• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 02
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Face Value

I updated my profile picture recently. The default icon, a cyclops with an inverted smile, made me sad. So I went with this image: an androgynous white version of an alien cyborg. I might have added a tint, but the Mattel features still reveal the hidden agenda of race. The nose just so, the lips. Can’t mistake the blue eyes. These are not my features. This is not my actual profile. The seam where the arm attaches should be a give-away.

Confession: I am not a vacuum-headed white girl-boy that pretends to be neutral, neutralized, neutered, or normative.

In opposition to this mannequin, I offer a blotchy, mottled northern European complexion mixed with Celtic seaweed and song. Hair, yes, unruly, wavy, thick, clumsily cut, not styled, worn like other patches and expanses of hair on my body. Androgynous? Hardly. Not with my bosom. Short, stubby, overweight. A northern gale would not easily topple this smug little carcass.

To alien? Got me there. Yes, yes, and yes. Nonconforming, resistant, I let my eyebrows sprout, my toes spread, my lips chap.

An ironic wink, my profile picture promises, with the smooth sloping perfection of a bald pate, a Sinéad O’Conner winsomeness that exudes like radioactivity from the opaque shine of flesh-tone (white or porcine). No convenient handles blossom from either side of my head, like caracol conch shells, labyrinths that spiral to an inside sans treasure—empty like hollowed-out caverns.