Social

The Manufacture of Different

From the moment I was able to consciously form thoughts and ideas, I knew I was different. It wasn’t inherent knowledge or what my parents stressed on me; it was simply daily interactions with my environment and others that helped shape my understanding of these differences and what they meant. It helped me understand where my place was, what I could and could not do, where I could and could not go, and just about every facet of my life defined by a vastly complex system of classifications.

One of the earliest experiences I recall is the idea of being like everyone else in order to deflect attention from yourself because any deviation from the “norm” draws negative reactions. As a child your ability to comprehend this need to fit in was limited because “fitting in” meant conforming to what was “popular” at the time. Childhoods can be very traumatic, as children and adolescents often make uninformed opinions and decisions. Their source of information is mainly comprised of the playground and what they hear from other classmates, or perhaps the cultural impacts of their families. Being from an Indian family, I was not out of touch with the concept of race and racism. Though I did not experience much racism as a child, I saw it happen to others. I experienced racism more in my teenage to adulthood years. As I child, I faced confrontations regarding my gender more than my race. I enjoyed playing sports from a fairly early age, which became a central part of my life throughout grade school until university. I had never thought that was what defined me as a person. It is interesting to note how these definitions changed over time as my environment changed and the ways in which others defined me. Teasing and name-calling seemed to be a regular occurrence when I went to school or the friends I hung out with at home. I was typically described as a “tom-boy” or “he-she” because I didn’t look like all the other girls at school. My composition did not meet the exterior ideals of what “defined” a girl. Girls were supposed to be dainty, passive, quiet, and had to play with Barbie. I was none of those things and I didn’t own a Barbie, but it was these qualities, these mannerisms that made me different than the other girls. Thus, making friends did not come easy. The girls thought I was too much like a boy and the boys thought the same. At that time, being different didn’t serve me too well, which I find ironic now because it seems as though being “different” is what has become “popular” today. Yet being “different” means everyone is the same “different”.

As I entered high school I began to understand why so many kids dreaded being there. I hated going most of the time and the only people I seemed to relate to were my friends. It wasn’t the easiest time and I certainly let my feelings show, which I always thought contributed to others’ perception of my personality, as an angsty kid with a pessimistic attitude. Nevertheless, I always felt I had more of an open mind than most of the kids I went to school with. Some of my teachers asserted that opinion; they had always told me I was mature for my age and I never decided whether that was a good or bad thing. In high school your identity is so essential to people characterizing who you are and it didn’t bother me until I came out as a lesbian. Through the years, my description changed from emo-depressive kid, to jock kid, and finally – the gay kid. There were other “out” kids at my school and I never understood why it was a big deal when I came out. A part of me thought it was because it confirmed everyone’s opinions. Amrit is a tomboy; therefore she must be a lesbian, but not all tomboys are lesbians. Another part of me thought it was because I wasn’t like other Indian girls at my school: long black hair, slender bodies, and feminine traits. I couldn’t understand why the students and teachers thought that way, and more importantly I couldn’t understand why it bothered me so much. Regardless, it was another facet of my identity that made me “different” and for the people at my school it was confusing. It was then I started to believe the impact of my “identity” on society and how it would influence my life.

University brought a new kind of understanding in the perceptions of my identity. As a criminology student I was enlightened to so many more systems of personal classifications. This class is certainly not my first encounter with the theory of white privilege and some of the articles such as The Invisible Knapsack. Furthermore, Peggy McIntosh and Richard Dyer’s articles on white privilege emphasized the ideas that I have for so long thought about but could never say without any legitimacy. The concept of white privilege, albeit having some idea of what it meant, helped me understand and articulate why I only saw white people on tv and in movies for so long. As a child, my parents never talked to me about race or gender equality. Having heard many racist and stereotypical comments didn’t leave me with a racist, sexist, or other discriminatory worldview. I knew from an early age that if I wanted to live my life I had to keep an open mind and a large part of me wanted to defy stereotypes. My parents came from traditional Indian backgrounds but never impressed their culture upon me. Their parents did stress the hegemonic ideals of their cultural values. Clear definitions of what a girl and boy should and should not be. As I progressed through university, I began to see all the pieces that made up my identity fall into these classifications I was learning about and had experienced through society and my family’s cultural values. Being a female meant I was inferior to males, a homosexual inferior to the heterosexual norm, and as a minority inferior to the white race. Having learned these systems of classification, I concluded that it was in fact these “characteristics” that made me “different” and how they would impact my career, my opinions, my worldview, and basically every facet of my life.

In having realized how my race, sexuality, gender, and arguably my individuality affected my life, I also realized what privileges I garnered and which I did not. Comparatively, I am ranked well below the privileged middle-class white male. However, it wasn’t until I began taking aboriginal-focused classes that I began to understand what my advantages were. The indigenous populations of Canada are the most under-privileged people in this country. Arguably, their culture and people have been eradicated. Descendants of aboriginal origin face immense hardships and extremely overbearing obstacles in defying stereotypes and racism. Being a gay Indian woman didn’t have the same affect on me having known and met several aboriginal women working the sex trade. I realized how much of a barrier my existence played in the lives of these women and the first nations peoples. My day-to-day activities uphold the systemic suppression of the aboriginals much like the white male maintains control over the societal normative. Even further, I realized what my professors meant by categorizations of race, age, sexuality, gender, sex, disability, etc. I focused so much of my attention on what made me different than the white male. I realized I only evaluated myself to that discourse when there were a vast number of comparatives I did not even consider.

Nevertheless, my worldview remained consistent in that societal norms are a discourse people have been subjected to for centuries. The experiences I dealt with in my life such as racism and enduring harassment for being a homosexual didn’t change my opinions on what I believed the social and political values of this country represent. As societies progress, so too will the understandings of the classifications we discuss, or at least that is the hope. Though I want to believe in the possibilities of changing hegemonic, heterosexual norms, I am not that optimistic. Ending systemic racism did not end racism entirely. It found news way in which to affect the unprivileged, even if it were under the surface. I continue to challenge those who discriminate, whether intentional or not, because the first step is knowledge. Having acknowledged who I am has enabled my understanding to reflect universality and the need to change this way of thinking, but that also means acknowledging how my being affects another.

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It’s 2014 and genocide still happens.

what a strange thing that we allow atrocities to be committed
that i could be standing in the anne frank house one day
and the next, i am standing before the nazi party rally grounds.
a place with so much history… where decades ago, a man stood before the people
he stood there and said things.
things that would eventually lead to some of the most unimaginable acts i’ve ever read about and seen
my sense of reality is shook
to imagine a world in which a young girl loses all faith in life
she loses the ability to see the good the world has to offer because it dealt her cruelty
unfathomable cruelty.
as it does, to so many people.
desire can be endless. and its that which men desire so it turns to obsession
it’s hard to pretend that it’s okay
that the things that happen to others is an inevitability of this world
some say it’s the reality of things
that the evil men do cannot be stopped or altered or changed
that the world cannot change, what chaos ensues, needs to occur
it’s hard to accept that
it’s difficult for me to accept that we cannot change the things that are wrong
i couldn’t help but wonder the things anne wrote in her diary
the things she said to the lady after having been taken to the camps
i remember her saying she couldn’t even go outside, and that was something she missed the most
she had to stay inside the house all day, all night… that her and her family couldn’t go outside
they weren’t even supposed to be living where they were…

“the best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy, is to go outside, somewhere so
they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, and nature, and God. because only then does one
feel that all is as it should be”

i take that for granted now… as i walk around outside. i can go anywhere.
I’m here in germany now
and i was in amsterdam yesterday,
and last week i was at home in canada.
i can go outside whenever i want… i can just walk out my door.

“memories mean more to me than dresses”

it’s so fucked up. so fucked up what we give value to.
how social conditioning has made it so definitive what it means to be productive and successful
that to tell me i am experiencing this, and this… so it makes me THIS
why are you telling me how i feel, and why I’m feeling that way…
am i alone, incapable?

why have we attached so much value to monetary worth?
you can’t play the game when it isn’t equal, but its disguised as such
we’ve become commodities.
this spirit, this extraordinary thing is completely devalued

how can we do this to each other?

————————————————————————————–

I had written that while i was in the Netherlands/Germany a couple months ago. So much of what I’ve seen in the last few weeks with the Israel/Gaza conflict makes me sick. It reminds me that we’re still so savage-like. Bombing Gaza in the hopes of killing a few “terrorists” while murdering hundreds of innocent people is fucked up.

You’ve got to be a really fucked up individual if you’re going to take orders from somebody and drop bombs at random thinking you’re doing a “great service” to your country. It’s ludicrous. It’s brainwashing at it’s scariest.

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I don’t understand why this … is happening.

Courage: The Power Within

It’s strange to me that the very things that I was taught to embody to be a “good” human being, are the very things that have often led me down some fucked up paths. Or at least that’s what I thought.

I had been wanting to post something about an event, an occurrence in my life that really changed a lot for me. I’ve been wanting to share this for quite some time, but I think the reason why I hadn’t already, was because of feeling vulnerable.

Vulnerability is really strange too. I find a lot of things strange. There’s this thing that we all do to protect ourselves. We try not to question or say things that we feel will have a particular reaction, usually a negative reaction. We hesitate to tell our crush we like them in fear that they won’t like us back. We appear a certain way so we don’t receive the negative reactions attached to appearing any different. And we say and do things… with hesitation, always over-analyzing, always over-thinking our behaviours. It’s this feeling of vulnerability that we don’t want to experience. We feel the need to protect our hearts from getting broken, our self-esteems from being bruised, and ultimately… this fragility we all walk around with, is self-inflicted.

I knew from very early on, and I’ve mentioned this before, that I’ve always felt like the other. Not just in my appearance, or what I thought or talked about… but the way I carried myself. I think at a point though, I acted very selfishly… I had carried around the weight of my issues and what I’ve experienced in life, dragged it around everywhere. Everywhere! I was on the path to complete self-destruction before I had ever stepped in that direction. I expected my friends and my family to understand what I was going through and help me fix it. And that was the problem. The expectation.

November 5, 2011: I was having drinks with some friends. The night was fine; just like any other I thought. I was going to get wasted, get high off of whatever I could get my hands on, and I was going to force myself to forget the things that made me feel like not wanting to get out of bed every morning for the past however many years of my life…

November 6, 2011: I woke up in a hospital bed with my best friend sitting on a chair next to the bed… I had never felt more guilty and selfish in my entire life.

The vast majority of the night is not in my memory. It’s like a movie trailer… I recall snippets of things. I remember calling a close friend of mine and balling… I remember saying I can’t do this anymore; I can’t fight the thing inside of me that wants me to die. I remember being driven in an ambulance, sort of, it felt like a coffin on wheels. I felt constrained. There was a woman’s voice asking me questions like what I had taken, what I had been doing all night. I can recall someone kneeling down in front of me once I arrived at the hospital… and I didn’t look up because I was too afraid or too fucked up, or both, to care. I felt someone’s scruffy face rub against mine and their arms reaching around me, and I knew it was my brother. From that point on… I remember just having the toughest night of my life…alone…

I had to confront everything.

I had to acknowledge my fears.

I had to acknowledge I got my heart broke.

I had to acknowledge abuse, emotionally and physically.

I had to acknowledge the idea of someone close to me dying.

I had to face everything that I had carried around for so long… and deal with it, alone.

Up until the age of 21, I had never taken drugs or drank alcohol, with the fear of turning into somebody I really did not want to. And within the short span of 2 years, I had become the very person I had feared.

Someone, and to this day I don’t know who, wrote a note in my phone that night…

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And there it was… I couldn’t run from it anymore. Either get living, or get dying. You know which path you’ve been on. What are you so afraid of? I made a decision that day, that every day I was going to do the very things that I had been doing since I was a kid… believe in myself, believe in the power of change, and fucking love myself.

This was really nerve wracking to write… but I want to thank an individual I went to high school with for reminding me of the courage within me, and for reminding me of this journey I’ve been on. He had messaged me a few nights ago, when I had come home very discouraged. I had felt like maybe I was wrong about the universe, and my teeny existence in space and time. He messaged me on Facebook… telling me a very personal account of his life after high school, and that he’s sorry he never worked up the courage to talk to me in high school. He told me I was one of the most courageous people he had ever seen because I just didn’t give a fuck, and not just for the sake of nonconformity. I truly just didnt give a fuck and he was inspired by that. You walked around with a shaved head! I did, haha.

It was a mind trip. To think your own tiny little existence impacted somebody without you not even having realized it! The fucking universe intervenes and drops a bomb. She’s like “hey, check this out”… and some guy, I barely remember from high school… (we’re talking, totally opposite crowds in high school terms)… messages me to tell ME, I’m courageous and inspirational. MIND BLOWN.

But… then I really thought about it. I started to have one of the coolest revelations ever. It’s true. I’m not afraid to tell anybody how I feel. I’m not afraid to walk up to a complete stranger and ask them to go out with me. I wasn’t afraid to shave my head, dress like boy, and kiss my girlfriend in the hallways of my high school. I’m not afraid, I’ve never been afraid… so why was I so afraid of living when I had had the courage all along? I wear my heart on my sleeve always and I’m spontaneous; I do what I want, and I don’t care that that’s a vulnerability, because when I think about it… it’s not. It makes me courageous as all hell.

But that courage is inside all of us. For every day you get up out of bed and you face the world, you’re vulnerable… and that’s courageous. Don’t be afraid of vulnerability, embrace it. Just be you. Imagine the best you that you can be, because that’s who you truly are. Be vulnerable, it’s what makes us who we are and it makes this place one insane, wonderful mind trip.

I love you friends.

– Am 🙂

What are you willing to live for?

Written by: Am

I often find myself lost in thoughts about things I feel don’t concern other people. And maybe because they don’t want to think about these things, or perhaps they have never thought about these things. Nevertheless, it’s these things that I feel will continue affecting future generations because of our lack of action.

We’re really at a crossroads in all aspects of human life – our planet, our environment, our governments… these are all issues we must talk about, but we don’t. The struggle isn’t universal any longer. It’s become a personal struggle, and when the personal struggle invalidates the universal, action is difficult. The personal struggle is the priority. Affording the costs of living, establishing a career to afford those costs, and to also find the time to enjoy life. Can we really if all there is is working life away to afford life? Kind of pointless.

The way we live has been structured, for generations and generations. We have become mindless consumers of the life we think we’re supposed to have. We feel entitled to have it. We’re conditioned to buy things, taught to live a life of material, and deviating from this institutionalized lifestyle will make you feel like an outcast. You will have failed. You’re a failure. It’s reinforced by every single person aspiring to build a career, get married, get a mortgage. Pointless holidays like Valentines Day to stimulate consumerism. Shower your significant other with invaluable materials to measure the worth of your love for each other. Absurd.

We have this idea that finding someone and “sharing your life” with someone is the answer to everything. It makes this place less lonely, but for me being alone never meant being lonely. I was that person though; I fell for all of it. I had this idea as a kid, that I’d fall in love with a girl and we’d live the fairy tale. We’d have adventures, I’d do romantic things for her, and I’d be a happy person – I would feel fulfilled. But for me the idea of having that kind of relationship is no longer a need or a priority. It’s a personal belief; not something I impose on others. And let me be clear, if that’s something someone genuinely believes in – something that will bring them happiness, I don’t discourage it. Whichever lifestyle someone chooses, it’s their decision and only theirs. But give someone who does not feel the need to live your lifestyle the same respect.

I believe love is a beautiful thing… but it’s fluid, like most things in life, it’s subject to evolve and change. I forget what movie I saw but a character had said something like “love is a socially-accepted form of mental illness” and I totally believe it. Love makes people do insane, irrational things. People do insane, irrational things all the time and they’re accused of being crazy, but people “in love”… aren’t. I feel like the idea of being in love is what people are so in love with, and not necessarily for what it is.

Being in love with someone… having that kind of an intense, spiritual, wonderful connection is amazing… I don’t doubt the intensity, the passion… there’s something so inexplicable about it that if I had to describe it as anything, the closest thing I could describe it to is the sensation of being on the most fucked up wonderfully, insane, absurd trip. But I feel that way about life in general. It’s the wildest trip. It’s not a necessity though. It’s important to be able to be by yourself and be content with that – looking for validation in a relationship, in someone else, will always leave someone feeling empty because the anxiety is created.

It’s irrelevant to me now… because there is this life… this narrative we’ve come to live and it’s the same for everyone. It’s what people aspire in life… the life goals: school, marriage, mortgage, death. But it’s killing us.

Hi, my name is… Bag Lady

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Hi, my name is Dominique and I’m “black”. What does that mean, exactly – “black”? Well, frankly, it means fuck all – it is just a worn out, tired tautology. And I’m tired too. I’m a tired apologist. I’m tired of the weight of fictitious exceptionalism, which is really a way of negating that I am an individual.  I’m also tired of battling ignorance with playful jabs and exorbitant understanding. I should have opened with, “Hi, my name is Dominique and I’m tired”.

Somewhere, it must be writ that the guide to flattering a “black” person that does not quite fit the established “black” paradigm is as follows:

“Wow, you’re not like other black [insert gender or “people”]!”

  • Note the exclamatory “wow”, the grandiose surprise that is intended to make you feel as if you have just soared above all the other black men or women or people that this commentator has just distinguished you from. Forgive me if I follow that remark with some cut eye, or a subtle kiss of my teeth and thereby, quite possibly, shatter my “black” exceptionalism in your eyes.

“I don’t normally like “black” people BUT you’re cool.”

  • I’m sure there is an expression for this… for beginning with an insult but ending with a supposed compliment. Whatever it is, it serves to always remind me that the colour of my skin is an indictment of my character (and in New York City, grounds for a good ole frisk). In the past, it made me work extra hard to make sure that I would not be judged thusly, which I now realize was my own way of perpetuating that same negation of my individuality. I should be free to freely be me, should I not?

“You don’t [“listen to _____” or “do _______”]? Oh my god, hahaha, I’m like blacker than you.”

  • This one is tricky because it does not, on the surface, appear to be flattery but to someone with an earnest desire to shake off the shackles of “blackness” this particular comment reaffirms that you stand apart from the stereotypes whether they be rooted in the type of music you listen to, the food you eat, the way you dress, the way you speak, and so forth. These types of comments may even serve to subconsciously steer you away from those “things” in order to maintain your “exceptionalism”. I’d just like to put it out there that, no, for god’s sake just because you like to listen to Jay-Z and I don’t does not mean that you are blacker than me. There is no barometer of “black” were Jay-Z can, much less should, figure. Finally, homogenizing what it means to be “black”, even from a loosely functional sociological perspective, has been grossly inequitable and practically discounts the variability of the “black” experience because be you Caribbean “black”, Latin American “black”, North American “black”, continental African “black”, or European “black” by virtue of being black you therefore must love fried chicken, watermelon, have fake hair, listen to rap music, have a big ghetto booty, and use the word “nigga” as a term of endearment. Even in those broad pseudo-groupings, the “experience” can be broken down, contextualized and, most importantly, INDIVIDUALIZED.

These are tired ass stereotypes and I have not even begun to share the rich anecdotal history that one is privileged to when on the receiving end of ignorance as a person of colour, multiplied by being female. Despite how tired and lamentable these typecasts are they still prevail, cloaked as jokes or “legitimate observations”.

Observe this! I hate watermelon! No, it’s not funny and please do not follow by asking me whether I like fried chicken. And please, do not call me your “nigga” unless you want to endear my foot to your ass  (oops, that was violent, appears I may have let my “black” slip). I almost wish I was being hyperbolic but I’m not, this is a relatively cyclical conversation I have in my life… featuring Jay-Z, watermelon, and fried chicken.

That sounded absurd didn’t it… I’m glad that that is self-evident.

I get it, I honestly do. People have prejudices, they have biases, and they may suffer from any number of the wide range of –isms that propagate amongst our species, with our penchant for xenophobia and preferentialism. I too suffer from a prejudice; I am a rather puritanical misanthrope. However, I’m also an “empath”, and despite being a “hater of mankind” (kind of an exaggeration there), I happen to be a human being and as Maya Angelou said when quoting ancient Roman playwright, Terence, “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” – “I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me”. If I were to let my misanthropic tendencies dominate my life I would be unfairly casting judgement on every human being, which would make me painfully hypocritical.

I am fond of saying that the colour of my skin does not dictate my character but it does “colour” my experience, as much as does my place of birth (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), my ethno-cultural heritage (Afro-Jamaican, and the consequential mix-up that includes South Indian, Chinese, Syrian, and Cuban relations), the fact that I’m from a matriarchal family rife with strong females (my poor grandfather, haha), and so forth. But again, I’m a human being and in a fleeting moment of optimism on my part, I sincerely hope that people begin operating on that pretext first and their prejudices second.

What was the point of the above? To introduce anyone who reads anything I may contribute hereafter to my baggage. My 10th grade English teacher, Mr. Blake, once told my class that people experience and interpret everything through their own personal baggage. For me, at least, I have recently realized that this is true and it tends to permeate how I see the world, what I write about, how I write about it, and likely why my best friend and I created “The Fourthworld”.

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.