Page 1

I D E N T I T Y FEM’S 2016 Annual Publication UCLA’s Feminist Magazine since 1973

3


the magazine visual identity

light as a way to reveal identity. folds to record personal interaction.


1


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

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edi tor’s note As “feminist� 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 ‘16

Not Pictured: Casey Lee Cori Bratby-Rudd Miriam Juarez Katherene Quiteno Anandamayee Singh Danna Yu


Vivian Giang

Megan LeGresley

Editor In Chief

Content Editor

Noopur Goel

Haysol Chung

Design Director

Designer

Katie Farro

Maddy Pease

Managing Editor

Designer

Ceejay Lee

Laura Yau

Managing Editor

Designer

Rachel Maples

Chelly Jin

Managing Editor

Designer

Tulika Varma

Xiaoman Zheng

Managing Editor

Designer

Natalie Delpino

Kerri Yund

Copy Editor

Staff Writer

Erin Nishimura

Nahal Amouzadeh

Copy Editor

Staff Writer

Kelly Ou

Sarah Bobardt

Copy Editor

Staff Writer

Dana Paycao

Ananya Bhargava

Copy Editor

Staff Writer

Hannah Diaz

Crissonna Tennsion

Content Editor

Staff Writer

Sophia Galluccio

*for complete staff list, visit femmagazine.com

Content Editor


A Taste of Being Ace by Anonymous

11


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 while.

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

cess everyday.

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.

13

I could be asexual, and that was okay. It


At night,

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

dripping.

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

15

I am here. I am iron. I am melting. And I am not a defect.


UNSEX ME

FROM YOUR

BINARIES


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

satisfaction—both

ideas

constructed under a patriarchal and colonial framework. Furthermore, this justification doesn’t take into account sexual intercourse outside

of

a

heteronormative

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

18

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

$7,000-$12,000.

many

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-

affordable.

Because

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

normalities.”


19


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 wasn’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 she’s ready to give this another go sixteen only her age has changed

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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

25

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.

26

empowering and self-affirming.


5


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

by Anonymous

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

41

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

42


..............

43


Traditions

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.

44


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.

45


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

46


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.

47


whitelesbianmoms by cori bratby-rudd

48


I scribble into Merriam Webster The definitions that define me.

white

whitelesbianmomswhitelesbianmomswhitelesbianmoms

military colonization genocide

genocide genocide

conquest.

European homophobes, witches, and bigots

cops and Tamir Rice

lesbian

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.

mom

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,

children

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

Me, a long time ago. labels confine the definition for which there is no word besides my name. I am.

49


To My Little Sister Cori Bratby-Rudd


5


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.

53


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

Xiaoman Zheng

Maddy Pease

Chelly Jin

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


IDENTITY: FEM 2016 Annual  
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