Forget it All

Brief warning: this is a very deeply personal post.

There’s a certain sense of betrayal that comes of learning your brain and your body aren’t working as they should. You go on for a long time assuming that your issues aren’t any kind of disorder, they’re just you not trying hard enough. Why would you think otherwise? Why would anyone think otherwise, when there’s nothing visible to show that’s not the truth?

I spent my entire childhood and early adulthood floundering, struggling against an invisible mental block that held me back while my peers leapt ahead. I’ve always been ditzy, forgetful, and easily distracted, finding myself unable to handle what should be easy tasks. For a long time I fought against my own body, trying to reach a potential everyone told me I had, but I couldn’t actually see.

And then, early this year, I was given an answer in the form of a diagnosis. A clear, definable name for a disorder that has plagued me for over twenty years:

Turns out I have ADHD.

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Tourist | Two

Humans are easy to read, and Lauren is an open book. She stares at me when I argue that “Something is wrong”, with that summer-storm smile, silent, warm, and threateningly unaware of the way my cheeks burn in response. I want to scream, to pick up the crystalline jug dripping with condensation and hurl it at her face—dripping with condescension. The hot burst of rage is new and alien to me, like discovering a different type of pain—a shattered wrist when no bone has been broken before. I instantly hate her. When that fails, I hate myself instead.

So I stand and smile and she waves me out of her office with a solid, “You’re doing so well!” that doesn’t invite argument, and it’s all I can do to hold my brittle self together until the bathroom door lock clicks beneath my trembling hands. I sink to the floor, hot tears spilling over onto fists pressed against my thighs. Today I am forced to face the reality I have been working so hard to ignore, what would be good news for any transfer other than this, any new body except my own:

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Experience, Empathy, and Robin

The first time I saw Robin as a work in progress, I was struck almost speechless. A cute little indie game is right up my alley, and a cute little indie game about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is basically everything I’ve ever wanted. Even better: it’s made by a group of kiwi students who are the sweetest.

Robin’s main mechanic is based off of the Spoon Theory, a common way for chronically ill people to explain their limited energy reserves: as you make Robin perform actions, her energy bar empties until the only option is sleep. It’s simple but effective, and evocative of daily life for someone with Chronic Fatigue. A rapidly depleting energy bar is a part of life for us, not just a game mechanic.

However, though chronically ill people may find their lives reflected in some form in Robin, I suppose we must ask the question: can a game ever actually help able people empathize with those who are chronically ill? Can a game really make someone understand in a way that positively changes their thought patterns?

Yeah, probably.

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Tourist | One

My eyes fly open. I am not where I should be.

White light flashes overhead, stars flicker and flare in the darkness that rings my vision. People in white and blue yell soundlessly around me, their voices drowned out by the ringing in my ears. Panic surges through me first. Then comes the pain.

Utter, blinding agony burns through my body, except for where it doesn’t: dark patches, like voids, that scare me more than what hurts. Places I can’t feel anymore, where parts of me are missing.

I don’t look down at myself—can’t look down, even if I wanted to. Bile rises in my throat, tears burn my eyes, and my head—oh, god, my head—feels as if it’s splitting apart. My heart hammers against my ribcage, struggling against the inevitable.

I’m dying. I feel my body giving up around me, the heaviness tugging at my mind. The doctors seem less frantic now, having realized the same thing as me. They are waiting, their too-bright eyes darting off to the side.

If I close my eyes, I can remember fragments of where I should be: a scorching car, wind lashing my face, Paiden laughing as her soft hands caress the steering wheel, her hair lit by summer sunlight—

I gasp, choke, gripped by panic once more at the thought of Paiden. A nurse leans close as I try to form the sounds that make up Paiden’s name. It’s almost impossible for me, but she seems to understand. Through the cacophony in my mind, I hear the nurse’s words.

“She’s going to be fine.”

I blink in response, it’s all the thanks I can give. The nurse raises her hand to show me a hypodermic needle filled with a clear liquid, her eyebrows drawn together apologetically. There’s no need for words, I understand instantly. My breath quickens. No, I don’t want to lose this, I scream in my head. Don’t let me lose this.

All I can manage is a weak moan. I can’t fight this.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse says, though I barely hear her. “This won’t hurt at all. I’ll see you on the other side.”

I don’t even feel the needle pierce my skin.

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There Was Ice (July 16)

It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded some photos! Here’s some pictures from this year’s venture down to the snow. There was not much snow, but there was a goat.

We also accidentally got adopted by a puppy, who followed us back to our cabin and would not leave us alone.

A bunch of these photos (a lot of the sunset ones and the goat) have just been edited with a new curve I made, which I’m really liking! I want to put some of my curves up somewhere, I just have to figure out where.

Anyways! If you like my photography, and want to see some of my process, I’m going to be putting some of that stuff on my Patreon over the next week. Plus, patrons get early previews of galleries. Woohoo!




How To Say Goodbye (With No Words)

She sees him for the first time, backlit by reflected sunlight, and she knows, instantly, that no goodbye will ever be enough.

How To Say Goodbye With No Words is a short fiction about a girl who meets a boy at a swimming hole; about how the world changes for the people you love; and about the pieces that remain of them when they’re gone.

It is also about falling in love with a robot.

How To Say Goodbye is now up on Gumroad for $3—less than a cup of coffee!—but you can find the first part right here, if you’d like a tease.

There’s someone new at the swimming hole, the secret place we escape to every summer afternoon when the bell rings. Spring from our seats, dash into sunlight, pile into cars that are more rust than vehicle. It’s a half hour drive through dusty rural roads, and we blast music the entire way. Soon, we know, we’ll be free from this school forever. If only these trips could last as long.

We figure something is up when we see the new car parked by the hidden hole in the bush, the gateway to the track. Who else knows about our place? Surely nobody. I turn to my best friend, whose forehead is already creasing with bafflement beneath her dark fringe.

El, upon falling out of the single left door of another car in our entourage, smacks a hand against her face and groans. Someone asks for clarity, El mutters and pushes ahead, sweeping blond hair back. She’s not one to explain when she’s angry, and she sure looks pissed.

We follow the tangled path down and around through still-blooming gorse until it opens up on a wide, layered plateau of stone and the river beyond. Afternoon sun ripples across the glassy swimming hole, the water clear enough to see the bottom of the opposite shore, but so deep the water nearest our jutting stone platform turns a deep blue-black.

Standing at the edge of the rock is a guy, his dark hair ruffled from the trek through the bush. He watches us emerge with a wide-eyed humour, and El blows a harsh breath from her nose.
“Parents wanted to give me a babysitter,” she huffs. “Someone to keep me ‘in line.’ He’s my end-of-school gift. Ugh.”

He’s a bot. Even without El’s words, we can see it in the way he moves, as if he’s an alien in human skin trying to pass as one of us. Still, he must be a pricey one: dark hair on his arms dances with the summer breeze, emotions flicker across his face almost naturally. One of those companion bots designed to change and grow, updated each year to keep up with their owners.

There are moments in life where a person meets someone new and their world changes perceptibly. Twine tightens around their heart, drawing them to this person. From the way my lungs fail as our eyes meet, his sparkling with unexplained joy, I know this is one of those moments. It’s unreasonable, right? No person can possibly predict that anyone is destined to be in their lives.

And yet, I know he is. A bot, bought and given to my friend. Impossible, ridiculous, unbelievable.
But, my world has already shifted to make space for him to occupy. My heart is tangled up, invisible lines weaving our futures together.

I take a breath, and even the air tastes different.

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Tourist | About

Have you ever wondered what it would be like for your mind to be in another body? For your self to no longer be entirely you?

Tourist, my new serial fiction, explores this idea in a not-too-distant future where artificial minds are almost accepted alongside biological humans. Tourist is both a mystery and a story of self-discovery, and will delve into dark places with mental health and emotional connections.

After a fatal car crash, Allegra finds her artificial mind placed in a new body previously belonging to a young woman named Melissa. This body comes with more baggage than Allegra expects: Melissa’s best friend claims she was murdered, and seems determined to force Allegra to help her solve the mystery.

Newly struggling with depression and a shifted sexuality, Allegra must learn to navigate a stranger’s past, new relationships, and dark secrets that threaten to tear apart the lives of those she cares for.

Like Mountain Sound, I don’t have an exact number of chapters laid out, but I imagine Tourist will end up being around 12 chapters in the end. There is a page to keep track of characters and chapters. Content warnings will also be on this page.

Tourist will begin on Friday 30 and be updated every three weeks from then on. Similarly to Mountain Sound, chapters will be posted the Wednesday prior on my Patreon.

I hope you enjoy my new serial! I’m excited to get it started.

Want early chapters and extra insight on Tourist? Become a Patron!



Guest Post: Lost Stars and the Hopeless Romantics

I align myself as being aromantic. Most definitions describe aromanticism as “an individual that experiences very little to no romantic attraction.” So why do I rank Lost Stars as my favorite new novel in the Star Wars canon? A young adult novel that tells the story of two “star-crossed lovers” on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War? What about the countless numbers of romance webtoons I subscribe to on Tapastic and Line Webtoons? In what world does this make sense?

Something about these stories appeals to me. In Lost Stars the two main characters, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, are so very well written. While reading it you feel for them. You understand their actions and reactions. Their acceptance. Their experiences are things that could happen to us in our lives, you know – besides the whole spaceships and superweapons thing obviously. For me, using their story to live out what it would feel like to be completely devoted, to truly love another, makes sense and doesn’t make sense at the same time. There are many factors in our world that enable us to connect with others on a romantic level. For some it comes naturally, others it takes more time to develop, and for others like me, that “thing” just isn’t there.

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bojack horseman todd chavez

Being Something: Asexuality in BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman is a weird show. It treads a fine line between dark humour, satire, depression, and, though not ever-present, hope. It’s ridiculous, and, at the same time, totally and inexplicably human. That a show starring an anthropomorphic horse-man could so deftly capture human struggles could say a lot of things, but perhaps the distancing from the real world is what helps the show swerve so quickly from inane to heartfelt.

So it shouldn’t have been any surprise that BoJack would be one of the first shows to introduce one of its lead characters as asexual—though still unlabelled, and perhaps not ace, but something very close. In hindsight, it’s no surprise that BoJack would do it; at the time, however, it was jaw-dropping. Not just because of the fact it happened, but because of how it was treated.

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leia organa the force awakens header

Leia Organa, and the Women Left Behind

Spoiler warnings for Version ControlUnwind, and The Fold.

Let’s talk about ladies. More specifically, let’s talk about god damn General Leia Organa, biological daughter of the biggest mistake of the galaxy and the bravest queen to ever grace Naboo’s picturesque vistas, adopted daughter of verified owner of the Galaxy’s Best Dad mug. At the tender age of nineteen, she stands up to Vader himself; decades later, she’s leading the only resistance the New Republic has against the First Order.

She is vitally important, not just in the GFFA, but in science fiction in general. Why? Because she still has her voice. She falls in love, becomes a slave (ugh), gets married, has a kid — and years later, she still has a voice.

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