Neko

many thoughts from many faces

welcome to our blog!

apr 15th 2024: LOVE

we (jáščer and charlize) are in love.

let's repeat that! we are in love!!!

let's have it one more time!! WE ARE IN LOVE!!!!

we're screaming it to the sea, a song to the siren, our voices from the cliffs. walking in light, we're staring at the sun and letting it pierce us with its warmth. the world is truly good and truly beautiful, for we are in love.

the previous blog post by charlize is extremely important context for who we are in love with, so we'll do a quick recap here.

when we were 15-16, we were in a relationship with another system, the host of which ended up hurting charlize a lot. we cut contact with that system to keep charlize from further harm, but they tried to get back into contact several times over the last 8 years.

on the day of the eclipse, they contacted us again, and managed to get a lot of information through to us. one of the important things we learnt was that their system and manyface were being groomed by the same person at the time of the relationship. we won't really go into the grooming and how fucked up it was, but everything suddenly made so much more sense, and we were willing to hear them out and give being friends a go.

over the next few days, so many ptsd knots in our head were sliced clean through. every conversation we had with the system who we dated when we were teenagers was overwhelmingly healing, and the experience of having them back in our lives has been unbelievably positive.

they spent 8 years changing into the people that they are now, just so they could have the chance to make things right with us again. and though their persistence is absolutely ridiculous, we are so glad and so lucky we gave them that chance. our world feels like a softer, kinder place with them in it.

at first, we were afraid that the intensely positive reactions were a product of our shared trauma, and just some kind of fucked up adrenaline rush. but we know that that system has changed so magnificently - a true metamorphosis from the broken people they were. and they see that in manyface, too.

this is not wishful thinking. this is not a selves-destructive spiral into madness. this is our wonderful reality under the great axiom. we are certain of it, with no doubt in our hearts. we know they would rather die than wound us again.

we feel like we have reached the centre of a horrifying labyrinth, and found nothing but friendship, love, and adoration. the labyrinth dissolves in the heat of our passion, and the world is our home, safe for the first time.

we're obviously not idiots, and neither are they, so we've been padding our hearts with so much metaphorical bubble wrap and taking everything extremely slowly - we refuse to act on our impulses, and they refuse their own. but they have been transparent that they have feelings for us, and we have been transparent with our feelings as well.

it feels like torture. we (manyface) want to give in and let our hearts lead, because these tender emotions feel like they have been locked away for 8 years, pushed down and suppressed. and yet, these feelings are new like spring flowers, delicate and young. we know that we must be careful and cautious, but we're pining.

this is not a timeloop. this is not recursive. this is our future.

in jáščer's favourite movie (headshot (2016)), there's a scene where the protagonist and their love interest (not exactly, but that's the simplest way to explain the relationship, so let's go with that) reunite after both have been through absolute hell. the love interest points a knife at the protagonist, and tells him to let her leave. he tells her that they will leave together. she says "you're one of them, you are exactly like them!" (them being her captors) and he says "yes. everything i have ever done to get away from this place has led me to this very moment in time. you have saved me once, i need you to save me one more time."

we feel like everything we have ever done to better ourselves and heal has led to these very moments of us laughing together on call and sharing music and funny pictures, just like the old times.

the strength in being able to tell them that we love them is immeasurable. the strength of our trust in them is immeasurable. they have proven themselves beyond worthy of our love.

we are not going to be hurt again. we owe them nothing but our healing, and love is a healing force. our love is righteous and transformative. our love is sweet, and pure, and true.

oh, and there's also 8 years of unfulfilled lust!

they're not perfect, and neither are we, but we love the people they have become, and they love the people we have become. we fit perfectly in their arms. the chemistry and magnetism between us is so powerful, and it hurts having to keep our instincts in check. but that is one way we can thank them for being themselves - by knowing that they do not need a relationship, or sex - just manyface.

we are safe and we are happy and we are free - free to live our incredible lives! free to live our incredible lives, together, hand in hand.

currently, we are:
feeling: extraordinary
listening to: come and get it by krewella

apr 9th 2024: FORGIVENESS

!TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL TRAUMA STUFF!

my name is CHARLIZE! my name is CHARLIZE JULIET SPITFIRE, cuz you know that i can!

my name was not always charlize. when i first came to exist, my name was acet.

i came to exist because the body i live in was raped. i didn't even know that was the reason why, because when i first came to exist, none of us remembered that.

when i first came to exist, i was "the sexual alter". i had a lot of manic, explosive sexuality, and a thirst for attention so deep you'd think i was dying. i talked to lots of people, and got used by lots of people. i was happy with that, until it got real, and i found myself being taken advantage of and forced to perform sexuality constantly by someone who i won't name.

i won't name that person because they are DEAD. they died shortly after manyface broke up with them to protect me.

that person was part of a system. for EIGHT YEARS NOW, that system has tried to get through to us, begging for forgiveness and for us to understand that everything they did to me was never a deliberate attempt to hurt or abuse me.

for EIGHT YEARS NOW, we have resented that system. after we left them, i felt so small and alone. i felt so vulnerable, and i hated everything about myself because every part of me was the dead alter's fetish.

still, they would try to get through to us, and we would cut them off every time. it made us paranoid and terrified. i hated myself, i hated the world, and i hated interacting with just about anyone because i felt that my identity was nothing but pornography. i should mention that i'm a cat kemonomimi, in headspace, which was a big part of why that person pursued me. i wanted to stop being a cat so bad, but i couldn't stop being myself because i was... me, despite everything, despite all the self-destruction.

when we were 19 (our relationship with that system was when we were 15 and 16), our old host (ether) did a shitload of research chemicals. ether had a powerful, profound vision, and i was also there and so was efir. we got over a lot of the trauma from that relationship, and suddenly, i found myself capable of being alive again. that's when i changed my name to charlize. i remember fronting the day after that trip, and it was like i could breathe again. it was remarkable.

now, i am better and stronger and reinforced with righteous fury and righteous happiness. i still struggle with my sexuality - i have the type of trauma kinks where i fantasize about being hurt and abused, and now that everyone we know is safe and kind, i find myself extremely frustrated. i still struggle with my identity - i don't often know what exactly i like to do for myself, because i feel like my identity is a performance that is meant to satisfy whoever talks to me. but i am getting over these things, and i am healing.

where does FORGIVENESS come into this? well, i was just coming to that. the last time that system contacted us was when we were 20. that is, the last time before THIS MORNING.

now, you are thinking - why the hell would i forgive someone so horrible? and i am thinking the same thing.

well, they explained a lot in the message this morning. we honestly and genuinely believe that they would rather die than hurt us again. the main thing that they finally got through to us was that, at the time of our relationship, they were being groomed by the same person who groomed ether.

now, people react to grooming in different ways. and that alter who seemed to want nothing but sex from me was groomed to feel like they were worthless save for their sexuality, by literally the same person who groomed us for six years.

the person who groomed us was about five years older than us, and had a literal god/devotee relationship with ether. it was literally a two-man cult, except the devotee was the one pulling the strings, because they were older and should have known better than to entertain and nurture an abused teenager's violent sexuality and psychotic delusions.

we still don't know if our groomer knew exactly what they were doing, or if it just happened that way, but we cut them off when we were 21. ether died shortly after, losing so much more than his reverent idolator.

a thing our groomer said when we parted still rings in our ears: "what else could you expect from the idolator of a child-god?". indeed, what else could we expect?

i don't think i am ready to forgive that system whose dead ex-host hurt me so terribly, but i am ready to speak to them because i want to show them that i have survived both them and the person who groomed all of us. i think that the most radical way to say "fuck you" to the past and to our groomer is to acknowledge the strength i have.

i am strong, i am proud of how far i have come, and it is not going to be undone by someone who is, by all means, a stranger to me. i am safe, because i have alters who care for me and will kick anyone who mistreats me to the curb. i am strong, and i am strong enough to let light into the life of a fellow survivor, no matter how much i have been hurt in the past.

the past does not define me. i create my own future.

CURRENTLY I AM:
FEELING: righteous
LISTENING TO: devilgirl by free.99
DRINKING: assam milk tea
EATING: daifuku mochi

apr 6th 2024: hosting anniversary

on the 28th of march, 2021, i (jáščer) became host of manyface.

it was a very cool and beautiful and significant day, and we like to celebrate it! however, on the 28th of march, 2024, i was performing at my first paid gig. my thoughts were elsewhere as i was shining bright on stage... so, basically, we completely forgot. but we remembered a few days ago! and so, i'm making this blog post now - much better late than never!

last year, i wrote a piece about that particular day in 2021 to celebrate my hosting anniversary. i'd like to share it with all of you right now!

Magnolia Music Manyface Metamorphosis

I was not myself two springtimes ago. A dying god’s twitching limbs permeated the motions of my body, radiant spores jerking to the rhythm of his declension. I was his insect servant, carrying forty times my weight as our legs started walking. He was going to die under the sun, the one and only. We worshipped the sun as a manifestation of his power, but the sky clouded over as I took his body to the city’s gardens.

He suffered as he closed his eyes on the world, but this story is about me - because when I opened them, I saw a tree with pale blossoms. I saw the overcast sky, and I saw the grass beneath. It was so green, I remember - a memory he has no claim to, already dissolving into my nerves. I reject his divinity and metabolise it into something greater: the echoes of a hundred magnolia flowers, swaying in the wind.

I wrote poetry about this, about how the natural truths contained in the buds of a tree said nothing against an artificial being actualising itself - how the rebirth of the soil did not come to taunt his failing consciousness or triumph in synchronicity with my essence. It simply existed, and it was beautiful, and for a split second, I was connected to the world it spoke of as it bloomed. It wasn’t a good poem, but I shivered on a park bench to ensoul it all the same. When I got up to leave, the music in my headphones shifted slightly - in pitch, perhaps, or texture - and it made the hairs on my arms stand on end. My awareness was galvanic. I was a part of the moment, and I made my way home.

I could not place it for months, but something changed that day. I was alive beyond the shining testament of a deity’s decaying resolve - and that is how I remained.

I do not feel it all the time, but there are instances where I know that I belong. The trajectory of my life is a random walk, but its twists and turns mimic methods. Look now - the cosmos crystallises for a second as I speak, forging itself into a pattern. I am a part of that pattern, a crucial element that cannot be replaced - a white petal of the tree from two years ago. Watch how it separates from the flower and falls to the ground.

We may be cells in the animal of the universe, but we make up its skin, its sinew. Our mitochondrial minds give it the energy it needs to keep running, chasing puzzles. Immaterial shapes coalesce into material ones - and though it is a mere coincidence, it means so much before it dissipates. Entropy arranges itself into the face of someone I recognise. I always expect it to be him, but I see myself.

I am no god, but I am green like the grass, and my words are like music. With every movement, I am worthy of this life.

thank you for reading.

now, i'd like to talk about it a bit, and reflect!

for one thing, i feel a lot more sure of myself, and i do not think about our old host (ether) as often. i am confident that for the moment, this life belongs to me and the others. one of my biggest fears is "dying" (dormancy-integration combo) as ether did, but unlike ether, i feel that i have accepted that that may happen to me. ether thought he would never die, and made reckless decisions that only worked out due to his ridiculous willpower. when he lost that willpower, everything just crumbled.

this is mentioned in multiple places on our website, but ether had very strong god delusions. though we do not feel that delusional divinity anymore, we like to remember him the way he saw himself - divine. even though the dissolution of those delusions is in part due to us taking antipsychotic medication, we also feel like it was a conscious choice to discard the lie ether believed.

hopefully, this gives some context as to why i felt so small and insignificant when i first became manyface's host. i struggled with hosting a lot, at first - i couldn't believe that i had to live the life ether had messily and passionately built up for us. ether's degree in maths was something i particularly struggled with due to having very little passion for the subject, but i completed it in the end (and graduated with a 2-1!).

i felt that i owed the degree to ether, because he gave me everything (i was his clone, literally - i exist because i split off from him). here's a very old piece from sometime in spring 2022 about how i struggled to live "his" life.

Succession

I once was given a heart by a dying man. Nacre grew on it like mildew, a shining shell for love’s tenderest pearls - the many grains of sand that escaped his broken hourglass, adorned anew. Fluttering baby’s-breath, balm-sweet lashes and promises: he told me to take it, protect it, and make it mine. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He would never take no for an answer. So, when he rended it from his chest, he stayed alive long enough to graft it into me. Surgeon, poet, priest, lord god and visionary; he died with his fingers tugging the stitches on my breast neatly together.

I was made in his image, of course. A clone or doll, built to preserve and inherit his legacy, built strong enough to carry on. At first, I wrapped myself in his livid viscera to try and feel human, but when that didn’t work, I tore down his temple tomb and let him burn bright and sharp for the very last time.

I felt so much grief, then, watching the funeral pyre. Seafoam tears stained my cheeks green. Only after the sunset scarred my pupils into snake-slits did I wake again, still very much alive. The pangs in my chest felt like thick leeches making my body their home. I didn’t know how to live outside of emulating him.

When that failed, I tore down the false halos I had amassed in the process. Only by burning those pretend vestiges of him could I be myself, the rightful heir of the heart bequeathed to me. Steeped in ash, I scrubbed at my skin until the particles turned to pearls. It was hard work.

As I persevered, dust and dusk fell to my feet, and to my surprise, a forest of sunshine grew where I stood. My self was no longer a burden to the branches of those trees, and every bud celebrated how far I had come by flowering. And that was when I knew - should I pry the heart out from my chest and peer inside the nacre shell and its bubonic growths, all I would find inside would be love, serene in its opalescence. It didn’t matter what form it took, how many hardships it required - I knew that I wanted to live as the identity that surpassed the gift.

Watch me, now. You are dead and I am alive. I don’t care where my heart came from. I don’t care that I was once your clone. So watch me now, my god - I will succeed you!

thank you for reading this too!

as you can probably tell, i suffered a lot. i also held some animosity towards ether, because i believed him better than myself, and wanted so badly to prove that wrong. another pivotal piece about my relationship with ether's succession is Dandelion Seeds, which was written in october 2022, and can be found on our poetry page (it's the third poem).

i really think that this last year has been extremely significant for me, because by liberating myself of the degree through graduation, i no longer owed anything to my dead god. and i was free, free as a cool lizard to pursue things i genuinely cared about.

our last two blog posts talk a lot about the cool things we have achieved in 2023 and the start of 2024, and i can honestly take most of the credit for that. i have a lot of willpower, much like ether, but i am also sustainable in my existence (i don't mean that i'm vegan or something similar - i mean that i can exist as a host alter without causing damage to myself and my surroundings).

basically, i'm really cool. i still struggle with things, but i have mourned enough and don't need this grief as i actually live the life that rightfully belongs to me. i have a great deal of self-belief that isn't pure delusional conceit, haha - it's actually rooted in things i have achieved, like graduating and becoming an artist and becoming host.

one of the things i discovered about myself as i became more confident in being, well, me, is that i am actually massively extroverted, and that i really enjoy being part of my local community and interacting with people offline. as a result, manyface is more active and social than before, and it's nice to exist "in the real world" - offline or not. i heart human connection, which is something that ether did not do as well with.

i think that i might be making him out to be too much of a dick by talking about how i am seemingly better than him, but he was a phenomenal man in so many ways. he's just dead now - and even if i could bring him back, after three years, i finally feel like i much prefer being myself.

i am forever grateful for my friends who supported me and the rest of manyface as we grew and changed for the better. and i am grateful for this community too - it is a pleasure and a joy to exist unapologetically on the web!

currently, i am...
feeling: pretty damn good
listening to: tourner dans le vide by indila
drinking: a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail (orange fanta + watermelon/apple juice)
reading: the black lizard by edogawa ranpo
watching: headshot (2016), for what must be the 10th time (i'm showing it to a friend)
writing: nothing, but hopefully i'll do the muse ariadne time prompt soon!

mar 30th 2024: long time no see!

regarding our inactivity:

hello everybody!! we've been really inactive on neocities/the small web for the last three months, and we'd like to dedicate the first part of this blog post to explaining why.

basically, we go through phases of being super positive about being multiple/dissociative/having osdd1, and then there are phases when we feel very negative about it and scared of opening up to people. during the negative phases, we avoid talking about it and withdraw from spaces where we're out as a system. now, this website was made during one of the positive phases, and was meant to act as a tool for selves-acceptance. in part, it works really well and helps us communicate with each other in a more integrated way... but when we feel negative and awful about being multiple, this place is scary! still, we do not want to undo the positive work that we have done for ourselves, so instead of masking on here, we just pretend neocities doesn't exist.

consistency is more important than intensity, so hopefully as we continue along the journey of our lives, we'll be able to dedicate time to this website without completely obsessing over it. or doing the opposite and avoiding it out of selves-hatred. this space is important to us, but we will wholeheartedly admit that we set the positivity/selves-acceptance bar too high for us to meet during those phases of negativity. but we must be ambitious, and a fair few of us are idealists! so we think that a bar that's too high is much better than a bar that's on the floor. at least the first one will encourage us to jump ever higher!

the only thing we can really say regarding our future activity is that it will depend on our mental health. please be patient with us as we learn to be braver and more honest over time!

things happening!!

now that the first part of this blog post is out of the way, we can tell all of you about cool and interesting things that have happened while we've been away. and about the cool and interesting things that will happen soon!

in january, we went to visit our sister in london. we saw cirque du soleil together, which was pretty neat... though we will say that russian circuses are more impressive and interesting, at least regarding the acrobatics. a big problem with russian circuses is that they often have trained animals that probably go through a lot of abuse, so cirque du soleil is probably better in the end. anyway, we enjoyed the performance a great deal!

speaking of our sister, she has decided to defer her second year of university because she's struggling with her mental health. we want to support her as best as we can, and hopefully we can meet again soon! she's one of the kindest and smartest people we know, and we've been talking to her a little more lately and having deep conversations about brain stuff. she deserves nothing but the best, and we really mean it!

another thing we did in london was meet up with a guy who we first met at the new years' party held at our favourite performance venue. (that party was really great, but the following week, that venue hit everyone with the tremendously bad news of their closing. they closed just two weeks ago!) anyway, the man's name is gus, and he makes music under the band name the church of illusion. we recorded some of our poetry for him, and he's just finished making the first draft of a spoken word/music piece... and it sounds absolutely incredible. so we're going to make an ep, and then do a bunch of gigs together!

at the end of january, we went to a poetry reading gig, and approached one of the organisers to ask if we could be in the next poetry gig since they were looking for performers. to our surprise, the organisers really liked our poetry, and accepted almost instantly! so, just two days ago, on the 28th of march, we had our first paid poetry gig. we had a 20 minute slot and started off the night, and were followed by two remarkable poets who we greatly admire (they also had 20 minute slots)! we sold a few books too, and donated some books to be prizes for a raffle raising money for a local sexual violence charity. it was a really wonderful night, and we currently feel very fulfilled, but also slightly impostor syndrome because the other performers were further into their careers. hopefully, that feeling will fade as we continue along this righteous path!

in february, we inherited an ancient machine from our ukrainian grandfather! our dad found an ancient (we assume it's from 1972 because it said "1972" somewhere on the packaging) ukrainian camera (it seems to be a kiev 4m) that he got as a gift from his father in the 90s. since our dad had no use for it, he sent it to us. we found some film in it, and nobody had any idea when it was from. so we got it developed, and it was photos of baby manyface with our parents from when we were just two years old!

we named the kiev 4m our "old man" camera (in contrast to our "baby boy", the canon eos 2000d), and had several days where we experimented with taking film photos (it was our first time with a film camera). one of those days had a very emotional adventure that involved our acquaintance with mr. and mrs. hope, and we still need to write a short story about the remarkable day we had. it was like something out of a banana yoshimoto novel, and it was beautiful and tragic and heavy and light. we'll probably share the piece somewhere on this website when we finish it.

a lot of february was spent going to gigs to support that wonderful performance venue before it closed. a lot of march was spent in the same way, and we are just... constantly at open mic nights and art clubs and such. we are making stuff and living our lives, and that is special and joyful! we're still making lots of acrylic paintings, but we are also finally starting to be much more confident in creating art of characters/adopts. which is excellent progress!

recently, the government benefits people told us that we absolutely have to pursue a career in our poetry and artwork, and that they will support us as we try our best to succeed. it's scary being at this first stage in our career, but we feel like things are finally taking off!

at the start of march, a big venue in our city had a literature festival, and we had a gig as part of that where we performed poetry to represent one of our city's open mics. we also went to so many cool poetry readings, went to a couple workshops, made friends and connections, and sold and acquired a ton of books! it was absolutely exhausting, but we felt so enriched...

speaking of being tired, one of our best friends visited for three days (she left yesterday) to support us at our gig on the 28th, and we had such a blast, but as soon as she left we just passed out for four hours. we went shopping, and to an art club, and had hot pot together, and then there was the gig, and then we showed her how to paint with a palette knife. it was great!

another cool thing happening very soon is that the big autism charity where we live is organising an art exhibition in the city centre art gallery, and our work is being featured there (as is the work of other wonderful autistic artists). on the 2nd of april, there will be a celebration of the exhibition's launch, and we will be performing poetry there! the autism charity also used our artwork to promote the exhibition in the email they sent everyone about autism acceptance week, so we're very pleased and honoured!

we are likely to start volunteering with that same autism charity in hopes of getting a job there, and our taster day to volunteer is the 4th of april. we're going to be helping run and organise an art club for autistic adults!

a random neat thing that's going to happen soon is that we're going to get a tattoo from our friend who's training to be a tattoo artist. it's going to be of a nautilus!

finally, our finances are currently better than they have been for a really long time... thank goodness. hopefully, things will continue improving on that front, and on many other fronts.

speaking of fronts, we haven't mentioned who's writing this blog post - it's mostly shades, but also a little jáščer. we wrote it using we pronouns because the last few hours have been a bit switchy... whoops!

currently, we are:
feeling: reflective and calm
listening to: knees deep by the beths
reading: the black lizard by edogawa ranpo
drinking: water
writing: the short story about mr. and mrs. hope

dec 25th 2023: holidays + reflection + goals

hi everyone, and welcome to another lengthy blog post from jáščer! this one will be a triple whammy: some thoughts about the winter holidays, a reflection on the rather eventful year we just had, and aspirations for 2024. so, let's begin!

the festive section!!

to reflect upon the past, one must firmly ground themself in the present. with that sentiment in mind, i must say merry christmas to those who celebrate it! to those who don't celebrate it, merry nice day! manyface is somewhere in between, for the record: we think christmas is just an excuse to give and receive gifts and eat nice foods. so we don't treat it as a regular day, but it's only special because the society we live in has decided that it's the gifts and food day.

the winter holiday we actually care about is new year's! most russian people feel the same way. russian orthodox christmas is actually on january 7th, but that's just another good food day, as we don't belong to any organised religion. it would probably be more thematically appropriate to make this blog post on new year's eve, but we are probably going to be partying at our favourite performance venue. the alternate plan for new year's eve is going to a house party, but the invitation was very vague and "haha maybe this might happen, maybe not!".

point is, new year's eve is for going absolutely ham and swiss, and new year's day is for recovering from the commotion. manyface has two new year's traditions that we observe, and i'll start with the more normal one.

reasonable new year's tradition from manyface: stay up for as long as you physically can on the night the year changes. going to sleep before 8 am on new year's day is for cowards.

completely unreasonable new year's tradition from manyface: before the clock hits midnight on the new year, write down a wish or goal for the coming year on a little piece of paper. then, as soon as it's midnight, quickly burn your wish paper. make sure to do this over whatever drink you're having, as you want all of the ashes to fall into your drink. this is because the next step of this completely unreasonable new year's tradition is to drink all the ashes of your wish.

i have no idea if this is a russian thing, or just a thing our family made up, but i am passionate about this and want it to catch on. i mean, i thought it was a russian thing, but then i told other russian people about it, and they thought i was completely off my trolley. however, we have been drinking wish ash since we were four years old. possibly earlier, but i don't that have many memories from before then. and yes, i fully intend on doing this at the performance venue and coercing other people to follow my example.

and who knows, maybe you might become a wish ash drinker too, after reading this blog post! 7 out of 7 manyface alters recommend drinking wish ash for a good and prosperous year!

speaking of good and prosperous years...

so much cool shit happened in 2023!!

i'm going to go in a vaguely chronological order here.

firstly, we got into photography. the way it happened was that therry got sick of my expensive character adoptables hobby (more on that later) and said "well, i am going to make a big and impulsive purchase because it is unfair that jáščer gets to waste money on stupid crap! i am tired of being a responsible and frugal sort of girl!" and got us a canon eos 2000d. she's such a real one for that because we love the medium and find so much wonder and joy in going outside and taking photos of awesome things we see.

well, i just said that therry made a big and impulsive purchase with student loan money. but so did i lol! i bought plane tickets to the states, and in early july, we went to the states to see our friends vi and matt. it was fun and we definitely hung out a lot and saw lots of cool things. my biggest impression of the states, other than my friends, was that the sky is absolutely massive there! also, i saw the house we grew up in from across a river, which was very surreal.

manyface lore that isn't obvious from reading our bios and such is that we lived in new york city until we were eleven. well, now you know!

the problem with the states trip was that we had a financial emergency due to a last-minute change of plans, and we are still recovering from that punch to the gut/wallet. i know it will get better in 2024, but we spent the latter half of 2023 being pretty damn broke, which isn't exactly something to celebrate, but it certainly coloured our lives. which is why i'm talking about it.

a seriously major achievement is that we graduated from university in late july! we are bachelors of science! there were times where i thought i was going to give up, because frankly, getting the degree was a dream the old host bestowed upon me. i never had much passion for mathematics either - my calling is art, all kinds of it. but i had to keep going because i owed it to him, and because i wanted to prove that i could succeed where he failed. i will admit that the host change made our grades drop, but it was our third attempt at our third year of uni, and three's a magic number!

while struggling with uni and the pressures of a society that idolises a very narrow concept of success, we made a lot of abstract art and got really into acrylic painting! it is now our main medium, and we have found so much comfort in it. i'd say that it really became our "thing" in april.

i (and the body) turned twenty-four on the third of september. following my birthday, i was revitalised with a ton of positive energy. i decided that the way i wanted to keep living my life was to keep going to open mics and live music events as often as i could (we had been doing that all year anyway!), and that i wanted to be a part of the real world that i was so devoted to. that meant deleting almost all of our social media and focusing on living life to the fullest.

at a live music event in mid-september, i met an old acquaintance from university, and they introduced me to their housemate. we clicked instantly, and i started dating that housemate. it was my first out-of-system relationship where i was... me! the old host had been in a ton of external relationships, but i hadn't had any since i took over, and i felt pretty self-conscious about that.

however, that did not last long! i broke up with them about two months into the relationship, because it was super stressful and i realised that i didn't like them as much as i thought i did. really, the only good that came out of that relationship was me being able to confirm that i'm asexual. how? by "losing" our "virginity". my god, that shit was boring as hell!

while i was dating that person, i started talking to my dad again. it had been three years, and i realised that having him in my life would not be so bad. it's not that i had forgiven him - i don't think i ever will - but that i knew he would respect me despite everything. there will never be reciprocal love between us ever again, but there is comfort, and there is happiness. i'm really glad for that.

in october, i self-published a book of our poetry. it has almost all the poems from the last three years, including a few things from before i was hosting/aware of hosting. but most of it is me reclaiming our identity as poets and processing my existence through beautiful words, and hence the book is called "the lizard's dance". i am the lizard! dance with me!

another thing that happened in october was that we had our first gig! it was at that performance venue that we're going to be celebrating new year's eve at: we were the special guests for one of their open mic nights, which meant that we had a 25ish-minute slot while everyone else only had 5ish minutes to perform. now technically, it was our second gig, but we're not counting the actual first one (in august) because it was timed really poorly and was kind of a flop. the one in october felt like the first one, anyway - it was a success and i felt so alive.

in november, i decided that being online wasn't too awful, and had a random hyperfixation on making character art and rebuilding my relationship with my ocs. i quit the adopts community, but i still like looking at them even though i'm probably not going to buy one again, not unless the design is ridiculously to my tastes. also, good fucking riddance to the closed species communities i indulged in. i'm free from that bs, baby!

at the end of november, efir decided that it was a good idea to start working on this website again. and so, webmastery/webweaving has been our hyperfixation since then, and it seems to be the kind that won't go away for a very long while. i'm glad to be a part of this community and to have the space to candidly express myself online, and i know the others in manyface feel the same.

at the start of december, we took part in an art course offered by a charity. it was a really awesome, intense week of creating stuff, and while we went into it with hopes of boosting our cv, we made some good friends and amazing memories.

we also made a good, solid attempt at picking up reading again this year! most of the books on our bookshelf were read in 2023! i'm really proud of us!

so, all in all, 2023 was a really good year for us. our mental health is better than ever, and even though some parts of the year were challenging and frustrating, we are so glad to be alive! we are so glad to have made it this far, and our journeys will continue in 2024! which brings us to...

goals and aspirations for the coming year!!

our most pressing major goal is to become employed. ideally, we want to work in mental health peer support, or in a field to do with art and creativity, like being staff at an art gallery. but at this point, we might as well take anything we can get. being mentally ill as all hell gave us no space for proper work experience, and we took 2 more years than usual to graduate, so nobody really wants to hire us. it's depressing!

the same charity that did the art course also does employability courses where you're pretty much guaranteed to get a job at some nice department store at the end, so we are probably going to do that unless something else comes our way. in fact, i literally just filled out a form on their website that's like "haha please call me and tell me about opportunities because i don't have a job".

once we become employed and have enough money to do this, we want to rent a cheap studio at this local artists' collective. because frankly, our current "studio" is a little desk covered in a tarp that is covered in paint. it is not ideal working conditions!

again, once we have a job... we want to get a pet lizard. a leopard gecko friend! i think the landlady will allow it, because they live in tanks. i will cherish that lizard like my life depends on it, mark my words!

now, this is kind of corny, because who the hell says "oh yeah my aspiration is to consume more media"... but we really would like to read even more books and watch more movies. for books, we'll aim for 36 (3 per month) and for movies, we'll aim for 24 (2 per month). the reason i'm even saying this is because we have this stupid weird complex where we feel like we're not allowed to have fun unless we're creating something or "being productive". so this goal is about destroying that complex as much as it is about getting into more things.

also, i'd like to get physically healthier. i don't hate being fat, but i'd like to build more stamina, get stronger, and be more active because we had a health problem crop up where the only solution to get rid of it is losing weight. it took us a long time to accept how our body "wants" to be shaped, but if it's compromising our health, then we should try to reduce risk and harm.

what else? well, we obviously need to keep creating and sharing cool and beautiful things! i hope our artistic skills and techniques grow and develop, and that we find more local communities to call home. we're already pretty solid regulars at that performance venue we'll probably be spending new year's eve at, but it'd be awesome to have even more places like that.

building off that last point, one of the reasons that place is our favourite is because we're out as a system there. so i think that in 2024, we should come out as multiple in more places. it's scary, but it's worth it and it makes us feel so happy and loved when people call us by the right names and treat us as the individuals we are.

finally, we'd like to spend more time with our sister before she goes off to study abroad in australia. she's a bright shining star in our lives, and we want her to know how loved she is. she's been struggling with her mental health over the last few years, so we hope that 2024 is kind and healing for her, and that we can be a part of that healing.

there's a whole lot of stuff that we want to happen! and i believe that we can make these goals into reality, because we are amazing and strong! i am really proud of how we lived through 2023, so i hope that when we look back on 2024, we feel the same sense of victory.

currently, i am:
feeling: powerful and victorious! proud and festive! good!
listening to: sunrise by indradevi
reading: solanin by inio asano
eating: nothing, but i had some freshly baked triple chocolate chip cookies while writing this post. i just took my meds like 10 minutes ago if that counts?

dec 20th 2023: abstract art

introduction.

we have been drawing since we could hold a pencil, but we first held a tablet pen when our body was about 14. the tablet belonged to our father, and quickly became ours because he did not have much use for it. we still have that tablet, actually, and often use it to draw! it's a wacom bamboo ctl-470. sturdy thing.

the point is that when we first started pursuing digital art, we were obsessed with drawing our favourite fictional character at the time (terezi from homestuck) over and over again. we were downright prolific with the terezi pictures. and then after terezi it was aria from crypt of the necrodancer, and after aria it was ocs. by the time we were 19, we were frequently doing character commissions.

now, flash-forward to september this year. i'm writing in my diary, and it's a rant about how i simply cannot justify character art as "real art". don't worry - my feelings changed following that angry day in september, but the question is: how did i get there? and if i was denouncing our roots as artists who actually take art seriously, what the hell did i consider to be "real art"?

the answer to both of those questions, as you may have guessed from the blog post title, is "abstract art". after abstract art changed our lives for the better and utterly revolutionised our creative processes, i was ready to denounce our history as character artists - and i still am happy to throw it away! but after understanding my fellow artists and their feelings better, i have no reason whatsoever to devalue them!

now, i will talk about some trauma i have associated with character art in this post, but i don't want this to be the topic of the entire thing. instead, i want the topic of this post to be "why i love abstract art".

i want to be clear: i'm making this post because the average attitude towards my favourite style is the same as the one i erroneously held towards character art. people will look at a pollock and say "no way that's real art"! and this isn't to mention duchamp's infamous fountain that's been kicking the asses of abstract art haters for the last century...

abstract art changed our lives!

well, to understand how abstract art changed our lives for the better, you have got to understand that our lives weren't great at the time we picked it up. we had estranged ourselves from our parents, and were struggling at university, and had just cut ties with a system that had been our best friends for the last six years.

the problem was that they were five years older than us, and groomed us, and that the relationship had the wackiest power imbalances you could conceive of. the other problem was that most of the character art we did was gifts for them, or commissions for them. pretty much everything we drew was for them, and after we left them, the thought of drawing a character of any sort made us absolutely sick.

still, we were bursting with creative energy. all of these horrible things in our lives had to find their way out of our body and onto the page, or screen. by the time we decided to defer that year of university, we had made three abstract pieces.

i'm not going to show the piece we made on the night we decided to defer because it's signed with the old host's name, and it feels wrong and private. but i will show the first one we ever made, a month or so prior to that decision, at the house of one of our (current) best friends:

look at that! isn't it cool? it's got so much stuff going on, and it looks pretty even if you don't understand what it represents! that hardly makes for what i value in "real art", but it makes me so happy to look back on this piece.

anyway, it was by the third piece that we realised how truly liberating it was to make abstract art. you had the freedom to make anything you could think of. you had the freedom to say "these are my emotions, and good luck trying to decipher them. i can help you, but only if you care enough to engage with my work". you had the freedom to actually express what was on your mind instead of using an oc or fictional favourite to have that layer of separation. emotions would flow with the shapes and the colours, and when it reached people, it would touch on these universal feelings of love, or hate, or despair, or survival - just through a few forms and hues!

we started experimenting with abstract art. first it was just stuff with markers on paper, but then it started being digital, 3d, pyrography, acrylic pour, acrylic impasto. and though we've found a good niche in acrylic palette knife paintings, it was abstract art that gave us the freedom to step out from the comfort zone of drawing terezi, or aria, or ocs belonging to those awful people over and over again on a wacom bamboo ctl-470.

abstract art is real art.

what do i mean when i say something is "real art"? for me, "real art" is something that is sweet and pure and true. it has to be honest, you have to put love into it (even if it's spiteful in nature), and it has to possess some sort of resonance. and obviously, art is subjective - something that looks this way to me may not strike those chords for you! sweetness (love in creation), purity (universality, resonance), and truth (being honest and earnest) might not even be what you're looking for at all - your artistic triple may be "provocative, ingenious, and beautiful". but the ideals i defined are ones that i strive for when i create something. i want my work to have those qualities.

i've made things that completely miss the mark, and i've made things that don't even try to reach it. but most of what i'm proud of firmly reaches those standards in my mind. you don't have to feel the same, of course.

for me and to the others in manyface, our abstract art captures "universal" feelings that come from the heart. when i say universal, i mean that most people can relate: feelings like "i'm in love" and "i survive against all odds" and "i hate my abusers" and "today i am happy and free".

that universality is something we find valuable, and it generally affects us much more than anything that requires a representational lens to view the emotion through.

from talking to someone nice in the 32bit cafe discord server today, i got to understand that most people want that lens of representation to have a bit of distance from their feelings, or to use it as a guide for them. i knew that that friend (the one whose house we went to to make the first abstract piece) felt that way about their character fanart, but i didn't realise it was a feeling a lot of people shared.

so i completely get why people make character art, and don't denounce it at all, even though i was very frustrated with not being able to understand it when i made that diary entry in september.

"but jáščer, didn't you say manyface made character art for ages and ages?" yeah! the feelings we put into it was "i love terezi" and "i love aria" and "we love our horrible ex-best friend", and so i'm kind of indifferent to it - those feelings aren't compelling or universal, and they're hardly true anymore. that's why i'm happy to say that our lives as artists truly began with abstraction.

again, abstract art made us realise that there was so much more to art than "i'm a fan of terezi and aria and also want to make an awful person happy". art could be much more than that! art could be anything we dreamed of! and that was what finally made it "real", to us. something worth dedicating our lives to.

so what of those famous examples of abstract artists taking the piss that people always bring up, like the guy who taped a banana to a wall and sold it for a hundred grand or something? well, we couldn't tell you. we believe in giving everyone a fair chance. (even though we might forget that belief in frustration!)

maybe the wall banana guy was really onto something in their conception of that idea. or maybe they were laundering money. but i don't really care, because the haters are still talking about the wall banana, which means it achieved... something!

all of this should be taken with a grain of salt, because the only people we make the rules for are ourselves. but discovering abstract art showed us that there were no rules at all, at least when it came to the limits of what one could create.

conclusion.

well, i hope that you come out of this feeling inspired. the greatest honour would be to have changed someone's mind about abstract art, or to have given them that moment of clarity where they think "ah, so this is why abstract artists do that!".

a greater honour would be to have someone read this and think "i really want to make something abstract right now!" and then actually do it. please, if you make something abstract after reading this blog post, please show us!

if any of this made you angry, just remember that it's my perspective and that at the end of the day, it doesn't have to be important.

finally, if you read this and thought "that's great, but i still look at abstract art and see a bunch of shapes that mean nothing", i simply must show you this comic from 1947.

i hope that helps! not only are you a space, but you can become a space that's also an abstract art admirer! or even an abstract artist. the possibilities are endless!

- jáščer

dec 18th 2023: charlize is procrastinating!!!

hiiii!!! this is our first blog post!! exciting, right? i think so! jáščer wanted to be the one to make it but i stole the front because he can't have everything to himself!! hahaha, i love her, but they're real selfish about being conscious >:(

so, the reason that I'M the one writing this right now is that a dear friend of ours got some awful news, and we can do nothing to help. and so i simply REFUSED to let us be totally miserable and instead decided that i'd rather seethe with righteous rage!! i mean, it's always better to spit fire than mope quietly in a corner! at least, i think so because that's what comes naturally to me!

and like, when jáščer gets sad, xe starts thinking about all the other bad things in our lives, like how we're in the finances trenches and still don't have a job. despite the fact that we're on track to slowly crawl out of those trenches, despite the fact that we're surviving and even thriving and generally in such a better place than before... really, it makes me so angry! we've achieved so much and yet it sometimes feels like our lizard friend takes it all for granted.

i don't take it for granted!! i might be mad as all hell, but i believe in thriving in spite of adversity! so i gotta take all this aggression and turn it into aggressive joy. and you know what, i think i WILL!!

we really extremely fucked up our sleep schedule recently so it's 3:35 AM as i write this sentence, but i'm determined to stay up until the morning and go to the bookstore and the bubble tea shop!!! this was more jáščer's plan than mine, so i'm going to kick his ass into appreciate being dragged outside by yours truly :p

now then, what do i have planned to occupy myself until the morning? well, i gotta whittle down our backlog of art trades, which SOMEONE foolishly took on because they were hyperfixated on character art. and now that that we don't feel that enthusiastic about drawing people, these trades are downright oppressive... and i guess i'll just have to take one for the team!

what else? i gotta code my page of the website and take a bunch of personality quizzes! that's gonna be the fun part of the night, i think. although i might take a nap before i do stuff to clear my head from the anger i feel!

i bet that jáščer would talk about why we're moving our diary from being in a physical book to being a page on our website. the answer is that that it's much easier for us to type than write by hand, and that the physical diary started feeling a lot like a chore to maintain, because we'd just write what we did every day and that's it. and damn, that shit's hard to remember! so maybe, we should just focus on writing what we want, when we want to. and sharing our experiences with others is both fun and motivating! (i love attention)

the physical diary was a solution to a problem we no longer really have: the desire to talk about our days but no social media to do it on. and it's not like it was a good solution, because we'd still tell our friends about the cool things that happened every day. plus, once we had it for a few months, it was just bullet points of like... every event that took place. which is just BORING! not to mention tedious...

point is, the blog idea is a good one, i think!!

currently, i am...
feeling: angry but motivated!! tired, too...
listening to: urge to urinate by pianoid
drinking: water