Surviving the Sarlacc

So you’re minding your own business when someone shoves you so hard that you fall down a conveniently placed pit and holyfuck, there’s a thing in the pit that vaguely looks like a vulva but with tentacles and teeth and not the fun kind! And the thing, the Sarlacc inside the pit is going to devour you as you slip precariously down the hot sand towards its hungry maw. You scramble, make some headway, but then fall down a couple feet and then there’s a tentacle wrapping around your leg pulling you closer and closer…

Sarlacc

[Taken from http://flophousepodcast.wikia.com/wiki/The_Sarlacc_Pit

Description: Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of Star Wars, is standing on a plank high above this hole in the ground. Within the hole, we see a number of tentacles and sharp teeth. The hole resembles a vulva to the author.]

That’s what it feels like most days dealing with life for me. Now mind you, I’d -love- to have genitals that have (retractable) teeth and tentacles, this is not a fun or sexy experience. I chose the Sarlacc pit as a metaphor because it’s (nerdy, an amusing mental image) a monster that is always hungry waiting to eat you. And that’s what living under settler c(r)apitalism is like. And there won’t be a Luke Skywalker to save the day. And I’d rather not have to thank some white boy for saving me. I’m not and never will be a prize to be “won”.

I’d rather be able to find a way out of the pit. Or if there’s a Luke Skywalker present, he can help pull me out, but I won’t do more than thank him for his help. If he really wants to help, once I’m free, he could teach me some of those nifty Jedi powers and can use them to take over the universe make the world a more equitable place for us all to live in.

~~~~~~~~~~

I’m fortunate enough to get to participate in the very first trans women writing retreat. They’re fundraising for many of us to attend so if you have cash, feel free to donate. As someone who’s really poor, they’re covering most of my costs so you’d be helping to pay for me.

We were asked to write a piece on why we write so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I write for my own survival. I write because if I don’t, I’ll get swallowed whole. I’ll be digested to nourish the Beast and not have a will of my own. I’ll just be nutrients. For me, writing is a life line. It’s the only thing that makes me feel like I’m doing something. When I write, at least I can control over how I represent myself. And that’s something that can’t be easily taken away from me.

Even though I’m blogging here and doing some really cool, awesome things and have done some amazing things before, it never feels like enough. I look at some of my colleagues and how the fuck am I supposed to compete with that? They’ve organized many events, got good activist cred, and make radical art. To top it off, they’ve got a (white, skinny, able bodied, cis) girlfriend. I’m looking at you white trans guys! Even if they don’t have their act together right now, it’s only going to be a matter of time before they’re making at least 3x my present income.

The fact that I haven’t founded an art program for trans youth filled with white trans boys and don’t have tons of -coordinator- jobs under my belt makes me feel like a useless sack of flesh. I used to think that my accomplishments something before coming to Toronto. I was Pride Youth of the Year in Hamilton for using my high school co-op final project to write a needs assessment to address homo/transphobic bullying my peers faced and my study was presented to the school board to change policy. I co-founded a youth group. I was part of the group that put on the first queer/anti-prom in Hamilton. I’ve done things! But not enough things. I don’t feel good enough living in Toronto where there’s an over-saturation of bright people and people who can bullshit their way into employment. It feels like the Sarlacc pit is filled with thousands of people pushing, shoving, and kicking trying to escape and some do… By shoving someone else so they can be free.

And this really sucks. Not just for me, but for everyone. There’s no real way for everyone to get out of the Sarlacc pit alive as it stands. There aren’t enough jobs, living costs are going up, social assistance is shitty, and the list goes on and on. I don’t have any answers, I’m just doing my best to survive.

~~~~~~~~~~

This writing retreat I’m attending isn’t about just getting to be around trans women who write. It means to me the potential for skill building which I don’t have ready access to. This is also the first time I’ll be attending a group for trans women skill building.

In Toronto where I live, I don’t know any programs that specifically aim to address transmisogyny and support trans women’s skill building. There are numerous programs that are for the trans community more generally, but aren’t designed for trans women. Now this is where a young, educated, white transmasculine person may pipe up and say that these programs are filled with trans women, which can be true. I argue the reason this happens is that due to the effects of transmisogyny and other -isms, a lot of transfeminine people keep on needing to access these services to survive. On the other hand, I’ve watched some transmasculine folks access these services for a while, and then they land a job that pays enough to survive on. The ones who come back are the ones who need the services and often face multiple oppressions.

 

I don’t know what to do anymore with my life. Much of my brain was trained to do queer organizing work, but there are too many queer social workers with actual MSW’s in the city. There are too many white, able bodied, neurotypical, non-fat queers getting jobs over me and I don’t have much fight left. And so I write. I can’t change my life really, but I can at least escape it.

I read a lot of fan fiction. It’s my primary coping mechanism dealing with life. But it’s mostly about conventionally attractive white boys fucking each other silly. That’s brain-melting hot and I love my fix of the gay… But they’re nothing like me. I rarely if ever see someone write a character as a trans woman let alone find many trans women characters in the first place. Even rarer is finding them written well and written for more than a quick one shot.

I don’t really see people like me. I don’t see very many trans women in positions of power and authority. I see very few disabled folks… You get the picture. But what I especially don’t see are people face many, multiple kinds of oppression. I write for me, about me because I can’t be easily controlled this way. While I’m terrible at getting paid employment, I can at least talk about and express myself.

I’d love to see more people who’re like me who get nice things. I want to read stories where trans girls are heroes and have torrid, angsty romance and satisfying sex. I want to read fic where a trans woman and another person get together and take in a bunch of younger queers and live together in a house. I want strong monsters who’re the protagonist and who don’t die horribly/alone/sad. I want a Sarlacc hero out to eat all the gross dudes.

I don’t know what’s going to happen at this writing retreat. I hope that the story idea I bring is interesting. I hope to gain a few more survival skills. And I know that I’ll meet some awesome people there.

FYI, if anyone ever wants to write me gender validating translady!Zayn/Liam Payne porny fic, I’ll squee and treasure it.

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