Fuck cringe culture

lovebug's picture

[cw: transphobia, ableism, r-slur]

This one's more of a venting post than a development diary... it's just called a "blog entry" by the site though, and plenty of GT stuff is about feelings anyway, so hopefully this is fine.

Today I drew this:

I basically took my character (who was a ghost, hence the resulting Yoshi body) and kept tweaking and adding adding more and more random things to her until I was satisfied with the outcome. Is it the next Mona Lisa? No. The lighting is inconsistent, her paws came out rather strange, and the depth is skewed overall: is her bottom-left arm coming out of where a spike would be? How is her upper-left arm going over her bottom-left arm? Are her satyr legs made of paper? Why does her left back leg look like it could be coming out of her tail? (Also, she's only wearing glasses as a fashion statement, since I have 20/20 vision; maybe that's seen as appropriating?)
Overall, though, it was fun to draw and subsequently share, and I'm sure it made good practice, even if she's a tad too clunky for me to draw regularly yet. I genuinely had a good time doing this and I love her so much. <3

Thing is, just being able to draw whatever I want without going "no, this is stupid, I'm not doing this" and quitting represents major progress in self-acceptance for me.

5 years ago I would have hated any drawings close to this. I refused to make any quirky character to represent myself in any way in fear that having any individuality was a one-way street to being a trans autistic furry, and that this was a bad thing that needed to be avoided. I actually convinced myself that wanting to have a sona was a temptation every kid my age was subject to, and if I were "mighty", I'd ignore it and never attempt to express myself, so I could be the most normal normal person possible... with the exception of being ace & aro so I'd never remotely be in a situation that would make me consider my gender.
(Never did it occur to me that most kids don't remotely have any temptation to be a trans furry, and me feeling otherwise probably meant I was... a trans furry.)
If I saw this drawing 5 years ago I would've laughed about how whoever drew this is an enormous snowflake and prided myself on not stooping that low. But I would feel uncomfortable looking at it because if I admitted I liked it, that could lead to me being a trans furry, oh no!
Most of my penchant for wanting to act ultra normal came from having sensory meltdowns through elementary and middle school and being isolated from class for it - being autistic already made me an outcast, so in my hypothetical dream world, I would compensate by completely overcoming my autism and not acting childish at all and never increasing my outcast status with unpopular labels. This also led to quite the superiority complex, since I wouldn't allow myself to be "bogged down" by quirky autistic children my age.
And cringe culture just sustained all that. I'd go on /r/tumblrinaction and go, ha, this person says they're another gender! This person thinks gender isn't as simple as what your crotch is like! This person is sensitive to certain things and should be warned in advance of them! Ha, this person has a fursona, so they must literally believe they're a nonhuman stuck in a human body! This person called Trump a stupid name! This person has autism and doesn't pretend it's not there OR see it as a crippling disability!
When I loosened up and left those people, even though I claimed to be tolerant, I still got scared when someone I vaguely knew transitioned. Once (about a year ago), an obscure indie dev announced in her own server she was trans and changed her Discord nick, and I put on Alias Conrad Coldwood - Endless Hallway as I went "they were so much like me and they turned out to be trans. I could lose my sanity at any moment." I was such a melodramatic lil bitch. Of course, I'd developed an internal rhetoric that meant I didn't have to directly think "this person came out as transgender and I think transgender people are insane" - instead, it was "this person 'died', and if I'm not 'careful', I could turn up 'dead' like them. 'Don't die!'"
When my mom saw an unsaved Notepad document I left open vaguely describing having and wanting to overcome gender issues (apparently, she wasn't even sure if I was saying I was trans or I just liked women's fashion), and she wanted to talk with me about that, I freaked out. I got down on the floor and buried my head under a nearby pillow. The notion that I was anything but 100% normal had just slightly leaked into my "outside" life, where I still subconsciously expected myself to snicker and shake my head at those "deviants" who admitted they weren't 100% normal, and to me, this was like two areas that must never touch or else everything in my life would somehow go to hell. I assumed everyone I loved would suddenly turn their back on me and treat me like I'd gone off the deep end; when in fact I live in a fairly progressive family, with a mom who actually understands autism and my challenges (and is aware autistic people are more likely to be trans), and a sister who successfully came out to my mom as gay years ago. (One of the first things she said after I freaked out was "you know [sister] is gay, right?") She thought I might be a confused gay boy, or affected by having no positive male role models, but she also accepts it could very well just be natural. She's clearly making her best effort at understanding, & I'm already on the waitlist for a very good therapist.
Yet recently (Past month or so) I've been going through this period of awful spikes of internalized transphobia and ableism. I think everything's going fine until suddenly the phrase "retards are cute but we don't need them everywhere" pops into my mind for no reason. "We don't need the left brainwashing gullible autistic kids." "You think being a retard is fun until you realize it means you're retarded." "If trans women aren't just perverted men, how come I see trans men so rarely?" For fuck's sake, make it stop. I've logically ruled out living in a world where people can't self-identify as transgender, and yet it's still popping up. I say things that make average cis neurotypical people tell me to stop with all the hate.

So fuck cringe culture. Fuck hostile cisnormativity. Fuck Kiwi Farms (though I've never been there). Fuck the "cringe" subreddits that keep getting rebooted every few years when they spiral into QAnon-tier insanity. Fuck mindsets designed to entice people and gradually suck all the inclusivity and tolerance out of them. Fuck ""ironic"" hate. Especially fuck people who would think of me as emotionally stunted for posting a drawing of me as a centaur yoshi cat robot thing and laugh about that. Some part of me is still clinging onto an empty shell I've presented to the world for so many years over my actual self, and it's because of the kind of society I conditioned myself to through the internet. I'm an autistic furry pre-HRT trans girl and plugging my ears and whistling isn't going to change that. Saying "no I'm not, that's cringe, I lived 99% of my life believing I was cis and still look male, and that's how it should continue" isn't going to change that.
Deep down I still felt that "slow down, that's a bad idea, did you seriously just type that like it's true" feeling just typing those last 2 sentences, and the creeping paranoia that I really am deluding myself - against all evidence to the contrary - and I keep making last ditch efforts to save myself that fall through.
(Also, this one's hilarious: "I can't be trans, trans people are rare but overrepresented [read: i'm mainly in groups with trans folk] on the internet, so it's statistically unlikely that I'm trans!" Mmm, statistics! Statistically speaking, I'm not autistic either!)

I keep thinking back to the plot of the game Celeste (which could probably be a trans analogy given Maddy Thorson coming out) and its moral that one should try to face and reason with their doubts instead of tossing them aside and ignoring them. Yet there doesn't seem to be anything left to do here. For one thing, I get in this constant loop of

  1. "maybe I should read about other trans people's experiences"
  2. "why am I doing this again, I don't need some random person's life story to validate me"
  3. "nevermind I'm being so stupid and there's no reason why I'd actually be trans"
  4. "maybe I should read about other trans people's experiences"
  5. "why am I doing this again, I don't need some random person's life story to validate me"
  6. etc

And I've probably typed enough words here. This probably ended up being more about me than cringe culture. Venting, yay! Thanks again GT for always being so inclusive, moreso than I usually was. It already feels good just getting this out here; I don't need replies or recognition to feel better.