My first post on this blog, from July 14, 2010, was called Setting the Tone. This was its content:
It’s about survival.
"It’s not a deal nor a test nor a love of something fated."
"It’s out there most days and nights, but only a fool would complain."
Back then, the song said something to me about my feelings about being trans. This is something you just have to deal with, it said. Yes, it always hurts, but still, you’re alive, you’re loved, you’re lucky; only a fool would complain.
Now it means something else to me. Now it’s about the ways we try to cope with the incomprehensible by pretending that it is inconsequential. Like Adele in the scene from Blue is the Warmest Color that I took stills from in my last post, when faced with the reality that Emma doesn’t love her anymore, that she can never again be with her, saying not “I cannot handle the idea of a life without you” but “You know me. Sometimes I cry for nothing.” When what she’s crying for is everything.
The character in “Nautical Disaster” plays the same game.
"Anyway, Susan, if you like
Our conversation is as faint a sound in my memory
As those fingernails scratching on my hull”
"Anyway." So rare to hear that word in songs, which are usually about simple, straightforward feelings and "anyway" is a word we use to downplay the value of our feelings, to say "this doesn’t really matter." To pretend—to tell ourselves—that we can easily cope with things we actually don’t have any fucking idea how to cope with. Maybe pretending is all we can do. After all, as Masha Tupitsyn has written, “There is simply no place for real, and therefore radical, heartache in this culture. No time and no place.”
But after doing it for so long, now I suck at pretending, to myself and to others. I remember weeks ago how T asked me if I was okay, knowing I wasn’t. It was obvious, much as I didn’t want it to be. And I decided there was no point in pretending, and I said that I really liked X, and that I really missed her, and he just said “yeah,” in that way that says “I know. I understand.” (which of course he did, he knows she’s great) and I cried a little, and not for nothing.
I don’t know how to pretend that conversations are faint sounds in my memory when I can still feel them living inside me.