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When I was a year old I shoved a piece of meat up my nose. Only after weeks of trying to remedy my ‘bad breath’ did my mother take me to the doctor who removed it. I only remember my mother telling me this story. Ironically, I’m vegetarian.
Memories can reveal time in a way that is relational to a moment, similarly to the way Rebecca Makkai does in Suspension (April 20, 1984).1 This is the original reason we take pictures, right?2 But they fail us, because we were never really conscious of them, too busy trying to hold on.
I was so happy when the Hirsches moved next door. Once I spent the night there. I was washing my hands in the middle of the night after I awoke to pee. Mr. Hirsch came into the bathroom while I was in there. He said, “Oh I don’t feel well. My pee is stuck in my wiener. I’d wake up Mrs. Hirch or my daughter but their mouths are weak with sleep. And I need my pee sucked out of my penis now or its going to backtrack into me and I’m going to die.” Boys’ pee tastes different than girls’ pee. Boys’ pee tastes different than girls’ pee.3 Obviously doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen year-old girl.4 Our self concepts are informed by our memories, they tell us who we are and how we are to function; they create subjects. I often find myself in my practice delving into my past and reasserting agency where there was repression or trauma.
BECAUSE: I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.5 What have you taught me? Nothing. Look at what you have taught me. Your world has taught me nothing.6
1 Makkai, Rebecca. "Suspension (April 20, 1984)." The Iowa Review 34.1 (2004): 9-12
2 Quote from Laurel Nakadate. I think a lot about how she shares and documents experiences.3 Karen Finley, A Different Kind of Intimacy: The Collected Writings of Karen Finley (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2000), 22.
4 The youngest daughter in the hospital after an attempted suicide. The Virgin Suicides, by Sofia Coppola, dir. Sofia Coppola. 1999
5 Last line of the riot grrrl manifesto. Published in Bikini Kill Zine 2, 1991.
6 “Feels Blind” by Bikini Kill on Kill Rock Stars album, 1991.