Friday, February 20, 2009

Shoe Lust

If only I had $400 to spend on a pair of shoes....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lovely quote of the moment:

From Kim Chernin's "My Life as a Boy:"

"I wonder if anyone will ever tell all there is to be told about women. Women can be close without being sexual, sexual without being passionate, passionate without being erotic, erotic without making a physical claim to the beloved, and they can be all these together with such subtle sensual passage from laughter to confession to whispered intimacy that no one in the world could say where friendship leaves off and love begins."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Identity, or Why It's So Cool Being Queer.

Identity is a funny thing. For a large portion of my life (i.e. the straight-ish portion), I never questioned the identity I'd been given. I was a girl, so obviously I was going to wear my hair long, wear makeup, and generally try to look pretty. I never felt quite right in my own skin, though. Never anything overt, it was so subtle a discomfort, in fact, that I didn't even notice it until I discovered what being comfortable with myself feels like. 

After I came out, and through the course of my Women's and Gender Studies classes, I began playing with what my identity, rather than the identity that I had been given--and always assumed I would "grow into"--really is. I cut off all my hair and discovered that faux-hawks are just a little too butch for me, so I grew it back out. I stopped wearing makeup and realized that without at least two different kinds of eyeliner, I don't look right to myself. I started fulfilling all my piercing plans I'd had for so long, but had resisted because my boyfriend didn't like them (body modification as identity deserves, and will receive, a post of its own). I rethought and rediscovered how I wanted to look, what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to be. And I have to tell you, I have never felt more liberated than the first time I didn't demurely reject a frat boy's advances and instead told him to fuck off. 

 The moment it dawned on me that perhaps there was more to me than I had assumed, that maybe my identity wasn't the same identity I'd been offered, was a moment of freedom. Suddenly, I had permission to explore all the different ways I could interact with people, society, and myself. I got to decide things. Things like whether I really wanted to wear makeup or not (turns out, only eyeliner), or if I wanted to be the cuddler or the cuddlee, or whether or not push-up bras were really necessary all the time (certainly not). And it doesn't matter that I ended up choosing some things that are in line with society's expectations because I got to choose them.

The freedom that comes with consciously choosing what my identity is is utterly intoxicating. I am still slightly awe-struck every time I consider precisely what it is I'm doing: I'm actively participating in the construction of my identity. Society constructed an identity for me, and I am currently pulling it apart, inspecting the pieces, discarding some, reworking others, and I'm finally, finally comfortable with the way I fit into the world. 

So, why is it so cool being queer? Because being queer gave me permission to say "Fuck socially constructed roles, I can do it better." Because gender roles don't matter. Because now I recognize the heteronormative bullshit that saturates this culture, and I recognize all the ways in which people undermine it all the time. Because if said bullshit can be undermined, there are a thousand other proscribed behaviors, characteristics, and scripted societal interactions that can be undermined, too. Because I am aware of the weight of the subtle restraints placed on every intersection of every group and I don't have to be restrained anymore. And, more than anything, because no matter what else happens, I know myself through and through; I was the architect of this Identity, and I stand by my work.