Reflections after an amazing couple of days of finishing my zine, printing it, performing from it at a sparkling and fabulous cabaret, launching it at a warm and electric queer zine fair. Sometimes when the high frequency of excitement wears off, I’m left feeling nervous. Thanks to everyone who’s been supporting me. This is a project that has had many hands holding it up!
Having just positively hogged down two people’s worth of sushi in one sitting, washed it down with celebratory sparkling water to prepare my tastebuds for a bar of chocolate to be taken in as fast as I can ingest it, I ask myself, how many voices did I leave out of that zine? The length of this selfie dinner is about the amount of time it takes to realize, stress of the last weeks and two days of performing and launching my zine still churning in the shape of a stomach acid tornado, that it’s out of my hands now. There are typos, there are spacing problems, there are things that, on second thought, I probably shouldn’t have put in there, and things that I should have articulated better. It’s not a blog post, ever ready to be altered, censored or taken down all together. This is paper. It is out of my hands into other people’s.
So many people’s. Someone who smiled magnetically at me and told me the reason they came to the fair was to buy my zine. Someone who thanked me for my performance last night, saying they were happy someone was saying what I said. Someone who said to me square in the face that I am powerful. Sceptical people who toured the room and circled back to pick up the zine. Ginger fingers taking what was once just mine, considering it, caressing it, and taking it with them on their bikes or on the bus to wherever they are now. Maybe they didn’t have time to go home and drop off their bag before the party tonight. Maybe they’re there now, my paper words in their backpacks still.
I’m worried. I’m worried that my words will be misunderstood or unclear or that my anger will be taken sharply, interpreted as just another crip white chick with too much social standing and not enough time to listen to the quieter voices. I’m worried that those who I named in my stories will be unhappy, that my sexuality, fluctuating as it is, will be unhappy to be outed so explicitly, that the words, once mine, will be irritating to those who read them, lacking context and analysis, lacking glue, lacking, lacking.
But yet there they are, in backpacks, on bedside tables, in bike baskets, in hands. The paper words are out there, and all I can do is let the pages float away too, on the good graces of my fellow word loving queers. All I can do is hope that they’ll be received with generosity and critical spirits, and that conversations will happen. I hope that I will hear the intimate words of those who read my zine, so I can find out exactly how many perspectives I am missing and what they’re like. All I can really do is hope these things and keep writing, learning from my worries. Because despite these post-adrenaline worries, this damp weather mirroring my foggy mind, I know I am on a path that I will keep on writing. As I sentimentally wrote to myself in my very own copy of my zine, I should be proud. I finished, and I presented myself to the world, not claiming to be someone different. Not claiming to know all the perspectives, not claiming to hear all the whispers and the rumblings, but open and excited to hear more with each new page I write. As I headed home after the fair, painting behind my back, zines exploding from my scooter’s every orifice, I felt alive, content, buzzing, and that’s how I know I’m rolling in the right direction.