Neko-jin Designs

make music. find love. live happy.

Once More, With Feeling!
joyride
nekojindesigns
As an independent artist, I've noticed that there are a couple of staple products people expect you to have: pins are one, which we have in droves; t-shirts are the other. Today I want to talk about t-shirts.

We built this business on the backs of t-shirts. As Portcon approaches, I'm reminded of the very first convention we ever did back in 2007--it was Portcon's artist alley, the only anime alley we've ever done. We went in armed with hope and optimism, four adorable designs, a handful of products, and a message of happiness and love. Both of us were stuck in soul-sucking jobs at the time and we went in hoping those t-shirts were gonna sell like hotcakes, that it was exactly what the world was missing. Truthfully, while they sold pretty well, they didn't sell fantastically, but we were still under the impression that, as designers and artists, we needed them on the table.

We expanded our operation over the next few months and had more t-shirts made. As a start up business, buying in bulk was expensive, having them made frustrating. I wish someone had intervened, had told me it wasn't necessary to carry them, that there were other things I could make that people would want just as much. But business is nothing if not trial and error, and our model was the poster child for unconventional at the time.

Shirts are a terrible product to carry. Have something in color X, people want the same thing in color Y. Carry unisex sizes, people want form-fitting. Out of size Z, it's the hottest size of the season. They're heavy to haul to cons, require a constant inventory of all sizes, and can be expensive to have printed. And nowadays? People are selling shirts for so cheap online that in order to compete I would need to give them away for free and take a financial hit. For someone like us, whose primary business isn't t-shirts, it's a lot more hassle than it's worth. Factor in how many dozens of designs we have and the possibility of having every single one printed in at least six sizes, and it quickly becomes the stuff of nightmares. For the last seven years, every time someone has told me 'I should carry t-shirts', I smile tightly, but politely. To an outsider, I'm sure it looks simple. As a business owner, no friggin' way.

Enter Teespring.com. Suddenly t-shirts become a lot less scary.

Teespring is a company that prints high quality shirts for you. The shirts are sold through their online platform and shipped directly from them to the individual customers. Their slogan says it all:

"Sell high-quality screen printed tees with zero upfront costs and zero risk. We ship directly to buyers, you keep the profit."

If it sounds easy, that's because it is.

But here's the clincher: We have to sell at least 25 of each design or the t-shirts won't be printed. That means you don't get charged unless we meet our quota. On our end, we make enough for this to be worth doing, but I want to be clear that it's not a huge profit margin. We've elected to give t-shirts another try because we've had so many requests.

So, kits n' kats, this is a test! If we sell enough of these to get printed, we'll continue offering t-shirts through Teespring. If we don't, the shirt idea goes on the back burner for another seven years, or possibly gets taken off the table completely. It's up to you!

Here's what we have so far--just click the picture of the one you'd like to purchase and you'll be taken directly to the page. Each t-shirt campaign is only available for a limited time. There are only a few days left to make the magic happen! ^_^

Make music. Find love. Live happy. $22

Come join the celebration of creativity and cute! Available in light blue.




Breathe $23

The Buddha offers a gentle reminder of the important things in life--remembering to breathe, being kind to each other, and laughing freely. Available in an array of colors.




Nine-tailed Fox $22

Our lovable, adorable nine-tailed fox! Available in a variety of colors!




If this is a success, we'll open our next round of shirt designs up for requests! Vote with your dollar, folks; if you want shirts with Neko-jin Designs unique brand of cute, let us know by purchasing one of these and sharing the love with friends. ^_^

Enjoy your weekend!
-Kit

Serenity at the Seashore!
too tired
nekojindesigns
We love living in Maine and to clear our heads from the highs and lows that naturally come from owning a business, we often go to the beach. There’s a beautiful stretch of water about ten miles from our house. It’s not ideal for swimming, doesn’t have much in the way of sand, and houses an old, dilapidated fuel depot that juts out about a hundred feet into the water. Reading this, you’re probably thinking it’s not much to look at, but I can assure you it’s beautiful.

shells1

As low tide pulls the water away from the shore, large, round boulders appear like sleeping giants. Scattered amongst them are hundreds of thousands of pebbles left smooth by the water, skittering hermit crabs and slow moving periwinkles, and millions of shells. Many are broken, but with enough patience and sure-footed tenacity, one can easily uncover the treasures the ocean has deposited.

shell11

After spending a few hours collecting and communing with nature, we head back to the studio to clean off what we’ve gathered. Using a paintbrush to get in all the little nooks and notches, it can take several hours, a couple cups of a hot tea (or coffee!), and a lifetime of patience to coax the grit, sand, and organic matter from each shell.

shells2

We’re careful in our selection of shells, not just to choose ones that are unbroken, but to make sure that we don’t intentionally disturb anyone while doing so--we have a strict ‘no evict’ policy. If a shell has an inhabitant, either inside or out, we leave it alone. That goes for all things great and small. I can personally guarantee you that nothing was harmed in the making of our sea shell accoutrements. ^_^

shells4

Onward to glitter! The ocean, and all that comes from it, has a natural beauty that we try to enhance with our detailing. When the studio cat isn’t reenacting Godzilla’s greatest hits in our work space, we strive to decorate our tiny treasures with painstaking precision using itty-bitty gems, pearls, and findings.

shells5

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Each piece of jewelry we create is uniquely one of a kind; more than that, each pair of earrings made from clam shells comes from a single clam--a matched top and bottom. Not only is it made in Maine, but it’s made with mindfulness to be the best it can be.

shell8

We hope you’ll consider taking home a bit of the Maine shore through one of our beautiful pieces! Infused with happiness and made by us just for you.

** Shop our nautical made in Maine section on Etsy! **

With love from midcoast Maine,
-Kit & neko

shell12

In the last entry, I gave you a link to our new shop...
YOSHI
nekojindesigns
In this one, I give you a code that'll save you 20% today and tomorrow! Just type in HAPPINESS4U at checkout and save so much money, you'll wish you'd bought more.

Because Memorial Day? Nah, because SUNSHINE!

Shop now!

Happy everything, folks--
-Kit
Tags:

Easy & Efficient? It must be Etsy!
too tired
nekojindesigns
Hello world!

Long time readers will remember the epic battles I have fought. Every year, as the weather turns colder, it becomes Kit vs. The Website, with many casualties claimed on both sides. It's a mad rush to take all of the stock that remains after our convention season has wound down and get it all up online before The Holiday Shopping season begins. Long days are worked into longer nights, with hundreds of pots of coffee sacrificed to the gods of commerce. I would stare at the calender, watching as every day inched closer to Black Friday, an arbitrary day when you get right down to it, but one the mass media has decided to adopt as the gunshot starter for the buying season.

For the last seven years, this has been my November/December, and it's been hell.

It's a war for many reasons. Classifying our merchandise is a marketing nightmare when it comes down to putting it all into clearly labeled little links to be clicked by visitors. Which are people more apt to click? Something that says CATS or a whole section of BAGS? What about bags with cats on them? Will gamers see the entire section of dice jewelry if it isn't clearly labeled as such? How many links can you have on the side menu of a site before people stop paying attention and start scanning? How many times can I cross merchandise something into different categories before it becomes overly redundant?

I had thought the last incarnation of NekojinDesigns.com was pretty solid. Until I put a snazzy little code on the front page that told me almost 100% of visitors stayed a grand total of five seconds before leaving. Before I realized that the entire thing was nonresponsive on mobile devices. And the biggest kicker of them all? When I went to war for the common commercial good, restocked the entire site for the holiday season...

And sold three things in the month of December.Obviously, something wasn't working.

The fact is, ecommerce is changing. If your site's not mobile ready, you're screwed, and manipulating responsive site templates isn't at all like the old HTML and CSS stuff. It's kind of complicated for a self-taught guy like myself. And getting someone else to do it for me?

Let's just say that that kind of payout would keep me in coffee for a year. Or two.

It's with all this in mind that we sat down and had a long talk about how to fix what was so obviously broken. After so many years of waging a forgotten war, I was ready to take the plunge and make a radical change. In April, we converted our entire operation to Etsy.

With large thumbnails and the easy option for up to five pictures per item, you can see our stuff better than ever before. There are currently nine sections to shop from, and if you're not sure exactly what you're looking for, their search option within our shop is top notch. That means when you're looking to finally buy that thing you saw at that con but can't remember exactly what it was, you can type in what you DO remember, and viola!.

Click through to get to our shop! It currently has over 200 items in stock and ready to buy; and buying with Etsy is super easy. Paypal is an option, as with most places online, but you can also use any major credit card or bank account with Direct Checkout.



I hope you're as excited by the upgrade as I am! Etsy's not just user-friendly on the customer end, but on ours as well which means that I might finally be able to participate in NaNoWriMo like I've meaning to. :D

Happy (stress-free!) shopping,
-Kit

Celebrating! With a little help from our friends. ^_^
2teafruity
nekojindesigns
Hi! If you’re reading this, chances are we’re friends. Even if you’re a customer of ours, you're probably still a friend; we run a small, intimate business and many of our repeat customers have become like friends, and even family, over the years.

So as a friend, I’m asking for a little help. It’s hard for me to do--asking for help. I’m kind of stubborn, definitely a workhorse, and tend to shoulder the burden myself rather than beg for alms.

Since we made most of our friends through work, which takes us all over the country, it didn't really make sense to have a wedding. We knew there was no conceivable way to invite everyone we would want to be there and expect people to be able to attend. Our friends are scattered throughout the country. They’re in California, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Illinois--even those of you who are local insomuch as you’re in New England are busy with work and life and traveling to conventions. It would have been awesome to gather you all together in one place to help us celebrate our twelve years together with an honest-to-goodness-finally-sanctioned-by-the-state wedding…but realistically, it wasn't going to happen. And we’re cool with that. So this past November, we squeezed in a tiny not-quite-a-ceremony between traveling from one convention to another and called it good.

I’d like to make up for the lack of celebrating with one kick ass honeymoon, but in order to do that I need a little help. I want to take my new wife to Emerald City Comic Con in March. I want to go to a convention for fun (gasp!) and enjoy the sights and sounds of a city without worrying about when I have to set up a booth and whether or not it’s going to be a good show. Since we opened the business seven years ago, we've done upwards of 150 shows in 18 different states. Just the two of us, making all our merchandise, racking up the miles.



I’d love a little break. I’d love some time to enjoy my wife. I’d love to be at a con as a raging fan, not a business owner. I want to drink too much coffee not because the work hours are outrageous, but because I’m having too much fun to sleep. I want to geek out.

If everyone reading this donated even the minimum amount they could spare, we’d be well on our way. This won’t happen without a little help from our friends.

Thank you for reading this, for being there for us, and for generally being awesome. We really appreciate you and can’t wait to see you again--whichever state that happens to be in. :)

If you can help us by donating, we’ve put together a donation pool with all the details here: Our Superhero Honeymoon.

Thank you so much. We love you guys.


Kit (& neko)


Celebrating New Beginnings at the End of the Year
too tired
nekojindesigns
Good Evening!

As I sit down to write the last newsletter of the year, I can’t help reflect on all the amazing things that have happened over the past twelve months. I’m sitting at my new desk, comfortably back in NJD’s home base of Maine, drinking a homemade mocha made with some seriously spicy chocolate. It’s been snowing on and off and even though I know I’m eventually going to have to unearth my car, everything’s currently beautiful and quiet. You know, what they say is totally true: Life is Good.

We have a lot to celebrate this year and not just the move back to Maine (though that was all sorts of joyous--not the actual moving part, but the coming home part). We’re six years in and NJD is still going strong, despite economic ups and downs. We’ve said our farewells to a few conventions and we’ve built friendships with new ones; change in life is the only true constant, and I’m really optimistic about some of the new opportunities that we’ll be embracing in 2014. It means a lot to us that you’ve stuck with us this far and have supported us--whether we’ve met in person or communicated online, I want you to know that every customer, including you, isn’t just a customer. You’re the reason we can keep doing what we do and we really do appreciate it. You’re pretty fantastic. :)

Perhaps the biggest reason to celebrate 2013 is that, after twelve years of being together, I was finally able to marry the woman I love. Go equality! I have a grand deal to be thankful for this year and even more to be optimistic about. I hope that wherever this finds, that it finds you well. Even if 2013 wasn’t a fantastic year for you, I have my fingers crossed that 2014 will bring bigger and grander things to us all. :D

On that note, I’d love to share some of my happiness with you--let’s celebrate the coming year together in style!

* Beginning now and extending through to January 5th, 2014, all US orders placed through NekojinDesigns.com will ship at a flat rate of $6. On top of that, each order will receive a small additional (surprise!) token of our appreciation. Because we really do appreciate you. <3

* We’ve recently leveled up! We can now accept Gift Certificates through NekojinDesigns.com! Super easy to purchase and redeem, the only requirements are a Paypal account and a love for our adorable stuff. You can learn more here. And don’t forget, we also offer gift wrapping services if you’re buying a gift of the more tangible variety.

* Do you Fandom? We do! Among other things, we’re super-crazy-in-love with comics, Supernatural, and sci-fi shows from the 90s. We’re pretty passionate in our geekery; to celebrate this love with others, we’ve opened a Fandom-centric extension through our pal, Etsy. As part of our grand opening extravaganza, I’d like to gift you with a coupon good for 10% off your purchase. Just type in THANKS2U when checking out at The Perfect Cup!

I mentioned a while back on Facebook that I’d love kick the whole shindig off in true party style with tea and cookies. And you know what? I totally am. I’m being completely sincere when I tell you that any order placed between now and the 5th of January will include a cookie and a cup of tea. :)

NekojinDesigns.com has been completely restocked with awesome new items and plenty of old favourites. A good way to wind down the old year and welcome the new.

Yours with love,

- A contented Kit (& a busy neko)


2 Legit 2 Quit!
YOSHI
nekojindesigns
I probably could have come up with a more fitting title for the next two weeks we’ll be traveling more or less non-stop, but I was high jacked by my youth at the last second and, admittedly, there’s a bit of good, old-fashion funky feeling in the studio this week as we pull everything together for our East Coast road trip.

There’s so much awesome happening between today and The Big Day, which, of course, is Otakon. It’s a convention I’ve had my share of mixed feelings about over the years; however, when the vibe is good and the groove is on and crappy con politics are left at the door, it’s an excellent experience for us. Despite last year being kind of a bust for reasons I won’t get into, I have all the optimism in the world for this year. It’s gonna be awesome. You know how I know? Because I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m bringing a good attitude, a carload of new merchandise, and my dancing shoes. And that’ll have to do.

You should check us out. We’ll be grooving at booth AA09, along the wall across from the entrance. And if you stop by and pull some MC Hammer moves that are 2 Legit 2 Quit, I’ll give you 10% off your entire purchase with Neko-jin Designs. I’m not even joking. Are you cool enough to bust a move like that? I think you might be.

Joining us for our fun-fest in Baltimore for the second year in a row is a wonderful pal of ours, Kori Michele, creator of the queer love comic, Prince of Cats. If you aren’t familiar with it already, you should totally check it out. Kori will be selling some sweet merchandise related to their comic, along with other queer friendly swag by other creators in the field.

AA09 is the place to be this year!

But before we can get in on all that excitement, neko and I will be doing another show this weekend a little off the beaten path. We’ll be showcasing talent on the comic end of the spectrum at Boston Comic Con. Along with parody pieces that leave no question to where our loyalties lie (Batman*coughcough*Robin), it will be a rare opportunity to purchase and commission original work from my lovely lady. Unlike anime conventions that can be fast paced and hectic, we anticipate some down time at BCC, making it a prime time to chat with us. And I’m not gonna lie. I love comics. You want to talk Batman, Superman, the Flash, Green Arrow, Teen Titans and I’m there--with spandex and fingerstripes. If you come by and talk to me, it’ll keep me from spending all the money we make on the nifty stuff we’re surrounded by. Seriously. You’d be doing me a favor. So come hang out with us!

We’ll be in the artist alley at table AA834.

It’s going to be a rousing couple of weeks, but we’re really stoked! Despite the go-go-go! of it all, I think a great time will be had by all.

Especially if you remember your dancing shoes.

See you on the flip side!
-Kit

Let’s talk about discrimination!
unclear-cut &gt;.&lt;
nekojindesigns
Aside from work related stuff, I don’t spend a heckuva lot of time perusing the internet. If I’ve got time to spare, I can generally be found between the pages of a well-worn book. To be honest, the internet depresses me. It’s a bit like the news, which I stopped watching when I moved out of my parents' place over a decade ago; people tend to focus on the negative and it makes the world seem like an aggressive entity out to crush your hopes and aspirations for a better tomorrow like a gnat. And when it’s not the news itself, it’s the comments attached, the reading of which can promptly destroy any faith I had left in the integrity of the human race as a whole.

I keep up with some things—the fight for equality, for example. Too many people think it’s just a bunch of queers fighting for the right to say ‘I do’, but it’s more than that. It’s fighting for the right to be viewed as a person, the right to be able to hold our partner’s hand without the looks of disgust, without legitimately fearing for our safety simply because we happen to look or love or identify outside of society’s rigid little box. Gaining the right to marry, along with all the equal measures attached, gains us respect. See, most of us don’t want to be special. We don’t want notoriety. What we really want is for all the words in the queer spectrum to become so common that nobody thinks twice about them anymore. That’s what winning the right to marry is really all about, at least from my perspective. It doesn’t just give me the right to be recognized as the most important person in my partner’s life; it shows people that we aren’t special. And we certainly aren’t anything to be afraid of.

When I do read articles and, despite my sanity, the comments section, I get the overwhelming feeling that the people fighting hardest to keep the queer community in second class citizen status are either 1.) misinterpreting the hell out of the bible or 2.) under the impression that things like discrimination don’t exist.

Because we’re better than that, right? As a society, haven’t we evolved? Things like racism petered out with the abolition of segregation, misogyny died with suffrage, and the queer community is collectively imagining the disrespect we encounter, regardless of the fact that it has, too many times to count, had fatal consequences. Right? It’s 2013. We can’t possibly still be squabbling over such superficial differences.

This mentality always makes me cringe. Not because I don’t wish so much that it was true, but because it’s so far from being the truth.

There are people who roll their eyes when someone calls discrimination. The idea, I suppose, is ‘just because the person wronged was _____ , doesn’t mean it was a discriminatory act’. I suppose that’s technically true. There is a certain amount of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ that we can chalk up to chance. But I want to point out as someone who has gone through their life dealing with discrimination of various kinds that we can’t be certain of that because we’ve dealt with it so much already.

Sometimes the discrimination is obvious. Like all the delightful times in my youth that I was called a variety of colourful slurs like ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ (before we apparently reclaimed it as a community), and sometimes it’s more subversive. Like the time we were in North Carolina for a convention and very nearly got denied service at a restaurant for ‘looking gay’. Or that the reason we don't do certain conventions anymore is because, while nearly naked underage looking anime girls are fine and dandy, people were having a fit about our cute queer kissing couples.

It even happens in our personal circles by people who claim to care about us. Back in 2006, neko and I filed for our domestic partnership license in Maine. It was the closest we could get to being legally married at the time and we wanted to solidify our relationship as much as possible. Not being religious people, we forwent the ritualistic aspects of marriage and decided to throw an intimate celebration with immediate friends and family instead. Interestingly, very few people in attendance have ever referred to it as our wedding. It’s been called a ‘party’, a ‘celebration thing’, along with a host of other synonyms. But wedding? Not so much.

It bothered us for a long time and made us wonder—what made people shy away from the word? Because we lacked the ritual? The altar? The vows? We didn’t want to think it was because we were gay, but I’d be lying if the thought didn’t cross our minds more than once. Without asking people specifically, we’ll never know for sure. I know it would be easy for an outsider to say it was because of a reason other than our orientation, but they have even less ways of knowing than we do. And when you’ve gone through your life with people tripping over the word ‘girlfriend’ or ‘partner’, it’s not a long shot to imagine they’d have an issue getting out words like ‘wedding’ and ‘wife’.

People who shall remain nameless have even introduced us as sisters (!). When it comes to awkwardly beating around the bush, I’ve pretty much heard it all. Yet and still, there are people who like to tell me that my interpretation of discrimination in certain situations is me simply looking for trouble.

Hmm.

In all honesty, it usually takes a while for the ‘did that happen because I’m queer?’ question to even form in my mind. It’s certainly not the conclusion I jump to immediately. So when we got blatantly singled out in a store the other day by a casual acquaintance of ours who smiled to our faces while she filled our order and then proceeded to charge us double for the items (even after I asked her if that was the correct price and she assured me it was) we both just assumed she’d made a legitimate mistake. Calling the store today for something completely different, we price checked the merchandise on a whim and realized the error. I thought, ‘hey, she must be new’ and shrugged it off.

Only the young man who refunded us the difference made us privy to the fact that she’s worked there for five times longer than he has and ‘couldn’t understand how that could have happened’.

So I’m standing there and the reality slowly sinks in that it wasn’t a mistake. Maybe if she had pressed the wrong button, but she had quoted us the inflated price before she got to the register. And to top it all off, what showed up on the receipt wasn’t even the same item that we got; it had been manually altered. So what I’m saying is this—the margin of accidental error is next to zero. Meaning, she did it purposefully.

But why? Try as we might, neko and I can’t think of a thing we’ve ever done to offend her. We see her at conventions. I think she’s even bought from us. So what’s the problem?

I won’t know for certain without asking her, but what I do know is this: when someone smiles sweetly to my face then proceeds to knowingly wrong me without giving any indication that I’ve done something that they take issue with, it eventually leads me to wonder if it’s not something I’ve done, but what I am.

And by that, I mean queer.

These are the kinds of things that those of us who have been the target of pointless spite or anger are forced to consider. For the most part we don’t go around seeking circumstances to cry ‘discrimination!’. It’s a conclusion we come to when we realize that there’s really no other explanation for behavior that so rudely defies the norm.

Could she have just made a mistake? Sure. But the probability after speaking with her coworkers and manager leads me to believe that it wasn’t, especially when I specifically asked her about the elevated price.

This leaves me in a strange spot. Next time I see her and she proceeds to make small talk, do I simply ask her? I don’t know her very well and the situation has left me feeling wary; after all, would I trust anything she says, anyhow? Chances are, I’ll see her at another convention. The tiny voice of spite that was carefully cultivated through my adolescence and remains resilient to my current Buddhist practice says that when she comes to buy at my booth again, I should charge her double.

I won’t, of course, because I’m more mature than that, but the temptation is there.

I suppose what this all boils down to is this: discrimination does still exist, despite how much we wish to believe we have advanced beyond it. When someone relates an experience that they feel may have been racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory, please resist the urge to shrug it off. The majority of us don’t say these things lightly. We give it a lot of thought and it’s only through years of experience that we draw these conclusions. Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

Despite my experience, I don't wish this person any ill will. The next time I need something, though, I will be driving twenty miles out of my way to ensure better customer service.

Until next time,
-Kit

Buy a keychain, support a wedding. ♥
2teafruity
nekojindesigns
Hey there, everyone. I'd like to share a sentimental moment with you, if you don't mind.

Kit & I have been together since 2001. Fresh from college it was Summer romancin' that led to Fall-ing in love and a Winter of my content had us Spring back to Summer again.

A mere handful of years later, we're still happy, creative, and in love. Back in our beloved state of Maine, where we can be married at long last, I want to take th proverbial plunge but I need a little help to make that dream a reality.

For every NJD keychain you purchase, you're not only showing your affection for a unique group of original characters, or assisting a small business to evolve and grow, you're helping us gather the funds we need for the fees and licences to be a legitimately joined couple in the states which currently acknowledge and accept us.

Neko-jin Designs is our life. We love what we do, and every time we have your support it just makes us so happy! And the greatest happiness I can imagine now is not having anymore excuses to not do the thing I want to do!



Keychains are only $5 each + shipping [$3 if you're in the United States, $7 if you're located anywhere else, for any quantity of keychains].

They're double-sided, so you can choose up to 2 characters. You can even choose your favourite cats, foxes or dragons, too! We want you to be happy, after all!

If you're interested, leave a comment or send us an e-mail: neko@nj-designs.com !

Share this with your friends if you think they might be interested, too!

Thank you so much for your continued support, everyone! I hope to hear from you soon!

~ neko

Love should be all you need, right?
unclear-cut &gt;.&lt;
nekojindesigns


I'm sure many of you have seen this already, but I find it relevant to our liberal stance on love at Neko-jin Designs. This video does the best job of anything I've seen attempting to relate what it's like to grow up as something the general public has been brainwashed to believe is 'wrong'.

Usually when I try to explain how I was bullied and made to believe I was a crime against nature, how it took me over a decade to stop being angry and learn to love myself, I get a shoulder shrug and an 'oh, yeah, I was picked on, too', which as a response, aside from lacking basic human compassion, goes a long way in showing that they don't get it.

It was more than just name calling, being spit on, and finding homophobic slurs written in the dust on my car's rear window. I had people who loved me telling me that I wouldn't be bullied if I stopped 'flaunting it' like it was my fault that I had fallen in love with a girl.

This video touches on all of the things I remember most about high school in a way that I hope opens up more than a few judgmental eyes and maybe, just maybe, stops people from shrugging it off when someone is open enough with them to relate their story.

It's not easy to watch; it shouldn't be. For many of us, it wasn't (and still isn't) easy to live through.

At NJD, we firmly believe in the freedom to love. It's my hope that perhaps this has opened a few closed minds and closed a few grossly opinionated mouths that continue to vociferously preach against being queer, not realizing (or not caring) how that negativity affects us as a community of human beings attempting to coexist.

I have so much respect for the people who made this happen. It shouldn't have been necessary to take it to such an extreme to prove a point, but some people will only understand when a topic is shown from their point of view.

Take care of each other, kits and kats,
-Kit

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