“I want you to know who I really am.”

Twitter is one of my main forms of social media lately. I have many great friends there. I also really enjoy twitter games, things like the following where for each like on the tweet you share something. This one in particular I really related to:

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as of the time of this writing, I have 26 likes on the tweet. So I’ve shared 26 photos of characters I identify with. A big thing for me is relating myself and my experience to the stories of others, be they real or fictional. So this was interesting and fun for me. I decided I wanted to write a little about each of the ones I’ve shared. I figured this would be a better medium for the long form parts. There will be SPOILERS for each character and their story. You are warned.

  1. Tali’Zorah – Mass Effect

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In the Mass Effect games Tali starts out on a pilgrimage to find something of value to bring back to her people. Through the course of the games she is always looking for something. I relate to this, as most of my own life has been spent searching for many things, often without even knowing exactly what I am seeking. Seeking a home she’s never known is something I too feel.

2. Elsa – Frozen

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Elsa spent her childhood being told to hold her true self back, locked inside and trapped. When she finally lets herself just be herself, while she does face some hardships, she is much happier. I definitely felt this myself.

3. Celes Chere – Final Fantasy VI

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Celes starts a series of characters who believed they were with the good but really were being lied to. She was a general in an empire, a loyal soldier. When she resisted the actions of the empire she objected to, she was locked up to be executed. With help she escaped and fought back against the true evil inside those she had been loyal to. I relate strongly to this as my experience with religion.

4. Mona – Shovel Knight

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Mona is mostly a shared aesthetic and a love to dance in private. She’s also smart and wants to help those she cares about. This is very me.

5. Nonon Jakuzure – Kill la Kill

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Nonon is eternally loyal to the woman she loves, willing to fight and die for her. She also has a deep, passionate love for music. These are traits I share on a fundamental level.

6. Nina Windia – Breath of Fire II

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Nina is in exile from her home because she was born with black wings, while everyone else in her home has white wings. This difference has caused her to be hated and ostracized from of her home and family. The only one who is still close to her is her sister. This mirrors a lot my own family and home life.

7. Marin – Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

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Marin cares deeply for everyone on her island, loves to sing, and dreams of a life spent free.

8. Finn – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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I described Finn like this to a friend once: Raised from childhood to believe something that was a lie, only just starting to take control of his life, only just starting to find people he can trust, and wanting a home. Also gay as fuck. So… me.

9. Vala Mal Doran – Stargate SG-1

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Much like Celes and Finn, Vala lived a life that actually caused her a lot of pain, and spends a lot of time trying to take care of herself in the wake of what was done to her against her will.

10. Elizabeth – Bioshock Infinite

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Elizabeth spent her life trapped against her will, and has the power to see into other worlds. I relate that to my stories and poetry.

11. Hinata Hyuuga – Naruto

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Inspired by her love, Hinata, a shy and timid girl, starts to fight against her fate. Her two main fights I connect with deeply. The first is against her cousin Neji, who’s much more skilled and talented, but hates her, she fights back against her family for her own sake. In the second she fights against an overwhelmingly powerful person to defend her love. She stood in the way and would give her life to protect that which is precious to her.

12. Fuu Hououji – Magic Knight Rayearth

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Fuu is a caring, devoted friend who wants to support and protect those important to her, and has healing powers.

13. Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) – Sailor Moon

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Tall, kinda clumsy, lots of exes, looking for where she belongs. Defender of those important. And headcanon in love with an Ami (much like me and an Amy).

14. Hitomi Kanzaki – the Vision of Escaflowne

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Hitomi is a girl out of her element, trying her hardest to figure out what she wants. She’s often confused, but she supports those important to her, and tries her hardest, no matter what.

15. Elspeth Tirel – Magic: the Gathering

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Elspeth is someone who just wants to find peace and calm, but is always drawn into chaos and conflict. Another defender, ready to do what’s right, even when it endangers her peace.

16. Hanako Ikezawa – Katawa Shoujo

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Hanako is a girl who is scarred down her entire side by a fire as a child. She’s extremely shy and has issue with how she looks. I relate strongly to the kind of shame she’s lived with just for her body.

17. Kyoko Tokiwa – Full Metal Panic

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Kyoko is mostly the supportive best friend who’s always there for the main character, upbeat and happy.

18. Shinji Ikari – Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Shinji clearly has some serious depression, has a long history of abuse from the people who were supposed to love him, and gets hated just for existing. Literally me.

19. Wakaba Shinohara – Revolutionary Girl Utena

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Another supportive, best friend, but with her own deep story of hurt, love and friendship. I am forever touched that Utena could not draw a sword against her best friend, even at the begging of Anthy. Their friendship is that strong.

20. Laura Kinney/X-23/Wolverine – Mavel’s X-Men

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Laura is another who was raised in lies, used and hurt by those with power over her, and spends most of her time now finding her own way in the world.

21. Mia Ausa – Lunar Silver Star Story

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A kinda shy, but devoted mage, who supports her friends. Also love her look.

22. Tish Katsufrakis – The Weekenders

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Tish has esoteric tastes, loves learning, old media, and is just kinda strange. I relate strongly to that.

23. Wanda Maximoff – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Wanda is another person mislead and hurt by those with power over her, and made mistakes. She seeks to do better, and wants to make up for her mistakes. She also is hated by many and just wants to be herself. Plus great aesthetics I love.

24. Stomer – Jem and the Holograms (Comic)

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Stomer is the one who is always trying to make sure everyone gets along and things get done. She’s always there to help her bandmates and friends. Also super gay for her love (like me!)

25. Ruka Urushibara – Steins;Gate

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Another character who supports those she cares about, even to her own sacrifice. She finally had a chance at what she wanted, and gave it up for the people she loves. (Also canonically transgender.)

26. Penny Polendina – RWBY

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Penny isn’t like most girls. The way she was born is different. She also wants to protect and care for everyone, while also enjoying the world and her time with the people she loves. She has lots of doubts, but she still makes her way forward. I am Penny.

— This is the list as it currently stands. I believe I have some new likes and if I add more characters, I will be sure to add them to this list and update it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into the mind of Rachel. —

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Me

I’ve never shared my photo here, but now that I’m over a year into my transition and learning to actually love myself (in spite of how people from my past keep trying to pull me down), here y’all go. This is me. ^_^

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Rachel

The Struggle (a poem) [CW//Depression]

Fighting against the dark, in ways not done before,
the support of friends, and people who are more,
Against a life become stagnate, unable to escape,
A place without purpose or meaning, an unenviable fate,

I fight,
Against this clawing darkness, this empty void,
But the struggle is getting harder and harder,
I’m losing ground,
I’m losing myself,

I know someone who revels in my hurt,
In my sorrow, in my darkness,
Knowing that hurts in its own way,
Is this apathy a numbing of the pain? When it becomes too much?
Too much sadness, too much hurt, too much hardship?

I know not,
But it’s behind my eyes, in my mind, eating my soul,
I’m holding as tight as I can. I struggle with all my might,
But I’m slipping, I’m afraid I’m letting go,

Back to darkness, back to gray,
A world without light, without day,
A place of sleep, void of dream,
Neither dead or alive, in-between,

Can I escape? I do not know,
But no matter what i try, it never let’s go.

“Nothing really matters, Anyone can see, Nothing really matters, Nothing really matters to me.”

[CW// Minor Discussion of Suicide]

Depression.

A silent killer.

A few days ago I wrote a poem about my depression. I’ve been told by people I care about it’s powerful, evocative, real.  It’s easy for me because I’m pretty good with words, and that’s a world I live in.  I’m going to talk about my depression in a bit more detail.

It’s important I stress that this is how I personally experience my depression. How I do is only that, my own personal experience. Just because this is my experience doesn’t mean how someone else experiences it any less valid. Just as much as if someone experiences it differently than me doesn’t make my own any less valid.  So keep that in mind.

Apathy. A sense of overwhelming apathy is the strongest part of my depression. The world becomes gray and muted, I don’t care about anything much. I don’t care about money, about things I love, about getting out of bed. I’ve literally gone weeks in a row without eating because it didn’t matter.  I can’t even say I hate my depression when I’m like this, because I don’t care enough to hate it. I am literally incapable of getting up and doing things at time. It took me a long time to admit this is a disability. And because this is a mental illness, an invisible illness, many accuse me of just being lazy, not trying hard enough. I don’t have access to legal aid, and it inhibits my ability to get a lot of the things I need.

I lose time. A lot of time. I’ve lost pretty much whole days. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting there and the whole day is just gone. Sometimes it’s I start to do something and realize I’ve done it for hours even though I didn’t do that much. Most days lately I lose an hour or two easily. I’ll be sitting thinking about if I should actually eat, and then realize it’s dark when it was a while until dusk. Nothing happens, I just lose this time. It’s just gone and there’s no getting it back.

I don’t eat. Right now I eat about 1 1/2 meals a day, and they’re not the best meals. I’ve managed to cook for myself some times lately, but I often have to rely on whatever is cheap or frozen. Not having the energy to cook, while also lacking the means to eat out all the time often leads to days where it’s not worth the effort to eat. I’ve only skipped a couple days entirely the last month. It always comes down to not caring about eating to the point I’m not even hungry.

I don’t bathe. I can easily go 3 or 4 days between showers when it’s bad. I just do not have the ability to get up and clean myself off. This will, in turn, often stop me from going out and doing other things I need to do. It becomes just another things I do not have the ability to do.

I’ve contemplated suicide many times from this. Feeling this pointless, this powerless, this disconnected from everything. It eats at you. What’s the point of going on? Why does anything matter? At least I’ll be out of everyone’s way, right? And it starts to sound like the right way to handle it. It’s a lot of work to get past that kind of thinking.

There are things that I know help me. I know medication has helped a fair bit. I don’t currently have the means to get medication right now tho, making it completely beyond my grasp in a state that refuses to care about it’s actual citizens. I know to-do lists help with the fact I can’t always focus on what I need to do. But sometimes it’s not a matter of forgetting what I need to do and it’s a matter of just not being able to. I know being connected with people helps. When I feel like I’m connected to someone, it gives me more energy, but I don’t want to be completely dependent on someone for my ability to function, so it’s a very delicate and tricky balance. And there are other tools I might learn with help, but I don’t currently have that.

And here’s the thing, even with all of those, with all those tools, there are still going to be days when I can’t do a fucking thing. Telling a person feeling that crushing weight, that complete lack of ability, that muted gray of depression that they “just need to do it” isn’t helping. You’re being ableist. You’re no different than telling someone missing a limb to just pick up something or someone with cancer to not be sick. It doesn’t fucking work like that. There are tools that can help, but sometimes it’s just too much to bear and you’re going to lose a day or two.

This is really damn important. Recognize this is damn hard to live with an illness you can never, ever see. This is trying to struggle through a quagmire of things you don’t understand. And if you’ve found a way through your own muck, your own illness, your own hardships, don’t be ableist and say just do you what you did. Cause just because they worked for you doesn’t mean they work for me.

Have some compassion. I’m trying my hardest, and it’s horrible here.

Muted Gray (a poem)

[CW// depiction of my depression]

A world of muted gray,
A calm that has no care,
A peace that eats the soul,
The purity of despair

No desire for food,
Or a lovers warm embrace,
A world without emotion,
Without time, without space

A place that knows no joy,
A place that knows no pain,
A world of only overcast,
never the cleansing of the rain

I feel it in my mind,
I know it in my heart,
It eats at my resolve,
Slowly taking me apart

Pierce this clinging veil,
Threatening to consume me,
An ever returning darkness,
Will I ever been truly free?

There’ll come a time when you hear it and you’ll wonder “Where in the world have I been?”

Have you ever thought you knew something only to find out you had no idea what it was really like? I’ve had so many of those in this last year.

Just over a year ago I started my transition in proper. I claimed my name, I started seeing a counselor, and begun my road towards being myself. Each day I’ve been more and more sure of how right my decision has been. If it even was one really.

Coming out as poly has been a similar experience, and my two wonderful, loving partners are the best things to happen in my life.

I’ve been exploring my return to spirituality, letting go of the anger and ignorance of my atheist days much like i let go of the hurt and ignorance of my Christian days. I believe in magic. Not just the great game my girlfriend and I bonded over, but in something greater than just us. I don’t know that I believe it’s beyond human. In fact I believe it comes from inside us, in the words, the music, the art, the science we create. This is my magic, my runes, my spells. And I’ve adopted the title of witch because of the historical context relating to trans womanhood. I’m young in this but eager to learn more.

But the point of this post is to talk to something else. All my life I thought I knew what a home was. My life with family, with partners, with friends. It turns out I had no idea. Much like being a woman trying to be a man, I thought I was home when I was really a stranger.

I spent the last 9 days in Las Vegas with my star, my princess, my love. I called her Peace at the post about 2015 in review. It has been a truly amazing experience. In those 9 days I experienced great joys and love. In those 9 days I never once questioned my womanhood. I never deadnamed myself. I had no doubts about who I am and how I feel. I was with people who love me and I love. I found my home.

Months ago I mailed a symbol of my love, of my heart to my love Peace. I have a personal story of how I heal my heart from being broken, wearing it on a chain. I sent my chain to Peace, knowing full well I already had given her my heart. These past 9 days I was united with my love, and reunited with my heart. And in that time, my heart had come to know where I belong. I felt only right in Las Vegas in a way I’ve never truly felt in Kansas.

The coming months will be hard. I’m attempting to return for more trips, with plans to move and be together with both my loves. I cannot wait for that day.

I fought back tears in the airport, just minutes after watching my love drive away. On the flight (where I’m writing this) I finally broke down and cried, climbing higher and higher as I watched my home shrink into the distance. Once again I’m a displaced soul, who’s heart resides miles and miles away, going to a place of some loving friends and family, but mostly a false family who don’t support or recognize their love is not unconditional. I will miss people I love when I leave, but I will not miss a home, for I have never had one. “Home is where the heart is.” My heart, my home, is with Peace, in Las Vegas.