Gnossienne, n. - a moment of awareness that someone you've known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you've never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.
If life is but a dream, flowing gently down the stream
❁ G E M M A ❁ ♀ | 8 dy | 16 hy
Gemma belongs to Dreaming, and she'd appreciate it if you didn't use her at all without permission.
Epic code by Infinity-Da-Dragon!
Then I'm caught in the rapids seeking boats and broken things
Anxiety, self-loathing, fear of being a disappointment, hiding inner feelings
Elbows are pointy, aren't they?
"Ew," -Gemma and mirrors
Teals and grays, those are Gemma's colors. Soft and bright and beautiful, but able to fade into the background with ease. Occasional shades of raspberry or lavender, periwinkle or navy blue or dusty rose drift across or accent her scales, but teals and soft grays will always be the colors that she prefers. She likes soft, natural patterns and shimmer, but subtle. Hard to notice, but enough to keep her pleased and feeling at least somewhat pretty, if only for her coloring, rather than her figure. Gemma clamps down on her emotions, tries her best to keep them from showing on her scales, and usually succeeds. If she doesn't, more often than not no one realizes that her coloring isn't purposeful.
Her face is rounded and soft, with no cheekbones to speak of. Dour when she frowns, lit up when she smiles, with scowls childish rather than whithering on her smooth features. When she truly smiles, it reveals a small dimple on each cheek. Deep shadows lurk under her eyes no matter what she does, and a soft fringe of dusky coal eyelashes frame irises of a rich chocolate brown, warm and somewhere between milk and dark. Gemma finds her eyes rather boring, and wishes they were some interesting color, perhaps emerald green or sky blue. Sometimes she thinks there are gold undertones in her eyes in the right light, but she also isn't sure if it's anything more than wishful thinking. Her ruff is long and delicate and her favorite part of herself, the one thing she is near always pleased with in her appearance.
Gemma's figure is, she thinks, nothing to remark on. On the shorter side of average, with thin limbs that lack and muscle and feminine curves that are, while not absent, at least somewhat minimal. Her scales are awful, she thinks, blemished quite terribly and not well-shaped. Disgusting, even. Gemma's talons strike her as quite stubby, also.
By contrast with her deliberate coloring, Gemma doesn't both much with clothes. She doesn't paint her claws nor wear makeup, not caring enough to put such effort into her appearance and afraid it would look ridiculous if she tried. Her clothing matches the colors she uses for her scales—teals and grays, navies and raspberries, soft creams and gentle blues, with jeans in various blues, some distressed from years of wear rather than intentional rips. At home, she puts in even less effort, wearing various T-shirts collected over the years without thought to which one. A dark teal jacket is always present when outside of the house, even in the height of summer, drawn close about her when she wears some particularly bright color. Gemma wears no jewelry, her ear piercings having closed long ago, nor any other accessories. She does own a pair of glasses, mottled black, brown, and teal, but she only wears them when she has a headache, to make it easier on her eyes. She finds the way they slip down her face quite irritating.
Merrily merrily, swimming towards the shore
"I don't really do talking to dragons, thanks"-Gemma
Earbuds in, head down, shoulders hunched. That is Gemma. She speaks very little, and usually regrets it when she does open her mouth and tries to fade into the background again. She gets her work done (mostly) in school, and keeps to herself as much as possible. If she gets into a conversation, odds are that she wasn't the one who spoke first.
Gemma's real world is all in her head. Stories play out behind her eyes constantly, writing and rewriting as she listens to music and imagines stories to go with the songs, or simply writes a brand new narrative in her head. Sometimes, she writes them down on her phone, but the risk of someone glancing over her shoulder means she only does when she's in the back of the room. That, or she's reading. Occasionally sketching on her papers when she's in the mood.
She's able to go for hours with only her imagination for company, and sometimes does. The bright worlds in her head are much more interesting than physics and algebra, after all. Even at home, Gemma is known to lie on the floor of her room and simply think for hours at a time, entertained only by herself. She doesn't need anything else to keep her occupied.
When she does interact, Gemma tries to be nice. Avoids swearing or drawing undue attention to herself, tries her best not to say the wrong thing. She keeps to light topics, mostly books or art, and never, never discusses the stories in her mind, or her personal thoughts. Those are for her alone.
Being judged is a great fear of hers. For all Gemma tells herself it doesn't matter what others think of her, she struggles all the same, moderates herself when she talks and keeps back a good portion of her thoughts. Opening up is difficult, and terrifying, and Gemma is prone to bolting and avoidance after revealing some part of herself she considers embarrassing or shameful in some way. It takes time for her to be comfortable with someone new, and even then she still wonders what others think of her. If they truly like her. Trust, especially trust enough to talk about more serious topics, is slow to form and exceedingly fragile. She is jealous of those who are unapologetically themselves. Things are kept back from close friends, even. People she trusts with everything else, Gemma can't bring herself to share her fears and insecurities and struggles. Her close friendships are strong, but more on the surface than most. Her true feelings are not often shared.
To put her thoughts into words... it is less words, she feels, than colors and impressions and hints of feelings in a tangle that drags her down into its depths and leaves her gasping for air whenever she attempts to explore her own mind. So many things in her contradict—the desire to open up, to stay silent, to be known and stay private, to be still and to scream. Even Gemma does not plunge the depths of her own mind, not all the way. It is dark there, and she is afraid of what she might find if she does that deep. She fears herself, in a way. Fears who she is underneath that even she does not know. Fears what hides in her darkness, that sometimes crawls up near the surface and leaves paralyzed with conflict.
Is this me? Am I so terrible, so broken, so wrong inside? I felt so much and now I feel so little and I am afraid of my own apathy. I am afraid that I have no heart. I am afraid that I burned out my own empathy and now I am a nothing shell that cannot feel and is not real. I drift. It feels like the world outside of me is not real.
I want to feel. I want to be real, genuine. I never want to lie, and yet I feel like I do nothing but be false. I am stuck in my head and I do not know how to find my way out, back to everyone else. I am a terrible person.
Does anyone like me? At all?
Gemma is a master at burying her feelings, however. She laughs with friends and is at least somewhat loud and cheerful, and most of the time she feels it, too. Dissembling is a talent of hers, so much so that she often fools herself, as long as she does not look close. Unhappiness is pushed to the depths and locked behind a door to fester until it bursts—not healthy, but her method all the same. She stays on the surface as best she can manage. Where things are bright, and safe. She is casual and kind, even when terrified of speaking to a stranger, and enjoys connecting with and conversing with other people at least on a surface level, though she spends the majority of her time alone.
When not stuck in her head, Gemma is slightly more talkative, and dislikes awkward silences, though when captivated by her imagination she doesn't notice. When she isn't off in her mindscape, Gemma is observant, and has a hard time not jumping in to add her opinion when school projects are involved (and if she does speak, then feeling stupid and awkward and terrified because now there are people LOOKING at her).
Gemma also fears overdramatizing her own problems. Is it really that bad? she wonders. It was an overreaction, I'm fine, she reassures herself after a burst of panic. Besides, there are others much worse off than herself. She's happy, as long as she doesn't look too deep too often. She's fine. She doesn't want to cause an unnecessary scene. It feels too much like attention-seeking to speak about herself and inner problems she barely has the words to quantify, anyways.
A voice they said was harmless only threw me overboard
"Well, I knew I wanted to write since I was in kindergarten." -Gemma
There was a little dragonet with stars in her eyes once. Everything was a cause for wonder. Her flow of words never stopped and her curiosity was boundless. She never had a care in the world, was never afraid to speak her mind, she was openly, fully, herself. She adored books and reading, and knew she wanted to write since before she was able to read. Ideas ran rampant and chatter never, ever stopped. Her view of the world was whimsical and rose-colored, bright-shining and full of glee. She could never imagine a single unhappiness in her world. That dragonet was Gemma, a very, very, very long time ago. Before things changed.
Before she figured out how different she was, compared to everyone she knew.
Before things got darker.
Before she was desperate to be included, desperate to not be forgotten, desperate to be a part of things. Desperate to never be left out.
Bossy, she was called. Commandeering, mean. She didn't know how else to stay included. She was afraid to let go of control, and therefore be forgotten. Gemma directed and pushed and ordered because if she didn't make herself known, seen, important, no one would see her at all, and she desperately wanted to be seen. Friendships she thought she had crumbled away as she desperately fought to be a part of the group, instead of watching from the corner. It never worked. No one wanted her.
Gemma was alone.
A year later, fear hit like a thunderbolt. What if she died. It became a manic obsession, a fear of everything that existed. Everything was deadly. Everything could kill her. Sunlight became solid skin cancer and any exertion heart failure. All food was poisonous, and she grew as thin as a rail from being too terrified to eat. Her paws were cracked and bleeding from all the paw-washing she did. She broke down in class and talked to herself to calm her terror. Dragons went from ignoring her to being repulsed by her, and Gemma was too terrified to care much. The whispers she heard of her name barely cut though, the side glances and total separation, the way she was avoided like a disease. Her teacher understood and was kind, and her neighbors had four kids who were still her friends, her only two solaces in being utterly alone.
Kids could be mean. For the first time in her life, Gemma saw the fake smiles. The eye rolls. Gritted teeth and commiserating glances and fake chirpy voices. Gemma smiled too. She stopped crying. She didn't try to make friends again. The few friends she still had, well. She wondered how she had never wondered why they showed so many teeth when they smiled at her, more grimaced that grinned.
Eventually, they moved. A new school, new people. Gemma made a friend, a fellow outcast who approached her. She got anxiety medication and a therapist. Her anxiety dissipated, leaving only compulsive paw-washing behind.
Four years later, OCD hit like a train. She got a new therapist, got extensive counseling multiple times a week for months, and slowly became functional again. Unlike when she was younger, she couldn't quite shake it. The fears still linger, irrational though they may be, peppering in panic attacks and sleepless nights and small rituals that fluctuated over time. Sometimes she had no worries for months. Sometimes she lay awake till the early hours of the morning trying to remember how to breathe. Gemma got a cat. It helped cut down on the sleepless nights.
She was introduced to people by her friend, and became friends with new people. Friendly acquaintances with a few others (all of whom approached her first). Life is... okay. Nice even, most of the time. The dark spots are few and easy to shed.
If life is but a dream, nothing but a dream
Gemma's skills are all in the realm of creativity. A serviceable artist, a skilled writer. She enjoys painting pictures with her words, and playing with color and design. She is a swift reader, faster than most others she knows, though her reading speed fluctuates depending on factors like how much she enjoys a text, or whether it's joyous or sorrowful. In the realm of intelligence, she is slightly above average, more so in reading and writing versus math and science.
Then I just wanna smile, wanna smile in my sleep
*huffs* "Lots." -Gemma
Gemma is very physically weak and not at all fit. She has zero stamina to speak of and gets winded easily. She wishes she was much better about this, but can't find the motivation to exercise at all, an endless source of frustration. She wants to be better about it.
ADD - School can be a battleground, though, as most things are, all in Gemma's head. Focusing in classes like Algebra and Physics is a Sisyphean task. Her mind wanders, and again and again as she yanks it toward focus, only to lose and become distracted by her own thoughts again. Important information is missed frequently because of this. A slide show of notes runs too long—she missed the last half of the notes she needs to take and has to get them from someone else, if she's brave enough to ask. Too long a gap between one answer and the next while watching a video with a fill-in-the-blank worksheet—oops, she's missed all of the answers, now. A test question that takes too much calculation—she's been staring at the paper for the last half-hour without writing a single word, or even recalling that she should be taking a test.
OCD - OCD is a monster lying in wait, ready to strike at the slightest provocation. WIP
Temper - Gemma can be callous, for all she tries to be kind. Her words can bite and sting, and anger removes many inhibitions. Her temper shows itself in cutting sarcasm and casual insouciance, a fake-sweet tone and deliberate disregard. She pokes and prods and smirks until her anger dissipates or she is made to stop. When she is upset, her rage is more likely than not directed towards her younger brother. When Gemma gets angry, more often than not it is a cover for some other emotion, specifically self-hatred. Her brother is quite good at making her feel stupid, and she takes it out on him until her feelings settle enough to collapse inward. Rage is a form of dissembling, of covering other feelings that are even more difficult to deal with.
Perfectionism - Gemma's perfectionism is vicious and all-consuming. She isn't good at coping when she makes a mistake, even a minor one. While she can be cruel to others, her anger burns the brightest by far when focused inward. Forgiveness for herself is hard sought and never truly given, anger only postponed til the next slight misstep that sends her into an internal rage. Something simple as a spelling mistake can ignite her and leave her fuming for hours at a time. Things are done over and over, checked and rechecked, set against standards of perfection she struggles for and can never meet. Falling short can be the cause of catastrophic inner breakdowns, frequently.
Insecurity - Insecurity fuels quite a bit of Gemma's negative emotions and life. Decisions are made around what others may think, no matter how hard she tries to be comfortable with being herself. The quickest way to motivate her by far is the fear of humiliation. Gemma is aware that she misses a lot of chances in life due to hesitation, that terrible fear of what if I fail?
Handling Feelings - Complaining about her problems make Gemma feel vain and petty. There are others who are worse off, after all, so who is she to complain? Talking about herself only makes her hate herself more. And yet saying so makes her feel as if she's humble bragging, setting off a vicious cycle. She feels like a faker every time she opens her mouth. Trying to be kind makes her feel manipulative, as though she's playing with others to force them to like her. It's easier to not talk. Then she doesn't wonder if she's being genuine or just staggeringly self-obsessed. The push and pull between her wanting to moderate her reactions due to insecurity and wanting to be open and truthful is a constant inner war.
Self-Hatred - To put it simply, Gemma hates herself. Sometimes so much it's physically painful, strong enough to steal her breath away. Make a big enough mistake, and she ceases to function. Her brain ties itself into knots as her inner self goes supernova. Gemma's hatred of her own self is searing and at times crippling. It frightens her sometimes, when her upset is so strong it feels as if the ground drops out from under her feet and the outside world whites out. Logically, she knows she isn't as terrible as she thinks. But knowing logically isn't knowing emotionally, and so she struggles.
Handling Criticism - Criticism, condescension, even percieved, lights a match and throws it on the dynamite of Gemma's self-hatred. WIP
Stressful Situations - Gemma can't handle being around people who are upset or panicking. Such situations usually bleed over and cause a panic attack even if she's in no way involved. WIP
Merrily, merrily, nightmares all the time
"Uh, hi?" -Gemma
Infinity: Neutral, bordering positive. While Gemma considered them a friend, she hasn't really talked to them in a while. She doesn't want to bother them.
Jacaranda: Neutral. Gemma thinks Jacaranda is nice, from what she has seen, but is uncertain of Jacaranda's feelings towards herself and prefers to keep a polite distance.
Soda: Positive. Gemma feels comfortable goofing off with her. WEIRD IS FUN. She also trusts that Soda will always be there for her, and is always ready to do the same.
Nebula: Neutral. Gemma doesn't really know her, but likes what she has seen and wants to get to know her better.
Riletta: Positive. Is a friend. Good for hugs. And talking about cats. Enough said.
Hosanna - Positive. While Gemma might now know her super well, she thinks she is really, really nice and definitely wants to get to know her better, and considers her a good friend. She also desperately wants to try bubble tea now, but can't find a place in the rainforest that sells it. She HAS tried boba and can agree it is one of dragonkind's best innovations. Especially strawberry boba.
Destiny - Postive. A very good friendo!! Destiny makes Gemma laugh often, and Gemma thinks it's fun to just hang out with her. Gemma knows Destiny is there if she needs it, and that means a lot.
Shadowhunter - Positive. Very good friend. Gemma loves to hang out with her, and is greatly impressed by her saxophone skills, seeing as she can't play any instrument.
Bay - Neutral. Gemma doesn't know them well, but likes what she had seen.
Winchester - Neutral. Gemma doesn't really know Winchester, but thinks they are nice from what she has seen.
Pomegranate - Neutral. Gemma doesn't know them incredibly well, but definitely thinks that they are nice, and interesting.
Zephyr - Positive. Gemma finds Zephyr very kind, intelligent, dependable, and generally good company. They clicked quite easily, and while their friendship wasn't long, it was quite important to Gemma. Miss you, Zeph <3
Sigyn - Positive. Gemma likes her! She relates to being absent minded, and wishes she was as comfortable in her own self as Sigyn seems to be. She also relates to being short. Sigyn is fun to hang out with, and they both love Marvel, which is great. Sigyn's positivity is refreshing for Gemma, also. She trusts Sigyn quite a bit.
Saburra - Positive. Gemma isn't really close friends with Saburra, but she admires the dragon all the same. Gemma finds her firey determination to stand up for what she belives in pretty cool, and even though she also feels like Saburra can be a bit too pushy sometimes, Gemma thinks Saburra's heart is definitely in the right place.
Featherflight - Positive. A good friend that Gemma feels quite comfortable around. Gemma finds Feath very kind, thoughtful, and generally a very sweet friend that she loves to talk to. Miss you too, Feath <3
Otterpop - Positive. Very awesome friend! Super kind and super funny and supper supportive! Too bad she left, but Gemma hopes she's doing well, wherever she is, and wishes her all the best.
Misty - Positive. Gemma finds this dragon cool, funny, and very kind. Gemma considers her a good friend for sure, and likes talking to her. Misty is definitely one of the dragons Gemma knows she can count on if she needs it.
Peak - Postive. Gemma thinks Peak is very cool, and definitely considers her a friend.
Lykaios - Positive. A friend! They share a lot of common intrests and Gemma really likes talking to/hanging out with Lykaios. Gemma considers them close, for sure.
Dolphin - Neutral. Gemma hasn't talked to Dolphin much, but she does find Dolphin quite nice and thinks she could be a good friend.
Vaporwave - Positive. While Gemma hasn't known Vapor for long, she believes they are forming a friendship. She finds Vapor very interesting, and loves his art style! She hopes to get to know him better.
No one hears the screams
"...." Where would I start. -Gemma
Gemma is a Christian (and proud of it!). While she does not agree with LGBT+ views, she also does not agree with being mean to others about it, in any way, shape, or form. Period.
Gemma has conversations in her head with other dragons several times before she talks to them (on occasion, not always) because she wants to say the right thing
She has two cats she is most definitely not obsessed with. Nope, not at all. (Removed ten paragraphs on cats here)(not really but that could happen way too easily)
She really, really, really wants to be an author
She is scared of the dark not because it's dark but because of where her imagination goes when she is in the dark
She is afraid to be alone in case she has a panic attack
Her favorite holiday is Christmas (by far)
She loves to swim
TEAM FOSTER-KEEFE FOREVER YEAH (I found a new book series it's life okay) (Unless of course the series becomes real in which case bACk OFf KEeFE iS MINe)
She is incredibly resistant to being touched unexpectedly or by a stranger, having been known to accidentally slap her brother just for tapping her on the shoulder. Touching her without her noticing you is a very easy way to get her temper to snap, irrational as it is.
There is a LONG favorite/theme song list in her head.
Most of her favorite songs she likes because she can totally see someone turning them into a PMV for books/characters she likes (and has done storyboards for a few of them for no reason)
Elbows are weapons. If you know her well and you make a pun, it is incredibly likely you will suddenly have her elbow in your side.
Rare panic attacks - low heart rate instead of high. Very very very scary, (super shallow breaths, starts to get cold, chest feels dead) and usually happen to her in social situations
Gemma draws a lot, but seventy percent of what she does draw is deleted/scribbled over halfway through if she doesn't like how it's turning out
Gemma secretly also dreams of being a graphic designer but thinks her art is nowhere near good enough
Gemma is about 50% sure that she might just end up living in a moldy apartment and working at WingMart or McDragonalds for a living
TERRIFIED of falling. Not heights, heights are fine. But falling.