granted i know everything would have made so much more sense if i had seen all the other related ones

Outlander 03x01 The Battle Joined

I didn’t have time to do a full rewatch of both seasons before the new season of Outlander started so I only did a rewatch of my absolute favorite episodes. For Season 2 that was 2x01 Through a Glass Darkly and 2x10 Prestonpans… and those two episodes couldn’t have been more relevant to the Season 3 premiere episode with so much of the episode revolving around Frank and Claire’s renewed marriage and a battle and its aftermath.

As has been the case before with Outlander, having read the books and having that vague idea of what’s coming helps me to emotionally prepare for certain events. And has also been the case before with the adaptation, this was an episode where I emotionally prepared for one thing so they decided to wallop me with feels from a direction I wasn’t anticipating (and I LOVE it when the show does that).

Episode spoilers and more below the cut. Also it’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these and I’ve been very excited about it all so this is a verra, verra long analysis.

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Shane Walsh X Sara Grimes
Setting: Season 1, episode 6 - At the CDC.
Word Count: 3.1k
Rating: E for explicit / Mature audiences only.
Notes: Because I loved Shane, everything he did was to survive. If he made it to season 7, everything he did for the group then would be reasonable now. (Except the whole Lori nonsense, tsk tsk Shane.)
Summary: Shane is drunk, he interrupts reader’s late night shower to help sober himself up, clearly needing a helping hand getting back to bed.
Song: Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

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Why Ja’far was literally adopted by Rurumu (and about Ja’far’s character development)

So I’ve seen some arguments as to whether or not Rurumu actually adopted Ja’far or if it was just her motherly nature and she treats everyone that way, and I can say that it is a %100 canon fact that Rurumu does view Ja’far as her actual adoptive son, and that Hinahoho does on some level consider him as such as well. 

So anyway look under the cut for a detailed explanation of this 

(Also the screenshot credit goes to sensescans) 

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anonymous asked:

Ayyyeee, What about a scenario where Iwaizumi, Tendou, Daishou, and Oikawa's (separate) fem S/O gets kidnapped but the police find her (dead or alive idc you can make it either angsty or happy whatever you want)

I watched CSI: Miami as I wrote this. Lol, granted, I don’t think it’s really up to par with other kidnapping stories. But I hope you enjoy, Anon!

Also, I kept the details of the kidnapping sparse and the reader can imagine whatever they feel would’ve happened. While I’ve seen many films and TV shows that have such in it, there’s no way I can really relate to someone who has gone through that trauma of being held hostage by someone who intends to do you harm. That would be terrifying and surely it must create some serious psychological issues. I’m sorry to anyone who has gone through that or loves someone who has gone through that. There’s a hardship to bear on both sides of that line.


When he first heard the news, he thought his heart was going to fall right out of his chest. Trembling hands struggled to keep the phone pressed to his ear as a sweeping nauseous came over him. “That can’t be right,” Iwaizumi’s voice sounded far away, even to himself, “I was just with her.” Merely an hour before - was it even that long? - he had held her against him, lips brushing hers in a small goodbye. And now they were telling him that she had been taken?

It didn’t make any sense. His mind raced at a million miles a minute, desperately trying to take in the words of her mother on the other side of the line while attempting to keep his sanity. Something about a ransom for money they didn’t really have but needed to get. Police weren’t allowed to be involved unless they wished harm upon her. And, oh god, why hadn’t he stayed? If he had only been there then he would’ve been able to protect her and now…

And now he had to hope that they could get her back quickly and safely.


Tendou spent more time outside the police department than he should’ve been considering the circumstances. The kidnapper made it very clear about what could happen to her if they went to the authorities, but… isn’t this exactly what they should be doing in a situation like this? There was no way they were going to be able to come up with the amount that was being demanded and the longer they waited… who knew what they were doing to her with every day that passed.

The mere thought made him want to be sick, his hands tightening on the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white, his jaw tightening. What kind of protector was he to let something like this happen the moment he turned his back? A curse sprouted from his lips as he brought a fist down hard against the dashboard of his car. His breath came hard as the debate continued on in his head.

A knock on his window caused him to jump, gaze darting wide to see an officer gesturing for him to roll down his window. As they commanded, Tendou did so, becoming conscious of the way they placed their hand over the their gun in their holster. “You okay over here, son?”

“I need your help,” the decision was made before he allowed himself to think about it more. He needed to get her back safe in his arms.


“Look, man, I already told you everything I know!” Daishou’s voice rose at the repeated questioning of the officer. The more time they spent in there talking, the longer it was taking them to find her. He had gone to them because this was something that he couldn’t do on his own, but he was almost regretting doing so, especially when he was told to calm down for the umptenth time.

“Son,” their voice was calm yet stern, forcing his glare to drop away from them and down to where his fists clenched atop his knees, “we want to find her as much as you do. But to do that, we need as much information as possible.”

Heat rose to his face instantly as his vision began to blur, his lip trembled as he attempted to speak again, “I know, I just…” What? He just wanted her safe and home. He just wanted to apologize for not being there for her when she needed him. He just wished he had told her that he loved her before they had parted that night. He just hoped she was alive.

“I know,” the officer leaned forward to press their hand against his shoulder, “now, please, just one more time, tell us as much as you can remember.”


It felt like years: those few days it took them to track down the kidnapper and find her. It felt like a century: the process of booking the maniacs behind the stunt. And it felt like a millennia: the time it took for her to be wrapped up within his arms again. Her head pressed tightly into his shoulder, his hand tangled deep into her hair as he inhaled her scent. Oikawa couldn’t hold her close enough, tight enough, to make sure that she wasn’t going to be taken from him again.

Later he’d listen with endless tears of how terrifying it was. How they roughed her up and the constant moving from one disgusting motel to another in order to stay hidden. How they rarely fed her in the near mouth of keeping her hostage. How she survived being so ill treated. He would hear all of it and make promises there were no guarantee he could keep until he couldn’t speak anymore.

That was there for them to do later, but right now Oikawa pressed his mouth hard against hers, desperate to feel and know that she was there with him again.

Cher Monsieur Gansa,

You probably won’t read this, but I still wanted to write to you and all the people involved in the decision making of Homeland Season 6.



First of all, I’d like to say that I live in Belgium (small country between France and Germany. You may have heard of us these last few years). English is not my mother tongue (French is) so I’d like to apologize for the mistakes that probably fill this text.

My relation with Homeland is a bit peculiar I suppose, compared to most fans. I’ve been watching the show since its first season but, for a very long time, I’ve been what most would probably call a casual viewer. I loved the characters and really loved that the plots were so in touch with what was happening in the world, but I didn’t have that ‘click’ that made it more than a love-it-but-don’t-really-think-much-about-it-afterwards kind of show. In fact, while I thought season 1 was an amazing and thrilling ride, I’ve got to admit that the 2 following seasons had some plots or characters or relationships that didn’t grip me at all and had even me thinking that I might stop watching.  

Of course, I still had reasons to keep going, Peter Quinn probably being the main one. Quinn caught my attention and interest from the very start. Every scene with him in it was immediately more interesting for me. He was funny (in his own way), mysterious, intriguing and I loved his interactions with a lot of the other characters, Carrie in particular.

With every new season, he was THE main thing I couldn’t wait to see in the show. But, still, I remained this kind of casual viewer. At the end of season 5, I was very sad to think that he was gone, mercy-killed by Carrie, but I thought the finale gave a certain kind of closure for my favorite character.

When I heard that he was coming back in season 6, I was ecstatic. I was even more happy to see that you didn’t take the easy way out (as many other shows might have), that you were going to address the consequences of everything that happened to him. This was really something that delighted me. I’m sucker for drama/angst and realism.

By episode 6x02, I was definitely under the spell and a wonderful thing happened : I had the ‘click’ that made me go from ‘casual viewer’ to ‘kind of obsessed viewer’. I can’t exactly explain why. Maybe it’s because of my job (I’m a social worker). Or maybe it’s because it was about an issue I had never seen addressed in a TV show. Or maybe it’s because it involved a character that I’d watched and loved for 5 years. Or maybe it’s because of the brilliant acting of Rupert Friend. It’s probably a mix of the four, but the fact remains : I started to feel this need to go beyond just watching the episodes and I started to really invest myself, emotionally, in the story of this man (as fictional as he may have been). I couldn’t wait to see him overcome the physical and emotional/psychological obstacles of his disability, to see him fight his demons and come back stronger from this ordeal. I didn’t mind that this could take a long time, like I said, I love realistic drama : the longer and the harder the journey, the more intense and emotionally fulfilling the finish line would be…

Except that… not only did Quinn not get the chance to pick himself up, his burden got *even* heavier when it was implied that he was a victim of sexual abuse (from his father figure, no less), when you made him responsible for the death of one of the only person he ever truly cared about, when you managed to make him feel even more worthless than before, and *then*, when you killed him in a way that was so ambiguous, mundane (by *his own* standard) and *stupid* that it was really insulting.

I’m not naive, after watching 6 seasons of Homeland, I didn’t expect a happily-ever-after for Quinn. But after more than 2 seasons of physical, mental and psychological torture, I don’t think expecting to see something else than him being kicked while he was down, again and again and again, was too much to ask. I don’t think wanting to see a character that I’ve watched for 5 seasons, a character who was so important for the plots and the main character of the show, be recognized and honoured after his passing is too much to ask. I also don’t think that wanting to have some explanations about why the story went that way (again !) and to have some acknowledgement that the show *and* the fans suffered a great loss is a caprice.

By no means am I saying that you owe us (the fans) to tell the story we want to have. But I think that you *do* owe some respect and consideration to the fans who contribute(d) to the success of your show.

I also think it’s very important to remember that, while television (and art in the broad sense) is a wonderful tool to highlight problematics that are important to you, to make people think and to open debates… it’s also there to entertain people.

I think it’s a pity that a show as interresting and relevant as Homeland, got lost in its never ending storylines, just to stay as close to the reality as possible and to try and anticipate what horrors our society was going to face next. It’s even sadder that, by doing so, the show lost sight of character development. I’m a big supporter of the character-driven shows : plots should serve the characters, not the other way around.

A few months ago, the wonderful Riz Ahmed made a speech before the U.K Parliament about the importance of diversity and representation on television. About the influence that it can have in the everyday life and for more problematic issues right now. Granted, he was referring to terrorism, but I think that idea could apply to all issues related to the human condition. That’s why, in my humble opinion, TV shows have a responsibility to each issue they address and the message they send to their audience.

Now, more than ever, art plays a huge part in giving people hope and providing them with great role models.

Now, more than ever, television can have a huge influence by showing the world not as it is but as it should be. How every single one of us can contribute to change it.

In this context, Peter Quinn could have been an extraordinary role model to veterans, depressed people, … : After being to hell and back, see him get back on his feet and overcome his demons would have been quite the message of hope, and the goals and achievements to aim for. But instead you dropped the ball and had him die at his absolute lowest, thinking he actually *deserved* all that happened to him.

Quinn’s story didn’t have to end on a happy note. It didn’t even had to end with him being *alive* (I wish it did, though). It just had to be told with dignity and respect. And you denied that to him, to Rupert and to the fans.

I don’t know which way the show is going to go next. Maybe the death of Quinn is actually fake, another ‘gotcha !’ you can’t wait to play on us. Or maybe he’s really dead and you just don’t care about us. Either way, it’s doesn’t matter. The damage is done. You’ve lost 2 of the most important things between a showrunner and his audience : trust and respect.

As far as I’m concerned, once that’s lost, there’s no going back.

Cordialement,

Aurélie A.

Solemn Thoughts of a Separated Twin (Leia & Luke sibling fic)

This one requires a bit of context. So I just recently finished the book The Thirteenth Tale, which is a gothic novel heavily involving the superstitions around twins. I also really enjoy the soundtrack to the musical Blood Brothers, which involves a pair of twin boys separated and rejoined later in life to disastrous consequences. In that story, a character makes up a superstition that claims separated twins are doomed to misfortune should they ever learn the truth. I thought it was an interesting concept when applied to Luke and Leia. 

I did some research on how twins are viewed across the world, and it tends to be extremely varied; though they are always sort of seen as strange, often wonderful, and perhaps a little creepy. Luke and Leia never fit that role, but I wanted to explore how they could while analyzing how these legends fit into their life.  

Almost every culture across the galaxy had legends involving twins, at least those for species in which more than one child per birth were rare. 

Leia noticed this from a young age, long before she’d ever imagined that she was one. Perhaps this is why the old wives tales passed around her fellow senators’ servants had enticed her so; she had subconsciously wanted to learn more about herself, and her missing match. 

Few cultures feared twins. But so many viewed them as mysterious, almost mystic. Tied to each other in ways that no one else could understand. Bringing luck, or misfortune. Loving each other more deeply than any love could match, or bitter rivals. Sometimes, they were worshiped. 

Those that believed in the Force argued over what would come of Force sensitive twins. Some said they’d be more powerful with their powers intertwined. Beacons of blinding light, as powerful as four Jedi when joined. Other said they were more likely, because of the needed balance of the universe, to fall on opposite sides–one light, one dark, forever battling to keep each other in check.

And woe be to the twins who are untimely separated. 

Leia always lent an ear to these legends and stories. But rarely did she heed them. After all, she was not a twin. 

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A Rant About Characterization

Alrighty, boys and girls and zees and zims. Sit back and let me take you on a quick trip through the creation and maintenance of characters in literature, specifically with an eye towards the fuckery that is happening in TV, Film and comics today. Gonna use a few big words, so Marvel comic writers and TV show runners might want to have a thesaurus handy just in case. Okay? Okay then.

One of the fundamental building blocks of a story is a character who is relatable to the audience.  Not likeable, notice, just relatable. Readers need a self-insertion point, a way to “see” the story through eyes that are familiar to them; if they don’t have a character they care enough about to give a fuck, they are not going to be interested in the story. Hell, if a reader cares about a character, they’ll ignore the worst shit bombs of plot lines and keep coming back for more (looking at you Supernatural. For Chuck’s sake, let Sam and Dean stop keeping secrets from each other. It’s been eleven fucking years now). 

Characters are created with a certain core set of criteria that set them apart from other characters in the same story.  This ain’t rocket science, folks.  Look at Marvel and DC and you’ll see the same types of characters in both universes.  Rich, spoiled, playboy who learned a harsh lesson, lost his parents, and is after justice/revenge?  Batman and Iron Man. Strong moral compass, too pure for this world, super strong, great leader, kinda hard to live with because they shine so bright? Superman and Captain America.  See what I mean?  A good story establishes the basic foundation  and then stays consistent to it even as the writers change and grow the character throughout the run of the show/films/comic/books. 

See, here’s the rub. You can change a character, even at a fundamental level, if you build the story and make it make sense. Chris Nolan took a Batman who was at toxic levels of campiness and gave us The Dark Knight.  Why did it work? Because he went back to Frank Miller and the very origins of Batman’s story as a detective, mixed in just enough updates to satisfy contemporary audiences and had a good script. Matt Fraction did the same for Hawkeye when he started his acclaimed comic book run, took the basics from past characterizations and came up with a beautifully crafted “tire fire” Clint Barton that appealed to readers. TV show characters SHOULD grow and change, but, let’s face it, there are some fundamentals that can never be violated or you no longer have that character.  Doing something like saying Captain America is and always has been a Nazi, for example, takes away the very cornerstone of who Steve Rogers is … the man whose good heart made the serum work on only him.  

So why do writers do stupid shit like Nazi Cap?  Why do they take a vaguely likeable character like Grant Ward on Agents of Shield and change him so many times the audience no longer has any idea what or who he is?  Why say that Abbie Mills’ role on Sleepy Hollow was always to acclimate Ichabod to the 21st century, not to be a witness in her own right?

LAZY ASS WRITING WHERE CHARACTERS ARE SEEN AS A FUNCTION OF THE PLOT AND A WAY TO GET NOTICED. 

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I really, really want to see a fanfic centered around this one scene in Naruto,

where Sasuke (from the future, centered in the future, w/e) remembers this scene in particular. And he apologizes to Kakashi, or at least expresses some form of repentance.

Maybe in the timeline of Boruto and his team. Maybe Kakashi and Sasuke, in a somewhat rare moment of quiet are drinking together at a bar. They are silent–because both of them are not wordy individuals, they are both considered tragic prodigies of their respective times, and the art of communication is something neither of them will ever truly grasp–and their relationship has simply reached the point where they understand each other’s pains, sorrows, pasts, and hold an unspoken respect for one another.

There is still that lingering tension, a result of betrayal and scars that will never heal, but they ignore it. They are particularly good at that.

Sasuke breaks the usual habit, and says, “I never apologized.”

Kakashi lifts an eyebrow, less condescension and more genuine curiosity. He briefly wonders if Sasuke is speaking about his betrayal as a whole (maybe Sasuke is the type that secretly harbors all of his regrets and spills them while drunk), but something tells him that the assumption is wrong.

“… When I was younger,” Sasuke eventually elaborates, not bothering to turn to the other. His gaze is fixed on the hardwood surface but his focus is elsewhere, his mind settled within an unreachable scene. “I… Said some things. Things that I shouldn’t have.”

“You’ve said a lot of things that you shouldn’t have,” Kakashi ripostes simply. There is no malice in his tone, no bitterness hinting at a grudge. They both know it to be a strained subject anyway.

“… ‘What if I were to… Kill the one you love most?’”

Kakashi turns to Sasuke in a sharp motion, eyes narrowing dangerously at the perceived threat. Sasuke only glances to his ex-mentor with a detached, empty gaze before returning to his drink.

The older of the two realizes that he had been quoting, most likely his own words, and slowly turns back, falling to his thoughts.

Kakashi has to take a moment to remember the event, because that was a long time ago and for all that he is a supposed genius, that particular encounter was catalogued as a whiny, self-important tantrum of his emotionally-darker student. (Unimportant.)

“Aa,” he murmurs to let Sasuke know he remembers–but it is more out of habit for his other students, for he knows that Sasuke had seen the moment recognition and realization sparked within his eyes. He waves a hand dismissively as he turns back to his drink. “Apology is unnecessary. It doesn’t matter.”

“No,” Sasuke immediately refutes, eyes riveted to an unseen mirage before him. “It’s necessary.”

Kakashi almost finds it within himself to ask why, but surprisingly, his ex-student beats him to the punch. They are both being rather talkative tonight, he muses.

“I didn’t know pain or suffering as a child. I was… Happy,” Sasuke mutters, refilling his empty saucer with a lazy motion. “I took it for granted, and I didn’t really know what I had until… Until it was gone.”

“Most children are like that,” Kakashi feels the need to point out, if only to get a rise out of his student. He succeeds, as Sasuke’s eyebrow twitches in slight irritation at the interruption. It is counted as a minor victory within his mind.

Surprisingly, however, Sasuke nods in acquiescence. “… I… I agree. But even after losing everything, I didn’t change. I was… I was selfish. I went from selfishly taking my happiness for granted, to selfishly ignoring the world and everyone in it for my… Ambition.”

The word is stated with a near-inscrutable curl of the lips, one that could have been a sneer or a grimace.

Sasuke’s eyes seem to glaze over, and Kakashi remains silent, regarding his ex-student with a curious but half-minded attention. He wonders if he should feel privileged to be trusted enough for the man to almost-relax in his presence.

Sasuke seems to come back to the present, and near-whispers, “I’m fortunate.”

“Yes.” Kakashi’s reply is curt, a little rougher than intended, but with no false meaning behind it. Because yes, Sasuke is fortunate, and he feels a strange relief (and is that pride? How odd.) at hearing the man acknowledge this.

Sasuke seems to notice the undertones of Kakashi’s bland reply as he speaks with more consideration. “I… Sometimes, I think back to then, when I was so focused on revenge, on my own perceived, blind, justice. I often find myself wondering how I got from there to here, where…”

He trails off, but Kakashi can easily fill in the rest. Where “he has a family.” Where “he is accepted.” Where “he is loved.”

Where “he is happy.”

Kakashi is fairly certain he is not wrong in any of these.

“That’s why I apologized,” Sasuke continues, swirling the warmed alcohol. “Back then, my world was myself, my hatred, my vendetta. Everyone around me was nothing more than black and white figures that happened to walk the same lands, but they didn’t understand me, my pain.”

He takes a slow, leisurely sip of his sake. His eyes, however–one pitch black, the other an ominous amaranthine–are sharply focused on Kakashi. “… It was wrong of me to assume so.”

Kakashi is hard pressed to not look away, because within his ex-student’s eyes is an almost beseeching, hopeful quality–as though hoping for quiet acknowledgement and understanding. It is minor, almost invisible, but Kakashi knows his like-minded ex-student well enough to identify the quality.

They have both experienced the immeasurable pain of losing all that is dear, the feeling of betrayal, of inadequacy. They are two individuals cut from the same cloth of misfortune and misery, and it is a damnable, contestable way to relate to another individual.

But that isn’t all.

While they are indeed two men who have had their fair share of grief and loss, they also have people to love once more. They are loved, cherished even, despite their histories, despite their less-than-amicable mannerisms, and everything in-between.

They had both entered a point in life where they never thought happiness would be attainable, and it is a shared understanding that they are fortunate to have the lives the hold.

They know it well.

Kakashi’s gaze turns back to his cup as he murmurs. “… I see.”

But despite the almost dismissing reply, a smile tilts the corner of Sasuke’s mouth, the ever-present shadows recede from Kakashi’s eyes. And they descend into a companionable silence.

Because this apology means more to Kakashi, to the both of them, than any other apology could have. Because an apology isn’t–would never be–enough to excuse Sasuke for betraying Kakashi’s trust, betraying a beaten man who had already lost everything before.

Because this isn’t so much an apology so much an acknowledgement of respect between two like-minded individuals, who can understand one another’s pain (sadness, regret) precisely because of what they have gone through.

Others would say it isn’t enough. Others would say that Sasuke has already served his time, paid his dues, repented for what he had done.

But it is at this particular moment that the two of them truly resolve the lingering issues that had left a rift between the ex-sensei and ex-student.

Another bond, burnt, worn and beaten, reforms.

And it is stronger than before.

[Elsewhere]

Naruto feels a strange, foreboding sensation.

His head snaps up from his paperwork, not unlike an alert animal sensing for danger. After a moment of narrowed eyes and strained concentration, he cradles his head with a bereaved groan.

“Oh, hell. Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke are being broody assholes again!”

(… Oops, I went from presenting a prompt to writing a sort of vague ficlet?)

youtube

I made a video about how I came to transition and then detransition.

Transcript:

Hey there, I’m Crash. I write the blog Crashchaoscats on wordpress and on tumblr. I decided to start making videos about my experience being a detransitioned woman. This is an introductory video. I’m going to briefly go over my past transition and how I came to detransition.

I first heard about trans men and the possibility of transitioning female to male when I was fifteen. Someone close to me came out as FtM and how they described what they felt sounded very similar to things I had been feeling. I could relate to a lot of what they described. Like I had felt out of place among girls for quite a few years at that point and had felt like I had a lot more in common with boys and want to hang out with and play with them and had a lot of, felt more inclined towards masculine pursuits and had a lot of male role models. Puberty had been very difficult for me. I had a lot of discomfort with my body. So hearing about trans stuff seemed to offer a lot of explanations for what I had been feeling for quite some time.

So I started reading about trans men and other trans people and reading about hormones and surgery. And thinking about if I wanted to change my body at some point in the future. Also around that same time, I started passing as a boy, like unintentionally. I didn’t set out to pass but I cut my hair short for the first time and I’d always dressed more androgynously but I started wearing more clothes from the men’s section. And I did this just to feel comfortable. Like I said I wasn’t trying to present as any particular gender. I was just trying to find something that felt right. But people started reading me as male. And before I ever took t my voice was pretty deep too, so even after, I could have a conversation, like if I talked that didn’t expose me as female necessarily. So I passed pretty well and I was actually surprised when this first started happening. I didn’t expect that at all. I was totally shocked the first time someone mistook me for a boy but I was intrigued. I kinda liked it when it happened. I was curious. It was, like I said, it was interesting. I was like “huh, I never thought, I never considered this”. And also, I met, in my teens I met some lesbians who were sometimes mistaken for male and most of them didn’t like that. Some of them got really offended when that happened or really pissed off and I didn’t have that reaction at all and I thought it was kinda cool. So I noted that difference.

I noted that difference because I was doing a lot of, I was really trying to figure out what I was at the time, I was sort of like comparing myself to different groups of people trying to figure out where I fit. Cuz, like I said, I was reading a whole bunch about trans men and I was also reading a whole lot about butches, butch dykes. And I could relate to some of what, to some of how trans guys talked about themselves and I could relate to how some butches talked about themselves. And I kinda felt like in between those two groups. Oh, and I should point out that a lot of what I read written by butches, they weren’t necessarily strongly woman-identified. In fact a lot of them, quite a few of them identified as some kind of transgender person or saw themselves as being partially male or a mixture of male and female. And more female-identified and woman-identified butch were kinda seen as more old-fashioned, like they hadn’t heard the latest trans theory or something like that. It wasn’t, I don’t know, they were kinda seen as more retro or something. And it was, people who, butches who saw themselves as being trans or genderqueer or something, like that were seen as more cutting edge.

Anyways, so I, when I was in my teen years I called myself a boydyke a lot of the time cuz I saw myself as both a boy and a dyke. And people also, like some people saw me as a boy and some people as a dyke so it kinda described how I saw myself and it also described how other people saw me and treated me. And I messed around with my presentation. I tried binding, I tried packing. I changed my name to a more masculine-sounding name. I was trying to see what felt most comfortable to me .

And this was quite a long time ago. Well, like fifteen years ago when I first started reading about trans stuff. So I never thought, I never even considered that I could make any changes to my body before I turned eighteen. Like that was just not a thing that happened very often. I mean I think I knew of a few people, like maybe one or two people, who transitioned in their teens before they turned eighteen. But, I don’t know, most of the other people, I mean I heard of a lot of people transitioning in their twenties. That was pretty common at that time. And I heard of a lot of people transitioning in their thirties and forties and fifties. But like, I just took it for granted that there was no way I was making any permanent changes to my body until I was, until I got to be a legal adult. And that didn’t seem weird at all either. Like I wasn’t upset. Cuz you know everything I heard described it as this huge, huge life changing event. It kinda, you know it made sense to me that I would have to wait until I was eighteen to do it. So yeah, so things have changed a lot since then. Clearly, since now there’s lots of people transitioning when they’re fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. And there’s people transitioning as children now too. So things have changed a lot.

Anyways, when I turned eighteen I went away to college. I went to a small liberal arts school. And I started living as a man when I got there. People who met me, almost all of them assumed I was trans man anyways so I decided to take advantage of that and see if living as a man made me happier. Also the college I want to had a pretty large queer and LGBT population. In fact there were a whole lot of lesbian and bisexual and queer women there. And I didn’t really connect with them. I think that was also significant in forming how I saw myself.  Cuz I didn’t really connect with a lot of them. There weren’t too many, like I had a hard time connecting with lesbians who weren’t butch. And that was like, and I didn’t even really, I usually called myself a dyke because that seemed less woman-identified to me at the time. And I saw lesbians as being more women-identified and I didn’t feel like a woman a lot of the time. I recognized myself as female but I didn’t really feel like a woman. So I, like I said I felt different from a lot of lesbians I met including almost all the ones I met at the college I went to. And they also were identifying me as, like they saw me as a trans guy. So there was this feeling of difference that was kind of mutually, it was mutual.

And I was still doing a lot of research. Doing a lot of reading, reading books, reading trans guy’s transition journals online. I hung out on a lot of FtM online communities reading up on what different guys experienced when they went on t. You know, what kind of physical changes did they get. Did they experience significant emotional and psychological changes? What kind of social, what was it like to go from being seen as a woman, usually as a masculine woman to blending in as a man? If they previously saw themselves as a butch lesbian was it a big deal to give that up? Like did they miss being visibly queer if they started passing for male? All kinds of stuff like that. I was trying to examine things from all possible angles to fully understand all the potential consequences and risks so if I did decide to take hormones I would know what I was getting into. So I saw it as a pretty big deal. And I wanted to makes sure I thought everything through as much as I could.

So eventually I did decide that I wanted to take testosterone. And I started taking t when I was twenty. So I had been living as a man for about two years at that point. And also around that time, well when I was twenty my mom killed herself. She had been depressed for years at that point. And that, well, that had an impact on me in a lot of different ways. And in ways I didn’t even fully realize until years later. But. Let’s see, she killed herself about three months before I started hormones. The therapist I saw, I told her, I told her my mom died. And she hesitated a little bit. I think maybe because she was concerned, since transitioning was a huge life change would I be able to handle that after having such a tragic event happen in my life? But I had been planning to transition before my mom died and I had been living as a man for two years and I been masculine identified for pretty much all my life, so she decided to go ahead and write me my letter.

I took me, it took a while for the grief to really hit me. Like I was sort of in a denial state for over a year and a half after she died. But when it hit me, it really hit me. And I kinda was, I was devastated. Like all of a sudden all of these emotions that I had been repressing just flooded into me and it was overwhelming. And that was a big reason why I ended up stopping t after a year and eight months. There was just too much going on. Cuz I was getting, it was very strange to be passing unambiguously as a man. I didn’t, because I had been living as a man for years, for two years and I’d been passing for male for at least five years at that point I thought I had a better idea what I was getting into than I actually did. And, I mean I liked passing for male overall but it was still very strange. It was still a very strange thing to adjust to and then, adjusting to that change and dealing with grief was too much. And you know, I couldn’t stop dealing with grief but I could stop my transition. So I did that.

And I also had some other things I wanted to think about. Like some old memories and feelings had come up. I started looking back over my teen years and realizing that I’d gotten a lot of shit for being the kind of girl I was and for being someone who was really gender ambiguous looking. So I was wondering if that had impacted my decision to change my body. So I felt like I wanted to think about that too.

I stopped for about a year and half, two years or so. And in that time my body changed back a lot and my dysphoria came back pretty hard. To the point where I was like “ok, I have to do something about this”.   So I ended up going back on t and was on it for two, two and half years or so.

And I stopped, let’s see, when I was around twenty-six or so. I was on t for around four years total, altogether. And when I stopped I still identified as trans, I still identified very strongly as genderqueer. I was still living as a man, as a trans man. And I just figured after, I had been on t long enough to get all of the physical changes that I needed. I planned to stay active enough that I could retain a lot of muscle mass that I had gained and keep the general shape of my body. Keep my shoulders broad for example. And that would be enough to make me comfortable and keep my dysphoria at bay. And I figured from the get-go that I, there was a good chance that I would be one of those trans people who took hormones temporarily. I had a lot of reservations about being dependent on any external substance. And I knew if I were to stay on testosterone long term then I would eventually need to get a hysterectomy and then I would be forever dependent on external hormones and I wasn’t comfortable putting myself in that situation. So I think I kind of like prepared myself for to be on them temporarily and to figure out how to accept my body as much as I could. I did a lot of that. I kinda was, I’ve always kind of been more of a, even though I was willing to make the radical change of taking testosterone, overall I wanted to make the least amount of intervention in my body as possible for those reasons.

So stopping t, it wasn’t detransitioning, it was just kinda like another stage in my transition. It was just what I felt I needed to do at that point. And I, I didn’t foresee myself ever not identifying as a trans person or as genderqueer. I had questioned my gender a bit cuz my sense of gender would change, shift around. I always felt pretty masculine overall but like sometimes I felt very strongly as a man, sometimes I felt more like a butch dyke, sometime I felt like a third gender, like kinda both a man and woman and different from men and women at the same time. And this was kind of confusing to me and I actually, like really, it was actually upsetting cuz I felt like I wanted a more stable gender identity. I kind of envied trans guys who just felt solidly like men. But I came to, I just kept having these shifting feelings and even though they changed I felt like I was moving in the same range. I was like “ok, I guess this is just my deal. This is just how I am and yeah, it’s weird by society’s standards and that’s probably why I feel uncomfortable with it because I grew up in this world that says that this doesn’t exist and if it does then there’s something wrong with you.” But I came to accept that and that’s how I felt for most of my adult life. So yeah, I didn’t see that changing.

But a year or so after I stopped taking t, I found myself having a lot of feelings, a lot of doubts and questions. I was starting to feel more like a dyke and being seen and treated like a man was starting to feel kinda off, sometimes. That made it confusing cuz sometimes it still felt fine. Sometimes it felt fine to be referred to with masculine pronouns and sometimes there was something off about it. So I was like “Ok, I’m not really sure what’s going on here but let me think about this.” And again, I started going back again and thinking about how other people had treated me over the years, starting when I was quite young and extending up into the present. How had I been treated depending how someone, if people saw me as male or female or trans or whatever. Cuz I had, I figured that had impacted me on how I saw myself and I wasn’t quite sure how.

And I was, I’d had some doubts over the course of my transition, of who I was or what I was doing. But, I mean they would just come up and I might write them down but they didn’t really linger much. And I heard of plenty of other trans people who had doubts, so I didn’t really think that much of it. But now they were kind of becoming a bit more insistent and I was seriously considering that maybe I was some kind of woman and maybe I had transitioned mainly because of how people had treated me and because of ideas I had taken in from the larger society.

So I started thinking a lot and writing and talking to my trans and genderqueer friends and talking to my partner at the time. And started looking online for other people who had had similar experiences, who had taken t and then stopped, who had questioned their identity, who had identified as trans and then gone back to living as women. I found the writing of some detransitioned women online. There was not a lot out there. This was about three or four years ago, like there was hardly anything out there at the time. There was way less visibility than there is now and I read everything that I could find. I was so hungry for it. I felt really isolated and alone in my experience, that was one of the hardest things.

So I found these women and I started reading their words. And a lot of them were very critical of trans politics and trans culture. And I didn’t agree with everything that they said but some of it, I could relate to that part too. For example, A good chunk of the trans community likes to deny what sex you’re born and raised as has any real impact on how you turn out. Like they deny for example that being born and raised female really counts for anything. And that, I never bought into that idea. That never made sense to me. It always contradicted my own lived experience. I was like “no, of course being born and raised female helped shape who I am”. I didn’t always always identify as female throughout the time I was trans but I knew having that experience was very formative. So these detransitioned women were also saying like yeah, female socialization was huge. It was often a huge factor in why they came to transition, so that really resonated with me.

And eventually I found a woman online who had taken t and identified as trans and then stopped. She was also a lesbian. And we started writing back and forth. We started corresponding. And that was, that was awesome. That was life-changing in so many wonderful ways. I had already figured out a whole bunch on my own at that point. I’d already figured out that I had a lot of internalized misogyny, my transition was partially, was connected to that. It was partially connected to some traumatic events I had lived through, such as my mom’s suicide. And that how other people had perceived me and treated me had made an impact. I already had a lot stuff worked out but having another woman to talk to who also had a similar experience and who could, who saw some of the same things happening, that was huge. That helped me figure out a whole lot more. I don’t think I could’ve, I mean think I would’ve figured out a lot eventually but I figured it out a whole lot quicker with her help.

And one thing that was really, really important, from the get-go, was that we were very honest with each other. We felt comfortable being honest in a way that we didn’t always feel comfortable being with other, with people in the trans and queer community. Because we had both noticed that what was supposed to be true in the trans and queer community was often not what was actually happening. I think one of the first things we talked about and bonded over was that we both noticed that supposedly you could be whatever you want and all genders were wonderful and fabulous and blah, blah, blah gender diversity and liberation and all that. But in actuality some genders and identities and presentations were seen as cooler and more radical, more subversive, more queer. There was a hierarchy of identities and trans males, trans masculine identities were definitely ranked a whole lot higher in that hierarchy than butch female ones. And in fact we talked about how even people who were more feminine presenting or identified, a lot of them seemed like they were more likely to call themselves genderqueer femmes or female drag queens than to identify as women. So it seemed like no one wanted to identify as a woman and it just seemed like there was this underlying misogyny under all this supposed “gender liberation”. So being able to talk about that, and both of us had noticed a lot of stuff, but if you speak out, if you say a lot of these things in a lot of these queer spaces, people don’t like that. You’re apt to get yelled at or punished, so we were just happy to find someone else who noticed the same things and also thought it was a problem and also thought it was screwy that you couldn’t say anything about it. That was great. That was a relief. After years of holding some of this stuff in, it was so nice to have someone else I could talk to.

And it was also a big deal to, both of us had pretty intense trauma histories, it was nice to be able to share about that. And share about just all that we’ve been through cuz like I said it’s kinda a lonely experience. Or it was definitely at that time. At that time, like I said, there was not a lot out there about detransitioned women. So I think both of us kinda felt grateful to have the connection that we had, well we still have with each other. We’re still very close.

And that also gave me the courage to come out as a woman. Which was so scary, I was absolutely terrified of coming out. Part of it was like I had invested so much time and energy at that point, I’d given up so many years of my life to transitioning and to living as a man, as trans person, as a genderqueer person. That was, had been so much of my life. And it was, even though it wasn’t, didn’t really feel right anymore, I still, I was used to that. It gave me a sense of security. So giving that up was very scary. All that work, it’s like I did all that work and now I’m just kinda gonna walk away from it. And then I was also afraid of how people were gonna react. Were they gonna think I was crazy? Were they gonna make assumption about what that meant? If I said I was a woman were they gonna assume that meant I was going back to, that I was gonna suddenly become really feminine and start wearing make-up or dresses or whatever? Cuz that, that’s not what I was gonna do. Really I was saying I’m the same person I just recognize that I’m a woman now.

So I had all these fears and concerns and when I did come out, when I came out to my friends and when I came out to my family, it went really well. Everyone was cool with it. It was actually not that big of a deal. I was really afraid of coming out to my family. That was like “How will I ever do that?!” I mean they were, my dad, he kinda fought me at first when I first was identifying as trans. We had a lot of very fierce arguments. But eventually he came around cuz when I started testosterone, it seemed like it was really helping me at the time. He was like “wow, you seem way less anxious and more together”. So he got on board with my transition. So just like, I don’t know it was, it was just scary. Coming out to my family was really scary but it all went well.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to write about my experience and put it out there for other people to read. So I started my blog. My friend who I was corresponding with, at first she was like “you go do that but I don’t have what it takes to put my writing out there on the internet”. But eventually she changed her mind and she started her own blog, which is Redressalert. And through putting our writing out there, we both met a whole lot more detransitioned women and also women who had struggled with dysphoria and questioned their gender and considered transitioning or maybe identified as trans or male or genderqueer for a while but didn’t actually make any physical changes to their bodies. Met a whole lot of women. I mean I’m kinda amazed at how in three or so years it went from a few women putting their writing online, on the internet and a few women talking to each other here and there and now we have a community with hundreds of women. That’s pretty cool. It was pretty awesome to see that unfold and be a part of that. Nothing like it.

Let’s see, so I think that’s a pretty good introduction and I plan to make more videos in the future and go into different topics. Like, I don’t know, what it’s like to be a passing woman, cuz I still, like, how did it affect me to pas as a teenager, what is it like for now because I still pass a lot of the time. Like how do I manage that. And more about how my transition was connected to trauma and dissociation. There’s a lot I could go into so I’ll probably, hopefully end up making a bunch of different videos on different topics. But yeah, I think this is a good overview of my, a very simplified, condensed version of my story of transitioning and then detransitioning. So I’ll stop there. Yeah, take care now.

The Relations of Shipping

I think we’ve all heard it at one time or another. “This show isn’t about your stupid shipping. It’s about zombies!” “It’s an apocalypse series, not a romance novel!” “Ugh, shipping has ruined The Walking Dead.”

Well, I call false on all counts. In fact, the apocalypse genre is arguably the one that most desperately hinges on the human touch of love and the rollercoaster that comes with it. While zombies are a subset of the apocalypse genre, the topic of the apocalypse runs the gamut on circumstances, including world-destroying asteroids, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, alien invasion, monster attacks, pandemics, or biblical End of Days. Take a sample from ANY of these subsets and you will find at least one plot involving love. Platonic, romantic, familial, or otherwise: the perception of the end of life is the prime catalyst for the desire to connect, to mend damaged bridges, to cling to one another, and to above all protect each other. There’s a catharsis in that.

It has been the driving force behind Rick, behind Lori, behind Hershel, behind Glenn and Maggie. It has been a catalyst for the madness that consumed the Governor, Shane, and, again, Rick. The human animal needs social connection and a sense of belonging. We’ve seen what happens when a soul is isolated from human contact, devolving into primal instincts or some level of psychosis: Morgan, Clara, and Bob to an extent, though not as severely as the other two. Without cohabitation, humans fulfill what Lori predicted would happen to Carl in s2, becoming “just another animal that doesn’t know anything except to survive.”

In that, love is tantamount to hope. It’s saying “Death surrounds us and is imminent, but I’m investing my emotions in you anyway, knowing that losing you will hurt me.” Families like Rick, Lori, and Carl, and like Hershel, Maggie, and Beth had those pre-existing relationships before the Turn. The bond was already there, the love and the instinct to protect were inherent. Glenn and Maggie had to forge it.  Rick, Carl, and Michonne had to develop it. Daryl and Carol had to work on it.

At first, of course, falling in love isn’t the first, second, or even third thing to pop into one’s mind when civilization falls apart. Safety, weapons, shelter, food, clothing, survival: these basic necessities have to be secured first. In fact, it’s because the end is near that we see some characters willfully detach from the idea of falling in love. “I can’t love you because I know one day you’ll die.” That confrontation with mortality has a stronger and more urgent presence in apocalyptic situations. So while living in close proximity to each other (the farm, the prison, the road), it’s inevitable that we see characters cling together and we see them fall apart. Maggie and Glenn have come together. Rick, Carl, and Michonne have come together. Rick and Shane tore apart. Rick and Lori fell apart, though the love was still there, just buried under hurt. And, of course, we have seen Daryl and Carol come together.

With Caryl, we see both sides of that duality. When admitting her doubts about Sophia being alive, she imparted to Daryl that she didn’t want to lose him too. Within 36 hours of losing her daughter in the Barn Massacre, she was pleading with him not to pull away. The Turn had robbed each of them of nearly 95 percent of the people that they knew in their lives, and then, in that group, they were finding roots and bonding with new people. I know you. I trust you. I care about you. You’re one of the few left. Don’t disappear.

As far as Daryl knew by that point, he had no one. Merle was the only person pre-Turn that it is presumed that he had in the world. He only trusted most of the group about as far as he could spit, and since Sophia’s loss, his mentality had largely become “Screw everything. What’s the point?” So he recoiled from the fledgling connections that he’d made as a pre-emptive measure to protect himself. This was opposed to Carol’s method, which was strength in numbers, because while he was pretty well equipped to handle the world, she as of that time was not, and she needed help. More than that, Carol has an ingrained facet of her personality that can’t stand to see others hurting.

Throughout 2b we see how that eroded through Daryl’s guarded walls, and this snowballed throughout S3 as we found them much closer, much more comfortable around each other, and much more deeply invested in each other’s well-being, not just physically but emotionally. When he thought he lost her in the tombs, he had a breakdown outside the shifting solitary cell door. When she thought she lost him in Woodbury, she broke down in tears. Familiar faces and human connection have become so imperative because, without the structure and social ramifications of the old world, the world became harsh and untrustworthy. To earn that trust, that loyalty, that concern, and that bond with somebody is irreplaceable.

For Caryl, falling in love was an accident. Glenn and Maggie sought love in each other. Tyreese and Karen were eager to let it bloom. Daryl and Carol more or less stumbled across it, circled around it, and poked it with a stick for a while before realizing what it was. While my theory is that Daryl fell for Carol before she fell for him, I also think Carol realized that she loved him before he realized that he loved her. So they have spent a while stumbling around like newborn giraffes trying to figure out how that works. Because this IS the apocalypse, and nothing can be taken for granted any more.

So while their relationship may be chalked up by some to simply caring about each other, that is still a ship in its own right. To use as an argument that two human beings will try to protect each other and keep each other safe only out of basic human decency, I feel really cheapens and undermines the bedrock of what human decency is. Because what is at the root of it? Love. In its most basic form. It’s why Sasha shot the walker that was about to bite Maggie, despite only having a few bullets left. It’s why Michonne refused to leave Andrea’s side until it was over. It’s why Carl made sure that Lori wouldn’t come back as a walker. It’s why Rick took an ax to Hershel’s leg. It’s why Glenn and Maggie moved Heaven and Hell to find each other. It’s why Hershel insisted that Daryl wear a mask when burying the infected dead.

It’s why Daryl opened that solitary cell door to put down Carol’s walker. It’s why Carol went to him when the others blamed him for bringing Merle to the prison. It’s why he kept his arms around her even after she had stopped trying to reach her walker daughter. It’s why she walked across an empty field at night to him and let him scream at her. It’s why he sat with her for HOURS in the RV after Sophia’s death. It’s why her hand lingered around his after helping him up off the ground. It’s why he brought her that first Cherokee Rose. It’s why she made sure he got something to eat after being bedridden from his injuries. It’s why he asked her to stay safe while he was gone to Woodbury. It’s why she pled with him not to go after Sophia again while he was still hurt. It’s why he broke down when he found out that she had been exiled.

Love isn’t confined to a romantic ship; it’s inherent in the foundations of every modicum of human interaction, even if by a lack of it or a perversion of it. Otherwise, who cares if the zombies get you, or if the asteroid hits, or if the earth breaks apart, or if aliens take over us? In essence, shipping isn’t what damages a show like TWD, but rather it is the confusing animosity and pointless competition in arguing over who can love the most, the best, or some other prestigious superlative. Contrarily, to root for characters to find love, connection, and happiness in the direst circumstances is the most genuine expression of the human condition in the apocalypse: to hope and love, not just to survive, but to thrive.

- Rhinozilla

Why the Flash is so awesome

I’ve been thinking lately about why the Flash is so awesome, why I look forward to it every Tuesday night (only to feel crushed when I realize it’s still on hiatus). Let’s be honest: it isn’t a perfect show. There have been a couple of hit-or-misses along the way. It almost certainly doesn’t have the budget some of the other shows I watch have, so they are more constrained with what they can do (although holy crap do they get the most mileage out of their special effects budget that I’ve ever seen. What they do is damn impressive, given that you DO know they probably have less to work with than others might). So why is it - hands down, no doubt about it - my favorite show on TV, not just for today but probably even the best show I’ve seen in the last five years?

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