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AC Benus

Toph's Empty Year - By Skinnydragon

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For discussion of themes and topics.


 


You can find the story here


Edited by AC Benus

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skinny describes this story: "A misfit from an upper class community discovers his love for just plain folks, and one in particular."

 

And so far the layering of characters and settings has been nuanced and rewarding to read.

 

That being said, am I alone in feeling that Toph drives me nuts?! LOL, I mean, that young man has a lot of issues to explore for us readers.

 

In the new chapter, he seems to be on the path of destruction to break Steve's heart. I ask, is that fair? Do you agree, or do you think I am over reacting? Perhaps the younger generation has a less 'romanticized' outlook on romance and relationships.

 

Any thoughts…?

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skinny describes this story: "A misfit from an upper class community discovers his love for just plain folks, and one in particular."

 

And so far the layering of characters and settings has been nuanced and rewarding to read.

 

That being said, am I alone in feeling that Toph drives me nuts?! LOL, I mean, that young man has a lot of issues to explore for us readers.

 

In the new chapter, he seems to be on the path of destruction to break Steve's heart. I ask, is that fair? Do you agree, or do you think I am over reacting? Perhaps the younger generation has a less 'romanticized' outlook on romance and relationships.

 

Any thoughts…?

Toph does have lots of issues. I don't know if Toph is mentally ill or just has no clue. The tomato soup thing makes me think mental illness, because he doesn't give a thought to, or seems not to, even consider the possibility of switching flavours of soup for variety. But he eats only one flavour until it's done and then changes. 

 

I'm not enamoured of how he's gone into a relationship with Steve, saying it's short term before they've even gone anywhere. I figured it was going to be a sexual thing only, but it's not and Steve really seems into Toph. And Toph knows Gary likes him, is he trying to make Gary jealous, but he says he doesn't bring Steve home, for that reason. 

 

Toph is an odd duck, that's all I know for sure. 

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I think Toph has a hard time understanding and relating to others and their emotions, but then he has problems with doing so with his own emotions too. It's easy to blame him for breaking Austin's heart and risking the same with Steve, but Toph is not doing it from malice or because he doesn't care. He has a severe disability, which prevents him from understanding. After all, we wouldn't expect him to understand the concept of color if he was blind, right? 

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I think Toph has a hard time understanding and relating to others and their emotions, but then he has problems with doing so with his own emotions too. It's easy to blame him for breaking Austin's heart and risking the same with Steve, but Toph is not doing it from malice or because he doesn't care. He has a severe disability, which prevents him from understanding. After all, we wouldn't expect him to understand the concept of color if he was blind, right? 

I agree Tim. He cares about Gary so he doesn't bring Steve home. I see that. But if you're right and he's ill/disabled, why has no one seen it. It's not like it's not noticeable. Who's gonna help him? Or, should people just accept him as he is? Will he discover enough about himself to be able to see his issues? I know when I need to get help but it took me awhile to get to that place where I can see I'm falling off the rails.

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I really don't desire to interject too much, because I don't wish to steer discussion in any particular direction.

 

As an impartial  :rolleyes: reader, it seems Toph has mastered at least one skill from his Euphoric upbringing. And that is presenting a normal face when interacting with others, his own reactions and interrelationship actions aside. In other words, he may have everyone fooled. Except for Naomi, of course. And maybe one other.

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I really don't desire to interject too much, because I don't wish to steer discussion in any particular direction.

 

As an impartial  :rolleyes: reader, it seems Toph has mastered at least one skill from his Euphoric upbringing. And that is presenting a normal face when interacting with others, his own reactions and interrelationship actions aside. In other words, he may have everyone fooled. Except for Naomi, of course. And maybe one other.

So what is the cause or reason? Societal norms of Euphoria, or abuse or stockholm syndrome??  People hide for a lot of reasons. And he may fool others, but there is a price to pay if he's found out.  

Edited by Mikiesboy
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skinny describes this story: "A misfit from an upper class community discovers his love for just plain folks, and one in particular."

 

And so far the layering of characters and settings has been nuanced and rewarding to read.

 

That being said, am I alone in feeling that Toph drives me nuts?! LOL, I mean, that young man has a lot of issues to explore for us readers.

 

In the new chapter, he seems to be on the path of destruction to break Steve's heart. I ask, is that fair? Do you agree, or do you think I am over reacting? Perhaps the younger generation has a less 'romanticized' outlook on romance and relationships.

 

Any thoughts…?

Well, there is something going on with Toph for sure. AC in his review suggested D I D.. That would mean that Toph has two or more distinct personalities at work. He kinda did introduce himself as Chris at one point and not Toph. His personality is fragmented enough for me to want to believe DID is possible, and so far his characteristics have certainly been contrasting. He is more engaging out of the house than he is in. So, we may have to pay close attention to his patterns. Also, within the dissociative disorders is depersonalization disorder. It seems to fit Toph too. Which is detached from his mental process or observing himself from the outside. Mr invisible, suddenly visible? 

 

Toph does have lots of issues. I don't know if Toph is mentally ill or just has no clue. The tomato soup thing makes me think mental illness, because he doesn't give a thought to, or seems not to, even consider the possibility of switching flavours of soup for variety. But he eats only one flavour until it's done and then changes. 

 

I'm not enamoured of how he's gone into a relationship with Steve, saying it's short term before they've even gone anywhere. I figured it was going to be a sexual thing only, but it's not and Steve really seems into Toph. And Toph knows Gary likes him, is he trying to make Gary jealous, but he says he doesn't bring Steve home, for that reason. 

 

Toph is an odd duck, that's all I know for sure. 

 

I eat gummy bears in colour order... Odd duck indeed..  

 

I think Toph has a hard time understanding and relating to others and their emotions, but then he has problems with doing so with his own emotions too. It's easy to blame him for breaking Austin's heart and risking the same with Steve, but Toph is not doing it from malice or because he doesn't care. He has a severe disability, which prevents him from understanding. After all, we wouldn't expect him to understand the concept of color if he was blind, right? 

 

I agree. I don't think Toph, is acting out of malice, but I do think he is avoiding. He avoided relationships with his friends and Austin in Euphoria. He had very little interpersonal contact with his family, because he was afraid I think of rejection, and to a certain extent he's doing the same with his housemates. He's definitely showing restraint in this relationship with Steve, as he doesn't really see it long term. He hasn't ever shown us to be taking personal risks has he? He may just be socially awkward, or a combination of all these things. I could be so wrong..

 

 

 

What interests me though, is why the painting of Austin is having such an effect on him.. 

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I eat gummy bears in colour order... Odd duck indeed..  

 

You choose to, I don't believe Toph can choose. 

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skinny describes this story: "A misfit from an upper class community discovers his love for just plain folks, and one in particular."

 

And so far the layering of characters and settings has been nuanced and rewarding to read.

 

That being said, am I alone in feeling that Toph drives me nuts?! LOL, I mean, that young man has a lot of issues to explore for us readers.

 

In the new chapter, he seems to be on the path of destruction to break Steve's heart. I ask, is that fair? Do you agree, or do you think I am over reacting? Perhaps the younger generation has a less 'romanticized' outlook on romance and relationships.

 

Any thoughts…?

I agree entirely here with AC. Toph is on a crash course in heartbreaking.  Steve? Gary? Someone else too?

 

I don't know about mental illness. I just wonder if the need to hide, evade, mask and parade has really warped the way Toph interacts with people. Now that he can uncover, perhaps he doesn't quite get that others expect honesty and empathy, too. But in any case, if I really knew Toph, I'd be wary of a relationship with him. Except that he's one of Skinny's heroes, so that he's probably going to be a good guy in the end, unless he breaks my heart first.

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It may be too strong to say he has a mental illness, but he is certainly 'non-typical'. He grew up in an abnormal environment, so we shouldn't expect the behaviour of someone who grew up in a more traditional environment. His actions and thoughts are consistent with his upbringing, and he's slowly learning new ways to act and think.

 

Give him time :)

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It may be too strong to say he has a mental illness, but he is certainly 'non-typical'. He grew up in an abnormal environment, so we shouldn't expect the behaviour of someone who grew up in a more traditional environment. His actions and thoughts are consistent with his upbringing, and he's slowly learning new ways to act and think.

Give him time :)

You could be right, Graeme. We'll see, it's an interesting ride in any case.

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It may be too strong to say he has a mental illness, but he is certainly 'non-typical'. He grew up in an abnormal environment, so we shouldn't expect the behaviour of someone who grew up in a more traditional environment. His actions and thoughts are consistent with his upbringing, and he's slowly learning new ways to act and think.

 

Give him time :)

 

I didn't mean to say he has a 'diagnosable' mental illness when using the word disability, So I agree with Graeme that Toph is a product of his upbringing and environment, which has made him close off the connection to his emotions.

 

I also think that Toph saying he and Gary are not suitable is true based on how Toph is now, but hopefully not in the long run. And Gary is keeping his distance and giving Toph time, because he senses Toph is not ready for serious attachment.

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I also think that Toph saying he and Gary are not suitable is true based on how Toph is now, but hopefully not in the long run. And Gary is keeping his distance and giving Toph time, because he senses Toph is not ready for serious attachment.

 

Which would make Gary an interesting General, indeed.  :P

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I have no expertise at all. If Toph has any kind of mental illness (which I don't see that much) he's very high functioning. Personally, i think he has some kind of emotional problem that holds him back from others. He deliberately isolates himself from those around him. His job is alone at night and he sleeps large portions of the day which separates himself from others. He somehow makes friends and others seem to like him, but as I said in a review he thinks of all these superficially. He holds everyone at arms length. Whether he's trying to protect himself or there actually is a mental illness involved I'm not sold one way or the other yet. I do think he didn't realize he was like this when he was younger because he didn't like Euphoria and held the people there in disdain. Sometimes deserved and sometimes not, but it was his excuse for why he acted that way. Now he's left Euphoria and his problem has followed him. Poor Steve.

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Thank you for writing this story as it is very intriguing. I believe I may see this story differently than others. Before Toph moved out his speech and thinking reflected his environment. His upper crust family and community come across to him as fake bit with a competitive edge. He had to be guarded against all of this as he saw him self as not fitting in. He wasn't worthy of their love and attention. He knew how to pretend to get by. He even thinks in the present perfect tense: Notice in the earlier chapters he calls him self and his actions in the third person. This is reflective of his upper class upbringing. His own siblings could care less if he existed and probably would have been perfectly content had he not been born. Even his parents aren't too happy with his very existence. If this story were real and true, I would be acting just as Toph Was doing. He isn't disabled in any sense of the word; he's lacking in self confidence. Without nurturing and familial support he will feel like no one will truly like him for who he truly was, is, and is to come. As he becomes more relaxed as he gets older, and realizes that other people in his life will accept him as he truly lives, his vernacular also relaxes. He no longer thinks in the third person. He is becoming him self. With the help of his roommates, his boyfriend, and his tutor, he just may survive this life with some self confidence.

But he also is still self aware. This is not true of someone who is emotionally or psychologically disabled. He can recognize that his relationship with Steve is temporary because he knows where he lies upon his path to self actualization. He realizes he isn't in a mature state to accept an all encompassong love. He is still quite taken aback by his lingering feelings for Austin and is surprised by Niles attention. He is totally empathic with Gary's feelings and suspected intentions.

Let the poor boy escape, grow, and become self worthful for him self and his future. Truly waiting for the next chapter. Thank you for allowing me to see these characters that are alive in your head!

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Thank you Christopher for your kind words and deeply perceptive analysis.

 

I hope you don't feel empathy because you share his name ...hehe (JK)

 

Those characters in my head thank you too!

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But I am empathetic as I can relate with my own upbringing and circumstances. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties that could accept love from some one else who supported me. But I still have difficulties with selfworth and confidence as a human being.

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But I am empathetic as I can relate with my own upbringing and circumstances. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties that could accept love from some one else who supported me. But I still have difficulties with selfworth and confidence as a human being.

 

I didn't mean to be flippant. I've actually had a too eerily, similar background.  :/

It's probably why those characters are living in my head. 

Maybe this story will help shake them out.

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I forgot one rant in my review of the latest chapter:

Gary invited Toph for dinner with his father. He knows Toph does not feel comfortable with this. And then the two men spend the whole time discussing stuff in which Toph has no interest at all ! :angry: Talk about dissing a guy you're supposed to care about. :pissed: I almost wish Toph had walked out on Gary, who turns out to be a General with no other agenda than to get what he wants and what he thinks is best for Toph - which is what is most convenient for Gary, of course. :rolleyes:  Because, how could he ever date someone who works as a shelves stocker. So he blithely goes about rearranging Toph's life on top of everything else. I could just SPIT !

 

Don't worry - only really great stories make me fly off my handle like this, I'm having so much fun. :worship:  :lol:

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I forgot one rant in my review of the latest chapter:

Gary invited Toph for dinner with his father. He knows Toph does not feel comfortable with this. And then the two men spend the whole time discussing stuff in which Toph has no interest at all ! :angry: Talk about dissing a guy you're supposed to care about. :pissed: I almost wish Toph had walked out on Gary, who turns out to be a General with no other agenda than to get what he wants and what he thinks is best for Toph - which is what is most convenient for Gary, of course. :rolleyes:  Because, how could he ever date someone who works as a shelves stocker. So he blithely goes about rearranging Toph's life on top of everything else. I could just SPIT !

 

Don't worry - only really great stories make me fly off my handle like this, I'm having so much fun. :worship:  :lol:

 

Aren't you a bit hard on Gary, Tim ? I agree with the topics of conversation. But I didn't get the impression Gary is such a snob that he wouldn't date a shelf stocker. I really believe he sees the potential in Toph and is happy to be in a position to help him achieve what he does best: become a fabulous painter. For the time being I give Gary the benefit of the doubt. ;)

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Aren't you a bit hard on Gary, Tim ? I agree with the topics of conversation. But I didn't get the impression Gary is such a snob that he wouldn't date a shelf stocker. I really believe he sees the potential in Toph and is happy to be in a position to help him achieve what he does best: become a fabulous painter. For the time being I give Gary the benefit of the doubt. ;)

 

LOL, yes I am. But you have to admit he did steamroller all over Toph. And it was all the other stuff which pissed me off, the rearranging of Toph's life was just the cherry on the top. :rolleyes:

Thanks Tim - I'm glad Toph's not the only one to be pissed-off!

 

And I was so happy to see Robert Rex agreed too. :D

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It seems to be unanimous about Toph being railroaded into working at England Inc. I agree with Graeme that it's leading to a place Top wants to go (Abington and art), and I hope the price Toph has to pay won't be too high. Or at least that he'll exact a similar price from Gary. Ignoring him for days seemed to instill the proper contriteness in the General, even if it didn't stop the steam roller.

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I agree with a lot of what you said Timothy. I don't know about the snobbery, but Gary has an agenda and he holds things back from Toph as well as manipulates him. Interfering in his life instead of just extending the offer was extremely presumptuous. I wanted Toph to walk out on them too. At this point Gary doesn't seem like good relationship material for anyone really.

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