“I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying, ‘Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?’ I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.”
“After three hours of waiting, the director sits us on the couch amongst three or four other couples. We stare deeply into the camera. I hype myself up. Look into the camera like it is a lover, NO, a hamburger! Look at the camera like it is a hamburger.”
“Whose sperm is this?” she asked me once. Maybe it was the first time. “It’s mine,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say. I had paid for it. No one else was coming to get it.
“Like Russia itself, my parents’ instincts are torn. My birth country can’t make up its mind whether it wants its culture to be a part of liberal Europe or conservative Asia, my birth parents can’t make up their minds between simply loving their only child and feeling like there is something fundamentally broken about me now.”
“I hated my body and punished it, and it hated me and punished me back. Is that what happened? That’s the thing about getting sick the way I got sick: nailing it down.”
“I did not intend to have any experiences outside the range of what I had previously proven to myself I was comfortable with or could understand. Scully and I both convinced ourselves that this was possible, that it had ever been a possibility.”
“The truth is always messy. I told myself I could be gay and I wouldn’t ever be hurt again. I needed to never be hurt again.”
“I was angry. Really fucking angry. Angry because Jenny Schecter was right.”
I finally feel safe enough to imagine the big queer family I never had. A home where gender is an option, not an obligation, where parents can apologize to each other as well as to their kids and where long, ongoing conversations about race, power and privilege exist.
“Netflix is kinda like my fag hag, the kind that wraps you up in a warm rainbow blanket with a bowl of soup when you’re recovering from a Cinco de Mayo hangover.”
How do I move past only feeling Native based on whether I fish or know the traditional ways? How can I push past feeling like my queer identity is tied to how much I listen to Uh Huh Her?
I imagine myself as not myself, at my grandparents’ apartment this Christmas, wearing makeup, a women’s blouse, long hair combed to the middle of my back: What he thought I would grow up to be, what my mom thought I would grow up to be.
“I have always been a traveler, particularly as an immigrant and as a person with family hailing from Venezuela to Dominica to South India, ‘home’, ‘family’ and ‘belonging’ have always been complicated concepts.”
“Sometimes, when you’re in the business of parenting, you have to phone a friend for a bit of perspective and advice. Sometimes, you have to phone more than one.”
“When the doctor said that such and such a treatment was linked to health problems later in life, I didn’t even blink. I’ll hit 50 and keel over? Fine, I don’t care, get rid of these fucking pimples.”
Being a survivor has taught me that resiliency is in the marrow of my bones and with it I can imagine a better world.
“Marriage is like a chlorinated community pool that we now get access to. I think that people forget that queers have been swimming in the ocean the whole time.”
This is an essay about leaving everything behind, and I don’t know where to start because part of what that means is that I am leaving you.
La Virgen de Guadalupe has always been dear in my heart and always will be, but the way I view her has changed throughout the years, through various lenses with different interpretations, including now as a queer woman.
“This is a ridiculous amount of sweat. I know this is hot yoga and everything, but how is there even this much sweat in me? How is this possible? This seems unsafe. Is this normal? Maybe I’m peeing. Am I peeing? How can there be this much sweat in a person? I think it’s pee.”