Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I asked her to play on some variation of "How do you spell that?" (in regard to my name), "Where is that from?", "Where are you from?", or "What are you?" She asked what tone she should use in asking the question. I said something like, "The tone of a delighted white person who is so excited to exoticize me and add me to their arsenal of 'ethnic' friends."
She obviously has been practicing for a while. I don't even remember how she said it, exactly, but I remember her tight grip, lingering on my arm. I also vividly remember my reaction. My body tensed, my face tensed, my teeth gritted, my nostrils flared, I was hot and felt like the entire front of my body was turning into a shield, particularly my chest. I started to cry. I felt a wave of pure rage followed by a wave of complete exhaustion.
You'd think it would get old at some point, this name thing. But I still hear it multiple times per day (particularly while working) and it hasn't gone away yet. I still haven't moved through the feeling of wanting to scream at people when they subject me to their invasive line of questioning. Maybe one day I will . . . maybe somatics will help.