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Catharsis

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Catharsis

The process of releasing and thus providing relief from strong or repressed emotions

 

The laptop in front of her was playing an episode of Lexa’s current favourite show; The Exiled. She had basically woken up and gone to a website to watch the episode that the creators had spent the past few months hyping up. They had spoken with LGBT fans and basically promised that their representation, honestly the two most fascinating characters on the show would survive.

She had found the show when the two leading females, each one leading their own faction had kissed and tumblr exploded with gifs. She had since binged all the released episodes and caught up during the break between seasons 2 and 3. Season 2 had ended with the two characters caught up on opposite sides of a terrible situation with Elyza taking a deal from their enemy to spare her people in exchange for leaving Alicia and her allies stranded.

The heartbreaking betrayal had come up again in these early episodes with Elyza and Alicia working together to overcome an attempted rebellion. Episode seven started off with problems from Alicia’s people, they were being selfish and stupid and they were all on the brink of outright war. Alicia was trying to get Elyza to avoid a war that would cost thousands of lives but some of Elyza’s people didn’t approve.

As Lexa sat there and watched she had forgotten that for some reason Elyza was going to be absent for the next few episodes and was cheering when in a moment of goodbye Alicia and Elyza shared a kiss which then evolved into a night of passion. It was the moment that Lexa had been waiting all season for, she was loving this arc where they learned to forgive each other she felt it very strongly since her and an ex-girlfriend were giving it another shot after Lexa had broken up with her.

The happiness was quickly destroyed when the disapproval of Elyza’s father figure: Titus attempted to kill Alicia because of her influence, making Elyza attempt to change tradition. The scene quickly took a dark turn when Elyza rushed into the room to be met with a bullet. The following minutes were utterly heartbreaking as Alicia forgot any of her medical training and Titus just stood there preparing some ritual thing. The scene ended with the reveal that most of what made Elyza special was a computer chip.

It was then that Lexa, with tears in her eyes went to Twitter and Tumblr and just saw the incredible outrage and sadness of the LGBT viewers, it echoed deeply within herself and she added her online voice to the masses. Her anger only increased when she came across a tweet from the showrunner:

Wasn’t that incredible? Who saw that amazing twist coming?

Anger drove Lexa to tweet just how utterly disrespectful he had been, how homophobic the death scene had been, how it had been the worst example of the Bury Your Gays trope in years. Her anger soon was directed in a different direction when she saw that the fandom was falling apart, many were talking about self harm and she soon saw the massive numbers of helplines and hotlines being tweeted. The unity of the fandom gave her strength and she soon joined in tweeting and posting on Tumblr to help those hurt and betrayed. They had seen this situation too many times and now they started to scream as one voice “NO MORE.”

Lexa was hurt but she channelled her anger and pain into a constructive voice, helping to speak up for the LGBT viewers and she joined the cause.

LGBT Deserve better

The months that followed were long, with Lexa and her newly found online friends and fandom fighting hard to keep Elyza in the spotlight and trying to fight for better representation for all LGBT viewers as they trended weekly for the rest of the season and continued to trend. Dozens of articles were written by all kinds of media; from fans to online bloggers, to online media to even newspapers from countries around the world.

The season continued and got worse, with a man of colour being shot in the mud in a slaves death and then the next five episodes just provided more and more toxic shit, basically painting the natives as savage monsters who needed to be saved (and yet all of their “problems” this season were created and made worse by the invading people. Alicia was one of the few characters that actually saw the world for what it was, a difficult one with complicated choices but she strove for peace. Her ideals were quickly crushed under a season of awful content and her allies were being killed or surviving explosions, bullets to the heart and being thrown off cliffs while her lover died from a simple wound in a room with medical equipment and a trained medic. For a show where nobody is safe there seemed to be a lot of surviving the impossible unless you were an LGBT character. Each of these deaths and survivals just made the fandom even more upset.

The months went by and then the show was renewed, causing much outrage although the movement had achieved several things, companies had stopped advertising on the channel all together and they had even made four billboards appear in LA, promoting their messages.

The problems started to occur with some websites and competitions having mysterious issues when the Aliza fandom took the lead in any of their competetions. It was an incredibly frustrating time where it was fans and other people with an interest in actually making humanity better against a group of people who only cared about money, power and their own selfish interests. San Diego Comicon rolled around and the fans had their many valid questions about their treatment blacklisted, the crew of The Exiled were doing whatever they could to silence the angry fans and outright lying to them claiming that they hadn’t gone into LGBT forums.

The upside of all this was that Lexa was able to build a very damming narrative and write so much about how deliberate everything had to be, there is no way that there could be so many “accidents” and then when one of the people who left the show at the end of season 3 started speaking up it became even worse; the writers KNEW about BYG and the showrunner had blatantly said I don’t care. Ignorance was one thing but actually being warned in the room? Lexa couldn’t stand for it all.

It was in September, six months after the events of episode 3x07 that Lexa received a late night phone call from her girlfriend who had called to break up with her. It wasn’t the greatest way to break up but since she lived 250 miles away Lexa understood. That in no way meant that she didn’t just burst into tears as soon as her mother hugged her. She reached out to her online gaming friends and told them, some of them were amazing and promised to help make her nights easier. Plus, they were totally up for a good venting session. Lexa was happy that her online friends were so understanding; especially since she was feeling disconnected from her real-life friends a lot recently.

Having her heart broken on top of everything else that had happened so far this year was a serious blow to Lexa, and she started to spiral back into her depression. The days that went by didn’t help, Aliza fandom had been one of the happiest times and now with the heart break, other fandoms attempting to invalidate and undermine everything they did and just constantly attacking them Lexa was tired.

Lost and alone

After the hardest year since her university days where she had fallen into depression, and struggled with so many parts of her life, especially with an injury that just refused to heal properly Lexa was just sitting in the food court at the mall; alone and reading fanfiction on her phone. She was happy that all of the Aliza writers  and artists were doing their best to spread happy and give these two incredible characters everything they deserved and if Lexa was honest most of the writing in the canon universe was better than what the show had turned into. She was quite surprised to see an old uni friend sit down across from her at the table; Clarke Griffin.

“And what brings you to Arkadia Lexa?” Clarke asked after the initial shock of seeing the girl she was attracted to at university suddenly appear in front of her Lexa was able to reply.

“Just health issues, I needed to recover from a few things and I had family here so it seemed like it would work out for the better, still working on things. It’s been a rough year” Lexa admitted, she wore her emotions on her sleeve so often but still struggled to say the words a lot of the time, made therapy kind of challenging especially with all her previous experiences making things worse.

“Well it’s great to see you again, we should hang out more, here’s my new number. I have missed you, and it looks like you miss you too. Sadly I’ve gotta run, I have a session with my personal trainer to get to” Clarke said as she saw the time on her phone and dashed off after getting Lexa’s number.

The whole situation had shocked Lexa, it was definitely unexpected but she actually felt herself smile again for the first time in a few weeks; if she was honest since her birthday when her grandmother had come for a visit. Her proper smile was hard to come by these days but Clarke had definitely found it again and her words were definitely sparking something inside Lexa; she did miss her old self, when she could remember when she was actually happy and confident.

Her alarm on her phone went off so Lexa had to get up and slumped off to her therapy appointment, she was going to ask her therapist if she could find a different one since this relationship between client and therapist wasn’t helping Lexa.

Weeks passed and Lexa’s search for a new therapist wasn’t going well so while she waited and searched, she decided that joining the gym might give her something productive to do or at least find a way to feel a bit better, Clarke did help convince her that it was a good idea, especially since they had started to hang out a bit more. Clarke had also been heart broken by the death of Elyza on their screens and had helped fight for a while but had removed herself from those social media because it was too draining on her emotionally.

Lexa realised that taking a break from it all might actually help her and actually having someone near who understood her pain and emotions she was feeling helped her a lot. She didn’t want to give up but she needed a break and Clarke actually helped her smile.

The return of her voice

It was over a year later during season 5 that the fandom was hurt and abused once again with characters used only to give the occasional voice to Elyza, locked away in a virtual world with no escape in sight. The references and exploitation of the characters voice was a tiny hope for some but others saw it as merely an attempt to draw the viewers back in.

Lexa and Clarke were part of the fandom that heard and voiced their complaints, loudly and with the original passion. They spent the next few weeks fighting harder than ever and writing more in depth analysis of the way the crew, in particular the show runner used social media in their attempts to draw viewers in and mocking the hurt LGBT fans, especially those trying to get a spinoff or a revival for Elyza. For so many fans Elyza meant so much to them, she shared their sexuality, their desire to be loved abd many of them hand’t seen someone like them on television in a position of leadership. She was truly a unique and incredible character and she touched millions of lives and now she was just being treated as a cheap ratings trick and another chance for the showrunner to paint the LGBT viewers as angry and toxic and overly sensitive.

Articles were still being written and posted, it seemed that many of the LGBT fans who still had an interest in fighting for better representation were still around and making noise. They would not give up, Elyza was just too damn important to them.

It was in the months after season 5 when the show was at the back of their minds that Clarke and Lexa finally made things official, they didn’t spend as much of their time in the online world anymore but they still worked together to try and make the world a better place for the LGBT in general. They worked well together on many issues and still online campaigning for better LGBT treatment across more than just media.

They kept in touch with their online friends though, from so many places across the world, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia, Ireland and across America. They even met some new friends from the next town over and went to the nearby conventions to see the actresses of their pairing and thank them for their portrayal of characters that changed their lives.

Season 6 was yet again a chance for the writers to make up for their stupidity and yet despite the numerous chances to bring Elyza back, even to see her on one of the several trips into the virtual world she was trapped or the deep dive into Alicia’s memories there was not even a single glimpse of her. The frustration was getting to Lexa as she worked hard to write relevant posts and well written explanations of exactly why the things done on the show were rude and offensive.

Lexa wasn’t giving up but it was still a difficult fight and she was determined to somehow make a difference in the world. She had to thank Clarke and the other Aliza fans for being such incredible friends and being there while she struggled with her life. Her depression and anxiety were still strong and making her life an extra challenge but finally meeting a new therapist and having ideas to help give her stagnant life some extra energy and direction.

She still had a long way to go but she would be way further behind without her girlfriend and her friends.