Saturday, October 3, 2009

Retired Iron: From Ex-Straight to Kinky Curls

By M. Rich

I'm quite comfortable here. I switch layers for bare skin, with the blank hanger I exchange the shirt in hand for empty space. The shirt goes on the rack, I go for the cap. It reads "newyork." In one word the city represents a vague stitch in red thread lettering and I simply cannot regret the name.

Inside my apartment I can revel in the ambiguity of this genderfuck, safely tucking away memories of my former selves. "Non-conforming for no one now. This is no performance," I think. I know barely a thing outside this body and even this is lately foreign territory. All around I walk this city - side streets, ally ways, and all these questions, I am let down at the same dead end with all but one choice word to choose. By default I am paralyzed in between the binary this and amidst my train of thought- that I find discomforting. And now, with privilege I rush the streets like angry rain, I storm through the front doors and embrace this information. I take advantage of this knowledge, employ a greater sense of self. Charge complete, I run from everything.

I rush quickly, frantic I glide easy onto the wood floor board of my bedroom from the tiny bathroom. I plug in my pink hair iron and sit. I jump up remembering at once those dishes I promised I'd wash before. When I finally return to the computer I remember this tool - the act of straightening my hair, the therapeutic treatment, the ability I have now to live without every day necessitating it. Yet, I can't disregard the fact that I wanted to sit with that tool and make my hair flat all the while contemplating how this pastime ritual once defined me.

Likewise how such an act in those days remains to me a symbol of how identity was ingrained in me from later days. As classified "high-femme" and outspoken, this is how I survived, a social butterfly talked her way through high school, plays a role that can no longer be forged, nor blamed for. My life was straightened out, I had some help of course. There's the news and gossip reports and all those ridiculous thoughts that formed me into facts. So I filled in the blanks about what I imagined to be true - I took on an identity, an image of the ultimate me. Taking control simultaneously controlled by what I would achieve, a boyfriend, a group of besties, a job to afford all the necessities that came with a high maintenance profile. If I got all the parts missing (which I did) well then, my life would be complete- right?

If homophobia murmured through halls of my high school I didn't notice. I was already locked in and notably uncomfortable. I would have climbed walls in the advent that I noticed those two queers in the corner being affectionate. Taking off from anxiety, I continued forward locking away a skeleton to let out at a later date, if ever. For most of my life I've kept secret feelings locked up in emotions forcefully denying myself the right to live and experience myself. Giving little thought to my reactions gave way for belittling what I honestly felt. When I saw girls kissing girls I'd ignorantly declare (fearful of learning otherwise) that these girls were just drunks making out to turn them boys on. I not only projected my personal girl on girl experiences onto the LGBT students at large but my voice symbolized the silencing of the self in order to protect that who I am. I learned to become her, taught myself to navigate "straight," assuming it safer to survive the horror scenes now played out over as myself in my memory. The point of destruction was where she spoke I was not and when I spoke she had no voice. Let me deconstruct.

These walls are safe, they're built on ruins and envy and fear and I am no taller than that. This structure supposes me, this idea holds me in place. It is the idea of love that invades me as I prepare myself to come out and tell you. It is the idea of love that prepares me to continue falling and this is how I continue loving you and everybody else. I can't help wonder the harbor of resentment I am digging in my life, the deeper she will fall into the swallowed words of days passed. With only hollow echoes, she is faint lines and common creatures to be captured inside my body. I find refuge in dressing these wounds of hers, so that I am always escaping from nothing and blind to no one. She presents to me old and worn monuments of the past.

Those moments were made to mold me unto words that stung and stuck us into categories that never fit. But how I must, I have, I hope, only to give onto time and history the secrets I've buried and no longer resent. One day I will see my body as the representation of how far we have NOT yet come, how I am a production of fear and how I can fight back. I will look at my reflection and rather than the marks that your words chose for me I will look only to see the scars of my body. I will have fought for my life and I will have won the security of faith for not assumption but alteration. My sincerity is not dishonest, nor my honesty brave. I am good at making waves in my mind and I am not sure of the power in all of this but I know the ending of a sentence creates a rift in the stanza. I must if I will break the silence.

2 comments:

  1. Wow Mica,

    You really have a talent for writing. I appreciate your honesty and passion. This scene you've painted is also one that I can relate to. I suppose that speaks to the purpose of this site; connecting like-minded people through experiences.

    Thank you,

    Jay

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mica, this is so beautify said.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and reinforcing to me (and I'm sure many others) the significance of embracing rather than fighting to straighten out our kinks.

    Much love to you for putting these powerful words into the universe!

    With admiration,
    S

    ReplyDelete

Website graphics and design by Andre Perez