It's not fetishism, it's cathexis.
A moment ago I found myself saying that “I’m done apologizing for my gay male fetish.” But you know what? It’s not fetishism, for me or, I suspect, for many other slash writers. Fetishism is taking one part or aspect of something and attributing mystical powers to it, so that it fills in for something in yourself you feel you lack. Fetishism leads to objectification, which denies the individuality and subjectivity of those you fetishize. Cathexis is different. (I know, it’s an obscure word, and it sounds all professory and elitist, but it’s such a precise term I really need to use it.)
Cathexis is investing erotic and emotional energy into a person, situation, object or act. Cathexis, unlike fetishism, doesn’t fill in for a lack, but adds to and enables parts of yourself and the world you haven’t fully understood. Cathexis draws out and enhances libido; the object of cathexis is like a magnet pulling out of you desires that you haven’t accessed otherwise. Most importantly, cathexis is strongest when you attend to the specific, unique characteristics of your object. Fetishism means mystifying; cathexis means paying attention. The fetish loses its power when you learn about who or what it really is; cathexis gets stronger the more you know about your desire and its object.
So: I’m done apologizing for my gay male cathexis. I’m not quite sure exactly what it’s enabling in me, but I’m a better, happier, more creative person because of it.
for anon! meme about setsuna~
Name: Setsuna M K. She’s not going to tell you the rest.
Best friend: Dragon, Dobki, Morgan.
Sexuality: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. For the sake of convenience I guess pansexual works?
Gender: genderfluid (lady pronouns are totally fine, but “they” is equally perfect— “he” is alright some days.)
Relationship status: alone, partly by choice, partly because she just doesn’t really understand people all that well later on.
Ideal mate: She doesn’t really seek anyone. The people who she gathers around her, she gathers as friends. She wants a friend, a good one. Dragon wasn’t really a good one but she loved him all the same and he loved her, and after he was gone she was wrecked for a while. She came around eventually, realised she wasn’t being healthy… Their relationship was bad for a while, became better. It was full of learning, giving, but not of sacrifice. There was nothing to sacrifice. She needs people like that. People who can pull her back or carry her if need be and people she is happy to help carry, too— She needs someone who is willing to be better, who makes her want to be better, while simultaneously making her feel pretty alright. Just someone to pal around and grow with. Experience new things, good and bad. Someone who if they don’t understand will still accept and respect what she is and what she wants. I think that’s what everyone wants? Someone to grow up, grow old with, knowing it’s not always going to be great. Whether they smooch or not isn’t a big deal, holding hands or eating popcorn would be equally enjoyable.
Crushes: probably Dragon, once, haha, jesus christ that’s embarassing. She doesn’t like anyone at present!
Favourite colour: Cyan! Grey! Cool red! Blaaaaaaaaaack.
Turn-ons: haha whoa
Favourite food: BREAKFAST THINGS !!!! All of them especially at non-breakfasty hours. The food doesn’t really matter, it’s the experience of choosing to eat it at ridiculous times or in ridiculous ways.
Favourite music: Pink Floyd, Neubauten, Tom Waits, Florence + The Machine, Cat Power, Brody Dale, Beastie Boys, Awolnation, Prodigy, Serj Tankian, Apocalyptica, Coheed & Cambria, uh different music at different times in her life (I usually answer these things for when she’s 15 or 30ish, here I’m kinda goin back and forth, it’s hard AHHH) the National, Jessie J, Crystal Castles, uh she’s a big dork so probably Nightwish and a tonne of power metal and/or symphonic rock WOO HOO DRAGONFORCE
Biggest fear: Becoming a god, and by that I mean becoming like one of the gods of the council, since they all seem very similar in what can only be described as sociopathy from lack of interpersonal relationships. She doesn’t want to forget who she is. But she is afraid, too, that she doesn’t know who she is, and that she clings to people hoping their personality will rub off on her. A more mundane but pressing fear is everything— she has bouts of really bad anxiety, not just regarding social scenarios but most… things… sometimes.
Biggest fantasy: Being able to sleep soundly in the sun with a dog or something, in this one particular house on a hill that waits for her but is off where she can’t disappear to. Ah~
Bad habits: Picking her face, biting her nails, sleeping too much to avoid human contact and then guilting herself over avoiding human contact, forgetting to eat and/or eating a lot of junk food in lieu of real food, forgetting to take her shoes off indoors?!
Biggest regret: She doesn’t regret much. A lot of it was out of her control. I guess she regrets not establishing more control, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible.
Best kept secret: Eh— I guess she keeps the nature of her existence a secret from most people. That’s a good one. She isn’t very open about her gender identity, either.
Last thought: EVER? Or just now. Probably something about godzilla or batman. Probably combining them into one entity.
Worst romantic experience: she hasn’t really had any bad or good ones!
Biggest insecurity: how she acts around people.
Weapon of choice: she doesn’t know much about combat. The only thing she’s ever wielded is some structural steel shrapnel! Otherwise idk she’ll run over you on her Brough
Role model: oh heavens, there’s not just one person.
i’ve been operating under the assumption that god is dead and that we are the disciples it chose to take its place, and there is no corpse for us to find and bury, it passed on in the night while we sat in rows of chairs and deliberated over the sins of man. man knows in his heart that god is dead but is too frightened of what that might mean and instead prefers to carry on as if a ghost can judge the living. at one time i might have cared if god was watching— i remember peering over my glasses (long after i stopped needing them) in the hopes that maybe i would catch a glimpse of the thing i’d given my heart to, that allegedly gave a bit of its heart to me. i was brought to this place swaddled in gold and purple and told i was something special, but that was no news to me. i’d always been told that, back when i played in the reeds of rivers whose names i’ve forgotten, back when my reflection in the water began to dim and suddenly i was blind, and, just as suddenly, i began to see past the small village and into the expanses of a universe i didn’t know existed. i couldn’t put it into words. although i could see and feel the millions of possibilities before me, worlds beyond what my mind could handle, i look back now and i can’t remember the faces of those who raised me, or if i was raised at all. sometimes i see shadows of myself walking paths i surely must have taken once, or will, and so i know that i was young. i never feared aging until i saw what i used to be. time meant nothing to me. time was another rule i could bend to my liking.
i’ve been operating under the assumption that god is dead and that i, like many others, will rise to power in its stead, because we were adopted by it long ago for this very purpose. why else would we be here? why else would we have been drawn to this place from wherever it was we came, if not to wear its crown when that moment arrived? but i don’t think anyone is ready to admit that god is gone and that we are as alone as we always were. even if god stared down at us i know i’ve never heard its voice and have only obeyed my own laws. if someone can hear it calling out to them then they are lost in a place i refuse to enter. but maybe i am deaf here, maybe god is alive and well and i’m the one who’s lost and looking for answers in my own echos. i’ve seen the white void when i escape from the fortress corridors but it is more a tomb than anything else. if something was there, it shed its skin and left for more hospitable hosts. took with it my faith and now i feel the frigid past sneaking up, and, more dangerous, the future. everything has always been the present. my existence feasts on every moment, i am reborn with every second, i’ve never heard the ticks of a clock and so i am immortal. but my hair has greyed and i have bags under my eyes that i don’t recognise. i am scared and in my fear i’ve lashed out, i’ve drawn things close to me that i shouldn’t have touched, i have appointed certain individuals to live my life for me. i hoped it would have been enough.
i’ve been operating under the assumption that god is dead and that with my seemingly-inevitable ascension to almighty i might bring in those i took under my wing to become new leaders while we rot, and so the cycle would go on until i pass without a parting word. but this ashen place does not cradle its occupants. there is no room for new gods here, we have stood by while angels come and go in their daring attempts to live like mortals but always we were too pious to admit our hypocrisies and so we survived. (the knife was in his hand but my grip drove the blade while i looked away.) but there is nothing left to say now, no apologies. we will die in these halls while our armies defend an empty citadel, unaware we’ve taken our leave. some of us will go out clinging to our old roles, protesting in angry shrieks, and some of us will suffocate and, breathlessly, cross our arms over our chests and wait for the end. orphaned, i will sit on the throne and look down at a system i climbed with ease. i was always the prince in robes of gold and purple but at the end of days that won’t save me because there won’t be anyone to call my name, the admiral will be gone by then and his successors will have driven their swords into the bodies of rebels who already know what it is we’ve tried to deny.
i was the first to see the light and my punishment is to watch it persist without me. the war will continue as it always has, and, at long last, i’ll eclipse the setting sun. when next it rises, it will rise alone.