See, there are two ways a person's face can slant: the hero face, or the villain face. AKA, the serene face (or happy face), and the angry face. What I mean by that is:
The villain face has eyebrows slant this way: \/
The hero face has eyebrows slant this way: /\
And this is relevant, because it actually impacts the way I drive. It may sound silly, but it's true! In the villain face, I am prone to road ragey decisions. I might not display road rage, but I'll be a less-cautious driver: always at least 5 over (if not more) the speed limit, not slowing down for curves, not applying the brakes downhill, running yellow lights, you know, that sort of thing.
In the hero face, that's literally impossible. Trust me, I've explored this. I've tried doing road ragey things while holding onto the hero face, and the absolute best I could do is go five-over. It was literally impossible for me to do anything more than that while still wearing it; if I did exceed those boundaries, the hero face went away.
The reason I bring this up is that I try to get the hero face more often, because there's something else about it: the hero face is close to my meditative state. In it, I am more calm, cool, collected, and in control than normal. While it has the pleasant side-effect of making me a safer driver, the real benefit is the psychological advantages, that much better state of mind to be in.
Trouble is, it's a little difficult to maintain. If I get a little bit more manic (read: ideas hit me, such as, oh, saaaaaaaaaaay, the idea of blogging about this in the first place, in the ultimate bout of irony), then suddenly, the state is broken; my excitement, my thrill, my rush, causes me to subconsciously accelerate as the urge to get home faster enters me.
And something the hero state often causes is me locking onto a specific thought (because of that collected mindstate), and a specific thought is often the trigger for a mini-manic episode. Which then leads to the angry face, which I realize when I lose my focus and thoughts start to wander, which causes me to relax and try to regain the hero face.
Still, I like the practice. The hero face just feels healthier, warmer, more receptive. It's the difference between passively glaring at someone and passively smiling at them. It is much, much harder for me to do either face when I'm not driving (in those times, I'm usually at least partially with my mouth open as I am half-verbalizing my thoughts, for instance, literally right now as I type this, my mouth is open and silently going through the motions of speech without actually speaking, and this is my default state because even if I'm not writing or typing, I'm THINKING and I do it for thought too), but still useful even then.
I feel like it makes me, subtly, better at socializing if I can master it, and it's good practice. Plus, it does have me make some safer driving habits, which is why I was telling myself on the road home, "Careful, R...ma...Bre...whoever I am right now, use the hero face."
I had some better segue planned than that, but you might have guessed there's a second point to this ramble. That's another talk about an insight into my mind, more than the above. (I could also talk a bit about God in relationship to gods, but I opted not to.) Basically, I'm not really sure who I am in this very moment. Not Ranger, not mastina. I didn't quite feel like this was Bree, either, it's a weird feeling, not being sure what I am, but I thought it was interesting, to say the least. I'm definitely still a Bree, I know that much, but what part of me I am right now, not exactly sure.
I mean. To others, this probably is a weird thing to talk about. But for me, I'm becoming more comfortable talking about this, because it's my normal. I know it's unusual, this whole "separate, but not actually separate" thing. I don't fully understand it myself. It doesn't feel like denial, it doesn't feel like something in my imagination, it doesn't feel like I'm trying to be something I'm not, especially since this is something I haven't found a label for, nor do I particularly care to, to be honest.
I mean. It's just a small part of me, a weird little quirk, but ultimately, nothing alarming. I've got different parts of me at different times active. One thing that's vaguely related to this that I wanted to bring up. For the longest time, I've insisted that my favorite color was blue, my second-favorite color was orange, and my third-favorite was green. I also insisted that red was my least-favorite color of the six standards, with me largely indifferent to yellow and purple if memory serves me. (Maybe I had a mild aversion to them, though.)
Of course. That was largely denial. That has also changed over the years. For every color that I can name and can think of, I have built positive associations. I think of all the things the colors can be used for, good or bad, all the wonderful things that the color represents, so at different times, I've been discovering that I like different colors.
But I actually think my original favorite color was red. Nowadays, I like all colors pretty much equally, and I have sentimentality for a lot of them. Black's a particular favorite, but I'm still fond of white and gray, too. Brown's pretty cool, and to this day if I'm asked (this being part of the masquerade I maintain) I'll say my favorite color is blue and it's not exactly a lie either because I still have an attachment to the color for all the hardships it has helped me get through. (Plus, see below.)
At first, I thought my acceptance of red was like my growing acceptance of all the colors, but nowadays...well, let's just say there's more than one reason for the name Red Hood Rider. (I mean, sure, yeah, it's a triple-pun: Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood, Kamen Rider. But there's more to the name than that.)
My first coat earned me the nickname 'Little Red Riding Hood' as a kid. I was too naive to realize the kids calling me that were trying to bully me at the time, though my mom picked up on it. This coat was a mixture of red and black, which I can only remember vaguely: I've searched my room up and down for it, but have never been able to find it, and there's always the dreaded possibility that when I outgrew it, my mom sold it or gave it away. Still, it had a significant influence on Ruby's design. (The design for her hoodie is actually my dream-hoodie, but one reason it became my dream-hoodie is because of that coat.)
I'm not sure if it was my second one, but one of my other coats was also red. At some point, I did make the permanent switch to black (at which point, people kinda assumed black was my favorite color, which is weird, since I've never thought of it that way; to me, black has always been a good color, especially for clothing, but not one I consider my signature in spite of me being adorned in it all the time), but the fact remains: I didn't have blue, orange, or green hoodies.
Maybe I had a gray one (don't think so, but it's possible), but I definitely didn't have those colors. I had a red hoodie. Pure red. And earlier, a red-and-black coat, my first one. Plus, the current warmup-jacket that I wear? (The inspiration for Dark Ruby.) That one? Well, when we were shopping, I saw it came in multiple colors...and I chose red.
I've had that jacket for years, now. I'm pretty sure I've had it longer than I've known I was trans, and I definitely wasn't thinking broad enough to have consciously made this decision back then as a result. But on some level, at least subconsciously, I was drawn to it.
Then there's a unique little coincidence. mastina's known for having an avatar of Zorbak, the ebil moglin from AQ/DF/insert other AEGames here. (Because mastina originates from the battleon forums, as mastin2 there, and later called just Mastin.) Specifically, a closeup which is a wicked grin. She's used it across all accounts bearing the name, in some form or another. The url is broken on her battleon forums account, but on her original Mastin account, it's still present. It was originally on my mastin2 account as well, until a memorable game where I trolled people (including a switch in avatars) which I kept, and then I came out as trans not too terribly long after, and someone made a girlified version, so I have that avatar instead. Still, it's pretty consistently there. And Zorbak?
...On the other hand? While Ranger and mastina are contemporaries in their original forms (ranger from DarkThrone, mastina around the same time for Artix Entertainment Games), and the theme was later dropped in favor of a scientist theme (as of the revival of Ranger in the form of ComicFury), the original theme for Ranger?
A custom-made fire dragon avatar...which was red. I'm pretty sure I've lost the original 200x200 version, though I do have lower sizes of that avatar stored everywhere. I mean, at that time, I was ranger_brian2, just like I was mastin2. On DT, on the battleon forums. This later changed to just Ranger, and just Mastin, but as I said, both later were revived close to their original forms, ranger_brianna_new and mastina.
But I'm digressing. The point I'm trying to make, is that since Ranger (albeit only just) came first, and Ranger was first associated with red (though, I do use orange for convenience on occasion), that the first color I associated myself with was in fact red, and this was at about the same time I would've been wearing it, too.
So, my original color, my original favorite, my original me, was red. Overall, I think it'd probably be the color of Bree as a whole. (Though, I do have a weird association of white to Bree. I don't quite know why. Maybe 'blank slate', 'head in clouds', 'empty space', and whatnot have something to do with it?)
But in various points in time, here and there, with different things on my mind, different colors have attracted me, different colors have been appeasing to me, and even grown into obsessions. And I think that variety in how I perceive those colors can actually serve as an insight into how my mind really works, how there's so many of me that are constantly changing places. (Including how I have the habit of switching tense a lot. I use I, I use we, I use she, and I use them all about equally with only the slightest of dominances towards 'I', but that dominance I think comes from it being the "normal", default, cultural expectation more than it does from actually being my natural thoughts.)
Moment to moment, I am always feeling different. These moments can be seconds. They can be minutes. They can be hours. Maybe even whole days. But I always shift. I mean, some things never shift. The "core" personality of me, if you will, the basic part of me, the bit of me that is fundamental to my being, never changes. I'm always at least vaguely aware of my other selves, but it's more than that.
We might not always have the same memories, even though we usually do. We don't have the same personality, though some traits are persistent. But things like what I am? Those remain. Some obvious ones I can list include being bipolar and being autistic. Not that I would ever try to suppress those sections of me nowadays, but I'm pretty sure I did try at some points in the past. Trust me, absolutely impossible. They're part of that core, and will always be with me, whether I like it or not. (I'm growing more accustomed to accepting it.)
And another obvious one? Not once. Not even once. Do I think, "I'm a guy". I've investigated those feelings. The first reaction is panic, and self-doubt, and concern, but always, I probe around, I search my inner being, and no matter where I look, there's no guy in there. Not a lick of one.
I'm not really sure how to explain that. Basically, the closest I get to those thoughts is occasionally getting close to in my mind misnaming or misgendering myself, but when I look at the thought, I realize it was made on habit, it was always something that felt like a remnant, it was always something that if said actually-verbally would be a slip-of-the-tongue, the type of thing where if I said it to someone else (that is, accidentally misnaming them or misgendering them, which sad to say I still mentally do unintentionally--there's at least one person who I can only barely remember her new name yet her dead name I can recall vividly, and there's at least one or two people who have changed their pronouns and I've had trouble remembering, "Oh, right, *pronoun*, not *former pronoun*"), I'd feel immensely guilty.
In other words. It's nothing I actually mean. Me being the self-conscious person I am, I always am on the alert for any sign that my identity may not be what I think, or assume, it is, but I somehow just know. It's difficult to verbalize, that knowing, that feeling, which is there, but it's there.
One of the core aspects of me, is that no matter who is in control, we are a she. Bree is a girl. Bree is Bree, no matter what, no matter the situation, no matter appearances, no matter anything. I can always tell that much about me. Sometimes, I don't really notice it. Sometimes, I notice it, but only in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I'm actively aware of it, but not actually thinking about it. And yet other times, I am deeply immersed in extensive thought about it.
The whole time, doesn't matter..
I know I am a girl.
And nothing can take that away.