From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

COSMIC POWERS

Nonfiction

The Sleepover Manifesto

We know that queers need fantasies.

We believe that queers specifically need fantasies of the future to sustain us moving forward.

We need utopian dreams of worlds that could be, because, as Jose Muñoz argued, without fantasies we cede the not-yet-here to the imperatives of reproductive futurism.

We argue that we need fantasies not just of the future, but of the past.

We see the ways that so many of us relate to the past—the ways in which we are cut off from our communal and personal histories.

We strive to connect ourselves to and make sense of our histories even as we are denied them, even as they are papered over and re-sold to us as musicals or films where the heroes of Stonewall or the AIDS crisis were exclusively square-jawed white men.

We appreciate the immensity of this task, of reaching across historical divides, and we love those who enable this work.

We submit that alongside the work of reconnecting with and reimagining social narratives, we need fantasies of our own personal histories.

We think back to our childhoods and see children forced to grow up too fast, kids who learned to take care of other people’s feelings and bury their own.

We recollect a range of violence inflicted on us for transgressing gendered and sexual norms, violence inflicted on some of us before we even knew what we were being punished for.

We remember a baseline experience of casual ridicule that we assumed was normal and deserved, punctuated by physical and sexual assaults.

We recall most vividly memories of spending the night with children we called our friends and the violence, humiliation, and pain they inflicted upon us.

We realize that history cannot change for those hurt and confused children, but insist that things can be and must be different for us now.

We demand that the violence we suffered be witnessed and recognized, even as we strive to make sense of and recover from it.

We propose that it is exactly because sleepovers were the site of such intense trauma for so many of us that they can be occasions for productive fantasy.

We see our pasts as ripe for fantasy in the same way as our futures; just as imagining otherwise allows us to consider the steps that might lead to more desirable, just futures, it can also allow us to make sense of our trauma and to recognize our resilience.

We wonder what our childhoods could have looked like, not in the mode of tragic longing, but in that of playful fantasizing.

We invite you, in this spirit, to have sleepovers.

We want to braid and curl and play with each others’ hair; paint our nails and watch awful movies; play games and make popcorn and maybe make out; do tarot readings and talk about our crushes; order pizza and eat sitting around the box on the floor; play mixes for each other; talk and talk for hours until we finally fall asleep and then wake up early to make pancakes the next morning.

We are aware that these desires will be painted as embarrassingly normative, as evidence of our childishness, or as indication of our status of patriarchal dupes reaching for idealized childhood experiences.

We retort that embarrassment can be a fruitful experience, that too many of us were denied the opportunity to be childish earlier, and that further, fuck you.

We insist that we can transform a ritual of childhood anguish into one of affection, nurturance, and love.

We ask that you bring your sleeping bag, your PJs, and your histories.

We believe in the radical possibilities of sleepovers, babe.

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merritt kopas

merritt kopas is a writer and digital artist from southern Ontario and the Pacific Northwest. Her digital works include Consensual Torture Simulator, Minkomora, and HUGPUNX and have been covered in The Guardian, The New Statesman, and The New York Times. She is also the editor of Videogames for Humans, an annotated collection of interactive fiction. Suplex, her first collection of short stories, will be released in 2016. She lives in Toronto with her cat Ramona.