trigger warning: rape, abuse
She whispers it
and the tail end of that long, long vowel sound
wavers and moans like a worn floorboard.
You sidestep around it,
feeling your way along,
and when it comes again —
— you stifle it with your teeth,
sheathed beneath the suffocating press of your lips.
She is a child,
collects stuffed animals
is captured by your charm
and cowed by your condescension —
but she’s got calluses on her hands
scars on her shoulders
her legs are not shapely but sturdy,
with scarred knees and soles.
Soft and small,
she bares her teeth at you
but her tongue sticks on the consonant,
and before she can form the word
you’re prying her open,
and she’s a tightly closed fist,
the jaw of an animal,
easy enough to break
I have not liked anything I have written lately. x__x
let me tell you about anxiety —
because it’s more than the
racing heart —
it’s multiplied, magnified —
sorry, what did you say?
sorry, what did you say?
sorry, what did you say?
while Their words crash encrypted
against the firewall of your panic
it’s surreptitiously trying to convert mannerisms into mathematics —
how much oxygen is in the room
and how much of it can i sneak stuttering into my lungs
and will They notice if i’m taking too much
how much space am i taking up
and if i stand here or here or here
or shrink into myself
or suck in my gut
will i take up less
how many minutes have They spent on me
and how many more am i allotted
and are They giving them out of charity
or did i earn the right to keep them
it’s a prison
where your ribs are the bars
and your heart is a tripping, seizing convict
slamming against the walls
screaming and slavering
grappling with demons unseen
while your lungs, those unfortunate cellmates
squeeze themselves small
bruised and battered
by your heavyweight heart
Yesterday I doodled and uploaded a new ASMR video.
I still have two ten minute coffee can poems I need to write, but today I had something of a breakthrough that I would rather talk about instead.
I mentioned WOLF and Undersea and Coelacanth, but I also have three other characters that I adopted from other players: Cypress Frostfur, Szymon Cairn, and Lotte Ansbjørn. I know. Wolves with last names. It’s a thing. Don’t worry about it. Szymon is retired now, which means I pulled him from the game and don’t write for him anymore, but it was ridiculously easy for me to sink into his character. Cypress is the same way. I identify with a lot of their personal struggles and our neuroses tend to match up. The boys don’t react the way I might to certain stimuli, but still — writing for them has generally been easy, inspiring, exciting and fun. I struggled more with Cypress because I have played him since he was born on June 27th, 2016. It’s really boring to play a newborn wolf puppy because…they don’t really do anything. They can’t even urinate or defecate without assistance. You’re just like, “CYPRESS WORMED AROUND, NURSED, AND FELL ASLEEP.”
Anyway, I don’t really feel like going into detail about Cypress and Szymon [affectionately nicknamed “Sizzle”] because that would take me ages and I have things I need to do. What I wanted to talk about was Lotte, my problem child.
Lotte wins the award for the character I struggle with the most, and it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve played her since Cypress was born and it’s never gotten any easier. She does things that make me cringe — she’s brash, outspoken, and dominant and I’m timorous, introverted, and submissive — and the vast difference in our personalities is probably a significant part of the rift I feel with her, but that’s not the only thing. It takes me days sometimes to get into the mindset of writing for her, but once I do I think her posts come out okay. It’s just…getting there is brutal. Not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought, “Man. It would be so nice if I could just drop Lotte and keep on with Coelacanth, Cypress, and Eirlys.”
Oh, yeah. I also play Eirlys, Lotte’s daughter. She was born April 1st, 2017.
Everybody struggles for inspiration at some point in their lives, I think, so I don’t really dwell on the constant agony that is trying to get into Lotte’s mindset. Some people listen to music and other people read works of fiction or watch shows that inspire them, but that doesn’t always work for me. Originally I thought it’d be cute if Eirlys took after Moana a little bit, but that plan has been scrapped because although the pack she was born into was originally a seaside pack, they’ve since relocated. Now they live in a little strath in the southern hinterlands weeks away from the ocean. It’s…kind of a bummer, honestly, but that’s my personal affinity for the ocean speaking. Lotte hates sand. She’s from the northern tundra.
WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON.
Maybe up until approximately an hour ago, I still felt that way.
Now, though, Sara Bareilles has done some kind of crazy magic voodoo and given me a flicker of hope for Lotte’s future. Her fantastic song from Waitress, “She Used to Be Mine,” has been on repeat for the past week or so. I never once linked it to Lotte. When I write with music, I usually pick a song or an ASMR video that I like, stick it into ListenOnRepeat, and let it play in the background. What I’m listening to doesn’t have any bearing on what I’m writing — I just need background noise. Otherwise, I get distracted by every little thing that happens in my house.
It used to be the cool, fancy thing to garnish our posts with song lyrics or lines of poetry that encapsulated the situation or the character. Some people still do it. I still do it, if I’m particularly moved. Cypress is heavily inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and most of the titles of his threads come from “Dream-Land”. Similarly, I draw from a wide range of sources to immerse myself in the right feel and aesthetic for Coelacanth’s posts and for Undersea. Lotte, though? There hasn’t been anything I’ve listened to or watched that has “spoken” to me from her point of view.
Because Sara Bareilles broke my brain.
Today I wrote a Lotte post that I was unusually happy with, and it felt like I’d broken through. I’d won, somehow. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to keep her long-term because it’s just…really, really hard to write for her, but today is a good day.
it’s not simple to say
that most days i don’t recognize me
that these shoes and this apron
that place and its patrons
have taken more than i gave them
it’s not easy to know
i’m not anything like i used be, although it’s true
i was never attention’s sweet center
i still remember that girl
As he often does, Arturo gives Lotte a gift she doesn’t realize she needs. He has married a soldier, not a princess, and it is all too easy for the young queen to lose herself in duty and responsibility. These things fuel and drive her, but she is helpless in the face of their demands. Without someone to forcibly take the bit from her mouth, she is too easily consumed by them. The dawn of the year has brought event after heavy-hitting event — the Donnelaith fire, her move to Teaghlaigh, and her marriage to Arturo; her ascension to leadership, her first heat cycle, and her ensuing pregnancy; the threat of Blackfeather Woods, the exodus to the hinterlands, and the exile of Olive and Dakarai. Add to these things the departure of her kaksonen, the birth of her children, and the constant struggle to keep them happy and healthy despite their dicey arrival, and what you have is a stretched-thin girl with a hard-lined mouth and cool silver eyes.
Some days it feels like Lotte Ansbjørn died in that fire. Some days it feels like she left with Dagfinn. Some days Banríon looks at her reflection in the water and searches for that girl, that reckless, hoydenish girl who wooed and won a gangster in gentleman’s clothing, and doesn’t recognize the harsher set to her black-masked features. There’s a stranger in her body, and only her eyes know that what she’s seeing isn’t what’s inside — but not with any concrete certainty. Where is the laughter? Where is the spice, the sass, the spirit?
Where is Lotte?
At present the soot-stockinged songbird is seated riverside, and when her mate’s call rises above the trees her charcoal-colored ears flick and swivel to catch it. Her children are already under Hemlock’s capable care, but there is still a moment of sluggish hesitation that delays her. Every day that Dagfinn’s gone, it gets harder to answer to the sound of her own name, not out of spite or despondency, but because without him to ground her it’s all too easy to forget who she is. This time, she is not Kaniini, Kitku, or Solene.
She is a stranger even to herself.
After a beat, she rouses herself to respond to that call. She doesn’t know how much time has passed, if any. She doesn’t clock the hours the way she used to. Her surefooted paws draw her away from the river and out of the strath, into the sweep of fragrant cedar where a forest clearing and a good, solid man who loves her waits. There is no ecstatic flutter of her heart as she stands, breathing deeply, looking at him; but there is a feeling of weightlessness that melts the ice in her argent eyes degree by slow degree. She warms to him, softening, a smile curling the sharp corners of her lips and making something sweet of them. “Turo,” the nightingale sighs, instinctually defining herself by her place at his side. It’s easy to cross the distance. Easy to snake her body hard against his in the old, familiar way, and walk a circle around him before pressing her lips to his cheek, his mouth, the base of his ear. It doesn’t fix the problem, but she doesn’t see that. Doesn’t care.
“I have missed you,” she murmurs, and these words are true.
she’s imperfect, but she tries
she is good, but she lies
she is hard on herself
she is broken and won’t ask for help
she is messy, but she’s kind
she is lonely most of the time
she is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
she is gone, but she used to be mine
For the past week or so I have been working on a project for WOLF.
I am creating my own pack in the game, and I am attempting to do as much of the work as possible without asking for assistance, which is proving somewhat challenging. My skill in Adobe Photoshop is iffy at best. I have to be honest: work was so insane this week that I created little to nothing on Monday or Tuesday, and from the seventeenth to the eighteenth I have been mainly focused on making territory maps. I will turn back to the coffee can later for some more ten minute scribbles, but for now, I will show off some things I am ridiculously proud of.
The idea behind this map is that sections of it will “unlock” as forum posts accumulate. This is to encourage activity and to keep the territory interesting. You know how, when you play an MMO, there is almost always a starter zone? Yeah. I am pretty excited for this pack, and even if it flops and everything fails, I will still be proud that I tried. I have waited a really long time to take the plunge.
The following names are the intellectual property of the WOLF game:
- Cerulean Cape
- Totoka River
- Sea Lion Shores
Not sure if I have to put that somewhere, but in case I do, there it is.
Now, without further ado, here are the maps.
For the rough draft, I enlarged the game map, and traced things.
For the final-ish draft, I edited that actual picture in Adobe Photoshop and basically just tried not to screw up. I cleaned up the edges of the outline with the eraser and pencil tools and then I just did a bunch of other stuff that I cannot really remember. My wrist is killing me. The font used is called Timeless from dafont.com.
From May to July, things get a little rough around here.
If you have read The Unapologetic INKDOG for any length of time, it has probably already become evident that I have a significant number of demons. They’re always present, but this is kind of the season for them, so it’s probably fitting that I woke up today from another nightmare about my parents. I have them fairly frequently and I rarely write about them. For awhile I thought maybe it would be a good idea to keep track of them, but then I have to scroll back through them and see them.
So…I’m not going to write about the one I had today. I’m just going to throw out into the void that I’m having a hard time and I’m grateful for my therapist.
On the bright side, I’m also just about halfway through KEDIM and even though I’ve done things a little out of order, I’m still on track. If by May 31st I can say that I have written or created thirty-one things, I will consider this month a win. I mean, it’s already pretty much a win. I started making ASMR videos again, which I haven’t felt confident about doing since October 2015 when I got sick. I finished poems I didn’t think I’d ever finish and started a few scrappy ones that have good enough bones to salvage and repurpose. If I can keep up the habit of writing every day, maybe I’ll manage to finish something one day! That’s the goal, anyway.
I’ve been lagging behind on studying Korean, though. If I put two to three hours of study time in every day for the rest of the month I will still have 30+ hours of study under my belt by June. I’ll try to focus on doing that instead of feeling bad about the time I missed.
Lastly, it is Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, whether you are the mother of a “traditional” family; a single father working double duty; a mother of children fluffy, feathered, scaled, or tailed; a sibling who has had to step up and assume such a role; a foster mother of people or animals, helping your babies get healthy and happy and preparing for the heartbreak of letting them go; a mother in the workplace who remembers to take care of your coworkers; and all of those who have assumed similar roles to make the world a happier, safer place. Happy Mother’s Day to the new mothers; happy Mother’s Day to those who have tried or are still trying to conceive; happy Mother’s Day to the mothers-to-be. Happy Mother’s Day if you’ve lost your mother and are thinking of her especially on a day like today.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who has made the choice to remain childless and gets flak for it; you deserve exactly ZERO of that flak, because making that choice is a personal decision and you should have a wonderful day anyway.
for sid, who deserves way more than a ten minute coffee can poem
I was soft when we met:
tame as your sweetest house cat
with approximately half of the street smarts.
There are dogs who will tolerate anything:
being sat on and bowled over —
sweet dogs —
when we met,
there was no bitch in me
no curl of lip
no glint of alabaster
I knew meek and I knew mild
I knew to sit and to lie
to speak when spoken to
to beg and to go down on command
I knew that no means NO
(except when I say it)
I knew masters and leashes
fences and walls
and when I finally got away
I didn’t know how to be free
I didn’t know that
bitches eat first
sit when they want
lie when they want
beg when they want
speak when they want
go down when they want
say no and mean NO
cut their teeth on bone
I didn’t know that
until you taught me
you taught me to run wild
sit when I want
lie when I want
beg when I want
speak when I want
go down when I want
say no and mean NO
cut my teeth on bone
you taught me how to be free