1. Who are you?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I am a teacher, at least that is what I tell myself. I’m also a writer, but that’s not who I am. I’m also a marketing director on Monday, Wednesday and Friday–and sometimes Tuesday and Thursday, but that’s only when I feel like being a marketing director on those days. I’m also the Executive Director of Reading Queer, but that’s not who I am. That job doesn’t have a specific set of hours, just is and that’s that. I have a dog and a cat. The dog likes my cat. The cat likes my dog. I’m not a pet person even though I like pets, or animals who become pets. I really want a llama. Who are you is like asking me what I had for dinner. After you eat it, it becomes shit. All mixed up and reconfigured into a new form, a new identity. Who are you is like a day of the week. We trust that it is Tuesday, but that’s only because we’ve collectively agreed that today is ‘Tuesday’ and I’ve decided to agree as well. Identity isn’t fixed. It’s nebulous and often disconnected from what we do, which is often the only way we know how to identify our-‘self’, by using capitalistic constructs to fit into this job-driven identity world. Who are you is like being a llama but no one can see it. It’s like being a ghost. Often, we don’t know who we are. So, maybe I have no fucking clue. Ma says I’m an idiot, but that doesn’t really reveal anything about me or my identity. Idiots are not uniform nor homogenous. Who are you? Is it what you like to eat? Is it who you sleep or don’t sleep with? Is it your car? Your clothes? Your stupid shoes? Is it the way you walk or tie your tie (if you wear ties)? I’m a 14 year-old genderqueer boy-girl from Queens. At least that is what I tell myself on Sundays when I don’t have to work, but work, because it’s all about the work. Ok, I’m done.
2. Where are you from/Where did you grow up?
I’m from ma. I grew up outside of her.
3. In what ways do you think/feel/believe this place influenced your understanding of yourself and your values?
In many ways, ma is a place, not unlike outer space. She is like the laws of the universe, all of them, providing secret, invisible answers to everything, even the things she claims have no answers. Mas know everything is the cliche. She dictates my (mis)understanding of myself. She informs and shapes my values even if I don’t agree with hers. She is math and science. She is religion and philosophy. She is art and dentistry. She is a lunatic and the center of gravity. She is loud and silent. I don’t know how to conceive of a world, or of identity, disconnected and/or divorced from the context of ‘ma’. She is ever-present like the idea of ‘God’.
4. What makes you special and why?
My butt makes me special.
5. What would you change about yourself and why?
I would change the desire to change myself because then I would have more time to write or cook or play games like Scrabble or Monopoly or Domino. I would change my wardrobe more often, but that costs money, to better reflect who I am (see question #1), which makes me wonder how much of an influence money and fashion have on our lives and our abilities to accurately and effectively communicate who we are. Then there’s this problem of limits. We can only change what’s changeable, which kind of proves my point that identity isn’t fixed, so when I hear someone say, “I’m _______ (fill in the blank”)”, I’m like, “shut the fuck up.”
6. What are some of the major social, political, cultural and/or artistic issues that are very important to you? Pick one or two of those issues and make me care–why are they so important to you?
*rabies, sexual abuse, gender disparity, domestic violence, violence, tennis, violent tennis, ugly tennis shoes, beauty, age, animal abuse, abusive animals, parents, abusive parents, stupid parents, smart parents, penguins, the arctic, space exploration, space, too much space, not enough space, space invaders, space cadets, the constant reference to space’men’ as if all of space is only occupied by men (see *gender disparity complaint above), water, lack of clean water, too much water (see rising sea levels), dirty water, agua con gas, farts, rainbows, rainbows in art, fake unicorns, art collectors, collectors, hoarders, hordes, politics, individualism, rugged individualism, (I’m not adverse to soft individualism or squishy individualism), cancer.
Ugly tennis shoes are really important to me because they remind me of non-ugly tennis shoes (or pretty tennis shoes) and they way in which society values beauty and fashion over non-beauty and non-fashion. You look so young, coco, my friend said. What have you been doing. I wanted to smack her in the face, but I wasn’t wearing my violent tennis shoes, so I just gave her the finger. Not the middle finger, but the finger next to it on the left. I think it’s called the index finger. I did it because I know it would make her think, “wtf!”. Through this act, I’m helping her evolve into a thinking alien.
I’m also annoyed with rainbows and how artists use rainbows in their art to appease collectors. Collectors, who usually whip out their genitals (or cash), turn artists into hunters seeking the illusory unicorn because artists are taught to be dependent on the kindness and possible rewards of strangers. All artists should create shit to weed out the shit.
I’m also annoyed at water and how much it costs at Publix.