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Everyone and everything cooperated with the process.Everything in our culture—books, television, movies, school, fashion—is presented as if it is being seen by one pair of eyes, shaped by one set of hands, heard by one pair of ears.I know that some things must be felt to be understood, that despair, for example, can never be adequately analyzed; it must be lived.
I tried to become one with the lesbian-feminist community so as to feel real and valuable.
I did not know that I was hiding, blending in for safety just as I had done in high school, in college. I believed that all those things I did not talk about, or even let myself think too much about, were not important, that none of them defined me.
They, those people over there, those people who are not us, they die so easily, kill each other so casually. By the time I understood that I was queer, that habit of hiding was deeply set in me, so deeply that it was not a choice but an instinct.
I pressed my bony white trash fists to my stubborn lesbian mouth. We were the they everyone talks about—the un-grateful poor.
That fact, the inescapable impact of being born in a condition of poverty that this society finds shameful, contemptible, and somehow deserved, has had dominion over me to such an extent that I have spent my life trying to overcome or deny it.
I have learned with great difficulty that the vast majority of people believe that poverty is a voluntary condition.
I had constructed a life, an identity in which I took pride, an alternative lesbian family in which I felt safe, and I did not realize that the fundamental me had almost disappeared.
It is surprising how easy it was to live that life.
Even if you know you are not part of that imaginary creature—if you like country music not symphonies, read books cynically, listen to the news unbelievingly, are lesbian not heterosexual, and surround yourself with your own small deviant community—you are still shaped by that hegemony, or your resistance to it.
The only way I found to resist that homogenized view of the world was to make myself part of something larger than myself.