Archive for June, 2014

Paint My Life

June 29th, 2014
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(For readers who don’t know me, or those who do but don’t assume, or those who do assume but shouldn’t, I’m a mostly-cis-gendered mostly-heterosexual white male. That might matter for this piece; it might not. In general I think my identity doesn’t matter much, but I am very invested in the idea that everyone, no matter their identity, be able to feel similarly—that their identity isn’t important. And for that people like me need to stop privileging their identities over any others.)


I went to a friend—a friend I trusted—and I said, “I’m ready to ask a favor of you.”

She painted the nails of my left hand black, and oversaw my attempt on my right. As it was happening, I wondered: is this what I want? The cool black fluid splashed beyond the boundaries of my nails, enveloped my fingertips. It quickly began to dry, and a stiffness spread over my skin. My fingers felt heavy.

“The bit on your skin will come off the next time you wash your hands,” she said.

The next morning, I shed black flakes in the shower and emerged with what I had wanted: painted nails.

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