Name: Zoe Zen Sofia Alicea Feliciano
Gender: Nonbinary (assigned female)
School: George Hunter High School
Hobbies and Interests: Ouji fashion, making clothes, anime, k-pop, gaming, drama club, partying
Appearance: At 52 and 99 pounds, Zen is tiny, with a slim body and limbs and almost no curves to speak of. Zen is considered slightly underweight, though they eat normally and have been told they have nothing to worry about by doctors. Their skin is a light brown, tanning noticeably in the summer, with a smattering of freckles on their cheeks and shoulders.
Zen has a soft face, with a fairly weak jaw and a sharp chin. Their eyes are their most noticeable feature, as they are very wide and expressive. Their eyes are naturally a medium brown, slightly darker than their skin, but they almost always wear colored circle lens which mask the original color; they have a variety of lenses, but their most commonly worn ones are a deep steel grey. Their lips are small and round, and their nose is small as well with a noticeable bump on the bridge. Their eyebrows are naturally thick, but Zen puts a lot of effort into keeping them groomed into a perfect soft arch.
Zens natural hair is black and quite wavy, almost curly; however, they straighten their hair every day, resulting in a layered look, chin-length in the front and angling up to the nape of their neck in the back. Their hair sweeps over their right eye, usually hiding it from view. Oftentimes they eschew straightening their hair in favor of a variety of wigs, mostly in unnatural colors and wildly fanciful styles.
Their preferred style is ouji, a very androgynous Japanese style sometimes thought of as a more boyish form of lolita. Their closet is filled with button-down frilly shirts, vests, knickerbockers, puffy shorts, suspenders, patterned socks and chunky-soled shoes, along with a variety of random accessories, much of which Zen sewed themself. They dont wear much makeup for their skin, outside of a bit of coverup for the occasional breakout, but they wear black eyeliner on their top lid, white eyeliner on their waterline, fake eyelashes and a reddish-pink lip stain almost every day. They have one lobe and one cartilage piercing in each ear, usually foregoing jewelry in the lobe piercings and wearing a rotating set of simple metal studs in the cartilage piercings, and a simple nose ring in their left nostril.
On the day of the abduction, Zen was wearing their hair straightened and a pair of sea-green circle lenses. Their outfit consisted of a long-sleeved white button-up blouse with ruffles at the end of the sleeves, a dark blue vest with black pinstripes and golden buttons, black suspenders with golden buckles, black puffy shorts hitting just above the knee, dark blue and white argyle socks, and a pair of thick-soled black ankle boots. They also wore a small black top hat with dark blue trim and a fake golden pocketwatch attached to it, tied to their head with a black ribbon.
Biography: Zen was born on February 29th, 2000 to Camila Alicea Santiago, a Puerto Rican woman living in Manhattan with her girlfriend, Maria Feliciano Rivera. The pair had grown up together in San Juan, Puerto Rico and had feelings for each other from their early memories, though neither acted on them for fear of retribution from their religious families. The pair were raised Catholic, and though both wrestled with their feelings with regards to a church that told them that their feelings were sinful, both still retained a connection to their religion. Camila was always noticeably dependent on Maria, seeming to be lost when her friend wasnt nearby and constantly spending all her time with her with little regard for herself. Their parents found their behavior sweet when they were children, but increasingly disturbing as they grew into adolescence and Maria grew more independent, while Camila still seemed paralyzed whenever Maria wasnt near. Camilas parents tried to keep her away from Maria, but this only seemed to intensify her anxiety and her need to be with her. Eventually, Camilas parents gave up, allowing their daughter to do as she liked, and outside of her dependency on Maria, she was a fairly successful adolescent.
Camila followed Maria to college, though she didnt attend herself and instead worked a number of odd jobs to save up money. Maria received a job offer as a marketing consultant shortly after graduation that required she move immediately to New York City and Camila, despondent at the thought of losing her, followed her there too. Maria was happy to have her, and the two moved in together, though their romantic feelings were still not evident. Depressed and lonely at Marias busy work hours, Camila took to going out to bars on her nights off and had a number of one night stands with men therein. It was in this fashion that Zen was conceived. When Camila realized she was pregnant she tearfully confessed to Maria what she had done as well as her true feelings, wanting Maria to be her childs other parent. Though the pair didnt have much money or much room in their apartment, Camila felt strongly about keeping the child, and Maria, moved by Camilas confession and her plight, agreed.
Zens legal name at birth was Zoe Sofia Alicea Santiago, taking both of Camilas last names as their father was unknown. Camila dropped her work hours considerably during her pregnancy and then stopped working entirely when Zen was born, staying home to take care of the baby and leaving Maria responsible for all of their finances. Marias job was well-paid, but in a city as expensive as Manhattan, the three of them could barely make ends meet. Zen was always their mothers priority and was always well-fed, clothed and cared for, though their mothers often skipped meals. Fearing the homophobia that was rampant back in San Juan, in public the two presented themselves as sisters, and as Zens mother and their aunt. Even Zen themself would call Maria Auntie growing up, though they obviously knew of their mothers true relationship.
As Zen grew up, their extreme level of energy was evident from a very early age. As soon as they were old enough to crawl they were constantly on the move, and Camila struggled to keep up with them, all the more so when they learned to walk. They were also noticeably friendly toward other children as soon as Camila started taking them out to playgrounds; they would run up to complete strangers and start chatting with or trying to play with them. They seemed to have little concept of personal space and would often start hugging others even before theyd introduced themselves, a behavior which Camila tried to curb, to practically no avail. As they entered kindergarten it became their teachers job to try to rein them in, and Zen was often sent home with disciplinary slips for being too affectionate toward other kids. Over time they became slightly better about this, though only to the point where they would at least stop hugging others who were clearly uncomfortable. They remained very personable, seemingly never happy when they were alone and quickly making friends with most of their classmates. They were very empathetic and sensitive, seemingly always aware of when someone was in pain or in need of help and always ready and willing to lend a hand or an ear.
Zen had an interesting relationship with gender from an early age. Camila and Maria raised them as a girl and it wouldnt be until high school that they would have any idea that they could be anything else, but nonetheless, the signs were there. They despised dresses and preferred to keep their hair fairly short, which Camila saw simply as Zen not wanting their clothes or their hair to get in the way of their constant activity. They moved easily between being friendly with boys and girls, apparently confused when their male friends would make fun of them for being a girl, and would sometimes stand with the boys when the teacher split the class by gender just to see what would happen. They never really had much of an idea of what being a girl meant, and while being called one didnt upset them and they had no desire to be a boy, it simply never really felt right to them.
It wasnt until the first grade that Zen met Rhea, the girl that would become their best friend. Zen had had many friends up until that point, but they found something special in Rhea and seemed to want to spend all of their time with her. It was Rhea who introduced them to anime through the Toonami block on Cartoon Network, as well as to video games, and the two spent many hours playing Super Smash Brothers Melee and later Brawl at Rheas house. Rheas family was quite well off, and she had many things Zen, who had very few toys of their own, could scarcely dream of. Rhea gave Zen a Nintendo DS and a number of games for their 8th birthday, which would be the first and only game system Zen would own themself for many years. Zen devoted themself to Rhea, doing everything she wanted with no complaint, and Rhea took advantage of their affection, using Zen to do her homework and perform errands that she didnt feel like doing herself. Zen didnt mind at all; Camila, however, noticed how Rhea was treating her child and tried to separate the two. In doing so, however, she saw how depressed Zen was without Rhea, and recognized her own relationship in childhood with Maria in the two of them. Even so, she couldnt abide by Rheas behavior and tried to talk to Zen about standing up for themself, with limited success. Rhea was hardly the only person who took advantage of Zens kindness; it was common for them to come home with three or four homework assignments to do, from friends who had begged them for help. Even as a young child Zen was desperate to be liked by everyone around them, and if that meant they had to do more work, they would do it.
Late in their elementary school career, Camila decided that both Zen and herself should see a therapist. Camila had not thought critically about their devotion to Maria until they saw that same devotion in Zen toward Rhea, and they realized that they might have some kind of problem. In addition, Zen was having some problems academically and with not being disruptive in the classroom, and several of their teachers had recommended they be seen by a therapist for possible ADHD, which Camila had shrugged off until their grades started to really sink in the fourth grade. Camila was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and dependent personality disorder; though dependent personality disorder is not diagnosed in children, Camila was warned that the disorder commonly ran in families. Zen, for their part, was diagnosed with ADHD and put on a regimen of Adderall for school days, which helped with their grades and their behavior significantly but always made them feel slightly uncomfortable.
Though Camila and Maria retained much of their childhood discomfort with religion, they continued to attend a Catholic church after moving to the states, as they considered it a connection to their home. They were heartened somewhat by the relatively liberal stances of their New York congregation and went to services regularly. Zen never really connected to Catholicism the way their parents had and had a bad habit of dozing off during service, but they enjoyed going to church regardless primarily because it was one of the few activities they were able to do with Maria. While Camila was her constant caregiver, Maria was seemingly always busy and felt distant to Zen, who was happy for any opportunity to spend time with her.
In the summer of 2011, before Zen was due to start middle school, Marias consulting job required her to move from New York City to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was a sudden and unexpected change, and while Marias job compensated her very well for the move, the three of them were very upset about having to leave New York. Zen, in particular, was devastated about leaving their friends behind, especially Rhea, and while she promised she would keep in touch, she stopped all contact with Zen shortly after they moved. Zen fell into a deep depression upon their arrival in Chattanooga and would not truly recover from it for a number of years.
One bright spot in the circumstances of their move was that gay marriage was legalized in New York shortly before they left. Camila and Maria were legally married, and Zens legal name was changed to Zoe Sofia Alicea Feliciano. Though their marriage was not recognized in Tennessee, and the pair continued to act as siblings in public for their safety, the marriage gave them something to hold onto when moving into a strange new place. Their religion ended up falling by the wayside when they moved to Chattanooga, however. While they continued to attend services irregularly, the more conservative congregation in Chattanooga was an uncomfortable reminder of the homophobia they had faced at home and would continue to face here. Though Zen still had little interest in religion, they would at times be the one to push their parents to attend church, hoping to spend more time with them.
Zen was far less social entering middle school than they had been in the past. Camila had them start seeing a therapist shortly after they moved, who prescribed them a series of antidepressants, none of which seemed to have any effect. While they were friendly toward anyone who tried to interact with them and didnt make any effort to push others away, they simply werent as helpful or overtly affectionate as they had once been. Instead, they spent more time alone, throwing themself into their hobbies. One advantage to moving to Chattanooga was that Marias salary stretched a lot further and, combined with Camila getting a job as a waitress, their standard of living became more comfortable, though they were still firmly lower class. Zens parents could occasionally splurge enough to buy them a new game for their DS every now and then, and they spent most of their sparse allowance on a Crunchyroll subscription, allowing them to indulge in as much anime as they liked.
It was from watching the anime Paradise Kiss that they developed a sudden fascination with fashion, which seemed to them to be far more interesting in Japan than it was in America; they began to do research and discovered the wide world of Japanese street style and immediately zeroed in on the ouji style. It appealed to them immediately; they loved how fanciful and intricate it was without forcing them to be feminine. They immediately wanted to start dressing that way but were stymied by the expense of buying pricey brand pieces from Japan. They decided that the best way to go would be to try to learn to make their clothes themselves. Tutorials were freely available online, and Maria had a great deal of sewing experience, which came as a surprise to both Zen and Camila. They splurged on some fabric, thread, and a sewing machine for Zen to try making their first project, a red vest, which came out amateurish but wearable. This early success was more than enough for Zen to begin to sew on a regular basis, altering their clothes to make them fit better with the ouji style where possible and making new clothes from hand whenever their mothers gifted them with materials. With Marias help, and with a lot of crafty purchasing at thrift stores, Zen slowly began to build a wardrobe, and by the 7th grade, their style was beginning to come together.
By eighth grade, Zens depression finally began to lift. The main catalyst for this was them meeting Lyra Doyle, who would quickly become their new best friend. While they never quite forgot Rhea and never stopped being sad that she had forgotten them so easily, Lyras company filled the hole she had left. It certainly helped that Lyra was a good friend who never took advantage of Zen and was genuinely happy for their company. Zen quickly grew just as attached to Lyra as they had been to Rhea, spending as much time with them as possible, sharing their hobbies with them and learning about theirs in return. But this was accompanied by feelings that had never been part of their friendship with Rhea; Zen realized, much to their excitement, that they had developed a crush on Lyra. This seemed to be a gateway for them; in addition to the return of their prior energy, sociability, and constant affection, Zen became extremely prone to developing crushes on anyone who they found attractive and who showed them the slightest bit of kindness. These crushes constantly shift, and while Zen shows them even more affection than they show others and wont hesitate to compliment them, they have never actually revealed romantic feelings toward anyone, including Lyra. They are attracted primarily to girls and other feminine people, including the occasional pretty boy.
Entering high school Zen continued to work on their wardrobe, using birthday money and saving lunch money and allowances to eventually buy some key brand items and accessories. By their freshman year they could make complete if fairly simple ouji outfits, and by sophomore year they had a wardrobe large enough for them to dress in their preferred style every day, mixing and matching pieces to make a seemingly endless stream of new clothes. They also picked up a part-time job at a fast food place, considerably increasing their regular spending money. With their sociability from elementary school back, Zen had no problem at all making friends, and Camila and Maria were happy to see that their child seemed to be back to their prior self. Camila worried a bit about Zens relationship with Lyra, but upon seeing that the two were true friends, they decided not to interfere. Zen became well-known to the student body as endlessly affectionate and helpful; it was difficult to avoid knowing them, as they were quick to introduce themselves to everyone around them.
Zens quickly expanding circle of friends led to regular invitations to parties, which they attended primarily to spend time with others and to let out their energy dancing, only drinking occasionally. The first time a girl at a party showed interest in hooking up with them, Zens curiosity was piqued; the experience was enough to teach them that messing around was a lot of fun, and casual hookups became quite common for themthey jumped into them with loads of energy and good humor, as they did all things. Though they knew the basics of the birds and the bees, they were not particularly careful in their early experiences, not truly believing that anything bad could come out of them. It was not until one day Zens period was a week late that they realized that there were actually potential consequences to sleeping around. Though they were not pregnant, the scare panicked them enough to talk to Camila about going on birth control, which she somewhat reluctantly allowed, knowing that it was impossible to rein Zen in entirely and at least wanting to avoid the worst consequences. A similar thought process resulted in Camila allowing Zen to get the piercings they asked for, so long as they didn't go too far; she worried that Zen might be excited enough about the possibilities to try to get them done illegally if she didn't grant permission to get them done professionally.
Two important events occurred in Zens junior year that would come to shape them. The first was that they met and became friends with Robin Mireles, a huge K-pop fan who was quick to share her favorite music with them. Zen clicked with Robin immediately and latched onto their fondness for K-pop, though when they started doing their own research they found their taste differed strongly from Robins. Even so, the pair formed the schools K-pop club together, and Robin became Zens closest friend after Lyra. The second was that Lyra, after much research and experimentation with pronouns, came out to Zen as genderfluid. After doing a bit of research of their own, Zen realized how many of the puzzles theyd always had about their own gender this solved. They had continued presenting as androgynously as possible through all of junior high and high school and were occasionally mistaken for a boy, which they always found amusing and kind of validating despite knowing full well they werent a boy. Their gender had always just kind of been an afterthought for them, but they certainly liked the idea of being nonbinary better than being a girl. They were quick to come out, happy to let the word spread to the whole school despite the inevitable teasing that came with the territory. They decided that their new identity demanded a new name, one less obviously feminine, and after playing around with a few possible short names starting with Z they came up with Zen. From then on they began introducing themselves to others as Zen and it is clearly their preferred name, though they dont mind when old friends or teachers call them Zoe, and as they havent come out to their parents they still call them Zoe and use she/her pronouns for them.
Zen continues to this day to take Adderall on school days, allowing them to concentrate somewhat better in class than they would be able to normally. As a result, their grades are decent, primarily Bs, though they tend to fare more poorly when it comes to completing homework on time, as their medication has mostly worn off by the time they get home from school. The Adderall doesnt stop them from being energetic and quite loud, though; the only things that seem to totally calm Zen are sewing and certain video games, especially fighting games, which they developed a fondness of in high school when they finally had the money to start buying new games more often. Their therapist, noticing their flair for the dramatic and their fondness for attention, recommended they join the drama club at school. While they have no particular talent for acting, Zen makes up for it with enthusiasm and the constant cheer they bring to the club. They also convinced their moms to adopt two cats, one in the middle of their junior year and one at the beginning of their senior year: a ginger shorthair named G-Dragon and a grey shorthair named Ochako.
Zen is exceptionally energetic, optimistic, cheerful, loving, affectionate and kind. They are quite empathetic and quick to run to the aid of anyone they believe needs their help. Zen thrives on the affection and attention of others and has a hard time dealing with not being liked; if someone has a problem with them they will do their best to mend it, though if the issue is unsolvable Zen will withdraw, and the very thought of that person would most likely from then on cause them to burst into tears. They feel emotions very strongly, though they rarely seem to project anything but joy; anger, in particular, seems practically foreign to them. When they do become sad and withdrawn its usually because they are isolated, as the presence of others revitalizes them. Though Zen comes across as having no problems at all, they live in constant fear of losing the people around them, especially Lyra; the memory of what Rhea did to them still haunts them. They are absolutely dependent, not just on Lyra but on their friends in general, and practically cant function without their help and guidance. Zen is willing to do anything that their friends want or need of them if only to ensure that theyll never stop caring about them. They have no real post-high school plans for their own sake, but they have applied to the same colleges as Lyra, hoping to follow them wherever they go.
Advantages: Zen is extremely friendly and widely liked, with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Their loyalty and helpfulness is well known, making them a desirable ally. Their relentless optimism and good cheer might help them hold onto hope while their classmates give in to despair.
Disadvantages: Zen is physically very small and frail, and would stand no chance in a physical fight. They are very dependent on others and will be completely lost on how to act on their own. They are quite trusting and potentially easy to take advantage of.
Hey Fenris, it's me, MK Kilmarnock. Reviewing Zen and I really like them, but something's been bugging me.
The state of Tennessee currently prohibits those under the age of 18 from getting tattoos. An exception is getting a tattoo to cover up another one (probably deemed offensive) and only with guardian permission. Fortunately Zen is 18, but the timeline of the profile would suggest that the body art was done before that age. Clear that up with me and we'll have another go.
As far as my research would indicate, piercings are no problem.