Hi, I’m Am. And, I don’t care… a lot.

Am's Mug

My best friend and I were driving through the city of Toronto today, on our way to purchase tickets to the Ghost show (they are playing on May 6, 2013 at the Opera House for anyone interested), and we were talking about why I don’t care about appearances. Especially mine.

I don’t, in the most basic sense, appear to be a girl or a boy. Biologically, I’m pretty certain I’m a girl, but my appearance may suggest otherwise. I don’t have long hair, I don’t dress “like a girl”, and I don’t care about the things girls care about. Like makeup. Now, I realize I’m making quite a generalization. I’m sure there are many girls that don’t care about what they look like, but … we never see them. We don’t see them on television, in commercials, magazines, etc. And I’m not surprised that we don’t, which is really the sad part.

My “fashion sense”, if you could even call it that, is questionable at best I think – compared to society’s standards anyway. It extends as far as crewnecks, band t-shirts, and black jeans. Most of the time, you’ll find me wearing a beanie and it throws off my entire “look”. I don’t know what’s popular, unless I check instagram. Even then, I have to wonder why we spend so much time on the way we look.

When you meet someone and you make it a point to look your “best”, what happens when your “best” comes off? Will this person cease to like you? My best friend said something interesting about the ways in which loneliness can be correlated to the way you look. Are you dressing that way because more people will approach you? Do you wear makeup because you don’t like the way you look underneath all of that… makeup? Will people avoid contact with you because of the way you appear?

When I see it from my perspective, it’s pretty damn hard to “fit in” anywhere. I’m an outcast in my own “community”. My parents are immigrants from India. They came to Canada in the 80s, which makes me a 1st generation Canadian. When people ask me where I’m from, there are really very few ways the conversation goes. Here are a few examples:

Example 1:
Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Toronto
Stranger: No, like, where are you from? What’s your background?
Me: Canadian
Stranger: Where are your parents from?
Me: India
Stranger: Oh, so you’re Indian.
Me: …

Example 2:
Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Toronto
Stranger: I meant what’s your background?
Me: Guess.
Stranger: Arabic? Guyenese? Mexican? Native Australian?
Me: …

Example 3:
Stranger: Hey, are you Indian?
Me: No.
Stranger: …

It is why I’ve concluded that the way people have deduced what certain people should look like, is so problematic. It is in itself isolation. It’s difficult for them to see me, and not be able to decipher what or who I am.

I am of Indian descent. I am biologically female. And I’m a lesbian.

When you think about the word Indian, it could literally have a million different meanings, but for most people it means someone from India – brown skin colour, brown eyes, and black or dark brown hair. I find it funny when someone thinks I’m lying about being of Indian descent. They are always “omg, no you’re not”… “you’re so light”. Why did you ask then? If I don’t fit your model of what “Indians” should look like, then why’s it matter where I’m from? I could have told you I was Arabic or half-Caucasian, would that have made a difference? I do have “light” features, but so do a lot of people.

I used to think it was hilarious catching people staring or giving me a quick glance, trying to figure out whether I’m a girl or boy. There are always instances when I have to use public bathrooms. When I walk into a “girls” bathroom, and there’s a lady washing her hands or just stepping out of a stall, she immediately has this hesitation like “…shit, did a boy just walk into this bathroom?”  If anyone ever asked me if I was a boy or a girl, I would always answer with “haven’t decided” or “whatever turns you on”. Now, I’m not so amused about it anymore, because why should it matter what I look like to make you feel comfortable?

You know what else makes people uncomfortable? Homosexuals. A lot of people are homosexuals. Or pansexuals. Or whateverthefucksexuals. I think it’s interesting the way people deduce I’m gay based on what I look like. She doesn’t look like a girl… but she doesn’t exactly look like a boy… she’s probably gay. It astounds me that so much of my appearance makes people uncomfortable because they cant categorize and label me. You never made the effort to get to know and understand me. Why should the way I look matter when it doesn’t fit into your criteria of what I should look like anyway? Because chances are you’re still stuck at what my “background” is, after you’ve figured that out, you can debate about my gender, and eventually my sexuality.

So pardon me for not caring about the way I look, because it just doesn’t matter… and I really don’t care.

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