the weight of every image

Computer monitors, with the screen turned off, on row of shelves. Opened desktops are next to some of the monitors.

Courtesy of z yu/ Unsplash.

Let’s peel back the disparate and dehumanizing layers
of these different stories.
I can sit with the fact that they’re not monsters, these normal people
but the truth is stranger than fiction and it’s hard
not to function like the reality, which is that the
genres changed and I’m living
in a story where I have to be aware,
clever, as the narrative unfolds,
twisting turning placing us in a world overlapping this one
with filters and color correction and scoring and
a fourth wall that limits my ability to plead for help –
my audience has been removed,
and thus, so has my power.
but dialectics has strengthened my muscles,
my ability to hold multiple truths, multiple worlds, at once.
It’s a heavy burden, a balancing act that increases
with difficulty depending on the mood of the wind.
sometimes it feels impossible. most of the time it feels like losing your mind
if you prod at it for longer than a moment
allowing yourself to recognize that thin thin barrier between truth and lies, one universe
and the next, life and death. how could it all be so ridiculous?
when the comfort of sanity seeps in
a little too close to home,
it’s important to recall the trauma that landed you here
in the first place, feel it in your body
breathe through the waves of pain, fear, and frozen nausea
breathe through that fighting, fleeing, attempt at escaping certain death
that moment when you became a ghost echo
because getting comfortable means slipping up.
You have to grip all the lenses tightly.
Keep your eyes on all monitors at once.
Don’t blink.
Ha. angels, my ass.
Remember – the worst part of being so good at your job is that no one will ever see
the wires, the blood, the sweat, the tricks, that go into holding
the illusion up. In fact, they must never even know
the play for what it is.
You must master every game, work every angle
a twelve dimensional kind of chess with incredibly high stakes.
You have to reassure yourself of the lies, because if you ever tell the truth, you are dead
in the water. And by god, I refuse to let you drown.

Rel Feannag is a queer, trans, and multiply disabled writer who survived a rural childhood of religious cults and institutional violence. His work explores PTSD, disability/bodily autonomy, abuse, and the survival power of rage in art.
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