I’ve been thinking about gender through my own perception of reality along with through the lenses of the main characters of “The Story.” I’ve written extensively about my thoughts in Zdiscord’s #gender in all areas except for through the perspective of John [he/him] and Trishna [she/her]. Straightforward, right? John’s a boy and Trishna’s a girl. Nothing more to consider… right? Over the years, I’d considered how there were areas of inconsistency in their shared experiences.
Spoilers?: Minor [transferring accounts, occasionally]
This thread starts with one main idea:
John and Trishna become friends, online, maybe through a MUD, but when they meet as teenagers they have many things in common. They become fast friends, starting as allies sharing a mutual goal, and from there develop a deep, trusting friendship. Later on, I thought about how, when they meet, and sleep together, they occasionally have the same dream. They might not realize it fully, but over time, they come to realize that they will experience the same dream where they might either do normal things, MUD-inspired things, or other wild things.
I’ve been studying many aspects of trans rights for an upcoming podcast.
How I’ve been able to relate to this, perhaps controversially, isn’t through gender dysphoria but through my physical disability. If I were given the opportunity to transition into a new body, preferably with fewer health problems, I would do so instantly. Even without that perspective, I respect anyone that realizes that their body isn’t comfortable for them, and they want to change some or all elements of their body. This feels like another frontier of reality like racism and sexism, except we’re in the middle of it instead of reading about it in the history books.
Steeped in this thinking, I went back to thinking of “The Story.”
I’m not sure how exactly it might start within the MUD, but I think that there would be a point at which Trishna and John would start sharing their accounts, maybe to help each other with gameplay, or for some other reason. Most bigger MMORPGs do have rules against this, so that’s where I’d have to explore through the idea of what this would all entail, but through this thinking, I wondered: would they swap accounts or bodies for purely gameplay reasons?
Trishna and John feel like two complete souls within me.
I don’t know if they represent the feminine and masculine aspects of myself, personified as characters, thus separating them just enough to disinterest me in performing as especially masculine, as an assigned-male-at-birth individual myself, but also through this thinking, I’ve wondered about how the masculine performance doesn’t interest me much along with the feminine performance. When I wear clothes, I don’t think of a shirt and shorts as being masculine or feminine, so those aren’t performative articles of clothing.
What are, then?
The examples I’d considered were make-up for feminine performances and beard oils for masculine performances. Facial hair is indicative of a masculine individual but does not fully confirm it and the Adam’s apple is not always apparent. Thinking about performative functions of gender has been interesting for me, because, let’s say that these elements were drained out of my perception of reality to form Trishna and John. They are two nebulous entities within my perspective of reality, if I am the one coaxing them out of nothing – and if they are pre-formed characters that I am using divination to coax out of their reality, well, either way, it feels like they are… flexible and fluid.
They might share accounts like some couples might share clothes on occasion.
Does that mean they body-swap in that sort of cliché way where they swap bodies for some rudimentary understanding of each other? These characters have been floating around in my psyche for nearly 20 years now. I think most of these other media characters existed for maybe a year or 5 at most, so they didn’t have the time to mature into fully functioning characters, and it may take another 10 years for me to be physically, mentally, and financially ready to tell “The Story.” 20, maybe.
The longer they simmer, the more real they feel.
There’s an idea throughout all of this where, once you trade bodies once, then return, how much of your original identity remains? This question implies that a majority of one’s body is defined by its physicality. Through my disability experiences, particularly my temporary paralysis perhaps caused by too much anesthesia after my surgery, I lost a distinct connection between being considered about physicality as performance and more of mentality as performance. If your mind considers your body to be a gender, whether masculine, feminine, or other, your mind controls your body, so your mind should dictate the behavior of your body.
I imagine, then, Trishna and John as two fully-formed entities.
When they swap accounts in their MUD or maybe in their dreams, they might start doing it as a sort of empathy exploration, but then as the years go by and the gimmick fades, they might do so for other reasons. I don’t know what, yet, but through exploring essays like this, I might shelve the idea or this might be the start for further exploration. It’s interesting to think about how these two characters might not be exactly as they appeared when I first imagined them in high school, but, exactly as I imagined them in high school. They retained basically all of their core identity throughout all of these years, other than revealing perhaps timid elements of their physicalities like their disabilities, their cultures, their childhoods, or the game they play where they meet.
I’m excited for the future of learning more about topics like this.
For topics like animals, they’re neat, but they are inconsequentially related to the inner-workings of Trishna and John, or John and Trishna, whereas learning about why sometimes I’ll write Trishna first then sometimes John, well… easy…
I might be thinking of the same entity, just across slightly different bodies.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: Research and self-development.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2021 July 01 [8:37pm to 9:14pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 July 01 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|