TVTT Green Ajah Edition – Courage

Battle Blogs – Courage

Coming out: A Journey

By Xylianna Paladina (Part 1 of 2)

Courage comes in many forms. It’s easy to think of warriors on the battlefield slinging saidar or wielding swords. But in our world, while courage can include literal wars, for most of us it will be more mundane types.

The type of courage I want to talk about today is the courage to be yourself. It might sound easy to be yourself — for me, it has always been a challenge. What will people think? I find it easier to stand up for others than for myself, and this is a battle I have been addressing in earnest over the last couple years.

I’m lesbian. I spent over 20 years identifying first as bisexual and later pansexual, but never fully came out. I was very careful to stay closeted at work, in my small rural town, and with most of my family members. It was pretty easy to do, since I am a private person, and most of my relationships have been with men.

Sometime in the last year I came across the term “comphet” — compulsive heterosexuality. There are very good resources on the internet if you wish to learn more and I don’t feel like I am educated enough to speak on it at any length. The gist of comphet is that our culture by default is heteronormative, so that is the way we are raised. It’s what we get in most of our books, movies, and TV shows; it’s what people tend to assume of others they don’t know, it’s just… the default.

I’m going to speak specifically of my experiences and I will use language that reflects that. For me, comphet had me always certain I was attracted to men, and struggling with an attraction to women (as well as nonbinary, agender, and other people who aren’t defined by the gender binary). It never occurred to me not to be attracted to men. That was one big reason I never bothered coming out in my day to day life. What if I blew up my life by telling people I wasn’t straight, and then I ended up in a committed long term relationship with a man anyway, where I could be straight passing?

Being straight passing feels nice and safe. It’s a path of least resistance.

But it was also dishonest. Especially since over the last year of researching comphet and realizing how much it resonated for me, I realized… I’m not actually attracted to men at all. 

Last year, I selectively came out to one coworker and more of my family members, because I entered into a serious relationship with an AFAB agender person who is perceived as a woman, and could no longer be “straight passing.” It went better than I had feared over the years — and I had historic reasons to fear, from things people in my life had said to me since I was a teenager. I was met with understanding and acceptance.

This year, I took it a step (or ten) farther and I came out completely. At work, in my town, on my social media, outside of my carefully cultivated safe queer spaces. And I came out as lesbian. 

Heck, this past week I came out to someone in upper management at work who hadn’t gotten the proverbial memo yet. Coming out feels like a continual process since most of the people around me assume I am straight. But it is a joyful process. Each time I tell someone that I am a lesbian, I feel lighter. It feels really good to embrace my identity and to be happy and proud of it. 

It took courage. And it was worth it.

Vulnerability: when courage wins

By Mystica Ari’Yena (Part 3 of 3)

Taking a first step is often a very scary and very difficult thing to do. We almost can’t help ourselves from imagining everything that could go wrong and we tend to convince ourselves that something will go wrong. One of the most difficult things we humans often face is not the confrontation with others but the confrontation with ourselves. We often tend to divert our attention from that by focusing on those others or on specific, suddenly extremely important tasks. Anything to avoid having to undergo that confrontation with the self. 

It takes a great deal of courage to face that self and take that step.

Often, the outcome is much less horrible than we imagine, and we end up wondering what we were so nervous, afraid, worried about afterwards. Yes, sometimes our fear is justified; but almost never to the extent of that which we imagine. 

I’m a very strong believer in the concept that one cannot encounter courage in the absence of fear. For action without fear, to me, equals excitement. Not courage. Courage is the act one does in spite of the self, often to the benefit of others. Excitement is the act one does for the enjoyment of the self. Regardless of the cost or the benefit to others. 

Learning how to show your vulnerability requires an act of courage that will result in the activation of a specific type of strength. A strength that will inevitably benefit the society and community you belong to, for you will transform yourself into a wiser, healthier, more balanced person. This will directly benefit you and everyone in your surroundings. 

The ability to show your vulnerability without fear will empower you, free you, strengthen you, and through all that will improve the lives of yourself and your loved ones. 

It wasn’t until all of my defenses came crashing down and my vulnerability was laid bare that I finally got to witness and experience the real power it holds. 

By allowing others to see your vulnerability you are giving them something no money can buy, no power can force and no thief can steal. You are giving them the gift of validation. You are signaling to them that they can take on a role of significance in your life, if they so choose. Most people want to be useful. Want to feel useful. They want to feel like they matter, that they can make a difference. By showing your vulnerability to them, you give them an opportunity to seek out a way in which they can make a difference in your life. And yes, there is a risk of abuse. Hence the need for courage. 

A courage I lacked for 40 years and so I was forced into it by crashing. 

I would recommend a different approach. 

Everything is Fine

By Tree (Part 1 of 1)

This Battle Blog is not about overcoming anything. This is not a unique experience, a commentary on anyone else’s mental health, treatment, diagnosis, or story. This is my story, of my fight, my loss, and my win.

I am bipolar 1 with psychotic tendencies, anxiety, and depression with a history of substance abuse and self-harm. There it is. With all the stigma that comes with. 

I was diagnosed officially when I was in my freshman year at the University of Washington, a newly minted adult struggling to navigate life at University. I was sent off with a prescription that left me numb and passive. I am a Green – numb and passive are not a part of my being. Over the following two years I tried various medications; many left me passive, indifferent, or under my desk at work hiding from my anxiety. I decided I was better off without them. I did not need medication. I tried therapy but wasn’t getting anything from it.  Clearly I did not need help. 

Everything was fine.

Self-medication, and sheer will, drove me through my twenties and into my thirties. I didn’t want this diagnosis and accepting help was a weakness I would not afford myself. So, I learned to adapt and I managed well enough. I learned to identify symptoms and recognize the shifts in my mood. I practiced mitigation and control. Clearly I didn’t need doctors, therapies, prescriptions, any of it! Therapy and medication didn’t help me, I helped me. 

Everything was fine.

As time went on things got worse. Depression sometimes got bad enough I found myself numbly staring at a wall for multiple days at a time. Manic episodes started costing too much, and taking a heavier toll on relationships and my professional life. Still, I did not need help. 

Everything was fine. 

By my mid-thirties my sheer force of will wasn’t enough anymore. I found myself unable to enjoy anything and unable to get excited about anything. The police kept getting called. I hurt people I love. I began seeing myself in the raving homeless women I passed daily on the street. 

Everything was not fine, I’d lost the battle.

It still took another two years to admit to myself that I needed help. Those two years were hard, and harder still on those around me. I was too stubborn to accept any need for treatment, too stubborn to accept that I lost the battle for control of my own mind.

The next battle was to seek out treatment despite myself and I was terrified. If I went on medication and my life wasn’t magically perfect, I would prove myself a failure. I didn’t want to experiment with prescriptions and jump through the hoops of getting it wrong, again. I didn’t want the side effects. I didn’t want the diagnosis! Taking medication was like giving control of my life over to some pills in a bottle and I just wouldn’t do that.  I could not do that. 

Finally, I stopped fighting myself. What I learned was that the battle I lost may also be a win.

Ultimately, I sought out a psychiatrist. I was very wary to go, so I told a few people who I knew might help hold me accountable. I still did not want this. One of the best things I was told, and that I needed to hear, was from Kitty (Cataia Sylvianya if you must). She told me that I am just allergic to my brain and that taking something was just like taking allergy pills. I swallowed my pride and went to the appointment. 

I was very fortunate with the psychiatrist I saw – I’d seen doctors who were insulting, judgmental, or trying to put me on something I had already tried just to get me out the door. This was the doctor to help me understand who I am in relation to this horrible diagnosis and what it means. If it was not for him I don’t think I would have filled the prescription he sent me home with that first day. I still didn’t want them, I still wanted to fight myself.

He used a couple of perfectly tailored metaphors that still stick out in my mind. The first a dragon, and the second a tennis ball. 

By this point I had identified the dragon but called it a monster, because I am a monster. (I don’t need help- everything is fine.) When something triggered it, that monster-dragon would take over. These were the times I would hurt people, the times where I broke bridges, the times people called the police. I could see it happening, the rage and anger and horrendous things I was doing. I could watch from the inside but was unable to control anything; my grasp on reality was tenuous. 

This was not new and reflecting on it now, this dragon-monster in me started poking its head out as early as elementary school. Before, I had been able to pull myself back from that level of rage, remember everything was fine. Now, unexplainably, I couldn’t manage anymore.

I told my doctor that I felt like I was losing control over what I had maintained for so long and that is where the tennis ball comes in. A tennis ball straight from the can has all its bounce, but it quickly loses bounce and becomes a dog toy. Like a tennis ball, I used to be able to bounce back quickly. Like a tennis ball, as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost the ability to bounce back so easily.

I had lost control. I had lost my ability to manage. I had lost my stubborn refusal to get help. It is where if not for the “dragon and the tennis ball” I never could have won. 

Today, I look at my daily handful of pills and sometimes wonder if I really need them? The battle I have with my ego and pride rages on but I have a Green sister’s voice in my head – I’m just “treating an allergy.” My Warder, Ne’Mireth, reminded me just last month that I can fight myself as much as I want and at the end of the day I’ll still be bipolar. I may not like it and I may still want to fight it; but knowing where I was and where I am now, I can accept this handful of pills as the win I didn’t know I wanted. As the win I needed.  

Green Ajah – The Show

By Faeril Munlear and Aleita Taviah

It is still early, but we know we are going to see some Greens in action this season in The Wheel of Time series. Join us on the forums and share which Book Greens you are looking forward to seeing the most!

Join the show discussions here: https://www.tarvalon.net/index.php?forums/wheel-of-time-tv-show.269/

Please note, the following section contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time television show through Season 1, Episode 5.

At the end of A Place of Safety (S1E3) we get our first look at the Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. We discover that the Green Aes Sedai (including Alanna Mosvani) have joined with their Red Sisters to capture Logain Ablar, the male channeler claiming to be The Dragon Reborn.

The Dragon Reborn (S1E4) is where we really get to see the Green Ajah in action. We meet Kerene Nagashi and her Warder Stepin as well as Alanna Mosvani and her Warders Ihvon and Maksim (a deviation from the series where her Warders are Ihvon and Owein.)

Kerene and Alanna are both represented as strong, fighters both in terms of their strength in the one power (being only two of four in the Aes Sedai camp capable of shielding Logain) but also in character. Kerene displays a strong sense of duty and respect for the responsibilities of the Aes Sedai and adherence to the rules around gentling, lecturing Liandrin about taking premature action against Logain before reaching Tar Valon.

We cannot talk about the Green Ajah in the books or the tv series without talking about their warders. Each of the warders has their own traits and identity, and we get to see the different relationships both between warders and their Aes Sedai but also with each other.

The fight scene near the end of The Dragon Reborn (S1E4) is spectacular, we get to see the Aes Sedai and Warders fighting side by side. Without even explicitly stating that the Green Ajah is the battle Ajah we are shown the strength of Alanna and see an example of “a single Aes Sedai turning the tide of a battle” a reference from S1E1.

We experience the first loss of an Aes Sedai by her Warder when Kerene is killed at the end of The Dragon Reborn (S1E4). Blood Calls Blood (S1E5) follows this story through to the deeply tragic journey of Stepin through his devotion and bond to Kerene in her death returning her Ring to Tar Valon. Through Stepin’s story we see foreshadowing in a scene between Moiraine and Alanna where Moiraine recalls hearing that it is possible to pass a Bond.

We can’t wait to see more of the Green Sisters (and their Warders) come to life on the screen. We stand ready!

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TVTT Green Ajah Edition – Strength

Green Ajah – TarValon.Net

By Faeril Munlear

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion of Book Green versus Site Green. Even within our Ajah, our opinions may vary. The Green Ajah on TarValon.Net isn’t exactly like the Greens in the books, but we exemplify many characteristics portrayed by Greens throughout the series. 

Obviously, some things don’t translate as well. As much as I’d like to Balefire someone some days, that’s not going to happen. *Takes a shot of Balefire instead* We can’t channel in real life. There isn’t a Last Battle. However, we each have our own battles as well as our own passions. What makes us unique is that we are all individuals, but at the core we all embody a strength, passion and straight forwardness that I admire and respect of my sisters and brothers. 

A common thing you might hear from one of us when asked why we chose Green is “Because I am Green.” While some of us come to Green, once we find ourselves and our inner strength, some of us have always been Green. Maybe it just took us time to realize it. We were drawn to the Green Ajah because the traits that stand out in the books, and traits we see in fellow Greens, are the traits we see within ourselves. 

We each have our individual stories and journeys of why we identify with Green. Most of us are also straightforward and aren’t ones to coddle. Sometimes that can be off putting, but it’s one thing I admire because I know if I share something with my Ajah they are there for support or they’ll straighten me out if I need it. They won’t hold back. Sometimes that’s exactly what I need. The Green Ajah of TarValon.Net is also fiercely passionate and protective in our relationships, with one another and with causes and things we care about. Many volunteer or give back to their community and fight for social injustices. I would also say many of us are loyal and dedicated.

Unlike the Greens in the books, the Green Ajah at TarValon.Net can’t bond as many warders as they’d want. However, out of all the Ajahs, they are allowed the most bonds with two per Aes Sedai. We take our bonds very seriously and sometimes we will go un-bonded for long lengths of time until we find the right bondmate. There are even some of us that have never bonded, which isn’t as common in the books.

When not fighting our own battles, or giving strength to others, you may find us socializing on the site and Discord. You will also find many of us at the TarValon.Net real life gatherings. The Green Ajah may not be taking on Tarmon Gai’don, but the strength, passion and fighting spirit is very much displayed in each of our members on the site. 

Where the book Greens “stand ready,” we “stand our ground.”  – Mystica Ari’Yena

Green Ajah HQ on TarValon.Net- https://library.tarvalon.net/index.php?title=Community_Page:_Green_Ajah_HQ

Facts of the TarValon.Net Greens

By Roheryn ni Galghandhrei t’al’Djinn 

The Green Ajah has 50 Aes Sedai 

The Green Ajah’s toasting drink is something they call Balefire. Faeril and Amaria are responsible, or to blame depending on how much you like Balefire, for it. 

Green has 36 Bondmates 

One of the two founding members of the Tower is Green and she was also the first Amyrlin of the site. Since her retirement, her official title has been Koyn Amyrlin

Green is the only Ajah that a Blademaster calls home

Green has three mottos, one of which is often used for toasting. 

There have been a few times in Tower history when a number of people were pregnant at the same time. Many of these mass pregnancy announcements were blamed on “Drinking the Green Water.”

The Green Ajah has their own Ajah Awards which have been going on since about 2010. 

Green graphic gurus are called Green Monkeys and the Greens responsible for the newsletter are called Ibises. 

When Greens get together in Real Life it is the responsibility of the Head or the longest standing Green (if the head is not present) to present everyone with Green Beads.

Got curious for more? You can find it all in the library

Battle Blogs – Strength

Challenge and Choice

By Melisande Arneil (Part 1 of 1)

Hi – my name is Crystal, and I have three adult children on the autism spectrum. For those who may not know, autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects a person’s social interaction and communication as well as being restricted by repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that a person can have anywhere from a mild to a more severe form of this disability. My oldest wasn’t diagnosed until much older, and has other unique challenges, so I won’t be discussing her in this piece.

My middle and youngest (let’s call them B and D) are on the more severe end of the spectrum. B, my daughter who loves music and Disney, has some obsessive tendencies and has some speech. She’s considered echolalic, meaning that she will echo what you or someone else says to her. D, my son, can very much communicate even though he has no speech and only uses a lot of sounds. I’ve learned to read his body language and am able to understand what he ‘says’ that way. This only works with him, mind you… nobody else.

B and D were both diagnosed at a young age. Being from Saskatchewan, Canada, we accessed our family doctor, who then referred us to a slate of different practitioners: speech therapist, pediatrician, psychologist, and occupational therapist. We accessed occupational therapy where we learned about brushing therapy to help them both understand where and how their bodies were, otherwise known as kinesthesia or proprioception. We had some support through various province of Saskatchewan agencies such as the Child and Youth services through the Regina Qu’Appelle Health region, the Autism Resource Center and the Early Childhood Intervention Program. We also have support through the Community Living division of the Saskatchewan Social Services Ministry. B and D had educational assistance at both preschool and throughout their school careers. Now, we’re looking at moving them both to a small group home in my old hometown, so they can continue to grow as individuals.

As the mom of autistic children, one of my challenges has been to figure out what’s best for them and to choose which battles to fight and which aren’t worth it. I’ve had to educate myself while at the same time learning how to be a mother, a caregiver, a teacher, an educator and a trusted source for my children. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I’ve learned so much along the way.

Now, I face the biggest challenge yet – to let go. To let others take care of my children. To nurture their creativity and their independence and everything else that can be taken for granted by neurotypical individuals. In spite of the feelings of guilt that I have, I know in my heart this is the best thing for B and D. And I can see how much of a challenge it will be for B and D – to live in a different home in a different town, with people they’re only beginning to get to know. It will be a challenge for all of us, but as a family we will face this challenge together, and hopefully this transition will be the beginning of a new wonderful chapter in the lives of my children.

Vulnerability: a vessel of strength

By Mystica Ari’Yena (Part 2 of 3)

The assumption in our society is often that when one shows any level of vulnerability this equates to showing weakness, a lack of strength. And for decades, I would have agreed with that. It wasn’t until a year ago that I finally came to realize how wrong I had been. For it isn’t our ability to show ourselves as vulnerable that weakens us, but the fear that so often accompanies it. Fear is a crippling thing. It stops us in our tracks, immobilizes us, makes us doubt ourselves and question our moves. In healthy doses, fear is a very natural and valuable part of our defense system. But humans have a tendency to overdo it. To imagine horrors where none (yet) are, and to anticipate all kinds of terrible scenarios. 

It takes a special kind of strength to both embrace a healthy fear while at the same time rejecting its crippling sibling. This is the kind of strength you all know. You’ve all encountered it one way or another. Whether in real life or in fiction through books or movies. It is the strength you see in the wise. The strength of those who master their fear and use it to their benefit, instead of allowing it to control their lives.  The wise don’t fear their vulnerability, nor do they fear showing it. For they know there is a big difference between vulnerability and weakness. 

To activate the strength of vulnerability a first step must be taken. 

A difficult first step. But not an impossible one. 

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TVTT Green Ajah Edition – Book Greens and Battle Blog Intro

Green Ajah – The Books

By Faeril Munlear

“…to be a Green means to stand ready. In the Trolloc Wars, we were often called the Battle Ajah. All Aes Sedai helped where and when they could, but the Green Ajah alone was always with the armies, in almost every battle. We were the counter to the Dreadlords. The Battle Ajah. And now we stand ready, for the Trollocs to come south again, for Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle. We will be there. That is what it means to be a Green.”

—Alanna Mosvani (TDR, Ch. 23)

The Green Ajah is one of the most well known Ajahs in The Wheel of Time series, being the second largest next to Red. They stand ready for the Last Battle between light and dark, Tarmon Gai’don. During the Trolloc Wars, the Green Ajah was also called the Battle Ajah. Their Head of Ajah is also sometimes referred to as The Captain General. She is assisted by two women who are second in command, known as the First Strategist and the First Tactician. With a somewhat military structure, the Green Ajah’s eyes-and-ears also keep a lookout for any information that may concern military matters. 

In the books, the Green Ajah is portrayed as a group of strong women who are known to bond multiple warders. Some Green sisters are even known to marry their warders, and it’s rare to find a Green sister without any warders. Even though Green sisters are known for their love of men, bonding multiple warders can also be seen as tactical since they often travel outside of the Tower and see themselves as being on the front lines in battle. 

Members of the Green Ajah are described as having a fiery temper, flamboyant, arrogant, prideful, intense, direct, and haughty. They like to take charge and aren’t the best at hiding their displeasure. Green sisters are also known for their bravery and courage. Along with the Blues, the Greens are considered the most passionate in their beliefs and the most likely to be swayed by emotion. 

You can find more information about the Green Ajah in the books from our library: 

Green Ajah- https://library.tarvalon.net/index.php?title=Green_Ajah

Green Ajah Character List- https://library.tarvalon.net/index.php?title=Green_Ajah_Character_List

Battle Blogs – Intro

Vulnerability

By Mystica Ari’Yena (Part 1 of 3)

Vulnerability is not well received in our society. It is perceived as a weakness, a liability, an opportunity for your enemies to take advantage of you, an opening for attack. Vulnerability is something we want to avoid and if we can’t avoid it we want to hide it, often even – and especially – from those closest to us. From the very people we most trust and rely on. At no time do we want to appear vulnerable.

If it does show, it causes anxiety, shame, embarrassment; and we do everything in our power to shove it down, cover it up, nip it in the bud, extinguish it. We go back to our strong image as quickly as possible, hoping that no one will remember that slip-up. We must be seen as strong, capable, invulnerable. Nothing can touch us. Nothing can harm us. We can and do take on anything and everything. We are powerful. 

This was me. For 40 years, this was me. And then I crashed. And in the depth of that crash I found a truth that had eluded me all these years. 

There is no weakness in vulnerability. 

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TVT Takeover – Green Ajah Edition

Welcome to the Green Ajah Takeover of the TarValon Times.

During the next couple of editions we’ll attempt to give you a look at who we are, what our Ajah stands for; and what kind of things, actions, and pursuits we get up to as individuals or as a group.

Our Captain-General, Faeril Munlear, will give an insight into the Ajah itself.
What is the Green Ajah? What is it about? How does the Book Ajah compare with the TarValon.net Ajah and (as we are starting to see at time of publication of this takeover) the Show Ajah?  In our Battle Blogs, Ajah members will share their own personal stories and insights or opinions which highlight one, or several, of the key characteristics that either define us, motivate us, drive us and/or inspire us. 

If you have any questions or topics you would like to discuss with us feel free to reach out to any Ajah member. If we’re not out hunting (our real life equivalent of) Trollocs, we’ll be more than happy to interact with you. Small disclaimer though: it is possible that we may not be as familiar with the topic you wish to discuss, in which case we may offer to find someone for you that is. 

Enjoy!

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TarValon.Net’s November 2021 Recap

This November brought us many things to be thankful for, including Online Anni, and many awards! I present to you, November’s Recap.

During 2021’s Anni, which was held online, many happy events occurred:

And, of course, the Amyrlin bestowed the Amyrlin’s Awards!

Congratulations, everyone! Well-deserved all!

While Online Anni was exciting, that wasn’t all for November:

Tower-wide Watch Parties were announced for the tv show!

Shiny new logos were launched for Community Groups.

And, the Board of Directors announced that our Founder and Koyn Amyrlin has stepped down from her position on the Board, but will stay on in a consulting capacity. Thank you so much for your presence, Eleyan.

November saw many raisings as well!

  • Arinna Katal stepped into the Tower and into the novice Whites.

There were very important positions filled this month.

  • Luna Morn is our new Mistress of Novices and Recruits.

There are new positions currently hiring this month.

  • The Department of Research and Records is hiring for a new Headteacher

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