Tuesday, October 31, 2017


I had a Halloween party on Saturday and it was a lot of fun. :)

I invited the majority of the guests by Facebook invite. In the party writeup, I listed the menu, specified that there would be vegan items for any vegans, and encouraged guests to let me know if they had any food sensitivities that would need special arrangements. No one said anything.

But then one of my guests, Jodi, asked which of my desserts had nuts. She is not exactly allergic to nuts, she said, but throws up when she eats them. I responded by pulling out a folder, checking a chart I'd made, and indicating that only the mixed nut tin would give her trouble. (Some items also had almond milk, but she said she wouldn't react to that.)

She and her husband were really surprised I actually had a chart (yes, like, a physical one) and Jodi said I was really thoughtful to come up with that. And I mean, I know I've never gone to any other parties where they had a list of what's vegan posted on the wall. But at the same time, that's the way I want the world to be. I want people to be able to have access to information that will help them live safely.

My nephew is highly allergic to nuts, both the tree variety and peanuts. My sister has to be very careful about what treats he gets, and one of the things she's encouraging participation in is the Teal Pumpkin Project. It's where kids with allergies can go to houses that have put out a teal pumpkin (or signed up on the website map) and be assured that they can get a treat like a toy or non-food item so they can enjoy the fun of going door-to-door for things they can have fun with.

I think this is a really cool idea, and I thought of my friend Ellen from grade school who couldn't trick-or-treat because she was diabetic. This is a great option for them too. Why didn't they have anything like this before? (Maybe they did and I didn't know.) 

Now here's the thing.

Online, there's a weird backlash against people who want allergies to be carefully considered in restaurants. You can find it easily if you look--people who think it's "oversensitivity" causing people to want these accommodations, especially if it's for sugar-free or gluten-free items. You hear disgusting stories of baristas giving dairy to people who want non-dairy, sugar to people who want sugar-free, or allergens to people who asked for confirmation of allergen-free foods. They think they're getting back at people for daring to ask for these accommodations--as if it's some kind of justice that they should be given something other than what they want. Who cares about the reason? They're picky, and need to be punished for that.

Even if it was just them being picky, why the hell can't you respect them?

And since you will never know if someone's lying to you about having an allergy, how can you live with yourself or believe you're a moral person if you knowingly violate someone's wishes??

It just . . . seems like the default to me to help someone not be hurt by food. Since I home-make my food at parties, guests can't easily check ingredients, though if they wanted me to give them more specific information about it I would gladly let them look at my ingredient labels. Sometimes it's not about a food allergy--it's about a preference, like most vegans. Some people don't eat eggs or dairy. I don't HAVE to help them keep to this by disclosing what's in my food, but if I know about it and I can . . . why shouldn't I?

I have stickers next to my candy for if any trick-or-treaters need something that isn't candy.

Not hard.

Not required of course. But it really irritates me that there are actually people who dislike accommodation attempts. Especially since they're claiming that WE'RE self-righteous for being people who need it or being people who support it. 


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday (but published on Sunday because I was too burned out): October 21 – October 27

Life news this week:
  • Very, very busy week! Saturday was spent unpacking my knickknacks, going to Staples with Jeaux, and almost missing Drink and Draw. (I hadn't known there was a Drink and Draw that night so Eric calling to pick me up was a surprise.) I went there and drew my So You Write comic. I also got my decorations up for Halloween.
  • Sunday my friends Sarah and David came over and we went out to brunch at IHOP. They got to see my new house and that was super cool! I gave her her late birthday presents and she gave me a housewarming gift. Later I talked to Mom while arranging some of my toys and finishing a drawing.
  • Monday was a very long day at the office. We had a huge proposal due and most of it was not done so I had a lot of work to do. My co-worker drove me home. I spent the evening unpacking decorations. Also organized my new shoulder bag.
  • Tuesday I had to finish up the proposal and we got it in on time. Also got a short lesson on making boards from my co-worker. Dad and Connie picked me up from work and we ate dinner at a Longhorn, and then they got to see my new place too. They chatted with me for a while, helped me straighten a framed picture, and even watched a cartoon with me. After they left I put up a few more items.
  • Wednesday I did more boards and it made the day go by fast. Very busy. Jeaux picked me up from work and we ate at Golden Corral and shopped for comic books, and then he was kind enough to take me to the grocery store to get food for my party! It took forever. We listened to a podcast and read our comics.
  • Thursday I worked from home doing transcripts and had to put out a small fire through e-mail. My lawn person Tony was outside so I talked to him--he's usually there while I am at work, so it was nice to see him again. Then I went over to Mom's house where she had made me a bunch of pillows! We watched DVDs of 2Cellos with her roommate David and hung out. At home I talked to Victor on the phone and did some baking--finished making animal cookies.
  • Friday I had the day off since I had a really long day on Monday. I crammed a bunch of baking into the first half of the day! I made autumn leaf cookies, pumpkin pie, cream cheese pumpkin roll, and pumpkin brownies. But then later in the day I got sick and started throwing up (maybe I ate too much vegan cookie dough), and then my website broke so I couldn't upload my webcomic properly. I had to get tech support to help me. But at least I got it up in time. I got a video subtitled and posted it. 

New reviews of my book:

  • Eeva H. reviewed the book in Finnish.

Articles, Interviews, Mentions:

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: I didn't finish the Night Vale book because I kept skipping the bus, but I did read two comics:
  • Steven Universe Warp Tour: Five-star review
  • Steven Universe ongoing comic series #9: Five-star review
  • Currently reading: It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Nobody's Side" from the musical Chess. Beware the belting, but I think I pulled this one off. (I had a hard time getting it to record properly without popping the mic! That's why I'm standing up and turning away from the mic during high notes.)

    New drawings: 

    Rhodonite! In pencil! She's cute.

    Webcomic So You Write Issue 77: "Lately."

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0650: "Something That Scares Us."

    New videos:

    I didn't make time to do a ukulele video this week, but I did do a new Asexuality Video that also has a house tour at the end! Letters to an Asexual #51 is out, which addresses an asexual person who recently started a gay relationship and is now being addressed by loved ones as if she has "admitted she's gay" or "come out of the closet" instead of being what she is--gay and asexual. 

    New photos:

    I took some new house photos and food photos, but I'm kinda burned out at the moment and too lazy to process them. I'll share the Halloween food photos with next week's photos of the Halloween party. But I do have one photo:

    Eric's salad at Drink and Draw, made by Cheong. It is angry.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,287 for swankivy (5 new), 652 for JulieSondra (3 new). Twitter followers: 894 for swankivy (4 new), 1,331 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 295 friends (1 new, an old friend found me) and 202 followers (lost 2) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,491 (4 new). Instagram followers: 125 (no change). 

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    Wednesday Factoid: Taking After

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you take after a certain parent more?

    In my family, with a mom and a dad, there are three daughters and we've kind of determined who takes after whom. I'm apparently the most even mix between Mom and Dad. My middle sister takes more after my dad's side of the family and my youngest sister takes more after my mom's.

    I'm told very often that I look like my mom, but I think it's mostly because I'm blonde and short. I do look a LOT like her, but I think the bottom half of my face looks a lot like my dad.

    We're all adorable, haha.

    My dad's side of the family is musical and artistic, so I'm sure that's where I got that. I'm not sure personality-wise what I got from my mom's side, though she's really crafty and I am too. Both my mom and my dad hate language errors and bad grammar so I seem to have gotten a double dose of that. A lot of people on my mom's side are into computer stuff, and I'm pretty good with that. But several of them are in medical fields too and I'm not into that at all.

    Heredity is complicated and doesn't explain everything about a person obviously. Heh, I don't know. :D

    Tuesday, October 24, 2017

    Asexual Awareness Week 2017

    Hi everyone. It's Asexual Awareness Week!

    I haven't done a whole heck of a lot with activism lately, but I'm certainly available to give advice, offer perspectives, do interviews, and educate. I accepted a speaking opportunity a while ago that seems to have not come through, but sometimes I like to go speak to college students or at events, so I'm down to continue that if people want to invite me. And of course I make monthly YouTube videos that address asexuality, and I blog about it at Everyday Ignorance, my Tumblr.

    I often make videos where I read my hate mail, because that allows me to address misconceptions and show people the kind of problems we have. But sometimes the negativity does get tiring. I've been trying to invite more requests from folks about what subjects they'd like me to cover outside of hate mail. Though obviously I also get a lot of love mail too! And that's what reminds me I'm doing what I should be doing.

    Here's a video I made some time ago consisting of NICE messages. We all know I get a ton of really awful messages, but let's focus on the people who have been so kind as to tell me how I'm making a difference for them, who have appreciated the work I've done, and have supported ME along the way.


    [If this doesn't play for you, try the version with different music.]

    Links from last year:

    Why do we have Asexual Awareness Week? Well, there's the obvious, of course: we want people to know asexual people exist, and we want people to know how to support us, and we want everyday exploration and examination of sexual diversity to include us.

    Here are some basics you can share from my cornucopia of resources:

    Saturday, October 21, 2017

    Personal Digest Saturday: October 14 – October 20

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I started my morning with a visit from pest control. I then started organizing my books and it took all weekend. I got most of the way through it Saturday night and talked to my mom on the phone, and I drew a cute digital drawing of Ruby and Sapphire (but I wish I had better digital skills, man).
    • Sunday I realized I really didn't have room for all the books I had to fit comfortably in the shelves I had. I started to kind of do what I'd done in previous living spaces--tucking stuff behind other stuff, doubling up, hiding books, but then I just got irritated and ended up contacting a lady in my neighborhood who'd posted an ad wanting to get rid of her bookshelves. She sold them to me for a good price and her husband even delivered them! I also saw Eric briefly and did some laundry.
    • Monday I went back to work as usual. I left early to go to an appointment to get my ID updated (for some reason they wouldn't let me do it online). I stepped on a nut in the grass and hurt my ankle. That night I was kinda limping around the house trying to put up VHS tapes, LPs, CDs, and DVDs on my new shelves. I also made a pie for my mom's roommate David's birthday!
    • Tuesday my ankle wasn't better so I took a paid ride to work. A co-worker drove me home which was super nice! I set up my Flower Fairies display and had time to get rid of the boxes before my mom and David came over for his birthday. We ate Panera food and the pie I'd made (rhubarb!). Mom had been feeling super crappy earlier that day so I was SO happy that she managed to come! After they left I fell asleep pretty much immediately.
    • Wednesday I worked from home instead of going to work because my ankle was still bugging me. I did a transcript and some marketing research for my boss, and then I went to this comic and music store to buy a book and get my guitar restrung. It was cheap! I came home and went out with Jeaux to have dinner at Portillo's, and he helped me with dropping off some returns too. Then at home we listened to Night Vale and one of the related shows. He set up my VCR and DVD player so they worked. :)
    • Thursday my ankle was way better and I walked to the bus stop like usual. I couldn't do anything on the proposal I needed to work on without more input from a guy who was too busy to do it, so I just found some stuff to do. At home I drew my webcomic while talking to Victor.
    • Friday I went to work and hit the proposal really hard, filling in some stuff the other guy was supposed to do but didn't have time. It was a long day and there will probably be another long day on it Monday. I went home and played ukulele and posted my comic.

    Articles, Interviews, Mentions:

    • I was interviewed in StandUp Magazine in an article on asexual inclusion in the queer community. It's called "Queer But Not Deemed Queer Enough – The Battle For Asexual Inclusion." (I expressed some concerns I had about whether this made it look like we're at odds with the broader queer community. Overall the article makes some good points and describes some real issues.)
    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Nothing this time. The book I'm reading didn't get delivered until halfway through the week so I didn't have much time to get it started.
    • Currently reading: It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "I'll Remember" by Madonna.

      New drawings: 

      Digital art of Sapphire squishing her face in Ruby's hair. :D

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0649: "Animals."

      New videos:

      This week's unlisted ukulele video: "I'm Just Your Problem" from Adventure Time. (Yes, it's a song from a cartoon that's NOT Steven Universe! Imagine that!)

      This is a weird one if you're not familiar with the original. The characters are trying to open a door with music, and the door is responding to the intense emotion of the singing character, Marceline, as she unexpectedly puts some hidden feelings about Princess Bubblegum into words. At the end she gets self conscious and the door stops responding to her because she's trying to act tough again. Here's a link to the original if you want to hear it.

      New photos:

      Books in their new homes!

      A shot of the media shelves.
      The rhubarb pie I made for David.
      Flower Fairies collection in its new home.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,282 for swankivy (lost 2), 649 for JulieSondra (3 new). Twitter followers: 890 for swankivy (1 new), 1,329 for JulieSondra (2 new). Facebook: 294 friends (lost 1, eh this is awkward, I know what's up) and 204 followers (2 new) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,488 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 125 (1 new).

      Wednesday, October 18, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Compete or Collaborate?

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating?

      Crap, I don't really know!

      The "nice" answer is that collaborating makes me more motivated to care about the work. I don't want to let other people down and I love to see people I helped actually get what they're reaching for. But honestly? I'm pretty friendly about competing, but do really like to compete!

      I'm not a sore loser, and I'm definitely not an obnoxious winner. But I will absolutely admit that a little competition can go a long way for me. It's a weird internalized thing: If someone else can do something and I want to do that thing, I use their achievements as a marker to see if I can reach higher, and it becomes an internal thing very quickly. I want to know if I can reach or beat what someone else did. They don't even have to know. I know, and that satisfies me. 

      I will also be more likely to get really into a game if there's a score. Something to beat or something to keep track of. Otherwise it feels aimless. So even if it's really arbitrary and there are no stakes at all, I like having a score and I like "winning" with a higher score. It still works when I'm trying to beat my own scores, though, so it's definitely about the experience, not about "beating" someone. Also, I'm very good-natured about losing to someone, and if I'm no good at something at all, I'll be open about admitting that.

      Monday, October 16, 2017

      Cruel by accident

      I listened to a podcast recently where the guest was one of my favorite creators, Rebecca Sugar. She's an animator, comic artist, musician, and showrunner. She's also bisexual, and only finally got to come out and start talking about it at age twenty-eight. Rebecca is doing that on a recent episode of QUEERY.

      QUEERY is a show hosted by Cameron Esposito which is about sexual diversity and identity. The show had Rebecca Sugar on as a guest to discuss her own identity and the queer-positive messages she incorporates into her art.

      You can listen to the episode here.

      I wanted to share a rambling description of what they talked about on the show because the importance of the identity aspects of Steven Universe kept coming up, and as a person from a marginalized and less visible identity, I relate to a LOT of what Rebecca Sugar said about community, coming out, and the importance of visibility. Especially the bit where the "diagnosis" of "it doesn't matter what your label is" ends up being "cruel by accident." This doesn't need to be talked about—that's the message. It's not relevant to the rest of us. It's not a conversation that needs to be had, or I don't understand your reason for needing to have it so I'd rather you shut up.

      To be honest, I wish I could interview Rebecca about this (or really just have a conversation about it). We're both queer Jewish creative-workaholic female creators and I've been saying some of the same things she says in this interview for literally years, and it’s just so amazing to hear someone else saying them. 

      I’d love to have a discussion of how both asexual and bisexual people get the “not queer enough” treatment sometimes and are accused of doing it for attention or co-opting resources meant for “real” queer people, and how very very very important it is to see ourselves in our media so we know we’re real and not alone. The stories we tell are how the world talks to itself, and if you’re not represented there, you feel like you’re not part of the world or its stories. We should all be able to be part of that. As a queer creator myself, I'm finding that I want and need to incorporate that underrepresented perspective into my writing, and the experience has so many nuances and unexpected aspects that I wish I had someone to talk to about. That and how not all important relationships are romantic; friendship is always sidelined and represented as  lesser, but I think friendships are properly represented in her work and I appreciate it so much.

      I’ve also had the same experience Rebecca had with going to a college campus (where I was a speaker) and hanging out at the LGBT Center with a group of kids who have the kind of community I never had when I was that age, and I’d always thought I didn’t need it, but being there with people who all had this thing in common and knowing it’s a place you can be you, I think I had a weird mourning feeling tied up in gratefulness that this generation has more support than I did.

      Some details of the interview:
      Cameron introduces Rebecca's show, Steven Universe, to her audience, and says if you’re not watching it you should be. After some info on the tour she’s doing at the moment, she has Rebecca Sugar introduce herself.

      Cameron compliments the show and discusses the music Rebecca writes and plays on ukulele. Rebecca discusses how she did comics and studied animation but music was really a hobby. She was surprised that she got to incorporate that into the show. She used to do busking in an eight-person band, playing the banjo ukulele, like in the subways and stuff. They discuss street performance and puppetry for a bit.

      Rebecca had been on QUEERY before, and she says her first time she was very nervous talking about her personal identity. They had to cut a bit when she cried about it. She feels very positive about being out as bisexual, and loves being able to talk about it, but it can be intense.

      She didn’t want to give the impression that she was ashamed or sad about it just because she cried—she loves being able to be open about it. For a long time Rebecca thought she wasn’t allowed to talk about it, and hadn’t even considered being out. I had the same feeling about it, and that was reinforced by people telling me “Why do you need to talk about this? This should be private.” And yet they did not understand how casually, how freely, how without fear heterosexuality was inserted into everything they did and said, from facing no qualms about saying who they thought was hot in a movie to casually talking about their partner without worrying it would make someone think differently about them or even be dangerous.

      When Rebecca was a kid, other people’s responses were mostly like “you can be with whoever you want.” So she figured the floor was open. She hasn’t dated much and is shy, and now she’s with Ian (who’s a man), so since she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, she figured she would never really have the opportunity to “be out” because her relationship is with a man and people don’t really interpret that as queer. She said she thought she would only need to be out if she was with a woman.

      Rebecca wants to reach people on this subject—and it’s new to her to be able to reach people on this subject!—so she’s very excited to be able to explore it also in her cartoon. She suggested that a hundred thousand children “knew she was gay” (though “gay” isn’t exactly it), but she hadn’t had that conversation with her family.

      She wanted to base the stories on her own experiences, but at the same time she wasn’t sure anyone else would relate to it. She also discussed how if bi people talk about their identity, they want attention or want to be cool or sexy. She said that didn’t fit at all with the way she felt about being bi. She mostly felt worried that by being in a relationship she was just a liar all the time.

      Cameron spoke up to say proof or external representations don’t dictate identity. Elaborating, she says that her being gay herself has nothing to do with her wife, Rhea, but at the same time it has plenty to do with her because Rhea is in her life.

      Rebecca says she was stunned to acknowledge at age 28 that labels can matter—that she could still be with the person she wanted to be with AND be out—she didn’t have to be closeted. She said usually being bi is acknowledged in media as a person who is with many people, or as a phase you go through in college. She didn’t know you can be a “shy bisexual.”

      And now she’s become free to explore it, and she’s so free to connect with these kids who relate to stuff in her cartoon who knew about it more than she did, all these queer kids who get it.

      Cameron discussed issues in the queer community from there, discussing how people make choices about their identity and how they present to the world, and who they should be with. Being a lesbian, that doesn’t mean she has to be with a cis woman out of fear that someone will disqualify her from the lesbian community if her partner is trans. The boundaries are relaxing. Rebecca agrees and says things are shifting on the spectrum.
      They agree also that “Oh who cares, I don’t care what your label is” is “cruel by accident.” Rebecca says that’s kind of what made her want to say she does care—through her platform and her cartoon, she wants to speak to kids that she personally does care and is interested.

      It’s so crucial to see yourself in your media, especially as a kid. You can internalize that your absence from media means you’re not allowed to participate in an “appropriate” world. The idea that kids must be protected from knowing about these things is really damaging. If you REALLY want to protect kids, you’ll give them the tools to know themselves so they don’t implode or get into terrible situations later due to lack of support. 

      I related to this a lot. When I did a video on asexual representation in comics and books and TV, a few people went after me like, “Why do you have to insert this into everything, why do you have to see it? And what about the gay kids who are afraid of being gay so they think they can just be asexual and not have to face it?” But never do you care about what happens to ace teens when they have nothing. We should NOT be told we can’t talk about who we are or have representation because someone, on the path to discovering themselves, might mistake themselves for one of us along the way.

      Rebecca says she knows lack of representation meant she rushed into things with other people because she needed a partner to “explain things” to her. She learned quickly that people expected her to “find out” who she was by experimenting even though she didn’t really want to date a lot of people, and she eventually figured she’d learn to define herself based on who she ended up dating.

      She was maybe as young as 11 when she discovered she was bi, and people would reply to her with “oh please.” At 14 she thought she must “want to be” bi because she didn’t date other women. And yet she didn’t get to be out until she was 28.

      She felt she just couldn’t say she was bi. She didn’t want people to think she only wanted attention. What you learn when you hear that is that your partner matters and your feelings DON’T matter.

      Cameron agreed that “you want attention” is common across the board with queer people. Like why would you need to talk about it? But Rebecca says everyone tells stories about their lives. People criticized Cameron’s work and said why do you need to talk about your experience, expecting not everything would come through her experience, when of course it would.

      The commenters on Cameron’s column on AV Club got super cruel after a while, expecting her to make her column have more diverse perspectives even though it was only ever supposed to be her own, as if they were angry that a lesbian had a platform and the content on it made her identity integral. She stopped writing it because of how brutal the comments got.

      Rebecca said she now wants to champion LGBTQIA stuff in G-rated entertainment, and now wants to get into talking about her own perspective and championing it at the beginning of children’s lives. When she first started doing this, her loved ones cautioned her to be careful since she might be endangering herself being out, especially since people are threatened by those trying to get the information to kids. It frustrates her that her loved ones were reacting with worry as their first response. 

      That happened to me too. The first time I was invited to be on television, two people pounced on me with concerns about my safety, and they successfully scared me into backing out of the media engagement. I have since gotten this managed and safely appeared in visual media, though I also acknowledge the appropriateness of the concern because some of my treatment has been frightening and awful.
      In discussing her orientation in her relationship, Cameron asked Rebecca if she’d had much discussion about it with her partner. She brought up a time when the show had recently been released and a couple of girls asked her at an event if she was gay, but her significant other was next to her and she felt she couldn’t say “yes,” she couldn’t say “no,” she just really had no answer because she didn’t know the answer herself.
      She felt very strange and exposed being interpreted as queer, though she sometimes pointed at her relationship with a man, and she was afraid that confirming she’s bi would mean she’s admitting she’s attracted to women and that means she can’t be with a man. She wasn’t ready to face that but she could make art about it.

      Cameron brought up the frustration of coming out all the time—how someone in a bagel store could observe she’s buying two bagels and remark “So, bringing one home for the boyfriend?” and the she feels obligated to either lie or come out to a stranger. That’s part of why she wanted to do standup comedy and create a space to talk about her experiences. She said she used her art to make herself safe. Rebecca said that makes sense.

      I relate to this very hard. “Coming out” is not something you just do once, and though people have a common misconception that asexual people don’t need to do it, you would be surprised how often it’s relevant. Especially for a perpetually single woman of childbearing age, for whom everyone is always demanding a reason, as if being in a relationship is the default and you must have an excuse if you aren’t. That or they think they’re doing you a favor by giving you advice, assuring you you’ll find someone, or trying to set you up with their brother.

      Rebecca brought up getting a letter from a queer group at a college, discussing the importance of community and how her show meant so much to the students there. On the surface she was thinking of it like she’s been doing a favor for people who need help but don’t have anything to do with her, because hey, who cares about labels, but at the same time she got really emotional while reading the letter, saying she didn’t have the opportunity to connect to community herself.

      So she decided to go visit, and she came out to them at that group for the first time. She had the practice of saying it out loud, and later was able to come out at Comic Con.

      Some of the people at the group were very understanding and thoughtful, which was a great experience for her. She got to discuss issues like being commonly misunderstood because she’s with a man. She was amazed that they were interested in her as a person, and she’d already internalized that people only cared about her work and what she does.
      In the past she hasn’t taken good care of herself; she’s a workaholic and runs herself ragged—partly because she didn’t care about herself. The discussion of identity really helped her feel like she mattered, because before that she felt that no one would accept or care for her if she was honest about the feelings she had. If you don’t like your own love feelings, how can you like yourself?

      She wondered how many people were in relationships that they accept that it defines who they are, and there’s a piece of their mind they never get to share.

      Cameron discussed how having a partner isn’t the same thing as having an identity, though it’s sort of like a small business you cultivate together. There are a lot of lies we tell ourselves about how that relationship is supposed to feel and what aspects of it are normal. She brought up how people expect her to never want to meet her partner’s previous partners, to be jealous of them and angry they exist, while in actuality she was glad to be with someone who’d had other experiences before her and wasn’t “untouched.” Rebecca agreed that jealousy is romanticized, and Cameron said she’s loved people in a variety of ways.

      Rebecca commented that partners shouldn’t be able to hold the keys to your identity. It can be dangerous, and you need to communicate. She mentioned loving the song “Darkness Among the Fireflies” by Mason Jennings—she’d never heard a song about a partner’s previous relationships. And then there’s a song by Emily King called “Distance” that’s about having space from your partner because you need to reboot, and then returning to them.

      She loves these facets of love stories. She wants to tell those stories to kids, because she wanted to have them when she was young. All she had was love-at-first-sight stories that are always heteronormative and don’t make sense. They end when you get married, that’s it. Happily ever after. And then there are stories about how marriage is horrible! What does that tell kids.

      Cameron points out, as someone who’s married, it’s kind of like having a job you love but causes you unending stress. Rebecca commented “the grass is always greener where you water it.” They agree that running a show with your significant other is the best and the worst. And how it’s not worth giving up the highs because you’ll have to deal with the lows.

      They discuss how you can dump energy into shame, and suppression is one of the only non-productive uses of energy. Cameron compliments Rebecca on creating a reality where she could go forward into having what she wants creatively without sacrificing attention to her identity that she needed for her health, and Rebecca says the alternative was unsustainable. She’s still dealing with it and has doubts about whether she should speak about these things. Cameron says she thinks the voice of doubt will go away.

      Rebecca says she loves that the show helped people connect with other queer people or helped them come out. She met a teen at a book signing who is in the teen youth queer community, and she thinks it’s so wonderful—she loves that they feel good and don’t have to deal with what she dealt with since they have support from an early age.

      She says people get excited about representation and how it will do people good, and they’ll want to support the show because of what it does for representation, but for her it’s not a commodity. It’s community.

      She wanted to change the world, with putting her message into homes and reaching kids, and she loves that it can bring people into community, that it’s the people who matter more than the art.

      When Rebecca stopped being afraid and started looking up info about bisexuality, she found out about Brenda Howard, the “mother of pride.” She popularized the term “pride,” and she’s bi and Jewish. She wished she’d had an opportunity to connect with role models like Brenda. Rebecca is still amazed that she’s part of a community like this, but Brenda helped create that space.

      The interview comes to an end here. Cameron bids her farewell saying Rebecca should be confident and that it’s the right choice to be open about who she is—she’s doing the right thing.

      The end! I do wish I could chat with Rebecca. I’d love to have a talk like this and talk about queer experience, being a queer female Jewish creator, the importance of friendships, less scripted definitions of love, and the vital nature of children’s media. <3

      Saturday, October 14, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: October 7 – October 13 [GIF]

      [GIF warning further down the post]

      Life news this week: 
      • Saturday my mom was gonna come over but she couldn't make it, and I spent the day getting a bunch of stuff out of the garage and getting it all organized. The GIANT SPIDER from the day before reappeared . . . in my shower, with me while I was showering. A chase ensued. I won. Also listened to a podcast and took pictures of all my Steven Universe tee shirts.

      • Sunday my mom was gonna come over but again couldn't make it. I spent the day organizing my desks, and did some music recordings. I also talked to Victor on the phone because someone threw a brick through his window and he was kinda shook up. I built most of a bookcase while talking to him.

      • Monday the bus schedules all changed to the new pattern. I had to walk almost half an hour to get to my new bus stop. But other than that, the ride is good. I got to work really early and did business development stuff, then came home and finished the bookcase. I also took really dorky pictures of me in a costume.

      • Tuesday I listened to an interview, did some work on a proposal, came home and did some digital art, and organized my Steven Universe toys. I took a (spiderless) shower.

      • Wednesday went as planned, hooray. I got a pat on the back for fixing a printer problem, went home and got some organizing done before Jeaux came over, and we ate at Hawkeyes Pizza and did a couple shopping errands. Jeaux also helped me get my new queen-size mattress onto the guest bed!

      • Thursday I did proposal work and went home to meet with Victor, who was staying over because his birthday was the next day. We had a great time--listened to comedy (which made me laugh so hard I almost died), ate homemade vegetarian shepherd's pie, and hung out. He put together my other bookcase while I made his birthday cake--yellow cake with lemon icing. He got to be the first sleeper in the guest bed!

      • Friday I brought leftover cake to work. And someone called one of my coworkers to say the website looks really cool and when did the boss update it? Guess what? I WAS THE ONE THAT REDESIGNED IT. I must rule or something. I did some editing and shopping and drew my comic really slowly but got it posted on time. Also started another digital doodle.

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Experiment IV" by Kate Bush. (Kate Bush is a pretty odd singer and if you have not acquired the particular flavor she represents, you might not like this recording. I assure you it sounds a lot like the original.)

        New drawings: 

        Garnet. "Hey, cool it, your Ruby is showing!"
        Practicing digital art. I got a long way to go.
        A floppy Garnet head on which I practiced some shading stuff.

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0648: "Hold Warmth."

        New videos:

        This week's unlisted ukulele video (yes, I'm back to making them!): "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes. The chords are super easy but I struggle with rhythm, so I figured it was a good one to try.

        New photos:

        an animated GIF of all my SU shirts

        Found my gauntlets, so I dressed up for y'all.
        Picture below is what I'm emulating. ;)
        Not a bad likeness, eh? Except for lack of a sweet afro.

        ALL THE TOYS in their new home!
        Victor building my bookcase.
        Baking Victor's cake--the first baking project in the new house!
        He is clearly enthusiastic about cake.

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,284 for swankivy (no change), 646 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 889 for swankivy (5 new), 1,327 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,489 (lost 5). Instagram followers: 124 (1 new).

        Wednesday, October 11, 2017

        Wednesday Factoid: Holidays

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you celebrate any holidays most people in your culture do not?

        Tough question for me really.

        Growing up, the answer was yes. I grew up in the Bible Belt (in North Carolina) and I was basically almost always the only Jewish kid in the class. So the fact that we celebrated Hanukkah "instead of" Christmas was a curiosity for some of my peers, and I was pretty vocal about not wanting to participate in holiday activities that I interpreted as being from someone else's religion. You have to understand that they fed us Christmas and Easter in those schools like breathing; nobody ever thought for a second that maybe my family would not in fact like a photo in front of the Christmas tree.

        Me, age 10, with my "little buddy" from a school program. Family was like "wtf"

        The school basically gave a sort of nod to the existence of Judaism once in a while by putting the dreidel song in the holiday program and then proceeding to call it "the Christmas concert" anyway. Ya know.

        People generally knew what Hanukkah was because they were used to thinking of it like the Jewish equivalent of Christmas, and most people knew it involved a menorah and eight nights of presents, and did NOT involve Santa Claus. But pretty much every other Jewish holiday was a mystery to people. We weren't extremely observant but every year we did Passover and celebrated Rosh Hashanah sometimes, and even Purim when I was very young.

        The cultural aspects of Judaism are important to me because they represent tradition, connection, and family, but the religious aspects never really struck a chord for me. I treasure the celebrations I've had with family and love the familiar traditions, but I don't engage in them for spiritual reasons. (And haven't really participated actively in years.)

        I did once host a Passover celebration in my house though.

        In some of the years during and past college, I explored some additional spiritual traditions in the Pagan realms, and many of those stuck with me. In exploring what meant something to me, I learned a lot about ancient traditions of nature worship and seasonal celebrations associated with the solar wheel of the year and the monthly lunar cycle. I especially liked goddess symbolism and seasonal baking, but it turned out it was also for a similar reason to why I appreciate the Jewish traditions: they represent ancestral and environmental connection. I don't really relate to anything that requires "worship."

        Winter Solstice 1999, at Fred's house doing a ritual

        I learned a lot about mythology and different traditions from ancient times, but after spending quite a few years observing those rituals, it felt more like work than a relaxing chance to reconnect, so I moved away from celebrating seasons in such an overt way. I still like to change the decorations around my house to represent seasonal changes eight times a year, and still incorporate very old food traditions into my seasonal baking. So I guess to some extent I still "celebrate" those holidays and most people around me do not.

        A Samhain altar in my apartment
        And in high school, my friends and I had a host of made-up holidays that celebrated significant events in our teenage lives. Those were holidays literally no one else celebrated because they were invented for silly reasons. "Boognish Day" was the 5th of every month, and we would celebrate our love of the band Ween by wearing band tee shirts or the clothes we'd worn to see them in concert. "Bowl Day" was the 2nd of every month, but no, it was not a drug reference. For some reason we would get a big bowl and fill it with Sprite and drink the soda out of the bowl with straws. On the 18th of every month, it was "Yarn Day" and you had to wear a piece of yarn tied on your body somewhere. (Usually we'd tie it onto our shoes.) The 22nd of every month was "Pimpy Day." I had invented a cartoon character named Pimpy the Stud-Mouse and he just needed his own holiday. We would wear our homemade tee shirts with puffy paint drawings of the mouse on them. There was also a "Shoe Day" where my friends and I would wear the same shoes on the same day, but I forget what day of the month it was. There were others but I am not recalling them off the top of my head.

        We were maybe a little weird.