“Mommy loves you…yes she does…yes she does.”

So my mom and I don’t normally text unless it’s something me and my sister need to know financially (aka “The electricity bill is high, please turn it down” or “try to shop on sale, medical bills ran up our credit card”)

But today I got a random message from my mom saying “Just a note to say your mommy loves you…yes she does…yes she does.” and my first reaction was “Are you high, lady? What’s up”. Yet it’s starting to dawn on me that I live…alone?

Yes, this is kind of belated, because my mother technically has not lived here during the week since February. But it’s really starting to kick in. Up until this summer, my mom would come home on the weekends, or Sunday morning, so it never really felt like she was gone. Just  always stopping in. My being alone with my sister just felt like a really long weekend away from Mom, like as if she went away for a few days.

I’m still in a weird middle state, because my mom does pay for our things. Her job situation forced her to move out prematurely, leaving me an unemployed college kid, and my sister who just recently graduated high school. No part-time minimum wage job would support the two of us without dropping out of school. So I’m in a stage of arrested development. I cook and clean and shop for the house like an adult, but I’m still tied to my mom’s wallet.

I know she misses us. She sometimes cries when she comes home because she feels guilty she left. This past family vacation was tense because I think she felt we were too distant from her. But honestly, this was bound to happen. Maybe not now…maybe in 5 or 6 years. Sooner or later your kids don’t live with you and the communication levels drop.

I do miss my mom. I don’t miss the nagging, but I miss  the comfort. It’s hard coming home and knowing this is what I have to do. I have to be mom and sister, not financially, but morally. It’s difficult to say no to “Let’s buy a ton of gushers and fruit roll up” because fuck yeah I want that, but no, remember, the bills are high.

And yes. I know people have it worse. I’m very fortunate. But it still means something that I get this message from my mom and I’m now looking at it and crying. I’m just now starting to acknowledge the luxury of knowing someone was home waiting for you. Knowing if your day was bad, they would heat up dinner and let you cry. I don’t get that luxury anymore.

For now, I have this text message, and a list of groceries for my sister’s dinner tonight.

Feminist Breakdown: Bridesmaids, pt. 1 (Annie, Helen, Lillian)

Yes, I know that since it’s premiere in 2011 it’s been cross analyzed to death.

However, Bridesmaids still continues to be a film brought up when discussing all female casts, feminism in film, and it’s place in mainstream Hollywood. Here (Pt.1), we’ll break down some of the main cast and determine whether or not their characters brought genuine issues to the table of comedy.

Upcoming: Part 2: Rita, Becca, Megan + Part 3: Bridesmaids and Feminism

Continue reading

Don’t Be A Creep! : Guidelines for those attending New York Comic Con

As it is now officially October 9th, New York Comic Con 2014 is about to begin! No matter how excited you are for the con,or how seasoned, here’s a few tips to remember when attending NYCC (or any con for that matter).

Cosplayers are people too

  • The cosplayer obviously sitting down to rest, or eating, may not want to take a photo. If a cosplayer is resting, don’t disturb them.
  • ALWAYS ask to take a photo. No one likes a creep-o snapping photos of cosplayers when they aren’t aware of it. Asking isn’t that hard, and most of the time the cosplayer will agree to take a quick photo and pose for it. That’s way better than getting some skeevy shot of Erin Jaeger browsing through anime merch.
  • Inform the cosplayer if you’ll be posting photos to a blog/website. While it’s assumed that any pictures a cosplayer poses for will end up online, the heads up can at least give the cosplayer some idea of where to find their image. Some cosplayers collect the pictures, others just want to know where it is.
  • IT DOES NOT MATTER if a cosplayer is not the sex/race/body type of the character they are cosplaying. That person connects with that character, and feels strongly enough to wear it in public. That takes time, money, and dedication; and they don’t want your opinion.

Don’t touch, are you serious?

  • Are you five? Don’t touch ANYONE without their permission. This doesn’t just go for weird, 2006-ish glompers who throw their whole body into it. Don’t touch if you’re posing with a cosplayer either. You’re already in a crowded con squeezing past hundreds of people; that cosplayer may not want anymore human contact. If they take your hand, or arm, that’s their choice. Otherwise, just smile and take your picture.
  • Just because they are cosplaying your favorite character doesn’t mean they are your favorite character. Respect the personal bubble.

Don’t be a pervert

  • There’s a toxic mentality at some cons that if a cosplayer is dressed “provocatively” that it’s A-OK to be a pervert. It’s not. Ever.
  • There are many under aged cosplayers. I have seen too many 15, 16, and 17 year old cosplayers have to run across a convention center because some pervert wouldn’t stop hounding them. Cons are supposed to be a fun environment, not one where you must sacrifice your opportunity to cosplay to avoid being groped or harassed by adults.
  • Don’t be the person who makes a point to do interviews with female attendees to point out that they have breasts or an ass. Congratulations, those are things females have. You have proven to the world that you have basic eye sight, and that your idea of “fun” is to objectively reduce female fans to tits and ass.
  • CREEP SHOTS ARE NOT OK, IN FACT THEY ARE DISGUSTING. Don’t take creepy pictures of people without their knowledge. Not cosplayers, not women, not children, not teens, NOT ANYONE. Especially ones meant to sexualize the subject (upskirts, downblouses, ass shots, or shots focused on breasts or groin). That person does not want your attention, or their image used that way. I can’t believe I even have to type this.

Nobody likes an eavesdropping elitist

  • No one cares that you’ve read every issue or can quote every episode. The point of a convention is that fans of all types can get together and indulge in similar interests. Doesn’t matter if they’ve seen 1 episode of a show they really like, or own the box set in mint condition. Knowing more doesn’t equate to loving it more.
  • Yes, some people joined a fandom because “it got popular”. That’s the whole reason it’s popular…. because people keep hearing about it, see it for themselves, and enjoy it. Bragging about being part of it “before it got popular” only tells me you’re not really good at sharing. Sharing is caring, my friend. Pass that shit around.
  • Did you seriously just try to quiz someone on how much they know? I wasn’t aware being a fan meant I needed a degree in this show/comic/book series. Maybe instead of scoffing a fan for not knowing as much, you get excited and tell them all about the awesome fandom they fell into.

There’s probably a million more Do’s and Don’t’s of convention going. Most of which I won’t be able to cover in one text post. But if you have any you would like to add, please add them to the comments.

As a reminder…

If you are a cosplayer or convention attendee and you feel you are being harassed, or have been sexually assaulted, seek security immediately. Convention hosts are becoming more and more aware of these incidents, and will take action. Always read the photography and security policy on a convention website and familiarize yourself with it. A convention is supposed to be fun and safe. Don’t let some pervert ruin it for you.

This is the New York Comic Con’s FAQ page, which includes safety information:

http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/About/NYCC-Fan-FAQs/

To everyone attending New York Comic Con, be safe and have the most fun you can before this magical weekend ends. I will be there all four days, which I expect to go by like one blurred sleepless day.

~ Ginger

The Ginger Monster is Updating

I have been really sick the past month. For most of the month I was unable to get out of bed, and I was quarantined inside my room because my family was afraid of getting sick. What I have learned is that a month with limited ability to chew and swallow, little to no social contact, and 7 motherfucking seasons of Dexter can drive you insane.

I’m glad that I’m on the mend (although I am getting over an allergic reaction to some medication), and I’m happy to say I have new posts out. October has just begun, and all the spooky feelings I get from the Halloween hype are really starting to get me itching to write more Victoria. The Smiling Man is already up, so go check it out!

The next story to go up will be  Helena, hopefully at a much quicker pace than The Smiling Man.

I will also be working on some body positive posts to celebrate figures of all types, so stay tuned for photos and illustrations!

Hopefully not another month until I post….

~ Bifrostbite

The Smiling Man

My mother warned me of The Smiling Man when I was about to play in the woods for the very first time. Perched on the edge of a worn out loveseat, she whispered horrible truths about the man who lived in the forest. He was a dark and bitter man who hated the happiness of children. “It made too much noise” she said. “It brought back too many memories.” I had heard the story of my Aunt’s disappearance many times before, but now it came with the tension that The Smiling Man brought into the room. It rolled in on heavy footsteps, and seated itself comfortably next to my mother on the loveseat, deepening the cushion worn by years of frequent, uninvited visitation.

“Your Auntie used to like to play in the woods, although our grandparents were superstitious about it.” She started. I fidgeted on the braided rug, more anxious to play than to listen. “We would play together, sometimes, around the stream and by the redwoods….until one day, your Auntie wanted to go beyond the wall of fallen logs in the woods.” My mother’s eyes grew dark. “It was foggy and I was too afraid to go. She kept asking me to go with her…just over the log…just the once and we’ll double back.” My mother sunk deeper into the loveseat. “As soon as she got over the log I heard a terrible sound. She screamed, and then there was silence. And then I heard sobbing. I ran straight to my grandparents and told them what your Auntie did. They called for help, and we searched the forest. We never found your Auntie.” Sensing my interest had been lost, my mother picked me up off the rug and carried me to the door. I rested my head on her shoulder, understanding that I was a bit too tall to be carried like this anymore.

On the porch sat my younger sister, Afia, a sweet little girl the color of earth, swathed in pink  and ribbons. She looked at me eagerly, awaiting an invitation to play. However, this was not her day in the woods. It was mine. Looking back, I pray she never comes to the woods. My mother scooped Afia up and onto her lap, and sat on the porch; a silent send off.

The first sensation I felt was the comforting sound of laughter. The children were playing in the woods. Two girls chased each other along the forest paths, while some boys rummaged through the dirt, using sticks to prod roots and bugs. One girl offered to show me a rock she found. It was steely gray, with iridescent flecks, like her eyes. Someone told a joke, and the children laughed. It was high pitched, flitting laughter that carried up into the trees and was swept away by the breeze. I remember feeling a sense of dread, knowing that the breeze might carry our joy into the ears of The Smiling Man.

It had.

I can’t recall how I was separated from the group. I have a thousand memories of the day; some where the children heard their parents’ call and left, others where the children saw a face and ran. I started to panic. Things began to snap around me. Twigs? Bones? A loud crack behind me sent me into a sprint, off the path and into the underbrush. My heart raced, and I felt as if a million tiny hands were reaching for me, tearing at my arms and legs, trying to offer me up to their master. My footsteps echoed back, as if a whole army of men were on my heels. In my fit of fright I almost collided with a huge fallen tree trunk. Digging soft fingers into the rough scaly bark, I vaulted myself over the rotted wood and into the dirt.

Oh how I wish I hadn’t. Had it not be for the army of shadows at my heels, I would have never ended up face to face with the being my mother had been sitting next to all those years in her stories. He stood seven feet tall, with bloodshot eyes. His clothes were a mixture of rags and moss, knotted together in thick bundles over his lanky frame. His face was hideously torn and scarred, and cracked like peeling bark. His smile lived up to the legend. It was long, and crooked, and flayed out at the cracked edges. It looked as if he had poorly strung his lips up with twine, and fastened them behind it ears. The teeth peeking out were bloodied by oozing gums.

I screamed.

I screamed as loud as I could and then I ran, full speed, at The Smiling Man. He barely had time to lift his slender hands before I barrelled into him, fists flailing. Some of my punches landed, others grazed the rough scarred flesh that tore at my knuckles. The Smiling Man didn’t scream at all. Instead he wheezed through his peeling lips. I turned my fists to his face, and punched in the very essence of his being. The teeth flew out like black pearls from a broken strand. I kept pelting him, harder and harder, until the horrible wheezing sound gave out in one last exhausted breath.

The next few moments were silent, save for the pounding in my ears. A sudden panic washed over me, and I immediately turned to run back home, clumsily climbing back over the fallen log and sprinting back to my home.

It was already dark, and my mother stood on the porch with a candle in her hand. Afia peered at me from behind my mother’s skirts, full of  worries and stories. I apologized, and hurried to wash for dinner. That night, my mother stared at me with cold eyes. I think she knew.

The next day I slipped away from the children’s games, and over the fallen log where the Smiling Man lay. The body was twisted, rotting, and ravaged by animals. I sat against the log, tears stinging my eyes. It was as if The Smiling Man reached a gnarled hand inside me and scooped out my heart; I felt hollow. I thought of my auntie, and my mother; people touched by his evil presence. It didn’t help at all.

I kept returning to the fallen log in the woods, long after the body withered away. It started to become a safe place, where I and The Smiling Man knew the truth. Not the lies I lived at home, or the smiles I faked with the other children, but something more authentic. I found it harder and harder to smile with each passing day. Each day I would leave the house, and my mother would shout warnings after me. Each day I quelled her worries with a taut, full smile. It hurt my cheeks. It split my lips. It wasn’t real.

One day, the weight of it became too much. I sat in the forest and pulled a length of twine from my pocket. My fingers shook as I knotted the twine around two fish hooks, and strung up my smile until it reached my ears. It stung, and bled, but it wasn’t heavy anymore.

“AHHHHH!”

I bolted to my feet at the sound to find a small girl. She had scrambled over the log and into my safe place. I held my hands up to her, and tried to calm her down. “Please!” I screamed. “Please! It’s just my smile!” But she didn’t hear me. She turned and tried to flee. She reached the top of the log as I grabbed her foot. I needed to explain. “There’s no danger here, please! Stay!” She shrieked again, and I pulled hard on her chubby little leg. Her hands slipped from the log, and she fell head first into the rocks. There was a crunch, and a tiny whimper.

I let go of her leg. My heart was stuck in my throat. I couldn’t have… I… couldn’t have. I knelt beside her, and turned over her little body. There was a deep gash on her soft forehead, and a pool of blood. Her chest didn’t move, nor her eyes, which were glassy and fixed. Tears filled my eyes, and a wretched sound escaped my throat. The hooks in my cheeks twisted and ripped, wrestling the grief into a ragged gaping smile. Her little eyes stared at me, and I could see the bloody mess she saw. I was a monster.

I didn’t leave the forest that night. In fact, I never returned home. All I could think about was the chubby little girl. Her horror-stricken face, the struggle, the crunch. I touched my hands to the long jagged scabs forming on my cheeks. I thought of my mother, who was probably sitting on the couch with Afia. I could hear her whisper tear filled apologies to my sweet baby sister. “Your brother is with Auntie now.” she would say. “Auntie and Brother won’t be coming home, sweet child.” Afia would wail, and clutch my mother. I imagined all these things, and hoped Afia would grow to be much older than I was. I hoped she would never enter this forest…my forest.

I wondered how bad it would be if one day a young boy scrambled over the top of my log and found me. Would he beat me like I beat The Smiling Man? Would I even raise my hands in defense? When children played beyond the log my heart would stop. Many times they would reach my barrier, and superstitiously turn around and run back to their wooded playground. Their laughter filled the wind, and taunted me.I hated the sounds they made.  I could not smile and laugh like they did. My smile was twine and viscera.

I wish I could say this story ended, that the chapter was over and the book could be closed; but I wake up every day to find a new page. A fresh blank sheet to continue a chapter I had unwittingly fallen into when my mother set me onto the grass outside our house. I greet every day with a strung up smile, and the hopes that someday a new soul will climb over the log and end my chapter.

Miss Poppy

Go find Miss Poppy

Down by the docks

Down by the river

Down by where the reeds bend.

Go find Miss Poppy

Down by the rocks

Down by the banks

Down by where the sediment blackens.

Go find Miss Poppy

Down by the mud

Down by the hole

Down by the retreating footsteps

Go find Miss Poppy

Down on her face

Down in the water

Down near your feet

Go find Miss Poppy

Down by the weapon

Down by the footsteps

Down by the rustling underbrush

Go find Miss Poppy

Down behind you

Down next to you

Down.