I think the only time I claimed a political identity out-loud was because I didn’t know how I identified and I felt stupid for not really knowing a word to sum up myself. But over the past few years I’ve become less and less concerned with finding a one-or-two-worded way to summarize myself (or even several one-or-two-worded ways). I’m not really interested in it but I still feel inarticulate. I don’t want who I am, what I think, and what I do to be said in one word. (I don’t want to be so sure about what someone else like Karl Marx said that I adopt the -ism of his last name. I don’t want any -ism or any -ists. I don’t want to feel obligated generalize myself in order to be more easily understood. But I do.)
And maybe this is because other people have always done (and still do) it for me: other people named me; ascribed me a sex and a complimentary list of pronouns and mannerisms, told me I’m white as my friends would tell me I’m transparent; they assigned me multiple sets of number and letter combinations and documents that state all of this information—pieces of paper that legalize an identity for me to prove and absorb. And I want to burn them. According to my birth certificate I am a white American female citizen and I don’t know what the fuck that means. And no, it isn’t feeling white guilt. White guilt made me feel like Clorox bleach or a window pane.
This is complete and utter shame and disgust towards the Manifest Destiny American Dream founded through Western Exploration made possible by Slavery and Genocide for Freedom, Justice, and Equality in God We Trust; along with the subsequent identity I was born into, wailing with a responsibility to be someone before I was anything. I grew crooked with all the question marks in me. Multiple choice exams stopped making sense to me when I saw a hierarchy in the answers to choose from. And I think that’s how I stopped looking for answers and meaning and definition to everything. Black and white turned into shades of grey, as numbers became imaginary, as a math equation’s answer could be undefined; as not all multiple choice answers were wrong yet there was only one right way to answer the question. So I stopped asking because the right answers lost validity.
I don’t want to be in school anymore.
– – – –
Atlanta’s air smells as if it is rotting, and its aftertaste makes makes us all choke and gasp in vicious cycles. It took me a while to realize the city’s stench was exhaled from the sewage system running underneath the entire city. Atlanta is quite literally rotting and decomposing and caving in on itself.
When I first saw the image Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme, I realized most things I hate resemble strategically constructed cesspools underneath the pavement. I am living in a cesspool where all that is American and Capitalist festers and I’m decomposing in it.
I think this is the “in the mean time”: the transient-in-between where we are endlessly and passionately fermenting. Because It’s in a praxis of breaking down where I find myself creating. In a world that carries on imprisoning everything in their proper places I feel like a phantom-face-paranorm; a mutated commodity of capitalism that meets the criteria for recall because I can’t see my reflection in the contours of the State and I’m not trying to seek justice.
Because what can be identified in infinite ways all at once might as well never be named at all. Because identity that is fluid, fragmented, and liminal negates the value of every monolith. In a culture obsessed with precision it feels good to feel scattered. Through ceaseless shape-shifting I’m trying for shapelessness. Home lacking place. An American Haunting.