Adulthood? Never!

I’m kidding, kinda.  I don’t have an oppositional stance to adulthood so much as a perturbed curiosity towards it.  My orientation towards adulthood is a queer one–meaning, I see adulthood and I feel its pending doom, and so I dance around it playing with the power it gives me.

Yes, there is power in adulthood.  There is the power of the normative, of course, and the validation one receives from complying with its normative playbooks.  The will to win within the rules: but what about the will to win by breaking the rules?  That’s what I like about adulthood.  What I like about my looming adulthood is the reappropriation of this power, the disidentification of it.  I love people beginning to see me as an adult, because it gives me that certain kind of (normative) power, but I relish in it and laugh and use it against itself.  I like to name that which is unnamed: the “normal” things adults are supposed to do on an everyday basis in order to reproduce our life projects as such.

And there are so many of these things!  These things that make me laugh but it’s a laughter from a place of pain and violent subjection.  Take, for instance, access to couples counseling.  EVERY “COUPLE” DESERVES ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTHCARE.  However, the silliness that is our hetero-patriarchal nation-state only permits access to such resources on the basis that two adults record their status as partners.  Minimally, this is domestic partnership.  My partner and I have decided to sign up for this all-inclusive package as we move our lives from San Francisco to Tucson, Arizona.  In other words: getting access to mental healthcare as a “couple” (two people who care about each other in need of counseling?) is fucking difficult and EXPENSIVE without proper documentation.  Thus we become “domestic partners” whether we like it or not.  We begrudgingly accept this call to ideological reproduction at the same time that we acknowledge the positions of privilege and power we have in order to even get access to such surveillance.  AND, through the begrudging, we might even experience joy and elation from the cultural celebration of our partnership.

He’s got a fancy full-time respectable job with benefits at The University of Arizona with UANews.org, and I, the starving writer/artist/activist/theorist, do not.  Talk about being unwillingly interpellated as an adult when it comes to getting the basics of life sustainability: health care.  Now, not only do I need healthcare, but WE, my partner and I, need it as we are unsteadily incorporated into the normative confines of adulthood.  It’s a violent and stressful and depressing life process, and we need some support (like anyone and everyone!).

Why is it violent and stressful and depressing?  Because, as a queercrip feminist awesome bundle of joy, shit like marriage and being documented by the state is… it’s like this: one mini-crisis after another apologizing to my 21-year-old self for betraying all that I have always been so ANTI- about.  I am so sorry radical revolutionary self!  I am so sorry!!  I succumb to the disciplinary and regulatory technologies of governmentality.

But at the same time, I’m not SO sorry because it’s all so silly.

Take this language for instance on the City of Tucson Domestic Partner Registration Instructions:

The Tucson Domestic Partnership (DP) Ordinance is a city law enacted September 15, 2003 and effective December 1, 2003, that provides a registry for domestic partners who wish to register. This is a means by which unmarried couples who share a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment may document their relationship. This is the first domestic partner registry law in the State of Arizona.

“… may document their relationship”?  Aw, thanks State of Arizona, you’re so kind to extend this privilege to me.  “May I?” Why, yes you may (does anyone else think this is hilariously awful?).  Thank you for recognizing my loving and caring partnership in this manner.  Now as an eligible dependent (that language doesn’t make me feel like a burden or anything), I can have healthcare and get the sweet UofA tuition discount (more in-class queer theory? yes please!).

Ode to Professor Geary and Feminist Theory

“I came to theory because I was hurting—the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living.  I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend—to grasp what was happening around and within me.  Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away.  I saw in theory then a location for healing.” –bell hooks

I hear all the time

about this so-called divide

that we find

between theory and “real life.”

But some of us need theory to live.

There is no divide.

Professor Geary, there you are in feminist theories.  How awesome and lyrically convenient for me that your name rhymes with theory.  (Oh Dr. Geary, neoliberal capitalist theory is so dreary it makes me weary and a little teary!)  One day you said to the class with such sincerity when we were all frustrated with this “concept” of “neoliberalism,” frustrated with corporatization, with the insurmountable odds stacked high against us in hundred dollar bills for cheap thrills causing dire ills—we just couldn’t grasp it, we felt trapped with no way out—all this theory bullshit, all this greed and exploitation; the class was against you ready to throw our hands up and say, Fuck you academe! Fuck you theory! you reassured us: Some people…some people need theory, to live.  And there you are: dry-erase marker in hand, the white board behind you, and all our ten sets of eyes concentrated intently on you.  Some people…some people need theory, to live.  We all breathe in heavily, chests heaving together, exhaling, some of us breaking for a cigarette.

Some people need theory to live.  To resist.  To feel, to understand, to be, to learn, to interact, to thrive, survive, to love, to listen.  Some people need theory to live.

coffee against my lips

it’s cold by now but I still drink it

and the mug tips,

a little bit

slips

out the side of my mouth as I sip,

eyes looking past the mug onto my feminist lit—

coffee tear drops drip

and stain the polemic.

How do I understand this world I live in     we are all connected now     somehow     there’s the internet     there’s airplanes     there’s tourism     there’s the t.v.     there’s movies and there’s dvds and blank cds ripping copies for free     information as a commodity     there’s Google translate     there’s Google     there’s Facebook     we are all connected now     How do I understand it all     this New World Order     where does my milk come from     where do my bananas come from     let’s all preach equality and fair trade     we got Chiquita banana all dressed in a blue oval sticker all the way from an exotic, tropical, faraway republic     How Do I Understand This World I Live In     of contradiction     some people     need   theory     to     live     we are all connected now     somehow     in this era of globalization     turn of the millennium     post-nine-eleven     connected twenty-four/seven     with our bourgeois blackberries and iPhones     feeling all alone but surrounded     how do I understand this world I live in     where can I find the words I need     help me theory     help me explain explicate iterate and reiterate contemplate commiserate     identity     performativity     materiality     this life     that I am living co-existing imagining and producing, my privilege depending on that of another human’s suffering     amidst all this stigmatization of differentiation     perpetuating extremes of love and hate and the rich and the poor and the traumatic and the joyous     help me remake meaning     help me understand this world I live in     help me theory     help me transform and be transformative, imagine an alternative     we are all connected now