#2027

“Then leave your schemes alone // adore the rising sun // and leave a man alone to his fate.”

We need no one’s pity, he sneers in my mind, nor did we ever want it. I remember how those lyrics fueled my indignation and anger – his indignation, their anger, I suppose – so many years ago. That anyone should suggest I change the story, or that I could even do so and thus apparently refused, offended me to my very core. I understand now, though, that I was even more so offended by the presumption that the story needed to be changed at all. Who are you to question the order of things?, I should have said. Who are you to question the necessity or fairness of another’s fate? I knew so much less then than I do now, however, and it had not yet occurred to me that most people will simply never understand what it is I record. All I knew was that I felt not comforted by their concern, but frustrated, disappointed, impatient. It’s an insult, he growls, and I nod in agreement. They do not need your pity. We do not need your pity.

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#2025

Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.

#2016

All I remember from the dream is your silver-white hair smooth as silk, the weight of your unseen presence in the room, and the way your clothes clung to your hunched frame as you sat stubbornly smoking in the rain, refusing sympathy, and in this way it was like every other dream, the fleeting recollection of his hand on your face, the dissociation in your black eyes, the desire to remain there on the edge of the drop as long as you are there together, as long as we are there together.

#2014

Odd Woman Out, or: Sex-Repulsion and Queer Media

If you spend any time around me, either online or offline, you know I am out and proud. I wear a rainbow bracelet every day; my purse has a button that says “crystal queer” on it; I wear flannel as much as humanly possible; I have a sidecut; and you can bet I’m going to mention my wife at every possible chance. Online, I’m an avid Creampuff, Fannibal, and Amedot shipper, and I run my own asexuality blog. Hell, even my Twitter name is “Queer as Hannibal”. What I’m saying is, you can sense my queerness from a mile away no matter how you encounter me. And that’s on purpose. I don’t want you to have to see me holding my wife’s hand to know I’m queer – I want my very self to radiate so much queerness you can see it from space. It’s an important part of my identity and I spend a lot of time keeping up on trends, issues, and news in the community. I try to spread positivity and inclusiveness, and to learn how to be a better ally to my fellow community members. In short, I am all about queer pride.

I say this so you have some understanding of why I feel conflicted about queer media. See, I’m asexual and definitely vary between sex-indifferent and sex-repulsed. I’m sex-positive in the sense that I think two or more consenting adults can do whatever they want with each other, but I don’t really want to see or hear about it. However, I’m also part of the wlw (women who love women) community, and I feel incredibly invested in positive representation of queer relationships. I’ve been reading the webcomic Band vs Band as long as it’s been running and was dying for the two main characters to get together. Likewise, I watched The Legend of Korra with a hungry eye for anything Korrasami, and always swoon a little when Laura and Carmilla waltz or flirt. As for Steven Universe, well… Amedot is the hill I will die on.

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I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP

In short, I absolutely put my attention, money, and support into queer relationships in the media and will always defend narratives that help broaden our understanding of relationship diversity. And yet, when my wife warned me there’s a sex scene in the Carmilla movie, I sighed a little in my head. See, being asexual/sex-indifferent and also a part of the wlw community can put me in an uncomfortable position because I tend to lose interest in a fictional relationship when it becomes sexual. It’s not that I think sex is immoral – it’s just not something I can totally connect with, and so it feels like I’m being alienated by something that becomes the focus of the relationship. I love Laura and Carmilla, but there are times in Carmilla season 2 when I get a little uncomfortable with how often they make out. Same with Band vs Band, even though the interactions are chaste and, for heck’s sake, just drawings. Yet while I know that response isn’t logical, fair, or healthy, I still feel this weird twinge of… something. Jealousy? Disappointment? Resentment? It’s hard to pin down, and I usually feel too guilty to examine my emotions.

Therein lies the problem. See, the closer to a sexual relationship two characters get, the less comfortable I am. However, I also know how important representation is, and so at the same time I’m cheering for this couple and what they represent in our changing culture. It leaves me in a weird gray area where I feel like I’m the bad guy for wanting a relationship to remain chaste, but not because I hate queer people being sensual or sexual; I think I just want to see more people like me, and it’s hard each time to lose a connection with a character once they become canonically allosexual. I know a lot of my own issues are wrapped up in this conflicting feeling – my longing to be a “normal” allosexual queer woman versus my simultaneous desire to stand up for people like me – but that doesn’t make the burden easier to bear.

Being sex-repulsed or sex-indifferent in the queer community can be a very fine line to walk. We want, and deserve, more representation and yet we have to be so careful that we don’t come off as sex-shaming or heteronormative. But with so little representation currently, it’s no wonder those misconceptions are rife in our community and so easily cause little sparks to rage into huge fires. Queer people have always been shamed for acting on their sexuality, and that will never change unless we normalize all forms of consensual intimacy. We just need to also remember that for many in our community, sex isn’t what makes them queer – and that’s just as valid. The more we vary what “real” relationships look like, the more everyone in the community will feel comfortable with who they are and what they want.

#2012

[In celebration of my recent wedding to a fellow party member, our great DM in the Sky came up with a wedding one-shot. Details (albeit scant ones) below; we spent the session alternately laughing hysterically and gagging at how gross the villain was. Our DM could hardly stand to play him!]

At the start of the session, the party was exploring the Lunanovan solstice festival. Upon hearing people in the crowd screaming “basilisk!”, Remr took off into the crowd and found the sorceress Serafina sitting with Eli the basilisk. She sat with them for a while, feeding Eli bits of raw meat provided by Serafina, until it was time to attend the royal feast. At the feast, Remr was seated next to a human man who seemed to be charming everyone around him. He struck up conversation with Remr, saying he was familiar with her family and asking after her sisters and mother. He was apparently very rich and lord of some fancy sounding place (he had a sleezy French accent, of course). Before he left for the evening, he gave her his card, which included a small personal sending stone in case she wanted to keep in touch. It was all very slimy, and we’ll refer to him from now on as Fuckboy. (I should note that Serafina was at the party and seemed very perturbed by this; I hope it’s because she likes Remr and not because she wanted Fuckboy’s number.)

After Fuckboy left, Remr got slightly tipsy and eventually had to be escorted out to the balcony by Never after changing all the toothpicks on the banquet tables into tiny snakes. Once there, Never noticed a strange cloudfront looming in. Then an even stranger black cloud rushed past them and when they looked again, Remr had vanished. Mild panic ensued. In the course of figuring out who had kidnapped Remr (spoiler alert, it was Fuckboy!) and where he had taken her (his private island, gross) thanks to his bitchy sister, whom they managed to capture, the party had to search Remr’s room to find a map to the island and her feather token.

Let me take a moment to share my description of Remr’s room. This is what my party had to deal with:

“The door opens on a room that looks like someone has inhabited it for years, not mere months. Piles of books and parchments litter the floor and most surfaces. Any spaces not covered by research materials are covered by other odds and ends – melted candles, bits of charcoal, half-finished cups of coffee, weird collections of objects that look like tiny scientific experiments, etcetera. The bed has been stripped of blankets and its sheets are covered in ink and charcoal stains. On one wall is covered in, to quote our DM, some sort of “crazed chalk Illuminati drawing”, the kind with red string connecting different pictures and points on a map. Several somethings can also be heard skittering among the piles of mess.”

The party was understandably horrified and may stage an intervention in the future.

MEANWHILE, Remr found herself transported to a chateaux on an unfamiliar island. Fuckboy explained there that he likes “conquesting” women, which apparently involves kidnapping (though he said kidnapping is a “strong word”) them and forcing them to marry him. Setup for Remr’s wedding was already underway. Thus followed a rather emphatic argument, with Remr yelling about how she was definitely NOT GOING TO MARRY HIM because EWW and also SHE’S HELLA QUEER and Fuckboy explaining that she didn’t really have a say in it. He then locked her in a tower and sent two handmaidens to dress her. It’s very hard to forcibly dress a seven foot tiefling, though, and Remr was having none of it. Eventually Fuckboy had to cast Paralysis on her so the handmaidens could finish their work. Boo.

At this point the party, lead by Never, arrived on Bao’ru and snuck into the chateaux. They broke into the tower and faced off against Fuckboy and some guards while Remr tore off the dress (and was subsequently half-naked for the rest of the session). Her rescuers won, of course, because YAY NEVER! and everyone escaped on Bao’ru with an unconscious Fuckboy in tow. Upon arrival they tossed him in the dungeon with his aforementioned bitchy sister and agreed to basically forget they existed. Our heroes then retired to bed – with two exceptions.

Never snuck back down into the dungeons with the intent of getting in Fuckboy’s face one last time. Unbeknownst to them, Remr was also heading down to the dungeons. She heard their voice as she came down the stairs and paused to hear what they were saying. In fact, she just so happened to hear Never angrily defending her to Fuckboy and calling her a “very good tiefling.” Considering Never usually seems completely exasperated with Remr, she was overjoyed to catch that admission.

Remr hid as Never came back up the stairs, then made her way down to Fuckboy’s cell. After a little crowing about how she and Never are best friends, she then proceeded to do what she originally planned – throw firecrackers at Fuckboy and his bitchy sister.

#2010

I dream.

Satan and Lucifer.
Hannibal and Will.
Tanim and Daren.

There is a connection here, one I am almost afraid to explore. These names feel like skins to be taken on and off, or perhaps fine-crafted person suits, while whatever wears them remains the same beneath. I dream of cathedrals turned prisons for wounded rebel angels. I dream of the way things should have gone, of the teacup come back together, only to find it the longing of a comatose mind. I dream of anger and desire and hurt. Of blood and blades and fire; of Heaven and Hell and the long, long fall between.

I do not fear the truth, but I do fear what the truth means – for my understanding of the world and my role within it, and for those to whom I have sworn myself. What do these names mean to you? What are you beneath them? I want to know. I think I’m ready to know.

I guess we’ll see.

#2009

I wonder what Tanim and Daren would be like if their circumstances were switched at birth. How much of who they are is a result of nature and how much of nurture?

Take Daren, the madman, and give him family, wealth, power. Give him the world at his fingertips and the protection of affluence to do as he likes. He’d look different; younger, stronger, healthier. But would he be any saner? Or would he just be better at hiding it, a Hannibal-esque psychopath in a very convincing person suit? Either way, he would be a force to be reckoned with. Unhindered by a past riddled with abandonment and abuse, he would have a terrifying clarity of mind and control over his actions. An unbroken Daren would be charismatic, intelligent, a skilled liar and shrewd interpreter of intention. He would easily succeed in the cold, calculating world of business and blue blood – though he might also at any moment destroy it all, just to see what would happen. Certainly he would not feel bound or beholden to anyone but himself, and would continue to act with impunity as he already does in every other incarnation.

Now take Tanim, the rich man, and strip all his blessings away. Make him the unwanted son of a druggie, thrown at a young age into a foster care system broken and beyond capacity. He certainly wouldn’t be living in a penthouse apartment and drinking scotch out of crystal decanters after that. Chances are good that he’d still be an addict, though, and probably selling himself for money instead of just giving himself away. Maybe a rough beginning would do him some good, give him the freedom to explore his identity without the confines of duty and expectation. At the very least, he might be haunted by fewer ghosts – or just more bearable ones. With no real need to live as a recluse, he might even create some sort of found family for himself made of other misfits and lost souls. Still, he would be just as likely to throw all that away when he met Daren as he is anything else in any other incarnation.

Together, they would be less internal disaster and more external destruction. Daren’s wealth and cruelty, combined with Tanim’s general degeneration and desire to fulfill all of Daren’s whims, would set them on a truly dangerous path. Maybe things start the way they do for this very reason – maybe otherwise Tanim and Daren are simply too volatile together. That’s a disturbing thought.