X-Post: My First Game Jam

[Crossposted from my Games site.]

[You can play the game I made here.]

Last night, I finished my first game that I made as part of a game jam. Well, not finished, exactly; more like managed to put together something serviceable that kind of makes sense, even if I didn’t get to do nearly as much I wanted to with it. Anyway, the game jam in question was the Cyberpunk Jam. All the games are listed here. And I have to say it was an interesting experience.

[Read the Rest]


Oldest Friend

I’ve been a bit stressed out recently. No, at the moment, I don’t feel like saying why. Mostly because if I did, it would reopen a HUGE can of nonsense I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with right now. The main point is because of it, I had a “mood crash” recently. Normally, this would entail crying my guts out, possibly for hours, and likely being so paralyzed (possibly for days) with stress, fear and anxiety I could barely function. Or being sucked into a pit of despair where I just feel numb. Whichever it was, I’d have fantasies–strong and very persistent ones–of taking my own life.

I did have a suicide fantasy, but it was extremely fleeting. A “dust in the wind” sort of thing that might’ve come as an old habit. Also, I’ve yet to feel the overwhelming hopelessness and terror I’ve come to expect. I’ve been waiting patiently for it to happen, but… though I have had a bit of a low mood, I haven’t reached despair. And eventually, I felt okay. Moreover, it wasn’t the usual “HAPPYHAPPYHAPPY! HA HA, I’M FINE! REALLY!” thing I tend to do when I’m trying to convince myself and everyone else I’m happy. I simply feel okay, like I can deal with this, albeit still a bit panicky since I don’t know what’s going to happen.

I also feel out of my depth.

I don’t know who this person is who doesn’t have those awful feelings. I don’t know who this person is who doesn’t have that pain and really DOES seem to bounce back. I don’t know how she conducts herself or how she should react when the old familiar ways (self-defeating and destructive, yet reliable and safe because they were so familiar) no longer feel quite right.

Is this person still painfully shy? Or is it just deep-seeded habit?

Does this person maybe know how to function in the real world?

Is she capable of things that just look too scary? Things that look so scary that I’m scared “she” might succeed and drag “me” along with her, but it becomes too much to handle?

What if in spite of everything, it’s just too little, too late?

Really, all I’ve known is the depressed version of me. It–my depression–was protection in a way because in the fog of it, I never had to think too much about the world beyond it; in that state, I really wasn’t capable of such.

My world consisted of me and my cat. It was small and safe. It wasn’t exactly a happy world, but at least I knew how it worked.

I know how strange it sounds to freak out over a mental state I’m guessing most people call “normal.” Or to mourn a part of yourself that’s caused you so much grief. But when “normal” is a thing you’ve likely never known (or if you did, it was so long ago that you’ve since forgotten), it’s a massive adjustment.

I’m sure I’ll be fine eventually. For now, though, I’m trying to figure out who I am all over again.


Self-Care

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff over the last couple of months. Most of it’s of the “I don’t discuss this in public except when I’ve totally fixed it–really!” type. Even then, I tend not to bring it up directly, though I have expressed those feelings in a game. And I’m grateful I do have one person now I trust enough to discuss certain things with, and who isn’t listening simply because it’s his job.

After the tragic event mentioned in my last blog entry, I got to thinking a lot. With my long history of depression and the persistent suicidal feelings I’d had for the last month or so, I knew I had to do something or risk having one (and it only takes one) especially bad day finally push me too far past the breaking point. One of the first things I did was start taking SAM-e, a naturally-occurring antidepressant that’s actually given out in some countries by prescription. If that didn’t work, I was going to find some way (despite my lack of health insurance) to get the more traditional stuff. I also started keeping a diary of my thoughts and moods and I’ve committed myself to writing in it every day.

Three weeks later, I can say with confidence that the SAM-e is working. I wake up every day in a pretty good mood which, for me, was unheard of. I’m getting lots done on my game design stuff, finding a lot more enjoyment in things that used to be enjoyable, and generally finding it easier to get through the day even when things go poorly. I’ve also noticed that my worries don’t become obsessions that send me into crying fits or make me curl up in a ball.

It’s weird not having “Constant fog of misery” as my default emotional state. Weird and kind of scary. Once that fog is gone, I’ve found, you can see the other parts of your life and may not like what you find. Worse, what may be less than clear is how to make things better. Or if you even can.

I still have avoidant personality disorder.

I’m also still, by nature, extremely introverted.

I still feel like I was absent the day they were handing out instructions for relating to and socializing with other people.

I still have to deal with crushing self-doubt regarding my worth and abilities.

I still have a lot of dreams and…. No, it’s not so much I don’t know how to reach them. It’s more I don’t feel capable of all that’s required.

The world still looks too scary and big to have a place for me. And I don’t have the slightest clue how to stop being invisible or even, deep down, if I want to.

And still other things that, frankly, I’m just not in a good place to deal with right now.

The funny part is that writing these things is also kind of helpful. Usually, I don’t admit (especially not to others) just how much it hurts or that any sign of an answer seems so far away.


“He Seemed So Happy”

I didn’t want to write this because it hurts too much, and I’m only doing so out of respect for my now-gone friend. It’s still near impossible for me to actually say what happened; I may never fully process it because it’s just so wrong, and someone who Very Much should still be here… isn’t. But the internet world learned Saturday that Justin “JewWario” Carmical had taken his own life.

I don’t know what I can say about him that hasn’t already been said. He was cheerful, kind, and always eager to lend his talents and his time to others. He even offered to cameo when I was making videos and I certainly wish now that I had taken him up on that. I wasn’t nearly as close to him as many others were. I do and don’t wish that were different because the closer you are to someone, the more it hurts to lose them.

Beyond all the obvious–how sudden it seemed, what great person he was, how it didn’t need to happen–what struck me most was how so many people said “he seemed so happy.” Maybe because it sounds similar to things I’ve heard before. Oftentimes, the people who carry the most pain inside are determined to wear a smiling mask so as not to “burden” others and/or believe their own suffering isn’t worthy of attention, even (perhaps especially) when it’s about to crush their souls.

They tell themselves they can deal with it and the world sees nothing wrong.

Until they can’t deal with it. And then, it’s too late.


Crosspost: Ordinary Misfit

Here’s an excerpt from something I felt fit in better on my Games site, but it’s still about personal stuff so I thought I should crosspost the link.


I never thought feeling too ordinary would be a thing for me. Over my lifetime, I’ve wound up as “The black girl”, “The bi girl”, “The weird girl”, or simply “The girl”/”One of the guys” or even, according to other girls, “Are you sure you are a girl?” because I “only [liked] boy things.” (Out of those, only one—”The girl”—has yet to be a negative so far.) I’ve stood out so many times for things I had no choice in that in most respects, I don’t want to stand out. I just want a place to fit in.

Then, I got into game design. I admit I’m still a noob. All I’ve worked with is Twine so far and I’ve only made four games—although one early game (What’s in a Name) did end up on Kotaku thanks mostly to its subject and timing. (The bigger, more ambitious Twine games I’ve made since then have mostly gone unnoticed. But people who have played them seem to like them.) Anyway, deciding on this as a thing-I-want-to-do has given me a glimpse of a place-I-might-fit-in. Except that it’s also the only place I’ve found where I feel too plain. …

[Read the rest here.]


New Artwork: For Matthew

For Matthew

For Matthew

I made some new artwork using two photos (one of me; one of a nebula), some digital paint in Manga Studio, and a bit of PhotoShop magic. In other words, almost every [visually] artistic thing I do rolled into one.

It was inspired by one special person and how he makes me feel. The funny thing is I wasn’t looking for him. Or anyone else, for that matter. Circumstance just guided us towards each other, and I’m quite glad it did.

Click the thumbnail to view it full size. You can also find it and the rest of my art posted in the gallery.


Why Bisexual Women “Always” End Up with Men

One of the more interesting (and by “interesting”, I mean strange and offensive) complaints I’ve heard about bisexual women is how they suspiciously tend to end up with men, implying that we’re all actually straight and just putting on for some reason or deliberately taking the “easy”/hetero way out. I’m sure there are women like this since it takes all kinds to make a world, but I’d wager the vast majority who consistently ID as bisexual don’t use women as placeholders while they’re looking for a man.

Personally, I can’t much help who I’m attracted to. If I’m attracted to a man, I’m attracted to a man. If I’m attracted to a woman, I’m attracted to a woman. Except under unusual circumstances (like, say, a polyamorous partner giving me the option) I wouldn’t really think about whatever else is out there. And though there was a time where society and bad self-esteem told me I “needed” a man’s affection to be acceptable (and note that at the time, I was not involved with a woman or anyone else for that matter), life and careful introspection showed that in a general sense, I don’t care either way. I want someone in my life where we’re great for each other emotionally and hot for each other physically. The rest is just details. I suspect this is the case for many other bi women as well.

So, why DO bisexual women “end up” with men so often? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for me. And I think my experiences are relatively common.

As far as I’m concerned, it comes down to numbers. First off, men just show more interest in me than women do. I’d love more women to flirt with me, but it doesn’t happen; as a rule, if I want a girlfriend, I have to actively look for one since women don’t approach me (and I wish to God they would). Men—including the wonderful one who’s recently become part of my life and yes, we’re both fine with each other dating other people—just kind of show up.

Second, I’m not good at pursuing people. At all. I’m mortally terrified of rejection and tend not to say anything unless the odds seem almost certain; I just about need someone to spell it out in skywriting and perform an interpretive dance before I honestly believe they’re attracted to me. Then, once I do pick up on it, my response (if interested) is usually transient unless the other person puts forth some kind of active chase. In my experience, men are much likelier to be both obvious and persistent. My guess is it’s because they’re socialized that way. In any case, I’m likelier to pick up on men’s interest as interest and it’s more likely on their part that they’ll follow up. Ergo, a greater likelihood I’ll end up with a male partner. (Please note this is not a recommendation for stalking or for making women creepy offers/requests. Good sense and respect for boundaries are always the best way to go.)

Finally, there are just more straight and bisexual men out there than lesbian and bi women. Even without the specifics above, the majority of women are more likely to encounter an interested man in daily life than an interested woman. Moreover, there are quite a few lesbians who flat-out refuse to date bi women, which shrinks the pool of potential female partners even more. As rejection-phobic as I am, this is another potential hazard that tends to make me nervous.

The irony is (not counting fictional characters or people famous for their looks) I’m typically more attracted to women than I am to men—meaning if a woman approaches me, the odds of my saying yes to her are better than for a man. But if she doesn’t approach me and I’m too shy to speak up, we’ll never connect. I doubt I’m the only bisexual woman who’s been in this position.

So, no, it’s not a conspiracy and we’re not all secretly straight. It’s all about the odds and, often, who gets there first.

(For the record, bisexual women “ending up” with women is also very common. When it happens, people tend to assume they were lesbians all along. Just like those who “end up” with men are assumed to be “really” straight.)