Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rejecting Identity, Resisting the Normative

The problem with narratives as explanations is that they force elements into regimented orders that distort the interaction of time and memory (memory being essentially, timeless), and assemble representations of “identity” patched together out of a multiplicity of unstable positions. It may be fair to say, that that is their purpose, their social role. Every story, then, is an act of violence. I think this is especially true of narratives of self-revelation—which purport to reclaim what has been repressed, healing what had been a conflicted and divided subject. This is typical of the stories we use to fabricate our own identity. I found myself doing exactly this, wondering how to reconcile a life time of socially normative sexual relationships with where I find myself now—openly Queer and gay. It was useful to some degree: rescuing pieces of my childhood and adolescence. But the assumption of a continuity of desire, covered over or denied, is a narrative fabrication. As though I had been playing a role false to my real nature, and only in coming out of this metaphorical closet, did I begin to realize my authentic sexual identity.
Narrative would have us believe that the child is father to the man, when it is more the other way around. This belies the inherent multiplicity of the self, where identity may fasten to and empower one part, in effect, raising it to the level of Self-in-the-world, and then to another, and all of this in constantly evolving flux-- in relation, not simply to our past, but to everything around us.
Narrative selects what is important to generate itself, and excludes whatever seems to weaken profluence and narrative coherence. Applying this to our lives, that which is excluded may well be as. or an even more powerful causative factor than what passes through the filter. In my case, what I had been leaving out was just that. This had little to do with overcoming unconscious censorship. It was rather, a matter of changing the story by connecting what had been discontinuous elements—creating a new constellation, a newly fabricated ‘identity.’ Here, I see the entanglement of narrative-making and identity—an inescapable dependence, such that identity is a form of closure and erasure, an eradication of the multiplicity of a more fully realized life. I want then, to reject the story I’ve been telling myself and broadcasting to others. Identity is an end-stop. A period punctuating an end-stop. For myself, that means writing QUEER in caps, and gay in lower case. I see now how the hundreds of posts I’ve written on my blog, criticizing and attacking representational, ‘realist’ fiction (along with my political radicalization) were as important a part of this process of Queering what I’d thought of as my identity, as reclaiming memories of sexual experiences with boys in my early adolescence. If there is any common thread, it’s been resistance to the Normative and its pressures on multiple fronts. The very definition of “Queer.”

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