FIRST PERSON: ESSAYS AND NARRATIVES
"i quickly scan the room for another like me. a woman on the verge of not-ness. that is, a woman who is not really thrilled with the whole gambit. see, maybe one of the other femme-esque beings here is tired of the game, too. her pantyhose go unworn for years, like mine. she has one tube of lipstick a friend gave her that she cannot bear to wear, like i have. she owns dresses, really fancy ones, that she has never worn because she could never justify the abrupt change of image, which is to say, the fellas would rib her about it. 'you're a girl...' maybe she has heard this said and reacted in shock and horror and dismay. she, like i, has heard this with a question mark, an exclamation point, righteous indignation, mockery. i know i have heard it and was none too thrilled."
"I can't imagine the experience of those who died in the Egyptian Air Flight 990. I can only guess at the things they said, the prayers they made, and the wishes they left to the air. I don't know what happened. But I do know one thing, and that is the simple fact that many faiths expect a final affirmation when a person expects to die. A simple statement made as a last act before dying."
Steven G. Fullwood
"Strange as it may sound, practicing polyamory has given me back my body. It freed me up to deal with my needs and desires on a level that required me to choose for me. Since I was clear about not wanting to be in a monogamous relationship, I found there were many ways to express myself to and through the bodies of many men. Their warm bodies made me think of mine differently. The experiences made me love the man I saw myself becoming, through their kisses, their hugs, legs, thighs, mouth and eyes. For the first time in my adult life, I was becoming a man I could love and respect."
"By the time you're a junior or senior in high school, the terror of being left out can be almost pathological. As I witnessed my daughter almost beside herself with excitement on a Friday or Saturday night before a party, I cringed inside, remembering things I would just as soon forget. In high school, Saturday night was like an approaching final exam. The exam wasn't in Algebra. Its subject matter was more basic. The test question: Are you being left out? Is there some big party to which everybody else has been invited except you?"
"The question assumes Luis's guilt. My dad bases the assumption on a suspicion, a suspicion that all of my family from my teen-aged cousins to my ninety-nine-year-old great-grandmother has had for some time. We've all entertained the idea that Luis is a fucked-up sonofabitch and beats the shit out of Robin, and does weird shit, crazy shit, molesting-kind-of-shit, to his kids. We've all suspected and none of us have ever done a damn thing."
"This stigma of being a triple minority has followed me throughout life. I have always been fully aware of my existence of as female, disabled and Asian American. I began having negative perceptions about Asians. I had no concept of what Asian American was. All my friends were white; I avoided Asians at all costs. After all, they had negative ideas about me, so why should I try to get to know them? It was not until halfway through high school, when I began to join extracurricular organizations, that I changed my outlook. I met many open-minded Asian Americans who did not treat me as an outcast, and who accepted me. I had a sudden realization: I was prejudiced and hypocritical. I had been judging people based solely on outside appearances and stereotypes. These were the very things I hoped others would not judge me by. "
Jack A. Urquhart
"One thing is sure: there was nothing in the process that ought rightfully to be considered unusual to anyone else straight or bent who's set themselves a course toward finding a mate. You search, you stress, you wonder if you've got anything remotely attractive and inviting to offer, and if there's anyone out there worth giving it to, you sweat, laugh, cry. But mostly, you wait. Eventually all the angst paid off and I settled with a man I loved, and though we weren't able to sustain the relationship, our time together reinforced the normalcy of what I'd spent years demonizing the possibility of man-to-man intimacy, physical, spiritual, intellectual. And just for the record, there was nothing unusual in our loss nothing to do with the kind of cravings often associated with the so-called 'gay lifestyle' and its supposed emphasis on sex with anything that moves. We may have slipped once or twice, but the real issue was that we just couldn't strike a balance between our individual priorities. How ordinary is that?"
Original Graphic, "Print 1," © 1999 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal
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