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IDENTITY

ISSUE NO. 5 OCTOBER 2011


OMG! WE ARE SOOOO SUPER EXCITED ABOUT HOW MANY FABULOUS CONTRIBUTIONS WE GOT THIS MONTH! SO MANY, IN FACT, THAT WE HAD TO ADD PAGES! OMGAAA OMGAAA OMGAAA! SERIOUSLY, WE LOVE YOU. NEXT MONTH’S THEME WILL BE MUSIC. PLEASE SUBMIT ANYTHING THAT YOU FEEL RELATES TO THAT BROAD SPECTRUM OF DELICIOUSNESS. WE ALSO HOPE IT WILL BE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO HIGHLIGHT AWESOME FEMALE BANDS, BOTH LOCAL AND WIDESPREAD. WE STILL HAVE WEEKLY MEETINGS AT ROSE PARK. EVERY. SINGLE. MONDAY. AT 6PM. ROSE PARK IS ON 8TH AND ORIZABA. WE’D LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE. WE’D LIKE TO GET YONIC SOUTH MORE INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY ACTIVISM, SO IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS, PLEASE COME TO A MEETING OR SHOOT US AN EMAIL AT YONICSOUTHZINE@GMAIL.COM. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO MAGGIE & LAUREN Something really cool to check out: PEACE PRESS GRAPHICS 1967-1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change At the University Art Museum on campus at CSULB from September 10 - December 11, 2011 The exhibit features a collection of posters created by Peace Press, an artist/activist (artivist, if you will) group founded in 1967 that was dedicated to printing and publishing “alternative everything.” The posters address issues like feminism, workers’ rights, civil liberties, nuclear disarmament, environmental rights, and war. I went last week and it was very inspiring, so go! The UAM is also working with a larger project called The B-Word, which addresses censorship. These groups are bringing some really interesting events to campus that I will talk more in detail about on the blog: yonicsouth.wordpress.com The museum is free for CSULB students, faculty, staff, and children 12 and under; $4 general admission Hours as follows: Tuesday-Sunday: 12 to 5pm Thursday: 12 to 8pm closed Mondays and all University holidays

I AM FROM... by Alyssa Roma

I am from suburbia, from loving shelter and over-protection, From my bedroom where I spent my many lonely weekends scoffing at teenage ragers full of drunken potheads who used to make me smile with their compliments and invitations. I am from restlessness, from wander-hunger and cravings for experiences. I am from fear of being too impatient, from fear of being trapped and wasted, from fear of waiting too long, and worst, from fear of a life not tasted. I am from the Shut the Fuck Up! From Wake up from la-la land And Bullshit! Just do it already. I am from developed talents and endless potential, and from hiding behind my library of books from shutting out shallow gossip-mongers and braindead narrow-minded assholes. I am from I need to get the hell out of here and meet people who’ll appreciate me. I am from the sky’s the limit, from I’ll make the best of me. I am from no more regrets, and don’t let my inner child down or tempt her to try to beat me. I am from always try to follow your dreams, Plan ahead and choose carefully and from never stop believing.


You-dentity I want people to like me. I want them to respect me. I want them to think that I’m unique, but not too weird. I want them to find me interesting, intelligent, creative, compassionate, and cool. I realize these are pretty common feelings. But when I actually get positive attention, my stomach jumps with excitement, then writhes with discomfort, and finally, it plummets into a pit of self-deprecation. “They’re wrong.” “They don’t really know you.” “Great, now you’ve got expectations to meet.” “See how long that lasts.” “They must have really low standards.” etc etc etc It’s because of this wanting people to like me thing that I’ve had a really hard time distinguishing between what I like and what I think I should like. For example, I willingly saw Dave Matthews Band play. Twice. They were my high school boyfriend’s favorite band of all time, so I tried to make them my favorite band too. He burned me a copy of every single album they had ever recorded, in the studio and live. When we broke up, I never listened to them again. Not out of spite, but because I didn’t really like them. Looking back at my tastes through the years, I see that I had mostly been taking on the interests of the person I was dating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a positive thing to try to like what your partner likes. That makes sense. It’s good to relate to the person you’re sleeping with. But when those former relationships ended, I realized that I had spent a lot of time and energy feigning enthusiasm for things that I felt totally indifferent toward. That made me wonder how much of my time I was wasting. (note: This is NOT true now. My handsome boyfriend and I actually have a lot in common, and I still refuse to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy.) We all waste our time sometimes doing stupid things like bringing our laptops into the bathroom when we poop, making stupid rage comics about bagels, attempting to make wine from grapes, and translating the bible into the LOLcats language (read: Kitty Pidgin English). But when our time wasting directly affects the formation of our identity, it has the potential to transform into a more serious problem. The time I wasted on things I didn’t really like resulted in a second-guessing problem that I still struggle with today. When I see bands play, I completely reevaluate my musical voice. I think: No, Maggie. THIS is the kind of music you should be making. Then the next band: No no no, THIS is the music you should be making. And so on and so forth until I’ve turned my guitar into a cactus pot and I’m singing through a bendy-straw about Margaret Thatcher’s secret love affair with Nancy Reagan. I still can’t seem to distinguish between the development of my taste and the realization that it wasn’t my taste at all. Throughout my life, people have said to me, “Maggie, you’re so grounded. You really know who you are.” And though I never do, I always want to reply, “WTF are you talking about? Have you seen me??” I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. I’m going to school because I’m supposed to. I love learning, but I’m dragging my feet through a music degree. Dragging them through a simultaneous English degree. All the while sweating profusely when someone asks, “What are you going to do with that?” I have no fucking clue, people! I am a musician who doesn’t practice nearly as much as she should. I am a writer who doesn’t read or write enough. And often these feelings of what the hell am I doing with my life? and who the hell am I? seem like a reason to drink ‘til I forget my name. But reading through the submissions this month and talking to some really wonderful people has made me realize something that can be sad, but is definitely comforting: Nobody really knows. Nobody has any fucking idea. They’re just doing what they love (hopefully) and figuring it out along the way. I’m going to try and be myself, whatever the hell that means. Thanks buddies. Maggie Boles

PHOTO BY CLAUDE CAHUN.

ANDRO GYN OUS by Summer Abdel

I guess knowing who you are is kinda important. It gives you a way to relate to the rest of the world. What I have been concerned with is gender identity, specifically that our society believes you are either one of two genders, a man or a woman. When someone has a newborn baby the first question asked is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” From this moment onward we are socialized into our gender by our parents, our schools, and the media. Greater conflict exists when a child is born intersexed. Right away doctors will want to perform surgery so that the child can be easily categorized into one of two genders. Our culture finds it hard to deal with people who do not easily fit into these boxed categories. Many other cultures are more lax on this whole gender identity issue, for instance in India hijras are considered a third gender, neither male nor female, or TwoSpirit people in North American indigenous groups. I remember first hearing about androgyny in my high school psychology course. I remember reading that people who are willing to bend the boundaries of gender identity are more mentally healthy than those that stick to rigid masculine or feminine roles. Sandra Bem is known for this claim, and I advise taking her test on gender, the Bem Sex Role Inventory (androgyne.0catch.com/gentest1.htm). I advocate androgyny because it offers a way out of binary thinking. It offers a way to define yourself the way you see fit. Gender is a fluid concept, a part of a continuum. This whole binary opposition thing is not based on reality. These strict gender barriers only exist to keep us down (divide and conquer?).I have straight male friends who enjoy wearing skirts and nail polish. I stopped shaving my armpit hair, and well you find out that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Barriers were made to be broken, right? After all, we make up society and we have the power to redefine it the way that suits us best.


WHO NOSE? “Who are you?” It’s really kind of eerie how that simple question has become such an encompassing motif in my life since I was about seven. It started out with meeting my dad for the first time, expecting—for some strange reason—a white man, and discovering that he was actually Arab. Which meant I was actually Arab—that’s, in fact, not white. That lead to a few years of recognizing that my skin was actually darker than most of my friends, who were white. This whole identity crisis reprised when I was twelve years old, while doing the thing I loved the most when I was a kid: playing around in front of the bathroom mirror (I was quite the reflective child). As any bored person who spends their time playing around in the mirror knows, you really get to know your face. There comes a moment where you finally get that voice in your head to hush up, and your eyes just start searching for new things to find. Well I found something unfamiliar. It was my nose. I had this strange bump, toward the upper part of it; it was kind of big and curved strangely—it was just weird, and I didn’t like it. I kind of freaked out because I had spent twelve years of my life not realizing my nose looked the way it did, and nobody even told me it looked like that! Now I’m twenty-two years old, and that motif of self-examination still resonates. But this time it’s a little more selfless, and a lot more interesting. About four months ago, I kept receiving “friend invites” via Facebook from people whose names were in full Arabic text. Seeing how I don’t know a lick of Arabic, I just ignored or denied the requests, thinking they requested the wrong person. After a few weeks of denying various friend requests with these foreign symbols for names, a question came to me. “Who are you?”...Kidding! I thought I’d just throw that in there for dramatic effect. No... The question I asked was, “I wonder why all of these Arab people are trying to befriend me on Facebook?” So low and behold, I get another friend request. And instead of denying them, I decide to ask...wait for it... “Who are you?” If I had known this question was going to lead to so many other questions and discoveries, I would have only asked sooner. It turns out that my family from Saana, Yemen had been trying to find me. Something I had tried to do years ago, but gave up on because of the disconnect between my dad and me. It turns out her name was Rabab. She is one of hundreds. (And that is only cousins I’m talking about here). She is twenty years old, and attends

Saana University. Surprisingly, she reads and types English extremely well considering she has never been out of her country. She has been sharing with me her experience living in a country currently consumed in a civil war, ran by a tyrannical President Saleh who has been in power for thirtytwo years. Yet aside from everything she’s living through right now, she has been nothing but loving, welcoming, and kind to me. She talks to me as if we have been sisters our whole lives, and the weirdest thing is that I feel like we have been. It’s strange because I feel such a strong connection to her and her family, though we’ve yet to meet. It probably sounds crazy and made up, and who knows? These feelings could be, but I certainly do feel them. However, my curiosity doesn’t just stop at, “Who are you?” There is also, “What is it like to be you? How do you feel? How do you perceive the world? What do you look like?” and most importantly, “DOES YOUR NOSE LOOK LIKE MINE?!”

These are questions that, unfortunately, cannot be answered via Facebook messaging. So I have decided to venture to Yemen come this next January. Am I excited about this trip? Mostly yes, but a bit hesitant. Why? Because I’m traveling to a country where I’m going to have to dress differently because I’m a woman; where I’m going to have to act and carry myself differently because I’m a woman; and where I can’t travel to without a man because I’m a woman. I mean, if there is ever a time in my life where my identity gets questioned (because I haven’t done that enough), let that be the time to do it. But alas, I will forge on, eager to meet what I consider a side of me I have not yet met. Katie Samira Faris

“this is rhythm, if you dare to listen” PHOTO: CHRISSY AND DAWNA, TAKEN BY INJURE ROBERTS

i let you go first when i want to lead because patience is my gift this grey woman is taking her time and i’m learning to listen like the trees do like the breeze do and oh, you have so much to give i am bigger than life and you wild as the wind from the way i see it more beautiful than you’ll ever know i call you a gift you’d admit yr gifted and call me a thief so i have to keep stealin kisses fair sister your thrill is my smile and the way you move gives me something to dance to i trace my destination on the pathway of your cheek beneath the curve of your mouth tongue swollen with sentiment when the words finally come there’s no use for speech i am nobody who are you? nobody, too?? Don’t tell. they’d banish us -Chrissy Cox


MY IDENTITY by Vonnie Barnes (J.N.M.)

My identity is my age and ethnicity. I’m 15. I’m African, Filipino, and Spanish. I embrace my ethnicities. I’m not ashamed. You can’t make me ashamed. I embrace my age. I’m naïve; I’m ignorant of a few things. But I can learn, and I’m doing so. My identity is my identity. My identity shouldn’t be compared. My identity doesn’t fit in. My identity is my intelligence. My identity is my musicality. I write my own songs. “Ich sing nicht gut, aber ich tu’s gern.” My identity is love. I love Long Beach. Don’t ask why. I’m not good at explaining deep emotions. I love my Grandmothers on both sides. They’re great influences on my personality. I love my family’s financial situation. It’s made me stronger. I love my phone company for giving me free airtime for my number being XXX-0666. I love my extremely profane online passwords. I love being “late in the game”. Sex and drugs aren’t important to me now. I love my gigantic facial features. I love my farmer’s tan. I love being vague and suggestive. I love my eighth grade English teacher. He didn’t teach me much, but he’s a great conversation starter. I love my elementary school principal for fighting for me. I love my Boys & Girls music director for putting up with me. I love my school’s band director for motivating me. I love my parents for not taking me anywhere—skating in this great city alone is not a punishment. I love writing six, long, infatuated pages about someone I have no chance with. I love overcoming my social anxiety. I love who I am.


BLASPHEMY by Bri Price

I’m trying to find the ground they call common Often straying onto land they call no man’s Knocking on the wood they call cock As your de je vu knocks me off kilter And I’m forced to filter my sorrow through the strainer of a dream catcher Every testament is arrested development of a mind rendered pre-pubescent by the stalks of string bean boys anointing the heads of reverential women on their knees Teeming with the disease they call co-dependence I gave you up for lent, itching every night with desire And coming up empty, As you purposely tempt me into submission with the proposition of missionary, Sewing my mouth shut with thread made of melded metal so it rusts as I age and stains my lips crimson Just the way you like ‘em And sewing my void open with the noose you string me along with, stuffing me chock full of bullshit, Cuz I’m so obviously asking for it Anonymously presenting myself Faceless, face-down in the pew I pray to to you in

But you answer to the congregation, not the deity you supposedly have faith in so all the nuns crossing themselves to the heartbeat of creation are praying for you The wafer on my tongue is dissolving and the wine in my blood is absolving me of responsibility making it easier to lay down on my back, bloody from the encryption of whip marks, self-inflicted that bare striking resemblance to sanskrit Bare-back me as i’m strung up as an example and watch the sores manifest from your testing the uncharted of so many different bodies of water When everybody knows they all flow into the same ocean You want the best of every dimension the offering plate is a tension-set bear-trap set to “regret” when your fingers are sticky with the juices from the countless encounters that meant nothing but an orgasm Those girls are just objects to you, things to fuck, and after the life is done seeping from your swollen member, you’ll remember my voice singing hymns of more to this life than the indulgence of sin

“PHOTO BY EYDIE MCCONNELL; MODEL: SHERIDAN RILEY”


WHO AM I? I CANNOT DEFINE GROWING UP, I LIKE MANY, HAD TROUBLE WITH IDENTITY AM I AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, OR A HISPANIC, OR JUST A SIMPLE GIRL? PEOPLE TRY AND CATEGORIZE ME; I ALSO TRY TO CATEGORIZE PEOPLE. HINDERING THE POSSIBILITY THAT IDENTITY IS NOT THE MAIN PUZZLE PIECE TO ANALYZE AND CONFINE. WHO FITS INTO A PERFECT DESCRIPTION; A GENRE OF LIMITED EXPERIENCES. I DO NOT! WE SHOULDN’T BELIEVE WE DO. BEING CONSTRAINED INTO A BOX IS NO ONE’S PREROGATIVE.

WHO AM I? I CANNOT DEFINE IS MY BODY SEPARATE FROM MY SOUL? JUDGING ME BASED ON A HOLLOW EXTERIOR WITHOUT A CLUE OF ALL THE GLUE THAT BINDS ME TOGETHER FROM MY PAST, PRESENT, AND SOON TO HAPPEN FUTURE. STILL, TO THIS DAY AND MANY MORE TO COME, I WON’T KNOW HOW TO ANSWER SIMPLY THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY. I AM LOOKING FROM THE INSIDE OUT AND NOT THE OUTSIDE IN. WE MUST URGENTLY SEE THE WISDOM IN ASKING NOT IDENTITY BUT IDEALS, NOT ALLOWING JUDGMENT ON THE PHYSICAL BEING BUT ALLOWING ACCEPTANCE TO ALL OF THE ESSENCES OF LIFE. -CYNTHIA ARROYO


DO IT YOURSELF-

WALL MOUNTED COAT HANGER! So about six months ago I moved into a bedroom with no closet. DUN Dun Dunnn. I have a ton of clothes (especially dresses and coats) so this was kind of a problem. Luckily the house I moved into had a white picket fence.. which was (and is) falling apart. A light bulb went off in my head and voila!

SUPPLIES/TOOLS -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- hammer / screwdriver - screws - nails or hooks - 3’ to 5’ tree branch / picket (off a picket fence) / piece of wood - paint?

Alll the supplies is gathered. Awesome! 1) Try to find two studs in the wall where the screws will be placed. 2) Drill two holes in the wood plank where the screws will be (see illustration). If you do not have a drill (I sure as hell don’t), I suggest using a nail with a smaller circumference than the screw to make the hole in the wood and the wall. 3) Use the same drill-lacking nail technique to place the hooks in the wood. 4) Studs are found? Screws are in place? Time to mount. Just screw the wood hanger into the wall and hang your shit up. It’s pretty simple. Here is a very poor illustration I drew in “Paint.”

I suggest getting your nails, hooks, and screws at a 99 cent store. Why? Because 99 cent stores carry such items, the nails fulfill their destiny beautifully, and duh! They are only 99 cents. Photo of what your very own wall mounted coat hanger may look like. omg! DIY is super cool. I’m going to start interviewing girls monthly on their very own DIY creations so if you know about bicycles, make tasty treats, sculpt ice-statues, sew your own sock puppets, create kazoos, ect. teachhh me! Let’s be crafty and pass it on. YonicSouthZine@gmail.com. Show your skillz. Lauren Pennington

Am I a boy or a girl? Or just the world’s toy? Wake up go to work a constant cycle. What about my identity beneath the never ending obscenity, what we think is serenity. But what does it mean to be serene? A peaceful calm life will sometimes be obscene. That doesn’t even matter. Our decisions we make is what spins the platter. Everyone has good and bad in them; it’s what we choose to be, so choose to be good towards everyone including me. What you think shouldn’t really affect me, it’s your life just don’t disrespect me. Follow the golden rule, didn’t your mother teach you when you were younger? What about the mindset we have when everything’s funnier? Love me love me say you. Ha I’ll love myself. I don’t need you. I just realized that while writing this poem so do what you love and fuck the wholesome. -Dillan


YONIC SOUTH IS A COLLABORATIVE ALL-GIRL OPERATION FOCUSED ON ISSUES OF RACE, CLASS, GENDER, SEXUALITY, PASSION, AND INTELLECT. ANYONE WHO IDENTIFIES AS A WOMAN CAN SUBMIT, LATER WE MAY EXPAND THAT TO ANYONE WHO IDENTIFIES AS A FEMINIST. PLEASE SUBMIT POEMS, STORIES, RANTS, IDEAS, DRAWINGS, PHOTOS, MEDIA CRITIQUES, HUGS, ETC. TO YONICSOUTHZINE@ GMAIL.COM OR SEND US AN EMAIL TO ARRANGE A HUMANHUMAN INTERACTION BY OCTOBER 25TH. WE ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS IN ANY FORM, WRITTEN OR VISUAL, ELECTRONICALLY OR IN PERSON OR MAILED. PLEASE DO! PLEASE VISIT US ONLINE AT YONICSOUTH.WORDPRESS.COM


Yonic South Issue No. 5