"If I could take all my parts with me when I go somewhere, and not have to say to one of them, 'No, you stay home tonight, you won’t be welcome'...in thousands of situations where something of what I am cannot come with me. The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution." - Pat Parker, "Movement in Black"

Cleaning Closets

I spent most of today in the closet – literally and figuratively. The first photo is the “huh, there’s space back here” section I discovered in the clear out.

In that literal mode, I cleared everything out – sorting things into use, recycle, donate, and dump, nearly all of it untouched since that main room closet became the space for things I didn’t want to sort through when I sold my growing up home 15 years ago. Time to clear out now to make room for some ongoing working from home.

Figuratively, in clearing out the “huh” space, my somatic response landed me in my senior year, in the days after realizing that “the other Eileen” had outed me in ways that cost my longest-term friendships. Figurative closets, I learned then, are also dark, narrow, stagnant spaces that allow people to shut a door.

In putting together the bit of the closet that shows when the door is open, I found myself thinking about the friends who moved me back into the rhythms of going out, doing newspaper and yearbook work, and making theater – most especially Cindy and Toni. Because of them, I could come back to own queer myself: literally, then; figuratively, today.


“If I could take all my parts with me when I go somewhere, and not have to say to one of them, ‘No, you stay home tonight, you won’t be welcome’…in thousands of situations where something of what I am cannot come with me. The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution.”
– Pat Parker, “Movement in Black”

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