what even is your face and how does it does the things it does

The Seventh Wheel: A Case for Black Lion Lance

Alternatively titled: Lance Deserves The World Because He is My Son and I Love Him

Okay, so Shiro’s gone and someone’s gotta fill his big ass shoes. In the toss-up between him, Allura, and Keith, I’m going to be arguing in this post that Lance could be the guy to do it. And, fair warning, this is going to be ridiculously (like, ridiculously) long lmao so here’s the TL;DR right now: I think that a) Lance already shows the character traits of a good leader, and b) there’s a good chance of him becoming one, given his impending character arc. 

It also has a chance of not happening, of course, but who cares?? I already started writing this thing, so:

Alright, let’s begin at the beginning, because that’s always a good place to start.

Lance is first introduced to the audience as the classic loud, arrogant, goofy flirt. The perfect comic relief character. He rescues a guy because his “rival” was gonna do it first and he can’t have that, the first thing he does in the giant robot cat is fart, and he hits on a girl who just fell out of a pod in a magic castle. He’s there to make you laugh.

I can’t imagine anyone looking at a character like that and “You know what? This guy could be a leader.” Allura says it herself in episode 1. The black lion is supposed to be the decisive head of Voltron, a person who’s a natural born leader, who’s in control, and,

Basically, calm, collected, and respected. “A natural born leader.” So, definitely not Lance. Case closed.

But, not really. Because Lance actually is calm and collected. He’s just not respected. He has all the leadership traits– the problem is that he’s not treated as someone who could be a leader.

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Ok but can we talk about how the Paladin’s bayards don’t just suit them, but actually ARE them? THE BAYARD PICKS THE PALADIN, MR. POTTER.

The bayards are frankly the coolest metaphorical device happening in this show and I haven’t seen anyone talk about it yet (I’m sure someone has, but I feel like it’s not really… a thing??), and if my major has taught me any(useless)thing it’s to get stuck on functional motifs in storytelling so

Keith

I mean this is just fun. You’re probably not surprised that he gets the big blade because he’s main-character-red and the emo/possibly-Asian-one, but let’s consider a few things: 

The fact that it’s sharp on both sides acts as a physical reminder of the duality happening within his character (he cuts others down, but internally he’s cutting himself down just as much: a double-edged sword). 

Furthermore, that double edge reminds us that it’s a loner’s weapon: he needs to be able to attack with each swing, in any direction, because no one’s coming to back him up. It may be space, but dude is clearly rockin’ the lone wolf/samurai vibe. The length backs that up a bit as well–it keeps everyone he sees as an ‘enemy’ or a ‘rival’ at a distance (//side-eye @ lance). 

What’s even more interesting is that if you look at Keith’s relationship with his bayard compared to his Marmora blade, they represent his hidden and public selves: who people see him as/expect him to be vs. who he truly is and wants to be (is afraid to be) himself. 

Most people only see his bayard, a classic warrior/knight weapon that represents strength and grace and leadership. Keith brings this out in battle, in front of his friends, before enemies, etc. But when he’s alone at night or when he’s holed up in the desert, the blade on his mind and in his hand is his Marmora dagger. Despite being a secret for so long, it is actually this blade (and not the bayard he got from Voltron) which Keith always keeps close to him (and which he keeps strictly concealed). 

He covers up the mark on the hilt as if to cover his own hidden thoughts and feelings (and maybe even dubious past). In public, he feels he can proudly show his bayard but doesn’t want anyone to know he has the dagger, even before he himself knows what it might mean. 

Even more interestingly, this blade also represents close combat–letting people get close to you–and the desire to protect others, showing that these are things Keith thinks about, feels, and even wants, but is afraid to show to those around him. What’s more, while the obvious skills and general cool-dude-ness associated with the bayard are something Keith has earned/achieved by his own merit, the Marmora dagger (and all the things it represents) were something he was born with; something inherently part of him. Ironically, once Keith learns more about his dagger and what it represents, it becomes longer–it adds distance, just as the truth about his past puts distance between him and the other paladins.

Like, I could literally (gladly) write an entire essay just on the symbolism of how Keith treats these blades, but you get the idea. 

I was gonna do Shiro next but his is even sadder than Keith’s so let’s do

Pidge

So some things about this are obvious: it bears a (kind of adorable similarity) in shape to her head. It’s small, she’s small, but if you underestimate either of them you will be sorry. It’s an incredibly quick/nimble weapon (a great parallel for her stinging wit). Her bayard is designed for quick, surgically precise movements, which is exactly how Pidge works (both mentally and metaphorically).

However, while it has great attack capabilities, that’s clearly not the bayard’s (or Pidge’s) main purpose; it’s a necessary consequence in the pursuit of other goals. Rather, the transformative and flexible uses of Pidge’s bayard emphasize the desire to be useful and to solve problems over attacking. This is belied by the fact that Pidge forms Voltron’s shield. Pidge would much rather think her way out of/around a problem than charge in head-first

Her bayard is a reflection of that. Pidge’s bayard is also the most technically complicated, which is another great parallel for her mind. Furthermore, the grappling hook function of her bayard echoes her desire to find things out of reach, and cast out into space and bring those things close to her, or herself to them (*cough*MATT*cough*). 

TL;DR: it’s an all-purpose, unassuming weapon meant to perform multiple tasks in an efficient, creative way, and it focuses on problem solving/extraction more than brute attack (though it packs plenty of punch when cornered). And, of course, though she be but little, she is fierce.

Lance

As his swagger (and even his name, like talk about being on the nose) suggests, Lance is totally in-your-face, up-in-your-business blabbermouth who seems pretty simple to understand. So why does he have the weapon that arguably requires the most finesse, patience, and also has a long range? Because that’s what Lance is really like under all that talk. It may seem like Lance lives with the words “are we there yet” on his tongue, but consider this: Lance wanted to be a pilot, but was originally relegated to commercial-class ranks. Did that stop him? Nope. He kept at it until he made it to the top of those ranks (it’s safe to assume that if they only promoted one pilot to fighter-class after Keith’s expulsion, it would be the top of the commercial-class students). That’s more patience than any of the other paladins have shown.

As a gun in a team that has close-combat weapons, Lance’s bayard automatically assumes a supportive role (despite all his talk about beating Keith and being the best), and we see this multiple times throughout the show. His first day as a fighter-class pilot, what does Lance do? Talks to his team and says they should stick together. How does he find out about Shiro? He’s following Pidge and asking about what she’s up to–crazy theories that others wouldn’t care to hear out. There are a lot of other examples of this (notably, when he throws himself in front of Coran), but from the get-go we’re slyly shown that Lance actually cares about and pays attention to those around him (even though he keeps talking about kicking their butts and being #1). It makes sense, then, that his weapon would be one designed to support and provide cover for others. In fact, we see Lance doing exactly this in the first episode when Pidge mouths off and he rushes in to cover for her.

Sadly, as one of the longer-range weapons, Lance’s bayard is also one of the loneliest metaphors in the group, and we see the reason for this just as much in VLD: Lance doesn’t feel appreciated (or sometimes even accepted) by the people around him. He often feels distant, though not by choice. He may shoot (ha) his mouth off a lot, but at the end of the day it’s pretty apparent that this boy craves love and attention, almost as much as he wants to be perceived as a ‘top gun’ (double ha) within the group.

A gun–especially the rapid-fire type that Lance has–further mirrors his tendency to be impulsive (and even impetuous) rather than controlled and thoughtful. On the bright side, though, it is exactly that willingness to pull the trigger that has catapulted the gang forward on a number of occasions.

Shiro

Between Shiro’s arm and his bayard there are so many different things going on here I don’t even know how I can touch on all of them. If I could write an essay on Keith’s weapons, I could write a BOOK on Shiro’s.

First, let’s talk about Shiro’s actual bayard. In Zarkon’s hands, you can read this as a physical extension of Shiro’s freedom, or even as Shiro himself: Zarkon took the bayard–something meant to be used for good–from another world, and then warped it in the hopes of using it to cause destruction. 

The good news is that both Shiro and the bayard escape Zarkon’s clutches because of Voltron, and though Zarkon intended to use them, they instead become the strongest weapons to fight against him. They will always feel the effects of Zarkon’s influence and ownership–the bayard because of Zarkon’s former paladin connections, and Shiro because of his arm and PTSD–but they still fight. In the end, it is Zarkon’s obsession with them as his former ‘possessions’ that becomes his downfall. So deep is his trauma that Shiro actually waits until it looks like they’re about to die (when Voltron is in an electric headlock) to activate his bayard. Why? Because he doesn’t trust his arm, he doesn’t trust his hold on the bayard or the lion (don’t even get me STARTED on how the lion–down it’s right-hand weapon and still somewhat under Zarkon’s control–represents Shiro himself), and as a result he doesn’t trust himself to be stronger than Zarkon. 

Even when Shiro finally gets the bayard back, he doesn’t call it his bayard, or the black bayard; he calls it Zarkon’s bayard (and it looks the part). This can be seen as a mirror for how Shiro sees himself: even though it’s a bayard, Zarkon tainted it, and now it doesn’t belong to him even though it’s rightfully his and he has it in his hands (which, ironically, is still technically Zarkon’s hand… you get the picture).

However, as Keith corrects him (”you’ve got your bayard”), the bayard rejects the changes Zarkon forced upon it, and reverts to a form that matches Shiro and the other paladins (likely how it looked before Zarkon started using it for evil). Just as the paladins healed Shiro by rescuing him and making him part of Voltron, Shiro does the same for the black bayard. Indeed, he only pulls out the power necessary to retrieve the black bayard once he wakes up to find the team fighting to protect him. It might be telling symbolically that Shiro leaves his bayard behind when he goes missing at the end of the season–perhaps he’s won his freedom only to have it taken once again.

 Which leads me to… 

The black bayard could also represent Shiro’s memories: both are known to exist, and we get hints/flashes/teases throughout the show, but both are initially “lost”. Slowly, it is revealed just how both Shiro’s bayard and his memories have been taken/corrupted by Zarkon. We see this in the way Shiro’s memories haunt him, only to frustratingly elude  him when he needs them. When Shiro finally tries to find out more about why Zarkon has the bayard, he’s also facing his own mind–his memories, his insecurities, and his apprehension at what fate awaits him–as well.  In this sense, when Shiro reclaims the black bayard, he is also reclaiming so much more: the hold/fear Zarkon held over him, the insufficiency and anxiety he felt because of it, etc. 

You can also read the bayard as a mirror for Shiro’s arm: Zarkon took Shiro’s arm and replaced it with something Galran. Shiro joins Voltron only to find that Zarkon also has his metaphorical right hand–his weapon. Shiro can’t use the weapon he should be holding (in a hand he doesn’t have because of Zarkon) because Zarkon took it. Talk about a vicious cycle. This symbolism is supported all through season 1 and parts of season 2 where we see Shiro simultaneously struggle with controlling Zarkon’s lasting effects on Voltron and coming to grips (ha) with controlling his arm. It’s hinted–both during battle and through PTSD–that if Shiro doesn’t control his arm, it will control him, just as Zarkon demonstrates that if Shiro can’t reclaim the bayard, Zarkon will use it to kill him (we see a similar parallel with his memories). 

I’m just going to stop here because the black bayard and Shiro’s arm can represent so many different things that it totally distracts me and I can only really do it justice by literally sitting down and writing out a full on dissertation on it.

But TL;DR: Shiro’s arm and his bayard are in a crazy, soap-opera drama with Zarkon on so many different levels and it is symbolistically incredible.

Hunk

Hunk’s bayard, much like Hunk, is pretty straight-forward and simple. Physically, it’s a big weapon. A big, hulking (Hunking????) weapon. It looks incredibly imposing, but its chief function isn’t destruction, but preventing destruction. Just as Hunk likes to avoid violence, his canon is mostly used to disable enemy weapons as part of Voltron, and individually Hunk uses it to provide long-range cover fire for his team (when he tries to use it in a more actively combative role, he just ends up almost shooting Pidge… gg, Hunk). 

Unlike Lance’s more nimble and quick-fire weapon, Hunk’s takes a lot of strength to move around and a long time to power up–this mirrors Hunk’s own well-rooted stance (he’s not easily swayed), and his cautious nature. He doesn’t do things off-the-cuff or on a whim; he thinks them through first. Indeed, it’s almost always Hunk warning the others of the possible outcomes of their proposed escapades. 

He’s also slow to anger, just as his weapon is slow to fire. However, once he has decided to take a shot, his firepower is incredible, just as when he does decide to take action (like with the Balmerans), his will is unstoppable. 

I could go on for days, guys. I have so much stuff I had to cut out because even the hardcorest Voltron fans don’t care about underlying motifs this much, I know, but AGH. GUYS. GUYS. THE BEAUTY??? OF THIS WRITING??? IN A KIDS’ SHOW????? 

Bless.

PS this is long I didn’t proof read it SO SUE ME

prongswhatthefuck2  asked:

What are some good tips for getting started with writing a book? I have a concept but i can't put it into place.

Getting Started with Your Story

There’s no one way to start writing a book. For some people, it’s enough to just jump in and start writing to see where the story takes them. If you’re not too keen on that idea, then here is one process (as in, not the only process) that might help you move beyond your concept. 

  • Concept ≠ Plot

Many writers mistake concept for plot, but they’re actually two very different things. A world where everyone grows up with superpowers is a concept; the plot is what you decide to write about within that concept - the specific characters and what happens to those characters; who your antagonist is and what conflict arises when that antagonist goes after what they want. All of these things contribute to your plot. 

So first, define what it is you actually have at this particular point. Do you just have a concept? If so, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to develop that concept into a plot. 

  • Concept >>> Plot

If you’ve decided that all you really have is a concept, then how do you take it and turn it into a plot? You brainstorm. All brainstorming really amounts to is expanding your ideas. All you’re doing is asking questions about the concept and delving deep into the answers. 

The most simplistic way to start this process, especially if you’re struggling, is to ask one of two questions (or both, if applicable). These two questions: What could go wrong? What could go right?

Going back to my example about a world where everyone grows up with superpowers. If I were to ask the question “what could go wrong,” I’d end up with a whole list of possibilities. 

  • The powers suddenly disappear
  • People start abusing their powers
  • Someone figures out how to steal powers
  • A hierarchy of strong vs. weak powers develops, creating superiority/inferiority dynamics
  • Someone is born without a superpower

There are many more possibilities I didn’t even think of here, but any one (or more) of these could become a plot. Choose one that sounds interesting, and then ask yourself “and then what?” 

Say I choose: Someone figures out how to steal powers. Then what does that person do? Do they recruit people to do the dirty work for them? Do they work alone? Do they hoard these powers and barter them for other goods? Do they attempt to enslave people? Do they attempt to take control of institutions? What do they do?

Your goal is to take your ideas and turn them into actions taken by characters. People doing things. And each piece you add will usually lead into another. If you went with the idea that this character is stealing powers and essentially selling them for other goods, you’d have to ask yourself follow-up questions. First, who are they selling to? Why would anyone buy a new superpower if they already have one? What uses would they have for additional ones? What is the key demographic that this person is trying to reach? Secondly, what are they selling them in exchange for? Money? Favors? Souls? What is this character getting in return?

Now that you’ve examined potential actions that the character takes, you’ve also exposed potential new characters. 

  • People they’re stealing from
  • People they’re bargaining with
  • People that try to police these crimes
  • People that try to copy this character’s process

At the beginning of this section, I talked about using “what could go right” as another optional jumping off point. This is a good path to follow if your concept is already really negative. For a concept where someone is killing people for some pointed reason, you might ask “what could go right” and explore ideas where the killer is caught and brought to justice. 

The point of all this is to think about change as a means of taking your idea from concept to plot. A concept is static - it doesn’t move, evolve, or change. By developing a plot, you’re forcing the concept to be challenged in some way. If you think about it that way, you’ll be able to formulate conflicts, and the people that orchestrate and fight against those conflicts. 

On that note, I think we’re ready to move onto the third piece of my graphic above. 

  • Plot = Character Actions and Consequences

At this point, you have sketches for characters. You’ve got this nameless, faceless person that is stealing the powers, and all these other nameless, faceless people that I listed above. In essence, we have character concepts. And just like we turned our initial concept into a plot, we have to turn these character concepts into actual characters. 

The basics are the easiest way to start. You figure out their name, their gender identity, their age, their appearance, some brief backstory and personality traits. I personally prefer the simplest questionnaire that I put together back in the early days because it hits on the poignant pieces of a character without overwhelming you with 100s of questions. 

Now that you’ve given your character concepts names and faces and potential behaviors, you start to consider how one character’s view of the world inspires them to take certain actions, and you then think about how those actions affect your entire story. 

We already kind of talked about the motives of the power thief in our example, but definitely delve deep here. On the surface, this character seems bad - stealing from people and then selling what they steal. But depending on what it is they’re getting in return, could we not argue that this character is a supernatural Robin Hood? Maybe instead of selling, they’re giving, and maybe the characters they’re stealing powers from are people that abuse and misuse their powers. Character motives can take a plot and turn it on its head, forcing you to reconceptualize everything. And that’s okay! That’s part of the process.

But separate from that idea, if we have a character concept of someone whose powers were stolen, and after developing their basic backstory, we discover that person’s name is Rose, and she has an especially close relationship with her brother. So when her powers are stolen, how does this affect her life? Was she using her powers to keep her brother alive and protected? What she using them to keep a roof over their heads? Was she using them as part of her job, as a means of providing? What happens to her life when her powers are stolen? And what will Rose do about it? Whatever Rose does will impact the story. If she does nothing to get her powers back, how does she solve her problems and does that make for a good story? If she does decide to act, then you’ve moved onto a new plot point to dive deeper into.

My point is, character concepts come from plots, but characters themselves often create plot, as their decisions and mistakes and successes create new outcomes. So if I could modify my original flow chart:

Before you develop something, you conceptualize it. You have a concept, then you make it a plot. You have concepts for characters, then you make them characters. And those characters end up driving your plot, to the point that this happens:

Plot inspires character. Character inspires plot. And it just keeps going around and around and around. Breaking it down into these pieces helps organize the process, but developing a story is rarely this neat and tidy. You’ll get ideas that don’t make sense, ideas that aren’t cohesive, characters you don’t need, characters that piss you off, problems you can’t solve, or plot points you’ve committed to that you no longer like…it will be messy. But it’s your mess, and the more you work on developing your own process, the more it’ll make sense to you. And it’ll become easier to know how to go about fixing it when something’s not right. 

Have fun with this process! It’s supposed to be fun. When the pieces start to become clearer, you’re able to put them together in a rough outline. And once you have a rough outline, you can start writing, and really see it take shape. 

-Rebekah

anonymous asked:

why do you hate yoda? not an attack I'm just really curious

I appreciate your curiosity because I am ALWAYS up for the chance to rant about my hate for that lil green fucker. Ok so here goes:

To me, Yoda represents everything that is wrong with the Jedi Order. The way he interprets and enforces the code is just highly misguided and allows for no exceptions, and this is one of the things that ultimately leads to Anakin’s issues and the downfall of the Jedi.

Let’s start with Anakin. So you have this nine year old kid who was literally just rescued from slavery and whose life has changed drastically within a matter of days. He’s going through a whirlwind of extreme emotions, as would be natural for anyone in that situation, especially a NINE YEAR OLD CHILD. It’s fucked up enough to not expect any child in that situation to feel fear, but this isn’t even a typical case of a padawan who is recruited by the Jedi from a young age from a healthy family environment with parental consent. This is a boy who was rescued from slavery in order to become a Jedi, and who is reconciling the fact that he is now a free person while the mother he loves dearly is still enslaved. That’s a big fucking emotional burden to deal with. Considering the situation, Anakin actually deals with it in a much more mature and controlled way than many other kids his age would. But nooo, apparently that’s not good enough for Yoda, who can “sense” his fear. How dare Yoda, who is NOT a slave, has not EVER BEEN ENSLAVED (to our knowledge) try to police the emotions of a child who is fresh out of the system of slavery. Who the hell is he to know or say what is right to feel in that situation. But not only does he condemn that Anakin feels afraid, he acts in a way that suggests to Anakin that his fear and emotions might keep him from being trained as a Jedi. Mind you, this kid had JUST BEEN FREED in order to BECOME A JEDI. From Anakin’s perspective, he might think that if he doesn’t get to be a Jedi he has to go back to being a slave on Tatooine. So this is a pivotal moment for Anakin, where he is told that his fear and emotions will not be accepted, and he makes the decision going forward that he needs to repress these things. Right here in this moment is when Yoda already predisposes Anakin to be vulnerable to Palpatine’s influence. He is already putting this kid on the defensive and setting the path for him to repress his emotions in a dangerous way. Then, even after Anakin is granted status as a padawan and then a Jedi Knight, Yoda never fully accepts or trusts him. He is always wary of Anakin and is pretty damn obvious about it. And he’s a representative of the Jedi Council. So instead of Anakin seeing the council as people who are on his side who he can trust and turn to in times of need, he sees a council who does not like him, does not trust him, and who he can’t be open with about issues he’s facing. So many of the bad events of RoTS stem from a lack of communication between Anakin and anyone else. Because he’s been taught that his emotions and fears are not normal to have or an ok thing to experience, he doesn’t feel comfortable talking about them—not just to the Council, but to anyone. So he doesn’t turn to the council, he doesn’t turn to Padme, he doesn’t turn to Obi Wan, because he believes that what he’s feeling is unacceptable and should be pushed aside rather than discussed. And THIS is what makes him vulnerable to Palpatine. And I would argue that all of this is primarily Yoda’s fault. 

So if THAT wasn’t enough… this little green nugget of bad kush learns nothing from his mistakes. How do I know that? Because he tries the same bullshit with Luke. Like, fucking up one Skywalker apparently wasn’t enough for him. He goes into hiding for a long time and you would think that during that time alone on Dagobah MAYBE he would find some time to take personal responsibility in his role of failing Anakin and realize what practices and shortcomings led to the downfall of the Jedi. You’d think that he’d realize that maybe the “no attachments” part of the code was outdated and wrong and partially responsible for what led to Anakin turning to the Dark Side. Nope. None of this happens. On Dagobah when Luke realizes that Han and Leia are in trouble, Yoda tries to stop him from going to save them! He tries to argue that Luke should let Han and Leia die so that he can “honor what they fight for.” What bullshit is that? Luckily, Luke doesn’t listen to this mess and still goes and saves Han and Leia, but honestly after all this time Yoda STILL doesn’t realize that MAYBE he’s been doing something wrong. 

I won’t go into it, but he’s also kinda a piece of shit regarding Ahsoka’s trial in TCW. Basically,to me, Yoda represents this pervasive toxic masculinity of the Jedi Order that views having emotions as weak and dangerous. I’ll finish my rant with this excerpt from some book that I think is in the legends-verse now. 

... Somehow, Still Talking About This Captain America Shit (Now With Bonus Spider-Man and Agents of SHIELD)

So now Secret Empire has revealed its Shyamalan Twist and given the readers a Good Guy Steve Rogers as well as Hydra Cap, and the kinds of dickbags who, when this whole bullshit began were dismissing people’s complaints with “oh come on, don’t you know how comics works, it’s all going to be put back at the end, blah blah blah…” are crowing I-Told-You-So’s.

But here’s the thing:

Yeah, fucknuts.  We always knew this.

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A Witch's Guide to the Moon

  The moon. Every witch keeps it in conscience. Nearly every religion seems to have something to say about it. In science, history, religion, even in architecture, the moon has come to show its importance and status. Babylonian astronomers in the 5th century BC recorded a lunar cycle, and back in 4th century BC, Chinese Astronomer Shi Shen created a guide regarding the prediction of lunar eclipses. Civilizations like the Han Dynasty thought the moon to be a driving force, while many Native American tribes associated it with female divinity. So, with all this in mind, how can we use and understand the positioning of the moon to better our witchcraft today?

  First, we have to understand a lunation. A lunation is a roughly 30 day cycle, from new moon to new moon. The word moon actually comes from the word month. Ancestors used and understood the moon phases to tell time. Each phase lasts a few days to the naked eye, though the moon is really only in each phase for a brief second. It appears the moon stays in a certain phase due to the time buffer in which we on earth see the light. The New Moon represents the start of a new cycle.

 So, exactly what does each cycle mean, and how does it correspond with the craft?

 New Moon - The new moon is a time of new beginnings. The Sun and Moon are aligned, leaving the moon dark and invisible to our eyes on earth. It will also rise and set around the same time as the sun. It is a time to start new projects, jobs, friendships, and to seek new intentions. Starting a diet, trying to kick an old habit, or redecorating will all be made easier by the energy given by the New Moon. Wishing upon a New Moon is also a good way to bring in some luck.

Waxing Crescent -  Also known as the ‘young moon,’ the crescent begins the move towards a full moon. A small, sliver shaped section of the moon is illuminated. Plans or goals that were made during the New Moon can be solidified and worked towards, and often clarified.

First Quarter -  The first quarter moon is a small pause from the motivation and working to balance oneself out and discover possible mistakes and holes in plans and ideas we had made. Now is a time to focus and fine tune little things in your life. Meditation and introspective journeys are at hand.

Waxing Gibbous - Also known as the three quarter moon, the waxing gibbous is ¼ away from becoming the anticipated full moon. Spells for success and goal reaching work best, especially in relation to the project you’ve been working on. Think about positive spaces and constructive magic–bringing in money, romance, etc. If your project so far has failed, the Gibbous will help recharge it.

FULL MOON - The full moon. Esbat. Regarded highly as the best and most effective time to cast spells, lore and tales have surrounded the mysterious full moon for centuries. It is a time of heightened psychic awareness, in which everything comes together, including family, friends, plans, and ideas. In Wicca, the full moon is the mother’s moon, and in folklore, the full moon represents divine female power. Divining is especially powerful during a full moon. It is a perfect time to make Moon Water and to perform any exciting or lengthy spells you’ve been working on.

Waning Gibbous - As the waning begins, so does the shedding of old or toxic things in your life. Removing bad habits, curing illnesses, quitting bad jobs, ending addiction, or even breaking off relationships can be planned or started. This is also the time of the goddess Demeter.

Last Quarter - Continue banishing work here, especially focused on your emotions and negativity. Remember things you want to improve and save them for the upcoming new moon, but for now, simply make room for them.

Waning Crescent - The final waning phase before the start of a new cycle, now is a time to confront head on what is causing chaos in your life. A little hexing here and then, if such practice coheres with your beliefs, might just work out during this moon phase.

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Lunar Deities: Phoebe, Artemis, Selene, Hecate, Chang'e, Sin, Mani, Tsukuyomi, Ibis, Chonsu, Thoth, Set, Chia, Wadd, Elatha, Luna, Nepthys,

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The Moon Tarot

 The moon tarot invokes the unconscious, introspect, and discovery. The face of the moon is half seen, symbolizing pregnancy and the mystery of the soul. The rays of light represent creation and power, and are a vital symbol of life. The animals, perhaps a wolf or dog, sit opposite of a river, mouths lifting to howl at the moon. This can represent the cutting of ties with someone close, and is especially poignant in the idea of hiding or forgetting ones ancestry. A crustacean sits in blue water at height of a pond, symbolizing hidden emotions and sensitivity. The water flowing towards the moon along with the crustacean and dogs rising towards it can be seen as a unity of self. The water at the bottom, where the crustacean sits, is drawn in by the moon, evoking female cycles, as well as passage from life to death and vice versa.

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This will most likely be updated and added to, but for now, here this is! I hope this can help somebody out.

I have some opinions/thoughts that I’d really love to get off my chest even if other people think I’m completely wrong.

Gaston did not deserve to die, Gaston was hardly a bad person, Gaston was basically forced into being the villian of this story.

[I’m referring to the 2017 remake of BATB rather than the original animation.]

Let’s point out some difference between the 1991 Gaston and 2017 Gaston
-2017 Gaston was not a misogynist
-did not abuse Lefou
-even verbally
-Like for fucksakes, the friendship between Lefou and Gaston was so genuine. I’m frequently seeing these things around Gafou is an abusive ship, buts it’s really not? He tells Lefou ‘thank you’ says ‘you’re the best Lefou’ sincerely asks ‘how has no woman snatched you up?’, messes around with Lefou like buds (wrestling bite marks, picking him up to demonstrate strength, gets on the table and dances with him), let’s Lefou calm him down and boop his nose, and not once does he insult or hurt even when it seemed like he would (after Lefou wrapped his arms around him, or when he couldn’t spell his name, when he said ‘who needs her when you’ve got us’, etc). They’re sincerely good, close friends, but don’t worry I’m not ignoring all the shitty things Gaston did to Lefou I will get to that in a second.
-I said he’s not a misogynist, right? Cause that’s important. Big step away from the OG.
-Doesn’t insult Belle for reading
-Instead he feigns interest in the book because he knows it’s her interest
-even brings her flowers, whataguy
-Has manners (“excuse me, please let me through” going through the crowd, didn’t push everyone out of his way)
-Goes to her rescue when the town’s people are being mean (sure this is because he wanted to be the hero to seduce her, but seriously he was one of the few people who didn’t harass or bully Belle for being different)
-Doesn’t call Maurice crazy and instead offers his help to soothe the men (again, seduction, but seriously he’s still being polite and helping the underdog unlike the OG)

I’ll probably think of more things to add to this Gaston-wasnt-an-asshole list but I think this basically gets the point across that, well, Gaston wasn’t an asshole. He was immensely vain, yes, but that doesn’t mean he was a bad person.
Cus ya know who else started out incredibly vain but still managed to be the fucking prince in this story?
Yep, the Beast/Adam of course.

Time to do some comparing of the prince and the villian because spoiler alert, they basically parallel each other.

I’ll begin this part with Belle’s comment of, “No one can change THAT much, Gaston”
Ahem

LITERALLY SHUT THE FUCK UP ARE YOU SERIOUS
This line pissed me off immensely, because that’s literally Adam’s entire character arc, changing himself completely, literally and figuratively.

Like I’m sorry you wanna do a repeat of the song “Something there” aka the song where the lyrics are basically “he was an asshole brute who I hated but now he’s c h a n g e d”
Literally so pissed off at that all.

But as I was saying, Gaston basically mirrors Adam’s arc, meaning to say they’re practically the same character things going on but sorta reversed.

Like okay
-Upon first meeting Belle, the Beast locks her father then her in a tower and is a huge dick but then they bond over books and he gives her flowers and he’s nice to her.
-Upon first interacting with Belle, Gaston is nice to her, gives her flowers, tries to bond over books, but then he’s a huge dick and locks her father and then her in a cart.

Do you see what I did there? Literally the same actions, but backwards.

Let’s do some more comparing.
-They both have terrible, terrible tempers.
But you know what? The Beasts is definitely a lot worse than Gaston’s.

Let’s review how both Gaston and Adam dealt with Belle’s dinner rejection
-Beast: literally motherfucking demands she has dinner with him, bangs his paws on the door, scrEAMS at her, and then announces she can starve if she won’t eat with him
-Gaston: [not direct quotes, can’t remember exact words but basically what he says] “oh, busy?” nope “okay, then some other time?” boom that’s that. Yeah he still is persistent on winning her over even after this rejection but the man handled it a lot better then Adam (and he brought flowers for her dinner table).

I’m about to move on from Adam and start talking about how Gaston treated Lefou in a sec, but I would just really really really like to put some emphasis on the fact that both Adam and Gaston were incredibly narcissistic men. The amount of self pride and conceded they have is in the beginning is completely parallel and it leads to both of their unfortunate fates. The point in this, is Gaston is not a bad guy just because he loves himself a bit much, just as the Beast was not a bad guy for loving himself too much. Like, the way Adam turns down Agatha for being ugly seems exactly like something Gaston would do, so why does the movie end with Gaston dying while the Beast learns his lesson and gets his happily ever after?
Because, the OG Gaston was truly an asshole who deserved to die and this 2017 remake of course had to stay true to the story. Even though this Gaston really wasn’t a true villian and didn’t deserve to die – rather he deserves a redemption arc just as Adam was given – he died anyway because that’s how the story goes.

Anyway, I’ll get on with this and bring back Lefou.

Some of you have probably been reading this while thinking “But Marley [das my name], Gaston was a shitty person, he wasn’t a good friend to Lefou at all because he manipulated him, let him get punched in the face, didn’t protect him at all, and threatened to lock him up. Plus, he was only into Belle because she’s pretty.”

Alright alright alright: Lefou.
He’s an exceedingly important character as he gives us insight to Gaston’s character.
Two crucial things he reveals about Gaston … .

-Gaston has anger issues. My father has anger issues, and so do I, and we both are on meds for it. Let me say, having anger management problems and getting angry are very different things. It’s just like he having anxiety and getting nervous are very different things. I think most of you can probably relate or understand anxiety more then anger issues, so just put yourself in Gaston’s shoes with that in mind. Anyway, back to Lefou. He shows us that Gaston has anger issues when he rushes to Gaston’s aid by saying “deep breathes” and then “think about the war”. He tells us that Gaston has coping mechanisms for when he gets like this. Does it matter if Gaston has anger problems? Does it make him less of a dick? Like, seriously Marley, does this information really make up for any of the things he did? Yes, yes it does matter. It’s like when you/someone your love is having an anxiety attack, or when you fall into a depressive episode, or when a loved one acts out of PTSD [which Gaston could totally completely have], or when someone with schizophrenia or delusions starts having episodes, it’s basically exactly like whenever anyone’s mental illness starts to act up. You don’t feel like yourself and you don’t so things you would normally​ do. This is definitely the case for Gaston; he acts out of character when he gets angry like this. And that’s my second point that Lefou proves in this movie.

-Gaston is not being himself when he starts doing all that terrible shit that leads him to his demise. Lefou makes it fairly obvious that that is not how Gaston usually acts. He does this in numerous ways which I will quickly try to summarize and go through:
1) Questions Gaston. Obviously if Gaston often tied up old men to trees or in general left people to die, Lefou would have just went with it instead of going “are you sure?”
2) doesn’t immediately lie to save Gaston’s ass. Again, if Gaston frequently had Lefou lie for him, then it would have came to Lefou like second nature and he wouldn’t have hesitated.
3) Once more, questioning Gaston. The scene I’m about to refer to is when Gaston locks Belle and her father in the carriage. Lefou grabs Gaston’s arm and goes to question him again, but before he can Gaston threatens to lock him up as well. Dick move on Gastons end, no? But this isn’t something he would normally do or say to Lefou, for if it was Lefou wouldn’t have bothered speaking up because he would have known what Gaston’s reaction would be. Instead, Lefou is used to being able to talk sense into Gaston and reason with him (refer back to nose boop scene).
4) Running to Gaston’s side for protection during the fight [castle scene]. Lefou is probably used to having Gaston protect him during fights (war time) and obviously didn’t expect Gaston to throw him to the enemy. Like, yous guys heard him shriek Gaston’s name before the piano fell on him, right? He was obviously expecting Gaston to rescue him. Even after he’s trapped under the piano, he still reaches and calls out for Gaston. The way Gaston is acting is not the Gaston he knows.
5?) “I was on Gaston’s side, but we are so in a bad place right now” [however he says it you know the line I’m referring to]. Aight I think this is the one line that really captures the point I’m trying to make. Lefou has switched sides because Gaston is being a major douchebag and Lefou’s not having it. Lefou doesn’t put up with being treated like shit [MrsPotts saying he deserves better and Lefou agreeing]. So o b v i o u s l y Lefou is not used to Gaston being so cruel and angry. If Gaston treated Lefou like this all the time, then Lefou wouldn’t be by his side [because he left his side once he started acting like this]. Lefou knows how he should be treated, and how he’s being treated is not what he’s used to.
You dig what I’m saying? I’m kinda rushing through these points because I’m getting tired of this.

*deep breathe* Alright, last point, as I mentioned above, ‘Gaston only wanted Belle because she was beautiful’ Alright alright alright I’m not even going to talk about the Gaston in this point, I’m just going to talk about the huge flaw that is Beauty and the Beast.

Adam is turned into the Beast because he needs to learn to not judge people by how they look, he needs to learn that it’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Right.
So why is Belle the one that learns this lesson?
Adam falls in love with a gorgeous girl, meanwhile Belle falls in love with a hideous monster who turns into a nice dude on the inside.
Belle is the character who learned to not judge a book by its cover [cover being a monsterous beast but inside he is a gorgeous prince].
As soon as Belle walked into the castle, all the furniture was like “yooooo she could be the one, master hit her up” and instantly Adam’s like “well I need a girl to fall in love with to break my curse and she cute yeah let’s do it”. Like of course there’s more to our then this, but what I’m trying to say is Adam had already planned to try to charm Belle before he knew what kind of person he was because he was desperate to break the curse.
So he and everyone in the castle just saw her and was like “she was a girl, he was a boy, can I make it anymore obvious?”
So anyway anyway anyway, Gaston was only interested in Belle because she was beautiful and he wanted a wife, but Beast was only interested in Belle because she was beautiful and could break the spell. See the parallels again? Like, Beast later fell in love with Belle for who she was and she made him a better person, Gaston could have totally done the same thing.
And okay, there’s no proof Beast cared that Belle was beautiful or not, but yo, Disney definitely should have made Belle ugly af so when Adam met her the snob in him would have been “ew she’s ugly, next” and then Lumiere and Mrs. Potts woulda been like “boi Imma whoop yo ass if you don’t give that girl a try, I don’t care how fucked up her teeth are smfh” and then Adam would have learned the lesson that the enchantress was trying to school him about in the first place [this applies to the 1991 animated film, not directly at the 2017 btw]

Well I was trying to keep this professional and moreso eloquently written but you can tell I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine gotta gotta be down because I want it all

Okay okay okay
Okay okay
Okay

I believe we’re nearing the end. I believe I’ve said all I needed to say made all the points I could [honestly definitely not because I’m constantly thinking about this and arguing with no one in my head, I have a lot to say and later I’ll be making toast and be like “anD ONE MORE THING”]

I’m very upset Gaston died because he wasn’t a terrible enough character to deserve death.

So Dear Disney, either make Gaston more of a shitty person, or bring him back to life. I’ll be waiting for an apology letter until this is done.

Of course I’m kidding.

I just have such a love and passion for Gaston and I’m truly sick of hearing people tell me that Gafou is an abusive ship and Gaston is a villian.

And if you refuse to see that Gaston wasn’t a bad guy but still believe that Adam is such a prince than you’re insanely hypocritical.

People just see what they want to see.

Also I’m terribly sorry for making this so diddly damn long, I honestly have no idea how to do the cutoff “Show more” thing, I’m on mobile. So sorry if you’re trying to rapidly scroll past all of this and it’s taking forever.

But honestly fuck you don’t scroll past my argument.

And also if you legit read all this then motherfucking congratulations to you. Like I don’t even want to read all of this shit to edit it.

Thanks for the attention. Marley OUTT
Barn Mates - One Year On

Barn Mates was first aired exactly a year ago today… and what a monumental episode it was for both Lapis and Peridot!

For those of us who were already shipping Lapidot, it was a dream come true – and for some of those who weren’t, it opened their eyes to a whole new (and now completely canonically viable) ship.

I’ve written about this episode a few times in the past, but it feels fitting to look back on it again today; for day one of Lapidot Anniversary Week!

So, without further ado…

The episode opens with Peridot wistfully speaking into her tape recorder about sharing her new home with Lapis.  Only a couple of episodes prior to this point, Peridot had made the decision to stay at the barn by herself whilst the other Crystal Gems returned to the temple. The fact that she now so enthusiastically wants to share her home with Lapis (as opposed to going back with the other Gems or staying by herself in the barn) just shows that she already has some level of admiration for Lapis.

Peridot says:

“Why don’t we watch the sun come up and figure out what we’re going to do with all this time, eh Lazuli?”

Watching the sun rise with someone is an old romantic tradition/cliché, so the fact that Peridot specifically mentions wanting to do this with Lapis certainly speaks some volumes.   And it also transpires…

…that this line was foreshadowing a scene that came later in the show – in Room For Ruby, not only are they watching the sun rise together (just as Peridot wanted to do), they’ve actually been sat together all night stargazing prior to this point, which is another activity that has obvious romantic connotations.

After Peridot has finished speaking into the tape recorder in Barn Mates, Lapis expresses her desire to live in the barn all on her own. Steven suggests that the barn be split down the middle, with each of the two Gems having their own “side”, which leads to a very interesting shot of the pair of them:

Notice how they’re effectively framing a picture that’s behind them.   This picture is of the barn’s previous owners – Greg’s aunt and uncle, who Greg described back in Space Race as follows:

“My aunt and uncle had a great love for aviation, and each other.  They cherished the years they spent together, and they held on to every belonging they ever owned.”

It’s interesting, then, that a picture of a happy couple has been placed directly in-between Lapis and Peridot in this shot.  This becomes something of a trend as the show progresses, with the picture being placed in-shot with Peridot and Lapis on occasion in a fair few other episodes, such as these:

This could well be foreshadowing a romantic relationship between Lapis and Peridot.  The fact that Greg mentions “aviation” is also something interesting to think about, considering that Lapis can fly and Peridot was the pilot of the Hand Ship back in Jailbreak.

Lapis isn’t keen on the idea of splitting the barn, telling Steven that Peridot is the problem:

“I can’t stand the thought of looking at her everyday!”

This statement is now somewhat ironic because, in the episodes since Barn Mates, Lapis almost always has her eyes on Peridot – and gives her some extremely suggestive looks, too!

Peridot and Steven both try to assure Lapis that Peridot has changed, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Steven thinks it’s “sweet” that Peridot wants Lapis to see how much she’s changed since their last encounter, and he helps her to make an apology card which has a very interesting picture drawn on the front of it:

Steven may well have the intent of getting Peridot and Lapis to be friends, but he’s drawn them looking like an actual couple here; they’re even holding hands.

Eventually, after some persuasion from Steven, Lapis joins them – and a beaming Peridot hands over the card.  This still fails to win-over an unimpressed Lapis, much to Peridot’s disdain.

“It took me over an hour to compose [the message in the card], and I was the most sincere as per Steven’s instructions!”

The fact that Peridot put so much time into her apology message gives us an indication of how highly Peridot thinks of Lapis – and how much she wants to make her feel better. She then spends some time deliberating what she could give to Lapis as a gift (upon Steven’s suggestion), and they come up with an idea…

“H-2-Oh my GOSH!” … “It’s a gift for you!  You know, ‘cause water’s your thing.”

Peridot’s mannerisms and tone of voice here are very flirtatious.  However, given Lapis’ previous traumatic experience of being trapped on the bottom of the ocean, this is another idea that falls completely flat.

And what does Peridot do?

“A pool?!  What a cloddy idea!  Of course she wouldn’t like that!”

She actually blames herself for the mistake.  This is very uncharacteristic of Peridot, who normally has a very lofty opinion of herself and her intellectual capacity – which, again, shows how highly she must think of Lapis.  She even uses the word “cloddy” to describe her own idea; with “clod” being an insult that she usually only ever levels at other people when she’s at her most angry.

She then decides to make a very grand gesture…

…and offers her most prized possession – the tape recorder – to Lapis as a gift.

She’s very flirtatious in doing so here, as well.  With a wink and a smile, she tells Lapis:

“See, the ribbon is even blue.  I got yo’ number!”

Peridot has offended all of the other Gems at some point in the past, but she’s never been seen to perform as grand a gesture as this one in order to win them over. 

Peridot is, in a lot of ways, incredibly materialistic - she has been shown on more than one occasion to hold her very few possessions really closely to her.  By Peridot’s standards, handing the tape recorder over is essentially the biggest thing she could do for someone, which is a very clear indication of her feelings towards Lapis.

This gesture is completely lost on Lapis, however, who proceeds to crush the tape recorder in her hand.

Usually in these situations, Peridot would be distraught that one of her possessions had been destroyed (see, for example, Peridot on her knees begging Amethyst not to throw away her beloved tablet in Too Short To Ride).  However, this time, she actually seems to be upset by the fact that she’s managed to upset Lapis once again, exclaiming:

“What, were you trapped in a tape recorder too?!”

Peridot is exasperated by this point, and gives a very heartfelt speech which, I believe, really gets to the root of one of the key reasons why a relationship between Lapis and Peridot just makes perfect sense:

“Look, I get it, you know?  You’re confused!  You can never go back to Homeworld.  This place doesn’t exactly feel like home yet.  You’re alone, no one could possibly know what that feels like!  Oh wait, I do!  We’re the same, except…  you don’t have to be alone.”

She and Lapis are going through the exact same thing at basically the same time; namely, being stranded on earth with no way of returning to Homeworld.  There’s literally no-one else who they could bond with over this, except for each other – it’s a common ground that they share with each other and only each other.  It’s logical and sensible storytelling, therefore, to have these two characters stick together and share the experience with each other.  It puts them on equal ground, gives them both an acute understanding of each other, and enables them to both support one another as they adjust to life on earth.

At this point in Barn Mates, however, Lapis still isn’t having any of it.  Peridot, clearly at her wits end, asks what Lapis wants from her.  Lapis angrily tells Peridot that she wants her to leave… and that’s exactly what Peridot does.  She wants Lapis to be happy so much that she’s even willing to give up her home so that Lapis can live there instead.

As she walks away, Steven reprimands Lapis for treating Peridot so badly.  As he’s talking, Lapis folds her arms and shifts on the spot, her gaze meeting the crushed tape recorder on the floor.  Everything about her body language in this scene exudes guilt.  

Peridot comes screaming back towards them moments later, however – being pursued by a Roaming Eye that she’s convinced is after her.    

The trio flee from the ship, but eventually come face-to-face with it, which causes Peridot to cower behind Steven in fear.

However…

…Lapis steps forward, and glances back at a wide-eyed Peridot.

This scene is very important because it’s the first time we ever get to see that Lapis does actually care about Peridot, despite the pair of them getting off to a very turbulent start.  She steps up to defend the helpless Peridot from the Roaming Eye, and makes sure to specifically ask Peridot if she’s ok after the threat has been neutralised – proving that she didn’t only have Steven’s interests at heart when she took out the Roaming Eye.

What happens next needs no introduction…

Originally posted by geekylaugifs

Peridot has still, to this day, never looked at anyone else with such love.  The way that her hands are clasped to her chest makes it the typical “cartoon character looking at their love interest” pose.  That smile on her face is literally the biggest one that she’s ever given.  And Lapis’ deep blush, that she actually turns her head away from Peridot in an attempt to hide, is also a reaction from her that’s unique to this scene – and very much implies that the apparent feeling of attraction is mutual.  There appears to be some symbolism behind the sun coming out as Peridot smiles, too.  This could well be an indication that Lapis is warming up to Peridot and seeing her in a new light.  It also has a somewhat poetic quality to it, with the storm clouds (both literal and metaphorical) dissipating at this very moment.  

Originally posted by giffing-amethyst

Steven picks up on what’s going on, giggling to himself as he looks at Lapis.  It’s also very interesting that Peridot’s loving look is still lingering even after the camera angle has changed – this is no fleeting “micro expression”, it’s a very prolonged and deliberate look…

…which was the first of very, very many that the pair of them have since gone on to give each other (the above images being a small handful of examples).

All in all, Barn Mates was the start of a very beautiful relationship between these two Gems, which has well and truly endured throughout the past twelve months – and has gotten ever stronger with each episode that they’ve appeared in together.

The possibility of Otayuri becoming canon

So in this post-Welcome to the Madness daze and with the information that has been released today, I would like to do some speculation about the character dynamic between Yurio and Otabek and the possible implications for this ship to become canon. I have already written a bit about this in a comment to another post here, but I would like to elaborate.

Again, this is just me throwing around ideas, with a good dose of wishful thinking.

-          Otabek enters the story quite late as a character. He is there from the beginning but we only get to see him interact with the others from episode 10 onwards. The focal point becomes what his relation is to Yuri. He whisks him away on his motorcycle, takes him to one of the most beautiful vistas in the city and then casually drops how he has admired him for the past five years. Then he offers Yuri his friendship, which has apparently never occurred in Yuri’s life before, they go for a coffee and Mari is stunned to see Yuri normally interact with another human being for a change. It’s up to you to ignore any fond gazes during this scene. What’s worth mentioning is that Yuri seems kind of perplexed by this whole thing. The “eyes of a soldier” line gets to him, because it is probably the first time someone sees him for who he wants to be.

Keep reading

The 5 Elements of a LIKABLE Main Character

“I don’t like your main character. He’s kind of obnoxious.” my beta reader laughingly told me, after reading the first chapter of my novel.

On the surface, I looked like this: 

Inside, I looked like this: 

Aloud, I said “Oh, well, he’s kind of hard to understand. He changes by the end.”

Inside, I screamed “How could you not like him?! Do you have a heart?! Is there a void where your soul should be?! Are you actually a Dementor that’s really good at makeup? Well, I guess this is what the Dementors are doing after getting kicked out of Azkaban!”

Outside: “But I really enjoyed it!” *Hugs between broken writer and Dementor in disguise* “Thank you for reading!" 

But you know what? That person that might be a soul-sucking cloaked demon creature? They were right. The character was unlikable, or more accurately, there was no reason to cheer him on. There was nothing to make the reader connect with him, relate to him, transfer themselves into his story, feel affection towards him. 

And if the reader doesn’t connect with the character through empathy? Nothing else in the story can work. Everything relies on this one fictional person. The basic definition of story is "A flawed hero with a goal overcoming obstacles to reach that goal, and how that journey changes them.” So without character, you don’t have story. Without empathy from the reader, you don’t even have character. 

So what is empathy when it comes to characters? 

It’s the process of a reader transferring their own lives onto the character. When this happens, the character’s goal and inner desires, values and weaknesses, everything about them, become proxies for our own. We learn of a shared piece of human nature between us, something we have in common on a significant inner level, and suddenly we want to see this character succeed. Because now, they are us – and we want to see ourselves succeed in real life. We feel what they feel, we experience what they experience.  

The best way to sum up character empathy in my opinion, is this quote from C.S.Lewis: “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another ‘Really? You too? I thought I was the only one!’”

That’s empathy. 

Which doesn’t mean the character has to be an angelic little cherub …

There are characters that operate in a moral gray area, there are characters that are downright awful, there are characters that shouldn’t be lovable …but we love them. So this is NOT saying that a main character has to be a perfect angel that rescues baby squirrels when they’re not busy volunteering at the local soup kitchen, it just means there’s something WORTHWHILE in the character that persuades the reader to stick around. We need a reason to relate with that at-first-glance unlikable character. Just as we have flawed people in our own lives who we can forgive and love.

A good quote for this one would be this, by G.K.Chesterton: “That’s the great lesson of Beauty and the Beast; that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

So how does a writer accomplish a good empathetic connection?

Luckily for us, establishing this only takes a little planning in the beginning of the story. Certain elements foster empathy, elements which you can give to your character and display in the story. Making sure to incorporate a few of these will ensure that first connection between reader and character. A connection which you, the author, will then be able to grow. It’s this tiny first note of shared humanity which deepens into those important links we hold with characters. We’re living people, they’re imagined and comprised of words on a page; yet these people can be friends to us, family, mentors, role models, and become some of the most influential people in our lives. 

And how does that begin? Evoking empathy. 

And how do you evoke empathy? Well here are the characteristics that human beings instinctively identify with and admire … 

– Courage (This is the one EVERY main character should possess. Gumption to pursue what they want separates main from background characters.)

– Humor (Wit charms us without fail.)

– Goal-Obsessed 

– Hard-working  

– Noble motivations

– Loving

– Loved by others

– Kind 

– Treated unfairly

– In imminent danger, physically

– In imminent danger, emotionally

– In a sorrowful situation

– Smart/Expert at something

– Suffering from psychological weakness  

– Haunted by something in their past

– Dissatisfied with current state of their life

– Lacking something like love, friendship, belonging, family, safety, freedom, etc

It’s a good plan to give your main character at least FIVE of these empathetic little “virtues.”

If this sounds like a resume, that’s kind of what it is. “Dear Potential Reader, I’m applying for the job of Main Character of this book series. I aspire to consume your every waking thought and drastically change your life, for better and worse.” It’s a diagram of the worthwhile traits of the hero, the characteristics that win us over, which promise the reader “If you follow my story, knowing me – and experiencing the story through me – will be well worth your time.”

These traits will be displayed in the set-up of the story, the first ten pages or so. But the story CANNOT stop to let the character exhibit these winning behaviors; the story must KEEP PROGRESSING, every empathetic element must be shown with a story reason for existing within a scene. Like exposition, empathy needs to be added in subtly, as the story motors onward, slipping into the reader’s knowledge without them noticing. If it’s a scene created for the express purpose of convincing the reader “This character is lovable! Love them! I said love them!” then it will be glaringly obvious and the reader will feel the exact opposite. (They’ll also feel that way about the author, incidentally.)

Now! How does this work? 

Harry Potter: 

Harry is the poster child for being treated unfairly. Yet in the face of the abusive treatment of his childhood, Harry is courageous. He does not succumb to the Dursley’s relentless campaign to stamp the magic out of him, and become a proper Dursley; though this would’ve won their approval, put him in their good graces, and made his life exponentially easier – but he didn’t do it. He knew they were wrong, knew what was right, and refused to become like them. So heck yes Sorting Hat, there is “plenty of courage, I see”. He was loved by his parents, by the three that dropped him off at his Aunt and Uncle’s, and by the majority of the Wizarding World. He’s also snarky, loving, and in constant danger. 

Judy Hopps: 

Every reason why we care about Judy is established in the first few scenes. She’s courageous. She’s funny. She’s loved by her parents. She’s motivated by noble values. Definitely goal oriented, hard working, and smart. She’s also in imminent danger, and being treated unfairly.

If we took out the pieces of the story meant to evoke our empathy, what would happen? 

Nobody would care. Judy Hopps would have been an annoying, smug, and consumed by ruthless ambition. Harry Potter would have ceased to exist because everything about him is empathetic. 

Establishing these early allows us to begin the process of temporarily transferring our lives into a story. Or in the case of some life-changing stories, not temporarily transferring, but letting them become part of our souls forever. 

Yup, having your story connect with a reader forever starts with just a little empathy. Pretty useful.

Oh, and speaking of souls, give me mine back, Dementor reader. I learned how to make people like my characters. Now you’re out of the Azkaban job and the beta reading job. 

little spoon

To save money while attending college in NYC, Stiles and Derek decide to rent one tiny apartment together. With one bed.

*whispers* I have no idea if any of this is realistic. Don’t judge me.

You guys know by now that practically everything I write is so so fluffy, but this is just like, a whole other level. A little over 4k words of enemies-to-lovers, bed-sharing, & cuddling. ;)  

on ao3

*

The thing is, Stiles is pretty sure he can’t afford to breathe the air in New York City, let alone rent an apartment there. But it’s also been his lifelong dream to go to NYU, same as his mom, and he’s just gotten his acceptance letter in the mail along with a hefty scholarship offer. So he has a bit of a conundrum on his hands.

Enter Derek, who has a (relatively) dirt cheap apartment in Queens.

Okay, so Derek calls it an “apartment.” Stiles calls it an “attic closet.”

It’s nothing but a narrow bed, a foot or so of walking space between that and the wall, and a lone shelf by the door to hold the microwave and all of Derek’s possessions that can’t fit under the bed. There’s not even enough room to open the door all the way; the edge of the door hits the edge of the bed, and then you have to shimmy into the room.

The sad thing is that Stiles can’t even afford that.

He can, however, afford half of it.

“So you’re going to share a bed,” Scott says, looking concerned.

“Yes,” Stiles says.

“No,” Derek says at the same time.

Scott looks more concerned.

Stiles sighs. “Okay, so it’s like this. Derek’s going to be doing the whole normal person schedule, up at the buttcrack of dawn” (Derek rolls his eyes) “and out working and studying and stuff all day and back in bed asleep by 11 pm, and I’m going to be taking all evening classes and working the night shift!”

“We won’t actually ever be in the same place at the same time,” Derek clarifies. “He gets it during the day; I get it at night.”

“Because we can’t stand each other,” Stiles adds, in case Scott is thinking of getting his hopes up that this whole roommates thing is going to be some kind of bromance.

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Nursemaid

(Jimin’s crush comes over to his house to help him out after he suffers an injury that leaves him with limited use of both hands.)

Warnings: 6000+ words of smut, Jimin POV, I’ll let you guess what kind of smut takes place


“I can’t believe you managed to injure both of your hands on the same day.” Hoseok’s girlfriend, Sophie, stifled a laugh while she said it. “I can’t tell if you are dumb or just unlucky.”

 Jimin sighed.  He had been stupid and drunk when he and Jungkook went out into the street to play with fireworks.  One went off too close to his hand, burning his right palm requiring a trip to the emergency room where his injury was cleaned and bandaged.  The doctor gave him a lecture about drunk people and explosives and how fortunate he was not to have blasted off his fingers.            

While exiting the hospital, Jimin immediately tripped over the curb and landed with his full weight onto his left hand resulting in a small fracture and return trip to the emergency room to get a splint to immobilize his other hand.   Now, every time Jimin saw someone, he had to suffer the embarrassment of explaining what happened. People had a hard time not laughing when they heard how he managed to get hurt twice in one day.

 “Does it hurt much?” you asked him.

“Not really. As long as I don’t bump into anything or use my fingers too much, it’s okay.” At least you seemed to be genuinely concerned about his well-being. That’s one of the reasons Jimin liked you, you always seemed caring and sincere.  The other main reason he liked you was because he thought you were incredibly hot.  There were plenty of nights Jimin stayed up fantasizing about what it would feel like to be with you.  He wanted to ask you out, but had been waiting until there was some indication that you were even the slightest bit interested in him.  He was starting to think that maybe he had a chance with you, but he felt neutered with his injuries, unable to do things like casually touch you and see how you would respond to his advances.  Jimin resolved to make a move as soon as he had full use of his hands again.

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i need me some jealous kara in my life, so of course i did what any person would’ve done and came with a bunch of headcanons to satisfy my own needs because that’s what self care is all about.

  • it all starts one afternoon, they’re downtown in one of lena’s favorite restaurants and kara’s talking excitedly about the new article she’s writing when lena’s phone goes off. usually when they’re together lena ignores it, she always says it’s business associates and insists they can wait but this time lena sees the name on the screen and smiles widely, “oh it’ll be just a minute kara, sorry” kara nods, motions her to go ahead and tries to focus on her pasta until she hears lena giggling “i can’t wait to see you! it’s been, what? six years?” something inside kara twitches. who is she talking to? most importantly who is making her smile like that?! that’s usually her thing. lena keeps talking to whoever is at the other end of the line as if she’s not there, beaming, chuckling… kara’s always believed herself to be someone non violent (for most the time) but she’s now wishing she could grab lena’s phone, throw it to the ground and break it.
  • turns out, lena says to her when they’re on the car ride back to l–corp, that one of her dearest friends from boarding school is planning a visit to national city and called her to see if they could get together, “her name is molly, we were together on science club and we hit it off right away,” kara knows it’s irrational to feel so… heated at the thought of lena hanging out with someone else because damn, she’s her own person and she’s allowed to have as many friends as she’d like but… it makes her extremely uncomfortable to think about lena laughing with someone that is not her. “i have to admit i had a little bit of a crush on her when we were younger,” and kara doesn’t know molly, has never seen her and certainly has no interest in doing it so but she already hates her.
  • “and then she said,” it’s game night, james and winn have paused mortal kombat to listen to her angry rant and alex is staring at her with wide eyes, beer in hand. “oh i used to have a crush on her, as if it’s the most trivial thing on the universe, did you know she was supposed to come tonight? i promised i would let her win at mario kart, but no! molly’s plane lands today and she called to say—i’m so sorry kara, i can’t make it, i’m gonna go pick her up, maybe some other time? can’t molly call herself an uber? does she really need to have lena’s attention all to herself? gosh it makes me so upset someone would be so selfish.” winn opens and closes his mouth a few times, not sure if he should say anything about the whole situation, james and alex are looking at each other, silently deciding on who should be the first to talk until finally alex breaks the silence. “kara… you don’t even know this molly person, didn’t you also say her and lena hand’t seen each other for years? it’s normal that they want to spend time with each other, catch up with what’s been going on in their lives.” kara crosses her arms over her chest and angrily stares out the window, she wants to bury her face on ice cream because though she knows alex is right she still wants to deck molly in the face.
  • lena is never late, if anything she’s always early to arrive to their lunch dates, but for the first time in months, lena luthor is fifteen minutes late and kara’s getting impatient, maybe she got caught up on work and didn’t see the hour, maybe she had to sign some contracts before leaving, maybe… maybe… she tries and call her twice but she doesn’t answer and that’s when kara gets worried, what if something happened to her? what if while she was on her way someone stopped her and hurt her? she’s tempted to alert the deo, tell them to search for lena’s location when she enters the restaurant a little breathless and with her hair disheveled. “kara i am sorry!” she sits down across from her and takes out her coat, “molly came over to my office and we started to talk, i didn’t mean to keep you waiting.” kara’s face goes dark. it’s wednesday, this is supposed to be their day, their afternoon, their time to be with one another without people interrupting and of course molly had to come and ruin it. “did you know molly has a motorbike? she dropped me off!” oh amazing, molly owes a motorbike, so does half the population of national city, she’s nothing especial. kara doesn’t feel like eating anymore and ends up leaving early. 
  • she’s punching one of the walls at the deo repeatedly, each punch harsher than the last. her knuckles feel on fire but it’s working wonders to get her mind off lena and her new best friend molly whom today decided to invite her to the beach. “what is wrong with her?” winn whispers to alex almost scared of kara’s sudden display of anger, alex shrugs and tell him she has no idea since kara refuses to talk with anyone about it. “she’s jealous,” j’onn says without looking up from the file he’s holding and both of them open their mouths in surprise. “psychic, remember?” 
  • “have i done something to upset you?” lena asks with her cheeks red in embarrassement and her voice breaking, “you’ve been avoiding me for weeks, yesterday you cancelled our lunch date because you said you had a lot of stuff to do but then you uploaded a picture on instagram with james in your pajamas eating popcorn. look kara, i know we all need our space sometimes but i’d rather hear the truth than finding out via social media that you’re lying to me.” she sounds so hurt and she’s almost on the verge of tears, kara feels awful she didn’t mean to make her feel bad, she was just tired of hearing her talk about molly and how amazing she was every single time they got together. “you want the truth?” lena nods eagerly and kara tries, she does, to keep her composure when she catches the necklace lena’s wearing… gold with rose pendant. “that is pretty,” she points to it and lena grabs it between her hands, “thank you! molly gave it to me yesterday.” kara feels her fist tighten. 
  • “well the truth is that molly is annoying,” she says standing up from her place and lena’s eyes widen. “yes, she’s annoying and she’s keeping you all to herself. it’s almost as she’s holding you captive! she’s taking you to the beach and to that art gallery i was going to take you, you are eating potstickers with her, lena, that’s our thing!” there’s no going back now… “and she’s… she’ probably ugly too—oh she has a motorcycle, how original! you know what lena, i can fly! i could fly you from here to paris in less than an hour, i bet molly can’t do that. you know what else i can do? lift you up, with one finger probably, can molly lift you up? no i don’t think she can. does she let you win at mario kart?! she doesn’t, huh, does she even know how to play mario kart, does she?!” 
  • lena looks at her in disbelief before she bursts out laughing and kara lets out a groan, “it’s not funny lena! i am much more interesting that molly will ever be and i’m—mphm!” lena’s kissing her, her cold hands are tangling themselves in her hair and she’s pulling her impossibly close and kara feels like she’s floating. for the first three seconds she doesn’t respond, but as soon as lena slips a warm tongue into her mouth her body reacts and she’s grabbing her everywhere. her face, her neck, her waist, her ass, lena gasps and they break apart. “sorry, i didn’t mean to… i just wanted to… you see this wasn’t what i had planned,” kara looks to the ground but it’s not for long because lena is grabbing her chin, making her look into her eyes and she melts. 
  • “love… i can’t believe you were jealous of molly.” kara clicks her tongue almost offended, she was not jealous of molly, she’s about to say it, to assure lena she doesn’t feel such childish emotion when lena gives her a small peck on the lips and her train of thought is stopped. “she’s married… and has two kids!” kara wants to hide under lena’s desk for the rest of the evening.
13 Reasons Why controversy

Because the response to 13 Reasons Why has been so controversial, I’d just like to point out some things.

As explained in 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, the suicide scene was shown BECAUSE they wanted it to be painful for the audience to watch, as well as the rape scenes. Not because they wanted to be gruesome or inconsiderate, but because it is REALITY for so many people in the world and a lot of people like to pretend these things don’t exist or shield themselves from the reality of it; they ignore it because they’ve never gone through it, so they don’t care so much. So then when they see these scenes, they will be made uncomfortable and see what people are really truly experiencing and that it is not something that should at all be sugarcoated or ignored. IT IS REAL.

Secondly, for those saying it’s disgusting for them to show these scenes, THERE ARE WARNINGS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODES THAT SHOW RAPE AND/OR SUICIDE TO NOT WATCH IF IT WILL AFFECT THE VIEWER IN ANY WAY. These warnings are given specifically so that if you are not comfortable watching or believe it would cause a trigger, you should not even watch. So the fact that people are bashing the show for showing these scenes in relation to them being a trigger, the warnings are already made very clear in the beginning. They did take this step to make sure it wouldn’t just pop up and be any sort of triggers. The producers knew very well to be wary of that.
The show also worked with a lot of psychiatrists, psychologists, and leading experts in teen-suicide prevention. Though this still may not be enough for you to think they did everything right, they again did have the warnings. They are very aware that it could cause triggers and put some people in danger, but THAT IS WHAT THE WARNINGS ARE FOR. DO NOT WATCH IF IT COULD DANGER YOU. VIEWER’S DISCRETION IS ALWAYS ADVISED.

THE SHOW WAS NOT CREATED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES. IT IS TO SPREAD AWARENESS FOR ALL THE ISSUES (suicide, rape, bullying) AND POINT OUT HOW LITTLE THE SIGNS CAN BE AND HOW MUCH MORE CAREFUL AND HELPFUL EVERYONE IN THE WORLD NEEDS TO BE TO THE PEOPLE AROUND US. As also talked about in Beyond the Reasons, they want to promote teaching boys the proper ways to approach a girl and gain permission to become intimate with her, always getting the YES to teach boys respect for women. This is very important because as most people know, it has always been extremely hard for rape victims to get help because of the “what were you wearing” “were you flirting” “did you lead him on” “did you directly say no” arguments that are so wrongfully executed—instead, 13 Reasons Why knows that this is an issue, as somewhat shown in the scene with Mr. Porter as he questions Hannah. So in the after show, they speak about how parents need to be teaching their children more about consent and less about just protecting yourself, covering up, etc. They are aware that the real issue is with proper consent, and that is a very important message to get across.

Coming from someone who has battled depression and suicidal thoughts and attempts, I must also point out that EVERY SINGLE PERSON, EXPERIENCES, THOUGHTS, REACTIONS, ETC ARE DIFFERENT. What one person suffering depression thinks may be different than another. Hannah Baker’s story is very unique in many ways yet also extremely relatable in many ways to many, many people and girls around the world. JUST BECAUSE YOUR STORY MAY BE DIFFERENT DOES NOT MEAN HERS IS INCORRECT OR LESS/MORE THAN ANOTHER’S. There are a lot of people who can relate to feeling as though you are NOTHING and of no worth to the people around you, just a burden that only disappoints everyone and makes their lives worse. This is a very real state of being and depression and feeling of complete worthlessness that people can reach in their lives, especially some young teenage girls, like Hannah Baker, and even myself, that will lead to suicidal thoughts, attempts, or completely following through with, like Hannah. They believe the world and their loved ones would be better off without them. Again, as someone who has attempted suicide as a teenager and worked for years to fight depression and overcome it, I can say that while the suicide scene did make me uncomfortable and was extremely painful to watch, I was not offended. I knew of the warning at the beginning of the episode, read it, and continued to watch because EVERYONE HANDLES THESE THINGS DIFFERENTLY. I UNDERSTOOD the purpose of including the scene and making it so graphic and realistic. IT’S REALITY, THIS IS HAPPENING TO PEOPLE EVERYDAY AND IT SHOULD NOT BE SUGARCOATED OR SHIELDED FROM THE WORLD; it needs to be made more AWARE OF by those who like to turn a blind eye to it, but it is exposed WITH WARNING. So again, if some feel as though a scene like this would be a trigger, IT IS ADVISED YOU DO NOT WATCH. Everyone is affected differently and they did not just insert it with no consideration for the affect it could have on those battling the same wars as Hannah.

To say Clay was an easy solution and could have saved Hannah by loving her—no, he could not have saved her by just loving her, that is not what this story is even saying. Hannah does explain at the end of her last tape as she exits the school that some people cared, but she felt it was only mediocre, not enough for her to want to stay and feel NEEDED and truly LOVED. So no, they are not saying Clay could have kept her alive by simply loving her, or that love can save someone, it is much more complex than that. What they are saying is that people can care, but not showing how much they truly care can affect someone in the ways it affected Hannah. It was not just one boy’s love that could have saved her, but the love and care of many people, for them to show that they truly cared about her being alive and DID NOT see her as worthless, an object, just another person on earth. She needed to feel as though they NEEDED her to stay, that they genuinely cared about her as a person and that her life was truly worth something, because she did not feel it was. When Clay says he could have kept her alive if he wasn’t so afraid to tell her he loved her, he simply means he could have given her a sense of hope, a sense of belonging on the earth, that someone truly, whole-heartedly valued her life and her as a human being, not an object.

The actress who plays Jessica also explained that she reached out to a family member who is an actual rape survivor, and she stated that she was pleased that the show was “not shying away from the ugliness” of these scenes because viewers will see what these people really go through–again, another topic that is usually sugarcoated and instead needs to be addressed.

13 Reasons Why is a unique way of telling the story of a teenage girl who committed suicide, and the reasoning for bringing it to screen was MOSTLY to promote awareness and shine light on things that are not talked about enough that the youth suffers every single day, things adults see as “normal teenager struggles,” “small stuff,” “it only feels like the end of the world and really isn’t,” etc. This show is being spread more than even expected, and that is a very good thing for those who are in need of help and have parents or peers that once ignored their problems and will now tend to them.


**an issue cannot be tended to/made aware of/more properly prevented if it is just sugarcoated rather than slapped in people’s faces (those who don’t realize how severe it is) like this show does. it can really change things and leave an impact.

**if you are at risk for triggers and do not feel you are currently healthy enough to watch this show, please take care of yourself and do not watch. or, skip episodes 9, 12, and 13 and read up on them instead. these are the episodes that can be triggers for those at risk, if you weren’t yet aware.

**also feel free to stop by my inbox and talk to me if you need someone to talk to, or just would like to speak more on the subject.

Writing is Hard, Part 5: Headcanons

Summary: Dean shows the reader that there’s truth to a famous headcanon.

Read Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Warning: Smut

Word Count: 3000ish

A/N: This is all written with love for fan fic. I’m teasing, not putting it down in any way. Hope you enjoy! (Sorry, tag list is closed!) XOXO


“Reading anything good?” Dean asks.

Sam’s inside the gas station, picking up some snacks instead of listening to this conversation, so your face doesn’t feel the need to flush with embarrassment. Dean already knows exactly what you’re reading.

“I guess,” you tell him. No need to feed his ego by telling him how hot the story is.

“What is it?”

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A Lesson in Love (A Different Perspective)

Summary: (College!AU) In which you’re assigned to write a story about romance, a subject you know nothing about, and Bucky, a hopeless romantic, offers you his assistance.

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Word Count: 4,431

A/N: The tag list for this story is CLOSED. 

“A Lesson in Love” Masterlist + Soundtrack

@avengerstories - You are the forever best for editing for me.

Originally posted by skylerlockerbie

“I can’t believe you’ve never been to a track meet before.”

“I’ve never had a reason to come to one,” you say, defending yourself against Wanda’s accusatory tone and disapproving gaze.

“That’s no excuse,” she responds with a click of her tongue. “Now hurry up, we need to secure a good spot.”

You follow her blindly, not knowing what qualifies as a ‘good spot’. Unlike Wanda who has spent years attending track meets with her brother, you’ve never been to one. Like you told her, you never had a reason to attend one. Not until today.

Not until T'Challa.

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Here’s the thing.

I am a transgender man (see photo of my mug for context).

I love all trans people and I love non binary people. But lately some of my trans spaces (both on the web and irl) that are mainly non binary have started to feel a little hostile.

I want to make something perfectly clear before I continue - I love and respect non binary people, I think their genders are valid and I am in no way suggesting they are any less important that myself or any other binary trans person. I also need you to understand that this isn’t meant to be a post calling out non binary people at all, it is just me talking about my personal experiences in the hope that it can get people to be a little more considerate sometimes?

In university spaces, it seems that there is a growing population of non binary people that tends to dominate trans groups. Which is good in lots of ways, especially since it shows how this generation has become much more relaxed and aware that gender is a construct and fluidity is key. However, amongst people I know there is a lot of ‘ew gross men’, or 'ew gross trans men that are masculine’, while at the same time being predominantly DFAB populations.

Now trust me, I very much understand the dislike a lot of dfab trans people have of men. A lot of us are survivors and I think that does play a big part in how we feel about the gender overall. Not to mention it is not uncommon for men to be, for lack of a better word- wankers. However, I don’t think people consider trans men when we are talking about this.

Making a comment like 'ew men are so fucking gross’ to a room of trans people means that to a trans man you are saying one of two things - 1) you are gross, or 2) you aren’t gross because you’re not a Real Man, and you are excluded from this statement because you are and always will be, partly a woman. Even now I feel uncomfortable 'complaining’ about this. I have to remind myself that just as suggesting that a trans woman is somehow different to other women would be considered incredibly offensive, so is it for trans men.

I didn’t realise how much this stuff affected me until it did. Constantly being around people that talk about, how body hair on men is gross, masculinity is by default toxic, making jokes about my masculinity being toxic when I excitedly tell people that I’ve started going to the gym and its making me feel better about my body. No, it’s not funny. It’s MY dysphoria I’m trying to ease. I as a trans person want to feel supported and loved when I do things that have a chance of making me feel good about my body.

It hit me like a brick wall when I realised how much it had affected me. I was with my partner, and was trying to have sex, but I just broke down. I felt so incredibly disgusted with my body and myself. So much hair, so masculine. The noises I made, gross. The way I touched him, creepy. I couldn’t get out of my head the idea that later in life he would talk to people about how gross and unshaven I was, just like I had heard friends describe ex boyfriends so many times before.

I felt cheated because these were the changes I WANTED my body to make. But now they felt ruined. Spoiled.
It was after that realisation that I decided I had to get out. I stopped going to some of student socials and instead started attending a group for older trans people. It was so refreshing to meet other trans men for once (just because I rarely meet them at uni, and it was nice to talk to someone similar.) It was awesome to be around people who weren’t shitty about trans people being stealth (as I remember I once was.)

There are some important things to take away from all of this:

1) Telling trans boys and men that they are disgusting for wanting to be like men will only destroy self esteem and feed into the toxic environment that a lot of cis boys grow up in.

2) Non binary people are extremely valid and awesome, but also must accept they have a responsibility to cultivate a supportive and friendly atmosphere in spaces where they are dominant (I put this in here for university spaces especially)

3) Laughing at a trans man/woman for being excessively masc/fem presenting if you are a dfab nb person who mainly presents as fem or androgynous is facetious and not respecting that they may have to present that way to stay safe, (especially in the case of trans women that may be more 'obviously trans’) and that despite suffering prejudice in many ways, the one thing you are not realistically facing is street violence and such because you inevitably are not going to be clocked as trans. (which yes, does NOT make your transness invalid but we have to respect the different struggles people in our community face.)

4) Someone being stealth does not mean they are adhering to 'toxic gender roles’. It means they are either 1) trying to be safe or 2) surprise surprise they want to live their life as the gender they identify with. Trans people are not less legitimately trans because you think they are 'acting cis’.

5) Being a binary trans person does not give you privilege over nb people. Like seriously, trans women are literally the most likely to be murdered. Don’t be a dick. Erasure is a problem yes but it’s not the same. I read names out at the TDOR vigil and pretty much all of them were trans women of colour. Respect that. Help the community. This isn’t about scoring points over who has it the shittiest.

6) The idea that the only good kinda of trans men are 'soft sensitive kinda trans masc guys that don’t have surgeries and shave all their body hair’ is shitty and offensive (tho that kind of trans man is totally valid, that not what i mean). Its shitty because one you’re sexualising them either as more childlike or more feminine (both is rude, former is creepy), but its perpetuating the idea that trans men aren’t really men and the best ones are the ones that YOU think still kinda look suitably enough like women.

A very long time ago @jennthereaper and @simplyn2deep both sent me this prompt, and I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long, but the other day I was finally inspired to take a stab at it. I hope you enjoy!

From The Way You Said “I Love You” 

#26 Broken, as you clutch the sleeve of my jacket and beg me not to leave

Please, Derek, please, I–“ Stiles chokes back the beginnings of tears and clutches harder at the sleeve of Derek’s jacket. He’s on his knees, having tripped in his scramble to get to Derek from the other side of the loft. “I love you, okay? And I’m sorry I didn’t say it before, I’ve been a coward about this whole thing, but I love you. And I know you love me too. I know you do, and I need you not to leave like this, fuck, Derek, please don’t do this.”

Derek stares down at him for a long time, heart clenched in his throat.

And then he looks up at where the other Stiles is pursing his lips in a hard frown as he watches the scene.

“It isn’t real?” Derek asks for the hundredth time since the other Stiles, the real Stiles, showed up in this apparent dreamscape.

Stiles shakes his head stiffly.

The Stiles on the floor is still pleading with him around tears, but the noises of his despair are starting to fade, as if Derek were now hearing him from a distance. Even his heartbeat, a sound that Derek has been clinging to as an anchor for what feels like forever, begins to disappear.

Derek swallows and steels himself against feeling anything more than determination to get through this newest mess.

“What now?” he asks, tone clinical and firm.

Stiles answers him in a similar tone, his expression betraying nothing about what’s going on in his own head. A far cry from the Stiles that Derek first met a couple years ago, terrified and mouthy and young. “Now you wake up.”

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“A Date with Markiplier”, Darkiplier Theory.

After watching “A Date with Markiplier” multiple times, and replaying and replaying the parts where Darkiplier is featured; I have created a theory as to why Dark acts the way he does (In these videos, not as whole). Now, let me first start off by saying, this probably, (definitely) is not the BEST Dark theory out there. And there are probably holes are mistakes in this theory, or repeating themes. But nonetheless, it is a theory that I have created that is interesting.. hopefully. Note: This theory comes with spoilers! If you haven’t watched the whole video, or at least the Dark parts, please do. (The video and Darkiplier parts are linked above.) And even if it may not seem like it, I worked really hard and long on this theory. (Literally about 3 days. And typing all of this up took about 2-4 hours.) So please treat it with respect. (But don’t be afraid to add your own theories or thoughts on this! Feedback is always welcome. Positive or negative. Just don’t be a butt about it.) So, without further ado, let us begin! I hope you have the patience to read it all. Enjoy! 

This theory is mainly based on the parts where you are confronted by Dark while you are watching “The Dark Mark”. What you are going to read below is me basically showing images of Dark, taking direct quotes he has said in the videos, and explaining why he is saying what he does. 

We start off by having Dark glitch and fade into view. He tilts his head to the side, saying he has missed us very much. And that he has been waiting a long time to see us again. 

Then he continues on saying: “I’ve been pushed asideReplacedMocked.” Now this caught my attention even from the beginning. How has Dark been pushed aside, replaced, and mocked? Who has done this to him? Why? I tried to reflect more on what that meant, but Dark kept talking, catching my attention even more…

Who is “He”? And why does Dark think this… “He” is going on an adventure with us? Why and how was Dark not invited to it? 

Dark continues…

Dark mentions “He” again. Saying this person promised he would let him in. Again. Who promised Dark and what promise was made between them? 

This is where the theory begins. The main idea of this theory is based on a small post I made a while ago. If you have already read it, then you’ll understand where I’m going with this. If not, I suggest you read it really quick HERE

And now… we shall truly begin. 

Dark begins our one-sided conversation with: “I’ve been pushed aside, replaced, mocked.” But what also connects with this statement is what he says later: “ I’ve been waiting patientlyHe promised he would let me in again!” Now, since Dark is basically Mark’s inner demon, I could only assume that the “He” Dark keeps talking about is Mark. But what promise did Mark make with Dark? This is where I start to lean back on my older theory I hope you have read. 

I believe that Dark is in love with us. Or… at least has some sort of feelings for us. Or is at least curious about us. So, I think in the past Dark asked Mark permission to take control over Mark’s body so that he could spend time with us. Get to know the person he has unexplainable feelings for. Mark complied. Promising Dark that one day, Dark would have the opportunity to talk to us. But that day never came. And now Dark feels as if he has been Pushed aside. Replaced. And Mocked. These feelings have been repressed, but now since Mark is on this “adventure”, or “date” with us, Dark’s feelings and anger have come out. Dark feels that he has been pushed aside because he literally has been pushed aside. This date was supposed to be the date Dark was finally allowed to spend time with us. But instead… he got pushed. Pushed into the deepest, darkest, places of Mark’s mind. Mark didn’t want Dark to come out on this date. Because he was planning, later down the road, to propose to us. And he didn’t want Dark to ruin it. So Mark took over Dark, replacing him, even though he promised Dark that he would be allowed to take control. And now, Dark feels angry, hurt, and mocked. Mocked because today was supposed to be his day with us. But now he has to watch us through Mark’s eyes. Unable to do anything. Unable to talk to us and ask the questions he’s always wanted to ask. All he can do is stand back and watch the person he has feelings for go on a date with someone who betrayed him.

“And then he had the gall not to invite me to his little adventure with you.” This connects to what I said above. Mark has pushed Dark aside and didn’t allow him to take over on the date. Quite literally, he wasn’t invited on the date. He was casted away and replaced. But the one word Dark said that caught my attention was: “Adventure”. Why did Dark call it an adventure when he knew it was a date. A proposal, even? I believe the reason to be simple. Dark is angry and jealous right now. He doesn’t even want to call the event we are going on with Mark as a “date”. So, instead, he calls it an adventure. Making it easier on him and his heart. Also hoping in that calling it an adventure, he’ll make Mark look silly and foolish. As if he doesn’t know what a real “date” is. 

This part was very interesting. After saying all he said, spewing out his anger and frustration, Dark fixes his tie and suit, straightening up and saying: “ I’m tired of giving people a choice.” From what we have learned earlier, this sentence can only mean that he is tired of giving Mark the choice on controlling when and where he can allow him to take control.

But then, Dark sighs, saying: “But I suppose I could give you one last option.” Hearing Dark say this was extremely odd to me. Didn’t he just say that he was tired of giving people (Mark) a choice? But yet right after, he turns around to give us options and the ability to choose? I think he does this because no matter how closed off or frustrated he may get, he still wants to give the us the ability to choose. Since he has some sort of feelings for us, he doesn’t want to force us into something we don’t want to do. 

He continues: “Take your pick. Anything of four different choices, more than he could’ve ever given you.” Why did Dark give us so many options. Why did he bitterly say “more than he could have ever given you.”? And why did all options but one actually lead to a place that continues the story? 

I think the bitter remark and the option of more choices go back to Dark’s “adventure” statement. He wants to make Mark look foolish. Make Mark look like he can’t provide for us as much as he can. Even if it’s something simple as being able to go more places. But why, in giving us all these options, did only one actually go somewhere? It’s because, even though Dark does have feelings for us, he still is “dark”. He is still evil, demonic, etc. He purposefully made only one option that actually goes somewhere. He makes us go on a “date” with him (later on) the only way he knows how. Manipulation and Illusion. He gives us the illusion of choice, when really he manipulated it so there is only one right way. And that is to go on a date and spend time with him. 

This makes him sound pretty evil doesn’t it? That he just manipulates and cheats his way through until he gets what he wants. And that may be true, but.. At the same time, it’s actually pretty sad. That is all he knows. To cheat, to steal, and manipulate… Dark was toyed with and replaced. Promised he would be allowed to be with us. But that didn’t happen. And now Dark is forced to make his own path. Struggle to take control over Mark, and find a way to where we will spend time with him. Not Mark.

“So take your pick. Show me what you’ve got. And maybe… We’ll have a good date after all.” Wait what?! Did Dark look down shyly at the ground… Smile… And say “Date”?! This really blew my mind after I watched it a couple times.

After taunting us on by saying: “Show me what you’ve got.” Dark pauses, his face suddenly seems to soften. “And maybe…” He cracks what looks to be a smile and briefly looks down at the ground, “ We’ll have a good date after all.” He looks back up, but his face and body immediately harden and become cold and static once more. What just happened?! Mark randomly says “Maybe we’ll have a good date after all.” And he shows emotion and smiles? Why does he do this? I think I know why. 

Obviously, Dark has been waiting to spend time with us. And now that he has Mark under control and is alone with us, he finally realizes that his dream of being with us is soon to become reality. He smiles and quickly looks down to hide his emotion that he is excited for this long awaited day. And, instead of calling it an “adventure” like he did when he vaguely defined our outing with Mark, he says “date”. Making it official and saying it more for himself than us. But then, after he realizes he slipped: showing emotion and calling our alone time a “date”, his face hardens and he composes himself back into the stone cold Darkiplier once more. But in trying so hard to compose himself, he lets a small, angry frown dance dance across his face before straightening. Showing that he is angry with himself for showing so much ambition.

(Note: Phew! This is a lot of writing! I hope you guys are doing ok and you like this! Stay in your seat, there’s a lot more to yet come!)

*We choose “Freedom”*

“If dinner is what you want then I can provide…” We are now officially on what Dark described as a date. He glitches and we are suddenly sitting at a table with what looks to be a cup and a bottle of wine to the side. As I watched and rewatched this, I found it interesting that Dark chose to place us in a dinner date situation. The same setting we were at when we were with Mark. And say things like: “I can provide…” Why did he place us in a dinner date setting? Why did he say if we wanted dinner, then he could provide it? The answer is interesting. 

Remember, the whole date you were having with Mark, Dark was also seeing and experiencing. So that means, Dark was there even for when Mark misplaced his wallet, making you have to pay for the meal. This obviously annoyed Dark. Enough to the point where he had to physically point out and show us that if we wanted dinner, he could pay. He could provide us with a meal. This is basically a big slap in the face to Mark. Once again, Dark is trying to make Mark look idiotic and that the outing/ date we were on with Mark, wasn’t a date after all. And that he can do a better job on planning a date and providing.   

The date carries on. “And I can take you wherever you’d like to go…” I found this odd when Dark said this. It’s kind of a random thing to say on a date isn’t it? But it all makes more sense when you look at it this way:

Near the beginning and basically throughout our whole date with Mark, he keeps saying that he has our whole day planned out. And that he can’t wait to take us to certain places. I think Dark said this as yet another jab towards Mark. Mark had our whole day planned, swiftly leading us from one location to another. But Dark said: “ I can take you wherever you’d like to go..” almost as a counteroffer to what Mark was doing for us. There is a sense of freedom when Dark says he can take us wherever we would like to go. A sense of freedom and choice. Dark seems to be using this statement to try and make him look more appealing to us than Mark. Possibly even more fun or risky than Mark.  

After Dark states he can take us anywhere, he then dumps this heavy and scary: “I can especially take you to where you don’t want to go..” on us. 

Honestly, I was a little confused on why he would say this. Is it because he’s “dark” and evil and he would actually enjoy to take us places we would hate? Or is he using some weird, vague form of reverse phycology? Is he saying that “the places where we don’t want to go…” is back to Mark? It would kind of make sense. After saying and telling us of all the things he can do for us and provide for us, the last thing he would want is for us to still choose and go back to Mark. But he says that he can take us to where we don’t want to go, meaning that he would take us back to Mark if we chose that. 

Dark continues to talk, but then he begins to glitch and shake. He is then suddenly screaming: “I can give you anything!” And then as fast as it came, it goes, and he continues talk to us normally saying: “I’ve been waiting a long time. To get some personal time between us…” Ok… What just happened here? He was screaming one minute and then normal again the next?

I think Dark glitches and screams “I can give you anything!”, because he momentarily looses his composure. He’s been spending a good portion of this date trying to show us that he can provide for us and comparing himself to Mark. I think he starts to become frustrated in himself and how we aren’t reacting the way he would have hoped. Thus, his inner voice comes out, screaming, frustrated and angry that we can’t understand that he can give and provide everything we want and need.

After his short episode, he continues talking. Saying he’s been waiting a long time to “get some personal time between us…” I think he’s saying this because the only time he has ever been with us, or has “spent time with us”, is when he is being pushed to the back of Mark’s mind and has to watch from the sidelines and listen and hear Mark’s words and thoughts. But now that he has finally taken over Mark, he can truly get the personal alone time he’s always lusted over.      

The date continues, and Dark has one more episode. But what happens next is interesting. Dark says: “So.. Now that we are here together… We should really get to know each other…” And then suddenly, it looks like Dark is split in two. One part of him thrashing around and screaming. Why? Because it’s Mark… Trying to escape Dark’s possession of his body. 

Remember, this whole time we have been with Dark, Mark has been there, watching and listening to what Dark is saying. (Which also explains why at times, Dark twitches his head. Its because Mark is there in the back of his mind try to take control once again.) So Mark has been fighting Dark this whole time, and it seems Dark is slowly running out of time and loosing control, hence the episodes he keeps having. But notice where Mark made a big push to take control when he did. He did it right after Dark said we should “get to know each other…” It seems as if Mark didn’t like the idea of Dark getting to know us, and vise versa. Probably thinking Dark is going to take advantage of us at some point on the date. So, he tries and puts all his strength in trying to take back control before Dark can do anything to us. But once again, as quickly as it starts, Dark glitches and the image of Mark is gone, and Dark is back to normal.  

You just need to let me in… It’s as simple as that…

When I first heard this, I thought that Dark meant that we should allow him into our mind or soul. But as I began to create this theory, I began to think… What if Dark didn’t mean our soul or mind… But our heart? I mean, during this whole date he has been trying and trying to show us how much better he is than Mark, and how he can do all these things for us. Basically saying, how he can care and love us, just in a very “Darkiplier” way. What if he just wants to be loved by us. Accepted by us? And the only way he knows how to say that is something off putting like: “You just need to let me in..” Maybe all he wants is just a chance  with us. A chance to show how much he cares and ask us why he is feeling the way he does about us? 

After asking us to place him in our heart, and give him a chance, Dark then takes us outside. Believing that he has taken full control over Mark and boasting about it by saying: “You’re never, EVER, going to escape me…Not now-” He is confronted by Mark, in physical form. (Now this part can basically just completely eradicate my theory that Dark has taken over Mark, and not that they are two different people with their own bodies. Now that theory, COULD technically work here, but I decided I like the “Mark and Dark are two in one” theory better. Since Dark IS essentially Mark’s inner-demon. So I’m going to say that this part is actually where Mark gains some power within his mind, and now Dark and Mark are fighting for dominance.) 

After they fight for a while, a gun is dropped and you now have to decide to choose whether to shoot the left or right Mark. Later on, we find out the the Right is Dark, and Left is Mark. And this is where I was confused with what they are saying until I put up the captions. And what each of them were saying was interesting. 

Left Mark (the real Mark) starts off by saying: “You don’t have much time he’s going to kill everybody.” 

While Right Mark (Dark) says: “Shoot him. He needs to die.” 

The thing I found interesting was what they both first said to defend themselves. Left Mark (Mark), immediately starts off by saying that: There isn’t much time, and that Right Mark is going to kill everyone. Mark is trying to warn us. While Right Mark (Dark), just simply says off instinct: “Shoot him. He needs to die.”… Now that’s harsh. Mark just wants to warn us that if we don’t shoot Dark, we will all die. So he’s trying to save both us and himself. But Dark just spurts out that Mark NEEDS to die. No note of concern, or worry. No thought of what might happen afterwards. They keep talking, still trying to convince us: 

 Mark says: “He’s got weird eyes. Don’t trust him at all.” 

While Dark says: “He does bad things to good people.” 

Now, the thing I found extremely interesting was this part right here. Mark says that Dark has weird eyes, which is true. He is known for having completely Dark eyes. But how he said the next part is what caught my attention. Mark said: “DON’T trust him at all.”. He didn’t say “I don’t trust him at all.” But simply, “Don’t trust him…” Therefore, Mark was telling US not to trust Dark. It was a command. Because he knows what Dark is able to do. 

What Dark says also caught my attention. Why would Dark say: “He does bad things to good people.”? Isn’t Dark supposed to be the “bad guy” here? Manipulating and weaving around things to get to what he wants? True, that is what he did to get us to date him. But just because he did those things, do you think he even wanted to? We have already proven that in the past, Dark asked for permission to spend time with us. But since that didn’t happen, Dark had to take control. All because Mark betrayed his promise to Dark. So maybe, Dark is saying “He does bad things to good people.” Because he’s hurt and angry that Mark didn’t fill out his promise. That Mark led him on only to be trapped in the back of his mind again, while he got ready to propose to the person Dark had feelings for without even been given a chance. 

After we shoot Left Mark, Right Mark comes over saying: “You made the right call. Come here, it’s okay, it’s okay.” Assuring us and embracing us. We then continue the date by getting ice cream. We sit down while Right Mark continues to talk, saying: “We’ll enjoy some nice, dairy-based treats. And erm, get to know other. Really, personally…” We then begin to eat our ice cream when the screen flickers and glitches. We look back up and are greeted to see Dark sitting across form us. Dark then says: “Oops. Looks like you’ve made the wrong choice. But now we’re going to be together… forever.”

When I first watched this side of the date, I paid no regard to what Right Mark said. But after rewatching the mini date we had with Dark, and going back to this, I noticed something. Dark always seems to talk about getting to know us, or getting close to us. Spending personal time with with. Before, during our private date with Dark, he said: “I’ve been waiting a long time. To get some personal time between us…”  So when right Mark said: “Really, personally…” It became obvious that it was Dark sitting in front of us. After Dark transforms into his true self, he then says: “Oops. Looks like you’ve made the wrong choice.” I believe Dark said this because he knew, that if we knew who the real Mark was back when we had to decide who to shoot, we would have chosen the real Mark hands down. So he kept quiet. Hoping that with luck, he could say the right words and look innocent enough and emulate Mark, that we would shoot the wrong man. Before we are met with “Try Again?”, Dark continues, “But now we’re going to be together..forever.” and smiles. The first time I heard this, it sounded creepy, and some of you might think so as well. But I think Dark said this because he was finally free. Free of Mark’s hold on him. And free to be with the person he is curious about and has unexplained feelings for. He’s finally free to provide and care for us, without Mark battling for control in the back of his mind. Because that part of him is now dead. He can finally get to know us. Get that personal, intimate time he has always yearned for. He’s finally found freedom from being pushed aside. Being replaced and being mocked. He can finally have a true chance with us. A chance… for us to let him into our heart. Because we’ve always been in his.