KP Vogell “As a kid, I always felt wrong, alien, and out of place. I grew up in a majority white, majority Christian part of America, and I am the child of a white Jew and a non-white Latin American immigrant. So, I absorbed the message that both halves of my identity were wrong, suspicious, criminal, and even satanic (not exaggerating, as other kids regularly told me I was going to hell.) On top of this, I was queer, although I didn’t even have that word at the time. I just knew that I hated everything people told me about what women are supposed to look like, act like, and do, and that half of my crushes were hellfire-worthy sins. I was too cowardly to risk being openly queer—openly myself, really. I thought that to be okay, I had to murder every part of myself that other people said was wrong. I got good at hiding, and I made that self-mutilation a kind of secret project. If I did it right, I could be accepted, and no one would find out that I was an interloper. I’m in my thirties now. It’s only in recent years, because of the hard work advocates and activists have done to make it a little bit safer to be queer and non-white in America, that, for this human, the pain of hiding has surpassed the fear of coming out. I’m still not out all the way, really, much like the speaker in this story, who is still fighting with self-hatred. (When you’ve been absorbing other people’s hatred of you your whole life, it doesn’t go away in a hurry.) She’s not free, but she’s trying to be. Even if there’s pain involved, which there will be.”
KP Vogell is an artist, musician, writer, and Californian whose fiction has been published in PANK and The Good Life Review. KP occasionally posts on Instagram as @komischevogell.