"I’ve spent most of my life feeling insecure about and obsessing over the failure of my body/physical appearance to accurately broadcast different identities in the way that I want it to. Too hairy and too androgynous to ~really~ be a girl (memory from first grade: “Why are you hairy like a monkey?”). Too racially ambiguous to be identified as Chicana (“Wow how are you fluent in Spanish?”) or Persian (“So what part of the world is that?”).
The resulting awkwardness of explaining that no, I’m not Indian, or Arab, and yeah I guess it is cool that my ethnic background is so “exotic”…?Then the ever-present struggle of what it means to be a femme (and therefore straight-passing) queer woman of color, and the political/personal implications of following queer stereotypes more closely in order to be more visible. Isn’t that just another type of performance for others? Is it different because I’m choosing it?I’m still working on the process of cutting out practices that are tied to presenting my body as I feel others expect or need me to.
I don’t remember the last time I shaved any part of my body for the purpose of being acceptable to others (from 11 to 19, I religiously ensured that no one would ever touch my skin and feel the prickle of regrowth). I like the aesthetic of high heels but I don’t feel less attractive or desirable without them (and have found that I wear them a lot, lot less). In some of the pictures that I took with Anastasia, I legitimately do look like a 12-year-old boy (I always get this specific age, literally every time).
Instead of feeling a squirming discomfort about “Who’s going to use that to invalidate my claim to femininity,” I laughed and genuinely loved the fact that I do look adorable regardless of whatever gender I’m read as.
For most of my life, my body has been a tool that I have manipulated, starved, cut, poisoned, and neglected in the pursuit of achieving security through outward appearance. I’m still not usually comfortable with it, but I’m more committed to giving it (me) what it needs and letting it (me) do its thing. Shout-out to Anastasia for helping me do that with another person in the room, because the transition from private love to public love of myself is something that I expect to be a tough one".