what is intelligence

I don’t care what anyone says, being intelligent is so fucking attractive. Like yes, tell me random facts I didn’t know. I’ll think it’s the cutest thing ever.

the signs as people i’ve known

aries: passionate verging on obsessive.  defensive of both themselves and the people they love.  few layers; what you see is more or less what you get.  good-hearted, intelligent.  always up for a challenge, but becomes stressed out very easily and handles stress very poorly.  even when they’re tired, they somehow seem so alert and two steps ahead of you.  responsible.  they prefer to lead and lead very well.  interesting, competitive, loyal.  although they like to be correct and love to prove people wrong, more than anything they just want someone to listen and expand on their point, not disagree with it. romantic but they like to pretend that they aren’t.  they seek instant gratification and hate doing things that they’re not naturally great at (but they’re naturally great at a lot).  can be very self-absorbed, but it’s not conscious.  so loving and so lovely.  the yang to my yin, the storm to my calm.  a friend who completes me.

taurus: extremely nice, and they never want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so they tend to skirt around the truth or omit their opinion.  truly, genuinely kind, the sort of person you hope will always stay in your life, the sort of person you feel like you really need.  dependable, hardworking, stable.  they have been through a lot, but looking at them, you wouldn’t know it.  will ultimately put themselves before you (which is a good thing), but is always there for you when they can be. very realistic; they know what they can achieve and expect themselves to do so.  private to a fault, and doesn’t usually express their feelings. there is something about their soul that makes me smile whenever i think of them. one of the people i love most in this world.  my equal, the friend who i hope knows how much i love them.

gemini: endlessly charming, supportive, and brave.  always wants to make everyone happy, often at the expense of their own desires, so they’ll do things they don’t want to do but be kind of grouchy about it, leading others to believe that they are picky and that they change their mind too much.  frequently changes the details of a story to either make it more interesting or get out of trouble.  wants more than anything to see and experience the good in the world but is very often a victim of the bad.  overly-trusting.  they can make any experience memorable, and they are the most fun you’ll ever have. quite self-critical but they also know that they have a certain power over people. forgetful, tolerant, warm.  often feels quite overwhelmed and may not handle this feeling wisely.  crazy but kind.  the one whom words fail to describe.  the biggest piece of my heart, my mother.

cancer: both friendly and intimidating.  difficult to read.  patient and cooperative but more often than not, they think their idea/opinion is better than yours.  very, very smart.  super dependable, so sensitive, hold grudges like it’s their life’s calling. courageous.  behave very differently around authority figures, likes being seen as innocent and cute. they will keep your secrets but they will kind of hold them over you, and they tend to taunt others by saying, “i know [x] about [y] and you don’t.”  very funny, dark, and sarcastic once you get to know them, but initially sweet and sugary.  survivalists; they protect themselves first and their loved ones second and don’t really care about everyone else. friendly. once they’re in a relationship, they become rather absorbed by it and neglect the other parts of their life.  dramatic, obsessive. rather strong-willed.  when they’re having an off day, get out of their way.  they will never forget anything you tell them.  they see life as an inside joke.  my figurative fraternal twin.  the friend who is just like me but whom i’ll never understand.

leo: impressively loving, astonishingly generous, the whole universe in one person.  soft and loud, wild and cautious.  they are full of power, grace, and energy, and they awaken within you the sense that you are good and that you can do whatever you want to do. even when they’re quiet, their presence is felt. very self-critical, constantly questioning their worth. always in need of validation, which is why they like to be the center of attention; in order to know that they’re a star, they require a standing ovation. they want to love themselves, they need to love themselves. such a romantic, wants to be wooed and adored, and they’ll gladly return the favor.  soothing.  they are so easy to trust, but they are more careful with their own secrets than they seem. they love with every bone in their body.  they want, more than anything, a best friend. loyal, inventive, go-getters. great listeners.  can somehow empathize with every situation, but are mildly obsessed with themselves. love winning. my idol, the part of myself i hope i grow into, my aunt.

virgo: hilarious, dependable, treats you like their kid.  trustworthy, sympathetic. they are fascinating and unique, but they are too attached to their own magic. more obsessive than they like to think they are.  they take criticism very well, perhaps because they dish it out even better. level-headed but aspirational. they prefer to be the less loving one in all of their relationships.  feels guilty for feeling sad or emotional. curious and interested.  can talk for hours if you let them.  kind and smart, wants to be special and different from everyone else. treats the people closest to them the worst. believes in tough love.  loves to joke and be sarcastic but usually takes it a few steps too far.  perfectionistic, which leads them to put little effort into things that they feel they can’t do flawlessly.  the one i protect who thinks they’re protecting me.  the friend whom i loved right away.

libra: angelic, enchanting, sweet.  picky. they are so afraid of offending someone that they have to know someone really likes them before they’ll be honest with them.  so many layers.  funny and diligent. treats everyone like their best friend, but when you are their best friend, there is just something so slightly different about how they treat you, something that makes you feel amazing. good at everything.  completely unable to make decisions. gossipers. they want to like everyone, but they just don’t.  absolutely hates saying no, but will do it if it’s 100% necessary.  sleepy and goofy around people they love. works hard to look good, trendy.  smart, fair.  nervous around authority figures. fearful of loss and of growing up.  secret control freaks.  they are at once youthful and wise.  crazy patient on the outside, just crazy on the inside. always somewhere on my mind, the one who i was always meant to know. my very best friend, my soul’s sister.

scorpio: the best listener. truly wants to know everything about you. extremely devoted, passionate.  knows you very, very well.  so funny, so kind.  will stick with you through thick and thin, always on your side.  gives great advice. the person across the room who you can’t stop staring at.  secretive, fearful, romantic.  both observant and judgmental. will hate you for judging them while they judge you.  their heart is bigger than anyone else’s, and all they really want is to fill it to its brim with love. very often the sidekick, but they stand out to me. they are quite obsessive and they rarely wait for explanations. they want to own the people they love.  intuitive.  loves you soooo much.  impossible to know fully. deep, powerful. the ocean flows inside them, yet all too often that ocean is stormy.  the person many people think i am, the person i sometimes i wish i was.  my confidante, my partner in crime, my heart, my friend.

sagittarius: the most supportive and dependable person on the planet.  an amazing friend, the best person to have in your corner.  honest and disorganized, friendly and capable.  very quick to anger and has a hard time admitting they’re wrong.  devotes themselves wholly and completely to their partner and puts them on a pedestal, but once they’ve moved on, they’ve really moved on.  tends to succeed, lucky.  has a hard time seeing the truth of a situation and often must be told what’s really going on.  charismatic and caring, overly generous.  can spread themselves thin.  guided chiefly by morals which they never abandon.  has a strong sense of right and wrong (specifically, they’re right, you’re wrong).  my backbone, my other mother.

capricorn: pensive and stoic.  has a brain that never stops going.  they wake up every morning in the climax of a novel they’ve written in their sleep.  loyal, just, intimidating.  cold and private.  mean to people who are mean to them.  shuts down entirely for seemingly no reason.  the wisest of all.  mature.  silently romantic. victim of their thoughts.  intense, original.  they want someone to fall really deeply in love with them, but they close themselves off to everyone. admires the beauty of the world, moved by small details that many people miss. always thinking of the future, no matter how good the present is.  judgmental. wants to be better than everyone else. exceptionally smart. often falling apart on the inside.  can think themselves into sickness, into joy, into anything. loves to be alone, hates more than anything to be lonely.  soft on the inside. the best leaders but they don’t like to lead.  kind-hearted and always doubting it. immensely fatalistic.  the dreamy head behind my eyes.  myself.

aquarius: very patient.  analytical, detached.  they have favorite people and things and they will be honest about who and what these favorites are.  they love you, they just can’t tell you.  wants to be cared for without caring in return. easy to talk to, somehow always makes you feel safe.  impressive intellect. generous with the people they love.  genuinely good, inspiring.  easily overwhelmed.  resorts to humor when offended.  doesn’t try very hard to act like they like someone they hate.  wants to be special.  artificially nice to authority figures.  can be surprisingly mean without intending to.  very good liars.  super funny.  compliments mean a lot coming from them.  the person i forget i am, the friend i should talk to more.

pisces: kind-hearted, funny.  to really know them, you kind of have to know them forever.  so easy to love.  hates to think about the difficulties of the world and prefers to just have fun.  very much in the present and tries not to think about the future.  as such, they sometimes behave without thinking and wind up messing things up for themselves.  they tend to be kind of lazy in regards to some things and extremely passionate in regards to others; there isn’t a lot of balance.  can be very mean and very angry.  won’t apologize first when you’ve made them mad. must express themselves in some way.  no matter how much they say that they love you, they always love you more than that.  quite sensitive, hates few things more than being called annoying. super generous, always wants to be there for you but hates not being able to make you happier. truly the sweetest. my favorite person, my brother.

10

This in 12x16 felt like another solid character moment, to me; not just the fact that Dean left, but that Sam stayed. I think it’s the same difference in attitude that prompts Dean to squash down and deny the things that worry him (or, the flipside of the same coin, to accept them with fatalistic helplessness) whereas Sam will stare steely-eyed and insistent into the face of his problems. (Of course, that can certainly be problematic too.)

Lance: *recognizes the rover-copy is fake almost immediately and saves Coran’s life, stops Keith from being reckless and hurting the Balmorra and comes up with a better plan, is the one the Blue lion chose despite four other future Paladins being right there for the taking, is ‘officially’ more intelligent than both Keith and Hunk, is an incredibly skilled marksman*

Also Lance: you guys wanna watch me fit my whole bayard in my mouth

I remember how I hated them. Because they hated me. And I couldn’t understand why. I wondered why I even existed. That’s when I found out I had this demon inside me. It wasn’t my fault, but everyone acted as if it was. That just made it worse. But then… a few people came along who paid attention to me. That made it better. It was alright then, even though I had this monster inside me. Even though everyone else acted like I didn’t exist. Because I wasn’t alone anymore. For the first time in a long time, I was happy again. Really, really happy. They made me remember how good life could be. They made me glad to be alive. But when I think back to where I was before I met them, it’s scary. Nothing but pain and darkness. What would I be like if I stayed there? All alone. That’s how come I can understand him.” 

N a r u t o  U z u m a k i


Note: I don’t think we give enough credit to Naruto—or at least, not at this point in time. This was Naruto reflecting on his life after meeting Gaara, after seeing how similar their situations were yet how drastic their outcome. 

Naruto may not have a high cognitive intelligence, but his emotional intelligence goes above and beyond the norm. Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate, and express emotions. Research has found that individuals with strong leadership potential also tend to be more emotionally intelligent—which just supports even further why this unpredictable hyperactive ninja became Hokage. 

I know at this time we found it really amusing that he always stated, “I’m gonna be Hokage someday!” and assumed that obviously the show was going to end with that because of the efforts he put to get there, but I think it’s really important to note how Naruto was such a great candidate for that position because of this inherent quality. 

I read somewhere how when encountering a person who is extremely unstable mentally or otherwise, the first and foremost thing you should do is listen to what they have to say—to try and understand them. Why? Because most of the time, such people just need someone to just accept their emotions and their words as holding importance—to accept the fact that their emotions are real and worthy of attention. 

We have made Naruto’s ‘talk-no-jutsu” somewhat of a joke and just something more funny than serving a purpose—and yes, sometimes it does appear as if it is overdone—but just think about it for a second. This is the ninja world where these shinobi are constantly killing and such a life is traumatic at times. Think of all the people Naruto has met that have gone through so many traumatic experiences and are just not mentally stable and the very first thing he always does is listen. To try and relate. To understand them. To say, “Hey, I hear what you’re saying, and I understand your emotions are real.” 

This quality of his—THIS right here is why he TRULY became Hokage. Why he was so qualified for the position. He never believed any feeling or thought was below him and he always listened to each person he encountered. He brought people together this way. And when you’re sitting at such a high position as Hokage (or whatever position of leadership), it is SO important to be both perceptive and receptive of e v e r y person out there—no matter what their status/rank/race/age/personality/ideology/etc.

And on top of that all, Naruto was very self-aware. Do you see how he reflected on being the kyuubi container? He’s this thirteen-year-old kid who realized that the hate people had was targeted toward the kyuubi container, not him. But because they were one in the same thing, the hate was also targeted towards him. And because he was able to grasp this concept, he was able to use this to push forward to turn that hate around by reaching out to one person at a time until he was reaching out to the whole of the shinobi world. 

It’s honestly so beautiful. We could all learn so much from his character. And try to apply some of his methods to our daily lives. Imagine how much positive change that would bring into this world. 

3

U S E L E S S, it’s what he meant.

4

22 years ago today (1st February) Richey Edwards disappeared, on the day he was due to start an American tour with his band, the Manic Street Preachers. He was never found again.

my fave riz ahmed thought is how we need to stop talking about diversity and start talking about representation. diversity is limited and a demand that is often answered with tokenism. representation on the other hand is clear, its not fluid, its sharp, its definite, its inclusive of all under represented folks across race, color, gender, sexual orientation, abilities. it demands accuracy and it means business and that is why instead of asking for diversity, we need to start asking for representation.

2

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Because I’ve been so excited about the recent Person of Interest season finale, I decided to revisit my older paintings of Reese and Finch - they are among, if not actually, my favorite portraits I’ve ever done, and deserved some touchup and refinement. This show has come so far and raises such interesting questions - it’s a privilege to paint these characters (and hopefully I’ll do more this year during the hiatus!)

You can buy prints and products of “He Who Fights Monsters” and “The Abyss Gazes Back” at my Society6 shop!

Theory time! - Levi's cravat

To preface - I just got all of the Attack on Titan volumes up to the current one and DAMN it’s nice to not have to be online to read them. :)

ANYWAY!

During my rereading of the official translation, I noticed something interesting that I think indicates something important about Levi’s character that I don’t think I’ve read yet from anyone else.  Remember this in Chapter 51? 

In case you don’t remember, it’s when Levi finds out from Hange that Titans were previously human.  Cue guilt and Erwin creepy smile (man, him and Armin have the creepy smile game on LOCK, BTW). 

However, in every chapter since, Levi’s been missing something that we all associate with his character, his visual cue, if you will -

His cravat.  Yeah, I understand that at this point in the story, they’re on the run and haven’t worn their uniforms and such, but I feel like this little detail is actually pretty important. As momtaku has mentioned in previous posts and her readthroughs (which are great, btw), Levi is fairly horrified that what he’s been doing up until now (to paint in broad strokes) is killing humans, and is starting to lose it.  From what we’ve learned in later chapters with the appearance of Kenny and learning more about his past with the underground, this is what I’m thinking -

Levi and Kenny clearly don’t get along, and they lived together for a while.  Kenny raised him, to an extent, and Levi’s accustomed to squalor.

Once Levi joined up with the Survey Corps, he found a way out.  Keeping in consideration some of the information we’ve gleaned from character interviews and tidbits (like why he holds his teacups in his particular way), I think Levi’s preference for his cravat is another way for him to give an appearance of being more well off than what he actually is/was AND a way to signify a new beginning for him, where he isn’t learning how to stalk and kill people - in essence, “using his powers for good”.

Once he realizes Titans were/are humans, I think he realized at that point he’s no better than Kenny, and everything he’s done to change things for himself have been for nothing - to paraphrase Kill Bill, he’s not a worker bee, he’s “a renegade killer bee”, and everything he’s done to “disguise” himself is pointless, because nothing in the world can change his Ackerman heritage.  As he tells the 104th -

He’s pretty uniquely qualified to deal with Titans and killers.  Like Erwin and Armin, because of what he knows now, he (and Mikasa, once he tells her about their shared heritage) knows what he has to do now and has “discarded” that part of himself to fight monsters.  Hell -


In summation, I think at this point, Levi is probably being the most honest with himself that he’s been in a long while.  Whether or not he puts it back on once everyone starts donning their uniforms again remains to be seen, and if he does, that raises interesting questions, as well.  Either way, I love Levi, and I get why people don’t understand certain aspects of his character, or broadly characterize him in broad strokes for fanfic purposes and such (I ONLY LOVE CRAVATS AND CLEANING kind of stuff), but I think that’s probably because I’m also “abnormal…probably because I’ve seen far too many abnormal things”.  I feel like that makes it easier for me to understand his headspace and some of his decisions (like his behavior towards Historia or using odd, long winded non sequiturs to explain himself).

Thoughts?