survive and strive

You want some real legitimate advice about mental health? Stop being mean to yourself.

Like, when you wanna say mean shit about yourself either internally or externally, work to learn how to step back a moment and remind yourself that what you are doing is a form of self-harm and not a fair or legitimate judgement on you as a person, and furthermore is not productive to your survival or well-being.

Even if you fuck something up, you can resolve to do better in the future, you can tell yourself that you’re going to make this a learning experience, and even if you’ve made the same mistake 50 times already, telling yourself you’ll get it right someday if you just keep trying will always do you better than calling yourself an idiot and beating yourself up for not being able to get it right.

Take it from me, a lot of mental health shit is a product of your environment and personal history, and therefore you really don’t have the control over it that you need to get by without others’ help, but one thing you can have some control over is whether you’re going to be a friend to yourself or just another enemy, and if you want to survive, you’ve gotta strive to be in your own corner as best you can.

Emotional neglect seems more excusable than direct abuse.

After all, the parents aren’t attacking their child, are they? It’s just simple neglect. What’s so bad about that? Neglecting a plant: you don’t actually want to harm it, you simply… forget it’s even there, or you’re too busy, there’s simply never the time… and then it dies on you. Whoops. It happens. 

A simple absence. A passivity. Benign, almost.

The problem is, kids strive for love. They reach for it, they fight for it, they seek it out. Come play with me. Are you ill? I’ll bring you a glass of water and then you’ll be happy again. Read me a story. I want a hug. Do you want a hug? Even babies know to cry when the loneliness gets too much. Imagine the plant growing tendrils, reaching out to you, pursuing you. Water me. Water me. Water me. I need more light. I beg of you, more light.

You’d have to actively put a stop to it, wouldn’t you? You’d bar its way. Find excuses. Make it realize it’s not wanted here, it’s not wanted now, it should just go away, there’s no water to be had here, not ever. Make it stop. Force it to stop.

This takes time. This takes energy. This takes a conscious choice. This takes a thousand such choices. Day after day, week after week, month after month. 

Again, and again, and again, your clingy little charge has to be rejected, pushed back, put in its place, punished for wanting its needs met. Eventually, she’ll stop pestering you. Instead, she’ll fail to thrive. Eventually, she’ll start dying by inches.

This is, of course, embarassing. No one must notice. No one must ever see how bad things are. You must explain it away. You must make the child be inconspicuous about her decline. You must convince everyone that this is simply what your child is like. “She’s just shy. She’s just always sick; it’s very hard on me. She’s just so difficult. She’s just rebellious, she’s aggressive, I don’t know why. She’s a strange child; it’s very hard on me.” 

You isolate your child. There: a nice quiet room. Close the door. Make sure no one will ever pay attention to your child. Everything’s fine, move on, nothing to see here. Solitary confinement as a parenting method.

Neglecting a human being takes work. It takes a conscious choice. It takes a thousand such choices. Again and again, and again. All because humans are hardwired to want to survive. We strive. We reach out. We fight. 

Your parents aren’t gaslighting and devaluating you because you’re worthless. They’re doing it because you’re a born survivor, someone who’s strong, someone who keeps going. They know that, given half the chance, you’ll start to reach for the light.

Hang in there. This will pass. 

• I’m sick of making excuses for the things I’m growing out of.
Accept yourself.
Respect yourself.

• Let go of bad habits.
Let go of the doubts.
Take control of your thinking.
The future will work itself out.

• These hands hold history in their creases, memories of hard times and hunger.
The rattling bones remind us that life can be sharp.
Sometimes we need tougher skin.

• This is the season of wisdom and wild things.
Learn to love the gods you’ve lost.
Learn to be everything in one breath,
and nothing at all.

• Don’t fear the quiet moments.
We are perpetual students of survival, striving through the seasons, striving through the silence.

• We are more than dreams, more than the sum of our parts.
We are the recovering wreckage of a thousand broken hearts.

• The future can surprise you, the endings always will.
To those who have forgotten themselves,
be still.

—  giraffevader - Shark’s teeth
Fractured Memories (One-Shot)

Series: Little Witch Academia (Years Later AU)

Words: 2787

A/N: I’d really like to thank @theneonflower for inspiring and allowing people around the LWA community on this site to contribute to their brilliant AU for LWA. Serpens is a very interesting character and I really hope that I did him justice with this and that Neon feel better after the hard week they’ve had. Thank you and enjoy!

I don’t remember much about my infancy. Then again, I lost count of my age not too long ago, so it’s not like those years mattered. All I do know was that I was never around my own kind, for they went extinct years after the beginning of the decline of magic. My egg was preserved by a small group of witches, and from what I remember, they wanted me to be a familiar for one of their daughters and they raised me as such until she came of age. They say you never forget your first, although I wish to spite that claim. I don’t remember her name, what magic she specialized, what she looked like, or anything else about her. But I think it’s safe to say she was dangerously impatient because she did abandon me beside a river in the forest.

When I tried to find my way home, I found two of the witches looking for me and I overheard something that would shake me to my very core. Despite the fact that I am the last of my kind, the preservation process had drastically shortened my lifespan. I was meant to live past at two millennia, but I was only going to live for 2 centuries at best. I left them behind out of distraught and kept following a river downstream until I came across a small village and met a young witch who took me into her home. At this point, I was only ten years old.

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Then She Did

She says

I won’t leave you but goodbye

She says

I do what I do to survive

but you can’t

She says

let me tell you who you are

what you feel

She says

many things

that ring in the shadowed hour

like brittle echoes

of five hour long conversations

that stole away the hours of sleep

the conclusions were drawn

black on white

ink to paper artistically

with no first hand knowledge

of the subject

she sits somewhere

outside it all

as I swim flounder struggle

in a river of shit

trying to survive

I surrender she gives in

I know what i’m doing have done

calm calculation

of a descending trajectory

with my reality mocked

and yes I disappoint

that history is well written

actual circumstances

reduced removed refused

I am neck deep

in a tar pit reality

trying not to become

a future exhibition

a curiosity

frozen in the moment

before a sign that says

This Is Not How It’s Done

I am surviving

in animal as animal striving

against despair

through this sickness

bent to the wheel

less than desired

She says

I will not leave you…good bye

Dear me a year and a day ago,

Right now, you’re in love with a narcissistic, psychotic schizo jerk. You got off the phone with him trying to get information to replace the gift he gave you as a birthday present. He’s high with friends and you’re studying for your coding class. You’re telling him it’s the last you want to see him but you know he will find a way to drag you back. You hang up, study for less than half hour and begin to cry. The code has a bug and he’s blowing up your phone, spanning it with screenshots of Blink 182 “I miss you”. You fall asleep only to be wake up startled by him screaming out your name in your room. You freak out but he begs you to talk to him, lays beside you and whines that he’s hungry. And the ritual repeats - weed, alcohol, gaming and sex. 

A week later it’s his birthday, and you threw everything he gave you in his care and told him after he left it was over. You argue the entire weekend and it’s hell trying to code , timed, by hand, without thinking about if he’s going to blow up your phone or show up in your room again or squeeze his way back in. Two days later, a day before the exam, you get in a wreck and he sweeps you up and takes care of you. But you know it’s a vicious cycle of happiness and misery with him. You are in constant anxiety and stress. You’ve been struggling to function unmedicated for 5 months. Your mood swings are off the charts and you can’t afford to see your psych or therapist. He let’s you go for a month but right before school starts, he comes back and hits you….HARD. You start off your last semester of college with a huge black eye and every day you think you’re not going to graduate…. You think you’re going to fail… You relapse hard to weed and alcohol, and after a few months, you’ve taken liking to another friend who ends up using you…. 

A year ago today, you’re thinking you’ll never find hope and that life won’t get better, and for almost an entire year, it seemed that way… But if I can go back and tell you everything will be ok, I would. You get over the abusive ex and the manipulative friend. You graduate college. You stop relying on weed and alcohol even when you faced the worst withdrawal symptoms. You picked up art, science and technology again, and even strangers online love your humor. You will make new friends that are better than the ones you’ve had before. You’ll meet a guy who won’t use your disorder against you, but would work with you because he just wants to see you smile. 

I know you’re crying. I know you will end up beaten and bruised twice soon. I know you will cut yourself and attempt to die in your sleep. But you will make it. You will survive and you will strive. 

Much admiration to the girl who endured,

Me and You

PS - apparently, you’re an amazing artist, nerd and social activist. You’re not as shitty as you think you are

Battle-scarred down to the bone
Falling, failing to believe
Living in so much despair
With no hope of release 

Was I born to be betrayed?
Was I born to simply die?
Can I bear to seek the truth
When it feels like a lie? 

Into the darkness we will fly
Soaring above our fears
Praying this world will survive
Fighting and striving for the light
Living life knowing that we must die
Loving until the end
Choosing hope when all hope has been lost
And believing in the strengths of our friends

If the Oracle can heal
If the plague can be removed
And the darkness overcome
Then I’ll carry on too 
Must I live to sacrifice?
Must I die to make things right?
Do I dare believe in hope
When surrounded by night? 

Into the darkness we will fly
Soaring above our fears
Praying this world will survive
Fighting and striving for the light
Living life knowing that we must die
Loving until the end
Choosing hope
when all hope has been lost
And believing in the strengths of our friends
We’ve fought evil
The fiercest of foes
Strong against all the odds
Giving our all when friends needed us most
Without ever counting the cost 

I chose hope when all hope had seemed lost…

…And I believed in the strengths of my friends

That last line … it kills you. Nobody survives THAT last line

Regional Portuguese Costumes

The denomination of “regional” clothing is based in the notion of diversity according to social and geographic conditions, and other elements such as materials and practices, in way it contributes the comprehension of these specific types of clothing.

They are officiating clothes, linked to specific days or events and intractably connected to the idea of celebration. They bear a symbolism that walks hand-in-hand with religious practices, reflecting the culture of said region in a combination of elements that become easily distinguished between regions.

These costumes present themselves as a mythos, or a profound mythology, with its relation to a praxis connected to Catholicism. But they bear roots from the immense diversity of Portuguese history, from Muslim art forms that survived, and strived, through centuries, to ancient beliefs or superstitions, rooted in ancient pre-roman cultures, still alive today in many villages. They can be divided (1) in two great zones based on its polychromatic characteristics: as we get closer to the sea, women «enhance its polychromatic characteristics and complicate their clothing», as opposed to serranas, women from the ridges of the interior, that bear a more monochromatic way of dressing. This is evidenced through the wearing of the scarf, connected to the role of women in society: in serrana societies, of the interior, or the hillside of the country, women cover their forehead, whereas the coastline and south regions, where the sea is in direct relation toin the way of living, the forehead is released, evidencing more liberties of the role of women in its society. 

Traditional costumes from Serra da Estrela, a type of serrana.

Costumes for romaria, male and female, from Póvoa de Vazim, a fishing town.

Five great elements can be pointed in Portuguese costuming overall (2):

1. The representation of affection, often a symbol crafted in some decorative element of the costume or adornment to be worn with the costume itself3. This affection doesn’t limit to representations of love, but also of grief in a much demarcated tradition of mourning, rooted in catholic liturgy (4). 

A lovers’ handkerchief, or lenço dos namorados.

2) The proliferation of the usage of gold. Two elements play a part here, the first considering the financial security gold represented for lower-class people, since it could be pawned in a more desperate situation. It also secured the gold-bearer, usually the women being the most ostentatious ones, as the matron of the household, in a competitive spirit between neighbors. The usage of gold is so popular and traditional it maintains today, despite social class. The second element is of an intricate catholic inheritance, which we can trace back to the baroque era: the need to “distort” the body, which is to eliminate the sensual curves of the female body. As in the Iberian fashion of the 17th century women (5) found heavy gold and jewel decoration to cover parts of the body usually defined as sensual, such as the chest, this tradition passed on to popular costuming. A fine example of this gold usage is the minhota costume, where a certain “iconography” reads in a certain symbolism that traces back to the rocaille, particularly to queen D. Maria I, whose promise of raising a basilica if she bore a baron to the kingdom, resulted in Basílica da Estrela, a church to Sagrado Coração de Jesus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol today popularized in minhota golden earrings with an asymmetrical heart. Many of these golden adornments can be traced back to interpretations or direct importations of jewelry wore by queens for different periods.

Example of heart-shaped arrecadas. Arrecadas are known of a few dominant shapes, mainly in gold (silver became popular only later, in a touristic fashion), of which the most beautiful in craft and better known are the Brincos à Rainha, the queen-style earrings.

3) Preference for linen and wool. Both materials are a strong symbol of a working class people, who both seek the best materials to guard them from the cold and find more accessible. Although silk was popular to a degree, it prevailed in nobility and aristocracy.

Two examples of a minhota costume: on the left, a bride and groom; on the right, a lavadeira (washerwoman). Notice the heavy gold wore by the bride on her chest.

4) The afore mentioned chromatic division between coastline and interior. While the colorful costuming of coastline societies reflected the festive spirit, the darker colors of the men and women living in the ridges translated the hardship of the work and lifestyle, as well the colder and aggravated climate.

A nazarene widdow costume, with the embuçada, the mourning veil.

5) Religiousness in costume ornamentation. Conceived mostly in accordance to the liturgical calendar, in a society where there is a saint for every day of the week and where birth, baptism, marriage and death were the most important moments of someone’s life, competition was vivid in festive costumes. During romaria (6), one dressed themselves to be seen.

The study of these costuming have only recently been more focused on from a scientific and anthropologic perspective. Through the eye romanticism, from Almeida Garret’s Viagens na Minha Terra (7) to the first naturalist and realist painter’s perspective, these costumes appear as a nationalistic embodiment of a people that withdraws its original intentions and usages from their context and gives them new ones. With the New Estate and the dictatorship, they were held as the prime example of the true Portuguese soul. But despite their interpretations, with new eyes on their study, they are cherished in their uniqueness and beauty, within the context of their creation, which translates the diversity of a festive spirit that is very different from region to region.

(1) According to Luís Chaves.
(2) As proposed by Madalena Brás Teixeira.
(3) As an example, in Minho exists a great tradition of adding hearts to one’s costume, particularly of bride and groom, of which the better known are the heart-shaped arrecadas, or heavy golden earrings made of filigrana, as well as the lenços de namorados, or “lovers’ handkerchiefs”, a white handkerchief with love declarations written in colorful embroidery (notable for being written with spelling mistakes, since they were made by illiterate people).  Some of these elements even represent a sexualized tone, such algibeira de minhota, the “minhota pocket”.
(4) As the costumes typical from Nazaré are an example of. These mourning practices, taken with extreme seriousness, were common in fishing communities, where often the man of the household would travel for months for fishing and their house depended on such. As a demonstration of perpetual grief, the embuçadas appear in this region, a covering of the face up until the eyes, of evident Islamic influence.
(5) An example of such is the portrait of Queen Catherine of Braganza’s mother, queen Luíza de Gusmán. It was predominant in both Spain and Portugal.
(6) Romaria is a devotional procession to a church or parish. Time, however, gave the word a connotation of “religious festivity”.
(7) Published in 1846, the book travels along the deep Portuguese regions such as Santarém, exploring with a romanticized eye the peoples and their costumes in a realist tone, as, similarly, Eça de Queiroz will later do.

I’m not understanding why some people are confused as to why Danarius is featured in most fenhawke fic when literally Fenris seeks Hawke’s support when facing his sister, which in turn, streams down into Hawke being present when Fenris kills Danarius. It’s a huge element of why we see Fenris as we do. Fenris’ story and character are complex reads. It’s sort of a disservice to undermine that, in my opinion.

This isn’t me saying that fluff fic and fic entirely removed from that aspect of Fenris can’t and shouldn’t be created, but his character is built on the idea that his evolving identity is initially rooted in once being Danarius’ slave. Self-preservation, strength, survival and striving to coexist with his trauma so that he can healthily love someone to the best of his ability are strong goals in terms of character development. It’s a significant narrative that has a tendency to be butchered when you can see where Fenris’ narrative was handled with at least some consideration.

One of the best things about Fenris is how he settles into Kirkwall and instates himself as a part of something that is foremost his choice. It’s his choice to walk away from Hawke, and it’s also his choice to return. He jokes around, hangs out with friends, discusses faith and divulges very personal information about suicidal thoughts, becomes jealous, tenses up and snaps when his experiences are diluted, faces demons head on, faces his abuser head on, falls in love, experiences heart wrenching choices, laughs, flirts, gambles (and gets in the hole with it), indulges his curiosity, has moments of petty conflict, and he proves himself to be heavily diplomatic, intelligent and willing to continue learning and evolving his ideas. After leaving Hawke, he even pointedly spends his years trying to learn about himself and put his equilibrium first.

Fenris is an awesomely complex character study, and no, slavery and Danarius don’t define him. Abuse shouldn’t define a person. Though, it is okay for it to sometimes feel like it does, especially when you’re coming to terms, coping or simply seeking validation in your experiences. But his character isn’t given a chance to unfurl until he’s in a place where running isn’t the forefront of his focus and taking life by the reins is. He wavers, he copes, and he comes out of it with an abundance of autonomy.

So when you ask why people are inclined to focus on that part of Fenris, even if it’s not always graceful and dished out like a Pulitzer (Honestly, fuck that mindset. It’s fic and if you’re a discerning person, then you can tell when someone is earnestly trying. It’s a hard thing to write, okay?), then all of that is probably why. Fenris represents a lot to a lot of people, and mostly, it’s positive and inspiring but steps off that platform where Danarius is god awful hell.

To be clear, this isn’t in response to rape fantasy stories. That’s an entirely different topic I’ll never touch, but it’s the prevalence of Fenris’ pain in fic that I’m touching on. Pain is real. Pain is a part of the human experience, and some people prefer to delve into it rather than pretend it’s not real. Those aren’t fighting words for those who have to deal that way, but I think that’s what this issue boils down to.

8HOUSE official press release:

In 2014, Brandon Graham (PROPHET, ELEPHANTMEN) will team up with four different creators to bring a series of science-fiction/fantasy miniseries set in a world ruled by eight houses to life.  

The first of the series will be 8HOUSE: KIEM, written by Graham and drawn by Xurxo Penalta and follows a soldier who must project her mind into the body of her dead twin in order to fight monsters on a distant comet. 

The second of the series is titled 8HOUSE: ARCLIGHT, written by Graham and featuring art by Marian Churchland (BEAST). ARCLIGHT will bring readers the chilling story of a high-ranking lady of one of the houses who has her mind trapped in a monster’s body. She will soon learn that the monster trapped in her body has taken over her old life in her absence. 

The last of the series will be 8HOUSE: MIRROR, and will be written by Emma Ríos (PRETTY DEADLY) and drawn by Hwei Lim. 8HOUSE: MIRROR will examine what it means to be “human” and promises to take readers on an ironic space opera battle between self-absorbed humans intent on their own survival and noble monsters striving to save their worlds. 

“Brandon Graham possesses one of the most irreverent creative minds in comics, which is what led me to tap him for the Prophet relaunch a couple years back,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Brandon’s work on Prophet also revealed he has a keen eye for talent, so in addition to being one of the most creatively adventurous project we publish all year, 8House is also one of the most gorgeous.”

8HOUSE is a new series of sci-fi/fantasy miniseries coming to Image Comics in 2014.

(Image by Hwei Lim)

(more teaser images here)


The star of Zoophobia makes her appearance and debut! (You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to pry her into a recording studio to sing… sheesh ;; ) But on a serious note, Cameron is the new counselor here and is more than happy to share her singing with us! Now, Cameron, would you like to share some words?

Greetings! I am Cameron, the… only human at ZPA, but I am sure that I will get used to all of this!… Eventually… - Cameron


Character and photo belongs to Vivziepop

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“Life is only a path full of efforts.”

This is how you define life. Somehow, I agree. Everybody has to survive. To survive is to strive, to put effort in everything you do. And I saw that in you.

You, Byun Baekhyun-hyung, may not be reading this message, but in the afterlife where we may meet, you’d appreciate that you are greatly admired.

You have been my UB from the very start and you weren’t even wrecked. Your humor is over the top. You sing harmonious melodies that melt hearts.

People may not be impressed with you always, but what’s important is you, being who you really are.

Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay GAY. HAHAHAHA.

Saeng-il chukhahamnida, Baekhyun-hyung! I mean, Mommy Baek. ^____^

What we’ve always been taught, growing up, as African-American kids is how to survive. Now, we got to get out of survival mode and get into STRIVE MODE. When you’re in survival mode you might do things that are uncharacteristic of what you really are. When you’re in strive mode you pick the things that make you go further. Once we start teaching the kids to get out of survival mode and get in to strive mode we’ll be alright.
—  Kenney ‘The Jet’ Smith (former NBA point guard)

you don’t have to live for other people

but just know

you living, trying, stumbling, striving, surviving

someone out there is inspired by you, your life, and your ability to keep going