Is pickens county schools closed tomorrow

I know everyone in my class uses me, and I'm done with it.

2023.03.26 14:15 Exciting-Mousse895 I know everyone in my class uses me, and I'm done with it.

Ps : On mobile, posted in a rush.
I'm currently in high school, and all i have to say is that ; it's hell.
Ever since we've been back to face to face classes, it's never been the same. All my classmates are so mean and fake.
I'll tell you a few experiences I've had/know about them because it getting too unbearable :
First off ; There's this girl that I've known since kindergarten, but only befriended her around the 1st grade. She used to be kind, funny and caring. Nowadays, it's like she's entirely different, she usually talks to me first but then acts like i was the one who initiated it.
She's dumping everything negative about me to multiple people in our class, and even outside it. She exaggerates the story so much, it's like I'm not myself anymore.
"Yep, it hit me really hard when i found out how fucked up (my name) was" then she proceeds to not elaborate. Then a few weeks ago she says she's "Okay" with me now through a friend, I know she'll only befriend me to talk badly about me behind my back. I don't know what i did wrong, I wasn't the best friend someone could have ; but i do try my best. I, gave them space, attention, time, gifts, whatever. It still wasn't enough i suppose.
I do think I'm not likeable enough as a person, not likeable enough to befriend immediately. Just to keep around until the time is right.
A friend showed me screenshots about things she'd say about me so here's a general list of everything ;
  1. I'm literally the worst, no one could compare.
  2. I'm too sensitive/insensitive.
  3. I'm replaceable.
That's all the ones he showed me, but they're generally the same.
This is all I'll say for the 1st person, because there's still alot - please do bear with it, though.
2nd person is someone i used to be close with, we "rekindled" – but in, actuality she talks behind my back.
a few weeks ago she said she gets "sick" every months or so, and its why we can't hangout. But earlier i overheard her talk about to the 1st girl ; If i remember correctly, the conversation went like this :
"Hey 1st girl, I'm free later since my Mom isn't home. can we hangout later? "
Then later in the afternoon she said we couldn't hangout because she's sick and such. I let it go, i understand.
I thought i could trust her, especially since she says she's glad I'm back in her life before she goes. But now, I'm unsure of what to feel towards her, it feels so wrong, it feels sickening.
The rest of the people are all generally 1 in the same, so I'll mix them all up. Apologies if this gets confusing ;
Most of the girls use me for money — Whenever we hangout, sometimes they invite me somewhere. Then when we get there they suddenly say 'I don't have money' and then ask if i could buy them something, Even if i told them things such as 'I don't have any' or 'I don't have enough' they push anyway. Then they start calling me a "Rich auntie" - speaking of which, Everyone calls me a rich auntie. Anyone outside of my class who hears about it think it's sickening, i do too. I don't understand why you'd use someone like that. Though, I've known for a long time. I just didn't want to do anything about it, not until they started bragging..
A few days ago they went to the park, A dude came up to them and they started bragging about me apparently, and how 'if you just ask her, she'd spend her money'
It's gotten so bad, I've started not bringing my wallet anymore so when they look through my bag, there's nothing. I haven't been able to save anymore, it doesn't help that all my "friends" hangout almost everyday, even when they have no money.
Speaking of which, I got into a fight with a classmate. I simply asked what they did and such when they hungout because i didn't come, He got defensive then said i was a rich kid. i fought back and the arguments got repetitive, so i kicked him. He started arguing with me in another group chat, and later on Called me childish and how immature i am for continuing the fight. He said "Your thoughts are always full of money, i suggested a food place so we could just have fun because hangouts don't always mean you have to waste your money!" even though i repeatedly told him the same things such as "I was only asking why you offered to go there" and "We could've gone elsewhere so we didn't lose any money" — Then the argument ended because someone wanted to hangout and he let it go. I mentioned how i was losing money because of people using me, and that just because i get ___ a day, doesn't mean I'm "rich" - then he says "you're such a wasteful child." Then i blocked him everywhere.
Later on, This girl who watched the argument go down ; kept forcing us to get along again. she kept saying "you're my, only friends, yet you still fight" fuck, she even added him twice in the gc i kicked him from after i repeatedly told her 'No.' she only stopped when i told her once again that 'If you do this again, I'll kick you out too' Then she acted all upset when I told her it didn't concern you.
2 hours later, The dude apologizes on Snapchat and says "Sorry i thought with my emotions instead of my brain, i hope we could stay friends. you're fun to be around" then he screenshots the apology. (Snapchat tells you)
All this happened on Friday last week, and even more things happened. We didn't have proper classes and they were all being so loud, my head was hurting. The president (1st girl) didn't help either. In fact she encouraged them to get louder, she didn't do anything.
And in the afternoon we had a screening for Journalism, Me and a few other girls who were using me joined. During the captioning phase, they kept asking me things while i thought of my caption, they even took pictures instead of focusing. I ended up giving 3 of the 5 girls captions. And they even asked me for a pen and paper to use, they brought nothing. One of them even wanted me to transfer pictures to her so she could pass them instead.
Speaking of journalism, this other girl joined us. And this girl is so bad. I'll make a list for you : 1. She cheated multiple times, got caught once but still keeps cheating. 2. Already has a boyfriend, calls him hubby 3.Has that 2020 wattpad phase humor going on 4. Glorifies Eating disorders and suicide. 5. One time me and a few other friends went to her house, there was a guy also there. she came back wearing boxers (which was like underwear) and a thin tank top. She wasn't even wearing a bra underneath. 6. Very clingy 7. has the worst grammar 8. Condescending
Overall, literally everyone in our class despises her. Her friends talk badly of her too.
It didn't help when she cried to her mom about bullying (She didn't get a line in our performance because she didn't attend any practice.)
submitted by Exciting-Mousse895 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 14:15 JhalMoody25 Living your best life is the best revenge.

Hey Ladies, I have been seeing surge in the post about men marrying a woman through AM immediately after ending long-term relationships and what can be done about it. As someone, who went through same ordeal two years ago, here are my two cents:
Background: Let's call my ex "POS" ( idea stolen from a sub member) & his/our mutual friend is "Loser".
So, two years ago, my ex decided to call it off with me and get married to a girl in AM, day after our breakup. He was looking for AM the entire time and kept me blindsided. We have discussed marriage but had our disagreements regarding when to have children and MIL living situation. Once his probation period ended, he told me he wants to visit home in India (we live abroad) as he misses his family. I help him buy presents for his entire family, lend him my cabin bag and off he goes. 6 days later, he calls me at night and asks me, if I want to marry him. I tell him, i am not sure yet because we still have alot of discussions left and he says, i have to say yes or no. In a fit of rage, I say no, and he says okay, i will look for someone else then (i ignored this, as I thought we both are angry) and disconnected the call. He called me next morning and told me he is getting "engaged" day after and we are done. Few months later, he let it slip to a friend that he actually got married, not engaged, as he had to file his wife's family reunion visa and that friend told me. I have supported this man through his dad's death in covid and unemployment phase. I don't want to recollect the next six months of my life. I stopped using social media, went NC and even avoided the mutual friends who could tell me about him.
Current story: Now, I am dating my incredible bf for nearly an year and I am in a very healthy space. I got a promotion recently, my L1 visa for usa is raised and I will shift by the end of the year, if everything goes well. My side hustle is also doing extremely well, as I stumbled on some very rich clients and I got my dream car last year. My now bf also encouraged me to go to gym and hooked me up with a dietician. In short, I am thriving in my life rn.
Few weeks ago: So, i went to a grad school friends gathering few weeks ago, for the very first time in two years. On the topic of dating/relationships, i told them i am dating my current bf. I also showed them some our pics from the greece vacation we took on my bday. My current bf is a doctor ( literally in top 50 in NEET UG in first attempt), has a great body (gym enthusiast), a smokeshow and comes from generational wealth. He is also younger than me. He has basically everthing my ex is insecure about.
A week ago: Loser from that gathering went and tattled about it to POS. Now, POS is back from woodworks and he asked loser if i can talk to him. I unblock POS and he starts messaging me. After few pleasantries, he congratulates me for achieving everything, we had dreamt together (working in usa and side hustle+car). I ask him about his wife and he goes on a rant that how she has not been able to find a job yet and he will have to now invests in her masters. He lamented how I was the anchor of his life and he feels so lost now. If i could refer him to my company as his job is dicey at his company ( he was work student at my company but couldn't convert to FTE). How he was cornered by her mom and sisters into the wedding. How I have moved on from him now. I am ngl, i actually revelled in his misery. I let him speak alittle bit more. Then he asked me, if I ever missed him or thought about him? I replied with a "No, i didn't". Then he asks me, when did i become so heartless? (lol). I just tell him that thank you for ending our relationship else I would have settled for a -2 when I deserved a 10. With this, i cut the call and block him again. Now loser calls me again next day and tells me that I have been cruel to POS and punching him down in his hard time. I ask loser to STFU and block him too.
My ex made a very calculated move to get into AM. He married someone who worked in IT, as he was banking on the fact that she will get a job quickly ( In our work country, it's easier for IT) and will also subjugate to his insane fam. But his wife used to work in dotnet which is an outdated technology and with current job market, its really hard to get a job. He thought, i will be lost in life and will not get anyone because I was turning 28 soon. Now his own job is on line due to the current market and wife is also unemployed. He comes from a lower middle class background, so I know this is hurting him.
TLDMoral of the story: Best revenge is to go live your best life. The woman he married is not better than you. She is just like you, another victim. At worst, she puts up with his ridiculous misogynistic demands and patriarchal family. This is the best thing that happened to you as it saved your from years of abuse and toxicity. DON'T WASTE EVEN A SECOND MORE OF YOUR LIFE OVER THE POS. Work on yourself, go to gym, work on your career, get into therapy, keep your friends close, travel. When you are healed and have worked on yourself to observe toxic patterns, you will attract the right kind of man in your life.
My ex would show up to even my professional meetings with seniors because he was insecure. My current bf told me i can decide if I want to talk to my ex or not. He doesn't cares about it and trusts me. Trust me, you will upgrade. When you find that man, you will not even care about the mumma's boy who didn't have enough spine to fight for you.
Men like these are insecure momma's boys who will go and live in the womb again, if possible. As soon as they see the ex getting a new man and thriving, they come crawling back to try to ruin her life again. The only person i feel bad about is the poor wife. She deserves better. It's not your fault, it never was your fault. It's not her fault either, it was never her fault either. A man will always have the audacity, if nothing else.
Just wanted to share a positive story post break up because i see so many heartbroken sistas here recently. Don't forget the queen you are. You made him your world but have you heard, you can always reclaim the land💃
submitted by JhalMoody25 to TwoXIndia [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 14:11 NoContextVent We are trapped and I have been backed into a corner

Hey people of reddit, I hope everyone has had a wonderful day/night! So I(21) am not really good at getting my thoughts on paper while still making sense, so please bear with me!
I have known my SO (20) since she was born, we were great childhood friends and did everything together whenever we could. Skip a few school years due to our parents moving to different sides of the city, while we stayed in touch as best as we could. We started to stop talking im guessing because "out of sight out of mind " but eventually our parents had a little get together decided to share a house and then moved in with us. It was great apart from my rapist sibling who sexually assaulted my SO from the age of 6 until she was 12, and myself from 5-10, we never spoke about what he was doing to us, we didn't know that we were both being assaulted. While that was happening my MIL was using my mother to look after her while she went off being an escort and doing drugs, and not even using that money to look after her child and somehow always being behind or skipping a month's rent (using my mum to pay more than her share). After a while my mum gave up and told her to move out, then my MIL decided to distance herself from us because my mum "abandoned her in a time of need" (lived together for over 1.6 years)
And again we stopped talking until I went to the same school as her(I moved nearby).
So when we finally realised that we had very strong feelings for each other, and decided to start seeing each other when we were 18 and 19, we decided since we already knew pretty much everything about each other's life (or so we thought) I decided to stay at her house (closer to my work) and help with her relationship with her mother as they were arguing and fighting a lot. Over the last 2 years things have gone from AMAZING to depression.
In my mind it is mainly because of her mum, when we started dating (MIL had way too many pets, we constantly stressed how bad this living situation is but she said 'at least cats don't stab you in the back!?' Like what the fuck?!) So her house always smells of shit and piss because she barely cleaned up after them and was embarrassed about it.. saying that it's never like this and she's going to get on top of it and keep it clean, well that lasted about 2 months until she gave up on cleaning and herself. MIL started drinking more and going back into party drugs slowly leaving more and more responsibility on us, and just when we thought things were getting better she "sheltered" fucking 3 pregnant stray cats when she already had 5 cats and other pets, to help with her motherly urge to protect and nurture things. In the long run her motivation to clean, look after kittens, and work was just too much for her and found comfort in a partner. Since finding this amazing person she has slowly left that motherly urge to protect, love and care for her daughter and pets to revert back into her highschooler self leaving us with all the responsibility and stress, no money, no help and no sympathy or empathy for us at all. Because as she lives ten blocks away from her own house (us) with her new partner she pretends that everything is fine and still has the nerve to pretend that nothing happened and invite us to dinner at his house because we can no longer use our kitchen because of the animals over running it.
So I believe that it is wired into her brain that she can do whatever she wants and if you don't like it, it's your fault and you have no right being mad at her cause her life was a lot worse. (She's gone through her own past traumas).
What's even worse is because of all this my partner is too anxious and depressed to get a job so we are trapped here until she starts to feel better, and also that her mum is the only family my SO has so my partner is really wanting to keep her friendship with her mum..(and that is completely understandable) but she has mentioned to her mum multiple times that we are not happy and really need help, but it never arrives so that's why I had a bit of a snap and wrote quite an emotional message for her.. and here it is....
Sorry for all the backstory let's hope this makes sense now. This was a message that I was very close to pressing send I just thought it might add some insight on how our life is going!😁
Hey _____
This is going to be shocking, arrogant and just straight up rude but i have had it, i am sick of playing pretend about our life being all happy and shit. I really dont know how to say it apart from this....
Just first these are my thoughts and a little of my partners she defends you to the ends of the earth but the truth is in my eyes you really do not deserve it.
How can a 40yr old woman treat her kid and myself like we are house maids for a irresponsible pet owner that has abandoned ship to go live with a great person so her life doesn't feel as shitty..
I dont want to say this but what makes you think that you can just give up on your responsibilities as a parent and animal owner leave us day in and day out to clean after stray animals you brought into the house on top of YOUR original pets (5) which is too many to begin with..
Making your daughter and myself either clean a whole house daily to avoid the smell of shit and piss(WHICH WE DONT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY OR WILLPOWER TO DO EVERYDAY!) And when we do clean it takes 12hours to get back to how it was or sit in the matchbox of a room and try to not to go crazy while listening to constant animal noises and the house falling apart
Just how do you stay there 10 blocks away doing coke and drinking alcohol like you are 18.. with no responsibility
Instead of being a adult and fixing your problems you decided to shift them onto kids with no money and if this continues no fucking future
How do you expect us to be happy ____ please I really want to know what you have been telling yourself to help you sleep at night because if you thinks this is ok... YOU NEED FUCKING THERAPY AND A LOT OF IT
How can we live and learn to love life if we are trapped in this fucking hell hole of house
Which I can say is doing absolute wonders for your daughters and my relationship
I really dont know why I posted this maybe so she sees this, maybe because I really need advice on how to keep our relationships because as you can hopefully tell by the "message" I am about to go ballistic and need another view on this😅
submitted by NoContextVent to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 14:01 AutoModerator [Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)

[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)
Get the course here:
Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)

About The Course:
This course outlines the systems and secrets I used to make over $300,000+ in my first year with entrepreneurship
While I was still 17 years old…
And was also a high school dropout…
So what’s your excuse? It’s time to crush it.
I want you to take a moment and imagine a world where you could…
Never worry about money ever again. Build a six figure marketing agency and the best part? it’s a reality that all of my students are living RIGHT NOW.Take care of your family & loved ones. Yeah… this is something close to my heart. My marketing agency finally allowed me to take care of my mom and the people who believed in me when I had nothing.Travel the world, anytime! Yes… that’s right. After this course you will have the location freedom to travel anywhere in the world you want!
Now, who is the genius (kidding… kinda) behind this whole course?
Let me introduce myself, my name is Iman. At the age of Seventeen, I dropped out of high school to commit to the world of online marketing. Within my first year I had made over $300,000+, I had traveled the world working from my computer, I had constructed my dream lifestyle and this was all done through the power of what I teach in Six Figure SMMA. I run my own digital marketing agency based out here in London, although we have clients out in Amsterdam and St. Tropez.
I have my personal brand which is another six figure business…
Then I have a few other smaller income streams here and there. I love the internet! Haha
Damn… I worked hard for this life. I worked hard to create the sort of income where I can take care of my family and not even check the price…
I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I teach. It’s because it changed my life in unexplainable ways. I don’t think I could ever go back to my old life after living like this.
submitted by AutoModerator to Affordable_Courses [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 14:00 Kneppy18 Which Gen 1 can get your a transferable mew fastest?

Hi all. I just got the gen 1 Pokémon games on my 3DS before the shop closes tomorrow for posterity and specifically to get my favorite Pokémon, Mew, transferable to my bank for later gens.
I know it’s possible to get a glitched Mew in all the gen 1 games, but it’s slightly different processes to change my trainer ID and to duplicate the Mew.
What is the easiest/least complicated process to get the correct trailer ID and then clone the Mews? My current thought is that I should get it on yellow with the proper ID and then trade it to Red/Blue on a second 3ds to do the duplication glitch.
Is that the fastest/easiest way? Thanks!
submitted by Kneppy18 to pokemon [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 14:00 Efficient_Mall6043 (Repost With Extra Context) 17M - Long Story - Major Tribulations And Trials

(Other Half Of Story Is In The Comments) (VERY LONG STORY)
Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh my brother or sister reading this may Allah SWT reward you,
In the past year , I have been through extremely odd but extraordinary situations. Just for background I am 17 years of age, I always had islam in my heart, I was not practicing true Islam up until this year, but I now make sure as it is my duty and true purpose, to output a justly and positive impact in todays society.
As for the subject, Im going to give a rough overview of what has happened and an in depth description of how it had occurred ❤️🙏.
Here is a sequential list of what has happened and how it had led to tribulation.
My job (traffic control) consisted of standing in a position throughout 6-17 hours of a day. With no communication , no use of phones, and in my personal case a lot of pain from standing in a position for such amounts of time. As i started working, the following subjects had occurred to me.
(There is a lot more then this, and what really happened is ALOT more in-depth , but what I have chosen to list specifically correlates to the major tribulations in that took place)
The sequence of each situation will endup correlating to the major tribulations.
1st Situation -
During the beginning of my time at this work, I was smoking THC vapes (weed vape) all day, as this addiction carried on through the previous times. Although I was still sinning a lot of the time, it occurred to me that Allah SWT understands the context behind everyone’s situation and not just the exterior. This is no reason to sin. But this is what caused me to submit. I would dwell on my situation and how I really am at the heart, I would dwell about my true morals and ethics which led me to shed tears regardless if I was at work because I realised this whole time Allah is the only one who knows how giving and caring I am in the soul, I would cry for his help, I would cry for his forgiveness, I would cry in appraisal of his almighty power, I would cry when I realised he saved me the whole time. It got to a point where I knew only Allah SWT knows how much I loved him , for the beauty of nature, for every time he saved me, for every time he tested me , for every life occurrence which took place, For the wisdom and knowledge he provided me with, For giving me a chance to build the heart of a warrior, For the outlook on life I was given. Subhanallah
2nd Situation -
With all the time at work came a lot of dwelling on my past. A major factor included all past relations. Who was good, Who was with me that had alterier motives, Who was blatantly unjust, who would sin with me , Etc.
Subhanallah it’s as though Allah SWT blessed me with true insight to the intentions behind every relation I had.
Who was close with me for money? Who was close with me for attention? Who was close with me that would lie upon the name of Allah? Who would talk to me about private situations of other people? Who was close with me to share a bad habit? Who out of those people would do what you would do for them? (biggest one) Who out of those people loved you like your brothers, your mother, your father , your sister? No one was left.
I had concluded my only true companions consisted of first-blood relatives. These are the only people who through any situation end-up coming close regardless of the past. These are the only people who would never steal. Who would never lie in the name of Allah SWT. Who would be too shameful to influence a bad habit on each other.
Regardless of any past action or motive from previous relations, I am equally respectful to every one of them to this day. I hold zero grudges and who am I not to forgive and be welcoming to anyone who has crossed my path. If it wasn’t for these people I would not be blessed with the outlook on the unbiased truth of intention behind relations.
Continued in comments..
submitted by Efficient_Mall6043 to MuslimLounge [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:56 deadmuesli Me (26F) and my boyfriend (26M) I don’t know how to feel like his equal.

My boyfriend and I are very different people. Here is a quick summary:
I grew up lower class in an unhappy and dysfunctional household. I had no access to therapy and developed severe mental health problems which culminated in alcoholism at a young age, as well as obesity. I experienced domestic abuse. I dropped out of college and nearly ended my own life in October 2019.
Since then, I have lost 125lbs. I am 19 months sober currently, I’ve worked through my biggest issues with therapy, I’m fully employed and go to school part-time. I am close to achieving an engineering degree. When I graduate I will be an experienced engineer with a decent career. There is a redemption arc.
On the other hand, my boyfriend was born into a well-adjusted, middle class family. He has always been intelligent and successful, and has never been diagnosed with any kind of physical or mental health condition. He graduated as expected, has an amazing lucrative career, and loves me very, very much.
We’ve moved in together recently. Due to the location (extremely expensive - this was non negotiable on his end, whereas I WFH and can work anywhere) I can only afford to pay about 1/4 of rent. He earns about four times what I do, so it’s not an issue.
I just… I guess I find this relationship so uncomfortable because I do not feel that I deserve it. I constantly feel that he should be with someone more similar to him. His ex girlfriend had a similar background to him. I don’t know.
TL;DR my boyfriend feels way out of my league. I don’t know how to convince myself that I’m not doing him a disservice by dating him.
submitted by deadmuesli to relationships [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:45 AutoModerator [Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download

[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download
Get the course here:
[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download
About The Course:
This course outlines the systems and secrets I used to make over $300,000+ in my first year with entrepreneurship
While I was still 17 years old…
And was also a high school dropout…
So what’s your excuse? It’s time to crush it.
I want you to take a moment and imagine a world where you could…
Never worry about money ever again. Build a six figure marketing agency and the best part? it’s a reality that all of my students are living RIGHT NOW. Take care of your family & loved ones. Yeah… this is something close to my heart. My marketing agency finally allowed me to take care of my mom and the people who believed in me when I had nothing. Travel the world, anytime! Yes… that’s right. After this course you will have the location freedom to travel anywhere in the world you want!
Now, who is the genius (kidding… kinda) behind this whole course?
Let me introduce myself, my name is Iman. At the age of Seventeen, I dropped out of high school to commit to the world of online marketing. Within my first year I had made over $300,000+, I had traveled the world working from my computer, I had constructed my dream lifestyle and this was all done through the power of what I teach in Six Figure SMMA. I run my own digital marketing agency based out here in London, although we have clients out in Amsterdam and St. Tropez.
I have my personal brand which is another six figure business…
Then I have a few other smaller income streams here and there. I love the internet! Haha
Damn… I worked hard for this life. I worked hard to create the sort of income where I can take care of my family and not even check the price…
I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I teach. It’s because it changed my life in unexplainable ways. I don’t think I could ever go back to my old life after living like this.
submitted by AutoModerator to GenkiCourses_2023 [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:38 Randomtyperagent90 A scene idea after listening to Mad Pianos from the BEAN movie.

To summarize:
(Play Mad Pianos from Bean)
submitted by Randomtyperagent90 to antiNTRcorps [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:28 lolpolice88 Moe mai ra e te Toa. Kane Te Tai honourably fought to defend Ukraine from the fascist, Neo-Conservative Christian Putinist regime & the cynical manipulations of debt-finance driven USA. These murderous ideologies must be overthrown and cooperation & tech made to heal & bring peace. Donate to No Duff

Donate to his veterans support charity No Duff if you can, it will go to his daughtewhanau, to return his body and continue his enduring kaupapa, which will help other whanau in this conflict and others.

No Duff Charitable Trust Givealittle page:

Kane Te Tai remembered as man of honour committed to aiding Ukraine
Whānau and friends of slain soldier Kane Te Tai say he will return home as a warrior in life and death, and be remembered as a man who always fought for what was right.
RNZ understands the body of the slain New Zealand soldier has officially been identified as Te Tai and is now being transferred to Kyiv.
He is understood to have been killed while clearing a trench in the Vulhedar area of Ukraine.
Sources have told RNZ he had moved deeper into the trench, away from his team, when he was killed by Russian soldiers.
His team were forced to leave his body there, before Ukrainian marines went in and recovered him overnight.
Veteran support and advocacy group No Duff is now working to ensure a New Zealander can be available to escort his body through the country to the Polish border, before travelling with him for his final journey home.
Comrades and friends have said they believed it was important a Kiwi was always with him, but the process would not be simple.
Te Tai co-founded No Duff with Aaron Wood, who told Midday Report his mother had asked them to manage the journey home.
"We're pulling all the pieces together. A number of volunteers and interested people from New Zealand, all the way through to Ukraine and in between, are coming together to make this happen."
It was highly likely they would be able to bring him home, Wood said, but there were numerous jurisdiction challenges ahead.
Deeply respected during time in Ukraine
Te Tai joined the Defence Force after leaving high school and went on multiple deployments while serving in the 2/1 Royal Battalion.
He left the Army in 2010 and travelled to Ukraine in April last year, operating under the call sign 'Turtle'.
Te Tai was a prominent character in the warzone and was widely followed on social media.
His colleagues described him as well-known and deeply respected for his professionalism, skill, leadership and relentless sense of humour.
They said he never underestimated the importance of his job, or the lives he held in his hands.
His death marks the third New Zealander to be killed in the combat - after the deaths of his best friend Dominic Abelen and humanitarian Andrew Bagshaw.
Te Tai had become the unofficial expert for New Zealanders in Ukraine, often acting as the point of contact for Kiwis wanting to travel to the warzone. He would ensure people knew what they were signing up for, a way to get into the country and a unit to go to.
He admitted in an interview with RNZ his initial motivations for going there were selfish, but that changed quickly on arrival.
The soldier became an infamous figure in the war, often featuring on Russian propaganda sites - seen by RNZ - particularly the Wagner group, who put a NZ$11 million price tag on his head.
In a conversation with friends he joked about ratting himself out for the money, illustrating his sense of humour.
Te Tai always said to his friends he was not afraid to die, but he also was not afraid to live.
During nearly a full year in Ukraine, he garnered respect from people in all walks of life. He volunteered with Ukrainian families, taught civilians how to fight and eventually found a spot at the frontline as one of the team's leaders.
Te Tai said he was fiercely protective of his team and did anything to make sure they were safe.
During one mission in August 2022, his best friend, Abelen, was killed in trench warfare. In an interview after the mission, Te Tai said the team were unable to get his body back and it ended up in Russian hands, but that did not stop him from trying.
He told RNZ they only stopped because Abelen would not have wanted them killed in the process.
Just last week Te Tai posted on social media, revealing that while clearing a Russian position he had found a "long lost friend" who had wanted to visit New Zealand.
Te Tai had thought his friend was dead and was amazed to find him alive, describing it as a "Hollywood moment".
He said at first he did not recognise the man, who had been shot four times and was skinny.
"He'd been starved by Russians for two months and drinking anti-freeze because the Russians wanted a laugh."
The man did not want to be left with the Ukrainians, but Te Tai had to keep fighting. He promised he would return and walk him personally to hospital.
That was exactly what he did, he said.
'The people grow on you'
In that August interview with RNZ, Te Tai said he had fallen in love with the country and its people, and was deeply respectful of their resolve.
"I was sort of getting a bit bored of being at home... and coming into this conflict was just one of those things that selfishly I thought I could be close to the war without getting too entangled.
"But then that sort of changes... I've met so many people, I've been everywhere in this country and the place grows on you, the people grow on you, and their strength, and that's why I'm still here."
Te Tai said he was prepared to leave everything in Ukraine, but in the weeks before his death he had made moves to return home.
His mother said he always kept her up to date, ending the calls with "I love you Mum", but more recently it was like "I'll see you soon".
In a Facebook message to another friend he said he loved Ukraine, but it was time to start living a real life - "gotta put the toys away and start to build while I can", he said.
"That's enough war for me, I love this place, it's like a playground where I can do anything I want.
"But that's the problem isn't it? So before the game gets me or before I decide that life here is too easy, maybe it's time to start living my real life.
"This place is pure escapism, we are all trying to run from something, mine is from having a real life, but the time is near."
Passionate about the cause
Te Tai is being remembered by his friends and comrades as a man of honour who was passionate about his cause, always doing everything he could to protect people.
Longtime friend Aaron Wood described Te Tai as a beautiful man, who he loved to bits.
"He just wanted people to live their best lives and he wanted to help as many people as he could.
"That sounds like a cliché, but with him it's a truism. That's his whole life... Just serving people, that's what he did, that's what his message was."
That was what he died doing, Wood said.
His mum, Ngaire Te Tai, said there was never any talking him out of it.
"He never did anything by halves, my son. We tried to stop him, but he had his mind made up, that's just Kane.
"When you were around him, you just felt safe."
A gift she said she knew he spread much further than just Ukraine.
Ngaire Te Tai's final comment about her eldest boy was: "Don't let my son's death be in vain."
He leaves behind a 12-year-old daughter.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find anything glorious about killing young mobilised Russian boys who are crying in their trenches”

The shelling is so close it makes you puke, says Kiwi fighting in Ukraine

A Kiwi soldier fighting under Ukraine’s military intelligence says he’s prepared to die.
Kane Te Tai, code name Turtle, is fighting in a secretive reconnaissance unit on Ukraine’s front line in the eastern Donetsk region.
After deaths, injuries and resignations, Te Tai now leads the Foreign Reconnaissance Team after only joining in July.
A December article in The New Yorker magazine revealed the existence of the unit and featured Turtle.
It’s the same unit that 28-year-old Kiwi Dominic Abelen was fighting in when he was killed in August, and the two were like brothers.
Te Tai’s unit has set up a PayPal to fundraise for vehicles it needs to move around its area of operation, near the town of Pavlivka.
As Te Tai was interviewed, he had to be careful his phone wasn’t too bright, so as to not give his unit away to any Russian drones flying overhead.
“We live on the line, we just occupy whatever place we can find at the time. If it gets too hot we just find somewhere else,” he told Stuff.
His unit’s job is primarily reconnaissance, a small mobile force that could reach into Russian land or no-man’s land between the trenches, and destroy a tank or hold a position, before the Ukrainian army moved in.
“Find it, locate it, observe it, report it, attack it.”
Good 4x4 vehicles are a necessity.
Donetsk is known for farming and coal production, and Te Tai described the land as similar to the Canterbury plains.
Soldiers try and use the tree lines separating the fields for cover, and trench systems are built through them.
During the winter, the roads and fields are muddy, pocked by craters from Russian artillery barrages.
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team can get the necessities of war – food, bombs, clothing, bullets - just fine.
Reliable working vehicles and parts, and enough for an emergency stockpile, are harder to come by.
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team is reliant on vehicles driven into Ukraine from throughout Europe by volunteers and paying for them with donated money.
“You can use that vehicle until it is blown up or you crash it, unfortunately both those things happen all the time,” Te Tai said.
“The last three vehicles we’ve had, in the last month, they’ve been hit with artillery. Holes in the front, s... just smashed through.”
Unlike the famous International Legion Battalion, which tens of thousands of foreigners have joined since the start of the war, the Foreign Reconnaissance Team is for some of the highly-trained foreign few.
Te Tai served a tour in Afghanistan for the New Zealand Defence Force and thinks of himself as having spent his whole life training to fight.
His team is given autonomy, building trust with local Ukrainian commanders to find out what they want and then formulating missions.
Te Tai was able to talk about one operation the Foreign Reconnaissance Team conducted during a December battle in Pavlivka, first described in the New Yorker article.
Te Tai and a small team of a half-dozen were set to cross a bridge at night and enter a tree line which ran into the centre of the town.
The mission was to see how close they could get to the Russian positions before they were fired on.
“The moment that we got onto the bridge, everything just opened up, rockets, missiles everything. We ran across this bridge and were just trying to scramble to the safest nearest spot.”
Te Tai’s team managed to get into the tree line and into a trench – all in the dark – but the Russians began to shell progressively towards them down the tree line.
“I remember just looking at everyone in the pit and we all had this look on our faces like, ‘well, the party had to end some time’. We had this feeling of acceptance.”
But, just as the next shell was set to kill the team, it flew off somewhere else and the Russians then began to bomb regressively back along the tree line.
“By divine intervention we missed getting smashed... We all knew we were supposed to die that night.”
Before joining Foreign Reconnaissance, Te Tai was working for a church training Ukrainians in basic military skills.
He was open with people back in New Zealand about what he was experiencing, including old army colleagues.
Te Tai described an environment where Kiwis in Ukraine often stayed in touch and worked together, including Dominic Abelen who contacted Te Tai before making the trip.
When Abelen said that he was set to join the International Legion Battalion, Te Tai told Abelen he was hearing bad stories.
“You go there as a foreigner, you get given a weapon, some ammunition, and sit inside a trench and you fight or die, that’s how it’s portrayed.
“People would tell us: 'Thank you for training my son, he didn’t make it back, but I felt he was better off than he was before’,” he said.
Abelen, now with the nickname Tolkien, made his way into the Ukrainian army, but managed to get taken into Ukrainian military intelligence.
Talking to Abelen about what he was doing, Te Tai had had enough of training soldiers and the 37-year-old felt like he was running out of time to fight.
“I told him [Abelen], ‘I’ll jump in with you too’.
“And he [Abelen] was like ‘thank God, cool man’,” said Te Tai.
He ended the volunteer work and a recruiter told Te Tai to get to Lviv where he entered a secretive military intelligence training camp.
Recruits weren’t allowed to use their phones and were closely evaluated for a two-week period.
“Pretty much from the second they take you into the camp, they don’t tell you what’s going on.
“They operate it like a psychological test, to see if you can be just told what to do and not know any other parameters,” he said.
Access to weapons was heavily restricted and there was heavy scrutiny as Ukrainian officials went through candidates’ records and social media, trying to weed out spies and the weak.
“When you talk to someone, it’s always a cover story, you’re never talking to who you think you’re talking to,” Te Tai said.
Then, one morning in July, officials gave Te Tai a contract and drove him to the Foreign Reconnaissance Team in Donetsk.
“As soon as we pulled up... Dom had no shirt on... he said, ‘let’s do some work’.”
“I was like ‘my man!’.”
Abelen had put in a good word for him with Ukrainian intelligence, Te Tai said.
He gave Te Tai the code name of Turtle, after he had originally named himself Talon. Talon was too cool, Abelen said.
Te Tai described new troops arriving for the unit as a big event, a celebration of strengthening the group after the fighting took its toll.
“There’s a high attrition rate either by death, injury, or guys wanting to leave.”
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team currently operates out of a house, planning their missions on a whiteboard.
“We’re normally strapped for time. If we’re not out working we are resting, or we are giving instructions.”
Te Tai said there aren’t ranks in the unit, so while he is the team’s leader, he sits on the same step as the other foreigners in the unit.
He eats Ukrainian food: soups like borscht, and two-minute noodles and toast.
At night Te Tai watches Netflix and YouTube fail compilations to decompress. Sometimes, he hears the Russians shelling, keeping him awake.
When you’re fired on by artillery, you can hear the lifespan of the shell, he said.
He described how shells left the Russian gun with a distant duh-boom, screeching through the air, before exploding somewhere on the Ukrainian side of the line.
Some shells landed far away, but some hit so close to soldiers that the concussion made them puke and made them feel sick for the next day, he said.
“That shit happens like every week.”
About six weeks after Te Tai joined the unit, Abelen was killed during a mission.
“It pissed me off more than anything, it just consolidated for me that I’m not leaving any time soon.”
Te Tai said Abelen didn’t have a death wish, but he was a soldier and fighting was what he had trained for his whole life.
“I could have told him, ‘you are going to die today’ and he would have been like ‘it’s a good day to die’, that’s just who he was.”
Killing didn’t weigh on Te Tai’s mind, he said. He described it as part of the job, and said his views hadn’t changed since Abelen’s death.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find anything glorious about killing young mobilised Russian boys who are crying in their trenches,” he said.
“I’m willing to die, for sure, but I don’t want to die.”
Te Tai has no plans to leave and wants to attend a victory day parade in Kyiv.
“I know we’re going to win, I know that for sure,” he said.
“I’m staying here until I can’t take it any more, or I am dead.”
submitted by lolpolice88 to Maori [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:26 ThrowRA_sunkship12 My (22M) GF (23F) is very unappreciative and it’s killing my self esteem.

I have been “dating” this girl for almost four years. The relationship transitioned into long-distance after 2 years due to work reasons.
From the get go I knew she was the one for me personality wise, we had very similar personalities and really bonded over small things. This was the kind of girl that I would stay up till 3am doing homework, so I could have my weekends free for her. We went on quite a few dates and really had a good time, I would bring her coffee, dinner, flowers, etc and tried to make her feel appreciated. The first signs of negativity were when she told me to ease up on this as it was making her sister who she lived with jealous, because she had never experienced a boyfriend like this. So I eased up.
We were in college at the time, so money wasn’t the easiest to come by. She started liking going out less and less due to studies, so we transitioned into me making her dinner and watching movies. She got really upset about this, because I was only cooking dinner for her and not her brother and sister as well. I started cooking for them as well. Every time I asked her to go on dates on the weekend, whether putt putt or whatever, she would get upset that I didn’t want to include her family or that I was pulling her away from school. This went on for the remainder of the time we spent together, where I planned dates, brought her coffee, made her fun baskets for halloween and easter, and regardless of all of this she would still find ways to be upset at me. If I went golfing alone and didn’t invite her brother she would be mad. If I brought her coffee or dinner and not everyone else she would be mad. This is my first relationship and I didn’t know what to expect.
Long distance was rough.
She called me twice a day when she was going to work and leaving work. She wasn’t the best at responding to texts and often would get back to me within a few hours at a time. If I called her late at night to chat about my day or say goodnight oftentimes she was on the couch watching a show with her mom, so she would make it a 1 minute conversation and hang up.
When she visited me I wanted her to feel like her time was valued, so I really made an effort. I took her to all of my favorite restaurants, let her pick restaurants, took her to NFL, MLB, MLS sporting events. Took her to the zoo, our local amusement park 2 times, kayaking, fireworks shows, shopping at the malls, to our world famous grocery store whenever she wanted. I basically wanted to make sure that if she was visiting she was getting her moneys worth. I was very much a “yes man”, where if she wanted breakfast, coffee, to go to the grocery, etc I would do it. If she needed something from the store, I would go get it, if she wanted to do something we did it. However, this was pretty much expected from me I guess, the only thing I wanted was once to hear wow I had a great day thank you so much. Instead usually it was pointing out some mistake I made earlier in the day that I forgot about or something I did that upset her, that I didn’t intend to do. There was always something for me to improve on in her eyes.
When I would visit her and her family, I didn’t really expect a lot. I used about 10 days of PTO visiting a year and the majority of the time we spent with her family. If I brought up that I’d really like to go on a date with her, she would make me feel bad and ask why I didn’t just spend time with her family. I eased up on this as well and just decided it was better to let it be. Oftentimes visiting consisted of household chores followed by relaxing inside then going to dinner. I helped them with landscaping for hours in the Texas heat, moving furniture, putting together furniture, getting groceries, etc. They would all go golf, but my girlfriend liked to ride with the girls in a 3 person group while the boys went in another 3 person group.
During this time when we spent it with her family I felt like things always went alright, I wouldn’t say they went the best as I have trouble with my social battery, but let me tell you my girlfriend didn’t let it go unnoticed. I would always be made to feel like crap for any mistake I made around her family or if I just wanted to take a minute alone to recharge and didn’t want to be surrounded by her family constantly. It was ironic I guess though because her brother would take a break in the day or when she would visit she would take naps or time away, and I didn’t criticize her. To get to the point of all of this, I feel like no matter what I do I am always wrong and have never felt more unappreciated and unloved by someone. It’s taken me four years to realize this, but I don’t care about the lack of effort on her end as I’m not here to change her I just want her to appreciate the things I do. She always claims how much she loves me and says I don’t do enough to make her feel loved via words, but I think I’m in such an emotional whirlwind constantly or not knowing what’s right and wrong that I feel emotionally closed off.
How do I discuss this without losing the relationship?
TLDR: During 4 years of dating I take my girlfriend on countless dates and introduce her to numerous experiences, but she always finds a way to find a flaw in me or one of my actions. It’s become a vicious cycle where I’ve became more and more emotionally distant. I just wanted her to appreciate me more. How do I bring this up without losing the relationship?
submitted by ThrowRA_sunkship12 to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:22 Veledala My stepmother told me she wants to divorce my father and I don't know what to do

When I (23M) was 10 years old my father divorced my mother and about two years later he married my stepmother with whom he has 3 children. After my parent's divorce, my mother went to live about 10km away from my father, who bought a house with my stepmother, they still live there to this day. My family has always been multicultural, apart from my stepmother being Ghanaian, my mother is French and my father's parent emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the 80's. By the way, English is not my mother tongue, therefore I'm sorry for any mistake I could make.
I've been aware the situation has been deteriorating for a while, a few years after they've got married, my stepmother developed pathological jealousy and suspiciousness towards my mother. She basically forbade my father to contact her over any matter, throwing a fit and almost leaving the country with my stepsister when she discovered they were still talking together over work related issues. We all quickly realized we were walking on eggshells, she would be deeply suspicious of him and would pick fights with him over little misunderstandings, even for things me and my (1 year younger) sister would say. Overall she revealed herself to be quite selfish and irresponsible, she's the one that earns the most money in the marriage, yet she spends it on beauty products, expensive clothes and sends a significant amount to Africa, where she launched some business. She's hardly ever there for the kids, leaves my father at home with them and goes out with friends or to after-work events. From my father's perspective, she's a bad mother and I would tend to agree on this.
On the other side, my father hasn't been himself lately. He found a new job with the help of my stepmother and is now earning about as much as she does, but at the same time he keeps working for his own company, even though he's supposed to have closed it for months. My grandfather got sick with rapidly progressing dementia, last year, he's now in the late stages, unable to move, and is taken care of by my grandmother, my uncle and him. My sister dropped out of college and works for my father's company, she's clueless as to what to do with her life and lives with her boyfriend, which doesn't seem to care much about it. He has to take care of the kids, take them to school, take care of the house which is basically still under construction. So many things lie on his shoulders and he looks exhausted. Overall he seems to be letting everything unfold as if he wasn't part of it. He takes forever to answer to us - me and my sister - and changes his mind all the time, he doesn't seem to see things clearly. Lately he has been talking about buying a house for my mother, because she's in a precarious financial situation, but as soon as my stepmother heard about it, she disappeared for a week to "make him realize his mistake".
My father is a very secretive person, he does not talk about his problems, he keeps everything inside and never seeks help from anybody. After living a few years in Czechia, I realized this attitude was very common amongst Czechs, as it is unacceptable, in the Czech society, to bother other people with your personal issues.
He's basically the one on which my whole family relies, but it is beginning to get clear that he's failing at it, because nobody can stand that much pressure without putting his own health in jeopardy. On the other side I must say that he was not always a good father to us - me and my sister - he left us alone when we were 10, we didn't see him for a year. He would give me financial help when I was abroad, and then decide to cut it without warning, leaving me unable to pay my rent and forced to miss university to work full time. He told me many times he did not believe in me and I basically had to make myself alone. It's beginning to clear to me that he doesn't know how to manage his own life, but at the same time I just see what's on the surface and God knows what he's going through by himself.
I've been living in a city about 100km away from them, and came to visit yesterday, while staying at my mother's place. Last night my stepmother proposed to take me back there because it was late and I came without my car. Upon arriving, we started to talk about my father, she told me how she feels exhausted from him, how he's been hiding things from her. There was, for instance, some issues with the nurse that takes care of my grandfather, as she's apparently been sending very personal messages to my father, she noticed it and also noticed he was buying train tickets for her. When she confronted him about it, he went to see the nurse and apologized for my stepmother's jealousy, the nurse recorded it and sent it to people in the local African community, now apparently everybody's talking trash about my stepmother. She then fired her, but my grandmother called her back and told my stepmother to stay away from her house. On another occasion she found a hotel reservation for two people on the backseat of my father's car.
She then went on to tell me she was, in fact, not suspicious at all of my mother, but the fact that my father would try to hide every conversation they had from her made her think that there was more to it. Also the fact that my father keeps so many things inside makes her very distrustful of him. She then told me she has been gathering evidence and contacted a lawyer, but she's waiting to see if my father wakes up and changes something after their trip to Africa, next April.
I'm sorry for the length, but there you see how complicated this whole situation is. I've always known that it was, but I didn't suspect it to be nearly as bad as this. I told her I would discuss with my father, but just what am I supposed to tell him? I don't even understand who's at fault, if not both of them. Of course he could take charge of his life, sell his company, get more sleep and be more clear and honest when communicating with other people, but isn't this just a consequence of this terrible marriage? I don't really understand what's going on and yet I bear this information and am clueless what to do with it. Should I warn my father about a potential divorce ahead? Should I tell him what my stepmother think is wrong and ask him why he's been behaving this way? She did not say she would divorce, but she's considering it.
TL;DR : my stepmother told me she's considering divorce with my father and I don't know what to tell him, but they both seem to have messed up.
submitted by Veledala to Divorce [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:19 SimbaTheSavage8 I don't think I'm normal, and I'm scared (Part 2)

Part 1
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think even.
Emily knows my biological mom?
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I asked.
Emily’s smile was as thin as ice. “I didn’t think you were ready. Now you are.”
“Ready for what?”
“You’ll know soon enough. Sleep tight, Skye. You have to go to school tomorrow.”
I couldn’t sleep. All I saw, in my nightmares and painted on the ceiling, was Alfie’s face. He whispered my name while I dreamed and wriggled into my happiest memories. I woke up screaming as his body twisted and swelled.
We will meet again. Alfie hissed through a series of clicks.
It was too quiet when I woke up the next morning. I was used to Emily yelling for me to wake up for school or my dad rushing to get dressed for work and brushing his teeth or the smell of burned bacon and pancakes and eggs down from the kitchen. Or at the very least Alfie ringing my ears off to tell me he was waiting too long outside.
But the silence whispered through the halls, sneaking into my room and tickling my heart. I rubbed my eyes and sat with my knees tucked against my chest, watching the sun rise. The sky was lit in gold as the darkness slithered away, but it was as if dawn had never arrived at all.
I got dressed and headed downstairs. At that point I realised exactly why the house was so quiet and my heart stopped cold.
Most of the stuff we owned was packed up into boxes; and anything that was too big was covered by translucent tarps. Emily and my dad were huddled together in the kitchen. They looked so lost, so hollow, like they’d just come back from Alfie’s funeral and had not stopped crying since.
“Hey morning,” I said tersely.
“Morning,” Emily said. She still wasn’t looking at me. “Did you sleep well or do you still look like a panda bear?”
“Ha ha.” I made myself some coffee. It tasted like muddy water.
Emily looked at the clock. “You better hurry up or you’ll be late for school, Sleepy Skye.”
“But—” The night before was still spinning in my mind. Questions bubbled to the back of my throat, dying on my lips.
Emily placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Skye. I’ll explain more later when the time is right.”
School felt like forever. All of my classes passed in a blur. Everyone avoided me like the plague, and whispered behind their hands when I walked past. I didn’t really care. I rested my head on my hands and wished Alfie was here. Whispering that everything would be okay.
When the last bell rang I plodded through the halls. The chatter around me had blended into a monotonous stream of nothing. I looked around me and saw Alfie’s face around me, in the couples making out near the lockers, in the teenagers huddled together like penguins.
My heart ached again.
My dad’s van was waiting for me at the school entrance, coughing up smoke like an old, retired dragon. It was jammed full of boxes and things wrapped in bubble paper. I was surprised it could even move a centimetre without something breaking inside.
“Hop in Skye,” said my dad, poking his head out of one window.
“Um, where are we going?”
“To my old place,” Emily explained, poking her head out of the other window. “I—we—thought it would be good for you, for…for the both of us.”
Alfie died.
The wind was still once more, as if mourning over him in its deep grief too. I crumbled against the side of the van, letting hot tears stream down my cheeks.
Without a word more I climbed into the van and my dad sped off immediately. I gazed outside the window, watching country roads blend into billboards and highways, and let the van rock me into a soothing sleep.
“We’re here. Wake up, Sleepy Skye.”
Emily’s house, as it turned out, was a two-storey monster tucked away from the heart of the city. The paint was peeling away and the bricks underneath were slick with slime. Mold crawled between the bricks and stayed there, dying the house green. I turned away and nearly threw up.
“This way,” Emily said, climbing a set of stairs. It was really dark, and everything was covered in shadow. The only source of light was a small Gothic window that shone through the gloom in a weak white arm. Set at the side of the stairwell was a black iron door. I started towards it, but Emily glared at me, so I abandoned the door and followed her.
The second floor was surprisingly well-kept. The floors were swept and the walls clean of dust. Picture frames depicting bugs and scarabs hung onto the wall, polished until it shone. There was even a pot of tea on the table.
“Knock yourself out,” Emily said as she collapsed onto the couch. She closed her eyes.
“Make yourself at home.”
“It stinks,” I observed, wrinkling my nose.
In fact it was the worst stink I had ever smelled in my life. It tore through the walls and floors like it was made of paper and I gagged. I sprinted to the window, stuck my head out and breathed in relief.
Emily raised an eyebrow.
“There’s some…construction going on downstairs,” she explained. “We just got here, so bear with it a little longer, okay Skye?”
“Yeah,” I choked. My eyes were watering. If I could see the smell it would be a big black cloud hovering in the air, howling and shaking in its stinky fury.
“Can I explore the city? I need some fresh air.”
“Go ahead,” Emily said, turning away. “Just be back for dinner.”
I nodded. I had never sprinted out of my old house so fast in my life, rubbing my smarting eyes. Even at the distance I could smell it, and once again I felt like throwing up.
After some time I slowed to a walk and really started to look around. It wasn’t much of a city—and it also wasn’t much of a town—but somewhere in between. It was getting quite late in the day with the sun streaming slowly in from the west, but the town felt…alive in a way. Shopkeepers hollered their wares from the inside of their ornate walls, and people were strolling on the streets, their arms interlocked laughing and whistling.
I tried not to think of Alfie.
A couple of blocks away I saw a large diner, its neon sign beckoning me inside. Getting closer I could smell heaven: char-grilled meats, fresh cakes and cookies, and something else in a fryer or oven.
My stomach growled. I wiped off my drool with my sleeves.
Pushing the door open, I went in.
The diner was abuzz with chatter and laughter; people were toasting each other with glasses of beer and ale. Yet everything died the moment I came in. Time stood still; heads swiveled to look at me and a collective gasp rose from the frozen crowd. I felt like an animal in a zoo as I navigated through the chaos and found a table to sit.
“Don’t mind ‘em.”
The speaker was a living Popeye, with a big, floppy nose and bigger arms that bulged with muscles and fat and a tattoo of a beetle instead of an anchor. He was wearing a greasy, bloody apron and a cap that was too small for a nest of blonde hair.
“It’s been a while since we had anyone new around here. Thirteen years, in fact. Also, hold on…”
He squinted hard at me, his eyes moving from my head down to my legs.
“Are you Skye?”
Goosebumps pricked my skin once more. I looked outside and realised the wind had once again stood still.
“Yes! How do you know?”
The man opposite me thought for a moment, then shouted something to the kitchens. Then he sat down opposite me and grinned, revealing yellowed teeth.
“Your stepmom talks about you a lot. She adores you, you know.”
He cupped my head in his hands and brushed a lock of hair off my head. Tears welled in his eyes.
“You look a lot like your mom. Same face, same eyes.”
He knocked on my face like it was a piece of wood.
Click clock
“Rock solid too.”
My hair stood up on my skin as I stared straight into the eyes of this man who I just met.
“Y-you know my biological mom too?”
The man’s smile grew even wider. “Let’s just say…kind of.”
He extended his hand. “I’m sorry I haven’t introduced myself earlier. Call me Mr Lancaster. I’m the owner here.”
“I’m pleased to meet you too,” I replied, shaking his hand.
“Boss? Everything is ready.”
One of the waiters skidded to a halt near our table. He was a handsome youth—freckles and curly red hair. He held out a huge plastic bag to me.
Mr Lancaster smiled at me in a way that made my heart melt.
“Fish and chips. And I threw in some strawberry milkshakes as well. It’s one of our best dishes on the menu. Emily is always going on and on about how crazy you are for ‘em.”
“Wow! Thank you Mr Lancaster!”
“It’s on the house too. A welcome gift from me. Tell your stepmom she doesn’t have to pay back a single cent.”
He glanced out at the darkening sky, sweat mopping his brow.
“You better be going now. It’s getting late. See you soon, Skye. You’re always welcome here.”
And with that, he practically shoved me out of the door.
The bell tinkled as I stumbled onto the street, nearly tripping over the food. It was really heavy, mind you. Like a thousand dumb-bells made out of solid gold. By the time I reached my flat my arms ached.
I dropped the takeaway on the floor and sat down on one of the stairs to rest. The sun had completely set at this point; long, thin shadows crawled across the wall to the corners. Soon I was plunged in darkness. I could barely see my hand in front of my face.
My vision suddenly cleared, and I realised I could see. Somehow. Dark shapes shifted and twisted before my eyes, but I could still make out details of every brick, every scratch on the stairs and wall. The takeaway sat untouched before me.
It was like looking through an extremely grainy CCTV.
As the bangs echoed throughout the hallway I froze, the excitement of my discovery gone.
My name was shouted with great abandon, the call tinged with sorrow and pain. I inched closer and realised that it was coming from the iron door.
Whoever was calling me was thrashing against the door, making the hinges shake. I backed away, my heart in my throat. All the hair on my skin was standing up straight.
The stink slapped me in the face, making my nose itch. My eyes didn’t leave the door as I scrambled up the stairs to the main apartment, leaving everything in the dust.
It was only when I slammed the door behind me and sprinted down the hallway to my bedroom did I realise I forgot the takeaway still sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
Oh well I told myself, trying to calm my shaking heart. I can go back in a few minutes.
I’m sure Emily and Dad won’t mind.
The city had fallen asleep. The hustle and bustle seemed to have vanished with the last of the sun. The streets were illuminated faintly with lamps that shone like a halo. My room looked like it belonged in a horror movie.
I lay on my bed for a while, squeezing my eyes shut and listening to my heart beat. The screams had long died down, but I somehow heard them long and clear in my mind, as if blasted by an invisible loudspeaker.
Low and loud, like a foghorn from a ship lost at sea.
“Shut up!” I screamed, my eyes welling with tears. I curled up in a ball and squeezed my head with my pillow. Even then the screams rammed against the sides of my head, over and over again, and I was dizzy from the pain.
Eventually I got out of bed and wandered throughout the house, hoping for something to distract myself from the eternal noise. The apartment was shaded in the same grainy darkness, except for the dining-room, which was glowing invitingly like a crackling campfire. Something clanged and tinkled. Cutlery probably. Either Emily or my dad setting the table. My stomach grumbled. The smell from the diner was making me hungry.
I started towards the dining room but then I heard it. A strange chitter-chatter. Like crickets, even though we lived so far from nature.
It was coming from the pictures hanging on the wall.
I hadn’t paid much attention to them when I first came in, but now it was drawing me closer like a moth to a flame. The bugs chittered again, and their legs twisted and struggled, almost like it was dancing. Looking closer, I realised that all the pictures depicted the same figure. A woman in various poses with the head of a bug with too-large eyes. She was wearing a dress that shone like fire and was glaring at the camera.
I clapped my hand over my mouth. I didn’t know where that came from. I looked nothing like her. I didn’t know her. It was my first time seeing her.
But Alfie…
No, no, no! I’m mad! I must be going mad! It’s the screams, I thought, the screams were driving me cuckoo! Making me think crazy thoughts!
I forced myself to look away and shove those thoughts out of my mind. I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
“Skye? Dinner time!”
Emily’s calls broke through the confusing mess in my head. I was grateful that she came to my rescue. Glancing back at the photo of my mum (no, she isn’t! How can I be related to…that?), I scurried down the hallway and into the dining room.
Emily had saved the takeaway.
It sat between us on the newly-dusted table. Emily pulled out foil containers and set one each before me and my dad.
“Mr Lancaster called about the fish and chips,” she explained. “He was delighted to have met you, Skye.”
She ruffled my hair, and chuckled as she handed me a strawberry milkshake. “But it looked like his little delivery girl got cold feet on her first order, eh?”
“Emily!” I groaned. I took a long sip and licked my lips. The milkshake was delicious. Rich, creamy and filled with enough sugar to make my insulin go straight into overdrive.
“Hey,” I noted, sitting down after a while. The pure sweetness of that drink was enough to make my head spin. “Mr Lancaster made some extra fish and chips.”
And it stank too. Almost as much as whatever is behind that iron door.
“Oh, that’s nothing,” Emily said quickly, sweeping the bag off the table and rushing it to the kitchen. “Mr Lancaster always makes me extra. He knows I’m always hungry after midnight!”
I chuckled nervously, feeling the weight of my worries lift off my shoulders. Emily did eat a lot after midnight. A couple of times I had spotted her sneaking to the living room with the television on and a bag of chips.
Yet this particular container stuck out like a sore thumb. Not just the smell, or how big it was compared to the others, but…but, was it me or was it glowing?
I buried that thought into the deepest recesses of my mind. No. I had enough wild and crazy thoughts and visions for one night.
Succumbing to them was not what Alfie would have wanted.
That was not what any of us would have wanted.
Once we had finished dinner, I helped to clear the table and wash the cutlery. Emily turned to me and said:
“I’ve got some things to do tonight. Take care, Skye, and take care of your dad.”
“He does not look well.”
Sick actually. Dad looked like he was going to throw up. He staggered to the couch and passed out on the leather. I couldn’t help but pity him. Fifty-six years old, and all that oil into the fish and chips was not doing his heart any good.
“I’ll look after him,” I promised.
“Good girl.” Emily gave me another thin smile. She pulled on a jacket—a black jacket with a golden rim—and gave me a kiss on my forehead.
“I won’t be long.”
Emily strode out of the house, taking the last box of fish and chips with her. There was something clinking in her pocket, like suits or armor banging together. And just as she stepped out of the front door, she pulled out that something from her pocket. I only saw it for a brief second, but it was enough to make my heart race.
It was a key. But not just any key.
This one was black. Like evil. Like ash. Like the iron door.
It smirked at me as it hid back in her pocket. A shiver ran up my spine.
“Emily, wait!”
“Is there a problem, Skye?”
“Yeah. I wanna ask you something.”
I took a deep, shaky breath. There was a lump in my throat and my heart was beating way too fast.
“The iron door on the first floor…what’s behind it?”
“It’s nothing, Skye,” Emily said. Her eyes darted to somewhere behind me and fixed on one of the bug women. “Just some of my old stuff, y’know? From before I met your dad?”
“Now I have to go. I’ll be late otherwise. I’ll see you later, okay Skye?”
I swallowed as I watched her leave. Uncertainty still sat tight in my stomach, wound up like a spring, and wouldn’t let go.
“Dad? You okay?”
No response. My dad was out like a light.
Then his eyes shot open.
I gulped.
They got bigger and bigger. I saw each individual vein popping out and weaving into each other like mini spider webs.
Then it bulged and swelled. His head enlarged to accommodate it.
Chills shot down my spine as I realised exactly what was going on.
Click click click.
His lips split and burst into mandibles. I scrambled over and held his hand.
“Don’t do this to me. Don’t be like Alfie.”
I was crying. I was shaking. Oh god, I was shaking so bad it felt like I was in an earthquake.
Click click click
I scrambled over and held his hand. It only seemed to make it worse, however. I watched as it shrank and turned black and folded into itself.
“Dad! Fight it!”
He hunched over and coughed out so much more blood.
Ack ack ack
His spine was curving over and hardening into a black shell. I dropped his hand and backed away into a corner, my face white.
Ack ack ack.
The floor was blooming. Grass spread thin like a carpet and tall trees grew. I saw red flowers explode onto new branches, like a bundle of fireworks.
My dad clicked and clacked, as if enjoying the new scenery.
My skin was crawling. Literally. I looked down and saw bumps pulsing beneath the folds, marching along to my heartbeat. Then it broke and a cockroach popped out. It took a deep breath, bowed, clicked and clacked in the same rhythm as my dad’s—slow and steady, a pulse
And I SWEAR I heard the cockroach say:
“Your Highness.”
I screamed. It bounced off new grass and fresh flora.
I’m really going mad now.
I pinched myself, wondering if I was living in some kind of nightmare. But I wasn’t. It was as real as the still lights from the street lamps shining in through the window.
Click clack.
More cockroaches were spilling out from my skin like a dam left unchecked. My dad looked at me inquisitively. Cement was quickly turning into dirt.
Click clack
My thoughts were clambering over each other as I squatted, paralysed in my corner, watching the cockroaches with my mouth open. My dad—no longer human—crawled into the walls and towards me. Staring at the roaches and slowly reaching out to them. They squeaked and climbed over him.
This was too much. I did the only thing I could think of.
My phone was butter in my hands. My vision blurred and I kept on punching in the wrong numbers.
Thankfully, Emily answered the phone on the first ring.
I took a deep breath and screamed into the receiver. My voice was shaking so bad I was surprised I could say anything at all.
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2023.03.26 13:10 varJoshik Cursed Rulers: Parallels Between Auberon & Emhyr

Final part in the series about the mirroring act between the three Aen Elle elves & their Continental counterparts. Previous works: Black Knights: Parallels Between Eredin & Cahir Love(less) Sorcerers: Parallels Between Avallac'h & Vilgefortz

“Emperors rule their empires, but two things they cannot rule: their hearts and their time. Those two things belong to the empire.”
“The end justifies the means.”
Leaders of the highest order for their people, both rulers pursue the greater good at the expense of decency and their own humanity. A greater good to be achieved through similar means – by begetting the child who is prophesised.


In the Witcher, both Auberon and Emhyr are embroiled in a plot of siring the child of prophecy with Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon – their blood relative. Genetically, the incest is a matter of degree: Emhyr is Ciri’s biological father, Auberon Ciri’s ancestor 8 generations past. Symbolically, however, the degree collapses with Auberon because a few human generations are meaningless to elves. They call Ciri Lara’s daughter, effectively deeming Ciri Auberon’s granddaughter. But the reader – not unlike Ciri herself – won’t know about this until the very end of the tale.
Notionally, both rulers bind their actions with Ithlinne’s prophecy. The problem with prophecies is they decouple arguments from verification, lending themselves to the rationalization of all and any action. At least insofar as knowing the future accurately is impossible. This is the case for humanity, it is not the case for elves. Elven prophecies were made by the elves and for the elves in the first place. Consequently, the degree to which each ruler knows the prophecy to be true and believes in it differs. For Emhyr, mystical secret knowledge of the universe is irrelevant in comparison to political expedience: reason of state is what the tomorrow will bring. The Nilfgaardian Emperor is neither a mystic nor a fatalist. Contrary to the Alder King – a Sage, a ruler, and an elder – who has witnessed and likely verified some of what the Seers have prophesised. Elves conceive of the nature of time as cyclical in which the fate of things is tied up in the endless repetition of endings giving birth to new beginnings, the dance of attraction between life and death, two sides of the same coin which form the singular eternal truth of existence – change is only an eternal reoccurrence and re-arrangement of all. Auberon, you see, is a bit of a mystic. And even without Seers privy to secret knowledge, an extraordinary life span reduces the elves’ proclivity to black swan fallacy, or at least pushes the error probabilities. But at the end of the day, mysticism takes the cake.
The idea that either ruler must be the progenitor, however, comes at the instigation of an outside force.
Shortly after Ciri’s birth Emhyr is visited by a sorcerer. Emhyr has a strong aversion to mages; he was cursed by one. Even so, Vilgefortz proves himself capable of helping him regain the Nilfgaardian throne and is straightforward about what he wishes in exchange – gratitude, favours, privileges, power. Vilgefortz tells Emhyr about Ithlinne’s prophecy – a version about the fate of the world; a human interpretation. Then he plants the seed as to what Emhyr should do to steer the fate of this world. Naturally, he has his own agenda. It is not a huge leap of imagination to conceive of Auberon having been similarly persuaded by Avallac’h (an elven Knowing One who thematically parallels the human Vilgefortz). Not only are Avallac’h and Auberon tied by broken familial bonds, they are each a participant of the Elder Blood programme; and each, a Sage. Avallac’h serves nearly as a double for Auberon, his own fate also tied with Ciri’s. And Auberon is a “willing unwilling” in his arrangement with Ciri; implied so in his rage when he reveals Ciri ought to be grateful to him for lowering himself to the endeavour at all. There is an alternative.
Neither the Emperor nor the Alder King is pursuing the incestuous course of action out of lust. But both have the option to waive being the sire. Ithlinne’s prophecy is not explicit about the father of the Swallow’s child. For elves the match is backed by science. For humanity – pragmatism.
Emhyr has ordered to wipe out the Usurper’s name from the annals of history and is cementing his earthly power, conquering and ensuring the succession laws play out in his favour. Not only is he legitimatizing his rule over Cintra – the gateway to the North – by marrying its last monarch’s granddaughter, by keeping it in the family, he is also consolidating his rule among the Nilfgaardian aristocracy. The Emperor’s concern lies with the dynastic struggle for power: it is his blood that should rule the world and because history is bending its arc according to Nilfgaard’s dictation that means surmounting the Nilfgaardian succession laws. From such perspective, not fathering Ciri’s child would create numerous problems. Ciri as Emhyr’s heir would remain behind any other male offspring he might have (with any Nilfgaardian aristocrat). Ciri might not be acknowledged as a legitimate successor in Nilfgaard in the first place as she is a foreigner, born in Cintra at a time when her father was not yet an emperor; a bastard, effectively, and a girl besides. Ciri’s husband, moreover, may have designs on power himself and his remaining under Emhyr’s control, or Ciri’s control, is not a guarantee. It is difficult to be the correctly-shaped chess piece in a game of interests of the state. That a widely recited prophecy about the fate of the world can lend an aura of destiny to the brutal political machinations undertaken to seek retribution and pursue earthly power is convenient; a descendant who will be the ruler of the world – a bonus. But to get there sacrifices must be made.
‘Cirilla,’ continued the emperor, ‘will be happy, like most of the queens I was talking about. It will come with time. Cirilla will transfer the love that I do not demand at all onto the son I will beget with her. An archduke, and later an emperor. An emperor who will beget a son. A son, who will be the ruler of the world and will save the world from destruction. Thus speaks the prophecy whose exact contents only I know.’ ’What I am doing, I am doing for posterity. To save the world.’ - Lady of the Lake
Notably, the manner in which the Emperor claims to understand Ithlinne’s prophecy does not make guarantees that a father’s incest with his daughter will ensure his progeny will one day save the world. The saviour is a few generations away and the causal arrow between now and then is not direct: the son could die, could father a child with a genetically non-fitting partner, could be sterile, or could turn out to be a daughter altogether. Not to even begin with what the world needs saving from in the first place; again, elven prophecies were written by the elves and for the elves. Emhyr var Emreis is neither an elf, a geneticist, an idealist nor a mystic. He is an autocrat.
Elder Blood is the creation of elves and it is elves who understand how their genetic abilities play into handling what was foretold by Ithlinne. Emhyr’s daughter, the Lady of Time and Space, is the descendant of an Alder King who has utilized Hen Ichaer in the past and whose ambitions lie in an altogether different ball park than that of an Emperor of one single world. Appropriately to the Saga’s love for subversion, it is ironic that human understanding of elven prophecies remains on the level of poetry, while elves – the irritatingly poetic, mystical species – can read the science elevating the prophetic jargon into something more. Which regardless does not invalidate the problem with prophecies: they lend themselves to the rationalization of action, frequently covering up the real horses the powerful might have in the race. Legitimatization of the ruler’s right to remain the leader of their people is relevant in Auberon’s life too. More on that when we return to the Fisher King parable and the nature of curses upon the two rulers.

Role & Relationships

Let’s take a look at the characters’ personalities.
Appearance: a play of contrasts
A very tall, slender elf with long fingers and ashen hair shot with snow-white streaks. An elf with the most extraordinary eyes – as on all Elder Blood carriers – reminiscent of molten lead. A man with black, shiny, wavy hair bordering an angular, masculine face that is dominated by a prominent nose (hooked, presumably, or Roman if you like). The Emperor of Nilfgaard does not resemble an androgynous elf by any means. But this does not mean nothing remains in him of the elven gene pool. Not only does Emhyr’s etymological origin link with the Romano-Celtic world underpinning all things elven in the Witcher. Nilfgaardians are effectively the Romano-Brytons. The human population in the South of the Continent mixed with elves heavily, retaining a lot of elven law, customs, language, and DNA. As Avallac’h says about heritability, “the father matters,” and Emhyr was one half of the equation for getting Ciri.
Rex Regum - King of Kings
The readers are probably more familiar with the imperial system and how that features in the depiction of Nilfgaard. Auberon Muircetach’s position as the Supreme Leader of the Aen Elle – as opposed to merely a “king” – is instead much more reminiscent of the station of a High King.
Ancient and early kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland boast many High Kings (e.g. Ard Rí Érenn Brian Boru, Ard Rí Alban Macbeth, Vortigern, King of the Britons, etc). The High King was usually elected and set above lesser rulers and warlords as an overlord in a land that shared a high degree of cultural unity. Emperors usually ruled over culturally different lands (regularly obtained through recent or ongoing conquests). In character such high kingship was sacred: the duties of the ruler were largely ceremonial and somewhat restricted, unless war, natural disaster or any other realm-wide occasion created a need for a unified command structure. The Irish High King, for example, was quite straightforwardly a ruler who laid claim to all of the land of the Emerald Isle. Noteworthy, because the ruler is frequently seen as the embodiment of the land, associated with the health and well-being of the realm that the land sustains. In quasi-religious terms, High Kings gained their power through a marriage to, or sexual relationship with, a sovereignty goddess; frequently, a mother goddess who was associated with the life-giving land. As one of the most frequently studied elements of the Celtic cosmology, this feature is instantly recognisable in the outlook of the elves in the Witcher and factors heavily into Auberon’s relationship with Ciri. Ciri who is the avatar of the Triple Goddess – the Virgin, the Pregnant Mother, and the Old Woman Death. As Sapkowski notes in Swiat króla Artura. Maladie:
“…no Wiccan mystery in honour of the Great Triple, cannot be performed, [without] the goblet and the sword. Grail and Excalibur. The rest is silence.”
Through the Triple Goddess’ interaction with her God-counterpart (a ruler who briefly assumes the role of the god) is showcased the eternal cycle of life – one which cannot be realised without the interaction of the cup (feminine) & the sword (male). Excalibur is the symbol of rightful sovereignty and its wielders are frequently powerful men, but Ciri is a woman and a woman is the Grail, bringing salvation and new life. To possess the Grail is to legitimize oneself as the ruler, as the leader, protector, and father figure of the realm. Thus a King of Kings must do exactly that. A protector, a father figure, and a druid (wise man) merge into a symbolic whole in the Supreme Leader of the elves.
(But Ciri is also the witcher girl and owns a sword, unyielding before the matter of her gender. And though many a men might take her for the Lady of the Lake, she is not about to part with her sword.)
The realm is all
From early age, Emhyr’s father instilled an understanding in his heir that nothing counts more than the interest of the state. The blood of the Emreis family must be on the throne. Fergus never abdicated, not after torture, not even after his son was turned into a mutant hedgehog in front of his eyes. Love for his child did not sway Fergus from having his son suffer in the interests of power and the realm. This is how the shard of ice in Emhyr’s heart forms. Auberon, equally, “thinks of England” when attempting to regain his daughter’s legacy and restore their people’s power. The circumstances of Lara’s demise, however, beg the question about the Alder King’s role in facilitating or enabling the conditions that let things spiral out of control and break beyond repair. The stakes were infinitely higher for Auberon than they are for Emreis’ dynastic struggle. But what would an answer to this question change? In their cold hearts these characters see themselves each as duty-bound.
Ambitious and gloried, they nevertheless occupy different stages in their lives.
Emhyr’s ambition burns bright and fresh. Auberon’s has dwindled into a shadow of the past; buried under having witnessed and lived through the sacrifices that a ruler makes in the name of power. Emhyr chooses to seek retribution and power beyond what would befall him should he accept his life as Duny (the cursed, pitiful Duny), the prince consort of Cintra. Never losing sight of his goal, love and human happiness become temporary phases and means to an end, and Emhyr returns to Cintra only in the form of flames and death to pursue his daughter in insane ambition. The White Flame retains an active disposition; a lust for life. Neither Emhyr nor Auberon gallop at the head of their armies though, leading instead from the rear. They have lackeys for carrying out their will remotely (e.g. Cahir and Eredin). Emhyr, however, is said to be otherwise highly involved in the ruling of his empire, even if many revolutionaries who had helped him on the throne had hoped he would remain but a banner of the revolution. In contrast, the Alder King has more or less withdrawn from life and active service. In presence of Avallac’h and Eredin, Auberon appears much more like the standard Emhyr had refused to become. Of course, many decisions the equivalent of which Auberon has already made are still ahead of Emhyr, including as concerns the freedom of his daughter.
A ruler’s heart
Did Emhyr believe that he would be able to see Pavetta in Ciri and thus push through with the incest? Did Auberon hope to glance the memory of his wife in the eyes of Lara’s “daughter” and manage in this way? As already noted, neither ruler is pursuing their plans out of lust, but as lust must be induced for the act to bear fruit I cannot help but wonder what these characters must do to themselves to follow through with their plans. Because the love that is called for between a woman and a man in order for new life and hope to be born is in this instance abnormal. Yet it is undoubtedly love that plays a huge role in determining both Emhyr’s and Auberon’s eventual fate.
Until the emergence of false-Ciri, Emhyr var Emreis is said to have had numerous ladies in the imperial court. Little is known about Auberon’s disposition, but by the time Ciri starts frequenting his bed chamber it has become evident the image of a dowager king fits the elf like a glove; disaffected with romantic dalliance, he is still aware of the courtly intrigue and expectations surrounding it.
The next evening, for the first time, the Alder King betrayed his impatience. She found him hunched over the table where a looking glass framed in amber was lying. White powder had been sprinkled on it. It’s beginning, she thought. At one moment Ciri was certain it was about to happen. But it didn’t. At least not all the way. And once again he became impatient. He stood up and threw a sable fur over his shoulders. He stood like that, turned away, staring at the window and the moon. - Lady of the Lake
Emhyr’s marriage to Pavetta, Ciri’s mother, was an unhappy one. In his own words, he did not love “the melancholy wench with her permanently lowered eyes,” and eventually would have had the vigilant Pavetta killed. Inadvertently, Emhyr caused Pavetta’s death anyway.
‘I wonder how a man feels after murdering his wife,’ the Witcher said coldly. ‘Lousy,’ replied Emhyr without delay. ‘I felt and I feel lousy and bloody shabby. Even the fact that I never loved her doesn’t change that. The end justifies the means, yet I sincerely do regret her death. I didn’t want it or plan it. Pavetta died by accident.’ ‘You’re lying,’ Geralt said dryly, ‘and that doesn’t befit an emperor. Pavetta could not live. She had unmasked you. And would never have let you do what you wanted to do to Ciri.’ ‘She would have lived,’ Emhyr retorted. ‘Somewhere … far away. There are enough castles … Darn Rowan, for instance. I couldn’t have killed her.’ ‘Even for an end that was justified by the means?’ ‘One can always find a less drastic means.’ The emperor wiped his face. ‘There are always plenty of them.’ ‘Not always,’ said the Witcher, looking him in the eyes. Emhyr avoided his gaze. ‘That’s exactly what I thought,’ Geralt said, nodding. - Lady of the Lake
After Pavetta’s demise Emhyr hounds his own daughter to the ends of the earth, killing her grandmother, burning down her home, and driving Ciri into an exile from which she never fully recovers. An exile which kills the innocence in her; the snow-white streaks in Ciri’s hair are from the trauma. In contrast, Auberon does not seem to even know what became of Shiadhal – his partner and the mother of their daughter together. On the verge of death he confuses Ciri for Shiadhal and says, “I am glad you are here. You know, they told me you had died.” The Alder King recalls Shiadhal affectionately, in the same loving breath as he recalls their daughter Lara. Lara whose exile – voluntary or not – killed her.
When Ciri was six years old, Emhyr took a lock of hair from her and held onto it; out of sentiment and for his court sorcerers to use. One of Auberon’s last lines to Ciri involves tying a loose ribbon back into Lara’s hair.
In regard to their brides-to-be, both rulers are saddled with fakes. A fake Ciri-Pavetta and a fake Shiadhal-Lara. But Emhyr’s and Auberon’s attitude toward the fake is diametrically opposite. Emhyr sees false-Cirilla as “a diamond in the rough.” Auberon calls Ciri “a pearl in pig shit, a diamond on the finger of a rotting corpse.” For Emhyr, a diamond is the essence of his poor peasant girl. While a pearl in pig shit, for Auberon, remains the essence of Ciri. Neither ruler can entirely ignore the social vigilance extended toward the ruler’s bedchamber either. The idea of a “foreign bride” is frowned upon among the Nilfgaardian aristocracy; it decreases their ability to influence the Emperor. Ciri’s social status at Tir ná Lia is never explicitly addressed, but the presence of human servants – all of whom that the reader sees are female – and casual xenophobia from Auberon himself does not make it hard to venture a guess.
‘If I were … the real Cirilla … the emperor would look more favourably on me. But I’m only a counterfeit. A poor imitation. A double, not worthy of anything. Nothing …’ - False-Cirilla Lady of the Lake
‘It’s all my fault,’ she mumbled. ‘That scar blights me, I know. I know what you see when you look at me. There’s not much elf left in me. A gold nugget in a pile of compost—’ - Ciri Lady of the Lake
The Alder King is unable to bring himself to love Ciri. The Emperor relents, caring for his daughter at last as a father should at the very end, in the one moment where it matters. Moreover, Emhyr ends up eventually marrying his own reason of state and comes to love the false-Cirilla. The contrasts do not end here. Real Ciri threatens to tear Emhyr’s throat out for what he is planning to do to her (unknowing that he is her father), yet with Auberon Ciri turns submissive and grows attached. She weeps over Auberon’s corpse and vows vengeance on Eredin for killing the Alder King. Ironic as Auberon never intended to let Ciri go, while Emhyr does let his daughter walk free. The shard in Auberon’s heart never melts. It shifts in Emhyr’s.
In their last meeting with the girl, both rulers implicitly reveal their blood relation to Ciri.

Cursed Rulers of the World

Emhyr’s tale begins and is framed with a curse. Likewise Auberon’s. And for both it is love in its different manifestations that will shift the curse just enough to offer closure. For healing largely entails obtaining closure.
‘They were silent for a long time. The scent of spring suddenly made them feel light-headed. Both of them. ‘In spite of appearances,’ Emhyr finally said dully, ‘being empress is not an easy job. I don’t know if I’ll be able to love you.’ She nodded to show she also knew. He saw a tear on her cheek. Just like in Stygga Castle, he felt the tiny shard of cold glass lodged in his heart shift.’ - Lady of the Lake
The reference to H. C. Andersen’s fairy tale of the Snow Queen is self-evident. Emhyr var Emreis is an Emperor whose heart has been pierced by a shard of ice. In the Saga the legend is elven and refers to the Winter Queen who conducts a Wild Hunt as she travels the land, casting hard, sharp, tiny shards of ice around her. Whose eye or heart is pierced by one of them is lost; they will abandon everything and will set off after the Queen, the one who wounded them so gravely as to become the sole aim and end of their life.
There are two ways in which to interpret the way Sapkowski applies the legend of the Snow Queen in the Saga. First, as a complement to the author’s stance that in life - where most things are shit - the Holy Grail is a woman, because it is the love of a woman and the hope a woman instils that often makes men act in inconceivable ways; love is the great motivator and the great balancer of scales. Almost as powerful as death. Or more so?
‘I would not like to put forward the theory that hunting for the wild pig was the primordial example of the search for the Grail. I don’t want to be so trivial. I will - after Parnicki and Dante - identify the Grail with the real goal of the great effort of mythical heroes. I prefer to identify the Grail with Olwen, from under whose feet, as she walked, white clovers grew. I prefer to identify the Grail with Lydia, who was loved by Parry. I like New York in June… How about you? Because I think the Grail is a woman. It is worth investing a lot of time and effort in order to find it and gain it, to understand it. And that’s the moral.’ - A. Sapkowski Swiat króla Artura. Maladie
In this reading, we find the framing to the stories of Geralt and Yennefer, Lara and Cregennan, Avallac’h and Lara, and many others. Including the story of Ciri herself – for Ciri is ultimately the author’s Grail in more ways than one. More than one party goes to great lengths to solicit her favour in a guise that includes elements of a love relationship but not the heart of it.
Secondly, we can interpret the legend in universal terms: the shard of ice is the definitive experience of our lives which distorts reality and makes the rest of our lives spin around it in one way or another. For Emhyr, such an experience could have been the trauma experienced in his youth. Fergus’ uncompromising death conditioned the boy early on to sacrifice personal feelings to the cause and let the only true feeling in his heart remain forever locked behind the ends a ruler must go to unthinkable lengths to achieve. Fergus did not deem his son above suffering for a cause and the son learned the lesson. Until…
In Andersen’s Snow Queen, Gerda manages to find her brother Kai in the Snow Queen’s castle, but despite her calls his heart remains cold as ice. Only when Gerda cries in despair do her tears finally melt the ice and remove the piece of glass from Kai’s eyes and heart. In the Witcher, the shard in Emhyr’s heart moves first upon witnessing his true daughter’s angry tears. For the second time – in thanks to the bogus princess of Cintra; his poor raison d’etat.
It brings us to the defining contrast in Emhyr’s and Auberon’s stories, and it concerns alleviating the suffering of those are bound to you by blood or love.
Recalling another case of incest that resulted in Adda the strigga, we may remember that the Temerian king recognises that his daughter is suffering and insists on disenchanting her instead of killing her. Realising that your own blood – who has been thrown into this world of suffering thanks to you – is suffering and consequently choosing to do something to alleviate this suffering fortifies the Saga’s faith in enduring human decency. Geralt himself is thoroughly vexed by the prospect of letting the same evil happen to Ciri that happened to himself and does everything within his power to prevent it (failing, trying anyway). Here lives the redemption of man, and in redemption his rebirth.
They passed a pond, empty and melancholy. The ancient carp released by Emperor Torres had died two days earlier. “I’ll release a new, young, strong, beautiful specimen,” thought Emhyr var Emreis, “I’ll order a medal with my likeness and the date to be attached to it. Vaesse deireadh aep eigean. Something has ended, something is beginning. It’s a new era. New times. A new life. So let there be a new carp too, dammit.”’ - Lady of the Lake
As Emhyr and false-Cirilla take a stroll in the gardens after Stygga, they pass a sculpture of a pelican pecking open its own breast to feed its young on its blood. An allegory of noble sacrifice and also of great love – as False-Ciri tells us.
‘Do you think—’ he turned her to face him and pursed his lips ‘—that a torn-open breast hurts less because of that?’ ‘I don’t know …’ she stammered. ‘Your Imperial Majesty … I …’ He took hold of her hand. He felt her shudder; the shudder ran along his hand, arm and shoulder. ‘My father,’ he said, ‘was a great ruler, but never had a head for legends or myths, never had time for them. And always mixed them up. Whenever he brought me here, to the park, I remember it like yesterday, he always said that the sculpture shows a pelican rising from its ashes.’ - Lady of the Lake
It is difficult to set aside our trauma and not pass it on to our children. Letting our children be free to choose and not sacrificing them on the altar of our fate is to rip open ourselves, calcified and bound to our path, and to feel all of it as we grope in the dark to feel for them. Emhyr’s father might not have gotten it entirely wrong, though his mind at the time was set on making his child an extension of himself. The cycle of death and rebirth begins and ends within that to which we give birth. Giving our children a chance before it is too late, we also give a chance to ourselves. By finding it in his heart to extend to his daughter the courtesy his father Fergus never extended to him - by letting Ciri free - Emhyr lets the part of himself that has defined his entire life die. His end stops justifying the means. He breaks the cycle on the edge of the precipice to which he has brought them and thus allows for the possibility of new beginnings for himself and for Ciri.
In a sense, False-Cirilla and Emhyr get the ending Ciri and Auberon might have gotten if –
The story of Auberon Muircetach achieves a fundamentally different resolution.
‘What does the spear with the bloody blade mean? Why does the King with the lanced thigh suffer and what does it mean? What is the meaning of the maiden in white carrying a grail, a silver bowl—?’ - Galahad Lady of the Lake
Galahad asks the questions that the innocent Perceval in his Story of the Grail failed to ask, thus losing his chance at freeing the Fisher King from his curse. And the Fisher King is the guardian of mysteries, among them the Holy Grail. But it is not because of gain that a chivalric knight with a shining sword should seek to free the Fisher King from his curse, but rather because it is a human thing to do. Sapkowski claims to be partial to Wolfram von Eschenbach’s rendition of the Grail myth in Parsifal. Wolfram’s message, according to Sapkowski, is the following:
‘Let’s not wait for the revelation and the command that comes from above, let’s not wait for any Deus vult. Let’s look for the grail in ourselves. Because the Grail is nobility, it is the love of a neighbor, it is an ability for compassion. Real chivalric ideals, towards which it is worth looking for the right path, cutting through the wild forest, where, as they quote, “there is no road, no path”. Everyone has to find their path on their own. But it is not true that there is only one path. There are many of them. Infinitely many. … Being human is important. Heart.’ ‘I prefer the humanism of Wolfram von Eschenbach and Terry Gilliam from the idiosyncrasies of bitter Cistercian scribes and Bernard of Clairvaux…’ - A. Sapkowski Swiat króla Artura: Maladie
The unimaginable sadness in Auberon’s eyes belies the suffering of the Alder King who is the avatar of the Fisher King. In the Witcher’s story between elves and humans, it is the elven males who all share aspects of the Fisher King’s fate, because they are the keepers of their Grail – the protectors of elven women. Auberon’s wound is wrought by time: by surviving his wife and daughter, by the witnessing of the fading of his ambitions and the results of pursuing them without success. He has lost his line. The Fisher King’s injury represents the inability to produce an heir. A ruler who is the protector and physical embodiment of his land, yet remains barren, sterile, or without a true-born successor, bodes ill for the realm. The Alder King’s injury consists in having lost control of the source of his people’s power, leaving the elves imprisoned and scattered across two worlds. Auberon’s personal tragedy, however, subsists in the lost power having been functionally manifest in a daughter.
‘Lara.’ The Alder King moved his head, and touched his neck as though his royal torc’h was garrotting him. ‘Caemm a me, luned. Come to me, daughter. Caemm a me, elaine.’ Ciri sensed death in his breath. - Lady of the Lake
Elder Blood is indeed an accursed blood because it enslaves its carriers to its purpose. Emhyr has a theoretical chance to walk away from the pursuit of earthly power; the construct is social. Elder Blood, however, has a particular and real, magical function, and in virtue of being a genetic mutation it is embedded in the gene-carrying individuals. Functionally, Elder Blood allows to shape fate with degrees of freedom unimaginable for an ordinary individual. It’s a difference comparable to the one between a character in a story and the story’s author. Therefore the Aen Saevherne – the carriers of the gene – are bound to the thing they carry within their DNA that allows them to a greater and lesser degree shape the fate of reality. However dearly Auberon, or Lara, might have ever wished to untie themselves from their own essence, it seems impossible. The loss of control over power then is quite simply so pivotal as to necessitate a moment of original sin.
As already witnessed by way of the legend of the Winter Queen, the original “myths” of the Witcher world usually originate among elves; humans, the interlopers, push themselves into those myths only later. This creates an interesting conundrum. In Parsifal, the Fisher King is injured as punishment for taking a wife who is not meant for him. A Grail keeper is to marry the woman the Grail determines for him, which – if we equate woman with the Grail – is what the woman determines. Unfortunately, we know nothing about Shiadhal, so we cannot verify if this part of the legend dovetails. But generally, in a wholly elven world which may have matriarchal tendencies, in lieu of worshipping the mother Goddess, such cosmology is relatively unproblematic. Except suddenly there are humans too. And Auberon – the highest leader of elves and the father of the new scion of Elder Blood – is indirectly injured because a human sorcerer – Cregennan – turns himself into a Grail keeper (in place of another, special elf) by taking a woman not meant for him.
‘Witcher,’ she whispered, kissing his cheek, ‘there’s no romance in you. And I… I like elven legends, they are so captivating. What a pity humans don’t have any legends like that. Perhaps one day they will? Perhaps they’ll create some? But what would human legends deal with? All around, wherever one looks, there’s greyness and dullness. Even things which begin beautifully lead swiftly to boredom and dreariness, to that human ritual, that wearisome rhythm called life.’ - Yennefer Sword of Destiny
Cregennan’s injury is to die. But what about the original Fisher King figure? What is Auberon’s original sin in this?
I see two possibilities. It could be that Auberon in his ambition hastened his daughter’s way into exile and, in a display of his displeasure, never made any effort to ease his daughter in to the personal sacrifices they, as Aen Saevherne, must make; walking without blinking to the end of the path Emhyr turned away from. It could equally be that Auberon, instead of locking Lara up in a tower to protect her from the folly of youth, let her go to Cregennan. It could be an amalgam of both, and the misjudgement of a father who allows freedom, who feels for his child, and is rewarded with an irreversible injury is probably the greater tragedy.
Because, regardless of the origin of the curse upon Auberon, one thing does not change – the icy eternity in the Alder King’s heart never fractures.
‘‘Zireael,’ he said. ‘Loc’hlaith. You are indeed destiny, O Lady of the Lake. Mine too, as it transpires.’ - Auberon Lady of the Lake
Ciri passes through the shadow world of the Alders; a manifestation of fate. Her footsteps sowing discord and movement and change into the immutable, time-locked amber of the elven utopia. Her presence providing the trigger that will unshackle the past from future in a world where for a long time nothing has changed, died, or been reborn. She is destined and destiny, annihilation and rebirth, the grain of sand in the gears of the great mechanism; a strange girl. The child of hope and the Goddess who ought to be Three. Lara, the true daughter of the Alder King, is dead. Emhyr’s daughter still lives. There is nothing Auberon can do for Lara anymore and thus the ice in Auberon’s heart has crystallised. Emhyr still has a chance; he is where Auberon once was. And yet, there is one thing Ciri, the witcher girl with a sword of her own, can still do for the Alder King.
‘Va’esse deireadh aep eigean… But,’ he finished with a sigh, ‘it’s good that something is beginning.’ They heard a long-drawn-out peal of thunder outside the window. The storm was still far away. But it was approaching fast. ‘In spite of everything,’ he said, ‘I very much don’t want to die, Zireael. And I’m so sorry that I must. Who’d have thought it? I thought I wouldn’t regret it. I’ve lived long, I’ve experienced everything. I’ve become bored with everything … but nonetheless I feel regret. And do you know what else? Come closer. I’ll tell you in confidence. Let it be our secret.’ She bent forward. ‘I’m afraid,’ he whispered. ‘I know.’ ‘Are you with me?’ ‘Yes, I am.’ - Auberon Lady of the Lake
The only way Ciri the Grail knight will be able to find her true self – the Grail – is to cure the suffering Alder King from his curse. Ciri’s presence in the world of the Alders is after all also part of her coming of age story. Through becoming Auberon’s destiny, Ciri must close the circle for him and bring closure. He would never let her go because the shard in Auberon’s heart is no longer able to melt. Auberon does not follow the motif of alleviating the suffering of one’s blood and/or love; and he dies. The roles are reversed, in fact. It is Ciri who realises Auberon is suffering. So Ciri must do what only she can do, because remaining human is important. Heart is important. The sacrifice a ruler makes on the altar of power includes his own heart, which is why there should never be only one, but always two; always.
‘Time is like the ancient Ouroboros. Time is fleeting moments, grains of sand passing through an hourglass. Time is the moments and events we so readily try to measure. But the ancient Ouroboros reminds us that in every moment, in every instant, in every event, is hidden the past, the present and the future. Eternity is hidden in every moment. Every departure is at once a return, every farewell is a greeting, every return is a parting. Everything is simultaneously a beginning and an end. ‘And you too,’ he said, not looking at her at all, ‘are at once the beginning and the end. And because we are discussing destiny, know that it is precisely your destiny. To be the beginning and the end. Do you understand?’ She hesitated for a moment. But his glowing eyes forced her to answer. ‘I do.’ - Lady of the Lake
Death Crone to Auberon Muircetach, Ciri never becomes the Mother Goddess in the Saga. It is a choice she must make for herself and the choice still lies ahead of her. The predicate to making such a choice at least for now, however, she achieves; she goes her own way. In a sense then, both rulers are father figures, who through their choices “beget” the child who is destined. Perhaps this too the Knowing Ones knew, and for this reason Auberon never could have budged, never could have changed his mind in regard to his purpose in the long and winding story of his life. Something is ending, but something is also beginning. A good ruler is responsible for the flourishing of their realm, for providing hope. It is Ciri’s role to be the beginning and the end, and though there might be ways in which to nudge the hand of Fate, whatever is destined must happen. Destiny, however accursed, must run its course.
That is the hope and the release.
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2023.03.26 13:08 Fnkalchemist Not the Qb I was looking for

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2023.03.26 13:02 leo_rivas Weekends are too short… [OC]

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2023.03.26 13:01 AutoModerator [Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)

[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)
Get the course here:
Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE)

About The Course:
This course outlines the systems and secrets I used to make over $300,000+ in my first year with entrepreneurship
While I was still 17 years old…
And was also a high school dropout…
So what’s your excuse? It’s time to crush it.
I want you to take a moment and imagine a world where you could…
Never worry about money ever again. Build a six figure marketing agency and the best part? it’s a reality that all of my students are living RIGHT NOW.Take care of your family & loved ones. Yeah… this is something close to my heart. My marketing agency finally allowed me to take care of my mom and the people who believed in me when I had nothing.Travel the world, anytime! Yes… that’s right. After this course you will have the location freedom to travel anywhere in the world you want!
Now, who is the genius (kidding… kinda) behind this whole course?
Let me introduce myself, my name is Iman. At the age of Seventeen, I dropped out of high school to commit to the world of online marketing. Within my first year I had made over $300,000+, I had traveled the world working from my computer, I had constructed my dream lifestyle and this was all done through the power of what I teach in Six Figure SMMA. I run my own digital marketing agency based out here in London, although we have clients out in Amsterdam and St. Tropez.
I have my personal brand which is another six figure business…
Then I have a few other smaller income streams here and there. I love the internet! Haha
Damn… I worked hard for this life. I worked hard to create the sort of income where I can take care of my family and not even check the price…
I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I teach. It’s because it changed my life in unexplainable ways. I don’t think I could ever go back to my old life after living like this.
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2023.03.26 12:55 Basic_Raccoon722 Firefighter spitting the truth

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2023.03.26 12:53 georgieidk Dogs skin tag has doubled in size over the course of the weekend! Worried sick, can’t get a vet until tomorrow.

My 11 year old, healthy Cavalier King Charles has had several (red) skin tags develop over the last few years. Every single one of them has been checked by our vet, most recently they were checked 2 weeks ago.
Yesterday I noticed it looked a bit bigger and now today it’s huge (roughly 3cm) and has changed the way his face looks. It’s very close to his eye so I guess maybe it’s just drawn any remaining fat from that area, but so quickly? Obviously the biggest concern is cancer, I am trying to get him seen tomorrow, but no one is answering the phones as it’s Sunday today (uk). Assuming I can get him seen tomorrow I will be spending today worried sick. Can anyone offer any suggestions? How likely can this thing could turn cancerous and grow so quickly? I know SCC is very quick but it’s typically white, so am slightly less worried about that. Melanoma and MCT is the next concern and I know that is also speedy.
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2023.03.26 12:51 Mara2507 I need some help

Okay so, I (18afab) have been in a rather weird dilemma of sorts. Ever since my childhood, I never felt like I was not a girl (I even had a dream were I was seen as a boy that I described as a nightmare where my hair was completely cut off and I was assigned at the boys' table). But I wouldn't say I am the most feminine girl either, I had always wanted to be more tomboyish, I was into being active and playing sports, I dont particularly enjoy wearing skirts or dresses but I often see dress where I am like "oh I'd kinda want to wear that". Starting from last 2 years or so, I had also picked up make up, doing it as a creative outlet every now and then or when I am going out with certain people. I should also add I am bisexual (more so heteromantic bisexual because I can't really see myself dating a girl in the long term). Despite all of this, I sometimes feel like I don't belong with other women, sometimes I feel too masculine to be one. I find myself acquiring the mannerisms and thinking patterns of men in my life, (example my facial expressions are basically the same as my dad's). I dont particularly feel uncomfortable with having the body parts of a woman, especially in the bottom area, I prefer what I have. But sometimes I feel uncomfortable with my breasts. But lately I found myself not relating to the person I see in the mirror. I dont know how else to explain it. It feels as if I am a video game player controlling a character that I dont have a connection to. I feel as tho I am losing the sense of self I had for the last 2 years, the idea of the person I wanted to be. It feels unreachable. And so I ended up questioning my gender again. This had happened once before where it completely wrecked me with anxiousness. It was during covid isolation. I feel like I was too masculine, I felt like I was a guy trying to pretend to be a girl and the aspect of feeling like a man made me feel so uncomfortable. I went to see a psychologist because of it, and I told her about the various things and she helped me come to the conclusion that I didn't need to decide anything right that second, and I should just allow myself to exist and if there is anything about my appearance that is making me uncomfortable, I should look into changing that. I told her that my masculine hands and me being hairy was making me the most uncomfortable. I waxed my arms for a brief time and I was feeling better actually. Then when schools reopened, I started feeling better, I had a boyfriend at the time and I didnt think back to that questioning again for 2-3 years. But everytime the time interval (around new years and winter) where I had that crisis came close, I would feel grim, not necessary question anything or feel uncomfortable with how I was presenting, just that feeling of anxiousness and feeling gray would return in a dimmed way because those few weeks really were agony for me, I had lost like 3-4 kgs due to being anxious and not being able to eat anything, crying so much that I would just throw up what I had eaten. But for those 2-3 years outside of those time intervals, I was happy with who I was, besides little insecurities I had that didnt have much to do with my gender identity. I was hopeful towards the future, I was feeling like myself again, I had found a career I really wanted to do, I had made new friends in university. I had started a new relationship with a guy and him calling me his girlfriend, would give me butterflies and make me feel on cloud 9, and doing intimate talks regarding sexuality with him didnt feel odd, I didnt feel uncomfortable at all or that I was being someone I wasnt, the only things that made me feel reluctant was my inexperience in that topic and feeling embarrassed. Imagining scenarios with him where I was percieved as a girl didnt disturb me, it was actually nice and enjoyable and natural. We have broken up since, even tho I still have feelings for him and he has for me, it was the wrong time for us. Ever since that break up, I have been continually feelings worse and worse, and now my university is online due to a local occurance. I have been isolated from my friends, we barely get the chance to meet up between classes and assignments. Due to these factors, my gender identity crisis has returned. I found myself not relating to the person I see in the mirror, I felt like I wanted to cut off my hands, rip my face off because both kept reminding me of this situation. I have imagined interacting with the world in a way a guy or a nonbinary person would and I dont find it particularly enjoyable, I can barely imagine it at all. But I also dont feel like I am who I was, I feel dissociated from the sense of self I had where I was happy. I dont feel like I am the woman I was, I feel like a ghost, and I dont know what to make of it. My brain is constantly like "what if you are actually a trans man and you have been surpressing it so much, what if your attraction to men is just you wanting to be like them, and you dont actually feel like a woman and you have been putting up a front your entire life" It isnt pleasant, it is rather anxiety inducing and imagining myself as presenting as another gender doesn't help at all, if anything it makes the churning feeling in my stomach worse. And when I imagine interacting with the world as a woman, that's what feels natural but I find myself relating to awkward guy characters like Newt Scamander more and more, but when I imagine myself in scenarios I never imagine myself as a guy, my personas are always women, or always feminine presenting. I dont know what my point is exactly, it feels like my brain is constantly working to induce anxiety on me and feeling like I am not myself is not helping either. Can any of you bring some light into what I am experiencing? I dont know where else to talk about this and I need some relief until I can talk with my psychologist again. Sorry for the long post.
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2023.03.26 12:46 DuckTheApe I am addicted to my friend

I know it seems weird but hear me out. I love my friend (we will call her S). Not in a romantic way, she is for me like my platonic soulmate, I could do anything for her.
Here is my problem, I (16F) always think she don't like me. We are very close since a year and a half and we share everything together, we talk about our personal problems, call for hours, we see each other every day at school, etc..
But recently I can't get out of my head that she will leave me, stop talking as much as we do, stop doing things together, stop being as close as we are normaly. This idea makes me so sad and I can't help it. It's an accumulation of little things that makes me think like that, now she has a boyfriend so she calls me less (I totally understand that but it only makes me more sad).
So now I am stuck because I don't know how to deal with this.. All I need is for her to reassure me and tell me that I am still her bestfriend.
Thanks you if you have read all this, and sorry for my bad english, it's not my mother language.
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2023.03.26 12:45 AutoModerator [Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download

[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download
Get the course here:
[Get] Biaheza – Dropshipping Course (COMPLETE) Full Course Download
About The Course:
This course outlines the systems and secrets I used to make over $300,000+ in my first year with entrepreneurship
While I was still 17 years old…
And was also a high school dropout…
So what’s your excuse? It’s time to crush it.
I want you to take a moment and imagine a world where you could…
Never worry about money ever again. Build a six figure marketing agency and the best part? it’s a reality that all of my students are living RIGHT NOW. Take care of your family & loved ones. Yeah… this is something close to my heart. My marketing agency finally allowed me to take care of my mom and the people who believed in me when I had nothing. Travel the world, anytime! Yes… that’s right. After this course you will have the location freedom to travel anywhere in the world you want!
Now, who is the genius (kidding… kinda) behind this whole course?
Let me introduce myself, my name is Iman. At the age of Seventeen, I dropped out of high school to commit to the world of online marketing. Within my first year I had made over $300,000+, I had traveled the world working from my computer, I had constructed my dream lifestyle and this was all done through the power of what I teach in Six Figure SMMA. I run my own digital marketing agency based out here in London, although we have clients out in Amsterdam and St. Tropez.
I have my personal brand which is another six figure business…
Then I have a few other smaller income streams here and there. I love the internet! Haha
Damn… I worked hard for this life. I worked hard to create the sort of income where I can take care of my family and not even check the price…
I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I teach. It’s because it changed my life in unexplainable ways. I don’t think I could ever go back to my old life after living like this.
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