serious post time. this is something i’ve been trying to put into words for a while, as someone who is an intensely passionate fan of fashion history while also being a person of color. as has already been widely discussed, when we talk about “fashion history” that’s usually in regards to what a western-world-centric view of what fashion is and has been. that’s a very important thing to be discussed, but what i want to talk about is something more individual.
i’d like to preface this with the disclaimer that this post is not intended as an argument, as i am not trying to attack any position or make any substantial claims. rather i am trying to parse through a personal struggle by sharing it with others who may relate or sympathize. if i offend anyone on accident, i’m sorry that really was not the intention.
particularly how as an east asian person, i interact with western history and historical media. what i’ve tended to notice is that there is reasonable belief of most non-asian people’s existence within historical space, even if the roles of people of color in historical narratives are dominated by a white majority. the interconnection between europe, africa, and the americas through colonization is undeniable, and therefore the history is connected as well.
this isn’t to say that those places are not historically connected to asia at all, rather that the east (regarding all of asia and the pacific islands) exists in this permanently exoticized, othered space within the western psyche. orientalism is also an important point of discussion, but i’ll save that for a different rainy day.
what i’m trying to convey is that, for example, a person like myself could not appear in a traditional western historical re-enactment without breaking some kind of suspension of disbelief that would not exist for a black or latino actor.
one note: asian people do have considerable place interacting with western culture throughout history but due to erasure, ignorance, and status as perpetual foreigners, do not have as strong a presence as other minorities.
i guess the question then becomes, “why care so much about the west? the east has a very rich fashion history of its own!” which is very, very true! one can easily be stunned by the traditional garments of aapi cultures. as a chinese person, i think it’s pretty neat that hanfu is seeing a bit of a popular revival. but at the same time it’s a partial desire to have a seat at the table (being taken seriously in western circles?) and a partial personal disconnect with chinese culture (as an adoptee raised by white parents).
it’s probably just a shallow thing, like, “who says everything has to be neurotically accurate? i should be able to study and wear what i want?” but it has been on my mind chronically since i picked up the special interest. i don’t want to feel like i’m ashamed of or giving up on “my heritage” or whatever but i don’t want to be limited by the race i was born into. there’s the conundrum.
so whether it’s my child self wishing they were white so they could be pretty or me currently feeling guilty for having an interest in something, the conflict remains.
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fake title: it's ok.
(it's just inspired by one of my favorites songs by Tom Rosenthal, and it's such a sad song that I wanna write something out of it)
“I know someday I'm gonna be with you”
Haechan says before stealing another kiss.
“Look for me…please.”
A tear falls down your cheek. You can feel yourself fading away, the universe was pulling you, grabbing at every cell in your body violently. It was time to go, time to travel to another century.
“Shhh..don’t cry, I’ll see you soon.” Haechan caresses your face in an effort to clear your cheeks of your tears.
Why you? Why were you both cursed with this ability to travel throughout time without any control of where and when it would happen? It was painful. Starting over every.single.God.damn.time.
To make matters worse, Haechan’s memory would be completely wiped whenever he travelled, so you would have to find him and fall in love with him all over again every time.
“I don’t want to leave..I just wanna lay with you like this forever.” You say as you cry harder, the stinging of the summer sun soon dissipates. You couldn’t feel Haechan’s hands on your waist anymore.
“It’s not goodbye..I promise.” He kisses your forehead one instant and then he’s gone…just like 10 years prior.
When you open your eyes, you see a dull, smokey sky. You hear a loud buzzing sound and feel the ground underneath you tremble.
“Where am I now?” You sniffle and look around you. Then a man in a grey suit bends down and holds his hand out to you. “What are you doing down there, honey? You’ll get hurt.”
You take his hand and stand up. “What year is it? Where am I? And what is that God awful sound?” You cover your ears and wince.
He stares into your softy eyes for a moment and thinks of how pretty you are, regardless of you dressing like someone from the 1700s. Strange, but pretty, he thought.
“It’s 1946..this is New York, home of the “best” train system.” The man’s brows furrow. “Wait, how did you get here?”
You finally look into the man’s face. He was handsome and well-groomed, it’s clear to see you had jumped a few years and the style has changed quite drastically. “What the hell is a New York?”
He laughs suddenly, his dimples showing through. “Its like you fell out of the sky like an angel..”
You don’t laugh, however, you look upon the man sternly as your eyes start to dry.
He clears his throat. “Uh okay well, my name’s Jaehyun, let me help you.”
You nod. “Okay..I need you to help me find..him.”
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The Time Traveling Cabinet
So! Time travel AUs are fun. But what if, instead of sending back Tommy and Wilbur, we try something new for a change?
Concept: Time Travel AU, but the people getting sent back in time are the New L’Manberg Butcher Army.
Ranboo, Fundy, Quackity, and Tubbo are all scattered into the past on December 16th, and it only gets More from there.
- Somehow, the New L’Manberg cabinet are all sent into the past at different points of the events of December 16th.
- Ranboo is sent back during the fight in front of Technoblade’s house.
- Fundy is sent back once Punz starts attacking the execution.
- Quackity is sent back a millisecond before Techno’s pickaxe hits his face.
- And Tubbo is sent back right after seeing the pillar and thinking that Tommy is dead.
- Ranboo gets sent back to about a week before Tommy joined.
- He is, understandably, confused. But he mostly just vibes, leaving cryptic messages, building stuff, and exploring. It's nice to get a break from executions and warring and the messy life in the present day.
- He befriends Tommy again, and they burn down George's house again. This time, Dream barely cares. He doesn't need a reason to hurt Tommy yet.
- Ranboo also gets to meet his best friend and future husband again!
- Tubbo's a lot less guarded, more willing to speak his mind, doesn't have firework scars on his face and arms. Tommy's still a gremlin, but he's a gremlin with dreams and schemes. Ranboo doesn't know what to think about this.
- He doesn't get involved in the L'Manberg Revolution or any of the big conflicts, saying something about "preserving the timeline".
- He can’t change anything important anyway. According to the message anonymously whispered to him in chat every time he was stopped from changing something, multiverse creation is disabled until the arrival of all parties.
- Ranboo doesn't feel that bad about it. He isn't in the mood to create paradoxes, and there's nothing during the revolutionary time that he'd really change.
- Didn’t Eret do some kind of betrayal thing?
- Ranboo can't recall what they did. Probably just switched sides, and people got mad about it, as people attached to sides often do.
- Then, on August 2nd, he hears explosions. Against his better judgment, Ranboo sneaks over to L'Manberg to see if Tubbo and Tommy are okay.
- They aren’t.
- Yep, the country has been blown up, and to make things worse Eret leads the L'Manbergians into a death trap that takes more canon lives than anything else in SMP history. Ranboo's legitimately horrified.
- He sticks around for the peace era and helps rebuild, maybe works at the embassy a little. Mr. Boo is not allowed to be a L'Manberg citizen due to being American, but he remains on good terms with the country.
- Basically, Ranboo learns the true history of this "just a drug van" country, and what it actually stands for.
- He's ready to wait it out until December, so he can get back to the present day with no complications. One problem: He isn't alone anymore.
- Fundy arrives to the Pet War confused as can be.
- He's pretty sure he's dreaming. That's the only explanation for him being in one of the worst times of his life again and Ranboo being there too for some reason.
- So, he tries to stop some of the pet murder, to varying success. He can't kill Sapnap during the duel or save Fungi, but he can save some of the chickens and Leonard the enderman and such.
- Leonard is his emotional support monster. He’s going to need one.
- Next, Fundy finds and yells at a bewildered Wilbur.
- Wilbur isn't allowed to hear the whole rant, but he does get 1) He screwed up as a father, 2) He's probably dead?? This does not help his paranoia and self-loathing.
- Fundy also gets to chat with his younger self, who according to one Ghostbur Soot was 14 at the time of the election? I don’t know, fox/phoenix/trickster demigod aging is weird.
- The conversation goes along the lines of:
“Do they ever start taking us seriously?”
“...Yes. Definitely. Sure.”
- Finally, Fundy tells a heap of lies about what he's like in the future to look cool.
- He’s generally is a fan of this situation because time traveling from the future means one thing: Attention. And it has been a while since he's gotten any of that.
- (Ranboo tries to stop him from messing with the past. He's only sometimes successful, and gets roped into Coconut 2020)
- In summary, Fundy clings to his moment in the spotlight, tries and fails to get closure with his dad, and gets to observe the unraveling ball of angst and issues that was his teenage self.
- Quackity is sent back to the day of the election.
- He has to see his naive younger self screw up history and plan a spring wedding with Schlatt. It's awful.
- After trying and failing to assassinate the drunken dictator during his speech, and getting the memo about not being able to change the past in big ways, Q runs over to spawn to wait for Wilbur.
- Wilbur shows up after dying to Punz, and Quackity helps him get to Pogtopia for the first time.
- There, Quackity chats with him and Tommy. He explains as much as he knows (which isn't much), and offers to join the rebellion.
- Wilbur doesn't trust him for five seconds. Honestly, Q's still wearing the Butcher Army uniform. He’s covered in blood!
- So, Quackity is sent out into the night in an offhand "don't call us, we'll call you" way. On the way out, he tries and fails to murder Technoblade. He's got a hit list, and he's going to complete it.
- Meanwhile, Past Quackity does not get along with Future Quackity at all.
- Past Quackity was a neutral good idealist. Future Quackity is a machiavellian, chaotic neutral guy with a murder list. They despise each other.
-Quackity tries to settle things with Schlatt. Not sure how well it works, but he does try.
- He also maps out complex strategies for how to change the future once all members have arrived. He's got Plans.
- Ranboo is very opposed to these Plans. Fundy is mostly onboard with these plans.
-Finally, Quackity desperately hopes that the last member of the party will arrive before the festival. Maybe, just maybe, he can do something to stop the execution.
-Unfortunately, the festival arrives, and Past Tubbo gives his speech, and Technoblade is given the order.
-The execution goes according to plan.
-Then, in the wreckage of the Red Festival, a figure appears.
- Tubbo has been having an awful day.
- First, he fails to execute Technoblade. Then, he finds out that he killed his best friend Tommy is gone. And now he’s standing smack-dab in the middle of the worst thing that ever happened to him?
- It’s all way too much. Tubbo runs away.
- Tubbo disappears for a solid week before finally accepting that he isn't just imagining all of this as a weird stage of grief.
- He then returns to Pogtopia in a suitably dramatic moment.
- Despite the fact that they're all in the past, Tubbo's probably going to end up as the character who gets the most focus. He's having the most Emotions about all of this.
- He's got to deal with his coping mechanisms (Ignore and Avoid) being taken away because he's back in the place he tries to forget.
- On top of that, he has to deal with the fact that he feels guilty about Tommy's death, but can't even process that because Tommy's technically still alive in the past (and in the future, but Tubbo doesn't know that).
- And he has to deal with seeing Wilbur again, and figuring out why Wilbur made him president.
-He’s going to go through a lot.
- Ranboo: Preserving the timeline so they can get home vs. Wanting to keep his friends safe and caring about L'Manberg now.
- Fundy: Fixing things for his past self, and getting closure with his dad.
- Quackity: Completing his hit list and completely changing the timeline. And punching Schlatt in the face.
- Tubbo: Dealing with the various emotional turmoils listed above, getting Tommy and his past self to run away from it all.
- Past Tommy: Finding out what the actual fuck is going on, and protecting the Tubbos (Tubbi?). Also, he wants to know what happened to upset Future Tubbo so much. (His regular Pogtopia motives are also there).
- Past Fundy: Measuring up to how great his future self said their life was.
- Past Quackity: Not becoming his future self at any cost.
- Past Tubbo: Regular Pogtopia motivations, but now he has both Tommy and Ranboo to worry about.
- Past Wilbur: Wilbur already believed that he had a scripted role, and was always going to end up the villain. Well, now he has confirmation of just that. Awesome!
He actually goes through with it. He actually blows it up. He doesn't know if he's proud, disgusted, terrified, or what, but he knows that it's not up to him to go against fate.
And if fate demands a grand finale and a little trinitrotoluene on the side? He can do that.
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