There are a lot of bullshit and straight-up lies that adults, and our culture in general, ram down our throats as young, impressionable children. “You can do anything if you put your mind to it!” Definitely not true. I will never be able to tell time on an analog clock with 100% confidence that I’m identifying the correct hour. Is that a lower bar for achievement than you anticipated? Probably. Sorry to let you down so soon. Get in line behind my parents.
Some of the lies we’re told, however, are a little less direct. They’re a little trickier. One of the biggest, most pervasive lies of all is simply the idea of heterosexuality. Guess what, it doesn’t exist. Everyone is faking it. The seduction of normalcy is that strong. Heterosexuality and the concept of any kind of hard and fast binary identity is just plain bullshit. To anyone not living under a bigoted rock, this is not news. However, despite this somewhat old idea, most people don’t live according to this rule. I mean, there are more “socially acceptable,” lived variations in the Myers-Briggs test than there are for gender and sexual preference. I’m not saying you can’t Google a long fucking list of sexual orientations or non-conforming gender type identities. I’m just saying trying to actually LIVE in the world like that is kinda rare and tricky.
I’ve spent most of my life trying not to belong to any group but still trying to reap all the benefits you get from belonging to a group. For example, I don’t feel 100% comfortable calling myself a “lesbian” but I made an entire web series where I identify myself as a lesbian in the logline. I was born with a vagina but I’d say 85% of the time that I’m around other people with vaginas I’m shocked that we both have one. This is the dilemma –- connection with other people tends to come from similarities, being part of the same group, identifying a shared experience, that sort of thing. BUT, at least for me personally (and I’d judgmentally and rudely argue that for everyone) it’s a fucking lie and a performance of a lifetime to suggest that any one of us belong firmly in any one group. Yet this is what we do. I understand the necessity of doing this (social and political power yadda yadda) but I also believe that the consequences of this outweigh the benefits because it forces us into this teeny, tiny, frustrating, mirage of a box that doesn’t allow us to actually be who we are or do what we might want.
The truth is, no one is straight. No one is gay. No one is female. No one is male. No one ONLY eats seeds. Except vegans and even vegans sometimes eat other stuff. Everyone is an unidentifiable mishmash of various bits and pieces of identities, allegiances, preferences, genders, sexes, ethnicities…maybe except Nazis, but you get the point.
So, this new series that I’ve made for IFC, wonkily and perhaps a bit on-the-nose called Boxed In, is an exploration of this idea and what it looks like to try and live by this belief. In the series, I wanted to explore this life-long and continuing personal pursuit of mine to connect with people – make friends, get laid, have fun etc. – without fully committing to, specifically, any lesbian identity or derivative of such identity. I guess, if I was one of those people who did exactly as she wanted and didn’t have any judgments about anything, I’d just shut-up and call myself “queer.” That word is probably closest to everything I’m talking about and does kind of get around this issue of a binary identity…buuuut I just cannot bring myself to say, “Hey. I’m Amy and I’m queer.” Sorry. Maybe I still have some residual shame issues. Definitely possible. And I respect everyone who wears a beanie in the southern California heat and who drives a Vespa un-ironically and who call themselves queer, but I just cannot do it.
So, my queerness has no name. And I believe a lot of people (most people) have a similar issue. They just don’t fit perfectly anywhere. However, most people (to my shock and awe) are more willing to squeeze themselves into a box in the name of human connection, acceptance and socio-political power. Those people are fucking cowards and they need to stop. Everybody get out of your fake box. You do NOT fit. Although, after watching this series and getting a sneak peek at what it’s like to try and not be in a box –- perhaps a bit isolating, confusing, stressful and at times hypocritical — you might want to stay firmly in your box. Whatever, you do you but I still think you’re faking it.
Amy York Rubin received critical acclaim for her 2013 popular “darkly comedic” web series, Little Horribles, which was named one of the top ten web series of the year by Variety. The triple-threat performer continues to write and direct in Los Angeles and has collaborated with comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant.
Check out an episode of Boxed In below. Click here to watch the full series.