1. See the good in your past. There will always be things that we wish had never happened; there will always be bad memories and things that we regret. But they are part of who you are – so accept that they have happened and celebrate the person they’ve allowed you to become.
2. Invest time in the things that bring you happiness. It’s important to identify the things that you enjoy, and that make you come alive, and are all a part of “you”. Spending time on those things will help to raise your self-esteem, as you’re valuing yourself when you pursue happiness.
3. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. We all make mistakes - and when we think of them we cringe. But that doesn’t make you any worse than other people. Just try and learn what you can, and then move on with your life.
4. Stop criticising yourself. So often we’re really our own worst enemy. We look for our flaws, and we put ourselves down – instead of being understanding of our own limitations. It’s time to change that behaviour – so start loving yourself.
5. Listen to your instincts and intuitions. If you want to love yourself, you must listen to yourself. Pay attention to those instincts and your instant gut reaction – and trust that you are right when you hear that inner voice.
6. Appreciate your life. Of course there are things that you wish that you could change. But some things are good, and are worth appreciating. So, focus on, appreciate, and make lots of your strengths.
Honestly though the REGs complaining about the lack of the lesbian flag and insisting it has to replace the ace flag instead of just being added…that’s the best example of how their mentality works. They think there’s only a certain number of slots for things, and if there’s something new it’s replacing something that’s already there.
There are infinite slots! We can add one more pride flag, or even more. We can allow more than two (or three, or five) genders. We can have more than one way of being “really” trans. We can be attracted to more than one gender without that attraction being lesser or less queer. We can have multiple “right” ways of having sex. We can allow orientation to be thought of as more than one axis. We can make new words without devaluing existing ones. We can create new resources because there was never a set limit to what we’re allowed to have.
The limit does not exist. Let’s not limit ourselves.
via Lost Light #8, a conversation between Cybertronians Anode (she/her) and Wipe-Out (he/him):
“Lug’s a she now. Me too.”
“It’s just a better fit. The further you get from Cybertron—the more people you meet—the more you realize that as a race we’ve been limiting ourselves unnecessarily. You know before the war, when the Primal Vanguard used to come home between campaigns? There’d always be a few who had reclassified themselves—a few ‘she’s’ amongst the 'he’s’. They tended to stick together. He to she. I didn’t understand the significance. What difference did it make? But after we left Cybertron and started to meet so many other races… yeah. Then it made sense. It made perfect sense.”
“Is that why you changed your look?”
“Yep. New shape, new me.”
This is great, because it does several important things:
Canonically transgender Transformers who changed pronouns and got their bodies reshaped.
It explains how two characters with female pronouns could originate on Cyberton when previous canon had established that Cybertron was a single-gender society only familiar with he/him pronouns (or the translated equivalent) for millennia.
An explanation for all the female/feminine-looking background characters in flashbacks to that period, previously best identified as cute easter eggs.
Establishing that some of the most ancient and badass Transformers, members of the pre-war Primal Vanguard alongside Grimlock, Ultra Magnus, and Hound, were trans women.
Which means that these two ancient Cybertronians based on the IDW versions of Jem characters (and canon WLW) Kimber and Stormer were transgender and were very likely butt-kicking veteran warriors:
Which means there’s not one, but two canon couples of trans WLW Transformers.
Over the last few months, I’ve been noticing something.
I’ve been seeing writers who are less talented than others find more success.
At the same time, I’ve become more aware of talented writers, smart writers, or passionate writers who sort of drift away.
Since I left high school, I’ve come in contact with a lot of people who
dream of being writers. And over the years, I’ve seen many educated and
intense aspiring authors … just stop pursuing. Sometimes these are
people who have all the right personal qualities to succeed. They are
sharp, driven, dedicated, passionate, and they have critical thinking
skills. Sure, they may need more practice, but that comes with time.
Perhaps, though, it is because they are so intense and critical, they
stop believing they can succeed. They don’t think they can actually “make it.”
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a family member about the fact that
we as human beings often (and sometimes unknowingly) limit ourselves and
what we can accomplish. Mentally, almost silently, we think, I can’t do this,
and in just believing that, we cut short our abilities. The mental
energy we spend thinking about what we can’t do takes away from the
mental energy we could use simply pursuing what we want or need to do.
What’s strange is that over time, I’ve seen people who appear to lack a
skill or quality find more professional success than their peers. They
might win an award. Get a steady readership. Make more professional
sales than people of higher writing abilities. I don’t think this is
because the world has gone all topsy-turvy. I think it’s because these
people don’t limit themselves as much, in that way. Maybe they are blind
to their weaknesses, or maybe they aren’t. Whatever the case, they
don’t let those weaknesses hold them back. They don’t let fear of not
being good enough hold them back.
Lately I’ve been thinking about people I’ve met, in college, in
day-to-day life, wherever, and how some could be doing what they dreamed
of doing, if they simply pursued it a bit more carefreely as some of
the people I meet at writing conferences do. But they never gave
Of course, life happens, and priorities can happen. Everyone writes
differently and every writing career is different. I’m not saying we
need to run out of our houses and throw crappy first drafts out
everywhere. I’m just saying give yourself the permission to jump in. For
some, that might mean allowing yourself to begin taking writing
seriously–to take yourself serious as a writer. For others it
might mean finally submitting a story somewhere. For another, it might
mean allowing yourself to self-publish. For someone else it might mean
allowing yourself to write and enjoy writing.
On occasions, I have talked to instructors that say the most talented
people are the ones who are hardest on themselves. And it makes sense.
They have a strong eye for criticism. They expect a lot out of their
work. They demand a lot of themselves. And they don’t settle. In
contrast, the students who are less talented may be the ones who think
they deserve the highest marks in the class. This seems backwards, but
it’s often true. This second group ends up pursuing all kinds of
avenues, because they believe they deserve it, or simply because they
give themselves permission to. They are more likely to find success than
the talented person who never submitted, published, or shared anything.
Years ago, a family member and I used to repeat this observation to each
other. “Why is so-and-so a bad-a**? Because he thinks he’s a bad-a**.” The idea is that everyone who seems to act like they are awesome
and cool are simply that way because they believe they are.
In some sense, that same principle can be applied to other areas. Why is
that person a writer? Because she thinks she’s a writer. Why is that
person successful? Because he think he’s successful. There are limits to
how far this principle can extend, of course, and there are exceptions,
but in some ways, following it is like starting on training wheels. It
slashes down limits you’ve put on yourself. You are what you are because
you believe you are.
Now success might not mean the same thing to everyone. Success to one
person might be selling a lot of copies of her book. Success to another
person might be being able to write full-time, regardless of exposure.
It might be becoming the best current writer in that genre, even if the
genre has a small readership, like weird west fiction.
Ideally, we become the best of both groups of students mentioned
earlier. People in the first group may need to let themselves take a
chance to pursue. People in the second group may need to sharpen their
critical eye and dedication, because while they may already have found
success, that success will have a ceiling based on their talent.
Whatever kind of writer you hope to be, whether it’s a bestselling,
award-winning writer, or fierce fanfiction writer, decide today to give
yourself permission to pursue success.
hey there! thanks for answering all our questions on this blog + how possible would it for someone to crack ribs with a solid kick? there's a character i have in mind that's escaping captivity, but they're also young, so i'm not quite sure how easily they'd be able to hurt the (adult) antagonist in such a manner, especially lacking any fighting experience to begin with?
Well, you can break someone’s ribs with a kick. That’s the entire purpose of the roundhouse, especially the version where you strike with the ball of the foot rather than the top of the foot. (And… aren’t like me when I was seven or eight, when I was new to sparring and totally stubbed my toe in another kid’s side at a tournament after my brain/body got confused between the two. I didn’t break my toe, but I could’ve.)
That story above is important, by the way. If you’ve got a character who doesn’t know how to fight then they’re not even going to get that far. If you don’t know how to kick then that’s a great way to get your leg caught by someone who knows what they’re doing. They catch the foot by the ankle, and then drag you wherever they want. That’s assuming the character can get their leg up and out without falling over. Even if they do manage that, say because they’ve watched a lot of martial arts flicks, they won’t know how to generate power and will be very slow. A, B, and C occur anyway. Your protagonist is going to end up back wherever they were being kept, this time in a much less comfortable position.
Even for an experienced martial artist, kicks require fairly constant bodily upkeep in order to be able to do them cold (much less perform them at all). That’s not a combat scenario, that’s just in general. You’ve got a great chance of pulling all the leg muscles you need to get away, including ones you didn’t realize you had and that’s if you don’t break your toes. Board breaks with the roundhouse kick are the most terrifying of them all because you’ve got to remember to curl your toes just right in order to carry your foot through the board.
Kicks are off the table.
More importantly, this is an exact rendition of the “Feel Good Violence” trope: My Instincts Performed A Wheel Kick.
The protagonist is suddenly and randomly enough good at fighting to not only fight, but win when making their first attempt at a violent altercation. They use techniques which require a fairly high level of dedication and aptitude out of “natural ability” and “instinct”.
Unless you’ve got an ironclad reason for invoking the trope (past lives/ immortality/memory loss/the matrix) it will undercut your narrative credibility in ways the story cannot recover from.
When you’ve cracked your foundation, you’re done.
“The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible,” - Mark Twain
Narrative integrity is based on the rules or limitations we’ve set for ourselves, those limitations are the ironclad rules by which the narrative functions. They exist on two levels: in behavior and actions of characters within the world, and on a secondary level the setting’s behavior around them. Everything in your story must be working to uphold the fiction. When it doesn’t the audience’s “suspension of disbelief” starts to crack. You are beholden to the rules and limitations set down by your setting. Without them, you have no story.
When you’re setting out to create a character, there are four questions you should ask yourself:
1) What can the character do?
2) What can’t the character do?
3) What is the character willing to do but can’t?
4) What can the character do, but is unwilling to?
Within these four circles you have your character, their ethics/morals, and their limitations. That is the box you’ve created for yourself. It is important to own it and abide by it. When dealing with a protagonist, those limitations are not just the foundations of a character but the entire narrative.
Your character cannot fight your antagonist in a one on one and come away with any victorybecause you have established they don’t know how to. That
is a limitation you set for yourself. That the audience knows and
understands, so they will expect this character to act in accordance
with it. They may want to walk up to the antagonist and kick them in the ribs so hard those ribs break, but they can’t. That desire could be a driving force behind them learning to fight later. As of now, though, their powerlessness in active violent conflict serves to reinforce the antagonist’s position. Reinforcing the antagonist’s position is for the narrative good.
They should be making choices based on the Venn diagram’s center: when what they can do meets what they are willing to do.
If what they can’t do conflicts with what they’re willing to do and they go with it anyway then the result is a failed escape attempt. A captive’s survival is based on their value. If they’re valuable enough for the antagonist to go through the trouble of capturing them in the first place, then they’re probably not going to be killed. At least, not until their value runs through. They lose and wind up back in captivity under more scrutiny, more security, and with fewer exit options. This reminds us why they were captured in the first place, and reinforces our villain’s position.
A protagonist can fail and retain their legitimacy many more times than an antagonist can. While this is a perfectly legitimate narrative outcome, I don’t think its the one you’re looking for.
This is the second issue with your question:
A narrative’s antagonist is its backbone.
Your antagonist is one of the most important pieces of your story, if not the most. They are the lingering threat, the shadow hovering over the story, and the knife at your protagonist’s throat. They are seventy percent threat, and the last thirty relies on their ability to make good on it.
One of the biggest mistakes an author can make is assuming their antagonist’s position in their narrative and the threat they provide are impervious to harm.
Unlike your protagonist, your antagonist is always in a precarious position. They must constantly re-affirm themselves and the threat they represent through their actions. That threat is all consuming and when challenged, it must either be defeated or confirmed.
If defeated, then the threat is gone.
If confirmed, then the threat level is heightened because now we imagine what they might do next.
An antagonist can re-affirm themselves after a defeat, but they’ve got to double down on their effort and create a new threat rather than relying on their old one. You as the author must work harder to make up for what you lost, and even then you’ll never have the initial fear ever again.
The first rule of the antagonist is: your capital is limited, so spend it wisely.
When you undercut an antagonist in favor of the protagonist before its necessary, you damage the antagonist’s credibility and, subsequently, their position in the story. When you lose your antagonist, you lose most of your narrative tension.
A character who doesn’t know how to do something is applying a limitation to the character. You are applying a restriction to what they can and can’t do. If you’re character doesn’t know how to fight, then fighting will be off the table. More importantly, having your character succeed at a skill set they have no experience in doesn’t make them “awesome” or “cool”, it means instead that the other characters who put time and effort into honing these skills suck.
When those characters are your antagonists… that hurts.
If you’ve got a protagonist with no hacking experience who manages to overcome a supposedly great hacker on their first or second go round with no time spent learning how to hack, then who looks bad? The second hacker. They’re the ones who are supposed to be good at hacking. If the narrative hinges on them being a major antagonist, then the author just shot their narrative in the foot.
Combat skills are the same way. They’re a skill set, not an instinct. They don’t come naturally, and take a great deal of time and effort to hone.
If your goal is to show your dangerous antagonist is a bumbling moron when an untrained teenager gets a lucky shot so miraculous they manage to lay them up for the rest of the story, then that’s a job well done.
If your goal is for the antagonist to maintain their credibility within the narrative? Don’t use them for a punching bag.
Violent confrontation is based just as much on threat of force as it is on the follow through. The threat is usually more frightening than what follows, and your protagonist is already challenging the fear by trying to escape. From a narrative perspective, if they get over their fear enough to challenge their antagonist directly then it’s game over. You spent your all capital either at the beginning or midway through the story, and you’re not getting it back.
Remember, your antagonist has to do just as much work to earn their street cred as your protagonist. Their position is a delicate balance of power management and threat of force. They rely on show over tell. They need to live up to whatever it is you’ve been saying about them. They need to be as dangerous as they’ve been puffed up to be, unless their reputation itself is the real antagonist. Never forget, your antagonist (whoever they are/whatever it is) is the backbone of your story. They are often the driving force of action, the reason why the protagonist is struggling, and the focal point. In some ways, they are more important than your protagonist because without them the protagonist’s got a whole lot of nothing.
When you undercut your antagonist, you also hurt your protagonist’s development. You cheat them of their chance for growth, and deny them their ability to show off whatever it is that they’re actually good at i.e. using their bravery, intelligence, and cleverness to sneak out.
If your protagonist beats down their Goliath at the beginning of (or even the middle) of the story then there’s no reason for them to go to the mountain master and learn to throw rocks.
Sometimes, dreams can be daunting. Sometimes, just the very thought of them makes us tremble. It is during these times that we must allow ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. Dreams should not be limited by the likelihood of them occurring or whether or not they make us feel comfortable. Dreams should be limitless, and bound only to the boundaries of our own heart’s desires.
Too often, we put limitations on ourselves based on what we think we can and cannot possibly achieve. Although, what we perceive to be our own limit falls short of what we are actually capable of. Push passed your end point. Break records. You have so much potential.
Seeing as a lot of people find astrology useful in terms of guidance with careers and such, I decided to make a post pointing out some of the best places to look for suitable career paths in the natal chart!
The Midheaven/10th House Cusp: Not surprisingly, this is a good place to start. As the highest point in the chart it shows us who we grow to be and further more careers that we would excel in. Looking at the planets and aspects here can show us the nature of our career lives.
Moon Placements: Of course we all want careers where we feel happy and nourished, looking at where the Moon is in our chart will show us what’s necessary for us to truly content, inevitably telling us what we will and won’t appreciate in our careers.
Saturn Placements: Not only the ruler of the MC, Saturn shows us where we work hard, where we need to push ourselves to the limit. While it’s not always necessary of course, by choosing a career path that appeals to our Saturn, we’re more likely to make peace with our Saturn issues (having to actually work with them) and as a result, reap more benefits when the Saturn return comes around.
2nd House: The 2nd House while not the house of career, is the house of finance. We can combine the information we learn from our 2nd House with that of our 10th House to understand where we’re good at making money (2nd House) and applying it to what we’re talented in (10th House)
6th House: While this is more so the house of menial work, or serving others, it shows us how we can help others and what we’re skilled in. This can also help us choose a career that plays to our strengths.
Midheaven Persona Chart: While Persona charts are more advanced and I would recommend them to people who are already comfortable interpreting charts, they’re very helpful when looking at a specific placement. They put the placement under a microscope and help us interpret the ins and outs of the 10th House Cusp more accurately.
I think what straight people don’t understand is that for gay people, watching tv or whatever that doesn’t bring gay relationships to fruition isn’t just painful because we don’t get to see those relationships and ourselves represented but also because characters are limited to the stories you tell about them and it’s horrifying to watch and feel the pain of someone staying closeted because writers didn’t have an inch of integrity or awareness
The Angular Houses ( 1,4,7,10 ) These houses are associated with self-activating quality impact on the structure of one’s life.
The Succedent Houses ( 2,5,8,11 ) These houses are associated with individual desires and the areas of life we want to control and consolidate.
The Cadent Houses ( 3,6,9,12 ) These houses are areas where there is input, exchange, and distribution of thoughts and observations.
Fire Houses ( The Trinity of Life - 1,5,9 ) These houses are associated with one’s attitude toward life and the experience of being alive. They represent an out pouring energy into the world and aspirations that motivate us to do so. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives in his or her enthusiasms, ideals, and dreams for the future.
Earth Houses ( The Trinity of Wealth - 2,6,10 ) These houses are associated with the level of experience where in we try to satisfy our basic needs in the practical world. Planets in these houses indicate energies that can most easily be put to use in dealing with the physical world, and that can be developed as expertise in management of resources.
Air Houses ( The Trinity of Relationships - 3,7,11 ) These houses are not only associated with social contacts and relationships of all types, but also with concepts. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives in the mind and in relationships. Concepts and the sharing of these concepts dominate much of the persons life activity.
Water Houses ( The Physic Trinity - 4,8,12 ) All of these houses deal with the past, with the conditional responses that are now instinctual and operate through emotions. Planets in these houses show what is happening on subconscious levels and indicate the process of gaming consciousness through the assimilation of the essence of the past.
First House: How we appear or the way we come across, thus the appearance and personality. First Impressions.
Second House: How we respond to or field whatever impulses or unique personal qualities we manifest via our first house. This is how we hold or “have” things.
Third House: How we explore, investigate and research things of all kind. It also rules connections, communications, and social skills. It is how we discover.
Fourth House: Where we send down our root, find our limits and generally secure ourselves. It is the end of searching we may have done with the third house.
Fifth House: Our awareness, emotion and expression. The knowing we haveexperienced something comes from this house.
Sixth House: It is salvaging and preserving what is good and healthy in our experiences. It saves the heart of our experiences and expressions.
Seventh House: The house of partnerships, relationships, and social life, and all that carries us beyond our personal self into and awareness of others. Wesee what is going on.
Eighth House: Traditionally the house of death, it gets rid of excess parts of ourselves that we no longer need. It reveals the secrets, and makes it the truth.
Ninth House: This covers long journeys and religion. This is the essence of an entire cycle of experiences.
Tenth House:This house is practical vision and clairvoyance, for here we can see clearly. Career is connected to this.
Eleventh House: How we put our visions and dreams to work. This how we become ourselves.
Twelfth House: This is how we make our dreams and visions come true from the 10th and 11th house. It is what we are willing to put up.