

What was heartbreaking is that this man felt that he needed to turn his back on his heritage to be able to openly identify as a gay man. Do you think this is because the Sikh community is homophobic? No, I do not feel that is the reason behind it at all. Yes, people in the community can say hateful things, but that is not the main reason. The truth lies in the reaction of the people in the salon. That applause. That applause that celebrated a man assimilating to the hegemonic identity. That applause that celebrated a man leaving behind his old “barbaric” culture. That applause that reminds me everyday that diversity isn’t always welcome in Western society.

This is what QPoC face in the broader LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis. Many of you may know that I didn’t always look the way I did today- my beard was trimmed, my hair was cut, and I was very much the “perfectly assimilated child of an immigrant.” However, things were still not that great in the LGBTQ+ community for me.

Here in Vancouver, just a few years ago, there were two isolated incidents of a bunch of insecure spoiled brown guys coming to Davie St. (Vancouver’s gay village) and gay bashing couples. Ever since that incident, brown gay men are looked at with an eye of suspicion, because, you know, homophobic white people never bashed any one. :) The blatant racial profiling is so apparent that one of my Punjabi friends was once denied entry into a local gay bar when him and his boyfriend wanted to join some friends to celebrate a birthday. The basically had to make out in front of the bouncer to PROVE that they were gay, and weren’t there simply to bash couples.

In a way, brown gay men are ignored and cast aside, so when I used to walk down Davie St I would feel invisible. Now, as a Sikh with a turban and a beard, I feel VERY visible on Davie, but not in the greatest way. I see looks of suspicion and shock, and I hear the most stupid remarks being made. It’s come to the point where I avoid that part of the city altogether, and I’m not alone on this one.

Ask any QPoC and they will tell you the same story. WE are expected to share the good word of gayhood to our respective communities, but when we try to educate the gay community on cultural or religion intersectionality, we are faced with “FUCK RELIGION,” even though our religion may be the only thing that is keeping us alive at this very moment, I know that that’s the fact for me. 

This happened at Vancouver Pride, when a queer-friendly Church was attempting to reach out to gay Christians who are looking for a safe spiritual space, when these guys came around…

And yes I know, you’re going to go into the whole freedom of speech thing, and I get that. I know they have a right to state their opinion, but to shame people who are only trying to make lives easier for others is a REALLY crappy thing to do. You need to realize, that yes, religious people have done many hateful things, but religion as a whole is more complex. It has the capability of giving a person a new lease on life.

However, they don’t see that. When they see a guy like Jeevan going into the salon and getting his hair cut, they don’t see a man cutting away the half-millenium legacy of thousands of martyrs sacrificing their lives for their kes. They don’t see a man being forced to shed his heritage because he doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the perfect gay man. They don’t see a man ostracized from people in his community for being who he is (I’m not talking about the Sikh community here fyi). They don’t see the fact that being coerced to cut his hair, Jeevan is triggering thousands of people who have faced genocide and torture for their identity.

They see a man shedding away the oppression of religion and culture, and embracing the “free lifestyle” of a gay man.

THIS is what I see during the Pride season. I see this one single hypersexualized male-centric interpretation of what being queer means being forced onto an entirely diverse population. I remember talking about this with MANY gay white men, and I was simply met by remarks like “it is sexual exploration that makes queer people queer,” because asexual people don’t exist, and things like “this is about celebrating sex.”

No. Pride is not about celebrating sex. Do you even know what Pride is about? Bet you don’t as many of you guys were busy during the Baltimore and Ferguson uprisings shaming black people. Pride began as a way to commemorate the historic and heroic victory of the queer community in New York against the NYPD during the Stonewall Uprising. 

Quite ironic that an event that commemorates the radical activism of queer people lead by trans women of colour has now become a corporate facade of homonationalism, pinkwashing, and just downright misogyny with male-centricism dominating the festivities.

The queer community is meant to be a community where differences are embraced and celebrated, and in this current day and age that is not happening. More attention is being given to the glitz and glam of gay men than queer youth starving a shivering on the streets, homeless. Trans people are basically being forgotten. QPoC are being forced to assimilate into the homonationalistic ideal of what being “gay” means.

Thank God I will be out of town during Vancouver Pride, but for future years I am going to make a commitment to myself. Until the queer community can be accepting and embrace queer people from ALL walks of life, I refuse to participate in a corporate facade of an event called Pride that co-opted a revolutionary movement and turned it into something completely different.

I will, however, work to reclaim the season and hopefully try to create spaces for alternative dialogues around Pride and queerness.

Pairings: Dean x Reader + (kind of) Chuck Bass
Words: 1,897
Part: 2/?
Warnings: Some swearing but I think that’s it.
Summary: It’s Deans second day in the Upper East Side and needs a friendly face to show him around town and maybe even escort him to dinner.
A/N: This is such a late update to this series, I’ve been super busy lately and had a bunch of writers block so I apologize to anyone who has been waiting for the second part, but here it is! This one is mostly dialogue, I’ve already started the 3rd part and I’m super excited for you to read that one as well. Feedback is always much appreciated. Enjoy!
Tags: @nachoaveragejoe

MASTERLIST


You sat beside Dean in his father’s Impala watching the twinkling stars above. Dean’s hand was wrapped around yours, his thumb stroked circles on your delicate knuckles. He had something on his mind, you knew by his inability to look at you. “Y/N?” is voice creaks in a meek whisper.

“Dean?” you lock eyes with his own. Dean was never a boy to get nervous, not ever. His hand shook as he pulled away from your touch and reached for his pocket.

“I’d like to give you something,” he pulled out a tiny, silver band; the ring glistens in the moonlight. “I know it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but that ring will come later,” he paused trying to gather his thoughts, “Y/N, I love you. You’re my first love and I want you to be my last, my forever and always.” it was a rare occasion that Dean would open up to you, usually he never spoke about his feelings. Of course, you always knew how he felt towards you, he didn’t need to say them aloud for you to know that he was madly in love with you. “Y/N, I promise that one day, I’ll give you the life you deserve. We’ll get out of this crap town and never look back. You’ll finish college and all of your dreams will come true,” He paused while slipping the ring onto your middle finger. “Any dream of mine will always be true as long as you’re by my side. I love you, I promise that I always will.” His shaking hands bring your fingers to his lips, he presses a single kiss to your ring finger and you knew that it was his promise to marry you someday.

It’s been five years since that night in John’s car, you’ve never had the heart to throw it out. You stand peering into your sock drawer at the box, you tried to gather your things for the flight and for your vacation but procrastination was getting the best of you. You pluck random garments off hangers and fold them neatly into your suitcase. You don’t want to take much, living on the Upper East Side has spoiled you with expensive clothes you didn’t need. You forgot long ago what it felt like to dress in simple jeans and a hoodie.

From across the room your phone buzzes. Dean’s name flashes on the screen in bright letters, unconsciously your lips curl into a smile at just the thought of him. “Hello?” your body sinks into your shared bed to listen to the man on the phone.

“Hey, change in plans,” New York streets come alive behind Dean’s voice, you can tell by the shortness in his breath he’s walking through the city. “I have to stay in New York a little longer to finish my case, it doesn’t look like we’ll make it to Lawrence after all.” a knot drops in your stomach, you slowly rise and peer into the city around your apartment.

“Oh, that’s okay,” you force a chuckle, “Guess it was pretty crazy to plan a vacation with someone I haven’t seen in years anyway.” Dean laughs at your comment.

“Yeah, probably. It’s only for the next three days, I’m sure New York is more exciting than Kansas ever will be,” laughter fills the silence between you, “I’ll need a tour guide to show me where the hell I am, interested?”

“Sure,” you catch yourself smiling.

When you reach the lobby, Dean is already waiting for your arrival.“I see you haven’t grown out of your plaid.” You eye the handsome man dressed in an old flannel.

“What can I say?” you flash him a smile before leading him out of your apartment building and into the city. The two of you roam through the streets, deep in conversation. You pass snobby strangers, businessmen in freshly ironed suits, and flirty teenagers during your stroll.

The wide diversity of people is what drawn you into New York in the first place. You weren’t one to need extravagant clothing or a luxury home– somehow that managed to fall into your lap. All you needed was inspiration. You studied the people you came across, homes, locations, all in the efforts to enhance your writing. New York gave you just that, it’s no wonder why you climbed to the top of your career so quickly.


“Care to join me for dinner?” you propose stopping in front of a restaurant, your feet aching for a rest from all the walking they’ve endured throughout the day.

“I couldn’t turn down that offer” his arm extends towards you to take just before you make your way into the dimly lit building. A young waitress seats the two of you to a secluded table in the back.

“I’ll be right with you,” she purrs at Dean completely ignoring your presence. Dean pays her no attention, he pulls your seat out for you and gently pushes you towards the table.

“You’ve kept your mannerisms. Brownie points for you,” you giggle as he takes his seat across from you.

“Only for you, you’re the only woman worth impressing.” Dean grins opening his menu, “I have an idea.”

“Oh? What might this idea be?” you cock your eyebrow to the man across from you.

“We’ll order for each other, I’ll find something I think you’ll like and you’ll do the same for me. Deal?” Dean smirks towards you.

“I’m intrigued, you’re on Mr. Winchester.” moments after the waitress returns, ready to take your order.

“What can I get for you, handsome?” she bites her lip looking over Dean as he reads her the order.

“I’d like to have the pasta special of the day, with white sauce, and a water to drink. Thanks.” he closes and hands the menu to the blonde beside without a glance in her direction. Her eyes flair at the lack of attention she receives from him.

“And you?” her eyes don’t leave Dean as you hand her the menu.

“I’d like the House Burger, cooked medium, side of seasoned fries, and a beer in a frosted mug.” you don’t even thank her, the way she eyes Dean causes jealousy to flourish inside you. She scribbles down your orders and hurries away. “Looks like you have an admirer.” You grumble, eyeing the woman as she walks to tend another table.

“I knew you’ve been flirting with me all day,” you playfully roll your eyes at his comment, “You got my order perfect, how’d you remember after all these years?” Dean asks, his fingers intertwine together on the table.

“You’re pretty hard to forget.” your voice is soft, anyone in the room could tell that there was still something between Dean and yourself, even if you’re not quite sure what that ‘something’ is anymore.

“So are you,” he admits, his eyes fall from yours unaware of where to look. Dean quickly clears his throat and tries to change the subject.

“Alrighty, here’s your water, sugar.” you didn’t know it was even possible for someone to set down a glass of water sexually, but right before your eyes, this woman proves you wrong. You scuff at her efforts to gain his attention. “And your beer.” She slides the mug toward you, “Anything else I could get you, dear?”

“No,” Dean says sternly, picking up on her purposeful acts, she lingers around your table a little longer before turning away in defeat. He offers a warm smile avoiding the topic of the amorous server. When she returns again, it’s to deliver steaming plates of food. You twirl your fork in the pasta and shovel a mouthful into your mouth, instantly you’re overwhelmed by impeccable flavors.

“I must say, you did an amazing job choosing my order.” you meet eyes with Dean who already has his mouth full of fries, “I’m guessing I did a pretty good job myself.” you smile as he gives you an enthusiastic nod.

Throughout the meal, the waitress checks on your table way more than necessary, whether it was to refill Dean’s beer, clear a single plate, or just to ask how the food is. You try your hardest to ignore her and to just focus on your night with Dean, you weren’t sure how many nights with him you have left.

“How is everything?” her question is directed towards Dean.

“Delicious,” he says through a mouthful of his burger.

“May I get you anything else?” she smiles.

“Some privacy would be lovely, thanks for asking.” you snap. Her eyes travel to you for the first time all night.

“Excuse me? Who do you think you are?” her face is appalled at your request.

“I know exactly who I am. I’m Y/N Y/L/N, a well-respected author that’s been mentioned in The New York Times Book Review more than once,” her face falls as you continue your speech, “Not to mention I’m Chuck Bass’ fiance.” all color drains from her face as she takes in the words you just spat.

“The Chuck Bass?” her mouth gapes at her sudden realization.

“The Chuck Bass, now if you excuse us,” you gesture towards Dean, “Privacy would be much appreciated until we ask for the bill.” you seethe through a clenched jaw, she scurries away without another word.

“Your fiance is Charles Bass? As in Bart Bass’ son?” he asks, his face full of concern.

“Yes, why?” You ask taking a sip of your water to cool down.

“My dad did some business with him this past year…” he trails off looking over you, “Small world.” he mumbles, “I didn’t know you became such a badass.” he chuckles completely changing the subject.

“What can I say?” you shrug with a smile.

You stroll the busy streets side by side yet again after your eventful dinner. The two of you walk closer than before, your hands brushing against each other’s every now and then, it took all of your power to resist the urge to hold his hand. “I wanted to say something back at the restaurant, it just didn’t seem like a good time for you,” Dean admits as you near your apartment building.

“I’m all ears.”

“Chuck Bass doesn’t define who you are,” he sighs, you look at him in confusion not following his statement. “At dinner– when you were talking to the waitress, you added that he is your fiance. I get that he’s powerful and well respected, but so are you. You’ve been mentioned in The New York Times Book Review multiple times and that’s pretty damn impressive. You don’t need him to let people know you have power or to demand their respect. You’re Y/N Y/L/N, you can demand respect with or without Chuck.” you’re taken back by his speech at first, tears threaten to form but you hold them back, not wanting to cry in front of Dean.

“I-” you search his face unsure of what to say, “Thank you, I needed that reminder,” you admit. You look ahead at your apartment, “Um,” you clear the knot in your throat away, “This is me” you sigh not wanting the night to end just yet. “Thanks again, Dean. Goodnight.” you lean up to kiss his cheek softly, before returning back to your home, repeating Dean’s words until you believed them.

anonymous asked:

Can a guy be a make up artist/hairstylist without being gay like can he be straight?? Because people say if you do make up and hair and your a guy your gay

when my twin brother (who’s gay) turned 21….. the first thing he did was apply at a gay bar in hillcrest. the owner at the time (who’s no longer w/ us - rip frank) hired him on the spot as a gogo dancer (my brother could dance & he was ripped). instead of sharing the exciting news with me (he was afraid i’d disapprove), he waits a couple of weeks & invites me out to a bar. i was super excited b/c you know… i’m a newly minted 21-year-old w/ raging hormones & i just recently ended my relationship w/ my gf. so i couldn’t wait to see what kind of trouble we were gonna get into. it was just the two of us & he didn’t tell me what kind of bar so i just assumed it was gonna be a straight bar (b/c you know… i’m straight). so we go to the bar & i’m kinda confused b/c there were a bunch of dudes & hardly any girls. i walk with him to the corner bar & he’s like, ‘i’ll be right back rob’ and i’m like ok, whatever. the bartender taps me on the back & ask me what i want to drink. i look at all the different bottles on the glass shelf behind him and didn’t recognize like 98% of the bottles on the shelf (i only drank cheap beer/tequila at the time). i tell him to make me whatever - i just wanna get drunk & have good time. so he brings me my drink & i’m excited to taste his concoction (not concocktion). it was the strongest mixed drink i’d ever had. i think to myself ‘this guy is a pro at getting people shitfaced.’ so i thank him & turn around to look for my brother & i can’t find him anywhere. i’m standing there for about 5-10 minutes sipping on my drink & watching dudes tear up the dance floor (gay guys are the best dancers in the universe. i’m sorry but it’s true). so after what seemed like eternity… my brother comes out on stage & he’s like half-naked except for his underwear & glitter on his body. i’m in complete shock & i start freaking out b/c he pulled the old bait & switch on me (& i didn’t know he worked there as a dancer). instead of sticking around, i decide to check out the rest of the bar - and try to make sense of it all. i end up bumping into frank (one of the owners) & he starts chopping it up with me. he’s like ‘you know i just hired your brother. you should work here too. you guys are good looking twins so you’d make good money.’ i tell him i’m straight & he’s like ‘follow me.’ takes me over to another bar & introduces me to this really good-looking dude (he looked like arnold schwarzenegger when he was in pumping iron) & he tells me that he’s straight. i’m blown the fuck away & my nerves start to calm down a little. this guy seemed like a pretty cool dude (he could have been a model too). so we’re talking for a bit & they both eventually convince me to work there. i was hired that same night as a bar back to work along side the straight bartender (didn’t work that night though). the guy ended up becoming my best friend & we had the wildest & craziest adventures together (i’ll share some of our adventures in future posts). i’ll tell you this… that ended up being the best job i ever had (i’ve worked for startups, doctors, tech/real estate/telecom/insurance/automotive companies). 3 years of awesomeness… but here’s the thing: early on, i used to be paranoid all the time b/c i would imagine my friends/teachers/coaches from high school/college finding out. i was always in a constant state of fear. but over time… i just didn’t give a flying fuck anymore. i started to accept & love myself. and i realized that my gay friends were more ‘real’ than all of my straight friends, combined. you know… it takes a ton of fucking courage to come out of the closet, a ton. it takes even more courage to hold your partner’s hand in public. i have a lot respect for my gay/lesbian coworkers, customers & friends b/c of all the adversity they went through in life. i came out of that experience with a ton of self-confidence. i judge less, love more. i’m more compassionate, open-minded, creative & fun. so yeah… you should definitely do it - be a makeup artist or hairstylist. why does it matter what society thinks of you? have u looked at society lately? it’s pretty fucked up. it’s fucking rigid. people are fucking miserable. don’t go there. you blaze your own trail my friend. don’t conform to this shit… transform it. and don’t label yourself a ‘straight hairstylist or makeup artist’. just call yourself a makeup artist/hairstylist. fuck the ‘straight/gay’ label. you don’t need to prove to anyone… and i fucking mean anyone… that you’re straight, the only thing you need to prove is that you can do their hair or makeup better than anyone. blaze your own path bro. and let the haters, hate. ~rob
p.s. diversity is the most beautiful thing in the world. embrace it with open arms.
pps. no one converted me. i still love nice, intelligent, beautiful, fun, creative women :)

Restorative Curation

I have written before in this blog about my past with eating disorders/disordered eating, and my body dysmorphic disorder. While eating disorders are something I recovered from, my body dysmorphic disorder is something I still manage daily. Being happy and comfortable in a healthy body is a task I set to from the moment I wake up every morning. After years of work, now most days are a breeze. But some days are still a struggle against crushing despair.
Even if you are not afflicted with BDD, the relentless onslaught from mainstream media urging self hatred is tough to stand against. We are constantly overwhelmed with messages that we are not good enough and must be fixed. We need to lose weight, get bigger boobs, become tanner, have less hair, have more hair, clean our skin, whiten our teeth, be fashionable, be better so that we’ll be loved and successful.
Companies trying to sell clothes, beauty products and services must first sell us on the idea that the way that we currently look is wrong and the only way to be right is to change ourselves. They display the way they think we should look in advertisements and commercials so that we can compare ourselves and find our bodies wanting. The images of bodies and faces we see in mainstream media are curated for us, not for health or comfort, but to sell us things.
Once, I was on the subway with someone I was dating. On the wall behind our plastic, orange seats was an advertisement for a gym. The thin, muscular women in the ad was very obviously photoshopped, and I sneered at it. “What?”, he asked. “What’s the problem? There are women who look like that in real life.”
Yes, that’s true. But that woman doesn’t. By photoshopping bodies to look closer to an ideal, we’re sending the message that that body is incorrect in some way. Even if there are people in real life that look like the altered version of that body, it’s deeply damaging to change people, even with a computer program, to say that’s how everyone should look. 
We are inundated with this toxicity and counteracting it takes a lot of work. The main tool I use to do this might seem counterproductive - Instagram. Instagram, the haven for fake candid shots and selfies and “thinspiration” pictures. This picture app can be a seething cesspool, full of posts of people sucking in and posing to look as skinny as possible. But what’s different about Instagram, as opposed to walking down the street and seeing billboards, is that you can choose who you follow. You can curate what you see.
A couple of years ago, I began to fill my Instagram feed with accounts that promote body diversity and positivity. It’s not that we need to see more types of bodies in media. We see them all the time - as the butts of jokes, as the “before” picture in a transformation, as something to avoid. Haha, look at that pathetic fat guy. Ha, look at that flat chested girl.
We see them as the worst scenario, something to be ashamed of. We are convinced that we need to starve ourselves, hurt ourselves, change ourselves so that we’re not like them.
But one day, I came across an article featuring accounts celebrating body positivity and diversity. I clicked and scrolled through them.
These Instagram accounts came as a revelation to me. Fat people, skinny people, scarred people, hairy people, balding people, people with stretch marks, people with cellulite. All displaying themselves with joy and confidence. People of all sizes, skin colors, hair colors, tattooed people, pierced people, people wearing whatever cute outfits they want, even if it’s not “complimentary” to them. Fat women in crop tops, skinny men in muscle shirts. I started following a bunch of them.
Posting pictures of yourself on Instagram, while much maligned by millennial-scorning grumps, can be an incredibly powerful act when your body isn’t considered the ideal. Showing the world that you’re happy just the way you are, that you’re confident enough in your appearance to show it to the world in a positive light, can be revolutionary.
After a few weeks of filling my eyes with these pictures every day, I started to notice a change in my perception of both myself and others. Traits I had previously thought of as flaws - the dimples on my thighs, my size ten feet, my flat chest, my uneven smile - begin to lose their negativity, their clutch on my self esteem. They became just parts of me, things I didn’t have to worry about or change. Hundreds of photos of smiling, beautiful women with stomach rolls made me stop trying to cover mine up when I sat down at a restaurant. These pictures showed me I didn’t have to be ashamed, that happiness and stomach rolls aren’t mutually exclusive.
My daily time on Instagram began to be restorative. I started to look for other forms of media - comics, movies, books - that positively featured body diversity.
Now, after nearly two years of this (alongside weekly therapy and a lot of self care/emotional labor), I hardly ever despair when I look in the mirror. My eyes don’t linger on the thickness of my legs or the size of my upper arms. I focus on putting together an outfit I think is cute because it makes me happy, not because it obscures the shape of a body part.
I see myself as a whole picture, instead of zoomed in shots of “problem areas”. It’s still a daily effort, something I have to consciously work at. It’s worth it. Minimizing the agony I used to be overwhelmed by is worth it. Curating the media I see, as much as is in my control, continues to be a huge help.

Here are some accounts that I love -

https://www.instagram.com/bodyposipanda/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/my_life_without_ana/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/tessholliday/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/beyondthecurveblog/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/strutbymic/

https://www.instagram.com/ladyist/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/straightcurvefilm/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/effyourbeautystandards/?hl=en

If the media you’re consuming doesn’t reflect you or makes you unhappy with yourself, there’s something wrong with it. There isn’t anything wrong with you.* Here’s my own, make-up-less selfie.










*Unless you voted for Trump.

anonymous asked:

Which webcomics do you recommend?

1. Paranatural

  • literally my favorite and I’ll recommend it to everyone on the planet
  • about a bunch of middle schoolers who deal with a bunch of paranormal/supernatural shenanigans (hence the name paranatural)
  • so much sass and wit in this comic
  • the comedic timing is On Point
  • Max Puckett is my snarky, smart child
  • canon gay character, canon NB character, and we’ve been promised more gays
  • the writer Zach Morrison is a delight and he’s making a conscious effort to make his comic more diverse 
  • which means that there are tons of black and brown characters now, and more to look forward to!!
  • updates twice a week which is v nice
  • (art style gets better trust me)
  • gems like these:

2. Lady of The Shard

  • gay
  • So many lesbians like I can’t stress how gay it is
  • about an acolyte who falls in love with her goddess
  • main character is super sweet and kind and just. lovely.
  • have I mentioned that it’s gay
  • really interesting format
  • it’s complete!!

3. OMG, Check Please!

  • my hockey sonnnnns
  • more gay (i’m sensing a trend here)
  • i honestly do not give a shit about hockey but. these kids.
  • so it’s about Samwell University’s Men’s Hockey Team
  • the cast includes a gay former figure skater from the south who bakes pies, a grumpy Canadian with an ass that won’t quit, a guy with a mustache who walks around naked and lectures people about bigotry, a coral reef with excellent cheek bones, his drift compatible life partner, a brace-faced sunshine goalie, a clumsy heartthrob with No Chill™, an angry lobster, and Lardo Duan, who could could kick my ass in beer pong and burp in my face and I’d thank her for it
  • (Lardo is??? my wife?????)
  • updates every few months but updates are in bulk

4. Witchy

  • about a young witch living in a world where the length of your hair determines the strength of your magic
  • Nyneve puts up with so much shit……. Let Her Rest
  • canon trans character!!
  • no gay yet, but I have hope
  • the art style is gorgeous
  • Veda is too cool for this world. so is Prill. so is Nyneve. why are they all so cool
  • updates every week!!

Those are the only ones I’m currently reading / have read recently so sorry this list isn’t longer. But I hope you like these!!

bubhh  asked:

Prompet: AU where Naegi's luck make him to keep walking in the middle of murder attapets. AKA: How Naegi saved everyone by being in the right place in the right name.

A/N I almost for got that I had a draft for this and then side:hope made me bitter that most of the dr1 kids are dead so yeah

SHSL Luckster - au where Naegi’s luck saves everyone

Contrary to his title, Makoto Naegi had the worst luck.

It’s not so bad when most of the time it’s just the little things. Things like losing his wallet, tearing a hole in his pants, tripping over his own shoes, just little things. These were just minor inconveniences that were annoying at most but not at all that consequential. He could easily get by with just frustration.

But then there are times when it’s more than just dropping pocket change. Bigger incidents like that one time he got involved in a holdup and got chased by a criminal. Even worse was that the criminal was seriously out to get him like they had a personal grudge on him. If it weren’t for a can that had tripped their motorbike, he probably would have been a goner. It sounds outrageous but it’s a true story. He had a terrible streak when it came to his luck and he’s about to find out that it gets worse when he enters high school.

His supposedly hopeful high school life turned into a high school life of mutual killing.

But he didn’t want to believe in it. He didn’t want to believe that any of them was capable of killing anyone. There was no way they’d kill just to get out even if there were motives. There had to be another way. They should all be thinking of another way. That’s why he chose to believe in these newly formed acquaintances instead of thinking otherwise.

So when Maizono asked Naegi to switch rooms, he trusted her wholeheartedly. And that’s when his luck was set into motion.

When he was washing his face out of habit in preparation for bed, he had accidentally splashed himself and rendered his clothes drenched. He didn’t want to get Maizono’s bed soaked and he felt like it wouldn’t be approriate if he slept in shirtless. While he knew it was past the curfew they had agreed on, he thought that it would be reasonable if he was just going next door to get a change of clothes. With that innocent thought in mind, he opened the door of Maizono’s room and headed out into the corridor.

And that’s when he chanced upon Kuwata.

“Kuwata? What are you doing out here?” Naegi asked.

“Right back at ya.” He smoothly dodged the question.

“Oh, well that’s fair I guess. I mean we’re both not supposed to be out so I do look suspicious.” Naegi conceded and then nervously declared his innocence. “But I swear I don’t plan on doing anything bad! I’m just going to meet with Maizono.”

“Huh? You too? Weird. I kinda thought this was a private thing.” Kuwata commented.

Naegi blinked. Something about his sentence seemed off. “Too? What do you mean by that?”

“Well, whatever. I just want to know what’s going on.” Kuwata didn’t seem to hear him as he pulled Naegi along. “So? What are you standing there for? Let’s go see her.”

The door opened to reveal a smiling Maizono but when her eyes met with Naegi, she immediately blanched as if seeing a ghost.

“Uh, Maizono? You okay?” Naegi asked in concern.

“Yeah, man. You don’t look too good.” Kuwata seconded.

“I-I…” She stammered and then just as quickly as her fear took hold of her, she also quickly masked it. “I’m fine. Now that you two are here. I feel so much safer.”

Once they were welcomed inside, Naegi quickly explained his business and got his change of clothes. Naturally, they had to fill in Kuwata with the room arrangements and such. Kuwata also asked why Maizono had called him out and to which she answered with something vague like helping him out on his music career.
There’s this nagging suspicion which Naegi couldn’t quite place. He felt as though that Maizono was hiding something but he quickly dismissed the thought as all three of them spent the night having an impromptu voice lesson.

Thus, the first murder was prevented and no one died that week.

Monokuma gave out a new set of motives.

Since no one has died so far, Naegi held firmly to his belief that no one would kill anyone here. Incidentally, monokuma also decided to unlock the barrier for the second floor with the reasoning that the new area might give some people good ideas for murder. Naegi just brushed off his taunts and explored the new rooms with the rest of the class. If they had survived a week then surely they could survive another, and another. They would definitely not give in to despair.

Not when his luck was working out yet again.

Naegi had wanted to try out the pool. He’s not that good of a swimmer but he thought that a dip would be refreshing rather than a shower. And so he went to the changing room, unaware that it was past curfew, and was greeted by an unlikely sight. In the men’s changing room was Oowada and surprisingly, Fujisaki as well.

“Uh, sorry. Am I interrupting something?” Naegi felt the tension in the room and he knew he was the cause of it. “I could um, I could leave if you want. I don’t really need to use the room. So maybe I should just…” He trailed off, he had already unconsciously stepped back and had his hand on the door.

“Hold it.” Oowada warned him. “Don’t think you’re going to get out of here that easily.”

Naegi audibly gulped. “Um… okay?”

“Wait, please.” Fujisaki timidly spoke, “Let me explain what’s going on first.”

It was quite the explanation and though Naegi was surprised about Fujisaki’s secret, he had accepted it wholeheartedly. He even commended Oowada for being so supportive. They talked more after that and by the end of the night, they had shared secrets with each other. Some heavy and some light, they talked about all sorts of things and forged bonds. Naegi was also invited every time they were going to work out and the three happily bonded.

The supposed second murder was prevented and no one died that week.

Monokuma gave out another set and this time he was going for third times the charm.

Needless to say, Naegi had also circumvented the murder. Whether it was because of his stubborn belief in hope or just his shsl luck at work, nevertheless able to prevent the murder or rather murders. He didn’t know it at the time but he just accidentally walked in on the first stage of Celes’ plan of murder. Because he was an unnaccounted element, she couldn’t take in the risk and so she abandoned the plan as soon as he walked in on her. They had a rather interesting talk over tea so it wasn’t a complete loss for her she supposed.

The should have been third murder was prevented and no one died that week.

Monokuma was getting annoyed at this point so this time the motive he gave was the traitor’s identity.

It brought out quite the diverse set of reactions from the class. Some grew wary of Oogami while others pinned the blame on her. A handful were neutral and even fewer were the ones who actually sympathized with her. Among those was Naegi of course. He knew that since no one had died so far then no one would have that strong of a grudge against her. However, he couldn’t help but worry for her since she had a strong sense of honor and with it came a strong sense of guilt.

Although it was by accident when he had walked in on her in the rec room, Naegi pushed forward with full resolve into talking Oogami out of suicide. And he succeeded. She didn’t just abandone her attempt, she dropped all intentions of doing so and he couldn’t have been more relieved and more proud of her. And later when they met up with Asahina, Naegi knew that Oogami was going to be okay.

Needless to say, no one died that week either.

Or the week after that.

Monokuma kept giving out these motives and Naegi kept accidentally preventing the murders.

“Goddammit!” Enoshima swore as she despaired in the control room. “How fucking hard is it to get a bunch of people to kill each other?! And I gave out all the good motives too! What’s a girl got to do to see some murder?? ARGHH!!” She closed her eyes as she screamed out all of her frustrations.

And unexpectedly, someone had interrupted her. “Uh, hello?”

Her eyes shot open and when she turned around she saw the most despairing sight in her life. “What the?” She was too mad to even be shocked as she yelled at the intruder, “How the hell did you get in here??”

“Oh, um…” Naegi flinched at her voice so timidly he answered, “You uh… left the door unlocked.”

…Are you fucking serious? Enoshima let out one long frustrated sigh. In an eerily calm manner, she stood up and approached him. He jumped a bit when she placed her hands on his shoulders all the while she gazed at him with blank eyes. She took a breath and all hell broke loose, “I take my eyes off the screen for one second! ONE SECOND!! And already everything’s gone to shit!”

“Uhh…” Naegi felt more than uncomfortable as she ranted on.

“Nothing’s happening at all because of you, you little shit! I should’ve killed you while I had a chance if I knew you’d make things this boring!” She violently shook him with every sentence as she released all of this pent up aggression. She dramatically wailed. “But noooo! I didn’t. And now when I’m trying to kill you won’t even die! You don’t even notice all the murder attempts I tried on you! I literally tried to kill you in your sleep but your fucking whoop de doo luck saved your ass again! How the hell does it even work?”

Naegi blanched because he knew she wasn’t joking. He also knew that she wouldn’t let go of him anytime soon as her hands were clutched onto him like claws.

That was until she raised her arms up in a resigned manner. “You know what? I give up! This is just despairing!” She reached out behind her and shoved something at him. “Here! This is the exit switch! Take it and do whatever you want with it! I don’t give a fuck anymore!”

“Um…” He started, unsure of what had just happened.

“What the fuck are you doing still here?” She scowled at him in an irritated fashion. “I said get the fuck out before I sic monokuma at you!”

He thought it was best to leave before she changed her mind. So with the switch in hand, he hurried out of the room and regrouped with the others. After what could be hardly called a debate, they had unanimously decided to get out of the school. And thus, the high school life of mutual killing that hadn’t even started was finally ended. They all thought that it was their bonds that got them through without casualties. They believed that it was hope that had saved them all.

And although hope did play its part, a lot of this can be owed to Makoto Naegi and his unpredictable luck.

anonymous asked:

I loved your post about female combatants. I was just wondering if you could think of examples of great representations of female combatants in popular culture? Either in terms of realism or in terms of representation?

Before I dive into media, I’m going to list some real women with the reminder that they do exist and are worth looking at.

You don’t get any more real than reality.

Here’s some references to women in history, from a post made by Indiana Jen to Wikipedia, and we have the article, “Women Have Always Fought” by Kameron Hurley. Also this article talking about women in combat.

There are women combatants throughout history, and currently today, you can find them everywhere fairly easily. You just have to dig and not that hard. There are women who have been great at fighting, terrible at fight, middling, and just on the rolling spectrum. Every variety you want. You can find them.

Ronda Rousey is currently very popular in sports circles right now for good reason, however checking out the entirety of the women’s division of the UFC is a good idea because it’s fast access to looking at women who choose to participate in blood sport professionally. Gina Carano, Holly Holm, and others.

You can actually often find old videos of martial arts and other competitions from the Olympics, which have female divisions for most sports. These include fencing, archery, judo, taekwondo, etc. There’s information out there about them than you’ll get straight out of entertainment media, but it’s always worth looking to reality for comparisons with fiction.

Onward:

Alien: specifically the first one for a look at characters who were written from the perspective of being entirely gender neutral in that they were all originally intended to be male. If you’ve never looked at it purely to watch how Ellen Ripley is very different from many of the female characters in the general media, it’s always good to start there.

Aliens: Ellen Ripley returns and this time she’s written from a more traditional perspective as a mother bear. However, holding her in contrast to the hyper-masculine Vasquez is very interesting. Both are fascinating characters in their own right and the movie is a fun time if you can handle a little horror.

Terminator 2 (and Terminator): In Terminator, Sarah Connor is the quintessential horror movie heroine in need of rescue and the transition from that to her Terminator 2 persona happens in the last five minutes of the movie. However, it’s worth watching and looking at. Sarah Connor is an excellent example of a female combatant in 2 and fully ripped.

Farscape: All female characters on Farscape, not just as combatants but  in general. Aeryn Sun is the standout for female combatants and the Peacekeepers are interesting in that they are entirely gender neutral. She’s a good character to look at if you want one that’s been raised for war since birth and still trying to figure out the other particulars. Aeryn establishing her own identity outside her role as a Peacekeeper is a huge part of her arc.

Battlestar Galactica (The Remake): There are a bunch of really, really, really fantastic female characters to dig through on this show and the creators went specifically out of their way to play with concepts of gender with Starbuck. You want to see a very masculine, aggressive female character utilizing a lot of flaws that are traditionally masculine then watch Starbuck and compare her to the above. It has it’s flaws, but it’s on point most of the time.

Stargate SG-1: Samantha Carter, full stop.

24: Nina. Nina. Nina, Nina, Nina, and more Nina. Chloe. Also, Nina. Why Nina? Because Nina is awesome, because Nina is driven, because the answer to that question is spoileriffic. Because Nina is good at her job. Nina is a professional. Chloe is good too, for different and more conventional reasons.

Burn Notice: Fiona with the caveat that she’s not a professional and it’s important to remember that in context with the rest of the team. She’s IRA, a guerrilla fighter and she thinks predominately from that perspective. Still, the sequence where she tasers herself to get the guy is fun. She’s in the range of the very aggressive to the point of overly aggressive or hyper aggressive. She also gets off on violence, a lot.

X-Files: Scully. This may not be what everyone thinks of, but Scully is a federal agent and so she is a combatant. Unlike some other shows, X-Files did attempt to portray the federal agent part accurately. There are a few hiccups here and there, but overall it’s a good showing. Also, one of the earlier examples on television in the 90s of a woman getting to be the Spock and got her own trope out of it.

Elementary: Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. It takes her a while to get there, but it’s Lucy Liu. I mean, c’mon. Also, the Watson and Holmes friendship in that is great. You don’t get many platonic male and female friendships on television. Ever.

Babylon 5: Susan Ivanova for the military perspective, so willing to use violent solutions and is fatalistic. Delenn who walks the continuum from peaceful solutions but is willing to escalate into killing you and everyone who has ever met you, so the rare female character who prefers diplomacy but for whom violence is never off the table. Lyta Alexander and Talia Winters, the walking weapons like all telepaths and one of which is later commodified into a super weapon. The treatment of an incredibly powerful female character as an object by the other characters is intentional in the writing and it’s an interesting discussion on how people can be transformed into objects then discarded.

Salt: I can’t say this is a great movie, but Angelina Jolie plays a Russian undercover agent who is outed to the Federal government and must run for her life. The stunts are over the top, like in any action movie a real human being can’t do most of them. And her motive is very cliche for female characters. However, for attitude? Yeah. Jolie nails the ‘tude.

The Long Kiss Goodnight: These two are the Black Widow movies that you’ll never see, but Gina Davis plays a suburban housewife that discovers she’s a spy with memory loss.

Kill Bill: There are a lot of fantastic performances in this this and Volume 2, the fights aren’t realistic but they’re not supposed to be. Kill Bill is a great one when you’re looking for attitude.

R.E.D.: For Helen Mirren, she’s amazing. This is a much more classic example of the super spy in the genre.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Charlize Theron is great in this movie, but the other female characters are also excellent.

The Shield: All the actresses in the Shield deliver phenomenal performances, but all my love goes to CCH Pounder for being incredible. On the one hand, Detective Claudette Wyms is the stereotypical female Black cop on television. On the other, she’s incredibly well rounded, well acted, and very human.

Justice League: Unlimited: This one may seem weird compared to the others on the list, but it’s an excellent example of the more you have then the more diverse it becomes. Because it has so many superheroes, Justice League offers a wide variety of surprisingly well-written female characters complete with strengths and weaknesses. You want a low-key kick ass and take names approach that manages to transcend the silly/sexualized costumes by making its diverse cast of characters well rounded and human? Then watch Justice League. (It’s not just because CCH Pounder’s Amanda Waller is amazing.)

Queen and Country by Greg Rucka. Comics. Spies. Female spies that aren’t femme fatales, at all.

Live. Die. Repeat. (Otherwise known as Edge of Tomorrow): Mostly for Emily Blunt.

The Lord of the Rings: Eowyn. Because you can basically describe the Rohirrim as Fratboys and she’s one of them.

Strange Days: Angela Basset will take your teeth out through your nose. Like with Terminator 2, her character is one of the few examples you’ll see of women allowed to be buff. (TW: rape plot, though not her.)

Wing Chun starring Michelle Yeoh. You’re mostly watching this for the action, but there’s a lot of awesome martial arts to go around.

Get Smart (Original): This may seem a little out of left field, but Agent 99 from the 60s was actually a groundbreaking character on American television. This was long before the stereotype where women were automatically more skilled than men in spy fiction but not allowed to be the focus and she’s one of the first single, working women we have, and who is substantially more competent than her colleague, and who makes a great deal more sense given the gender roles of her timeframe. Anyway, if you’re looking for something a little lighter then give Barbara Feldon a shot.

Xena: Warrior Princess - Xena is one of the weird ones, because on the one hand she’s hypersexualized. On the other hand, Lucy Lawless fucking owns it. Honestly, I wouldn’t watch Xena if you’re looking for a female character that’s trying to be serious. I would watch Xena for reference if you’re looking to write a female character that’s just out to have a good time. Plus, when it came to LGBT representation, the showrunners were actively messing with Standards and Practices on what they could get away with. Remember, all that Xena/Gabrielle fanservice is trolling the network bigots.

Claymore - I don’t generally recommend a lot of anime or manga when specifically looking at female characters, mostly because like with any other piece of foreign media you’re taking a lot of the gender norms that come from that culture with it. If you aren’t familiar enough with the culture to really parse that out, then while it may be fun to watch it becomes more difficult to incorporate or you incorporate stuff you didn’t mean to. This is just as true if you’re not American and consuming American media, or not British and consuming British media, or any other kind of media.

That said, I’d read this manga. This is basically an almost entirely female cast of characters that are taking on roles traditionally masculine in the Shounen genre. It’s a whole bunch of complicated female characters killing monsters without the hypersexualization or the jokes that usually come with it. Basically, its kind  of like Berserk with women. If you’re going to do anything with the “I was experimented on and turned into a killing machine” then this is a must read.

Legend of the Seeker, Season 2 - Keeping in mind that the novels are fetishistic and the show isn’t that great, the Mord Sith Cara specifically in personality is one of the better examples I’ve seen on television of a female character who has been abused and then transformed into an abuser. Tabrett Bethell nails the mentality, the personality, and the expressions of a warrior with that specific outlook. Especially someone who was raised to combat in an unforgiving environment as a child. You’ll see a lot of characters out there like Kahlan, you won’t see as many that manage to nail the mentality behind a Cara. Also, Cara refuses to bend knee to Richard’s moral authority. She develops as a character, but she is always the one who decides the direction that development takes. She owns who she is and is proud of it, even when that makes other people uncomfortable.

Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce - If you’re not already reading Tamora Pierce, you probably should be. She writes some of the best female characters, especially for teens. So, just read the catalog. However, if you want to write a character who is a leader of men? Then, Kel is still the best and worth looking at. Pierce also does an excellent job digging into the sexual politics in a medieval setting, the lack of easy answers or solutions, and a lot of all around humanizing over finger pointing. Which is about 100,000x better than the vast majority of “teach them to fight” narratives.

Dark Disciple series by Margaret Weis - This is a sequel series to the War of Souls, but the evolution of Mina as a character is worth paying attention to. On top of that Weis’ books tend to have pretty good fight scenes.

At the end of the day, the real trick to writing female characters though is to create well-rounded individuals who are a reflection or informed by the world they live in. One of the biggest problems with female characters in fiction is often that they’re written to represent the way an author thinks women should be, rather than who they are. And no, sadly being a woman doesn’t automatically make you immune. Good female characters are characters, they’re well-rounded individuals who belong in the world they live in and whose lives are a reflection of their setting.

We are all the sum total of our experiences. If your characters experiences are not informing who they are, then you might have a problem.

-Michi

anonymous asked:

Hey! This is probably incredibly random but I've seen some of your posts in the Edinburgh university tag. I recently got an offer and I'm trying to get myself excited what are the best things?

oh yay congrats to you!!!!! what will you be studying?

okay so the best things about it:

(oops the pics have fucked up because they’re massive and i didn’t realise but i cba fixing them)

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anonymous asked:

This idea wont leave me alone and I dont think I can write it very well myself- Derek and Stiles are at some sort of convention (though not together, since they dont know each other) and they go to the same place to eat and since they're alone and the place is packed they end up sitting at the same table. Turns out one of them is 'secretly' the person they'd been there to see (like a panel-hoster or something?)

“What are you here for?” a guy next to Derek asks.

Derek looks up and the man is kind of beautiful in thick rimmed glasses and a beanie, wearing a plaid shirt over t-shirt and he is just really adorable. Derek is stunned for a second before he remembers he has to talk. “Came here to see the panel about diversity writing,” Derek answers. “You?”

“Same!” the man says excitedly with a smile. “Glad there will be other people there besides me!”

“So far you got one,” Derek laughs. 

“I’m also here for the panels on Vampire Diaries and Reign but don’t tell anyone, okay?” he says, his voice barely above a whisper.

“My lips are sealed,” Derek tells him.

The man looks at Derek’s lips, his eyes staying there a little too long before his eyes blink and flick back up to Derek’s. “Sorry. You’re just…insanely gorgeous. I can’t be blamed here.”

“Yes, you can,” Derek snorts.

“Very true,” the man says, holding up a hand in apology. “Fully my fault. I’m very sorry. Can you forgive me?”

Derek nods. “But only this time.”

The man nods and smiles. “So what are you most looking forward to the panel?”

“I don’t know,” Derek sighs even though he knows exactly what he’s looking forward to. “I love all the writers that are speaking.”

“Yeah?” the man smiles widely. “I’m a huge fan of Boyd and Reyes. Their works are amazing.”

“Stilinski as well,” Derek adds because he has to.

The man laughs. “Almost forgot about him. I’m so happy there’s a whole panel about diversity and they’re actually including diverse writers. The last time I saw this panel, it was a bunch of white, straight men, so this year they amped it up a bit. Could be better, but I think it’ll be a good talk.”

“I’m really looking forward to it. All these writers have changed my life in some way,” Derek admits with a smile.

“Even Stilinski?” the man asks like he is genuinely surprised.

“Especially Stilinski.”

The man opens his mouth to say something but then looks down at his watch. “I’ve gotta run, but maybe I’ll see you at the panel?”

“Hopefully,” Derek says because he is very interested in this man, who then waves and runs from the table like he really is in a hurry.

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Strange Magic Livestream: Trivia

So I thought I’d share my notes from the very nice Strange Magic livestream chat, which featured artbymaureen (Maureen Seng, animator), gaoheng (Gao Heng, animator), and meredithannebull (Meredith Anne Bull, voice of Dawn). There’s a lot of new information, and I organized it a little so people who weren’t able to attend can read it over. (If I left anything out that you think I should add, let me know.) Still very thankful that a movie that means so much to me has such a warm, friendly crew who are willing to share their insights with us. 

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7

Kick-Ass Chicks: Bunny Miele

Tennessee artist Bunny Miele is one talented chick. We first learned about Bunny after a night of binge shopping on Etsy, where we were immediately drawn to her on-point line work, and her seamless color blending. (Let’s just say, she knows her way around a Prismacolor pen.) Oh. And did we mention she’s a total babe with killer style? We met up with the young artist to get to know her better, and learn more about her hometown scene.

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Bad Boy BTS- Shades of Grey- Hoseok (Part 12)

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7,Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 13

Your eyes opened widely as you watched Hoseok’s fist smack violently against the gang leader’s face. The man stumbled, but held himself upright, his eyes were cold, deadly, and determined, as he rubbed his jaw with his hand, and honestly that look terrified you.

You clutched at your torn and tattered clothes, as you retreated against a wall, whimpering as your whole body began to ache increasingly. You were covered in bruises from head to toe, a string of blood emanated from the corner of your lips, and you hissed at the feeling of the cigarette burns stinging on your skin.

The men broke into a fight, and you were glad at least for the time being it was equal, both sides had the same amount of men, and honestly, your men looked the fiercest. Despite the throbbing pain you felt all over, your insides began to glow with hope, and you almost felt like crying because they had come to save you.

Hoseok’s eyes diverted to you for just a split second, and just the sight of you so hurt and broken made him a thousand times more furious, but secretly he was glad that your sweatpants were still on, because he didn’t know what he would have done if they had touched you that way.

‘Probably murder them’ he thought to himself, as he threw another punch at the man’s face. You heard a loud crack pierce through the room, and you panicked. Your eyes open in bewilderment as you searched Hoseok for any signs of pain, but instead, it was the other man who doubled over, grabbing his cheek.

You grinned victoriously, feeling Hoseok’s triumph as your own, as you acknowledged the sound as his bones breaking.

But the joyous moment was short-lived, the man stood up, and lunged straight at Hoseok, hitting him in the eye. You screamed, but covered your mouth with your hands, since the last thing you wanted was to bring attention to yourself once again.

Your fingers gently slid over the cut on your neck, a phamtom sensation of pain beginning to take over, as you once again relived the dreadful night. For some reason, it was the only ache that genuinely bothered you, but that was probably because in your mind, you had already associated it with the heartache that being left by Hoseok represented.

Somewhere not too far away, you could see Suga straddling a man who was on the floor, trying desperately to push him off himself, but Suga’s fists were ruthless against that man’s face. You could see the evil smirk that spread across his face, and you realized then, he was a man you didn’t want to cross.

Jin too was engaged in an intense fight a few feet away from Suga, and although he looked like he was struggling, you could see he definitely had some experience in this particular area. However, he looked a lot more irritated by the fact that someone was touching his face, than Suga did, and it was almost comical.

You wondered, how those two men had ever met, so different, with such different auras, and yet, they seemed to be the closest of friends. Perhaps they attended college together? How did Jin even get into this life? Suga you could easily picture, he fell into the bad boy image almost too easily, but Jin?

And yet, despite the drinking, the smoking, the drugs, the dark clothing and the overall bad behavior and aura, they seemed to be the kindest, most caring people you knew. Not everyone would just let 5 extra kids in need into their house, and support them, like they had done with the other boys. It amazed you, and you definitely understood the meaning of “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Your mind diverted to hypothetical thoughts of how the pintoresque group came to be, they surely were a very diverse bunch, until you heard a yell from Taehyung. A man had just brought a knife to his arm, and stabbed him with it. You assumed he was aiming for the chest, but Taehyung was known for moving inhumanly quickly.

You let out a loud scream, and everyone stopped for a second, until someone in the pairs attacked again. You watched Taehyung pull the knife out of his arm, with a demonic expression on his face, he was livid. He lunged at the guy, and threw him at the ground, where he beat his face to a pulp. You honestly couldn’t see the guy’s face as it was completely drenched in the deep red liquid.

Your eyes focused on each guy, trying to make sure they were doing alright, Jimin was using some guy as a human boxing bag, his fist assertively hitting the man in all the right spots to cause him to double over, and fall to the ground on his knees, his eyes rolling to the back of his head, as he spread across the floor.

Your eyes were glued to the immobile body, horror displayed on each and every one of your features. Jimin ran past you, in Jungkook’s direction.

“He’s not dead,don’t worry.” Jimin yelled at you, with a cheeky smile, probably noticing exactly how you felt, then again, he must have once felt like this before, before getting so involved in the gang life.

You watched him jump on the guy who was currently hitting Jungkook, and literally rip the man from him, throwing him at the ground, before helping Jungkook up. You watched the interaction between them, and smiled sweetly, who would have thought people could make true friends like this?

Your boys were clearly winning the fight, Namjoon had knocked out another man, and the other side now had their numbers inconveniently reduced. Well, it was inconvenient for  them.

Jungkook and Jimin walked back towards you, and stood up, one on each side of your body, forming a protective barrier between anyone that could possibly try to attack you. Honestly, you couldn’t say you were bothered being in the middle of this sexy sandwich.

“Come on, it’s almost over.” Jimin smiled at you reassuringly, as he stretched his hand out for you to take so he could help you get on your feet again. You looked at the hand for a second, noticing the bloodied knuckles, but took it anyway, with great care and caution.

Jimin pulled you up effortlessly, the muscles in his arm tensing gloriously, making you blush as you found yourself staring. Your legs began shaking under your weight from the stress, the adrenaline, and the fear. Jimin noticed this, so he offered his arm for you to rest against.

Your eyes found Hoseok immediately, as his body hovered over the other man’s, a loud snarl slipping through his lips.

“What are you going to do now?” The man spat back, trying not to lose his image despite being the one held against the concrete floor.

“If it was my choice, I would kill you right now.” Hoseok snapped, a deep growl rumbling in his chest, as his fist collided with the man’s face once again.

“Then fucking do it already!” The man replied, impatiently, as he waited for another hit, but Hoseok laughed.

“And get myself thrown in jail because of someone as pathetic as you? No thank you. But let me tell you this, if you EVER touch Y/N again, if you EVER come to this town, or bother any of us, I won’t hold back. And what I did with you today will be a tickle compared to what I will do if you ever mess with me again. Got it?” Hoseok barked at the guy, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and shaking him violently. His eyes pierced through the other guy, as he waited for a reply.

“Got it.” The man said defeated, and Hoseok let go of him, letting his head fall onto the concrete floor with a loud thud.

Hoseok stood up, brushing dirt off his clothes, before turning to you. You saw a whirwind of emotions flash across his face. Joy, pride, but also sadness, fear, regret, and anger. He watched your body, so damaged, and he wondered both why you ever had to meet, and why he had ever thought leaving you alone would be a good solution to the problem. What he feared would happen to you was exactly what ended up happening anyway.

He looked at you sheepishly, waiting for a sign, any sign, that you had forgiven him for everything that happened. He was scared to come closer, he didn’t think he deserved you, or your forgiveness.

“Hoseok…” You whispered, his face came into view with the moonlight seeping through the large window panels, and you noticed the bruises covering his cheeks. Your heart broke at the sight, and before you knew it, your legs began moving, taking you towards your one and only love.

You ran towards Hoseok, and wrapped your arms around him, resting your head on his chest, as you cried in his arms that had found their way around your body. He held you against him protectively, resting his less damaged cheek on the top of your head, as you sobbed.

“You are safe now…” He whispered to you, his hold around you tightening.

“I’ll always be safe, as long as you are with me.” You told him, looking up into his eyes, tears still dripping down your cheeks. Hoseok smiled, so many emotions building up in his chest, he felt like he was about to burst.

He leaned down, and kissed your lips softly, his hand travelling up your body so he could gently cup your cheek. You smiled into the kiss, returning it, pulling yourself closer to him if possible.

“Okay, but do you guys have to do this now? Tae needs a hospital.” Suga interrupted the moment quite abruptly, as he held the younger boy against his body, blood staining his shirt.

You both immediately separated, and rushed over to the group, Hoseok helped Suga carry the semi-conscious boy towards the car, and you wondered, if this was the eye of the hurricane, or if you could genuinely relax from now on.

Who is in Control

Pairing: Bellamy Blake x Reader

Request: no

Summary:when you land on earth you do everything in your power to defy Bell partly because you dont agree with his methods and partly because you find him attractive. Your defiance infuriates him but you soon find out that there is a fine line between love and hate.

Warning: things get a bit steam towards the end ;) plus this was entirely unedited so I apologize sincerely in advance

A/N: This will be my first imagine for the 100 so yayy!! If you want more or have any requests please feel free to send them in here, I have about 6 more Bellamy au’s planned that should be coming out shortly so keep an eye out and be sure to check out my masterlink and the fandoms I write for!

Originally posted by whateverbellamy

“Here we do whatever the hell we want. Now you dont have to like it, Wells. You can even try to stop it or change it, kill me. You know why? Whatever the hell we want.” Bellamy’s voice echoed among the crowd, his “chant” catching on like a wild fire, everyone screaming “whatever the hell we want”. You were tucked away in the corner, eyes glued to the man who had already placed himself in charge of the camp. You scanned his features for some sort of fear, passion, insanity; trying to understand why he was doing this. Why was he even here? And furthermore why did he think allowing a bunch of crazy delinquents to “do whatever the hell they want” was a good idea. After all, him taking responsibility of us was his public declaration that we were his burden, and if kids died under his watch how would people back on the ark respond, how would delinquents not rise up?

“Rise up- Thats it!” you thought to yourself, a sly smirk upturning the corners of your lips. You would have to defy Bellamy, after all that is what you wanted. A new way of life, and Bellamy’s attention. Back on the ark you had always had a crush on him; the gorgeous mysterious boy who rarely left his room. You were infatuated with him, even before he started training to be in the guard (guardsmen were a hot commodity on the ark, always the first to marry because of their status and strength). Even after he lost it all protecting his sister, you still managed to love him more, his dedication to his family and protecting his sister at all costs was extremely admirable in your eyes. Thats why seeing him now, allowing such a diverse and potentially dangerous group of people -some no doubt good, but a larger portion bad- to do as they pleased, set you on edge and made you severely question his choices. As everyone went on cheering and blindly following his every order you slid away pulling a few kids you
knew away to discuss your next step.

“Look Bellamy’s going to drive this camp to the ground; especially with Murphy as his little henchmen, we all know how crazy he can get with too much power. Now I know his speeches are promising and his eyes sparkle when he talks and he makes you want to believe that this will work, but the facts tell us it wont. And thats why we must do everything in our power to change the system, and its not like we are breaking any rules. Whatever the hell we want.” I smirked at the end, my eyes trailing across the many faces in my audience. They all nodded, some smirked back others a little more fearful of the inevitable defiance but most were willing.

“y/n, what do you propose we do?” A small voice called from the back. You smiled at the small girl who had lived in the opposite cell as you back on the ark.

“We’ve got to start with these bracelets, he wants us to take these off so we cant communicate with the ark, but the truth is, as much as we may not love everyone on the ark there are people up there who need us and love us. They’re oxygen supply is running out and they are going to start killing innocent people in order to prolong their oxygen supply. I know you may not care for the people who locked you up or floated your parents but dont let more people die at their hands. At their expense. Because the people who will die up there are not going to be the president or general; they will be everyday people like you and me who will be deemed "not as important” as the medical staff or the top mechanic. If you want the leaders of the ark to pay, allowing them to kill off our kind will do nothing to bring them to their knees. We mean nothing to them and they will kill anyone in their power to stay alive. Make them come down here and then we will show them the rules of earth, and these rules cannot be ‘whatever the hell we want’.“ You finished. The crowd erupted with applause, inspired looks dancing across the faces of the few you had been speaking to. You were so caught up in the excitement you didnt see Bellamy glowering in the corner, his jaw clenching as he looked around at all the cheering kids. He was frustrated because to some extent you were right and he didnt know how to argue with your claim. "game on” he whispered before slipping away into the darkness.

The next couple of days you spent with your new “people”; protecting them from Murphy and his gang of psychotic idiots who were trying to rip peoples bracelets off. Back on the ark you loved to learn; you spent more time reading and majoring in different areas than anything else. You had studied biology, chemistry, history, and martial arts which gave you a pretty clear understanding of things on the ground, possible food supply, and how to kick Murphys ass even with his knives. You preferred to attack peoples pressure points; it was by far the easiest method because it was virtually painless for your victims an
renders them momentarily paralyzed with the right strikes. You taught your people how to fight, and assess vegetation; the things you felt were most important for them to know right away.

“Y/N!” You heard a voice growl as a large hand wrapped around your arm dragging you towards a nearby tent which was built into the side of a tree for support. You’d recognize this tent anywhere.

“What do you want Bellamy?” You rolled your eyes, wanting to appear tough and annoyed.

“What the hell are you doing?! Theres absolutely no reason to create this huge rebellion against me! Everytime I go out hunting you pop up to distract me and ruin my advances, whenever Im speaking publicly you retort with your own speech, defy me, and walk away with more of MY people!”

“They are MY people now” You winked, watching his jaw clench as his face was over come with rage. Suddenly you felt your back pressed against the “wall”, you’re heart was beating a hundred miles per hour as you felt his hands tighten around the collar of your shirt. The thin material dug into your neck as his warm breathe blew across your glistening skin, you were both panting as his lips hovered over your ear,

“You are mine y/n. you’re people are my people.” Your breathe caught in your throat as you felt your knees go weak. This was not fair! He couldn’t use his sexiness agaisnt you like this. His eyes lit up when he saw the affect he had on you, wanting nothing more than to lean down and kiss you, but he also needed his people back under his control and that would have to start with some major self control. He pulled away from you, smiling cockily as you tried to wave off the delicious delirium of his presence. You wondered if he had known how much you liked him all along, but then you realized he wasn’t doing this just to tease you. He wanted you to hand over your people, your power to him; and thats something you would never allow.

'Two can play at this game.’ You swayed your hips as you approached him, your tongue gliding gently over your lips as you watched him assessing your every move. The look on his face was priceless as you slid your hand up his arms cupping his shoulders and hovering your lips over his. He was stock still; afraid to give in, afraid to lose. You smiled, what a game this would be.

Wonder

Pairing: HamiltonXReader

Word Count: 1297

Warnings: Language?

Summary: You are the first one Alexander sees when he gets off the boat…

Your day had started off normal enough. Going about the market and picking out the fruits and vegetables. This was your favorite part of the week because going out in the square and seeing all the different people around you was simply exhilarating. The complexion of New York City always kept you wanting more.

Today was no different. There were a group of men by the carts, not five feet away, rambunctiously rambling about women. You squinted in disgust. Then there was the old woman who ran the bread cart. She always smiled sweetly to you when you passed by. Sometimes you bought bread just to see that smile and later gave it to the homeless families who had just came off the boat.

The harbor was the best part abut the entire square. Just sitting off to the right side was the most diverse location in all of America. Hundreds of people came off those boats every week from all over the world and it was a marvel to see them land in America for the first time.

After you grabbed the bread from the cart and gave the nice older woman the money, you decided to go to the harbor. Usually you watched from a distance, but today you really wanted to get a good look at those coming off the boats. You also had a bunch of bread to give away.

By the time you make it to the harbor, only one boat is being docked. All the others have been stationary for a while and you assume it is around 5 o’clock, the end of the work day for the harbor men. Almost all of your bread is gone by the time the docked boat passengers begin to climb off. They are intriguing. They were certainly not from a European country, their skin olive and smooth. They spoke in another language and even though you could not understand a word they were saying it was an orchestra to your ears.

Then you see him. A man, around your age, who has his long dark hair in a pony tail down to his shoulder blades. His eyes are darting in every direction, his mouth never closing as if he were trying to inhale the entire city. His eyes, though wild, were so full of content and you were sure his entire existence was a contradiction. How can one be so frantic yet have such a patient resolve?

Then he sees you and your bread and you have no idea what to do. Of all the times you’ve watched new citizens come off the boat you had never once actually spoken to them. Sure there had been nods and pleasantries exchanged but that is as far as it ever got. No this man is approaching you at an incredible speed and you don’t even have a second to turn before he is right in front of you.

“Hello, my name is Alexander Hamilton.” His hand comes out to meet yours.

“Y/N.” You say hesitantly while shaking his hand which is moving vigorously.
“This is New York City? It is absolutely amazing! My mother wouldn’t believe-” his words stop suddenly and his enthusiastic smile wavers, but it is soon right back in place.

His hand lets yours go and you almost miss it’s presence. He moves to go around the harbor and you can’t help but follow. He seems to realize your doing so and his smile widens as if it could get any bigger.

“Your eyes sparkle much like the stars at night, they are full of such wonder.” His statement catches you off guard and you blush.

“I’m not sure what you mean?” He takes your hand again.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to come to America and two minutes off the boat I know the entire trip was worth it.” He stares into your eyes and you are even more confused. You met this man only five minutes ago and he’s making a pass at you. In the nineteen years you’ve been alive not a single boy has even said more than a hello or misogynistic remark to your face. Yet here you are with a man, whom you have just greeted, and he is saying such sweet words.

“Would you like some bread?” This was all you could think of saying.

“Of course, thank you.” He takes it from your hand and puts it in his bag. You try to think of something else to say. He pulls your hand and leads you away from the harbor. At the exit he looks at you again.

“Thank you for greeting me Y/N.” He looks a bit lost as he drops your hand yet again and turns. As he scans the unfamiliar territory you have finally found words.

“Would you like me to show you around the square?” Sure you have the time. Your father was not home as he was in Virginia for the week and it was you alone in the house, so there was no one to realize your absence from dinner.

“That would be indescribable.” This time you take his hand in yours and pull him towards the bread cart.

You take him first to the bakery section where you introduce him to the nice old lady who worked there. She gave him another few pieces of bread for free and he politely smiled and bowed to her. Next you take him to see the common area where he stares for a good ten minutes at the walks of life within the parameter. You stare right along with him.

Then you show the area of shops and taverns and he is delighted beyond belief at the tavern’s inhabitants. He looks as if he wants to go in but instead he keeps walking the streets with you.

This goes on for hours, you talk about the city life about the people you see everyday. He speaks little about his life in the Caribbean and even more briefly about his mother. He talks mostly about a revolution and about the unique individuals he is seeing with you. His talking becomes non-stop as he rambles about everything he needs to do, everything he needs to accomplish. The word need strikes you because this man does not want anything, he needs to do it. He keeps pausing to see that you follow and you are there nodding an encouraging.

It is dark by the time you realize he has no where to go. It has been hours and the thought only hits you now. He has been silent for the past few minutes after mentioning something about going to King’s College. Now you are both staring at the stars above the city.

“You can stay at my home if you need.” His head snaps up.

“Please do not feel obligated to offer me room and board, Y/N.” His demeanor changes and you realize your choice of words was not the best.

“No, Alexander that isn’t what I meant to say, I meant I would be happy if you stayed with me until you found your own place and enrolled in King’s College.” It was true. You had never connected with another human being as much as you did with Alexander. You both had the wonder of the world aglow in your eyes and although he was much more vocal about his passions, you had the same ideals.

Still he hesitated. His eyes were still searching for validation that it would be alright if he, an immigrant, bastard, whore’s son could stay with you, an American girl whom he’d just met not five hours earlier fresh off the boat from a providence in the Caribbean.

“Alexander, do not throw away your shot.”

-K

Legend of Korra, "The Importance of Words"

Summary: “Well, damn,” said Mako, fully at the end of his patience. “I must not have thought about it between the slaughter that happened under my watch and my brother dying in the hospital.” (BTP Prompt #58- The Beach)

Rating: T

Pairing: Makorra

A/N: The PacificRim!AU nobody asked for.

**********

i.

If there was anything good about piloting, it was that it came with slightly better rations than a dock or wall-building job. Plus, it had a tad more security than his old job on the black market.

From what Mako had heard, people used to fight to get into a Jaeger. Pilots were the biggest celebrities: their faces were blown up to fit on billboards, toys were released in their image, their interviews held on nighttime news channels and broadcasted across the world. They were greeted after every battle with fanfare and congratulations. They received letters from little kids thanking them for saving the world.

Nowadays, the few pilots that were left were lucky to get a decent turnout at their funerals when they died. But. The rations were a plus.

Keep reading

Under The Rain

Prompt: The comic that started it all~

Word count: 1809

Rating: K+

Read on FF.net

Read on AO3

Many thnaks to @cherrybluu for letting me write this one-shot! ((I hope you like it, sorry for taking so long! ^^; ))



A fight while it was raining was Ladybug’s least favourite time to engage in a battle with akumas. It wasn’t so much because of the sight hindrance or the tendency to slip slightly when running through a puddle. It was more because Chat Noir, her dear partner, had quite a bit of trouble dealing with that type of weather. Had trouble dealing with the whole aspect of getting wet. Though lightning wasn’t a favourite thing of his either; being in ownership of bad luck did come with its downfalls. The sky had tried to strike down the poor cat one too many times.

Keep reading

bandaidknees-deactivated2016061  asked:

do u have anything that could help me work up the courage to get a cane? i really ought to have got one ages ago but i'm too embarrassed to use one in public. i need encouragement to help myself, i really think it would improve my ability to walk and i wouldn't have to lean on people/things all the time.

I don’t personally use a cane, but I have become a wheelchair user fairly recently (just over a year ago), so my advice is going to come from my own  experiences of the psychological adjustments i had to make when I got my chair, and the things I had to confront (both internally and from other people).

I’ve actually been thinking recently (influenced by this article on Dazed, where female musicians give advice to their younger selves) about how I wish I’d got my wheelchair years before I actually did. Like you, I knew that getting a mobility aid (an additional one in my case as I used to wear leg braces) would improve my life but it was the stigma and embarrassment that stopped me for a long time. If I could go back and tell teenage me how much a wheelchair would improve my life I would, but y’know, hindsight. 

The reality is that it is difficult to make the choice to start using  canes/wheelchairs/scooters/hearing aids/whatever, because they make you stand out. They mark you as someone with an impairment/disability and as someone who is Not Normal. Even in my case, where I was already very visibly disabled from the way I walked, the idea of using a wheelchair seemed out of the question because I thought it somehow made me “more disabled” (it sort of does! but that’s ok!). People will stare. They will ask questions. This is the reality of using assistive equipment and it can honestly be a right pain in the arse sometimes. You can be the most self-assured, confident person in the world, but that additional visibility (being stared at for instance) really can wear you down. 

I’m not saying this as a way to discourage you, rather, I think it’s important to consider some of the crap you might have to deal with (even if it’s just in your head) when you get your cane, so you have the tools to deal with it should they ever become an issue.

What I would suggest is drawing up a pros and cons list. The pro list would be all the ways the cane would improve your life. I think you know these already (you could walk further, be steadier, more independent), but writing them down can give you more clarity. The con list would be all the things you’re concerned about. I want you to really think about all of the reasons you’re reluctant to get the cane, even if you feel bad or shameful about them. 

Look at the list, but instead of using it to decide whether you should or shouldn’t get the cane, focus on how you can work on overcoming the things on the cons side. Are you worried about people staring or asking questions? Is your impairment currently invisible, and getting a cane would make it visible? Do you or your family/friends associate getting a cane with “giving up” somehow? These are not unusual thoughts to have, and confronting them can help you deal with them. Confidence and overcoming internalised ableism is a process, it takes a lot of resilience and patience, and sometimes you will be embarrassed or wish you didn’t have the cane, but remember the pros on the list and use them to remind yourself about how your life has improved (because your life will improve if you get the cane).

In practical terms, actually choosing a cane can be quite fun. There are tons of places you can get cool and colourful canes if that’s what you want (try Amazon or your local pharmacy). You can match your cane to your nails or your leggings, you can bedazzle it, you can have one for different days/outfits/shoes. Personalising your cane and making it a statement piece can go some way in making it less embarrassing to use. If you take a look through my archive you’ll see a bunch of pictures of cool people with canes, which could give you some inspiration on how to style it, as well as hopefully increasing your confidence in how you might look with your cane and seeing the diverse types of people who use them. 

If anyone has any additional advice/resources please reblog/leave a reply (I’m sure I reblogged something recently about where to get cool canes, but I can’t find it anywhere).

So that’s my advice, the TL:DR version being this; it will be difficult and take some adjustments, but get the cane. It will definitely change your life for the better. 

I hope this helps :)

Why The Elitist Fine Art World Should Lose Power

I know practically nothing about the fine art World, which means that I write about it with little authority but complete impartiality. For those of you who will bite my head off for these thoughts: I invite you to explain to me why I’m wrong. Nothing excites me more than changing my mind, so I look forward to your disabusing or confirmation with equal excitement.

Here’s my experience:

I decided several years ago that I wanted to start refining my visual knowledge and taste. Having gone through a massive transformation as a listener of music since I began making it, I knew how learning felt. What used to sound like one unified “thing” to me - a song - crystallized into multiple parallel streams of information as I studied recordings. I came to hear an arrangement as a geometric dance between separate voices, a patchwork of distinctive feels of time and pitch. The bass might pluck slightly behind the tempo, the piano urgently pulling things forward in opposition. In short, I came to hear the music in far greater detail as my brain learned to identify and perceive the individual elements of it.

Anyways, I wanted to go through a comparable education in visual thinking. I wanted to develop a more granular ability to see colors and interpret shapes, and I wanted to start building a reference library in my mind of artists and their work, not for commercial or academic purposes, but in order to contextualize things as I discovered them.

Adding to this interest was my provisional conclusion, after reading a number of neuroscience books, that the human neocortex likely has a consistent approach to processing and storing information across the senses. After coming in through the sensory organs, in other words, I suspect that visual, acoustic, haptic, olfactory, and other information gets encoded in similar or identical formats.

This lends credibility to thinking about art and beauty across mediums by metaphor. We describe music frequently in terms of the other senses, for example. Sound engineers talk about the tambor of an instrument as “bright” or “dark,” pitches as “high” and “low,” and so forth. Personally, I felt like there could be great value in exploring new visual ideas and then interpreting them musically. I wanted to try writing a song that “sounded” like a particular painting, for example. Not that there is any right answer to such an attempt, but I viewed this as a promising creative experiment.

I began by following several diverse art and design blogs, and I have faithfully done so now for a couple of years. Whenever I find the time each day, I flip through several hundred photos of paintings, sculptures, videos, industrial designs, and architecture. When I like things, I click on them and learn more. I know far less than any freshman art history student, but I’ve gradually been figuring out what I like and why, and I am deepening my perspective.

Of course it’s a bit unconventional that my education here has occurred almost entirely on the internet. I do go to museums every once in a while, but I have not been hanging around galleries or meeting many people from the art world. I’ve had this weird, but awesome, experience of encountering something entirely on my own terms, and in a relatively new manner. I’ve been able to view tens of thousands of images with no context at all…just the work. It’s been like listening through the catalogue of recorded music without anyone pointing out to me who The Beatles are. I’ve had so much fun doing it, and on occasion I’ve emailed an artist and bought something that has caught my eye.

Recently, however, I emailed a couple of people whose work I liked and had my first encounter with the mainstream art establishment. Upon asking them to buy some of their pieces, they explained to me that they only sell through their galleries. Now, I don’t fault these artists one bit for the arrangement. In many cases, their galleries financially support the creation of their work and then provide a whole suite of services that make life easier and more creative. And by the way: you can only buy my band’s first album through our old record label too. They paid for it, they own it, and that’s the deal WE chose to accept.

But these art galleries take 50%!!!

Are you kidding me?!

Think about this: I find someone who makes cool stuff over the internet. I email them and tell them I’d like to send them money if they send me their cool stuff, and then they refer me to someone who will do nothing but process my credit card, mail me the thing, and take 50%. Now I get that this middleman also owns a white room somewhere and that if I lived in the city where this white room exists I could go take a look in person.

But if my experience of discovering and buying a piece of art is more typical of what more people will do in the future - and I think it is - then isn’t the artist leaving a lot of money on the table and overpaying his or her gallerist for lead-gen (when it comes to a purchaser like me)?

Of course, I’m leaving out the actual most important function of the galleries and dealers: “curation.”

Since art is expensive, and rich people who buy art usually know nothing about it, they need middlemen to tell them what’s good and what’s not. And so with art you have the most robust critical and curatorial apparatus of any medium (credit for this idea to my friend Lukas). In music, by contrast, many critics are sad failed musicians who typically can barely even write a grammatically-correct review. And this is just fine, because the worst thing that happens with or without them is that someone wastes 99 cents on a bad song. But in fine art, a wrong turn can cost millions! So it’s important that buyers be able to mitigate risk.

Being represented by a good gallery, then, is most importantly a market signal that an artist is worth watching. The gallery can generate momentum and, eventually, cross the artist over into the canonical wonderland where, for the rest of that artist’s life, money will flow and creativity will go unpunished. I know this is wildly oversimplifying, but that’s the gist of it as far as I can tell.

And since most people who deal with art in any medium don’t actually understand it in a super deep, technical way, non-visual information seems to predominate in the career-making of artists. An artist’s educational credentials provide them entry to the establishment, and then, over time, galleries and other middlemen nurture them into trusted brands. The higher the brand value, the less the individual work actually matters, and the easier life becomes for the middlemen and the artist.

And who are these middlemen? Well, I assume many of them are really nice people, just like folks who work at record labels. I imagine many got into the art world because they loved art. They just wanted to be around it, whatever that meant. And of course some of them are exceptionally knowledgable and perceptive.

But yesterday, I decided to go check out a bunch of galleries here in L.A. It was my first time ever visiting them, a whole strip of them on South La Cienega. And what I found were a bunch of arrogant jerks.

I went into uncreative white room after uncreative white room. They all smelled like crap. And there were so few pieces of work there for every square foot that it seemed like a practical joke on the visitor. A monastic silence permeated the air. The gallerists sat at their desks like judges, appraising me as I entered, then either murmuring a “hello” or simply ignoring me.

I walked around and looked at stuff, and on a couple of occasions asked a question, only to be met with condescending, empty replies. This was at all of them but one, where the gallerist was clearly just getting his business up and running, and attacked me like a carnival barker desperate to push his artists. And that made him, in this context, seem amateur. Not enough confidence. Not enough silent satisfaction that all of this art, his gallery, his buyers, etc. were all better than me.

In short, I - as a potential buyer - had the worst customer experience possible.

I’m sure it’s different if you’re Warren Buffett, but that doesn’t excuse it.

And I don’t think this had anything to do with me, in particular. I just think it’s how this subculture operates culturally. Something that should be fun, magical, and for everyone is deflated, alienating, and classist.

And…I submit that it is also FAILING. What i mean by that is that it’s failing the same way our Democracy is failing: systemically. The government cannot do legislation anymore, and the art world is not giving us a rich visual culture.

Compare visual art and music. Almost everyone has a music player, buys mp3s or uses a streaming service, goes to a couple concerts a year, and views music as a constitutive part of who they are. But what percentage of the population do you figure participates at a comparable level in visual art?

Almost no one!!!

This is a system that primarily functions for a small subset of the population. We talk a lot these days about income distribution. But how about cultural distribution? I would argue that there’s inordinate inequality right now when it comes to visual art. Notwithstanding public art museums and open galleries, etc. almost no one is suuuuuper into art. If you are….chances are it is a defining aspect of your life. In this way visual art is like theatre now: if you’re into it, you’re a niche consumer. The average person does now know anything about big new artists. Banksy and Shephard Fairey are the only ones who have any sort of currency in the public imagination.

This is puzzling to me since our brains are (as I understand it) so disproportionately visual. And yet music is huge and populist while visual art is niche and elitist.

And that sounds like an opportunity to me. The white space is the entire population that currently spends no time or mental energy on visual art.

I bet they would if it were accessibly packaged!

If my Mom in Wisconsin wants to explore visual art today, she can go to the Milwaukee Art Museum and see plenty of classic, quality works. But should she want to actually purchase something she has vanishingly few options to see great current work because she’s not in one of the major metropolitan markets.

The art market basically serves her a dead-end unless she wants to visit L.A., New York, or a major fair. By contrast, if she wants to get into music, she can hop on Spotify or All Music Guide and go down the rabbit hole discovering thousands of musicians, organized in a great variety of ways. And this allows artists living in L.A. to make enough fans in cities like Milwaukee that they can then visit Milwaukee and play to a sold-out room of listeners. Isn’t there an opportunity for the demand for visual artists to be similarly expanded geographically? Isn’t that what the internet has done to every other marketable product?

One objection to this comparison between visual art and music goes as follows: “art” simply IS a more intellectual form of entertainment than music, just like art house cinema. It’s not fair to compare it to “music” at large, but only to something like avant-garde symphonic composition, which has a comparably tiny audience. Most people simply WON’T ever take an interest in visual art because it asks too much of them. They don’t want to put in the work needed to appreciate the cutting edge of visual work. They just aren’t sophisticated enough.

But art house film has a popular compliment: mainstream movie theaters. Avant-garde music has a popular compliment: pop music. Visual art’s popular analogue is basically: design. And my claim is that the public hunger for design is standing in for a vibrant pop visual art culture. Tumblr thrives, Instagram thrives, people are obsessed with the design stories behind Apple’s and others’ products. They are hungry for visual beauty, I submit. But the visual beauty that everyday people encounter exists largely in the service of selling things other than visual beauty. This is what the art World does: it finances and distributes the work of people who are good at making visual art for its own sake. But most people in the society don’t frequently encounter such work.

My hypothesis is that art is on the verge of going “mainstream,” sort of as “high fashion” has in the past several years. High school kids hadn’t heard of Margiela and Alexander Wang until they started popping up in songs and online. And now young people post Givenchy’s new pieces on their Tumblrs as a proxy for actually buying the things. It’s a way of saying: “this is who I am,” “this is what I think is beautiful.” And I think the same thing might very well happen with visual art, even if that doesn’t mean that dramatically more people buy fine art.

So here are a few guesses about where things might be heading:

1) The functions of galleries should be unbundled. Right now these functions include: financing, distribution, gallery showing, marketing, transaction management, and, importantly, curation!

These services should be fragmented and artists should be able to purchase or otherwise contract them a la carte.

Of course artists might choose to stick with the establishment. I am putting out my next album through Capitol Records because, on balance, I think I get a lot of value from partnering with them. But they also worked with me to craft an unconventional record deal that suited the changing economics of the business. I am simply saying that galleries will likely need to find new models or else die out. The simple 50% thing feels arbitrary and excessive to me.

2) Curation should become free. I get that curators wish they could be highly paid to share their taste, but I think the future will better monetize creation than curation. This is not to say curation should end. It should just be made more efficient. By efficient, I mean that the people with the taste that others most value should have the power in the system, and in real-time. This is sort of how it is on Spotify. If a kid in Akron, OH has awesome playlists, people can follow that kid. If he starts picking whack songs, they’ll stop following him. The power is shifting from the radio DJ’s and record label A&R’s to the people. The people will get what they like, always.

Now of course professional curators help the World see things that aren’t obvious to the great unwashed masses. The Velvet Underground gets cultural capital even though nobody buys the album. And then later we all thank the genius curators for insisting that we needed to pay attention. But such curators will still exist, and the audience will determine over time whether their opinions should be valued. It’s possible that this will make populist work more popular. But if that is a bad thing, then the place to address it is at the population level, through better aesthetic and creative education. It’s like government again: Democracy only works with an educated populace.

This is the same shift in power, by the way, that is underway in journalism, music, and moving picture (through YouTube, for instance).

3) Something like Artsy.net, 1st dibs, or Paddle8 should become a mainstream product that connects anyone anywhere in the World with all of the art that people are making in the World in real-time. This would realize a familiar technological trajectory whereby software replaces a human intermediary and brings creators and consumers into more direct, financially reasonable exchanges.

 4) There will be way more people browsing and buying art, and the pricing of works will distribute more towards the long tail. It won’t be so binary: bad/folk art or fine art. There will be a wider spectrum of work along a different price curve. The class of artists able to sell $5-15k works will probably expand quite a bit. I imagine that the elite secondary markets, while potentially losing some middlemen, will remain astronomically priced and dominated by establishment incumbents. This is equivalent in music to the fact that the biggest artists still largely work through major labels, with the big talent agencies, etc. 

5) Editions might become ridiculous. Artificial scarcity is stupid. Originals should be as expensive as they can be and marginally inexpensive reproductions should be priced as such, tending towards their true cost.

6) Your credentials won’t matter as much in the lower primary markets. The broader World of everyday art enthusiasts will impute way less value to your fine art degree or your job title or how much your last piece sold for or anything else that’s not immediately relevant to how much a human should love a piece of art. Things will be valued more democratically, on terms that are sensible to sensible everyday people. Art will end up belonging to everyone more than it does today. And that will make some things harder for artists and intermediaries, and it will also make many things easier, better, and more profitable.

I’m not sure when these changes will occur - or if they’ll all occur. Maybe they are already in progress. But what’s clear to me is that the incumbent fine art establishment deserves to lose ground. It is currently failing to inject visual art and its creators into our mass culture. Its economics cater to a fragile system of financial inequality and tax evasion by super rich people in the society. And, from my extremely limited experience, it is full of arrogant gatekeepers who think they know - and are - better than the rest of us.

-D.A. | 3-15-2014

10 Reasons I Love New York

By Raspberry & Rouge

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I could probably think of a thousand reasons to love New York. Or beyond. But I thought you might stop reading after the trillionth statement of my love for the city, so decided to stick to just ten. For now. I might bore you with more in my upcoming posts, but if you’ve ever visited the Big Apple you might catch my drift. Walking around on those endless avenues, the gorgeous little side streets in the West Village… I literally screamed of happiness. Some dream of a deserted island with not much more than a bikini and a hammock (ok and iPhone and wifi), but me, me you could put in the tiniest apartment somewhere downtown New York and I’d the happiest girl. So why all of this? Where does it come from. Hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. The ten reasons I love New York:

1. The energy. From the very first moment I set foot in New York I was sold. There is an energy present I can’t explaing to anyone who’s never been. It might be the mix of the colossal buildings, loads of people, yellow cabs flashing by, cute little eateries, I can’t really tell. But the energy, it’s definitely there like no other place I’ve ever been to.

2. Food! Coming back to the point above: the eateries. So many of them. Since this time around we didn’t really do anything touristic apart from a helicopter flight (!), we spent A LOT of time in restaurants. At breakfast we were discussing where to have lunch, and around noon we starting thinking of a cool place to have dinner. So yeah, loads of good places, I’ll share my faves soon in a New York city guide.

3. Spring time. No time like Spring! It’s my fave season of the year and the best time to visit the city. It’s literally in bloom! All throughout the city you can find the white and pink blossom trees blooming for weeks in a row. A blogger’s heaven as you can imagine, and I’m no exception.

4. Shopping spree. Again, another thing I like to do in the city. As a fulltime blogger I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to buy clothes too often because I get loads of stuff. So physically shopping for clothes is something I rarely do. Browsing online, yeah, pretty much every day, but actually buying stuff: not so much. But in New York I do, I love it so much! All the cute little boutiques in Soho – how can one stay away?

5. The parks. The one downside about big cities, especially in summer time, is that there’s no place to really except the craziness. Because even I, a city girl at heart, love some peace and quiet every once in a while. Fortunately New York does have places to go besides the Hamptons or Montauk. And you don’t have to travel far! I love spending time in Central Park, walking along the Hudson River or picnicking in one of the lovely parks Brooklyn has to offer.

6. Diversity in so many ways. New York is such a diverse city! Not only because of the “melting pot” of people, but also when it come to its neighborhoods. It’s like every neighborhood is almost a village on its own, with a “centre” and the “outskirts”. You cannot even compare the vibe in Brooklyn with the one in Midtown, or the Meatpacking district with the Upper East Side.

7. Culture. Obviously New York is not as old as most of the European cities are, so when it comes to culture you might want to adjust your expectations a bit. Yes, the city has cute old streets downtown, but when you’re looking for really “aged and dusted” this might not be the place for you. But culture is not necessarily something you have to find in super old buildings, it’s something that is just there no matter how long it exists. It’s not in art, buildings or people in general. It’s about the mix of everything that makes the city what it is. Artsy people will love all the tiny galleries downtown, the Metropolitan Museum, Moma or the Whitney. Or any of the other amazing museum the city has to offer.

8. Strolling around. Whenever we go to New York we tend not take take the subway or an Uber too much. Yeah, the distances can be quite big, but it’s the perfect city to stroll around in if you’re not in a hurry. Accidentally bumping into the cutest cafe or store doesn’t really happen when you’re underground now does it?

9. Fashionwise. Obviously we have to discuss this subject over here. I always get so inspired when I’m in the city! I love playing around with different styles and pieces of clothing. And when I’m in New York I just feel like I could wear anything, and that it would be ok. You’ll see me sporting loads of different styles of clothing over the next few weeks on my blog, curious to hear what you guys prefer! Sometimes I do think I’m a bit more limited in what is acceptable back in Amsterdam. I feel like the Dutch are definitely sticking to the “normal is crazy enough” saying in so many ways. Not that I’m intending to wear anything outrageous, but even heels are sometimes “too much” in my hometown I feel. The Dutchies love their jeans and sneakers! Nothing wrong with that, but playing dress up is quite nice from time to time too.

10. Attitude. Now this is a point of discussion, because I know a lot of people will not agree with me on this one. But there’s something about New York’s attitude, or those of New Yorkers maybe. No, I don’t think they’re the friendliest of people, but you do know what you get. It’s very out there, very present, it’s welcoming and closed off at the same time. Every person for itself I think, and that could be good and bad at the same time. Good because you’re free to feel, do, look, say whatever you think. You can be you and no one would care. Bad, because it might not feel very warm. But hey, it’s a big city and it definitely has balls. And I like that!

Now about the outfit. This one is definitely one of my faves from New York. I loved being able to wear shorts again! The look is a mix between the Cali cool vibes I adore, the Northern European layering and a bunch of 70s touches. I keep on thinking what I would wear if I could choose one outfit for the rest of my life (weird but true). I think this could be it, although it surely is not all-age appropriate, but that’s something I will not worry about for now. What would you wear? Would it be something similar? Dying to hear!

This post originally appeared on Raspberry & Rogue. Follow her on Instagram here.

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Authors Note: This one was long. But I’m super happy with it. Enjoy

It had been a mutual split up.

Steve, however, had not been in agreement.

He was back in Washington D.C., running his usual morning loop. He’d had enough money to rent out an apartment and stay around town, without the aid of a disbanded SHIELD. It was madness to fall apart and separate at the height of such a crisis, but apparently everyone else was completely okay with it.

Natasha and Clint left together, Banner stayed in Stark Tower but decided not to be apart of the team if they weren’t going to be, and Tony? Well. Tony was elected as Director of the new SHIELD. Tony wasn’t one to sit around and direct, however. He had Pepper running his company; who said he’d stay in a position of power at a new one?

Steve didn’t follow any news from them. He kept to himself and his own missions. Although the new SHIELD would be on a hunt for Bucky, he had his own agenda for that separate side of the story. For now, he needed to clear his head. He’d developd too many interpersonal relationships with the Avengers—his friends—and he wasn’t ready to drop them like stones. He knew Tony felt the same.

And so he ran. Every day, for a very long time, to try and think clearly. Figure the mess out in his head. The disband had happened almost two months ago and Steve was still itching to contact them, no matter how odd the terms were. He sighed as he stopped running at his designated spot. He’d broken a slight sweat, but was otherwise okay. Running a hand through his hair, he sighed as he pulled out his phone to check his distance. What he wasn’t expecting to see was an urgent message from Pepper.

“Captain Steve Rogers,
I know this may come as a surprise, noting the current status of The Avengers Initiative, but we have urgent news from Stark Industries. Tony Stark has been missing for three weeks now. He has been presumed dead.

However, considering the previously presumed status of his life being proven false in Afghanistan, we assume he is alive and in captivity. Such a high figure would bring too much money to simply kill.

So on behalf of Stark Industries—and, of course, my own personal concerns and fears—I ask a favor of you, and the rest of the Avengers. Please come back and help us find my long, lost boss.

Thank you. Best reguards.

-Pepper Potts
CEO Stark Industries

Steve wasn’t sure whether to chuckle at some of her sarcastic jokes or panic. Tony was missing. For three weeks, he was missing. For a moment he had trouble remembering what to do when a black car pulled up next to him.

"Care for a repeat of my fossil joke?” came a familiar voice from within the car. Natasha tipped her sunglasses down her nose and Steve visibly relaxed. “Get in, super soldier. We have a long trip, and Mr. Stark doesn’t have time for us to waste.”

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