As Lovers Go – the personal is political

Posted on April 20, 2011


YouTube – Dashboard Confessional – As Lovers Go..

This began as a little blurb about why i love this song.. turned into streaming consciousness. It is what it is.

I remember when I was 17, maybe 18 and my bfff first told me to listen to A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar and I was so resistant (he’ll tell you I resist anything he likes haha).  This song got me hooked.  Maybe it speaks to me because when straight men show interest in me – even when I was in my teens – my first reaction is “do you think i’m a fool?” which, now that I’ve put it out there, sounds a little crazy and defensive at the very least.  It’s also a good way to weed out people who don’t need to be in my life. People who are worthwhile, in my opinion and experience, understand that the way women are treated combined with the type of person I am elicits a response like that to an aggressive male, and come back with “you’ve got me all wrong”. Conscious and respectful. So it works for me. And this song speaks to that experience. And hopefully finding that the once-threatening male turns out to be someone amazing.

Oh god, that’s really hetero. damn it. I need to find queer songs so this heteronormativity doesn’t get to me.  I Find that the longer I am away from the queer community (not just the ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ community), the easier heteronormative standards start feeling comfortable.  I worked so hard to undo years of grooming, and I don’t want to lose that.  Because I lose myself with it. Why is hair such a strong cultural signifier of one’s gender identity? I feel more comfortable and “me” when I have really short hair.  In conversation I say it’s easier to manage, but that’s not the whole story.  Am I keeping myself in the closet? I feel as if people around me wouldn’t necessarily understand my genderqueerness, but who knows? Why am I not even giving them a chance? I feel so insecure about it.  I feel anxiety around my gender identity.. which really is like a nongender because I don’t think gender is a real thing, but you cannot take away cultural meanings and thus how others interpret and interact with you and in that I am confined by the present system.  We do not operate in a vacuum. Our existence in many ways resides in the sharing of energy, and in our present context that happens mostly with other people.  So even if at one point in human history gender was nonexistent, we have brought it into existence and now it is a very real thing because of the way humans share energy (interact).  Which is why I think the argument about if gender is a natural kind/biological determinism is to blame is completely and utterly irrelevant.  So how do I get around it?! I think I need to find ways to once again more fully embody myself and feel comfortable presenting myself.  People are generally kind (optimism shining through), especially here with the Aloha spirit.  If I do me and am grounded and happy, people will generally respond positively to that.  Now it’s a matter of finding ways besides my hair to be a representative of that (I’m on a mission to grow out my hair and donate it.. not to locks of love), because we also rely heavily on symbols to navigate life.. maybe women will stop assuming I know what they’re talking about if there is a fat sign that says “hey, I probably don’t have the same experiences or interact with the world the same way you do”.. so I don’t have to say it. Because I’ve found that’s really awkward. It also can be awkward trying to explain to people that even though you look “normal” or feminine or whatever, you don’t feel that way… even if you’re in a relationship with a man you’re not straight and not just a woman… and subsequently having to separate out sex and gender and then gender and sexual desire and somehow coherently convey that they all exist separately but we have become over time a culture wherein sex, gender, and sexual desire have an acceptable dependance on each other, and that it’s the only “natural” way to be AND any other naturally occurring variations have been silenced or “queered”.  And explaining that to a potential partner is one of my biggest anxieties.  I don’t know why, because I’ve been lucky so far with all my partners being understanding and accepting.  Maybe because in general interactions with people on a daily basis (who aren’t intimate partners or close friends) that we say to people means less, in many ways, than how they interpret us.  Or how we interpret ourselves based on these symbols, cultural signifiers, and the normative “flow” of sex/desire.

I may have just ruined that song for myself for a while.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

We need a gender revolution. Unfortunately I think it’ll be the last one to happen…