some things just need to exist

my two cents on the drama between babyz:

no, awards don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. but, it is discouraging to be constantly praised and nominated only to lose. we all need validation, and awards are a big part of that for artists. b.a.p do care about them, and that’s okay.

you’re not a bad fan if you don’t vote or stream. it’s tiresome, boring, and we don’t all have time. respect other people for their choice to not vote because they can’t afford the time. i voted, i streamed, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

the only thing that can make you a “bad” fan is disregarding b.a.p’s feelings to fuel your own ideals. maybe you don’t care about awards, but the boys do, and many babyz do to. you may be able to vote, but not every baby is able.

so please, be respectful.

you all need to think about how you interact with trans men online, like really think

recently one of my posts about being a trans man and casually interacting with another trans man got about 90,000 notes and the tags and comments are full of ‘too pure for this earth’, ‘i’m a dirty sinner i don’t deserve to read this post’, ‘adorable cute sweet precious boys’ despite the fact that it’s mentioned that i am in college and not a child in the post and you all need to think about how some trans men do not want to be referred to that way and being okay with being referred to that way is pretty much exclusively a young teenager tumblr thing that makes a lot of guys uncomfortable. i’m just a man. none of this is necessary and it’s very performative, but…

along with this infantilizing, with this obsession with the proposed purity of another man and myself just for existing, there’s also dehumanization that comes with it, for example:

somewhere along the post, someone decided it would be a good idea to add, ‘all i can imagine is two eldritch horrors trying to get their voices as horrifying and fucked up as possible’ (not exact quote but that’s the gist of it)…

and someone decided that it would be a good idea to take my experience, wildly change the context and make a FANFIC, on MY OWN POST, of two eldritch MONSTERS upset because their voices didn’t sound ‘as horrific’ as the ‘monsters’ around them, and bonding over it together. nowhere in this fanfiction was being trans mentioned.

this is, quite possibly, the most horrifying thing someone has added to one of my posts and going beyond dehumanizing my experiences as a trans man enjoying my voice getting deeper, but also writing a fanfiction onto the post that changed the context of ‘two trans men finding validation between one another and our voices’ into ‘two monsters are sad they’re not scary enough and bond over trying to be scary together’. i shouldn’t have to explain how horrible that is for me to read, and how horrible it is to see that added on my own post & circulated through hundreds with no criticism.

quite frankly, it’s devastating to see how people talk about and interact with trans men. we are either children who must be protected and are weak and vulnerable and ‘too pure’, or we are fuel for your fanfics that completely strip us of our humanity. i consent to neither and if you think that any of these things are okay to do to a complete stranger, all you’re doing is patting yourself on the back for your performative ally points while making trans men uncomfortable with sharing their experiences and talking about their lives and trying to be happy with themselves. stop it. 

SOME THINGS I NOTICED IN SEASON 3

we’re talking about Voltron season 3 here so wATCH OUT

-We see Keith’s knife only once this season, and it was sheathed
-Pidge is trying to find her family in the first episode, but nothing about it is mentioned the rest of the season
-We got no flashbacks to Keith’s childhood or past with Shiro
-We saw baby Allura, but not baby Lotor
-#NOTMYSHIRO
-Kurōn means clone in Japanese guys
-Keith is dominant left-handed, but he’s actually ambidextrous
-Keith teleports the black bayard through his body to his other hand. I need answers
-So technically Zarkon and Haggar are dead?
-If Sven exists, do the other original “space explorers” exist too?
-if Zarkon and Haggar had Lotor, and if they had him after they were dead and revived by quintessence, wouldn’t that cause some problems with the birth?
-I know we’re supposed to assume that being in the rift and dying and coming back gave Haggar her powers. But what about the rest of the Druids?
-It’s apparently a Red Paladin thing to just leave your teammates and do your own thing on an impulse. Does that mean Lance is gonna start doing that?
-I think that Alfor is more like Keith than Lance, actually. If Keith had had a better past and childhood, he probably would’ve ended up a lot like him.
-How in the world are they going to defeat the new comet ship? Like I know that they’ll be able to, but how? It seems very impossible at the moment
-I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of the Awkward Two Leaders moments
-Keith is absolutely on to Not Shiro. Did you see the way he was looking at him?
-I also don’t think Not Shiro knows he’s Not Shiro. He thinks he’s Shiro, but remember Young Justice with Red Arrow? I think it’s like that.
-The Black Lion so far hasn’t shown a lot of her personality to Keith, not like Red did. I wonder if she will later, or if she even has the ability to.
-WHERE??? DID??? ALLURA’S MAGIC GO????
-Why was Lotor exiled, and where? They’re obviously setting this up. And unless Galra have extended lifespans like Alteans do, Lotor was exiled pretty young. He appears to be in his early twenties right now. And he was exiled so well and efficiently that not a word was casually spoken about him in hallways and such that we saw. Is this part of the reason Lotor is so bitter towards his father?
-Lotor doesn’t treat Haggar like his mother. Does he know if she is his mother?
-Haggar had Space Amnesia, gaining a new name and identity while her husband presumably knew her original identity the entire time. That seems kinda sad. I almost feel bad for them.
-I stand by the theory Acxa is related to Keith somehow. Also, we know Keith flashbacked to the Weblum. But did she as well? If she did, then she’d remember he saved her life, right?
-Since Keith is in the black lion now, does that make him Space Big Brother?
-How is Earth doing rn
-I bet that Keith will tell the others that Shiro isn’t Shiro. And I bet none of them will believe him- except one. And it’ll be either Lance or Hunk. Pidge and Allura are too happy to have Shiro back. Hunk is suspicious and observant enough to come to the same conclusions as Keith, and Lance trusts what Keith says.
-“Take me to a space hospital”
-Young Zarkon looks like a lego

I don’t often make non-art posts here, but there’s been a recent event involving a certain abhorrent fandom who I’m sure you’re all familiar with that’s really been bugging me.

As some of you are aware of a Steven Universe art book was released, there was a scrapped designed for a crystal gem named “concrete” with features that might bare semblance to a certain race or racial stereo type.  Alongside said concept piece were some notes from a writer on the show (writer/boarder?  I’m not entirely sure) that mention they “can’t read” and “collects shoes”.  All of these together have people hooting and hollering over a bunch of silly coincidences, which is par the course for that particular group of people.  They complain at every turn when it comes to stuff they deem as “social injustices” or some kind of “racial prejudice” in relation to these characters or plot points for the story.  Let’s get some shit straight though:

Steven Universe is a work of fiction.  The people behind Steven Universe don’t have any ill-intent with what they’re creating.

There’s a lot of stupid kids on this website, and for every stupid kid there’s at least 2-3 adults that aren’t right in the head that believe they’re doing the right thing by starting witch hunts and doing everything within their power to ruin a creator.  For example:

The wording in their posts is that of someone who believes what they’re doing is slick, what they’re doing is undoubtedly the right thing.  This person legitimately believes trying to learn who wrote some words that were attributed to some other person’s random concept art scribble for the sake of shitting on them is the right thing to do and will encourage the creator’s of the show to keep bending to their demands.  You’re a part of several things that stifle creators visions, you’re legit contributing to the ruination of an art form because you’re doing backflips to insist that something is racist, and going an extra step just to run some unrelated person’s name into the ground.

I don’t even like this show.  Steven Universe isn’t a cartoon I enjoy, I’d say it’s bad in a lot of places.  I wouldn’t, however, say that I hate it so much that I think the team behind it needs to catch shit over something this petty.  They especially don’t need this coming from people who exist for the sole purpose of dragging down creators because they deem a piece of media is that offensive to their sensibilities.  This nonsense as reached a fever pitch and now is the absolute best time to tell the loud minority: “No.  What we created wasn’t meant to offend.  These are the people responsible, their intent wasn’t to offend.  This design wasn’t even used, calm down.”

Children out for blood, shit, adults with the _mindset of children_ out for blood over a cartoon.  You’re absolutely mad if you believe this is the way to settle a disagreement.  If you’re young, don’t get involved with something this trivial.  If you’re an adult and legitimately upset at this, you might be beyond saving.  For the love of God get over yourselves.

5

Small story behind this!

This comic idea came to me when I thought that Genji would find troublesome walking in public again, not feeling like his old self anymore. They all struggled and tried to convince him to go out, but found himself one day taken downtown by Mercy, who needed an extra hand to help her with some grocery shopping. She used as excuse the fact that many of those at the base were either resting after missions, away in missions or just home, enjoying some free days. (everyone needs to relax once in a while XD) Genji always appreciated her care for him, how much time she always spent making sure he did his daily exercises during the recovery period (McCree also helped, and Gabe whenever he had time to spare), and of course the very fact that she made him “exist” again, so he couldn’t refuse her small wish, even if this meant going outside the base. (he was still fresh after recovery.. no missions or such things yet)

—-

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 

I like large hoodies! One of my weak points XD

Made this one quick, before leaving work.

anonymous asked:

Do I really have to exist

i am not god; i sometimes think about how much doesn’t have to exist, myself included. it’s a problem i find a lot. i don’t feel necessary.

but then, neither is my dog. he is a sheepdog with no sheep. he has nightmares a lot. his purpose is moot.

one of my cats only eats bugs. he won’t catch mice. for an obligate carnivore, he loves moths.

is it required that i or you or anyone else exists. maybe not. but i kind of think of it as a small miracle. you do exist. despite how scientifically improbable it was for you to be created, you were. and something in that is beautiful, you know? the universe needed eyes to watch all these unnecessary things it created. you don’t spend hours on your sim house just to put no people in it. does a house require people to exist? no. but it does require people to be a home.

i know the world demands you Fulfill Thine Divine Purpose. i think that’s kind of bogus. you don’t have to be useful or valuable or exceptional to be worth something. my dog is worth so much to me. the idea that he’s not necessary is silly to me.

yes, i know. life goes on when people leave. true, and true indeed. i think about that a lot. but i also know that my sister’s cat goes to check to see if she’s home every night, and she’s been gone for months. 

grand scheme? who knows. but the truth is that other people need you because you help them feel like they exist with purpose. maybe you haven’t met the right people yet. i felt strongly in senior year of high school that nothing i did mattered - after all, i had no friends. i was bullied. if i died, it would make zero difference. and maybe it would have. maybe the gap would have filled after me. maybe my cat would learn that i was gone, that nobody was coming. maybe my mom would foster a new daughter. who knows. i’m not god.

but i do know if i didn’t exist. if i had taken myself off the table because i didn’t have to exist…. i wouldn’t be here talking to you and all of my new friends here. i wouldn’t tell you that, since you’re here, you might as well enjoy the rest of the things that shouldn’t exist. televisions are sound and image boxes. music and art and dance and writing don’t have to exist, but they do because they bring us joy, fill us with harmony. airplanes are godless flight machines and if god wanted us off the ground he would have given us wings.

airplanes were someone saying “this doesn’t have to exist, but i want it to.”  and i want you to exist because it’s worth it. it’s worth it for the dog you might adopt or the tattoo you might get or skinny dipping or writing songs or planting a garden. all things in life that won’t exist without you, that won’t happen without you around to make them happen. that need you to exist so they can exist too. 

please stay on this earth. i can’t force you, i can’t offer you a promise that the world ever stops hurting. but i can say that somewhere, to someone, you matter. and you matter to me, because you exist, because you reached out to me, because you have a question that i ask myself daily. 

here’s my suggestion. when i’m at the point that the rope has a stronger pull than the art of the world, i make myself count the things that are good, and didn’t have to exist, but do. libraries. books. bath bombs. me and you. because i know we can be a force for good, you and i. somewhere on some level we can help others or just help ourselves and that’s…. good. and i think, really, in this universe that loves entropy, yes, absolutely, we need you. we need the good you can do. and we need you. or, at least: i do.

1. You and your love are both soft and haunted and some people will come into your life and take that softness for granted. This is just how the world is, my darling, diamonds exist but so do wolves and sometimes it is the diamonds that we need to watch out for because they are made of cold and wolves still have heartbeats and are just misunderstood. Navigating the world is a hard thing, especially for girls who are made of story flavoured madness and seeking happy endings here that are harder than finding a pearl in the deepest part of ocean.

2. I have known of too many girls who have both become and died in the embrace of men that should have loved them better but chose to let them go. Both Gods and men tend to treat dreamers and romantics with an equal part of disdain and neglect. I have ached for them, but watching sadness does things to a persons mind and heart.

3. My cousin was a small girl with dreams the size of a country and determination made of a bullet that penetrated every job she ever did. I never once saw her fail and then she fell in love. Even bullets can dissolve when put in enough heat. Watching her melt from a gun to a wound was enough to teach me that alone had a lovely sound to it.

4. Alone and lonely are two different things. Alone means nights with my books. Alone means quiet star gazing and drinking tea drinking on my roof. Alone means hours of self aware retrospection in a coffee shop whilst scribbling poetry. But most importantly alone means not wilting into the arms of a man who may not appreciate the stars and poetry. Lonely is carnal. Lonely is craven. Lonely is sad.

5. I thought I was safe in my alone. But love is a wicked predator, it found my hiding place even in a forest. To do so, it set my beautiful forest of alone on fire.

6. For a while, we were happy. For a while, love almost had me believe that I was wrong. Until the day you left, like a hurricane leaves the ocean. For good.

7. I crumbled. Picked myself up. And crumbled again. Eventually I lost track of how many times I had to get up. Eventually you began to fade into the graveyard of the still living people that have abandoned me in my head.

8. I am better now. The forest of my alone finally has grown back from the ashes. Bigger and better than before, my alone is beautiful. It is slowly filling the graves you left inside me with self love and healing. My alone is softer with my heart than your love has ever left it feeling.

—  Nikita Gill, Alone
"Back in my day we didn't have all these mental issues!"

Well yes you did, Karen. They were called “Problem children” or “retards” or “psychos”. The were thrown in institutions and treated like criminals, or beaten to curb their behavior, or publicly shamed as “dunces”. They lacked adequate healthcare and no one understood what was wrong with them. They wandered the streets while their families either struggled to take care of them or pretended they didn’t exist. I know because I have an aunt who grew up schizophrenic in the 50s. You think anyone really knew how to deal with her when she wandered away from home or said and did bizarre things? And then there was my uncle, likely suffering from PTSD caused by his military service when he threw himself over a waterfall.

The increased ability to identify and diagnose things doesn’t mean these things just started existing. I’m not saying society doesn’t tend to overdiagnose and overmedicate (if you raise your kid with absolutely no boundaries or discipline and they end up a horrible brat, that’s probably not because of some rare mental disorder so much as bad parenting), but stop dismissing every mental health issue as some newfangled millennial nonsense you don’t have to take seriously. And don’t let that mindset stop YOU from getting help if you need it.

Aliens huh?

I’m the verge of being awake for nearly 20 hours and I had a thought since I’ve been reading those awesome aliens and human interaction stories. Apologies if I ramble.

What if

Aliens in general, they evolved as their cultures grew with or without technology far more advanced than ours could ever be, they have amazing feats in engineering and maybe they had no wars or they are the most violent beings in the world, but I suggest to you

What if they could draw, but they would stick to this specific style, like for example, we humans would exclusively only draw in the ancient Egyptian style and literally NOTHING else? That’s just the way it was for them for their entire species existence? Diversity in art wasn’t a thing since what they were drawing wasn’t advancing since it didn’t need to for them and never had a thought to change it up.

So when Humans eventually get their little creative butts off our small planetoid of a space pebble and begin to mingle with all these fascinating aliens and celestial beings, some artsy people begin to board on all these fleets and space ships and tankers and take their sketch books and pencils and whatnot with them because hey, a long space boat ride some wheres gonna be boring sooner or later so might as well get that cool idea i have out on paper before i loose my urge to do it! Then a few passing by alien folks of different origins spot this little human doodling away and are intrigued at the fact that they can draw too, let’s see what they do for art. Maybe its similar to Xe’s or Xer’s planets artisans.

Then they get friendly with the arty human and after these alien folk show some of their home worlds artistic feats, they slowly get the shy human to show more of their work they have stashed away for references and such (because how many of you art folks show most if any of your book to people without getting friendly enough with them, I’ll rip someones arm off before they even touch my books gawd XD) And as they see all the art the human has, they’re stunned to the core with how they can do so many different types of art! Its like this human managed to replicate another planets cultural abilities without hesitation!

Naturally there curious and how this small being from such a lower technological class can do so much? Did the human get these difference pieces from their other human sub classes that specialize in this preferred style?

And the little human just blushes shyly and says, “No no no, I’ve just been experimenting with some realism lately, this is better now since i started to lay off with the anime works and looked more into stippling, impressionism, some animation on the side, and don’t get me started with exaggerated proportions! It’s so fun-”

“Wait, human Fran, you…. you did all these with your own hand? And how in the galaxies did you make the pictures move???”

“Well, yes, how else would you learn and build up your own way of drawing things? I draw usually what fits my mood and have fun experimenting”

Next thing you see in years to come is a artistic explosion from sooooooo many planets as all these single styled alien cultures go through renaissances and eureka moments with their art.

Then the alien anime becomes the biggest mistake in the galaxies



Not sure if you had this come your way or not @space-australians but how would this play out in your head if the scenario happened? :3

I happily blame you and your blog for even generating this idea in my head, love all the space stuff you reblog for everyone to read and imagine~!

anonymous asked:

I'm 14 going on 15 and I hate how so many people who take a character that was just my age, and make creepy art and fic about him. I'm about to turn his current age and have been propositioned since I was 11 and was always told that adults who try things like that are perverts. So why is it when a bunch of 20 somethings pushing a teen who is around my age into a sexual relationship with an adult and do explicit crap, it's not perverted and gross? What about the teens who are feeling sexualized?

First off, thanks for writing me and being polite in your message. 

The first thing I want to address is this: you should never be made to feel sexualized. Unless it’s with someone you want to be sexual with, like a crush of yours. Even with someone you consider a crush, if you don’t want to feel that way and don’t want to do anything that can be considered sexual (be it even a kiss), you should never feel forced. This is not just now because you’re a teen, this is something that all of us go through and need to keep in mind even in our 20s, 30s and so on.

I’m so sorry that you feel that way in real life because some adults are absolutely disgusting. They are. Adults that prey on children are absolutely disgusting and horrifying and you should call them out, tell your parents or your teachers or the police. I’m not kidding here. I know it’s hard and you might feel like you’re going to be made fun of, or that they won’t believe you, or that they will side with the adult, or that will belittle you and tell you it’s not a big deal. If you tell someone you trust, they won’t do all those things. Go with your guts. Tell, even if someone only threw nasty words at you or catcalled you (and I really hope you never went through anything heavier than that). In those cases there won’t be much that you can do, but telling someone will help.

What I can tell from your message, is that you (subconsciously or not) equate sex with generally being nasty and perverted. This will probably be unnecessary, but I’ll say it anyway: sex is not inherently gross or disgusting or creepy. If you feel that it is, then it means you’re not ready to enter a sexual relationship, and that’s perfectly fine and normal. I won’t tell you that that’s only because of your age, because some people never (or very rarely) show any interest in sex (it’s called asexuality and it falls under the LGBT+ spectrum). Whether you do end up growing to want sex or not doesn’t matter here. 

What matters is that now you clearly don’t want to see sex and anything to do with it in your fandom experience and that’s fine. Tumblr offers you ways to make your experience better and show you only the content you want to see. Block any nsfw tag. Don’t follow blogs whose description clearly states that they post nsfw (like mine). Tumblr is a big and scary place if you just take everything it throws at you (be it ship hate, nsfw stuff, etc). The thing with it is that it can’t cater to everyone’s tastes, so you have to be active about blocking the stuff that YOU don’t want to see. Other 14-going-on-15 year olds might be okay seeing nsfw fanart and posts and that will be their Tumblr experience, but you should definitely take measures to protect yourself from what you don’t want to see. 

Now, the thing about Otayuri is that no matter how you twist it, it’s not illegal to ship it, even in a sexual way. You should definitely read this post about it, because the thing is, as much as we can project our feelings and real-world stuff into anime characters, they’re not real. 

I assure you that if Yuri on Ice was a flesh and bone show things would be different. I don’t really watch any current TV shows with teens in them so I can’t speak for what other fandoms do with their ship, whether they’re sexualized or not. I can only speak for this silly and amazing anime that’s been consuming my life for the past seven months or so.

Anime and cartoon characters are a safe way to explore things about real life. Whether it be sex or depression or anxiety or simply falling in love, we can all identify with an anime character and see our flaws, our fears and our history in them.

The thing you have to remember is that we (I’m speaking for the slightly older part of the fandom since I’m in my twenties) have been Yuri’s age. We’ve very likely had crushes on boys or girls that were a bit younger, our age or slightly older (like Otabek is). So I think for most of us, shipping Otayuri is a way to remember what it feels like to be a teen and be in love/have a huge crush. We will never be that age again, and maybe there’s things we regret not doing, crushes we wish we had confessed. By shipping Otayuri in an active way (meaning: drawing fanart or writing fanfiction) we can explore things we experienced as teens (or wish we had) and pour a little bit of ourselves in Yuri’s (or Otabek’s) character. 

Those things might involve anything from simple fluff or rough sex, because, accept it or not, some people at 15 or 16 were (are) having sex of all kinds. Sweet, loving, rough, vanilla, kinky, you-name-it sex. So not to explore that aspect in a healthy way (through fics or fanart) would be lying about what reality is, it would be denying that we ever thought about or had sex at that age.

Much like with blocking tumblr content, you can choose what kinds of fanfiction you read. Only read General and Teen and Up tagged things, read about fluff and about falling in love in a sweet innocent way. Read anything tagged “Ace!Yuri” (it means asexual, the thing I was telling you about before). 

But please understand this: when we sexualize Yuri, we’re mostly sexualizing our (often past) selves. Not other teens, not other real-life people. Yuri doesn’t exist in real life, and many of us see bits and pieces of ourselves in him. When we write about him we really write about ourselves, be it because we want to see how we (maybe a little sassier and bitchier version of us) would have confessed a crush to our best friend, or would have handled the aftermath of having just shoved our gloved fingers in said best friend’s mouth in front of thousands of people. Fanfiction is a study about versions of ourselves that never existed, but might as well have.

Another thing I need to make clear: Otabek is not an adult. I assure you that the morning of your 18th birthday you won’t feel like an adult. You’ll feel like the you from yesterday and it will be anticlimactic af, you’ll be like “That’s it?” and yeah, it will be it. Just because the law in some country or state says that 18 is the age of consent (which is set to 16 or 14 years old in many other countries) it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically an adult at that age. You can be 18 and have had sex since you were 14. You can be 18 and completely uninterested in sex. You can be 18 and have a 15 year old mental age, or you can be 16 and be mentally more mature than some 20 year olds.

What canon has shown us, is that Yuri and Otabek are much closer to each other’s mental age than the 2 years + a few months difference they share. I encourage you to find posts about why there’s no power imbalance between Yuri and Otabek, because they compete in the same sport and they have had similar experiences in life.

In conclusion, if you feel irked about nsfw fanart and fanfics and discussions when it comes to this particular ship, please don’t read it/watch it. But what I can assure you is that none of us are trying to sexualize you or your peers. When we sexualize pixels on a screen we don’t see those pixels as a flesh and bone version of a human, we only see an idealized character whose age we are or have been and whose personality and experiences we want to safely explore.

Also really important: when we write/draw NSFW, we don’t write/draw it for teens to read. I repeat: WE DON’T CREATE NSFW CONTENT FOR TEENS. We’re not your parents or guardians, we write NSFW for whoever feels like they can handle seeing nsfw content. If you’re a teen that goes on the nsfw tag and then complains about it (I’m not saying that’s what you did here, I’m speaking generally), it’s only your fault for going in a tag that you weren’t comfortable to begin with.

TL;DR: 

  • Speak up if you feel sexualized IRL in a way you don’t like;
  • Learn how to use tumblr safely, block tags, understand that tumblr doesn’t do those things for you. Make your fandom experience exactly the one you want to see;
  • Don’t trust adults who tell you this ship is somehow illegal: it’s not;
  • Understand what’s behind fiction and fanfiction as a way we have to explore real life things (often too personal to write about as ourselves, so we project those things in characters we like);
  • Understand that adulthood is not something that happens from one day to another;
  • Learn to discern what content is meant to be consumed by a teen and what content isn’t;
  • Be safe.

I have been reading thos “Humans are weird” “Earth is space Australia” things etc. etc. and after reading the Humans need of an animal companion thread, Humans being super cute to aliens thread and humans having more survivability compared to aliens. After reading all of that makes me think we’re one of the most high maintenance sentient beings that can be one’s companion. And since there’s a variety of possible Alien outcomes, Human alien hybrids can exist, other aliens being allergic to us and some just unable to have a Human companion because they are just unfit for human companion care lifestyle.

Humans one of the most High Maintenance Companions of the galaxy.

Why We Need Stories about Dark Things

One of the things I get tired of from time to time is the perspective that if something shows evil behavior then that means the story, song, game, whatever, is inherently bad. But there is a difference between illustrating evil behavior and promoting it.

Not all appearances of bad behavior invite bad behavior.

While one purpose of storytelling is to entertain, another purpose is to teach or educate–a purpose that in today’s world, most people seem to have forgotten.

A long time ago, there used to be all sorts of horrific stories told. Open Grimms’ fairy tales, and you’ll see that Cinderella really isn’t that Disney-friendly. But often some of those older stories were meant to teach a lesson or scare children into behaving (that latter point is one I personally don’t condone). Horrific things happen in the Bible (and the Book of Mormon). We can often learn from these accounts, but some of them are simply a record of what happened (if you believe in that), whether you like the content or not. It is what it is. Conspiring incest, rape, slaughter, and even cannibalism can be found in scripture stories. In today’s world, most people have been conditioned to believe that stories are only meant to entertain. Or entertain and uplift.

Those two things are valid. But what I get tired of, though, is the perspective that all stories should be full of puppies and rainbows (yeah, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean), and that’s what we should be writing, and if a story is dark, it’s “bad” or lesser or … something.

The World Needs Stories about Dark Things

It’s important we write about what I call “the big and heavies”–rape, addiction, suicide, massacre, societal brainwashing, etc. And when I say “we,” I don’t mean specifically that you or I HAVE to; I mean “we” as in us, writers and creatives everywhere. The world needs creatives who delve into the big and heavies, and here’s why:

1. Stories provide a safe means to explore and discuss dark things

The big and heavies are vital to discuss for a healthy society. We shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to dark deeds. We should be turning the right eye to them. Literature offers a safe way to explore and discuss these issues. It offers some distance (because it’s usually a work of fiction) while simultaneously having the ability to offer closeness–empathy.

Also, fiction provides a type of lens to view these behaviors through. Speculative fiction might have a more exaggerated or symbolic lens, such as the fashion industry of Panem in The Hunger Games, or the discussion of pure bloods in Harry Potter. A lens lets us view the issues in a way that may emphasize certain points or give us a new perspective on them, and again, the distance can provide a bit of a “safe” buffer for readers. We aren’t talking about racism; we’re talking about magical blood–and we can have a whole discussion on it that correlates with issues seen in racism, and no one needs to feel uncomfortable because this is about wizarding blood. Even realistic fiction provides a perspective, though less exaggerated, to see these issues through.

2. Powerful, emotional ramification drives home a point or idea or lesson.

Unlike reading text books or the news, fiction writing often works off making the audience feel something. It appeals to emotional experience, even more than intellectual experience. It is one of the only mediums where we can put on the skin and thoughts of another person.

In parts of society, we try hard to divorce intellect and emotion, but powerful emotional experiences are often what cement ideas and lessons into our minds. Back in the day, fathers used to take their children out to their property line and beat them so that the child would never forget where the property line was. We’ve seen similar conditioning with training wild animals. Both are crude examples, of course, but the emotional experience drove home the lesson. While negative emotions are powerful, this same thing can happen with strong positive emotions. We remember powerful feelings of happiness and of love, and if there are any lessons or insights associated with those, we recall those too.

In fiction, emotional experiences can drive home powerful lessons. And they stick with the audience.

Strong emotional experiences in fiction amplify the conceptual ramifications of dark deeds, and cements into the reader the weight of such behavior, in a way that pure intellect cannot. Once we “experience” an issue, we care more about it. Fiction is a vehicle that allows us to develop and fine-tune our empathetic skills, so we can better understand and relate to those who’ve dealt with such issues.

3. Explore, cognitively, the causes, consequences, and facets of the big and heavies

In the real world, we live our own lives in our own perspectives, and that’s it. In literature, you can include several perspectives of those involved with an issue. You can often see the issue’s causes, consequences, and facets to a degree you may not in your own life. You can see far-reaching effects in a matter of hundreds of pages, rather than decades or hundreds of years. This opens up new ideas, new perspectives on the topic, which leads to more discussion.

4. To provide hope and uplift, in spite of darkness. To overcome.

I sometimes see this weird idea that an uplifting story needs to not cross some invisible line too far into the dark. In some ways, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a Harry Potter fan, I’ve had friends come up to me and talk about how they’re disappointed that the stories got darker and darker. Maybe I’m weird (okay, there’s no “maybe” about it), but I like that. I like stories getting dark. I like when they get darker and darker. I like my evil, evil. I want the Voldemort who tries to possess Harry to get Dumbledore to kill him. I want the Voldemort who tortured animals as a small child and who murdered others to split his soul into seven pieces. The world is often an evil place. And how much more powerful is it to overcome the bowels of the most wicked, than it is to overcome a guy who shoplifted? I like my evil, evil. Not because I want to be part of the dark, but because I like seeing people overcome it.

A story that includes dark materials can be just as uplifting, if not more uplifting (because of the contrast) than a story that doesn’t. The idea that a story can’t be dark and inspiring is just unfounded.

Every Christmas season, I become a fan of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra all over again. If you’ve never heard of them, you may still recognize some of their most iconic Christmas songs, some of which have gone viral on synchronized Christmas light videos.

What many people might not realize is that each of their Christmas albums actual tells, and comes with, a written story. If you see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra live, they will read the story to you bits at a time, interspersed with music. But not all their stories are about happy sleigh rides, warm fires, Christmas hams, and decorated trees. There are parents who abandoned their disabled children, babies born addicted to crack, love that has been lost. But the stories and albums are uplifting, not because the creators avoided dark subject matter, but because they illustrated the power of overcoming–overcoming difficult times and personal mistakes. It’s hard to make it through one of their performances with a dry eye through the whole thing.

5. To render reality–others’ reality or your own

But some stories aren’t necessarily meant to be about overcoming the dark or inspiring an audience. Some stories are just about reality. Human nature. The natural man. Experiences that people actually go through. Some stories are simply meant to render, often for reasons 1-3. It’s a statement. It’s meant to create social awareness, empathy. Maybe it’s meant to start a discussion. Those stories need to exist too.

Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that many audiences only see stories strictly as mediums for entertainment and, on a subconscious level, a reinforcement of a positive, maybe even sugary, feelings and ideas. Those audiences may (on a subconscious level) refuse anything that is otherwise, and consider any mention of the dark and heavies as something that shouldn’t be there. That is their right.

And in some cases, they are correct. Some stories do not need and should not have dark content. It doesn’t serve the purpose of the story, it messes up the tone of the story, and it can ruin what was already working. You wouldn’t, for example, put in a serious plot line in The Office about Pam being legitimately raped. It doesn’t fit.

And with all that said, you shouldn’t feel forced to write content you feel very uncomfortable writing. Your work should reflect the writerly you.

Next week, I’ll talk about how to write about dark things without promoting them.

On Fidget Spinners and Normalizing Stimming

I really don’t want to get into discourse here, and many people seem to be all on one side or the other. I think the spinners could be a good thing, but we need to watch what is going on.

We can’t say not to let nt people have spinners, because if we try to keep fidget toys to ourselves, prices stay up and stigma stays put. Not to mention some people are nd and not diagnosed with anything.

Basically, on one hand I’m really glad they are getting normalized, because then it’s easier to get fidgets when you need them without having to go through all these hoops and doubt.

However, we have to make sure it isn’t overdone. I’ve seen it compared to silly bands and tamagotchis and other fad toys that were super popular then got abandoned. Some of them have gotten banned from places because of kids being jealous of other people’s stuff and because of them being a distraction.

These Are Even More Likely To Get Banned.

Already, a few weeks into their popularity, spinners are being banned in schools. Banning fidget toys because they are “distracting” is devastating for undiagnosed neurodivergent kids. While you Might be able to add fidget toys to an accommodations letter, that requires a lot of work and a diagnosis.

On the other hand, we need to make sure they are being normalized correctly, that people understand the true purpose of these spinners and other fidget toys. Just making it normal to have a spinner doesn’t help those of us that chew, flap, rock, or spin. Most nt people have a spinner but don’t know why they even exist. They think it’s just to look cool.

Don’t get me wrong, fidget toys Do look cool, however, we need to talk about the real reasons why some people Have To fidget. Stimming is necessary for autistic people and people with ADHD, and anxiety, and many other ND things. Stimming help to regulate sensory input, to concentrate, and sometimes just for fun. We need to make sure that when we normalize spinners, we normalize not just other fidget toys too, but other ways of stimming.

We can’t have kids showing off their new spinner toys then making fun of the kids that rock and flap and chew and stim in other ways. Basically, I want ALL stimming to be normalized and accepted, not just the pretty stuff. So please, let kids have their fun with the spinner fidgets, but make sure they know why they were made in the first place.

Why you really should watch Scrubs:
  • it has a great story
  • it’s a fantastic comedy with jokes for just about every age group
  • but then again, when it’s sad, it’s heartbreaking (”where do you think we are?” anyone?)
  • it has a lot of very well-developed characters, that includes side characters, who grow and change during the 8 seasons
  • it’s incredibly medically accurate!
  • the cast just consists of a lot of very good actors

now some things I never thought I’d say but here we go anyways:

  • it shows an amazing platonic bond between two guys, something we need a lot more of in this day and age
  • it also has very solid friendships between women, that don’t fall apart with the slightest bit of jealousy
  • it shows that, while not all women have to deal with this, sexism can still exist in the medical field, and it’s okay to stand up for yourself
  • it has a cast that isn’t just divided into “white” and “not-white” (for the last time, Turk, I’m Dominican!)
  • relationships based on friendship = good
  • Guys Have Feelings!!!!! (WHO WOULDA THUNK)
  • yes, even guys who are assholes have feelings
  • you can be a Strong Independent Woman and also have a loving relationship, kids and a job
  • it teaches about growing up and taking responsibility
  • and even though you grow up you don’t have to grow old, you can still do fun things with your friends
  • there’s an acapella band
  • it deals with several “loss of loved ones” situations, and all situations show people responding very differently, there is no wrong way to grieve
  • you can live far away from what you know as “home”, adapt to where you live, and still be proud of your heritage
    • and last but not least, Kate Micucci.
The DP Phandom Must Look so Confusing from the Outside

So I was scrolling through some DP posts and had to wonder what people who’ve never seen the Phandom must think ‘cause I mean…

On one hand we have these posts praising Danny, calling him a precious child whom we must protect. We say that we should let the kid have a break, drawing pictures of the kids sleeping for once, and just hanging out living his life because he’s so stressed 90 percent of the time…

On the other hand, we have 1) ghost hunger, 2) many, many vissections/ dissections, 3) GIW captures, 4) Too many torture fics, 5) Danny going insane, 6) more torture, 7) TUE AUs where everyone is dead and Danny is angsting over the death of his family, 8) angst, 9) much angst, 10) and did I mention torture? Because wow, there’s ton of torture for this poor boy.

Then there’s Dan Phantom. The Phandom knows that he’s evil incarnate and the worst thing ever for everyone. Danny has nightmares and fears his very existence. We even have some fics where he comes back and destroys everything, as Danny watches his family get killed in the background. Simply put, he’s the ultimate enemy… 

And then there’s the pictures of Dan teasing Danny like an older brother and cuddling up to Jazz like a little demented puppy.

The fact that the Phandom is divided on whether Vlad is a misunderstood, old man who needs companionship (in what way and from who depends on the person),a  hug, and just really a person who cares about him, or if he’s an evil megalomaniac who should be hated and shunned for his actions for all eternity for what he has done to everyone.  

…Or the fact that one of  Butch Hartman’s favorite episodes is the finale, Phantom Planet and most of the Phandom hates it and practically counts it as non-canon.

…Or the fact that “It’s not gay if he’s dead” and Danny’s pink pants are things.

Don’t get me started on the pairings.

…And the pairings names.

…And the fact that we don’t have ship names for canon crushes/pairings.

…And the fact we have pairings for inanimate objects but not for some of the main characters.

Then there’s Wes Weston. Just all the Wes Weston. We literally created an OC from a background character we saw once or twice who’s literally Mr. Crocker if he was a teenager with a lot less tech and much more mentally stable (or at least a little but more stable).

Do you see what I mean? 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Phandom so much for its weirdness! I’m just laughing at how confused some people must be about ….well everything if they were to see it… especially if they were hoping to see stuff about a light hearted kid show.

Throwback to when one of the most popular and promising ministers of Germany had to resign because he plagiarized on his doctoral thesis....

sometimes when I look at the madness that is politics today (especially American politics, but also European politics), I think back to this and almost can’t believe it

remember how outraged everyone was….”HE DIDN’T CITE HIS SOURCES, WE LOVED HIM BEFORE BUT NOW HE NEEDS TO BE BANISHED!!”…..

imagine if something like that came out about the angry cheeto….everyone would probably just shrug it off and be like “eh, just Donnie things, what else is new”. Trump would probably even be proud….”Yeah that makes me smart. Got away with it didn’t I?

My 1st Organic Chemistry Professor

Because, like my classical mythology prof, she’s great.

“Salt and water are like me and Justin Timberlake. If I get close enough to Justin, you’re not getting me off of him alone, like two ions. But if Justin has about 12 bodyguards that surround me, whether I like it or not, I won’t be with Justin.”

“Atoms just have a lot of feelings, okay?”

“Alright, so the hybrid looks kind of like a fat balloon.”

“So you’re gonna be drawing things again that don’t exist today, and I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘Stop doing that!’”

“Heaven forbid a man do something and not name it after himself.”

“It’s like me and Justin Timberlake, we’re super attracted to each other. Don’t doubt that, it’s true.”

“This is the only time I’m going to say that in order to solve the problem, you need to first drop some acid. Otherwise, doing acid isn’t a solution, it’s a problem.”