The longer I knew them, the more bold I grew. In the end, they were playing a game and they one, but I found something better.
I grew bold in my blackness. At first I noticed that there were few people who looked like me. They didn’t want me to say much of anything. But in the end, I made sure I was seen. All they want to do is pretend you’re not there.
"I’m not racist, right?" he asked. What could I say? I still had to eat. They controlled the cash.
He asked again some months later. I had an answer.
Identity is not a crutch, but something that roots us in our society, in our humanity, in our survival. To be free of identity is to be free in the truest sense of the world. I’m learning now that I don’t want that “freedom.” I don’t want the blankness of freedom, the emptiness of no self, no history, no lives reality and truth.
No, I want all of the things that make me - my blackness, my womanhood, my etc. etc. etc. - for without them, who am I but just a person moving about the world?
Last year, the day after my birthday, I crouched underneath the harsh spray of my shower knowing deeply that the next 12 months would be anything but easy. The night before was lovely on the surface, like most things are. Lovely, you know, and then not. I threw up and went to bed. I woke up and felt dread. Constantly, I would find, this is the cycle of our lives.
He went to the store to get medicine for our mistake and later, I couldn’t look him in the eye. He would forever be a reminder of something now gone - namely, the ease of innocence and the comfort of “emerging” and myself as it was being shaped and defined.
I used to wake up and think of different ways I could get out of bed. Work was next. It took me three hours to go one mile by bus. Getting there was an accomplishment.
Today, I will be sensual, I thought, and my limbs will slink out of the sheets as if I am a woman who knows it all and not just a girl still.
I could do this only when I was alone. With someone else, I just needed to get away.
Today, I will be practical. I will not make a mess of things. I will leave the bed as if I will make it again. My sheets won’t be a crumpled mess on the cold, rotted wooden floors. Elegance will be in reach.
I don’t think of you as an object, but I’m letting you know that I see the world and my desires as objects, as give and take, as mine mine mine. He said this and I thought about slapping him, but I also needed a ride home so I let him keep talking until he had nothing else to say.
I feel like you’re judging me, he began. No never, I said, but really, yes, yes I was.
I spent the summer angry that he was never caught. I spent the summer jealous. You see, they were attacked at the wrong time in the right place. They were visible. I was not. I was jealous that the world’s brutality was left in secret, was deliberately buried. I got it.
Our timing was never right and then when it almost was, it wasn’t again.
Is everything about good timing?
If it seems too good to be true, it is. This applies to jobs and especially to loves. Complexities are human and necessary.
Your friends will let you down.
Make better friends.
No one is cool, not ever.
Possess your body.
Pleasure is true.
Your life is something that requires the present, not the future and certainly not the past.
Do what you need to do, but be conscious of those around you.
True self care is not selfish.
Move in action. Thought is an action. Thought is valid. You are valid.
Smell is an underrated sense. Take in those around you. Envelop their essence, cherish it, but remember yourself.
You are more than them.
You are you.
I love you.