Developer: Leno Heyaca
Launcher Quote: “I was a teenager when I told my mother “why choose”, when she asked me why I sometimes dressed as a boy and sometimes as a girl. I told her that for me, gender were boxes from which I took out the parts that I felt were “me” each day. It wouldn’t be until recently when the words “non binary” would come into my life and I could finally describe me.
I was a young person when I trusted in the wrong one and started the path of self-doubt. I didn’t know how to tell someone why I was hurting so much, until I could name abuse.
It was years later, when you came into my story and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be happy on the best days of my life or why, despite being happy, I was also apathetic. It took me a doctor to know that it was called depression. Getting here was hard, but it would have been impossible without art. It is art that keeps me alive and gives me words where I can’t find them.
It is you, the witness of all my paths, who help me keep going when I forget that.”
Identity has been a big thematic part of many developers’ entries into the Meditation Games series, and much of some of the identity exploration has not surprisingly surrounded sexuality or gender in some form or fashion. These are, before most anything else, one of the markers of how someone tends to identify themselves as, and the journey, trials, and tribulations that those that are non-binary go through as a result of society’s default need to place in one box or the other is the part of the subject of today’s entry. The other part of this identity discovery is the result of finding out how you operate, how you are mentally wired, and what, if anything, you need to do in order to cope with and accept that wiring – a common theme for those that deal with the stigma of mental health issues.
This isn’t the first time in the series that the discovery of identity has been depicted as someone’s top down journey through a series of rooms, hallways, and dark places, but today’s entry by Leno shows an interesting take on how one tends to emerge from that journey. While I only managed to go through a few of the rooms in the game before I appeared to figure some of it out, the mechanic of running over the light, and having it become brighter every time I did so was an easy but yet insightful way of sending what I thought was the message of the journey. That message was that with every insight and lesson you learn, a light of insight is there to be discovered, making the journey a little bit brighter and not so confusing, allowing that journey to eventually end with the dawning light of understanding and acceptance.
What’s important in what I think my interpretation of this metaphor is, is that it accepts a reality that the journey to discover oneself, whether that be who you love, which gender you are (or are not), or which way in that you approach things mentally is actually a journey. The light you discover is gradual, not instant. The travelling you do throughout your life from a self-discovery standpoint is necessary and not an overnight thing. In fact there may be some instances, like I did in the game, where I went past the light and didn’t remember or discover it for what it was until I touched it. All of these are important to remember, as well as the fact that you need a support structure to help you, witness you, and comfort you when you inevitably stumble or fall. Whatever it takes to do that, to get to that light, whether it be other people, media, or in the case of the developer, their art, it’s something that should be discovered, tuned, employed, and accepted – especially as it is an ongoing process in living life.