My personhood is a filter against the world

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Sometimes I like to walk to the pizza place down the hill from my apartment, sit at the center booth in the back room, and eat an entire Quattro Fromaggi pizza by myself. One napkin – greasy and lipstick-stained and powdered in the dough’s dust by the last wipe of my mouth. I listen to podcasts and draw leaves in my notebook and pick up slice after slice after slice. Nine o’clock on a Thursday night and I’ve closed the place down, the three loose shirt guys in the corner calling goodbye to the woman behind the counter. I follow them out, feel the weight of my stomach slowing me down as I begin the climb up the hill.

I’m thinking about an interview I watched earlier this week where Stav B talks about what it’s like to be different – “I like to feel different because I am different.” And about how the past few years of my life have been something of a reclamation project for me. Reclaiming the things that I always thought were supposed to be bad about myself, and making them into barbs growing from my spine, biting at the bit to be stronger. My skin, my clothing, my tendencies to stare for too long. I have been told by so many friends that they wish we could have gotten to know each other sooner but I was too intimidating. I am small and quiet and brightly-colored, so I still don’t completely understand this accusation. The only thing I’ve been able to think of is that because I find it so easy to be alone, I’m not good at going out of my way to bring people into my life. People have to work for me.

I am reclaiming the fear I inspire in people. Using it instead of letting it limit me.

Intimidation gives me walls. My personhood is a filter against the world.

I experiment in sharing myself with people.

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