molded fit

Support trans men that don’t fit the pastel, feminine, flower prince archetype. Support trans men who present as the stereotypically ‘masculine’ and trans men who don’t conform to archetypes at all. 

Support trans men who wear leather jackets and combat boots, who paint themselves as aggressive and intimidating and come home with blood on their knuckles or their lips because they got in a fight defending themselves or someone else again. 

Support trans men who aspire to having a deep voice and broad shoulders and a scruffy beard. Support trans men who are rough and tumble, who drink straight scotch, who don’t have a single feminine streak to their appearance.

Flower princes are beautiful and deserve support. But all too often, the community forgets that some of us don’t fit that mold, and we fit something a little more stereotypically masculine.

Support trans men who are rough and gruff and the opposite of soft.

4

Me: *sees a bunch of cool edits of Pidge with long hair* 
Me: Nice
Also Me: *starts to think a lot of reasons about how is not a good idea to have long hair in the space* 

anonymous asked:

did you seriously just say we should let pandas go extinct to save other animals or am i misinterpreting because that is a very questionable judgement

ALRIGHT MY FRIEND I have received about six messages in this vein since yesterday, but I worked for thirteen hours today and I have no time for this nonsense. Short answer: YES. 

I’m gonna summarize some salient points on why pandas are awful from a conservation standpoint:

  • PANDAS LITERALLY CANNOT MATE IN CAPTIVITY. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE
  • Artificial insemination and hand-rearing of cubs are basically standard practice, and still they usually die. At what point is it reasonable to give up because I think we hit it DECADES AGO
  • In 35 years, only 90 cubs have been born in captivity outside of China
  • Wild panda numbers have increased a bare (bear?) 200 individuals in 10 years, despite literal billions of dollars being poured into conservation
  • NO OTHER AREA OF ANIMAL CONSERVATION EVEN COMES CLOSE TO THE MONEY BEING POURED INTO PANDAS. NONE
  • And yet we’ve managed to literally rebuild populations of black-footed ferrets, oryx, and California condors with exponentially less money
  • Despite all of this, only 10 pandas have been released since the 80s, and all but two died
  • I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that it’s because their habitat is destroyed and fragmentary and barely protected!!!!!! 
  • The only good thing about panda conservation is that protecting their range is also protecting tons of other species. Which would be great, if more of their range was being protected effectively.
  • There is way more money in keeping captive pandas captive than in releasing them!! surprise!!!!!!
  • Zoos pay a lot of money to get pandas on loan because people just LOVE looking at pandas and they can’t afford to house and care for their other animals without people coming to visit! Or do any kind of conservation whatsoever!! Panda-economics! (this is kind of a pro as opposed to a con but its the kind of pro that makes me feel like I need a shower)
  • Pandas are endangered and sort of have a role in spreading bamboo seeds around, so they get billions of dollars. Every shark ever is MORE endangered, and without them the entire ocean ecosystem would collapse, but that’s fine they don’t need money (I’m not bitter) ((I am bitter))

I’m gonna be frank with you. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event, caused by us. Not to be a downer (jk, I’m gonna) but we’re already driving so many species to extinction that we cannot afford to save them all with the money and interest that is in conservation right now. 

Instead, we have to do some kind of awful extinction triage and assess which animals will do the most good to work to conserve - and getting into keystone species, ecosystem engineers, and other truly integral species is a whole other can of worms I’m not gonna touch on - but there are animals that are “more important” in a certain sense than others, in that they can support or affect a much wider range of other species than another

People only care about big, cute, fluffy animals - a common lament heard from conservationists, but it’s so true. There are thousands, if not millions of species that don’t fit this mold that conservation work would benefit eons more than pandas. It’s like fixing a pretty, stained-glass window in a house whose foundations are collapsing and thinking you’re helping. 

Pandas have always been the face of conservation, and they continue to be one of the biggest and most expensive ongoing failures. 


[Sources/ stuff to read to make sense of my incoherent response!]

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Crossing Lines: Arrow 5x19 Review (Dangerous Liaisons)

If 5x19 is indicative of the final four episodes of Season 5, then we are in for one hell of a ride. 

After setting Oliver and Felicity off into trajectories, Arrow returns to the center as Felicity’s relationship with Helix come to a head. Original Team Arrow is splintered as Felicity aligns herself against Oliver and Diggle. Smoak versus Arrow is more than just Felicity going head to head with those who know and love her best. It’s about diving into Felicity’s real motivations. Sure, we were told Felicity’s grief over Billy is pushing her over the edge 

(keep singing that tune Arrow), but we knew there was more. The truth is, Felicity’s motivations haven’t strayed too far from center after all.

Let’s dig in…

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2

The Instagram post has been deleted but Xavier commented on it:

xavierwoodsphd Someone sent me your post @funnymanalexthomas I assume so that I could clear up the disgusting assumptions that you have made of me and my group, The New Day. What we are doing with our current position is the furthest thing from racist but I can see that you did not feel the need to figure out the why or the how before making an attempt to inflame your following to get a few extra likes for your ig. My brothers and I have done everything possible in our power to change the perspective of the way that African Americans have been viewed in the past by our industry (professional wrestling). There was a time where being black meant that you were either foreign, you were a dancer, or you were simply the big strong black guy. We used to be classified by the color of our skin and typecast in these roles without being given a clean slate to be what ever it is that we wanted to be….

xavierwoodsphd Which means that the idea of starting with a clean slate is something that we have to face from both ends. For example, as I stated, the industry of professional wrestling viewed us (black people) in a certain manner due to the color of our skin. And then you, a black comedian with a solid following and a voice sees one of our products, types lies about it, says we are “coonin”, and hastags “Blackface” without feeling the need to do any type of research on the why or how this has come into existence. In the entertainment industry we see blacks typecast in a villainous light playing gangsters, thugs, etc. But luckily its getting better. We wanted to do our part to help that change that so we did. We took an idea that was given to us to be overly charismatic positive preachers, essentially another stereotype which would have done nothing to help advance African Americans in our field.

xavierwoodsphd Eventually we spun the idea into something where we could simply be ourselves. My partners Kofi Kingston and Big E both have their college degrees. I myself have two degrees, a masters, and a nerd culture youtube channel that helps to empower kids with similar interest rather than bringing them down for enjoying things that aren’t in the mainstream. We express the idea that knowledge is power and that you can be literally whatever it is that you want to be. The three of us were clowned growing up because of our interest in video games and comic books. Growing up we weren’t ever “black” enough for a lot of people. But when really looking at it they meant that we didn’t fall into the black stereotypes that we as black people hate being classified into. This does nothing but internally tear us down as a race when we are supposed to be building each other up. The accoutrement that we have, unicorn horns and a trombone, have stories and reasons that we come to the ring with them. It has all been a part of our evolution.

xavierwoodsphd This cereal was our idea and we love cartoons so adding them into the mix was something we definitely wanted to do. The way that we look on the box is how we look like in real life. So to say we are “coonin” is extremely disrespectful to us, what we have accomplished and what we are currently trying to do. We broke a record for the longest reigning tag team champions that had been in tact for 20 plus years, we have changed the way that people approach stereotypes about black people in our industry for the better, we are empowering not just black children but all children to understand that you don’t have to fit the mold or be what other people see you as in order to be successful, we have inspired people and helped them get through loss and depression, we participate in anti bullying rallys, we meet amazing kids who are a part of the make-a-wish foundation, we are on the road 300 plus days a year in order to to bring joy and happiness to families across the world.

xavierwoodsphd So if that counts as “coonin” then I must have misunderstood the definition when my parents explained racially derogatory terms to me when I was a child. This post is not meant to degrade or throw shade. It is meant to inform and educate you and the people who follow you that assuming the worst and using racially derogatory language to describe others without knowing anything about them is never the right thing to do. I’m aware that there are people who will not agree with me on this and that is fine but I just urge them to find a more productive way to combat racism than being mad at few guys who are trying to combat it themselves. I wish you nothing but success in your travels and your career. I hope that this has opened your eyes.

I’m just now learning that there’s a name for the concept of respectability politics.

About a decade after I came out as bi, I came out as poly. Only then did it hit me how problematic it was that I’d previously sooo proudly held myself up as an example of a “good bi.” Look at me, so unslutty! So monogamous! Living a life that you almost might consider mainstream! Because shouldn’t that be our goal? To fit in? To earn your respect based on the standards you set?

When I became poly, all that went out the window.

I wish someone had introduced teenaged me to this idea.

I know there are a lot of teenagers on tumblr now. I also know that (thanks to tumblr among other media) you have access to a lot more nuance in social justice concepts than I did as a teenager. But just in case this is the first time you’re encountering it – whether you’re 13 or 103 – please know that there’s a name for it. Respectability politics. 

You don’t have to mold yourself to fit your oppressors’ idea of what your identity should look like.

You shouldn’t have to earn their respect by fitting in with their ideas of what’s proper. It’s up to them to recognize your humanity and respect you for your differences.


Be however mainstream as you want, in exactly the ways you want, but do it because you want to. (Or, if necessary, for your safety.) Other than that: you do you.

s/o to sapphic girls with defined jawlines, broad shoulders, cold hands. s/o to girls with bony elbows and knees who feel like no one will think theyre pretty and soft and want to cuddle with them. s/o to every girl who doesnt fit the mold of short, soft, skinny, white sapphics, who think they wont be loved and welcome in the wlw community. youre the bomb.com and girls will love you just as much, i promise!!

Creating Dynamic Characters That Feel Real

Despite what people may have led you to believe, the plot or structure is not the most important thing about your story–whether it’s a screenplay, short story, novel. That’s not what makes the story real and important. That’s not why your readers care.

Characters are the most important part of your story. Without them, you have nothing. Your story is nothing.

If you want your readers to find your story complex, compelling, and dynamic, then your characters have to be complex, compelling, and dynamic. You’re thinking, “Oh, that’s easy. I’ve already done that.” Your babies are complicated. They’re beautiful but damaged. Intelligent but socially awkward. They want to be an astronaut; they want to save the world.

Sorry, but you’re full of shit.

Characters aren’t just characters, they’re real people, even if they only exist in ink and paper and your mind rather than in flesh and blood. They need to be as real to your readers as their mother, father, best friend, the person sitting next to them. Otherwise, you have failed. Flesh them out, bring them to life on the page.

Your characters are the heart and soul of your story, and you need to treat them as such. That is your job as a writer. And when you don’t do that, you not only fail your readers and your story, you not only do yourself a great disservice, but you also expose yourself. You reveal something to your readers that you don’t want them to know. As Claudia Hunter Johnson says in her book, Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect (which is an excellent book I recommend you all read), character creation is “an artistic and ethical issue.”

Repeat after me: It is an artistic and ethical issue.

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anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts on Legally Blonde the Musical? I've heard a lot of people rag on it but it's such a fun, positive show? Why are so many theatre people insistent on "good theatre" having to be emotionally heavy and profound all the time?

“Legally Blonde” is one of my favorite musicals. Why would it not be? Oh. Right. People don’t want to think that a pink-covered musical about a blonde girl is serious theatre (as if theatre even has to be serious to be good). I’m with you on shows not needing to be emotionally heavy to be good. Lots of great musicals are a bit on the fluffy side. But I don’t think LB is one of them. It deals with some heavy stuff.

“Legally Blonde” is one of the most feminist musicals out there. It’s literally about a woman overcoming gender norms and societal expectations to become a really good lawyer. And she does it all while being unapologetically feminine, even going on a journey of learning that she can be pretty, fashionable, and pink-loving while also being an intelligent, forceful leader. All around Elle are people who say she needs to change to fit the mold of what a lawyer is – serious, drab, cynical, and masculine. She even has her own moments of wanting to betray parts of herself (wanting to dye her hair brown, beginning to wear only dark blue suits, etc.). Elle  even has to put up with sexual harassment and assault from her professor and boss, which other characters blame HER for. This nearly drives her to quit school and her career as a lawyer. However, the camaraderie of fellow women gets her through, and she is able to come back stronger than ever, win the case, and finish law school at the top of her class.

I know what people are about to say: “But she uprooted her whole life for a guy and she only did any of that stuff to get a boy and blah blah!” Listen to me carefully. Falling in love is not anti-feminist. Did Elle grossly misjudge Warner and misplace her affections? Yeah, totally. But she didn’t make a stupid decision – she decided to do something new and challenging in her life to make people she cared about proud. And…come on…like less than half-way into the show she decides to stop caring about winning the guy and starts wanting to beat him. She grows as a character and learns to place more importance on herself and what she wants to accomplish. Elle is a total role model for girls without condemning them for being…girly. Too many girls are shamed for what they love and devote time to because it’s traditionally feminine. “Legally Blonde” says they can be 110% into traditionally feminine things, wearing belt-coordinated shoes and flawless make-up, and ALSO do serious, important work that might traditionally be associated with men. It says “You don’t have to be more like a man or more likable to men in order to achieve in your chosen field.”

The show is, as you say, super fun and positive. It’s bright and sunny and pink. It’s tongue-in-cheek funny and doesn’t take itself seriously. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious theatre. It tells a complex story about complicated characters dealing with tough real-world issues. It has a strong message of inclusion and acceptance. And it features a wide array of strong female characters who all grow into better loving themselves over the course of the play (Elle, Paulette, Vivienne). There is literally no reason to drag this musical. 

Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters and Audience Perception

Writing with color receives many questions regarding the stereotypes Characters of Color and their story lines may possess.

There’s a difference between having a three-dimensional character with trait variance and flaws, versus one who walks the footsteps of a role people of their race/ethnicity are constantly put into. Let’s discuss this, as well as how sometimes, while there’s not much issue with the character, a biased audience will not allow the character to be dimensional.

But first: it’s crucial to consider the thinking behind your literary decisions.

Trace your Logic 

When it comes to the roles and traits you assign your characters, it’s important to ask yourself why you made them the way they are. This is especially true for your marginalized characters.

So you need an intimidating, scary character. What does intimidating look like on first brainstorm? Is it a Black man, large in size or presence? (aka a Scary Black Man) A Latino with trouble with the law? If so, why?

Really dig, even as it gets uncomfortable. You’ll likely find you’re conditioned to think of certain people in certain roles on the spot.

It’s a vicious cycle; we see a group of people represented a certain way in media, and in our own works depict them in the way we know. Whether you consciously believe it’s the truest depiction of them all or not, we’re conditioned to select them for these roles again and again. Actors of Color report on being told in auditions they’re not performing stereotypical enough and have been encouraged to act more “ethnic.” 

This ugly merry-go-round scarcely applies to (cis, straight) white people as they are allowed a multitude of roles in media. Well, then again, I do notice a funny trend of using white characters when stories need a leader, a hero, royalty, a love interest…

Today’s the day to break free from this preconditioned role-assigning.

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Only Look At Me (m)

After a longtime Jimin realizes he likes you but it may be too late

Genre:Smut

Word Count: 6k

Originally posted by okayoongz



Staring blankly at the ceiling of your room you sighed and reached up to try and touch the glow in the dark stars your best friend stuck to it for you. Your eyes traced the letters that they formed and felt the small smile spread on your face until it grew and you felt your eyes crinkle up in an eye smile. Park Jimin, your best friend for a year now, always told you to smile whenever you would start stressing out or over thinking which was all the time. Today was no different.

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Okay, but why didn’t Moana win anything????? It’s a cinematic masterpiece that perfectly captures Polynesian culture, something that isn’t seen in mainstream media. It’s songs held meaning and we’re powerful, especially ‘How Far I’ll Go’, you can honestly hear Auli'i pour her heart into it. How the shits did 'City of Stars’ beat Moana?? The song itself was bland. It’s like what, a 5 note chord progression, and the lyrics talk about making it in Hollywood show business? I can see how that’s relatable to struggling actors, but that’s about it. 'How Far I’ll Go’ was Moana dealing with the image being that perfect daughter, something that was expected out of her by her parents and her community, she goes on in the song to question why she’s supposed to fit this mold that’s been cast for her, and shedding light on what she feels drawn to and passionate about. HOW DOES THIS:
“City of stars
Just one thing everybody wants
There in the bars
And through the smokescreen of the crowded restaurants”
WIN OVER THIS:
“I can lead with pride, I can make us strong
I’ll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?

HOW.
I’m so fucking heated over this, and if anyone wants to disagree with me go right ahead. Disagree but I’m not listening and I don’t give a flying fucking shit.

**sidenote, dont get me wrong I loved la la land, but I still feel like Moana did better when it came down to song

game of thrones character ask game
  • arya stark: do you have different "faces" around different people?
  • bran stark: if you could warg into any animal what animal would you choose and why?
  • bronn: what would you do for money?
  • brienne of tarth: do you fit the mold?
  • catelyn stark: do you miss anyone?
  • cersei lannister: what's your favorite drink?
  • daario naharis: what would you do to impress someone?
  • daenerys targaryen: do you find yourself looking back on the past often?
  • davos seaworth: who makes up your family?
  • eddard stark: where does your honor lie?
  • gendry: what is something you've created that you are proud of?
  • gilly: do you ever feel out of place?
  • grey worm: how do you stand up for what you believe in?
  • hot pie: what's your favorite food?
  • jaime lannister: what would you do for love?
  • joffrey baratheon: what qualities do you dislike in others?
  • jojen reed: what is a dream of yours?
  • jon snow: what would you break your vows for?
  • jorah mormont: how loyal are you to the people you love?
  • khal drogo: what does it mean to you to be alive?
  • loras tyrell: do you hide anything about yourself from people?
  • margaery tyrell: how do you get what you want?
  • melisandre: do you ever purposely manipulate people?
  • missandei: can you speak more than one language?
  • oberyn martell: do you believe in getting revenge?
  • petyr baelish: what drives you? are you willing to do anything to achieve your goals?
  • renly baratheon: do you live in the shadow of an older sibling?
  • rickon stark: are you the youngest of your siblings? the oldest? the middle?
  • robb stark: are you a leader or a follower?
  • robert baratheon: are you in your prime?
  • samwell tarly: what is your favorite thing about learning?
  • sandor clegane: what is a fear of yours?
  • sansa stark: what does it mean to be strong?
  • shae: where have you traveled?
  • shireen baratheon: what is something you've taught someone else?
  • stannis baratheon: do people see you as serious or easygoing?
  • theon greyjoy: are you anxious to prove your worth to certain people?
  • tommen baratheon: were you forced to grow up too quickly?
  • tyrion lannister: what's your favorite book?
  • tywin lannister: are people's perceptions of you important?
  • varys: can you keep secrets?
  • ygritte: are you free-spirited?

if you think gay people can uphold or replicate heteronormativity in any way then I urge you to consider, even middle-class gay couples who are monogamous and have 2.5 kids and a golden retriever frolicking in their front lawn is considered dangerous and perverted in the eyes of society no matter how seemingly conforming they seem (and it’s much worse if they are nonwhite). you can never be conforming as a gay person unless you force yourself into a heterosexual relationship because otherwise there is no mold for you to fit in. 

Have you been spying on your north node through a pinhole? It doesn’t make sense, though, and you’re probably very frustrated. You keep working on embodying the power of your North Node placement; working to fulfill the archetype of the sign, focusing on the house-denoted area of your life and person-hood. Nothing makes sense, progress is nearly futile. 

You relax, you surrender, you ease yourself away from the crack in the wall- that’s where you’ve been spying on your potential. The wall is too big, too intimidating, too impossible. You sit, you surrender. And you start to see it- the south node. It exists constantly. You’ve learned it well now, you fit its mold; you understand this way of existing. 

And it isn’t bad. 

In fact, this is how you build your confidence, how you get to know yourself- because, yes, like it or not, the south node is one of the most apparent astrological placements in an individual. Denying it does not equate to growth, but to ignorance and a severe lack of self-awareness. Paradoxically, that is exactly what many people try to escape in emulating their north node. It is a process. 

You will climb the wall, you will fall. You might try to run away from the wall, but life will bring you back. But with time, you may chip away at the crack, find someone to give you a boost, discover a tree with long-reaching branches, etc. The metaphor is endless, but unique to you. The future is a compilation of the past, and you are a tapestry of every existence you’ve ever had- in this life, perhaps in past lives. 

Get to know where you’re going by knowing where you’ve come and how you’ve survived. And be grateful for what you’ve learned, because you’ll need it in hurdling yourself over the wall and into personal growth, spiritual enlightenment, and empowerment of the self.

Storm Front

Happy Valentine’s Day to my amazing Secret Valentine, @starscythe!!!  I do hope you enjoy this gift, my friend, as you gift us with so many incredible manips all year long. Meeting you in person in November was such a joy, and I hope we can hug in person again in the near future. 

Without further adieu, here is your  @oqcelebration valentine. :D


He’s heard stories, of course, broken whispers whenever a fierce storm blew in unexpectedly, mumbled musings if an acquaintance suddenly fell ill. These are never voiced loudly, as superstition’s lingering hold on the forest proves to be an ominous task master, leaving such wonderings to drift from one listener to the next, more often than not finding fertile ground stripped bare by black magic’s lingering touch.

The Evil Queen’s dark curse had taken many, but there are those among the forest’s remnants who believe she herself still dwells in this realm. They speak of her in hushed fragments, discuss sightings of a dark, solitary figure who roams the forest at night, a cloaked woman who has somehow lost her magic but now lives bound to it, perhaps in just retribution for a curse so foul it emptied their lands and cast both friend and foe into fates unknown.

Robin has never put much stock into superstition, neither does he give credence to legends or fairy lore. His is a world defined by what he can see, touch and confiscate, a world in which people rarely fit into molds of “good” or “evil”, a world in which he’s observed unspeakable acts committed by the most respected of citizens while those judged as lesser are the very ones who offer shelter and food to the starving. He lives by his wits and senses and surrounds himself with a thieving group of outcasts he’d readily give his life to protect.

Yet even he, the infamous Robin Hood, has to admit that the air feels odd tonight, that there is a charge to the impending storm brewing in the eastern highlands that makes the hairs on the back of his neck prickle. He senses a disturbance, one that feels altogether too personal and close at hand for comfort. Roland must have felt it, too, for the boy had clung to him as Robin soothed his son’s whimpers until he’d finally fallen into a fitful sleep.

It is enough for him to grudgingly admit that tinges of magic probably remain in his forest, even if the queen is nowhere to be found. Dreams of Marian and of his mother plague his sleep and fill him with sense of urgency altogether foreign, one that pushes him towards consciousness even as his body rebels.

A loud clap of thunder finally awakens him, and he’s surprised to find that he’s drenched in sweat. Roland is still sleeping soundly, but one touch to his son’s forehead reveals that the boy is hot with fever. He holds his child close, drawing the blankets up around him, but he worries as all parents do, even as the wind howls just outside their tent.

Roland needs feverfew tea. Unfortunately, their stashes of medicinal herbs have run dry in light of the recent bout of sickness that have ravaged both his men and their families, and he lies there only minutes before deciding to risk a trip to the lake’s edge to gather what he needs. He wakes Little John and asks his friend to keep an ear and eye out for his son before donning his thickest cloak and disappearing into the forest’s canopy. He’s survived far worse storms than this, he reminds himself, ignoring the tingling sensations skittering up his legs that feel altogether supernatural.

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anonymous asked:

Follow up to child training post- assuming a child is taught fighting by a parent much the same way a child might be taught letters, cooking, etc. i.e. not a child soldier/child abuse, just age-appropriate training for a specific goal, by 18 would that set them up to be a fairly realistic 'ridiculously skilled teen' trope? Parallel to Olympic gymnasts, but with combat sports leading into soldiering.

Yes but, like Olympic gymnasts, you’re going to have to give up on the concept of them having a social life. They’ll also be well outside the range of what most “normal” teens can relate to. It’s a very specific lifestyle choice that will chew up the entirety of their life until they’re done.

Olympic level training is all day, every day. You eat, sleep, and breathe it.

A realistic version of the “ridiculously skilled teen” trope basically requires sacrificing everything that is not directly related to the skills they are acquiring. A lot of kids when in training for the Olympics are home schooled or taught by a tutor in the off hours. They don’t go to public school.

Most of the time, in fiction, when you’re looking at the ‘ridiculously skilled teen’ the author doesn’t pay their dues. They don’t take into account the sacrifices made by these children, their parents, and their instructors to reach this pinnacle of excellence. They look at the intensity of the hard work involved and often assume that it was forced. That the child was actively denied life experiences by the evil adults in their lives. That they’ll turn around and change their tune if they just have a chance to experience real life, friends, or normal experiences like the ones the author had.

Their ridiculously skilled teen got where they are because they were the winner of the genetic lottery and in possession of great talent.

They don’t take into account the defining factor of the champion: personal drive.

The problem with this approach is that talent is only one part of the equation. You can have a child who is so talented as to make the angels weep in joy but if their talent is not backed up by a personal desire to excel then they are destined for the halls of mediocrity.

Even if you put a child through the training you suggested in your ask, a ridiculously skilled teen is not a guarantee. They’ll be more skilled than the average, and certainly better than one who never went through the training at all but they won’t be in the champion ranks.

To get a ridiculously skilled teen in real life, you need a mix of talent and drive. The child to choose their training. They love it so much they don’t suffer burn out. It’s what they want to do. They are the ones who push themselves and strive for it. Their authority figures are the ones aiding the child in their drive.

They. Have. To. Want. It.

You can have a kid who has been training for fourteen years who is simply mediocre. The amount of time involved is not a guarantee for excellence. It’s a gamble. Not just on proficiency, but on desire.

If the prodigy wants out, then the prodigy falls behind. To be the best is not a guarantee, it is the goal we strive for. It is a spot for which there is intense competition. They earn those skills and earn that spot. They fight for their training’s pace. And it can be very hard for people who’ve never been in the rat race to be the toughest, the smartest, the strongest, or the best to contemplate or understand.

These are kids who when given the choice between going to a birthday party or bowling with their friends and training chose training. All the sacrifices they make are sacrifices they chose to make. No one is forcing them to do anything. You can’t reach that level of excellence without that desire and drive, that willingness to make sacrifices, that choice.

Often, the “ridiculously skilled teen” trope is paired with “but they forced me to do it” trope.

Bullshit.

You don’t get to be that good without intent and the desire to be that good.

Kids that want a normal life quit and, when they’ve quit in their minds, it’s over. An authority figure can force them to show up, can use whatever outside motivation they think will work, but if the kid doesn’t want it then they won’t do it. They’ll still be “good enough” and that’s most martial artists/soldiers. They may end up “slightly better than average” but they’re not going to be at the top of their game, much less the game itself.

This is the child who when given the option between more training and an hour of television, chose training.

This is the child who when given the option to socialize with friends, chose their training.

This is the child when given the chance to go on vacation, chose training.

This is the child who made the other children nervous because they were obsessive. Still doing their thing when their differences stopped being cool and the other kids ran off to play somewhere else.

They love it. They have goals. They want to be the best.

If you want to write children or teens who fit this mold, the best media for you to turn to are sports movies. This includes the really schlocky movies like Mighty Ducks or ones based on real life champions like Olympian Gabby Douglas. Basically, most of the cliche feel good pick me ups that are often scoffed at when we hit our teenage years. Situations change, but your ‘ridiculously skilled teen’ will have more in common with the characters of Center Stage than they will Buffy. And in a comparison of slayers, Kendra still fits this trope better.

So, with a character who is ridiculously skilled, you make sacrifices. They make sacrifices. And maybe they’ll hit the point where their body starts falling apart in their late twenties/early thirties where they start having regrets, but it won’t be in this moment.

The thing to remember when crafting these characters is that the level of skill they possess isn’t easy to reach. They aren’t actually any different from your average mortal except that they want to be this way.

This, whatever it is, is what they love to do. More than friends, more than relationships, more than love shared with other humans. This is who they are in their bones and in their soul.

To get a teen ridiculously skilled in martial combat, you need a character who is in love with the art of war.

-Michi

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