I remember running out of the dentist when I was five
Immediately begging my mother to cut off all my long hair
I don’t remember what happened
But instantly I knew I didn’t want to be a girl
or at least a girl in purple polka-dot-stirrup-pants with a ponytail
But I knew I wasn’t really a boy either.
I am not the person you would have made me into.
You want me to look familiar
Male or female
Or some other one-or the other binary
But I am something else entirely.
I am in between. In between people, identity, recognition.
In the second grade, while eating lunch, a boy in my class asked me if I was a lesbian
He said “only lesbians dress like boys”.
I yelled no- poured my juice box on him -and ran out of the lunchroom.
I didn’t really know what he meant at the time or what a lesbian was for that matter.
But, it was at that moment that I realized the difference in me was noticeable
to everyone else.
As it turns out, I am queer…But by no other definition then my own.
From an early age I realized
I don’t fit in boxes. Boxes wrapped neatly by expectations of how to look, how to act, eat, breathe, bend, be.
How long before I know what it feels like?
To look into the mirror
and feel me.
To feel real. To feel like I am not living anyone else’s life but my own.
My parents named me Jessica. I’ve never considered changing my name, but I struggle to identify with something so fixed. Something that came with strings attached. Attached to the person I was supposed to grow into, live up to, the daughter they thought they were having. Someone more like my sister.
But I was the girl who was a mess and liked a whole mess of things.
Like Ninja Turtles, Super Cross, Dean Martin and Polly Pockets. I was the strange kid who wore saddle shoes, a cowboy hat and boys ninja turtle underwear, and carried around a cassette player and a snow globe. I was an individual, and I think that that got lost in the mess of life and in the encouragement to act more like a girl.
….whatever that means.
growing up with so much pressure,
makes it’s easy to get lost.
I don’t recognize the person I appear to be, the person I am perceived to be.
I feel disconnected from myself
From who I am when no one is looking.
From who I am outside all of this.
Sometimes my skin crawls.
Sometimes it gets hard to breathe.
Breathe in somebody else’s chest, to somebody else’s rhythm
Sometimes I feel completely numb. When I realize that I don’t and will never completely fit the bill. Completely fulfill expectations. Fit this mold. Completely be able to be me.
I’m not sure if I am hopeful or apathetic at this point. It’s really hard to look past the day by day. Seems all the memories I have, have bled together. It’s almost become so much a part of my life, this uncertainty, that I can’t even see what it does to me.
I often feel small. I feel confusion. I feel colorless. Indefinable. Uncertain.
But what I am certain of is that there should be less expectation and more self-expression, self-exploration, self and social acceptance. Because this feeling is suffocating.
I have resolved to celebrate me. To celebrate my love of Polaroid’s, people who dance off-beat because it feels right, postcards, painting, friendship and passion.
I have been realizing that I don’t need to be defined in order to live, to love, create, change. I have been struggling to love me as I am..
indescribable and indefinable.