16 July 2012

The Shore

When you are on a ferry, the first few yards go quickly. You can't take your eyes off the land. The shore backs away so fast, then seems to slow down. You take a moment to glance around. You get distracted. You look the other way. Then, you look back. And it's gone, hidden behind the horizon.

I just reached that point. I'd been looking forward for so long, that I hadn't glanced back since my freshmen year. But something - a new 17-year-old friend, to be exact - made me look back. And I saw that I couldn't see it anymore. Highschool fell behind the horizon.

In retrospect. I really do miss it. There was a degree of stability to being in one place five days a week for eight hours a day. There was something nice about most of the people you know being surrounded by the same campus. It was easy to fall into a rhythm, easy to develop a pattern. Easy to make new friends through old friends.

It's funny to think how young you are in highschool, discovering those very mature things like sex and drugs and which academic pursuits interest you most. But, the whole time you are still a child, and so much of highschool feels like a game looking back. Like dressing up for school dances, decorating cars, doing drugs, it was all like childhood play.

I can't quiet swallow it, looking back, to see what a difference three years make in life. It's so far away I don't know the person I was then anymore. And that scares me.

12 July 2012

Hard to Answer Questions

There are just so many questions I never know how to answer.
  • Where are you from? (Depends why you are asking.)
  • How many states have you lived in? (Five? Four, plus DC?)
  • How long have you lived in Colorado? (Well, I first moved here ten years ago, but I've since moved out  five times for anywhere between four and twelve months.
  • How long have you lived in the US? (Most of my life). How old were you when you moved to the US? (Seven) When did you move out of Russia? (When I was nine). When did you last live in Russia? (When I was ten. Are you confused yet?)
  • Where in Colorado are you from? (Denver? Boulder? TR/Bailey? I've called all these places home at one point).
  • Where in Denver are you from? (Well, I'm not actually in Denver, I'm from the suburbs...) What suburb are you from? (My address reads Englewood, but a more accurate answer would be Greenwood Village or Centennial, I guess...?)
  • What school do you go to? (....CU Boulder, I guess....)
  • What year are you? (Senior? Junior? ... Fourth year?)
  • What do your parents do, or worse, what does your dad do? (Well, I could answer the question honestly and you'd apologize for asking it, or I could skilfully dodge it so that you don't learn that my father is dead).
  • What pronoun do you prefer? (The one that won't make you assume my gender identity... oh wait.)
  • How many countries have you been to? (Does Vatican City count as a country? Do I count Wales and England separately, or the UK all together? Do I make a political statement and count Catalunya and Pays Vasco separately from Spain? Is it fair to count Germany if I've only been to Berlin, France if I've only been to Paris, Ireland if I've only been to Dublin, and Mexico if I've only been to the beach-side tourist resorts?)
  • What's your name? (Kae? Ksenia? Ksyusha? Cream/Kreme? Depends who is asking, your native language, the context, and which of my friends you already know. I always pause before answering this question...)
Oh, questions....

03 July 2012

Queer Isolationism

There was a short time when I lived a mostly queer-isolationist life. It was my freshman year of university. I came out three times in that year, all with different identities. I was exploring my sexuality and my gender for the first time. For the first time, the girls I met were potential partners. For the first time, the pronouns people used to refer to me held a lot more weight than before. And I embraced it. I surrounded myself with people who supported me and knew what I was going through. 90% of my friends were queer. Every conversation I had was queer. Every extra-curricular activity was queer. I began to act cautious around straight people. I began to actively seek out queers.

I no longer live this lifestyle, and now have several distinct and overlapping communities based on common interests beside being queer. For example, I love philosophy. I love to travel. I watch Doctor Who. I work with children. I read books. I play the violin. I hike. There is a lot more to my life then being queer.

If someone hung out only with philosophy majors, or only with other Whovians, I might laugh critically at their decision. There is a lot to be gained in life from reaching out to different communities and people. Yet, despite that, I strongly support queer isolationism, and still revert to it on occasion. Because, you see, there is something about being queer that none of those other things have.

I will never walk into a philosophy classroom, look around at my fellow philosophy students, and know that each and every one of them at some time cried because of their love for philosophy. But that does happen with queers.

I will never tell a new acquaintance that I like to travel, and watch their eyes skirt away from mine, turn to the floor, as they step back awkwardly and say "oh". But that does happen because I am queer.

I will never walk into a grocery store with a Doctor Who t-shirt, and notice people staring at it and at me. I will never sprint from the store to my car, fearing for my safety because I am a Whovian. But I have done that because I am queer.

I will never lie to my parents about going to babysit to avoid another fight. But I make these lies because I am queer.

I will never fear bringing fellow book-lovers home with me. I will never have to search for a place to live which is book-friendly. But that's happening because I am queer.

I will never hear of orchadorsks like myself being murdered, knifed, and beat. I will never see it on the news. I will never hear of friends of friends who are no longer around because they played violin too much. But that has happened to queers.

I will never be told to act differently because I am a hiker. I will never have someone tell me that hiking is ok, but only if I dress and speak like a city person. I will never be asked intrusive details about my hike, because people are curious. But thay do that because I am queer.

Being queer is more than a mutual interest. Being queer dictates every part of my life. Although I am a lot more than just queer, being queer is the integral part of my identity. In an ideal world, I wouldn't need to be a queer isolationist. I wouldn't need to occasionally surround myself with only queers to feel safe. But this world isn't ideal. It is a world that continuously mistreats me, hurts me, and beats me for being queer. To survive, sometimes I must make a world of my own. A world of queer isolation.