there are not enough words but also there are too many.
my least favorite question in this moment in history has become, “how do you identify?”
i don’t fucking know, Susan. my name is ali. what do you really want to know here? what pronouns to use when you’re gossiping about me with Karen at Starbucks. in that case, does it really matter anyway? do you want to know who i have sex with? because that is a long conversation that definitely does not end in any tidy conclusion that will satisfy you. do you want to know what body parts i have or whether or not my brain feels like that matches?
what do you really want to know? there are 1,000 more interesting questions. here’s one, “does cilantro taste like soap to you?” this provides you with about as much information about who a person is as whether or not they “identify as a woman.”
try talking to a person and actually listening to them. listen to the pitch in their voice and where they carry the conversation, you will find what interests them pretty quickly.
i am a person who likes to create things. and feels guilt about the inevitable consumption and destruction that is inherent to creating. i am extremely conscious of my impact on my surroundings. i believe in leaving a place a little bit better than how i found it. i believe in gnomes. i believe in myself. i want to meet as many people as i can and talk to them about how they feel and what they think about and what they love. i like to tell stories. i have been hospitalized for things doctors say are wrong with me. i’ve been told there are a lot of things wrong with me that need fixing. i went to college and learned a bunch of stuff. i live in portland, i was born in california. i love love. there is no one single word for any of these things and that’s ok because collectively they kind of, barely, not-even-close-to skim the surface of all the things that make me: ali.
maybe we want labels because we’re desperately trying to connect to other people. we don’t want to take the time to find out things about them so we look for things that might help. we want to feel like we have a pack.
but i really think it’s because we want to find others to leave out. power structures benefit from us fighting against each other. climbing over each other to reach an imaginary “top.” where are you trying to go? what do you want?
if you look hard enough, you’ll find that it already exists.
we. are. all. the. same. sorry, Susan, i know you think your purple nails make you #quirky but they’re just little pieces of plastic that are going to be around in a landfill for decades after your body is rotting somewhere or ashes in an urn on Brechalynne’s mantle.
ok, that took a harsh turn. and it might come as a shock when i say, “i actually love you Susan and Brechalynne too.” i don’t want to spend any time with you on Sunday at Target shopping for princess dresses or shirts that say “girls run the world,” though. words have separated us this far. there are so many of us that we don’t care about one another. we don’t see that we are all the same because we put on costumes, paint our faces, and stick stuff on our bodies. it’s all words in the end. otherwise, we would just be dogs walking around not thinking about other dogs because we wouldn’t even have the word “other” or “dog” everything would just be as it is.
there are not enough words because “love” doesn’t capture that boundless, infinite possibility that unites us. we’re all just pieces of a greater whole but we fight it so much.
om is probably closer to the feeling that i’m trying to express but does that get us there?
you are important. you are important because you are reading this. you are alive. congratulations, you’ve made it this far!
you are inhaling oxygen and exhaling CO2.
that is not “enough” (because this is a judgement contingent on some reality where there is enough and not enough – but this is a topic for another time)
that is just the way it is.
you are here.
you are reading this.
i am writing this and i love you.
note: sorry to all the Susans out there. Susan is just a great name for the modern archetypal mom too consumed by words to come up for air.