Category Archives: Year of the Protagonist

I′m Not ″one of the Guys″


I′ve been debating this post for a while now, not because anything happened, just because I randomly think about it and then let it go. The whole ″one of the guys″ thing has bothered me for a while, for reasons I really couldn′t quite put into words. That was, until this morning after a conversation with my fiancée.

We′re discussing the future as all betrothed couples eventually do. She′s going to be graduating soon and is currently looking for work. I, on the other side of the coin, am established in a job. Thankfully for both of us, I could drop one job and make a passable living at writing OR she could perhaps work remotely. We′re going to make this work, we just have to figure out what parts of my puzzle fit properly with hers.

However, the idea of dropping my established job makes my chest seize up unexpectedly. It isn′t that I′m working in a gay-friendly environment. In truth the HR department turns up the professionalism to about 9000 when I mention partner benefits or my marriage. I′m in the closet because I am legitimately worried about losing my job over my sexuality. What I have found isn′t a place where the company itself is that worthwhile. Instead, I′ve found a team that I belong on.

I′m the only lady in the biomed shop as a technician. I′m a damn good technician and I work closely with everyone else on my team. They accept my pink hair, my tattoos, and well, like R said yesterday at E′s retirement lunch: ″We′re techs, everyone of us is quirky″.

It hit me with those words that I′m not one of the guys to them. I′m me. I′m Lily. To them, Lily isn′t the token girl or a dude. I′m a person. A person that they may not always understand or agree with, but a person just the same. This is the acceptance I′ve found in my friends and I′d much, MUCH rather be Lily than something I′m not. I′m not a guy.

I think that′s what bothered me all this time about that phrase. Being ″one of the guys″ often means hiding individuality. It requires, in part, sacrificing things that make you who you are in exchange for fitting the appropriate ″uniform″ of culture. This means that you′re not supposed to call out things that bother you, that you′re supposed to just accept certain things. I′m not going to do that anymore.

While I′m sure it′s made me abrasive to some, and certainly I know people dislike me. However, what it hasn′t lost me? Is real friends. Instead I have found that the people I love are still right alongside me. Because they are there for me, not for any role I play.



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Something About Creativity


I’ve always been a part of what I consider to be an artistic family. My grandpa and mother are accomplished musicians. You know the sort, the kind who pick up random instruments and play them as if they were born listening to them. My grandfather grew up in the jazz age of Chicago, so I suppose it’s a given that he picked some of it up. I play a few instruments myself, but I wouldn’t consider myself a musician, just someone who plays.

This is actually fine with me. I’m more of a writer by inclination anyway, it’s a skill that has always been cultivated in my family. We’re artists at heart, all of us. It’s probably the reason that I find the new atmosphere and culture of creativity so very interesting. It seems as though we’re moving away from ‘ownership’ as a society as a whole and as usual, arts are leading the way.

Once my grandfather composes something then it goes away from him. It can be remastered, remixed, totally changed from his original piece and perhaps even his original intent. This transformation process is beautiful. Isn’t that as artists really what we all aspire to? To touch someone so profoundly that they want to take that feeling and make it their own. All art has the goal to inspire. But this isn’t happening in a vacuum. To be honest, it never really has. Artists communes may not be as popular in the physical today as they were many years ago, but online it’s turned into what we call fandom.

Fanfiction, fanart, fanmixes, all of these things are loud and pervasive voices in today’s internet culture. Creators who ignore these voices could be putting nails in their own coffins. It’s presumptuous, in my opinion for someone to feel better than those that they inspire with their work. Once something leaves me and appears on the screen it’s not really mine anymore; it’s been given as a gift. While yes, in the real world royalties are involved, I’m no longer in control once I publish something.

I like it that way. Crowd-sourcing and fandom is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. People build on each other’s ideas, share a love of a canon source and then make something else. That something else may turn into something entirely different once it gets going. It’s not something that is typically done for profit. Just for the love of the creation and the creativity. Nothing is created in a vacuum. You can make something so much better by including the community within your process. Fandom, for better or worse is a perfect example of the old artist commune spirit in action for this very reason.


Filed under Personal Life, Year of the Protagonist

Year of the Protagonist: New Lives

Oh, this has been a whirlwind two months, my blogfriends. I moved from the hell hole, I’m not getting my deposit back because I left some things there (but I did leave the place MUCH CLEANER than I got it). My ladyfriend moved in with me for the summer and she helped me move. It’s been really interesting, we sniped at each other a bit, but there was no major blow up and we’re almost all settled in.

Our new place is small. Extremely so, but it’s very nice. We’re slowly getting down to purging and unpacking things, the closet, a pile, and some shelves need to happen but we’ve definitely slowed down. My goal is to set up three more shelves today and put things on them. It’s real cozy and I love it here.

Ladyfriend can walk to work and I am only 8 minutes away by car. It’s really nice to be so … I dunno, close to everything. I can walk everywhere that I want to and I am enjoying the sort of relaxed freelance kinda feeling. Speaking of Freelance, I’m doing very well with the freelance job. So well, in fact, I am planning to be out of debt entirely in six years.

After that…maybe I’ll quit my main gig. I sort of daydream about having the freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want to go. Freelance is freedom for me. Once my debts are all paid up I am really not that expensive a person. Little apartment, enough food and time with my dogs is all I need.

It’s an odd thing to have choices. Lady Luck is smiling upon me. I’m not an expressly spiritual person, but I feel like something is looking out and that as long as I keep myself open, good things will come my way. Optimism is a nice thing to wear. 

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Year of the Protagonist: The Fear of Love

A discussion with a friend over email sparked a thought of mine that I figured I’d expand upon here. Love is such a tricky topic. I’m honestly not entirely sure that anyone really wants to be loved. Not at first, at least. I know that this is counter to a lot of things, and may make me sound like a totally cold person. I’m not. I love and I am loved. I’m loved more than I feel like I can understand some days. It is WORTH it to love and be loved. But hear me out, because love itself is terrifying.

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Year of the Protagonist: A Skeptic’s Darkness

I’ve never professed to be a spiritual person. I think it is because of how close I’ve been to death on a personal level. This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in some form of the ‘other’ but I don’t suppose that I give it its due, so to speak. Once you’ve accepted the fact that you are going to die before you’ve reached ten, there isn’t anything mystical about it. I’ve made peace with my mortality and I don’t know why, but it leaves me firmly in a skeptical landscape.

You’d be amazed to know that I’m friends with an Alchemist, Pagans, a Magician, and a Cloudwalker… but then again, respect is what makes friendships, not mindless agreement.

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A Man Who Makes You Smile

We’ve all heard this idea that’s been tossed around about marriage or hetero partnerships.  The most common “tip” for a long marriage is the man saying that he knows how to make her smile. Not “we can communicate openly” or “being honest” instead it sounds like all he has to do is placate his woman and she’ll shut up. Now, I don’t deny that smiling and being able to lift your partner’s spirits is important in a relationship. It is. However, when does it stop being about making her smile and start being OBLIGATING her to smile?

This was always a point of unease and contention when I was married. I would feel overwhelmed or upset and my ex would do or say something silly. It wouldn’t help the situation at all, and instead of trying to fix or talk about what upset me, he would then become hurt and say “I was trying to make you smile” or “I just wanted to hear you laugh”. In the end, the result was that he felt like he’d done his part to make me feel better without doing anything but make me feel guilty on top of overwhelmed. I don’t want to say that he never worked or tried to lessen my load, however he had this idea that if I just smiled everything would go away.

That’s not how life works. “We’ll find a way” or “just smile” doesn’t really -do- anything.  Smiling is all well and good, but it isn’t the only emotion that I’m allowed to have as a woman. I’m allowed to be annoyed, things that upset me are not imaginary and they deserve attention. By giving me this mandate to smile then ignore what is bothering me because someone else told me to just makes me feel ill inside. I don’t owe anyone a smile. I smile when I mean it. Obligating me to do that just invalidates my emotions in general for someone else’s benefit.

I can’t help but wonder, when I hear this canned advise tossed about, who else feels this way. How many other people smile in front of clenched teeth with nothing but the added stress of pleasing someone else on top of whatever was bothering them in the first place. For me, emotions in general are hard to genuinely show and have. The fact that I’ve been OBLIGATED to fake happy so much and for so long hasn’t helped me at all.  Here’s the thing about relationships, no one is always happy.

It’s one of the things that I really love about my current relationship. I don’t feel like I have to hold my emotions close to my chest and smile. If I’m upset I can say “This upsets me, here is why” if L is upset, she can say “I don’t like this, here is why”. We argue, we disagree, we set out plans to fix our problems. The “difficult” things are what you’re supposed to deal with in a relationship. It adds, for me, this huge security to the entity that is “us”. I know that nothing I can do would immediately push her away. I know that we can talk about problems and confront them. I am not living with the fear that if I’m not smiling enough she will walk away. The ability to discuss and communicate our problems is so much more important to me than being able to make her smile. Because now, when she smiles, I know she means it.

And when I smile, I do too.


Filed under Personal Life, Year of the Protagonist

Year of the Protagonist: Backstory Part Two

I had a CT scan today. News is much of the same. I’m… irritated more than anything. I have a sinus infection (still) so I’m on a steroid nose spray. My asthma is starting to flare up (Thanks for NOTHING, prednisone) so I’m also going to be taking a breathing treatment every four hours when I’m home. Breathing treatments and I have a long, difficult, and aggravating history.  I get paranoid and shaky when I’m on them, thankfully I don’t snap at people, however. I try to not be a jerk.

But blowing out candles, noisy machines, and dry mouth are things I wish I could just not deal with anymore.

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