Category Archives: ๐Ÿ““ Ramblings ๐Ÿ““

Spanking Art, And Why I Draw It ๐Ÿ’ญ

IMPORTANT: This WILL be a VERY triggering blog post, discussing physical punishment of children, and my own childhood experiences. Please proceed very carefully. You continue reading at your own discretion. Please, if this would send you into some sort of spiral, do not read further. I think most people would find this post upsetting to read. Please be careful and aware of what you can and cannot handle.

If you’d like to continue, click here

Can You Tell The Difference? ๐Ÿ’ญ

The topic of this post has been bouncing around my mind for a few years, but it seems so utterly stupid, I feared I’d just be writing a bunch of obvious sounding things. I suppose it may turn out that way after all, but given that it’s come up in the community today, I thought I might as well.

Regardless of the medium, art is powerful. It can transport us to a completely different place. The escapism it provides, or the ability to live vicariously through something that would otherwise be unfeasible or plain wrong in real life, is of tremendous, irreplaceable value. From my earliest childhood I knew this was precious, and for this reason, I defended the right to any and all media to exist, as long as no person or animal had been hurt to make it.

Even when I was little, there were many types of media I didn’t like –music with violent undertones, gory horror movies are just some examples– but I never would have thought that they shouldn’t exist simply because I didn’t like them. From the first time I covered my eyes at something I didn’t like on the screen and my mom said “it isn’t real” I was reassured of the difference between real and imaginary. If I didn’t enjoy the content, I merely looked away.

And I always knew what happened in a game, comic or tv show wasn’t to be taken as an example of behavior. Had I allowed that to happen, I would have had my privileges to enjoy said content removed until deemed mature enough to enjoy them. But I know my parents would have never had the gall to blame the media itself for my poor judgement. That would have been risible.

Sometimes, once in a very rare while, I’d hear something like, this person killed another in a Satanic ritual, and they listened to a lot of heavy metal music with Satanistic undertones before doing it, or this kid thought he could fly like Superman after watching the show and jumped off the roof of his house (I think this one actually happened a few times around the world, but still an unbelievably minuscule percentage when you consider the huge number of people exposed to the character/story.)

You know what my feeling was when such a thing happened –and the reaction of everyone around me as well? It was either “something was deeply wrong with that person” or “that child’s parents never spoke to them about the difference between reality and fantasy”. It was never to blame the media/artform itself. I’m not saying no one did, but by FAR the common sense reaction was “what was this person thinking?!” because MOST rational people, with their full faculties, even very young people, even young children, have some level of grasp of the difference between real and fictional.

Naturally, a child might be more easily confused by implied messages in fictional media, and is also more easily influenced, and this is why we have general guidelines for content, and it is for parents to determine if their child can handle a specific work of fiction. But adults, by and large, can tell the difference, and for those few who can’t, the solution should not be to sanitize and dumb down media for the rest of the world.

In a comic, we may get the chance to see an asshat character get a comeuppance that would not be ethical, moral or legal in the real world. We can enjoy that guilt-free, because it’s fiction. The moment upon which we look at a fictional work and say “hey, this is a guide on how to handle my real-life situations” there is a problem, and the problem is with us, not the fictional work. It means that at some point, we didn’t get the “real life is different from fictional stories” lesson.

A work of fiction is often trying to reflect the real world, its problems, and its multi-faceted inhabitants, which often make wrong decisions and choose improper courses of action, or take actions that are wrong but can be sympathized with. If we as writers are always constrained by the “I need to make sure things go completely wrong for this person for taking X course of action” the stories we create run a risk of becoming stiff, moralistic and one-dimensional, or a PSA.

Don’t get me wrong: media is powerful, and part of the power it has is that of influencing its audience under certain circumstances. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that we teach our young people what is a good and a bad influence; what is real and what is imaginary. They should not get that from a book, video game, or comic. Our failure to teach children to tell these two things apart should not come at the cost of restricting the freedom of stories to go wherever the writer will take them. Do not expect a creator of fiction to do your job for you, or society’s job, in that regard.

There is an exception, however. Sometimes a work, fictional or otherwise, is specifically created with the intention of teaching a moral or lesson. There are plenty of such works that are very much deserving of this sort of criticism and scrutiny. I know, in particular, how many there are in regards to children’s media, because I collect religious books for children. The more obscure the religion the more fascinating I find these books –and the more disgusting in the messages they implant, and the freedom they take away from children to make their own choices.

Media is indeed a tremendously powerful tool when it comes to the shaping of malleable young minds. If you combine it with telling a child “this fictional work is a guide on how to live your life” things can certainly get a little screwed up. And in that case, the fault is also with the writer who wrote the work/s specifically with this intention, even if those works are fiction. They are works written very specifically in a form that will influence someone to believe “this is how you base your morals.”

But even such works, if you read them as an adult, with a solid idea of reality and right versus wrong, will not touch your morality and ability to follow the law and be a good human being, UNLESS something else is wrong to cause you to be so easily influenced. Most people shouldn’t be.

The biggest proof I can give you in this regard is this:

I was raised to believe in the Bible as the unequivocal word of a just and loving God. Naturally, I was not given the parts to read as a child that would have thrown this completely out of the window. I don’t mean the wild inaccuracies and hypocrisies, I mean the utter, violent cruelty, repeated again and again.

As an adult, I no longer believe in the Christian God because my moral compass and sense of right and wrong is just not compatible with the things that book says. It took me a long time, because I refused to read a lot of it, afraid of what it would do to my beliefs (and rightly so!) But still,ย because of a book, as a child and young adult I grew up homophobic and even misogynistic (all internalized, being a woman and pansexual, the latter of which I wouldn’t realize until fairly recently.)

Even so, and in spite of almost twenty years of indoctrination, six of them at Catholic school, my basic sense of right and wrong managed to steer me away even from a book that was full of messages drilled into me as “no, THIS is actually right and wrong, no matter what your gut says.”

If we are taught properly as children, we can all make this distinction. I believe most adults are able to make this distinction. I realize I perhaps picked a poor example as I’m sure many of my followers are Christian, as I once was, and unless they are fundamentalists, surely they have their own hoops and such that their minds jump through to ignore the really terrible stuff in the Bible (I had lots myself, probably the same ones as many of you, until it just wasn’t good enough, I’m afraid.)

However, this can apply to any and all media. You know what is right and wrong already, and if you base your unethical, immoral life choices in a work of fiction, well then, you were probably just looking for an excuse to make those choices already.

We all should know what is and isn’t real, and what is right and wrong. It’s not a tv show’s job to teach us that (unless it’s Sesame Street or the like). It’s not a novel or comic book’s job to teach us that. Their job, unless they are purporting otherwise specifically, is to entertain us.

That, I think, has tremendous value. It should be treasured and protected.

On Letting Go Of Fixing People, By TheraminTrees

“Codependents learn to feel maladaptive false hope in the fleeting moments of their abusers’ magnanimity. A small act of apparent kindness gets interpreted as a shaft of sunlight, an expression of personal value from the abuser. They hope that behind the broody gray clouds, there really is a bright sun, and that one day the clouds will part permanently, but there is no sun. Codependents have just grown so accustomed to the dark, that any dim light can seem dazzling.”

Every once in a while I come across a bit of info that, helping me reflect on past experiences and relationships, brings things into very sharp focus. I thought this might help someone else too.

It’s nuts how obvious some of this stuff seems now, with the clarity of retrospective, and realizing I’ve always been a person with codependent tendencies is scary because I could have truly fallen into the hands of a lifelong abuser. It could have happened to me.

Instead, I ended up with a kind, loving man by my side, who not only would not take advantage of this side of me, but actively (and perhaps not even always consciously) helps to push back against my tendencies in a healthy manner.

At the end of the day, the more time goes by, the more I am grateful for the valuable lessons I’ve had from life, even if they were painful ones. I think that walking away from religion has been a part of this growing and healing process, because the emphasis on mending any broken bridges can be so toxic, especially if you’re a sunshine-and-rainbows, no-one-is-bad-deep-inside type person. ^_^;

I should add, this video also made me realize some of my own narcissistic behavior. We all have the potential to abuse and to be abusers as much as we have the potential to develop codependent habits. Ultimately, I think I am far more codependent. But I want to continue to be more aware of my more toxic tendencies as much as I can going forward.

Self-Righteousness Is The Modern Plague

This isn’t one of my own ramblings, but I wasn’t sure how else to categorize it, since that is basically what it is (or, a “waffle” as Dorian herself puts it.)

I wanted to share this video here, because I felt this YouTuber had a lot of common sense. I don’t agree 100% with every point she makes, but I do agree with most of what she says. Whether you do or not seems by and large a generational thing, I’ve found.

In general her channel is AMAZING, very interesting, but bear in mind she talks at great length about her drug use (and abuse) and eating disorders, so you may find triggering content, though she makes a point of warning people in the videos.

(I’m unsure if Dorian goes by she/her or they/them pronouns, so if you do know let me know so I can correct this.)

Everything In Life Is Only For Now

As they say, in the roller coaster of life it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride. Ironic considering I HATE ROLLER COASTERS but this caption is now too long so I digress. Also, don’t you usually do both at a roller coaster? This quote is f****d.

It’s a rather obvious truth, the title of this post (along with a reference you might get, but I’ll get to that in a bit). Maybe it hits you when you’re a teen, or maybe a young adult. I’m referring to the impermanence of happiness. And when it hits you, it can be a real punch in the gut.

Particularly if you had a rough start in life, watching your family desperately try to get ahead and find a bit of happiness only to have it somehow ruined every single time or simply not last, you may struggle with letting yourself be happy even when good things happen, because you’re already so familiar with that looming fear that happiness won’t last. Even when your happy periods may start to lengthen, even into years, and even when some of your biggest dreams come true, you may try to stay preventively sad to protect yourself, or just not let yourself fully give in to happiness. And it’s only natural.

When I met my husband and most of my dreams came true in such short order, I struggled with this for years. At first, I had somewhat rational fears… There were things looming over our heads that could happen that had the potential to ruin our lives. But even when those fears began to be resolved, it took me a LONG while to accept that this was in fact my reality, my real life, my family, my friends, and that I was safe and could be happy. You could say at one point I knew peak happiness, even.

Then, as most people who know me already know too well, a bunch of stuff came crashing down two years ago, and I pretty much had a mental breakdown. It was a reminder that true happiness just couldn’t last, right?

But that’s the very thing about life. Nothing in life lasts forever. No peace, no happiness, no horror and no pain can last forever. This is the terrible and truest thing about life, it’s also one of the kindest things about it at the same time, and the basis of every despair and hope we feel.

At some point in the last few years (after my breakdown) I took stock of my life, my relationships and my possessions, everything that makes me happy.

It’s very obvious that none of it will last: I’ll probably outlive my husband (or so he keeps saying, which I hate). I’ll (hopefully) outlive my mother and most of my relatives except my sis in law. Many of my friends are older than me and I will likely outlive them, also. The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that anyone could die at any moment, so those losses could come even sooner. The economy could collapse or a hurricane might come and we could lose our house. Eventually, all my snails and all our cats will die, just like the rats did.

Above all, I’ve learned that friendship is as fragile and impermanent as it is utterly precious. You never know when a deeply treasured friendship may be shattered, or when circumstances will cause another to drift apart. You never know when a hug is the last that you will get from someone for whatever reason.

My health won’t last forever either. My hair will turn gray, my body will begin to get aches, I’ll probably lose most of my teeth as I get very old. Or I may get ill and die young (ish). Nothing is guaranteed, ever, to anyone. I’ll probably have at least one serious illness as I get older.

But the one guarantee in life is that however you feel right now, be it sad, angry, or happy, is destined to be impermanent. That is a truth that need only be terrible if you let it.

The first time I realized this concept, I know I was very young; nonetheless I remember it was a terrible feeling, something I tried to quash down and not think about. It was unhelpful, negative thinking, or so I thought. Surely everything is going to be okay, and everything is going to work out, right? But of course, nothing can “work out” forever. Expecting it to stay that way means dealing with conflict and loss is far more difficult.

It took me until my early 30s to understand that this being the nature of life need not be an impediment to enjoy whatever blessings I have right now. Whenever bad things come, those won’t be forever either. But you must try to not let the fact that they will come stop you from being happy. That is the biggest waste in the world, it’s a waste of your life and any happiness that will come your way (and happiness will come your way, time and time again).

Bad times will undoubtedly come along, too. Sometimes it’ll be a short happy time and a long bad one, sometimes a long happy one and a long bad one… sometimes a loooong string of continually short and happy times intercalated (which can definitely be a little exhausting.)

I should probably mention that if someone had said these things to me when I was in my 20s, I probably would have responded with “that doesn’t help me endure the bad times at all”. So maybe making peace with this concept is just something that comes to one with time… and if there is any sort of preaching tone to this post, I deeply apologize. I am trying to write it to comfort, not admonish. Feelings aren’t something to feel guilty for having, and mostly we can’t help them, but sometimes we can guide them in a certain direction over time.

It was actually talking with my friend Nate that prompted most of this entire post (and I know by now he’s surely realized that) because when he describes his struggle to be happy knowing it won’t last (and he’s right, it won’t, it can’t) I see and hear myself. Nate is so much like me at that age, almost to an uncanny degree, that I feel an almost painful empathy remembering my pain at that time and I wish I could give the “me” I was then the peace I feel now.

To finally be with the one you love, having a good roof over your head, having some form of healthcare, only to know in the back of your head “most of this will NOT last forever” and still manage to be happy –getting to that point is just not easy. But, Nate, you can get there, and it’s because you and I are so much alike that I firmly believe you will.

As some of you may already know the title of this post is from the ending song of the musical Avenue Q. I heard this song for the first time at a point in my life when several of my dreams had come true but some not exactly the way I’d hoped, and my fear of the rug being swept from under my feet was intense. It brought me comfort then. Even if you don’t like musicals, if you are feeling discouraged by the ups and downs of life this song is a worthwhile listen.

I’m not sure if what I wrote here might help anyone… I hope it does. I know this year has been awful for everyone, filled with pain, disappointment and loss, in some cases tremendous loss.

But happiness will come again, mark my words. It won’t stay, because it never really does. But it’ll continue to visit you over and over. When it’s away, pay attention to the little bursts of joy in between bad days. Sometimes happiness won’t visit you, but it will send a letter to remind you that it can still be there, and that it’s coming back to see you. Make sure that you enjoy those times as much as possible, too.

Let yourself be sad when you need to. Sadness, fear, grief, all have a place in our lives, they are part of life and denying yourself the catharsis of exploring those feelings is not healthy. Just don’t let it prevent you from enjoying the good times when they’re there, if you can help it.

Do your best… and be kind to yourself until happy times are here again. After all…

Each time you smile, it’ll only last a while.

Life may be scary, but it’s only temporary.

Nine Days Until Christmas! ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŽ„

Hi all! Did you have a good day? I wrapped more Christmas presents, finished two illustrations, and got a bunch of things done around the house. It was a pretty good day, all in all.

In the morning, I found Buddy and Sarah hanging from the fan together:

In reality, Christmas for us will start this weekend. As far as actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Iโ€™ll spend that with my mom and no one else, so she isnโ€™t exposed to others. Christopher will go to his momโ€™s for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And this weekend, my mom and sis in law are coming to celebrate an early Christmas with us.

Iโ€™m so excited for them to open their presents, even though one of the presents for my sis and one of the ones for Christopher almost certainly wonโ€™t arrive in time. ๐Ÿ™Š But I have a bunch of others for them to open. And I have presents for them to take home to Grandma and my mom in lawโ€™s super sweet roommate too.

Today I took pictures of my new Charlie Bears hedgehog, Holly, all dressed up. I think she looks very festive!

Holly is definitely among my top five Charlie Bears and not just because sheโ€™s the latest. Sheโ€™s just so gorgeous and unique. Iโ€™m really glad I didnโ€™t buy the Bearhouse collection hedgehog and held out for her instead.

Anyway not much else to say, Iโ€™m very tired, tomorrow I plan to clean the house a little and go shopping for empanada ingredients to make a nice meal for my family. ๐Ÿฅฐ Goodnight everyone!

A Slightly Intoxicated Ramble*

*(Which is not that different from my normal posts.)

Today was a nice and busy day. As I write this, I am relaxing with some wine and a Christmas tree cake, after working all day on a design for ODU. I wish I could share it, it’s a pretty original concept, if I do say so myself! ๐Ÿ˜Œ

That aside, I did lots of chores, took care of my snailios, and set aside some more of their eggs to hatch. Worked on a few draft posts for this blog, mostly related to Code: Realize. Ordered one more Christmas present (that may not arrive on time ๐Ÿ˜ž it’s for my mom in law’s roommate. I looked all day for something suitable… I really wanted to get her something because she is so nice to me, but it was hard finding something I felt she’d like.)

I wrapped more presents, and moved them all under the tree. Cleaned up the living room. Did grocery shopping. Texted with Grandma.

I’m a little worried about Grandma (she is Christopher’s grandma, but mine too, by now, of course.) After Grandpa Bob passed a few months ago, she had her sister visiting, but now she went back home and Grandma is all alone in the house she shared with Grandpa for years and years, and in which he passed. It has to be so hard to get used to that being your new normal.

I think more often than I care to admit of what my life without Christopher might be like someday, hopefully very far in the future, and I just cannot imagine that. Grandma has us, but with COVID, we can’t be there in the ways we would like. So I’ve been trying to communicate with her every day (she’s the only person who truly responds to my walls of text with walls of text. Lol.) But… I still feel helpless, and worry.

Anyway… I am extremely sleepy… but it’s the good kind of sleepy, out of exhaustion brought by hard work, and things done for others –the shopping for gifts, the wrapping of presents, buying groceries for us, looking after my little animal friends, finding the right greeting card for a special person, working on artwork that will make people happy, and preparing the house so my husband and our friend can enjoy a little visit tomorrow –how I am looking forward to that, even though I know I’ll be doing my own thing. It’s just nice to hear them having fun together.

It’s funny how very deeply I’ve come to love some of Christopher’s friends; fiercely, like family, in an almost painful way, even though we often have little in common. I feel this way about multiple people I met through him. I can almost guarantee that every person I met through him, that I love, doesn’t fully realize just how loved they are by me. My sister in law realizes it (as in, I think she understands how deep my affection for people, herself included, can run) but then again, she gets me in ways no one else really does. She’s irreplaceable, and she’s family. I mean apart from that.

No, I mean, people I don’t even get to see that often. There’s this one guy for example –he often makes very questionable “jokes”. They upset me, I ask him to stop, and he blames me for being offended. When I make it clear it is not okay in our home, he decides to forego visiting rather than not make these jokes. A shame. I miss him. This guy, I know, he thinks that I don’t like him. But it’s not true… I care about him so deeply. I really love Christopher’s friends, and even some of his acquaintances. I really care about them, and want them to be happy, and I want to see them. I think I just become attached to people too easily, and there is no way to explain that attachment without being freaking weird (as this post already is surely coming across.)

I just know friendship is precious and life is fragile. The pandemic makes all of this much more obvious. So just to see one of his friends tomorrow, who is a dear friend to me too, makes me so happy. There’s great value in the smile, the mannerisms of a friend, their laugh, their jokes, the troubles they share with you, as well as your shared history, good and bad. They are so precious, even if you don’t realize it. I think I always have realized this, perhaps due to a friendless childhood. I’ve never taken these small things for granted, and their impermanence might be why I love easily, and in a way that is always just a little painful to me (and, sometimes, very.)

Anyway what’s this?? Sigh, now I have to file it under Ramblings. Go me! That’s what I get from sitting down to blog with wine. Please, don’t mind me. This was supposed to be a post about what our elves did today and yesterday, but I went off the freaking RAILS. There’s always tomorrow.

Goodnight, friends, frenemies, and rivals…

To be honest, if I care about you enough to consider you any of these, I probably love you, too, regardless of how you feel about me.

Wow I just can’t shut the f*ck up tonight.

I’m gonna go to bed.

Thank You ๐Ÿ’•

I have received so much support today, in replies and DMs, from people who have long known the particulars of this whole mess since it began. I’m deeply grateful for that.

Rest under the cut, in case you don’t want drama, but I had a few more words to say, and wanted to get them out. Apologies for bringing personal drama into my blog. I try not to.

Continue reading Thank You ๐Ÿ’•

This Post Is About You!

I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for people who are here for me, who for whatever reason are interested in my long diatribes, who stand by me, who defend me, who judge me by my actions rather than the words of others. You make my life worthwhile. What would I be without you? I’d be much more alone, that’s for sure.

I’ve been blissfully unaware of this for all this time, but apparently, someone I once called a friend, who belongs to this community, has been saying some pretty horrendous stuff about me, indirectly and directly, privately and publicly. For my own mental health, I blocked every place this person is on, and I specifically added their pages to my block lists on the blocking software I use, including every new one. I try, really hard, to not let their words reach and hurt me. Because they really want to hurt me, and are actively trying to, as it has now become clear. Despite the falling out, I didn’t realize this was the case, until now.

Though I didn’t find out of my own accord, sometimes it’s good to be reminded that you have friends who care about you, and it’s good to be reminded that severing a toxic relationship was the right call.

Thing is, until now I just thoughtโ€ฆ we’re not a good match as friends. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Right? Or so I thought. But, in spite of myself, I’m starting to feel differently. I hate feeling I’ve misjudged a person. Even when our once-mutual IRL friends told me otherwise multiple times, I kept thinking they were a good person. But maybe not. Maybe I see things through rose-colored glasses too much.

I feel as though I have a stalker. That’s a weird feeling to have. So, since I have not said this clearly until now (I didn’t think I had to) my message to this person is:

GO. AWAY.

Get out of my spaces. My blog posts aren’t about you (by and large; after all, I was left pretty traumatized by your effect in my life, so sometimes, very rarely, you might be mentioned very indirectly, never by name, but you shouldn’t be reading this anyway?)

This one post though, definitely, 100% is about you! Ding ding ding! ๐ŸŽ‰

Why are you reading my blog? Where do you get the time to read, in your own words, the “novels” I write about every boring little thing that happens in my life that up until very recently you were still actively trying to be a part of? You’re creeping me out. Get out of here. You are not welcome on this page. Why are you still obsessing about me? I’ve moved on. Why can’t you? There is no acceptable excuse for your behavior.

Is your life really so empty and boring that I have to be the topic of your subtweets, convos you have with mutual friends, and more? Like why, my dude? Just move on? Please? I reiterate:

PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE. Grow the F*CK up. Why are you here. Please stop stalking me. PLEASE.

This has been a public service announcement. ๐Ÿคก

Who Am I?

A phrase I’ve had in mind a lot: first it came up on Ever17, then during Remember11 (which we are now playing) and now on Code: Realize / Guardian of Rebirth (which I am currently playing too.) Visual novels really like that sort of self reflection, it seems (no spoilers for these games in the comments, please.)

But no, really: who am I?

Am I still a furry? Honestly, I don’t know.

Am I still a Little? What does that even mean to me anymore?

Is it my description of these things that matters? Or is it someone else’s, the fandom’s at large?

Every once in a while, I ask Christopher to unlock the internet on my phone for something, and even more rarely, I sneak into Twitter. These days, I remember less and less people’s account usernames to look at. So I can’t see much of the furry and babyfur discourse any more, even if I try.

But I always see just a little, and it always leaves me shaking my head in bewilderment, and often disappointment as well.

I “became a furry” about two years after joining FA. Before this, I was simply someone who drew anthro characters, quite repelled by the NSFW aspects of the fandom, having never once attended a furry con, and not a part of the babyfur or Little communities at all. With my squirrel-elf “fursona”, I was an outsider happy to be among furries and welcomed by them, but I did not feel like one of them. I never felt, when showing my art to others, like it was being in any way pigeonholed or seen as strange. What identified me wasn’t a fandom, it was my own characters and stories and other interests.

To me, being a furry means you embrace the community, describe yourself as a furry to others; it’s a bit between a lifestyle and a hobby, too casual for the former term, too intertwined with every aspect of one’s life for the latter. About two years in, I’d attended one convention and one life-changing meet, most of my close friends were furries, I talked mostly to furries every day, my work was furries/babyfurs, and my future plans generally involved the fandom in some way or other. I’d found “home”, my people, and I was proud, very proud to say “I’m a furry” and did so all the time.

These days… I mean, I have no shame in my furry ties. I still feel like the fandom is a big part of my life, even if there’s a permanent undercurrent of disconnect and even sadness for me. But it’s like, at some point, somehow, when furry and babyfur absorbed me, something else happened too.

Before, if you asked me, “who are you?” I would have said: I’m someone who likes to draw animals and fantasy (primarily fantasy.) I like to read –a LOT. I like playing WoW. I love working with pen and ink and colored pencils. I like to write. I love history. Most of my free time goes to working on my books.

By the time the fandom absorbed me enough, the most important and quick answer to that question would have been “I’m a furry”. By then, a lot about me had changed, but it changed too slowly for me to notice.

I began to read less and less, down to almost nothing, despite still buying books regularly. I stopped writing almost completely, often frozen by fear of writing “the wrong thing” in the eyes of the fandom. Video games? Ok –what’s popular on Twitter, what screencaps would mean my friends engage with me more? My traditional art supplies lay untouched for years… oils, acrylics, pyrography tools, Prismacolors… It’s all about how fast can I draw this as good as possible, digitally –ok, it’s done, now I can take another commission to buy some useless colorful crap to give meaning to my existence and post a photo of it so I get a few comments on it.

What happened? No, seriously. What happened to me?

There was a time when being a furry made my life feel rich and happy, and when being a littlefur (or at least little-adjacent) made me feel like I could really, truly be myself for the first time ever. But even that managed to spoil other things for me: I no longer feel comfortable showing my art to just anyone, because of the assumptions people make if you draw baby animals almost exclusively. I could not fully enjoy joining the Lolita fashion community, because of the unrelenting hate which that community shows towards Littles, even Littles who are respectful of the EGL community and keep things separate, so I left that behind too.

I never knew when I became a furry (which happened as I began to draw for babyfurs) that while it would grant me wonderful experiences and many valuable friendships, it would come at a pretty big price, of my old personality, of how I interacted with others, and most of all, how it would impact my artwork.

Other than the recent sketches for shinies, I haven’t sketched traditionally in two years. I haven’t inked traditionally in… I actually do not remember. Colored pencils? I think… 6-7 years?

What happened? How do I fix this? Do I want to fix this? I used to feel so lonely. As a furry, I am no longer lonely. But I also feel stuck, stagnant, in a way that was there beyond the pandemic. I remember sitting with Mwako watching the fursuit parade last Megaplex and he sounded so jaded about conventions and the convention experience as a whole. And my response to him was to express disappointment that he felt this way, but in a way, I was talking to myself rather than to him. Because I felt the same as he did, deep inside, but to say it out loud in agreement would have been to admit it, and I wasn’t ready.

And I’m not sure I’m ready now.

I’m not trying to force myself away from furry. I’m not even sure where I’m going with this post, which really was more going towards the fact that I need to make taking commissions a rarity, keep them artistic freedom, likely stop doing commercial work altogether (yes, really) and listen to my husband when he tells me I will never have as good a chance as this one to work on my books. This is it.

Most of my piled-on commissions are from buying nonsense. It’s been an awful year, of loneliness and disappointment, of severing toxic ties and recovering from ties broken by others. Toys, teddy bears, cute clothes, these are things that all help to distract me, but also keep me away from what really matters, really makes me who I am, which is, and always has been, my writing.

Maybe it’s also that I’m afraid the more writing I put out there the more it becomes clear it’s not very good, or it’s problematic, or whatever, and I don’t care about the latter other than the stress it can bring, and the former is just like art: if I don’t do it more IT WILL NOT GET BETTER. So it’s a vicious cycle, I’m the only one forcing myself to spin my wheels in place. I keep longing for something I could easily have.

When it comes down to it, I think what I want is for furry to no longer be the thing that comes first to my own mind when I think “who am I?”

I want my friends to keep the same important place that they hold in my heart, but I want the fandom and its opinion to go way, WAY down in importance to me. I want to just be an artist again. Not a furry artist. Not a babyfur artist. Not a digital artist. Just an artist. I want my world to feel bigger, to have more possibilities again. The fandom made it feel bigger once, and it helped me rediscover myself as a person, but at some point, it began to retract –and to constrict me, to trap me. I have felt trapped for a long time.

Right now, I’m concentrating on clearing my queue. Thankfully, you guys have been so receptive of my artistic freedom pieces. Because you have been, I can see myself continuing to take commissions, regardless of what else I decide to do.

But if I want to balance my life a little, I think that in addition to taking less slots, I’m going to be upping my rates. Perhaps significantly.

As always, these long posts are ways to help me figure out where to go from a given place. At the end of writing the post, I feel a little more clarity of mind.

Please don’t think that I regret my experiences in the fandom. I’m not sure what moving away from it would even mean… I’m not leaving FA. I’ll still take commissions. If someone says “are you a furry?” I’m not going to say no.

Let’s just say I’m in a weird place, and those of you with good memories will surely remember journals similar this one being posted months or even a year or two earlier. My desire to pull away from this part of my life grows stronger every time I write something like this, so I consider it all part of the process, even if it comes across as “oh, she’s going on about this again.”

Hopefully I get a little closer to wherever I’m going with each deep dive into self-reflection.