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Literature
Leave Me My Name
I write my last name like a sigh of relief,
almost prayer-like, as if it could change again
without any forewarning.
The way its letters flow from my pen
is unlike before; it's less fluid,
and my handwriting is a jumble
of cursive and print
with some letters clinging to others
while others stand alone,
statuesque in their autonomy,
just as I wished to be.
It's like I've forgotten how to spell it,
even though it's been mine
for most of my life,
interrupted by that other name
in which I once found peace
because people didn't ask me
every goddamn day
if I had any connection to the country
my family was named after
(it's a long story,
and I really just want to get my check
and leave, please).
But every time I write it,
I feel a renewed sense of pride
to use the name I was born with
and not one I adopted for silly reasons
like gender roles and cultural norms.
Every time I write it,
I remember when I was ten,
learning cursive and creating my signature
out of too-large letters,
written with a
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Literature
Kilt Guy
My favorite part of DragonCon this year was having an existential crisis over seeing my ex at a Steven Universe sing-along event.  He looks like a stereotypical hipster geek, so I feel a slight adrenaline boost every time I see someone with a similar likeness.  If I were to describe him to a sketch artist, I’d say “y’know, he looks like most male geeks who are around thirty who you see at DragonCon.  He’s on the chubby side, has a hipster haircut and a scraggly beard that looks like it belongs on the crotch of an 80s porn star, and wears a kilt.”  Except he wears it all the time, not just to conventions, because it’s about 85% of his personality.  The other 15% is being “one of those guys women feel comfortable talking to.”  When I first saw him at this sing-along, I wasn’t entirely sure it was him, because all I had to go on was the back of his meaty head and the fact that he was, indeed, wearing glass
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Literature
Ballad of a True Blue Texan (slinky)
She never met a blue-eyed boy and walked away
without falling in love, but they always left her blue;
bluebirds announced it time and time again,
singing the blues as she wept, broken-hearted.
One day a boy from her hometown, who wore 501 blues
and tended his family's blue corn fields,
proposed to her by a blue lagoon, and she thought
he was the once-in-a-blue-moon love she dreamed of.
He gave her a sapphire of a striking blue hue
that matched the depth of his ocean blue eyes,
and at their wedding, they danced to bluegrass
beneath the stars in a field of bluebonnets.
He made love to his moonshine and shouted blue words
and she stayed by his side as he beat her black and blue,
carrying bruises hot as blue blazes like a secret,
caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea.
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Literature
Inner Critic
Hi!  My name is Kaelyn.  My pronouns are they, them, and their. (Sigh.)  Why is that so difficult to spit out every time?  Most people don't understand what it means to be nonbinary.  "Woman" isn't exactly inaccurate, but it feels so limiting, like there's more to me and that word can never adequately describe who I am.  "Man" isn't right, either.  I'm just me.  
People have always expected me to break my bones just to fit into a box that’s the wrong size and shape.  It's suffocating in there, and all I can hear are the echoing, reverberating voices that keep telling me that it's unladylike to sit with my legs apart, and girls aren't supposed to play rough, and knights are usually boys, don't you want to be a princess instead?  
For so long, I guess as a misguided way of rebelling against the "girl box," I rejected everything associated with girlhood: dresses, dolls, makeup, princesses, and the ubiquitous color pink
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Favourites

Literature
Memories
Precious seconds tick off the clock with us down by two. The net hangs in the air like a carrot in front of a donkey, begging me to take a shot. I have the ball, and all the chances to become a hero. All I have to do is drive to the basket, split the three defenders on me, and hope one of them doesn’t do something nasty like grab my ponytail.
“Esther, shoot!” The crowd roars. It’s the simple decision with only two seconds left and the ball in my hands. Yet against three defenders? No, this isn’t about me. This is about the team.
“Sofia!” I pass the ball left to the wide open forward. Any other girl would have wasted the remaining time, unable to comprehend why the star player would pass the ball with the chance to win. Sofia’s instincts are clutch in any case, and she lobs up the three.
It’s good!
My name is Esther Sorensen. I am a 9 ^ 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 year old girl living on the isla
:iconMeliran:Meliran
:iconmeliran:Meliran 20 7
Fading Autumn II. by realityDream Fading Autumn II. :iconrealitydream:realityDream 582 21 Dragon noir by Arceoroise Dragon noir :iconarceoroise:Arceoroise 85 9 140918 by LeKsoTiger 140918 :iconleksotiger:LeKsoTiger 121 2
Literature
Not By Sight
Living blind
can turn a simple grocery run
into an altar call.
Enter good Samaritan:
no introduction,
just a hand on my arm
and a prayer
for my sight,
my wholeness,
to be restored.
Am I not whole?
My eyes took early retirement,
but that doesn't make me
tragic,
less than;
I am
a collage of scars
and stories,
of train rides and tea leaves.
I've had a good life,
a hard life,
a full life.
Today, I can't
find it in me
to gently correct her;
in society's eyes, I am
made invisible one moment
and spotlighted the next,
ready either to stand back
or stand out.
The pressures imposed
by tokenism,
by duty to educate,
by forced intimacy,
are enough to render me
diamond-rough.
Her words come from the heart,
and in a world
where people are quick
to say hateful things,
her intentions
are truly refreshing;
but I wish she didn't equate
seeing
with being
whole.
Of course,
I believed the same once.
When I was small, I hoped
for an unneeded cure.
Now, I find purpose
in every aspect of my being;
even with my
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Literature
Words about Being Slinky (a slinky)
Some say women and cats are both slinky, equating them
when the slinky parts between them seem to match.
One is slinky often - the cat, a creature of night, sometimes
of flight, one of sleep and of slinky hunting for love or feast -
an unmatched animal, proud and slinky in homes or in the wild,
an animal that can sound like a child, or be near-silently slinky in
voice, by choice, as it roams the slinky worlds of jungle, cat and man.
A cat fills the definition of slinky, either awake or asleep.
A woman is not so slinky, often, but there are times when she is
undeniably - slinky, like when she shimmers and glimmers at night
or in the dark day, a feast herself, full of slinky movements and
glances, of moments that are slinky suggestions on their own, shown
through grace, space and place. She can be slinky when no one
expects it -at home or on the street- she's at one with a slinky
walk or slinky clothes, a woman people want to know, yet one
who is totally herself, slinky or no - a woman w
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Literature
Doormaker

key in hand
I walk up your pathway
aching to see
that rough-finished door
its comfortably paned window
inviting entrance
but in that other-time
the meantime, you've changed your door
the lock will not yield
and when I knock
this thick new oak
holds
reverberating
on the silence of your absence
for in the meantime
you've become a carpenter
of substance
a builder of doors
whose work is much admired
whose practiced hand
fits dowel and dovetail
hinge to frame
lovingly
a master craftsman
they say
of nailing shut
and keeping out
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Journal
No Man's Land
I've been "talking" on dA a lot lately with folks about poems and ownership, and who "owns" them after they are written. See, my background is in communications, and so I'm big on where the meaning happens. I kinda feel like if you drop a poem into a well and no one hears it, it doesn't exist and never did. The meaning of a poem lies in that funny No Man's Land between the writer and the reader.
I also trotted out my duckling metaphor. (Can you trot out a duckling? Wouldn't it waddle?) Anyway, it's that poems are my ducklings; once I send them out into the world, they aren't fully mine anymore. That having been said -- I do sometimes wonder where they've wandered off to.
Like how did a hat become a coat? Is it a coat in actuality when it becomes a coat in someone else's mind? Or can an airplane be made out of iron, and if so, what does that mean for the state of the aviation industry?
But more seriously, folks find stuff in my writing that I don't know I put into it. Like someone comme
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Literature
Go, I said (a slinky)
Go, I said, my mouth full of wormwood, when the lies
like larvae crawled out of your wood-work,
that rude wooden city you stabled us in,
woodlice and mildew, its gates monumentally
breached by that old wooden horse-full
constructed from wood I never could see for trees.
Go, I said, to your wooden face,
in a wooden voice, saw-blade tongue spitting chips:
I will lop you like deadwood, split you
down to heartwood, stack you up
for cord-wood and burn you like bridges,
like the banged-up wooden idol of a newly ousted god.
Go, I said, the word itself a pinewood door
colliding with its wooden frame--
and you woodenly went, soundless but for shoe-soles
knock-knock-knocking on wood.
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Literature
83 Roses
last night,
you kissed my fingertips
one by one
and promised you’d never leave
again.
last night,
you kissed my forehead
as you reached out
and tentatively caressed my
aching heart.
but you wound a noose
of pretty roses
around my neck while i slept,
and when morning came, you had vanished.
when morning came,
i hung.
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Journal
Some really cool things.
Really Cool Thing #1:
First, I wanted to share some poems written in a form invented recently by my good friend edzull : the "slinky". 
The form involves writing 16 lines of verse, in which one word (which ought to be a noun, adjective or verb, and not things like 'and') must be repeated on every line. Sounds pretty simple, right? But it's not all that easy... 
Several people now have tried it out, so I thought it'd be really cool to show them off. 
:iconedzull: edzull  - House Slinky
:iconsalshep: salshep  - ghost tour (a slinky)
  -  Go, I said (a slinky)
:iconwouldwing: wouldwing -  
:iconsalshep:salshep
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Retro 80's Catwoman by Jeffach Retro 80's Catwoman :iconjeffach:Jeffach 661 36
Literature
ghost tour (a slinky)
if you travel along richmond's bridge road by ghost tram,
ghostly commuters suspended by vinyl straps, you'll clatter
through the ghost of industry, factories & shopfronts
like well-smacked gobs, the weathered ghosts of pop stars
peeling off their faces & aging skinheads ghosting past
what's left of the vine hotel [now itself a ghost, dartless
& rife with vegans, menus ghost-written by some TV
celebrity twat] & go by the infamous ghost-house at 117
where martha needle converted her entire family to ghosts
[& in 1896 gave up her own ghost, at the business end
of a sisal rope] -- ride on through the 90's, ghost-like
teen spirit, grunge & recession, the whole country a ghost
of itself & hope a yarn written in the dust of ghost towns
[may as well ghost through the age of millennials]
& the ghost of you will find me by the yarra where we lost
a chunk of '86, under the ghost-gums, drunk on everything
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Literature
How To Be Me (a slinky)
Sometimes I feel old, like a fly on the wall of the present,
too out of touch to fly in unconventional ways, during days
spent doing suspicious things, like flying through pictures
on Tumblr, not knowing how to interpret their fly fashion
or see or show my own. Art depicts all things from a fly to a lion
and sometimes I'm cryin' to fly from there, it's so square
to see a human fly have its thoughts laid bare on the screen
of green photos and written confessions that fly nowhere.
I'm just killing time. I throttle it, leave it lay wasting for flies,
and, there, I see how a fly lives, under the scope of eyes
dimmed by computer screens, folks who fly under pseudonyms,
as do I, there, waiting for the next part to fly open and free.
Then, I will finally fly to you. I'll leave this wait behind and find
a way to live again, maybe be young again - or, no, not to fly
back in time, nor be a fly on the wall, but to live this time, each
moment I fly, while I go see you again and be us, just like we
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Literature
Fail Forward
The shadow of the Eiffel Tower bent
Heavy the glare of Alexandre Eiffel's tower, though
Eiffel Tower has but quaint purpose
...but purpose BUILT-the Eiffel Tower's iron stands still...
Emancipation of my own creation only Eiffel's towering visitation came
I, as Alexandre's namesake had lost my Eiffel Tower: veni vidi vici
Friends proclaimed, even now Eiffel towers above myself
Flung from the Eiffel Tower losing my iron ring in that shameful jumpoff
Everyone ran from my aura to the fair Paris grounds of the Eiffel Tower's make
Leveraging lethally my love's languish, I laughed, leaving Eiffel's towering level
... A champion created countering Eiffel-towers threaten that trained theatric...
Today no delay, I shall climb above Eiffel, towered bewilderment
Onward! I'll catch my own iron ring from this Eiffel Tower. No
Was Eiffel's tower wrought as he wore that same ring? He was no such fellow
Eiffel's towering construct was born through will alone, no pointless symbols did he own; perhaps w
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:iconphnks:phnks 50 29

Groups

~ Episode 1 ~

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 11, 2018, 12:30 PM
I'm going to try something, here.  I'll write major updates about my life with titles like Episode 1 and give other titles to other types of posts as they happen.  It's mostly for my benefit--I like having things nice and organized, and since I'm starting fresh, this is the perfect opportunity to actually DESIGN a system instead of having it happen over time and inevitably not work out because I didn't put much thought into it.

--

Here goes.

My name is Kaelyn.  Y'all might remember my old account, SurrealCachinnation from a couple years ago... well, this journal post is my recap of the last two years since I stopped posting on dA on that account.

My last post was a journal post on July 30, 2016.  I said I was happy.  That was a lie, mostly to myself.  I was relatively happy; my depression was better than it had been, that is to say, I wasn't experiencing near-constant suicidal ideation, and I had hope that my life would be better in the future.  There was a time in my life where it wasn't possible for me to be optimistic about the future.  It ended sometime around 2015, I think.

Within two months of writing that journal entry, everything changed in my life.

The best thing that happened was going back to school in August.  I had been a dropout for four years.  There is nothing wrong with deciding that college isn't for you and forging your own path elsewhere--many of my friends have made that choice (or had it made for them) and are thriving.  But I've always been an academic.  I can never stop being one.  It's my nature.  It's what I go back to, no matter what happens to me--even if the way I go about it has changed over the years.  I used to want to be an English major and do nothing but read and write about "the classics," and now I'm studying psychological science and languages (Spanish, which I've studied for approximately half of my life, and Italian, which I started last year).  This attempt has gone so much better than the first one.  I've made straight A's except for one class, and if that isn't proof that my mental health is better, I don't know what is.

In September,  then-spouse decided to leave me during a couple's therapy session, which is so classy and mature.  I lived with him and my best friend in a rented house at the time and, although I was equally entitled to be there, I was the one whose parents lived in the same city, so I was the one to move out.  Moving back in with your parents at 24 after being out since 20 is hard.  You get used to being independent from them and having your own space.  I am eternally grateful to them for allowing me to stay with them while I've been getting back on my feet--I'll be with them until I finish my undergraduate studies.  I'm 26 now (well, I will be in three weeks; it's easier to round) and I expect to graduate in 2020, so I'll be 28.

Then came October and National Coming Out Day.  I came out as queer and nonbinary (and demisexual, which is no longer relevant, because I realized that I'm not on the asexual spectrum after all).  Spending time with one of my best friends, Ria, who came out as trans earlier that year, helped me realize that I needed to come out, myself.  I think it was in 2015 that I figured out my gender stuff, and in 2016, I started to figure out my sexuality.  I thought maybe I was bi, but over time I realized that I wasn't attracted to men in the same way I was attracted to women.  All of this solidified by 2017 when I started using my present labels.

November came, Trump was elected, and I was scared to fucking death.  I JUST came out, I thought, and now I have to deal with a vehemently anti-me administration in my federal government?  The night after the election, Ria and I, along with her husband and another friend of ours, went to downtown Atlanta for a spontaneous protest.  I think it was that night that I realized, on some level, that I loved her.  She tripped, and I called out "sweetheart" instead of like, you know, her name or something.

Then it was December.  Ria and I were spending more and more time together.  Sometime between the protest and the middle of the month, we went for a hike and she started talking to me about the concept of polyamory--having more than one partner, with an arrangement that everyone consents to.  Specifically, she talked to me about the concept of a queer-platonic partner, which is someone who is more than a friend, but you aren't really involved with them romantically.  It's about doing what works for you, whether that aligns with what, culturally, we think of as a friendship.  I liked the idea because I had just gotten out of a shitty relationship and I was definitely still healing (and to be honest, I'm still healing two years later).  Ria was (and still is) married, and she and her husband had talked about the idea of doing a polyamory thing in the future, just as a hypothetical "what if," and I ended up being the person who came along and made her want to try it.  Her husband agreed, and we started our "queer-platonic partnership," which lasted for maybe a couple of weeks.  She told me she was in love with me, I admitted I was, too, and the rest is history.  Now we're what we call a "triangle" where Ria and I are in a relationship, she and her husband are in a relationship, and her husband and I are almost like queer-platonic partners because we're so involved in each other's lives, although we aren't a couple--just very good friends.

Back to the other plot thread: my divorce.  So, my ex leaves me, but he took like a year and a half to finish divorcing me.  I had to nag him.  I had to ask a member of his family to nag him (she's great; we're still friends).  My new partner also had to nag him--details further down in this post, which she did by fucking sending him memes.  I also found out sometime during all of this that he was telling people that I was abusive.  I'll probably talk about all this bullshit in more depth over time by art-ing about it--it's a really long story, and this is supposed to be a recap, so I won't let it get bogged down by details.

In April of this year, my divorce was finalized, and I proceeded to fuck off to Spain for five weeks on a study abroad trip.  I bring this up because, in my last journal entry on my old account, I said I longed to travel to other countries and I said "someday."  Well, that day came.  And keeps on coming.  I'm working on planning my next adventure as I type this, and I'll be announcing it to my family and friends soon.  I came back from my trip and started another semester of school.  I'm a research assistant in a really cool faculty-run lab.  I'm writing more for that than I am for creative stuff, but the scientific writing has improved my creative writing.  I have a lot planned for the next several months, and I'm genuinely loving my life.  There have been setbacks and hard things in my life, but there hasn't been anything insurmountable.  I really am better.  I think the most important thing I've done is let go of who I used to be--that person is dead.  I'm a different person with different experiences and different goals.  Some things haven't changed, of course.  But between the trauma and elation I've experienced, I've changed a lot.  I'm excited to see what's next.

Skin by SimplySilent

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Kaelyn
Artist
United States
I'm a queer, nonbinary/trans creator. My pronouns are they/them.

I've been moving away from thinking of myself exclusively as a writer and as more of a general artist. Writing is my main medium, but I've found, over the last decade, that the more I try to fit myself neatly into a label, the less satisfied I am with it.

My work has included everything from fiction, to poetry, to scripts, to essays. I'm interested in trying my hand at podcasting and making videos. I've done some visual art, but only dabbling, really. I'll never stop drawing, but I'm not dedicated enough to it for it to deserve any kind of recognition (well, other than a friend asking me to draw a tattoo for her--that was pretty rad).

I'm also a full time student. I am pursuing two bachelor's degrees--one in Psychology, and one in Modern Language and Culture. I hope to enter a doctoral program in psychology after graduation. I'm a nontraditional student who survived five years of severe depression and an emotionally abusive marriage, and I'm proud as hell of what I've managed to accomplish since I started to rebuild my life two years ago.

If you want to see my old work and some really bizarre commentary on my old life, you can see my old account, SurrealCachinnation. I lost access to it and, honestly, starting fresh feels right anyway because I've changed so much since I was last active. If you knew me before and have looked at all these changes and still want to be friends because you've decided that I'm not a special snowflake or a crazy commie (I mean, I am a commie--just a sane one), shoot me a note. I'd love to hear from you.
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Activity


I write my last name like a sigh of relief,
almost prayer-like, as if it could change again
without any forewarning.

The way its letters flow from my pen
is unlike before; it's less fluid,
and my handwriting is a jumble
of cursive and print
with some letters clinging to others
while others stand alone,
statuesque in their autonomy,
just as I wished to be.

It's like I've forgotten how to spell it,
even though it's been mine
for most of my life,
interrupted by that other name
in which I once found peace
because people didn't ask me
every goddamn day
if I had any connection to the country
my family was named after
(it's a long story,
and I really just want to get my check
and leave, please).

But every time I write it,
I feel a renewed sense of pride
to use the name I was born with
and not one I adopted for silly reasons
like gender roles and cultural norms.

Every time I write it,
I remember when I was ten,
learning cursive and creating my signature
out of too-large letters,
written with as much precision
as a ten-year-old could muster.

Every time I write it,
I look forward to the future,
when it's been my name for so long
that nobody remembers that other one
and I don't have to tell new friends I'm divorced.
Leave Me My Name
The title is, of course, a reference to The Crucible, when John Proctor is ready to do anything to save himself from execution... except for sign his name after his "confession" and destroy his reputation forever.  My name is equally important to me, but for a different reason.  I'm a divorcee, and taking my maiden name back is the most empowering thing I've done during the whole process.  Every time I had to sign legal documents with his name after we separated, it felt like a betrayal of my regained identity as an independent human being.  The process took longer than it should have, so this was a problem in my daily life for quite a while.  Now that my name is legally changed back, I savor every single chance I get to write it, type it, or say it.  I never intend to change my name again; this experience has made me realize how important to me it actually is.

Thanks for reading,

Kaelyn
They/them
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My favorite part of DragonCon this year was having an existential crisis over seeing my ex at a Steven Universe sing-along event.  He looks like a stereotypical hipster geek, so I feel a slight adrenaline boost every time I see someone with a similar likeness.  If I were to describe him to a sketch artist, I’d say “y’know, he looks like most male geeks who are around thirty who you see at DragonCon.  He’s on the chubby side, has a hipster haircut and a scraggly beard that looks like it belongs on the crotch of an 80s porn star, and wears a kilt.”  Except he wears it all the time, not just to conventions, because it’s about 85% of his personality.  The other 15% is being “one of those guys women feel comfortable talking to.”  When I first saw him at this sing-along, I wasn’t entirely sure it was him, because all I had to go on was the back of his meaty head and the fact that he was, indeed, wearing glasses.  And the fact that his earlobes have a pretty distinctive shape, which I wish I could forget, because my god, what a waste of space in my brain that information is.  My girlfriend had to confirm it for me after getting a better view of his face.

The event itself was entertaining.  A friend of mine who always cosplays Steven was there.  My girlfriend was, of course, there.  The guy who sat on my other side was a friendly, middle aged man who enthusiastically sang along and reminded me that Steven Universe is, truly, an all-ages show.  I wish I could get my dad to watch it after he spent my childhood critiquing the lousy fathers in every cartoon I watched, because Greg Universe is the best cartoon dad ever and their relationship reminds me so much of ours.  I worshipped my dad when I was a kid, much in the way that Steven looks up to his dad, knowing he was a rock star.  At the event, they played most of my favorite songs, and I sang my heart out even though I don’t think I’m all that good of a singer.  There’s just something about the music from that show that can lift your spirits no matter how crappy of a day you’re having, and I can’t help but imagine me as a child coming home from school, tuning into this show, and visiting their awesome Gem friends after spending the day with their bullies.  It’s hard to imagine anyone legitimately hating this show if they’ve actually taken the time to watch it.  And it’s hard to imagine encountering a fellow Steven Universe fan and not becoming instant best friends.

Sitting next to my ex in the audience was a young woman.  I don’t know her.  She was cute.  She sat up straight and watched the screen, singing along with all of the songs.  My ex stared down at his phone the entire time and didn’t open his mouth once—not to sing, and not to talk to her.  I knew they were together because I recognized myself in her.  She was so happy to be at DragonCon, participating in a fandom she loved, and happy to have a sweet nerdy boy by her side.  She wished he’d participate because, seriously, why come along if you’re just going to be on your phone the entire time?  She gets it—phones are great, and it’s cool being able to access the world with a small device that fits in your pocket.  But what could possibly be more interesting than her and this energy-filled room?  Something mildly amusing on Reddit, she guessed.  How can she keep his attention?  Is she not enough?

Yeah, I know—I’m projecting like crazy here.  I’m taking all of the insecurities I had about my relationship with kilt guy and applying them to this total stranger based on watching them sit together without interacting for an hour.  Sometimes my girlfriend and I don’t interact for a while—we’re busy people with busy lives, and we’ll be in the same room together working independently and an hour is nothing at all.  For all I know, they could have stayed up all night talking about whatever it is that an attractive young woman and an article of clothing have to discuss.  Maybe she’s just using him for sex.  I honestly wouldn’t judge her for it, because I’ll grant that he does have a symmetrical face, which indicates a lack of childhood illness and therefore pretty good genes to pass along.  Seriously, after studying human sexuality and learning about why humans find certain characteristics attractive, it’s all I can come up with to explain how he gets so many sexual partners.  Facial symmetry.  And, okay, sometimes his jokes land well and he can be pretty funny.

I can’t help but poke fun at kilt guy because I gave him five years of my life that I can’t get back.  That’s a substantial amount of time.  It’s on the short end of substantial, but still, I could lose my mind thinking about how much stuff I could have gotten done in that period of time if I hadn’t been severely depressed for most of it.  I try not to demonize him because I like to think I’m better than that.  But at the same time I’m like “fuck that, if he gets to go around talking shit about me, why can’t I fight back?”  Women—and nonbinary people who the outside world perceives as women—have to be perfect.  We have to take the high road.  Always.  Because if we don’t, when men we dated call us “crazy,” people might think it’s a credible claim, and then we have nothing.  I saw a post on Facebook this week that asked how many abusers are running around and calling their victims their “crazy ex,” and my first thought was “all of them.”  Kilt guy certainly thinks of me that way, and there’s a good chance the guy I dated before him is doing the same.  My friends are all someone’s “crazy ex.”  Or, if their abusers weren’t romantic partners, they’re some other flavor of “crazy.”  “My daughter is crazy, so she doesn’t talk to me anymore.”  “She was my best friend, but she’s crazy, and we’re not friends anymore.”  “I didn’t assault this girl, she’s just crazy.”  After five years of kilt guy calling me crazy, the self-destructive part of my brain started to believe it.  It’s taken two years of being away from him just to start to reverse the effect.  But when you go through trauma, your brain adapts for survival, and when you’re safe again, some of those changes end up being maladaptive.  I can’t just change it back.  It’s going to take more time, and I have to accept that, but it’s incredibly frustrating to feel like I have no control over my own thoughts.

Even though I obviously can’t stand kilt guy, I find myself sympathizing with this young woman who was with him at the con.  I can’t mock her, and I can’t demonize her.  She hasn’t done anything to me.  I’m sad to see that she’s hurting herself by settling for kilt guy, like so many before her.  I’m sad that he’s probably using the same manipulation tactics on her, and she probably hasn’t got a clue that he’s doing it, because he does this thing where he alternates between ignoring you and making you feel like the most important person in the world.  I’m sad that men get to call their exes “crazy” and there isn’t enough solidarity among women and nonbinary folks for us to warn each other about people like kilt guy.  If I went up to her and urged her to run because the guy on her arm is an extremely unhealthy narcissist, he’d say “oh, don’t mind her, that’s just my crazy ex.”  And the odds are pretty good that she’d believe him, because who am I to her?

All of these thoughts ran through my head in a relatively short amount of time.  When the event ended, I stood in the back of the room with my girlfriend and our fabulous, Steven-cosplaying friend, who was collecting donations for an organization that promotes adult literacy.  We sang Be Wherever You Are and waved goodbye to folks as they left the room.  I didn’t say a word to kilt guy or the young woman who accompanied him when they walked past us.  I hoped that she enjoyed the rest of the con.  I hoped that she was stronger and had more self-confidence than I did when I was in her shoes.  I felt a weird connection with her, both because of kilt guy and because, of all the places I could have run into them, it was at a Steven Universe sing-along.  This is the show that my girlfriend showed me two years ago when kilt guy was ignoring me and making me feel like shit; we both wanted a break from running around downtown Atlanta, so we looked it up and watched the first couple of episodes.  It’s the show that I watched as I was falling in love with her.  It’s the show that comforted me as I started to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and start to sort through the feelings about my sexuality I’d been suppressing.  It’s the show that my girlfriend and I continue to bond over, eagerly awaiting new episodes and crying over all the beautiful, incredibly queer relationships in it.  And even if kilt guy shows up for sing-alongs and fan panels at cons, he can't take any of that from me.

Kilt Guy
This isn't the only time I've run into my ex at a fan convention, but it is, by far, the time that has caused the most self-reflection.

Writing about him is hard.  Not because I don't know what to feel or say, and not because it's too painful to do it.  No, it's hard because part of me is still afraid that if I don't keep it all to myself, people will judge me.  Nobody wants to be labeled "crazy" or "bitch" for speaking their truth about a painful situation they've lived through.  Nobody wants to be the subject of such a thing, either.  I know I'd be pissed if he was a writer and he went on to talk about things that happened during that period of time in our lives.

So what can I do?  I'm a writer, and I need to write about things to process them, and I need the solidarity that comes from others saying "Hey, I went through something like this, too."  So I write.  And, knowing all of this about how people might react to what I say, I try not to censor myself, but I also try to write things that I'd be more or less okay with if they were said about me.  I try to put the emphasis on my experience and my journey as a divorcee, and not on whatever he's doing that, beyond weird moments like this that make me think enough to merit writing an essay, I don't care about.

Thanks for reading,

Kaelyn
They/them
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She never met a blue-eyed boy and walked away
without falling in love, but they always left her blue;
bluebirds announced it time and time again,
singing the blues as she wept, broken-hearted.

One day a boy from her hometown, who wore 501 blues
and tended his family's blue corn fields,
proposed to her by a blue lagoon, and she thought
he was the once-in-a-blue-moon love she dreamed of.

He gave her a sapphire of a striking blue hue
that matched the depth of his ocean blue eyes,
and at their wedding, they danced to bluegrass
beneath the stars in a field of bluebonnets.

He made love to his moonshine and shouted blue words
and she stayed by his side as he beat her black and blue,
carrying bruises hot as blue blazes like a secret,
caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea.
Ballad of a True Blue Texan (slinky)
TW: DOMESTIC ABUSE

--

This is a "slinky," a poem with 16 lines and one word repeated in each and every line.  The form was developed by edzull and I stumbled upon a few examples written by others and thought I'd give it a go!

I chose the word blue and decided to tell a very sad story, because it's what I do best.  I'm not from Texas, but I grew up in Georgia, and really enjoy using Southern imagery and expressions in my writing.  The only reason this ended up being set in Texas was that I really wanted to use bluebonnets, because they're beautiful.  After I made that decision, I edited stanza 2, line 2 to include blue corn, which is grown in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.  I even used blue in the title because seriously, there are so many expressions that use the word.

Here are the other slinkies I read before composing my own:

Fail ForwardThe shadow of the Eiffel Tower bent
Heavy the glare of Alexandre Eiffel's tower, though
Eiffel Tower has but quaint purpose
...but purpose BUILT-the Eiffel Tower's iron stands still...
Emancipation of my own creation only Eiffel's towering visitation came
I, as Alexandre's namesake had lost my Eiffel Tower: veni vidi vici
Friends proclaimed, even now Eiffel towers above myself
Flung from the Eiffel Tower losing my iron ring in that shameful jumpoff
Everyone ran from my aura to the fair Paris grounds of the Eiffel Tower's make
Leveraging lethally my love's languish, I laughed, leaving Eiffel's towering level
... A champion created countering Eiffel-towers threaten that trained theatric...
Today no delay, I shall climb above Eiffel, towered bewilderment
Onward! I'll catch my own iron ring from this Eiffel Tower. No
Was Eiffel's tower wrought as he wore that same ring? He was no such fellow
Eiffel's towering construct was born through will alone, no pointless symbols did he own; perhaps w
  How To Be Me (a slinky)Sometimes I feel old, like a fly on the wall of the present,
too out of touch to fly in unconventional ways, during days
spent doing suspicious things, like flying through pictures
on Tumblr, not knowing how to interpret their fly fashion
or see or show my own. Art depicts all things from a fly to a lion
and sometimes I'm cryin' to fly from there, it's so square
to see a human fly have its thoughts laid bare on the screen
of green photos and written confessions that fly nowhere.
I'm just killing time. I throttle it, leave it lay wasting for flies,
and, there, I see how a fly lives, under the scope of eyes
dimmed by computer screens, folks who fly under pseudonyms,
as do I, there, waiting for the next part to fly open and free.
Then, I will finally fly to you. I'll leave this wait behind and find
a way to live again, maybe be young again - or, no, not to fly
back in time, nor be a fly on the wall, but to live this time, each
moment I fly, while I go see you again and be us, just like we
  ghost tour (a slinky)if you travel along richmond's bridge road by ghost tram,
ghostly commuters suspended by vinyl straps, you'll clatter
through the ghost of industry, factories & shopfronts
like well-smacked gobs, the weathered ghosts of pop stars
peeling off their faces & aging skinheads ghosting past
what's left of the vine hotel [now itself a ghost, dartless
& rife with vegans, menus ghost-written by some TV
celebrity twat] & go by the infamous ghost-house at 117
where martha needle converted her entire family to ghosts
[& in 1896 gave up her own ghost, at the business end
of a sisal rope] -- ride on through the 90's, ghost-like
teen spirit, grunge & recession, the whole country a ghost
of itself & hope a yarn written in the dust of ghost towns
[may as well ghost through the age of millennials]
& the ghost of you will find me by the yarra where we lost
a chunk of '86, under the ghost-gums, drunk on everything


And salshep has a journal with links to even more of them that you can check out if you're interested: Some really cool things.

Thanks for reading,

Kaelyn
They/them
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~ Episode 1 ~

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 11, 2018, 12:30 PM
I'm going to try something, here.  I'll write major updates about my life with titles like Episode 1 and give other titles to other types of posts as they happen.  It's mostly for my benefit--I like having things nice and organized, and since I'm starting fresh, this is the perfect opportunity to actually DESIGN a system instead of having it happen over time and inevitably not work out because I didn't put much thought into it.

--

Here goes.

My name is Kaelyn.  Y'all might remember my old account, SurrealCachinnation from a couple years ago... well, this journal post is my recap of the last two years since I stopped posting on dA on that account.

My last post was a journal post on July 30, 2016.  I said I was happy.  That was a lie, mostly to myself.  I was relatively happy; my depression was better than it had been, that is to say, I wasn't experiencing near-constant suicidal ideation, and I had hope that my life would be better in the future.  There was a time in my life where it wasn't possible for me to be optimistic about the future.  It ended sometime around 2015, I think.

Within two months of writing that journal entry, everything changed in my life.

The best thing that happened was going back to school in August.  I had been a dropout for four years.  There is nothing wrong with deciding that college isn't for you and forging your own path elsewhere--many of my friends have made that choice (or had it made for them) and are thriving.  But I've always been an academic.  I can never stop being one.  It's my nature.  It's what I go back to, no matter what happens to me--even if the way I go about it has changed over the years.  I used to want to be an English major and do nothing but read and write about "the classics," and now I'm studying psychological science and languages (Spanish, which I've studied for approximately half of my life, and Italian, which I started last year).  This attempt has gone so much better than the first one.  I've made straight A's except for one class, and if that isn't proof that my mental health is better, I don't know what is.

In September,  then-spouse decided to leave me during a couple's therapy session, which is so classy and mature.  I lived with him and my best friend in a rented house at the time and, although I was equally entitled to be there, I was the one whose parents lived in the same city, so I was the one to move out.  Moving back in with your parents at 24 after being out since 20 is hard.  You get used to being independent from them and having your own space.  I am eternally grateful to them for allowing me to stay with them while I've been getting back on my feet--I'll be with them until I finish my undergraduate studies.  I'm 26 now (well, I will be in three weeks; it's easier to round) and I expect to graduate in 2020, so I'll be 28.

Then came October and National Coming Out Day.  I came out as queer and nonbinary (and demisexual, which is no longer relevant, because I realized that I'm not on the asexual spectrum after all).  Spending time with one of my best friends, Ria, who came out as trans earlier that year, helped me realize that I needed to come out, myself.  I think it was in 2015 that I figured out my gender stuff, and in 2016, I started to figure out my sexuality.  I thought maybe I was bi, but over time I realized that I wasn't attracted to men in the same way I was attracted to women.  All of this solidified by 2017 when I started using my present labels.

November came, Trump was elected, and I was scared to fucking death.  I JUST came out, I thought, and now I have to deal with a vehemently anti-me administration in my federal government?  The night after the election, Ria and I, along with her husband and another friend of ours, went to downtown Atlanta for a spontaneous protest.  I think it was that night that I realized, on some level, that I loved her.  She tripped, and I called out "sweetheart" instead of like, you know, her name or something.

Then it was December.  Ria and I were spending more and more time together.  Sometime between the protest and the middle of the month, we went for a hike and she started talking to me about the concept of polyamory--having more than one partner, with an arrangement that everyone consents to.  Specifically, she talked to me about the concept of a queer-platonic partner, which is someone who is more than a friend, but you aren't really involved with them romantically.  It's about doing what works for you, whether that aligns with what, culturally, we think of as a friendship.  I liked the idea because I had just gotten out of a shitty relationship and I was definitely still healing (and to be honest, I'm still healing two years later).  Ria was (and still is) married, and she and her husband had talked about the idea of doing a polyamory thing in the future, just as a hypothetical "what if," and I ended up being the person who came along and made her want to try it.  Her husband agreed, and we started our "queer-platonic partnership," which lasted for maybe a couple of weeks.  She told me she was in love with me, I admitted I was, too, and the rest is history.  Now we're what we call a "triangle" where Ria and I are in a relationship, she and her husband are in a relationship, and her husband and I are almost like queer-platonic partners because we're so involved in each other's lives, although we aren't a couple--just very good friends.

Back to the other plot thread: my divorce.  So, my ex leaves me, but he took like a year and a half to finish divorcing me.  I had to nag him.  I had to ask a member of his family to nag him (she's great; we're still friends).  My new partner also had to nag him--details further down in this post, which she did by fucking sending him memes.  I also found out sometime during all of this that he was telling people that I was abusive.  I'll probably talk about all this bullshit in more depth over time by art-ing about it--it's a really long story, and this is supposed to be a recap, so I won't let it get bogged down by details.

In April of this year, my divorce was finalized, and I proceeded to fuck off to Spain for five weeks on a study abroad trip.  I bring this up because, in my last journal entry on my old account, I said I longed to travel to other countries and I said "someday."  Well, that day came.  And keeps on coming.  I'm working on planning my next adventure as I type this, and I'll be announcing it to my family and friends soon.  I came back from my trip and started another semester of school.  I'm a research assistant in a really cool faculty-run lab.  I'm writing more for that than I am for creative stuff, but the scientific writing has improved my creative writing.  I have a lot planned for the next several months, and I'm genuinely loving my life.  There have been setbacks and hard things in my life, but there hasn't been anything insurmountable.  I really am better.  I think the most important thing I've done is let go of who I used to be--that person is dead.  I'm a different person with different experiences and different goals.  Some things haven't changed, of course.  But between the trauma and elation I've experienced, I've changed a lot.  I'm excited to see what's next.

Skin by SimplySilent

Hi!  My name is Kaelyn.  My pronouns are they, them, and their. (Sigh.)  Why is that so difficult to spit out every time?  Most people don't understand what it means to be nonbinary.  "Woman" isn't exactly inaccurate, but it feels so limiting, like there's more to me and that word can never adequately describe who I am.  "Man" isn't right, either.  I'm just me.  

People have always expected me to break my bones just to fit into a box that’s the wrong size and shape.  It's suffocating in there, and all I can hear are the echoing, reverberating voices that keep telling me that it's unladylike to sit with my legs apart, and girls aren't supposed to play rough, and knights are usually boys, don't you want to be a princess instead?  

For so long, I guess as a misguided way of rebelling against the "girl box," I rejected everything associated with girlhood: dresses, dolls, makeup, princesses, and the ubiquitous color pink.  If being in the "girl box" made me miserable, surely I should just be as un-girl as I possibly could, right?  All that did was get kids to call me gay like it was an insult, which was all the rage in the early-mid 2000's, along with all my favorite queerphobic slurs.  Nah, I'm not gay at all.  I like boys, I promise.  I'm a real girl.  Even though... I don't... want to be one?  

I have this inner critic constantly prodding and asking me in this bitchy, accusatory tone, "Are you really queer?"  She's this perfect girl in my head, shouldering the burden of all the things society tried to force me to be.  She wears foundation and heels (shudder). 

But I am queer--queerer than a three dollar bill!  I mean... look at me.  I have a super queer, trans girlfriend who I think is the hottest person on Earth, I rock an undercut, and I have a pretty impressive collection of flannel shirts and newsie caps. 

"Could you be any more of a butch lesbian stereotype?  You're obviously just doing this for attention." 

I haven't hung out with a straight, cisgender person who isn't my biological relative in months. 

"That doesn't make you queer.  You're faking it.  You're crazy!" 

Can you please just SHUT UP in there?  That’d be great. 

"You aren't good at being a girl because you're a dyke, if anything.  You're definitely not trans.  Quit acting like a special snowflake."  

This is the part where my girlfriend would typically say "Stop picking on someone I love, nerd!" and snap me out of it.  Because she knows it's bullshit, and I know it's bullshit, and she knows I know it's bullshit.  It helps.  It really does.  

The critic can be pretty persistent, but every time I start to cave and I almost believe what she's screaming at me, I think about the awkward child who, although they didn't have the vocabulary to describe what they were feeling, knew they weren't simply a little girl.  And I remember how isolated they felt, how they might as well have had I AM A FREAKISH SPACE ALIEN tattooed on their face because they were a bright, dazzling, rainbow beacon and everyone could see it.  And I want to shout Kaelyn, for fuck's sake, there is nothing wrong with you!  You are not a space alien.  It doesn't matter if those boys don't think you're pretty because you aren't even into them, and it doesn't matter if those girls think you're weird because they're straight anyway and they're bitches, did you even watch Mean Girls?  They don't matter!  You will find better people.  You deserve better people.  

And the child would reply with a million questions they never thought it was okay to ask, looking up at the tall, badass, visibly queer person in front of them with wonder.  You mean I don’t have to do anything people tell me to do if I don't want to?  I can dress like a boy and still paint my nails?  I can be someone's knight in shining armor instead of being someone's princess?  

Yes, child.  You absolutely can.  

My name is Kaelyn.  My pronouns are they, them, and their.  I'm proud as hell of the person I've grown into.  You should be proud of yourself, too.  You are not the only one in your shoes, but your story is as unique and as important as you are.   Find your chosen family and lean on them as hard as you need to for support.  And never, ever let anyone make you feel like you're not valid or not queer enough—especially your own bitchy inner critic.  She doesn't know what she's talking about.  There is no wrong way to be you.

Inner Critic
I wrote this piece one year ago for my university's Coming Out Monologues event.  Inspired by the Vagina Monologues, the Coming Out Monologues aims to tell LGBTQIA people's stories about coming out and other issues and points of pride involved with being a queer person.  You can see a performance of my piece and the others that were chosen here: ksutv.kennesaw.edu/play.php?v=…

I am considering recording myself reading this piece, and if I do, I will update with a link to the audio.

Thank you for reading,

Kaelyn
They/Them
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Comments


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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2018   Writer
Yay, another day, another fave by you! :iconredsparklesplz:
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:iconmxtress:
Mxtress Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2018  New Deviant
What can I say, I'm digging your slinkies!  :love:
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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2018   Writer
Thanks much for the fave on "How to Be Me (a slinky)" and for the watch!
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:iconmxtress:
Mxtress Featured By Owner Edited Sep 13, 2018  New Deviant
Sure thing!  I enjoyed your poem and am looking forward to reading more of your work.

Edit:  Eep, thanks for watching back!
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