[writing] Coming Storm

Alone; always alone, I sit in my room, and stare at a wall.
An empty wall I was to fill with memories of a time now discarded, a metaphor for potential wasted and lost all throughout my life.
And as I reflect, time itself feels different
While the past tries to flee my presence as if I’m a plague victim, the future comes barrelling into the present like a train that doesn’t notice someone crossing its tracks.
What happened a week ago feels like a forgotten myth, while the whole of tomorrow is but five minutes away. I can barely remember what was, and I don’t know -don’t want to know- what will be. All there is that counts is the now, and I retreat inwards.

I soar on the burning wings of an angel through the mighty glass dome of my mind, filled with nothing but the cracks where it once shattered and was repaired. In the centre of the nothing, on a shrinking island of hope is a little girl, clutching at the knees she buried her face into. Hiding from the coming storm.
And as hope fades, and calm ebbs away, I see the cracks becoming wider. The cracks in the dome that keeps out the storm. But through the cracks now slips doubt, the first and most insidious of storm’s vanguards. It seeks its familiar place in the back of my mind to nestle. And fester.
Others will come. Rage. Frustration. Anguish. Soon the dome will shatter once more, and all will clash and the storm will begin anew.

The girl knows as I know, and begins sobbing. I reach out, want to hold her, comfort her, and am in my room, arms clasped around my shoulders, staring at an empty wall, filled with promises.
I sigh, dreading the coming storm that will engulf an innocent little girl in misery once more, as a single tear rolls down my cheek. Longing for a yesterday that I can scarcely remember, and fearing a tomorrow that will crush me. Alone. Always fearing tomorrow.

Always alone.

[Prose] A Really Horrible One-Page Story

She came home from work. The pain in her lower back had intensified and spread to her inner right thigh, her left shoulder, and her neck. She was exhausted after a sleepless night, followed by her first day back at work, as well as by lifting the weight of at least her world for years on end. She felt like the loneliest person on the planet. She knew she wasn’t, but the biggest thing she hated about emotions was how fucking irrational they were.

After freeing one of the cats trapped in a room he shouldn’t be in, and taking off her boots, she ascended the stairs with the mail she had picked up earlier. Doctor’s bill, phone bill, and something for the father who hadn’t lived in this house for about seven years now. She dumped most of it on the kitchen table and ascended further up, watering a plant along the way.

She heard her brother listening to loud music in his room. Good. He probably won’t hear a thing, then. As if this was the permission she needed, she began breathing heavier, the breaths soon turning into sobs. The sobs were wails by the time she reached her own room, and the first tears started to form. She turned on her computer, then went to her bed, where she collapsed. Curling up, she cried in loud howls, drowning out the music in the room next door, as warm tears streamed from her eyes. Laying on her side, she noticed how annoying it felt to have the tears from her right eye not cross her cheek, but instead run along the bridge of her nose into her other eye.
This time, she wasn’t afraid of her eyeliner smudging. She didn’t wear any, because she honestly didn’t see the point. She wasn’t going to be pretty enough with or without it. Pretty, perhaps, but never pretty enough.

Her mind wandered amidst the wails coming from deep within her throat. She noticed how, when crying, her voice actually sounded loud, but not deep at the same time. She wondered if maybe she should try screaming, then immediately discarded the idea. Her thoughts started dwelling somewhere they roosted with alarming frequency: maybe it was hopeless. Maybe she should just give up. Give in. Stop trying. Stop being. Die. It wouldn’t matter to the world. Just another girl committing suicide, the papers would say.
Except that’s not what the papers would say at all. Thanks to that thing between her legs, they wouldn’t call her girl, and they wouldn’t use her proper name. That just wouldn’t do, she concluded. That just wouldn’t do at all. It wouldn’t be a suitable end. It wouldn’t be a satisfying payoff to her struggles. Her story would feel off.

She didn’t stop being. Instead she stopped crying, got up, sauntered to her computer, and began writing a really horrible one-page story.

[Poetry] Festering

In the dark recesses of my mind
Between my hunger for pain
And my thirst for destruction
Hiding behind my deception of self-confidence
And the massive palace from which my kindness rules
With an iron fist
A festering creature has taken hold.

A fruit that fell
From my tree of doubt
And started rotting
Spreading its spores
which are now eating at the foundations of my content

And I can feel this eroding happiness
When I see others being together
Reminded of what I need
Like a starving child watching a feast from across the room
And forcing itself to be happy
For them

And I return home, knowing no kiss will greet me
No arms to comfort me
No warm body to sleep besides
No loving smile to wake up to
Only loneliness.

For who would love one such as you, the festering creature asks
You who are between worlds
You who cannot look into a mirror, naked, and not see an abomination
Who would love one who cries
Because she is unloved?

My hunger for pain roars and digs my long nails into my arms
Then drags them across my skin.
My howls turn to sobs.
The creature speaks.

People may tolerate you
They may appreciate you, respect you, admire you, care for you, even like you
But love you?
Truly love you?

When was the last time you were loved?
Can you even imagine someone
Who notices you are not there with them
And wishes it changed?

My thirst for destruction begins scratching at my bare legs.
I howl again
And hate the creature
For I know that it is right

After all
I see no way it could be wrong
I go to bed, and as I fall asleep
I try to imagine someone
Who would miss me longer than a month
Were I not to wake tomorrow

Story Time!

It’s the fourth day of the nineties, a mere five minutes before the next, and my mother gives birth to a baby Boy. The baby was a calm one, who never cried or made a lot of noise, content to just suck on his thumb and be quiet. Or so he was told.

The Boy’s earliest memories are of kindergarten, where the lines were present, but blurry. As a boy, he was on team boy. He had to be. He was a boy, after all. It’s the only thing that made sense. And because he was on team boy, he was not on team girl. It’s impossible to be on more than one team, and he already had a team: team boy. Because he was a boy.
It never occurred to him, though, that he was supposed to find it odd that girl toys and games were just as fun as boy toys and games. In fact, if he had a choice, he’d play the girl games every single time. He never realized why he was one of the only ones on team boy who seemed to enjoy playing house or shop, or tending to the manes of colourful pony dolls, or did that thing where you draw flowers on another thing that’s now a complete blur in the Boy’s mind.
The Boy was four, and he paid it no mind.

After kindergarten came elementary school. There, the rules didn’t change, but they became stricter. Girls had cooties, and boys were aliens. As such, there was next to no interaction between team boy and team girl. Friendships also weren’t a thing that was automatic any more, either. The Boy managed to make some friends, kind of, exclusively from team boy, obviously, because girls had cooties, and he discovered the wondrous world of video games.
Video games seemed to be the only really boy thing he enjoyed. He didn’t like football, even though he really tried hard at pretending he did, and he wasn’t strong enough to build tree houses. He also didn’t get to do the girl things any more, because his parents never gave him girl toys. Not that he asked for them. His father told him that he should be a good boy in order to become a strong man later, so the Boy didn’t dare to admit that he liked things that were not boyish.
The Boy also didn’t notice how he had so much less trouble with school work than his classmates. When he would later be put into a special class for smart people that met every Friday afternoon, he didn’t realize it was because he was smart. At least not immediately. He had only himself to really compare to, and therefore thought everything was normal.
In the fifth year of elementary school, the Boy met another boy who liked video games and didn’t like football. It made sense to the Boy, and the two got along really well as a result. The other boy became the first real Friend the Boy had ever had, and the only real Friend he would have for many years to come.
The Boy also started questioning things more. The Catholicism he was brought up with, the existence of an almighty God who loved him, and the fact that the story of Adam and Eve had no dinosaurs anywhere, -which was silly because dinosaurs are awesome- all started making less sense.
The Boy was eleven, and he became an atheist.

After elementary school came high school. And with it, even more stricter rules and lines. What was picking on in elementary school became bullying in high school. Making friends was next to impossible, because the Boy was a silent sort, and would rarely seek out others to talk to them. The Friend went to another school, and later to even another, so the Boy was on his own during weekdays. Though he and the Friend did meet up occasionally over the weekend.
The Boy never had to study for school, either. At least not in his first years. As a result, he never learned to, getting by on the things he learned in classes.
The Boy also discovered the internet, and met people online. One of them was a girl. A really sweet girl. The girl lived in Scotland, though, which might as well have been the other side of the planet. This didn’t stop them, however, from declaring each other to be their first lover. All went well, for a while. As well as relationships where neither has seen the other go. It also confirmed to the Boy that he was into girls, and therefore not gay. Not that he would’ve minded being gay. It was just nice to know for certain which way the coin falls.
However, it wasn’t meant to last. The Boy met another girl, who very much lived in the same country he did, and they did things a boy in a relationship should never do with another girl. Like kissing and holding hands and laying in the same bed. The Boy felt he had cheated on his girlfriend, and driven by guilt, he ended the relationship with either girl, though he still remained friends with the Scottish one.
Puberty was also a thing, apparently, and with it came quite a few changes to the Boy’s body. His penis was growing, and went erect more often. Hair started growing all over his legs, and his arms, and on his belly, and on his face. His voice cracked more often, and then grew deeper. His face also got covered in pimples. He told himself that these changes were part of the becoming a strong man thing his father informed him about, and forced himself to like them. Except for the pimples. Those could go to hell. Secretly, though, deep down, he hated these changes. Especially how his erect penis would strain against his trousers and be incredibly uncomfortable. He repressed these feelings.
The Boy also started growing his hair long, despite initial protests from his father. When asked why, he would simply state that he liked it that way. It wasn’t a lie. Outside of school, he would also start wearing more and more black, and was really drawn to goth fashion. That is to say, he really like the clothes the girls got to wear. He was less than impressed with the options for the boys.

One day, in the summer of 2005, the Boy went home from a summer camp he attended together with the Friend. They were being driven home by the Friend’s father, and he dropped him off at his front door. The Boy wanted to ask them in for a bit, but for some reason didn’t.
When he entered the kitchen, he found his parents waiting for him. They had something important to say. His father did the talking.
His father had met another woman. The woman became to his father what the Friend was to him. And then the woman became more. His father loved the woman. He also still loved his mother, but he loved the woman more. And his mother couldn’t accept that. At least, that’s how the Boy understood it. His father was leaving his mother, and his family, to go live with the woman. He was most likely going to divorce his mother, too.
Everything collapsed. Everything unravelled. One of the great big certainties in life, that the Boy’s parents loved each other and would remain together forever, suddenly vanished. This was a turning point in the Boy’s life. From now on, everything would be different. This was the moment where his innocence was shattered. The moment he opened the door of that kitchen was the last moment he was well and truly happy and without real concern.
The Boy was fifteen, and he cried.

The years right after this encounter became a blurry mess in the Boy’s memory, at least where his parents were concerned. At one point he hated his mother for hating his father. Then he hated his father instead, for being angry at his mother. Picking sides was difficult, and fruitless, and he resolved never to do it again, unless forced with no other option.
Other things, however, were much more clear. For starters, the few people at high school he thought were his friends turned out to be arseholes. They had a shot at getting in with the more popular kids, and did so by turning on him, leading him to be bullied like he never was before.
With one of the big certainties gone, he also started questioning everything again. He started thinking back to earlier periods of his life. How he liked it better where being a boy or being a girl didn’t mean all that much. He asked himself again if he wasn’t gay after all, but then he told himself, truthfully, that he really liked breasts, and that he really didn’t like penises.
Another turning point happened. It had less immediate impact than the previous one, but it would be more significant in the long run: The Friend’s father came out as a transsexual. This raised a lot of questions with the Boy, but the fact that the Friend’s father wanted to be seen as a she and as the Friend’s other mother made sense to him. A lot of sense, in fact. Almost too much sense. As soon as he could, he started looking things up. Looking up terms. Looking up how they could be applied to himself. He did a lot of thinking, and he liked the terms genderqueer, transgender, and androgynous.
The Boy was sixteen, and he became the Person.

The Person kept quiet about this, at least at first. Eventually they confided in the Friend, who was taken aback by this. There was never a real break between the two, but there came a distance that slowly widened. The Person had become bitter and overly sarcastic, almost cynical, because of how their life was going. This drove the Friend away, they later would learn, because he had problems of his own, and where they used to meet every weekend, they now didn’t see each other for weeks, sometimes months on end. The bullying at school grew worse and worse, at a point where the Person felt more and more trapped within the confines of their own skin. The Friend’s withdrawal at a time they most needed his friendship felt as a betrayal to the Person, and they considered suicide at several points throughout the period.
They changed schools instead.

The Person became more and more uneasy with their own body as the months went on. They went to a specialized psychiatrist, but didn’t like them very much. Still, though, how could the person be in between genders when they hated almost every masculine part about themselves?
The Person came to the realization that they were wrong about ‘stopping halfway’. That there was nothing ‘man’ about them, beyond the physical, that it was time to move on and grow into a Woman.

The Woman met another woman at a festival over summer. And they liked each other, and they got together. Their relationship lasted longer than any other she had, despite the distance between the two, and a few nights before her nineteenth birthday, she lost her virginity. The Woman loved her, and dreamed of being with her together.
A few weeks after that, the Woman’s girlfriend dumped her. The Woman was heartbroken, and it shattered what self-confidence she had.
The Woman reconnected with the Friend, albeit slowly at first, but over time he got used to the idea of her being a Woman. He also introduced her to his ex-lover, who was what the Woman thought she was back in the days of the Person. They introduced her more to the goth scene, and its people, and the Woman steadily started branching out her friendships.
The Woman decided that the path she took was the correct one, and as she started her second year of University, she went to a specialized psychologist again. A different person, one she liked, and she started her physical transition.
However, throughout the two years it took her to fail university, and the year afterwards, the woman remained by and large unloved. She had a few brief bouts of affection, but nothing that would satisfy her, and this gnawed even further at her self-confidence. She also found out that she needed this affection to feel alive.

Her two failed years in university went, and she moved onwards. She started her hormone therapy, which magnified her emotions greatly. This unleashed a torrent of feelings that stormed through her mind. Many of these feelings she couldn’t explain, but others she very much could. She found a new appreciation for her body, very much approving the changes it went through. She even agreed that she was beautiful, an idea she had never been able to agree with before.
Her loneliness, however, kept gnawing at her, and the idea that she was also disgusting, and unloveable buried itself in the back of her mind, and there it festered.
In July 2012 a year had passed since she had last shared a bed with someone. She realized that she had forgotten what the tongue of another tasted like, and since the breakup three-and-a-half years prior, she could count the amount of powerfully intimate moments on the fingers of a carpenter’s hand. The reassuring words quickly became empty and meaningless, and she lost almost all hope.
The Woman fell into another breakdown, as another emotional storm raged in her mind. She briefly considered suicide again, but once more decided against it.
As the storm calmed, and the breakdown slowly passed away, the Woman started becoming somewhat more hopeful again. As the year drew to a close, she looked ahead into her uncertain, but not at all dark future. In many ways, her life was just beginning, her story just past the first pages.
The Woman is almost 23, and wonders what her next chapter will hold.

Emotions

Emotions are hard. Like, they’re really fucking difficult to deal with. Until about a year ago, when I started my hormone therapy, they were usually there, but I was always able to bottle them up and store them in a cupboard in the back of my mind. I mean, I would *feel* sad and happy and angry and stuff, but the last time I cried before I started hormones was when my grandmother died. The last time before that, not counting as a reaction to physical pain, was when I was a little kid.
Now? Now I’m crying at least every other week. Half the time for no reason.
But more and more, I seem to be able to get a grip on myself. Not the bottle up kind of way, but as a source of… fuel? I guess? Kind of?

A few months ago, I had a bit of a breakdown. I had an amazingly fun day, but in the evening, in the course of a few hours, I completely collapsed, culminating in me bursting into tears in the passenger’s seat of a close friend’s car. Throughout the train-ride (in an otherwise fortunately empty train wagon) and walk home I continually kept crying. When I came home, I desperately ran to the PC to see if there was someone online who could cheer me up, only to find that the internet didn’t feel like working that night. So I screamed.
I cannot recall a single other moment in my entire life where I screamed.
I then descended into more sobbing, together with shaking and curling up into bed. My dog was sleeping in my brother’s room that night, because I wasn’t home when they all went to bed, so I couldn’t even go get a hug.

So I did something weird. I played some music. Specifically, I played My Confession by Otep. The first two thirds of that song speak of helplessness and despair, much like I was feeling, and I started to sing along.
Or rather, I croaked along. I was still crying and my voice was completely wrecked at that point. I croaked along to the first few lines. ‘Perfectly flawed’, ‘supposed to be strong’, and ‘nothing special’ came along, leading into the lines ‘I’m at an, I’m at and end, I’m at an end and there’s no way out.’ and I felt like the entire universe was trying to crush me. I felt so small and insignificant and I just wished I was never even born.

Chorus, then second verse. ‘I’m still not comfortable in my skin, and the anesthetic’s slowly wearing thin’ and ‘I’m in this void, all alone’ smacked me in my face, and I was still croaking along, the tears still rolling from my eyes down my cheeks. ‘I’m suffocating, I can’t come down and’ -once again- ‘there’s no way out.’ I croaked along to the second chorus, and the fake outro lines.

Then silence.

As the music stopped, so did I. I stopped crying, the tears stopped rolling, and for a few seconds all that could be heard in the room was my breathing.
Then the last part started, with the words ‘You’ve got to push, push, push your way out’.
Everything is surmountable. Everything can be overcome. At that point, my overwhelming sadness and despair turned into anger and rage. And while my sadness had drained me of whatever energy I had, my rage made me overflow with the stuff. My voice was still broken, so I croaked along.
‘This is where I hide my power.
This is where I become free.
This is where I take control
and slowly choke your fantasies.’

I wasn’t angry at anyone or anything in particular. I was just… angry. And I could use anger. When I’m sad and borderline depressed, I can barely get out of my bed. With anger, I can bring myself to just about anything. I could tear the world apart with my bear hands, and I would feel entirely justified in doing so.
Now, it may come as something of a surprise to you, but I’ve not been actually happy since seven years ago. I can smile, and laugh and genuinely have a great time, but ‘happy’ as a state of being? I’ve no idea how to do that. For the past year, I’ve been swinging between anger, sadness and apathy (where before it was mainly just apathy). Just a few weeks ago, I had another breakdown to the point I started listing the people I was certain would miss me longer than a week should I kill myself (do not do this, by the way. It is NOT a fun exercise). There’s been a few times where I got close to being happy, usually by being close with someone else, but I never managed to completely get there.
Still, I plough on. I get by. In between my sea of anger and sadness and boredom there are a few sparks of light that make it all worthwhile. That, and curiosity. I want to know where my path goes, where I’ll end up, how my story ends.

‘Shed my skin again, this will be my best revenge.’

My dog

Meet my dog:

The fuck you want?

Her name is Laika. Yes, I know that’s the same name as the dog the Russians sent into space. No, we didn’t pick the name. The dog shelter did. If I had my name, Id’ve probably called her Artemis or Isis or something. If my dad had his way, her name would be Pol, which is Dutch for Paul.
The reason I bring her up is because I just watched This Video, and by the end I started crying, and had to walk over to my bed, where she’s laying, and hug the living shit out of her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still soaked.

Several months ago, right after she had a minor surgery to remove some benign tumors, she got a mammary gland infection. This coupled with the fact that she was still recovering from said surgery meant that she was at her weakest point ever. She barely ate, had great difficulties using stairs (and whoever has visited me before knows we have way too many stairs), and couldn’t lie down or piss/shit properly because the stitches hurt too much. One night I couldn’t find her until I went all the way downstairs, to the hallway, where it was cold (it was winter, if I remember correctly) and found her just… standing there, staring at the ground. Only after I called her name did she notice I was there and look up at me. It was probably my overly emotional mind, but I swear the look in her eyes was saying ‘I’m dying’. I tried to convince her to come upstairs with me, but she wouldn’t. The stairs were too high. I couldn’t lift her because I feared I’d tear her stitches, and she was too heavy for me to carry her up a flight of stairs without any real risk of dropping her. I was starting to freeze so I hugged her, then left her, trying to keep back my tears. I did not sleep that night.
All of this happened just over a year after my grandmother’s death, which was the first real loss I had ever experienced. Back then I wrote about how that event made me face my own mortality, and the emotional shockwave that sent throughout my entire being. Now I was confronted again with the possibility of someone else very close to me dying. This made me realize several things about my dog: Firstly, she had become so much more to me than just a pet. She’s become this weird mix between a baby sister and a daughter to me. She is also one of the best friends I ever had. Definitely the most loyal one. For the eleven years we’ve had her she was always there to listen, or to be hugged, or just to dick around with. I don’t know anyone else who has been consistently there for half my life. I know that she’s ‘just a dog’ and that she’ll do basically anything her mistress tells her to, but still. There were moments in my life I pretty much had no one to turn to. No one except my dog. And at times, the love I received from her was all that got me through some darker times.

And that night I was faced with the reality that my friend, my daughter/sister is mortal, and might die very soon. She’s getting old: 12 years old of a mutt-ness that rarely lives past 15. Ever since that night, I’ve occasionally had dreams about waking up and finding her no longer breathing, eyes glazed over, body going cold and stiff. And I honestly have no idea what I would do should that happen.
I know people who bond pretty closely with their cats. For some reason I don’t. I have lost five cats in my life and haven’t shed a tear for a single one. But the idea that something might happen to my dog can send me into a crying fit that can last for ages.

I know one thing for sure, though. If ever we need to put her down, I want to be in the room when it happens. I don’t care if the experience breaks me, I don’t want her last emotions to be feelings of fear of the unknown. Not without a familiar face or scent to make her feel safe.
I owe her that much.

[Prose] Silverheart: Chapter 2 (part 1)

Chapters 0 and 1

Title is still a work in progress.

2

After in-depth studies of the bodies found two and four weeks ago, forensics has confirmed traces of an as-of-yet unknown virus. Preliminary observation seems to suggest a new, potent strain of rabies, though where the exact symptoms diverge from known strains remain an uncertainty.
On the ninth of May, Frederic Stevens (32) was found dead, mutilated to the point of being nearly unrecognizable. On April 25th the remains of Timothy Renn (19) were found in a similar state. The blood of both victims contained this virus and are the only known samples. The police now assumes that the killer also carries this virus and are looking for any additional samples.

Katharina looked up from the newspaper and into the empty bus. Having spent the afternoon at Harry’s place had been fun, but she didn’t like his mattress enough to actually sleep on it. It was getting dark and he lived on the other side of town, so she had taken the last bus home. It gave her an opportunity to catch up on reading her newspaper. She looked to the dark window next to her at her own reflection. She was happy no one else was in the bus. Her makeup was smeared all over her face, and there was no way she could pass it off as an alternative style. For a moment she wondered what the bus-driver thought when he saw her. She shook her head, turned the page of her paper began reading a new article.
Woman falls to death at construction site
Yesterday night, the remains of a woman were found at the bottom of the construction site on Park Avenue. The state of the body, as well as the location suggest she has fallen to her death from the twenty-five-storey high scaffolding. Police investigation is ongoing, and at this stage, neither murder nor suicide are ruled out.
Kath tossed the newspaper aside. Does anyone not die gruesome horrible deaths in this city, she wondered? She sighed and stared at the window again.
Suddenly, she heard a loud bang, coming from the roof of the bus. She looked up at the ceiling, then at the bus-driver, who seemed to have heard it as well and slowed the bus down to a stand-still. He waited a moment to see if he could hear anything again, then opened the door and got up.
Suddenly, the bus started to slowly tip over to the side. Kath thought she was imagining it at first, until the bus actually fell over and crashed against the road. The young woman tumbled downwards across the width of the bus, and smacked against the broken glass of the window previously opposite her.
Dazed for a moment, she could only barely notice the bus driver trying to get up, and something trying to climb through the open door that was now at the upper side of the bus. The driver noticed her and yelled “The ceiling hatches!” before running to the safety hatch closest to him. Kath saw there was one right above her and tried to get up. She noticed a rather large shard of the window’s glass was lodged in her leg, but barely felt any pain. In fact, she didn’t feel anything, beyond an overwhelming urge to get out of the bus before that… whatever it was got anywhere near her. She managed to fumble open the hatch and pushed the lid out of her way, before climbing through and falling out on the other side. She got up, the pain in her leg starting to pierce the numbness, and limped into a dark alley in front of her. There the pain became searing and she stumbled and fell on the ground. She dragged her way forward until she heard a scream. She looked behind her and saw the creature holding up the bus-driver by the collar of his uniform. Kath managed to drag herself behind a trash container, vaguely registering that the trail of blood would betray her location anyway, and peeked from behind it. The beast stood in the light of one of the street lamps and was clearly visible to her. Stretched to its full height, the creature reached close to a full three meters. It had what looked like the head of a wolf, growling a snarl of proportionally over-sized teeth, and was covered in dark-grey fur. Its legs seemed to have two knees each, or, as Kath noted, large, weirdly shaped foot. She was instantly reminded of the paws of dogs. Its arms looked normal in shape, if not incredibly long compared to the rest of its body. The hands had opposable thumbs and fingers that seemed to be made of long, dark bone claws. The driver was whimpering, his face soaked in tears, as he was begging for his life. Behind them loomed a pale, full moon, as if watching the grim scene.
Kath knew what would come next, but as the beast brought the driver close to its maw, and slowly tore at the man’s throat with its teeth, she had to do all she could to keep herself from yelping in dispair. The scream of agony that escaped the man’s wide-spread lips ended suddenly as his jugular flesh came loose and was gobbled up by the monster. His arms fell limp behind him as his head dangled unnaturally far back, blood spouting out and covering the ground beneath him.
The beast sniffed at the corpse, then with its nose high in the air, then towards where Kath was hiding. It growled with what Kath was convinced was a grin as it dropped the body and turned towards her. Even from her hiding place, Kath was certain it was staring her right in the eyes with its own bright gold ones…
With panic gripping her heart and the pain in her leg screaming at her, a dark mist started to descend over her eyes. As she slipped from consciousness the beast dropped to all fours and began walking towards her. The last she saw were those bright gold eyes, before everything turned pitch black.

[poetry] Survive

I will
survive
this.

I will find a way
out.

A way to escape.

I will cling to myself, as my prison slowly collapses around me
and erodes away.

I will drive the spear of dread through the heart of liberty and free humankind from her tyranny.
I will fight off the closed-minded masses with the sword of wisdom, slaughter and teach millions about virtue, kindness,
and mortality.
I will shatter Atlas’ bones with Thor’s hammer and watch the skies collapse.
I will ride with the four Horsemen and usher in the end of times.
I will sacrifice my neverborn children on the pyre of my unmarried wives, as my gift to Astarte and Lucina, and watch as the flames eat away the flesh from my bones.

But I will not
give
in

I will press on. I will hold on.
Until I am the last person with ears to hear the screams.
Until I am the final human with a nose to smell the rot.
Until I am the only one with eyes
to watch
the whole world

burn

But I will
survive
this.

Things I’m tired of people saying

I was originally going to post this as a Facebook update, but it got long enough to be made into a blog post instead.
If you’re guilty of saying some of these things to me, I apologize in advance, and I still love you. But please, stop saying these things.

~”You’ll find someone. I’m sure of it.”
This one is depressing and frustrating, more than it is hope-giving. Unless you know someone who would be attracted to me, and to whom I would be attracted, you really can’t know this. When I was more naive, this used to give me hope, which would be followed by disappointment and frustration. These days, it’s a guess dressed as a certain fact that’s supposed to give me hope, but simply annoys me instead.
And if you do know someone like that, stop with the useless comments and introduce us already!
Viable alternative: “I can’t believe you haven’t found someone yet! The women around you must be blind or stupid!”

~”You’re so brave. I would never be able to do what you’re doing.” Obviously you wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. You’re not in my situation. You do not feel disgusted by the inherent wrongness that comes with looking at your naked body in a mirror. I would never be able to do what YOU’RE doing (as in, stick to my birth sex). You must be so brave!
Seriously, now, I’m not a very brave person. In many ways, I’m a coward. Standing up for myself, for example, is a feeling that is relatively new to me.
I am, however, incredibly stubborn, and get by on sheer willpower. And caffeine.
Mainly caffeine.
Viable alternative: “I know what you’re going through must be incredibly difficult, and I admire your strength and perseverance. I’ll always be here for you if you need support.”

~”I’m sure this thing you’re writing, but that I haven’t read yet, because you’re still writing it, is going to be fantastic.” Could you please lay off the compliments until *after* you’ve read my work? By the way, when you’ve read it, telling me how I can improve makes me so much happier than just telling me it’s fantastic. It’s not. It may be above average, it may even be ‘good’, but it’s not fantastic. I don’t write *nearly* enough to write fantastic things. If it *is* fantastic, it’s probably a freak accident.
Also, note to self: write more.
Viable alternative: “That thing you’re writing, is it done yet? Can I read it? When will it be done? WRITE FASTER, BITCH!”

~”That exam/job interview/whatever you’re woefully underprepared for, I’m sure it will go fine.” Again with the baseless assumptions presented as fact? You don’t know how much I prepared for this, or how much I needed to prepare for this. You have no idea what my chances are beyond what I told you. And I told you that they are slim to none. And I do know how much I prepared, meaning I’m somewhat more of an expert on the subject of how fucked I am.
I would be able to count the amount of exams I had in my life where I said they were going to be horrible that didn’t go horrible on the fingers of one hand, even if I had the thumb and middle finger missing. In fact, back when I still had exams, I tended to overestimate my chances. So trust me, when I say I’m fucked, I’m generally fucked.
Viable alternative: “I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”

~”You shouldn’t wear makeup. You look beautiful without it.” I don’t. I look hideous without makeup. At least, I *feel* hideous without makeup. Makeup, for me, is as much a self-confidence boost as it is a way to make me look more attractive. Probably even more so. Even if I go out to a place where the only people I know either have a penis, or are in a long term relationship (which would be all the time), I still wear makeup. Why? Because I like not feeling hideous. What I do appreciate are tips on how to improve my makeup skills. I’m always in the market for more of those. Not so much requests to toss it all aside.
Viable alternative: “You shouldn’t wear heavy eye makeup with really intense lipstick. It’s either-or. Never both.”

~Say something Dutch! What, is my being bilingual a fucking circus attraction now? “Oh, hey everyone! Come look at the girl who knows a funny language! Say, something, girl! Say something in your funny language!” I know you’re trying to be interested in my linguistic ‘skill’, but how you’re actually coming across is rude, obnoxious and condescending. Especially since, to me at least, speaking my fucking mother tongue isn’t a skill. Now, if you’re interested in learning Dutch yourself, and you need my help with grammar, or sentence structure, or vocabulary or whatever, or if you’re just plain curious about the language (rather than my personal mastery of it), then that’s something else entirely, and of course I’m willing to oblige. But I’m not going to dance like a monkey for your entertainment.
If you want me to entertain you AND give me a compliment at the same time, pick one of the poems I wrote and ask me to read it to you. Seriously, no amount of foundation is going to hide the red my face will show then.
Besides, speaking a mere two languages, one of them being your mother tongue, and the other being, well, English, isn’t all that much of an achievement. I know people who speak upwards to eight languages, and those people’s linguistic skills I admire, and still I never asked them to ‘say something Russian’. Unless I needed a sentence translated into Russian to make a Russian character of mine more, well, Russian. You get the point.
Viable alternative: Hey, how do you say this in Dutch?

There’s more, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head.
I may update this as I find more, or I may simply forget about this. Either one.

And again, if I offended you, remember that I (most likely) still think you’re an awesome person, but this one thing you keep saying annoys the crap out of me. Stop it. Please.

My Darkest Year

I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed. Not seriously, anyway. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, never felt I needed anti-depressants, and there never was a period I couldn’t laugh at genuinely funny shit. That’s my personal rule of thumb: as long as stuff can make you laugh and smile, you’re not fucked.
I’m not a psychologist in any sense, so I could very well be wrong there, but I take it as a bad sign when someone can’t smile when they look into the eyes of someone they love for the first time in days.
However, there have definitely been darker moments in my life. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that there’s a very clear point, just about when my father left my mother, where I ceased to be the happiest kid on the planet, and never again became more than just… content. And now that I look back at that period, I would say that a year after that moment started the darkest year of my life.

School year September 2006-June 2007. I was sixteen-seventeen and entering the fifth year of high school for the first time. At the time, the previous year had been the most difficult yet. It was the first year I had been bullied for being ‘different’. And not the kind of different you’d expect. Sure, it was a few years prior that I started struggling with my gender, but at the time the struggle was completely internal. No, how I was different was because I was silent and introvert, and because I grew my hair long. Boys aren’t allowed to have long hair, damn it!
Anyway, that year wasn’t that catastrophic because the morons made the mistake of attacking me online as well. I then had contacted a few friends who contacted a few more friends, and by the end of the month, half of my town’s youth who had an internet connection were cyber-bullying my assailants. No regrets, by the way.
Anyway, eventually, that hatchet was buried, and we continued on as ‘friends’ for the rest of that year.
However, six months later, I was sharing a classroom with the same arseholes again, and it wasn’t too long before they decided long hair and seclusion were ideal fuels to feed their power trips. And this time, having lost contact with those friends from the previous year, I was on my own. I didn’t really have anyone to turn to at all when I was systematically the last to be picked for group assignments, had rules for card games changed so there would be exactly one spot too few to let *everyone* play and at one point gotten surrounded by 8 of the motherfuckers, all being extra obvious about the fact there was chewing gum in their mouths.
At one point, when one of our teachers made a bloody good joke during classes, and I laughed out loud (remember, you’re not depressed as long as you can laugh at funny shit), one of them yelled from across the classroom ‘What the fuck are you laughing for?’ Not laughing at, because that was plainly obvious. He was *actually* asking what business I had expressing happiness. It should be noted, by the way, that four years prior, I was the only friend that particular guy had in the entire gorram school. Back then he was being picked on, ignored and rejected by just about everyone else. I was in a similar (and worse) situation he was in, and the cunt sold me out for a few brownie points with his new, popular friends.

At home my parents’ divorce was in full swing. Father had already left, but now the two of them were bickering over who got to keep which stuff. It wasn’t the coziest of places.
Combine this with the fact that my mind and my body were at war over what bloody gender I was supposed to be, and, well, I needed something or someone to take my mind off of stuff.

I had one friend at the time whom I saw regularly. Every weekend, in fact. However, as I grew more cynical and jaded over the months, I pushed him more and more away, until at some point he just stopped having time for me.
I had friends on the internet -thank fuck for the internet- but very soon that just ceased to be enough. I felt alone, abandoned, betrayed. I had the feeling nobody missed me, nor would ever miss me again, so I turned to the window in my room that led to a side roof.
Now, for those of you who have never been there, the upper floors of my house look a bit like this, when viewed from the side.

Behold my mad Paint skillz

All it would take was for me to crawl through that window, walk to the edge of the roof, and… drop. And several times I stood at that edge, looking down, then looking back to the window, then taking a deep breath, then going back inside.
What ultimately kept me from making that jump, I feel, is not a fear of death. It wasn’t the fact that the idea of leaving my parents emotionally scarred for life was too off-putting. It was honest curiosity.
I wanted to know how my story unfolded. How it ends. Jumping off that roof wouldn’t have been an end. To me it felt like stopping reading a book in the middle of a chapter, then tossing the book in a fire. My story wasn’t done -still isn’t done- and I want to know what comes next. There were so many plotlines at the time I found too interesting to give up: when would my gender make sense? Would I ever have more than one friend I could touch? Would I ever lose my bloody virginity, or find someone to grow old with, for that matter? What would happen with my parents?
Some of these side-plots have since been concluded, others are still ongoing, and several new ones have opened up. And now I am immensely glad that they did.

So, dying wasn’t an option. This left me with the only viable alternative: surviving. However, I still had a class-full of dicks bent on driving me if not insane, at least depressed. I couldn’t reason with them, hell, I couldn’t even talk to them. So I decided they couldn’t reason or talk to me either. Everything school-related I simply blocked out. I didn’t pay attention to anyone or anything anymore. I’m sure I’ve been yelled at or addressed or whatever at points during those last few months of the school year, but I simply didn’t give a shit.
I ceased doing homework, I ceased studying, hell, I ceased trying to find a group for group assignments. The plan was to get to the end of the year with at least effort or energy wasted as possible, fail the final exams, then redo the year in a different school.
And eventually, it worked. I failed over pretty much the complete line and when the final scores were announced I just took the report card and went home.
I later learned that during the end-of-school class ‘party’ my classmates threw before the picking-up of said report cards (a party I also ignored), they were told that I had failed and, apparently, some of them claimed that I ‘shouldn’t leave’ and that I ‘belonged here, in this group’. Now, obviously, none of the people who expressed these sentiments were among the bullies. However, during the period I actually did arrive at school, waited my turn, and left with my results, none of them so much as talked to me. So… yeah.

Now, I’m not going to claim that once that infernal year was over, my life was sunshine and rainbows again. A lot of obstacles have been thrown in my path since. But a lot of improvements as well. However, while I wouldn’t say that I’m *happy* per se -there’s still too much fundamental changes I want to see in my life- there has never again been a moment where I walked up to the edge of that roof, looked down and wondered ‘wouldn’t it be better if?’

~Hel