saw a picture of you. saw something you posted, something you liked, something you said. or was that a picture of me? something i posted, something i like, something i said? impression management theory states that we monitor the behaviors and actions of people we encounter and attempt to see through what we perceive as false while simultaneously trying to project a constructed identity that fit’s others’ expectation of us and desires for self-perception. self-perception. but isn’t my perception of your perception of me just another construct of my mind? online? i didn’t know i could be femme one moment and butch the next until i saw you wearing nail polish and hairy pits. legit! but is my glam-bodyhair-crunchy-femmish-butch any less real because it wasn’t an original contribution to the field? i used you to piece myself together. whether—or not that’s impression management, it’s real shit. and my theory—see—is that you’re inside me like a wire fence inside a great big tree. i grew around you.
Category Archives: Other stuff type stuff
i have the power to show you what i want you to see. of me. of myself of us of my life of our differences and similarities are just parodies of things i think might possibly be true. but i know they are—looking at me and what they see is what i can’t—really hide what i think is ugly of myself. most of the time i don’t catch it unless it’s through someone else’s eyes. and even then i get used to the blur, the deafening purr of overheating—im retreating into my own mind behind my body is liberating. what im creating is ice that keeps its shape in the microwave. identity that spits in the wind only to be baptized by its own saliva. just hit customize appearance. strong and weak, powerful and oppressed—why do i have to choose? my emotions are news—worthy so i publish them myself. and if you can read them—you’re on the inside of my life and the outside of my world. what does it mean to be gritty? but it doesn’t matter. because you think im pretty. and ugly is something you learn.
the idea of you is part of my mind/can we please/be one/in your shadow/one hundred yards from the lights/ what exactly are you supposed to be?/we grew up together/subsisting only on my perception/so i guess im sorta/ trying to put my life back together/ i dreamed you/ call me whatever you like.
flat little box. you were thin enough that maybe—not a whole lot could fit inside. you were familiar enough that maybe—i knew all there was to know about you. whirring, humming, warm little piece of responsibility. cold little piece of cash lost. glowing little piece of sleep deprivation. the relationship we have is complicated. our statuses are public but my feelings about you are private. torrid, hauntingly delicious secrets that you and i share about the truths in my mind? those are password protected.
when i was broken i climbed inside you and discovered a world where i could cry, but no one would hear me unless i hit record. i melted into your nooks and crannies and collected in a glistening pool of confusion and eager anticipation at the feet of your greatest master—the internet.
who am i when i’m alone in my room with millions of people? what does my face look like when the only person who can see it is my mind? what is my name when i are free to choose the way my breath sounds, the direction of my steps, the words others use to describe me?
i took a moment, to create myself. i took a moment to ask my body what my brain should do. i took a second to question all the shit i had been told—about my life. about my words. about my gender.
and then i stepped onto a platform that was open on all sides. i rooted my feet into a ground that wasn’t sold. from where i stood—i paged through hours of their bodies. i scanned over days of their thoughts and absorbed weeks of their insecurities and strengths. i took a bite out of something dirty. something your grandmother told you would fill your mouth with soap and your soul with the devil—and when it bit me back, i discovered i could use the drops of blood from my tongue to paint a picture of myself that looked more like me than my reflection. and is tasted good.
and then i saw that all the others had done the same. and that our blood had fallen in patterns and colors we could never have predicted. and they were me but they were nothing like me. i felt the vibrations when their fingers hit the keyboard in the very core of my body—in a dark, wet, place where creation meets conception and desire is the title of purity. what am i? a shapeless gray face passing judgment and begging for connection behind a dim lit screen in the corner of my bedroom? am i a jilted academic turning my face to a room full of hopefuls and signing my name under the truths that other people have written with the ink of their own inspiration? or am i a small figure in the upper left hand corner of a page, tearing open my chest and spilling my answers into a box filled with my questions. mixing them up with a quivering hand and declaring there is no way to tell the difference. lies are the truth—and sometimes it’s way more fun to stay aware in the darkness of that tunnel than it is to follow the light.
i don’t want things to make sense. my queer body. my queer being. that beautiful, horrible, bloody handprint on the fitted sheet. understanding the blur as it’s own unique brand of clarity. watching yourself, creating yourself, tasting yourself get carried away into your own mind where there is no such thing as veracity or falsehood. speckled with fantasy, littered with reality. don’t i crave deceit? or was that authenticity? only you and i know the names i call myself—along with the rest of the world.
when i started blogging and video blogging on youtube, and actually i auditioned and got a spot on a little startup youtube collaborative channel called dykeswholikedykes. um, anyway, when i started doing all this, something i had to try and overcome was this feeling of navel gazing. i guess that’s what my dad has always called it. um, and what are you really doing when you’re doing an academic project about yourself or about your feelings? i keep saying to my friends, “oh, i’m writing a capstone about my feelings. i’m doing a project about my feelings.” and i say it in sort of a self-deprecating way that makes it into a joke. but i really don’t think it’s a joke. i was just thinking how i could describe this to you and i remember reading a tumblr post a couple of months back, where the person writing the post was talking about how to practice self love. and they were saying, sometimes what you really need to do is open your computer and open photobooth or whatever application you have on your computer where you can see your reflection or a streaming, back video of yourself essentially? a picture of your face? and just stare at it. just fucking stare at yourself in the computer screen until you like what you see. and, you know, paint your nails while you’re doing it, i think is what this person said. that really spoke to me. because, we are taught, as queer people—or as any people really, regardless of what your identity is or how other people think of you—not to enjoy ourselves, not to enjoy our own presence, not to enjoy being there alone with our minds and staring at our own fucking faces, like, in a computer screen for an hour for two hours until we love looking at ourselves. and so, my response to criticism about this project is, yes. this project is navel gazing. i am gazing at my navel. i am gazing at my face in a computer screen. i am listening to my voice play back to me over a voice recorder and…that is radical self-love. so, i’m not ashamed. and i think more people should research themselves, i really do. that’s one of the things i’m taking away from this.
what i want to do is write, with my face very close to the page, carefully carving out the lines that will tell you what i’m discovering. and then i want to sing you those lines. the ones that fell out of my pen when i tried to do something academic. so here it is. jumbled but honest, just the same.
about a year ago i discovered the internet. well, i knew about the internet. aim turned into msn turned into yahoo and askjeeves and google to myspace to facebook to gmail to youtube to youporn to hulu. i knew about the world wide web. but a year ago, when i was lost in a mess of my own sexuality and dependency and confused, emotional, political, gray space, i started a blog. on tumblr. an extremely quiet blog without my name or my photo and rarely an original thought. and then i slowly began to make my way into the queerest, most liberating, strange space i had ever known. i spent hours a day, scrolling through photos of outfits and landscapes, tent forts and tattoos and fancy cappuccinos. and videos of people’s girlfriends and boyfriends and boifriends and grrrlfriends and kittens and questions and do it yourself beanbag instructions and kitchen herb gardens and hormone updates and advice on everything under the sun. and there was humor and pain and people wrote about their feelings and their breakups and i wrote about my feelings and my breakup. and there was gender. and sexuality. and so. much. fucking. gender. more than i had ever seen. there were boys and women and girls, men, butches, femmes, bears, twinks, androgynes, genderqueer and genderfucked and genderfluid, mtf, ftm, mtftm, ftmtwtf, transmen, transwomen, transfags and dykes and queers and birls and fairies and bdsm and softbutchgrrlylesbois and gays and bis and trans* folks and polyamorous, pansexual, transsexual, omnisexual, demisexual, asexual, all sexual porn. and stories and pictures and names and pronouns and questions and answers and everything in between the certain and the totally fucking uncertain. and it was all right there. on my computer. on tumblr. on youtube. right there behind my screen. and i was on the outside—safely out of reach. safely anonymous, safely in denial, dangerously curious. they inspired me. they confused me. they lit up a sexy little fire in the pit of my stomach that i called…intellectual curiosity. academic interest. research. that’s valid. that’s understandable. that’s safe. something i would later come to realize was kinship. a very painful perfect, deep—rooted secret connection. i had found the frayed end of a rope and i wanted to follow it. but it took me a while to figure out that the anchor on the other end was me.