happy flower crown monday tell your friends!!!
I haven’t read the Harry Potter series straight through in YEARS. It’s kind of embarrassing, so I’ve decided to do a full-read through whilst hosting discussions about social issues in Harry Potter and parallels to our world. Discussion will cover (intersectional) feminism, human rights, queer theory (encompassing beyond just LGBT), disability, race/ethnicity, class, animal rights, mental health, and more, and I’d like to invite others to do this critical read-through along with me. We’ll make a video or podcast (still working out the details) of our discussion for each section of reading on a regular/consistent schedule, and then we’ll invite others watching/listening along to continue the discussion in comments or some other format. (Commenters are encouraged read along with us!)
Sound cool? Cool. Just fill out this brief form, and I will start figuring out how this all is going to work (likely with input from you).
Please pass this around! I would like to have as diverse a group as possible, so poc, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, religious minorities, women, people from any country, various other minority groups, and so on are all super encouraged to join.
Breathe. I know that’s obnoxious advice to hear. I know it because you know it. One of the benefits of a letter to your past self. But it’s one of the only things I can really give you that I know’s gonna be valuable because it’s one of the only things that really stays consistent through all this- our need for breath.
I’m not just talking about oxygen to your lungs. I’m talking about taking in what you need and letting go of what you don’t, I’m talking about inhaling the life the universe has created for you and exhaling what you in turn can provide to the universe. I’m talking about patterns, about rhythm, about finding a stillness in the steady repetition of the heartbeat in your chest and your breath and the tap of your fingers.
I know you hate being told that it gets better. It feels like you’re surrounded by people who say “it gets better” like a mantra that builds up like a wall between you and everyone who could actually give you something helpful. I think when people tell you “It gets better” they’re mostly trying to tell their past selves, just like I’m telling you now, but it falls flat because all they end up saying to you is, “it got better for me.” Which is fine, dude, cool for you, straight white cis patriarchy man, but like, you know shit about me or what’s coming for me or whether I’m gonna come out of it okay or if I even want to.
We still hate that, but I think I’m the only person you know who’s got any sort of pass to tell you “it gets better” because I’m the only person you’re gonna talk to anytime soon who’s doing more than just saying “it got better for me,” ‘cuz it got better for me really does me it can get better for you, and lovely, I don’t know when this is letter thing’s gonna get to you but whenever it does I can guarantee you that things are looking up in some respects, and looking down in others. Life isn’t a novel with introduction rising action climax falling action conclusion- it’s a mess of dips and dives and hills, some of them you can’t even see until you’ve passed them and some of them I can’t see even now, and trying to characterize all of that as improving or declining is a mistake you’re gonna make over and over again until finally it hits you in the face that things can be getting better and getting worse all at the same time.
I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi, a lotta Star Trek, so I’m not gonna risk disrupting the whole space-time continuum or whatever to tell you what’s coming, what tests you need to study for and what requests you should say no to. You don’t need it anyways, little one. You make it just fine. I’m living proof. And I think that’s all you need to know- you make it through all of it. Even the times that you wish you wouldn’t. Especially those times. Just keep breathing. Take care of yourself when you can and how you can, whatever that looks like, whatever it has to look like.
Don’t apologize for taking up space when your lungs are full.
The hardest thing you’re ever gonna have to do in this world is live in it, so all I can tell you to do is breathe, and keep breathing, for as long as you can, and all I can do is promise you I’ll do the same.
Signed, sincerely yours,
I am so awful I’ve been picking away at this forever and I still have another to do I’m so sorry Maya I really do like drawing things for you.
Maya!Cap and Reformed-ish!Winter Soldier, about to ruin some Hydra agents’ day.
everytime i take off a full face of makeup, i feel like mulan. even when that full face of makeup is green
Zagreus sits inside your head
Zagreus lives among the dead
Zagreus sees you in your bed
And eats you when you’re sleeping
[[i’m sorry in advance i am not captain america i don’t know captain america and i’ve never played the video game]]
((you’ve been sitting in a coffeeshop with steve rogers for the last twenty minutes; he bought you tea and you bought him a muffin to go with his coffee))
“So, Maya, what kinds of things do you do?” Steve said, taking a long sip of his black Americana before setting it down and staring at the person sitting across from him.
Maya shifted in their seat a little, looking down at their notebook, restlessly tracing patterns on their knee underneath the table. “Well, I don’t know,” they said quietly, just barely stopping themselves from saying Not much. “I – I’m mostly working on school things right now – college applications and regular classes – but I’m also a theatre technician, so I’ve been doing a lot with that recently.”
“Yeah?” Steve said. “That can get pretty stressful, I bet. But it’s quite impressive.”
“Thanks,” Maya said, ducking their head a little. “It can be a lot. I also do flamenco dancing, when I have time. And I run a blog where I talk about the things I love and give advice to people.”
“Wow. It sounds like you’re quite busy.”
They nodded, and hesitated for a moment before adding, “And I like writing. Storytelling, really. And using stories for social change.”
“What’s that?” he asked, leaning forward interestedly. “You mean, you take stories and…spread their messages?”
“I guess so,” they replied. “I mean – yeah, I do.” They took a deep breath, bringing their gaze up (not without effort) to meet Steve’s curious eyes. “I used to live in books, and TV shows, and movies. They made me strong. No – they helped me find my own strength. When I was…weak, and scared, and unsure who I was…stories helped me escape the scary things inside and outside of me; they gave me a place to go and people to imagine. They helped me save my own life.”
They paused. Steve was still watching them intently, his eyes all depth and seriousness and his brow furrowed. They continued, their voice now growing stronger, “But I don’t think stories are meant for people to live in them, not really. They’re meant to draw from life, from our world, and to give it more purpose. What if we could be Dumbledore’s Army, Starfleet, the Fellowship of the Ring, Avengers, Browncoats, Vampire Slayers, storytellers, active participants in our world? What if we used stories not to isolate, but to empower? What if we could fight the dementors and demons and villains of our world with the lessons we find in our favorite media? That’s what I try to do,” they finished, and looked down again, folding their hands in their lap to quiet their fingers. “Also, I wear killer boots.”
Steve didn’t speak for a moment, though he was grinning. Then he exclaimed, “So, you take your favorite stories and use them to fight crime? That’s amazing! No, I really mean it. That’s really something. Wow.”
Maya smiled. “That…really means a lot to me.”
“What, that I like it?” Steve frowned a little bit. “You should be proud of yourself – don’t worry about what I think! A good rule for life in general, truthfully,” he added thoughtfully, “my thoughts aren’t always the most relevant. But, goodness! – if I had been even close to as good as you when I was that young, wow.” He shook his head in amazement. “It’s really something. You’re doing so much.”
Maya shook their head. “Your thoughts are so important,” they blurted. “I mean. You’re so important to me. You – your story – everything you do means so much to me. And I’m glad you’re here.”
Steve, cheeks slightly pink, shook his head in earnest. “The pleasure is all mine, honestly. And your story – it really is an important one. Just as important as mine, if not more so.”
“Thank you,” Maya managed to say. They were quiet for a moment, then their voice trembled a little as they added, “I was kind of afraid of meeting you…I didn’t know…if you would see me.”
“Maya…” Steve put a hand to his forehead. “Of course I see you. How could anyone not?” He widened his eyes imploringly. “You’re amazing, and I feel lucky to be sitting here with you.”
Maya laughed a little. “Why?”
“Because you’re you,” he said. “You’re this wonderful human being and I can tell, just from these last few minutes, that you’re the best you can be, even when you feel like you can’t be anything. Trust me – I know about struggling, and I know about failing, and I also know what it looks like when the hero inside of you is winning against the dark and hopeless parts. And you’re one of the greatest heroes I’ve ever seen.”
“I hope so,” Maya whispered, feeling their eyes beginning to prickle. “I’m trying my best, you know?”
“I know,” Steve said, his voice quiet now. He extended his left hand across the table, and Maya managed to untangle their hands and bring one of them up to meet his. Steve curled his fingers gently around their knuckles and squeezed lightly. “Maya?” he said, his tone asking them to meet his eyes; they looked up again, eyes shining. “You’re gonna be okay, I promise. You are okay, just as you are. Keep doing the things that you’re doing, and being you, and nobody can stand in your way.”
“Okay,” Maya said softly. “I will.”
“And if I’m your inspiration, or one of them – well, all I can say is that I’m so proud and honored to have helped you toward this, towards being the Maya that’s in front of me right now. And I’ll try – I’ll try my best to make sure I’m always here to help you with that, even if not exactly like this. Yeah?”
“Yeah,” they whispered. “Thank you.”
Steve was smiling, eyes bright, as if he’d never seem anything quite as wonderful in his life. He gave Maya’s hand another momentary, comforting squeeze, then let go and took another sip of his coffee. Maya wrapped their hands around their mug of tea, drawing its warmth into their bones, breathing deeply. There was silence for a moment – not uncomfortable or awkward, but the comforting quiet between friends who don’t need to say anything to understand each other – and then Steve set down his cup, still grinning. “So,” he said, looking at Maya, “do you want to go anywhere else? I’d love to see more of your lovely city, and I’ve got a while before I need to get back to Sam and Natasha. What do you think?”
"Well,” Maya said, a small smile gently turning up the corners of their mouth, “There are quite a few bookstores around here, if you’re interested in that?”
Steve leapt to his feet. “Absolutely,” he answered. “Take me to your favorite one.”
friendly reminder that i’ve been consistently and clearly been using ‘they/them’ pronouns all summer and while it feels like a super little unimportant thing to you it’s something that has a really big impact on whether i feel solidly and comfortably Real and Me so just fucking use my goddamn pronouns