Spent the greater part of the last seven days anticipating and thinking about this gif.
Probably two years since I last shaved it all. My go to is that I hate my face without a beard so I’m being a bit easier on myself this time. Summer break. I still want to bawl about it but maybe it’s the razor burn and not a predisposition. I hope it isn’t all grey when it comes back. Could be my father in town this last weekend but the day the red is gone a real part of me will have disappeared.
Actively downplaying the work of getting a PhD and writing a dissertation and going to grad school all in front of a group of friends from undergrad because I was such an asshole when they last knew me. Thinking there’s nothing more insufferable than a PhD talking about how important they are and how valuable their shit is. But, like, I’m proud? How are we proud of ourselves? How can we be proud? Taking pride means _________. Are we beating ourselves up too often? Are we sacrificing something real, something powerful and soothing for ourselves because we are afraid of something else, also very real, powerful, yet not at all soothing? Why am I scared of who I am? Why am I afraid of what I do?
We are responsible for others.
We are responsible for selfs.
Haha hooooo boy this old print I just found. All decked out in black NOTHING feels. Miss that goddamn car.
Right before I fell asleep I spoke out loud “would you accept the idea of gender as an identification rather than an identity?” I’m not sure why. I’m going to think out loud working through that thought as a question with no known answer.
What is the difference between identification and identity? How does gender complicate that question? People seem to complain about identity politics a lot. I’m not sure why that is other than white men get uptight when you make them pay attention to individuals who aren’t white men. I think there is a difference between saying identity politics is bad and identity is a bad concept. Identity politics is what every single person on the planet should aspire to—a politics based on the idea that everyone has a different identity, that everyone is different. That’s what I think identity politics might mean. But I loathe identity as a concept. Too often identity feels like another way of saying subjectivity and both those concepts are bound up in a really whack history rife with phallologocentric assumptions and like, fuck that. Moreover, if you care about difference, about the possibility for a just relationship with others based on an ethic of difference, then the idea of IDENTITY or SUBJECTIVITY being an essence, a stable representation, an image, or any other normalizing and totalizing concept as the centrality of one’s being means that difference is already erased, effaced, and eliminated. Put another way, the moment when I say this is what I think the world is and what is right and wrong and what is normal and abnormal is the moment where difference is erased. No matter what your Intro to Philosophy professor told you when you were a freshman, no matter what your loved ones told you when you were growing up, no one person is the center of the universe. You are not the norm. You are not ideal. You are not the origin.
So I always flinch when people think or behave in ways that reinforce identity or subjectivity as anything other than “what I do next” as Grosz might say. Subjectivity is what I do next. Identity is what I perform next? Then identification becomes really unique and important because what I choose to perform next emerges out of a moment of identification and affinity rather than certainty and alienation. Excess versus lack. How does this relate to gender and performance? I don’t know but it feels like Butler is misread, like, a lot. Performances are not discrete or maybe isolated is a better word. Performances are framed. Frames are a way of marking difference. Frames emerge and recede, performances happen and then don’t, but the movement driving those processes keeps going. Performativity is not a characteristic, things don’t have performativity. Performativity is a force. It is movement. Performativity is iterabilit—the ability to emerge and re-emerge over and over. Doesn’t the idea that Butler says gender is performative confirm that identity is unstable? A performance is not a one to one replication of what is performed. A performance is a representation and an incomplete one at that. Performativity is what allows one to perform an action one day and get up the next day and perform it again, differently. Performativity is the river and performance is the rings coming off my foot when I wade into the water. Difference is the force directing the river. Gravity maybe? Not sure if I like that. Downstream with no destination is better.
So like, there is no authentic you. You are not your parts. You are not your ideas. You have parts and you have ideas but those things never coalesce into any kind of essence. The more I think about it the more I like Irigaray and Grosz’s stuff on sexual difference and the “at least two sexes” which is really really hard to not freak out about. I like it because it doesn’t deny the fact that everyone has a body that has stuff on and in it. And that when they say AT LEAST TWO that means that in any relation there is at least two sexes making up that relation. And that those two sexes are necessarily and wholly different from one another. They exceed one another. Our job is not to assume anything about an other’s body because it will absolutely be different than our own. Those two sexes are not necessarily MALE and FEMALE. That’s like, our ideas about what two sexes means. That’s on us. That’s a habit of thought. Life is the process of establishing habits, experiencing different shit, and learning new habits. Over and over again. Difference is the force that powers that process. So what about identification and identity? Man I don’t know, I think that’s what I’ve been riffing on. Identification as another way of describing the emergence of the actual from the virtual? Identification as another way of describing the moment that water shifts from a liquid to a gas? Identification as the feeling of the river rush over your toes? I just know that I like it better than identity because of everything that gets assumed when that word is spoken out loud, right before bed.
5 Puncts for 3rd Grade:
More red than anything.
Soft peach shoulders.
Your upturned lips.
An odd symmetry of bad fabric.
I love the sea but loathe the beach. I guess I’m a harbor. I grew up in Virginia Beach and the smell permeated everything we did. Even 10 miles inland I always knew. The ocean poured out of every teacher’s lesson, every gas station attendant. The air tastes like a maroon Civic cursing the strip. I started to lose my virginity in the dunes north of 75th street and finished somewhere in a Volvo. The lull is nice. The breeze is better. Kids in Iowa went to the sand pits. Kegs and pickup trucks. Fireworks and fighting trees. Cheap motels were our pits. We’d rip bong hits and pass out in closets. I’ve still got pics. I ran from the beach as fast as I could after high school. Never felt as right as a cane field or Iowa in June. Last summer something blue and lazed with salt stirred in me. The taste of the sea. Who ever knows about exact moments but mine involved a window on the second floor of an old white house in Maine, the wind blowing a white curtain. Up and down. I could lay for hours in the memory of that one window. An island. The ocean. My heart. Your bamboo and hidden paths do well to make me feel again. This morning on the beach I was rereading Inferno and Eileen Myles turns up one dune over for an O’Hara reading. Tits up to the sun she said. I fell asleep in the shade of a red umbrella and every fifteen minutes the breeze picked me up set me down again.