Zero Mile – TranslucentNicki Salcedo
The Zero Mile Post marked the meeting of two railway lines and possibly the beginning of the city of Atlanta. Zero Mile is a series of sometimes fictionalized and sometimes real stories based on life in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
I don’t want to be defined by my genitals. I hope you understand. My privates are private. Not secret. Secrets are some kind of shame. I’m not ashamed. I am proud of those parts of me that have shaped me and created lust and life and been a womb for babies. But that can’t be all that I am.
I’m translucent. You think you can see me clearly, and you can. Almost. Part of me is hidden. That might may be my favorite part of all.
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Not my genitals mind you, but my mind. That is my private part.
I’ve been listening to different conversations in Decatur with an open mind.
We’ve been talking about body parts, private parts, but not about things that matter. Like the mind.
I’ve been listening.
Some have said that gender identity is not the same as race issues. I agree. They are not the same. Why should they be the same? I will not put another person’s pain on a scale and ask them to measure it against my own.
I don’t want to be defined by my body. I won’t define you by yours.
I will speak to you. This is the best way to get a glimpse into your mind.
I wear my blackness, in a visible way. I can’t change it. It doesn’t make me any less an ally to other people. Why should one hide who they are inside? Why are we even asking them to?
I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m not an expert on issues other than the experiences in my life. I use my life to understand people who are not like me. Whenever someone says we are different, I try to find the ways that we are the same.
I’ve been listening to the conversations about kids at school who are different.
Maybe you don’t remember, but being a kid isn’t easy.
I don’t care how you go to the bathroom.
I care if you feel safe.
I don’t care how long you grow your hair. Or how short you cut it.
I don’t know much about gender or identity, but I am trying to learn. I am trying to approach all of my interactions with goodness and kindness. I get angry at how often people knowingly hurt other people.
There are young people struggling to find their place in our communities and schools. We adults find ways to point out the differences. Pick your poison. Race and religion and gender and identity.
I want you to know me by my heart. It is aching.
We are looking for new people to hate and ostracize and destroy. I thought we had enough already.
Nicki Salcedo knows the loops and the back roads of Atlanta. She is a novelist, blogger and working mom. Zero Mile stories appear on the Atlanta Loop on Wednesdays.
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