๐Ÿ’ญ On Loneliness, And Connecting With Others ๐Ÿ’ญ

What do we really want?

When I was a child, I never had friends. I did have playmates in the neighborhood and in school, but you know, thereโ€™s always that kid: the one that doesnโ€™t โ€œgetโ€ social cues, and somehow just cannot speak the nuances of the play language that the others speak. The one that has a million things they can easily be teased about, and will react in the best possible way, that is, with dramatic, hyperbolic tears at best (which are of course hilarious to everyone) or with righteous tattling at worst, which always results in unifying the entire group against the teased party.

Though my social skills would improve in adulthood, as I grew up I coped by staying more and more in my own little world where I was alone but safe and relatively happy. I would eventually make my first truly close and beloved friend at age 15, but with the gift of retrospectiveness, I realize I had other chances to make friends before that. I had classmates treat me with real kindness and attempt to form a friendship with me, at the risk of their own social standing. Others were as ostracized as me, and sought kinship. Ultimately none of it would ever stick. But the one who sabotaged it by not responding was me.

I have had good friends in my life. Besides the friend I made when I was 15, the first friends I made were a group of kids between 17 and 20, all boys, when I was 18 and freshly arrived to the USA. That was the first time I really fit into a group and was completely embraced, and the first friends I made who liked anime, video games and Yu-Gi-Oh. In both cases, there were shared obsessions in place (cartoons, comics, anime, video games –specific ones to different situations). Getting together meant engaging in these obsessions. When the engaging on the topic was done, which would last a few furiously delightful hours full of banter and laughter, we would part ways for the day.

This also meant that when the interest petered out, the friendship would fizzle out as well.

When I think about friendships Iโ€™ve had without such strong shared interests, generally itโ€™s been people who would engage with my husband while I could sit on a spot drawing and just enjoy their presence without having to interact. But one-on-one interaction about nothing in particular seems to have become much harder as the years go by. Even with people I feel like I really โ€œvibeโ€ with.

I like the idea of socializing and having friends. I suppose most of us do. I have a constant need, a craving, for companionship. I am lonely a lot of the time. And judging by this past week, so are a lot of others. Iโ€™ve counted 9 journals/posts accross different platforms regarding the deep desire to connect with others, and the lack of said connection. But many of those who post them seem to relate to my own feelings of wanting to be in their own bubble yet not alone at the same time.

For me, Iโ€™m lonely, but it seems the moment I am with others I desperately crave my little world again. Iโ€™m starting to come to the conclusion that I donโ€™t actually want company or new friends, yet my mind seems to be constantly tricking me into thinking that I do.

And itโ€™s not like this is new. Even many of you who know me for years will remember what Iโ€™m like at conventions, most at home walking around by myself, or sitting in some corner drawing and people-watching. Perhaps I look a bit lonely or maybe even creepy. But at those moments, I am enjoying myself the most. Sometimes Iโ€™ll get up and go meet a few people, but I can always go back to my room or just sit quietly by myself. And looking around me at everyone, Iโ€™m enjoying everyoneโ€™s company so much. But I prefer to be left alone. That small ache is often still there: something inside me screams, connect! Make friends! Itโ€™s what you should be doing! But a part of me also feels a very real dread at the idea.

Itโ€™s not like Iโ€™m averse to having new people in my life. Not exactly. After all, I have made new acquaintances even during the past year. But I do believe the desire to be alone and the pain of isolation exist in almost equal parts within me. And sometimes I wonder if thatโ€™s the case for many of you, too.

Socializing with others seems to induce a lot of anxiety in many people. Forget IRL, even just chats. Yet we all seem to crave it at the same time.

I wonder whatโ€™s the solution for me. I ignore so many people on DMs. The amount of energy replying takes me is unbelievable. If you get DMs from me, even just ocasionally, youโ€™re probably really damn special to me, so please know that, even if I stop replying for two months.

Iโ€™ve realized that my old friends of many years rarely ever see me anymore. Making plans can fill me with dread, so some have not seen me for literal years. They probably think I donโ€™t like them anymore. But itโ€™s not that. Itโ€™s just that more and more, one-on-one socializing takes way too much out of me. I think I am happy with this situation, but at the same time, a part of me keeps saying I shouldnโ€™t be, because I am too lonely.

And you know what Iโ€™ve realized? Iโ€™ve always had this feeling, even at times in my life when I had friends I saw weekly and loved very much. There was always this little part of me that simultaneously felt like I was missing a certain โ€œtypeโ€ of connection, while also wanting to be alone.

Maybe things will feel less isolating when our house parties resume. And when I attend my next con, which I imagine will be FWA. And, most of all, when our local park (closed for vaccination) reopens and Starbucks opens for indoor seating again. People-watching is a balm to me. It feels so wonderful. Then, I am not lonely. But I am also not overwhelmed. I have missed that terribly.

See, I guess thatโ€™s it. And why I write these posts. Itโ€™s a form of self reflection, and it helps me sort my feelings out. It seems recently a lot of friends/artists I follow are struggling with this. I canโ€™t really give a solution since Iโ€™m 37 and still figuring it out, but maybe we all will eventually.

At least, I hope so!

Not Happy To Announce This, But Back On Twitter (Sorta) ๐Ÿ˜ž

Hey everyone. As the title says, I get no pleasure from making this announcement. But, it wasn’t until recently, when I developed an art style that allows me to finish a minimum of one commission per day, to sometimes two or three, that I realized that my clientele here on FA is just not enough to cover the slots I am now able to put out. The same wonderful, faithful repeat clients can only do so much for me, and it’s a burden on them to know I depend on them so much.

Given that I use Postybirb now, I feel perhaps there is some way for me to avail my work and announcements to people on Twitter without having to interact directly with the site. So while I am back in a limited, crossposting capacity by using automated software, this is something that I REALLY want to emphasize:

Please do not expect interaction from me on there. I won’t see your comments very often, and I won’t follow anyone.

I hate Twitter. I’ve agonized over this. I do not want to interact with anyone on Twitter. This is merely done as a convenience to people who only book slots that pop up there. Artwork aside, to anyone, friendly or not, who tries to pull me into any anxiety-inducing situation, be it gossip, the daily drama/discourse, whether with good intentions or not, I will be very harsh in blocking.

I do not care if you don’t like my followers. I do not and will not curate who follows me. My mental health cannot handle this, so please curate your own spaces but do not ask me to make changes for your mental health at the expense of my own. Do not send me callouts, helpful warnings/bewares, do not tell me if someone is talking badly about me. PLEASE ESPECIALLY THE LATTER. I don’t want to know. If you care about me, please spare me.

I’m setting up my Twitter in a way that won’t really allow for much direct interaction with me, which I’m likely to miss anyway. I’m not installing the app, and you can’t DM me there, but you can follow me. You will see my art and commission postings there now, as well as stream and blog announcements, so you won’t miss out. I know many of you are only rarely here, and mostly on Twitter.

I was very happy to leave that siteโ€ฆ I am only making this adjustment, with a lot of caveats, because paying off my debt and taking care of my mom is really important to me. But I am afraid of doing this because it was so bad for me. I was miserable before. I don’t want to get like that again. I’m hoping I won’t.

My account there is SquirrelElf: https://twitter.com/SquirrelElf

You’re welcome to follow me, and RTs of my work and commission slots are very, very deeply appreciated. I’ll be unlocking the account after a couple more tests.

REMEMBER, IN CASE YOU SKIMMED THROUGH: IT’S A CROSS POSTING, MOSTLY AUTOMATED ACCOUNT. I WON’T FOLLOW YOU BACK. I WILL RARELY SEE YOUR COMMENTS.

It’s only so you can see my art there and catch commission slots. Thank you!

๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒˆ Snafo The Clown Snail ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŽˆ

Here’s my latest adoptable! He was adopted by jeremywolf2967.

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2021 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

New Pokรฉmon Snap Is Here! ๐Ÿ“ธ๐ŸŒˆ

Did you already snap up your copy of New Pokรฉmon Snap?? ๐Ÿฅ I’m excited to play this, and it may actually be the next thing I play, as a palate cleanser between more, ah, intense games *coughPiofiorecough*

I gotta say… I’ve come to really love the Nintendo Switch. I didn’t like it at all, at first. I also feared I would tire of my Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu limited edition look, but I’ve drawn my fursona with it so many times, that I’ve become very fond of it.

What a year for video games, considering everything I have preordered too. I’m having so much fun! ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐ŸŒˆ 100 Days Of Warm-Ups [024 – Ruby] ๐ŸŒˆ

โœจ Here’s warm-up 24 of 100! โœจ This one is for Crazy_Nero.

๐ŸŒˆ If you would like to participate in my 100 Days Of Warm-Ups, please see this journal: https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/9829856/

๐Ÿ“Œ Please make sure to read it carefully and fully, and follow all the rules to get your slot/s!

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2021 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

Patriotic Squirrel Sweater!

Never in a million years did I think I’d wear something this crass… I hate the whole “Merica!!” or “Murica” meme/misspelling, most of all when I see/hear people saying it unironically, not realizing that the way in which it is said is to mock blind patriotism without a thought for the actual wellbeing of our country (or just as a bad stereotype… see Urban Dictionary.) But… But… It has a squirrel wearing patriotic glasses… with their lil tongue hanging out all cheeky-like…

So… I’m gonna wear it when we go out to dinner on the 21st… ironically! Well. The rednecky/murica part is ironic on my end. My patriotism isn’t. I’m bursting, dripping with patriotism, but only now do I feel like I have (or will soon have) a proper right to express it. ๐Ÿ˜

I’ve waited so long to say “my country” about the USA… ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™

Anyway yeah. This is dumb. But I’ll wear it because squirrel. And America! With an A, dammit.

Today’s Little Things ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™

I’m sure eventually I’ll stop posting these near identical photos of Kotoko next to me on the desk. Eventually. Probably.

I hung this up by my studio door today. The “proud” is a little hard to read, and sure, it’s a little premature, but hey, give me a break, will you. It’s less than a month away!

Piofiore Swag Time!! ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ’ฆ

WARNING: I’m sharing some items in this post that feature Piofiore -Episodio 1926- event CGs. If you want to avoid those no matter what, PLEASE skip this post!

I promised a post with all of my recent otome swag! Well, really, it’s all Piofiore. ๐Ÿ˜… I’ve started to collect otome stuff a little more in earnest, and my first big purchase was the Piofiore no Banshou -ricordo- Official Art Book! So… that GIF above was basically my face when I opened this the package containing this incredible book:

It arrived last week. I’d been waffling on getting this, begging Christopher for it, not sure if I should go for it… it was costly for something that I know would ultimately go on a shelf. But oh, my god. It’s such an utter gem. For starters, it is quite big, and the quality of the artwork is simply stunning. It contained literally every single graphic from the game, down to menu/interface elements, as well as some additional/promotional ones. Here’s just a small sample:

The one of Dante with a Nintendo Switch was one of my favorites, but this one of Yang with the twins absolutely took the cake, he looks so pissed, I love it:

I became deeply fond of the twins during my playthroughs, particularly of Lan. Despite basically taking the “annoying little sidekicks” role, they are both intelligent and good hearted in spite of the ruthlessness that they have taken upon as their way of being to survive in the mafia world that they joined as children. Both really do care deeply about Yang, clearly more than he cares for them, in particular Lan. I don’t know, they are just so wholesome in their own messed-up way, and such a great contrast to Yang.

In regards to that particular image, I find it a great example of how, far more than with any other LI, Yang’s facial expressions are subtle, but intense. I can’t get enough of looking at art featuring him. I really love him as a character in every possible way.

Speaking of Yang…

I’m posting my playthroughs in order so it will take a while until I get to my playthrough of his route, but for the first time in fifteen years, Sesshoumaru has a very serious rival for my “top husbando” spot, and I really didn’t think it was possible. Which, if you know Yang, is really really wrong. (Lol) Yang makes even early-chapters Sesshoumaru look kinda, well, soft.

For all his faults, Sesshoumaru isn’t an outright psychopath. Yang is. In fact, as a character, Yang is the perfect example of a psychopath, and I would be surprised if the writer/s of Piofiore didn’t carefully study psychopathic profiles when creating him.

So yeah, when I’m losing my crap at his trigger-fest of a route, I feel a little dirty. But let me have my guilty pleasures, dammit. ๐Ÿคค

To get back on track with this post, I’ve been buying Yang swag. First though, I would like to share this 2021 Piofiore calendar I got off Amazon:

I hadn’t bought any sort of calendar in a long time. But, I’m looking forward to looking at the boys throughout the year. Kotoko broke my lava lamp the other day, so I guess this will become its replacement.

I hadn’t seen the inside of this wonderful calendar anywhere! Also, it’s Episodio 1926 themed, so I got some CGs spoiled… ah well. Allow me to share some of the inside:

When it comes to just Yang things, first we have this little acrylic standee!

I stuck him to the top of my monitor:

And one more acrylic keychain:

Sadly, none of the acrylic items are legit… they were just stuff I found on Aliexpress. (โ—ก๏นโ—กโœฟ) But I’m lucky to at least have these, and I did get one awesome legit item, which just thinking about the cost of it makes me queasy, so it’s probably the only legit Yang item I’ll be able to buy. A pouch!

My everyday bag has a Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ all-over print, but my little pouch for my daily necessities doesn’t match that theme. So when I’m using this bag, I expect that I will use this pouch with it. True, I am tempted to just carefully display it, but especially given the cost I’d rather enjoy it to the fullest for years.

And now for the final thing! I used an Episodio 1926 CG to make it, which I ran into quite accidentally while looking for images of Yang. I had two CGs spoiled for me in this way (sigh). Anyway it’s a lovely CG so I made it my iPad Pro skin and wallpaper.

Anyway… yeah… pretty Yang is pretty… wasn’t braiding his hair every morning Lili’s job though? It seems she’s already slacking on that. Lol.

That’s all I have to share, and I suppose I will calm down for a while now. I can’t wait for Episodio 1926 to get localized!! ๐Ÿ˜ซ PLEASE Aksys please…

๐ŸŒˆ 100 Days Of Warm-Ups [023 – Super Nero] ๐ŸŒˆ

โœจ Here’s warm-up 23 of 100! โœจ This one is for Crazy_Nero.

๐ŸŒˆ If you would like to participate in my 100 Days Of Warm-Ups, please see this journal: https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/9829856/

๐Ÿ“Œ Please make sure to read it carefully and fully, and follow all the rules to get your slot/s!

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2021 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

A Calm Date Night ๐Ÿ’•

This morning I woke up to this cuteness next to me… Kotoko purring her heart out with her paw protectively (or is that possessively?) on Christopherโ€™s sleeping head:

So yeah, that was adorable. Later, as she has the last few days, Kotoko came to spend time with me on the desk. She played with fishies for a while:

I had lunch with my friend Al today (itโ€™s weird to just say โ€œmy friendโ€ after years of saying โ€œmy bossโ€ because even though I havenโ€™t worked for him for years and years everyone still calls him โ€œyour bossโ€). ๐Ÿ˜ซ

Later Christopher and I went to Target for a pickup. We also got some date-night snacks and a birthday present for Nikki, his (our) sister:

Once home we watched TV and had snacks before heading out for date-night pizza…

We took it easy, but it was really enjoyable.

Marina's furry art, fantasy writing and daily life!