bridge grid |  nadyalec

seminal liminality: prelude

when my mother and father went to a texas courthouse to get married in the '60's, they were faced by a form requiring each of them to specify a race. "what am i?" joked my dad. "white or black?"
"son," said the justice of the peace, "you put white, or you won't be married."
from the beginning - from before my beginning - my existence was marked by the crossing of borders.

(not to mention the fact that when my grandad found out about the marriage, he went looking for my dad with a shotgun.) london bridge is falling down
falling down
falling down
london bridge is falling down
my fair lady
"Ain't much of a difference
Between a bridge and a wall
Without me here in the middle
You ain't got nothing at all..."
first thoughts on bridges: an incomplete introduction

I've been asked to write on the subject of bridges. I know that the phrase "This bridge called my back" has resonated with me for years, as my body is a sort of bridge, a place where dualities come together. My mixed race, bisexual, transgendered body‹this body born from a forbidden crossing of cultures, that crosses between different worlds every day. I like sitting on fences‹if you wiggle around, it feels sort of interesting.

That last sentence is a joke.

It does point, though, to the fact that I have sexualized my liminality. Crossing gender, in particular, is quite sexual for me. The most clear descriptions I've been able to make of it have been pornographic; last night I crossed gender and age in my dreams, and tonight I will play that crossing out with my lover.

some questions on bridges

What does it mean to embody the join at dualities?
What does a bridge feel?
Who walks across these bridges called our backs?
Who lurks beneath them?
What is the toll to cross?
Who pays?

Moments of crossing: Part 1. My Dad's Funeral

My dad's funeral was a bridge. People came from his career life, including several young proteges; from his neighborhood; from his family; from his immigrant Arab life. When asked to tell stories about his life, we told radically different stories. The hardest disjunction: my sister read a poem referring to his atheism, which deeply upset some of those who knew him as a Muslim.

My dad's funeral got me thinking about my own funeral. About the queers; about the neighbors; about the coworkers and fellow students; about my family. All of them sharing space for the moment; the collision of names and pronouns.

Moments of crossing: Part 2. My Names and Pronouns

Moments of crossing: Part 2. My Names and Pronouns At the True Spirit conference a few years ago my lover Shahn and the conference chair Gary were discussing me. Shahn used Alec and he; Gary used Nadya and she. Each became louder and more vociferous about their name and pronoun as they continued.

It made me giggle when I heard about it.

My names have been complicated from the get-go; at birth I was given two Arab names and one archetypally Southern US name. I kept my Arab first name and picked a US name to compliment it. Different people use different names and pronouns. I love the confusion and awkwardness of it.

  Moments of crossing: Part 3. The pornographic part; this bridge called my dick

"This is so damn awkward," I said, struggling into the arrangement of leather straps and latex cock.
"I love the awkwardness of it," he said, swallowing me with his eyes.
Two trannies and a strap-on; my cyborg body, latex and flesh, momentarily a bridge between man and woman in my body as well as my brain.
And in a moment another kind of bridge, my dick arcing between my clit and his mouth.

"...How long you been in the 'life'?"

I stared at Kitty without answering, trying to think of how to explain to her, that for me there was only one life--my own-- however I chose to live it.  But she seemed to take the words right out of my mouth.

"Not that it matters," she said speculatively, finishing the beer she had carried over the end of the bar where I was sitting. "We don't have but one, anyway. At least this time around."  She took my arm. "Come on, let's dance."

-Audre Lorde, Zami


But truthfully, though the metaphor is neat, I don't experience my body as a bridge. These dualities exist only in theory. In reality I have only one life, and a year ago I moved from Washington DC to San Francisco so that I can live it fully and with more integration. Integration has been a conscious, major goals for more than ten years.


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