It's something that I think about a lot.
See, I'm not atheist either. And admittedly I have no intention of being atheist. I'd go further into why...well...no I wouldn't. My beliefs are my own prerogative. I say I'm an agnostic theist. Leaning towards Christianity. But unwilling to fully commit to the belief.
So Christians say that God is very good. That every thing he made he made with purpose and reason. So that all these morals and such have reason and rhyme behind them. And anyone who's raised to be Christian is taught that God loves everyone...but...
We're also taught that God doesn't give anyone a problem that they cannot handle. Now I have issue with this. Because this isn't what people mean. What they mean to say (I think...any Christians who follow me here can correct me on this) is that God doesn't give people any problems they cannot handle without his help. So if a person has issues going on in their life but remain uncertain of God's existence then the likelihood of someone remaining overwhelmed with what they've been dealt in life will remain constant. Also...
Sexuality. Yes, even though I identify as straight and am a virgin, I do have my qualms when it comes to religion, sexuality, and even God's take on it. Sure. He created people. But even so that doesn't mean I have to agree with that exact decision to do so. Again this will go off on a tangent on another reason I have a hard time with taking a leap of faith. I might get into it after this. But yes...so if a person really can't be anything other than gay or lesbian or if they really do feel like they are a male when their physical body says "female" or vice versa...I don't doubt the ability to "change" it if a person wanted to. Again only if they wanted to. I feel sexuality for the most part is more fluid than people give it credit for. But some people will never be able to change how they feel. And basically Christianity does tell them that they are damaged because of it. Well to be honest Christianity tells everyone that they're damaged and we need to look to a being that we can neither see, hear, nor touch for that help. But in the case of sexuality, even more so. Because even in this "free country" people are being denied their right to get married (not everywhere but some states are still banning same sex marriage and even same sex civil unions).
But...okay yeah I'll get into that. Even more than all the social and civil rights issues. I don't understand why God created people. Basically how I understand it (again, if you're Christian and can explain it better go for it) is he was lonely and wanted people around who would love him for him. So out of loneliness he created humans knowing (absolutely knowing) they were going to betray him they he would have to go through this weird round about deal of having a son who was part...him and then sacrificing him so that people could get into heaven but even though people believe in his son, that belief is apparently not good enough and you still have to follow all the crazy rules and such just so you can get into heaven and not have your soul burn for eternity. Maybe burn for eternity. Honestly I hope hell is just the absence of God without all this fire and such. Because there's about a 99.99%...no 100% chance that when I die I'll just end up there granted there's such a thing as the afterlife. I really can't get over the selfish act it was to create people and then set up a "utopia" for those who "chose right" and structured their life in a specific way and then a place of torture for people who either just didn't find the evidence to chose right, didn't have enough time in their lives to chose right, or plain didn't want to follow him. And I don't blame people who don't want to follow God. A lot of what God does seems completely selfish and nonsensical.
And I don't need a response of "well God can do what he want" or "it's God...we don't need to understand everything he does". I kinda would like to know. I'd like to know why he created people in the first place. In the long run, free will will be lost anyways (as sin cannot exist in heaven) so you could've started out with that step and just created people who will want to be with you. Instead of teasing people with "life" and putting everyone through the BS that is "life" just to say in the end "oh you chose wrong. Good bye".
Even though I sound completely bitter with the concept of religion, I have my reasons for leaning towards religion rather than being Atheist. I don't think with my lack of mental stability at times Atheism would do any good. I feel like I need an actual purpose in life. If I'm here for no reason...what am I doing here then? And then why do I continue to remain here? Sure there's things I'd love to do but if you could prove without a doubt that there isn't a God or there's no afterlife...then doesn't that mean that absolutely nothing I do matters in the end? The impact any person has on the world doesn't matter. Everything will turn to dust in the end and the impact any one person will have on another will mean absolutely nothing in the long run. So I'm rather bitter towards Atheism too.
So why couldn't I have been born a dog instead of a human (who at times feels like a dog)? I wouldn't have to worry about the whole soul thing...I'd have a short life span. I wouldn't have to worry about money or anything. Seriously. Couldn't God have gotten a pet or something if he was lonely? If people can have pets to curb loneliness I'm sure it works for omnipotent beings. Oh wait...humans are the pets. Okay then...still would like to be a dog instead. Being human sucks.
Sure it's like...2 in the morning so it's only natural that I'm "tired" but that's not the tired I'm talking about.
I'm mentally tired. I'm tired of trying to please myself. I'm tired of trying to please everyone else. I'm tired of just about everything. I went on my whole tirade about weight loss and why I want to lose weight and came to the conclusion that...I don't know why it would be worth it. Sure. To make a costume I think would be fun to make would be worth it. But I suppose I could still make something that I wouldn't wear. What would be the point in putting myself through a ton of physical pain and denying myself foods that I like just so I can attempt to please a group of people who wouldn't be pleased anyways? And I wouldn't be pleased because...well no good reason. I'm just the sort of person who can't help but have their work validated by someone. So what's the point?
What's the point in trying to maintain hope that things keep getting better when time and time again you're just proven wrong? Every time I see something that could be proof for the compassion of humanity, I always get proven wrong. Either by experience, seeing some sort of injustice, reading about it, etc. I'm genuinely ashamed to be human most times. I place no faith in humanity for humanity lets me down over and over again. I place no faith in myself for as a member of the human species I let myself down over and over again. And I place no faith in a higher power because...I'm still mad at God. Whether he exists or not I'm still not sure but if he does exist, I'm angry at him making me a member of a species that I really don't hold in too high of regard. With all the intelligence in the world, people can't figure out simple things like...
1) A person who does not hold the same belief system as you is still a human being. What they believe is not an indicator of their level of intelligence since some people do debate with themselves about spirituality and research it deeply. It's a delicate subject like any other and people with varying beliefs deserve to be treated with the same level of respect.
2) A person who is not a size 0-4 is still a human being and deserves to be treated with the same level of respect as the person you see on TV or on the cover of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Their size is not an indication of their health just as being thin does not automatically mean that you're healthy.
3) A person who is a man/woman is still a human being and still deserves to be treated with the same level of respect that you want. Your genitalia does not make you any more or less of a worthy human being.
3) A person who does not share your interests/has interest in things you consider "taboo" is still a human being and deserves to be treated with the same level of respect that you want.
5) A person who is gay, lesbian, transgender, asexual, questioning, gender-queer, bisexual, pansexual, etc. is still a human being and deserves to be treated with the same level of respect you want. Being heterosexual doesn't make you a better person. It just makes you attracted to the opposite sex.
6) Any human being is a human being and deserves to be treated with the same level of respect that you want.
It shocks me that people cannot figure this out. I don't know. Maybe I think about it too much. Maybe it's because I consciously want to try to see things from another person's perspective. Maybe because I feel different I understand the need to treat other people with respect because I don't know what they go through. But it sickens me at times that I belong to this "intelligent" species yet people cannot figure out that their fellow man deserves to be treated with respect.
I'm tired of wanting. Wanting more for my life but being unable to grasp it. Wanting a thinner body. Wanting to be better at this activity or that activity. Everything is a want and none of it gets achieved.
I'm tired of living in a world where people are just so heartless and want to shame others for either decisions they make or things that are out of their control. There are people who feel like successful actors and singers shouldn't be successful at their craft because they're too "fat". Since when does what a person look like constitute being a good singer. This is why autotune is necessary. Everyone has to be a model. No one needs the talent anymore.
If I ever lost weight, I know I'd be equally as unhappy. Because I would only do it to please everyone else. I dislike most forms of exercise. It's no fun and an unnecessary chore. The only form of exercise l like is dancing and I get so frustrated with it because I'm no good at teaching myself how to do it. I'd like to take a dance class but I have no money to do so and I have no dancer friends to help me to learn. But it's not like I'm aiming to be any healthier. Not like society really cares about health anyways. Society just doesn't want to see anymore fat people so we create a ton of faux health scares/concerns and continuously shove them in people's faces. If I chose unhealthy methods to lose weight, no one would care because a fat person lost weight so everything's all good. And in the end even though I'd be able to do all the cosplays I'd ever want, I'd still be a miserable wreck because I'd know that everything I'd done was just to please someone else.
I'm tired of being miserable and crying almost every day. People say you have this choice to be optimistic but I never felt that choice was an option for me. For every positive thing I see in the day, I see the same number of negative things happening, sometimes more. Sorry to say, the negatives have a stronger impact. I just can't stand to see people being cruel to one another and treating each other like they're better than other people. I hate this entitled feeling that people have. I hate that people cheat, steal, murder...do all these terrible things. I hate that people are out there debating who should be able to get married and who shouldn't...all under this guise of the "sanctity of marriage" while getting divorces themselves. I hate that people pretend that they know who God hates. And I hate that people disrespect a person's right to believe in a God at all. I even hate minor things like people picking on child actors or singers because they're young and famous. You don't have to like Justin Bieber's music but why does he need to die? Since when is a bad song justifiable for a murder threat? I hate that I've bought into these concepts at times and partake in lying. I hate that I jumped on the "hate Bieber" bandwagon for a few weeks/months despite not really hating him at all and finding nothing justifiably wrong with what he does other than he's a teenager and makes more money than me. I hate that I'm a horribly jealous person. Despite trying to hide it, I can't help feeling jealous of other people especially when they're doing what I want and achieving their goals. And I feel worse when that jealousy is of people I consider good friends.
If God is real, then I guess I'm angry that he gave human beings free will. It's really turned out so well...with all the hatred and shaming that get's put around. I understand that if he wanted people to choose him freely, that's fine...but leave me out of it please. I wasn't a necessary person you needed to create in order to do this. I'm also tired of this whole spirituality vs. no spirituality thing. If it's real or not. If it's real and I die and I chose wrong then I'm punished for it and have to spend eternity with people I don't want to be around? And if I'm right then I might have to spend eternity with people I don't want to be around. All the while I have to live on earth with heartless people who will shame me no matter the choice I make. If I believe then I'm stupid and juvenile. If I don't believe then "I'll be sorry for it" or I'm also stupid and juvenile.
I'm so tired of not knowing what to do. Do I conform with the majority? Stand with the minority? Stand with myself...which is a position I'm completely unsure of? I'm so tired of being the insecure wallflower who avoids doing anything new or exciting. I absolutely despise being shy and introverted but have no idea how to go about changing that. It's not like I stand out in a crowd anyways...And I avoid doing so much because I'm afraid of standing out. Because it could be standing out in a bad way. What if I sang in front of people and they hated it or my nerves got the best of me and I screwed up? Or if I wore the most beautiful cosplay I could think to wear and the only thing people saw about it was that I wasn't thin and therefore the cosplay is automatically bad?
I'm just...tired...very, very tired...At some point I'll probably either give up or stop caring. And sadly the prospect of just giving up seems to be the more likely choice for me...
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to health, I...honestly could care less. I've been told a lot that if I don't lose weight I would get diabetes or something. So it's not news. Did doctors think that if they told me one more time that it would be the time to scare me into caring? I guess they did. But I didn't care. If you get into the mechanics of my mind, you'll learn that for the most part I find no reason to care. I find no reason to put myself through various diet trends, avoid foods that I genuinely like forever, exercise for hours a day, etc. At the same time I understand that I'm unhealthy and because I'm unhealthy I don't partake in "healthy" things for too long. Doing exercise is painful. Even if it is something fun like dancing. I'll have to take short breaks to catch my breath after a few minutes of it but I can get back up and do more.
Between the beginning of 2011 and today I've gone from 230 lbs. to 175-180 lbs. And you know what?
1) I'm not any happier.
2) I never noticed it. I still don't completely notice it despite being able to fit into size 18 pants instead of size 20.
3) No one else noticed...except my mom...but she's with me everyday so she's supposed to notice.
I wanted to lose weight too. But I can't be happy about the weight I did lose. Even if it is via my own efforts. I didn't starve myself...at least I didn't think so. I just have a tendency to not eat a lot because most of the time I don't really feel hungry. And I had to change my diet because I had to get my gallbladder taken out. So cutting back on fried foods and most sweets...of course I was going to lose weight. Even if I didn't particularly try to. Except...I still don't feel like anything's changed and I'm still not happy about accomplishing that.
Because my goal isn't to be healthy. It's to look good in cosplay. IE...look good in certain types of clothes. A shallow, rather vain reason. But yes, that's my reason. Being healthy is actually no consequence to me. And I do feel awkward thinking that. I think a lot of people want to put the focus on being healthy. When people talk to overweight individuals they always say stuff like they're worried about their health. When my parents focus on what I'm eating it's this faux concern about health. Always the faux concern about health.
But when people actually speak like this, it's never about health. It's always about looks. I my parents catch me eating one fatty thing one day (like a scoop of ice cream or something), the response is usually never actually about health. The response is usually "Oh, you're going to gain all that weight right back...". Like the one scoop of ice cream I shouldn't be allowed to have. But they can. Despite the face that now me and my mom weight roughly around the same and my dad is heavier than I am. But no...they can have ice cream and I can't. Or if they see a person much bigger than me they'll sometimes say "Do you want to be that big?" like they have some knowledge that the larger person is somehow riddled with healthy and mobility problems. I've never been directly insulted about my weight except for one time in second grade when I was called a "heifer". But I didn't know what a heifer was in second grade so I wasn't insulted about it until much later on. But because I've never been insulted doesn't mean I don't feel that societal pressure to try to be thinner.
And it sucks in the cosplay community. This part of the nerd community. You're people. People who are generally stigmatized for having strong interests in things that are considered childish. Nerds are made fun of for being overweight. For being people who live in their parent's basements. For being childish. But yet this community that knows what it's like to be made fun of will continue to stigmatize another human being because they aren't perfect dressed up as this character. People go out of their way to take pictures of fat cosplayers and upload them online as de-motivational posters, making snide remarks about their weight, what they assume they eat, how they look. The costume itself can be a remarkable work of art, but people don't care about that. I'm confident in my skills to create a beautiful costume. While I don't have strong sewing skills that's something I can get better at. I know that I can make a lovely costume with practice. But is anyone really going to care about that? No. They aren't. I can sew the best costume, taper it to my body type perfectly but because I'm not between a size 0 and size 4 no one's going to give a rat's behind about it. Because all they can see is fat.
I've got so many ideas for costumes to make but I feel I have to put them behind me. Not just for monetary reason. Because earning the money really isn't the hardest thing ever. But because I feel like I have to try to be thinner so I can look better in them. It's about the worse "motivation" for trying to lose weight. I have to put myself through pain that I don't want to feel just so I can accomplish something and not be ridiculed for that accomplishment.
I hate the world sometimes. I really, really do. Do you get why I don't think most people's "concern" about health isn't about health? It's because I'm willing to bet that 9 times out of 10 it isn't. I know there are larger people out there who can dance gracefully, complete marathons, do all of these amazing athletic feats. Their numbers when they go to the doctor are impeccable. But yet...no one will ever believe them. All they see is "They aren't thin...so these things can't be true".
No, no...that's not true. I don't hate the world. I just hate humans sometimes. We're such horrible creatures. I'm not exempt from. I catch myself thinking horrible things that I know just aren't true. It's why I rarely voice my opinion on things. Because for all I know, I could be wrong. Being wrong is always a big possibility. So all I know is that I can work on myself. But most people don't. From what I see anyways. Many people are such cruel beings to one another. It's no wonder I just don't try. My efforts for pleasing myself are really no different than the efforts for pleasing everyone else. I grew up thinking that if I don't do anything bad to people, then people have no reason to hate me. Then I realized that people are terrible beings and often hate people for the stupidest reasons and I turned into a major pessimist who really has no reason for trying to be an optimist...
So yes. My goal is technically to lose weight. Not to be healthy. They are two different things. Weigh loss implies the whole "calorie deficit", pseudo-starvation stuff (which his fairly easy for me since I'm just used to not eating a lot normally...though avoiding sweets is not what I'm used to...). Being healthy is just listening to your body's cues and giving your body exactly what it wants and needs. You can easily be as unhealthy as a thin person as you can be as an overweight person. And everyone's gonna die at some time right? As much as I fear death, I do realize this and because one of my goals in life is to get more into cosplay I feel there's really no time to focus on being healthy. The focus feels like it should be on trying to find ways to look better in costumes.
For some reason all I can think about are ways to make myself stand out. That's what I want to do in life. I want to be that successful person that stands out in the crowd. I wanna be able to confidently be in front of a crowd speaking or singing or doing whatever. Like hosting a panel at a convention. I'd love to do something like that one day. I wanna get more in to costuming. I just got through designing a dress inspired by the one that Rainbow Dash wears to the grand galloping gala in MLP:FIM. But I have no idea if I'd ever make it. And if I made it, I have no idea if I'd ever wear it.
When it comes to standing out in a crowd, I'm just terrified to do it. I'm extremely envious of people who can do that without a problem and the people who have the guts enough to push aside their fears to successfully get up on a stage and speak/act/sing/etc. If I do get up in front of people I haven't been able to speak well enough. I just kinda start shaking and...I'm just not having fun with it. Being in front of people is a terrifying experience.
But when you do art, standing out has to be a part of the game. If you don't stand out...if your work blends into every Disney or stereotypical anime rip off style no one's gonna care if you can really draw or not. Your stuff is something that everyone's seen about a thousand times over. As for cosplay/costuming, I think it's a little easier to stand out in that regard. Especially if you work really hard to make something that's beautiful. Good and/or unique costumes will always stand out in a crowd...but the best cosplayers are the ones who can embody their character. So being a good actor...
I just watched a video taping of a panel at an anime convention on plus-sized cosplay. And I have so much love for plus sized cosplay. Not only because I'm plus sized, but because the majority of them catch an amazing amount of flack because they're dressed up as characters that are normally skinny. Now there are some that don't dress their body well but I don't think they deserve to be made fun of for it. But for the ones that cut, drape, and match the costume to their frame perfect...but hours of work in...it's sad to see their work get passed up for the skinny Naruto cosplayer who just bought their costume offline (nothing against buying stuff...but I'm more interested in costumes that are custom made or made by the wearer than ones bought offline) or five minutes ago in the dealers den. I see so much fat-shaming going on in the "nerd" community that it strongly deters me from wanting to cosplay. Lucky for me I've always loved the animal costumes more than people ones so for the time being I can comfortably dress up as pokemon or digimon. But what about all the Power Ranger/Super Sentai characters...or if I wanted to do a humanoid version of a pokemon? It requires such an immense knowledge of how to dress my body type for that. And I have to avoid spandex altogether. So as much as I want do make Hime ShinkenRed fallen to Gedou version, I'll have to hold off on that until I lose about 60 more pounds or so.
But I feel so strongly about the plus size members of the cosplay community that I want to try to pull off my own plus sized outfits. I need to learn a bit about how to dress my body anyways. I know bigger girls can look great too. There's some really gorgeous plus sized ladies out there. I've never dressed myself up in a way that I thought I looked good. I know other bigger girls can look good in dresses, but I just assume that I can't. I don't know if that's a true statement. I just assume that things that are true for others aren't true for me, but I have no basis for that assumption.
And when it comes to the cosplay again, I have a second strike against me...being black. It doesn't seem like a big thing, but you have no idea how big "proper cosplay" is in the nerd communities. And if you don't look like the character, some people take strong offense. And race is another one of those things that people will take offense against. Black people should only dress up as black characters. And in the anime community that option is so limiting. Really the only character there is is Yoruichi from Bleach...and I'm about 99.99% sure she isn't black either. Just dark skinned.
But I don't know why I worry about that aspect. Most of what I want to wear are Sentai suits (complete with helmets so you can't see my face at all, "gijinka"/humanoid costumes (like MLP or Pokemon but in a more humanoid form or a clothing design based off the design), or mascot suits. There's only one costume in mind that I'd like to make where race would come into play (Mele from Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger) but that can be worried about whenever I lose enough weight to wear that dress successfully. But the rest I'm either covered up or it's a design that is being turned from creature to human. So race doesn't matter...
Honestly, these are all just excuses to go back to the whole standing out of a crowd thing. I can do it if I'm in a mascot suit. No one knows what I look like then it's fine. But putting myself and how I look in front of people is a scary thing. I'm not good at being very "girly". I don't know how to style my short, course hair. Or to do make up. Or to really even find clothes that flatter myself. I don't know why I care about these things now. I didn't for the longest time. But for the longest time I didn't have to try to impress anyone, look clean cut, or have a strong interest in cosplay either.
I'm just so envious of people who can stand out in some way. Successful artists who can easily sell hundreds of dollars of art a week. The people who can walk into a crowd of any people and instantly make about 10 more friends. People who are endlessly optimistic. The people who can see their strengths and work with them...manipulate them and circumstances around them into success...The people who aren't afraid to have fun and try new things. I envy all of them. Because that seemingly comes so easy. But I know for some it doesn't. Deep down I know everyone works very hard at those things. But I can only see the success and I have no idea how to do that for myself. I have little to no interest in my art from potential customers. I did when I had delved into more adult subject matter (out of curiosity; worst decision I made). Sex sells you know...but I didn't like drawing it so I stopped (best decision I made...). The most common commissions I get now are of pregnant characters mostly...and while that doesn't bother me, I'd prefer to draw other things. I think I'm very good at drawing cute stuff. But I guess there's enough people successful at drawing cute stuff. I recently finished drawing an angry dragon for someone and it was the most fun picture I've been commissioned to draw. But it's so rare that anyone is interested in that. I don't have an art style that stand out of the pack so it gets passed up. I don't do super detailed paintings often, and even when I do those get passed up. I don't do adult subject matter, so my stuff is often forgotten it feels.
I'm stubborn enough that I'm trying really hard to earn money off of commissions to prove I can make a job out of art by working for myself. But it's becoming more apparent that it might not be possible. I have it in the back of my mind to turn down a potential commission now because I just don't think I could draw this picture well enough. And really I don't like it much. It isn't adult...but it's oddly close for comfort just because of the characters. I have no issue with drawing pin-ups but I think there's a difference between pin-up and porn...maybe I should just turn it down. I need the money but I can try for other commissions...I'm really happy with how my painting type things look. Maybe other people like them too and would want a commission for it...
I want to do a lot of things but they involve money. Want to make more costumes, but I need the money for supplies. Want to travel to more conventions, but I need money for that too. Money, money, money...I really dislike money. It dictates everything you can and can't do. And I want to earn it my way. I always figured art was the way I could earn money. And I see people working for themselves and being successful at it. Why can't I be successful at it too? What is it I need to fix so people will want what I do? I keep thinking that I should just give up because no one will want what I do. But some people do...just not enough to support myself. I keep thinking that I could (if I got better at it) take costume commissions to, but that goes back to the money. How am I going to get in enough practice if I don't have the money to buy the materials for said practice?
Ugh...why does life have to be so annoying? I really only have one goal in life. And my mother thinks I'm joking about this goal or that this isn't a real goal but I think it is. My sole goal in life...or rather now my two goals after seeing a video from Alphacat on Youtube...my two goals in life are to be happy and successful. But life wants to make that very difficult doesn't it?
I'm not a spiritual person...this is pretty much a fact about me. I'm just no good at being spiritual.
That being said, I'm no good at being spiritual because I have personal hang ups about it. Some having to do with previous experiences with spirituality (specifically going to church), some having to do with what I believe about worldviews, and some having to do with the way I will be judged.
As much as I believe strange things, it's miles easier for me to admit that I'm a therian or that I believe in ghosts and psychic abilities (to a degree) than it is for me to give in and follow some religion and say I believe it. I'll usually explain away the therian thing via psychology (I feel there's some dissociative properties there but I can't say for sure unless I spoke in detail to a therapist about it). As for ghosts...I have an irrational fear of them. And psychic stuff...meh. Just a random belief I have that I can't fully explain. But religion...oh religion...it's such an uncomfortable subject, but...
You have no idea how envious I am of religious people. Now many an atheist might look at a Christian (well...mostly Christians) or a Jew or Muslim etc. and say that they're stupid for believing in "fairy tales". But the way I look at it, it takes some serious guts to step out into a world that might not like strange beliefs and say "This is who I am; this is what I believe...deal with it".
Now when it comes to my own beliefs, I leave it at saying I'm an agnostic theist. I believe in god (no specific one)/a higher power but I don't worship one or put my faith in one. My trust in whatever higher power...I have so little of it after my experiences with prayer and church. I felt like religion was forced on me for the longest time. I went because my mother made me go. I had to believe because she wanted me to. But when you grow older you can see the people around you for who they are. And I got to hear a few times where the pastor said things that could be easily seen as racist (as this was an African Methodist church...comments on race seem to be rather common in these). But that didn't bother me so much. What really broke the camels back was the mocking of non-believers in one sermon. It was just one but that was enough to cause me distress that I just didn't want to be in that church anymore.
And my real doubt about religion came in when I was really confused about me as a person. I developed canine like vocal and personality quirks triggered by my own emotions and a bit of a "connection" (using that term loosely) with dogs that was bothering me. And at the time I'd prayed about it and wanted to know what was wrong with me because "normal" people don't feel like animals (well...not like non-human animals). And I felt I received no answer to that. Twice I'd prayed about it. And waited for months but nothing. Maybe that's not how prayer works. I have no idea as it's never "worked" for me. Over time I've come up with my own theories about my personality/behavioral quirks but as I'm not a psychologist, my theories are worth squat really. And so even though years have past and I'm much more comfortable with my oddities, I'm still left wondering what's wrong with me.
But the biggest thing that bothers me about religion...okay before I get into this I should say that I lean towards being Christian. You can chock it up to being brought up in the religion however I feel like there's really no other "option". It's either that or Atheism...and I just couldn't be an Atheist and happy. It...it's just not going to happen. It just so happens the thing that bothers me about really exploring Christianity and taking a leap to being a Christian is the same thing that bothers me about Atheism. It's the taking a leap of faith and having to give up so much of myself and my beliefs. And potentially losing so much. One one hand, I don't lose much with being an Atheist. I wouldn't lose friends...but I'd have to ditch a good portion of what I believe. And the hardest part would be believing that I'm here in this world but I don't matter. I don't have a purpose and the world wouldn't lose or gain anything from my being here. I could be interpreting this part of the Atheist worldview incorrectly...I'm sure I am...but this just how I see it.
On the flip side, while I would retain a good portion of my beliefs with Christianity, there are beliefs that I would have to change and the thought of that makes me extremely uncomfortable. Like homosexuality. I find nothing wrong with people being gay. But I acknowledge that the Bible clearly says that it's a sin. My beliefs is that people are free to live as they wish. I honestly don't find anything wrong with the idea of gay marriage either though it's not an issue I feel strongly on either way (then again...I don't have a very high view of marriage anyways). To change my feelings on it just because the Bible says so just seems so...odd. I don't know how to explain it. I just wish to retain my own thoughts.
I wouldn't want to be a wishy-washy Christian either. I don't mean to offend any Christians who are more lax on their beliefs, but from the outside point of view, I do have more respect for the Christians who do strongly follow their faith and the word of God to the best of their ability than the ones who pick and choose. Despite the fact that I may disagree with them, they are truthfully following their faith and not beating around the bush with it. Not choosing what parts are convenient for them. I'd have so much trouble with that. I'm not the sort to want to ask for help. And definitely not from someone I can't see or touch or hear. And not from someone who I feel hasn't helped me before when I asked for it. Yes, it sounds selfish...still...
I've tried to learn by putting myself in Christian online communities. I always feel so out of place there. I don't know what to say...after a while I don't know why I'm there. I'll usually just "lurk" quietly or stop going to the site. I never know if I should go back or what I should even say. I'm so out of place there because I don't share these beliefs and have trouble with a lot of them.
I do have a friend who has a good idea of my beliefs. While she's not really "Christian" per se, she's very spiritual and holds fairly Christian beliefs. She doesn't want to force me to do anything I don't want to do, but she's offered to go to church with me should I ever want to go back. I dunno...I'd feel awkward in a church. Like I shouldn't be there. Partially 'cause I probably shouldn't. I don't believe what they believe. And also because the message sometimes (depending on the sermon and how it's delivered) can either make me very uncomfortable or frustrated/angry.
I've been thinking about it a lot. Especially when I start feeling stressed about life and what my purpose is supposed to be. That maybe I should give this faith thing a shot. But whenever the thought enters my mind I just kinda squish it. I don't want to really go there. Taking leaps of faith are really scary to me. But I'd hate for stress or frustration or sadness or anger to continue to build up to the point where it's the only resort, but I feel like that's the only reason I'd have to act on my thoughts of taking that leap of faith...
I feel like this will be a bit more of a ramble than a rant so please bear with me. Also I have a feeling that it will be way too long so again I'll apologize for this.
Admittedly it was an minor event at a club meeting today that spurred this rant on. But I think this a lot. I just never say it. But I feel like it today.
What is it with this society and defining people by their looks? Or their interests? Or their friends? Or their family? Their job? How much money they have? I know I did a bit of ranting on labels before, but here's what I mean. Today Don Cornelius died (or rather yesterday by the time I'm posting this). And it's suspected it was suicide. My friend started to say something along the lines of "Oh, it was suicide? But...why...he had..." and began making a gesture with her hands as to say he had everything. The assumption that having money will solve any emotional problems one may have. Watching an episode of the Rosie Show earlier in the week, she said people assume the same about her. That because she has money and is famous that depression can't affect her. Since when is money a cure for emotional problems?
While working with my college's anime club for a bake sale, a member's opinion of my art changed in half a second when they realized I was drawing an anthropomorphic dog (AKA a "furry") and every moment he passed by me I personally felt uncomfortable. I overheard a conversation he was having with another person in club who tried to explain that he isn't going to like things that other people like and other people aren't going to like the things that he likes. He just has to realize that. But he still didn't fully understand that. I understand that this may be because of a mental disability yet this still is an example of judgment of a whole being based on one factor which people do every day.
And on my deviantart account, I'd uploaded a picture (this is years ago though) of an anthropomorphic female Dragonair. Another member commented and assumed that because I'd given an animal (or in this case, a pokemon) human characteristics that I was a zoophile. I'm still insulted by that and to this day I'm very wary of uploading anthropomorphic animal art to deviantart.
What is it that makes us feel like we know the full person by their spiritual beliefs or interests or political standing? These are only one aspect of a full person. I feel like this should be common knowledge, but I get disappointed every time people prove that things that should be common sense aren't common sense.
I don't believe I'm perfect. I know I've done hypocritical things. And many times I do my best to learn from the mistakes I make. So if I catch myself judging someone or disliking someone based on one thing I've stopped and asked myself why. For example, Justin Bieber. I remember I had no idea who he was, but everyone around me had a great dislike/hate for him. Eventually I saw him perform on Jay Leno and I had no idea why he was so greatly hated. Yeah. He's a teen pop star. It's not like we didn't have those when we were little. But I have to admit that I caught myself laughing with Bieber jokes and getting "disgusted" with his "Baby" song and disliking him just because it was the "it" thing to do. But once I asked myself why I did, it was really just because everyone else jumped on the hate bandwagon. There was no other reason. And if I had to analyze why everyone else hated him the only thing it really could boil down to is jealousy. Now I'm not talking about hating his music. I'm talking about genuinely hating the person Justin Bieber. The person that you've never met before from Canada. Genuinely getting disgusted when you hear his name and having to turn it into this big joke in order to tolerate hearing it. Yeah, his music isn't my cup of tea either but he doesn't deserve to be hated personally because he's famous.
It's something that I'd love more people to do. If you catch yourself hating a group of people or a single person, just ask why. Why do you hate them? Why do you hate that Christian over there? Or that Atheist? The gamer or comic book fan or "otaku" or furry? The gay man or woman? Or a transgendered individual? Is it because of something they've done to you personally? Do you know anything about the person you hate other than this one "fact"? Or is this fact the excuse you're using to hate someone?
This is what I was meaning to say about labels before. On one hand they're so helpful because they can help you find a group of people that you identify with and can potentially meet new friends through. Could you imagine not knowing the terms for the obscure beliefs you have or the obscure things you enjoy? Then that wonderful feeling of knowing that there's other people in the world like you. In that sense labels are beautiful. But when the wrong people have those labels, they take them and use them for a way to excuse themselves from associating with certain people. That's when labels take a dangerous turn. And they turn from something that can bring people together to something that can alienate others. And that happens far more often that It ever should. I want people to know me for me and not some label that I put on myself. So (not to steal the name from the group on ABDC) I propose my new label for myself:
I Am Me.
Now does this mean I'll drop the labels? Nope. Every label I put on myself, I am that. But it is not a necessity right off the bat. All you need to know about me at first is what you can see. That I'm black, I'm female, I'm overweight, and I'm short. That's it...
Once you take that time to know me, then you'll inadvertently find out that I'm a furry. I represent myself online as a dog. Why? Well, that's for the people I greatly trust to find out. Though as I'm online I'll just say it. I'm also a therian. I don't believe it's spiritual. But that connection my mind has made with "canine" is a strong one. I also draw animals all the time. They've always been my favorite subject so being a furry really isn't that far of a stretch. The only surprise is that I found the fandom fairly late in life (to me anyways).
And when you get to know me you'll easily be able to find out that I'm an anime fan. I'll openly wear this fandom on my sleeve. I love Japanese animation and the language and cosplay and the music. And recently a few J-dramas and of course my Super Sentai and Kamen Rider.
And if you can get past those two interests, you'll learn that art is a giant part of my life and a reason that I'm a part of both of those fandoms. The art is a huge, huge part of both of those fanbases and I'm not sure I'd really be a furry if it weren't for the fact that I draw. I like looking at other people's art but that isn't the reason I join an art site. But that's besides the point...I love drawing and sewing and singing and dancing. And I might not be good at all of those (I'm really only "good" at drawing...maybe singing), but it's fun to try. No matter how frustrated I get with all of them at times, it's still fun to do. And I don't think I could ever fully stop creating something.
And if you can get past that, then maybe you'll find out about my spiritual beliefs. That I'm an agnostic theist. Don't let the agnostic half fool you or the theist half fool you. Because I say I'm a theist doesn't mean that I'm a Westboro type and because I'm agnostic doesn't mean that I'm just some person trying to break away from theism because I really want to be an Atheist. It really means that that's just my current beliefs. The theism part will never change. Just the agnostic part. At some point in the future I'm sure. And if you're kind enough to realize that if I did decide to be Christian (as that's the beliefs that I lean towards the most) that I'm not gonna shove what I believe down your throat and that it doesn't change my personality or likes then we'll still be good.
Anything past that begins to delve into my internal self. The parts of me that I generally keep hidden from everyone. My fears, anxiety...all my worries and sadness that I keep to myself. And my self esteem issues that keep me from doing so much because I fear what other people will think of me. If you can stand than then you'd really know the real me.
But that's still not everything about me. It's just what I've written down. I am more than just a furry. I'm more than just a female. Than just an anime fan. Than just a therian. Than just an agnostic theist. There's so much more to me than a few labels. It can't all be put into words without it being pages and pages long. All I can say is I Am Me.
I'd love if people did the same. It'd be great to hear people respond to a "What are you?" type question by saying I Am Me. Maybe we could start learning more about each other if we didn't shut down over a simple label or so.
I have a love-hate relationship with them. I understand their necessity and like finding labels that comfortably fit me. It helps to give me a group of people to "belong to" in a sense. That's the upside of a label. Sure, there's labels that society gives you that you won't be able to help because they're true. I'm female and black and a young adult. All true. Can't question them (rather in the case of gender some people question theirs...I have no reason to). But the ones I give to myself in order to find a group of people to relate to...those are the hardest. I'm always questioning whether or not it's an appropriate label for me. Maybe it's close to what I feel or believe. Like in the case of "therianthropy". I don't always relate to others who consider themselves therians or otherkin. Mostly 'cause my experiences and beliefs about it don't seem nearly similar to others, but at the same time it's just similar enough that I just use the label because there's nothing else. But it never seems to fit so I try to use something different like "animal person". But it isn't the same...that term could also mean a person who really cares for animals or a person who prefers the company of animals over other humans...it works but at the same time it's not specific enough.
And for about a year I wouldn't call myself a furry because I had no idea what that term meant. Every person in that fandom creates a new definition for themselves. But eventually I just got comfortable enough with that label. Because I draw animals and have an interest in animal/creature costumes, people would give me that label anyways. So I just caved and used it. And it's one of the rare labels that actually fit. It fits for what I enjoy drawing and the subject of art I enjoy the most. It fits because I've always had a stronger interest in cosplaying animal characters (like Pokemon or Digimon) more than their human counterparts.
And "otaku" might not be a preferred term once you know the actual connotations behind the term. But it's the adopted term for an American fan of Japanese animation and if you're a fan of it, you're not going to escape it.
As for something like spirituality or religion I call myself an agnostic theist. It's the closest thing I can come up with. Not atheist, not Christian...not a Pagan, not New Age or anything else. Plus plain "agnostic" doesn't work either.
I have nothing against labels but I just wish that sometimes they could be clearer. And that's why I dislike them a bit. Because sometimes you'll never find labels that quite fit your beliefs or interests. You can try to make something up but even then you won't come completely close.
I was gonna write more but it's 1 in the morning. Anything else I was gonna say just isn't in my head anymore.
Ah, just when I thought I was running out of things to rant about...
Signed in to yahoo mail to a notice from a reply from a thread on a forum that I hadn't been on in about 2 years. I'd signed in sparingly just to see what conversations were going on but for talking, I hadn't been on it in about 2 years. In this response, the person insinuated that I need to be respectful of other subjective realities. That the fact that I don't believe the same thing they do angered them, and that I better "have the nuts" to be able to stand up to someone and tell them that I don't believe the same thing that they do and that they should believe the same.
First of all...I'm a girl so if I had "nuts" that would be awkward. Secondly, yes I will gladly stand up to someone and tell them that I don't believe the same thing they do. I do it all the time. My mother knows I'm not Christian. My friends know I'm not Christian. I've gotten into spirituality conversations with them. Outside of the spirituality front, I'm in a conversation with a friend now where we both have different ideas on how we should film this idea. She's more for filming it now with whatever we have; not really letting too many people in on the idea. I'm more for careful planning and getting good equipment and letting others in on the idea because they can help. I don't believe her way to go about it is completely right and I'm sure she doesn't believe my way is right either. We'll agree to disagree and go on our way and plan a way to make it work.
But if you're claim is that reality is subjective you've lost the right to get upset at my beliefs. Why? Because by your own definition, reality is subjective. My beliefs are equally as right as yours are. Why, if reality is subjective, are my beliefs wrong and yours right? If reality is truly subjective and if you truly believe that reality is subjective you cannot be objective about the belief that reality is subjective. Because you're stating an absolute truth about reality which not even you subscribe to.
If I decide to view a fandom that I belong to as "not spiritual" that is the way I see it. Fandoms are people who come together because of a mutual interest. Whether it's anime, sci-fi, comics, furry...whatever it is. At it's base level they're about the community, the thing you're coming together over, the friends, the experiences. And while some people might have some sort of spiritual feeling with their fandom, that does not mean that the fandom is a spiritual thing in and of itself. This is what I believe. I will not change that belief because it upsets someone who believes differently. Just as I won't become a Christian because my mother would like me to. Or be impulsive about filming this idea because my friend would like it.
(The conversation was about fandoms to a degree and thus why I brought it up.)
At some point I think I believed reality was subjective too. Until I read something very interesting...The statement that reality is subjective is an objective one. If others don't believe that reality is subjective that means that they're wrong and you're right. Well if reality is subjective that means that both groups are equally right doesn't it? So I don't subscribe to the believe in subjective reality anymore. Does this mean that I disrespect the beliefs of others? Not at all. My philosophy is that people can believe whatever they want to believe so long as 1) you are still a sane and stable person capable of holding a job and taking care of your responsibilities and 2) you don't force them on me. So go ahead. Be an Atheist, Agnostic, Pantheist, Pagan, Wiccan, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Shaman, New Age, Witch, Otaku, Furry, Tokusatsu fan, Comic Book fan...Believe you're a vampire, werewolf, mermaid, fairy, angel, demon...I really don't care. If you can explain yourself in a rational manner I'll respect that and I'll leave it at that. I reserve the right to be skeptical of different beliefs (even skeptical of myself) and I reserve the right to say I don't agree with you/feel the same as you, but I respect you and what you believe even though I don't share them.
So after really thinking about it, I really narrowed down the decision to change Sombra's design to a few little details...
1) If I were a dog, what are the features I feel I would have?
2) What exactly about Sombra's design is it that I like? What is it about her design that I don't like?
3) Does she really need a drastic breed change?
As for the features I feel like I would have as a dog...the erect ears are a definite. As much as I love how floppy ears look, if I were a dog (and this sort of goes with my slight phantom shifts), they wouldn't work for me. And Sombra is supposed to be reflective of me. She can't have floppy ears. As for other features, I think this past design was pretty close anatomy wise. A stockier build. Not like a Rottie or Mastiff-type breeds. But just not a very slender dog like a sight hound either. Something with a bit more weight to it. A tail that can either be curled of uncurled. But is also very fluffy but not too long either. Medium sized paws. A medium to large size dog. Though probably a bit smaller due to her being a female and a Malamute mix instead of pure Malamute.
Being a mutt is just necessary for her. But the core, "Malamute" is the main breed that I feel like I would be if I could be turned into a dog. And I suppose that if I could narrow completely down the type of dog my theriotype is, Malamute would be the closest I could get. She's a mutt because there are other types of canines I connect to (including wild canids). But like I leave my therianthropy saying I'm a canine therian, I'll leave Sombra with being a Malamute mutt. Malamute is reflected in her face, stature, and coat. But she has other details about her that aren't malamute. Her coat patterns are loosely similar to that of a Collie. Her tail and frame have a bit of husky influence. Her colors have some influence from a red Malamute and Finnish Spitz. Maybe a bit from German Shepherd. And some hints of golden (which is going to be a new color that I'm adding in) reflective of any sort of golden coated breed.
The things I liked from her design as it is now are her slight asymmetrical markings. The two spots only on the left side of her face. Her right front leg being all red and her other leg being predominately cream colored. Those two things I liked. And I liked her colors. The red, dark brown, and cream worked very well for her. And for stature, like I'd already said, I designed her stature in the way that I liked it before. But...
There were things that I didn't like. Her design was a bit plain. It's possible to design interesting characters using a minimal and more realistic palette. Sombra just wasn't an interesting looking character. The only part of her that was possibly interesting was her face. And that was because of her asymmetrical marking.
As for the breed change...no she doesn't need it. I tried sketching her with aesthetic details that I liked and that just didn't work. I like corded coated dogs but that isn't something that Sombra would have or look like. That isn't a good representation for me. Neither is giving her unnatural colors or markings. Sombra shouldn't have to stand out because of her looks. She wouldn't stand out because of her looks. And whether or not people like the way she looks is secondary. She doesn't exist to prove a point. She exists to be the embodiment of the sort of person I'd like to be. Personality wise that is. And that's the part of her that really needed to change. The other changes are rather minor. And I'm sure she won't look too much different. At least not to me. She's physically different but not that drastically different. Just a rearrangement of the colors she already has with a splash of gold. Not that much either. Just a little bit.
And so I sketched her yesterday. And she looks the same but not the same. It's not a ref sheet but just something to hold me over until I actually make a full ref sheet including a run down of her personality and markings and how she looks as an anthro and what she'd wear.
I guess thinking out loud did a world of good. I should do this more often with my few other characters...
Really don't mind me much here.
I'm trying to re-design Sombra. I feel she needs a change as I go from this change from graduating college to the working/real world. I want her to not reflect who I am now but rather the sort of person I want to be. Not to say that I don't want bits and pieces of my actual personality reflected in her personality and her design. But I want her to have aspects to her personality that I don't have. And I want her design to reflect the sort of person who can stand out in a crowd. Not necessarily by being brightly colored. I don't think that being a "sparkle dog" is for her. But I want her to stand out via her markings, expressions, stature, and possibly her breeds (as she'll still be a mutt).
Personality wise, I want her to be optimistic and very confident (not cocky, but just confident). But very kind, playful, and happy as well. I want her to be outgoing. Not necessarily needing to be the center of attention, but also not afraid to be in social situations. She'd be happy to make herself known and talk to new people. Also she's comfortable with who she is with her odd interests and eccentricities. And honestly this part might be the part that's reflective on my personality though I might exaggerate it a little bit. She's still into nerdy things and will proudly wear that "nerdiness" on her sleeve via more creative methods (creating her own clothing based off of characters she likes. Not cosplay...fairly tame, wearable outfits). Back to things that are unlike myself and going back to the "being comfortable in her skin" concept, she won't allow others to dictate what it is she can or can't wear. If she wants to look feminine, she will. If she wants to look a bit more tomboy-ish, then she will.
Generally she'll look for the best in people and in life. She wants to get as much out of the world as she can. She values the time spent with her friends and loved ones. As for a not nearly so positive trait about her...well I guess it depends on how you take it. Loyalty is a very positive thing. But she'll harbor a bit of resentment towards those who are unapologetic about speaking ill of people she loves. Not violent about it. But very passive aggressive. Which may or may not be worse since you sometimes can't tell if she's very upset about it or not. This isn't to say she wouldn't try and fight back if someone close to her was being hurt physically. She might not be a good fighter but her loyalty pushes her to try which might backfire for her.
But not only do I want her to reflect the person that I want to be and a bit of myself as I am now, I do want her to be reflective of being a therian. When I initially created Sombra it was to try to figure out what it was that I felt like on the inside. To try to be more narrow than just "canine". Whether therianthropy is a psychological or spiritual phenomenon is of no consequence. It's something that I feel. That being said, at the time I did feel like therianthropy was spiritual. And I was a bit more of a spiritual person. So to sit down and just draw some form of canine felt a little...easier I guess. Creating a drawing of a "spiritual" concept/idea feels easier than trying to illustrate a psychological construct. Not to mention that I have no intention of narrowing down my personal therianthropy to anything other than just general canine. Not necessarily a wolf or any specific domestic dog or any other canine. Just canine. And that's hard. That's one reason I feel like Sombra needs a change. I'd specifically made her a Malamute/Finnish Spitz mix because at the time I felt that those two breeds were the closest to what I felt like. With some better understanding of myself, I feel like whatever my mind picks up and interprets as "canine" are just things I pick up from either seeing the behavior of various canines, watching shows about dogs/with a lot of dogs in them, and (of course) a general interest (bordering on obsession when I was younger) with animal transformation/werewolves. So what I feel like on the inside and the awkward behaviors I exhibit sometimes are nothing but a giant mash of various things my mind decided to hold on to for some odd reason.
In that sense I guess it doesn't matter what sort of dog/canine I'd decide to make her. I could make her a type of dog I like. But I'd like to try to find breeds that would fit well with that sort of personality I laid out above. Granted I know that each dog has it's own personality within their own breeds, but there's still a basic personality outline that each breed has. I haven't quite been able to let go of Alaskan Malamute as a possibility. But there's other breeds that I'd like to try to mix and match with that. Poodle is one. I'm not quite sure if there's anything else I'd add to the mix. Also I'm not quite sure if I'd want to give Sombra ears that are perked up or ones that're floppy. I don't think I can see her with floppy ears (as much as I love them). So I'm not sure if making her a poodle mix would work as I haven't seen a poodle mix that didn't have floppy ears.
I also want to thin her stature out. Not like...sighthound thin. But maybe the sort of build a Siberian husky would have. But I not a Siberian husky. The one thing I want of her is I want to be able to have her style her hair/fur in dreadlocks when she's in anthro form. Same with her tail. So maybe she doesn't need a poodle's coat (or anything like a Bergamasco, Puli, or Komondor). But a longer coat would work well if she wants to style it up in dreads. Maybe...something like a Standard Poodle/Alaskan Malamute/Rough Collie...? It would give her the coat and slenderness necessary but still retain color patters, ears, and the curl of the Malamute tail. As well as a little bit of a Malamute's build. Again, I'm not quite sure. I'll have to sketch that out to see how that would look. Both a non-anthro and anthro form as well as an anthro form with the dreads.
Meh, it's a bit late now and I should go to bed. But I think I've thought about this enough. I'll have to revisit and read over this again in the morning. Maybe I'll come up with something new. I doubt I'll have a design set anytime soon. But it is something that I think I will do. Or at least will try to do.