On the morning I wake naturally, for I will have no set clock, nor informed my body timepiece when it should alarm. I dress in comfortable shoes and casual clothes and leave my house going no place. If I am living in a city, I wander streets, window-shop, or gaze at buildings. I enter and leave public parks, libraries, the lobbies of skyscrapers, and movie houses. I stay in no place for very long. On the getaway day I try for amnesia. I do not want to know my name, where I live, or how many dire responsibilities rest on my shoulders. I detest encountering even the closest friend, for then I am reminded of who I am, and the circumstances of my life, which I want to forget for a while.
Being feminine is being desired and hated at the same time. A feminine body or mind is expected to be open and receiving to everything from others’ emotional baggage to sexual fantasies of total strangers. At the same time, receptivity (not that this defines femininity by any means) is considered weak and inferior. The result of this is often violence. Femininity is to be present for other’s needs and then destroyed for its perceived weaknesses.
Being feminine and of color is especially dangerous. Not just because we are a walking target for racist, stereotyped sexual fantasies but because so often we are blamed for being that. I am Latina so I shouldn’t press my luck by acting and dressing too “spicy” too provocative. I can’t be a femme as I want to be because then I am acting out my own stereotype and perpetuating it further and drawing in potential violence. I cannot act, speak, dress or think feminine on my own accord or because I am being myself. Being a woman of color means that whatever I do, I do on account of being Latina. If I am femme, it’s because that’s how I was raised to be in that culture.