Illustration for article titled The Hierarchy of Me, as Chosen by Youem/em

I don’t do self-reflection very well. I’ve always been pretty content to just be me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid to look below this house of horrors mirrored existence or because I’m lazy. Also emotional breakthroughs feel like childbirth to me—they’re painful and exhausting and I’m stuck caring for a weepy toddler who eats and sleeps all the time.


(I’m the toddler?)

But I haven’t had the luxury of simply being myself lately. Just like everyone else, I’ve been waffling between abject despair and acute anxiety over the future of our country and what it means to me, personally. But to me, personally, it’s been hard to figure out which aspect of myself I should be worried about first. Women’s rights? Racism? Millennial economic disparity? Muslim hate crimes?


I’m a special little snowflake. I like 0.3 mm pens and jalapeno-stuffed olives and pencil skirts with extremely immodest slits. Up the front. I’m sassy and I have great friends and I drink a lot of wine. I love my dog, too much. I’m terrified of snakes because they are disgusting and move weirdly and if you like them, you’re probably a serial killer.

I’m all of these things and thoughts, plus much, much more. Some bad, some good, some irrefutably weird.


But lately I’ve been relegated to just another faceless millennial biracial woman of color of Muslim heritage and I’m trying really hard to figure out which of those is most important when dealing with bigots. Because it’s become undeniably clear that I don’t actually have any say when it comes to personal identity. I don’t get to choose. You people have chosen for me my entire life.

So, tell me. What am I first, what am I second, and what’s left over at the end? Maybe once you’ve finally decided on the hierarchy of factors that make me me, we can get back to the ass-kicking that’s coming your way.


I’ll see you in the parking lot after school.

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