Getting my bearings in my English class again. Mostly it’s dudes who talk. Today, one of them took his shoes off and I was repulsed by my own repulsion. I was so repulsed, repulsed in a way that I would never be repulsed by certain other sets of toes. Like, dude, there is nothing radical about your bare feet. Get ‘em outta my face. Quit feeling like yr gross boring white cis dude bare feet are entitled to my classroom time.
We were talking about gendered spaces on campus. I talked about all the fainting rooms, the nursing couches that adjoin women’s bathrooms all over campus. The nubby, holy old recliners in them. The fake flowers. I told the class about the one behind the women’s bathroom on the fourth floor of the union, the giant room on one of the most private areas of campus. I told them I go there when I’m extra depressed.
They didn’t laugh. Sometimes I forget that not everyone makes jokes about how depressed they are, makes jokes about the stupid things they do when they’re as depressed as they are. Sometimes I forget when I’m performing, sometimes I forget when I’m not performing. Talk about dropping the personal front—not just public crying, but public bathroom crying. Not just public bathroom crying, but publicly talking about public bathroom crying.
No one laughed. But then I told them that the only people I’ve ever met in that back room were sad girls who go there to cry and muslim women who go there to pray. And I always offer to leave for either, but they never want me to, because there’s this understanding in our shared performances of desperate privacy/private desperation. It’s sisterhood. That’s all it is.
I was laying on the aqua nylon cushions in the bathroom on my work’s floor because I was dehydrated and thought I was gonna puke. Horizontal, I recomposed a little, I took pictures of myself. A dude custodian walked in and immediately jumped back, as startled as he might have been to see me peeing. I laughed at him and left. “It’s all yours.”