Tag Archives: Ramblings

Christmas, Ponderings, And My Online Social Future

Hello everyone. So, I’ve been a little quiet. I’ve been decorating the house for Christmas, decorating my blog for Christmas, been sick for a few days (and our partner also got sick, with shingles) had some doctor appointments, and been doing a lot of thinking. SO much thinking.

Twitter is imploding. I won’t lie, I wanted it to happen. In a “hold my beer” moment, dA also decided to make a move that, partly but not entirely due to poor wording, caused them to lose much of the users they had left. Friends I made there who had their accounts for SO many years –gone. My own, brand new account? Gone, but I’d made that decision before the most recent AI debacle. I didn’t enjoy my brief return to the platform.

Between this, and Twitter’s dumpster fire, I began to look for what my next social outlet would be, in spite of my “I wish all social media would eat itself” words.

Tumblr will never be an option for me again. But people seem to be having fun there, I say, good for them. I mean that sincerely! I also 100% believe that before a full year is out, most of the returnees will be bemoaning Tumblr’s toxicity, even if, without a stable Twitter to return to, they choose to stay there. In no small part because a lot of Twitter’s current community toxicity came from Tumblr after Tumblr’s downfall. Now, everyone is just going back there again. I don’t really think Twitter is better in this regard. I just find it much easier to curate my Twitter experience, than I did my Tumblr experience, and I am simply done.

Personally, I’m too old to be harassed over tags by teenagers, or get death threats from them because I like to drink from sippy cups sometimes. Getting more commissions (or any commissions at all) is absolutely NOT worth a return to Tumblr to me. I ramble on so much about this because this was one of TWO sites I ever chose to permanently block on all my devices (the second one being the now defunct FurryLife Online, or FLO). It was that bad for my mental health.

Anyway, as I pondered how to proceed I also tried to make a Cohost account, and I made two more Instagram accounts, a personal one and a toy one, and…

And, it all started to feel a bit pointless.

Social media is a sort of brain junk food: a quick dopamine rush, all fluff, no substance. It feels good: you want more. Unlike the forums, guestbooks and dedicated gallery site comments of yore, it is far more likely to be vapid, meaningless, stripped as much as possible of anything remotely offensive or problematic, generated to be liked by as many friends and/or strangers as possible.

Even within a given subcommunity, you’ll often be creating content to mass-appeal to your niche community if you want exposure and interaction within it. And I don’t necessarily mean sales of art. I mean interaction with people because you’re lonely.

But being lonely can be good. For me, being lonely did me a lot of good all throughout my life. There is value in enjoying one’s own company, in hearing the silence (literally, in the environment, as well as figuratively, in your own head, when no one is communicating with you). Even boredom can be a valuable tool.

I wanted Twitter to implode because the status quo required me to use it for business. And also because, well, everyone I know is there. If I want to talk to my friends or for them to remember I exist (not all my friends, but some) I have to be there. Now it is finally eating itself as I long hoped, but none of that matters if I look for an equal “junk food” type of social media. I think all of my currently available options are of that sort, other than FA, which I plan to stay on for the foreseeable future.

Here’s a rundown of what I’m thinking at the moment…

📷 Instagram 📷

I already deleted the two accounts I made the other day. I’m glad I made them because it helped me realize I didn’t want to go back. As far as my art account, I will leave it up for now because it will ultimately be my only “normie” sort of “gallery” on a place where it can be organically found, but I might delete it later as well. It really depends on the direction Twitter takes. I don’t want to jump the gun on deleting that, but eventually, I think I’d like to.

EDIT: Screw it. Deleted all Instagram accounts.

🐤 Twitter 🐤

My guess is that pretty soon I’ll only be active on my Twitter art accounts, and delete the others (personal, toys, and gaming). Time will tell. I feel less and less safe on Twitter given recent events, and a lot of my circles are leaving anyway. The ideal eventual outcome is to completely leave Twitter.

📜 Cohost 📜

Already sent in a deletion request.

🎨 deviantART 🎨

Already deleted.

🐾 FurAffinity 🐾

Still there as MarinaNeira until I can change my username. Not planning on leaving. Also, I have reopened notes over there.

Any other place I’m on –not planning changes. What I will concentrate on next, is catching the blog up with my socials. And then probably go back to updating only my blog. Sorry for the incoming spam!

Thoughts On DALL·E

I posted a little on Twitter about getting invited to the DALL·E beta, and over there I limited comments because I wanted a better avenue to expand on my complicated thoughts regarding this technology. DALL·E makes people angry and heated (particularly in my circles, for obvious and valid reasons) and I knew I could not properly entertain discourse about it there.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way: regardless of my complicated feelings, I am impressed: I do not know anyone who isn’t, even if they hate DALL·E. Frankly, if I see anyone just “pooh-pooh” the technology, I roll my eyes. It is obviously amazing:

And yet, my feelings about the technology existing at all are overwhelmingly negative. Let me elaborate.

Part of it is, naturally, existential saltiness: no one likes to feel impending replacement, and no matter what anyone else says, there are plenty, PLENTY of clients who would be perfectly satisfied with DALL·E as opposed to hiring someone and pay them a livable wage to make it for them. I still want to make a living at art. I legitimate feel that DALL·E endangers that. I don’t like that.

But my real biggest problem with DALL·E is its way of learning. I can almost guarantee that my many art pieces floating online have been part of what taught DALL·E, as has been the art of many of my colleagues, unwittingly, and without permission.

In such a case, and in one way of looking at this situation, you could conceivably argue that anyone who uses work from DALL·E commercially without paying any artist whose work was used some sort of revenue, is taking food from that artist’s mouth. And regardless, that artist should have been able to say no: do not use my work for this. I do not consent to this. Mosts artists I know would not want their work used in this manner by an AI.

AND YET…

There is a valid, different way of looking at this situation.

Every one of us who draws for a living learned by processing a large amount of artwork that was done by others. Sometimes referencing it, sometimes copying it directly for practice, and many more times by taking inspiration. We are literally taught to take elements we like from different styles and incorporate them into our own. Granted, we are not computers: I’ll get to that, so please, stay with me.

Ideally, the end result is something brand new and unique. But that end result did not appear from a vacuum: as conscious or unconscious inspiration, we used hundreds or thousands of different visual inputs to create our own style. And we did not ask any of the people who created those works we used for permission. If those artists demanded that of us, we would find it risible. They didn’t ask their own sources of inspiration. There might be the odd exception to this rule, but in most cases, we couldn’t ask for permission if we wanted to, especially since we take so much inspiration from the media we consume every day, put out by large companies.

It can rightly be said that DALL·E is learning in a way not unlike the way we learned, at least for an AI. I can see how someone could put forth the argument, “Why is DALL·E any different? Why should DALL·E not be able to learn in the same way, if other people do not ask their every source of influence over a lifetime for permission?” and I feel it should not be dismissed offhand.

At least in my opinion, the biggest reason is that no one person is going to replace a large percentage of an entire industry the way DALL·E could, nor can work or learn with the unfair speed or facility that DALL·E is capable of.

If even one person within my niche subcommunity copied my style down pat (something I’ve seen done to at least one of my friends) and started drawing stuff I would not want attached to my name/recognizable style, or severely undercut me in pricing, I would obviously have a serious problem with that. I do not think we are at all far from a future in which a client who finds me too expensive can input my work into DALL·E and ask it to create new works in my own style, even if they need some post processing. Who do I complain to then? I’m SOL.

There is an extra bitter, unfair edge to DALL·E: it learns very fast (as I mentioned above, I’m sure being able to emulate styles perfectly is in the near future, and since styles can’t be copyrighted, what happens then?) while using your own work without permission to do so. Even if DALL·E cannot create fully completed pieces ready to use, with a little bit of editing this is easily achieved.

Take as an example what I got with this prompt, “a cartoon baby dinosaur playing with blocks.” I’m sure the samples below will look very familiar to you, as it is a common clipart style that is available for sale, right now, and yet I got these for free, accidentally emulating said recognizable style:

You might tell me, ok, point the specific artist this DALL·E emulating here. And I can’t easily do that. But for a potential client, any of the above samples emulate that style well enough that they may want to just grab the above, slightly tweak it, and be done. They won’t pay a commercial artist if one click grants them an almost-ready image for free.

To me, any current wonkiness is completely moot. DALL·E will get past it, it is only a matter of time. For any person, artist or not, to feel that DALL·E will not revolutionize the industry, is shortsighted. It absolutely will. I feel that at the very least, DALL·E should have been an opt-in situation for artists. The ethics of the results of this technology where completely brushed aside. Once the technology exists, built upon the back of human work, done by artists who may not have wanted their work used to create their potential obsolescence, it is too late. And it already exists.

A part of me naturally gets excited by DALL·E and what I, as an artist, could do with it. I can use DALL·E to create things that I can build upon, so easily. I do not want to be shortsighted myself. Perhaps if this technology had been built by artists, or by people who aren’t infamous for being, shall we say, not very concerned about other human beings (such as Elon Musk) I would not feel so negative and hopeless about its existence.

I think it would have been possible for DALL·E to ethically exist. I also feel that ship has sailed. It is what it is. Anyone’s thoughts about DALL·E are, in my opinion, pointless at this stage. Whatever will be wrought by DALL·E is inevitable. I just hope it won’t devastate the industry as it becomes better and smarter.

Habits And Struggles

I’m typing this on my Alphasmart Neo. It’s been a while since I used this thing, and the keys don’t feel quite as clicky as I remember them. Maybe, like me, it’s feeling its age. It’s also possible that they never were that clicky to begin with… my mechanical keyboards may have spoiled me. Anyways…

I am typing on this because I am away from screens when using it (though of course, I am on a screen again as I post it a number of hours later on my blog, where you are now reading it). It is a rest for my eyes to work on this little machine, and a respite for my brain.

I have to admit that lately, I am not doing so well.

It started gradually, and predictably, when I grudgingly remade my Twitter accounts, and even my Instagram. I had to do this, because by staying on FA alone, I could no longer get enough commission work. Once back on Twitter, I ran a few polls, and it was evident that most furry commission work happened via Twitter, while as I’d observed, commercial and book illustration seemed to favor Instagram. It felt like a curse returned. I could not make a living on art and break free of these services that I had grown to hate so deeply. And I do. I think most of you who have followed me for longer than a year know by now how deep that animosity goes.

I thus attempted to offer my work in these platforms without having to engage beyond what was needed: follow no one, “like” no content. Reply only to people engaging with my work. Basically, do the bare minimum. And in fact, long ago this might have worked. There was a sweet spot where if you did not follow or interact, your growth would be slowed significantly, but not be completely stalled. These days though, without such constant interaction, Twitter will very purposely hide you. Not quite like shadowbanning, but perhaps not far from it in practical terms.

Twitter is so intense in forcing you to interact, that I get an average of 10 “recommended tweet” notifications to each of my five accounts if I don’t make an effort to create and/or interact with content in all of them daily. There is no good way of turning this off permanently.

So, with no obvious alternative and much to my chagrin, I did begin to follow other accounts. By compartmentalizing my content in five very different accounts geared towards specific audiences, I was able to somewhat reduce my exposure to toxicity. I forced myself to interact here and there. But in spite of everything that I tried to do to prevent it, before I knew it, the sense of addiction, of constantly refreshing to seek validation, the dread of reading my feed and consuming its ever-more-toxic content, it was all back.

The difference is that escape no longer feels easy or feasible, as it did on that freeing day a couple of years ago when I wiped all of my accounts. I am aware now that the bulk of my work, if it comes, will come from Twitter. And that if I don’t interact to some degree, Twitter will hide me. If Twitter hides me, I will sell little to nothing. Gradually, this is making my dream of making art for a living feel much less like my dream. My job is inescapably on Twitter, and working on Twitter was never my dream. But I don’t know what the solution is.

Moreover, it’s not just about my work. The following is a rehash of something you’ve seen me write a million times, but it rings true still: I feel isolated from my community.

When I first joined FA over ten years ago, the sense of small, strong community support and interaction lifted me up at a time of my life when I was so deeply lonely, that I sometimes cried myself to sleep. The fandom is made up of many small clusters and groups: I just happened to find one of them. Even my own subcommunity is made of these smaller clusters, so it’s not like I’m saying the fandom is dead/ruined or anything like that. I did say things like that before, now I think this is nonsense. It’s just my own “cluster” that has changed beyond recognition. And in the current zeitgeist, I no longer feel a cluster where I am “home” exists.

When it comes to the fandom, I very much present a completely different front depending on who I am speaking to. Very few people in the fandom (perhaps two or three, if that many) know me as myself. Maybe that’s normal. But way back in my early days, I did truly feel like I was being myself to everyone I met. This is very much no longer the case. I don’t remember exactly when it changed; I suppose it was gradual. Incredibly, I feel almost as isolated now as I did in my childhood days, something I never thought would happen after discovering the fandom, and while still being part of it.

I think I’ve expressed this before, though likely less strongly, but I hate the Internet. I used to love it, at least in the first form I experienced. Possibly many of you reading this were born after the Internet that I loved ceased to exist.

To me, the Internet of those days (mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s) was a place to pop in for maybe an hour or two once a day for a little fun and connection with strangers, all of which, it felt like to me, were potential friends. It was not life-encompassing. You did not carry it in your pocket. Life and its possibilities were still all mostly offline, and this made everything feel more solid, more real, and the Internet more like TV, something you’d turn on for a bit every day, but that was it (at least, so it was to me).

You got some emails (which you probably didn’t even check every single day) and maybe that was exciting. You wrote on your Livejournal, or your MySpace (that was the very, very tail end of the Internet I loved). In what were my earliest days, you found a topic you liked and went from page to page on a Webring, because it was the best way to find the niche content you were interested in. Going from page to page was a completely and almost always pleasant surprise.

Websites had these little awards they gave to each other, think stuff like “Most Informative MLP Site” or “Coolest Rocketshipper Page” which they presented to one another out of sheer goodwill and for fun. They’d have link pages full of wonky banners on their topic of choice. Maybe you’d email the webmaster to tell them you liked their page and you’d make a new friend. Or you’d sign their guestbook.

In most of the interactions I had, politeness and friendliness was the assumed behavior. Even in forum disagreements, I generally saw politeness. It’s very likely that my own experience was insulated and limited, but when I talk with other people my age, they often describe similar experiences.

And the biggest difference to me was that, even though the Internet felt way, WAY smaller back then, the connections you made, the comments or replies you received, felt so much more meaningful and important.

But anyway, why, when and how it changed isn’t really the point. For me, it is no longer a refuge of any sort. It is a prison I cannot escape, not even when I leave my home. I fantasize a LOT about not having a smartphone. I feel that I need it, but I hate it. I hate that anyone can message me at any point. I miss having a stupid flip-phone, that sometimes I could not afford to pay and then no one could reach me, and you know what, it was okay. The world didn’t end.

That is impossible now. Payphones are no longer a thing, so if I have an emergency, I need my phone. People no longer have landlines, so if I want to talk to anyone, I need my cellphone. I depend on my phone for maps, for Ubers, and for my banking apps. I’ve removed so many features from my phone to make it as basic as possible. But it still feels like this ball and chain I must carry.

I’m not sure where I am going with this post. I haven’t been “well” mentally and even physically as a result of all I have written here, and needed to let it out somewhere. Maybe it will help me achieve some clarity.

The world has become a very unfriendly place, online and offline. Offline, making new acquaintances is harder than ever. Online, navigating a sea of toxicity and self-righteousness on one side and of hate, bigotry, and intolerance on the other, takes a lot out of me. Among all this, I must somehow sell my work, and maintain relationships. If I go completely offline, I make no money and feel deeply lonely and isolated. If I stay even somewhat online, the result is an ever present brain fog, an exhaustion and jaded feeling in regards to everyone and everything. Nothing feels good.

Moreover, the more I allow myself to be online, the harder it seems to be for my brain to function normally. I’ve lost a large amount of my ability to concentrate on anything for any long period of time. This always improves if I go mostly offline for a period of weeks to months, it is absolutely caused by having to be online, I’ve confirmed it repeatedly. But if I do that, the algorithms destroy me, and most acquaintances forget me, even some friends do, if only temporarily.

I do not say this with any form of resentment: there are people I love a lot, and yet I can go days or weeks without thinking about them very much if at all, if those same algorithms force them out of view. The online world is far too noisy. So much is happening all of the time. A brain can only keep track of so much information.

I don’t know what to do. I am not asking for anyone to give me a solution: trust me, you do not have one. I’ve been contemplating this quandary and trying a myriad of solutions for over half a decade.

But at least in the time I spent writing this, I was not online. So maybe I just need to tweak my blocks a little more here and there, optimize my time better, so I can be more present in my offline and offscreen activities.

Offscreen. That’s important, too. Reading was once the most important activity in my life. I used to read hundreds of pages in a single week. The problem is, I still do, but now it is all in the form of tweets and news articles. What place does that leave for books?

Unbelievably, I’ve given up (as in, donated) both of my drawing boards: these days, it is all iPad and watching YouTube while I work. It has been for years. Crime, science, history channels: I’ve half-watched hundreds of hours of them while pushing art piece after art piece. I remember almost nothing I have learned. I used to draw and ink traditionally, while listening to podcasts or to music. My eyes did not get tired anywhere near as much. I was more present. I was happier. I actually learned stuff.

I feel old. I miss my flip-phone. I miss my iPod Nano. I miss the Today page on the (very) old DeviantART. In a few days, I will be 39: perhaps this is some sort of midlife crisis.

I know I need to do something. Hopefully, perhaps, I will figure that something out. It is difficult to figure out what a happy place for me should look like, and what I will have to sacrifice to find it. Interaction with friends? My form of livelihood?

Something that I am fully aware of is that at any given time, I could pretty faithfully recreate the conditions I myself carried my everyday life in before. I cannot control how other people carry theirs, however. So if I do this, I will miss on things I like, that I got used to: being able to take commissions, conveniences like Google Maps, Uber and Spotify. Talking to friends. Heck, even keeping/having friends. I do have the Internet to thank for that.

But in exchange, it takes a really heavy toll on me. In exchange for friends, interaction and validation, I have lost the ability to be present, to concentrate. Maybe I’ll figure something out though. I have to keep trying.

Is It Bad To Enjoy It all? 😟

As time goes by, I’ve become really passionate both about the Jurassic franchise and about paleontology. These are completely different things, obviously. I have to say though, JP/JW absolutely had a major impact in my interest in actual, fact-based natural history.

Of course, Jurassic Park / Jurassic World, the franchise, is almost entirely pure fantasy —even more than I realized as a kid. But finding that out didn’t bother me? 🤷‍♀️ I love both things (fictional and factual dinosaurs) equally for different reasons. As I participate more in these Twitter communities though, I’m honestly saddened by the vitriol and the hate towards Jurassic Park / Jurassic World.

I see it mostly come from people seriously into paleontology and natural history, and to me it seems misplaced. I’m not the only person I know who became interested in the scientific aspect because of “cool monster dinos” as a kid. I dunno.

Expecting the movies to be realistic documentaries seems odd to me. Seeing the infighting / hate makes me sad. It’s easier to enjoy things for what they are and find common ground as we celebrate what makes us happy and passionate without always taking dunks at what others love.

Happy Dinosaur Day! 🦖🦕🎊

How did your love for dinosaurs “evolve”? Mine began, obviously (if you know me at all) with the original Land Before Time film, one of the earliest films I have memory of watching. With Jurassic Park, my fascination would increase tenfold, and I wonder if paleontology as a topic is something that would have interested me further as a child, had I not attended a Catholic school in the 90s, with a library and curriculum completely devoid of books on the topic.

The potential reason for the absence would not hit home until, when I was eleven years old, one of my schoolmates (a little girl who, while not especially smart, was widely known as being the hardest worker in the class) decided to do her homework assignment on evolution, and was roundly yelled at by the teacher in front of all of us.

In four years, I had not seen her be scolded once, and the teacher’s reaction seemed incomprehensible to all of us. The absolute consternation in her tear-stained little face stayed with me all of these years. Back then, evolution was a concept I knew of, which went in the same “field” in my head as dinosaurs. Neither was a topic that had been covered in school, and while I hadn’t understood why, it wasn’t until then that I realized it went against doctrine to even discuss it.

In Argentina, where I lived at the time, it felt like everyone around me was Catholic, or just about. Whether in or outside of school, I never had the opportunity to learn more about dinosaurs. My love for them would lie dormant until I arrived to the US, and had more resources. My knowledge expanded, but far too slowly. I was still heavily religious and struggled with many topics that the study of natural history exposed me to –topics which made me contemplate possibilities that I was not ready to accept.

So my fascination would not REALLY come into its own until rather recently, starting about three years ago, when I began to open up to my potential agnosticism/atheism, something that had been in my mind in some shape or form since I was twelve, and which I finally fully and joyfully accepted a bit over a year ago. Then, with no more scales in my eyes, I jumped into all sorts of science topics like a ravenous animal, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube channels and documentaries, expanding my library and my knowledge and learning about our world, how it may have come to be, and above all, about dinosaurs.

Yes, we come back to dinosaurs, finally.

I finally began to learn stuff beyond the one form of content I’d been exposed to (movies). Every single day, I either read or watch or listen to something new. My studio now has dinosaurs anywhere you look, as does my wardrobe, and other parts of the house, such as our game shelf, my library, the porch, and even the master bedroom. Were you to ask any friend or family member what is something they think of when they think of me, dinosaurs are probably high on the list, because I never shut up about the things, and there is SO much for me to learn. I have so much lost time to make up for. There are so many books to read, podcasts to listen to, movies to watch (fantastical and science based) and more, so much more.

I am, at my core, an animal lover. Dinosaurs are simply more animals to love –but especially fascinating ones, tinged with a bit of bittersweetness, because most are no longer here. But they were: this same Earth they walked on, I walk on. And that connection fascinates me.

And have I mentioned that I love ALL dinosaurs? “Movie monster” ones. Closer to scientifically accurate ones that keep evolving as our knowledge improves. Good documentaries, mediocre documentaries. New, old. Great Jurassic Park/World movies, “bad” Jurassic Park/World movies. CGI, cartoon, anime. Give it to me. Give it all to me.

Feathery, scaly, big, small, colorful or not, realistic, fantastical. New books full of new knowledge on dinosaurs, old books filled with outdated but fascinating takes on them. I love it all. I love paleontology. I love natural history. And I. LOVE. DINOSAURS.

This was quite the ramble, but something I wanted to share today. If you love dinosaurs too, then you are already partly my friend, and I wish you a very Happy Dinosaur Day!

I No Longer Identify As A “Little” 🧸 (I’m Still Me!)

Scary title is scary! Well, not really. It’s nowhere as bad as it sounds, so please read on before commenting. 😅

Recently I’ve made kind of a big change across all of my online presences. You probably didn’t notice, and that is why I am making a post about it.

I want to precede this by clarifying that nothing has changed about me as a person, or the activities I enjoy, how I like to dress, or the people I consider my friends, the sort of events I may choose to attend at cons, the art I like to draw (on both of my accounts), my fursona or her age, the dynamic in my relationships, none of that has changed. Nothing has changed in practical terms. I want to make this super clear, this is a personal change in how I describe myself and not one that will affect any of my commissioners or the joy I get from drawing the usual topics, or my comfort with said topics. Everything is okay.

What has changed is that I no longer will be using any community labels other than “furry”. And I do mean none: I no longer call myself a “Little”, the last label I felt comfortable using after hopping between labels over the years.

There’s a lot of reasons, but one of which is that I am seeing so much label-infighting across all of these subcommunities, that I feel like I’m just getting a bit too old for the label thing. I also feel that not having this label will allow me to expand a bit as an artist and have more wide appeal.

Consistently checking if the word I’m currently using to describe my headspace is in someone’s DNI is stressful. Changing labels because the latest label has become toxic, or its meaning twisted into something bad or co-opted by people who added a meaning to it that doesn’t resonate with me, is stressful. Having wild assumptions made about me based on a single word descriptor is tiring, it is reductive, sometimes violating depending on the assumption, and I cannot change what tons of outsiders think or do. I can either choose to not let it bother me, or make a change so it is a non-issue. The former doesn’t work for me, so I am doing the latter.

I suppose another reason is that the amount of drawn borderline CP I am exposed to daily on Twitter has grown, I feel it is becoming more prevalent in the community, and it makes me want to distance myself from any community terms.

Going forward, I’m just a colorful furry and fantasy artist whose inner child is pretty close to the surface all the time. To that end, I’ve reworded a ton of posts on my blog, and now I’m using mainstream words to describe my childlike headspaces and activities. If I find any I missed I will continue to adjust accordingly.

I hesitated as to whether make this journal at all, but I felt I should because I do not want to be described as a Little anymore. This is very literal, meaning, you do not have to change how you treat me otherwise or any playful teasing you may have felt comfortable doing if we are friends. I am still 100% me. I still love my friends. I still engage in the same kiddy activities. I am just putting the label aside. It no longer makes my life happier or easier to describe myself this way online.

Hope that makes sense. Thank you for reading!

Another Thing… 😖

I really enjoyed sharing my scrapbooking tips in the last post, and that, as well as my post from last night, made me realize another bad thing I’ve been doing for AGES that is just… BAD. You know how I always say that it bothers me when people ask me where I bought something because [INSERT BS EXCUSE]? Well…

…I have always been reluctant to share such things because I want to be unique, because I want to be special. 😓 Because I’m a selfish little twerp. Showing off things without having a willingness to even share where I got them is SO MEAN. What the heck.

To go so far as to put disclaimers about that on my Carrd/blog is so freaking petty, it’s literally like me grabbing a toy and hiding it behind me and going “mine!!!” And —I’m sorry for that, too, all this time. 😞💧

What can I say. I knew why I was doing it, but only now I’m disgusted enough with myself to change. So please, ask away. If I can, I’ll tell you where I got stuff. I’m sorry I’ve been so mean about that. There was no good reason.

I’ve removed some of those disclaimers from my spaces (working on the rest) and I’m going to answer now, if I’m asked such things. Since I’m in a contemplative mood, I continue to realize crappy things that I’ve been doing and I want to change them as I notice them.

I’m going to be going through my content in general to examine my own tone, so I may edit/private some old blog stuff. I’ve also deleted a whole bunch of Twitter replies and tweets I made that were mean busybody stuff or just nonsense. Apologies if that is a bit annoying. I’m trying my best to improve as a person. 🌈✨

Long Overdue — A Message To All 💓

Hey everyone. Over the past little while, I’ve been doing some serious self-reflection, and I wanted to share that on this journal.

(If you are missing context/don’t understand some reference to specific events or people, please know that I won’t go into detail, I simply post it here so I can get as many eyes on this as possible. I am not closing comments to avoid conversation, I posted all of this on Twitter too, and you’re welcome to engage me there if you have something specific to tell me.) 💕

I don’t want people trying to make me feel better for having been a jerk, because I think that invalidates the feelings of people whom I have hurt. It’s ok, let me own up to my failings. I’m a big girl (sometimes). Please, let me recognize my own poor behavior.

I started off fairly well on my Twitter return, staying away from arguments from the sake of arguments and keeping my nose out of things that were none of my business. This didn’t last too long –even though it harms me emotionally, I fell back into it anyway.

Now it’s one thing when it harms only me, but no one else deserves to be even the mistaken brunt of my ocassional keyboard rage, so easily blasted out into the world, without care for the repercussions.

I didn’t think I had to be reminded of this, but there ARE people on the other side, and these people have feelings and experiences that do not mirror my own.

There are plenty of opinions on the internet, and mine are not special, or witty, or unique, they are just mine. My own noise is not needed. Especially when I cancel out a dialogue before it can even begin.

Going forward, I’m going to try not to post about things that are controversial; if at all possible, I won’t post unhappy things on Twitter or here (maybe on my blog, and then I won’t crosspost them.)

I’ll concentrate on posting art and happy kidcore things on Twitter, and my pets, and above all, I’ll concentrate on being kind, and being quiet if I cannot be kind. This used to be a priority for me, but at some point, I lost track of it.

I’ve told myself a lot “Man, the fandom has become mean/crappy/cliquey/insert word”. Suddenly, I began to feel like I am part of the problem. I am not helping. Perhaps sanitizing my content will make me a little blander, but you guys don’t deserve my negativity or judgmental opinions.

I am going to work towards being a happy and positive energy and if I cannot do that, then I will simply take a break.

Even though Jaq forgave my shitty thread, I could have lost a VERY dear friend. I wanted to make my apology more public after having had a chance to reflect. I realized there probably have been multiple instances of me being a jerk to some degree or other over the past few years, that friends decided to look past because we are friends, even if they were hurt or upset by my words.

Actually there were definitely instances of this. I just fool myself with my own “UwU I like rainbows and teddy bears” front that I put up with, as if that meant that I can’t actually be horrible to people sometimes. I definitely can.

I also wish I could still apologize to Lucca for not bringing my advice and thoughts to him kindly and in private (or, you know, minding my own damn business) rather than making a journal earlier this year that (while it was well intended) hurt him –but that bridge is burnt.

I’ve prioritized feeling like I’m right, over the feelings of people I care about. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if I’m right or not, what matters is that someone was hurt. I wish I had not forgotten this. I hope I won’t forget it again.

I also wish that, for all my talk about hating gossip, I had not sometimes gossiped about others using whatever excuse justified it in my head at the time. Just because someone hurt me, no matter how badly, doesn’t mean anyone else wants or needs to hear about it.

If you had to listen to me vent about such –and many of my close friends have– I am, so, so sorry. No matter my grief or trauma, it was a lot to put on you. I’m truly sorry. I wish I had not done it, and I’m grateful that you are still here for me.

I don’t know why it took me so long to take a hard look at my own behavior. I think my opinion of myself has always been a little too high, even in childhood –a paradox when compared to my awful lack of self-esteem (somehow I had both happen simultaneously.) 🙃

Hopefully it’s never too late to try to be better. I don’t think it’ll happen overnight, but I am going to try my best. I’m actually gonna try to do better in regards to my potty mouth as well, I didn’t use to swear all over the place, I’m not sure why I began, but I know it makes me appear much harsher than I used to present myself many years ago.

I just want to be softer, kinder, less of a busybody, less of… whatever I’ve become. Not because I dislike myself (I really don’t) but because I want to be a good energy in the lives of those who choose to include me in it, be it IRL or on FA or Twitter.

Please have patience with me if I fail at times –but it is okay to remind me privately so I can get back on track. Thank you for being there for me.

You Owe Communication 🔥

Over the last week away from home, I’ve had Twitter on my phone, and because I was so bored, I added everyone to a list that I’d peruse every once in a while, about 100 people.

I saw a lot of BS that it’s not worth my going on a pissy tirade about, but there is one 🔥 hot take 🔥 of my own that I want to share.

Last 48 hours I’ve seen several tweets about how awful a commissioner is if they dare contact you within a week to a month (!!) from the date of commission purchase. You know what the thing is though? I almost never, EVER see artists say something like “this is your delivery date/deadline and past that date you will get a refund”. The fact that most artists refuse to do this (something that never would fly in a professional, commercial setting) is part of the reason I rarely commission anyone.

Clients are seemingly expected to fork over money and wait for weeks/months without having any idea of what the artists’ queue is like, and if they do, what is the max deadline for their art. God forbid that, after a week or two or a month of radio silence, they ask for progress! 🙄 A simple question, that probably they are already anxious about asking, and shouldn’t have to be.

You know what? I almost never get asked. You know why? Because I provide deadlines. You HAVE to be able to provide a deadline. There seriously isn’t an excuse. Give an unreasonable deadline, if you have to. Five months. A year. Two years. Whatever. Say a date by which you will provide a refund no matter what. In a community where years-long waits are not at all unheard of, if you gave a commissioner zero inkling of what sort of wait might be in store, there is NOT a wrong time for them to reach out to you, because they just don’t know. That’s 100% on you.

Of course, context and tone matter. An “Is my art done yet??” message 48 hours after payment is obviously uncool. An “I was just wondering if you had an update on my commission” two weeks after payment if you provided absolutely no rough estimate of delivery, is polite and more than reasonable, and it is shitty of you not to have provided an estimated deadline in the first place.

A client deserves an estimated deadline from the get-go. No excuses. If you give one, you won’t have the stress of these messages because your client knows what to expect. Don’t leave them in the dark. They don’t deserve that. You’re doing what you love because of them.

I’m not saying it’s bad to give a long deadline if you must… I certainly do, and most of you know three months is my average. If your client is patient and considerate, they will understand that unexpected health issues might cause you to take up to, say, a year, if that is the deadline you must give (and I’m saying that as a kind of ridiculous deadline. If you can’t promise the art within a year, you shouldn’t be taking commissions, because at that point, that’s more like a donation, or an interest-free loan.)

Maybe it’s because I come from a primarily commercial art background, where a missed deadline is a big BIG deal. It’s also stressful –I do furry art because if I go a little bit past my deadlines my commissioners (often friends) are very understanding. To me, bristling at reasonable requests for updates is unbelievable.

You owe communication. You don’t owe speed beyond what you transparently promised on the onset –if you promised nothing, that’s a problem. Art is a business. Is money or goods changing hands in exchange for your art? It’s a business. Someone worked really hard for the money they gave you to receive a product in a realistic timeframe. It pisses me off to see tweets take traction that will make commissioners feel the process is even more unfriendly to them, when sometimes I don’t know how they keep throwing money at artists after getting continually burned by non-delivery or incredibly late deliveries.

Anyway, shitty takes aside, Twitter sucks ass as always, I don’t know how people manage to use it posting so many unhappy and hateful things every single hour lol, I already deleted the app and the follow list I made.

(Still doing my crossposting thing, nothing is changing from how it was before I left for the trip… I’m just stunned at how toxic it became again, once I made a list to follow people. Just. Holy shit. It’s seeping into FA, too. There is no escape, lol.)