Here is the full transcript of author Olivia Gatwood’s TEDx Talk: We Find Each Other in the Details at TEDxABQ conference.
Olivia Gatwood – TRANSCRIPT
Jordan convinced me that pads are disgusting. “They make your panties smell like dirty bike chains,” she said. We were sitting on her mother’s plastic coated floral couch, one of us in a swimsuit, the other sworn to layers. The water was her selling point and I was terrified of tampons. Or rather, terrified of the undiscovered crater. The muscle that holds, and pulls, and keeps, and sheds. She said, “I’ll do it for you!” And yes, we had seen each other naked many times.
We had showered together and compared nipples, wished to trade the smalls and bigs of our respective bodies. So it wasn’t unnatural, really, when I squatted on the toilet seat and she laid down on the floor, like a mechanic investigating the underbelly of a car. With plastic syringe in hand, she wedged the packed cotton into me. This is what I saw last before blacking out and collapsing onto the tile. Jordan, blood scholar, in a turquoise bikini, saying, “Now, you are ready to swim.” Thank you. Thank you.
I write poems about shaving my legs, kissing my best friend in her bedroom, mastering the art of concealing the blood stain on the back of my jeans, which is to say, I write poems about girlhood, queerness, shame. Today, I want to talk to you about how our smallest memories can connect us to the larger world. There’s a certain kind of pressure in being a storyteller.