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Everything posted by Blake

  1. Uneasy Heart "Miss Orikami, [wait!]" Diana sprinted down the hall, managing to catch up with the teacher at the stairwell. She placed her hands on her knees as she regained her breath before standing, looking at Orikami with confusion. "Why did she do it!? Why would Tsubasa sell us out like that!?" Orikami refused to meet the girl's gaze, "She claims it was merely for fun, that she didn't understand the consequences of her actions. The truth of this claim is being... explored." "[For... fun?]" Diana muttered in English, clenching her fists as hard as she could, "But that doesn't make sense! What's fun about this!? She had to be protecting someone, Tsubasa isn't a bad person!" "I suppose she was bored. Foolish. We have yet to see if she is malicious, but don't expect the HPSC to go easy on her." "I can't acc-" "Cannot what? Accept it? Surely you are not as foolish as that girl was." Diana turned to look up the stairway, seeing a girl much smaller than herself daintily descending them, leathery wings neatly tucked behind her. She wore a smile on her face, though to Diana it looked empty. As the girl brushed some of her glimmering, gem-like hair away, she continued. "She spit on her role as a hero. A chosen one. A savior of society. There are many people in this world who are malicious by their very nature, so is it really such a shock that someone did this for fun?" "Not now, Shannon. This isn't your place to speak. Miss Seigi knew her as a comrade. You only ever saw her back in the entrance exam." "Apologies, Madame Orikami," the girl named Shannon with one arm under her front and the other at the side, "But I believe that this is something she can learn from. Miss Seigi, was it? I'm certain that you genuinely wish to defend your classmate, but you also must consider... She got your other classmate hurt. Still, she continued to be a source of information. Does that sound like the actions of a good person? Of a hero?" "I... I guess not, but I-" "Why is there a 'but', then?" Shannon glanced at her contemporary, still wearing that empty smile. "Why focus on a failure of a hero, someone who threw away her role as the chosen savior of society for 'fun'? After all, not everyone is chosen in the first place. It is a blessing we all received, would you not agree? Besides, I highly doubt she is the only one in your cla-" "Shannon. It's time for us to leave." "Y-yes," the dragon girl faltered before Diana's eyes for the first time, "Of course, Madame Orikami. Well, Miss Seigi, I look forward to seeing you in the future. I hope you have overcome this hurdle by the time I meet you again." ----- It had been two weeks since her encounter with Shannon, but even so... The things that the girl had said bothered her. What if she was right? What if Tsubasa really was just a malicious person out to hurt them for fun? It wasn't like Diana hadn't met those kinds of people before... But was Tsubasa truly one of them? After her recommendation? And who else could Shannon have been referring to in their class? The only other person she should have even met would have been... "He could have killed us if he was a villain barging into the room like that with us being off-guard...." Diana was caught off guard by the clone's voice, more than anything else. It was odd for Takehiko to be scared of a hero, wasn't it? Well... maybe not, all things considered. "Er.... my apologies... But yeah, like Ayane says we need to try and stay on the positive end of things, even if my thoughts don't match what I say. We need to get strong enough to pose a significant threat ourselves to being attacked if we're to remain students here." With a sigh, Diana forced a small smile onto her face. A bit shaky, but genuine. Shannon could very well have been correct, but look at what doubt did to her in this moment. Suspecting each of her beloved classmates surely wouldn't help, especially with the numbers having begun to fall. No, the others were right. "[Let's goooo]!" Diana grinned and thrust her dominant fist into the air, grinning as she did. "Come on, [meenah], this was bad, but... we should still try our best, right? Sitting here and moping won't help much, so let's get fired up instead! And the sports festival is gonna be way better for that than just a workout!"
  2. https://you.visualdna.com/quiz/whoami#!/quiz Instead of having more likely or less likely, you have pictures that you choose based on your opinion and how you would feel in given situations! It's always fun to do this sort of thing, too.
  3. "Yo, big guy. You sure can wolf it don't can't ya? If you're interested I got something that'd be perfect for you. There's an eating contest going on soon. I had someone lined up for it but he ran off...er, he felt under the weather so he couldn't make it. So there's a spot open and I think you got a good chance to win it. See where I'm going? I could pull some strings and get you in there in his place. Free of charge." The shifter continued to eat as they looked at the man with a skeptical look, mulling it over as they chewed dramatically. Of course this would get them nowhere good, but at the same time... They were used to grifts like this. It's not like poison would do much to them, they couldn't be effectively contained, but going along with it seemed like a bad idea. Wait... they were used to grifts like this? The shifter paused for a moment and had to shake their head, swallowing the food in their mouth at that moment. Maybe, just maybe... This could help them sort things out. But they had to play it cool, looking too desperate was a way to be taken advantage of, even with the knowledge of what they were getting into. "Eh... I guess," the shifter crossed their arms at looked at the man with the strongest gaze they could muster, "What's in it for me other than food?"
  4. the one where blake is resoundingly positive

  5. Blake

    Blake's Takes

    I know who I am. I'm Blake. Lover to Melody and Bree. But you know what? Thanks to a little help from something I'm currently watching, as well as the themes it's been exploring, I can go further. I love how I want to help those who are hurting. How my first response is to try and be there for them, to empathize with them, to ease their pain. I love how much I pursue optimization with the things I make. Stories, ideas, decks. I always seek improvement, I always seek to do better. I love how in tune I am with fictional works. That I can use them to examine both the work and myself, to parse them as if they were reality. To see them as what they were to their creator(s). I love my creativity. I love the characters I've breathed life into, and I want to see where they can go. I love my passion! Sure I can be obsessive, but... I also apply it to learning more, doing more, sharing and connecting with others! Burning bright! I love my faith. I love that I have not lost it even as I question, because I can ask questions freely without simply living in fear of the answers. It's not a lot of reasons. And it's a bit difficult for me to... truly come up with a lot of reasons... But... I love who I am. And this is my first step towards the future where I can hold onto that.
  6. Today in Blake's Takes, Blake loses themselves in a ramble about their inner thoughts and experiences. It's depressing. They even forgot the original point because they dug too deep into their scars.


  7. Blake

    Blake's Takes

    Here we are, again. And what will I be discussing today? Well... Myself, I guess. This is absolutely going to be incoherent rambling, just warning you. These thoughts and more go through my head on the regular. Some more than others, but... The general sentiment remains. I don't know how to escape these thoughts. I don't know how to think of myself in a positive light. Part of this is due to my upbringing, which was a mishmash of "you are so smart, kind, amazing, etc." and "your personal wants don't matter, only your needs". And that meant physical needs, not emotional. It ended up... making me feel like I only existed for other people. I only existed for the sake of bettering life for others. Like a savior complex, without the actual confidence in myself to back it up. "Everyone experiences emotion the same" is a phrase that keeps coming back to my mind. I was told it when I was a pre-teen, and it was said with good intent, but... it was so wrong. It only served to push me further down the path of feeling like there was nothing special about me, only what I could do. That I was only lovable as long as I did well. To the point that I gave up trying in school because it felt like I only received love when I performed... and that I hoped against hope it wouldn't be true. Yet it felt like... a lot of love faded as I stopped doing well. And it only encouraged me to delve further into fiction as an escape and means of forming connections that made me feel... alive. I digress. This is more about introspection and the thoughts that... exist within my mind. And how I'm trying to take the steps to overcome them, no matter how frightening and painful they are. So let's target some other more particular thoughts... For example, I conflated a lot of Christian songs, be they rock music or otherwise, with love songs. And, for a long time, I could never understand why... I thought that way. Until a friend pointed out that the sense the songs gave them as a sense of purpose. That I seemed to be viewing love and purpose as the exact same thing, rather than two separate entities that sometimes overlapped. Because, for as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to have a family. Married to someone. Some of my earliest memories involve me declaring I wanted to be married ASAP. And the more cut off I became from the world, the more these negative thoughts consumed me... The more I became absolutely fixated on it. "This will be the thing to make me happy. It has to be. I just need someone to love me for me. To want me." ... Ridiculous, right? But how could I have known? I was raised to be codependent, so codependent I became. My entire sense of self being based around a need to be loved. Need to be good. Need to measure up. Need to be wanted. I was willing to sacrifice anything if it meant that I was truly loved... Ignoring that to sacrifice a part of yourself for love means nothing of the sort. But I was young and hurting. Another thing is how I've always been bad at making friends. I had very little interaction with people my own age before I started going to school (2 kids, with one in NC and one in WA), so I ended up just... not knowing how to act with people. I knew how to be the perfect child, how to be smart, how to behave, to the point I ended up helping grade quizzes/tests in first grade... But... I had no idea how to interact with other people my age, really. I had a couple friends, but nothing major... and going further forward, I only ever seemed to have friends that made fun of me when anyone else was looking. Treating me like a stepping stone, a buffoon to get their own social status higher... But what choice did I have? I was a weirdo. Who would want to be friends with a weirdo? I was lucky to even have friends at all... Not that I actually did. Some of them have tried to contact me over the years, but it never went anywhere. Empty promises. This extends to certain family, too, but... This and the love thing have led to a long life of believing I'm the problem. Of shouldering any and all pain and suffering, and allowing myself to be the villain if it meant that things could remain as they were. Or, even if I was the victim, to turn the other cheek constantly. It made life easier, right? It was okay if I suffered. I deserved it. My wants didn't matter. Only my needs. If I suffered, others could lead a happier, safer life. So just shoulder it. Just press on. I still do that. I still shoulder as much as humanly possible. Hell, more than I can take. Because, the more I can handle, the more others don't have to handle. The better I perform. The better "grade" that I make. I've been scolded for it at work (over three jobs) multiple times, because I try so hard to be perfect and do everything that... It's almost like I don't trust others to do the job. And I overburden myself. But I don't know how to let that yoke go, because that yoke is my "worth". Knowing that said "worth" is bullshit is half the battle... But overcoming the way I've been programmed in order to survive is difficult. I am also a being of emotion, rather than logic. That's not to say that I lack logic or the ability to be logical... But that I am more ruled by my emotions than by my logic. It makes it very, very difficult to overcome this hurdle of needing to be perfect in order to survive, needing to entertain, needing to support... Because, for all the logic others tell me, all the logic I tell myself, my heart still aches. Still feels that need. And it goes beyond just this need. I constantly feel the need to blend in. To not stand out. To appear completely and totally "normal", so as not to draw anyone's gaze. Did you know I'm actually afraid of people looking at me? I'm learning to be better about it, but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable for most people to look at me. It feels like I'm being judged. Hated. Ill will wished upon me. Even if it's a total stranger. And it makes it so hard to overcome my inhibitions... Because I was raised to be "normal". Because I need to be "normal". I even strove to be normal, because my interests constantly made me someone on the outskirts of groups, if I even made it into any groups. Because I was weird. Because others weren't into those things. Even within context of Y/NCM, it's difficult to be truly uninhibited. Every move I make, like this new pride month avi seen above, takes... a lot out of me to work up the courage for. As if I haven't been out here! As if I haven't talked about being non-binary, as if people don't know! Because it's "weird"! It isn't "normal"! It makes me a "freak"! But it's... my individuality. At least part of it. And if I'm honest, coming to terms with my identity and celebrating it is absolutely the single most beneficial thing to happen to me... Well, maybe other than being broken up with, but that's another topic. When I came to terms with being an enby? The euphoria was enough that, for the first time in my life my brain allowed me to call myself a good person. That, despite all I had tried to do, all the pushing forward, all the shouldering, everything, that moment was what allowed me to be a good person. Not the love of others, the love for myself that I had never truly felt before! But as time goes and the excitement became the mundane... It faded. My struggles returned. Moving made them come back even stronger. And I seriously hurt because, despite being asked to be called they/them, many people just didn't... So, last June, I made an avatar for Pride Month. This one right here. To show that... I was serious. That I wanted to be seen. I wanted my individuality to be respected. And because... I was so tired of trying to be "normal". I slip back into that need for "normalcy" often, but I'm learning to overcome that. Slowly. Wearing clothes that are less inhibited, like shirts from series I enjoy. Indulging in hobbies. Buying things such as a pendant that means a lot to me. Or an Undertale face mask, that says to Stay Determined, because life is hard right now. For everyone. And I'd rather have a positive message than "FUCK THE GOVERNOR, FUCK THE STATE, FUCK THE GOVERNMENT" because of masks. I'm... trying. Trying to escape this shell. I think I do decently around here, but I don't love myself. Because loving myself would be arrogance or egotism. And I need to be selfless, of course. I'm here to help others, not myself. And it's so hard to escape that. I try to be less inhibited, but every action I take that would cause me to draw someone's gaze in public... makes me fearful. What if I look like a freak? What if they think I'm weird? Fucking random strangers, and I worry like this. And I value my empathetic nature, my compassion, so much. I don't dislike it. I just... dislike that I can't have a nice thought about myself without it turning into hate for being prideful. I... don't know how to love myself. Even with the glimpses I've had of self-love, I still don't understand. I depend on external sources of love. And I know that's not healthy. I want to overcome it. I want... to be complete. Without leaning on the love of others to complete me. My boss suggested I go to Codependent's Anonymous, which I didn't even know existed... But I couldn't find a meeting I could make when I looked. The longer it takes, the less likely I'll be to go through with it... I don't know. I want to feel a sense of healthy pride. I want to love myself. I want to embrace my individuality. My sense of self. But I don't know how. And I really, really wish I did. I no longer wish to be "normal", except in dark moments. Still, I spiral so far into the depths of despair and self-loathing, without any idea of how to break free. Even for the smallest mistake. I'm sorry to be depressing. I... I just don't know. Anything. Maybe this is a cry for help. Maybe it's just clawing at old wounds. Maybe it's digging deep in the hopes that my suffering may be put to good use. I don't know, but... here I am. This is me. This is Blake. I just wish Blake could love themselves.
  8. As soon as April had turned to watch the cat, it had turned tail and ran away, leaving her blinking at the staircase. After a blink, she checked her hand for injury, only to be caught by an oppressive wave. Every instinct she had told her to run away on the spot, and she instantly understood why that cat had run away... But a grin began to creep onto her face as she turned to look up the staircase, literally shaking in her boots. If there was something this strong at the top, it would be interesting! She shook off the fear as much as possible, ascending the stairs as so many interesting things came to her. That one guy with the massive PPL seemed to bite the dust, two power levels higher up the staircase seemed to swap around, and more! Even though she was too weak to fight the cat on her own, she was more than glad to be there! Even as she made it to the top, she waved at the two transferring power and flashed a toothy smile at them, bursting into the room just in time to see Leo's fight. Her eyes began to shine bright as she watched, mouth wide, especially the moment that his arm was destroyed... and turned into a bomb! The ghastly spirit seemed to be having no real trouble in spite of it, but even so... "That was so cool!" April squealed and bolted over to where Leo was slammed against the wall, kneeling next to him and grinning ear to ear, "Think you could do it again!?" "It was more of a backup plan than anything, and I'm running low on arms." Leo snarked. -Time to Shine- Somehow, that response made April's smile grow even bigger, almost inhumanly so. Placing her hands on his wound and shaking with excitement, Leo would begin to feel something flowing into him... And his arm suddenly began to regrow rapidly, flesh and bone mending themselves as a blue and gold shine seemed to emanate from her hands. Before long, his arm had completely recovered, and even the side effects of blood loss seemed to fade. "There, now you're not low on arms! Do it agaaaain!" Leo flexed each of his fingers individually, before forming a fist, "Well that's a neat party trick." Wiping the blood from his jaw, he noted that the rib that had previously punctured something-or-other important inside him was back where it belonged. In fact, he felt healthier than he did when he woke up that morning, "Extra-neat." Raising to his feet, he cracked his regrown knuckles, "So i keep beating the shit out of this thing, and when it hits back you fix me?" "So long as you keep me entertained, yep~ Go get 'em! And that goes for you, too, scaredy lady!" April waved over to Penny as Leo stood, "This one shouldn't be a problem at all!"
  9. By the time morning came, Devin had barely slept a wink. They simply sat where they had been crying the rest of the time, holding their knees tight... So tight, in fact, their body had started to fuse together in the spots where it touched itself. By the time the sun had come up, people had begun to stir, and so did the shifter. Their ears grew out and pressed against the wall and floor, becoming similar to stethoscopes as they tried to listen out... To see when it would be safe to go out. Granted, they didn't expect Salvo's loudness, causing them to reel a bit, but the rest was... simple. They didn't want anyone to see them after yesterday, so they would just wait until no one was around to get whatever leftovers remained. That was the plan, at least. “I was thinking of shopping for some more clothes today, um, where would be the best place to do that? The mall we were at yesterday, or, um, somewhere else?” "Oh, that's a great idea. I hadn't thought about it much, but uh, I don't think we had any luggage come with us. So well, if you don't mind, I'd love to come along with you." Oh. They didn't know if being here totally alone was actually better than tagging along at that point. If they were more used to the room, they would probably say yes, but... they didn't know anything. This place could be a trap. What would they do if it was? With a panic, they looked about to try and figure out what to do, before their eyes managed to land on the window. They weren't sure they felt comfortable being with the group, but... Perhaps... ---- Welcome to Grand Prana Mall! On behalf of Azure Dahlia IncorporatedTM, might I offer each of you a complimentary sample of our new, cool, refreshing beverage? “This is water,” The coolest, most refreshing water in all of Prana! The man cocked a brow as he heard the robot speaking to the small nun girl, walking past them as nonchalantly as possible. You know, as nonchalantly as a 6'4" behemoth in red and yellow could. What were they thinking? Sure they looked so different that they would never be recognized, but they ended up standing out anyway! And the disguise was already deployed, so there was no going back until they could find a restroom. They would just... hang around and wait. After all, they were only there to escape being stuck in the dorms by themselves. That was, at least, until their nose caught a hint of... something. Turning towards the smell and following it, their stomach growling loudly. Maybe skipping breakfast wasn't a good idea... But it wasn't exactly new to them. And there were scary people there! And then they found the food court, sprawling with all types of cuisines and offerings... Even some that they had never even heard of! Losing sight of their objective completely, the shifter quickly wound up in front of a Lemming Fried Chicken, claiming to have the best fried chicken available. Not to mention how good the other places looked... McMisteree's, Cherrybees, Cucuy's Southwest Grill, Skies over Sicily... Wait, how did they know what Sicily was? Next thing they knew, the shifter had visited every last stall, ordering their signature items and carrying them to a table to sit down with the massive stack... plus a few extra breadsticks. Unhinged jaw for the burger, earning fewer stares than one would expect, slurping up spaghetti like a vacuum, eating the chicken bone and all... They were in heaven and oblivious to the world... Especially as they savored the breadsticks. Everything else could wait... Being able to eat like this was a dream come true.
  10. I think there's a fundamental flaw with the argument here that isn't being properly explored. That is to say, the point being presented is unsure if it's The Three Act Structure Is Not All The Matters, Stories Don't Need An Overarching Plot, or Conflict Is Not Needed. If we speak of the former, then sure, there's room to be explored... Even for the second, there's a strong case. However, it seems more like it's mostly on the third, while conflating it with the first and second for effect. Even cr47t's follow-up reply seems to fall into these pitfalls: This has the same idea that overarching plots and the requirement, or lack there-of, of conflict are the same thing... Making it just as muddled an argument as the original post. So let's break this down a bit. The four-panel comic in question is full of conflict, both overarching and small. Each panel has a small conflict, such as needing to perform action to get drink... But those are small, something we will return to later. For now, let's point out the man in the third panel of the 4koma. He's looking about, he's kicking his feet... This body language suggests that he is waiting for someone or something. That means that in panel four, either the girl arriving OR the girl giving him the drink, the conflict is being solved. In this case, the conflict is being alone and/or his thirst. For the purposes of a four panel comic, this is a central conflict. The tumblr post seems to hold 4koma, and other four act structures, up as some sort of ideal conflict avoiding storytelling, but... that simply isn't the case. This poptepipic 4koma is a better example of the argument for lack of conflict, yet there is clearly still a conflict. It just doesn't happen to be something the characters we see as the protagonists care about, so their resolution is to ignore it and carry on. In fact, this can be used to defeat one particular point from said original post. The conflict doesn't have to center on the protagonist, at all. The protagonist is, by definition, nothing more than the main character. Or part of the main team, depending. Of course, in many cases, this role is expanded... but it doesn't have to. Even then, both the Can 4koma and the one above show characters making decisions that influence what happens around them, so it cannot be argued that the problem has to impede the protagonist. We can even showcase this in western storytelling! Many western stories, especially fantasy, involve heroes going out of their way to help others. By its very nature, that cannot be described as impeding the protagonist, up until the moment they willingly choose to do so. Same with Can girl... or subverted by Popuko and Pipimi. You can argue the duo is embracing death, but that means it isn't impeding them and they willingly chose to not be impeded. Another issue I noticed is that the original post seems to conflate conflict and violence. Violence is conflict, but conflict is not violence. Hell, hunger being solved by eating is a conflict and resolution. That is not inherently violent. There's also this weird sense of "conquering" or "winning" they mention with the conflict, but, again... Popuko and Pipimi show how that isn't the case. Meanwhile, the Can 4koma can easily go back to my eating example, because you're quenching thirst with a drink. Conflict, resolution. I can't speak too much for the movies mentioned by cr47t, but from what I recall, Totoro has a series of mini-conflicts that all make up the tale of childhood. The movie acts as a series of snapshots, rather than an overarching plot. And that is a fine, valid way of going about storytelling! That simply isn't the case being made. It could have been. It could have been a case for 4 act storytelling. But... here we are, instead talking about "conflict". The very nature of humanity is conflict. To write a story without conflict is to make something completely alien to us as a species. You CAN make a story without a grand conflict, and Totoro is arguably an example of this... but the 4koma in the post is absolutely not. Because, for its small scale, it presents an action resolving its relatively minor "grand conflict". By the by, I wanna make a point about conflict. A GRAND conflict is not the same as a CENTRAL conflict, which seems to be another general issue with this tumblr post. You see, a grand conflict is something like... The knight has to slay the dragon to save the town. It's grandiose, it defines every point of the story in many cases, and it leads up to the final confrontation. However, Seinfeld is a great example of a show that lacks a grand conflict, yet has a central conflict... Life. Yep. There's no grand directive that keeps Seinfeld going, but there's is the central strand going through it that informs and affects the story. In the case of Seinfeld, it's just these horrible people going through their lives and just how shitty they can be. There are a series of small conflicts with each episode, and they aren't interconnected directly, but they're all a result of their lives and the decisions they made up until that point. It's a mundane central conflict, but that's one that a lot of people can connect with. You know, until they end up in jail for being pieces of shit. Totoro, too, has a central conflict. The mother in the hospital. It is the source of just about everything that branches off in the movie, and though it is not at any point the main point of the movie... It informs and affects many aspects of it. Being alive is conflict. Surviving, working, living day by day. And, if I'm honest? Most people lead mundane lives. But it's still a series of conflicts. Working to eat, eating to live, living to find meaning. Sure, this differs from person to person, yet the general idea remains. For example, I know someone who hates eating. Sees it as a total waste of time and money. As such, even the step of obtaining food is a conflict for that person. It's not exciting. It's not grandiose. It is conflict. Anyway, I would also like to add that the post in question is very, very clearly making a case for Western storytelling being inferior to Eastern storytelling (by virtue of being "violent" and "confrontational"), and it just makes the point all the more confused. Both Western and Eastern storytelling have merits. Neither is objectively correct nor incorrect, and it is a great idea to expand your horizons beyond one or the other. In fact, I believe that the meeting of the two and finding a balance can create absolutely wondrous, beautiful results. To sum it up: OP on Tumblr is very confused about what hills they want to die on. OP on Tumblr is confused about what the hills they got on even mean. You can lack a grand conflict, but you cannot be without conflict. Even then, a central conflict may be more subtle than it appears to be, as it still exerts at least a certain level of influence on the events of the story. Seinfeld lacks a grand conflict, but it DOES have Life as a central conflict. Let's hope that Konosuba ends the same way. Because it's just Isekai Anime Seinfeld. Life is conflict. Mundane though it may be, it is still conflict. While unrelated to the main point, beautiful things come from combining techniques and storytelling refined in different areas. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and they can compliment each other. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. EDIT: I also wanna point out that, while Life is the central conflict for everyone in Seinfeld... Newman is pretty fucking close, too.
  11. Blake

    Blake's Takes

    It's been a while, huh? Sorry about that. Life became a bit much for me for a while. Still kinda is, but... I wanna say a thing here. Kinda a follow up to an earlier post... the one about abuse. Even more than abuse, itself, is the desire to talk about my greatest wall. Greater than overcoming perfectionism. Greater than learning to love myself. And that is... Well, why don't I use a reference? The idea that, no matter how much effort you put in, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much gnashing of teeth occurs... Sometimes, you cannot overcome that wall. Some people won't listen. They'll stay on the path they're on, and your actions will fall short. Even some who know you're right, though that's not my current situation. I talked about my abusers in the past post, and conveyed my experiences with them and my general stance on it. But I... even then, I was still making excuses. Defending one. Refusing to call them anything of the sort. Mistakes had been made, but that didn't mean I had been abused! Right? Well... no. Sometimes we give people we love far more leniency than we should. In fact, it's quite common with domestic abuse. Believing in someone. Hoping for the best. Always trying to mend things when they begin to fall apart, no matter how bad it gets. That's your role. That's your spot. Because you love them. It doesn't matter that things repeat. Cycle. You're doing your absolute best. Sometimes, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Makes it easier to forgive the bad and embrace the good. Smooth things out, y'know? You aren't as exposed to it, so it makes your brain tie it together. You were just overreacting back then, tensions were high... But what happens when you return? What happens when you go back and the maelstrom is still in place? Quiet, at first, to lure you in and make it seem safe... with a terrible storm waiting as soon as you begin to let your guard down. Ready to slice you apart. Refusing to acknowledge the chaos that it, itself, is. I've suffered from rage issues in the past, as I've said. I put a lot of work into answering and coping with those things... And even though stress can get me a bit hot under the collar, I can mostly manage it. Not perfectly, but better than before, with no risk of major outbursts of any kind in years. Imagine almost making it back to those outbursts because of being exposed to a bad situation once more. Having almost all of that rage brought to the surface thanks to that terrible tempest you walked into. That terrifying, ugly anger, and realizing... That it isn't you. It doesn't make the rage okay. It doesn't forgive it. But it... It's comforting to know that the rage issues weren't just me. That the effort I put in was for a good cause, but not just who I was as a person. It's so, so relieving. For the actual things that occurred, I could go on for hours. Multiple conversations conveying what was happening, what was going on... All because I was blind to the situation I had left behind. Convinced myself it wasn't so bad, as those in abusive situations often do. But sometimes... sometimes... You cannot overcome the "relentless killer". You cannot change their mind. You cannot ease their heart. You can only do that which you are capable of and leave it at that. You cannot serve from an empty bowl. And letting that maelstrom win. Letting it keep roaring, in your face as you've faltered in front of it... Makes you feel so weak. Like you should have been stronger. You failed. But that's not true! No one is strong enough to take everything on their shoulders, to mend and fix and smooth out every last detail! Not one person alive can do that, because... You can't hold your standards to someone else. They can only hold their own to themselves. I don't know if there's a point to this. I don't know anything, right now. I just know my heart hurts, it wants to mend, to heal, to fix. But I have to tell it no. It can't be the only thing putting in effort anymore. It has more than enough on its plate without that. Yes, it hurts... It hurts like hell. But it's time to let go. Move on. Forgive myself... for falling short. And hope for the future.
  12. I spent the last two weeks going through absolute hell. For the first week, I tried to make excuses. Say it was okay. There were circumstances. It would not get worse. But ooooh boy did it get fucking worse. And worse. And worse. Until it all came to a crashing, burning head. I'm now poorer than I would have been had I stayed, by a good chunk, and I have a deep pit of dread in my stomach. And overall, I'm just glad to be home. Cow and a few others can attest that I have... PAGES of things I could say, but I don't want to list all of them right now. I don't have the energy. But making the choice to let go instead of forcing something to work is difficult.
  13. My heart is in tatters...

  14. I wish typing on phone wasn’t so annoying. I’d post a biiig thing in that thread cow posted and a post in my blog, if it wasn’t.

  16. Melissa's body language was all too clear to Devin as they ascended with them, taking the chance to walk past her and Masaru. And, since they were at the front, they turned right to avoid the dup, heading straight for room F. As soon as they entered, they locked the door... and slumping down against it. In that moment, the barren room did not displease them. It was more than they needed. More than they deserved. Their memories told them that a decent number of the owners of those lives had lived on the streets or travelling about by foot... Including the one whose name they bore. Yet, for all the memories swirling inside of their head, only one sentiment stood out. In that moment, the being referred to as Devin Kismet wanted nothing more than to fall asleep and never wake up again. The barren, drab room did nothing to hurt this attempt, so they pulled their knees up to hug them, burying their face and letting their eyes close. They were dangerous. They were a monster. They needed to just... let go. Everyone would be better off if this one shapeshifter ceased to be. Time passed. How much, the shifter did not know. It could have been minutes. Hours. Possibly even days, though the warmth in the room would inform them otherwise. Trying to drift off. Trying to silence their mind. Begging sweet sleep to take them away from this place. Yet, in place of sleep, they heard a rapping at their door behind them. “Devin, it’s Melissa. You don’t have to, but we should probably, uh...“ "Why...?" the shifter closed their eyes tighter, bundling tighter against themselves, to the point that the lines between what was hand and what was leg began to disappear, "I... I get it... I screwed up... You didn't... have to come over here... You didn't do anything wrong..." "Well, I came over for a few reasons, um..." Melissa's words were measured, coming out a few at a time. "I guess the first is that I know what it's like to be trapped in my own head, and I know it's easier to pull myself back from that sort of thinking when there's someone on the other end, and maybe I'm not great at talking but I can listen okay, at least. The other reason, though, um, is that even if you, you know, really would rather me just go away right now, I just wanted to say: I forgive you." Devin froze in stunned silence. Why? Why would she? What part of that did they deserve? They bit their lip as they shook hard, burying themselves into their legs more, as the tears began to fall. "I... don't get it... I don't understand... I just don't... understand... Why... would you forgive me? You could have died!" Devin yelled without meaning to, choking up as they continued, "You shouldn't forgive me! You heard Mauvache, and Devin is the name of a villain-in-training! For all you know, I could be planning to kill you! Or that guy you were helping! Or anyone... else..." As they finished speaking, their voice caught in their throat, sobs beginning to overtake them. They didn't deserve this kindness. The only voice in their head that told them they did was the same reason they were in this current mess at all. "I'm nothing but a monster... a freak... it would be better... if you kept your distance... And I'm sorry..."
  17. Diana's heart skipped a beat when her attack hit home. She had done it! Of course, the teacher managed to recover from it, even with the assist from Nat, but that was still something. Yasha was closing in as well, but that meant... Oh no. With Yuuka's recovery and Diana still sliding, she found her momentum carrying herself towards Yasha, saws whirring. At the same time, Nat seemed to have been shaken off, and Yuuka had trained her sights on Yumi... But if she took Yumi out, they wouldn't have a shot. As the space closed and panic threatened to take hold, Diana saw a small shred of hope. Her spear. Grabbing it as she slid, she used it to slow herself by digging it into the ground, she managed to spin herself out of Yasha's way, letting out a cry from the pain of sliding across the ground so roughly. She cursed herself as she got up and cast the spear aside, only to take a sprinting pose. She needed to learn to control her speed to avoid situations like that in the future, but for now she had to protect Yumi! Taking off like a jack rabbit, she followed after the slow moving orb, only for it to speed up suddenly, approaching Yumi. It wasn't like she could just stop in front of her and obstruct her shot, so the only option left was to push forward! Pushing herself even harder, Diana leapt right into the smoke ball, right arm extended to pierce through it. She tumbled once she hit the ground on the other side, coughing a bit before standing up. She had scrapes on her from yet another round of sliding on the ground, but a grin on her face. "Ha, getting hit by that isn't so bad. It looks like what I realized was right," Diana panted, "Your poison won't work on me!" ----- The panda hero watched as her students all tried to approach... Except for one. Sure, Tsubasa and Sun seemed to be working as a distraction in the front, with Ben above... But where did the other one go? She had gotten sloppy and lost Rika's position, but the others made it a bit too easy for her to dodge backwards. So, was that their plan...? Attempting to hop backwards, Xiónglǎohǔ was once more caught off guard, the spiders around her feet making her movements a bit more sluggish. She had seen those on the ceiling, but not these. The kids were clever, she'd give them that. The result of that was the cat managing to sweep her legs a bit, though the monkey's assault and the web itself failed in the process. Tumbling back and bracing herself, the panda rolled before hopping back onto her feet in one somewhat fluid motion, taking her pose up once more and stomping some of the remaining spider's underfoot. But something felt off to her, with the briefcase feeling a bit... wiggly. "Your chameleon friend is really doing her job, huh?" the panda laughed as she adjusted her shoulders, "Didn't even know she got a lick on this thing! But it's time for you kids to learn a very, very important lesson... What villain cares about property damage?" Slamming her elbow into the somewhat dilapidated wall behind her, a crack formed. With a huff, she turned around and kicked through the drywall, opening the wall to the mock cityscape beyond. Flashing a cheeky grin at the heroes-in-training, she hopped through the hole, positioning herself in the middle of a street, no lamp posts above her. While impressed with what they had achieved, she couldn't just let it end with cheap tricks. Where was the fun in that? For a test like this, there was more to teach!
  18. When the dust had settled, "Devin" was once again left with their thoughts. They had taken a nasty fall, and their body felt a bit strained from too much shifting, but they were in one piece. Which was more than could have been said for Melissa, had things taken a worse turn. Their heart heavy, they gave the bare minimum of answers to the questions asked of them before they left, slinking away to the bus when no one was paying attention. With a quiet yelp, their body shifted just one more time, forming the hood from before, pulled tight around their face. Of course, Melissa ended up sitting next to them for the ride. Why? There was no excuse. Someone showed them kindness, and they rewarded it with recklessness. Turning towards the window and closing their eyes tight, the shifter just tried to sink into themselves. It would be too obvious if they actively ran away, so all they could do... was wish they were smaller than they were. Achievable or not, their body was in no shape to attempt it. Even when they had arrived, the shifter instead chose to hang back and wait for everyone else to pile into the building, trying their best to just... disappear. They were sore. Tired. Guilty. They had let that voice take over, and look what had happened? They were too weak. Too worthless...! Devin was forced to snap back to reality as the watches were explained, looking at the device. It didn't seem that much beyond what was available in many of their memories, but... They hardly felt like looking through it. Instead, they slithered their way towards the stairs, hoping to find a room and lock themselves in before anyone else could make their way up. However, Melissa made it back and announced her desire to head that way before they could, along with one of the guys who hadn't joined them on the mission. With a heavy heart, they simply nodded, never making eye contact with the girl. Maybe Mauvache really was right...
  19. time for slime

  20. The shifter raised her brow as the elemental ignored her, instead assaulting Fen. "Where are you looking? The hero is before you, yet you target someone else? You are a wretched beast." With a scoff, her body shifted once more, plating itself as her wings seemed to slide back in, causing her to free fall. Using the momentum, she faced straight down, watching the earth itself come ever closer, the chrome and black plating covering her body just enough to form a shell... Before pulling up a mere moment before hitting the ground. As she flew back into the sky, high above the fight, her legs had been replaced by a long, flowing tail with the same plating as the rest of her body, and wings that looked like a single sheet of green plexiglass jut from her back, arcing towards the sky and glowing ever so slightly. "Helldive Slasher!" Letting herself fall into free fall again, Shannon began to spin from high in the sky, creating a slip stream around her body as she aimed for the Elemental's chest... And hitting her mark true, breaking through the brittle bones in an instant before pulling back up into the sky, her spinning slowly coming to a halt as she looked back down on the foe she had torn through. The flames seemed to grasp at the shattered bones, trying to pull it together again. It served that foolish creature right. But, something was wrong. A fit of coughing took the shifter by storm, blood coating her hand as she did. Why? Why was this small amount enough to cause this? She... she had mastery of her form! It didn't matter that these abilities were new, it...! Her body started to return to a more human form as she found herself falling for the third time, trying to contain her coughing. She was the hero! She was Shannon Almaz! The savior! Why was she... having... so much trouble...?
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