On Alter Egos and Infinite Literacies, Part I

Fleshy Professional Avatar spent the weekend in Richmond, Virginia with colleagues and friends at the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.  I tagged along for the ride, made a minor appearance in time to introduce myself to amazing and dynamic public intellectuals like @NewBlackMan and @DrJamesPeterson.  Then I dove right back in to life and work here in the DMV with the arrival of the Mobile Homecoming Project (@alexispauline and @juliawallace) for their week-long university residency.  This was another event Fleshy Professional Avatar was signed up to do but I hung out in the wings, dipping in when Alexis and Julia referenced their trip to AMC 2011 and the Shawty Got Skillz workshop, taking a breath of peace when I saw @Mdotwrites and as I was introduced to another professor-cum-insurgent.  And when I looked up, I turned around to find we’d formed a circle of womyn of color who do intense intellectual work and activism around saving our own lives in spaces that are almost universally hostile to everything we are and represent.  And yet…there we were.  Queering the space with our very own light energy, turning the room on its side and moving the group as a whole along a new wavelength of ultraviolet visibility.

For a moment, just long enough to breath in and out twice, I was able to be Kismet and Flesh at the same time.  The two bodies overlapped and co-existed in time and space together.

But it was only a moment.

At the end of the day, I returned home and found myself shuffling friend requests between my Facebook pages (this one gets the Fleshy invite, that one gets to know Ms. Nuñez).  And I marveled at my inability to feel safe in the production of social media.  I mean, this is what the #AntiJemimas project and iwannalive is about–multiple literacies (or infinite literacies, as Lex reminded me yesterday), multiple beings, the conundrum of trying to build a real black gyrl in 3 days–or over seven Tumblrs, 2 twitters, 2 Facebook pages and countless other means–and the impossibility of the same.  The laughing, righteous, howling impossibility of doing the same.  The oppressive power of the iconic that traps our bodies, our sexualities, our genders into roles only, ever.

We are the help.  We are criminals.  We are infinitely rape-able.  We were slaves.  We are not intelligent.  We are not beautiful.

But like the reality of our experience and our being, the archive tells a different story.  If you roamed across my Tumblrs you would see me in all of my contradictions and imperfections and brilliance and love.  You might find a post on one Tumblr that contradicted a post on another the very same day.  You might marvel at my blackness (black blackity black black) but be startled by the striking Latinidad and its impact on where my interests lie.  You might cheer at the queer erotic images reblogged across one Tumblr and then frown in confusion at my overwhelming in-love for Mr. on another.  You might frown at the conservative language on one dashboard and cringe at the cuss words that flow down my Twitter timeline.  You might find a picture of me in a suit on one Facebook page and find me wearing fairy wings on another.

Who the fck knows?

The magic of the project is the power of its archive and the impossibility of its mission.

That I should not exist at all only proves so many of us do.

To be continued…

2 thoughts on “On Alter Egos and Infinite Literacies, Part I

  1. Pingback: Winter Has Come #CapricornSeason | Nuñez Daughter

  2. Pingback: Preparing… « The AntiJemima Life

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