Ask the Blade Dancer

Are you speaking of quadrants as opposed to the Signless Sufferer’s grid-transcending romance with the Disciple? Because trying to copy the connection They had with Each Other for the sake of it is a mistake! What Their relationship teaches us is not that one type of romance is better than the other, but that quadrants are a guideline, and you should not have to bend over backwards to match their description. You should seek happiness and comfort, yours and your partners’, in your relationships! And that means you’re allowed to not have them, or to not label them — so long as your partner is also okay with that arrangement, of course. Feelings are complicated and there is really no point in complicating them further.

A- as for me… well… truth is I was never that comfortable with concupiscent relationships, I- I mean, I filled my pails but it was downright awful and I was a mess and—

Say WHAT?

No no no! *This* is the kind of nonsense our society feeds our wigglers. This misguided belief that pain equals rivalry! Repeat after me, my child—

PAIN IS NOT LOVE.

KISMESISSITUDE IS NOT PAIN.

I’m not saying you can’t indulge if you’re into, uh, intense stimulation, but even in such a case your kismesis is not under any obligation to indulge your tastes if he or she is not comfortable with the thought of it. Kismesissitude is rivalry! It’s the desire to push yourself into better matching the skills of someone you admire as a matter of pride rather than submission or shame! It’s— well, the only kismesissitude I experienced was a total sham and I’m honestly not qualified to speak for an ideal one but so many of my companions have formed beautiful bonds based on mutually beneficial rivalries that it insults me that you would dismiss their achievements and feelings so, so grossly.

Now sit at that corner over there and think very hard about all the beautiful and successful relationships you just stained with a wide tarry brush of unfortunate implications.

We’re not assigned names, we choose them!

Do understand that, in our previous lives at the Fleet, some of us acquired fame doing things we do not want to be associated with anymore. And whether you already had a title or still used your wiggler name, they’ll both be inexorably connected to that other life, to your detriment or that of fellow believers you unknowingly affected. Giving yourself a new name — a name related to something that gives you pride and makes you happy — is a very important step for all believers. You can choose any name you want at any time! And you can change it as well at any point in your way. So many of us are still trying to figure out who we are and what we want that being stuck with the very first name you chose would be awkward.

Even I was once the Bead Dancer, until I finally accepted that seeking perfection in beads was causing me undue stress. And then one day I found out that the arts I once misguidedly put in service of the empire could also be used to protect what I truly treasured, and that was something I could take pride in.

So please don’t dismiss Color Wash as a silly name, that’s a very thoughtless thing to do. His watercolors are gorgeous.

Uuuh…

He’s mentioned internet friends before—

I… have no idea… I don’t discuss His personal life with the Elders! If— if you are speaking of the average follower, then His personal life is most certainly not a topic of daily discussion, and it’s an outrage to even think of—

…green

Most aliens I met during my time in the fleet did have the same blood color with little variation across species. I’d come to the conclusion they were the norm and we were the anomaly even before I knew of the Signless.

I indulge in beading when I can, but truth be told I’m not all that good at it.

I also like braiding leather! I’m very good at making interesting-looking sandals.

That is what the hoods are for!

No, I have never seen any of the sort. Seadwellers have several means of securing their fins that I have heard about, such as pinning hoods in place, wrapping sashes around their heads, or just plain keeping a full head of hair. And they’re not limited to seadwellers! Head accessories are fashionable and aplenty among us regardless of ear shape. If you suspect a fellow believer of being a seadweller, just remember it’s none of your business, and if necessary discreetly suggest they adjust their headwear. There is no need to make a federal issue of it.

…there are seadwellers who’ve gone as far as mutilating their ears, though, in order to freely pass as otherwise. In their majority they’re new entrants struggling with some recent caste-related trauma. We do not condone such actions! It is one thing to ensure a safe and unprejudiced environment, but the point is not to hate what you were hatched as. The main lesson the Sufferer gave his life to teach us all is that all colors are equally beautiful, and one day we’ll be free to wear them in whichever combination strikes our fancy.

And yes, we do have many seadweller allies, on the surface and up in the fleet itself! Our message rings true to all who take the time to listen.

I don’t remember much of it, truth be told!