Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Thank you.


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Thank you for your ignorance. Thank you for your apathy.

Thank you for walking on our bodies until we join the sidewalk; thank you for barely noticing. Thank you for shedding a small tear for the tragedy that inevitably ends our lives, and thank you for so efficiently erasing our names and our stories thereafter.

Thank you for letting our families know what manner of things we are. Thank you for helping them let go of us. Thank you for helping them push us into the street. Thank you for helping them kill us. Thank you for helping them forget us.

Thank you for the names you have given us: Abomination. Grotesque. Thank you for telling us these names, on our streets and in our homes. Thank you for helping us erase whatever other names we might have had or foolishly thought we wanted. Thank you for giving us these to take their place: Freak. Monster.

Thank you for helping us realize the value of our lives—how painful they must be, how pathetic. Thank you for helping so many of us find the courage to cut open our own throats.

Thank you for killing us.

Thank you for stabbing us. Thank you for bashing in our skulls, for putting bullets into our organs, for beating us until we could no longer remember how to breathe. Thank you for drowning us in water and in the liquid parts of our own bodies. Thank you for your remarkable efficiency, that the dead should be so many that no single one of us could remember them all.

Thank you for all you have done for us.

Had you done otherwise, we should not have learned what manner of creatures you are.

6 Responses to “Thank you.”

  1. Jonathan Walton Says:

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    This post has been vexing me ever since I read it.

    Shouldn’t the final line more fittingly be, “we would not have learned what manner of creatures we are?” Don’t we share collective responsibility for the culture of violence? Aren’t those other creatures fundamentally the same creatures that we are?

    Human beings have been killing other human beings for fundamentally stupid and horrible reasons since the beginning of time. Have we really learned anything from it? I’m skeptical. Does it help build our resolve to fight against injustice and terrible crimes? Sometimes. Othertimes not. In either case, the waste of it all stands out to me. Is strengthening our resolve ever worth such a complete waste of life? People willingly risking their lives for social justice is one thing, but people losing their lives to murderous killers supported by a culture of violence is something else, I think.

    Maybe I’m approaching this from the wrong place, but it was bothering me all day yesterday, so I felt like I should say something.

  2. violet Says:

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    I do think the accusatory tone—directed at “you”—does serve to present responsibility as collective, in the sense that it’s blaming, explicitly, every reader.

    But, yes. It is accusatory. It is othering. It comes from a place of anger, rather than reconciliation. And in this case, I think that’s completely appropriate.

    For context, I wrote this after trying to compile the names of the dead for Transgender Day of Remembrance. I say “trying to,” because I wanted to link each name to a story about their murder, and their lives. And, for most of the names, I couldn’t find anything, except more instances the list of names. Nothing to mark their lives or their murders, save for their name on a list of the dead.

    I needed there to be something that expressed the fundamental inhumanity of that; something that screamed, “You are a monster,” without hedging, “…but then, we’re all monsters, in a way…”

  3. Jonathan Walton Says:

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    Thanks, that helps. If you believe that humans are a mixture of nature, nurture, and choice, then there is definitely a point where you have to draw the line and say, “Yes, we are responsible for our violent instincts and for our participation in a culture of violence, but, no, we choose NOT to murder people because their existence or behavior makes us uncomfortable.”

  4. violet Says:

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    Somehow I didn’t see this, but—right, exactly.

    With, again, the understanding that everyone can read this and have it be true; every one of us can stand accused, in one way or another. But trying to hold that concept in such a way so as to not dilute the notion of monstrosity—not, “everyone is a monster, and so no one is” but, “everyone is a monster, full stop.”

  5. little light Says:

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    Whoof. Powerful.
    I hadn’t seen this before. It’s very well done.

  6. violet Says:

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    Thank you (um, genuinely)!

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