Introductions: Meet Amanda Meltsner!

You know those awkward icebreaker games at team building activities you’re sometimes forced into by overzealous teachers or bosses? This feels a bit like that. It’s always “Say your name and an adjective that starts with the same letter!” or “Two truths and a lie!” or “Step into the circle if…”. I have a hard time describing myself, especially in front of people I don’t know. What kind of impression do I want to make? Depending on the setting and the audience, my answers vary. This, however, is even harder. I can’t see the faces of those who will be meeting me for the first time, on the other side of cyberspace, locked into their own computer screens or tablets or smartphones. On the other hand, you can’t see me here either, typing away while the snow and wind chase each other outside my window. So, let me give you a description.

If you looked in my window right now, you’d pro bably get a pretty good idea of who lives here. My desk contains the mess of my college life: printer, a piles of papers (assignments, a $10 off coupon for the industrial piercing I’m still trying to talk myself into, knitting patterns), the band patches I have yet to sew onto my backpack and the stickers I still can’t find a place for. Where my laptop and papers aren’t, there’s a pair of hand-knit socks, one still on the needles. My drop spindle is there too, with purple sparkly yarn in progress. Above the desk, there’s an absurd amount of tea (which I don’t drink anymore), books for classes, dishes that should have been clean a few days ago, and Moe, my poor sad coffee plant who froze to death because the heat wasn’t working for a while. Pins on my bulletin board hold down yarn scraps, rowing flyers, my collection of business cards and concert tickets from this year, and five pride pins. Those are the only giveaway a queer kid lives in this room.

Behind the desk, there’s a pitifully small rug, an embarrassingly large pile of clothes that I was too lazy to hang up, and my Doc Martens, salt-stained and scuffed. My filing box has my collection of band stickers, culled from Warped Tour and anywhere they give away freebies. There’s the mini ironing board I never use, and the bag of yarn that contains the visible part of my stash (the rest is under the bed). A string of fairy lights complements the Washington DC flag that hangs above my perpetually unmade bed. Wherever the window isn’t, posters are. My roommate and I keep stealing posters from the bulletin boards all over campus and carrying them back to our room. Besides the pilfered ones, we have assorted band posters and other random art that caught our fancy. It’s a good room.

Finally, if you were looking in my window, you’d see me, typing these words to you, narrating the scene as you observe. You’d notice short blue hair, almost a Mohawk but not quite, fading to a green tint towards the roots and a hint of natural brown along the buzzed sides. A comfy red and black flannel, and jeans that currently have three rips and only one patch. Old jeans are the best friend a kid can have. Wool socks, for comfort and because the floor is like ice here in Vermont. Today, they match my flannel: a rare occurrence! Two piercings in each ear, with (hopefully) more to come. Left wrist with a men’s black watch, and on the right, a simple wide black leather bracelet with a snap that I’ve worn every day for almost five years. I have brown eyes that require contacts, freckles, and a thirty stitch scar that makes a backwards Nike swoosh from the inner tip of my left eyebrow to the middle of the orbital bone above my right eye. I won’t tell you how I got it: that’s a story for another day.

Now that you’ve gotten a good look, why don’t you draw some conclusions? Let me help you.

I’m from Washington DC, but I go to college in Vermont. My textbooks tell you I’m into English and Women’s Studies, with a healthy dose of queer theory thrown in. I have too much yarn (and by default knit too much), and I shape my life around my crew team and concerts. I’m messy, impulsive, and prone to procrastination. I’m too mellow for my own good, too happy for the current state of the world, and too cynical to try and make a difference.

Welcome to my world.