speaker number sixteen

this is pretty much what i’d intended to say at 20×2. i don’t think it came out quite right onstage, so i’d rather tell you how i wanted it to come out. remember, the question was who are you?

photo by megan headley“i wear a lot of jewelry. right now i’m wearing five rings, a watch, fourteen bracelets, two necklaces, eight earrings, and a nose ring.

“the only two times in recent years i’ve had to take off all my jewelry were when i had knee surgery, and when i went to jail. when i had knee surgery they put me on a gurney, wheeled me into the operating room, and anesthetized me. as the doctor was operating on me, i wasn’t really a person. i wasn’t me. i was nothing but ligaments, cartilage, bone, blood. a knee.

“when i went to jail, they took all my jewelry and put it in a little plastic bag, an evidence bag. they gave me one piece of jewelry in return: a white plastic bracelet with my ID number on it. every time the warden came into the cell, i had to stand up and say, ‘ID number 172.’

“most people will tell you that the things we put on ourselves are nothing but disguises, that our makeup and jewelry and clothes hide who we really are. why, then, when i had to remove all these things that disguise me, did i become nothing but an id number? a criminal? a patient? a body?”

here is the order of things i took off while i was talking:

my rings
my bracelets
my watch
my necklaces
my nose ring
my earrings
my shoes
my dress

at the end all i had on was a bra and a slip. then i ran off the stage. i guess i don’t know what else to say about it.