Welcome to my diary. Be warned that nothing here is accompanied by a trigger warning. It is the unfiltered talking space of someone who, in a word, "is fucked up". This isn't a happy or relaxing page! Proceed only if your curiosity outweighs any discomfort with dark topics.
Lyric of the Day: An eye for an eye, a leg for a leg / A shot in the heart doesn't make it unbreak
My birthday happened!! Woo!
I went to Chapp's with the family for my birthday lunch. While there, I tried to talk about my game... But literally all anyone at the entire table said was, "Are you?", and when I said yes, she immediately asked me how school was going. It felt like everyone was talking to everyone else at the table, but not me. I sort of felt bad and... Isolated, the whole meal. It tends to feel like these sorts of celebrations are for the sake of everyone else, and not me...
When I got home for my birthday, I tried to set up a Jackbox Games digital party, but not many people asked to come until the last minute. The party still ended up just being Verdant and I, but the fact that 3 people ended up wanting to come, even if they couldn't make it, makes me feel happy, at least... Since all of them responded at the last minute, I was starting to feel extra-miserable, especially after lunch.
Well. Either way. I'm 20 years old now! 20, 20, 20. I have to get used to saying that. After so many years of referring to myself as a 'teenager'... Fucked up.
School was cancelled yesterday because it snowed! A rarity for the South of the USA. I dunno if it'll be cancelled tomorrow, too. It might be. Because of the snow, I decided to make homemade hot cocoa for the first time! I didn't realize that we were out of sugar until too late, so I had to use sugar packets from restaurants that we had hidden away. But the recipe was good! I had to add in more sugar than it called for, though, and I definitely should have listened to the recipe in regards to it being only one pinch of cinnamon. The recipe called for 'a big pinch of cinnamon', and I felt worried that my pinch wasn't 'big' enough, so I put two in, and the cinnamon taste definitely overtook the cocoa. But it wasn't a bad drink whatsoever! It was nice and cozy.
... And then, later that same day, someone in my house at the last slice of my birthday cake. Which annoyed me. I always make a big deal about my cakes every year!! I even thought about putting a sticky note on it that said, "Hey, I get the last piece, because it was MY birthday cake," but I figured, noo... No, that's common sense! But apparently not. Jeez. Thankfully my mom said she might get me a cookie or brownie or something to make up for it. But still. My inner fat kid is pissed off.
Lyric of the Day: Oh, take me back to the night we met / When the night was full of terrors / And your eyes were filled with tears
Mom made me brownies to make up for the cake mishap! It was a little bitter (like my hot cocoa; I wonder if it has to do with the cocoa powder we have) but they were yummy! I also bought myself some cinnamon sticks the other day... They were so fucking good...
As for the game project that I was having so much fun with, though... Well, the programmer for the game (let's call him... Ginger) has occasionally privately messaged me away from the GC, which I didn't mind. Recently, a few weeks after I had completed the whole script for the game, she told me that the script was unworkable. (Mind you, I had been sending drafts of the script, and she kept saying it was fine.) He listed the chosen point of view as one of the reasons why it was 'unworkable', and when I sent him proof that it was HIS idea to have it in first person, he responded with (quote), "Ah, so it was."
Anyway, she told me that I had to rewrite, like, basically the WHOLE script, after it had ALREADY been completed...! But whatever. Like, he's made VNs before, not me, and, sure, it sure would have been NICE if he told me at any point before it was completed the changes that I should make instead of just saying that it was good each time, but there wasn't anything that could be done at that point. I got to work on rewriting it.
That was all a few days ago. TODAY, though, Ginger privately messaged me. Started off with saying "sorry if this is kind of stalkery", which is always a good sign. Turns out that my stim blog had been in his recommended, and he saw that I reblogged from someone who is "pro-endo". And she thought that she should message me and tell me why that is Bad and Wrong of me and that I need to be on HER side of the discourse.
Very normal thing to do to someone on your development team for your visual novel.
Anyway, I told him that I wasn't going to read the entirety of his message. "I appreciate your concern, but I find that I am happier the less internet discourse topics that I know about. Ignorance is bliss and all that, you know." Trying to say that, like, hey, discourse sort of stresses me the fuck out, please don't be weird about this. Then Ginger responds saying it's NOT discourse, which I totally saw coming, so I fired back with my usual response to this sort of thing: "I've seen people say that (for example) "bi vs pan" discourse isn't discourse! It's just biphobia," after pointing out that it's literally referred to as 'syscourse'. Anyway, I told her (gently) that I didn't want her to push this any further, that I am setting up this boundary, I don't want to know about this thing, I hope she can respect that.
He then IMMEDIATELY jumped STRAIGHT to, "I am not comfortable with working with someone neutral on this topic." As if she's the only other person working on this project?? There's a musician on the project who has already made tracks AND an album cover! We already have a background artist who's gotten started on the backgrounds too! This isn't just about a small disagreement between him and me but he's ready to throw the entire project away and start from scratch just 'cause I don't wanna learn about syscourse? (And he WOULD have to start all over. I was the main writer AND the main artist, and I made it very clear that, if I was kicked from the team, I would NOT be giving the team permission to write about MY characters without me.) I pointed this out to him, saying, "You'll have to completely start over. Not just throw away your work, but everyone else's." I also pointed out I'm not even 'neutral' on the subject, I just do not want to know about it.
She responded back to this saying she TOLD me why it's harmful. (Not minding that I had told her that I didn't read her message past the first sentence. Just disregarded that, because that's not relevant right now!) He elaborated, "You could have simply said "I didn't know, sorry," and that would have been great." Literally saying, "You should have just agreed with me and then this wouldn't have happened." I, once again, state, discourse stresses me out and most of the time I can't even understand it! And HE has the AUDACITY to respond, "You could have just said that instead of coming up with excuses."
EXCUSES??? WHAT EXCUSES?? I told him straight-up, from the start, that I didn't want to know! "Ignorance is bliss," I said! I never made any "excuses" other than the truth: that it stresses me out and I don't understand most discourse anyway!!
Ginger then responded, "I'm having a BPD moment, I'm gonna step back before I start throwing around insults like a bitch," and apologized for overstepping boundaries, but, at this point, I'm like, I am NOT gonna work with someone who would try to BULLY me into agreeing with her about fucking... INTERNET DISCOURSE!!! Not to mention how this was all just WILDLY unprofessional! I told her this (in much calmer terms, obviously), and specifically stated, "I'll be sending my regards to the group chat." (The one that we were in together with the rest of the VN dev team.) "I request you keep this little kerfuffle between the two of us. I don't want everyone else stressed out." Because fucking... Obviously.
Ginger, EVER polite and professional, responds to my resignation from the project with, "Sorry for wanting to be friends with someone I was working on a project for fun with? Jesus fuck. I don't even like your story or your script. It reads like a shitty Wattpad fanfiction. Have fun making a game without a programmer or background artist." Really, A+ professionalism right there, I can't tell you why I told her that she had been acting UNprofessional just before this!
(Not to mention that Ginger had said lots of different times that he loved my story beforehand, so either he was lying then or now. Also, Ginger wasn't even the background artist?)
So, for some reason, Ginger took me saying that I was resigning from the team as a sign that... Um... He? Should resign from the team? (I think that's why he said that stuff about 'making a game without a programmer'?) And then he left the group chat for the VN.
Leaving ME to pick up the pieces.
So, I message the group chat. I'm all like heyyyy besties, soo Ginger and I had a little disagreement, and it appears that he has now left the group... I specified that I did NOT ask her to do that, that all I was trying to say was that I was leaving the team, and she left it in response. He blocked me on Discord after insulting me (because of course, of COURSE he did!), so I sent the last message he sent me and asked someone to get in touch with him.
Admittedly, sending the message where he responded to someone on the team resigning by insulting their work to their faces and then blocking them TO other members of the team was a little petty on my part. It wasn't necessary. But, if Ginger wants to leave the group chat, to leave me alone to have to explain why she had done that, when I had explicitly stated that I did NOT want to involve the others...? Well, she'd best be prepared for me to prove that I wasn't the bad guy here.
It seems like me showing the group chat the insult made people realize what a lunatic Ginger was, because the background artist said that he "genuinely (didn't) know if he can handle her right now". So we're currently waiting for either the musical artist to go online and see what's up, or for the background artist to be ready to confront Ginger.
Of course, I apologized to and thanked everyone a thousand and one times in the group chat. I made clear, in no uncertain terms, that I did NOT want Ginger to involve them in this scuffle and stress them out. This was completely on Ginger's shoulders.
All of this happened before I even had my breakfast this morning. By the way.
So... That's a whole, completed script, a whole set of character sprites, and multiple pieces of UI, down the drain. And that's just the stuff I did; not even mentioning the work of everyone else on the project...
This is why I fucking hate internet discourse.
I was planning to talk about Trump's proposed ban on transgender people today. But I don't even think I have the energy after talking about that bullshit. I don't even have the energy to reflect on how I acted or on my emotions, I'm just... Angry and tired!!
I'll reflect more proper-like tomorrow. Maybe talk about the proposed trans ban. For now, though, I rest.
Lyric of the Day: It don't happen overnight / It's laughing after fights / Knowing which song I should sing to make you smile again
It is not tomorrow. It has been significantly more days since 'tomorrow'. But whatever, let's get this train rolling.
So, update on the whole situation: the musical artist decided that it was best to call the whole project off. In his message included the following highlights:
"Azure, I think out of all of us you worked the hardest on this project. Your script was solid, and you were always moving us toward a positive direction. I admired you for standing your ground on issues and it's clear that you have experience seeing projects to the end. All in all, I was very impressed."
"(Ginger), I feel like that they were not engaged in the project. It was clear that they were not reading the script OR listening to the music. I don't mind being a little harsh here as I believe their statements to be unprofessional and untrue. They should also NEVER underestimate the contributions of team members. They say we'd be short a programmer, but I program as well. The arrogance shocks me to say the least!!"
"I would like to close again with thanks to you Azure and (background artist) for joining the project. I apologize for not using my skills to move it forward, I just feel like the tense air that began when (Ginger) started nitpicking the writing really soured the morale of the project and it wouldn't feel right to me to continue it. If either of you need another jam buddy in the future I am always down. It has been an honor working with you."
It was honestly a relief to know that it wasn't just me; that it was picked up on by others that 1) Ginger wasn't listening to the music or reading the drafts I was sending him, and 2) she was nitpicking my script and soured the mood in the groupchat. I was also happy to hear that others saw how I tried to move the project forward. It warmed my heart.
I told everyone, in my final message, that I feel like I met cool people (the two of them) and had fun with the project overall, so I feel like the time spent wasn't a waste. And that rings true. I am glad I experienced working on this project, even if it ended up failing. And I'm actually pretty proud of myself for how I handled the confrontation with Ginger. I'm usually a huge pushover who rolls over when confronted with anything. But with the help of Verdant (who I talked to while the confrontation was happening), I was able to stand my ground, and then later learn that the bad vibes I got from this person were not just on my end. I'm grateful for this experience.
You know, in retrospect, Ginger's profile picture being a Friday Night Funkin' character should've been the first red flag.
I also got my 'cringe but free' sweater in the mail! It's by the YouTuber Izzzyzzz. It has stars on the sleeves, and an old-school edgy cat drawing on it that says 'cringe but free' underneath. I wore it to school on the 9th, and, on my way to class, someone tugged on my sweater sleeve gently (presumably because I hadn't responded to a verbal cue; headphones, you know) and then told me that she liked my shirt, which made me happy!
It also turned out that my family had Disney+ this whole time and I hadn't known? I started to watch the Proud Family reboot, Louder and Prouder, since I saw a clip on Twitter that had piqued my interest.
I really enjoyed it! Michael being gay and being GNC is treated so casually. I connected with him as queer representation way more deeply than I do with the usual rep. (Also, in the episode where everything is set in an alternate universe and Michael is dating a girl, you can TELL his voice actor put on a 'straight boy' voice, which was really funny.) The episode covering homophobia was very good, and it actually made me not mind the usage of the usually-grating 'gay dads' trope. I also thought Suga Mama's backstory was really, really well-done. It wasn't in the original show, added in this reboot, but it feels so... Natural. Like it was the intent from the start.
Finally, the thing that REALLY got me in my feelings was the episode where LaCienega's cousin, LaBrea, comes over for LaCienega's quinceañera. It's shown in a flashback that LaBrea used to be chubbier. But, when she shows up in the current day, she appears to have lost weight, and is praised by other characters for her "glow-up". Only near the end of the episode is it revealed that she's wearing 3 fajas, because her mom wouldn't let her come if she wasn't skinnier than LaCienega. Characters who earlier praised her for losing weight all look horrified at this reveal. Then, for the big finale of the episode, LaBrea takes off her fajas and appears before a crowd with her actual body type. The crowd exclaims in surprise, then cheers for her.
It feels like such an affirming thing, to see what seems like yet another "glow-up where the character literally just got skinnier" plotline evolve into something affirming for fat bodies and condemning unhealthy methods of appearing skinnier.
So, Trump is trying to ban trans people.
Tonal whiplash, I realize, but bear with me.
In the morning of January 31, Donald Trump released an anti-trans tirade speech on his social media website, outlining a genocidal plan against all trans existence in the United States. He promises to put the plan into effect if he wins in 2024. It's unambiguously genocidal territory. Holocaust museums have warned that this rising of anti-queer and (let's be honest, mostly) anti-trans hate mirrors the hate that led to the rise of the Nazis.
The proposals outlined in Trump's video are as follows:
- Pass a bill that states there are only two genders (male and female)
- Reverse legislation for life-saving gender-affirming healthcare
- Ban all education of transgender and non-binary issues in all American schools
- Ban transitioning for youth nationwide
- Sign an executive order to end programs for gender transitioning FOR ALL AGES (!!!); once again, nationwide
- Criminalize and hunt doctors and educators who try to go against these rules
I am aware of Trump's status as someone who promises stuff related to political hot topics, and then never following through on them. But the fact that he can propose all of this... Propose all of this, and receive huge amounts of support... Have this be his CAMPAIGN PROMISES?
It's fucking terrifying.
And, to be clear, as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or part, a group, as such:
- Killing members of the group
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
I mean, if anything, I think we can all agree that this would fall under "causing serious mental harm," right? If nothing else?
Anyhow... I'm just... Exhausted. I'm so tired. I'm scared and I'm tired of being scared, seeing this wave of hatred grow and grow in real time. A lot of people act like trans people's reactions to this wave of transphobic hate in America is an overreaction, but, when you see stuff like this (and especially when you live in the South, like I do, where there was an attempt to persecute all parents of trans children of child abuse), it makes sense that all transgender people now have a 'back-up plan'. And I think that's... Horrifying.
I feel as if I'm living through a historical event, and I wish I wasn't. But I have to live through it. I can't let them get to me, get me to end it all.
I need to live through all of this to be able to tell my side of the story. If nothing else.
Anyhow. I'm all written out for today. The next time I write, it'll be about my experience at my college's neurodivergency club.
Lyric of the Day: I contend that your drinking eye has never opened / I insist somebody will die and I hate hoping / Wishing that the pills let you cry and I hate coping / Someday I will go back outside and see her okay
So soon after talking about attempted trans genocide, I have another trans murder to talk about. How... Consistent.
Brianna Ghey was a 16-year-old British transgender girl found with fatal stab wounds on February 11th. A boy and a girl (both 15 years old) have been charged with the murder. They can't be named for legal reasons. Her family said on the incident that, "Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister. She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind. The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same."
Of course, the murder of a child wasn't enough to stop people from being shitstains, though. I saw people on Twitter calling this "bait". Specifically, I saw someone say, "It's bait and faked, didn't happen." Then, when people pointed out that it couldn't be faked (because, you know, death reports), the piece of shit then "apologized" by saying "rest in peace," and then her deadname, specifically to upset people. I don't understand how people can continue to be so shitty in the light of murderous violence against a minority, making light of it to PWN THE LIBERALS or fucking whatever excuse they're making to deny and make light of the death of a child.
This is going to be an extreme tonal shift, I'm warning you now.
Valentine's Day also happened! I hung out with my boyfriend and stayed up late with him. I made him a little fandom edit of all of the times we appear in media / our kintypes, and I commissioned someone to draw our fursonas together too! It was a lovely time.
I also got some journaling stuff! A cute pink notebook and some rosegold pens. I was inspired by another Neocities site to start a physical travel journal. It's not going to be a travel journal in the traditional way. I don't go anywhere. But just a journal for observations. Like Mae's journal from Night in the Woods. It can also be a place for lists. I dunno, it might help my phone storage to not use my notes app for everything.
Speaking of journaling! Someone left more hate in my chatbox the other day. Someone who read the journal on my site, presumedly, because they specifically referenced it in their hate message. "Fan behavior", as they say. Specifically, saying stuff like, 'Oh, if all trans people are as insufferable as you, I hope that Trump's policies wipe you all out. By the way it's not a genocide,' which is like, really funny. 'I hope Trump commits genocide against trans people (specifically using the phrase 'obliterates you all')! It's not a genocide though.' They also called me the r-slur which is classy. Anyway I responded with, "Hi bestie! Your IP address is-" and then the IP address that the chatbox service gave me. We do a little trolling or whatever.
Aaanyway, in the meantime, I've tried to take up working out more on Fridays! Since I only go to college 2 days a week now, I figured I had time to take it up. I also started going to the neurodiversity club! A few people there are trans, which makes sense because autistic people are more likely to be trans than allistic people (this is because gender is stupid and autistic people are not). But it's one of the first times I've been around other trans people in real life, so that's really nice... Also, I think the teacher monitoring the club likes me! She's an autistic person with a special interest in autism and autistic advocacy, and so am I, and she lets me help her come up with ideas for the club. I came up with the idea for a 'fixation presentation' so that we could present our special interests. Someone presented on bears, someone else on their general interests, someone on how to draw certain things... I came late so I didn't get to see all of them. But I presented a PowerPoint on LEGO Monkie Kid! It was really fun! The next club meeting, we're going to talk about autistic representation in media. I've already finished my PowerPoint, with Atypical and Girl Meets World as examples of bad autistic representation, and Amphibia (with Marcy) and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (with Donnie) as examples of good autistic representation! I'm really excited for it!
OH! Also, the guy who did the music for the unreleased visual novel I worked on released the music they made for it on Bandcamp! Check it out! Their music is so cool, total Pokemon Mystery Dungeon vibes.
Lyric of the Day: 'Cause I'm not big on relationships / I'm more down for the flirt / All my friends say it's a problem / Nah, I'd just rather not get hurt
The other day, I was waiting outside of college for my mom to pick me up (I'm old enough to have a license but gays can't drive so), and this guy came up to me. He said he was doing a survey on the college student population, and he wanted to know the percentage of students who were Christian. So, thinking he had to take some sort of survey for a college class he was taking, I answered his question happily: I was raised Christian, but I lost touch with the religion and am now an atheist. (Of course, I left out the bit about harboring religious trauma, because I didn't want to, as the kids say, 'traumadump'.)
This man... Pivoted SO fast that it made my head spin. He immediately went into pitching his religion (Baptist Christianity) and his church to me. He wrote my name down on what I had assumed was for tracking the numbers for his survey, but he then went on to clarify that it was a list of people he was praying Jesus would bring to his religion. He gave me a brochure for his church that was in his back pocket, and, call me crazy, guys, but I don't think this man was doing a survey at all!
The conversation lasted the entirety of my time waiting for my mom, and when I went to tell my mom about it, she was immediately on his side. "Well, if he asked you, 'Would you like to talk about our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ?', you would have said no, right?" And I understand what she means, but also, if somebody would have said no, maybe that's a sign to... Not find a different way to pitch your religion, so that they CAN'T say no to you? Maybe... Not... Try to convert them? If they don't want to be? Mind, the man was nice, but... God, the focus on converting nonbelievers to Christianity, and refusing to take no for an answer, is just so, so annoying.
My English class yesterday took place in the library! But it wasn't really a class. We had an African-American read-in, where we were able to get e-Book sneak peaks of books by black authors, and have discussions related to the subject. I got the mic the most out of everyone, mostly because I was the only one answering the questions. For one of the times, I read out the statistics on banned books being more likely to have protagonists or otherwise important characters of color, or to cover topics directly related to race/racism. I had a few people say to me that it was a good point to bring up after that, which was fun. Near the end, there was this old white man who got the mic, and he said, "This is sort of a confession: I am racist," and the JUMP that went through the room, good Lord! Especially given that a lot of the people there were nonwhite. To be fair, he said that so he could continue with the point of, "I'm here because of that, I'm aware of my issue and I am learning," but also, talk about a jumpscare.
Whew! Now that we're all caught up, I think I'm gonna give this "shadow work" thing a try. (I stand by my initial judgement that the name for it is goofy. Was there really nothing better than "shadow work" with your "shadow self"? Why not "inner work" or "repressed self"?)
Anyhow. The prompt I've chosen is, "When you were growing up, what emotions or behaviors were criticized or not allowed?"
As a child, my mom and dad often got on my case for "obsessing" over things. Watching the same video over and over, talking about the same thing... When I played the Wii in the living room, my dad would make fun of the game I was playing. Though, honestly, all negative emotions were also shamed to an extent. I was told to always be grateful, and I began to think of being upset as a choice. I was a pretty happy little kid. But I sort of wonder how much of that was honest, and how much of that was an inability to let myself feel anything else? I treated negative emotions as something only to be felt in my "angsty teen years," as if, only then, would I be "allowed" to feel them. And even then, I tried to push any bad feelings out of my mind for as long as possible. I think that this framing of sadness and anger as failures at happiness may have partially been thanks to my parents' religion, as I've noticed very similar sentiments shared with other children of Christian households. It left me not knowing how to cope with most negative emotions, but especially anger.