|This picture was taken at Nuts & Bolts election night 'American Queer Party' where I represented the 'Orange (underwear) Party' supporting self-determination for all people including people with vaginas, in a mini-performance.|
I am feeling a touch reflective with approaching holidays/year end time…
2012 has been a year of great bursting forth in so many ways! I started having fun, after a period of not as much fun. I did not blog as much: I was living and exploring new ideas with other people much more. And I do want to start writing it down more. Some assumptions have changed. I am in new territory. I am happier. Things are making more sense.
Things I was semi-privately believing/thinking about have become things that I have now had opportunities to meet with others to talk about, personally express, and listen to what others are thinking. Something that is dear to my heart and vital to my sense of self is the concept of self-determination.
I have always felt misunderstood, and felt that gender-based assumptions that guided the way others related to me were off. This only led me to feel bad and ashamed of myself for feeling different. This is compounded in my case by traumatic childhood circumstances that required strength, yet I also received pressure to play with dolls because I was a girl, and eat candy because I was a kid. I even got teased because I liked salad without salad dressing, the reason being that everybody likes salad dressing. I was also coerced into saying I believed in santa, I suppose that was because these people wanted what they thought was a normal kid. They didn’t want me.
People I have met who seem to have a sophisticated understanding of self-determination are people who identify as queer, because they have had to decide how they want to present themselves. Queer expression is not something we are automatically fed through media sources; it is something that must be actively pursued and explored for individuals. This form of expression is something that is determined by the individual with the body expressing, rather than the culture at large, or the oppressive concept of “norms”. In many cases people who identify as queer have faced rejection from people closest to them, sometimes facing a period of homelessness or other disenfranchisement.
Mainstream culture is built on assumptions of normalcy and standards that are generally believed to work, so in asking the questions I’ve been asking of myself there is at times a real fear of deviance. How will the more authentic me be accepted? What will I continue to discover about myself? Where is this going?
So far I have experienced great healing through this pursuit through tools of queerness (radical welcoming, community support, honoring personal expression that might appear different): it’s okay for me to do things that are true to myself, and say how I feel. And I have had so much fun. I have also had glimmers of a vision of a world where I have a place, and where my expression is welcomed. …so far, so good.