Good god I need to be careful about how I word this.
Okay, how to word this. How about if I say, up front, NOTHING TRANS IS HAPPENING, and then people will go ha ha but no really, but I’ll have to restate it that I mean it and NO REALLY, THIS ISN’T ABOUT THAT.
The avatar I’ve been using on twitter is not art I have any right to use. It is fanart of the protagonist from Devil Survivor, one of the first characters of his ilk that I ever played in a game and had an obvious, visible interest in. I originally struggled with having an internet avatar — mine was the textual web, the place of forum .sig files and single quotes and stuff like that because it was easier. The avatar I used for years over on the Wizards forums was only because it was required to use the forum.
It’s not that twitter is the first time I ever really had to have a visual representation of myself, but it’s certainly the first time I remembered doing it with a mindset of wanting to represent myself, rather than representing a thing I made. I first used a Balrog avatar, from Cave Story, because Fox had set up my first laptop with a background of Balrog, and that created immense emotional attachment:
I have always had a hard time describing things, even neutrally, as ‘I like this.’ It has been an enduring problem because of my upbringing, which was a world where there were correct answers to things, and my main memories of my enthusiasm were met with some measure of scorn.
I originally used the Devil Survivor protagonist because a friend said she found him attractive, and I thought I could do something cool with an animated avatar:
The avatar was meant to cycle between these three expressions at random points in time, with a gif that had like, 11 frames, with the evil face being very brief and the nice one and neutral one being more common.
And now… now, the ‘devil survivor boy’ is a kind of template for me. I use the slightly stunned, kinda neutral-expression middle face for almost everything, and now, I even edit it to make it fit with events. But now, the time is come to shift to a look that while still mostly like what I had, definitely isn’t using someone else’s fanart for eight years without any means of compensating them.
I’ve been using this avatar in discord streams and in my youtube videos, and so now it’s the time, and over the coming days, to shift over to the new look. It also has the advantage that it was made by Fox, a person who lives in my house, and who is 100% okay with talking to me about paying her for her work.