Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bits of Me

This was an essay I wrote for the Amherst college supplement. I'm sure it's not what they were looking for.

I look like a lesbian. A stereotypical lesbian, if you will. I have short hair, normally dyed an interesting shade of unnatural, and wear a lot of flannel, collared shirts, and sweaters. I love bowties. My leather motorcycle jacket is my pride and joy. One of the most common questions people ask me (after “How’d you get your hair that color?”) is, “You’re not straight, right?” These days, I proudly answer, “Nope, not straight!” and move on with my life. Two years ago, I wasn’t as comfortable with myself. I felt slightly wrong, off kilter, not lesbian enough. I had long hair, dressed in ratty t-shirts and jeans, and would avoid awkward questions at all costs. I didn’t feel like my outer self matched my inner personality. I needed to be more “stereotypical”. So I cut my hair.
            As the weight of my hair fell away, and I turned willingly to face the mirror, I finally, finally saw something I liked. Yes, the girl looking back at me seemed stereotypical. Her short hair spiked up at the top, her two piercings in each ear were finally visible. She finally walked with a swagger, a confidence. She could finally look at myself and think, “Your inside matches your outside.” So I dressed her in collared shirts and sweaters, jeans and boots, and set her loose on the world. She lived up to the stereotypical expectations I had for her: confident, in herself and in her sexuality, with a wicked dress sense and a snapping personality to match. What I had believed to be simply stereotypes became my life, but without them, I couldn’t be myself.  My ideas of the stereotypical lesbian allowed me to come into my own: a full circle stereotype. 

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