My gayness and my non-normative body are in a constant battle within me.
In the Fall semester of my sophomore year of college, while waiting for a class to start, I received a text from my then boyfriend who I had been dating for several months. In this text, he expressed dissatisfaction with our relationship, or rather, dissatisfaction with my body.
We’ve been together for months and you haven’t lost weight.
I don’t think I want to be with you if you’re going to stay like this.
I thought you wanted to better yourself?
I ran out of class and to my car, but before I could get the door open, a burning self-hatred, shame, and disgust washed over me. Everything in my body needed out. My body had betrayed me. Vomit splattered on the ground, followed by drops of tears and sweat.
Through my work, I am reliving this moment and the feelings of self-hatred, shame, and disgust that run through my entire life and are constantly reinforced by new experiences.
My gayness rejects my body and my body restrains my gayness. I cannot fit into this community that will relentlessly exclude me under the guise of “preference,” nor a sub-community that will welcome me only if I fully assimilate into it and allow the fetishization and objectification of parts of myself I have been conditioned to despise.
This battle has left me in a precarious relationship with my identity. Absurdity, humor, and the uncanny became the tools I used to navigate this relationship, and photography serves as a platform in which I utilize these tools. They are how I proclaimed my individuality and declared the justification of my existence. They are my flamboyancy.