Darkness envelopes me, a plastic bag wrapped around my face
I can reach out and touch the traitorous door, so deceiving
There is a lock, a heavy black hole
My mouth is my escape, it is the key
I need only to speak to free myself
Today, I break away from my prison
Today, I am coming out of the closet, and I will walk among you a free woman
Questions, so fragile, race through my mind
As they have been for months now
Some force dumped an infinite jigsaw puzzle and told me
To figure it out, and I have
You need not to know the logistics
How my machine works
Know only this;
That I am proud to be who I am at last
Hate me if you want
But on this day I am
I am proud to be Queer
I’ve never conformed to labels, and I’m not about to now, however, the one things I can say about myself is that I’m not straight. I’m the Sexuality Formerly Known As Prince, with no symbol and thrice the amount of societal confusion. I’m a knight in shining armor that’s been on a quest to find the Holy Grail of sexual identity, only to find a solid gold question mark after slaying the dragon. Some things I have deciphered in this personal, metaphorical Da Vinci code is that, and I quote the voices in my head, “girl, you ain’t straight. Get yo self a girlfriend, cuz chances are you aint dating no boy” end quote. If you really wanna call me something, call me I or pan, but know that there are no even odds in this game. Maybe 80/20 rather than 50/50. But I’m comfortable in not knowing entirely. That being said, I’m NOT comfortable with staying in the closet. I’m here today to tell you who I am. I’m the same girl who you know. I’m compassionate, sometimes sarcastic, and I still have to be dragged out of Hot Topic. I still love karate and music and yes, mom, I do still think Brendon Urie is hot. But add the knowledge that I’m not straight. Call me what you want, but I’m here and I’m queer, and most of all I’m finally me.
Identity, & Why it is Confusing
Thank you, Hot Topic
For cleansing me of my wannabe clothes
Of my carbon-copy mindset
I found solace in your four walls
As people shot me dirty looks and daggers for being different
For being me
I leaped and gnawed to get another taste
To hear the kind of music where you scream
Instead of sing
When my eyes opened further
I beheld what I had tried to escape
People, so many of them
Wearing the same different clothes
With a rush of realization I saw that
In our struggle to be different
We became the same again
New kid. Fresh meat. The tenth day of the new school year. Eleventh grade. He was younger than all the others by a year, maybe two. His name was Andrew. Everyone called him Anne, after all, it was his birth name. He was from New York, a city boy. His face was beautiful, marred only by a long scar that ran from his eyebrow to his cheekbone. I wonder how he got it. That day, as he did with every other following day, he wore a white shirt and light jeans that clung tightly to his skinny frame. His shoes stood out more than anything. More than his floppy, beach-colored hair, more than the sad glint in his cyan eyes. His shoes looked stolen. Maybe they were. They were girl’s shoes, pink croc flip flops that shuffled loudly down the hall. They weren’t dirty, but worn, like the rest of him, and despite their abnormality dissolved plainly into the beige aesthetic of the school. Of our high school, Pency Prep. But I noticed him. I was forced to. My name crackled over the loudspeaker in a bored, secretarial voice. The class, who had pretended to be involved in their work, snapped their necks to look at me, the summoned one, and ooed in conviction. The teacher, clearly annoyed by the disturbance to his atmosphere of quiet and rustling pages, looked at me irately and pointed me down the hall. I felt anxiety churn my stomach like butter, although I knew I had done nothing to violate the school’s lenient system. I shivered a bit as I entered the principal’s office; it was always freezing. The principal, a semi-elderly balding man with a dried-up passion for learning, smiled a dead smile at me when the door clicked behind me. I spotted the boy, so small in the padded-wood chairs, and knew in an instant that forever nothing would be the same.
Freedom of Speech, or Lack of It
There once was a man who chewed glass.
He wasn’t a circus performer or a stuntman.
He was just like you and I, normal and mild, the sort of man who was an ideal citizen, part of the whole that is our society, void of evil individuality. But this man was anything but similar to you and I, dear citizen. Years ago, before the Rules were put into place, before order was restored, this man had committed a crime so horrific it killed people and brought down entire governments. He had spoken freely. He had been his own person. He had denied and violated the rules of our system, meant to keep our citizens safe through beautiful silence, and spread his own evil opinions. And now, his punishment and his destiny forever is to chew glass. To show him the pain his words brought, To silence him and make him better. Dear citizens, unless you want to end up like this man, stay submissive and be quiet. No harm will come to you by being like everybody else. Thank you.
Driving Forever, or, the Great Escape
The open road is my opium. Driving is my drug. I drive to forget . Nothing calms me faster than white lines on black trails. It’s been me and Marilyn for three years now. Marilyn is a beautiful girl, a 60’s Cadillac, the color of sea foam. I’ll never let her go, my Marilyn.
What little money I have from odds-and-ends jobs goes toward gas, and occasionally a towing fee or parking ticket. I have nothing but a change of clothes, a natty blanket and a spit-stained pillow. I buy gas-station toiletries and eat gas-station food.
My stomach growls as I coast along I-79, and I know I’ve skipped one too many meals. I pull over in the parking lot of a glorified-log-cabin rest stop. I stamped the pins and needles out of my legs and blinked the sun out of my eyes. I take a leak and grab some chips, a drink, a rare candy treat. A teenage cashier lazily scanned my items. I silently prayed I would have enough to pay for all of it. It just totalled under the seven dollars I had. The pimply cashier handed me my change and my meal. I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a metal-and-glass box sitting on the sticky formica counter. The pastel sticker on the top begged patrons of the rest stop to donate to children with cancer. I huffed, but the pastel sticker struck a nerve, and I dumped my remaining greasy coins into the slot on the top with mixed feelings of sainthood and regret. If the cashier noticed my contribution to society he wasn’t impressed. Back in Marilyn, I sat mulling over everything and ate my chips. The false-cheese dust dried my tongue and stained my fingers. I was careful to wrap my hands in (free) napkins before touching anything else. I starting thinking of the cancerous children again… No. I revved Marilyn’s engine and gunned away from the rest stop and its smelly customers and dirty bathrooms.
One A.M. reads the dashboard, but despite the early hour I wasn’t going to pull over anytime soon. It’s my favorite time to drive, early morning, when nobody was around and I am enveloped in blackness and loneliness. It is a sort of transfixing magic for me, one long, run on sentence punctuated only be the occasional periods of passing cars. I breathe slowly and calmly, soft music, I can’t tell the song, plays on the decrepit radio. Exclamation point! Something dashes out of the woods that lines the side of the highway.
“Jesus Christ!” I yell as I jam the brakes. Of all the time that the road was empty, of course this deer had to jump right in front of my car. My heart is pounding, much faster than the arley audible music. I swallow and release my death grip of Marilyn’s faux leather steering wheel. The deer seems as shaken as I am, for it stands in my blinding headlights, trembling in fear. It’s a baby deer, probably trying to join its parents on the other side. Poor thing, with its scrawny legs and big, shiny eyes. And I almost wiped it out. I honk my horn at it to scare it off. It worked, and as fast as greased lightning it disappears into the woods. I take a moment to recollect myself. I glance in the rearview mirror to make sure that no rogue cars are heading my way. In the dim light, I see something on Marilyn’s black floor. I flash of color, of red. I unbuckle my seatbelt and contort my body to grab the small blotch. My heart sinks as I hold it up to the light. An elmo doll, grungy and matted. It is small and fits in the palm of my hands, its dull eyes staring at me in conviction. And I cry, there in the middle of the road, with no cars and no deer to see me. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep running farther and farther away. I can’t pretend that I’m a loner. I can’t. I revv Marilyn’s engine and set off to find the nearest gas station. I need a map. I’m going home.