Saturday, July 22, 2006

How do you break free?

How do you break free from everyone's conceptions of you?
Through this all that has been my biggest struggle, throughout my whole life people have always had made up in their mind who I was.
"Oh JrnyWmn she's mad cool, she's mad nurturing like a mother no grandmother!"
"She'd never get a tattoo; have a boyfriend, especially not a girlfriend", "a curse word come out of her mouth? NEVER!"
"She's mad afro centric, she's a Christian."
" One day she's gonna find her a nice black, Christian man and have a bunch of kids. "
This is what I've been reduced to, it's not all bad but it's restrictive. In the eyes of my friends I can not have faults. I feel like everything I do is constantly under a microscope. I love being a Christian and my relationship with Christ is a large part of my identity, but that's not all I am. By just labeling me a Christian you don't get the full scope of who I am. I don't curse on a regular basis but sometimes I want to let a curse word fly out and it not be a big deal. My friends have gone so far as to mark it on a calendar when I've cursed. Sometimes I get mad and I want to say FUCK!!! Forgive me I'm human.
At my school I was viewed as a grandmother, my nickname was actually Grams. This has led me to being viewed as an asexual mammy. I am thought to have no sexual desire or identity, being a big girl doesn't help this view either. I care about people, I don't like to see people hurt, but this does not make me everyone's grandmother! At first it was just a nickname, but people really started treating me like a grandmother and it's gotten to the point where I've had enough! I am only 22 years old; I am no where near being anyone's grandmother. I have desires just like everyone else. When I got a tattoo last summer, you would have thought that the world would have came crashing down with the reaction I got.

So now as I am trying to assert myself as an individual, as myself, I find myself hitting a brick wall of people's conceptions of me. This morning I was up looking at tons of Black lesbian sites, and I also had my MySpace up and my facebook, and I felt like I was living two separate lives, I felt like I was two separate people that could never become one, because they were inherently at odds with each other.
Why do people feel the need to hold people in to boxes? I believe that there is a deep fear for the people we love to be anything different than what we know them as. We're afraid of having relationships that constantly evolve and change, we're lazy, and we don't want to put the work in to constantly getting to know our friends as the people they become. There is always that constant need to remind people of who they were.

I sit here and I wonder why I am so afraid of some of my friends finding out that I am a lesbian, friends that I know will be supportive, and I realize that it's because me being a lesbian goes against the image that many people have of me and I am afraid to destroy people's view of me.

I can't really blame my friends, family and acquaintances because it's my fault. I created this mask; I created the person that I was to be viewed as. I constructed this personality, I did not allow people to get close enough to me to see the real me. I only allowed people to see a certain amount of vulnerability, and now it's biting me in my ass.
So now that I have come to this realization, what now? Where do I go from here? How do I break free from people's conceptions of me?

Lauryn Hill says it best in I get out

[Singing Chorus]
But I get out
Oh, I get out of all your boxes
I get out
Oh, you can't hold me in these chains
I'll get out
Oh, I want out of social bondage
Knowin' my condition
Oh, is the reason I must change

[Singing Verse 2]
See, what you see is what you get
Oh, and you ain't seen nothin' yet
Oh, I don't care if you're upset
I could care less if you're upset
See it don't change the truth
And your hurt feeling's no excuse
To keep me in this box
Psychological locks
Repressin' true expression
Cementin' this repression
Promotin' mass deception
So that no one can be healed
I don't respect your system
I won't protect your system
When you talk I don't listen
Oh, let my Father's will be done


Anonymous said...

I struggle with this a lot (getting out of other ppl's boxes) and it gets frustrating. thank god nobody has yet called me grandma - that would be the day i stop talking to them! I don't know you and all, but I doubt you are 100% responsible for creating this image ppl perceive you to be. I've found that some ppl automatically assume that because I'm nice, I can't be brilliant. Or because I'm funny, I can't be melancholic in peace. ETc Etc. It gets so annoying. So I think in some ways ppl latch onto their stereotype of who You are, because they can't wrap their heads around perceiving you in all your various colors/seasons. I can't think of any of my friends who I would call "the mummy type" or "the prayer warrior" or "the hard-ass bitch." Even if she may exhibit this persona on a daily basis, I know there's other parts to her - like the prayer warrior can be a wannabe feminist. Sorry, this is getting long. It's freeing to let ppl know that you have different sides. Sometimes I found that it's time to let someone go, once I realise they don't have the gumption to understand or even just witness a different part of me.

fiercelyfab said...

this was very powerfully honest.

And people that put you into boxes...that's really their issue--but they make it yours cause of the statements shared and it is hurtful.

I could't agree anymore with the above commenter. People cannot wrap their heads around your different identities so it is safer to label you, box you and like you mentioned they get lazy with not wanting to grow with you as you change and evolve. It is definitely frustrating and painful.

Hang in are not alone.

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde