an ejaculation of visibility

This may have been the longest journey of my life. Searching through the wreckage of memories and indentations to decipher what it means to be beautiful.

At a local cafe, I still taste red velvet cake on my tongue as I leaf through discarded “men’s magazine” with blond-haired breasts woman on the cover. The theme of this issue is: America’s favorite things.

I searched for:
peanut butter
black ink pilot pens
summer rain storms with rainbows at the end
love affairs
french-pressed coffee

All I saw were various breasts attached to similarly shaped/hued women wearing strings and strips of fabric.

Tomorrow night, I undress my mind and attempt to translate an array of memories and movements in a show called: ejaculating beauty

For over a year, this performance piece has been formulating on various sheets of paper, and within these past few months, I have begun to fully understand its meaning.

What is my first memory of beautiful?

Growing up, it was always about my hair, which was slightly less red and what some may have defined as…….dirty blond. It was long and curly, and had I not been so restless, I may have had a future in shampoo commercials.

My grandmother begged me never to cut it. But. If I ever did, to save it and give it to her.

Strangers would tell me how beautiful my hair was.
Everyone wanted to touch it.

I was being upstaged by my follicles.

So, I did what any sane person would do, remove the part of me that got all the attention.

I thought: If my hair is gone, they will notice my words more.

When I cut my hair, something shifted in me. I realized I had been hiding behind it. Once it was gone, all of me was visible. Or, it felt that way. So, I began to cut other parts of me in order to sever the screams on my skin that only I seemed to notice.

None of this was very helpful.

A lover tells me I am beautiful, but this word has been so misused that it is difficult to gather up its intentions and accept it.

Airbrushed faces on magazines and billboards are called beautiful.
That woman on the 4 train with exposed bones and belly, flatter than the paper I write on, is called beautiful.

I call the earth beautiful, sometimes.
On days where trees reenact a Pina Bausch movement.
That moment she found a heart-shaped rock on the beach in western B.C., amidst thousands of others.
The feeling I get when first drip of coffee teases my tongue and slides down my throat.

This is beautiful to me.

I am trying to be visible in a way that re/defines what beauty even means.

I am covered in mosquito bites.

Beautiful?

(I’ve been told) one breast is slightly larger than the other.

Beautiful?

I’ve got freckles on my skin from too much sun and not enough sunscreen.

Beautiful?

I’m emotional and unsettled and moody.

Beautiful.

COMING SOON: ejaculating beauty @ the fresh fruit festival

ejaculating beauty @ the Fresh Fruit Festival July 20th NYC

Ejaculating Beauty
Written by Aimee Herman
Choreography by Asja Parrish
Featuring Aimee Herman & Asja Parrish

Located at The Wild Project
195 East 3rd Street New York, NY 10009

Ejaculating Beauty is a coming-of-age exploration of queer language and the search for where one is on the spectrum of media-inspired/socially-influenced beauty. Through movement and storytelling, this piece gets to the heart of what happens when we finally put sound to the various dialects of gender and beauty within the brain.

there is beauty in the ridges of your forearms

Here is the thing:

I don’t really spend much time “getting ready”.

I don’t own a brush and because of this some knots have formed. Some, I’ve recently cut out. Some, I leave because the stories are too massive to slice off of me.

I do own a mirror and it reveals the entire length of my body, but it’s more of an acquaintance than a best friend/soul mate. I am often told I don’t match.

I recently learned shoes must match the rest of the outfit.
This is difficult to aspire to when I only own one pair of black converse high-tops.

Oh, and stripes do not match other stripes.
I’m still not quite sure I agree with this one, so I tend to rebel against it.

Next month, I am performing beauty.

That is, I will be singing some songs that have arrived during bike rides, during moments when I am alone and just want to turn myself into a radio or self-contained Broadway show.

I will be reading text: memories, poems, declarations of my own beauty and what is seen.

What is queer beauty?
How do I want my beauty to be seen? To be known? To be heard? To be remembered?

So, as I continue to write this piece, I find myself thinking about beauty a lot .

* * *

I see a human.
This human is dressed in black and piercings and scars.
How do I not notice the scars.
Am I supposed to not notice the scars?

And they are beautiful.
And suddenly it feels like this human has skin made out of mirror-flesh and I can see myself in her.

This human spreads her wings or arms and begins to poem.
I watch her watch us watch her.
And she is beautiful.

I would like to take the power away from this word because it doesn’t sound strong enough or it has too many visuals attached that are not relevant to my version/interpretation of beautiful.

Airbrushed humans = not beautiful.
Skinny bones starved and gasping = not beautiful.
Flesh that is wrinkled or tattooed and painted or pierced. Flesh that is devoured by languages and stories = beautiful.
Ignorance = not beautiful.
Openness to all kinds and removal of all labels to make room for the in-betweens = beautiful.

Recently someone asked me about performance.

Do you normally do that on stage? I wish I wasn’t so self-conscious so I wouldn’t be afraid to do that.

That is defined as performance art/ as my body climbing a naked man, attempting to force him away/ binding him and taunting him/ angrily mounting him.

I don’t often think: I am going to take my clothes off now. It happens because the words push them off or my emotions force them away.

So, I answered:

I’m entirely self-conscious and I believe many people are. But I let go of that once I hit a stage. If I am too worried about my stretchmarks or cellulite, I’d never go nude.

Stretchmarks and cellulite = beautiful.

Or if I waited for my stomach to get flat like floorboards or six-pack of highly defined muscle, I’d never take my top off.

Bellies that are curvy and folded like Victorian fans = beautiful.

This is a continuous language. A discovery that doesn’t end.

Self-discovery = beautiful.

And when that self-discovery never forfeits……when we leave room to re-define and re-name, that is most beautiful of all.

Fresh Fruit Festival Trailer

This Summer
All Out Arts: Fresh Fruit Festival
New York City
July 20th

What happens when you put gender on a grid and transcribe the body’s stories through first love, masturbatory fantasies, delineations of beauty and the intricacies of trying to fit in to the queer world?

Ejaculating Beauty.

Ejaculating Beauty is a coming-of-age exploration of queer language and the search for where one is on the spectrum of media-inspired/socially-influenced beauty. This is Aimee Herman’s autobiographical dissection of love, gender, sexuality, hair-gentrification, and body translation. Through movement and storytelling, this piece gets to the heart of what happens when we finally put sound to the various dialects of gender within the brain.

excerpt from: ejaculating beauty

: I am interested in the aesthetics of this self.

You rolled up your forehead when I offered up my thighs to you: all hairy and undone.

Beauty is retrieved through excessive tightness or hair gel or neck tie or high heels or sixty-five dollar hair cut or earring in right ear not left or both and the triangle tattooed on ankles or woman sign inked neck and wallet in back pocket and no wedding ring or rainbow rings against collarbone and collared shirt or stretched ears and pierced nose and lip or tattoo of a flag not American but roy g. biv homo and without these signs

how would we know ?

: I practiced being a girl.

Fell in love with boys whose voices were dropping and zippers were bulging and held hands with Daniels and Davids and Donnies and Damians and when kisses were requested, I let their tongues inside me because I was afraid of what it meant that I just wanted to say no

: When I was younger, I assumed I was born on a Friday. Assumed the F meant Friday because that somehow made more sense than female.

Then, on the summer of my fourteenth year of living, of this dedicated practice of girlhood, I began to bleed.

And I thought I wanted it. Thought I wanted puffed up breasts like flesh-colored peacock feathers or those bubbles that arise on pizza slices that I loved to pop with my teeth.

The moment I saw red, I cried
This is when the pushing began.

I tried to push my breasts away.
I tried to push the blood away.
I tried to gather as much hair as I could over my vagina to hide it because it suddenly looked beastly to me.

Monsterous. Misshapen.

: I am eighteen. I am nineteen.

There is a language for this part of me that could not be rubbed away, no matter how much I tried.
There was no need to get rid of this.
Confusion. Convulsions of gender. The slash. The or.

Why is it we think:

We. Must. Get. Rid. Of. This.

I learn a word that does not reach me until I am nineteen because we did not have a gay club in my high school or in my town of suburban New Jersey or television programs with openly out, secure and relatable gay characters.

Did I hear it in a scream? Pushed up against some kid against some wall between crashed fists?

Q U E E R.

Replacing tomboy. Substitution for the slash or maybe just another word for the slash.

Replacing length of hair or closet full of fashionable outcasts and inconsistent particles of cotton made in China.

Replacing my decision for what type of sex I liked. If I was a bottom or top and how is that even relevant?

Replacing the history of a word. Or trying to.
Reclaiming seems too political.
Instead, I patched this word onto a different pair of pants and suddenly everything looked new.