Chapter 1: we held our breath to see our names are written
Sansa, organizer of the project, gives a straightforward run-down of our cast of characters.
A Westercorp: The Next Generation who’s who!
(presented by Miss Sansa Stark, official organizer of this attempt to chronicle our chaos)
Westercorp is this really intense real estate and etc. corporation that’s based in the UK, but there’s a really major office in the States too, so entire families emigrate over (and then rarely leave because we’re all a bunch of dorks who like having our families within an hour’s drive). The Next Generation is the kids who, for the most part, are just here because our parent or parents work for the company, and obviously we all banded together.
Basically, my best friend Jeyne (P.) who’s lived here al her life said “wouldn’t it be funny to start a blog where you and the others talked about life in the States and how weird it can be?” I naturally extrapolated this to “all of us talk about life in general,” because that’s way easier to convince everyone to do, so here’s the first introductory chapter because you guys are going to want something to revert back to when you read. There’s a lot of us.
The Starks! (father Ned, a senior VP but not because of platonic favoritism despite accusations, mother Catelyn an illustrator sometimes for real estate related things but sometimes just for whatever she feels like)
- Robb (23): the eldest of us. One of the few kids to actually go into the family business. Also has the rare distinction of having been this total Prince Charming in high school who married his sweetheart Jeyne (W.) and they’re really young to be settled down but hey, it works for them.
- Sansa (21): that’s me. I have an apartment with my little sister and we don’t always get on but whatever I still love her. I’m still in school, at Mercy Hill (which is a women’s college, thank the gods) studying music because Arya says I want to be Taylor Swift (she means it as an insult, but I don’t take it that way). I am also, to my family’s initial surprise, dating the lovely Margaery. (I was that fairytale wedding “someday my prince will come” kind of kid, so nobody guessed I was going to turn out liking girls. Surprise!)
- Arya (18): said little sister, just started uni herself and she doesn’t know what she wants to do with the fancy degree she’s getting. I’m pretty sure this is because you can’t major in swords. She’s the biggest tomboy in the world, and in stereotypically true fashion, her great coming out was no real surprise since she’s way closer to butch. Nobody expected her to go for a little princess like Cella, though, so at least she’s not too predictable.
- Bran (16): pretty cool as little brothers go. He does a lot of gaming and story-writing and world-building stuff, which I don’t always understand but it makes him happy and he’s made some really good friends doing it.
- Rickon (13): I really don’t need to hear the jokes about my parents’ sex lives, ta much. Rickon is exactly like you’d expect a 13-year-old-boy to be.
- Grey Wind, Lady, Nymeria, Summer, Shaggydog, Ghost (4): our giant furry rescue dogs. We each have one that’s ours. “But wait, Sansa, that’s six dogs and there’s only five of you!” Which brings us to…
The Snows! (Lyanna is Dad’s younger sister, and a long time ago she had an ill-conceived affair with my friend Dany’s way older brother, and there was a lot of drama, so she and her son lived with us for a long time. She owns a stable now, and she’s awesome.)
- Jon (23): he’s basically another brother to me, even though he’s my cousin. He’s kind of serious and I don’t think he ever fully left his emo phase, but he’s stupidly noble. He’s an honest-to-gods park ranger (he gets mad if I call him a “nature cop”) and also he somehow went from never having any significant other to having two girlfriends at once (Ygritte and Val). Whatever, he deserves nice stuff.
The Targaryens! (it’s complicated, and I’ll let Dany explain it better next week, but basically Rhaegar is her father figure even though he’s her brother. Just go with it.)
- Viserys (27): the world’s shiftiest jerk. He’s never going to see this because he can’t be bothered to care about anything but himself, but if he does see it fine. You’re a shifty jerk, Viserys, and we all want to punch you for hurting Dany.
- Daenerys (23): see why we call her Dany? She’s like, the most awesome of social justice warriors (which I mean as a compliment) and this total goddess, she’s lived all over the world and she knows like six languages and someday she’s going to be something important in the government but for now she’s sort of the queen of her dead ex-boyfriend’s biker gang. And enamored of Doreah (seriously, we’re all queer, it’s great).
The Martells! (Rhaegar was married to Elia, who’s the sister of Doran and Oberyn; she and her kids by Rhaegar moved back to England a long time ago but the rest are still here, and Oberyn is like, common-law married to Ellaria who’s terrifying but kind of cool, but here are Doran’s kids, his wife-or-whatever went back to Europe too)
- Arianne (26): if she doesn’t land her own reality TV show, she’s going to be like Kerry Washington on Scandal. In the meantime she’s kind of halfheartedly doing the socialite thing because her dad doesn’t really want her trying to get into big business or politics for some reason. Whatever. She’s a burlesque dancer and she kicks ass.
- Quentyn (22): he's okay, I guess, for a recently-teenage boy.
- Trystane (18): he’s okay, I guess, for a teenage boy.
The Sands! (but wait! Oberyn and Ellaria’s kids? They’re not strictly speaking Martells, since they all took Ellaria’s last name even though the three oldest aren’t hers.)
- Obara (25): she’s uncannily good at weapons and stuff, so she’s doing private security right now while she sorts it out. She’s also definitely the level-headed one in most situations that aren’t straight-up combat.
- Sarella (24): or Ella, either way. They’re genderqueer (they/them), super highly literate, and a giant theatre geek. Also used to be the star of the archery team. Right now they work at the library, but they’re not sure if that’s going to stick yet.
- Nymeria (23): yeah, like my sister’s dog. Technically named after the same historical badass, it’s just funny. We mostly call her Nym, though. She’s idling in her last semesters at university, flirting with literally everyone, working at my aunt’s barn, and just generally being a lot of fun.
- Tyene (22): do not leave your drink unattended around this girl she will spike it like nobody’s business in the name of fun (I learned this the hard way). Sometimes she’s blunt and sometimes she talks like she’s a mysterious, vague enchantress in an R-rated sexy fairytale, but it works. Also she’s a chem student, which is neat.
- Elia, Obella, Dorea, Loreza (17, 16, 14, 13): I don’t know the youngest four Sand girls that well because Ellaria’s father talked her into sending them to fancy English boarding school. They’re cool when they come home to visit though.
The Greyjoys! (so Balon, their shitty dad, got transferred to Nova Scotia years ago and took his wife Alannys with him, but two of his kids stayed and they’re the relevant ones)
- Asha (26): if Arya could grow up to be Asha, I think she’d be content. Asha’s like the hardest-edge soft butch girl you’ll ever meet, captains our derby squad and has these punk-nautical tattoo and works on cars and stuff. She’s a little intimidating, but she’s cool. She’s also a giant flirt even though she’s seeing/not-really-seeing gorgeous Ros.
- Theon (24): he’s been Robb’s best friend forever, and he also almost lived at our house since his dad was such a tool he needed an escape. He used to be kind of a tool himself, too, but he’s grown up okay.
The Baratheons! (there’s Robert and he’s Dad’s best friend and also the president of the company, but I’m talking about his middle brother stick-in-the-mud Stannis and his kinda batty religious wife Selyse and)
- Shireen (15): she had some illness when she was a kid, which scarred her face and also made her parents really overprotective of her. As a result, she grew up a total bookworm, and that’s still her great passion even though we are all doing our best to help her actually get out and do things. She’s really the sweetest, though, and she’s a pretty good teacher. Also enamored of the teenage Lyanna.
The Lannisters! (there are so many adults, but the only one I’m going to mention right now is Cersei, who sells real estate, used to be married to Robert, and birthed the following, who are all Shireen’s cousins)
- Joffrey: I sort of had a crush on him when we were younger, even though he was pretty awful. I say was because he was killed in an accident a few years ago. Which is sad, but I don’t actually spend that much time being sad about it. It’s just worth mentioning.
- Myrcella (18): sometimes Cella for short. She’s twee, she’s sunshiney, she’s actually really smart although, as previously mentioned, a princess. Her mom still doesn’t know she’s dating my sister and would probably flip her lid if she did, but Cella doesn’t care. Underneath all that pink and gold and frills is the heart of a rebel.
- Tommen (15): he’s a decent kid. Loves cats.
The Tyrells! (Mace and Alerie sell real estate, grandma Olenna used to sell real estate, and their two older sons sell real estate too but they went back to England, so here the next generation is just)
- Loras (26): I was in love with him when I was a teenager because he’s gorgeous and athletic and really chivalrous. Literally a male model now. Alas for teenage me, he’s quite gay. Dating Robert and Stannis’ younger brother Renly, actually.
- Margaery (24): my darling queer queen. She works in admin for the company right now, but she could do anything she wants and probably she will. Is it weird to say I can’t actually imagine being with anyone else? I can’t. She’s glamorous and really conscientious and I’m going to stop now before I get disgusting.
The Reeds! (their dad Howland used to work at the company, but he retired early to write fantasy books and never bothered to move back to England because his kids had already settled)
- Meera (17): she’s like the most badass outdoorswoman ever. She also has a really typical big sister personality, which is to say she’s used to taking care of everyone.
- Jojen (16): he’s really smart and really not outdoorsy at all, in contrast. He’s also going to follow in his dad’s footsteps, I’m pretty sure. These two are Bran’s best friends.
The only children! (either their parents work for the real estate company or they used to or they’re adjacent or or or)
- Ygritte Allaway (25): she takes no shit, tends the best bar in town, shoots a mean arrow, and absolutely loves to embarrass her boyfriend (my cousin Jon) and girlfriend (Val).
- Roslyn Carmody (27): alias Ros. She manages this local rockabilly boutique, does glamour pin-up modeling, counsels young girls on body positivity and sex positivity, and can generally just out-aesthetic anyone. As mentioned, she’s Asha’s sometimes-girl.
- Irri Chalise (23): kind of everyone’s girl Friday, always cleaning up messes for people. She’s in nursing school right now, which makes perfect sense, and she makes riding on the back of her boyfriend Rakharo’s motorcycle look glamorous.
- Shae Demir (27): nobody really knows why she ended up here, of all places in the world (she’s been to most of them), but here she is, working in the shop with Ros and mother-henning the younger of us when we need it.
- Kovarro Ihejirika (23): right now he’s a bike mechanic during the day and a biker at night, and it suits him really well. He’s also the guy you go to when you need someone punched but can’t do it yourself.
- Jhiqui Kava (23): also in nursing school, and just the sweetest. In contrast, she hangs out with the biker boys but she refuses to get on a bike herself, which is cute.
- Rakharo Mallon (23): he took some time off but Irri is making him go to community college, at least, so he has the business smarts to run his own garage or something. He’s a little foolhardy, but it’s from a place of good intentions.
- Lyanna Mormont (15): like my aunt her namesake (her mom and my dad have long been friends), she rides horses. She’s tiny enough to do it professionally, but I don’t know that she will. She’s absurdly clever and also is the definition of “scathing wit.”
- Jeyne Poole (21): she’s been my best friend forever. Her parents moved over here a long time before mine did, so she’s been here forever like I said. You will never meet a nicer girl than her. Ever. (Some people have taken advantage of this. They got what’s coming to them.)
- Valeria Nordskov (26): alias Val. She was kind of the It Girl of the alt kids in high school, kind of a princess but one that wouldn’t hesitate to knock a few teeth out either. It makes sense she’s being spoiled by two different someones now.
- Missandei Reyneke Selmy (22): she’s had a ridiculously crazy life for someone who’s so level-headed, but it’s not mine to tell. What I can say is she’s Grey’s girlfriend, she’s literally the smartest person I know (she speaks 19 languages), and she has the sense of humor of a highly literate robot.
- Jeyne Westerling Stark (21): Robb’s high school sweetheart and wife. Right now she’s staying at home and doing the mommy blogger thing (not that she’s given birth yet, but she’s due to and she’s getting ready). It’s weird because she’s my age and I’m sure not ready to have kids yet, but she seems happy.
- Doreah Sutton (24): she’s a model, mostly, and an actress when she has the chance, and a lot more insightful than people give her credit for. I think she could do psychology, but she’s not quite grown up enough for that yet (her words). She also plays consort to Dany’s biker queen.
- Gilly Roscoe Tarly (24): she’s actually one of the only kids in our group whose parents didn’t work here ever. Her dad was the worst, like seriously the worst but it’s not really my place to go into the details, and she moved over here on kind of a whim hoping she could find work. She also found love in her now-husband, the darling Sam.
- Sam Tarly (24): his dad is an executive, but his dad is also a dick. This is probably why he and Gilly bonded. Sam is studying to be a professor of literature, and he’s basically the sweetest guy.
- Brienne Tarth (27): if I was not already in love with Margaery and not too young for her, I would definitely go for Brienne. She’s also in security and she is the strongest, toughest most genuinely good-hearted person I’ve ever met. I’ll settle for her being my metaphorical big sister, though.
- Gendry Waters (21): he’s Arya’s best friend, another mechanic, and he’s so good at what he does even I who knows nothing about any of that stuff can appreciate it. He also happens to be Robert’s kid, but off of a one-night stand sort of thing, so he’s pretty self-made.
- Grey Wootton (25): he’s really quiet most of the time, but he has a really dry sense of humor and he’ll always have your back in a fight. Also he’s Missandei’s fellow, and he seems like the best kind of boyfriend if you’re gonna have one of those.
Yes, that is a lot of us. As sort of implied, though, not all of us are going to be equally active on this little blog. It’s mostly just a thing for some of us to do when we have half a second, because it’s fun, and who knows? We might be glad we did it.
posted by sansacs at 9:15 PM
aryals what if I figure out a way to major in swords just to spite you?
at 9:40 PM
danystormborn Probably don’t punch my brother. (But I appreciate the impulse more than words can properly express, I promise.)
at 11:45 PM
margiequeenofthegays Have I mentioned lately how adorable you are?
at 7:23 AM
Chapter 2: and I just cant hide my frustration when there’s so much more you could have done
Dany explains the biggest intersection in the histories of the Targaryen, Martell, and Stark families.
The Unnecessarily Convoluted Saga of the Targaryen Family (And How They’ve Tangled Up With Others)
As somewhat promised.
The interesting thing is that in our circles, family history actually carries weight sometimes. That might be something specific to us, because we’re all so close-knit or what have you, and it might be something that’s just inherent in some families of stature. (This is not meant in a snobbish way on my part. While I’m thankful for the inherent privilege my family’s wealth and reputation has afforded me, and the opportunity that privilege gives to try to help others and use those powers for good, I could honestly give a shit about most of the petty drama that comes with so-called high society and its pretentious adults.) What our parents etc. have done socially actually bears weight on some of our social lives. It’s not pretty, but there you have it.
I’ll take this moment to introduce myself, because context is important. I’m Dany - Daenerys if you must - and I’m currently the only Targaryen daughter. I have little use for the drama that comes with that, but I also have had a front seat to a great lot of it, so as Sansa implied, I’m more suited to telling the tale. (Because of the above point, it actually might be relevant to stories about our lives. It’s better to get this messy exposition done with just in case.)
Rumor has it that my father Aegon was quite plainly a basketcase. A great snob, prone to fits of mania and hysteria, thoroughly abusive to both family and friends, coworkers and acquaintances. Our family is, as Fitzgerald would say, “old money,” and to hear tell my father felt like this entitled him to just about anything he could imagine, including a number of extramarital affairs, not that he treated my mother very well when he was sticking around. My mother, Rhaella, was on the other hand rumored to be a docile, porcelainlike sort of lady, not permitted to hold down any job of her own and unfortunately subject to my father’s whims. They were married young, and it’s in my opinion probable that Rhaella regretted this by the end, though there wasn’t much that could be done since my father would never have granted her a divorce.
I say all of this past-tense and speculative because I never actually knew my parents. My father got himself killed a few months before I was born, in what I gather was a wholly disreputable fashion, and my mother died giving birth to me. My brother Viserys has never forgiven me. He was four when this all happened, and desperately attached to our mother - I don’t blame him, hearing what our father was like, but it’s not as if I chose to be born so bloodily, and to a woman rather past childbearing age no less (she was in her mid-late forties).
Luckily (for more reasons than I’m about to explain), Viserys is not my only brother. My older brother, Rhaegar, was 27 when I was born; my mother miscarried several times in the span of time between his birth and Viserys’, which sort of accounts for the large gap, as does the idea that my father couldn’t leave well enough alone. (Do I regret being born, only at the expense of my mother? Sometimes. Gods know Viserys has tried to make me feel bad about it since I was old enough to understand what he was talking about. But there’s not much I or anyone can do about it, so I’m resolved to make my life count.) Rhaegar by that point was also married to Elia née Martell with two children, Aegon and Rhaenys, who are six and three years older than me respectively, and taking in his tiny siblings was easy enough.
So we grew up one big, sometimes-happy family. Aegon’s a bit of a prick in that way a lot of boys feel like they can be, Viserys is every bit our father’s son (I’ll save discussing the things he’s done to me for when I’m feeling braver and even more confessional, it’s still difficult), but Rhaenys is a darling and Rhaegar and Elia made perfectly decent sibling-parents. Rhaegar is one of the heads of publicity for Westercorp, so we moved house often, vacationed even more, jet-setted in all the ways possible; we didn’t have a lot of physical stability but it was fine, most of the time. They weren’t the most emotionally demonstrative married couple ever, but it didn’t seem bad to me, after what I heard about my parents.
Then we moved here. It was supposed to be another year-long venture at best, like they all were, but joining up with a lot of the old guard, as it were, brought everything to the forefront. Suddenly we were rubbing noses with the other big families, and Rhaegar realized something he should have figured out long before. Around the same time my mother was pregnant with me, back in England, Rhaegar had an affair with a much younger woman, none other than Lyanna Stark, at the time a bored socialite still living home with her also-largely-Westercorp-employed family. The affair was short-lived but apparently tumultuous, including promises to leave his wife (which he never did) and declarations that age didn’t matter (Lyanna was in her late teens at the time, while Rhaegar was, as mentioned, not), and unbeknownst to my brother resulted in Lyanna’s unexpected pregnancy. Her son Jon is a few months older than I, and upon Rhaegar’s arrival in town, Lyanna couldn’t well keep him a secret anymore.
Naturally, Elia (with the support of her brothers, who also live here as Sansa mentioned) divorced my brother and spectacularly. She and my cousins moved back to England, where Elia is now doing a university course in fashion design and to hear Rhaenys tell it very happy. Viserys and I stayed here with Rhaegar, who’s since stopped globetrotting and made this his official home base. He’s still away on trips a lot of the time, but he’s technically our guardian, which as I was still underage at the time technically mattered, and Viserys, despite being an adult, is glad to have someone else’s giant house to loaf around in while he thinks abominable things about everyone that’s not himself and enjoys his trust fund.
Some of the older Martells and older Starks (not to mention the older members of other families, who thrive on superiority by means of gossip) still look askance at my brother. Nobody really blames Lyanna, except maybe Lyanna herself, but Rhaegar was a grown man who should have known better. I’m his sister and I admit this. He fucked up, he fucked up royally. He deserved to get left by his wife, and it’s probably for the best that Lyanna never resumed their old fling when he was technically free to do (I don’t know if he asked, but I assume he did).
I’d already started getting to know Jon prior to the revelation that I was technically his aunt; we were in the same year at school, friends of friends, whatever. I felt compelled to apologize for my brother being a deadbeat dad, who’d lied and cheated, and although he wouldn’t have any of it (he’s the long-suffering sort of soul that takes everything on himself, including being born, without question) it was still strange. Of course, how awkward it was for me isn’t really the issue, as mine wasn’t nearly one of the lives upset by this information. I was a bystander, and at any given time I’ve been able to sort of empathize with any of the parties in question, at least. The problem is that sometimes you get my father or Viserys, who are cartoonishly villainous, and sometimes you get Rhaegar, who’s a decent person most of the time but made a devastating mistake. I wouldn’t blame Elia and my cousins, or Jon and Lyanna for that matter, if they never forgave him, but he’s still markedly the lesser of evils out of my immediate family members who are still living, he’s been there for me through a lot and he’s never disrespected any of my boyfriends or girlfriends or pushed me around, so I do love him. And for that matter, I am glad of Jon, he’s one of the best men I know and certainly the nephew any aunt would be proud of, so it can’t be all bad, can it?
I think the other shitty thing about this situation is that family drama, in our circles, does not stay in the family. Everyone finds out about it. That’s another reason to explain it here on our blog straightaway, because we all know it, you should too. Or something. It certainly gets the past-tense baggage out of the way.
posted by danystormborn at 11:35 PM
stsnow Your auntlike doting never fails.
at 8:04 AM
allwild He means to include a ~ or a :p or something. Pardon his typical lack of humor.
at 8:06 AM
deardoreah You kick ass. (I know that’s not the point of this post, but I’m saying it anyway.)
at 10:45 AM
Chapter 3: with that skipping rope, the trampoline, the crafty smoke that made us choke, but we didn't give up hope
Cella's necessary exposition on her own fucked-up family.
Growing Up Lannister-Baratheon
That’s a facetious hyphen. I’ve never actually been saddled with two nine-letter last names on top of my eight-letter first name at the same time, thank the gods, but I’ve switched between them and somehow I’ve lived to tell the tale.
Something to understand straightaway is that I come from a family of assholes. I didn’t know my (allegedly) paternal grandparents, so I can’t say for them, and Grandma Joanna died long before I was born too, but Grandpa Tywin is a cantankerous jerk. Uncle Tyrion is too sarcastic for words, Uncle Jaime is sullen and stoic. Uncle Renly is all right, light-hearted and gay and fun, but Uncle Stannis has a stick up his you-know-what and his wife, my Aunt Selyse, is, as they say, cray-cray. My father Robert is a very important asshole, my mother Cersei is an asshole who thinks she’s more important than she is, my dead older brother Joffrey was in training to be king of the assholes (I can say that even though he’s dead because I really properly knew him, knew without a doubt that he was every bit as bad as people suspected). I try not to suck, and my little brother Tommen is naive but he’s not a bad person. But it’s been an uphill struggle.
The first thing to know: Grandpa Tywin has always been rich and powerful, but it’s like he doesn’t think it’s enough. He’s always wanted more influence than he has and he’s always wanted to be able to basically write people’s personalities. Uncle Jaime was supposed to be the golden boy, following in his father’s professional footsteps, but Uncle Jaime decided to go into law enforcement instead, because he’s better at beating people up than convincing them to buy things. My mum and Uncle Tyrion both went into the so-called family business, him in PR and her literally doing what my grandpa did, but Mum is a woman (and my grandpa is old-fashioned and sexist) and Tyrion has the double-whammy of being a little person (and my grandpa is incredibly ableist) and being the reason that Grandma Joanna passed so neither of them count. There is resentment and bitterness all around, and you do not know what resentment feels like until you’ve been to Lannister family dinner.
The second thing to know: my parents never really loved each other. My dad was always kind of hung up on - well, a friend’s little sister, and my mom was hung up on a really popular guy her own age, but they couldn’t get together with those people so for whatever reason they got together with each other. (It was probably a sex thing, which means I don’t want to think about it.) They should have gotten divorced pretty much immediately, but then along came baby Joffrey, then me, then Tommy, and for a while that at least made Mum want to pretend it was working.
It wasn’t working. I have very early memories of my parents yelling at each other over really stupid things (Dad wouldn’t fix a broken appliance or at least call someone to do it, Mum didn’t want his radio turned up so loud, etcetera) and memories that aren’t quite as far back, but still pretty far, of Mum with a concealer wand in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, covering up some nasty bruise on her throat that even as a kid I could tell wasn’t just from falling down and hurting herself. Every shared mealtime was a passive-aggressive spectacular, but then again most mealtimes weren’t shared since one or both of them almost always managed to be at a “night meeting.” (I say that in quotations because I expect some or all of these were actually closer to illicit trysts with romantic partners other than each other. Everyone knows my dad has had his fair share of those, and there are suspicions about my mum. I can’t say I know for sure, because she wouldn’t tell me for anything, but honestly, with my dad being how he is to her I wouldn’t blame her.)
The third thing to know: both of my parents have a problem with alcohol. It’s not to the point where it’s so bad that someone outside the family has wanted to stage an intervention, but they drink like they’re on Mad Men and it has its consequences, among them how they treat others.
The fourth thing to know: both of my parents have and had expectations for their children. Much as in her own family, Mum saw Joff as the star child, the precious gem to indulge and protect. She loves Tommy and me, I don’t doubt that she does, but I also know that’s more complicated that it should be. I’ve got the pressure of being the only girl (I thank the gods daily that arranged marriage is out of style) and Tom has been in turn spoiled and neglected. Joff was supposed to do important things, be an important person. I’m supposed to be pretty and clever (but not so clever it’s a problem) and amiable. What Tommy’s supposed to do changes weekly, it seems.
The fifth thing to know: both of my parents are crap at seeing the truth of things. Joff was the sort who beat up on stray animals, bullied anyone socially weaker than him; I know I didn’t get the worst of it, but it’d be lying to say he never laid hands on me. Did my parents do anything about this? Well, my dad used to take Joff to the shooting range, and Dad did something I don’t even want to discuss when he turned 18. But did they do anything about it in the sense of stopping my brother from being a prick, tormenting small dogs and schoolmates alike, actually saying something when it became apparent that mine and my little brother’s bruises weren’t from a gym class accident? No. They didn’t want to admit those things, so they didn’t.
Furthermore, neither of them realize I’m outstandingly not heterosexual. I think Dad still thinks I’ve a thing for Trys Martell; we were courting as best a sixteen-year-old pair can, going to dances and out to dinner that someone’s father’s chauffeur drove us to, for a while, and I said some outstandingly foolish things about wanting to marry him. Neither of my parents approved of Trys, exactly, as among other things they’re quite racist and closed-minded, but at least Trys was from a family with money and standing, and at least he’s a boy. (We’re still friends, enough, but we were children. It wasn’t going to be forever and we both knew it.) Dad probably wouldn’t mind if he figured out I was seeing Arya Stark; he’s close with her dad, he likes her in the way of I think he’d have known better what to do with me if I was a tomboy like her. But since he never knew what to do with me (this femme girly-girl, eager to please) we’ve never been close, so he hasn’t thought to take the time to figure it out. Mum’s going to lose it, though. She doesn’t have a high opinion of the Starks and despite what she’s always going on about, that women can be just as formidable as men, she doesn’t much care for girls who don’t act girly enough. Arya is about the least traditionally feminine girl I know, all short hair and a penchant for absolutely destroying people who mess with her. Plus, I’m supposed to be able to marry well and expand our influence, or something. I want no part of it. I want to figure out what I want and go after it without the consequences
The sixth thing to know: as per the above discussion of extramarital affairs, I might not even be my father’s daughter. I don’t know how I feel about this other than odd. It’s true none of my siblings or I look a thing like our father, but it’s still strange to think that he, despite all of his faults, isn’t actually anything to us.
The seventh thing to know: growing up like this sucks. In some ways it’s not worth complaining about, we never wanted for any material thing or any opportunity, we were lucky in that way. But when your mother is unreasonably gifted with passive-aggression, your father is absent and uninvolved, and your older brother is doing everything in his power to drag you down to the depths of douchebagdom with him, you learn a few things, none of them good. You learn to be guarded, not to expect anything from people, to pick your battles (and there aren’t many of them worth it), not to show when you’re hurting. This is another reason I have to get this all out immediately. I’m still working to unlearn all of the bad patterns I’ve been exposed to in my youth, the ones my parents never unlearned themselves.
I am trying. I am always trying. I like getting along with people, I like figuring things out on my own. I don’t like conflict or assumptions or being told I don’t know what I feel. I like pretty things and supportive behavior and strategy. I don’t like intentional hurtful behavior. I know that sometimes I do something that I’m not proud of, and maybe it’s because of my family or maybe it’s just because I wasn’t thinking, but I try to be good. Someone has to be in my family, and I’m not putting that on Tommen alone, he’s just a kid who likes cats.
posted by cellala at 2:40 AM
shigirl I can’t wait for the cousin freedom house in a couple years.
At 12:34 PM
aryals You’re not your mother. You didn’t ask but I’m saying it anyway.
at 4:03 PM
Chapter 4: I'm just wondering but the cracks begin to show, look closely and then you'll know
Missandei's unique perspective on the structure of things.
Lessons in the Art of Forgiving and Forgetting
I will preface this with the statement that I don’t mean to make this some preachy “it could be so much worse” sort of piece. I don’t want to put off any sort of moral superiority because of the life I’ve known, or try to place gold in the Oppression Olympics. I’ve just got a different set of experiences than a lot of the kids here, and it makes watching how everything happens in our circles fascinating.
To get the exposition out of the way, as everyone’s been doing, then: unlike most of the kids of our next generation, I was not born in the States or in England or its immediate territories either. I was born in South Africa, Johannesburg to be exact, only daughter of immigrants (legal or not, I don’t know) from Caribbean islands (which ones I also don’t know). I had brothers; might still have, strictly speaking, but we’ve been split up for ages. Sansa once compared it to what happens in the film Annie, in that after my parents passed I was taken in by thoroughly disreputable people who wanted to profit from my labour; that’s the most innocent version of what happened to me, but it at least puts it in terms that most people can understand.
I managed somehow to get a reasonable education. What happened, more or less, was the awful people I’d been not-quite-adopted by realized I had academic aptitudes and tried to work it to their advantage, which ended up being to my own advantage, too. I learned languages mostly, and what goes with them, and I managed to steal a fair amount of reading material when I could to teach myself more about life things, too.
One thing led to another and, also similar to Annie, I crossed paths with a former English soldier and current international corporate employee who somehow (he’s never told me the details; he’s not wonderful at discussing the circumstances of our meeting, largely because he fears it’ll upset me) managed to deal with the people in charge of my and my peers’ misuse and properly adopt me and haul me across the world, first back to England, then here to the States. I don’t remember anything about my biological parents, really, but I know I’m exceptionally lucky in my adoptive father, one former Lieutenant-General Barristan Selmy, now US head of security for Westercorp. Barristan isn’t really the “Dad” sort, but he’s a good dad nonetheless. Made sure to help me get caught up in all the little life things I’d missed, makes sure to support me how he can. That’s better than some of my friends can say about their biological families, so.
To tie back into the title of my post, though, one thing I know is that both of those things, those other f-words, are very, very difficult. Do I still have horror-stricken dreams sometimes, about what was or what might have been? Of course. That’s going to be burned into me forever, same as any trauma might. Do I resent the hells out of the people who took advantage of me? Of course. While it’s comforting that they’re probably still at the mercy of the legal system, there’s no denying they did to me and others things that could charitably be called inhumane. Forgiving and forgetting are not principles I apply to a great deal of my past.
I’d like to think that, in the least pretentious way possible, I’m pretty good at having perspective, though. This is not to discount the decades-long family sagas that affect so many of my friends and indeed everyone’s lives here, because I know they’re meaningful and often still fraught with drama. This is just my way of saying, I personally try to stay as far out of that as I can. I try to think of things not based on what historically has happened between one family or another but based on what’s happened between people, presently, today.
Take the stuff Dany was discussing. Maybe it’s partially that I’ve never actually met Elia and her kids (they were gone back to England by the time I settled in here) and maybe it’s that I’ve a bit of a bias since he’s good friends with Barristan and likely contributed to getting me out of hell but I’ve always found it easy enough to see Rhaegar not as an adulterer (or a “skank,” as Tyene’s called him) but as a mostly-decent man who made some extreme mistakes. I don’t forgive him for that, and I won’t forget that he did what he did, but I don’t hold it against anyone else. Dany’s one of my best friends, after all, we can talk about anything and she’s shepherded me through crises both social and spiritual; I know that for his faults Rhaegar tries to be a better father figure to her than he’s been to any of his biological children, and I know that because of what I’ve seen and heard from Dany. I’m not as close with Jon, but I respect him and I certainly don’t blame him or put the onus of being the product of an affair on his head.
Or there’s the fact that honestly, most of the biggest players are unpleasant to be around in one way or another. There have been countless affairs had by parents, countless dressings-down in the workplace and at social events, countless rivalries between families. I think for some kids, depending on how toxic their family’s been on that particular point, this can carry over. It can be easy to get into some truly Romeo and Juliet sort of stuff, hating on a young person for something their parent did or just because they’ve been told to. But for the most part, the kids I know are not their parents. Cella and Tommen are eons sweeter, Shireen’s much more accepting of people, Arianne takes far more risks, Theon and Asha are tough but they’ve much more compassion. I think that for the most part, we’ve all made efforts to take the good that our families have given us and change the bad. It’s admirable. Really, I think I only notice because I don’t have people embroiled in all of this. Barristan’s liked by everyone, but even if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t get judged on his behalf anyway. I’m close as anyone can be to a neutral observer, watching all of this and learning from it.
I guess that’s what I want to share, here. All of us here, and everyone out in the world, could benefit from knowing what to forgive and what to forget and what to know you’ll carry with you and come to terms with it.
posted by missmiss at 8:20 PM
greyw I admire you, you know I do.
At 12:01 AM
Chapter 5: cover your eyes so you don't know the secret I've been trying to hide
Margaery gives her own little thinkpiece on sexual and sexuality-related stereotypes.
Musings On The Construct of Societally Inevitable Heterosexuality & Associated Stereotypes
Does this essay exist somewhere on the internet already? Probably. But I have, or know people who have, some hilarious anecdotal evidence, and I’m bad at discussing serious things in any context more deep than “try to make bad things better.” What can I say, I’m still a beauty queen at heart though I haven’t actually done a pageant since I was tweenaged and precocious.
As the youngest of four, and the only girlchild in the family, I had expectations put upon me from a young age. This is not a complaint, as unlike most of my derby sisters’ families my own ranges from the delightful (my gran) to the harmlessly ineffectual (my father), but it is worth noting. I’ve always been the little princess, spoiled and petted and treated as a paragon of femininity and virtue. (The latter is still true if you’re going by some standards~) I was put in ballet practically as a child, I’ve done modeling and performing, I was always given a pretty dress and trotted out for some big family event or another, proof of someone’s inherent something. I didn’t keep track, I just liked excuses to get dolled up.
I know for a fact that my mum had some ideas about my marrying up and living a grand life some executive’s wife, popping out babies and tending my prizewinning rose garden for fun. (Even that was wishful thinking, as I don’t mind getting out and dirty in the yard from time to time, but I’m honestly better with roses as a hypothetical motif than a physical reality; it’s my older brothers who got the gardening gift, not me.) Dad probably shared them, figured I’d flit around for a few years playing at independence before settling down with whichever wealthy gentleman I deemed aesthetically appropriate. And in all fairness, I was the sort of girl who liked to play bride: picking wedding dresses out of magazines, fantasizing about venues and cakes and bridesmaids and honeymoons and all the most fairytale trappings.
What nobody seemed to notice was that I couldn’t have cared less to imagine up a groom.
Little girls, really little girls, often don’t like boys, though, do they? They run screaming away from cootie monsters, or some such. Boys are disgusting, they’re immature, they don’t like the things that little girls like. It’s normal not to care about boys when you’re young, or at least to say you don’t care about boys. You have other things to worry about, namely dresses and dolls and flowers and unicorns and pretty pastel colors and whatever sparkles the most, and so long as you’re in line with that sort of thing, none of the grown-ups find you odd.
Really little boys aren’t expected to care that much about little girls, either, but they have their own set of things to like. Any sort of sportball, whatever they can do that involves being dirty and hitting each other, cars and motorbikes, superheroes, monsters, whatever the latest primary-colored trend is (not that boys are expected to pay attention to trends in the way that girls are). As long as a little boy is interested in at least some of that, they’re not on any adults’ freak radar. It’s only by adolescence that they’re expected to start collecting pictures of tan girls in bathing suits to foul up and to start eyeing up the innocent little things they’ve known forever.
My second-oldest brother, Garlan, he was a perfectly normal sort. Football and video games and outdoor activities, a respectably early marriage to his college sweetheart Leonette. Willas, my oldest brother, was poised to be as normal, but a horsing accident in his youth kept him from the more physical aspects of regular manhood. Instead he’s the nice, bookish one, and he’s wonderful. He is.
Then you get to Loras, who’s closest in age to me. He’s actually a pretty talented football player, soccer for our American audience, and he’s been doing that forever, but he never really seemed to be interested in the toys our older brothers passed along. When I arrived in the family, though, my dolls with their dresses and bows, my videos with their glamor and makeovers, all of the glitz and delight of girliness seemed to draw him in. “Oh, he’s probably just better with his sister because they’re closer in age,” people would say.
Then he started coming to ballet with me, and that’s when people started to whisper. Of course there have to be some boy dancers, for the boy roles and because you can’t expect the girls to lift each other over their heads if you also expect them to stay stick-thin. But aren’t those boys, well… you know?
Nobody wanted to be the first one to say it to my parents, that they thought almost entirely based on the fact that he danced ballet (and he was damn good at it) my brother was gay. The actual feeling he had for boys, or absence of feeling for girls, he hadn’t outwardly displayed either at that point so it wasn’t even a consideration at first. Never mind that Loras also played football, could fence pretty well too; no, boy ballet dancers, they’re… a little different, aren’t they?
Different meaning gay.
As Loras grew into his teens, he had plenty of female friends, but plenty of male ones too. Very popular and well-liked, he was, always ready to help make someone or something a little more fabulous (he didn’t use the word fabulous at this point, that would have been another point on the gayness tally, but that was the essence of it). Meanwhile, there was me, hyperfeminine and interested in all of the right girl things, but I was also loath to let a boy slow-dance with me at formals or even to talk to most of the ones I wasn’t related to or who weren’t friends with someone I was related to. I had a few aesthetic attractions to male celebrities, but nowhere near the fluttering giddiness of a lot of girls I knew. “Oh, she’s just choosy, it’s because she’s so mature,” people would say.
Everyone had pretty well decided Loras was gay a good four or five years before he actually came out, because he liked the sorts of girl things that I myself enjoyed, dancing and making sure his hair looked nice and color coordination. Straight boys don’t like girl things, but straight girls do. Gay girls, on the other hand, are supposed to like boy things. Wearing flannel, having short hair, being tough and muscular. Never mind the fact that a girl who enjoys girl things by definition also probably enjoys girls to some degree. Never mind that a girl who enjoys girl things often surrounds herself with girls and in my case, practically abhors boys and makes no real secret of the fact that at best men are just stepping stones on the way to something greater (dance partners, for example, or the male half of a duet). Heterosexual girls, while being sexually interested in boys, sort of seem like they’re supposed to hate or disdain boys anyway.
The ballet boy is gay. The ballet girl, who definitely didn’t subconsciously join ballet because looking at girls in leotards is fun, is meant to be straight.
All of which is to say: my parents and the rest of the world had Loras pegged, but my own coming-out a year or so later (I’d had it figured out already, for longer than anyone would guess, but I didn’t want to steal his spotlight, nor did I particularly fancy coming out before I had someone to come out for - ta, Val, our fling was short-lived but certainly memorable) came as a great surprise. Boys who are girly clearly like boys, because girls who are girly clearly like boys. Or so went the assumption. Yet here I stand, alongside many of my derby sisters and many others, to cheerfully refute that. Even in this modern age, the existence of femme queers is shocking to some people - most of us who could similarly self-label would tell you the same. Yet Arya, Brienne, Asha - the short-haired, tough-talking, wear-a-suit-instead-of-a-dress ones of us - their admissions of liking girls were, as I understand, regarded more as a “when” than an “if.”
And another myth! The necessity of a femme/butch pair. Where one of the ladies in question still obviously wears the pants. You get that sometimes, see also Arya and Cella, but then on the other hand you’ve got Brienne, queen of the butches, and Obara, who slides closer to soft butch than anything else, or you’ve got Sansa and I, who met in ballet and bonded over girly things before tipping over into bonding over girls that were each other. Nothing is set in stone, but to hear outsiders say it half of what goes on is obvious and half must obviously be a lie.
I know this isn’t just a problem with our social group. But you have to admit, it’s an almost bitterly hilarious snapshot.
posted by margiequeenofthegays at 10:35 PM
britheblue And then sometimes there’s cases like adolescent me, where you’re so desperate for normal you willfully disregard stereotypes for all too long. (Also, Obara and I aren’t dating. Will you guys stop saying that?)
At 11:40 PM
tysand You completely are.
At 12:32 AM
obarasand Shut up, Tyene. (Otherwise, nice enough piece, Marg.)
At 9:20 AM
sansacs Take your bickering somewhere else, all of you. My girlfriend is sociologically insightful.
At 11:45 AM
Chapter 6: because I was born free and I ain't taking shit
Nym and experiences in intersectional feminism.
On Female Domination
(Not necessarily in that way~)
My family, all the young people will tell you, is pretty much the coolest. Granted, Uncle Doran is kind of a stick in the mud, and Trys and Quentyn are… well, they’re boys, but Arianne is the glamorous sort of cousin most girls only dream of having. Aunt Elia is sweet, Aegon’s another boy but Rhaenys is cool. My dad is hands-down awesome and perfectly forthright about things most adult-adults get stupidly coy about, my sort-of-stepmom (it’s complicated) is brilliant, my sisters are every kind of cool even though sometimes I just want to slap them. (You know how it is with sisters. Or maybe you don’t, but trust me, that’s how it is.)
My family is also, compared to the other big names in our circle, considerably more progressive. And not just in the way of Dad and Ellaria being bisexual swingers (though the attitudes about sexuality are part of it, more on that in a bit). There’s a truly unfortunate tendency among a lot of the adult-adults in our circle to apparently think it’s 1956 (or earlier) in terms of sociopolitics. Shame on the woman who wants to be treated as if she’s equal to a man, shame on the young person who dares to challenge a long-upheld religious belief, shame on the brown person who tries to rise above their codified station. Etcetera.
The way I was raised, though, none of that was even a question. We can’t technically be a matriarchy, with Doran as the unofficial head of the family, but his daughter is going to be the one to succeed him in whatever he does. He may not want to admit it yet, out of fatherly overprotectiveness, but she’s going to. And Dad’s got literally eight of us girls, each of whom he’s taught to be warrior-strong in our own way without a second thought. The facts of our religious ambivalence and inherent non-whiteness only enhance this, I think. No greater power is going to tell us what we can and cannot think, and you can’t really have equality unless everyone has it. (I, probably more than my sisters because I’m more eager to get into it with people, have had to teach a few Fun Lessons About Intersectional Feminism. Luckily, at least the derby sisters and theirs have listened.)
I say “female domination” not, as mentioned, in the sexy way (though on that note: as a switch who is often assumed to be a complete domme, I find it about seven thousand times easier to let women dominate me than men - the inherent dynamics are just different, and while a bossy woman can turn me right on a bossy man usually just makes me want to put him on his knees - and I know that’s not even subtle or insidious feminist-misandry) but in the way of experiences in societies where women are powerful and revered and central. I’ve grown up in a family full of the proverbial “girl power,” surrounded by what sometimes seems to be an endless parade of sisters (Ella still lets us call them a sister, too, because it’s just easier) who’ve developed their/our own world. We fight, like all siblings probably do, but we’d still have each other’s backs no matter what. We still know whose strengths lie where (Ty’s the party goddess, for example, and Obara’s the reliable one) and how to use that to our advantage.
And really, after growing up like that, I don’t think it’s any wonder that we’ve all turned out like we have, heavily ladyqueer and constantly surrounding ourselves with kickass female friends. I sleep with men sometimes, but I’m not shy about admitting that in general, I like female company more. Ella’s actually got a fair amount of cis boy friends, but they haven’t even considered romance with one of those since primary school (and primary school romances, let’s be real, aren’t even romances). Obara and Ty and I all run with the derby girls, of course, which is its own little sorority and about the most Sapphic thing you can get up to that doesn’t directly involve a bunch of girls going down on each other simultaneously while listening to Tegan and Sara. The youngest four of us are off at all-girls’ school, and while none of them have overtly come out yet I’m sure it’s only a matter of time (girls’ school also breeds female-female love, I know from experience though ours was just a day school). Etcetera.
Once you’re used to the prolific feminine, I guess is my point, you don’t really want to turn back. I do so hope this bodes well for the world we’re going to make for ourselves when it’s our turn.
posted by nymsand at 6:49 PM
At 10:02 PM
At 11:34 PM
Chapter 7: we don't have to wait 'til the morning, the sun will never go down
Tyene and her family have innocent summertime fun.
........I shouldn't need to explain why this is important.
The Adventures of Landlocked Beach People In Summertime
Summer is always an adventure for the Martell-Sand clan. Mama says it’s just hectic because the little ones are home from boarding school (usually, unless they’ve jetted off for a week in some exotic locale with their fancy classmates) and sometimes, sometimes, Aunt Elia and her children fly in for a visit too. That’s only happened when we’ve been on jaunts out of town, given the situation with Elia’s ex-husband, but this year that’s the way it’s been.
My family are, as mentioned, beach people. We like sun and sand and scanty clothing (no need to be coy about it) - but the difficulty is that Kingsland, while a serviceable enough sort of city (I suppose), is very much surrounded by dirt and earth and a truly depressing lack of sea. I’m sure if we tried we could camp, pitch tents in some prestigious nature reserve and skinny-dip in a river and hike bug-infested trails, but that’s just not us. Camping is messy, and while some of my sisters (looking at you, ‘Bara) might be content being butch and communing with nature, I don’t consider anyplace worthwhile unless there’s a bar - a decent one, not just ten flavors of mediocre beer - in walking distance. It’s a matter of being civilized.
(Am I prissy? I’ve been accused of it, by that same some of my sisters, but I prefer to think of myself as sophisticated. I’m not afraid of getting dirty, I’d just rather do so metaphorically. Or sexually, but that’s not relevant to discussions of family outings.)
We’ve found some decent lakeside beaches in a few hours’ driving distance, though, and Uncle Doran may be stodgy and dull, backward-thinking even, most of the time, but he does value family togetherness and therefore thought nothing of shelling out for a proper beach house big enough to fit all of us (and a few extra people, if we felt like it; more than once Dany’s been brought along, because even if her older brother broke Aunt Elia’s heart and her other brother is an insufferable prick, she’s still good, she’s close to family, and Trys brought Cella once, back when that tepid adolescent affair was in swing, which absolutely enraged her mother but there was nothing technically wrong about it so she couldn’t refuse without seeming unreasonable and possibly receiving another tally on the “number of times Cersei Lannister has been a terrible racist” board). It’s to this veritable summer mansion that we retreat sometimes, all of us or some of us or even just a few of us (my sisters and I have used it as a far-enough-away rendez-vous point in the past, admittedly), and then we tear up the town.
In the very nicest way.
Aunt Elia flew out with Aegon and Rhaenys last week, and it fell to them to open the house. (This means Elia and Rhaenys opened the house while Aegon sat on his arse and played video games, he’s that kind of spoiled boy despite my aunt’s best efforts, not quite an MRA but rather closer to it than is comfortable.) Then Doran(’s chauffeur) drove he and Ari and Quentyn and Trys out over the weekend, and Papa and Mama and all of us came a couple of days ago (‘Bara and Nym and I had a derby practice we didn’t want to miss and besides that we were waiting on ‘Bella, some cute little girl she rooms with at school invited her for a week in New York City and we all insisted of course she had to go, El would’ve probably committed murder if a little sister of theirs willfully turned down Hamilton tickets). Thus did the family vacation begin.
Not, mind, that a gathering of the Martells and Sands is an entirely peaceful event at the best of times. Uncle Doran and Papa always get in some long-winded argument, usually about how Uncle disagrees with facets of Papa’s philosophy of life (usually meaning either how he’s raised his children or his liberal views about sexuality), and then almost without fail Mama storms off and mutters something about how she’s this close to murdering him and putting an end to his conservative bullshit. Trys and Aegon feed off of each other, spiritually, which means soon you’ve got two whiny, entitled brat boys stomping around acting like they don’t have any responsibilities to be decent, and either Aunt Elia frets about this so much that it puts Rhaenys in a mood which puts all of us in a mood or ‘Bara and Nym take it on themselves to correct the boys’ behavior (usually with mild physical violence or truly extreme video game violence - neither of my sisters care so much about your Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty or whatever currently-popular mess is on the screen, but they can both trounce the boys if they try). Uncle Doran acts scandalized every time I try to assuage the situation with cocktails, which is ridiculous because I don’t give them to any of the children (by European standards, not American ones - 21 is a ridiculously arbitrary number, 18 makes more sense, which does mean that Trys unfortunately got to try some this year, but so did sister Elia, 17 is almost 18 and she asked very nicely) but he still sees all of us as being younger than we are, I think he’s just sore that his sons can’t hold their liquor as well as my sisters and I, or Arianne for that matter, can.
But then, that’s family, isn’t it? They’re the people you can want to murder but if someone else tried to murder them you’d murder that person in their defense. That’s just how it is. And as we younger ones have grown up, family time has become rarer and rarer. We take what we can.
(And look at the hilarious swimsuit I found! I’ve been using it to bait silly emo boys.)
posted by tysand at 9:45 PM
danystormborn Give Rhae love and Aegon hell on my behalf.
at 11:04 PM
obarasand Oh, that’s what you’ve been doing in that ridiculous thing. I was worried we were in for a return of your edgy phase.
at 10:23 AM
Chapter 8: when I'm with you I'm standing with an army
Shireen gives a run-down of the roller derby squad.
Finally an answer to the question who's who in this work.
As people have mentioned, my parents are not the most entertaining nor the most emotionally available of people. It’s pretty reasonable to assume that my dad turned out how he did because he saw his brothers (Robert, the older, the punch-first sort of louse; Renly, the younger, the fun but in Dad’s eyes frivolous) and decided he’d try to be the opposite. It’s not like he’s never been in a fight but it’s not his first instinct, as far as I know he’s only ever been with my mom, he’s (usually too) serious in any situation. And I’m not positive why my mom got so hung up on religion, but I’d bet it has something to do with the near-fatal illness I had when I was a kid and then all my stillborn brothers and sisters.
Between the seriousness and the religion and the invalid only-childhood, it’s safe to say I didn’t really grow up having a lot of fun. I read books, mostly, and I didn’t have a lot of friends. But once I hit my teenage years, my cousin Cella (who’s long sworn that once we’re both old enough the “cousin freedom house” is going into effect) fought for - and won - the privilege to bring me into older-girl group activities. As long as it was responsible. This is how I got to know most of the Next Generation and also how I wound up part of the Kingsland Derby Girls family.
I love these girls, every one of them, and it occurred to me that we’ve never actually gone through the roster and mentioned exactly who’s who. As something of an impartial party, I figure I’m a good choice to take that task on.
As mentioned, Asha’s our captain, and out on the track she goes by Squid Row. Her family’s always had a sea motif going, krakens and the like especially (she’s got a killer tattoo on her thigh to support this), and though a lot of her relatives are (her word) tossers she likes the nautical aesthetic.
Bri’s sort of our auxiliary captain, mostly because she’s the one who trains the newbies. The thing about Brienne is that she’s really nice but on the track she’s terrifying because she’s so determined, which is fun to watch but probably less so to come up against in a match. Her derby name is Knight Ride Her because we all joke that she’s a true knight ‘cause she’s so honorable and also fierce.
Despite the fact that she only joined last year because before that she wasn’t old enough, Arya’s definitely one of the stars of the team. She’s a jammer, so she gets a lot of the flourishy badass moments on the track. The Starks are wolf people (their giant found dogs were a really happy coincidence) so that’s kinda where her nickname, Dire Straits, comes from, because of the direwolf (extinct but fearsome and apparently quite interesting).
Nym and Tyene also both play jammer sometimes, though they have very different styles. Nym’s all fluid and graceful but also lethal, which makes sense; she’s a horse person, but also (I’m not sure why exactly she started, but) she’s pretty terrifying with a whip. Like, an actual whip. A big leather one that’s a good two and a half feet longer than she is. This is why she goes by Whipsy Danger, or well, that and she loves Pacific Rim for being a Western action movie with an East Asian protagonist whose Asianness exists but isn’t stereotyped. (She’s the only one of us who falls into that category, because of her mom. Unfortunately, a lot of Westercorp is pretty aggressively white.)
Tyene, meanwhile, is erratic and almost mischievous on the track. That seems like the best way to describe it. Her derby name is Elixer Pussy, because as she’s told at least fourteen different people she “likes poison and pussy.” This definitely scandalized me the first time (remember, stodgy conservative parents) but she’s kind of just messing around to get a rise out of people. This is not to say she doesn’t specialize in alcohol (so I’ve been told - I’m nowhere near legal to drink yet) or she doesn’t enjoy, well, getting with women, but she likes to say things that are shocking because she thinks it’s funny.
Then there’s Obara, who occasionally pivots. She’s take-no-nonsense on the track, much more like Brienne than her sisters (this is probably why she and Brienne get on so well), and she’s not afraid to walk the line of making fouls. She goes by Lady MacDeath, because she’s not messing around. Or something like that.
Most of the team is blockers, so I’ll just go through them alphabetically by derby name. Myrcella, given the Lannister side of the family’s lion motif which translates to cats, goes by Bad Mews. She’s still pretty new to the team and doesn’t skate that many rounds, and I’m pretty sure she only joined because she’s dating Arya and Arya’s so into it, but she seems comfortable enough on the track.
Our own brainy Missandei of course had to get all fancy and literary with her name, Deus Wrecks Machina. I’m pretty sure she’d just have used the original phrase, no punny substitute involved, but the girls all insisted since it’s such an easy joke. It’s also funny though, because I’m pretty sure off the track that girl couldn’t wreck anything if she tried. She’s too sweet.
Doreah the model, the glamorous, went for Doll and Chain. It’s metacommentary on feminine beauty expectations, I’m pretty sure. She’s a little more vicious on the track, but she’s still really very elegant.
And then there’s Dany. Her whole bonkers family is, well, bonkers, but their family “thing” is dragons and fire. You can definitely tell this by looking at her tattoos; the largest of these is a dragon, black and red, and there’s a fair amount of fire scattered around too, among other things. It’s really no surprise she went with Dragon Belle Z for her name, then. It suits her, since she’s also got something of an air of royal finesse about her.
Sansa, who’s only been skating as long as Arya has, can actually get pretty feisty on the track, but she’s very ladylike about it. Her derby name is Larked to Kill, I guess because more than one person has patronizingly called her “little bird” or something along those lines over time, as in she’s delicate and fluttery, and so she’s turned it around on them. (I’m half-convinced, incidentally, that actual physical harm has come to some of the people that have messed with Sansa, possibly of her own doing, possibly of Arya’s. She’s never said, but it would make sense.)
Irri just goes by Princess Luna on the track. That’s one of the new My Little Ponies, actually one of the ones I like best. She’s got a reasonably dark backstory but in more recent appearances she’s just been sweet and sort of clueless about how to behave normally. This isn’t a pun at all but she couldn’t be persuaded to invent one, so at least she chose the edgy pony.
Then Margaery, sweet lovely Margaery, chose Thorning Glory. Roses are her family’s choice iconography, and her grandmother (who’s very cool, if a bit scary) has been called the Queen of Thorns, often respectfully, because she’s so scathing. Margaery is very much her grandmother’s granddaughter. She’s better at taking people apart with words than elbows, but she does all right for herself.
Then you come to Lyanna and I, the water girls (and girlfriends, although neither of us totally knows what we’re doing because we’re fifteen and not the glamorous kind of fifteen). We’re too young to get on the track, and I might be too fragile, but they want to let us be a part of it anyway. We don’t really need names but we have them anyway, Lyanna’s Bearly Lethal (her family’s into bears) and mine is Shilo Bloodlust (it’s a play on a character from a gory rock musical who like me suffers from poor health and an overprotective father). It’s their way of keeping an eye on us.
Of course, the whole derby family can extend to anyone we want it to, but this is the core.
posted by shigirl at 10:41 PM
lyam Well-phrased. I’ll say the flirtier version in person.
at 11:40 PM
Chapter 9: I held the fort and I swung my sword
Arya on taking charge of your life.
Problem-Solving for Girls Who Are Tired Of Being Ladylike
Every time I’ve been mentioned on this little blog it seems to be in this context. Little baby butch Arya, violent Arya, convention-flouting Arya. Whatever, it’s true, and it’s always meant most people don’t really know what to do with me, but before we get any farther let me point out once and for all that most people’s opinions of me are secondary concerns. I only care what they think as much as it affects what I’m allowed to get away with doing, but I also am the way I am because it’s the way I am and not because I really enjoy being a rebel. No mentions of most people’s opinions of me are meant to garner pity or accolades either.
Honestly? It’s ridiculous, especially in these ~modern times~ or however you’d like to describe it, that there are still so many unspoken (or spoken) rules about appropriate behavior, particularly for girls. It’s ridiculous that all throughout my life people have accused me of wanting to be a boy just because my interests are more stereotypically masculine and I’m not typically good at going along with feminine manners. When I was little I thought maybe I did want to be a boy, but as I’ve gotten older what I’ve realized is that I’m very much a girl, I just want to have the freedoms that are more often afforded to boys. “Butch,” as I’ve said, is a label that suits me alright, and “tomboy” will always ring true, but I’m not a boy boy, no matter how short I cut my hair. I just wish there was less of a difference in how boys and girls (and everyone else, too) were treated, and I know all too well that in a lot of ways, it’s still easier for boys to get along.
I’m also not advocating for all that “not like other girls” shite. That, too, was a wrong way of thinking I sometimes thought when I was younger. A lot of that was rivalry with my sister, honestly, because Sansa is about the femmiest girl you’ll ever meet and she was constantly getting positive affirmation for it, while I was often scolded for being not femmy enough. Plus we were both sort of brats when we were younger, especially to each other, and that exacerbated things. It’s perfectly possible to be as girly a girl as you want and still employ unladylike problem-solving, though. “Ladylike” is really just a way of saying “beholden to the stupid gendered conventions our parents and such forced on us.” I’m not even against conventional manners if that’s what you’re into (my sister would say otherwise, but still), but being told you have to be into them sucks.
What I’m talking about is not being afraid to do things your parents wouldn’t approve of. I’m pretty lucky, Mum gets Sansa better but she’s always tolerated my wild habits and Dad mostly thinks they’re charming (apparently I take after Aunt Lyanna, though she grew up to be fairly classy so sometimes it’s hard to tell), but so many of the proper adults around here would rather the youth fit in their preconceived notions and make themselves as easy to mold as possible. Cella’s mum is the worst about this, I swear, and apparently it’s ironic (bitterness about being taken less seriously for being a woman by her own father made her… not take her daughter as seriously in return? Some shite like that) but I can’t be arsed to care because it’s also made her a horrible controlling bitch that tries to run the lives of not only her own children but every other person she comes into vague contact with.
Sorry. I could go on for hours about how much I don’t like that woman. But it’s not really the point I’m going for here, so. Back to it.
Unladylike problem-solving can be all sorts of things. For some, like Cella or Sansa, what it means is more stuff like fighting back with words. Cella likes to spill feminist theory in people’s faces if they’re dumbasses, and she helps Dany advocate for abuse victims (fuck dead Joffrey and fuck unfortunately-not-dead Viserys for having given them firsthand reasons to do that, but I’m pretty sure they’d want to help no matter what). Sansa… well. It didn’t always come easy to her, but she’s gotten pretty good at destroying people. There was this thing with one of her teachers her senior year, this real creep who also so happened to be an alleged friend of Mum’s so he was always on about having known her forever, and it was beautiful, she bided her time and got him so busted. (I may have played a part in this, but it was all her plan. I’ll save the whole story for her to tell as such.)
It can also just be as simple as not giving a shit about things, from things as little as what you do with your body (like how by now all of us derby girls have tattoos, some more overt than others, some that have met much more familial resistance than others - my parents couldn’t stop me from getting my rainbow wolf as soon as I was old enough and they’ve never snarked about it, and even before they moved Asha’s parents didn’t care she was getting work done anywhere possible, but Cella still keeps her cutesy Marie-from-The-Aristocats hidden from her folks and to hear tell Margaery’s folks but especially her gran blew a gasket over the giant roses on her shoulder) to as big as what you put yourself out there for (in recreational terms, like derby which admittedly is incredibly dangerous but so much fun, or in ideological terms, like the aforementioned advocacy efforts or how queer we all are). You just have to have the nerve to do whatever you want, but she also says that can be hard to do. That’s sort of why I’m writing this out, I guess, because it’s always sort of been easy for me, or that’s what other people think at least, since I’ve never really given a damn. Cella says it’s inspiring how little I seem to care, and while I never thought about it that way I’ll take the compliment.
The other part of this problem-solving, though, isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine. It’s the part that freaks people out a little more, which is to say it usually involves fists or blunt objects. (Contrary to what my sister likes to tease, I keep my swordfighting to designated and protected areas. This doesn’t mean I haven’t considered running certain arseholes through with a blade, but I’m smart enough to know it’s not an appropriate reaction, at least in any situation I’ve been in so far.) It’s not about going around and looking for fights to get into (although I’ve also been accused of doing that) but it is about defending yourself or others when it’s appropriate. I have the tactical advantage of being tiny, so people (guys) don’t usually see me as a dangerous combatant, but I’ve proved many of them wrong, usually because they were messing with me or one of the others. Some of the others do this too, Bri and Asha and the older Sand girls in particular, and I think it can be really satisfying to watch some cocky jerk hit the ground if he deserves it. Take self-defense classes, learn how to punch or whatever else you want. It’s well worth it, especially since a certain chunk of the human species seems dead set and determined to be awful at all times.
Basically, don’t be afraid to wreck convention and don’t be afraid to wreck people who’d force you into following those conventions, especially just so they can feel important.
posted by aryacs at 9:59 PM
cellala It is inspiring. You’re a badass.
at 11:11 PM
sansacs Gods, I’d almost forgotten about him. Thank you for helping me end that whole mess, and I love you too (you didn’t say it but you mean it, I can tell).
at 9:34 AM
Chapter 10: I look in the window and I gaze at my face; every line and every abrasion, this took my life to make
Gilly reflects on hard-learned but important lessons.
On Self-Worth (by a recovering self-loather)
I don’t like motivational speakers and I don’t like hand-holding. (Well, you can just ask Sam, I like the real kind, but the metaphorical kind, like when people treat you like you can’t do anything without their help. That’s the bad kind.) So this isn’t supposed to be like either of those things, although I guess it’s sort of the first one. I also don’t like it when people are told to feel bad about themselves.
Short version: I’m another one of the next generation who’s got a shite family history. My da’s not a Westercorp guy, though, and he wasn’t shite in any refined sort of way (“refined”) because he didn’t believe in, like, normal society. Even if he’d been a nice person growing up like that - all cut off from everything, all survival of the fittest - would’ve fucked me up. (I’m not saying that I am fucked up, Sam, I can hear you telling me to be nicer to myself because that’s the point of my writing this. I’m just saying stuff fucked me up, or did its best to. There’s no other way to put it.) But he wasn’t a nice person. I’m putting the gory details under a cut so you can skip it if you don’t wanna read about it (abuse of all kinds, so on) but I don’t like feeling like I can’t be honest about it.
--- Read More ---
It wasn’t any organized kinda cult with a name but it was basically a cult. He fathered kids on his own daughters, then killed the boys in a ritual, then fathered more kids on the next daughters. All the while keeping us near-starved and beat up on and uneducated and everything. More than one of my sisters isn’t with us anymore, alive I mean, because of this, and I wouldn’t say I’m desensitized but there were times I wondered if they were better off than the rest of us. I should find that more horrible than I do, I know.
--- /Read More ---
You see, ‘cause it was his right since he was the head of the house and we were less than him. That’s what it came down to. That’s what it usually seems to come down to, with shite families, isn’t it? Or shite relationships. People think they’re better and they treat people like shite.
When you grow up in that, and nothing but that, it’s pretty easy to feel like you don’t matter. I only had one purpose, to him, and I didn’t have a world outside of that purpose, preparing for it and biding my time like a good polite girl. All my sisters felt more or less the same, trapped and miserable and worthless, and it sorta fed on itself. We didn’t have a reason to think we had another option. We felt like all we were good for was this one terrible thing and barring that we were wastes of space and air and everything in between.
So I know what it’s like to feel terrible about myself, pretty much constantly. It wasn’t till I came over here (it’s a long unpleasant story, but basically by fate and some blessing from the gods I got to be the one who got away) that I realized there were other options. That not everyone was taught the things I’d been taught, or to feel the ways that I felt; that not everyone woke up every morning afraid that if one little thing went wrong they might not get to wake up the next morning at all. And it didn’t go away just like that, either, I didn’t start loving myself right away. I learned pretty quick that I ought to, or that at least I ought to try, but that’s not easy. I was alone, without money, barely employable (my da was never too concerned with our educations, so I didn’t have more than really simple maths, I read like a child, and world events were a mystery) - I might’ve died if I hadn’t been lucky in finding help, and there were days I felt like that might’ve been just as well.
This isn’t supposed to be a record of my misery, though. This is just my explaining where my self-loathing came from and why sometimes I still get flashes. I’m lucky, like I said. I got out and I’m here, I got work, I learned how to function like an adult ought to, I met Sam. I love him, and he did help save me. Help, he won’t let me give him all the credit since a lot of it was just me working things out and as he says I had the hard jobs to do. He’s just been there for me the whole time, and if I’m sad he makes me happy, and if I start to hate myself for something he tries to remind me why I shouldn’t. He tells me what I’m good at and that I’m worth so much.
It’s crap, what people say. You can love someone else before you love yourself, I did. But I also didn’t learn to love myself just because he loves me. Everything happened together, and it could happen different for other people. It’s good to have someone else to teach you that you can love yourself, if you’ve been told all your life that you can’t or shouldn’t, but that someone doesn’t have to be someone who loves you romantically. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know, it could just be something you read. Mostly it’s just that sometimes you can’t see your way out of that kind of thought by yourself. It’s snapping out of being sheltered and hurt. It’s learning something different and better.
I don’t wanna say it’s simple. It’s not. But I do wanna say it’s possible. I think with all the talk you hear about self-improvement sometimes it starts to feel more like instructions on how to criticize yourself, though, and when that’s all you do already it’s worse for you. I’ve been lucky, with Sam and with everyone here who tries to help hold each other up, like, and it’s what I wanna encourage other people to do.
It’s how I wanna raise my son.
(Yeah - we’re expecting. There’s some news for you!)
posted by gillyflower at 4:30 PM
wellsam I love you and I’m proud of you.
at 5:12 PM
bigjeyne OMG!!! Congratulations you two, welcome to the club <3
at 7:40 PM
stsnow So that’s what’s going on. I’m happy for you guys. (I’m also proud of you, if that’s not weird. You’re really strong. And you make my best friend happy, so.)
at 9:37 PM
vallllleygirl Good on you two <3 I’ll ask Dal for some tips and hand-me-downs or all, yeah?
at 10:29 PM
Chapter 11: and empires crumble to the shores, I was never yours, never mine
The Next Generation's contributions to the #MeToo campaign, led by Doreah.
big major cw/tw here!!!
This chapter is about a vast number of characters finding catharsis in recounting times they've been sexually assaulted or harassed. We all know this series is rife with sexual abuse, and it has often been thusly (rightly) criticized. I'm not excusing or approving of it that there has in fact been a lot of sexual abuse in the story because that's really, really unfortunate. But as many of us have long known and more of us are recently finding out, sexual assault and harassment are unfortunately all too common, and many people, particularly women, have these or similar experiences. The #MeToo movement has allowed people, particularly women, to acknowledge the abuse they've faced in as much detail as they feel comfortable sharing and in doing so they have educated people, helped other people realize this didn't just happen to them, and hopefully started to destigmatize being a victim of sexual abuse and to destabilize the culture of shame that surrounds sexuality, particularly involving women, in our society.
So yes, there's a lot of rough stuff in this chapter, but all of the long stories and some of the short ones that are shared are directly borrowed from book and/or television canon, and everything else is reasonably inferred given the world/the characters/the fact that many people are by and large not good sometimes.
And honestly, #MeToo
The world is talking about sexual assault and harassment, so it seems like as good a time as any for me, for us, to talk about it as well.
Please skip this post if you don’t want to read these stories. Keep yourself safe.
My struggle has always been that it seems like once most people know about the terrible sexual things in my past, it makes it hard for them to see me as a person. (Close friends and derby sisters notwithstanding, for the most part, but I’m lucky in them. I know we all keep repeating that, but damn, in a world that wants to tear everyone but especially young women apart it’s a miracle we’ve all managed to find and support each other.)
Since I, unfortunately, am not the only one with one of these horror stories I’m going to keep it short, but I’m encouraging all of my girls to tell theirs in the comments (if they’re comfortable, of course). I want to do this because it’s important to see how common this kind of thing is, but also because - maybe if we finally talk about it we can let it off our chests, or something like.
My situation is pretty extreme, and I know that, but I’ve been carrying the weight of it around since I was a child and I always felt like it was something to be ashamed of, that it meant that I was wrong or bad or inappropriate or somehow I’d brought it on myself. But that’s utter shit. Children can’t bring abuse on themselves; nobody can. The only ones that should be ashamed are the abusers and those who make the victims feel ashamed.
When I was about twelve, both of the people who called themselves my parents were both out of work. This wasn’t unusual, it had happened before, but it was lasting longer than usual. Somehow, someone (I’ve never known who) put the idea in their head that - gods, this is disgusting to say, but I have to say it, it’s disgusting but I’m not disgusting because it happened to me - they could make a reasonable profit by letting grown-ass adults pay to borrow their daughter for sex. That’s me. Turns out there were lots of perverts willing to pay up to rape an adolescent girl, and with no alternative on the horizon I started to think that I deserved it, that I wasn’t good for anything but what my so-called parents were paid for.
I lost track of how many times it happened after a while. It was just something that I had to bear, I thought. Who would believe me if I told, anyway? Who would believe me over adults? That’s what they all told me. I wouldn’t be taken seriously, I was just a thing to be used, I thought. They said. And then, by some lucky accident, I was hiding in the school library and I randomly picked up this book called Speak so I looked like I belonged there - and it was about a girl who’d been raped. The circumstances were different, but as I read it, over the next few lunch periods, I just started bawling. One of the librarians noticed me and asked me what was wrong, I eventually managed to find the words, and suddenly (it seems sudden, anyway, after years of hell) I was taken out of those people’s care and custody. It was in my past.
But that’s the thing. Once you’ve been through something like that, it doesn’t feel like it’s ever in the past. It’s always present, it’s always with you. You always know that was you, you were the one that dozens of men paid to abuse, you were - the words slut and whore are weights you drag around for the rest of your life, no matter how many people tell you you’re not, no matter how many times you tell yourself. All it takes is one man on the street, in a club, at your work, calling you one of those things, and you’re suddenly twelve years old again and terrified and small and feeling hopeless. At least that’s how it is for me.
I’m lucky, I’m so lucky, to have found people who support me. I made it out of the foster system unscathed, I have friends who believe in me, I have Dany who’d do anything she could to keep anything from happening to me ever again, me or anyone else. But even as I’m working to stop sexual abuse from happening to anyone else, I have a hard time saying it, saying, “I, Doreah Sutton, was raped. I am a victim of sexual abuse.” So I’m saying it.
There’s no more keeping quiet about this. The more we talk the more people know it’s a problem, and not one they can or should just sit idly by and let happen around them. That’s what I tell myself.
posted by deardoreah at 5:35 PM
at 5:48 PM
at 5:53 PM
at 5:59 PM
at 6:01 PM
at 6:05 PM
danystormborn I love you.
Additionally, #MeToo. Not only am I living proof that you can be raped by someone you’re otherwise and usually in a consensual relationship with (although also on that note proof that in some circumstances, the person who forced sex - and that’s what it was, just not listening to a “not tonight,” which isn’t perhaps as purposely vicious as more overt rape but is rape, although some people, including the boyfriend who did this to me, don’t know that - can apologize and learn why what they did was wrong - it doesn’t excuse the act, but as a younger woman I wasn’t in the headspace to even consider ending the relationship and the apology and understanding on his part did mean that we were able to mend what had been broken), my brother - well, he’s never actually “gone all the way” with it, he’s never touched my vagina or made me touch his penis, but he’s done basically everything but. He used to make me kiss him when we were children, which I never enjoyed; more recently than I’d like to remember, he laid hands on me in a way that’s inappropriate to do without asking permission and very inappropriate for a brother to do to his sister. Breasts, waist, hips, arse, thighs, so-on. And that’s on top of the physical and verbal harassment and abuse, which has not always been sexual but has always been.
But I have spoken and acted and #IWill continue to speak and act out against sexual abuse and all kinds of abuse. I want to help people realize that they are not alone and they are not without recourse. And it can be stopped.
at 6:10 PM
britheblue I’m lucky in that the worst harassment I’ve ever gotten was manipulation and taunting, but it’s definitely sexual and it’s definitely been going on most of my life. Dares to date me, bets on who would have sex with me first, sexually-charged insults and propositions both. #MeToo
at 6:34 PM
nymsand We can take care of ourselves, my sisters and I, but it’d be a lie to say that we’ve all avoided harassment. The little ones have been luckier so far (gods willing it stays that way) but on behalf of ‘Bara, Ella, Ty and myself: #MeToo x4
at 7:26 PM
offlowers Between guys who’ve harassed me for being gay and guys who’ve taken advantage of me by pretending they were gay, #MeToo
at 7:40 PM
margiequeenofthegays Ditto Loras’ first point, replace the second with guys who’ve tried to “turn me straight” #MeToo
at 7:46 PM
cellala Joffrey never actually raped me, either, but he definitely grabbed my tits or worse a few times. Usually accompanied with some taunt or lewd insult. And my dad’s made a few inappropriate comments that border on harassment as well. And I know he’s hurt Mum before, sexually, not that she’s ever going to join the discussion, but #MeToo and her too.
at 7:54 PM
gillyflower As previously mentioned, my da raped my sisters and I repeatedly, and I’ve narrowly missed getting assaulted more than once since I struck out on my own, at parties or bars or the like. Plus the typical street harassment I’m sure all of us have gotten. #MeToo
at 8:20 PM
reedshe If Bran and my brother hadn’t found me in time to stop it, I’d have been assaulted at the North Rivers football team’s end-of-season party last fall. They’d cornered me, hit me when I tried to fight back, had me pinned down on the bathroom floor, were going for my leggings when the boys came in looking for me. (I’d been screaming, but nobody came to help until they did.) It didn’t even fully happen and I still have nightmares about it. #MeToo
at 8:49 PM
valleygirl Dalla and I have both been groped and grabbed and “everything but” more times than can be counted. (I’ve definitely done physical harm to the assaulters every time I had half a chance, and I’m not ashamed that I didn’t stick around to find out if they lived or died.) #MeToo
at 9:06 PM
missmiss Never worse than an unsanctioned grope, thank the gods, but #MeToo
at 9: 17 PM
sansacs Remember the thing my sister mentioned? With my teacher who was also our mum’s old friend? He’d always had the hots for her, right, so when I showed up unattached (I was like fourteen at the time, so) looking like the younger model (gross, but that’s how he was thinking) he set his sights on me. At first he was just trying to mentor me, or that’s how he acted, trying to look out for me at school and in life. He warned me against some guys at school, tried to get me to go with others of his choosing, kept telling me how beautiful I was and how I’d have my pick of anyone when I was grown. When I was seventeen he kissed me once, when I’d gone to talk to him after class about an assignment, and what in the hells was I going to do? He was Mum’s friend, he was an adult, maybe I’d misunderstood what he wanted. I hadn’t. He kept on bothering me, insinuating what he wanted to do to me without actually doing much of it, until Arya and I got him found out and caught.
And then there was the time that Joffrey had one of his friends tear my dress open and hold me down while he advanced. He was clearly this close to actually assaulting me, but his uncle happened to turn the corner and catch him before it happened. (I’d fallen out of crush with him at that point, but he didn’t care. He saw me at this party his parents were holding and decided he should get to take what he wanted in exchange for the months he’d flirted with me pretending not to be a dick.)
And then there was Jeyne’s boyfriend. That’s mostly not my story to tell, but I was there once and it happened to #MeToo.
at 9:31 PM
littlejeyne Who Sansa means is my high school boyfriend, although I don’t really understand why I dated him in retrospect. I think I’d just wanted a boyfriend for so long that when this slightly older boy who seemed at first charming and halfway decent paid me any attention I said yes immediately. Then once we’d been on a few dates and I saw a glimpse of what an arse he was, he wouldn’t let go of me. He threatened me when I even hinted at the idea of breaking up. Then he started molesting me and threatening me when I hinted at telling someone - who were they going to believe? Didn’t I know who his father was? Then I found out he also had a boyfriend (that’s too nice a word but it’s the easiest to use) he’d been hurting the same ways he hurt me, and it became a fucked-up group activity. The two of us, the abused, and him, the abuser. Somehow I was still the luckier one, he didn’t use blades on me that often. I don’t know why I let this go on for so long, but I didn’t know what else to do.
I told Sansa, finally, and then I wished I hadn’t. We were all at the same party, she threatened to tell someone what he was doing to me, and he locked us, me and her and his boyfriend too, in the master bedroom and did horrible things to all of us. He made us watch each other be hurt, told me he’d only asked me out because he thought he’d never have a chance with Sansa since she’s so much prettier than me, told Sansa she’d only threatened him because she thought what he was doing to me sounded exciting, told his boyfriend it did no good to pretend he didn’t like to watch and imagine he was enough of a man to do these things to us. But that wasn’t true at all. His boyfriend was the one who got us out of that room, and after we were out Sansa called her brother to come get us. He came, and so did the police. None of us have seen him since that night, he was convicted of hurting us and at least half a dozen others who came forward after we had. But we were told - suggested, like - to keep what happened quiet. Wouldn’t want to hurt the rest of the asshole’s family and their reputation.
Well, I’ve not mentioned their name. Nobody can hurt me, but I’m done being quiet about the fact that he hurt my friends and he hurt #MeToo. We’re all recovering from it, but we shouldn’t have had to recover from anything.
at 9:48 PM
mynameistheon Thank you for being discreet, Jeyne. But it’s time I say something about it too. I was the boyfriend, and I should have acted long before I did. I’m never going to forgive myself for letting it go on as long as it did, but I was too scared of what might happen to me, and how it might be even worse than what was already happening. #MeToo
at 10:03 PM
ashasea #MeToo and they paid for it.
at 10:31 PM
allwild #MeToo and they definitely paid for it.
at 10:46 PM
deardoreah I love every single one of you and am proud you’ve all spoken out.
at 11:02 PM