what bi means to me

For two weeks after I go to the other coast I am dizzy. I reference it as being bi-coastal, but it's as much about


Because it's includes each of them, the strangeness is multiplied. My sadness about not living near my family gets translated into the oddity of riding the subway again. I am moved to tears by the platform shifting out from under my feet, I am oddly lonely in the cold orange bucket seat. I am also comforted and alone. It's all relief and panic.

At home, my life "back east" is a thing of wonder and resentment. My father introduces me as "My daughter Jenny, she's visiting from New York." Which makes it sound as if I was born there, raised in absentia, a representative from a strange and foreign place. I know he is speaking with pride, but sometimes it seems that he's also trying to distance himself from me. This introduction evokes two reactions: admiration (how do you do it?) and horror (why would you ever?). I alternately resent and utilize both of these reactions. When I feel disapointed in my family, their erasure of my relationships (how is your friend?) I think -- I live somewhere that is not here, I know people that are not this. I am not bound by your fear, or racism, or self-righteousness. Back in the city, I watch the people moving down the street, listen to the conversations at work, and think: I am not like this. I come from some place small and vast. I am not concerned with all of this money, all of this fame-fucking self-centered pseudo-freudian elitism. I birthed a sheep when I was young, I know fields and creeks, I know forrests and farmers. Trailer parks are not distant cultural jokes to me, but the squeaky homes of my family, friends. I am not of this place, I am not like this.

It is cultural capital -- both of them. I get to argue my working class roots and I get to abandon them at my own leisure. I get to be from New York and from down home at the same time, but each time I reference either I am lying. Talking about home feels ill-fitting,dirty. I use it to evoke a legitimacy that it does not bestow. At home, talking about New York is a performance. My life is not glamorous, my experience not half as wordly as it might sound. I have seen famous people in the street, but I am not cavorting with rock stars. It's strange -- I know my world is broader then that of my family and yet, it is not so broad. I know that my family comes from a very different place then most of my east coast/college friends but I share in much of their privilege.

I am left with vertigo. I'm floating around trying to remember exactly what the scent of a field burn tastes like. I think it is sugary, grainy, and dark. But my nose is all clogged with sewer steam, it's own rotting sweetness much the same. I can't seem to get either one straight or remember why they are different.


Blogger Lesblogs said...

this is totally beautiful.

12:55 AM  

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