I D E N T I T Y FEM’S 2016 Annual Publication UCLA’s Feminist Magazine since 1973
the magazine visual identity
light as a way to reveal identity. folds to record personal interaction.
Editor’s Note pg. 6-7
2016 Annual Staff pg. 8-9
A Taste of Being Ace pg. 10-13
Wax pg. 12-13
Unsex Me From Your Binaries pg.16-19
Sixteen pg. 20-21
Fairytales are Problematic pg. 22-23
What’s in a Label pg. 24-27
Staff Art pg. 28-39
I Am Not My Scars pg. 40-43
Traditions pg. 46-47
whitelesbianmoms pg. 48-49
To My Little Sister pg. 50-53
Of Fate and Other Laws pg. 54-44
End Credits pg. 56-57
edi torâ€™s note As â€œfeministâ€? becomes less of a pejorative and more of a bold self-identifier, FEM decided this year to tackle the selfexploration and analysis required to understand identity. Our efforts end here, at least for now. We will never stop trying to know ourselves, just as we will never stop trying to learn and better the world we live in. As feminists, our efforts never truly stop. Our work is not done. But this is us, our work, and our identities, now. In the present.
fem annual staff â€˜16
Not Pictured: Casey Lee Cori Bratby-Rudd Miriam Juarez Katherene Quiteno Anandamayee Singh Danna Yu
Editor In Chief
*for complete staff list, visit femmagazine.com
A Taste of Being Ace by Anonymous
I never realized how controversial my asexuality was until I experienced the reactions to it. I grew up feeling odd when people around me talked about how attractive someone
up as we walked between classes. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t a big deal. She paused for a moment before laughing. “Like bacteria? You split in two?”
was. I liked people, even found some good-
I just laughed along, deciding it was all
looking, but their appearance always seemed
a joke. Beneath that, I wanted to run away
irrelevant. It’s funny looking back, remembering
and hide. I decided not to tell anyone else for
the ways I would exaggerate to fit in. When
a friend spoke about how hot someone was,
Over time, the world became more foreign
I would nod my head in agreement or add an
to me. American society focuses on sensation-
emphatic “I know!”
alized ideas of sex, in which love culminates in
As a sophomore in high school, I saw
a physical way. Discussions of attractiveness
a person online mention that they were asex-
always made me shrink away. I imagined
ual, but I had only ever heard the word in biol-
that living in this society while asexual was like
ogy class. I asked the definition, and it clicked.
slamming a square block into a circular hole,
That was me. There was a word for what I felt.
ignorantly saying that it will work eventually.
Asexuality is defined as not experiencing
But that would require changing the shape
sexual attraction. There is a difference between
of the block, essentially changing everything
sexual attraction and romantic attraction, and
that made it what it was.
they do not always coincide.
During my junior year of high school, I read
The first person I told was a close friend.
in a psychology textbook that about 1% of
I was overcome with nervousness; if I hadn’t
the population “claimed” to be asexual.
known the word before then, how could
Claimed. As if every asexual person was lying
anyone else? I offhandedly tried to bring it
or just “hadn’t met the right person yet.”
Images from “Fortify” by Xiaoman Zheng
Still, I started telling other friends, as casually as I could. Some asked questions, while
was, and is, more than okay.
others smiled and reassured me. In spite of
Some people still don’t understand. Some
the support I received, the moment that
do. However, even if a person does not
stood out most was when a person I trusted
understand asexuality, it is important to work
told me, “No, you’re not.”
to understand rather than argue with the
There was fear, discomfort, that famil-
identities and experiences of asexual peo-
iar urge to run, and most of all, there was
ple. Probing questions about my sex life are
anger. It suddenly felt like my identity, my
something I have come to expect, but I try
personhood, everything that defined who
to educate and be patient. And it seems
I was, was up for debate. A harsh spotlight
that the older I get, the more people know
fell on me that cast me in all the wrong an-
what asexuality is. While part of this growing
gles, distorting me to be something more desir-
awareness is simply the fact that my social
able. Suddenly it felt like everyone else knew
circles are changing, I believe that times
me better than I did.
are also changing. It’s a step- by-step pro-
With time, I met other people who were
asexual. Some were proud and loud about
Now I know that my story is mine alone to
it; others said it in whispers. But in each of
tell. No one has a right to dictate my sexuality
them, I saw both a mirror and something new.
or any any other facet of my identity. My truth
Individual personalities were all tied together
is mine to be said, with a shaking voice or
under the label “asexual,” even if we all
a raised one.
experience it differently. The loneliness faded away when I realized I wasn’t lying or using imaginary words.
I could be asexual, and that was okay. It
I have told myself
under the thick light of stars
more times than I have melted
bleeding in through the space
that this is a defect.
between the curtains,
All of the parts inside of me that scream,
I imagine my limbs are candlewax.
muted on days where nothing seems to tick,
It makes more sense this way:
especially not the hands of the clock-
How everything seems to stick.
especially not me-
How it is all so much easier to say
were not meant to be this way.
that I do not know where I end and the night begins, as I have existed here for years now.
A knife sits beneath this pool of wax, waiting. My thoughts scream at the edge of it, the sharpness. And oh, how my mind believes it is meant to burn.
But then there is too much
How I am meant to burn because existence
is such a heavy burden on my melting shoulders.
Too much to stain
My mind is a friend and an enemy;
too much left to leave an undesired print, but never anything with form because daylight scalds the art I try to make of it.
Even with my uses, candles bringing light, I am meant to burn out; To consume myself for that spark. But...I have burned out, collapsed shapeless in myself so many days that now bleed together like wet pages stuck and ink running. And time after time I have stood up again, because my spine is something more rigid than this wax my hands want to be.
Wax by Kerri Yund
I am here. I am iron. I am melting. And I am not a defect.
Unsex Me From Your Binaries
by Anandamayee Singh
Ovary Syndrome, Uterus Didelphys, or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, into account. Thus, there is a discrepancy between the reported and actual number of intersex individuals in the United States. Furthermore, children born with that the fetus is only left with one sexual organ. However, sometimes the gene doesn’t code the exact amino sequence for a single sexual organ, and produces both testes and the uterus. The first time they got their period was terrifying. They thought they were dying, because they hadn’t had sex ed and they didn’t realise that they could bleed so much. Because they were panicking. Because “science” didn’t teach them that biological sex was more complicated than having a penis or a vagina. Because they could not voice the questions that they so desperately wanted to ask. Nobody would answer them. That is how damaging it can be when we designate conversations about our body to binary genders. And it’s time we talk about it. Many societies have based binary biological sex on science. However, biology isn’t as neatly divided as we are taught to believe. Sexual development doesn’t start until the seventh week of fertilization. During the seventh week, genes may pump out hormones to destroy one of the two sexual ducts, so 17
Genetic variations can result in a divergence from the binary narrative in terms of external genitalia as well. Gonads descend very late in the pregnancy—after around twenty six weeks. Testes descend right before birth. So if the fetus does not have fully developed scrotum, their testes will remain in their abdomen, possibly for the rest of their lives. Surprise surprise! We cannot label human beings with a nice little sticky note that says either male or female. Several medical professionals also tend to explain intersex people’s existence as “genetic abnormalities.” That’s why statistics indicate that only 1 in 2000 children born in the U.S. are intersex. However, these statistics don’t take some intersex conditions, like Polycystic
“ambiguous” biological sex are usually operated on immediately after birth. It is assumed that their ambiguity will inhibit fertility and sexual
constructed under a patriarchal and colonial framework. Furthermore, this justification doesn’t take into account sexual intercourse outside
framework, i.e. without penetration. Neither does it take into account the fact that there are individuals in our society who don’t seek sexual satisfaction, or don’t desire to have children. These are all factors that are not necessarily identified at birth. So then why is biological sex?
Apart from the imposition of an imperial patriarchy, society’s emphasis on binary sex has tangible consequences in administrative sectors too. It prevents trans and intersex people from receiving adequate medical care. Even today, trans healthcare is only offered as an elective in many medical schools, meaning that a lot of doctors can opt out of something that is in grave need of attention
and resources. Most insurance
for transgender men and creat-
plans don’t cover gender affirma-
ing gender neutral menstruation
tion surgeries, which cost around
apps. UCLA now has a physician
who is trained in transgender health
trans people in the U.S. can’t af-
at the Ashe Center. There is a pro-
ford healthcare, over 50% of them
posed new rule in section 1557 of
obtain hormones illegally, resulting
the Affordable Care Act to prevent
in adverse effects on their health
discrimination in accessing health-
and possibly incarceration. Those
care based on sex. If it passes,
who do manage to access hor-
more trans people would have ac-
mone replacement therapy have
cess to health insurance, making
to do so under the guise of a gen-
gender affirmation surgeries more
der identity disorder. Fifty-four per-
cent of trans youth in the U.S. have
Still, it is imperative to remove the
attempted suicide and twenty-
concept of binary sex from our bi-
one percent resort to self mutila-
ology clasrooms. Children need to
tion. Discrimination also persists in
be taught about biological sex as
administrative legislation, which is
a spectrum, beyond the simple XX/
another source of constant distress
XY equation. Their curriculums need
for trans and intersex people.
to include trans-friendly readings.
While there is a lot of work yet
Science itself needs to dismantle
to be done institutionally, conver-
its often imperialist approach, and
sations on inclusivity are beginning
incorporate more ideologies of
to take place. There are articles
colonized peoples. Only then will
being written about non-binary
trans and intersex people be seen
genders and sexes. Companies
as more than “slight genetic ab-
are launching period underwear
Sixteen by Ananya Bhargava blue eyes bottomless pit oceans she wants to drown sixteen and willing gave it her all he left without so much as a goodbye seventeen and undeterred college was a fresh start met him in philosophy class decided communism wasnâ€™t so bad after all picked a future she would read marx to their kids eighteen and off love she stuffed the romcoms in her sock drawer met another one in a dingy bar his lips on her neck maybe this was love nineteen and it was definitely lust sea of men who even cares gender is a social construct twenty and cynthia takes her by surprise the flutter is an old cliche she leaves the next day thirty five and renewed sheâ€™s ready to give this another go sixteen only her age has changed
by Ananya Bhargava
Fairytales Are Problematic You never seem to escape them, do you? You think of the Andersen fairytale: Of Ariel dancing through the pain, Of holding the knife but not killing the man she loved –and the woman he married, Of fairytales before they were modified. (Read: changed for capitalistic benefit.) Your friend with the gaping scar finds you under a street lamp Something about the dim light inspires your courage: You ask her ask you about the scar, even though its weeks old. She offhandedly tells you to count your blessings: “You are lucky your boyfriend is nice; Not all guys are.” She does not look you in the eye. Your best friend finds you sighing Into a mug or a cup or whatever it may be. She says you need cheering up, And pulls out a Disney Classic, “I am in the mood for Cinderella,” she says. So you watch Cinderella scrub floors without complaint And shun human company in favor of mice. You are asleep by the time her fairy Godmother appears. That’s how her story would have ended in the real world anyway. Sunday finds you curled in bed, Staring at a ceiling, Thinking again of fairytales. You think of the Disney version, Of Ariel pawning off her tail for legs, Of Cinderella talking to mice, Of Belle imprisoned, Of Aurora in a comatose state. You never wanted to be a princess growing up, Now you know why.
WHAT’S IN A LABEL by crissonna tennison I’m not sure how the conversation turned to me or my sexual orientation, but sud-
about love, there remains something
denly everybody in my new circle of ac-
inexpressible about romantic attraction
quaintances stared eagerly at me, wanting
and desire, especially outside of hetero-
to know if I too was a lesbian.
normativity. Every person I’ve dated, had
“She’s straight,” my friend clarified,
feelings for, or fantasized about has infused
almost protective of what she thought
me with a unique blend of bliss and pain,
to be my identity.
exuberance and anger, joy and shame,
I remained shamefully speechless for what
warmth and heat and freezing cold. Ro-
felt like several minutes. Seeing the doubt-
mantic attraction is a feeling that amplifies
lessly uncomfortable look on my face, my
other feelings, that somehow manages to
friend amended, “Well, she’s probably not
manifest itself differently for every person
the type to label things.” Slightly disap-
I have admired while remaining instantly
pointed yet mollified, the group moved to
and defiantly recognizable. It’s not easy to
another topic of conversation.
describe, and it’s tempting not to try. It’s
I liked my friend’s characterization of my
For all that has been written and sung
alluring to leave it all untouched, to avoid
silence. She made my reaction seem, not
compressing such life-affirming and life-
like confusion or shame, but an empow-
shattering emotions into the cramped box-
ered refusal to taxonomize myself into cat-
es of human interpretation to be judged,
egories designed by others. Indeed, my sex-
remarked upon, and cast aside.
uality had lately evaded all of my clumsy
Practical issues compounded my philo-
categorization attempts. After almost two
sophical opposition to labeling my sexu-
decades of comfortably, mostly happily
ality. Claiming to be bisexual, the most
identifying as heterosexual, my self-concept
fitting term I could think of, meant align-
was permanently complicated by two
ing myself with a pre-established image
people: a trombone playing woman who
and ideal, one that I wasn’t sure I honestly
looked good in long socks and a mysterious
represented. I would be exposing myself
barista at my favorite coffee-shop whose
to scrutiny, and not just from heterosexu-
gender identity I never ascertained.
als with varying degrees of tolerance and
ignorance. Even in the LGBT community, it is
But that didn’t feel right either. My fail-
not uncommon for people with non-binary
ure to articulate my orientation was not a
sexual orientations to be seen as either clos-
triumphant middle finger to identity politics;
eted homosexuals who are in denial about
it was a timid shrug, an awkward inabil-
their sexuality or straight people looking to
ity rather than refusal to share a piece of
“spice things up” and get attention from
myself with others. Sharing my orientation
their preferred gender. And let’s be clear:
and having it known and acknowledged
despite my attractions, I had only ever had
by others would not make it more valid,
“experience” with cisgender guys. Could
but it would allow me to acknowledge and
I honestly call myself bisexual if I hadn’t,
honor my experiences and true nature in
well, been with a woman?
the social sphere, an ability that is both
My classification dilemma is no small issue. Labels are attached, not just to individuals,
Labels can never fully do justice to the
but to communities with collective histo-
varieties of human experience, but they
ries. Not only had I never dated or been
can serve as valuable tools nonetheless, for
intimate with a woman, but I had never
validation, celebration, and even revolu-
experienced the persecution, the constant
tion. Now, when people ask me about my
exposure to judgement, the different treat-
orientation, I say I’m bisexual, a statement
ment, or the pain that are unfortunately
that is sometimes met with disdain, but
common for people in the LGBT commu-
mostly with friendly indifference or thought-
nity. On paper, my identification seemed
ful silence. “Bisexual” isn’t a perfect word,
flimsy, frivolous, presumptuous, and possibly
and it doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s
even disrespectful. But every time I thought
an important start.
about the person at the coffee shop, I knew that calling myself “straight” wouldn’t be honest. So when my new friend group asked me about my orientation, I had nothing to say.
empowering and self-affirming.
Staf f Art
Heritage: Series (2016) Digital Photography Noopur Goel
Bordeuax France (2014) 35mm Film Photography Maddy Pease
Untitled (2014) Illustrations using code Xiaoman Zheng
In the Eye of Tenderness (2015) Digital Photography Katherene Quiteno
Facing Shadow (2016) Video & Motion Graphics Chelly Jin
I am not my scars
I am not my scars I am not my scars
I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars
I am not my scars
I am not my scars I am not my scars I am not my scars
I Am Not My Scars
If you look closely you can see scars on my thighs. Sometimes people ask me about them, sometimes
sues with both men and other women. College is the
they don’t. Usually I just shrug it off and make up
time where one discovers oneself emotionally which
some lame excuse like a cat scratched me or I fell
is a stressful yet defining part of life.” College can be
in a bush. I recently realized I avoid the obvious truth
both extremely fun and extremely isolating at the
because of the stigmatization that goes along with
same time, which is a reason why rates of depres-
the topic of self-injury, depression and suicide in
sion are so high in college-aged girls. Since women
American society. People who battle with depres-
are subordinate in comparison to men, there is even
sion are seen as lazy, unmotivated and helpless by
more pressure to conform to society’s expectations.
society. “Why can’t you just get over it?” and “Other
We are being bombarded by all these images of
people have it worse and they’re fine” are examples
a white, heteronormative, patriarchal society that
of what stigma sounds like. Self-harm is also ex-
tell us we have to keep improving and that we are
tremely misunderstood because it’s human nature to
never enough the way we are. We are told that our
judge what we do not understand. This fear of being
self-worth is based on the validation we get from oth-
judged can be incredibly isolating for people who
ers. On top of all these expectations, college-aged
struggle with self-harm. This causes people struggling
women are put under the stress of having to figure
with self-harm to be even more reluctant to open up
out who they are. All of these high expectations can
and seek help.
lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. This in
Opening about my struggle with depression and self-injury is something I thought I’d never write about. I am doing this in the hope that it can help
es that include sexual activity, and competition is-
turn can lead to depression, self-injury and thoughts of suicide. My battle with depression and self-injury consumed
even just one young woman going through some-
a lot of my young adult life. I want young women
thing similar. I used to think that my struggle with de-
who are reading this to know they are not alone in
pression and self-injury defined me as a person. How-
this struggle and it is okay to ask for help. You aren’t
ever, now I know my scars do not define me. They will
weak or a burden if you ask for help and it is the first
always be a part of my past, but I am so much more
step in healing. All of these pressures society in-
than them. I was in high school when I went through
grained into young women’s minds affected me per-
a major depressive episode and started self-injuring.
sonally and made me feel inadequate throughout
Society preaches to young women that they are
my life. This led to me using self-harm as an outlet,
not enough the way they are. Women in particular
because I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I didn’t
are put under a lot of stress by being held to such
feel good enough because I didn’t have a stable
high expectations. According to 4collegewomen.org,
family life. I would isolate myself from my friends and
“Women are at a higher risk for developing
loved ones. All of these self-deprecating thoughts
depression over their lifetime…. Additionally,
used to overwhelm me. For a long time I thought
college-aged women have to deal with other stress-
I would always be that weird, emotional girl who cut
herself to feel better, and that would always be me. Now I know it’s just something I’ve been through. It’s not me. I don’t hide my scars, because I know they don’t define who I am. I still struggle with selfharm and depression occasionally, however, now I realize that it doesn’t define me. Just know that you are not alone and what you have been through doesn’t form your identity.
you are not alone
.................................................. what you have been through doesn’t form your identity
by Nahal Amouzadeh
When my parents host a mehmooni, they spend the entire day making the house presentable. The floors are mopped. The Persian carpets are vacuumed. Every table has some sort of appetizer on it—think dates, nuts, and simple Persian cookies like naan berenji. The smell of a stew (I’m always hoping for bademjan) wafts through the house; it’s been waiting on the stove, simmering to keep warm before guests arrive. When we were young, my parents frowned upon me and my siblings if we failed to come downstairs to help in the preparation. I usually arranged cookies, only to have my mother rearrange them in the way she saw best. My sister would prepare her favorite: mast o’khiar. And my brother, if found downstairs, could sometimes be coaxed into washing dishes or doing some random task my mom hadn’t gotten to yet. He had the tendency to linger upstairs until the food was made, the house was clean, and the first guest was knocking on the door. My parents would give him an angry side-glance, but it never went beyond that.
Inside, after loud and long hello’s, the guests would find themselves in our decorated living room. As they settled in, they would compliment my mother’s effort. Then they would smile at my sister and me and ask if we helped. We would nod, and they would congratulate my parents for having such thoughtful daughters. Meanwhile, my brother would be off in the corner, talking to an uncle or family friend. I always took notice of his absence in these moments, wanting to say something about his lack of participation. But I’d bite my tongue, partially because it would make my mother angry, and partially because I knew no one cared that my brother hadn’t helped. This wasn’t about him. This was about my sister and me. It would take a while before dinner was served; my stomach grumbled as I watched my mom carefully scoop out cooked rice from the pot, then break the tadig into pieces. I’d stare longingly at the biggest portion, knowing a guest would get it before I, a host, could serve myself. Eventually my mother would direct me and my sister to set the table.
My brother would be in the backyard, talking with the men. In the kitchen, a family friend would try to help my mother in some way – she’d clean a dish or arrange a serving plate. I would listen to them argue when my mom eventually caught her: ‘Tarof nakon!” Then my sister or I would swoop in and do the task the guest had brought attention to. The tone of these arguments always sounded harsh and serious, but that was never so; it was simply manners to aggressively offer help, and it was simply manners to aggressively deny it. Outside, in a seemingly different world, laughter was heard over Heinekens. As I grew older, I came downstairs less and less, until I reached the point where I wouldn’t appear in front of my parents’ guests at all. My sister moved out, but she continued to embody the nagging voice in my head, reminding me that this was how our culture worked. We had to be good, domestic daughters. It was just tradition, and our parents didn’t leave Iran to have
disrespectful, Americanized children who rejected all they knew. So I stand at an odd divergence. I unabashedly shout at America, the country I live in, for hating me, my sister, my mother, and all the women we know. But when I’m home, I’m silent as the other part of my identity shouts at me. I still feel guilty whenever this internal war flares up and I slip upstairs to hide away. But I have yet to find the answer to the question I’ve been asking for years: Where do I draw the line between traditions and persistent gender roles? How do I deal with my dual identity as an Iranian-American and a feminist, without being ignorant and insensitive? When should I stop biting my tongue and say, yes, I did participate in making the meal tonight. But my brother didn’t. And you should care about that.
whitelesbianmoms by cori bratby-rudd
I scribble into Merriam Webster The definitions that define me.
military colonization genocide
European homophobes, witches, and bigots
cops and Tamir Rice
Me straight men’s porn Isle of Lesbos – a place where women gather in love Homo Sapiens, homosexuality, homo fag inversion, paddywaggon AIDS the genocide. Audre Lorde disowned, homeless and still fucking dying.
the face of my mother bloated womb love that carries more than one pulse love that carried my mother before me. 1, 2, 3 what would it take to leave a child, to leave me? see parents (Remember: People who grew up with a mom and a dad: Hitler, Ted Bundy,
Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein, Stalin…) legacy makers of immortality of the corn son or daughter, baby or young immaturity mashed from our mother’s tears. the violence of witness.
Me, a long time ago. labels confine the definition for which there is no word besides my name. I am.
To My Little Sister Cori Bratby-Rudd
to my little sister, I’m traveling east, forgive me — I need something, so I have to become it. I have to grasp at truth, to stitch together too many of my words that need rewording. I wanted nothing more than the nights by the fire, the macabre novels read by flashlight, and the films about mermaids under the sea. I swear. I wanted the halloween costumes. I wanted you. but, in youth we are immortal, until one day we are not. like a snake, shedding its old skin, there is a moment when naivety becomes too large for a body. when the doe eyes of a child stop opening quite so wide. there’s no home for youth in graves so from the coffin innocence emerges leaving its buried behind. as we grow, we are only freed into smaller cages. innocence demands release, and it is release we all crave. when it’s your turn, I will neither be here nor on the sidelines. as you descend into reality, and mourn the loss of your former self, these words are for you: we come from mighty women, whose mere love planted flowers in the gateways of hell. our births signaled the start of a new era. we are children made from enlightenment, science was our father, and so she is our god. we have the power to paint the walls of doom. to line the molding the scent of lavender, to prevent the next generation of children from feeling the red velvet that lines their own casket. for miles and miles, from sea to sea, people spoke about us but never asked us to speak. so speak. 52
tell them the way love made me, made you. light candles through the bedrooms of disaster but remember before we come from our families, we come from ourselves. you can drink from my voice, but don’t forget to also drink from your own. it is interesting, the way our histories overlap in such a predictable yet queer way; I write because I wonder if my memories will become your future. remember little sister, if we weren’t given roots, we can draw them and if they won’t hear our words, we can write them.
Of Fate and Other Laws
moved back. I couldn’t get the idea of this place out
by Sarah Bobardt
of my head.” “I’m only here for a few months,” Erik says. “I’m covering for one of our regional managers on paternity leave.” You replay the last thirty seconds in your head. Weren’t they married? When you had last seen them, they seemed pretty close to happily ever after. How much had changed in the last few years? You ask Rosa about law school as a way to change
When you run on a treadmill, you close your eyes the topic. She laughs with little humor. She’s tells you and let your mind wander. Usually it runs through your she dropped out. She teaches high school English now. memories like the previews before a movie, bouncing
You smile, remembering how teaching had been
from humor to violence to drama in seconds. The a dream for another life for Rosa when you had first feature film is about three friends in college. Two fall met her, a pre-law student who only slept every other in love with each other and the third runs away. Your
night. You had half-wished for another life for Rosa, and
treadmill’s timer runs out before you find out what for Erik, who majored in business but minored in dance. happens to the third student. But you already know.
You had always sensed that their friendship would natu-
As you grab your bag and head out, you feel a tap rally turn to love eventually, leaving no place for you, so on your shoulder. You flinch more than you turn around. you had stepped out while you could do so gracefully. “Lola!” exclaims a tall, slim man, whom you immediately recognize.
You find yourself asking them to browse the bookstore next door with you, and your arms unwrap from your
The corners of your mouth lift forcefully into a smile. Erik. chest. Your arms feel loose and heavy at your sides He hugs you and you tense, willing the moment to so you stuff one hand in your pocket to compensate. pass. He must still live here. His teeth smile at you while
As you walk, Erik smiles broadly and Rosa’s hand
you pull away and cross your arms over your chest
touches your back so briefly you are not sure it was
protectively. You had been friends once.
not on purpose.
“Coffee when you’re done?” he asks, pulling back at last. “Rosa’s here.”
Catching up with Ophelia, Charles Ryder, and other old paper friends, you start to relax. The three of you
You nod and move away, zipping and unzipping your roam as if no time has passed since you left school. bag by the door of the gym while you wait. You imagine
But later as you step into the sunlight on the over-
her noticing how nervous you are. She always notices.
bright street, you realize this had been better than
Then there she was, wavy black hair framing her a “let’s get lunch,” encounter, but it was no easier. face as she walked, her shoulder lightly brushing Erik’s.
You do not crave closure, an overrated plot point.
You wonder if they have kids. They probably have one You had intentionally never said goodbye. boy and one girl. And a dog. You judge them for their cliché life and then try to
“I don’t want you to forget us again,” Rosa says. You shrug; you think about them everyday. They
stop yourself from judging them as you walk a block couldn’t miss you like you miss them. over from the gym to a hipster coffee shop you have never been to before. “How are you?” you ask before they can impose the question on you.
“My number’s changed,” Erik adds, tucking a business card into your one free hand. You smile at them with an expression that appears sincere, if it is not in fact. Why do they look so sad?
“Fine,” Rosa says, punctuating her non-comment A thought crosses your mind that you have been no with a sip from her Americano.
great loss to their lives. You sense that you are lying to
“You still live nearby then?” you press, wanting to yourself, but you can’t manage to unstick the idea delay the moment when you would have to declare from your brain. You wave and walk away, letting the how “fine” things were going for you.
seconds in which they can still see you trickle down
“I do,” Rosa says. “I was nostalgic one morning and to zero, feeling your body disapear into the sunlight.
Design End Credits Noopur Goel
Laura Yau Katherene Quiteno
Haysol Chung Sara Haas
Brand Visual Identity Front and Back Cover Light Photoshoot: Director Design Editor I Am Not My Scars Editor’s Note A Taste of Being Ace Wax Of Fate and Other Laws Table Of Contents End Credits Film Image What’s In A Label? End Credits Traditions Unsex Me From Your Binaries whitelesbianmoms Sixteen Staff Art Spread Light Photoshoot: Model To My Little Sister Fairytales Are Problematic Light Photoshoot: Photographer