I woke up this morning with a headache. It was because of the way my pillow had arranged itself throughout the night, it lifted up my spine too much, causing severe pressure to my head. I’ve had experience with this before, but I woke up in the headspace where I ask: How could this be applied to “The Story?” Does John experience occasional, severe headaches? If so, does that outweigh Trishna’s severe, frequent spine pains?
Spoilers?: Minor [a trick question]
Hah, hah, a trick question, because they’re both important!
I haven’t thought too much about John throughout my spine disability process mainly because I’ve been able to essentially take the misery and despair of my disability and channel it through Trishna’s experiences with her spine disability. John is also experienced, but he has a bad hand and arm, which I can’t really method act through, or, apply my disability feelings into a character to flesh out the character and to put as a repository for those sorts of feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
But, would John get headaches like I’ve gotten?
It’s something to explore, maybe today, or maybe over the next few years, because there is a sort of equalizing dynamic between this couple that I’ve found interesting. I learned about Trishna’s disability near enough to the day I learned about John’s disability. I only learned about her chronic pain through, well, experiencing spine disability and the chronic pain that goes along with it. John’s disability, logically, would evoke either physical or mental pain for him, too, but maybe it’s not severe? Or maybe there’s something else that bothers him?
Maybe the arm disability is mild but his headaches might be severe?
I’ll explore it through the lens of how John grew up. He was raised in a series of foster homes, where each was worse than the last, so it would make sense that he would have some kind of muscle-related headache. I’m not sure how that would really play out over the course of “The Story” since the way that – I’ve imagined, and little has rocked this, despite wondering aloud a while ago – they sleep together is that John will lay on his back and Trishna will lay over one side of John. That sort of sleeping pose has been consistent for years now, so it’s safe for me to say that that’s one aspect of their relationship that remains the same: they sleep like that when they meet and for years after.
John will always ask Trishna how she’s doing when they wake up.
If Trishna is having a bad spine day, then John will tend to her and make sure she’s feeling comfortable. If Trishna’s spine is well-behaved, then they’ll continue along with their plans for the morning and day. But what happens when John wakes up feeling bad? This isn’t a one-way relationship. John may always be the first to ask how Trishna is doing, but what happens if John wakes up in worse condition than Trishna? Or what happens if they both wake up with something, whether sickness or some other kind of malaise?
This is where my thought this morning popped up.
So I woke up with that bad headache but did what I could to adjust my neck and body in a position where the pain would reduce. My spine was sore so I thought getting up and around would help. It did not. Only going back to bed and waiting for my neck muscles to calm down let things go back to normal. I imagine something similar to that will happen with Trishna and John, where when they wake up, basically, they’ll see how they’re both doing, tend to each other, and if they’re doing fine then maybe continue along with their day?
Something like that feels like a nice sort of friendship and relationship dynamic.
This sort of thing happens frequently between chronic pain friends where we check in with each other regarding our healths. We might do the same with friends that have other sorts of situations, whether physical, mental, and it’s just the same as checking in with friends over hobbies.
I believe a good working definition can be something like this:
- Acquaintances talk about only one topic, maybe at most.
- Friends talk about three and more topics. The dynamic shift here is that there are significantly more things to talk about, where each topic is like a node with a cluster around that node. So let’s say you met over talking about music, then talk about videogame music, then videogames, that could be the start to a good friendship, right? That might be where one or two other topics could create a sort of realistic friendship where opinions or considerations in one topic might not disrupt the communication.
- Are relationships, automatically deeper? This does imply sexual relationships, but I imagine there are situations where there are deeper friendships that aren’t sexual in nature. I’ll make a note here that this goes counter to the sort of American standard, if you will, where men feel this societal force to mate with as many women as possible, and women feel a societal force to be as attractive as possible. This toxic dynamic serves no purpose other than to perpetuate unstable relationships founded in surface-level acquaintanceships.
I almost feel like “The Story” is meant to be something deeper than that.
It’s funny that I’m the one tasked with writing “The Story,” since I am someone that has never entered a sexual relationship with anyone, nor ever plan to as my mission of writing is far more important than this sort of perpetuation of a society with standards I don’t idealize, so it would appear like I have no business talking about relationships like that, right? Well, that’s where I’ll lean into the idea that Trishna and John popped into my head during my final days of high school, ripe when the sexual tension might have been at its peak but all I wanted was fucking… out of high school as soon as possible. I got good grades to get out. I did everything possible to physically and mentally escape. I didn’t spend a second of time trying to enjoy the misery I was in by trying to pursue a relationship, and throughout the years, I’ve been seen as weird because of that, but now I’ve come to terms with what exactly that was: I have no interest in the whole process of a relationship, except as it relates to having friendships and other sorts of relationships with others.
Parasocial relationships are the unrequited love that people have toward characters.
By characters, I mean everything from the kayfabe persona someone wears to the actual broadcasting personality that someone evokes. I could even be seen as a character, no matter how much I try to convey my honest self, because what is honestly me isn’t the words that I write outwardly, but the inwardly private words I exchange between others, or the sorts of situations where we talk about our vulnerabilities and help each other out. These are the sorts of situations that build true friendships, not reading their essays daily or watching their livestreams whenever. These sorts of barriers can be broken or built up, but generally speaking, these are the sorts of things that can make or break friendships or relationships.
I imagine, then, that Trishna and John became close very quickly.
I see them as two kids that empathized with each other quickly and could relate to each other about many topics. They are both physically disabled, they both play a videogame, and they are both open about their experiences going to their schools. This creates a good sort of foundation for their friendship, maybe, but there are many more aspects that develop throughout the years that they talk online, where they have no way to be physically intimate with each other. Maybe Trishna’s spine disability makes it impossible for her to, well, as I mentioned before about sexual aspects of their relationship, maybe that’s not something that’s possible or probable for Trishna? That might be a turn-off for the sorts of “sex fiend males” that are littered throughout American culture, but what if John genuinely enjoys being around Trishna first and foremost?
That’s a perspective I can relate more toward…
…But sexuality is an aspect of disability that is often overlooked. Just because I have my own sexual preference [asexual, genderless, pronounless] doesn’t mean that I should force that on my characters. I may not be super interested in writing about the sexual actions of Trishna and John, but it would be remiss of me for not including information about what they’re doing, even if it’s at a glance. If I am the cameraperson that reports on their lives for “The Story,” and if they are willing to let me in while they are having sex, then I should write it in a way that is respectful to their experience while also being comfortable for me to write – and not pornographic for potentially sex-starved audiences while ostracizing others.
I haven’t done much thinking regarding the sexuality of Trishna and John.
Comparatively, I have thought about the sexuality of Trishna’s sister Sammohini, and directly wrote about the sexuality of Trishna’s brother Fearghal in Novel 01. So it’s all in there, somewhere, but I’m not sure how sexual the relationship between Trishna and John is, and how much of that is related to Trishna’s disability or John? These are topics I haven’t considered before, but are worth considering eventually. For now, let’s return to the topic of headaches. If John does suffer from something like headaches, it does feel like a weird sort of counterbalance to Trishna’s spine disability, and I only say weird because it’s not something that’s ever really seemed to be in the background throughout all the many years of conversations I’ve imagined.
When I get headaches, they tend to get really bad until my neck muscles calm down.
What that means is that the morning and early afternoon are usually wasted, and then by evening, I can focus well enough to write or do other things. That sort of temporary sickness doesn’t fit with how I interpret John’s experiences throughout “The Story,” even if those headaches might only happen once every few weeks. There could be something else going on, but this is the value of brainstorming through ideas at length. As we saw earlier, I did a complete tangent into the nature of relationships. As I’ve learned through my own experiences with writing and communicating, if I’m not feeling a topic, I’ll shift gears. The topic of headaches was not interesting enough for me to explore at length, so it’s probably not relevant to John’s experience – at this moment.
These essays are almost like brainstorming, mind-mapping, prep work.
Once my health gets into a reliable state, and I can ensure a stable work/life balance for myself, I will begin plotting out more major brainstorming efforts like this outside of essays. I might build the tools to help me write things, then write about that process. The Minecraft maps help with that, and once I get my computer able to do those broadcasts again, I’ll reintroduce that. I’ll have more streams about the writing process, outside of Writing Talks, to verbalize some of these essays about specific writing topics. I’ll figure out what tools I’ll need to develop storytelling tools necessary for me to write “The Story,” and then once all of that is ironed out, I’ll be able to figure out more for sure what kind of health problems John and Trishna both have. For now, I know that Trishna has some kind of disability that she was born with, but outside of that, I don’t know, but I do know that it’s consistent throughout her entire narrative, whereas headaches for John?
Not so much, but that’s what’s cool about brainstorming in near obscurity – no retconning!
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: This is how brainstorming works. Work through a central theme until having some good thoughts.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2021 August 01 [10pm to 10:54pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 August 01 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|