GLITTERBRAIN

[Content Note: Please take care of yourself when reading this folio, which contains descriptions of topics and symptoms including suicidal ideation, ED, and GBV/VAW. You may want to be mindful while reading, and if you need to talk, some US services that are available are the Trevor Project : (866)-488-7386 and the Crisis Textline: Text “home” to 741741.]

You could call 2017 the year of “We Tried to Tell You.” Or the year of “We’re Tired of Telling You.”

Every day, the mainstream media is shocked that there are still Nazis in 2017. That people of color are being lynched. That the US government has renewed its zeal for taking more indigenous lands. But it’s not just the media. It’s friends and colleagues sharing their disbelief that this could happen in America. That this is “not us.” Except, of course, it is. And for people of color, queers, and the neurodiverse communities in America—this is how it’s always been. This is the year of choosing to have the hard conversation, to call in, to hold accountable.

This might be the year of, to borrow from Nikki Wallschlager, I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel.

This is the year one quarter of people murdered by police were neurodiverse. This year we have the largest number of trans deaths, a number that likely won’t tell the whole truth because trans people are still denied validity, and misgendered in death by police, the media, even family.

When I put out the call for work for Glitterbrain, what I wanted the most was realness, whatever that may mean. Because neurodiverse, queer, people of color are denied what is real.

When people of color talk about our personal experiences with police violence, about knowing there are active chapters of the KKK, about government surveillance and interference, we’re called “delusional.” When the reality of our queer and trans identities are routinely put up for debate in public forums, we’re told to stop being “sad.”

It’s no coincidence the current US President’s favorite insult is “delusional.” It’s no coincidence that he’s popularized the new summary dismissal: “Sad.”

Of course we're sad. How is that even an insult? I'm rarely triggered when I'm mocked with, “lol triggered???” Defensive responses are sputtered out from the white cisheteronormative imagination, claiming their truths are inalienable, they project that we’re the ones being emotional. They’re mourning the loss of their privilege, but we’re mourning our comrades.

This is the year of “i fight with my girlfriend because the fascists want me dead.

And this is also just as much the year of feeling sick that I never realized what life was like for some of my loved ones. Everyone I care about is in their own struggle just to live under this fascism. The kyriarchy makes living in contemporary society anywhere from inaccessible to fatal. Some struggle more than others. The year where mental illness and other neurodiversities need to stop being used as pejoratives. This is the year of needing to check in on the people we care about. The year of needing to witness one another in struggle and triumph, and to honor our common goals of humanization and liberation.

Because we’re real, and because we’re luminous.

Sarah Clark
November 2017

Sarah Clark

Sarah Clark is a two-spirit Native editor, writer, and consultant. She is currently an editor with The VIDA Review and a co-editor of Bettering American Poetry. She curated the Drunken Boat folios on sound art, and on global indigenous art and literature, “First Peoples, Plural," and was co-editor of the Apogee Journal folio #NoDAPL #Still Here. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations, including Sundress Press, Best of the Net, The Paris Review, and Blackbird