By Theresa Tyree
My name doesn’t tell you a single thing about me.
Am I young, old?
African American? A brown follower of Islam? A food-loving Greek?
American at all?
Am I kind, smart, intelligent in the ways of the heart but stupid in the ways of the tongue?
Do I like books? Am I good with cars? Do I know myself?
Will I love you?
All these things you would have from a name. I can’t give you one to satisfy.
Look at me and you will see something:
a person presenting young, white, and female.
Measure the quickness of my smile, the volume of my laugh, the light in my eyes…
You won’t know me, but you will assign me value.
“Desirable,” you will think. “Desirable” or “bitch.”
These names determine my worth to you.
My worth to you isn’t my worth, isn’t my identity.
Whatever words you choose; you’ll never define me.
Without knowing me, how can you want me? How can you despise me? How can you define me?
Lash me with your labels – woman, romantic, bi- and demisexual–
I am too wide an expanse to be confined.
In the end, there is only “me.”
Theresa Tyree is a graduate student studying book publishing at Portland State University. She’s currently preparing for graduation and spending all waking moments on her portfolio and thesis.