Like I’m perpetually cockblocking myself. A friend merely has to mention that she’s interested in a boy, and I’ll switch from talking about how I’ll actually talk to him next time I see him and ask him out for coffee to telling her that she should go for it and show interest. Ask him out.
Maybe it’s because I don’t like to invest too much of myself in relationships to begin with, so I get excited at the prospect of hitting it off with someone but never to the point where I can’t shrug it off and just say “whatever, he probably wasn’t interested anyway”. (Oh, hello emotional baggage. Funny how YOU never get lost in baggage claim, but all my cute clothes inevitably end up in a different city…)
It doesn’t help that I surround myself with people who I view as prettier than me. I know that shouldn’t make a difference, but when I’ve got brown eyes and brown hair and average build, and they’ve got the same things, same features, only they’re cuter and more subtle and (to get very specific) better dancers, it’s hard to think of a guy who would look at me next to the others and pick me right away. Logically, I know this makes no difference. There’s so much that goes into physical attraction. This isn’t even scratching the surface. But, as much as I like to pride myself on logical thinking, this is not an instance where it shines as a beacon of hope. It’s more an instance where logic gets overshadowed by standard societal measurements of beauty and glaring insecurities. Always a fun mix.
I wonder, though, how it would work if I actually pursued them. If I didn’t let the perceived lack of interest stop me from at least talking to them about it. From putting myself out there. It’s all well and good for me to tell a random boy he’s cute - overcoming the shyness and putting it all out there can be freeing. But for me to actually make a move on a guy I think I’d like to date? No thanks. I’m going to be over here making awkward conversation with him and giggling a lot. Putting up my defenses and poking fun at him in what I hope comes off in a playful way.
And if a friend of mine goes “Hey, I think I might like him,” I’ll stop sending any signals I was trying to get through immediately and step away, because if he didn’t realize from the way I brushed my hair that I wanted to take him out for coffee and slam him against the wall for a few hours, then he’s OBVIOUSLY not interested. I need to cut that shit out and honey badger the fuck up. Actually tell guys, because they’re clueless, and let them make the decision.
It’s not that big of a deal, this. It doesn’t truly bother me, not yet. It just kind of irks me, and I find it funny and a tiny bit sad. In the past six months, this has happened to me 3 different times. That’s once every two months. That’s why I’m thinking this might be a trend. This might be something I need to take care of.
Life was so much simpler when my good friends and I did not have anywhere close to the same taste in guys.
Four different pieces of paper can prove that I’m not good at taking standardized tests in physics concepts.
They can prove that I can’t get into a grad school because I won’t be able to “handle the classes”, even though the classes are nothing like the exam they require for them.
Four more reasons for my folks to say “I told you so”.
Ugh. I’m going to go take my depression and self-loathing over to the corner of the room now and emo it up. I kinda don’t want to stay home right now, but I also kinda have work in the morning. Early. And they’re going to ask about my scores. And I’m going to have to respond with “Oh, you know. Not good. I’m not going to grad school. Thanks for hiring me for a year and a half, though! Wasn’t it fun. Yeeeeeeeeah.”
Work in the field I’m too dumb to actually get into. How ironic is that?
Forced life change? I don’t even know if I was going to do physics anymore. But it’s not even an option now. Yay? Decision made for me?
Fucking honey badger. I need to remember to not give a shit and do what I want. And I need to be able to have this conversation with about 10 different people tomorrow in a calm way.
I wasn’t even the talent behind any of it. I had a story that other people helped me come up with and then those other people made it amazing. I just sat back and gave them deadlines and structure.
I guess the argument can be made that organizing…
REEEEEEE for one you do have artist friends :D I still certainly consider you such! And hey- you shouldn’t feel guilty at all. You really did run that OCT, and honestly- if it weren’t you running it, I wouldn’t have joined. I felt totally bummed and slammed about OCTs post Colosseum, and was thinking of giving up on OCTs alltogether anyway. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been there, and I honestly don’t think that LoT would’ve happened the way it did. Sure- you didn’t write each entry or each character, but without you it wouldn’t have come together how it did. People love and respect you, and that’s why it happened!
I think you need to give yourself a little more credit :3 and maybe if you want to join an OCT, rather than host another one, to get away form that feeling of guilt or fear that haunts you, maybe that’ll help? But work at your own pace. If getting a new username helps you with that, then I think that’s great! But glad to see you here on Tumblr :D and hope to see you in person again someday miss Ree! <3 <3 all my loves
DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL <3 I’m so happy I stumbled upon your corner of this site! It’s so weird coming back to dA slowly and not knowing how to get in touch with people again, haha, I feel more comfortable here. :)
Thank you <3 I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, and seeing your words really helped me! I might be cautiously sniffing around for OCTs in the near future, haha. Still haven’t decided on the name change or not. And yes! In my artistic absence I took up swing dancing, so all of the free time and money I had went from being put into art and Cons to dance and workshops. I’d love to make it to a con again, though, be able to see you and hang out with you! :D Do you have a prospective con schedule anywhere for next year? (Are you doing DragonCon? Because I think that’ll be the one I make sure to be at next year, especially if I’m still in Tennessee and only a few hours away…)
I find it weird that some people still think of me as internet-famous...
After more than two years, I thought it’d fade.
I wasn’t even the talent behind any of it. I had a story that other people helped me come up with and then those other people made it amazing. I just sat back and gave them deadlines and structure.
I guess the argument can be made that organizing it was difficult - and it was. I have enormous amounts of respect for anyone willing to run an OCT because of my experience. It was a trial in patience, in discipline, and in taking the higher road. It was also a trial that I failed on more than one occasion.
Regardless, the experience was amazing. Seeing what my exceptionally talented friends came up with was worth every ounce of stress I had to get there.
It’s just weird that I still get notes and messages about it.
Sometimes they’re asking about a character’s back story, as they seem to be a bit confused that I’m actually not the grand mastermind responsible for every aspect of it all. Other times they just want to know if they can use a concept or an idea or make fanart or anything of that sort. I still feel odd answering those questions, two and a half years later.
I think the oddest part is when I reply to someone and they say something like “it’s an honor to meet you”. It still happens. Still. I always find it a bit off putting. I always wonder if they realize how little I had to do with LoT and its success and ability to draw people in.
I think it’s why I’ve been thinking about switching accounts more and more.
I want people to watch me, to like my page because of my art. Not because of the competition I held two and a half years ago. Not because my page was the one that exploded with results from each match. It’s given me a complex where I’m not sure who still hangs around because they thought my art interesting, and who’s there because they think, any day now, I’m going to come out with LoT 2! Open auditions! Everyone enter!
I loved how it ended. I’m not doing a sequel, and I probably won’t hold another OCT, either. What made it so much fun was the people I did it with. If my previous posts of airing out issues haven’t made it clear, I don’t have much contact with those people anymore. It’s not worth the stress, to me, to do something of that scale, of that measure, and deal with it all again unless I have the same people, the same relationships, there to help me through the rough patches.
I don’t have many friends that are artists anymore. I’ll try to change that, again, and we’ll see how that goes. But that’s another post all to itself.
It’s also why I run away from dA every once in a while.
It’s guilt. Guilt at being so clearly idolized over something I had such a minor role in. Guilt because I feel the need to correct every person who leaves a comment about it, every time reminding myself why I ran it and wasn’t even trying to be one of the participants that made it amazing - out of fear. Fear that if I was a contestant, I’d do the same thing I always do - I’d come up with a story, be really excited, procrastinate because nothing came out right on paper, finish it all the night before the deadline, and get steamrolled by someone who’s not only inherently more talented, but who also took the time to do their entry right. Fear that it’d end with me justifying it to myself that they were better anyway, so they were slated to win, but knowing that even if that justification was true, I still wasn’t good enough. If it wasn’t, if we stood an equal chance, I fucked it up. If they were more talented than I in the artistic side, then I didn’t make my story good enough. If they had me beat on both fronts, then I just wasn’t good enough to begin with.
I remember when we started talking about this. The OCT to end all OCTs! We’ll do it invite-only! We’ll do it RIGHT. We’ll do it with friends and we’ll have fun and no drama because it’ll be good spirits all around! (Oh, right, one of us will have to run it.) I remember being really excited about entering. Competing with people like Unknown, Del, Gotts, End. Being in the same competition as these artistically and creatively inspirational people I wanted to be able to draw like, animate like. Slowly, the reality of it all dawned on me - of the fear. So I kind of suggested an idea. And then it was kind of suggested I ran it. And I accepted. And for a while I was resentful of myself that I chickened out. That I didn’t even give myself a chance to try, that I took the easy way out and didn’t allow someone to tell me I wasn’t good enough.
And now, two and a half years later, it only takes one comment, one mention or hint of admiration, to make me feel guilty about it all. To make me remember my fear. To make me desperate to give credit where it’s due because those artists did something I wasn’t brave enough to do - they went for it.
“All of Man’s works, all his cities, all his empires, all his monuments will one day crumble to dust. Even the houses of my own dear readers must – though it be for just one day, one hour – be ruined and become houses where the stones are mortared with moonlight, windowed with starlight and furnished with the dusty wind. It is said in that day, in that hour, our houses will become possessions of the Raven King…”—Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
I said them last night to someone. I meant it, completely, sincerely. “I love you.” at the end of a phone call. At the end of her calling me to talk about something in her life. At the end of our momentary connection. Maybe it was because this time I had an audience, but I heard myself say it. I didn’t just say it into the phone for her ear. I said it and knew those around me heard me say it, and so, I also heard myself.
It sounded like a question.
It sounded like it carried a twinge of desperation.
Maybe it’s because it did.
I wonder if they heard it too. I wonder if the people around me filed that away as a bit of information about me. I wonder if my mood visibly changed when I realized this or if it wasn’t noticeable at all.
I wonder if they could tell I didn’t hear those three words back, from the other end of the phone call.
It’s not that I don’t think she’d say it. It’s not that I don’t think she feels it. I know she does, I know she would. I wonder if she heard it, too, the desperation. The question. The plea. And if she did, why wouldn’t she say it? If she heard me practically asking for a response, why wouldn’t she give me one? She must not have heard it. She must have thought it something else I’ve picked up when I moved down here. Something I’d recently started doing, because that’s the norm now.
I don’t say that sincerely to a lot of people. I can actually count the number on one hand where I can say those three words and really mean them. Really, honestly, without a doubt or condition, love as it’s meant to be, really mean them. I guess I’ve been missing hearing that from someone. I guess, by starting to say it to her at the end of a phone call, I’ve been trying to get her to say it back, because I know she means it as much as I do. Because I’m sure of it. Because it’s not conditional, not forced, not something she should do or say.
I’m being “needy”. But so what? Humans are needy. Sometimes we want to hear that we’re ok. That we’re normal. We want to hear someone who means it, who really honestly means it, say “I love you”. We don’t want to say it and then have them not think about expressing that sentiment back, in words. Have them glide right past it because it’s a given, right? Why do we have to say it anyway?
I want to ask her. “Aren’t you going to say it back?” Start the conversation with “Hey. I love you.” and then stay silent until she says something. And at the same time, I know I’ll hate it if she does. If my prompt, my nudge, my blatant, blunt attempt to hear those words result in her saying them, I know it’ll be such a hollow victory. One not even worth having.
So I won’t ask her. I’ll keep quiet, and maybe I’ll try again, one more time. Listen to myself say it. If it continues to be a question, to be a bait rather than a statement, I’ll stop. I don’t want it baited out. I just want it. Like everyone else, I just want to hear it and know that they mean every last letter of the sentence. And there’s only a literal handful of people that can make me feel that way.
Notice I didn’t say break-up. That’s because, technically, there was nothing to break up. Yet, predictably, this will start in the same way all such things start - with the heart.
I’m tired of not really talking about this. It’s been so long, and yet I still feel this sense of loyalty to you, of shame of my actions. I don’t know what you feel. I suppose that much should be clear by the title. We don’t talk anymore.
I claimed it would start with the heart, but really, the heart will be an underlying theme throughout this. We’ll start lower, and simpler. We’ll start with the stomach, full of butterflies once. I’m not sure why you think that sending me a message every once in a while is a gesture of kindness. You must. Why else would you send a single message, a couple of sentences, to not expect a reply back? Is this your way of clearing your conscience, thinking “wow, we were so close for so long. I haven’t talked to her in a few years. I’ll just let her know that something today reminded me of her. That I hope she’s doing well. Because I’m a good person like that.” Like that one-sided well-wish somehow erases everything that happened when we exploded so spectacularly. You’ve done this a handful of times, yet every time I see a message from you my stomach does the same thing. There’s the nervous flutter of hope that this time it’ll be the start of a conversation, rather than a self-sufficient statement. There’s the feeling that I’m nineteen again, and no time has passed. That it was all a weird dream. Then there’s the twist of guilt as I read and realize that this is not you saying “hey, it’s ok for us to talk again, how are you doing?”, this is you saying “hey, I hope you’re doing well. I won’t respond to anything you send back in a message. I just wanted you to know I still idly think of you, and hope you’re doing well.” Then there’s the sinking feeling as I realize I just got my hopes up for rekindling a friendship that can never be what it was before. Can never live up to the memory of how we were with each other. Can never be comfortable again. In a way, the sinking feeling is the best part, because then all of my disappointment and anger at you messaging me in this selfish way leaves and I’m left with something like bitter relief. Happy that I don’t have to try and start a friendship again only to find it, inevitably, disappointing and a shell of what it once was, all those years ago.
We’ll move even lower, all the way down to my feet and their knack for always being cold. That’s your fault. I’m not blaming you, I’m not holding animosity towards you, I’m just simply stating: you are the cause of this. And I’m sure you don’t even realize it. Every relationship that I’ve had since our fallout has lacked something from me, something that seems so obvious yet I couldn’t fully realize it myself. It took a friend of mine saying “I’m really glad we never dated. Otherwise you would have never let me in or talked to me about anything real.” for me to realize how true those words rang, and pinpoint what started this. I’m not saying I was open with my feelings before this. I’m a closed-off person, and I know this about myself. I’m saying I was open with you. I was always open with you. I don’t know if you realized how much, but for a good while there, you were my very best friend. No doubt about it. I told you everything. I freaked out in your presence, something I never do now. I showed you how weak I can be, and I let you see me in ways I have not let anyone else see me since. I get cold feet, in relationships, in friendships… in anything that requires me to put myself out there. In anything where I must show people that I’m weak. That I don’t know what I’m doing. Anything that means I can’t say somethings sarcastically, I can’t talk about it in a detached voice, I can’t make a joke and smile while saying it. I keep those things in now. I guess I’m constantly worried that the day will come when I break up with the person, or we have a falling out, or we lose touch. I’ll lose that avenue of someone willing to listen, and, more importantly, someone I want to listen. I don’t know if I can do that again. I don’t know if losing something like that twice can be recovered from. I obviously don’t want to find out.
There’s something else, too. Something you must know about, something that you’re too smart not to have picked up on. Something that involves the heart and the brain and my entire metaphorical body. Art. I think you noticed it, you must have. How I stopped doing it for a while. How I lost it, lost the drive, the desire, the passion. How I abandoned my art, my characters, my stories, locked them up and wrote about them every once in a while, when a wave of nostalgia hits and I feel the need to create something. I rarely feel that now. I used to feel it all the time. It was you, your encouragement, your talent, your way to inspire by just showing me a sketch, sharing with me something you’ve been working on that would suddenly send me into a frenzy of ideas, a dash of a pencil and paper and we’d talk about your characters and mine and we’d feed off of each other and I’d leave the conversation itching to draw more, to draw something. I’ve tried since then. I waited a long time, but I tried again. At first it always seemed like something was missing. At first I’d draw something and think it spectacular, look at it again and think it mediocre, and look a third time and think it hideous, lifeless, disproportionate, a stupid idea anyway. I don’t show my art anymore. Even this tumblr was supposed to be a sketch blog. Obviously, that’s not the case. I just don’t feel comfortable showing it. Sharing it. I see friends of mine who draw and show their drawings proudly. I don’t feel pride in my art anymore. I think I’m starting to get over that, now. Now. Four years later? Was it four? I can’t even remember anymore. It seems so long ago, and yet so recent at the same time.
I think I could have been ok. I really do. I think I could have dealt with all of this, the falling out, the debris, the spiral of feelings that I didn’t know who to talk to about. I think I could have been ok, if our mutual friends had remained mutual. I know there were exceptions, and those people (who should know who they are) remain very dear to me. Those people who didn’t stop talking to me, not out of anger or animosity, but out of lack of convenience. It just happened. I spent a long time working hard not to blame them over it. A long time convincing myself that if things had been a little bit different, if we were able to still be civil towards one another, then they all would have stayed mutual. Would have stayed my friends. Because you didn’t lose any of them, did you? And I lost almost all. I don’t know if they felt they had to pick sides. I don’t know if they felt that there was one way this could go, and they chose to be around you. I can’t blame them, we all came together because of you. We all were inspired because of you. It makes sense that they’d go where their inspiration was, where their humor was, rather than cling to the dusty remains I had to offer. It’s ok. I still don’t blame any of them. In their shoes, I probably would have done the same thing. But I have to wonder: was it easy? Was it simple to cut me out like that? Was it effortless, did it take any time at all before my name wasn’t even mentioned. Before the connection between my nickname which they must have heard a lot (being a name of a character and all) was just forgotten. Maybe idly thought of, but never acted upon. Never mentioned. I wonder if they blamed me because I was the one who technically broke our relationship. I was the one who stepped away first. I wonder if you talked to them about it while I kept my mouth shut for the most part. Maybe that was the deciding factor. Maybe they saw that you were upset, that you were hurting, and I was just a little quieter than normal. Maybe then thought that you needed them more, that I was the evil bitch in this scenario that did this with no regard to you. In your initial anger, I doubt you would have corrected them. I wonder if that’s why they ignore me now. Not all of them. Just a few. A few that were really close to you. Or a few that were really close to both of us. I notice it, when I randomly send them a message. Offer my congratulations when I hear their good news, and they reply to other people but carefully avoid me. Like I’m a sickness. Like I’m a despicable human being that put no thought into anything I did to you. That didn’t lose an ounce of sleep over anything that happened. I thought they’d know me better than that. I thought they’d be able to tell that I was respecting your wishes. That I was quiet and taking things in stride because I thought it’d make it easier for you. And then you left. And so did they. One by one, eventually, most of them left. And the few that remained, things were strained. Conversations, interactions, everything was stretched. They tried, and I’m really thankful for that. Eventually, I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t talk to them pretending they weren’t talking to you. Wondering what they knew, what they’d pieced together. Eventually I gave up too, and I dropped away from anything that reminded me of you. Anything that would make my stomach twist. I lost my friends. I’m not sure you know what that’s like. I know you’re good at cutting people off, I don’t know how you’d take it to being the one cut off by so many people that you had assumed wouldn’t be affected. That you didn’t expect to be cut off from. But I don’t blame them. I understand. I’m understanding. I always was. I always let you talk until I could understand where you were coming from. I always bent over backwards to accommodate you, even at the end. Even when I probably shouldn’t have. When I forced myself to be understanding because it was somehow my fault and my fault alone that we were in this mess. It wasn’t like it took the both of us to get there. It wasn’t like it took me months of hurting in silence to get to the point where I could actually do something about it. It was you, and you were hurt, and I did the hurting. You were the victim that needed consoling. I was the villain that lost her best friend, and, eventually, most of my other friends too.
It’s just one of those mornings. I’ve been having them lately. One where I think back on this, think to the person I am now, and realize how I got here, and how much I’d like to change a little bit more. Go back to being excited about art. Make contact with old friends I’d lost touch with. I don’t know if I’m done talking about this. I’ve mentioned it vaguely so often. I’ve explained it to people that didn’t know you, didn’t know me back then, didn’t know anything about the situation. I’ve talked about it superficially, guardedly, never actually saying what was on my mind because I didn’t think I should. I didn’t think I had the right to. But you know what? Fuck that. Fuck all of that second guessing about if I should talk about this. If I should be feeling this way. If you’ll ever stumble upon this. Fuck all of it. I feel this now. I want to talk about it now. I’m not calling you out by name, though anyone who knew the both of us would be able to piece things together. I didn’t talk about your side because I don’t know it. I talked about my side, because I want to. Because I want this in writing, I want to tell this to the internet behind my mask of pseudo-anonymity, because I no longer care if you stumble upon this. It was years ago. This is my way of still trying to get past it. I bet you didn’t even know I still thought about it.
But I’m not the villain. I’m just as much the victim as you were. I’m sure you won’t be able to agree, I’m sure anyone who experienced this story first hand won’t be able to believe this very easily. This is not a post meant for you or anyone else to take pity on me. This is a post meant for me to sort my thoughts, to talk about things openly in a way I often can’t with my current set of friends. It’s easier to write it. It’s easier to be vague. It’s easier to not ask for assurance that you’re ok, you’re normal, you’re in the right, because if there’s a chance that you won’t get A post where I stop being understanding of your position and start trying to understand my own so that maybe, eventually, I can regain the things I lost. The drive to do art. The group of artistic friends. Lose the way my stomach twists in knots. Stop being so hard to open up.
Get past this. Get to the point where I don’t wake up in the morning and have a cloud over my head because I’m reminded of all of this again. Get to the point where I don’t have to fight shame that I logically know I don’t need to feel just to write something like this. Get past this, completely, once and for all.
“Doesn’t it bother you? Everybody’s thoughts are the same. Two-thirds are people who regret; the rest are people who forgot to do stuff or are praying or are alone. Shouldn’t there be more? More piles? More words? More thoughts? And then— and then you die.”—Daisy Adair, Dead Like Me (via durianseeds)