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Her Sacred Spirit Soars - Draft 2 Excerpt and Comments

sqiouyilu Mar 14th, 2018 45 Never
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  1. Sometimes we hold each other. I'd found myself crying and she'd asked if I wanted a hug--it felt too intimate, almost, but I'd said yes and felt such relief with her arms around me. Any discomfort has since faded away. I'm holding her today after a particularly bad session. They're perfecting techniques to break through repression, to break through locks that people might use to suppress information. They'd delved into both our minds; I'd come out fine, but Yaulan--
  2.  
  3. She clings to me, her knuckles white, her sobs filled with so much pain that they bring tears to my own eyes.
  4.  
  5. "Why, why, why..."
  6.  
  7. I stroke her hair. "It's okay. You're safe."
  8.  
  9. She shakes her head, buries herself deeper into my embrace. ["I hate this. I hate being a girl. I hate that--I hate that this is just a thing that happens to girls. That it keeps happening."][Commenter 1: The meaning of this is unclear, but also intriguing. Is she trans? Does she simply see victimization as a common female malady? What actually keeps happening? Invasion? Experimentation?]
  10.  
  11. I'm not sure what to say. She curls into a ball, hides within herself, closes herself off. All I can do is keep holding her, keep reassuring her.
  12.  
  13. "I don't want to be a girl," she whispers after a while. "I don't even know what it means to be one."
  14.  
  15. "It means caring after your family," I say, "and--"
  16.  
  17. But I don't even know myself. I occupy a girl's form and I move around the world as a girl, walk in roles meant for girls, but there's a disconnect there, too. I make the motions and others understand them as a girl's movements, yet I'm not so sure myself. But what else could I possibly [be?][Commenter 2: This is another line of thought you're playing with but isn't yet fully formed. What do you want to say here and how does it relate to the core elements of the story? (to be clear, I don't mean that you shouldn't keep this!)]
  18.  
  19. "--and being the yam to their yeung," I say, falling back on Taoist imagery. I hesitate. "Do you want to be a boy?"
  20.  
  21. [She shakes her head vigorously. "No. Boys become men and men are terrible. I just don't want to be a girl."][Commenter 3: Gender has not been specifically tied to what is being done to them. In the context of WWII, any testing being done on them is likely being done on men as well, as it is most likely to be used on enemy soldiers. Meisun has not seemed to view her experience in terms of rigid gender roles, either. She was sold off into marriage, but there aren't details to that showing her suffering in a gendered fashion. The gender of the birds is unclear, and likely unimportant (they are birds). Interesting, too, that Yaulan thinks of herself only as a girl, while distinguishing between boys and men. Meisun at least is old enough to be a woman based on her life experiences. While there are many ways to link enduring to gender, the groundwork has not been laid so far.][Commenter 4: I don't mind that this is just coming up now, as it's being introduced by a character who we're just now getting to know.]
  22.  
  23. I feel her quaking against me. I can't say for sure, but I know there's something between us, a shared understanding that I can't articulate. The thought of being a boy, being a man, feels wrong to me too, yet there's a gulf between how I feel and what I imagine being a girl or being a woman means. There's so much more--so much more than our bodies, so much more than what we're supposed to be.
  24.  
  25. "I guess we just have to endure what happens," I murmur. Another sob wracks her body.
  26.  
  27. "Fuck that," she says. "Fuck enduring. I want to live without this pain. Without this fear."
  28.  
  29. Her breathing mellows out after a while, grows steady and falls into rhythm with mine. She falls asleep against me. I trace imaginary patterns against her back, feel her warmth radiating through me.
  30.  
  31. Maybe enduring is only one way of moving forward.
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