I can’t do it today. Not with the way things are right now. I can’t bring myself to be flip or cutesy. I’ll resume next week. Probably.
Unlike on my dolly blog, I have so far left this blog free of “hey, please help out this Kickstarter I’m backing,” because, well, a lot of reasons. (Mostly because it’s easier to gauge the tastes of readers of a doll blog than of a…uh…whatever kind of blog this has become.) However, that’s changing now, because I want to do all I can to help this Kickstarter campaign, and since I can’t afford to fund the whole thing myself, and I don’t use any of the more typical social media, all I can do is to plug it here.
The campaign is to fund the fifth year of a digital magazine called Sparkler, which features a variety of types of content, inspired by Japan’s mega-sized manga magazines, of which the most famous in the West is probably Shonen Jump. The campaign describes its goal thusly:
Twelve more issues of women-oriented, LGBT+ friendly webcomics, light novels, and audio dramas in our digital magazine!
And that seems to sum it up pretty well. (Of course it does. Why else would they have picked it as their campaign header line?)
I’d never heard of Sparkler until I came across this campaign, but judging by the free download sampler of first chapters, it’s completely freakin’ awesome. I ended up making a pretty hefty pledge in order to get all the back issues so I can catch up. (Which will likely take absolutely forever, but…hey, it’s always good to have extra reading material, yeah?) Of course, that means there’s not a lot of extra material I can add on to my pledge to help out further.
Anyway, despite that it’s aimed at women, I think a lot of this content would also interest men. (Just as there are a lot of Shonen Jump properties that also have female fans.) The genres run a complete gamut, from slice of life comedy to magical girl (and magical boy) to sci-fi to horror to fantasy adventure to revenge story to romance…and I probably left a lot of the genres out. And the romance covers all the main bases: straight, f/f and m/m. (I don’t think it covers trans, but that’s about it. But there are also a couple of Kickstarters for trans-focused comics going on right now.)
Please check out their campaign page, okay? And/or send word of it to any friends/relatives/acquaintances/co-workers/total-strangers you’ve got who might be interested. They have a long way to go and a short time in which to get there.
I’m serious about this.
You know the legend of the Doppelgänger, right? A mysterious double of you, and when you meet it, you die. But what happens to the Doppelgänger after the original human dies?
I’m concerned about this, because I think I’m the duplicate, not the original.
Let me back up a minute, here. For years, I’ve said I have a Doppelgänger around here somewhere, because I’ve often been mistaken for someone else, particularly in stores. One time I went into a hardware store with my brother, and a salesman came up asking how the fridge he sold me had worked out. I told him I’d never bought a fridge from him, and he insisted that I had, a mini-fridge for the teacher’s lounge at a local high school. I assured him he was mistaken, but my brother and I were both freaked out by it, because it was the high school my brother had attended.
Now, that was years ago.
And since I started wearing braids in my hair, the incidences of people mistaking her for me began to taper off.
Then I went swimming on Monday at the Y. It was an unusual time for me to be there, and I was stupidly trying to swim laps in the open swim lane (forgot there was one of those at the time) and this guy who was just hanging out in the open lane suddenly started talking to me as if to an acquaintance, and while I was standing there being confused, he said “You don’t remember me, do you?”
Well, I honestly answered that without my glasses on, I couldn’t see a thing. I literally wouldn’t have recognized him even if I did know him. (Seriously, all I saw was a human-shaped blob.) And since he hadn’t made it clear where he thought he knew me from, there was always the possibility I’d taken a class with him, y’know?
But no, he thought I was the person who had taught him how to swim. I barely even remember how to do the various strokes anymore (I keep meaning to take some refresher lessons), and I certainly never taught them to anyone else. After explaining that I wasn’t who he thought I was, I did comment that I have a Doppelgänger around here, and how people are always mistaking me for her.
And in laughing about that…he mentioned her name.
And it’s the same as mine.
She and I not only have the same face, but we also have the same first name.
Admittedly, I just looked it up, and my name was pretty popular all through the ’70s. (In the Top 30 most years.) So it’s not at all weird that there are other women about my age with my name. But for them to also have my face? And considering I’ve sometimes talked to these people at some length without them realizing their mistake, she must also have a voice very similar to mine.
Therefore, one of us must be a Doppelgänger of the other.
And she’s a teacher, someone who touches a lot of lives. (Though it sounds like she’s no longer at my brother’s alma mater.) Meanwhile, I’m a near-hermit who avoids other people like the plague. So if one of us isn’t real, it’s obviously me.
But if I just met someone at the Y who learned to swim from her, then she might be a member at the same Y. And even if she isn’t, the encounter being so extended surely indicates that she and I are getting close to meeting.
So what’s going to happen to me after I fulfill my purpose as a Doppelgänger and my appearance before her eyes heralds her end? Am I just going to wink out of existence?
And am I supposed to be okay with that? The idea that it’s okay I’ll be causing her death, ’cause I’ll cause my own at the same time in a supernaturally imposed death penalty?
Because I am totally not.
I don’t want to disappear, and I sure don’t want to cause anyone else’s death, either.
But if I’m a Doppelgänger, do I even have a choice?
I’m seriously freaked out about this.
I’m sorry to say that this year I won’t be taking part in April A-to-Z. I already had a plan in mind for this year’s A to Z by the time last year’s ended, but I kept putting off working on it, and consequently instead of it all being done by January, I still haven’t made even half a start to it. And I’ve got a take-home test and a research project due in April, so there’s just no way I’d have time to do it on the fly. Not unless I was going to abandon my plan and just post anything, willy-nilly, that happened to have to do with the letter of the day. That I could do, but I’d feel like I was being half-assed, and I wouldn’t like the results.
But I’ve done a little bit of the pre-work for what I was going to do this year, so if I keep building on that, I should be able to do it next year. So I’ll go ahead and tell you what I was planning, as a long-range preview.
Last year, my thing was comparative mythology, with no post-titling myth one that had been represented in video games, using the Shin Megami Tensei series as my guideline about what had made it into games and what hadn’t. (Because if it hasn’t made into a MegaTen game, it’s probably not in any game. Very heavy mythology and folklore basis to those games. That’s part of what I love about them.)
So what I was going to do this year was the reverse: I was going to exclusively look at mythical beings that are included in the Shin Megami Tensei series (limiting myself to the games that have officially come out in English) and compare what the game says about the original myths to the original myths themselves. And then looking at how else the myths have been treated in popular culture otherwise, where applicable. I got most of the way through compiling the list of possible subjects, but no further than that. And there’s a lot that was going to go into it just from the list to the final selection, since I wanted to make sure that every major region of the world was well represented, and to make sure I had some decent sources for the original material.
And I guess that’s about all I have to say in this post. I’m only just barely beginning to actually recover from my cold/bronchitis, so things have been pretty dull around here. And I haven’t been able to go into the library to do the ludicrously massive amount of research we’re supposed to do for the take-home test, either. (Which really, really sucks, let me tell you. That take-home test is evil. It’s brain-dead, parroting busy work, appropriate to low-level undergrads, not graduate students. We should not have to put up with this garbage.)
In the light of the social upheavals going on in this country right now – and in despair that my work prevents me from joining Saturday’s protest marches (the museum can’t be run by one person, and only two of us can work on Saturday, so if I don’t show, my co-worker will be helpless to do her job, and the museum will be effectively closed for business for the day) – this seems to me to be a good time to take stock of myself, in the form of a privilege check. (Thanks to EclecticAlli for the example.)
The most obvious privilege (or lack thereof) right now is sadly based on the same thing it has been in Western society since said society began: where your ancestors came from, made apparent by what color your skin is. The fact that this is still a thing disgusts me. Society should have moved past this centuries ago. Or at least decades ago. But it hasn’t, and so the fact remains that light-skinned people, like myself, are still given privileges that the rest of the world – the majority (or at least plurality) of the world – are being denied.
Again, this is something our society should have long since gotten over. How men became the dominant force in human civilization because they’re a little bit larger (on average) is almost as much of a mystery as why this is still the case. History and current events alike have proven that women are in every way man’s equal, if not his superior, but there are still large sections of human civilization that insist we are somehow inferior because we were born with vaginas instead of penises. Today’s world makes me ever more grateful to have been born with a womb, even though I will never use it.
I admit to having trouble wrapping my head around the whole ‘gender’ issue. Thanks to the NaNoWriMo forums, I now have a good term for what I am: “gender apathetic.” Gender is a socially defined construct – unlike sex, which is biological – and I’ve never really cared one whit about what society has to say about how I should behave. When I was a little girl, I played with Star Wars figures, marbles, toy cars, Barbies and She-ra dolls. Some of those were “okay” for girls, and some of them weren’t, and I rarely cared one way or the other. I care even less now than I did as a child. As such, I have trouble understanding why people find their gender identity so important that they feel the need to change it (but one of my Read Harder books this year is going to be about a girl becoming a trans boy, so hopefully that will help me understand) and I absolutely cannot imagine why anyone would get upset that someone else wants to change (or has changed) their gender identity.
All that aside, the bottom line is that because I was born female, I consider myself a woman, and that’s what society wants me to think, so no one bothers me about it. (Apart from misogynists, but that’s a different issue.) My ‘femininity’ is more for linguistic convenience than anything else, however. I would be totally happy in a world where no one has a gender.
Given what I said about gender, it will probably not come as a surprise that I am asexual. (Though it took me 40 years to understand that about myself.) However, I don’t think I’m quite cookie-cutter asexual. (If there is such a thing.) I’m more “a-bisexual,” in that I find both sexes attractive, and like the idea of all combinations of love (m/f, f/f, m/m), but have zero interest in entering into a romantic or sexual relationship myself. In terms of privilege, I’m not sure where that ranks. I suppose it’s a close second to heterosexual, because no one can say “you’re wrong for who you love” when you don’t love anybody. They could, technically, tell me I was “wrong” not to love, but I’d tell them to take a flying leap if they did. More importantly, it’s not like they can tell I’m asexual by looking at me; in fact, whenever I go places with my brother, a lot of people assume we’re a couple. (Despite the fact that we look just freakin’ like each other. I mean, gross!)
Here, again, my standing is atypical. I’m areligious: I believe there is some higher power out there that was responsible for the Big Bang, but I also think a puny human mind cannot possibly comprehend a being of such enormous power, and that all organized religions must therefore be to a great extent wrong, even if they have aspects that touch on the truth. But it’s important to say that while I don’t believe in any religion myself, I do have strong respect for them and their place in other people’s lives. The religious freedom on which this country was founded is one of the most important freedoms we have, and it’s one of the many freedoms I have great fear for in the next four years.
It’s hard to judge where having no religion – while not being atheist, as such – fits into the scale of privilege in our culture. It’s not Christian, so it’s not at the top, but it likely won’t get me assaulted or make anyone threaten my life, either, as being Muslim might. And again, it’s not something that shows; you don’t know by looking at me that I lack a religious affiliation.
This is probably the way in which I am most privileged. I’m not rich by society’s larger standards, but I was raised in an upper middle class family, and some of my extended family actually does qualify as rich by most definitions. I’ve inherited enough money that I was able to pursue my own interests, and though I am now (finally) gainfully employed, it doesn’t matter that I don’t really earn enough to live on comfortably, because I have enough already that it cushions my currently somewhat low rate of pay. Additionally, I have no debt. No credit cards, no car payments, no mortgage payments. (And no, no rent, either; I own my house.)
I am very much aware of how much better off I am than so many other people, and though I have often in the past neglected charitable giving (mostly due to forgetfulness on my part), I will in the future be giving generously to important charities, particularly to the ACLU and LGBT+ charities.
My family holds education very dear, and I was lucky enough to be sent to a prestigious high school with a good reputation, and to be permitted to attend any college I chose. (Sadly, I chose the wrong one, but that’s another matter entirely.) I have two undergraduate degrees, and am working (slowly) on a Master’s. I know many people don’t have the luxury to study as much as I did, and don’t have access to the quality of schooling that I did. I wish everyone could study as much as they want, and could have the very best of schooling. On top of the general privilege my education offered me, I also got good grades, which makes me sound more impressive, intellectually, than I actually am. Not sure if that’s privilege or anti-privilege, though, especially with the way this country is going.
My family is becoming more unusual with every passing year, or so it seems: my parents have been married for almost fifty years, and their marriage is still strong. Though I often complain about the way they still treat me like a child, the fact is that in most ways they respect my choices, lifestyle and rights as a person, and are supportive of me in what I do. (Which isn’t to say that they aren’t given to lecturing.)
Additionally, my family has lived in this country for a very long time – my mother’s ancestors came over before this country was a country, in fact – so I’ve never had to deal with any of the stigmas that recent immigrants have.
I’m a native English speaker with no ability to speak other languages. In this country’s current climate, that’s viewed as a good thing, though it’s a mark against me in every other country in the world. I’ve tried to learn other languages, but ever since high school, my efforts have failed drastically. (Pity I didn’t stick with the German; I was pretty good by the 10th grade. If I had stayed with it instead of switching to Latin and Greek, maybe I’d have stayed with it in college, too. If I’d followed six years of high school German with four years of college German, I’d probably have become fluent, and maybe then I’d never have lost it.
Apart from being obese and asthmatic, I have no physical disabilities. My weight and general out-of-shapeness can prevent me from going to a few places (mountain tops, theaters with really narrow seats), but for the most part I am unimpeded. I do have a few minor mental issues – mostly an almost crippling social phobia – but they don’t account for much in the long run, since my financial standing prevents me from being absolutely required to go out and work.
Though in my day-to-day existence, I rarely sit around thinking “gee, I’m privileged,” it’s very clear that I am. I try to be aware of that in my dealings with others, try not to act out the part.
The way the country is now, I wish I had less in common with the minority that thinks it’s the majority. If I could become someone else, I would become a Mexican immigrant of mixed African and native descent, Islamic faith, and (of course) a lesbian. But I can’t change where I was born, or my ethnicity, and no amount of calling myself a lesbian would make me interested in having romantic/sexual relationships with other people, and it would be hypocritical and disrespectful to enter a religion without believing in it just to make a political point.
However, the next time the census comes around, I’ll probably list my sexuality as “bisexual.” It’s not entirely true, but it’s not entirely a lie, either.
I have decided to place my blog more or less on “hiatus” status until I figure out why I’m no longer motivated to write for it.
I’ll still come back every week for Missing Letter Mondays, but if I can’t think of anything good to do for it, I’ll re-post an old one that I think was actually good. (Or at least decent.) I’ll also be back on the 1st Wednesday of every month for IWSG, but that’s it.
So, really, nothing’s changed except that I’m admitting that something’s fallen out of joint, instead of pretending “yeah, I’ll be back to normal any day now” all the time.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still! There just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything I need/want to get done!
Anyway, sorry this is not the myth re-telling of the quarrel between Athene and Poseidon about who would be the guardian god(dess) of the new city that would be named Athens, whichI said last week I’d post today.
It’s just that in looking over the material, I realized I first needed to do the birth of Erecthonius (or however you spell that) and some other stuff, and…yeah, it just became complicated, and today’s class reading really wore me out, so…life conquered the planned post.
But, getting back to the title of the post, I really do need to have multiple days every day.
I meant to post this last Friday or Saturday, but stuff happened.
Anyway, it’s now been roughly two years since I started blogging. (The actual anniversary was last week. Though as far as WordPress is concerned, it’ll be a little later, ’cause I started out on a different site and re-posted all my earlier posts here in the first day or two.) Obviously, in the past few months, it’s slowed to the barest of trickles, but things are weird right now and my house is a disaster in progress, plus it’s crazy hot, which makes me not want to do anything. So once the weather cools off and my house gets less horrible and being back in school makes my life return to a schedule and I adjust to being employed as well as being a student, I should hopefully be able to settle back into a groove. (Y’know, I think I needed more commas in that sentence…)
I will post the myth of Arachne this week, even if I must flog myself in the face to do it. (Sounds painful. Good thing I don’t own anything to flog with..)
Okay, so that’s the blogging business taken care of. Now for the rest of the post, I want to look at myself now vs. two years ago. (So if you don’t care about my self-analysis (and who would?) you can stop reading now. I’ll even put in a read-more tag here to make it easier.)
Something died in the walls of my house.
I’m assuming it was one of the mice. (I shudder at the thought of anything else!)
Whatever it was, the hallway in my house now reeks of decay. Consequently, I’ve been spending the majority of the last two days at my brother’s place — which is why I didn’t post anything yesterday — and will likely be avoiding my house like the plague until such a time as the stink goes away.
Naturally, I’ve got the windows open to air the place out as best I can, but…it’s a hallway; it doesn’t have any windows! Not to mention that I can’t get flow-through, because no way am I leaving the door to my bedroom open and letting that stink in here, nor am I leaving the door to the back room open and letting that stink get all over my dolls! I did put out some air fresheners, too, but…all I can do is wait, I’m afraid. (Also, did I mention the inconsiderate nature of the dead thing to have died right as we’re going into the hottest week of the year to date? Even if the windows weren’t open to let out the smell, I still couldn’t turn on the AC, because then the smell would get into the bedroom.)
Consequently, I’m probably not going to be doing much posting, because trying to get my laptop in and out of my bedroom is not much fun when I have to hold my breath getting through the door and hallway. (Especially since I’m more prone to knock over the stuff blocking the door as I step over it if I’m carrying something. But that stuff is important: it’s been keeping the stink out of my bedroom! Now if only I could get it out of my nostrils…) Having this hit the hallway is particularly bad because of the layout of my house; it’s a small house, and the little plus-sign-shaped hallway connects the two bedrooms (mine and the dolls’) and the bathroom with the rest of the house. In other words, everything important is right off the hallway. Ack. Just plain “ack.”
This is partially a “sharing my gripe with the rest of the world” but it’s most just a “this is why I’m not much of a presence right now” kind of thing.
On Tuesday evening, I went over to my brother’s place to catch up on some DVDs, only to find out that my parents expected us both to come over for dinner and catching up on TV with my dad. (He doesn’t like to watch TV alone, so if my mother isn’t interested in a show, he expects one or both of us to come watch it with him.)
By the time we were brought back to my brother’s place (my father had picked us up for reasons that would take too long to explain), it was about 9:00 at night, and as we headed into his condo to get the stuff I’d left behind so I could drive back to my place, I commented that it must have rained at his place, since my car was covered in little droplets.
But as I was heading to my car, I noticed that my brother’s car, right next to mine, was entirely dry.
So was the car on the other side of mine.
I had to go back in and get my brother to make sure that he was seeing it, too, and that it wasn’t just my imagination.
Either there was a localized rainstorm right over my car, or something very weird was going on.
The only logical explanation I can come up with is that maybe there was a light shower all over — or that the sprinklers were going crazy and splattered all over the cars — and that for some reason the water droplets just stayed on my car and not on any of the others. Maybe the dealership used some kind of strange wax when they washed my car or something. I don’ t know. It was creepy as heck, though, whatever the explanation.
(The reason I’m only posting this now is because of scheduled posts for Wednesday and Thursday.)