Barfing as Identity Development and Expression in Myles’ “Everyday Barf”
To barf is disgusting, but for another writer, it is about being real. In “Everyday Barf,” Myles depicts some of the reasons that force people to spill their guts. …
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These reasons seem to be mundane, but in reality, they say something about the real feelings and ideas of those who barf, who will be called barfers in this essay. Nothing is random in Myles’ prose poem because events, actions, and characters are all interconnected. Myles provides different events and conditions that make her and other people barf, thereby showing that barfing is both an individual and collective process. Myles argues that to puke is a metaphor of developing and expressing one’s true identity because it is a process of spilling what is inside, so that the barfers can understand who they are and for others to recognize and to accept their identities too. Myles’ troubled relationship with her mother is the center of her barfing because as her mother, she affects her fundamental process of becoming. Myles admits the complex relationship she has with the woman who gave birth to her. On the one hand, she wants to be near her mother again, as she tries to convince her to “come back” and live with her at “P-town” (Myles 75). This paper believes that she might be craving for comfort from the original woman of her life because of her failed relationships in the past. On the other hand, Myles show hesitation. She thinks that “maybe [she] didn’t really want that” (Myles 75) and her mother may not have wanted it either. Still, the feeling that she “failed” affects her (Myles 75). ...
No place” (Myles 75). Myles wants her mother to come along, but she realizes that it might not be good. It might not be good for her to be close to her real identity- a woman and a lesbian. She might be disgusted and that the revelation will harm their relationship further. She is conscious, nonetheless, that her identity cannot be suppressed. Identity smells like puke. If people do not want to see it, they can smell it. They “could smell the stuff,” the real stuff inside others (Myles 76). Despite the restless emotions, Myles understands that her mother has not completely destroyed her, although the latter continues to affect how she sees herself as a person. Living with her mother has turned her into a puke hater: “[she hates] puking” (Myles 75). She must have wanted to puke because she has a hard time being who she is with her mother. Myles cannot directly express her identity to her mother, so puking is her release. It is her way of expressing her “being.” But she cannot puke with her mother around. She cannot “become” without feeling the judgment of others. Her mother does not fully accept her lesbian identity yet. The “tipping” of the boat relates to the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is an individual’s entire identity, where the submerged part is the subconscious. It is also often what is hidden from others. Myles has a hard time being herself because she thinks of what her mother will think about her. But she wants to tip it, to rock the boat and barf. Tipping is the word she likes for it represents a catalyst for revelations, the un-hiding of the hidden self. Myles knows that her mother cannot accept a boat of puking adults, or adults who are openly gay or bisexual. Her mother will leave- as she had
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These reasons seem mundane, but in reality, they say something about the real feelings and aspirations of those who barf. Nothing is random in Myles’ prose poem because events, actions, and characters are all interconnected. Myles depicts different events and conditions that make her and other people barf, thereby showing that barfing is both an individual and collective process.
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