I found this neat tag on Sophie’s blog! As the title suggests, here are 100 questions that I’ll answer for fun and for self-exploration.
N.B. Some questions were cut out while this tag was being passed around. So I hunted down the rest of the questions. In this post by Bookish Owlette, all the questions are present, so you know I didn’t make them up!
1) What’s your name?
Sieran, pronounced “see-air-rin.” At the time, I was reading a book where my favorite character was a gorgeous, bisexual faerie prince named Kieran. I softened “Kieran” with an “S” and changed the pronunciation a bit to suit how I feel.
Kieran is from Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series:
2) Any nickname or aliases?
Sieran used to be a nickname, but it will soon be my legal first name. In some video games, I called myself “Sylvan” or “Kieran” just for the fun of it, so they could be seen as aliases.
3) Your gender
I’m a transmasc enby. For those who don’t know what that means, my gender identity is close to trans boy.
4) Your star sign?
5) How old are you?
27. But I feel like I’m over a hundred already. Yet, people look at me and see a little teenager…
6) Your relationship status?
7) Any children?
8) Any pets?
I wish! I don’t have time to take care of a pet, unfortunately. It’s hard enough to make time for myself. But if I could, I might get a rabbit.
9) Any tattoos or piercings?
10) What do you like about yourself?
My writing abilities, as well as my trans and gay identities. I also like that I’m writing fantasy novels with LGBTQ+ protagonists. Furthermore, I appreciate my specialty in psychology, as I was a psych major. I love that I was an English lit major too. Despite being an English major, I’m actually bilingual: I’m very grateful that I can write novels in both English and Chinese. Lastly, I like that I have very focused interests, though perhaps I’m too focused.
11) What do you dislike about yourself?
My body. There are some things I was born with—and not born with—that sadden me. Taking testosterone helped, but I desire to do even more.
12) Righty or lefty?
Righty, though I have a number of traits that are commonly associated with lefties.
13) The last thing you drank:
14) The last thing you ate:
A blueberry muffin.
15) Your last phone call:
It was to reschedule an appointment so I could make it to a group I just joined.
16) Your last text message:
I replied to a friend on scheduling a cosplay photoshoot together.
17) Your last email:
Sent to the facilitator of that group I just joined.
18) The last song you listened to:
Lion King 2’s “Love Will Find a Way,” the Cantonese version.
19) The last book you read:
The book I’m currently reading, is Dog Days by T.A. Moore. I like the plot, the fantasy world, and the complex characters.
What I’m not too pleased with about this book, is that from time to time, the characters would make leaps of logic in their thoughts or dialogue. I get that real-life people can jump in their thought processes, but as the reader, I don’t have access to their memories, knowledge, or experiences. As a consequence, I’m annoyed because sometimes I don’t understand how the characters came to that conclusion or what the characters are indirectly saying to each other. I may be feeling especially frustrated because I love the book otherwise.
20) The last time you cried:
Just a few hours ago, actually. I was thinking about something sad that happened to a character in a story I read recently. I’m a fairly sentimental person, even if I appear to be calm on the outside.
21) The last blog you read:
I love Jami’s blog and I’ve been following her since about 2012. She posts about all sorts of things related to writing, not just on the writing craft, but on other topics too, like book marketing, diversity issues in stories, comparing literary vs genre fiction, and other subjects of writerly conversation. She sometimes blogs about life as well, so you get to learn about her as a person, not just as an author. I can’t recommend her blog enough!
22) The last person you spoke to:
A waitress at the Chinese restaurant I went to for lunch.
23) The last place you visited:
The above said Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. But if you mean the last city I was in, then that was Montreal almost two years ago, when I visited a friend.
24) Your last holiday abroad:
Two summers ago, I went back to visit family and friends in Hong Kong. Now I don’t want to go back, because I don’t want to deal with relatives misgendering me or making ignorant, hurtful remarks about my trans identity.
Have You Ever
25) Have you ever gotten back with an ex?
Nope. But I just read a novel where a guy gets back with his ex ex (the ex before his ex).
26) Have you ever been cheated on?
27) Have you ever cheated on someone?
28) Have you ever lost someone special to you?
Yeah. I don’t know where he is and don’t even know whether he’s dead or alive. This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. I hope he’s alive and well and that I’ll get to see him again someday.
29) Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?
I’m a teetotaller, actually. Some friends have told me that nobody uses this word anymore, but teetotaller means someone who doesn’t drink.
30) Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?
Yes, though I usually stay in love with my crushes.
31) Have you ever met someone who changed you?
Many people, some of whom are mentioned in this post.
32) Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?
Yes, though I’m inclined to forgive some of those people. They were still young and ignorant at the time. They didn’t know any better.
33) Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?
34) Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?
Yes, too many times. It hurts and you feel betrayed, but you have to move on, whether it means cutting these friends out of your life, or choosing to forgive them—or both. The good thing is that I haven’t become cynical as a result of these experiences. I still tend to be trusting and optimistic towards others.
35) Have you ever broken someone’s heart?
Nope. Though my mom sometimes thinks that I’m breaking her heart, due to whatever dissatisfaction she has with me at the moment.
36) Have you ever kissed a stranger?
No, though I can’t help wondering how it would feel like. I read too many romance novels.
37) Have you ever had your own heart broken?
Yes. See question #34. Now that I’m older and wiser, though, I believe some of these heartbreaking friends, were simply unaware of how much they were hurting me, or they didn’t even realize that I was hurting.
Some say that kids lack empathy: they don’t know how to take the other person’s perspective. That may be true in this case. Some adults lack this perspective-taking ability too, but in general, I find adults more considerate than children and teenagers are, probably because emotional intelligence takes time to develop and mature.
38) Have you ever had sex on the first date?
No, especially since I never feel attracted to people that quickly!
39) Have you ever been arrested?
Nope. I met some people who have, though.
40) Have you ever been attracted to someone that isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?
Yes. I’m generally only attracted to boys and masc-presenting nonbinary people. But there were a few times when I had feelings towards girls. I still feel more comfortable identifying as gay rather than as bi or pan, though, especially as taking testosterone has made me more intensely androphilic and even less gynephilic than before.
Alec and Magnus:
41) Have you ever done something you regret?
Yes. I also regret not doing some things.
42) Have you ever had a threesome?
No. I read a few of such scenes in romance novels, however, and I find them interesting because of some unique dynamics, such as jealousy, rivalry, competition, or even cooperation.
43) Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?
44) Have you ever misjudged someone?
Yes. I’ve had both pleasant and unpleasant surprises.
Your Beliefs and Opinions
45) Do you believe in God?
46) Do you believe in yourself?
In some things, yes, in some other things, no.
47) Do you believe in Santa Claus?
No. Unfortunately, nobody ever tried to make me believe in him even when I was a child.
48) Do you believe in ghosts?
I’m not sure. But I usually find fictional ghosts very fascinating.
My three favorite ghosts in fiction:
49) Do you believe in aliens?
Absolutely. It would be arrogant to assume that we are the only sentient species in the universe (or multiverse).
50) Do you believe in miracles?
Yes. In fact, I believe that miracles are actually very common. The question is whether you are paying attention to them, and whether you interpret those fortunate events as miracles or not. Furthermore, there are some things in life that I consider to be miracles in themselves. For example, music. There is something so incredible and magical about music, and how it stirs you. One may try to explain with neuroscience how songs can move us, but music still feels like a miracle to me. To be clear, I am not against neuroscience. I was actually so enamored with neuroscience in my youth, that I wanted to major in it and become a neuroscientist. Even my chosen field, psychology, is related to neuroscience.
51) Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?
When I was a few years younger, I would reply yes without question. Now that I’m older, I’m beginning to see the caveats and nuances of this life attitude. Yes, I still agree that being optimistic would more likely lead to some positive outcomes, such as having the courage to reach out for help, taking action to solve a problem, or making the effort to become closer friends with someone (and not let the fear of rejection stop us.)
However, we may be so optimistic that we start to ignore problems, suppress negative feelings, and dismiss alarm bells, which could actually harm you.
To give a personal example, I was so insistent on maintaining a positive attitude on everything, that I turned a blind eye to all the unsettling things that an ex-friend did. I made myself focus on the positives, on the happy times I had with her, and on her good qualities. I pushed away my nagging discomfort towards her, and never stopped to question why I felt uneasy and nervous every time I got a message or email from her.
It was only until half a year later that her behaviors became too ridiculous to ignore: I finally woke up and realized that she was exploiting me for my time, energy, skills, and even money. When I at last found the guts to write her a Dear John letter, explaining as civilly as I could why we had to end our friendship, she agreed to stop being friends, but also said she hoped I would “outgrow my portrayal of myself as a victim.” Sometime later in my life, I learned that what she did in that last message to me, was called gaslighting.
This girl is one scary person, and I’m still traumatized by the memories of what happened.
Anyhow, I am just saying that optimistic thinking is great, but be careful that you don’t dismiss feelings of discomfort or ignore all warning signs. I myself prefer to avoid unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings, so I completely understand the desire to stay positive about everything. But sometimes, shoving those negative feelings under the rug comes at a price.
52) Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in attraction at first sight, even though it has never happened to me before. I never feel attracted to someone just by looking at them; I have to get to know them as a person before I can possibly feel anything. Yes, I know many people find certain physical traits aesthetically appealing, but if the person is a stranger, their face and figure are just a mass of arbitrary shapes and colors that mean nothing to me. It is only when I get at least an inkling of their personality that I might find them physically beautiful.
In fiction, I generally don’t enjoy love at first sight plots. But there were some rare books that pulled off this trope very well.
53) Can money make you happy?
It would to an extent. I sometimes fantasize about being a multi-millionaire, where I would donate tons of money to charities, schools, and other things I care about. I even fantasize about spending lots of money to support artists, like one of those art patrons back in the day. I like the feeling of being useful and valuable to other people, and yes, I enjoy it when others express their gratitude towards me as well.
So I seem to believe that if I have a great deal of money, I can use it to help people in need. There are of course many non-financial ways of giving aid to others. But just think of all the charities, non-profit organizations, and other things that would not exist if there were not some rich and generous donors. Occasionally, I see friends posting fundraisers; for instance, fundraising for a gender-reassignment surgery that is not covered by health insurance. With that much wealth, I could give a big boost to folks who need the money. In fact, I could donate funds to create scholarships for children who normally can’t afford to attend university (a cousin of mine is one of these children.)
Wow, I’m crying as I write this. As I said, I’m a pretty sentimental person.
Of course, just as money can be a tool to support other people, it can also corrupt. So very rich people need to be careful not to fall into the traps and temptations that having a lot of money can lead to.
54) Would you describe yourself as a feminist?
Hmm, in these things, I avoid using labels because of the negative connotations that have formed around them. This is the same reason why I wouldn’t call myself an SJW, even though I could be seen as one. But yes, I am passionate about social justice, maybe a little too passionate, though, where thinking too much about the inequalities of the world can get quite depressing. So I have to distance myself from these thoughts sometimes, and look at things that cheer me up and restore my faith in humanity.
55) Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
56) Do you have strong political beliefs?
Er—yes. But my political beliefs are not that unique. For instance, I believe that we should increase the funding for things like healthcare, shelter and food for the poor, free therapy for those who need it, more resources for marginalized communities (including LGBT+ folks), protection for animals, and many other causes that would benefit from funding. My values are pretty liberal and leftist, though I try not to talk about politics in public, because I hate arguments.
57) Do you have strong religious beliefs?
Yes. As I said, I believe in God, but I also don’t try to convert people, because I personally think there is a reason why different people have different beliefs about the world.
58) What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?
Unconditional love and emotional support.
59) Are you eating anything right now?
Nope. But I’m about to eat a banana.
60) Are you drinking anything right now?
I just drank some water.
61) What are you listening to right now?
Julia Michaels’ “Heaven.” I wasn’t listening to anything earlier, but I started playing this song just so I could answer this question! I like to poke fun at the heteronormativity in this song too. The chorus goes:
“They say all good boys go to Heaven, but bad boys bring Heaven to you.”
Here, the narrator assumes that the “you” is a girl who is attracted to men. Since I’m pretty much a gay trans boy, I make fun of the lyrics and say that I better be a good boy, so I can go to Heaven with other wonderful good boys.
62) What are you thinking about right now?
About a Facebook friend who I interacted with recently. I’m relieved that he didn’t say anything transphobic to me (we were talking about something trans-related), but I still have mixed feelings towards this person due to some rude and insensitive things he said to me in the past. I wonder if he is just socially oblivious and tactless, or if he was being genuinely disrespectful.
63) What are you waiting for right now?
The time when I can read my novel (the aforementioned Dog Days), and then go to bed. I’m tired!
64) What are you most excited about right now?
The future. I’m thinking about all the things I can do to help people and contribute to my community. My answer may sound cheesy to you, but I truly find a lot of strength from supporting others. The thought that I have the power to take care of someone, is also very energizing and empowering. I am more interested in taking care of others’ emotional needs than their physical needs, however, partly because I am more skilled and confident in giving emotional support than in providing physical assistance (some people are the opposite).
65) What’s your pet peeve right now?
People who believe that nobody needs identity labels, and then invalidate other people’s labels. I respect that some folks are happier not labeling themselves anything, but it’s not okay to dismiss a label that someone chose for themselves. Here, I’m mostly talking about LGBTQ+ labels, such as “transgender,” “nonbinary,” “gay,” and “bisexual.”
66) What’s your favorite thing right now?
Writing will always be my greatest love and passion.
67) If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?
Editing my WIP novel.
68) Your first best friend:
The first best friend I remember, was Doris from early primary school, and later Christina. If I remember right, there was some jealousy between the two. Later, I became best friends with another girl named Buriyanga. So to me, I had three best friends, which I did not see as a problem, though some of my BFFs at the time did.
A few years after, when I went back to Hong Kong, I became best friends with a girl named Alice. Interestingly, she grew jealous when I became briefly close to a girl called Christina (another Christina!) in early secondary school.
Sometime in late middle school and high school, I became quite close to our mutual friend Clarina, and Alice once told me she was a little jealous of our closeness. (At least Alice was honest about her feelings.) I am not sure how my relationship currently stands with Alice, due to some unhappy things that have happened between us. Clarina is my best friend now and forever will be.
Still, I was with Alice the longest, which may explain why she remains one of the biggest influences in my life, and why I dream about her the most out of all my friends.
Friendships can be complicated and fraught with intense emotion, can they?
69) Your first kiss:
Wow, would anyone actually want to answer this in public??
70) Your first celebrity crush:
I only have one. She’s Liu Tao, an actress from mainland China. Not only do I think she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, she’s also fantastic in her acting skills. Her facial expressions are so charming!
Liu Tao (劉濤)
71) Your first vacation:
A trip to Singapore when I was too young to remember anything except losing my helium balloon and crying over it.
72) Your first pet:
When I was a kid, I caught a caterpillar and a butterfly.
73) Your first regret:
I don’t remember anything in particular from my childhood, but one of my greatest regrets is detailed in #89.
74) Your first job:
I was an intern at a counselling centre.
75) Your first childhood memory:
Honestly, I don’t know if this was a false memory, but I recall that I said something quite terrible to my dad, and he got very angry. It’s a haunting memory, whether it really happened or not.
Which Would You Choose?
76) Love or money?
I am already blessed with much love from my friends and family, but I don’t have that much money. So money would be the logical choice. As I mentioned above, we can always use money for charitable and other altruistic reasons. Money is like a superpower: whether it’s good or evil (or in between), depends on how you use it. It’s also like a superpower because with great power comes great responsibility.
As well, I have a number of friends and acquaintances currently under great financial duress, some of them even becoming homeless due to various reasons. I wish I had a lot of money so I could help them somehow, even if this is a wish in vain. Some friends and acquaintances have set up emergency fundraisers; for instance, because they were kicked out of the house by transphobic family, and are urgently in need of shelter and financial support. As I’m not very rich right now, I’m only able to donate a limited amount of money to these emergency fundraisers, which makes me sad sometimes, and makes me wish I was a great deal richer.
Again, as I said above, money may grant you some power to do good, but it may also corrupt you. So I would be vigilant towards the latter possibility. By the way, some of my acquaintances believe that rich people are evil. I personally believe that there are wealthy folks who sincerely care about others, who donate to charities and other altruistic causes not for show, but because they truly want to help other people. You can call me a Pollyanna if you like, but I really believe that these people exist.
77) Twitter or Facebook?
I actually don’t have Twitter, but I love Facebook. Many people have complained to me about how much they hate FB, but I myself had mostly positive experiences on this platform. Going on FB almost always cheers me up, even if I was feeling very down previously.
Some of the things I love about my Facebook experience include: spreading positivity, comfort, and encouragement to each other, via likes, reacts, or empathetic comments; receiving emotional support or at least sympathy when you post about something poignant that happened to you; sharing knowledge, experiences, and advice with each other on different topics (e.g. advice concerning legal name changes on government ID); and having lively, fruitful discussions with other people on matters I care a lot about, such as LGBT+ issues, society and politics, psychology, writing, books, media, philosophy, and other riveting subjects of conversation.
78) Hook up or relationship?
For myself or for someone else? If it’s for someone else, I think a relationship would be generally safer and more rewarding. If it’s for me, I’m comfortable with neither. I would much rather write about it than to do it, to be honest. However, I feel perfectly fine listening to other people talk about their romantic and sexual experiences. On a side note, if someone prefers hookups, do you think they would admit this openly??
79) Dogs or cats?
Dogs. Pomeranians are my favorite breed.
80) Coffee or tea?
I can’t drink strong, actual coffee, but I enjoy milder drinks, like mocha and French vanilla. For tea, it depends. I’m not too interested in some kinds of tea, but I quite like some others, such as milk tea.
81) Beer or wine?
As mentioned in #29, I’m a teetotaler.
82) Sweet or savory?
It depends on my mood.
83) Introvert or extrovert?
This is an interesting question, because I am an extrovert who acts like an introvert and has mostly introvert-typical interests, like writing and reading, which are my favorite activities in the world. Nevertheless, I am energized by social interactions, and will start having health problems if I don’t have a proper face-to-face conversation with people for too long.
84) Vampires or werewolves?
I’m inclined to say werewolves, but I’m biased because I read way more werewolf (or wolf shifter) romances than I have vampire ones. All supernatural creatures are intriguing to me, though.
Hanabusa Aido from Vampire Knight:
85) Seaside or countryside?
Seaside, because the sight of the sea soothes and calms me.
86) Summer or winter?
Right now, I’m saying winter because I’m suffering in the summer heat. But I’m sure I’ll say summer when winter hits.
87) Books or movies?
88) Horror or comedy?
Generally comedy, but some horror stories, especially Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, are fantastic.
Imagine Poe’s Black Cat:
A Few Random Questions to Finish Up On
89) Do you wish you could change your past?
Yes. There are so many things I want to go back in time to change! The one that stands out most to me, is that I had a sort of friend back in high school. He was a pretty fascinating kid, but he later dropped out of school due to depression. To this day, I still can’t help thinking that if I had paid more attention to him, and was generally more responsive to him as a friend, he would have felt supported and not have to drop out. Or at the very least, he wouldn’t have had to cut off contact from everyone.
While I’m reminiscing about this friend, I want to describe him a bit. His favorite fandom was the Transformers, which made me interested in the franchise in the first place. Every time I see this movie or cartoon, and every time I listen to “New Divide” by Linkin Park (the theme song to the Transformers’ second movie), I think of my friend.
My favorite autobot:
In addition, out of all the people I’ve met, he has inspired the most number of characters in my stories, and has appeared in many of my dreams. For some time, I wasn’t sure what sorts of feelings I had for him. After a long while of contemplation, I figured out that I have very special feelings for him that are neither friendship, family, nor romantic feelings. Nevertheless, he remains one of the deepest influences in my life, and I keep hoping to see him again one day.
90) What’s your dream job?
I want to be both a writer and a psychotherapist at the same time. Currently, I’m a part-time novelist, and also a student training to become a therapist.
91) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Since it’s my guilty pleasure, do you think I would tell you about it?
92) What are you afraid of?
Plenty of things. My greatest fear is to be in solitary confinement forever, so eternal imprisonment. Sometimes I ask myself which is scarier: to be free to roam the planet, but have no human beings to talk to; or to be locked in a cell but have the company of people I like or love. This is a very difficult decision, but I think being physically free but lonely is the better option. I’m kind of claustrophobic. Plus, I could always befriend and learn to communicate with animals. Maybe I would be able to contact extraterrestrials too.
93) What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
You mean what I aspired to do when I reached the age of majority? Well, when I was eighteen, I wanted to be a neuroscientist. But if you mean what was the first career I had ever wanted to do, it would be an artist, specifically one who draws and maybe paints.
94) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to grant myself a wish anytime I want to, and have an unlimited number of wishes. If you think my life would become boring and unchallenging, why, that’s easy to remedy. I just need to wish that I’ll still enjoy life and not grow bored, without decreasing my intelligence and self-awareness, or giving me short-lived memories like those of a goldfish. I anticipate that there could be traps with such a tremendous power. Someone could hypnotize me into wishing to lose my wish-granting ability! So I would have to be as smart and wise as I can.
95) If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?
Part of me wishes I could be born a cisgender male, but nah, I like being transgender. Other than that, I would like everyone’s lives to be changed, so that no one needs to be overworked! Everyone, including me, would have a great deal of rest time to do whatever they want, which would probably make them more enthusiastic about their job, since they get the time to replenish themselves. There are so many things about my life I want to change, but I’ll stop here or else this post will be too long.
You may think that I’m talking about changing the society rather than my life. Yet, my life is directly impacted by the society! There are many things that are impossible to change in my life without changing the social systems as well.
96) Would you want immortality?
Yes, though I don’t want to live unhappily either. On the other hand, I do believe everyone goes to Heaven eventually, so that is a kind of immortality already.
97) If you could interview anyone alive or dead, who would you choose?
Oh, I might interview Satoshi Tajiri, who is the creator of Pokemon. He is one of my heroes!
98) Would you say you are happy?
I would say I am both very happy and very sad. It depends on what aspect of my life you are pointing to.
99) What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?
Don’t let passion and ambition blind you to your physical and emotional needs. Take good care of your health, exercise and rest often, and don’t over-exert your eyes or else you will regret it when you reach your mid-twenties.
100) Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
First of all, I want my facial hair to be visible enough, so I won’t have to worry when my hair grows a little longer that people will start misgendering me again.
If only I could have Kurito’s style:
There are some other physical transitioning procedures I want to go through. Plus, all my government IDs will be changed to male or x, at least my Canadian IDs.
Moreover, I want to be a working therapist, preferably working for the queer and trans community, though I’m open to doing therapy for the general population as well. Writing-wise, is it too much to hope that I can finish writing and editing my WIP series? If that is too ambitious, at least I could publish the second edition of the only novel I published so far.
Finally, all done! How would you answer some of these questions? Do you want me to clarify or elaborate on any of my answers?