“I can’t wait for you to turn 21 and to go to cool bars and to listen to this kind of music.”
Something electric, dark, wet and pulsating plays over the speakers in some bohemian basement in Madison. A few girls are photographing each other; this is the home of an artist collective. “Get high,” one of them says. So I do and I can’t help think that every moment in my life lead up to this one. How did I get here? I am a wallflower.
An iron-clad perception of ourselves. We’ve all had that; we cling to identity with our fingernails, with our might.
That was the first time somebody tapped my perception of myself, somewhat like tapping a creme brûlée with a spoon. Easy. I was working in a chocolate shop. It was oddly formational, for a chapter in my life that ended with tears into a big bowl of ganache.
Someone saw me as someone who spent time in dark, loud, vogue places.
I’d seen myself as an outcast with a fossilized sense of right and wrong. A superiority complex of introverted feeling. A moralist. A goody-two-shoes. No wonder no one liked me in high school.
While I write this, three little ants crawl across my skin and I let them. Their presence suddenly isn’t invasive at all.
I’d slept with women at that point. Three, actually.
I suppose I’d asked myself if I were straight or gay. Sure, it’s a heavy thing.
I never have really felt comfortable with labeling myself. Truth be told, identity politics feel rigid. Perhaps that’s my socioeconomic standing speaking and I am lazy under the guise progressive. Perhaps that makes me the poster child for arts school liberalism, something I felt so at odds with in college. It all felt so dogmatic.
What if we admitted that we are not, today, what we were yesterday? That we won’t be, tomorrow, what we are today?
What if we kissed whoever we wanted to kiss?
I love to oversimplify. Love it. But it’s true: nothing inherently means anything.
I feel more liberated without a label. I don’t know if that’s good for the world. But there I go again;