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Curls

Coming Out / GLBT Stories, Facing LGBTQ Pride in Muncie, Indiana

My family cried when I cut them off:

half a spine’s length of corkscrews

that had trailed me as long as anyone

remembered. I only felt them as a shroud

covering my view in every game of tag–

 

and when I first came to Spectrum

I already had a label

for myself: straight ally.

It took time to learn that the anxiety

jackhammering inside my chest

 

might’ve been trying to shake me

awake. Me, as in the person who loves

larger than gender–loves the root of the plant

more than how it manifests; for so long

asleep beneath miles of those ringlets.

 

More time, still, to let go

of all my dresses, to give my jeans

and ball caps top space in the drawer,

time to learn how many ways there are

to be a person.

 

I go back to those scissors–both

the blades that first liberated me

and the ones that still do, those months

when hair begins to shag and tickle

the backside of my neck,

 

a cycle of gaining myself by losing

what was never me to begin with.

When the curls are gone, and air cools

the skin above my collar, it still feels

like the first moment I turned to the mirror

 

and saw another short-haired girl

smiling back at me in the glass. She knew,

too, that we were one and the same, that I

had become myself

for the first time in my life.

 

– Elizabeth Barton’s story as told by Marissa Rose

Marissa Rose lives and works in Muncie, Indiana, where she advocates and supports everything from early childhood support systems, adult literacy, and trans rights, among other issues. When she’s not advocating, she’s usually writing.


This story originally appeared in Facing LGBTQ+ Pride in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Muncie OUTreach in Muncie, Indiana.

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