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I’ve known my identity much longer than I’ve known about tumblr.

I’m not confused. My label is accurate.

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“It’s deep in the fourth quarter, first game of the season, and South Crenshaw and Slauson are tied. Third down and 10 on the Crenshaw 40-yard line.” The announcer details. The ball was thrown and caught by Spencer who seconds later pushed down to the ground. The referee blows his whistle making the call. “Unbelievable catch by Spencer James!”

“There we go Bubba,” I muttered underneath my breath. The crowd went wild knowing they were going to win the first game of the season.

“We’re gonna keep playing the same calls,” Coach Russ tells Chris, the QB of our team. Looking at the players on the opponent side, I knew that play was not going to work.

“We can’t do that,” I objected.

“Why not?” Coach Russ looked towards me.

“We’ve been doing the same thing this whole half. They’re catching onto us,” I explained, looking at a certain player from Slauson.

“We’re tied, that’s good enough,” He waved me off, telling Chris to go back on the field.

“One bad move and it’s over. Especially if you make them play that call,” I argued with him.

“Hey who’s the Coach?…that’s right, me. And who’s the assistant coach? Let me guess, oh right you. So let me do my job and if I need help I’ll call on you,” Russ states, turning back around to the field.

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This is how he sees himself. This is not how the people who know him know him. During quarantine, he walks from room to room, and every room requires a separate entrance, and a seperate costume. His identity changes as he slowly makes his way through the house. The sunglasses are accoutrement as are the chains and leather jacket that is bigger than he is. He’s this, and then, he’s that. Not even quarantine can confine his need to figure out who he is. He’ll get there.

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Capped Identity

Identity is a strange concept. It is obviously important but there are a lot of ways to define it. When I was a teenager, I used to think that identity has to do with a rational and rather materialistic concept of being; in that time I would have probably described myself as an overweight teenager who doesn’t quite fit in but who is overall happy and has some talents. I had the plan of becoming a pretty good teacher and of getting married to a man who would magically possess the ability to interest me, both sexually and emotionally – it’s a miracle I didn’t also believe in the Easter bunny.

Some years later, I realized that that was a pretty distorted image of identity. Coming to terms with being gay was the first major shift because this questioned my earlier idea of identity and I felt as if my sanity had been challenged: how could I ever assume that I’m straight? I had felt completely ostracized without even knowing that that’s what I felt. 

About at the same time I came out, I began therapy. Only then did I realize how many internal struggles I actually had and still have in every-day life. It’s so much more than having had some messed-up experiences in my childhood and teens. It’s also how I am perceived by the people I meet and how I see myself. I still feel very much like a misfit in this world but slowly – very slowly – I find out about certain sides of myself I hadn’t previously seen or known.

Although this new way of seeing my identity has many aspects and is very much a process that has only begun, one apparently small thing has struck me as something very important: when I walk out of my apartment door, I want to look the way I feel. And because being gay is one big part of my identity that shapes my reality, I want to make it easy for people to guess that I’m gay. Sometimes, I chastise myself for that thought because I know that I just happen to conform to the most stereotypical image of a lesbian, and I don’t want people to think that this is the only way to be gay: loud, proud and clichéd. However, I still want to really own that image because it has always been abused to make me and every other queer-identifying person smaller.

One item of clothing has helped me more than all the others to feel truly like myself when in public: the cap. I wear it backwards (although I believe that that is the actual front) and I love how much it empowers me. I feel more playful and certainly a lot gayer with it, and it makes me less anxious in public situations. To me, that’s truly unbelievable because I always knew how bad anxiety can be, and that this little thing can alleviate the undermining background noise of anxiety is simply awesome. So sometimes I just put it on when I’m at home to hopefully find that specific type of feeling. It really doesn’t work reliably, but when it does, it gives me an ease I so long for in my often anxiety disturbed mind.

(Drawing by me)

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