My Body Is Yours
My Body Is Yours by Michael V. Smith
first published 2015, paperback
A memoir about fathers and sons, breaking out of gender norms, and reconciling with a dangerous childhood.
Michael V. Smith is a multihyphenate force of nature: a novelist, poet, improv comic, filmmaker, drag queen, performance artist, and occasional clown. In this, his first work of nonfiction, Michael traces his early years as an inadequate male―a fey kid growing up in a small town amid a blue-collar family; a sissy; an insecure teenager desperate to disappear; and an obsessive writer-performer, drawn to compulsions of alcohol, sex, reading, spending, work, and art as a means to cope and heal.
As an artist whose work focuses on our preconceived notions about the body, Michael questions the very notion of what it means to be human. He also asks: How can we know what a man is? How might understanding gender as metaphor be a tool for a deeper understanding of identity? In coming to terms with his past "failures" at masculinity, and with an aging father he is only beginning to come to know, Michael offers a new way of thinking about breaking out of gender norms, and reconciling with a dangerous childhood.