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SuNoYo

SuNoYo (Really) Gets Down to Business

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Let's Get Down to Business

To Defeat the Huns!

 

 

As swift as the coursing river

With all the force of a great typhoon

With all the strength of a raging fire

Mysterious as the dark side of the moon

 

Previous challenge.

 

Because we might as well get the stereotypical theme out of the way next. Last time it was cats (ze arrrees-toe-cats), this time it's Mulan. Everyone loves Mulan! Or at least Mulan. But what's not to love?! (Aside from some cultural stereotyping and some mildly cringeworthy attempts to replicate the Genie ad nauseum) A classic bildungsroman (coming of age story) with familial devotion taking precedence over all other relationships, cross-dressing, defying gender expectations, that damn song, crushing physical/mental plateaus with style, using wit, agility and dexterity to compensate for pure physical strength . . . the scenes on the mountain, the climax, the scene under the cherry tree. And the artwork is so good. 

Mulan is not my favourite Disney film, but it's in my top five depending on what you count as a Disney film.

Mulan was my first major crush, not my first - that was either Maleficent or Pocahontas - but Mulan was a constant source of admiration for me from the moment I first saw an advert for it on . . . I want to say telly, but it might have been on a VHS. It was spoileriffic mind, I mean the advert had the "You have saved us all," speech playing over the footage, but oh the moment I saw that I had to get it. And come Christmas 1999 I was a very happy eight-year-old.

Mulan means a lot to me, let's see if I can do it, and her, justice.

 

Well, I didn't do her justice last time for reasons that are mentioned in the previous iteration of this thread, so let's try again! Albeit with a different Life Quest because that's the only thing I kicked arse on and modulating a few things here and there.

 

Who is that girl I see, staring straight, back at me? (Reflection)

 

When will my reflection show

Who I am inside?

 

So sometimes I suffer massive hits of gender dysphoria, body dysphoria, and really just general dysphoria, anxiety and depression. My mind says one thing, my body another; familial/social/cultural pressures/ideas say one thing, my mind says another different thing, and then my body chimes in again. I've never really 'done' labels, they confuse me actually, and I've dabbled trying to see if something 'fits', nothing really does, and I'm fine with that; SuNoYo is SuNoYo, and there will never be another.

But she would just like it very much if all parts of her could be in accord for once. Not agreeance per se, but accord. An understanding based on mutual feelings underpinned with a firm knowledge that no matter how Su, No and Yo may differ SuNoYo is herself.

While eighty odd minutes and a montage song did it for Mulan, that won't work for me (alas), but I can definitely strive towards feeling completely confident and comfortable in myself.

To this end I will:

 

 - meditate daily for at least half an hour in one sitting and do my sleep meditation. I've been slack on that recently, and I've been feeling more discomfitted in general since letting my sleep meditation slip. If one is done and not the other that counts as a half point for the day. To be graded out of 42.

 - I take part in the PvS HOoRAY and LYBaYF threads, they help. I still don't like looking in the mirror very much and I sometimes struggle to find things to mention that are good about myself. Even some of my posts contain enough self-deprecation that, looking back on it, I feel like I'm slyly insulting myself. So I will look in a mirror. I will say the things I post in HOoRAY and LYBaYF to myself. I will look myself in the eyes especially when wearing my glasses, I won't skim the area, I will look in my eyes and just remember everything good and positive in my life. I will then post a reflection (hahaha) of these little sessions in this thread. To be graded out of 42.

 - I feel like I have no practical worth as a person, be it as an employee, a family member, and sometimes as a friend. Sometimes it's all I can do to get out of bed because I feel so useless. But I went to a good uni, am told I am useful, have skills and things that others consider useful/helpful/good. So every day I will literally do a Skill Check. This is my skill, how can I use it to be and feel better in any capacity I could be needed in. To be graded out of 42

 

+2 CHA, +2 WIS

 

Self-esteem challenge: this challenge is all about the self-esteem, so I'm not going to be awarding any points unless something exceptional pops up i.e. getting a job.

 

With all the force a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire

 

Can't really fit the lyrics here

I've written them twice before~

Just know that it's a quest

of Awesome

To improve~ my martial arts

(hoo-ah!)

 

God, bet that didn't fit at all. Family issues last challenge meant that I didn't attend T'ai Chi for much of the last challenge period and it''s only been in the last three weeks (including today) that I've even started going T'ai Chi again and I still feel out of sorts with it. Today I was barely able to attend class for half an hour and I have absolutely no idea why.

It seems I have hit a plateau or two. Thus:

 

 - I honestly can't do the pull ups or chin ups in the ABBW because if I did the table would actually tip over - I tried. But I'm going to do three full circuits of the ABBW by the end of this challenge. And four times a week. To be graded out of 24.

 - Work on my Form, Dance and stances.  Four times a week, including class. Call it general pattern and balance practice. To be graded out of 24.

 - Strength training. Once a week minimum. Why does this go here? Aside from fitting the montage song it ties in with something below . . . To be graded out of 6.

 - Yoga, I've missed it and it will help with my balance and such. Follow the DYWM Beginner's Course again. To be graded out of 18.

 

+2 STR, +2 DEX, + 1STA

 

Self-esteem challenges:

 - PISTOL SQUATS. Last challenge I could do nine single-leg squats per leg. By mid-challenge I was doing one pistol squat per leg, though barely above parallel. I want to get below parallel on my pistol squats with good form, and work up to doing . . . five per leg per set. I'll still be nicking some of the Assassin's six week skill work from the previous challenge for this.

 - I can has splits?

 

Diet (I don't really have a Mulan reference that isn't mildly insulting when it comes to food)

 

Food, glorious food

Wonderful food

Marvellous food

Glorious food!

 

I alluded to some problems above? So I'm probably a good twenty-five pounds overweight and that makes some exercises difficult. I recognise this has to do with core and balancing muscles as well, but that'll get mentioned too. The belly fat compresses and because of the position it also puts pressure-pain on my boobs. Also it puts me off balance meaning I compromise on other things.

 

 - Cut out all but two snacks a week unless said snacks happen to be nuts or fruit, in which case, only five snacks a week. Hopefully to be reduced to three a week by the end of the challenge. Say goodbye to your shop-bought smoothies and occasional chocolate milk (they were half price!) girl.

 - Go as gluten-free as possible when you're not the one buying the groceries. This will mean buying certain staples gluten-free and just not eating gluten-y things if they're not part of a main meal. MAIN MEAL meaning dinner.

 - One new recipe a week. I want to try lemon pepper chicken karaage. It sounds delicious. Maybe with caulirice. Extra points if it's a gluten-free or Paeleo recipe, but not obligatory. To be graded out of six.

 

Self-esteem challenges:

 - make a little box or area of goodies, ingredients and cookery related things just for me.

 - cook a Sunday roast.

 - cook for more than just me.

 

+2 CON, +1 WIS

 

Life Quest: Crossdress!

 

Maybe later.

 

Life Quest: Creativity in Perseverance

 

I love reading. I love writing. But I also like research. I don't need things to be one hundred percent accurate, but I like drawing from the real world to flesh out my work or make it more realistic. To quote TVTropes, I like to Show My Work. But the thing about getting sidetracked when reading about Guanshiyin is that the sidetrack is so interesting I eventually go off track and I stop work on my stories and things. Or when I'm trying to work out how a certain disability would affect someone's perception of things I can get distracted by varying forms of handling it etcetera, etcetera It's a kind of academic 'oooh shiny!' thing. This means I excel at creating little 'what if?' synopses and plot bunnies, I can write really interesting little shorts, but the longer things get bogged down.

So when Mulan hit her wall she persevered and eventually her intellect and creativity allowed her to overcome her wall.

What I'm going to do is a little different: I'm not going to stop my research. I'm not going to say I have to write x words a day/total.

 

I am going to build a world

 

 - My research will help me build a world, because I know I'm going to research, so I might as well create a mostly cohesive backstory for my world.

 - I will write something creative every day set in my little world, but it doesn't need to be a coherent story. It can be fragments of history - sometimes from several viewpoints with the actual version of what happened written down if I ever need to pull unreliable narrator on an entire people/country/whatever. It can be language and culture quirks. It can be character vignettes and backstory as if I'm rolling up a character for a campaign.

 - I will do a little research every day for the express purpose of creating my little world. If I end up reading about non-binary genders throughout history then I must write a little note about what my little world thinks about it.

 - My little world doesn't need to be completely coherent or fully thought out, but I want a structure. More than that, I want little sketches, glimpses and entire scenes/whatever laid out, based entirely within that world/person/country's viewpoint with accompanying Author Notes in another document.

In me creativity engenders research, therefore I also need to show myself that research, in turn, engenders creativity. Research is the world's foundation, but without a story research is nothing more than a series of 'did you know . . . ?'s

So bring out the medieval literature, history and culture; bring out my language and linguistic skills; bring out my Google Fu; bring out my esoterica and vague annoyance with other people's work. I know stories, I love history and words, let's make a world.

 

And post something about it. Ideally it'd be daily, but let's try twice a week instead. It can be maps, weather patterns, history, characters, politics, economy, whatever. But it has to prove that the world is being built alongside a story.

 

Pass/fail

 

+2 WIS, +1 CHA.

 

 

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Actual world-building as a goal, huh? That's awesome. It's been a long time since I actually sat down and just freaking did it, and it was a lot of fun the last time I did. It'd be a good thing to go back and try again. Sometime.

 

In the meanwhile, though, all those goals look great! Get ready to rock out again. :)

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Actual world-building as a goal, huh? That's awesome. It's been a long time since I actually sat down and just freaking did it, and it was a lot of fun the last time I did. It'd be a good thing to go back and try again. Sometime.

 

In the meanwhile, though, all those goals look great! Get ready to rock out again. :)

 

Actual worldbuilding. I like building worlds - or, as a friend who writes on ff.net puts it - "making [other people's] work seem more in-depth and meaningful than it actually is (oh, and by the way, thanks for telling me things so I can be smart :tongue:)" by knowing strange things or assuming they know strange things and wrote it into the story. Maybe this little challenge will help you think of ways to build another world of your own?

And I really need a name for my little world or I'll just start calling it MLW.

 

I'm certainly ready to rock out right now; here's hoping the momentum stays.

 

Hi!  Did you finish the shorts you were working on last challenge?  Otherwise, subbed.

 

Yep! After some futzing around I decided to just stitch a couple of rough-cut circular and ovoid shapes onto the one leg.

 

Day One (Week One, Mon)

 

Reflect

 

Meditate - yes, I did the challenge yesterday though I'd not posted it thanks to stalling over what to do for a life quest. Spent about forty minutes meditating on bed about half an hour after waking up. Likewise sleep meditation was done listening to music and zoning out. In a meditative fashion. (1/42)

PvS HOoRaY and LYBaYF - but I did forget about this. Oops.(0/42)

Skill Check - Language (Modern European): I'm fluent in two languages (English and French) and know enough about Romance languages to be able to read or listen my way through a fair bit of Spanish or Italian, though there is guesswork involved. This means that I'll be reasonably comfortable wandering around a decent portion of Western Europe and the Mediterranean and have access to all sort of fun and interesting types of media. (1/42)

 

Martial Arts

 

T'ai Chi - nope (0/24)

BBWW -> ABBW nope (0/24)

Yoga - nope (0/18)

 

Diet

 

Snacks - one snack, can't quite remember what it was though.

Gluten-free - all breakfasty things are gluteny, but lunch and dinner were both gluten-free. I'm pretty sure the snack wasn't though. :/

Recipes - nope. (0/6)

 

Life Quest: Worldbuilding

 

This was written last night.

 

[unnamed male character] (currently a child for prologue purposes) doesn't like loud noises for several reasons; like all children, he enjoys eavesdropping; he's a little lonely and the big one: he currently, has a fairly mild form of hyperacusis (cochlear) simply because he was born with sound sensitivity. However, he was also born premature, which lead to him having a lot of ear infections as an infant.

His particular symptoms:

 - unusually sensitive hearing

 - panic reactions at soft sounds (note: this will get worse as he gets older because family politics and real politics) - he particularly hates: doors opening/closing, overly loud footsteps (which to everyone else are quiet, normal footsteps), and any sort of deep noise or impact that creates noticeable vibrations i.e. drums, but lower woodwind instruments (bass clarinet, oboe. Research more into woodwind instruments Western and elsewhere) 'make my ears happy'

 - headaches and that weird pressure you get in your ears when rapidly changing altitude/from lifts and elevators

 - anxiety perhaps? If so, only when young unless I decided to keep it for politics reasons

Potential for vestibular hyperacusis, but that depends on how the politics goes otherwise it might just be rubbing things in.

 

For now let's call him Adam. Because reference. BIG NOTE: his country (Country A because 'Adam') has an almost completely gender-neutral language. Basically involves sticking (biology) 'female'/'male' in front of things if they have to and only have one written third-person pronoun. Think Altaic languages, mixed in with European 'legal' masculinity/femininity and gender-neutral words that are only gendered upon translation/otherwise. Recently A has created a 'he' and 'she' for their language so others can understand more easily.

Things to think about: how far does it go? I'd prefer the culture to be somewhat gender-neutral, but how far does it go? Does it tilt towards everyone being 'masculine' as far as the rest of the world (and readers) are concerned or 'feminine'? How about regards non-hetero relationships or non-binary presentations?

 

Adam's vignette (age approx. seven)

 

Ears

 

Lost in his thoughts he actually jumped a bit when one of his own footfalls sounded too loudly in the bare hallway. He scowled, turned around and walked back to the window. Loud noises made him feel small and hurt his ears, so if he wasn't being loud on purpose he had to practice being quiet, even if that meant starting all over again. He rubbed his ear, pushing his finger into that strange little hollow where the skull and jaw almost met, hoping the high droning would go away. Why didn't anyone else have ears like his? Storms weren't so bad, everyone knew they were loud, so he could prepare for it; but that meant when the noise of three servants murmuring in an out-of-the-way corner became so loud that it felt like they were trying to rip the insides of his ears out with their clicking clicking fingernails his tears were all the more weak and disgusting.

He started over, focussing carefully on making sure the ball of his foot touched the ground first and that the resulting tap of leather on age-worn stone stayed a tap and not the thump of an overweight magister forcing their way through the throng.

 

Day Two (Week One, Tue)

 

Reflect

 

Meditate - yes to the meditation one, sleep meditation was done last night and counts towards today. (2/42)

PvS HOoRaY and LYBaYF - but I did forget about this. Oops.(0/42)

Skill Check - Language (Dead/Old/Dialects): Old English (lWS and a little Mercian), Middle English (Northumbrian, 'Chaucer's', Layamon's strange and archaic 'dialect' and a few others), Old French, a touch of e. Middle French and Dante's Italian. And some Old Norse. And some Latin (primarily medieval). I can read so much cool stuff and also feel pretty smart and snobby about it even when I'm reading the equivalent of Twilight or a trite sword and sorcery novel picked up for 20p at a charity shop. (1/42)

 

Martial Arts

 

T'ai Chi - yes, kinda? I went to T'ai Chi, but I felt awful so left about halfway through the class. Don't know whether to class this as a point or not. Anyone? (0/24)

BBWW -> ABBW nope. Would have after T'ai Chi, but see above. (0/24)

Yoga - nope. Might have after the above, but see above. (0/18)

 

Diet

 

Snacks - my last graze box came today. All nice pieces of fruits, nuts and seeds; I've had two today. (Three snacks out of five for the week). And yes, I'm aiming to cut down to 0 - 5 snacks a week by the end of the challenge.

Gluten-free - all breakfasty things are gluteny, but lunch and dinner were both gluten-free, as were my two snacks. :D

Recipes - nope. (0/6)

 

Life Quest: Worldbuilding

 

Guanyin and Longnu story. (wiki it or something). Change name to Guanshiyin for now until I can find another name (or perhaps, like Bridge of Birds set the story in an 'Asia(ish) that never was, but perhaps should have been' though I don't like that as there are a few too many potential pitfalls. Not to mention stereotypes that could be accidentally invoked or claimed about the world). And AU!Earth were all/some myths are real has been done a bit too much recently to have just a few real mythical beings without having all the others.

Regardless, Guanshiyin (natbech) is something of a universal figure to all areas and people as s/he is infinitely merciful and compassionate to all beings (living and dead), has multiple faces (one foe each cardinal direction? Maybe eight for the in-between ones?) and arms because s/he wishes to shelter all the world from the harms within. Resides on the South-East Island. No other name and no one is entirely certain which of the south-eastern islands it is. Or exactly where the south-east is derived from.

Naturally such a figure has many tales told of him/her (note: not undecided, Guanshiyin is literally male, female, neither and both all at once; and not necessarily human either - see also: for all beings) through all areas of the world, so remember to invoke a different flavour for each retelling.

 

A little myth from MLW.

 

Guanshiyin (natbech) and Lord Yu Huo (Country A) (Name is just a pun from somewhere. Change it and thus Wei to maintain the pun, but not in Chinese. Also change other names too in order to avoid Things)

 

And so the Lord of the Eastern Waters bid his son fly, "Guanshiyin gave to us the gift of your life, in return, this great treasure is to be hers." With that he turned to retrieve the ever-gleaming Pearl from its resting place in the Rising of the Sun when a strong voice called from the lower steps. "Grandfather, please! It would be pleasing to thank Guanshiyin on behalf of her whole family," Ao Guang turned to his grandchild Yu Huo and contemplated her.

 

Though she had not seen her first decade her skills and intelligence burned as fiercely as the earnestness now evident in her eyes and posture, the head raised in pride on the serpentine neck, the slight arch of her wings as if she sought to restrain herself from flight. And the arrogance of familiarity at the formal proclamation . . . how impatient. Perhaps a gentle rebuke, after all, it is unwise to speak spark-tongued, "Wei, my   grandchild  , I do cherish you, but this is not a matter of pleasure but of reprise*. Would you so act in matters of high debt?"

 

 

Guanshiyin (natbech) and Yu Huo (Country B)

 

And so the King of the Eastern Waters bid his eldest son fly, "Kwan Shiyam gave to us the gift of your life, in return, this great treasure is to be hers." With that he turned to retrieve the ever-gleaming Pearl from its resting place in the Rising of the Sun when a strong voice called from the lower steps. "Grandfather, please! It would be pleasing to thank Guanshiyin on behalf of her whole family," Ao Guang turned to his granddaughter Yu Huo and contemplated her.

 

Though she had not seen her first decade her skills and intelligence burned as fiercely as the earnestness now evident in her eyes and posture, the head raised in pride on the serpentine neck, the slight arch of her wings as if she sought to restrain herself from flight. And the arrogance of familiarity at the formal proclamation . . . how impatient. Perhaps a gentle rebuke, after all, it is unwise to speak spark-tongued, "Wei, my granddaughter, I do cherish you, but this is not a matter of pleasure but of reprisal*. Would you so act in matters of high cost?" 

 

*Commentator's note: it seems that when the peoples of Country A and Country B first interacted this was one of the first of A's stories written down, perhaps because it resonated with their own native stories of Kwan The Am. However, the earliest recorded writings of this well-known myth indicate a subtle mistranslation. Where A has "reprise" - meaning 'to return (usually of an act)' the scribes of B has "reprisal" which carries negatives implications in both their language/script and in the vast majority of others. The original "reprise" is a neutral term and thus relies highly on context to determine the motivations of the user, which in this passage are good: to return one great gift with another.

This mistranslation, combined with the then-common attitudes towards independent women in Country B leads to a rapid tangent from the original text, spinning Lady Yu Huo as a deceptive, though oddly naive figure who set out to trap Kwan Shiyam and keep the Pearl to herself who is then herself trapped by others. While the tale from A is more widely known across the majority of the continent, there remains merit to reading both versions of Yu Huo's tale side by side to note how they complement each other.

 

(Yes, the partial translator's note is part of the story and showcases a theme or two regarding families, culture (debt, cost, reprise, reprisal), agency and a few other things. With regards to how A and B turn out: A is pretty much a straight up mix of Lotus Sutra and Tales of the Southern Seas whereas B's diverges pretty heavily into The Precious Scrolls version. Though obviously with some changes on both halves.)

 

Note on language/script of Country B: much more gendered, so less inflections, more participles and a more rigid word order. Consider if B's attitudes towards independent women/women in general/other have changed much and why. Obviously A and B have some culture clash, and as A has remained almost completely gender neutral up until modern times it indicates at least a tolerance for independent women. From other places.

 

Country A and Country B are obviously separated by an ocean if A was point of first contact (PoFC) as A is primarily an island/coastal nation on the edges of the main continent. Place more emphasis on the sea themes, make the dragons into serpents of storms and more.

 

 

Hmm, bit more worldbuildy via research and planning than by fiction today, but I like it nonetheless.

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Yay new challenge!!

 

T'ai Chi - yes, kinda? I went to T'ai Chi, but I felt awful so left about halfway through the class. Don't know whether to class this as a point or not. Anyone? (0/24)

 

Count it. :) You showed up! You did half the class! That counts!!

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I'd say count the class as well. You showed up. You didn't know how it was going to turn out.

 

Your worldbuilding looks good too. You're much more academic about it than I am. :D

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