[img: a black and white floral print photo. white text over top reads, “memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice // you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8.”]
you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8: memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice
When working on a piece for Hoax #9: Feminisms and Vulnerabilities, I initially intended to take the queer advice framework of writing to one’s theoretical teen self and flip it on its head by creating a fictionalized direct dialogue with my ten-years-younger self. After taking much time investigating different ways to enact this, I scrapped the idea altogether—I had a lot of internal dialogue about why I didn’t want to follow the queer advice road much traveled and realized that I couldn’t give voice to myself in the past because I was almost totally estranged from my memories and feelings from that time period. In this zine, which is a much-expanded version of the piece featured in Hoax #9, I discuss the complications I have seemingly always had with remembering things, reconceptualizing the past to more adequately place myself in the future, and ideas to share with non-normative teens and young adults for navigating tough situations. B&W, 24 pages, & text heavy. US$1.50 + shipping. [etsy / well-hidden cash or other]
always a mentor, never a mentee / intro
As a teen, I relished the admiration I had gained from my friends for being emotionally strong, resilient, and refusing to back down from a challenge. I liked knowing that my suffering wasn’t somehow wasted, that others could find validation that they weren’t alone and had options for how to approach things like being constantly pressured into sex by a manipulative boyfriend or physical abuse by a parent or going hungry at lunch to save money for condoms or punk show tickets. I got so used to thinking that I was everyone’s sounding board, guidance counselor, and advisor that I didn’t want to seek those qualities out in others—I didn’t think I could find someone to provide me the same listening and support skills others looked to me for, and I didn’t want to burden someone else with what was going on with me.
losses of personal history & writing to regain memory
[working through issues with recollection]
Sometime in my teens, I completely lost my sense of safety and empowerment within my own words, with speaking Truth to what I had gone through. I noticed my handwriting getting lighter and lighter on each piece of paper I scribbled on, as if I was willing myself to write with invisible ink instead, unconsciously apologizing for expressing myself in the first place.
former selves, role models, & queer aging narratives
[growing up without access to non-normative advice]
As a lethal combination of Myers Briggs type INTJ and anxiety-ridden control freak, I wanted to know (in a laughably ironic twist) exactly what alternate adulthood looked like and what I was in for. I wanted to see where the potholes lay, blown-out chunks of blacktop and concrete strewn nearby, on the punk and gender-confused and not-straight road so I would have ample time to swerve out of the way. I ached badly for a sympathetic elder to hand me the blueprints to a satisfied life and successful aging scheme, as making it up as I went along left too many variables untested for my painfully rational and analytic mind.
(non)advice for non-normative teens and young adults
[unsolicited tips for the journey]
When you are called a dyke by boys in your grade because of how inseparable you are from your best friend, laugh. Loudly and often. Half-heartedly try to tone down the obvious brooding stares at her and the playful touches given to her and amount of times you use her as a subject for your Intro to Photography class. Not because you’re afraid to be seen as gay, but because you’re afraid that her fears of the label will drive her to end your friendship. When a boy you start dating asks if you are jealous that he dated her before you, do not hesitate to show how genuinely surprised you are by the question. He’ll think you’re pretty damn mature for not letting his past get in the way of your present together, and you’ll be amused by his misinterpretation of the fact that you will forever and always care about her more than him anyway. After all, being in love with a straight girl isn’t often something you can fully explain to yourself, let alone other people.