The Art of Self-Discovery

Emily Perry (after Joe Brainard's "I Remember")

I remember choking on tapioca pearls the first time I had boba tea. 

 

I remember my first drink. I felt a cold coming on, and my dad’s solution was a shot of peppermint moonshine. I guess I took it well. My parents still think that wasn’t my first drink. 

 

I remember my first communion. I nearly spit out the blood of Christ. That also happened to be the day I learned I hate grape juice. 

 

I remember crying in a church bathroom when I realized my feelings for a woman were a little more than just like, and that God would hate me for it. 

 

I remember embodying envy to the point of self loathing, of forgetting my own name. 

 

I remember discovering that in some cases it wasn’t envy, it was just attraction. 

 

I remember falling in love with my best friend. She didn’t love me like that. 

 

I remember my first tattoo. I hid it from my grandparents for nearly a year. The second one they found within a week. 

 

I remember when I couldn’t bring myself to sing hymns during service. 

 

I remember when I stopped believing in God and Jesus Christ. 

 

I remember when my dad told me he was proud of me, and I wondered if he would still say that if he knew who I was. 

 

I remember when I decided he would never know. 

 

I remember hiding who I was. 

 

I remember accepting to settle for second place, that first place was never something I was good enough for. 

 

I remember my first hangover and the day-long headache that came with it. 

 

I remember driving six hours to meet someone I had met online. We are best friends now. 

 

I remember the struggle of trying to pull myself out of bed, of bursting into tears without a reason. 

 

I remember my friends, the flights to D.C. and drives to Canton that kept me sane, kept me connected with those who meant the most to me. 

 

I remember my attempts to process my thoughts, to truly understand my own mind which before had been an enigma. 

 

I remember learning the balance between self-love and self-preservation. 

 

I remember learning to be happy. 

Spring DEI 2022