Late Summer Night

7 P.M. A blazing Summer day was giving way to a cool, breezy night. My partner and I were sitting in the parking lot of a greasy burger joint, watching the sun set in between bites of processed meat. I go to reach out for our box of fries, but instead, I’m stopped. My girl’s head rests on my shoulder, and I respond in kind, meeting my head with hers. We sit and watch the sunset, wordlessly.

We’ve been on the road for the last three days. Two girls on a trip to some convention half a country away. The destination was irrelevant. What really mattered was the time we were spending together, free of all our responsibilities. No more having to fit time for each other in between work. No more having to go into a different room so we didn’t have to hear each other yell at our families over the phone about our “degenerate lifestyles.” It was just the two of us, listening to loud music, driving fast, and making sure that we fucked at least (but certainly not limited to) twice a day, every day, during this trip. This was our time, now.

The sun has finally set. A cool breeze blowing up the legs of our shorts is the signal for us to get out and get out again. We’re only a few hours away from our destination, anyway. If the traffic is good, we should make it by the end of the night.

We passed the time chatting endlessly about whatever came to mind: other drivers picking their noses. The names of small businesses we passed. Literally anything and everything to pass the time. As much as we were in love, being in a cramped vehicle for hours at a time could get awful boring. My girlfriend also began doing this thing where she would grab my right breast and make a “honk” noise at every red light we hit. I’m sure any other woman would find that annoying. But we’re not regular women by any means.

Our hotel is in sight. We pull in, get our room keys, unpack, and get settled. We lay together on the bed, just relaxing for a few minutes. We had all night to ourselves.

And we used that night to its fullest. Spending each precious minute admiring and exploring each others’ bodies in a way that only two people madly in love could. Running fingertips lightly across flesh, using our lips and tongues in unique and creative ways, loving the soft feeling of hair and skin, getting lost in each others’ eyes all the while.

We held our naked bodies very close that night. My partner was already asleep, her face nuzzled close to my neck. I closed my eyes, wishing, if only to my inner voice, that this vacation would never end.

The Last Day

Today is James’ last day in Verdite. After this, I’ll be starting up a new game of Animal Crossing. I grew tired of a boy named James dressing up and acting like a girl. I want to be me, even in the fictional video game world.

I took some screenshots, hoping to get some funny quips from the villagers. Unfortunately, they only wanted James to catch bugs and shit for them. Joke’s on them: he won’t be around to catch them.

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I put James back into some guy clothes for his last day.

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I have to say, it felt a little sad playing today. Not because of anything within Animal Crossing itself. I mean, it’s just a video game. I’ve been in such a rush to change everything; to just dive head-first into my transition and be a woman already, that I didn’t stop to realize that James is going away. He’s a guy who has been around my whole life, and a part of me will miss him. I feel like he’s dead. He’s not, though, because he never lived. He was just a mask; a role that I played up until now. And now I can’t wait to be the real me. This game was a (hokey, let’s be real) way of saying goodbye.

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Goodbye, James.

Late night rambling

January 2015 will probably go down as the most important month in my life. Mostly just the whole “oh shit, I was a woman this whole time” plot twist that I’ve gone through. It just feels like I’ve been asleep my whole life, and I’m finally waking up, and my life is really going to begin. Just a lot of stuff opening my mind. I’ve found myself looking at women and finding them just as attractive as all the men I’ve been lusting over and jacking it to on Tumblr. Like, if I’ve been missing out on so much by fooling myself into thinking I was a man, who is to say that I haven’t been missing out getting down with the ladies, too? An opinionated, bisexual, trans woman making her own game. I’m like a gamer’s nightmare come to life. All I need is to turn black and become bound to a wheelchair and I’ll hit some jerk-off’s “anti-SJW” bingo card.

I’ve just been spending these last couple of weeks buying women’s t-shirts (and getting to deal with bullshit at the cash register over it), and changing my name in all of my vid con things. No more “James;” that guy is a million miles away at this point. There’s only Ramona. Unless I need to deal with a legal/business document or make a trip to the bank. Although, someday (soon, I hope), that will change too.

My biggest problem has been dealing with the one-two combo of depression and gender dysphoria that like to kick my ass and make me feel like absolute shit. Before, I just threw all of my mental problems into the blanket term of “depression,” not really bothering to look harder to see what the problem was (the problem was I was not happy being a man). Now that I know what the problem is, it tends to suck sometimes. And while I have people I can talk too when I’m feeling down, none of them are trans. Without sounding like too much of a moody teen, they don’t really understand what I’m going through. I can’t help but feel alone sometimes.

Like, how can I go to someone and tell them that when I feel the stubble on my face each morning, I feel as though I’ve just woken up in a shitty hotel room and I’m covered in bugs? That I try my best to sound feminine in my day to day life, but if I have to raise my voice for any reason, I slip right back into my shitty man voice and then I have to spend a few seconds talking to myself like I’m unhinged, trying to get back into the right shift in tone? That there are times when I can only look at my reflection out of the corner of my eye, because I hate the look of my own body that much? That when I look at clothes when I’m out shopping, I feel like I’m about to commit the crime of the century. And whenever I end up grabbing something (I just calm down and remind myself that store employees don’t give a fuck; they just want your money), I end up getting weird looks and “you know these are women’s clothes, right sir?” in that fucking voice. The voice that you use when talking to a room of 1st graders. It sucks all around. Doesn’t help that I also maintain a Tumblr blog about games, and am currently developing two games of my own, all while this Gamergate bullshit is going on and a bunch of pissed off incels who think a lady on YouTube is going to take their toys away are doing their absolute best to ensure that if you are a trans woman, you will pray for death, because they will make life unbearable. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a slight bit of regret, or even outright fear, for coming out at times.

But at the end of the day, I don’t regret my decision. And no matter how shitty I feel, I never will. It’s a tough road ahead of me, and I know that it will only get worse from here. But the end of the road: me being the woman that I was too foolish to realize I always wanted to be, will be oh so sweet. Whether or not this really is a journey worth taking, or if it’s just something I’m telling myself whenever I go through an episode of anxiety is up to you, the reader, to interpret.

1/14/2015

Coming out has been really freeing for me. It’s helped me deal with my depression a bit more. It’s also made it worse in a lot of ways. Now, my brain has more ammo. “You’re a loser, you have no talent, nobody likes you, oh and by the way, no matter what you call yourself or what you tell people, you still look like a man!” It sucks. But I still don’t regret my decision. Like I said, it has also helped me quite a bit. Knowing, with one hundred percent certainty, who and what I am, has left me feeling the best I’ve felt in years. Probably ever. No amount of bad brains will deny me that feeling.

I’m just really lucky that I’ve had a lot of support from my friends. If I came out, and the reaction was repulsion and transphobia, who knows how I’d be. And I feel a little guilty about that. That I’ve had this support system in place for when I’m getting all dysphoric and shitty. There are so many trans people out there that don’t have that, and that fucking kills me. There’s a 40% suicide rate for trans people. 1% is too many. I’ve been trying to think of a way to expand on how I’m feeling, how everyone deserves that love and that support of those around them, but it just feels empty. They’re just words, and words can’t get you away from an abusive parent, keep you from getting fired from a job, or keep a hate group from doing their best to try to kill you. And all I have are my words.

Gender Part Two

Things have gotten better since my last post. You may have noticed a few changes on this blog’s sidebars and stuff. Specifically, my new name. Yes, I came out as trans last night. My name is Ramona Savage, and I am a woman (God Damn it still feels good to say that).

I mean, I’m still having shitty dysmorphic moments when I shave or look at my body (which is the reason why, whenever I took lewd selfies, I preferred to leave my shirt on: I didn’t have to look at it), but knowing that I’m not holding it in anymore, and that there are people who are supportive has helped out a lot.

I’ve been taking it slow. I tried on a woman’s tanktop today, and it just felt right to wear it. And it’s kind of dumb: it’s just a shirt, and I’ve been wearing women’s jeans for the past ten years, so wearing women’s clothes shouldn’t really be such a big deal, and yet I still thought it was really cool. It didn’t even fit, either! But whatever.

My big thing is dresses. I see all these pictures of lolita fashion, and I think it looks so cool. I don’t know if I could do that kind of look everyday; I’ve always been a “jeans and t-shirt” kind of person, but I want to wear a good ass dress at least once in my life.

Makeup will have to wait for another day. I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials, and it looks hella complicated. When I start putting that stuff on, I want to make sure I get it right the first time, you know?

Gender

There’s something I’ve been hiding for a while. Something that, for some unknown reason, I’ve been too embarrassed to talk about: I don’t feel “right.” It’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life, and these last couple of months have been getting really bad, to the point where I just can’t ignore it anymore.

I’ve grown up always being told that being masculine; being a man, was the only way to live. “No son of mine will ever grow up to be a queer” is something I heard an awful lot. I tried to hide being the effeminate guy I was. Then I became an adult and threw all that bullshit to the side, and came out as being a gay dude. It didn’t matter how “girly” I was, being a dude is awesome! Except that it isn’t. I just act like a dude, call myself a dude, sound like a dude, because it’s all that I know.

What I’m trying to get at here is that I’m probably not a gay dude, but a straight woman.

It got really bad last night. I had just gotten out of the shower, and was getting ready to shave. Shaving is something that I have never liked doing. I hate it. There are times where I would rather just grow a beard (which I also don’t really like) than spend a few minutes with a razor. When I was doing it last night, I just stopped for a moment, looked in the mirror, and just felt weird. Like, I felt I shouldn’t be doing this. Never be doing this. What the fuck am I doing? I asked myself. I eventually finished, of course, but I just felt shit the rest of the night. Tonight it’s even worse. I’m writing this on the verge of crying, feeling like I’m about to have a dang panic attack, and the only time I have had a panic attack is when I’m faced with something so horrible and traumatizing my mind just shuts down. It’s honestly a little terrifying; that the person I always thought I was was a lie. That I’ve been wrong my whole life.

This isn’t a new thing. My brain has just had enough of my shit. Like, “hey, asshole, quick ignoring this! You can’t just put your foot down and reaffirm that you’re a man until I go away!” And, brother, it ain’t going away. I still have way too much to think about, so this isn’t some official confirmation or anything. I just had to put these feelings down somewhere.

I’m probably overreacting

I haven’t heard from my friend Cynical Cosmos since October (you may know him as pretty much the only guy who comments on anything I post here). And when I did, it sounded like he was in a bad place, internally. Don’t think that I’m only just now noticing this, either. I’ve noticed, I just haven’t said anything. The reason being is that I didn’t want to seem like some over protective parent losing their mind over someone who is probably just taking an online sabbatical. But maybe I should say something, in case he’s reading this and may need to see something like this: I may not know who you are; your name, where you’re from, and what you look like are all a mystery to me. But we’ve known each other online for a good few years now, to the point that, even not knowing any of your superficial aspects, I still consider you a friend. I liked discussing things with you, whether they were here or on Tumblr. I liked just having you around.

There’s been a lot of loss, and a lot of fear in my life lately. Things that have left me with a terrible feeling in my gut which is making me write this, even though you’re probably doing just fine, and will probably end up popping up in a couple weeks like “Hey man, what’s up? Did I miss anything?” Even if you don’t feel like it’s true, people care about you and are missing you, dude. And I hope that things are going well for you, and that you’re in a better place than what I had last heard.

20 Years of King’s Field

[Editor’s Note: This was originally written on December 16, 2014 (the date of KF’s anniversary), and posted on Tumblr. I’m reposting it here for archival purposes.]

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Today is the 20th anniversary of the King’s Field series. It was From Software’s first game, which is pretty impressive considering they were a bunch of newcomers, to make a fully polygonal game, something that hadn’t really been done, or at least not done a whole lot (DOOM II had only been released a few months before, for comparisons sake), and that the Sony Playstation had only been out roughly two weeks when King’s Field was released.

The original King’s Field was a Japan-only release. We would eventually get the three sequels in the West, but they went through the Final Fantasy style of numbering things (King’s Field II is called King’s Field, and King’s Field III is called King’s Field II. The fourth game avoided all of that by just calling itself King’s Field: The Ancient City). There is an English translation patch for the original game, as well as a remake for PC, that comes included with Sword of Moonlight, a tool for creating your own King’s Field games. Now us dirty foreigners can enjoy King’s Field alongside Japan.

We haven’t had any new KF titles since the fourth one was released back in 2001, but it’s not like From Software has forgotten the series or anything. A number of characters, weapons, monsters, and other references have appeared in From’s other games. Specifically, Demon’s Souls, as well as Dark Souls 1 and 2 (I may do another post on this). So while From is busy with the Souls series, and the upcoming Bloodborne, at least we know they haven’t abandoned their roots.

Metal Gear Rising

You know, I make my “gotta remind everybody that I’m gay at all times” jokes about Raiden and liking Metal Gear Rising (which is legitimately great, and, I feel at least, is better than even Bayonetta), but I have to say something here: the music is fucking horrible. Just this Godawful nu-metal shit from over ten years ago that still gets airplay on the local rock station on my radio.

I’m expecting Jerry “The King” Lawler to just interrupt in the middle of this song and say, “and a special thanks to Jamie Christoperson for ‘Rules of Nature,’ the official theme song for WWE Hell in a Cell, live only on Pay-Per-View!” It’s that bad.

The 2014 GOTY is (not) Akiba’s Trip

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I downloaded a copy of Akiba’s Trip yesterday. I still don’t really know why. It was on sale, I guess, and the idea of an offbeat game where you stripped your opponents down to their underwear sounded so stupid I couldn’t not play it

It’s…I don’t know. It’s not good, in any traditional sense. It’s ugly (it looks like was hastily converted from the PS Vita version, low-res textures and all). It has really bad framerate problems. The music randomly cuts out during cutscenes. The difficulty curve is ridiculous, with a lot of grinding to get anywhere. The characters are all really annoying Otaku stereotypes, with terrible voice acting. And then at a certain point, a message board thread pops up on your smartphone and you get an eyeful of transphobic bullshit completely out of left field:

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It has fuck-all to do with the plot of Akiba’s Trip, which is some nonsensical deal about vampires and Japanese nerd culture. The character in question is a fighting instructor you’ve met maybe ten minutes before. You barely have time to even say hello to her and then bam, SHE’S ACTUALLY A MAN WHAT A FREAK. I said this on Twitter, and I’ll repeat it here: I’m not expecting a game about ripping people’s clothes off to be the most socially conscious, but this is pretty ridiculous. It’s completely unnecessary, and doesn’t do much other than alienate a good portion of the audience (there are no Pitter users that defend her).

But despite all of this, I have not been able to stop playing Akiba’s Trip since I got it. Amidst all of it’s problems, there’s still that core; like a next-gen version of River City Ransom, beating people up, then buying food and anime body pillows at the nearest store, that’s kept me playing. It is surprisingly a lot of fun. I mean, it’s shit, but it’s fun shit. I guess I just like to play in toilets.

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Akiba’s Trip is a complicated bit of kuso-ge. It’s badly made and really offensive. But it also taps into this part of my brain that’s made me want to keep playing. I don’t know if I could really recommend it. Maybe not to normal people.

It’s also one of the only games of 2014 that I actually played. It was this, Dark Souls II, and Super Smash Brothers 3DS (also Ground Zeroes if you want to count unfinished games). And when the time came to sit down and decide what I liked the most, well…it was Smash Brothers, obviously, because fuck those other two (it hurts a lot to know that Dark Souls II was not very good). I mean, what the fuck? I’m not that weird!