sometimes it overwhelms me when i realize how much this show impacted me

This is something I have been trying to write for months and months. Forgive me if it goes astray from being coherent or making sense… but the last however long it’s been amount of months that I have been absent from your life has been a time of paradoxical strangeness, indifference and outright mental solitude and exhibition at the same time. I write in a way in which I am comfortable.. so if it seems outlandish, false or full of hyperbole then I apologize. At this moment in life, the catharsis of just putting these words finally out is already doing much towards my recovery.

This is for you… but more so for me.  

“…this war-ship is sinking, and I still believe in anchors pulling fist fulls of rotten wood from my heart, I still believe in saviors but I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board washed and bound like crooked teeth…”

I suppose I should begin by apologizing, mostly to those who cared for me most.. those whom which I was deeply engaged with in one way or another, those who most likely felt abandoned upon my swift exit. I am truly sorry… and while apologies are words fleeting off into eternity, and while I could sit and try to explain myself, I don’t know how much it would matter. You can however take the absolutely barren feeling deep within my guts as an indication of how I feel about the impact I know i potentially caused.  

Sometimes what is most necessary in our lives is not what is comfortable or even right to others. Sometimes our greatest triumphs come from our worst tragedies. Sometimes you just cannot explain yourself, your actions, or your feelings in a way that makes sense to others. And that’s ok.

I didn’t know at the time how much and in what ways that grief would affect me. Unfortunately for others, it affected me in a way that ripped me out of everything from my comfort zone to my existence in your life. In all my endless diatribes and moments of influence and advice, I always advocated that it was okay to show weakness… to lean on those who love you, and in that moment when the reality of my own situation came into fruition… I failed.  

I failed to realize that it would be alright for me to show myself as vulnerable, and I failed to lean on you for the comfort and support I so desperately needed at the time. I failed you and everyone else who needed me most, and when I needed you all most I walked away and rejected what was openly available to me. For that… I am truly sorry.

To ask where I have been… is to look into the ocean.  

“….always running out of fight so I’ve carved a wooden heart, put it in this sinking ship hoping it would help me float for just a few more weeks because I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea…”

My life has been a raging crashing tempest, mixed with medication.. ups, downs, failures, progress and revelations. I never realized a person and their death from this earth could crush me the way it did.. especially given the circumstances. I spend so much time keeping myself shrouded in mystery and carefully constructed walls.. so I will be as transparent as possible.

Prior to his death, I had not spoken to him in a major amount of years. I had no resolve for the events of my childhood… for his absence in my life… for the things he did and did not do, and everything else in between. Like many and perhaps most reading this, my parents ended their marriage when I was rather young. What followed was years of ignorance, years of not knowing my worth to anyone… years of solitude and quest for significance. Along the way there were flimsy glimmers of hope… a random card here, a 20 dollar bill there, a passing wave while walking down the street… but otherwise he was content to his own, and I soon became to mine.  

As I grew older I developed this sense that I would never really know him, and in his final years I so desperately wanted to. Letter after letter.. call after call… all unanswered… all ignored.. and these fleeting blurry memories in my mind. The last time I saw him, he hugged me and told me he was proud of me. He smiled that big smile… and told me he would call.  

6 years of silence later, I saw him again for the first time… laying in a bed half covered and struggling for life. No one told me he had been sick, no one informed me that he had but moments to live. There are many would haves… could haves.. should haves…  

there are many never dids, never weres and now.. never will be.  

I never got to speak with him because he was never awake. I simply sat there that day clutching his large hands, softly stroking his falling out white hair… and wishing he would wake up and give me that huge smile… that his blue eyes like oceans would gaze at me. Every time I tried to leave that room, I couldn’t… I kept turning back. “He’s going to wake up 5 seconds after I’m gone.”… I had to be physically restrained and removed.

And he didn’t wake up.  

The funeral was overwhelming. Public. And that’s when everything was learned…  

How this person who was a ghost to me most of my life was so much to so many other people. How he was a superhero among his community and the communities of others. How he had helped so many other children, families and friends… how valued he was to everyone except me. Even the governor showed up.. the news… the papers.. … amongst the literal close to a thousand others who did to be washed in the media circus and the aftermath of a life that I was now finding out was actually well lived. Each with a story about him. Each with a laugh. Each with a smile.

But not me. All I had was a hastily put together book of pictures and clippings and remembrances. And even that would be taken from me.  

In the end I was left with nothing… and now all these months later…  

I still have nothing. And all I want is closure. And it is something that I will never have.  

“….we only have what we remember…”

I returned home and immediately went into grief counseling the same day. I fired my therapist for a new one.. I became medicated,… I took advice… changed the things in my life.. my eating.. my feelings.. got a therapy dog.. I did what I was told, advised and ordered.. fired my therapist again… and so forth and so on…. and I needed some time away.

But the more time I spent away, the further I slipped into myself… the further I slipped away from you, and this, and everything important to my life. The more guilty I felt for leaving… the more overwhelmed I became by the thoughts that everyone would be angry at me.. and the longer I was gone, the more I pushed myself farther.

Sometimes a person can live with such regret for their actions that it causes them to perform them more.

I never expected any of this.  

I never expected to feel the way I did. to end up how I did. to be gone so long. to be so isolated and gone. I didn’t feel worthy of having others depend on me for anything when I felt like I was nowhere near able to be dependable. My strength had been robbed.. my ability to be this strong pillar of value had gone away.

This one person in my life, who was never really in my life… affected it in such a way as to completely separate me from everything I knew and loved and my entire existence and made me question beyond reason…  and I will never have the answers I need. I crave. I deserve…  Yes, therapy has been going great… yes I have made many strides.. yes, I have changed in many ways… but…  

Its taken a really long time to find myself here again. To even consider myself able to be here.

Things still aren’t even anywhere close to how I want them to be mentally and emotionally… and they probably never will be. Because he cannot wake up to explain this life I have endured to me… he wont wake up to give me closure.  

They say that everyone grieves in their own way. I chose to make mine destructive to others by cutting the snake off at its head… I just didn’t realize how it would affect anyone in my life it until it was too late.  

And then I woke up yesterday… and felt I was able to sit down… and do what I had been wanting to do for a very long time.  

And then, I logged into my tumblr for the first time in 9 months…  

“…Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected our bones grown together inside our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided our spines grown stronger in time because our church is made out of shipwrecks from every hull these rocks have claimed but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change so come on y'all and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach…”

I spent the better part of my day yesterday going through 2000+ messages I have received since March. The well wishes, the love, the thoughts and expressions of gratitude. the pictures, the stuffies, the hundreds of PM’s… the puppies and kitties..the boobs, the butts, the smiles, the drawings..  the socks and knee highs.. the physical exhibitionist expressions of gratitude… the hamsters and snakes and gerbils..the anons and the faithful.. . the continuing follows and questions and request for bedtime stories.. the small paragraphs from those whose lives had been utterly changed just by spending 15 minutes reading my material… those who discovered me while i was gone and had their lives changed instantly.… the fact that on a daily basis I am still getting all of these, even though I have been an apparition for the better part of almost a year…. and for the first time since March, I felt sparks of Daddy space flickering inside of me. Since March I have been totally empty and desolate.

I discovered in my submissions, asks and pm section… in the 2000+ followers gained while I was away.. People still continue to care about me.. to wonder… to keep me in their thoughts. a truly humbling feeling considering that I expected to log in for the first time since March and see nothing but disappointment from everyone. I expected people to feel like I didn’t care about them. and that is absolutely not true at all. I laughed and cried.. I felt regret… I felt guilt and shame… I felt happiness and love… my jaw hit my desk a few times.. and ultimately I figured out that I do still matter. But then I don’t really know if I do…  

It all just leaves me asking for forgiveness… mainly for falling off for so long. mainly because I know the effects it had.. mainly because I feel absolutely wrecked and sick about it all.  

But what comes from pain and suffering is what you create from that pain and suffering. What is left over is what you decide. Its not easy, its not simple. Believe me.. my life is anything but simple in these last 9 months… but I discovered that this lifestyle will never leave me, even if I leave it. It will always be there, because it is who I am. It is what I am. It is everything I have ever been… so should I come back? Should I… even be worthy of returning?  

I guess I will wait and see… because this blog was always for you. the littles.. the daddies.. the struggling.. the hurt… the lost.. the broken and distraught. The ones just like yourself.. and just like me. And despite sometimes being a total jerk.. despite sometimes disappearing… despite all of my own problems… I always did everything I did to better the lives of others in so that they may succeed. I didn’t always achieve that goal.. and sometimes I probably even prevented it.  

And I am sorry.  Please… please please…. forgive me.

If I could go back to 9 months ago, tell myself then what I know now.. tell myself then how it would all turn out… and give myself that wisdom to be able to handle it all properly, then this would never have been written.  

But what’s done is how it was all meant to go down really, and our mistakes are not our failures. They are our lessons. some harder learned than others. cant change the ones I have made.. I can only hope that I will be able to make them right. I edited this writing 7 times over the course of 24 hours… and something in it probably still isn’t right, or doesn’t say what it should… or… is just…. rambling. Some of you may never understand… or, maybe you do all too well. I have no room to judge or say…  

“…come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever… we only have what we remember…”

… what do I do?

Do I come back?

I Won’t Say I Love You (Part 1)

Characters: Steve x Reader, Bucky x Reader
Summary: Oh I guess we had an expiration date. So I won’t say I love you, it’s too late. Very much inspired by Nervous (The Ooh Song) by Gavin James
Genres: angst
Word Count: ~1000
A/N: There’s going to be another part to this!

Masterlist here | Part 1 | Part 2

You had not been expecting this. It was supposed to be an easy mission. Nat was watching from above and Steve was covering you. But the sudden rush of Hydra agents told you they had been expecting you. You grimaced as you ducked, just as gunfire ricocheted off the wall where you had been standing moments before.

“We’ve been compromised. Everyone head back to the roof. Pickup in five.” Natasha’s voice rang through the coms.

You looked around for an exit, and noticed that Steve still hadn’t responded.

“Cap?” You called.

There was silence.


“Just go, I’ll be behind you,” came his muffled voice into your earpiece, interrupted by the sound of fighting.

Keep reading

Back to my original idea in this long ramble I’ve been doing about gifts. I tried to pack too much in, and still left so much out. This woman was one of the first people to give me a real gift, at least, the first time in my life that I had realized that someone actually gave me something dear. Her pictures, when posted originally to Tumblr, weren’t popular and garnered little attention. If I were to post this image to Instagram, it would sink like a stone, because it lacks any sort of hook to rouse the average user from the act of the semi-conscious feed scroll that we’re all guilty of, something that I think deadens the impact of all of our images and forces us to stop and contemplate only the most outrageous or blindingly obvious, at the expense of the subtlety and nuance that is often more impactful.
She had asked me to photograph her at the corner of 6th and Gladys, which I did, in a perfunctory manner, to please her, and I was elsewhere as I did so, listening only partially and not at all engaged with her until she suddenly began to cry. It was similar in feeling and mood to what you would see coming from an utterly heartbroken child, and reminded me of the way I once cried when I was six and had been bullied and teased at a birthday party. I remember descending the old wooden staircase in this old style Pennsylvania house, dating from the early 1800’s, still standing in the 1970’s, complete with narrow, cramped and dark hallways and a musty depth that felt homey and wintertime musty at the same time. I was in complete disarray, sobbing uncontrollably and left the group of little girls in an upstairs bedroom to beseech an adult to call my parents to come pick me up. When I reached the kitchen, an older, linoleum floored room with several of the children’s mothers seated on chairs chatting, they stopped abruptly, listened to me for a few moments, and began to laugh. I waited in the kitchen for my father to arrive, in the most embarrassed and uncomfortable state, feeling that intense frustration at six years old that I still feel when something happens that is completely unfair but that I’m powerless to defeat.
I stopped taking pictures and let my camera rest, listening for the first time, and heard and understood that she was in most ways a young girl trapped in adulthood, in a physically mature body, near middle age, but stuck for many reasons, developmental and emotional, in middle childhood.
I listened, and heard her state abruptly how much she misses her parents. How much she wishes, more than anything, to be back with them. She missed her parents in these moments very similarly to the way that I felt when I was a bullied six year old desperate to leave a horrible birthday party. She said that she just wanted to go back, to be with her parents again. She said that men want sex from her, and will sometimes pay her some money. She was hungry, and it was overwhelming to me, as I realized that she was either homeless or modestly sheltered, had no support or family, had been turned loose by the County and was absolutely unable to cope with or understand how to navigate the world because of a developmental disability of some kind, and was expressing to me her deepest wish for a return to childhood.
People who are severely stressed, especially if living in any state of ambiguous life circumstances, easily break down when other people show even the slightest interest or listen in even the most halfhearted way. I’ve noticed, and experienced it from both vantage points throughout my life. I believe this woman, who I haven’t seen since, spends her days standing somewhere. She waits for the day to end and sleep to come, waking in the morning to start the process over, finding a place to stand, being somewhat hungry and uncomfortable, and fending off desperation and bizarre predation from those on Skid Row who prey on vulnerables.
As she began to relax, and her tears stopped, she reached into her sweatpants pocket and told me that she wanted me to have something. She handed to me a little plastic baggie containing a blue plastic necklace like the one she was wearing. I thanked her, and told her it’s okay, she doesn’t need to give me anything….it’s hard for me to carry extra stuff, and I usually hate accumulating anything when I’m taking pictures. I was only half with her again, my mind racing from one thing to the next, watching all around us because of drug use and other activities in the area that I’m always aware of. I was ready to leave, and trying to detach from the situation so that I could do so. I had to accept the blue necklace, and as I did, she withdrew something else from her pocket. Here, she said…this is for you. She pressed it into my hand meaningfully, and I looked down and saw that she had given me a thinly wrapped, purple plastic covered sanitary napkin. I said no…it’s ok! You can keep it, I’m good right now….because it’s not my thing, and I just knew that it would wind up being a nuisance possession, visible to all the wrong people.
She insisted, and told me in a very weighted voice that no, she wanted me to have it and pressed it into my hand. I put it into my bag thoughtlessly and said goodbye, and walked off with another woman who had been standing close by, waiting her turn for a few words and her picture taken.
Later that day, the sanitary napkin fell out of my camera bag and landed in the gutter elsewhere on Skid Row. I left it where it lay, grateful for its absence. Another woman rushed toward me, scooped it out of the gutter, and told me I’d dropped it. I said it’s good, I don’t want it….and she asked if she could have it.
Later that day, while out with Sonja on her food donation rounds throughout Skid Row, I saw the woman in the red shirt who had given me the two gifts. It was the last time I saw her, and I overheard her imploring Sonja for “hygiene supplies”, the term used to describe items women need during their monthly periods.
It wasn’t until my drive home that it struck me hard, and made me feel almost ill with regret. I still wish I could travel backwards in time, to give her a real hug and thank her for her gift of a sanitary napkin. Because when you’re homeless and female, the worst things you can be without are sanitary napkins and tampons. No one talks about it, but there it is. I had made an impression on her, and she gave me an important possession. It was a true gift, much more so because of its necessity in life and the distress its absence brings. I didn’t get it, not even when the other homeless woman darted for the napkin when I dropped it. I had behaved somewhat dismissively in the moment. I didn’t understand that I had actually received a real gift for the first time in my life until it was way too late to go back and demonstrate a proper thank you.

Representation Matters. And recently, I learned that one of the characters in my books is having a real impact on real people.

For the sake of privacy, I’m not going to tag any specific individuals I spoke with in this post, but this is a true story about how a character with autism in my books has affected people with autism in the real world.

When I began writing Embassy back in 2013, as I’ve said many times, the story/plot were extremely different than they are now. Most of the characters were the same, but they had different roles, and I included many characters just for the sake of including them, as I still wasn’t completely serious nor as dedicated to this series as I am today, January 5th, exactly four years since I began writing Embassy.

But as I completed more drafts of Embassy, and as I experienced various changes in my life (my most life-changing events were yet to come), I came to realize I didn’t want Embassy to be the book it started out being. I wanted it to be something deeper, playing more to the emotions and personal journeys of the characters instead of the outside plots. My purpose for writing Embassy changed. Suddenly there was a dream behind it, a message that would carry on through the unintended sequel, Resonance, and now Perihelid, the final arc of Arman Lance’s emotional journey (and the conclusion of the main themes of the first three books in the series).

Even with this more-intentional purpose shining through all the way to publication, and through the writing and publication of Resonance, too, there were still elements and characters that began to become more and more relevant to the story overall. And, recently, it has been brought to my attention that one of the still-minor characters has been having an incredible effect on some readers of my books that I didn’t quite anticipate: John Mistin.

For anyone familiar with my books, John Mistin is the older brother of Ellin Mistin, and both of them were recruited to the Embassy Program at the same time as Arman Lance (the MC) from their hometown of Cornell, on the planet Undil.

John is a socially-awkward, overly-enthusiastic guy who will give you his unwavering friendship if you so much as let him speak to you. “Hi, I’m John!” followed by a hard handshake is his signature greeting to every new person he meets. He has a form of aphasia, which is sort of similar to dyslexia, but instead of messing up spellings and being unable to read certain words/fonts, he instead routinely confuses complicated words, and Ellin is constantly correcting his mistakes. He’s aware of his aphasia, and he touts his younger sister as “my favorite dictionary.”

John has an “eidetic memory,” that is, an incredible photographic memory that allows him to vividly recall visual-spatial patterns. His life’s dream in the Embassy Program is to become a cartographer and make maps of every city, asteroid field, and planet in the Program, even venturing out on long-duration deep-space missions to map the galaxy with the Undil Embassy’s Horizon Tower. He’s an extremely quick learner with the latest cartographic technology, and is pioneering mapmaking through neuro-optical holography, where he literally creates maps by picturing them in his head and translating them into a 3D space.

He is committed to friendship. His sister, Ellin, is his best friend, and when she’s hurting, all he wants to do is comfort her. He can’t really tell when other people are uncomfortable around him, though, as we see through Arman’s eyes, Arman is at first very apprehensive about being around John, because he just doesn’t know how to “handle” being around him. Fortunately, Ellin is usually there to calm John down when he gets too excited.

I’m describing all of this because yes, John is autistic.

He’s not a main character, and we haven’t seen too much of him yet (proportionately, at least), but he takes control of the scenes he’s in. He’s a very visible character.

This is so, so, so important.

The other day, one of my followers who has read my books messaged me asking if she could ask a question about a certain character. Her question was non-specific, simply, “I don’t know if this was intentional on your part, but what’s the deal with John?”

When I told her that he’s on the autism spectrum, she was thrilled. Like, absolutely thrilled. And she told me that that’s what she thought, but she wasn’t sure if I had meant to write him like that, because the thing with John is that he sticks out from the rest of the cast. And while I’ve written other, less-visible characters in the series, John is the one I’ve paid special attention to because his role in the rest of the series is incredibly important.

The follower went on to tell me that many of her siblings have autism, and that her brother was asking her about my book, particularly about John. And when she told her brother that John was indeed autistic, her brother got really excited, too. Here’s portions of her responses telling me all of this, verbatim:

You have…no idea how incredibly happy I am right now. Holy shit. I’M- That’s literally exactly what I was- The fact that he is intentionally- AHH. It’s so rare for autistic people to be represented and then- This is something really important to me because most of my siblings are on the spectrum actually…….

“I’ve grown up surrounded by areas of the spectrum and so I recognized that behavior and the fact that it was intentional I’m so freaking happy. Also, Ellin and John’s dynamic reminded me a lot of my own with a lot of my siblings. SO ANYWAYS THAT WAS PROBABLY MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW BUT YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH MY RESPECT FOR YOU JUST ROCKETED….

“You’ve got this utopian-ish universe and there’s characters who are autistic and bi and- It means a lot to me. But I’ve been planning on rereading Embassy and Resonance so I’ll make sure to try to pay more attention to those scenes!……

“And honestly, it’s so important to listen to anyone really, but especially someone with autism bc a lot of people will tell them to shut up instead(I’ll fight people I swear), but it’s also just-the excitement and happiness they get when talking about something they love and actually having someone listen- it’s so great. And yes! So many people look down at people with autism and it’s so- Like all of my siblings and anyone else I know are pretty high-functioning……..I mean one brother, he has these intricate worlds in his head and, literally, he can put them all on paper exactly and is just-he’s so talented with art and he’s so passionate and his style is so specific to im and ahhh……….

“OH and I meant to tell you. Last night I was talking to one of my brothers and earlier someone had been telling him about how some people won’t let autistic people do things and he was really frustrated over people being ignorant and judgmental basically, and I told him about how there was a character [in Embassy and Resonance] who was autistic and is important to the series and how positive he is, and then mentioned something about how [you] had also mentioned [you’d] known someone in college who had autism who was really smart and basically he just had this really great smile on his face and it led onto this discussion about how proud he is of his own autism and the things autistic people can do, and while there are crappy people there are some really great people too and he just-the look on his face every time I talked about [John] was just really freaking good. So-thank you. :)”

When I read that last message from her, I cried. I was sitting on my couch and just let the tears flow. To hear that, to hear how your work, how a character you’ve had in your head for years, has affected someone who lives with autism… It’s such a powerful feeling. I was completely overcome, because that is so important. 

Just yesterday, I was talking with another friend and we got into a discussion about John Mistin and how a follower on Tumblr told me her story about how John has impacted her and her brother, and my friend then told me that her own brother is on the spectrum, too. I’ve been hanging out with her family more and more recently, and she told me that ever since I’ve started coming over, he’s been calmer, and is interacting with them differently, and making goals for himself to follow through on, and that I’ve had a positive impact on him, too. Even just a few days ago, I showed him this book full of satellite imagery of the Earth, and he was absolutely fascinated by it, and he and I were just sitting at the table flipping through the pages, and he was telling me all these stories about stuff he loves doing and everything he’s interested in.

As she and I were having this discussion, I just started tearing-up right there. It’s just so overwhelming. I cannot express how important it is. I always say that my goal with my books is to inspire a love of space exploration and get people interested in the sciences, but never–NEVER–did I think that my stories would have this impact on the unsung-heroes, some of the best people you will ever meet if you just open yourself to them. Yes, it can sometimes be uncomfortable at first, but there is so much to discover, and so much to love about autism.

Even before my follower and my friend told me about their siblings, I’d already had John’s character-arc planned out. Yes, he has a big role as my books continue. Yes, you will see more of him, and you will continue seeing how good of a person he is, how devoted he is to his work, how genuine of a person he is. But now, even I am realizing how important John Mistin is outside of my books.

Representation matters. It matters because we are so numb to thinking that everyone is the same. That there are heroes and heroines and villains and friends and enemies.

We all have strengths and weaknesses, and none of us are magically good at everything. Sometimes the people we want to avoid at first are the best people we could ever meet. I didn’t write John because I needed diversity. I didn’t write John because I needed a stereotype “crazy” character. I wrote John because he is important to the story, because without him, my books literally would not be the same. And now I know he might be even more important to other people than he is to me.