A stanchion of pain
by Raw Fury
Released on MacOS in 2022
Even before transitioning, I’ve been enamored of stories about women in love. I read sapphic romance and lesbian sci-fi. I wept after seeing Heavenly Creatures during my first year of college. Jess and I watched Desert Hearts on our honeymoon. You get the idea. I recently discovered yuri anime. It’s been a mixed bag. Sweet relationships can turn toxic, boundaries crossed and consent ignored. Some of what I’ve seen deftly links fucked-up behaviors to trauma but fetishizes the abuser’s actions. It’s like looking at queer relationships between girls through an incel lens: desire and entitlement are intertwined. Violations are brushed aside. Redemption is unearned.
Trauma begets trauma. Dystopian world building is just stacking discrete moments of trauma until you have a stanchion of pain. How else do you convey the terror of fascist regimes or zombie apocalypses if not through a backbone of suffering? Instead of graphic depictions of harm, Norco shows us how people struggle to find care when corporations reign supreme. It’s a gentler but still shitty dystopia. You have some measure of agency, but you’re lonely. Like, existentially alone.
What will our real-life dystopia look like when it’s really taken hold? I’m trying to figure out how to navigate this bullshit historical moment, to alternately cope with and resist our slide into Christofascism, to witness as D*S*nt*s (who, Jesus Christ, is only four years older than me) and others further enshrine white/cishet male supremacy into law, as corporations fuck over everyone and everything in the name of profit. Jess says I should take another Twitter break–my first one in December only lasted a week–but I feel a weird obligation to watch with horror the fast erosion of trans rights in like half of the US. I need to know what fresh hell awaits me, what right wing pundits are losing their shit over today, what barbaric piece of legislation will next be introduced. And so I doom scroll, and my anxiety rises, as it has been ever since covid restrictions lifted and gigs came back and I realized I don’t know if I want to be a musician anymore. When I do look away, it’s to write poems and cook and get out of the city with Jess, to play adventure games, to submit to yet another transfemme stereotype and watch hours and hours of anime, often heartwarming, sometimes fraught, to imagine I am young again, only this time a girl, snacking on crepes or cakes after school, feeling the butterflies of an all-consuming crush.
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