Follicles

“Lydia,” Countess Eleanor whined, “why can’t you take better care of your hair?”

One, two, three. Her mother always brushed her hair in three succinct strokes before taking a breath. This meticulousness always unnerved Lydia: for one, because her mother never seemed to notice that she was doing it, and two, because she couldn’t stand to sit still for so long. On and on, one two three, pause, one two three. She stared straight ahead at her reflection in the ornate mirror, her soft brown eyes burning, willing her tangled raven hair to spontaneously combust.

“Lydia. I am serious,” Eleanor hissed, tugging roughly against a tight knot of hair. “I know that you do not use these brushes; there’s not even a strand of your hair left in here!”

“I brush it. I just clean off the brushes.”

“That’s a funny lie, girl. You best learn to take care of yourself, otherwise I will not allow you to go riding in the afternoons.”

“And what shall I do all day instead?”

“You can work on your embroidery skills, for one. Your governess gave you an assignment about a week ago, didn’t she?”

“I misplaced it.”

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an angel comes and names it fire (4)

the final page of a story of a moth prophet, her adoptive parent, and her father.

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an angel comes and names it fire (3)

a story of a moth prophet, her adoptive parent, and her father.

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It’s Creaking Up Above

The wind howled it’s way around the cracks and corners of the tiny house. Inside, the youngest of the family, a boy of five, was the only one awake, the blanket to his chin. He heard that wind in his nightmares sometimes, as it came whipping in off the long plains that stretched around the farm forever. It scared him less when the thunder slammed into the windows with it, or it brought the snow to take the world away. Those times it was right, and natural, and only doing what wind must do, because it is wind.

On nights like this, however, it screamed for no reason but to scare him. His father hated it because it hurt the trees, and his mother hated it because it made her sneeze, but he feared it as it encroached, enraged at him for some reason he could never understand.

He could swear he felt the house crouch lower huddling and hiding against the onslaught. The boy could commiserate, and scrambled further down into his quilts, large eyes staring. It almost seemed like he could hear things rustling in the attic above. Perhaps the wind had found it’s way in, or scared in a creature much like himself, small and quaking. Or maybe, as his mother so often said, her lips pursed, her voice snapping like the knots that burst in the fire, his imagination was simply too active. He tried to make it behave, but it never seemed to listen.

Listen. The creaking of the wood, right above his bed. A hole in the roughly hewn planks tried to catch his eye, and he pulled the blankets higher with a gasping little noise.

There’s was probably nothing up there, just like the apple tree wasn’t a skeleton, and the fox holes weren’t secret tunnels to buried treasure.
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Sunflower Blood

Delilah would do anything to see her sister again, even if it means walking into a strange and dangerous world.

Trigger/Content Warning: Sexual Assault

She saw the boys surrounding her sister. She saw her sister’s face bloody and beaten. She saw bruises covering her arms. And then she heard her scream. One of the boys dropped down in front of her, knife in hand. He spread open her legs.

And then Delilah shot up in bed, the heat from the sun already beating down heavily upon her forehead. Fear found its way into her sweat. It dripped into her eye and made her jump. She rushed over to the phone to call her best friend.

#

Dante reached into his bag and pulled out a pair of pink-rimmed glasses, handing them to Delilah. He smiled.

“I’m scared.”

“There’s nothing to be scared of, D. You think I’d let you get hurt?”

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Going Home

Alexander heard one word inside himself over all the pain and guilt and uncertainty. One simple word, a name he’d since forgotten. Joshua.

There was nothing left aside from the void of absolute nothingness. It had all faded away to black. The rust, the blood, tears and muck, had all slid away like sewage down a storm drain. It was all gone save for Alexander, left alone on the frigid floor to question and cry foul for the rest of what may as well become eternity. What happened to it all? To the quiet evil and lumbering oppressive heat all around him, the murky blackness taken tangible form. What brought him to this moment of utter and definitive nothingness?

Nowhere as a concept always comes across in an abstract or even in most cases strictly metaphorical way, and yet that’s where he was. The physical space no better described than the simple noun of ”Nowhere.” Darkness stretches out in every visible direction with no foreseeable end to its emptiness, not that Alexander was going anywhere. His body felt heavy, weighed down by the hopelessness of sitting in the middle of expansive nothingness. He couldn’t even remember how long he’d been sitting there in the dark, if there even was a before making this supposed afterward. The only thing remaining inside him beyond the hopelessness was a virulent feeling of guilt, the knowledge of doing wrong without recalling what it was. It was at constant odds with the hopelessness within, trying to push him out of utter apathy and into self loathing bitterness. His mind felt split in two pulling itself perpetually back and forth.

Then the light came. The nothingness was purged by its introduction, swiftly whisked away in an unbridled fury. Alexander thought he felt the weight lifting off of his being, but it was still there burrowing deeper inside as he was carried up by the light into its brilliance. There was no safety nor security in this brilliance, just uncertainty. It became it’s own brand of nothingness stretching upward instead of outward, pulling him into the light. He wondered if this was his absolution at last, a merciful hand outstretched freeing him from the pain of uncertain guilt and hopeless apathy. He was wrong.

The light disappeared as swiftly as it came, taking Alexander’s newfound hope with it. He laid outstretched on a cold surface akin to the one he sat on before, his appendages bound and secured by an unseen force beyond his recognition or understanding. He had found yet another nothingness filling him with the toxic uncertainty, only left to obsess over his equally uncertain guilt. Alexander feared this new nothingness, but this fear was short-lived and replaced with pain. The pain began and never ceased. Every nerve ending of every corner of every section of every part of his body screamed, never in unison but at countless unpredictable intervals. There was no more apathy nor uncertainty, only the pain. The pain and the guilt buried within, clawing at his insides as furiously as the pain did his outsides. At what seemed like the peak of it all, the culmination of physical and metaphorical pains twisting his body and mind beyond their respective limits, he had an epiphany. Alexander heard one word inside himself over all the pain and guilt and uncertainty. One simple word, a name he’d since forgotten. Joshua.

And with that remembrance came his true absolution, Alexander’s liberation from this hellish nothingness of pain. Fury, his only weapon and only option. Pulling himself free from his invisible restraints, Alexander makes out blurred grey figures swarming around him. The figures shout and converse in a seemingly unintelligible way, as if they all spoke a language he did not. Instead he heard the name chanting in his head, Joshua, Joshua, Joshua, Joshua. He raised his fist to the air as his true weapon manifested. His guilt and pain processed into physical form, an unyielding slab born of his hopelessness. Alexander swung the slab without effort, cleaving through the small varied figures, their chattering replaced with sounds of terror. More and more figures came and more and more were cut down by Alexander’s newfound fury. Still he heard the name in his head, louder and louder the more it repeated.

Then the light returned, pushing and pulling against him. He struggled to maintain his footing as he slashed and swung wildly all around him, figures now scattering in attempts at escape. Within the light around him came a hole, a hole to something else. Something that felt strangely familiar. Before long he felt himself being pulled towards the hole with incredible force, his footing swept out from beneath him. He resigned himself to this force, no longer holding onto the fear of hopeless uncertainty, barreling toward whatever laid beyond. A manic smile spread across his face.

The hole passed and Alexander continued forward, a burning sensation building all over his body. The flames felt like pin pricks compared to the pain of the table, only spurring him forward towards familiarity. As the flames grew his remaining uncertain worry waned, releasing him from all that held him back. The pulling force turned to plummeting as Alexander realized what this familiarity was. He wasn’t just being drawn back through the hole, he was falling back to the depths he once sat in. The frozen floor replaced with scalding steel surface, the blackness given way to the oppressive heat once again. He collided with the surface leaving a scar in the space of his re-entry. The blood and rust had returned filling Alexander with the heat of his newfound purpose. He screamed toward whence he came the name he had so fervently chanted inside his mind.

Alexander pulled himself up within the smoking crater, emerging from the scar reborn. Steam hissed and gears groaned as he marched forward, dragging the ferocious slab behind him as he went. To most it would sound as tho nails were scraping against steel but to him it was clarity given audibility. With this and the myriad of other sounds following and guiding him as he marched he felt more and more sure of his newfound purpose. No longer shackled metaphorically nor physically, Alexander found joy in it, this purpose.

The way he saw it, They did this to them. It was They who cast them aside as if they were trash. It was They who tried to erase him, to purge him and those who mattered. It was only right They suffer as well, and who better to deliver said suffering other than he?

So onward he marched, jubilant and focused. Ready to inflict on Them every monstrous act he had endured. He had found bliss in this state, this twisted notion of right born from unparalleled abuse at the hands of the monstrous.

Alexander was home.

***

BlaineProfile

Blaine is a 25 y.o. Non-Binary/Trans Gender-Fluid writer who loves all kinds of media, especially video games and cartoons.

 

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Short and Long-Term Effects of Family Rejection on LGBTQ Youth

A family’s most basic functions include support, both emotional and financial. Our family are the first relationships we develop and are usually the ones that we hold onto the longest, from birth to death. These bonds are not only meant to integrate us into society but prepare us for our own families when the time or choice comes (Hammond & Cheney, 2009). What happens when these family units do not fulfill their most basic functions and cast out their family members for things that are often not a choice, such as gender or sexual orientation?

Family rejection can happen for a number of reasons from personal differences, religious problems, alcohol/drug use, arguments, and so forth. However, many times families can settle their differences and still continue to act as a unit, even if they do not necessarily get along. However there are occasions where this rejection is lifelong from the moment it happens. This can lead to short and long-term health effects, both mentally and physically, regardless of age. The impact is most significant if this rejection happens during youth and is over things that cannot be changed, such as gender or sexuality (Lowrey, 2010).

These effects can range from homelessness, increased depression, increased suicidal thoughts and tendencies, to higher accounts of HIV/AIDS and drug use/alcoholism (Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2010). This rejection can also lead to being in and out of the criminal justice system due to the criminalization of homelessness as well as survival tactics such as the survival sex trade (Valentino, 2011). These problems are also affected by experiencing racism, transmisogyny (misogyny directed specifically at trans women), as well as sexism, heterosexism, and other institutional oppressions. For example, a Black trans women will face more problems on the streets than a White cisgender (meaning non-transgender) gay male (Grant, Mottet, Tanis, Harrison, & Herman, 2011). These impacts are both short and long-term, impacting a person’s life from the moment the rejection happens and beyond.

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The Tokenization of Relationships

“But I have Black friends!” “My cousin is gay.” “That’s not true! My uncle is transgender!” We’ve all seen it before, the tokenization of relationships in order to prove a fact. Someone with friends, relatives, or ever partners who belong to a marginalized community cannot be against that community or hold ideas that are oppressive against them, right? Of course they can. The tokenization of relationships to prove a point even solidifies this point. How?

 

We’re all the same.

By saying you are friends, related to, partners with, etc. X marginalized group and thus cannot hold beliefs that harm other members of the group, you are saying that all members of the group are like your friend, family member, partner, etc. This is erasive and simplification of the complexity and variance of the group. In order for you to be supportive of the entire group, you are saying their identities and lives are just like that of the person you know.

Get Out of Jail Free Card

This tokenization also uses said relationship as an object, proving that there is nothing you can do or say that would be problematic because you have some relationship to this marginalized group and they have never said anything. This goes back to the fact that it holds the idea that these groups are all the same and cannot hold varying, let alone conflicting ideas or beliefs. If one person of a group believes something, all other beliefs must be incorrect. Interesting how this only applies to the ones who agree with the person who is defending their actions, beliefs, thoughts, etc.

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The Families We Create

Blood is thicker than water is something we are taught from birth. We are taught that our families are made of blood as opposed to the relationships that we form with those closest to us. For many queer people, we know the reality of this statement. Blood is just as thin as water, if not thinner. Families may cut ties at the drop of a hat due to a child or relative coming out. If they do not immediately cut the relative out, they may harass, assault, abuse, the person mentally, physically, and even sexually in an attempt to change them or chase them from the family.

Often our families are those who support and love us for who we are. If there is one thing queer people know about, its how to make families from scratch. We create our families from the friends who accept up after we have seemingly lost everything for simply existing. We make patchwork families, held together by legitimate love, something that may be lacking from our family of origin, whether they are truly related by blood, legal documents, or formalities. Among these families we create, we create safety and comfort.

 

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The Internet Saved My Life

And countless others. In fact, the internet saved my life repeatedly and continues to do so. I’m not alone either. I can safely say that millions of people have had their lives deeply and personally touched by those whose faces they may never see, voices they may never hear, and bodies they may never touch. People constantly disregard internet relationships (both intimate and friend) because of the lack of physical. While some of us may eventually meet these people, some of them we may not for whatever reason. Does that diminish the value, love, acceptance, and so on we feel in these relationships? Absolutely not. People criticize how people often have their heads in their phones, tablets, or other devices, as opposed to interacting with those around them. They talk about how people are always on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or other forms of…SOCIAL… media. These people are being social. In fact, they are possibly being more social than they could be with those around them.

I met both of my partners online, relatively. Most of my friends I have met through the internet. I have friends who have been my friends for almost ten years. These are people who experienced me at my worst, people who were at my side when I was going through the most troubling and traumatic times in my life. People who were there for me and cared for me when others were not. When I first tried to come out to my family as trans*, I was rejected. I was mocked. I was humiliated. I found solace in those who loved me online. Even before then, I was able to quell my loneliness with the internet. Before the internet, I didn’t think people like me existed. I’m not talking about just trans*, but trans* people LIKE me. In media, there were no femme trans guys. There were no cross-dressing men who had happened to be assigned female at birth. I didn’t exist. I was a freak among freaks in my head. That all changed when I found people like me online, not just one, or two, but communities FILLED with them.

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