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About Deviant Artist Core Member KaelynUnited States Recent Activity
Deviant for 4 Months
2 Month Core Membership
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Newest Deviations

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
:iconMxtress:Mxtress
:iconmxtress:Mxtress 37 40
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
:iconMxtress:Mxtress
:iconmxtress:Mxtress 1 0
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.
:iconMxtress:Mxtress
:iconmxtress:Mxtress 7 11
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
:iconMxtress:Mxtress
:iconmxtress:Mxtress 4 6

Favourites

Journal
Slinkyfest 2018!
By now, you all who watch me will be aware of the new poetry form created by edzull this year, called 'the slinky'.  Some of you have even written one!
:bulletblue: :bulletorange: :bulletgreen: Well here's some incentive to do it (or do it again!)
Slinkyfest 2018 is the first annual Slinky competition, brought to you by CommunityLit, the fantastic new group ... for Lit groups (and writers in general, of course). 
:bulletblue: :bulletorange: :bulletgreen: So -- what's a slinky, Sal?
For those unaware, a slinky is a poem of 16 lines, any line length, any meter, rhymed or un-rhymed-- with a single word (must be a noun, verb or adjective) repeated on every single line.
So the word bounces down the lines like a slinky toy. :iconslinkyplz:
For a list of good examples, see the slinky database in the journal linked below:

:bulletblue: :bulletorange: :bulletgreen: Awesome! So how do I enter this
:iconsalshep:salshep
:iconsalshep:salshep 31 13
Deeper Than You See by Iskander1989 Deeper Than You See :iconiskander1989:Iskander1989 324 44
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 21 7
Fading Autumn II. by realityDream Fading Autumn II. :iconrealitydream:realityDream 614 22 Dragon noir by Arceoroise Dragon noir :iconarceoroise:Arceoroise 95 11 140918 by LeKsoTiger 140918 :iconleksotiger:LeKsoTiger 141 6
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
:iconhopeburnsblue:hopeburnsblue
:iconhopeburnsblue:hopeburnsblue 49 43
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
:iconxlntwtch:xlntwtch
:iconxlntwtch:xlntwtch 26 32
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
:iconfreyaintranslation:freyaintranslation
:iconfreyaintranslation:freyaintranslation 6 10
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
:iconbeeswingblue:beeswingblue
:iconbeeswingblue:beeswingblue 3 29
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.
:iconsalshep:salshep
:iconsalshep:salshep 16 13
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.
:iconluxwar:luxwar
:iconluxwar:luxwar 41 21
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)
:iconxlntwtch: xlntwtchHow To Be Me
:iconsalshep:salshep
:iconsalshep:salshep 7 30
Retro 80's Catwoman by Jeffach Retro 80's Catwoman :iconjeffach:Jeffach 760 45
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
:iconsalshep:salshep
:iconsalshep:salshep 12 17

Groups

~ Atlanta Pride | Science Rant ~

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 16, 2018, 12:48 PM
Wow, so, a few days after I posted my last journal entry, I was awarded a Daily Deviation for one of my poems--I so didn't expect that level of recognition any time soon since this account is so new, but reading the comments has been super encouraging, both as a writer and as someone who is Going Through A Thing.  I even got a couple new watchers out of it, so if that's you, welcome!  Tell me about yourself--I like to get to know folks who read my stuff.

Also, I think I've figured out how I'm going to do titles.  If it's written like ~Title~ with tildes on either side, it's some kind of blog post, essentially.  I won't use the tildes if the primary purpose of the journal entry is something else, like a feature, announcement, etc.

Last week, I attended this year's Coming Out Monologues at my university to see my piece--and my girlfriend's piece--performed.  It was a humbling experience, just like it was last year when I submitted and attended for the first time.  Several people who are important to me and my lady came to show their support, and the performance went well.  There was a bit of an awkward moment because I used some wording that could be--and was--interpreted more strongly than I intended.  It was about my parents.  I called them "clueless, but generally accepting" meaning for it to be like "They don't always get it, but they're here for me, and I appreciate it" but the actor read it more like "God, they really don't know anything, but I guess they're here for me."  I'm not upset because that's how this process works.  This actor didn't read this piece the exact same way I would have, and neither did the actor who read my piece from last year.  But the fact that my parents had to hear that line for the first time (I don't show them my submissions because I want them to be surprised) with a heck of a lot more sting than I anticipated was... awkward.  I talked to them afterwards and everything is okay.  Next year, I'm probably going to write something about family in general to make it up to them (and because I want to).  My girlfriend's piece went off without a hitch, and I'm so proud of her for sharing her story as a trans woman.  She has such a unique perspective to share with the world, and she has this wonderful gift that makes her able not only to empathize with other people, but to convey her feelings so others can understand them.

I attended Atlanta Pride this weekend and had a great time, although I didn't have much energy because I had been sick with food poisoning and it left me drained.  My girlfriend, a mutual friend, and I marched for trans rights.  I had a really bougie smoothie because it was the only acceptable format of calories for my body.  We bought festival swag and I got my lady a couple of gifts.  We chatted with a stranger who made us uncomfortable after a bit because I talked to him trying to be nice and then he followed us after we said goodbye, but it didn't last long.  I had to verbally fight off a couple of dudes who tried to harass my girlfriend while she was trying to rest because she had a nasty headache.  One of them said "you're really angry" and "you need to sit your ass back down" as I took a few steps toward him and his buddy tried to pull him away like yes, obviously this person is angry, perhaps we should leave, my dude.  Like yes, I was angry--these guys were messing with a woman who was lying on the ground, and that's objectively not a cool thing to do.  Our friend backed me up, which was a little amusing in retrospect, because she's tiny and adorable.  The highlight of the day was seeing Monica Helms, the woman who designed the trans pride flag.  She actually lives near me, and she was one of the grand marshals of the parade this year.  I saw her smiling at us while my girlfriend and I were being cute.

Finally, I'm giving my every-term-my-professor-teaches-human-sexuality guest lecture on gender on Thursday.  The last time I did it, some guy tried to "mansplain" to me that my sources aren't real science and my professor had to help shut him down (politely).  So I'm hoping it goes better this time.  The lecture discusses the history of sex and gender research and talks about current ideas about where gender identity comes from.  Yeah, I don't have something as well-established and widely-accepted as the theory of gravity to cite, but that's because the scientific community moves slowly, plus when you're studying someone's internal sense of who you are, you can't get as many objective measurements.  You can look at trends.  You can examine people's behaviors.  You can look at their brain structures and hormone levels.  You can see how common an idea is across various cultures.  You can look at self-reported data.  And when you're working with human beings, that's  just what a lot of science looks like.  Science is, simply, a method for learning about something.  It's really frustrating to me that people who don't know much about science--and even some folks in STEM--put it on a pedestal.  The entire point is that, with some amount of training, anyone can DO science.  There's a reason that one of the steps of the Scientific Method is making the findings available to "the public."  It's abhorrent to me that a lot of it is behind a paywall, but that's an economic problem and, frankly, a whole 'nother can of worms I don't want to get into right now.  Anyway.  Science isn't as fancy as people think it is.  I'm learning that more and more the more I do research.  The hardest thing is learning how to do statistical analyses, and really, if I can wrap my head around it, I'm pretty sure most people can.  Especially because we have computer software to do it for us.  You just have to know what you're doing because if you tell it to do something that makes absolutely no sense (like finding the average of a bunch of "yes" and "no" responses), it'll do it anyway.

So as you can see, I've been pretty heavily invested in my academic pursuits lately.  I'm doing a bit of creative writing, and I'm hoping to post a new piece here pretty soon.  I was hoping to get it done in time for National Coming Out Day (October 11 in the United States), but school ate me.  There's a good chance some of the stuff I'm writing about for academic stuff (like Fascist Italy!) will inspire some fiction, too.  I'm still working on my novel, as well.  Next month is NaNoWriMo, but I'm not committing to it, because I never do it.  I know myself by now.  But I'll still be trying to write a fair bit.

Skin by SimplySilent
  • Listening to: my Halloween playlist
  • Eating: peanut M&Ms

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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.
Interests

Activity


~ Atlanta Pride | Science Rant ~

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 16, 2018, 12:48 PM
Wow, so, a few days after I posted my last journal entry, I was awarded a Daily Deviation for one of my poems--I so didn't expect that level of recognition any time soon since this account is so new, but reading the comments has been super encouraging, both as a writer and as someone who is Going Through A Thing.  I even got a couple new watchers out of it, so if that's you, welcome!  Tell me about yourself--I like to get to know folks who read my stuff.

Also, I think I've figured out how I'm going to do titles.  If it's written like ~Title~ with tildes on either side, it's some kind of blog post, essentially.  I won't use the tildes if the primary purpose of the journal entry is something else, like a feature, announcement, etc.

Last week, I attended this year's Coming Out Monologues at my university to see my piece--and my girlfriend's piece--performed.  It was a humbling experience, just like it was last year when I submitted and attended for the first time.  Several people who are important to me and my lady came to show their support, and the performance went well.  There was a bit of an awkward moment because I used some wording that could be--and was--interpreted more strongly than I intended.  It was about my parents.  I called them "clueless, but generally accepting" meaning for it to be like "They don't always get it, but they're here for me, and I appreciate it" but the actor read it more like "God, they really don't know anything, but I guess they're here for me."  I'm not upset because that's how this process works.  This actor didn't read this piece the exact same way I would have, and neither did the actor who read my piece from last year.  But the fact that my parents had to hear that line for the first time (I don't show them my submissions because I want them to be surprised) with a heck of a lot more sting than I anticipated was... awkward.  I talked to them afterwards and everything is okay.  Next year, I'm probably going to write something about family in general to make it up to them (and because I want to).  My girlfriend's piece went off without a hitch, and I'm so proud of her for sharing her story as a trans woman.  She has such a unique perspective to share with the world, and she has this wonderful gift that makes her able not only to empathize with other people, but to convey her feelings so others can understand them.

I attended Atlanta Pride this weekend and had a great time, although I didn't have much energy because I had been sick with food poisoning and it left me drained.  My girlfriend, a mutual friend, and I marched for trans rights.  I had a really bougie smoothie because it was the only acceptable format of calories for my body.  We bought festival swag and I got my lady a couple of gifts.  We chatted with a stranger who made us uncomfortable after a bit because I talked to him trying to be nice and then he followed us after we said goodbye, but it didn't last long.  I had to verbally fight off a couple of dudes who tried to harass my girlfriend while she was trying to rest because she had a nasty headache.  One of them said "you're really angry" and "you need to sit your ass back down" as I took a few steps toward him and his buddy tried to pull him away like yes, obviously this person is angry, perhaps we should leave, my dude.  Like yes, I was angry--these guys were messing with a woman who was lying on the ground, and that's objectively not a cool thing to do.  Our friend backed me up, which was a little amusing in retrospect, because she's tiny and adorable.  The highlight of the day was seeing Monica Helms, the woman who designed the trans pride flag.  She actually lives near me, and she was one of the grand marshals of the parade this year.  I saw her smiling at us while my girlfriend and I were being cute.

Finally, I'm giving my every-term-my-professor-teaches-human-sexuality guest lecture on gender on Thursday.  The last time I did it, some guy tried to "mansplain" to me that my sources aren't real science and my professor had to help shut him down (politely).  So I'm hoping it goes better this time.  The lecture discusses the history of sex and gender research and talks about current ideas about where gender identity comes from.  Yeah, I don't have something as well-established and widely-accepted as the theory of gravity to cite, but that's because the scientific community moves slowly, plus when you're studying someone's internal sense of who you are, you can't get as many objective measurements.  You can look at trends.  You can examine people's behaviors.  You can look at their brain structures and hormone levels.  You can see how common an idea is across various cultures.  You can look at self-reported data.  And when you're working with human beings, that's  just what a lot of science looks like.  Science is, simply, a method for learning about something.  It's really frustrating to me that people who don't know much about science--and even some folks in STEM--put it on a pedestal.  The entire point is that, with some amount of training, anyone can DO science.  There's a reason that one of the steps of the Scientific Method is making the findings available to "the public."  It's abhorrent to me that a lot of it is behind a paywall, but that's an economic problem and, frankly, a whole 'nother can of worms I don't want to get into right now.  Anyway.  Science isn't as fancy as people think it is.  I'm learning that more and more the more I do research.  The hardest thing is learning how to do statistical analyses, and really, if I can wrap my head around it, I'm pretty sure most people can.  Especially because we have computer software to do it for us.  You just have to know what you're doing because if you tell it to do something that makes absolutely no sense (like finding the average of a bunch of "yes" and "no" responses), it'll do it anyway.

So as you can see, I've been pretty heavily invested in my academic pursuits lately.  I'm doing a bit of creative writing, and I'm hoping to post a new piece here pretty soon.  I was hoping to get it done in time for National Coming Out Day (October 11 in the United States), but school ate me.  There's a good chance some of the stuff I'm writing about for academic stuff (like Fascist Italy!) will inspire some fiction, too.  I'm still working on my novel, as well.  Next month is NaNoWriMo, but I'm not committing to it, because I never do it.  I know myself by now.  But I'll still be trying to write a fair bit.

Skin by SimplySilent
  • Listening to: my Halloween playlist
  • Eating: peanut M&Ms

~ October ~

Journal Entry: Mon Oct 1, 2018, 12:46 PM
October arrived this morning and I felt an immense sense of relief.  It already feels a little cooler outside (at least in the shade).  Tomorrow is my birthday.  My girlfriend's birthday is in three weeks.  It's Halloween season.  The sun is setting a bit earlier and feels less oppressive when it looms overhead.

On Saturday, I had my get-friends-together-and-eat-drink-and-be-merry get-together for my birthday.  We went to my favorite Mexican restaurant (where they have awesome traditional style tacos and the BEST queso dip and pretty good margaritas).  I got to see a couple friends I hadn't seen in a hot minute.  Everyone present was queer, and almost everyone was trans.  It was pretty fun.  I also got to see a couple out of town friends recently, one of whom I hadn't seen in three years, when they came down for an event in Atlanta.  Since my best friend moved to literally the Grand Canyon recently, I've been feeling lonely in terms of seeing people I'm not in a romantic relationship with.  I have a university buddy I see frequently, but other than her, I don't hang out with many people.  I'm deeply introverted, but I do miss people I care about when I don't get to see them very often.

Some of you have read my piece Inner Critic, which I wrote for the Coming Out Monologues project at my university last year, and I'm pleased to announce that my submission was chosen this year, as well.  Performances will be next weekend, and I will upload the text sometime after they've concluded.  This one is about the process of coming out to myself and where I stand now.  My girlfriend submitted a piece this year as well, and hers was also chosen.  I'm so incredibly proud of her because writing is challenging for her, but she did a fantastic job.  I'm helping her with some revisions they suggested tonight.  I'm also psyched for Atlanta Pride, which is just around the corner.  I'm glad we do this in the fall, because honestly, who wants to be outside all weekend at the height of the summer in Atlanta?  I don't.  Summer is for traveling to cooler places and if you can't do that, staying the hell inside.

I've been enjoying a lot of really cool media lately, and I wanted to share this awesome music video by local band, Sarah and the Safe Word.  Sarah is a friend of mine, and the band's music is really good.  They played Warped Tour last year and are releasing a new album later this month (this song is on it).  Each band member is one of the Seven Deadly sins, but it's done in a refreshing, totally not cliche way.  I've had this stuck in my head since it dropped.



I've also been playing some great video games (my preferred media format lately--interactive stories are incredibly fun and engaging).  I'm really digging Life is Strange 2 and all its political commentary and looking forward to future episodes.  I bought a PS4 this weekend as a birthday gift to myself so I could play all the Playstation exclusives I've been dying to get my hands on, and I played through Detroit: Become Human over the course of three days.  After I finished playing it, I rewatched the 2013 short film Kara that eventually led to the creation of this game  It was surreal and interesting to see how the concept for the game changed over the last five years.  It's one of the best RPGs I've played in a long time, and it was so worth the wait.



I've been writing, just not anything ready to be posted for consumption.  I'm working on my novel, bit by bit, and it's all I've had time for recently because I'm far enough into the semester that school is getting to be a pretty big commitment--I had five assignments due yesterday, and that was just for one class.  Ria says I'm basically treating undergrad like grad school, and she's not wrong.  I may share some excerpts from my novel-in-progress if they work well as stand-alone pieces.

So, for my smol but cherished accumulation of followers and friends (and anyone who's just dropping by!)--what media has been inspiring you lately?  What song is stuck in your head?  What cool games are you playing?  Link me to a local band you love.  Anything along those lines.  Let's hear it!

Skin by SimplySilent
  • Listening to: Sarah and The Safe Word
  • Reading: So. Many. Science. Articles.
  • Playing: Detroit: Become Human
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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Comments


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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2018   Writer
Yay, another day, another fave by you! :iconredsparklesplz:
Reply
:iconmxtress:
Mxtress Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2018
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
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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