I was asked my narrative the other day. This happens a lot.
Inquiring minds want to know right?
It's not just my queer narrative people want to know it is any narrative.
General. "So what's your story?" "Hey, what do you do?" "Where are you from?" Targeted. "Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Right, Left, Anarchist, Green?" "When did you first realize you were..."
Narratives make people feel safe, connect the dots.
Usually it's not too difficult, we do it all the time and it becomes second nature. We tell tales of discovery, tales of how we made it all makes sense. "I'm a student, I study this, I realized this was for me then" "My politics are this, I came to this conclusion then."
A line is formed, bumps along the way sure, but always to a static endpoint. This is how we are taught to tell out tales, they are our book and they have to follow the structure.
But our lives change, sometimes dramatically. And thus we change the story, but not just the part we are living now, it all becomes re-written.
Our lives change and we feel we have to rewrite our narrative to fit, to lead up to this new endpoint, to justify ourselves. "I've always been interested in that so of course I became..." "I had these politics before but they were wrong and now I have realized my politics."
Queer narratives seem particularly marred with this. We have to show our work, we'll gets points off otherwise.
I was asked my queer narrative the other day. It happens.
I had to show that I was valid, I grasped for something in my head. I tried to string together memories, make a story.
No early childhood memories, my best friend in grade school was a typical tomboy, does that mean anything, brother wore goth makeup, my mom slapped him, "faggot," did I repress, high school was a drag, I was odd but who wasn't, punk, nerd, communist, started thinking of myself as bi, I use pan or queer now, started "cross dressing" more into college, I liked it but felt ashamed, confused, I questioned myself more, read more on queer theory, decided to go with it, made sense, I no longer felt I could identify as one gender, I embraced my new queerness, end.
But I didn't know what to say. I didn't have the right story. I shrugged. Avoided.
Genderqueer was not the endpoint in a long series of events culminating in a realization of my true self. I just kind of fell into it, constructed it, and I like it like that.
I fight the urge to rewrite my life, to make it fit. I still do it a little. It's hard not to, not to try and find meaning, Truth, in ones life. I endeavor to construct new meaning as I go and not agonize about a past narrative that does not fit cleanly.
People still ask for my narrative. It happens a lot.