[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.

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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

[Prose] Silverheart: Chapters 0-1

Disclaimer: Title is still a work in progress. The actual body is as well, but I’d like opinions nonetheless.

0: Rebirth

Lilith woke up in a puddle of her own sweat. Naked, exhausted, and feeling like every muscle in her body had been surgically removed, then replaced. And hungry, so very hungry. Screw steak, she felt like she could eat an entire cow. Raw.
The thought frightened her. She had never particularly enjoyed the taste of meat, even less so as she was forced to eat it as her illness grew stronger, but now she effectively craved it. She knew these urges would come; she had been warned often enough about the dangers her condition entailed. But it doesn’t matter from how far you see the truck coming. If there is no way to jump aside, it’s going to hit you, and it’s going to hit you hard. No amount of warnings or anticipation was going to prepare her for this.
As the red mist faded away, and the room around her came into focus again, she tried to sit up, muscles straining every inch of the way. Once she was up straight a familiar voice entered her ear a few seconds before it became comprehensible: “…so proud of you. We thought we lost you for a while, but you came back to us before we had to… Never mind. How do you feel?”
Lilith knew exactly what she meant, and swallowed when she realized how close to death she had been. “I’m… I feel like the entire world just rolled over me, crushed every bone and squished every muscle in my body, then someone put it all together with super glue…“ She paused for a moment. “Also, I’m dead tired. Mum… Thank you, for being here.”
“You’re my daughter. I’d do anything for you.” She wrapped a long, thick coat around her daughter’s bare shoulders, who grabbed the sides and pulled it close around her. Only now did Lilith realize how cold she was. Her mother continued with the words tradition has dictated since her people became a people: “Your greatest struggle is behind you. You have survived death, and now eternity is yours for the taking.”

1: Bearings

It was a long, and busy trip, but I have finally arrived at my destination.
Katherina reread the sentence, blinked, reread it again, then crossed it out. She massaged the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger and swore under her breath. Finally she tossed her notebook aside with a loud sigh. It was hopeless. How was she ever supposed to find work as a journalist if she couldn’t get an article sorted?
She sighed again, decided to get some food sorted, and hopped up from bed. The room was still filled with boxes containing pretty much all her stuff. The walls were still blank and the book racks were empty. Ever since she arrived in her new home, she had been too busy trying in vain to put words on paper to start unpacking. She had stuffed the fridge, obviously, and made sure her natural writing habitat -her bed- was in order, but beyond that, pretty much everything still needed to find a place. She’d get to it. Eventually. For now, though, she fished out a bowl of lettuce leaves from the refrigerator and took it to the living room.
She was happy she didn’t have to decorate the entire apartment. Moving in with a guy she met online might not have been the most popular of options with her parents, but it was by far the cheapest. At least without sacrificing too much luxury. It also meant that she didn’t have to go through several days before she could crash down in front of the television with a snack and watch useless shit.
Useless shit, as it turned out, was a news report already in progress: “Investigators are still looking into the death of mister Stevens, but the cause remains a mystery. Preliminary results seem to suggest an attack by a large animal, like a bear, or a pack of vicious wolves, but beasts like those have not been sighted in the area for generations. The police, however, is not excluding the possibility of murder. And now, for the weather.”
Kath switched the channel to some sitcom and began munching her lettuce, but her thoughts kept wandering to the incident, and in particular to the location: A forest not too far from the city her apartment was in.
She shook her head. Maybe she should just go out for the night. Peter, her flatmate, was at the pub just down the road with a few of his friends. She could hop over and say hi, meet new people -beside Peter, she knew no one in this city- and maybe gather some ideas to write about.
She turned off the television, put the bowl back in the fridge, and went to prepare herself.

After having settled on an outfit to wear and applying her makeup to satisfaction, Katherina took one final look in the mirror. She never found herself to be that good-looking, but some reason, all of her friends disagreed. She had brown, shoulder-length hair that framed her round face. A pair of large, vibrant blue eyes peered at her reflection above a nose that was slightly larger than she would’ve liked it to be. She did like her lips, though. They were slightly larger than average, without looking fake or bloated. As always, the thought put a smile on them.
She turned away from the mirror and took her purse and coat. After one last glance to see if she didn’t forget anything, she left the apartment.

“Hey! Good to see you could make it after all.” Peter said, after kissing Katherina’s cheek. “I thought you were going to get some writing done?”
Katherina shrugged and replied: “Writer’s block. Absolutely nothing on TV, either.”
“Well, you’re welcome to join us, obviously.”
Kath grabbed a chair from a nearby empty table and sat down with Peter and his friends.
“Guys, this is Katherina,” he introduced her. “Kath, this is Harry. He can be a bit nerdy at times, but don’t mind that.” He gestured towards a man with short, blonde hair, a goatee, moustache, and a pair of glasses. “There’s Amaya.” Next to Harry was sitting an Asian-looking girl who looked, well, Asian. Katherina made the mental note to try and think less racist. “But we call her Amy. Her parents are from Japan, but they moved here before she was born. She can kick your ass in about six different martial arts.”
“Seven” Amy corrected him.
“Remind me never to get on your bad side, then.” Kath said.
“And finally we have Gwen. Gwen doesn’t say much.” Gwen was pale, almost sickly so, and had long, black hair that managed to look both dyed and natural at the same time. She didn’t stop staring at her drink as she raised her hand wordlessly.
“Er… heya, I guess.”
“She’s hilarious when she does speak, though.” Peter added “Or creepy, depending on her mood.”
Katherina smiled at Peter. He was fairly good-looking. His hair was bound back in a short pony tail, revealing most of his clean-shaven face. His piercing blue eyes seemed to dance as he spoke, constantly jumping from settling on Kath’s to flitting across the room and back, as if he were nervous. Something the way he spoke and the things he said belied. Kath couldn’t help but have her focus shift constantly to his abnormally large nose, though. ‘Monumental’, her mother might’ve called it. That is, if her mother didn’t believe Kath was going to have wild, unprotected sex with the man every single night.

After a few minutes of idle chatting, Kath suddenly heard someone singing. She turned around and noticed there was a stage in the corner of the pub with a small band having set up there. A young woman, accompanied by a pianist, a guitarist and a violinist, was singing about love and the moon and some other things.
For some reason, Kath couldn’t look away from the singer. She seemed to be around Kath’s age -roughly 25- and she was tall and slender. Based on where the long dress left her tiny waist and fell around her hips, Kath imagined her legs going on forever, an assumption that came with matching arms, too. The dress itself was a deep, dark purple, and reached to the floor. A single sleeve ran down her right arm, flaring out widely from the elbow down. Her left arm and shoulder, in stark contrast, were completely bare. Her dirty-blonde hair was cut short and cut in a way that made it seemingly point at her right eye.
But it were her eyes which drew Kath’s attention the most. They were large, their irises a bright gold. They seemed almost animal-like to Kath. Her voice was low, almost growling at times, but she managed to reach the high pitches almost effortlessly.
Kath turned to Peter. “Who is she?”
“Linda, or Lydia, or something. I forgot her name. She sings here occasionally. She’s not bad, really. Gwen claims to know her.” Kath looked at Gwen and saw that she had shfited her gaze from her drink to the stage.
Kath sipped from her own drink and looked back to the stage herself. The singer had just finished a song and smiled at the half-hearted applause given her. As she looked around the crowd, her gaze suddenly rested on Kath’s, and lingered there, or so Kath believed. It was always a bit of an awkward feeling when she thought a performer made eye-contact with her.
The pianist began playing a few nots, and the singer smiled. Kath noticed something off about her smile, or her teeth, or something. She tried not to dwell on it and tore her gaze away from the singer as she resumed singing, closing her eyes to do so.
Her companions -with the exception of Gewn- were looking at her with grins of their own.
“What?” She asked.
“Oh, nothing” Harry said. “Just, you know. It’s cute, the way you’re enjoyed the show.”
“I just like talented people, that’s all. No need to go look for anything behind it.”
“Oh, you like her all right. Can’t blame you, either. She’s not bad looking, and she has an… interesting voice. What do you say, Pete?”
“I say maybe we should change the subject” Peter replied, noticing that Kath was rolling her eyes. “Not sure about you, Harry, but I’m not a gossiping teen any more.”
“Fine, then. What were we talking about, again?”
“Not important!” Amaya interjected, staring at the smartphone in her hand. “Apparently another one got killed nearby. They say it was wild animals, but there’s no wild animals around here. No mention of a zoo breakout anywhere on the web, either. Crazy stuff.”
“Yeah, I caught that on the news before I came over.” Kath added. “Wait, you said another one?”
Amaya looked up and replied: “Yeah, a few weeks ago, someone got torn to shreds. All they found was his arms and bits of his head still attached to what was left of his ribcage. Everything else was just… gone. Kinda gruesome, really.” She continued tapping at her phone, presumably looking for more bits of data on the news. Katherina turned back to the singer. Definitely something wrong with her teeth, she noted, then turned back to the drink in front of her.

Things I Still Lack Confidence For.

-Tell friends.
-Tell my parents.
-Tell people I don’t know that well but who really should know.
-Wear make-up at home.
-Wear make-up when leaving the house.
-Wear women’s clothes.
-Leave the house in women’s clothes.
-Wear anything that shows my bare legs.
-Stop assuming people don’t like me as a rule. Be less socially paranoid in general.
-Be photographed. Note: if I like the photographer
-Wear swimwear, or go swimming.
-Ask a girl out to her face, if at all.
-Be more open with my opinions. Give compliments or say it if I have an issue with something. Especially vocally.
-Speak more in general. When I do have the word, don’t let myself get cut off when interrupted.
-Dance when others are watching.
-Sing when others are listening.
-To be continued

We’ll get there.

[Poem] Untitled

They say she never laughs, but I can see her eyes smile when her lips would never curl.
Even as she cries, those eyes hold joy. Her sorrow can’t drown the secret she hides from those who do not seek it.
Her gates, which have been barred, imprisoned her emotions, in captivity building up, but never could burst open.
Numb, yet unbroken; rage nor sorrow woken; love, desire never spoken; joy and laughter only token.
Now gates’ key has been discovered, opening wide and free; emotions old and new flooding out and covering her, drowning her with their weight.
Now, she enjoys her hatred and loves her sorrow, feeling bliss when the tears roll down her cheeks, and I never see her lips curl, but her eyes, no lies they speak. 

[Tag pending] Relationships

Disclaimer: The following is one of the most personal pieces I’ve written. I’m not ashamed of anything in there, but at places it can go rather deep. I think. I’ve never been good at judging how other people might react to these kinds of stuff. I also get… descriptive at times, and the whole thing might come off as emo and whiny. If any of those bother you, I suggest skipping this one.
The she and the someone I refer to is not a single real person. She’s partly a composite of memories spread over various past relationships and one-week-stands, with my own fantasies filling in some of the gaps.

I’m weird. No, seriously, I am.  Prime example: I never get anything done when I play songs of which I know the lyrics by heart, yet I can’t resist playing them while trying to get a blog post written.
Another one: In bed, those nights I vainly attempt to catch some sleep, I imagine myself in a conversation-turning-monologue with people I know as way of ordering my thoughts and opinions on a certain subject. Last night, for example, I imagined such a conversation that turned into me ranting about why I miss being in a relationship. I don’t quite remember it verbatim, but I’ll try to reconstruct it in a single, readable text. Anyway, here goes:

I don’t think I miss sex. Maybe because of the fact that I find any form of intimacy involving a penis to be off-putting, I don’t know. But I have always found someone else touching the wretched thing to be uncomfortable more than pleasant. Maybe it’s my own lack of experience, or the fact that I find vanilla sex to be a rather dull concept… Whatever the case, I’m not ashamed to admit that the only thing on the planet that has brought me to orgasm thus far is my left hand. Nor am I ashamed to admit that while I don’t find sex all that appealing, I do enjoy orgasms, although since November, I feel the need for them waning.

 No, what I do miss is intimacy. Sharing my bed, life and plight with someone who cares deeply about me. Having endless text message conversations about absolutely nothing, yet being giddy every time my phone beeps.
I miss foreplay; surrendering to passionate lust where you don’t care if it wrecks the bed or not. I miss the sheer primal joy of having someone nibble my ear, or bite my shoulder, or run her nails along my side. I miss running my hands all over someone’s body: caressing her face, messing up her hair, playing with her breasts, stroking her thighs… I could have an entire night just foreplay, then fall asleep in her arms.
I miss being connected to someone on an almost subconscious level, thinking about them whenever I have room for an idle thought, wondering how they are and if they think of me sometimes as well. You know, if they want to.
I miss the drive a relationship gives. I miss the motivation to, say, get rid of my body hair regularly, rather than just covering everything up. Or another reason to pick up my life and take it to the next phase, rather than lingering in the current one for much longer than I should. Not necessarily things she asks of me, but things I suddenly find more important because my life is suddenly partly hers now.
For more than three years now, all this and more I’ve been missing.

Not that I blame anyone. I’m an unemployed transsexual in the middle of her transition who lives with her mother. I’m also not the most socially skilled of people. While casual conversation comes much easier than a few years ago, expressing my feelings or my interest to someone is still difficult and awkward and hampered by my undying fear of rejection. A fear not at all unfounded, given that I am what I am.
Yet despite all the great and wonderful changes in my life, this still gnaws at me. I can’t seem to get over it, and with my emotions being all over the place, I can’t help but feel the need to vent about it. 

And if anyone says this was too whiny, I think I’ll just blame hormones.

~Hel