A time that never was...

phantomhelsing's picture
I wanted to do something for Atiq's bday (in May) and/or his and mine anniversary of being on the site (in June) BUT I MISSED BOTH.

So I made it in time for my birthdayit's still my bday when I started typing this so IT COUNTS lol

Now, canonically, Atiq was never a fawn, he's just...there. When I found this game I was aware of the community but for some reason I decided that I wasn't going to join until Atiq was an adult. Don't ask me why I have no clue BUT THAT'S WHAT I DID lol So for that first month, Atiq did not exist. I still remember picking out his name one afternoon, and I had no plan I just saw it browsing names and went "oh that's neat". Which coincidentally is how his set was picked out, I just went with whatever popped out at me, which was that beautiful blue and gold. His character design and personality evolved after that, I took what I was given and started to shape it into something. I used my time here to shape how he acted and what his goals were, every moment I spent here made this character.

But for that first month, he was nothing. I was just playing a fawn in a big forest with big deer and I was just taking it all in like I were out on a walk through a garden. One of the first times I was ever in the Forest, it was when they held a memorial for Run. It was night, and quiet, there were candles and even though I had no clue wtf was happening I felt like I should be quiet too. But every other time, I interacted way differently than I do now. Back then, when I knew nothing, barely aware there was a community, I went up to anyone and everyone and said hi and nuzzled them and danced, and everyone was so kind to me right back. People played with me and ran with me and it was the best thing ever. I was 16 in a new highschool with no friends, I was always on my own and I felt like no one saw me, except for when my painting teacher would berate me in front of the class for not knowing how to paint when I'd never been taught. I was missing my friends and I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone or meet people or even be noticed. But here was the Forest, people from who knows where in the world saw me when I said hi, and actually responded. And then when I joined the community, people actually talked o me. They liked me. And I'd been the weird kid at school that people actually told other kids not to hang out with I was THAT weird, but the people here didn't care. They took me in and I got to interact with people in a way I'd been missing. Exchanging art and stories and playing together, I had the best summer that year. I still hold it as one of my favorite summers ever.

Fast forward to when I stopped posting in college. I was busy and I just had to focus on school, and I was doing very well. I graduated and my professors were had so much hope for me, they told me so. But it didn't work out that way. When I graduated and then moved, I ended up at a terrible job, they treated me like dirt and screwed me over terribly. I dreaded getting up in the mornings and a few times I cried on my way to work. Eventually they forced my hand when they cut my pay in half for something they did and I left. And I haven't found solid work since. I'm a Game Dev by education, but I'm a storyteller and illustrator in practice, and I've failed at everything I ever set out to do. I've been stood up, passed over, skipped out on, told I wasn't good enough, rejected over and over for years. Even non-art stuff, just flat out ignored at every turn. I gave up, until this summer I hadn't drawn consistently in 3 years.

3 whole years.

I felt physically incapable of drawing, and it was killing me. And then right when I decided on a whim at the beginning of the summer to come back here the worst thing ever happened and I had to move again. But if I hadn't been active here at the same time I don't think I would have made it through as well as I have. Now at the end of the summer sometimes if I'm out I find myself getting antsy to get home because I want to paint something so bad. I didn't think I'd ever get that back but I did it. And you guys helped me. You took me back without question, like I'd always been there. For the longest time I felt like I'd been sharing my art and stories to a void but you guys actually interact with me. Not to say that, like, I need a bunch of comments or whatever but just...after a long time of just nothing, a person looking my way is amazing, and you guys do more for me. You actually come up to me and say hi and that makes my day every time.

Atiq was never a fawn in this forest, but I was. There was a time I was brought out of my shell and I could play the game anxiety-free. But something changed. Yeah the Forest did but this change was me. Somewhere along the line I became scared of people, it was harder for me to be spontaneous or outgoing anymore, and when I came back here it wasn't any different. I am still stupidly scared of coming up to any of you, my brain is an evil bastard that doesn't like me and is convinced Atiq and I are not cool enough to just walk up to someone to talk or interact who does that, that's crazy talk XD Even deer I already know, and heaven forbid you think I might come up to you and then you'll get a message on discord, I'm always convinced I'd be annoying. I do know that you lot are actually quite nice and wouldn't like, yell at me for coming up to you or chatting, this is just me now. I'm now nervous by nature and it will take a lot of work to get better, but I'm trying. You guys are so cool and I want to hang out with all of you eventually because it would be rad as hell, I just need your patience with me as the player, I take a fair amount of convincing that something is ok. Like, I have trouble walking up to cashiers to pay for stuff because I don't want to bother them if they look busy lol

I know I can get better with it, because one I want to so that I can meet all the cool kids, but also because you guys actually make me want to try.

In the time I've been gone I got to a point where everything went so wrong and I didn't want to do anything. But now I actually want to try, and what I'm doing with Atiq is a big part of that. That first anonymous month, and that first summer set him as one of my most important characters, this place made him who he is, and he represents the fun I had here and the feeling of belonging and some of my best memories. Even when I thought I was gone for good from here he's the character that absolutely refused to go into that good night, he wasn't going to fade into obscurity so help him |D And because of that, because of how much this place has helped me grow and then helped me repair myself, even if I'm still anxious and awkward, I finally decided to do something, even something small, to commemorate that first month, that led to a bunch of stuff that would change my life.

This sketch page isn't canon, but it's nice to think about what if it was.

I know this was rambly but it's my birthday you bet I had a lot of drinks that had rum in them thus becoming ridiculously chatty, but thank you guys. Seriously. You're patient with my nonsense and take me for who I am and even though you've just been going about as you normally do, it helped me get through this summer. When it started I wasn't happy, I'd just been terribly harassed by someone I trusted and had to leave, I was stressed constantly, but now it's the end of the season, and I just had a really great birthday. And this placed helped, just by being here, by being so kind and friendly and funny and weird. Don't let go of that, don't let any animosity get in the way of that feeling, because in the end remember the core of this place is being weird in the best way possible and open to anyone that stops by, any negative nonsense doesn't matter at the end of the day. Keep being nice to silly anonymous fawns that run up and give too many nuzzles and moos, you might have an affect on them like you did for a goofy blue deer that just refuses to leave <3
CydaLuva83's picture


Signature By Aihnna, Avatar by YaraMyst
Aivilo's picture

This is the Forest I fell in

This is the Forest I fell in love with, too.
Happy birthday
fushrah's picture

Happy belated birthday! I

Happy belated birthday! I can't begin to tell you how this warmed my old grampa heart. I'm so glad the forest has been such a good - even therapeutic - place for you. If Jelly or my new deer see you, we'll definitely dish out some love your way. <3

(Also, I love these sketches! They're so expressive and full of life! And the brush strokes and colors! Ahh!)
kseniamokhova's picture

Sometimes we go on the wrong

Sometimes we go on the wrong road.. but this is in order to find another one that will be true.
I understand this feeling very well when people do not understand you, and it really hurts. Forest, this is the world where I leave all these thoughts and to understand the essence of the soul, something similar to me. I never ignore others, but for some reason it becomes embarrassing for me, although earlier, when I was still a small faun, I froliced ??the way I could XD. Never be afraid of anything. Do not be afraid to communicate, and the first one is to just sit with someone (I really appreciate it, even though I'm afraid of something). We are always glad to see you. You, as an artist, are very creative and I like it. I want to wish you to improve your skills.
With the passing of your birthday, Atiq <3
(sorry for the large amount of text,I wanted to write more huh)
Kaoori's picture

Happy Belated Birthday! I'm

Happy Belated Birthday! I'm glad you came back. You were one of the ones I used to look up to eons ago. To me you've always been a sweet person and I have NO idea why no one would like you, but high school can be cruel to people, I've been there and so have many others. I can't wait to see Atiq develop more and I will someday scoot my characters over to him because he is so cute.

And those drawings of him as a fawn, CAN HE GET ANY CUTER
lemon's picture

You're a really wonderful

You're a really wonderful person, and we're really lucky to have you here with us. You bring so much peace and happiness to the forest, not to mention the gorgeous art you post!

Happy birthday! <3
Avatar by Kohva!

phantomhelsing's picture

you guys are legit the

you guys are legit the sweetest ;~;
Thank you all so much for the bday wishes and the comments <3

@ Cyda & Aivilo - <3 yeah, and it was nice to fall in love with it all over again this summer ^^

@ fushrah - aaaa thank you! I'm still a little shaky with sketches from being out of practice with digital ones for so long, but we're getting there haha

@ kseniamokhova - you're very sweet C: thanks~ yeah I get embarassed and nervous trying to go up to people not only because I'm shy but also painfully afraid of disturbing someone while they're doing something lol But I'm actually getting better, I try sometimes and kind people like you having patience really helps <3

@ Kaoori - agdsgdfff that's extremely flattering <3 I just go about as my usual goofy self, hearing something like that I'm kinda taken aback haha but it means a lot <3 Yeaaaah I haven't always had the best times with people, I grew up in a small rural town and I was one of the only artsy kids in my school, so I was the weird art kid |D But eh, I'm cool with being quirky now and I'm glad I can be more myself here. And Atiq would love that, I've always liked her and seeing her around~

Careful, I absolutely do impulsively take art challenges and I may have to step up his cute game now lol

@lemon - oh gosh >//< thank you so much! I just remember how welcomed I was when I was new here, I just try my best to pay it forward. And you and everyone else has been so sweet to me I seriously can't get over it @u@

Ahhh these are all so cute!!

Ahhh these are all so cute!! You are so great with expressions and I adore the warmth all of your art has.
phantomhelsing's picture

aww thank you <3 haha

aww thank you <3

haha expressions are legit the best to draw, you can do so much with them~

and there's a ninja Vala hello! Thanks, hun <3
Vala 's picture

...Cuties !! &hearts;

...Cuties !! ♥
" ~ Lady in Red ~ "

♥ ♥

Dude, I can't be getting

Dude, I can't be getting blubbery at my (potentially) last day of work. This is what I get for looking at tefc when I ought to be working.

It's been wonderful having you back. I remember back in ye olden days seeing your posts and being this starry-eyed youngster, wondering what it must be like to have so many great creative ideas, but I was too timid to approach you so I kind of just stood at the sidelines and watched you go about like a damn creeper
I was going to comment with something more meaningful but it's evading me. Atiq is always cute and I still want mass-produced plushes of him so that I can have at least five hundred of them.

Either way, I'll always look forward to your art and seeing you online. Happy belated birthday, and here's to the future!
phantomhelsing's picture

awww, Fish ;~; <3 and I'm

awww, Fish ;~; <3

and I'm being serious, I am actually considering making a plush for funsies lol. I just need to get some extra cash for fabric and embroidery floss and to pick a nice pattern to use...and also finish the other plush I've been working on for 5ever |D

I look forward to seeing you around too~! You're one of the people that never fails to make me smile with what you post of when you come say hi to me haha <3

And I've got definite plans for the future here at least ;P