Letting go of the pacifiers and tools we have developed to survive is a daily challenge. How does one move forward when the very things that once propelled you through your darkest moments are now hindering you?
Music is a big part of my self care practices. I have songs for everything.This summer I deleted most of the gospel music from my music library. When I get really emo and home sick, missing my mother in particular, I fiend for my gospel hits. My mother put me on to Fred Hammond and my old soul gravitated towards Shirley Cesar and Betty Griffin Keller when I was teenager. I think I love gospel music for the same reasons I love rap music, it is fantasy, myths, truths, and reflections of the black experience wrapped in the drama and creativity that happens when Africans make music. I think some call it soul. They both weave stories of our lives with a boldness that speaks to the core of what it means to be human.
On the flip side I can only listen to but so much of both gospel and rap music because with those reflections come the legacy of violence, trauma , self hate, and all the other isms that color our experience as Africans in Amerikkka. The music I’ve used to get through in the past can perpetuate the same things I’m working daily to unlearn and resist.
My use of gospel music as a coping mechanism and false sense of security was blocking my ability to develop sustainable tools for dealing with reality. The tools that are instrumental to this thing called liberation. Its difficult to take the meat and leave the bones in any situation. There are still many songs both rap and gospel that I will use as tools of survival and inspiration but every now and than you gotta clean house and reduce some harm.
Its a difficult tightrope I walk every time I click through my iPod. Music is powerful it can indoctrinate you with your oppressors propaganda while showering you with the strength needed to step back from the myths again and again.
Nestled in the glow of our brown tones side by side, Her curls ticked my nose, the softness of her cheeks warm my body. With her fists she gently beats on my chest and whispers “I just don’t want to be here anymore.”Had to pull her closer as my body silently rang back… “Me neither.”
I’ve held too many people as they weep for their lives. Thirsty for a reason to stay. Silently screaming. Floating on smiles saying “I’m fine” while everything within wants to die.
If you didn’t hear me before please hear me now. We need you. Please love please don’t go! Let’s make our love everything we need to survive.
Let’s love like we’re our own life rafts
built to survive the moments when the waves of sadness come crashing down. Just Let our love. Even when the weight of the world shallows our breaths and bends our backs into prayers and depression. We will find the strength to stand again through the doors unlocked by the moans of our sex magic. Let our love as our bodies collide, sing, and stir divinity together.
Let’s love like we’re our own foundation rooted in the beauty sparked
when our minds touch. My body aches to hear you speak in the moments when we merge. Let our love be our favorite melody in the key of healing. Soothing Restoring Creativity. Please don’t rob me of the freedom I feel when you sing to me. Just let our love carry us like the clever sting of a good read with the power of sharp words.
Love, please hear me now. I need you to survive.
I’ve held too many people as they weep for their lives. Thirsty for a reason to stay. Silently screaming. Floating on smiles saying “I’m fine” while everything within wants to die. Love please don’t go. Let’s be everything we need to survive.
One of my oldest and most favorite Uncles has passed away and I can’t go home to be with my family. Its moments like this when being broke and so far from home really hurts and frustrates me. These are the moments that define a family and once again I am not there. So tired of this situation. Nothing communicates how much you love someone like being there whether good or bad times. So over saying I wish I could be there… ready to just be there. I need them as much as they need me right now I pray they know it. These moments have to become less frequent in my life. My uncle and aunt have been married since they were 17. We shared their 44th anniversary in Los Angeles. While I was still living there they flew in to try to see BoB Barker on the Price as Right before he retired and then we drove to Las Vegas for the day. They both love to gamble bingo mostly. Uncle Lee was a funny guy who loved cracking on us kids in a loving way. Worked for Dole all my life and retired by the time I made it to college I think. Last time I seen him about a year ago I don’t think he knew who I was and kept asking the same questions like he could barely hold the conversation but he managed to get off some smart remarks and make me laugh regardless. I will miss my uncle so much every time I think about dedicated fathers, wear suspenders, or hear a black man sing a mean falsetto I will think about him. Much love to my cousins and Aunty his children and wife who he worked tirelessly for and loved so much. Even with 6 kids of their own my aunt and uncle managed to raise many others and take people in when they had no place to go. His passing is hitting alot of people hard. I just wish there was someone here with me in person who I could share his memory with.
Special thanks to AJ,EJ,LM, and TY, who gave me the feeling of friends/family away from home. If it weren’t for the kindness of strangers and the brotherhood I’m finding amongst Black Trans Men I wouldn’t have been able to attend. I really wouldn’t have such a good time. I’m so grateful I made it. There’s nothing like being reminded you’re not alone. To be affirmed simply through the hearing of another’s story. To absorb and observe the overlapping of your struggles and triumphs. To be reminded how far you’ve come and how far you have yet to go. To be encouraged to pick up the bouton and keep pressing on cause others have died fought and sweat blood and tears for you to be here . There’s nothing like the words of elders and words from your trans brothers sisters friends and peers. I’m so grateful and thankful to those who just came out shared their stories shared the space and graced me with their smiles. those who’s names I don’t remember who reignited my urgency with their tears and eased my pains with their testimonies of standing up , surviving , flourishing and overcoming. It ain’t easy being us yet we still so beautiful, so strong, so resilient, it makes me proud to be counted amongst those they call trans… This is the gift I get every time we are together no matter how many sessions I do or don’t attend this is the blessing I have received both times I have come to the Philly Trans Health Conference.