Author Archives: Nicothodes

A bit of a problem

I have talked a lot about my mental health on this blog, and on the internet in general. Usually, I talk about things that feel really important, the worst times, stigma, whether it’s even comfortable calling the way my brain works an illness. This post is harder because it doesn’t feel so immediate and huge. I don’t know how to write about the periods when I know I’m not doing well, but only vaguely. It seems too small to write about.

I’m still eating. I don’t cry. I shower and get dressed. But there are the little symptoms, the ones that aren’t so bad until you put them all together and realise you’ve built a nice little box to hide in. Oh, and also you forgot to add hinges so if you change your mind about hiding you’re going to have to find an axe or a lighter or something and smash and burn your way out of it.

I never want to wake up. Not in the dramatic way that implies death without actually trying to die. More in a “I could be awake and write things and practice cello and live my life, or I could just sleep more and that would be easier.” I’m not even tired most of the time when I sleep, I’d just rather not have anything to do with the world.

I don’t really want to talk to people. Holding conversations has been the worst lately, even with people I really like. When my phone buzzes that someone has messaged me on Facebook, I look but don’t click through because I don’t want the read receipt to come up. If Facebook doesn’t tell the person I’ve read their message, I have plausible deniability if I wait a day or a week or a month to get back to people.

I have been out of onions for a week because going to the shop is hard. I have never been out of onions for this long. It’s terrible.

The only people I see in person right now are the people I am actively dating, because they will suggest things and because I really like cuddles. Responding to messages is easier when there is the possibility of cuddles. I’m sorry to all of the people who I’ve been more sporadic with. I still love you, even though there aren’t cuddles.

I haven’t been doing any of my creative work, or preparations for coursework in this coming semester. And this is really the point of this blog post, to tell you that I haven’t been posting anything or updating my band page or whatever because I am not doing well. It’s not an emergency, but if someone could post me a match, that’d be great, thanks.

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The Meaning of Nationality

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m an Australian citizen now. My mum is Australian, and I’ve been planning to apply for citizenship by descent for nearly my entire life. So I was prepared to do a lot of paperwork, jump through a lot of hoops, and pay for every step along the way. I was not prepared to have a mini identity crisis once it was done.

My citizenship certificate. The Australian coat of arms is at the top, and it states that II became a citizen on July 31st 2014.

Please ignore the fact that I haven’t legally changed my name yet, and just admire the pretty coat of arms.

The worst thing is, the whole thing has been fuelled by all of the anti-immigration rhetoric I loathe, just turned back on myself. I started referring to myself as “technically Australian,” pointing out that I’ve never been to Australia, I don’t really understand Australian culture, and generally acting like I don’t really count. Sound familiar?

I started obsessively reading a book on Australian history, hoping to someday be familiar enough with it to count. Because clearly, the best way to deal with not having to take a ridiculous citizenship test is to act like I have to and to stress about not having worked hard enough for my citizenship.

You know what citizenship I really didn’t work hard for? My US citizenship. I was just born. I didn’t fill out any forms, or even decide that I wanted it. It was just handed to me. Despite that, I feel really out of place in the States. Granted, I’m way more familiar with the culture there than in Australia, but I still can’t answer people’s questions about what it’s like very well. I was generally an unhappy person while I lived there, and I didn’t engage with the world around me.

And somehow, the place that feels most like home is the UK. I doubt I will ever achieve so much as a work visa to live here, I have no family here, highly limited rights, and the sickening thought at the back of my mind that I could be told to leave at any moment, and yet… The day I returned to the UK, after nearly a year of feeling homesick, of being able to think of nothing else, I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel anything because I no longer had to twist my brain around to accept the streets and currency and shops in the US that felt strange to me after learning how to be an adult in the UK. I didn’t have to worry about people teasing me for using another culture’s words, slang, and phrasings. That night, I went to the pub I used to work in, and almost everyone knew me and was pleased to see me, and I felt so much love for this country. But according to the UKBA and everyone who supports increased regulation on immigration, I will never belong here. To them, this should never be my home.

So Australia is in the middle here. I want Australia and Australia wants me, even though we don’t really know each other. And that should be enough, that I want Australia. What else is there to go on, really? I’m not the only person with citizenship by descent, or who was born in a different country than the one they were raised in, who immigrated later in life. There are also people who never connect with the culture they are raised in, many who are not familiar with their original country’s history. This whole experience has just illuminated how strange the concept of nationalities really is.

I was raised with my mum constantly reminding me that I was Australian too, and I remember silently filling in the words “not yet.” I was wrong. I was Australian because I always intended to claim citizenship and did so as soon as I was able. I was, and am, Australian because I want to be.

But, now more than ever, I don’t know what being Australian even means.


Well

A lot has happened.

My world has fallen apart, and I’ve slowly been building it up again.

I thought I would keep performing while I did that, but it turns out that paperwork + Baltimore = no energy ever. I could handle lessons. I could plan. I could tell everyone I met about my vision for the music industry, but I could not get up in front of an audience and play a song. Then I went back to Simon’s Rock and played there. I scared a small child, and afterwards an amazing woman came up to me and whispered “You are a badass motherfucker.”

I couldn’t write a blog post, either. I started so many times, and everytime I looked at what I had written and thought “At best, everyone is going to worry about me killing myself,” so I never hit post.

My sister got a kitten. She cuddles with me every morning, and I’ve accidentally started her drinking coffee. She stands on her hind legs to beg every time I hold the carafe to my coffee machine. I swear I didn’t mean to.

I became Australian. All it took was several hundred dollars, three background checks, and all of the pain in my right hand and back as I spent hours upon hours upon days making sure I had filled out the forms neatly. “Give details of all employment and unemployment since birth…”

I have finally started flossing every day. No exceptions.

I came out as non-binary, and changed my name and pronouns. I am Lizard, and my pronouns are they/them. I don’t want to hear about how using my pronouns makes you feel stupid. That’s your problem. Facebook got over it, you can too.

I am no longer making plans to get my house somewhere pretty with some goats and cats, because, as much as I want to be, I am not that person yet. I don’t know what country I’m going to be living in in five years, and, for the first time in my life, I’m okay with that. I don’t talk too much about everything that happened as a teenager because it sounds made-up, surreal. What if people think I’m telling stories for attention?

What if I just stopped analysing my entire life and purpose, and embraced the fact that tonight I convinced an airline to halve the cost of my ticket with my words alone?


So I actually didn’t like Gone Home

This post contains unmarked spoilers for the computer game Gone Home. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s 1995 and you play as Katie, a young woman who is coming home to the States after a year spent travelling around Europe. While you were gone, your family moved into a mansion your father inherited. You arrive home in the middle of the night to an empty house, and gameplay consists of wandering around and going through your family’s stuff as revenge for them not being there. Okay, the revenge part was just in my head.

I finally got around to playing Gone Home today. I’d really been looking forward to it because not only had I heard nothing but good things about it, but I knew that the game mostly revolved around your sister Sam’s coming out story. And, you know, I’m queer, and I want to see more people like me in games that aren’t specifically aimed at a queer audience. I think I got my hopes up too much because Gone Home actually made me feel a little sick.

Pretty much, what it comes down to is, Gone Home really, really wanted me to think that Sam had killed herself and that I was going to find her body. It’s so “haha, got you!” about the whole thing, too. After finding vague notes about Sam not needing her room anymore, you walk into a bathroom where the tub is splattered with what appears to be blood. When you walk closer, you discover that it’s hair dye. (For the record, as someone who dyes her hair bright colours regularly, I have never achieved splatter as shown.) The entire ending sequence is set up to suggest that you’re going to find Sam’s body in the attic, where you get more and more journal entries about how she can’t go on without her now ex-girlfriend, until you get to the very last note, which is “actually I didn’t kill myself, I just ran away with my girlfriend!”

Sam’s story didn’t need that.

What it really comes down to is the game’s creators not trusting their story, their audience, or their atmosphere, and the game feels hollow as a result. Instead of trusting the player to appreciate the subtleties of Sam’s self-discovery and her love of her girlfriend, they assumed no one would care unless Sam might be dead. Instead of trusting the environment of an empty mansion in the middle of the night during a storm to unsettle the player, they threw in fake blood. It’s sad, because they were so close.

And it hurt me to play it because I’m sick of having to be grateful when queer characters aren’t dead by the end of the story, and this game just rubbed that in. This wasn’t a tactful approach to the suicide rate of queer people. It was present for the shock value, and as a queer person who has attempted suicide multiple times, I’m really not okay with that.

———

Oh, and by the way, it makes sense to wonder where Sam is, but your parents have gone on a scheduled vacation. Why wouldn’t they leave a note letting you know where they are?


I make people uncomfortable

A year ago, I needed a new hoodie. It took me a few months of searching on the internet before I found the right one. If you don’t want to go through the link for whatever reason, it is a black zip-up hoodie with a blue ghost on the left front, and the words “It is difficult to be alive” on the back, with the same blue ghost underneath. It is merch from the webcomic Pictures for Sad Children, and oh boy did I identify with it. I still do. It is one of my favourite articles of clothing and I love it.

I’ve realised that people get super-uncomfortable when I wear it.

I cannot tell you how many strangers and acquaintances have asked to see my hoodie and followed up that request with “That’s wrong. It’s not difficult to be alive.”

It might be wrong for them, but there are countless people, myself included, who do find it very difficult to be alive. We are told day after day after day that we’re wrong, that we shouldn’t be struggling. When we openly express this, people don’t try to help us find being alive less difficult, they tell us that this is easy. Again and again, we receive the message that there’s something wrong with us and that if we say anything, everyone will know.

My secret wish is that someone will see me in my hoodie and feel validated. I want to send the message “This feeling is so common that someone even made a hoodie saying it and someone else bought it.”

My second secret wish is that the world didn’t require me to have that other secret wish.


Trying something new

I don’t know if any of you have heard of this site called Patreon, but I’ve just set up an account there. Pretty much, how it works is, if you like what I do on this blog and with my music, you agree to pay me an amount of money (your choice), per blog post and occasionally posted video. (I’m not super good at making videos, but it might happen.) You can set up a maximum amount to pay each month, so that you don’t accidentally go over budget if I have a productive month. Anyways, if you want to support me, it would be a huge help and I’d be eternally grateful.


I’m Not Happy

Everyone who knows me, we need to talk. I just can’t live up to your expectations anymore. You want me to be happy so much that when I say, “no, I’m not” you say “oh, but you must be a little bit.” Can I take you a moment to remind you of why I’m in this country? It’s because I got a letter saying I had sixty days to leave. Sixty. Fucking. Days.

Can you try and picture yourself in my situation please? Sixty days to get your entire life in order, so that you can leave it. So that you can move to a country you don’t really know anymore, into a sewing room in your parents’ house. And don’t get me wrong, sewing rooms are great, but have you ever known a sewing room that had quite enough space for just sewing, let alone sewing and a person? And you’re looking for a job, any job that will have you, because you got that letter that meant you had to tell your awesome employers at your awesome job that you had to quit. And while this is going on, all your people who you spent time with regularly are 3000 miles away and you have to go to parties where people will ask you “Aren’t you happy to be back?” until you cry.

I cry several times a day now. I’m so full of sadness and rage and I have to hide it because you want me to be happy. When I answer “not really” to your questions, you tell me I’m wrong about my lived experience. You tell me that you don’t want to hear it. I have to worry that this sadness and rage will show through in job interviews, when meeting new people, even when talking to my friends. Because who wants to hang out with an angry, sad person? Those people suck, amirite?

I get nervous just initiating conversation with my friends, with my partner, because I only have so many conversations where I can be angry and sad before I’m just not fun anymore.

Also, the accents. Both the ones you put on and the insistence that I must have one now. Calling me British. Do you know why I got kicked out of my life? BECAUSE I’M NOT BRITISH.

As you can see, this isn’t really working out. I’m going to have to request that you either refrain from the above or leave me alone until you stop finding it so fucking fascinating that I moved back in with my parents.