update; a month of zines, art and questioning identity
May is Zine Season! I will be at the MCA Zine Fair on the 5th (that’s this Sunday, the one after me posting this) and Otherworlds Zine Fair on the 26th.
April practically flew out of my head. It’s intense how fast time feels when you have something to do all the time. In preparation for the month of zines coming up, I had a schedule that I left behind pretty fast. Not because it was unrealistic, but rather because I wrote up the schedule and then the side projects unrelated to what I had written changed and became more complicated and I had to shift the whole schedule back.
But I’m back on track.
I have 3 new zines to show everyone this Sunday! 2 of them are part twos in 2 different series and the other is a new mini. I haven’t made minis in a while and it almost felt weird to leave something at 8 pages.
I’ve also been playing and prepping for a bunch of dnd, which I can now validly say I adore. I don’t exactly play by the official rules and… it’s essentially turning dramatically into a homebrew at this point. I should start on making maps and whatnot but it’s almost more fun to just play it out in theoretical space.
I feel quite lucky that I can just cold call a bunch of acquaintances off the internet and we can gather and play a tabletop game all willy nilly like that. I also feel lucky that they’ll pretty much let me run the game however I like (maybe they’re all too polite to tell me not to do that) because there’s always been a lot of traditional high fantasy things that I’ve disliked.
As the campaigns run I might throw some of my write ups here as we go. Unsure. I’ll think about it.
A few weeks ago I had a big week of doubting myself and my identity. It’s been a long time since I was so unsure of who I was.
Over the last few years I’ve joined (but rarely participated in) queer groups with shared interests. It was a comfort for me to be aware of and have enough of a connection with people who were like and unlike me, with at least shared opinions and a sense of kindness. I’ve been aware of the discussion around gender and identity being different in these groups than “outside” in the world. I understand that in a space where new terminology comes through, things are talked about differently.
It’s strange to think that I’ve pretty much been surrounded by these kinds of conversations, but never had the conversation myself. I’ve been talking about it now with people and I honestly think it was just because I didn’t have the time – I was busy sorting out what was going on with my mental health.
Working out why I was putting out fires took up a large part of my last few years as an adult. My teen years were all just focused on putting the fires out for long enough to get to my adult years. And now, the focus has shifted again since I’ve got the time and brain space to actually look at myself as a person, apart from the trauma, and ask who I actually am.
But all this is just a long winded way to say that I did several days of googling gender terminology and came across the word agender. And then after a lot more days of panicking and reading and google deep diving, I realised that I am agender.
I have spent several years marking myself as gender unspecified all over the internet, not really thinking about why I started. I gained secret pleasure from being referred to as male and neutral pronouns, but female pronouns don’t bother me either. Having my femininity defended by partners of the past when I describe myself as appearing masculine on any given day has been annoying and resulted in the topic being changed very quickly. I have always looked at my body as something I live in sort of without permission – this is just the vessel for my brain and my thoughts and my depression and anxiety. This vessel… doesn’t feel like a gender. It just feels like a body and happens to belong to me.
Mainstream conversations have tricked me into thinking that gender dysmorphia is almost always paired with a feeling of “wrong body”, body dysmorphia, or a need to transition. And that simply isn’t the case. The fact of the matter is that I was assigned female at birth, and I disagree with the assignment.
It’s strange to think that I have felt this way my whole life and for at least a significant part of it, this term has existed for me to use to describe it but it took an existential crisis for me to actually find it.
It felt like a really big revelation when it happened, but I think, ultimately, it doesn’t change much for me, and really just gives me another word to more easily describe my experiences more authentically.
I have felt more like myself now than ever before. I hope it’s not extended mania. We’ll see.
Write soon, Annie.