This Tuesday night I sat, self-conscience, in an uncomfortable wooden chair, in the great room of Blanchard Hall at Mount Holyoke College to see Stacyeann Chin. Early in 2006 I had discovered Ms. Chin’s work while scouring the Internet looking for black lesbian sites. I quickly added her has a friend on Myspace and enthusiastically followed her career online as much as I could. I read her poems and played YouTube videos to anyone who I think would appreciate her. So I was really excited to be there.
Ms. Chin did not disappoint. Readings of both book excerpts and poems were engrossing and powerful (look at video below of the scathing piece she did for the Gay Games she read that night). Their rawness and honesty left an impression on the audience that was tangible and indelible. For me though, it was her between-piece banter that made the night. With the first proclamation of her gray pubic hairs, I felt us collectively ease into a safe space after a spate of nervous laughter. Throughout the night, in tune with her own sense of openness, the audience would raise their hand to admit they were in therapy or let out a knowing laugh at a Hitachi Magic Wand reference.
At the end, even though I had bought her book, “The Other Side of Paradise” the week it came out, I couldn’t find it packed away in boxes after the move so used my gas money for the week to buy another copy for her to sign. When it was my turn at the table, instead of the pithy comment I had rehearsing the whole time making reference to her insomnia that I had read about on facebook, I blathered something about bumping into her at NYC Pride a few years ago and how she inspires me. Complete fangirl bullshit.
And then I went home and thought and wrote and thought and wrote to work through some shit going down in my life right now.
One thing kept popping up though. Some things she said, especially in reference to sex, seem like they were pulled right from my head. I felt the same way. I wonder if it was my 390lb frame proclaiming my horniness and flirting with baby dykes would it be seen as such a tantalizing, transgressive, sexiness?
And Staceyann Chin is amazingly sexy. She exudes a sensuality that can only come from a woman fundamentally in sync with herself. While watching her on stage, it was hard not to imagine what she tasted like or what she would smell like if I buried my nose into the curve of her neck. If I thought she was even halfway serious about her offers that night or if I thought she would have even looked at me twice, I would have jumped at the chance.
As powerful as she is (and the following is no slight to her in the least), I have come to learn that it’s very easy to talk about the power of the pussy when there’s a line of people wanting to fuck it. I have spent most of my adult life reading and writing, processing and keeping up with the world. If only given a chance, I feel that I could have made amazing contributions. But I have been deemed unfuckable so I have to watch time and time again as opportunites get passed to the less talented, the less dedicated, the less qualified.
This should come as no surprise. Even the marketplace of ideas is still a marketplace and packaging matters. Does this make me feel better? No. I’m just getting tired now and the fight is leaving me and I feel like I’m just going through the motions.