Saturday, 8 August 2015

...

Små ljud som överröstar allting
Den öronbedövande tystnaden som uppstår
när du inte längre andas
Jord mot trä
Vind i trädkronor
Din röst som inte längre sjunger
Förutom i mitt minne

En klocka som tickar
Räknar sekunder 
men ingen vet hur många du har kvar
Jag har hört att världen går vidare
Som om den inte visste om
Att allt som sker utanför det här rummet
är oväsentligt

Jag är där jag måste vara
Där jag behöver och behövs
Vi vet inte när eller vart
Du till slut ger dig av
Ibland vågar vi hoppas
Det gör för ont att låta bli
Allting är tungt nu
Men du är inte ensam


Kärlek,
Winterdragon

Sunday, 12 July 2015

What's in a name?

I changed my name a few weeks ago. Thought I'd share a few tips on how to handle the situation if you're going to interact with me, or with someone else you know who's changed their name.

What to do?

  • Use my new name.

    Not only in my presence, but also when referring to me in my absence. This should really be a no-brainer, but apparently it needs pointing out.

    I guess to most people their name is a pretty neutral thing. This is very likely not the case for people who have had reason to change theirs. I not only have bad associations with my deadname (i.e. old name), I have positive associations with my real name (i.e. new name). Using the name I have chosen for myself is a huge validation. Every time I hear someone call me by my proper name I feel seen and legitimate. It's like people are saying that they approve of my existence, and that my own view of my identity is in accordance with theirs. If you've never experienced anything like an identity crisis I guess you'll just have to trust me when I say that I cannot emphasise enough what an enormous relief this is. How others treat you will unavoidably have an impact on your self-esteem. I've never felt so much like me than since I changed my name.

  • If someone else uses my deadname, correct them.

    Not only in my presence, but also when others refer to me in my absence. This saves me a ton of mental energy by not having to take the proverbial fight time and again. It also helps boost my self-confidence in situations where I don't have the courage to stand up for myself. By doing this you are making it clear that you are on my side.

    Note however that this might not be applicable to people who haven't made their name changes official in all circles and situations. The safest thing is to ask, in private, in what spaces they would like their name change to be known.

What not to do?

  • Don't use my deadname.

    If you do it by accident: It's okay to mess up. Everyone will, in the beginning. If you accidentally use the wrong name, just say sorry, correct yourself, and move on. Don't make a huge thing out of apologising. Really, it's no big deal. Just practice, and try to do better next time. It will come naturally with time and practice. Eventually my deadname will be the one sounding strange and wrong.

    If you do it on purpose: Seriously. Just don't. When you do, it's like you're invalidating my existence. Don't be an asshole.

  • Don't ask "But what's your real name?"

    It goes without saying that if someone asks you to use a specific name when referring to them, that name is their real name. It doesn't matter whether or not it's printed on their passport or whether their parents gave it to them at birth, that's not what makes it legit in most contexts. People using it is what makes a name real and legitimate. Questioning whether someone's name is real or not is kinda like demanding that they pull down their pants so you can investigate their genitalia; rude and irrelevant if you're not their doctor. "I'm just curious" is not a valid excuse.

  • Don't say things like "You'll always be [insert deadname here] to me."

    Oh, come on. This is essentially saying "I'm never going to accept you for who you are! Why do you have to be such a bother and try to change my comfortably delusional world-view?"

  • Don't remind me how difficult it's going to be for you to call me by my new name, and how much you're going to fuck up.

    Tell me something I didn't know! Of course it's going to be difficult, and of course you're going to fuck up. That's all right, I'm not gonna hate you for it. Just do your best, and it'll come more naturally with time. Hearing people say this merely drives the point home that my identity is a huge inconvenience to everyone around me. I struggle enough with feelings of being a burden as it is, so please keep your struggle with remembering names to yourself.

  • Don't ask "But isn't that a boy's/girl's name?"

    Did I invite you to discuss my gender identity? NO. This is a rude question. What you could do instead is ask me what pronoun I prefer (in my case it's they).

  • Don't ask "So when are you going to go all the way [with your sex change]?"

    Again, did I invite you to discuss my gender identity? No, so don't be rude. By the way, a name change doesn't necessarily imply transsexuality. Furthermore, transsexuality doesn't necessarily imply a wish to alter one's body/hormones/haircut/clothes/pronoun/hamsters. There's room for a lot of complexity, and if I don't personally bring up the subject, I probably don't want to discuss it with you at this point.

  • Don't make fun of my name.

    For someone who might have spent a lot of time being uncomfortable with their name, this could be a sensitive subject. This applies both to jokes alluding to the deadname and the real name. Furthermore, I am allowed to make jokes about my own name. You shouldn't see this as an invitation to do the same. If you know me well it might be a different matter, but be cautious. Better safe than disrespectful.

  • Don't avoid interacting with me because you're afraid of not treating me right.

    Let me be the judge of which spaces are safe for me. Having friends abandoning me will not make me feel more supported at this critical point in my life. Don't get angry or become a martyr if I correct you, just accept that this is a part of the learning process and that this new way of treating me with respect takes an active effort of mind-shifting to get used to. It will get easier for you, but if you're having trouble adapting then please don't vent it with me. I'm having a hard enough time standing up for myself without having to be reminded of how much of a nuisance I'm being to people around me.

In conlusion:

  • When someone tells you that they've changed their name, there is essentially only one appropriate response: "Okay, thanks for telling me." This lets them know that you appreciate them being honest about their identity with you and is an unspoken pledge to do your best when it comes to respecting it. Think before you question someone, and remember that actions speak louder than words when it comes to respecting someone. Saying "I accept you" means nothing if you can't be bothered to alter your behaviour so that they will feel seen. It really isn't too much to ask.

Why am I writing this? Mostly because I'm too socially awkward to tell it to people in person. I still struggle with mustering even the courage to correct someone when they use the wrong name, so I expect it will be a while before I'm confident enough to be this eloquent in casual conversation.

It deserves mentioning that since I came out with my name change (it's not a secret anywhere at this point) I was met by an abundance of validation and a lack of questioning that made me rejoice in the mostly safe space of friends I had apparently gathered around me. There were however a few instances of the 'don't's mentioned above which I in retrospect felt the need to address. I understand that in most cases there is no malicious intent behind any of those questions or behaviours, but you have to understand that nerves can and will be hit anyway. The impact of your words weighs heavier than your good intentions.

Also, this might help some fellow name-changer getting treated with a tad more respect, so why not. As usual, feel free to share this with whoever might need it, and feedback is always welcome.

Love and respect,
Winterdragon

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Conjunction

Heart pounding
Waiting for the moment
I'm not ready
Not even nearly
But I'll never be completely
So I wait
And brace myself
In fear and anticipation

It's going to happen
Sooner or later I know it has to happen
The signs are right
The time will come
A moment we have worked so long for
Any moment now
There will be

Magic
Worlds clashing, merging
Unity
So bright that we will all be seen
Contact
Breaking the illusion of separation
For a glorious instant

And we will be changed
Never the same again
Once we know what it's like
To feel real
To be touched
To finally realise
That we are parts of one another
In conjunction

Love and phenomena taken personally,
Winterdragon

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Hang in there

Hang in there
It will only hurt for a while
Just a little bit longer
Then you'll be Legit As Fuck
You will have your way
And in the end they'll all forget
That there ever was another way
You'll feel at ease with the world
And at peace with yourself
It gets easier
And it gets better
So hang in there

Love and transcendence,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Forever


One of my favourite webcomics recently came to an end. Check it out. Also, why would anything be less worthwhile just because it is limited in time? Wouldn't that rather make it more beautiful? Permanence, on the other hand, now that's a scary thing.

Love and transience,
Winterdragon

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

In memoriam

I've been wanting to write to you for ages now, but nothing comes. I've tried, I've thought about what I want to say, I've even taken the time. But ten weeks have passed, and I'm none the nearer to any declaration of anything at all, or even a poetic rant. Other people have written things, and I've wanted to say or write at least something, but pain and grief has had me quite incapacitated. But if I don't get some words down soon I might explode, so here goes. I guess I'm supposed to be respectful and things like that but it doesn't seem feasible, all things considered. I'm left here while you passed on to an unknown place, with words unsaid and a future unshared. There's nothing respectful about that, no matter whose fault it was.

I'm angry, at times. Sometimes at you. Sometimes at myself. Mostly, though, at the world in general, that treated you so cruelly. It's not fair. Neither the way in which you departed or the combination of circumstances that eventually drove you to take your leave. I think about you and choke upon the fact that you're no longer breathing. The fact that I have to go on while you opted out is so heavy to bear that I don't think I'd be able to do it without friends helping me through every single day.

I went to your funeral. It was a bright, sunny day, with a playful spring wind blowing that reminded me of you. I brought you tiny yellow flowers, one for each year you stayed in this world, and a cold lump of darkness inside me for all the uncounted years without you yet to come. A you-shaped hole in the world that is apparent in everything I see and feel. I listened to the priest as he talked about God and heaven and someone I didn't really know. I guess it was you, even though he got your name wrong. I stared at the stained-glass windows and cried and kept thinking that I'd rather have gone to your wedding than to your funeral. I'd rather have married you, if that would have kept you alive. I sang you a song. I guess it sounded okay because some people told me it was beautiful, but of course it was nothing compared to what it would have been like with your voice that always made the hairs on my skin stand up in reverent delight. Anyway, you were otherwise occupied, so I did my best. Felt like someone had to do it. You got a speech too, it was beautiful and true. I hope that if you heard us it was through the wind and the trees or something beautiful like that, because I can't stand the thought of you being trapped forever in a coffin beneath two metres of dirt.

But if you're anywhere at all I don't think that is the place. I saw your body, and it was pretty evident that you didn't have any further use for it. If you have a physical form now I believe it is made out of dreams. There are nights when you're in my arms again, with warm lips and soft fingers and an all-knowing and forgiving smile on your face. I cry while you embrace me, like so many times before. But there'll be no more of that in the real world. No more consoling one another's panic attacks, no more messages with little hearts in them, no more finishing each other's sentences. No more plans and dreams of moving in together, of travelling the world together, of being creative together. I'm left alone to wonder at the million futures now rendered impossible, and to regret everything I didn't do that in hindsight might have prevented this. So what if it's futile? They keep telling me that any amount of wishful thinking won't ever bring you back, but that doesn't keep the thought-feeling-conglomerations of imagined alternate realities from forcing their ways into my mind.

I miss you. A world without you is wrong. I feel alone and scared and I miss the talks we had. I miss the staying up way too late and the midnight baking, the times you would dry your tears to take up a guitar and then transfix me with your words and your voice and your melodies. You would make me feel so seen. We were so different on the surface, but deeper down I wonder if there ever was anyone I could relate to as fundamentally as I could to you. We had been through much the same things, we had felt the same feelings, and even if everything about you was always to the power of ten I saw in you what I could have been. We came close, sometimes so close it freaked us both out, but not close enough. I would've wanted to be there for you, to never let you out of my sight. It would have been worth it, it would have been worth anything, if I could somehow have saved you. Now I won't have to worry about you anymore, because the worst has already happened. It's fucking unreal. Maybe I should have somehow been prepared for it, but it's too absurd. I always had hope for you. Even when you were caught in ever down-winding dark spirals I never doubted that your future would be brighter. That everything would eventually be all right, or at least less overwhelmingly chaotic and miserable.

If you're somehow still aware somewhere, I hope there is peace, at least. Me I'll keep seeing you in every aspect of the world that you ever touched. That is to say, a great deal of my existence. The music we listened to. The Amanda Palmer concert that we both bought tickets to as a surprise to one another. The first time you kissed me, in that Sigur Rós concert in a state of surreal euphoria after 40 hours awake. The parties of mine which you turned from okay to awesome by means of your radiant charm and inclination for crazy post-midnight antics. The food we found in containers, the ice-cream we made from everything we could find in my cupboard, the snails you would go out of your way to save from being trodden to death on the pavement. The times you saw me and backed me up when nobody else did, and when you time and again pointed out the obvious solutions to problems I'd fretted about for years. When you rendered me speechless by telling me I was beautiful while I was busy thinking about you as a social-genius goddess of prettiness. And still it was your mind that was the most beautiful thing about you. How you would spontaneously wax poetical about some douchebag on the subway or your stomach-cramps. How you always insisted on helping people, no matter how little energy you had for yourself. How you would do things just because otherwise nobody would.

And all the things you'll never do now. We won't create the most awesome collective ever of friends living together. I won't come with you as you drive around the world in your flower-painted hippie-bus. I won't know if you'd have laughed at my tasteless jokes about you now being permanently late. We won't meet in New Zealand a second time, and have another round of crazy-awesome adventures. I won't know how you'd react if I'd eventually told you that I love you. But I will (or so I hope) stay in touch with all the amazing people you tied me together with. Even though you've given up your ability to interact with us there is still so much that revolves around you.

I guess you would've wanted me to move on. Some days I feel like I want nothing more than to follow you, but I know that's not a valid option. In a way what you did was cheating, but I intend to play by the rules on this point. Reality will continue to be heavy for a while, but with time I might return to being functional, possibly even creative. I'll never forget you. Hell, I wouldn't be able to even if I wanted to. But I don't. I want to remember everything that is and was you; the hope and despair, the beauty and rage, the chaos and solace. The way you inspired so many of us to be better people.

I love you. I miss you. You'll always continue to be a part of me.

Winterdragon

Friday, 24 April 2015

Nej


Nu tar molnen mark
Jag var förblindad av att solen sken så stark
Men mina ögon kommer alltid le mot dig
Kan det begäras mer av mig?

Nej. Jag finner inga egna ord för det här än.

Winterdragon

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

...


I let myself flow
I swim through my mind back and forth
My soul still sings the song we wrote together
We once had a dream
We had everything
We rode to the end of the world
We rode on searching
We climbed skyscrapers
But they were destroyed
The peace is gone
I lose balance, I fall down
Still, I let myself flow
I swim through my mind
Always returning to the same place
Absolute silence
No words
The best thing God created is a new day

I miss you so much,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Vår

Tussilago! Yay!

Titta vad jag hittade under min löptur idag! Våren är definitivt här. Med sol och vind och lycka. Jag kunde inte låta bli att ge ifrån mig ett vårskrik. Jag tycker om årstider!

Och mitt liv går ganska bra just nu. Jag har kul, jag åstadkommer fler saker än jag misslyckas med, och i största allmänhet njuter jag satan av att vara vid liv.

Kärlek och vår,
Winterdragon

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Writings and self-beratings

Sigh. I'm in a particularly angsty period at the moment, triggered by all sorts of stuff that really shouldn't bother me. It makes me useless and unproductive, and the neglecting of chores builds stress which induces further incapacity to get a hold of myself and do something meaningful with my time. Not today, seems to have been the involuntary mantra of the past weeks. I haven't even been blogging, as you might have noticed.

Oh well, enough with the whine! I did accomplish something today. At long last, I finished the second draft of my goddamned book. Success! It is marginally less shitty than the first one, but I am still nervous about having more than a handful of people read it. But never mind that, because I actually sent it to a whole bunch of people who volunteered as beta readers. I'm both dreading and looking forward to the criticism.

My master's thesis is going straight to hell (judging by the panic I feel when I think about it at least). But I'm having greater success in other areas. I wrote a hell of a good poem a couple of weeks ago, and I liked it so much that I signed up for participation in a poetry slam event. So in two weeks I'll be competing, reading poetry in public for the first time ever. Yikes! Still, if I manage to go through with it, it will be a long-held dream come true.

That's it for now. Just had to point out to myself and the world in general that I'm not completely useless, even though I'm undoubtedly failing to prioritise things the way I should.

Love and writing,
Winterdragon