The True Stage – Victoria Barcroft

Where the shining costumes and flashy capes can swing and soar- they all drop like flies in the light of the true stage.

Where there is no net, and all that keeps the performance quite literally alive is the limbs that hoist it above the ground, few can survive when the spotlight shines on them. A blinding light few can handle, and lose sight of where they are, disoriented and uncoordinated- they fall.

In the light of the true stage, the spotlight will reveal the weight of who you are in the most physical sense- performers plummet when the brush of the light reveals the heavy metals of solid irons and golds weighing them down inside. Their pride, their fears- the worst of themselves, the light shows it to all.

She survived a fall. A nasty landing it was, but her beauty came through bright when she stepped on the stage again, realizing the beauty the stage also reveals inside it’s subjects.

The strength to perform after the revelation of who you are- there, that is true beauty. And on this true stage, twisting and flying once again, she sees, not only is she protected by her new armor of truth, but she can see in the light now, that the light showed her inner strength, that she is beautiful.

From an Artist: A Real Christian’s Perspective on Homosexuality

This isn’t easy to talk about.
But it’s important.

But hey. 

I’m going to get real and very honest with you all about who I am.

I am a Christian. 

I know how a lot of people in the art community feel about Christians- but this still me and I won’t hide the truth that it plays the biggest role in my life.

It defines who I am, how I treat others in my life, how I treat myself, and even how I go about my day. I strive to live as Jesus did, and that means loving everyone as a creation that God Himself made. That means no matter what they believe, who they are, what they’ve done, or even what they’re doing- I am called to love them like this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” So here I’ll say, no matter what, anyone who follows my blogs, or likes my artwork, or reads my stories believes, I will treat them with love and respect. I am called by God to love everyone regardless of what they believe.

Now, I believe it’s a sin to participate in homosexual actions. But that doesn’t mean I judge you for simply having different beliefs. 

I believe the Bible and choose to live my life according to what it says, and that is what it says. but I doesn’t mean I hate the LGBTQ+ community, in fact, I’m called to show them the same love and kindness I show to anyone. Just as much as you have a right to believe it’s okay to be homosexual, I have a right to think it’s not. But, that doesn’t mean either of us has to judge each other for simply having different beliefs. We can simply just disagree.

All this said, I have gay friends. And I totally loved spending time with them! Just because my beliefs list that I should not participate in homosexual actions doesn’t mean I want all LGBTQ+ to burn in hell, or that I’ll treat them as any less than I would anyone I love! 

 

I just don’t want to draw it or anything. It’s my art, and I want it to reflect what I believe.

As much as I support the right to it, I don’t exactly want to encourage it all though, after all, I don’t believe it’s right. And I am told in the bible not to encourage people to sin. I honor that when I don’t draw gay characters, or when choose not to write or draw gay romances, Although I have gay characters in my stories, I don’t outwardly encourage anyone to be gay– and don’t ever draw it, but the truth of the matter is- there are gay people. There are lesbians. There are bisexuals. It’s not something I’m about to deny. I honestly just get annoyed seeing it everywhere with #pride, more because it feels like an attack against me for not believing it is right. You can’t help believing it’s right- I can’t help that I believe otherwise. The movement expects people to change their beliefs on homosexuality- but I’m not asking you to change yours? The artistic movement bothers me, because It is the assumption that I hate them because I’m Christian when in reality I think they should have a right to be gay, I just don’t believe it is good for them. I’m all for their rights, Now, I’m not about to march in a parade, but I think they should be able to get married. Again, I want people to have the right, but I don’t want anyone to be expected to change, or to be attacked by a community for what they believe. And I think that’s something anyone can get behind. Freedom to think and believe and live as they choose.

 

Aren’t Christians supposed to love everyone? Because they are, that’s what Jesus did.

Christians who judge LGBTQ+ and treat them as horrible less-than-human trash, are not godly Christians, and will have to face God for their words and their actions. The bible actually specifically rebukes these “Christians” and I do not stand by or defend anyone who treats another so horribly. I believe we are all the same in God’s eyes and all sin is equal. So, if you’re LGBTQ+, I wish anyone of any sexual orientation a good life, happy memories, incredible adventures, and I pray for anyone who needs it, regardless of their orientation. I absolutely love from the bottom of my heart everyone because that’s what Jesus did, and he calls us to be the same way. It hurts me to see people claim to be Christian yet be so awful and just walk all over with Jesus teaches AND make the church look bad in the process. 

I got a comment when I announced on Instagram that I was a Christian. They asked if I was Christian, then what do I think about the LQBTQ+ community? I told them what I wrote here, and their response broke my heart.

It disappointed me. Not exactly because they were assuming I was a bad person, but because when I said I was Christian, the first thing they thought of when I said “Christian” was all the terrible Christians the media puts out there. Why is it that everyone associates Christians with these hypocrites? Those people who are just so excited about everyone burning in hell, who use the Bible- the Holy Word of God to lift themselves up and their own agenda? The Bible is supposed to change us– and these “Christians” are taking the commands and picking them out to hurt others and do the exact things it says not to do: 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
John 13:34

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’
‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.”
Mark 12:28-34

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
James 2:14-17

There’s so many verses that say not to treat anyone- and I mean anyone– without love. Arguably more than there are that mention anything about homosexuality. It makes me furious that this is what people see instead of the truth. I want everyone to feel the same love God has for them whether they believe it or not. 

 

And Should Homosexuals be able to Get Married?

I don’t think we should take the right to get married away from the LGBTQ+ community. They should be allowed to do as they please. America is based on that very freedom, even if I don’t think it’s right, it doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Again, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to love. I don’t have control over your life decisions, and I absolutely don’t have any right to treat you any better or worse for your decisions. 

 

Do you think homosexuals go to Hell?

This is what I believe the bible says about the judgment of a homosexual.

Well, I’m going to say the truth about what I believe. Again, I’m not making you believe this, you don’t have to agree, this is simply the answer to the question.

I do believe the bible is saying you are doing something horribly and detrimentally wrong to your eternal life.

I think, first, it would be good to address what “Hell” is. What Christians mean when they say you’re going to hell. This is the reason I don’t ever wish anyone to go to hell, the reason I am so dumbfounded, shocked and so incredibly furious that Christians of all people, people who know exactly what they are saying when they say this- the reason why this:

Makes me so incredibly furious, and far, far more horrified than some dudes kissing. 

“Hell” is the word given to separation from God. It is simply existence outside of Him, and the reason it is so awful is because you were created to be His creation, and separation from Him is nothing. Hell is where your purpose and everything you are is absolutely meaningless. You exist forever without God, without anything, because He created all that you see and live around, apart from him, you would not have any of it. He even created Satan and the demons, so apart from him, there is simply nothing. I don’t say this to scare you or judge you or anything, I am just defining “Hell.” The Bible mentions that God put fire there so that there is some sensation compared to the empty chasm of an existence I imagine it would be. I’m going to take some liberties and say why I think that may be such an uncomfortable experience- if God is so loving- the feeling of true lack of purpose and out-of-placeness as His creation is more painful that any pleasant feeling could drown out, the only distraction may be a physical pain like fire, therefore, in his mercy for even those who didn’t want Him so bad that they denied him- and wanted to be without him forever- he showed mercy and put something as best he could to distract them from the suffering of true nothing. It is quite literally in the worst way I could imagine “nothing” being. No time, no thought, no story, the end. Things don’t go on, it’s just forever desperately alone. It’s torment in the most mental and spiritual way I could imagine.

So, when “Christians” say hell, that’s what they mean.

Yeah, its probably worse than you thought too.

I will say once more, this is not an accusation and an attack. It’s not to “scare you into being Christian”- You have come here for answers on what I believe, I believe the Bible, this is what the bible says.

Now it’s important to talk about why one would end up there. The reason is-

The wages of sin is death– and Death is eternal separation from God.

That’s why in the Old Testament they would have sacrifices to atone for the wage. God gave them this command to keep them closer to Him. To save them from the consequence of their sin. 

But, he promised a savior to save everyone from sin and death- to save us from eternal separation from God. He sent his own son Jesus– Jesus is God and man in one, God’s very nature as man. Fully man and fully God- he came down to teach us the new commands after he would later rise from the dead and be the very sacrifice that we needed to save us from our sins that separated us from Him. Jesus died, went into the depths of Hell- the same empty void I described- and came back out– because you can’t separate God from himself. His sacrifice was the ultimate blood sacrifice needed to atone for all of mankind’s sins. Now, because God himself, the most sinless, (because God can not sin, because sin is separation from God, and you can’t separate God from God-) and the creator himself is perfect, he was enough to pay the price for us.

You wouldn’t go to hell “because you’re gay,” You’d go to hell as in be separate from God, because you were choosing to live in a sin instead of choosing Him. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, It’s the denial of Jesus, His sacrifice, and his commands.

To accept Jesus Christ as the son of God, accepting that he rose from the dead and died for your sins, and living as he commanded and following him as you were created to do- fulfilling your purpose as His, is the difference between “Heaven” and “Hell.” It is someone’s desire to stay in their sin rather than follow God is what separates them from God. They would rather have sin than God. That the denial of His incredibly difficult sacrifice for you (keep in mind- Jesus- who is the Son of God, had died for you- He went to hell Himself and paid the price of your sin- which is what separates you from Him and holds you in Hell)  is the reason people go to Hell, not that they are “punished”  so much as that they will not spend eternity with Him, (by their choice of choosing sin over Him) and will, by default, be separate from him. They do not know Him because they did not follow his commands, and they denied Him and His sacrifice, they will no longer spend time with Him in his blessings and in His creation. It is in following His commands that you learn who He is. You become more like Him, and draw closer to Him. You leave your sin behind you when you follow what He says, when you follow His instruction in the Bible, because it was given to us so we know who He is, how He lived, How he loves, and how to do it all too. He doesn’t expect perfection from us, but to draw us closer. He can not be closer to someone who loves their sin more than Him. The bible says you can not obey “two masters,” God and Sin are different. You get one or the other. God will not take both. 

Also, God doesn’t predestine this. There is disagreement in the church about this, but I believe the majority of the Church believes anyone can be saved, all are loved, and that anyone can turn their life around and come to Christ. So it’s not exclusive. It’s all your decision. But the God in the Bible God invites you to be with him and get to know him. He wants to know you. He wants to know the character he made you to be and grow you and help you with a story that will change you forever. He will be your best friend in all times of trouble and make every day worth your struggle and your pain.  hat is what a Christian believes, and they live it out.

Being a Christian is about the everyday realization that you are not perfect, you never will be, and yet, that is still enough for God to forgive you so much as to die, go to hell, and come back just for you. It makes you want to be more like Him, to do whatever He commands because you feel like you quite literally do owe him your life, and all that you are- but the beauty of it is- that’s what you were created to do all along. You were a character designed with a purpose, with a path of growth he wrote out for you, trials and things will happen to you, God never promised you perfect safety, an easy life, comfort, or satisfaction- He said life would be pretty freaking hard, but he would give you everything you need to make it, and use it all to grow you closer to him.

 

Are Homosexuals saved? Can you be Homosexual and Christian at the same time?

I don’t believe people who actively and willingly participate in homosexual actions are saved. They deny the obvious truths in the Bible. They are knowingly living in sin, and they are doing exactly what God commands us not to do.

Some bible verse that explain this:

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:24

Some background- because I know people like to claim verses about homosexuality are always “Out of context,” this verse is in Romans 1, Paul is talking about God’s coming wrath on humanity, he is describing a generation in which God will judge, describing their actions, and saying that “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-” this is a prophecy, Paul, the author, was speaking to what God does to societies that are this way. He is writing to the Roman Society in general, I believe particularly also the city of Corinth, but in saying this, it is not a warning to just them- it is a statement of what God does to people who do these things. Paul was actually a Roman- and a Christian persecutor particularly- before God made him blind for three days and lead him to a man who showed him who God was. This passage is in Romans, if you want to read more about it and try to refute this, please do so, and tell me what you find. 

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

This is from 1 Corinthians, a series of letters written the church of Corinth, he is teaching them God’s word through these letters. There was a lot of stuff similar to things in our culture today happening in this city. A lot of what Paul (Same guy who wrote Romans) writes in this book speaks to our society today. These are letters written to teach them God’s general word- what Jesus had told them and taught.

I’m not here to tell everyone all these bible verses on why it’s a sin. These are just two out of many and I picked them from the New testament because that is what applies to us today. There is TONS of mention of it in the Old Testament, but so much of that is not to us, but to people of the time because they were under the Old law, which was involving the sacrifices and the complexities before we had a savior. When people use verses out of context, they usually come from there. But We are under the New Law, and pretty much any command to us is stated like this, in the New Testament, which has Jesus’s teachings, an entirely new look on living life compared to the Old Law.

 

If you are interested in reading more on where in the bible it says that that homosexual actions are a sin, this website is always my go to recommendation. They have honest answers and lots of biblical evidence, they’ve answered everything- trust me. I’ve seen the most random questions and they always have answers. You can also ask questions and they will likely write a response. They even talk about pagan religions, witchcraft, even demonic and spiritual things, and more. Divorce, identity, self-care, depression- if you wonder what the Bible has to say on it, chances are they provide good articles giving you the idea of what the bible says on it.
For this specific subject, this is a good article.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-homosexuality.html

Or for crying out loud- do your own research instead of reading what people say the bible says- just read the bible for yourself. I recommend a good place to start on the subject is Romans or one of the Corinthians Books. Want to be equipped for an argument about LGBTQ+ rights? Inform yourself. Not gonna lie, a lot of Christians kind of suck with their bible. Get good at it. But, have humility when you’re told your facts are wrong (but like also make sure they are wrong) and improve your argument. I’ll even use this tactic here to make you do your own research- prove me wrong with my own bible. I’m up for the challenge. Do it.

I do believe it is not wrong to struggle with the thoughts and temptations– because we are human- and some sin can not be helped- another reason He died, because there is no way we could ever just “stop,” and I believe the feelings are very real. I do. I personally know close friends who actively struggle with it. It can be tempting to eat cookies from the cookie jar as a kid, but you still knew it was wrong, so you didn’t do it. It’s the same concept, you can be tempted, but it is the strength in defying that temptation that brings you closer to God. 

 

It’s not between me and you. I don’t have feelings about you either way. I’m just supposed to love you. That’s all.

This is a good point to make clear- see how that has literally nothing to do with me? Where I have no place to make any judgments whatsoever about you? It is between you and God. Your sexuality is to do with you and God alone. I am not here to judge your decisions. I believe the bible, and this is what it says, but see how my bible also says it’s none of my business? It’s the commands of God, and I will follow them. My only part in the entire scene is to love you.

Christians, probably 7/10 of them at least (to be frankly honest), will tell you you’re sinning and tell you the consequences of your sin because they care about you. You heard me describe hell. Someone who genuinely loves you would warn you, wouldn’t they? Look at it from their perspective. If you knew something terrible was going to happen to your friend, wouldn’t you warn them? There is a quote I see a lot by Mark Driscoll, it says, “If you’re not Christian, you’re going to hell. It’s not unloving to say that. It’s unloving not to say that.” Wouldn’t you want to be warned if something terrible was coming your way? Christians try to warn others because there is a terrible, terrible price to pay otherwise. They aren’t trying to change you for selfish reasons (most the time) they are genuinely trying to warn you. So, at least be thankful for their friendship, the care they have for you, and try to understand it’s probably not an attack. Maybe talk with them about it. Figure out their intentions and assume the best.

 

Finally, Here’s- in my opinion- the most important verse on this subject. The root of the whole flipping issue and the bible’s- again, in my opinion- strongest stance on it.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Romans 1:18-32

 

 

Thank you for reading and hearing me out.

So there’s my stance on this. I am very open to discussion. If you have further questions on what I believe or even about Christianity in general, if you want to start a talk about it, You can email me at thebitsymegan@gmail.com or even start texting me at (859) 533-5437. DM me on instagram @the.bitsy.artist, and start talking. I am so happy to discuss this.  Not kidding, you can read this right now at 3 in the morning and actually contact the actual person who wrote this and talk to me, answer any questions that popped in your head and get more answers. Don’t forget, I’m an actual real person.

BUT, I am not happy to fight though. If you do not come into the discussion with humility, facts to your best knowledge that are true, or you come to just chew me out for my beliefs, I will not talk to you any further about the subject.

If you are a Christian and you agree with this, and you have a friend that you are in a discussion with them about this, feel free to share this with them. Do not just randomly send it, do not passive aggressively post it on your social media to attack them, you are allowed and encouraged to share this, (just tag me or let me know somehow so I can see where it goes and keep an eye on it and change it if I ever need too!) But express the love, and I am telling you, you are not allowed to use this to hurt someone. If you are attacking anyone with my words I will not tolerate it. This is to show the Love of God and the very Truth of existence. Speak kindly, always love, and don’t ever stop loving the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Finally, if you have any more questions, I encourage you to pray. You know, even if you don’t feel like you live a “godly life,” or you don’t feel worth of him, as some people do, he will listen. You don’t have to be a “Christian” to pray. If you don’t know how to pray, just start talking to God. It doesn’t have to sound all old-timey “Oh thou that art in heaven” or anything, (Jesus was a jew? Jews have almost nothing to do with old English… so fun fact, it’s all not really related) You can really just be yourself. God designed you as you are and he wants to hear the real, genuine you talking. You’re allowed to feel anything with him. You’re allowed to struggle, you’re allowed to be you. You’re allowed to be angry at him, you’re allowed to feel confused. He thinks things are funny, he designed humor, he made your brain he knows the times- for crying out loud he’ll get your meme references, as stupid as it sounds. But it’s the truth. You don’t have to be afraid to come to God. He loves you, and he wants to know you more.

Once again, You don’t have to believe it all, but this is what I believe, and I want you to feel welcome to understand it. I want you to feel invited and I don’t want you to feel like Christianity is an exclusive thing.

What Home is

Home is where you make it. Making something “home” means adding your touch wherever you go, while simultaneously accepting that place as part of yourself. Whether that be a physical place or a people, home is where you become part of something, and that something becomes part of you. When it begins to feel farmilar, when you start identifying memories with a place, when it becomes a setting in your story, or the people that make that home start to become characters in your life, and eventually, when parting with it is like parting with a piece of yourself, or closing a bittersweet chapter of a story, that’s when you know you made a home. And that’s how you know you can keep making more homes, more stories, and more memories.

That’s one of the first things my husband said to me, “Coffee is a wonderful thing-” Now we enjoy coffee together every morning and make every day our home. He is part of my home, and everyday is an adventure right in our own town- and even when we move soon, we’ll make new memories and live new stories to tell. I left my old home to be with him, and we keep pressing on to make more memories and grow together as God writes each day for us.

MerMay 2019

Here’s all of MerMay 2019’s Posts! I did my own prompt list an I also got married in May so I obviously didn’t do every single day but this is the collection. I’m thinking about preparing a little sticker pack or something to put on RedBubble if anyone is interested.

 

A Love Story in Pictures

We met on a trip to an amusement park. His sister, Christina, is my best friend, and when she invited me to join her family to visit King’s Island I was of course excited to go. I love roller coasters and days in the sun like that.

I had met Joseph just once before, very briefly at Christina’s house at a New Year’s party, but during that trip I was I was pretty positive he liked me, but, you know, I liked him, so I just assumed I was reading into it and barely fancied the thought.

His sister and his dad left to go look for inner tubes at the wave pool, leaving me and him together for a while. They were gone looking forever, and so him and I float around together. He as very adamant about holding my hand or the handle on the inner tube and keeping me with him, which of course, I didn’t mind. 😀

Hanging out with my best friend about a week later, she took me out for my birthday. I saw on her phone he had text her and was asking about me, hoping she could ask me to come backpacking with them. It was enough I asked her how old he was… and she was surprised, and told me he wanted my number.

 

I got his number, and we were texting every day since that day, and calling every night not soon after.

He lived two and a half hours away for school, so we didn’t get to see each other except when he would come up for some weekends.

On that backpacking trip, we had a great time. It was my first one, and there would be plenty more to come. Hammocking, swimming in the river, catching fish with our bare hands, it was all so new and exciting to me.

He came up again for our first official date. We went to Applebee’s, were both visibly nervous and got the same thing to eat, then we went bowling- and it wasn’t even 7 o’clock. So we decided to go to the park for a walk.

I had worn heels (stupidly, unaware of the fact we would be going on walk-) so I just took them off and went bare feet. We did like three laps around the park though… talking, and my feet were hurting from the sidewalk. So he insisted on carrying me from the park bench to the car.

More talking on the phone late every night. It was something I loved, and of course he did too, it was a great way to relax, wrap up the day, and spend some time together as best we could do over the distance.

I was invited to go camping with his family a few weeks later. Christina and I rode with the parents and would meet him at the camp ground. Another great trip. We had our first kiss outside the camper one night. It was so incredibly awkward it was sweet. It was my first kiss, and I had no idea what to expect. But it was the first of many kisses to come 😀

Whenever Joe would come up, he would sometimes teach me to drive. For a few different reasons, I didn’t get the opportunity to learn very often. He was the best to teach me. His incredible patience with me and his willingness to push me even though I’m a bit scared is something I’m so happy to call him mine for.

The naps on the couch after church on Sundays were the best naps for obvious reasons. My favorite little memories while getting to know him were the moments like this. Just relaxing together and being a reminder to each other that things are okay.

He proposed February 2nd, 2019, at the same park that we had our first date. He tried to recreate the first date as best he could, so I saw it coming a mile away- so we were both sitting in the Applebee’s- all nervous and flustered like the first time. 🙂

He proposed on the bench he carried me from. Then honestly we both just sat in the car looking at the ring in shock for a while.

While we were engaged, maybe two weeks after he proposed, his grandpa had died. So Joseph drove up here to come travel with us to the funeral. But on the way, the weather was really bad, and he hydroplaned and flipped his car twice.

But he came out without a scratch. His car didn’t, but he was okay. Christina called to tell me, and it was the scariest call of my life.

He eventually got home really late. I thank God for keeping him safe, and bringing him home to everyone who loves him. I know God has incredible plans for that man, and I never appreciated the gift of him so much until that day I thought I could have lost him.

Our engagement was eventful to say the least, with insane family drama and a wedding being planned, his accident and so much more you all- but he was my best friend, my voice of reason, my confidence, and my peace through the whole thing. Lots of prayer together over the phone and focusing on a good time together while he was there.

Our wedding was May 17th, 2019.

I’m so happy I get to spend the rest of my life with the best man I ever met. He changed my life and me in such a short time, and it will all never be the same. I am more in love with my life than ever, and i keep falling in love with him more and more every day.

 

Waking in Bannic

An older drawing of this story from August of 2017.

Waking in Bannic

I just had too keep going. I just had to trust I’d be okay. So when I fell to the ground, I didn’t really know what to expect, except that I’d be alright. I had to trust that, I had too. The moment I said I would be okay, I fell down and slipped into darkness.


Relax, Ailith.

I opened my eyes slowly, and watched as my faint surroundings formed from the blurry colors into shapes I could somewhat make out. But to see something besides white was pretty great. I gathered that I was just in a small room, but it was strangely tall. It was all the same wood, a light grey I could barely call brown, but it had the feel of an old cabin lived in many years by a close family.

“Ailith,”

“Ailith…”

I groggily turned my head toward the voice, and met the eyes of a large woman. She was all bundled up in layers of clothes and had big curly hair, adding to her already cuddly atmosphere. Her eyebrows were thick and expressive, well, all her features were thick and expressive. I watched her mouth move, but struggled to understand what she was saying, distracted by her strange, square pupils.

“Oh, Good! How are you holding up?” She came closer to my face and raised her thick eyebrows. I couldn’t quite match her excitement in my groggy state.

I was still trying to form the words to ask where I was.

“Um… Im alright.” It was clear I hadn’t used my voice in a while. “Where…where are we?”

“Bannic, just a small village in these mountains.” She grabbed a piece of wet cloth, “I’m Granity, by the way,” Granity gave me a big wide smile. “Okay, so, You’ve been here for two weeks now. You’ve been coming in and out, but you’ve been doing pretty well.” she was talking quickly while she arranged my surroundings, “You got some special forces on your side, little miss. Now, how are you feeling?”

“Um… warmer, still kind of-” She laid the cloth on my head, the heat of it consumed all my immediate thoughts, I couldn’t help but fully experience it before I finished my sentence. “…kind of chilly.”

“Well, you’re really lucky we found you, you were under almost a foot of snow! Lucky your shield was sticking out of the ground, and it glew! What an interesting little enchantment…”

Granity went on about how her brother unburied me and brought me here, she said they went through my things to find out who I was, because they didn’t know if I would wake up, she said she hoped it was alright that she did that, I nodded.

“So, What were you doing out there?”

“Going East,” I mumbled.

“Well, you couldn’t go around the mountains?” She giggled sweetly, drawing a circle with her finger.

I made no effort to tell her why, I honestly didn’t know either. But whatever the voice says, and here I am.

“Well, wherever you’re going, there should be no reason to stay here any longer.”

Yes, time to go. I began to sit up.

“No No! Not just yet.” She gently pushed me back to the bed.

“Wha..Why…?”

“You need something to protect you from these mountains! Did you really think you were going back out in that cold unprepared?”

I slumped into the bed and huffed under my breath. She was right. I needed to recoup.

“I’ll be right back.” She grabbed my hand gently, it was warm, so nice and so warm…

“Stay here!” She stood up, her body rising much higher than I had imagined her height being, and as she began to make her way out. I then understood why her eyes were so strange and square. As she exited the room, I saw her legs were covered in thick fur, bent at a strange angle, and her giant hooves creaking the wood floor beneath her.

I layed, staring blankly at the door she left through, trying to process with my weak and unclear thoughts what I just saw. I matched her bulky stature and strong appearance to a mountain goat, and concluded this was a Satyr village.

I turned my aching body on my back and surprised myself by crying a bit. I had passed out in the perfect place, just where someone would find me, and would bring me to a place where I could be brought back to health.

 Thank you. I whispered to the voice through gracious tears.

You knew I’d be there for you.

I calmed down after a while and dried my wet tears with the edge of the blanket by my face and fell asleep again.

Waking up later, I had felt much better and decided to try walking again. I had to put too much effort into pulling my feet out from under the covers onto the ice-cold stone floor in order to truly realize that I was still absolutely freezing. I reached for the blanket and pulled it off the bed and over my shoulders. Why was I still so cold?!

I noticed my dress was across the room, folded up nicely by my sword and shield and I… was just wearing my underskirts.

I ignored the thought of how that went down and I slipped into my dress quickly as I could. The sooner I got them on the warmer I’d be. I assumed the Granity washed the dress in hot water, it was still warm on my skin. That feeling of violation was instantly forgiven.

Granity walked in, holding a small bag.

“I looked for something warm for you, but I couldn’t find anything that would fit you, but, I do have some coins,” She handed me the bag. “There is enough in here to buy yourself something extra toasty and to buy enough food to get you out of the mountains, if you just keep going straight east, you will be out of here in two or three days, we are pretty close to the edge of this terrain.”

    “Thank you.” I smiled, pulling my thin little coat over myself.

    “The store is two buildings down, go there and straight there.” She bent down to my height. “People don’t take too kindly to Listeners here, so you need to be careful.”

    She put her massive hands gently over my shoulders, but they were more around my entire core, the fact that she could crush me right now reminded me that while I knew to be careful, it was more important than ever that I don’t get on a Satyr’s bad side.

    ¨I will be, thank you for everything, Granity- and thank your brother for me too, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.¨

    She smiled and wrapped her arms around me, I was buried in her furry scarf.

    ¨Thank you, Ailith, from both of us.¨ She pulled me away and gave me a long look.

¨You’ve changed everything for me and Valor.¨ She looked down. ¨It’s all for the better, but… it´s dangerous here now. Especially for you.¨

I nodded and made my way out her cozy cottage.

    The second my foot hit the world outside, the cold froze me, the snow blinded me, and the wind nearly knocked me off my feet into the side of the door. I gasped at the shock it all, I heard Granity laugh behind me at my surprise. I would have laughed too but I had to keep walking in this blizzard.

 

It was an eternity away, and through the fast think snow coming down I saw this entire village was propped up on tall stilts over the snow, I walked, well, sort of ran- straight across the rope bridges and the boardwalks to get to the store. The door slammed behind me from the wind causing me to jump. I shook the snow off like a dog and took in the store. It had the same coziness the other house had, only this one was full of blankets, clothes, capes, and boots. It was quiet, except for two satyr men in the corner talking quite passionately about something.

A quick redraw of an older storyboard I did of this short story.

“Can I help you. Miss?” I turned to another large Satyr man, he had very dramatic horns, his most prominent feature that stood out to me, minus the legs. He wore a gruff face with a big plastered smile hiding behind a thick beard. He was accompanied by a general kind of ticked-off atmosphere.

    “Yes! I’m looking for something warm.”

    ” Hm…” He sized me down. “I think I can do that for you.”

    “Wonderful!”

    “Our capes for the kids are all over here,” He guided me toward a small pile of folded fur. “This is probably the only section of clothes that will fit you,” He did one huff of a chuckle under his breath, “I suggest a thick one, like this one,” He rummaged through the pile and pulled out a cape that was very furry on the shoulders,with a thick warm drape on it and the inside of it was completely lined with fur. I would bake in it. It was perfect.

“I’ll take it! How much?” I pulled out the money Granity gave me.

He looked off to the side, slightly snarling his nose. “It’s… on the house,”  and he dropped it in my arms, the weight coming down from the hight he dropped it nearly buckled my knees.

“Oh no no no!! I,-”

“I… insist, mam, Granity gave that money to you, I can get it back to her for you, just… take the cape, you’ll need it,”

I sighed with a grateful smile. “Thank you so much, sir. I-”

A sudden loud crash came from behind us, a satyr man flew over a display onto another satyr, they were on the floor and were suddenly brawling aggressively with their horns and fists. My mind went to my sword, but then I imagined trying to fight one of these massive creatures with something I only just recently acquired.

I shuffled as quickly as I could away from the sudden mess that erupted, the fighting satyrs, caught up in their fight, had rolled the battle over toward us, the store clerk jumped out of the way, picking me up with him effortlessly, making me feel even more like a flimsy little doll with my limbs flailing.

“Crazy!” The grey saytr said, “You’re not one of us!”

“Who is it to-” The other brown one dodged a punch, “-to decide that??”

“The town leaders ordered the extinction of any form of evil change!” The grey satyr quoted a law.

They both somehow got up off the ground and were now trying to shove each other down again, their hooves smashed the floor, they were so massive, it was like watching two storms battle for the sky, I backed against the wall, tripping on fallen displays as they rolled the battle around the room.

“Any form of evil change!” The brown satyr said, emphasizing the evil. “This ‘insanity’ you-” He threw a punch, it landed successfully on the grey’s jaw, my jaw dropped just thinking about what the power of that single blow would do to my own jaw. “This insanity you call it, it’s good!”

“Your insanity says we leave our ways! That we leave our home in these mountains!”

They had their fists clasped trying to shove the other down now, their impressive hooves slipped, but caught them as they pushed harder on each other. They stared each other down furiously, talking low now. The deep power of their voices created a hollow feeling in my stomach,  “What this voice says, is that there id so much more out there than what anything here has to offer us!!” Just the mention of the voice gave that brown satyr strength, and he knocked his opponent to the ground, and the brown Satyr smashed his hoof into the grey chest powerfully, knocking the wind out him.

“Here in these mountains we are happy! We are safe! Does your voice tell you that, Valor??” The grey said when the life returned to his lungs.

“No, it says that we need to enter the world-,” the brown one leaned down with his hoof still pinning other satyr, “…And that we will  only stay here hungry, and we will all one day disappear without a trace to the cold.”

Then the grey satyr rolled over the brown, now pinning the brown one down. The grey got in the Brown’s face. I could barely make out his hissing whisper, “This voice had driven you mad, we can’t have this…” He slowly pulled a long blade out from his cape, it appeared the other didn’t notice.

“He’s got a knife!!” I screamed, “He’s got a-” the store clerk yanked my sword from my sheath and threw it off to the side. Before I could respond he swiped his arm in front of me, holding me against him, and held his hand over my mouth, covering my whole face in a brawny grip, my heart beat from fast to faster, knowing I could break at his will.

“Finish him off, Marku!!” The store clerk said to they grey satyr, “Do it! For the people!” The passion in his voice boomed from his chest, vibrating against my back. I could only struggle and let out opposing muffled, weak screams. The store clerk so quickly sickened me, but his iron grip on my little human body and his clasp on my face would never allow for me to escape.  

The brown satyr grabbed a pan from a knocked over shelf, I thought he would try to bang it against the grey satyr’s head, but it probably wouldn’t have done much, taking into account the satyrs had massive horns over their heads, so the brown satyr shoved the handle through the grey’s mouth and up through his head, and he limped, dead, and slid off the victorious brown satyr. My struggling stopped abruptly, my mind processing what I had just witnessed through the store clerks fingers. The brown satyr got up quickly, and looked at the mess he had made, breathing heavy. He sounded like a horse, his breaths were so powerful. He turned toward the store clerk, who was a completely different man now, The brown satyr gave him a stare that burned with anger. I didn’t quite find relief in his vicious stare, but I hoped for the best assuming he was on my side.

Then the brown satyr ran toward our direction.

A more recent quick sketch of some of these characters.

The store clerk lost his grip on me in an attempt to jump out of the way from the brown satyr’s beeline, but the satyr was quick and kicked a fallen display over, tripped the both of us, and also knocked over a small hanging display with heavy capes on it, which fell on me and buried me under them, yet another obstacle to get out of here as quick as I could. I popped my head out of the pile to get a view of the situation when I saw the store clerk was in close proximity of the dead grey satyr’s knife, he took the liberty of grabbing it and pointed it at the brown satyr. The store clerk stood up and stared at him, then me, then back at him. I had no idea what he had in mind but I couldn’t get untangled from the heavy capes fast enough. I was almost out when the clerk swiftly yanked the capes off of me and grabbed me by my wrist. His angry grip caused me to whimper. The clerk was sweating and shaking, but his grip did not loosen.

“Valor, you know who this is?” He had wild eyes and pointed the knife accusatory at me.

The brown satyr, Valor, nodded slowly. He acknowledged that the clerk was on top right now, standing cautiously, thinking the situation though.

“I think she wants you to let her go,” Valor lifted his chin in my direction as I desperately attempting to yank my hand away.

The store clerk looked me and pulled me against him and held the blade to my neck, it shook in his fear. My stomach dropped to a new level of fear.

“She’s the listener,” I heard the clerk swallow nervously, ”She’s the reason all this is happening, and ever since you read her cursed journal you’ve been acting like a madman! Now, I don’t wanna…” He hovered the knife shakingly across my neck to signify cutting my throat, I pulled my head back as far away it as I could, I was breathing heavier than he was now, shoving myself away from the knife with all the little strength I had compared to these large creatures. His voice was still shaky, but his anger was alarmingly quick to replace his fear. “…But if I have too, to make you stop acting like…like a lunatic! …I will, I swear I WILL!” His voice turned from a low mutter to a harsh yell so suddenly I started tearing up.

“Stop!” Valor demanded, “Just let her go… It’s not her fault she came around here.”

“Oh, really? I’ve heard of these listeners before, Valor, they have plenty reason to pop up ‘randomly’ and spread their idea through a town! And the weak minded people like you, they are the ones that fall for it! And then you know what listeners do? They claim the ‘voice’ told them to go kill that whole village or destroy that entire town! They are bad news, Valor, and the second I heard one was town I knew it would bring trouble.” The rage the clerk had for me caused him to hold me so tight he nearly crushed me, and I could sense the cold metal near my neck with a little too much detail, everything in my being begging to escape this horrible mess.

She’s never killed anyone before,” he looked at me, asking, “…right?”

I shook my head violently No.

Another development sketch of this short. It’s my personal favorite, and while it didn’t make the final cut it’s still a great sketch.

“Of course she would lie to you! She wants you to believe her!! To help her go kill all the other people who aren’t listeners!” The clerk nicked my neck a little on accident, and I startled myself with my sharp yelp..

This might be it.

I…I never thought that before. This is how all those other listeners go, people kill them because they are scared, because we are telling them to do things differently, we are telling them they are wrong. They think we kill, they think we all hate them… all the people not like us. I never felt like the dark listeners would lead to my demise, but here I am, Valor and I here are just like any other Listener, but because the dark listeners killed, we are the lunatic monsters to him. The thoughts hollowed me out more than I ever thought was possible.

“Valor, I’m gonna kill her, and you are next, I…we, satyrs, all of us!!!…are going to get rid of every last bit of your insanity!!” He yelled it like an angry wolf barks, the sound so loud it was like static in my ears, hurting my head.

I was screaming now, pulling away and struggling for my life, I couldn’t see through my tears, The clerk went on and on about Listeners… but my screams… My screams weren’t mine. They were more desperate than I ever heard from me.

And then… The clerk stopped. The sudden ending of the cayos cleared my mind. The blade fell. I stood… alive. I was breathing, breathing heavy, but the clerk, he slumped down to the ground beside me. He was… not breathing at all.

My sword was through his neck.

Valor stared down at the dead satyr.


“I’m sorry that happened to you,” Valor pulled the thick coat that he took from the store over my shoulders.

“Dear, I’m so sorry, I thought Huog was safe, I wouldn’t have sent you there if I had known…”

We were at Granity’s house again. It turned out she was Valor’s sister, she was also a new listener.

I couldn’t say anything. I just ran my finger across the fresh scar on my neck. We had cleaned my sword and gotten out of the building, doing our best to take care of the bodies… but Valor had explained that the Satyr people would know it was because of Listeners this happened. And they would be looking for us soon. It wasn’t over.

“It’s going to be really hard getting out of this place. There are walls built all the way around the town, there are just two ways out of this place, and they know we are trying to get out of town, so they will be waiting for us.”

“Then let’s get going,”

“Good Idea.”

“I’m Ailith.” I said, realizing I hadn’t officially introduced myself to him.

“I know, everyone was talking about you.”

 

It’s Loud

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Portrait of Glenn

This was a poem I wrote in High School during that creative writing class. The prompt was just this painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Then, I eventually did this painting later. Of my poem. Just think it was cool to write a poem off another artwork, then another piece off of that poem.

This was my pastel on canvas after the poem was written. I think I did it about a month later. This is also my first pastel piece.

Loud
Loud to me
It’s just clutter

Clutter that clatters
Crashes in my
mind – only mine

Bounce off the
walls of this canvas
Songs, beats- lies

Lies to the beat
Of this song that I hate
And only I know

I only know
Because only
I hear.

It sickens me
Alone
Alone with the

song only I know.
But it’s back in
my mind- cycle

Through my system.

out
get it out everywhere
Unhinge my jaw

Just to get it
known
someone to hear.

My eyes glow
With the song
I lost myself

My solid yellow eyes
Something’s wrong
Clearly wrong.

Make it clear
Expose the symptoms
It’s contagious

I refuse to die!
This sickness of a song
I show the signs

but they- they died.

Deaf- they were
Unable to hear the song
The song that made them sick

They held it in
It killed them
Killed them clean.

It’s trying to get me-
this ill literacy-
This- this killer lullaby

But I’ll never
Let it stay.
I spit it out.

Over and over-
Get it out.