Friday, July 28, 2006

Grad school

AHHH It's about to start, my life it is. I'm leaving tonight to move to the city of my grad school. Tuesday I show up to get everything started with my assistantship. It's really happening, I'm going to be on my own. Grad School ...... WoW I'm actually going to be taking classes all focused on People of African descent, this seems like a dream but I'm excited. So goodbye North and hello South. Any advice for the new grad student?

The school I'm going to is my second choice and my first choice school just took it's time in processing my paper work, so I just forgot about it and moved on I got an amazing assistantship and put my attention on the 2nd choice school. What happens today? I get a letter in the mail from my 1st choice school, I got in! talk about timing, their loss I'm off to the school that was actually on top of paperwork and that wanted me.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This is just too much!!

Today is an angry day!! I'm just really angry about everything, I don't know if I'm the only one who gets like that, but I'm a very passionate person. I feel deeply, I'm actually a lot more sensitive than most people realize. So when I hurt, I hurt deeply.
First off WHAT IS GOING ON WITH ISRAEL! All I can say is WHY?!?! Skyscraper and Pomegranate Queen do a much better job than I do expressing their feelings.

I hate my job my last day is the 28th so it's almost over, but I don't know if I can make it to the end. My job is one of the main points of my anger, and hurt. I hurt so much for the children at my job. They all have been through some serious things in their lives and I see them and I hurt for them. There are two girls that I want to inspire, one girl is an excellent swimmer and is focused on her future, she knows that she is meant to do more than what people expect from her, but she gets caught up. I lifeguard and she's a great swimmer, so I always joke with the kids that they should go to the Olympics, but with some serious training she could do it, and when I told her she just said to me "really, you think I can do it?" I told her that she could do it and make a mark on the swimming world, I told her when she won her gold medal she could hold up her flags representing her Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. She looked as if no one had ever told her she was capable of greatness before and that broke my heart. Then you have this other girl who was adopted by a White woman and Black man, and as she's getting older the parent's biological daughter is getting preferential treatment because she lighter, and her hair is more wavy. I just want to tell her to take pride in the way she looks and to not forget that she is beautiful and black is beautiful.
Finally with my job which leads to a larger problem, is the rampant homophobia, it's sickening. The kids call the more effeminate boys faggot on a regular basis and the staff is silent. They say nothing and I've been trying to stop the kids, but they ignore me and still call the kids names. I don't know how much more I can take, and when it's not the kids it's the staff behind the kids back talking about how nasty the idea of two people of the same sex together is. Again I speak up only to be dismissed. I can't stand it anymore, so I call one oh my good friends, really one of my best friends, and I'm complaining about this all and her reaction breaks my heart. We bonded because we were Christians in college, I have always been more liberal and she always more conservative, and her stance on homosexuality is hard to miss, it's always been a point of contention for us, but today as I spoke with her and explained why I was so bothered by the behavior of the staff and kids at my job, she agreed that their behavior was wrong, but not their opinions. She said "they don't have to respect that lifestyle, I don't and never will" and when she said this I realized that our friendship may very well have an expiration date set, to when she finds out that I'm a lesbian. When that happens, I am going to be crushed, I love her like a sister, we've been through soo much together and she's really been there to support me in a lot of ways and I can't imagine not having her as a friend. However, I am becoming more and more convinced that our friendship will not survive. We went on spring break together along with my best friend and we talked about more trips, but she's one of the main ones that I've been terrified about coming out to I know that she will question every compliment and hug I've ever given her. I know with my head that if someone is not going to support me I should say screw them and move on with my real friends, but I don't know if I can let go of this friendship so easily.

This is just too much!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The power of the voice

There is power in giving voice to your concerns. For so long I have kept my feelings for women and confusion over my sexual identity to myself. I had decided to bury my feelings and I prayed that they would never surface (clearly that did not work). Even in the past months I sat and worried, stressed over thought and just made myself miserable over the question of my own sexuality. I thought that if I said it out loud, if I said that I want to be with women out loud, it would make it real. I fought so long trying to suppress my feelings; in the process I suppressed me. When I decided to start this blog I felt better I was able to get it out of my head and written down for others to read and know, but I still had not said it. When I talked to my best friend the first time we only got to talk very briefly and I was a ball of nerves. After talking to her briefly I already began to feel better, I had gotten it out, but I still hadn't given adequate voice to my sexuality. I had not let the words linger out in the air; I kept them locked up in solitary confinement. So yesterday my best friend and I finally got to have one of our typical 2 hour conversations, and I said it. I told her about my feelings as a child, I told her about my fear of how my life would change. I told her exactly how I feel and have felt. As the great best friend she is she listened, she encouraged me, she actually told me she likes me as a lesbian lol. I felt support, I just talked and talked and talked, and the more I talked the more comfortable I felt within my own skin. I was reminded of this amazing quote from Audre Lorde's daughter in her essay on the transformation of silence in language and action, she says

"Tell them about how you're never really whole person if you remain silent, because there is always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don't speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside."

I think that's so true, there is something to be said to actually using your vocal cords and saying out loud the thoughts that you have held deep within in you, instantly there is a release of pressure that has been weighing you down, you can begin to experience life without that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach. I have spent so much of my life keeping my thoughts and feelings buried deep within my soul and praying that they would never see the light of day, but now I have come to realize that I have to say them, I need to let them be free. Does this mean that I'm going to go around telling all of my personal thoughts and feelings to every person I see? No, but I will speak them at least to my best friend, because the great feeling that I felt last night in just verbalizing my innermost thoughts was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had in my life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Insomniac thoughts

It's almost 3 am I have to be up for work in a few hours and I'm wide awake. As I was trying to get some sleep thoughts just kept running through my head. I keep thinking about two subjects in particular, 1. How will my family react when I come out to them? And 2. What about my wedding! I've gone through the mental list of my family members and I've already predicted how some of them will react. My mom I think will most definitely freak out at first, but I'm pretty sure she'll come around. My Aunts and Uncles well that's another story, like many of my family members lived the wild life when they were younger and since then have found purpose, meaning and stability in their lives in God. I think it's great, but unfortunately finding God has meant insanity for some of my family members two of my aunts in particular. They've become fanatical, one of my aunts said that her grandson was a demon because he wasn't circumcised, yeah I know crazy. This is also the same aunt who is so against secular music that she beat my sisters Source magazine with her shoe as she yelled about it being possessed. My other Aunt is less crazy but what she lacks in insanity she makes up with conservativism. I'm going to go out on a limb and say these Aunts who I love dearly will surely say that I've been possessed, and am going straight to hell. All in All I think my mom's side will be okay with it, with the exception of my two Aunts. However, my father is straight out of the West Indies, and his side is ultra conservative, there was a HUGE controversy when my unmarried thirty year old aunt became pregnant. I know that when they find out then I'm a lesbian, well it's not going to be pretty. This makes me nervous I love my family even my father (who I have so many issues with it's not funny) and I don't want to be separated from them.
When I was wrestling with my realization what was hardest for me was dealing with my wedding. Since I was younger I've always wanted a big wedding, it was going to great huge bridal party, amazing food, location and just a great time for all my family and friends to come and celebrate with me. What is most important for me is that I wanted all of the people I love and care about there with me, and if I don't have family members there I want it to be because I didn't invite them not because they are protesting my wedding. Because like it or not I AM HAVING A WEDDING, and I don't care what George W. Bush has to say about it.
I don't know when I'm going to tell my family or the rest of my friends for that matter, I've told my best friend and for now that's good enough for me. Is it weird that I'm nervous about coming out to my lesbian friends? I hang around a fairly liberal and accept crowd, but I'm still soo nervous. I wish there was a handbook Living The Lesbian Life, I know that there is no guide, this is my life and it is up to me to decide how I will live it. You can't blame a girl for wishing can ya? I guess only time will tell how things will unfold and now it's time for me to rest my brain from all this thinking.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I have the BEST best friend in the world

this is the response from my absolutely wonderful, amazing best friend! I just want the whole world to know that I do indeed have the BEST best friend ever. This almost made me cry and I DON'T cry.

Hello wife,

So you almost made me cry at work, which would have been really difficult to explain to the boss *giggle*, but that's besides the point. I know we talked a little this morning and there's still worlds of words left to say, but I just wanted you to know a couple of things.

1) I'm proud of you. Of your ability, of your strength, of your humility, of your passion. I'm proud to call you my best friend.
2) I will always be there for you as long as I have breath. (cuz if I'm not breathing, I'm sorry, but I can only watch from heaven)
3) I love you. And this is perhaps the most important thing to remember when you think about our friendship.

A simple list, but an important one nonetheless. I imagine that this must have been hard for you all this time, but at least you know that from this day forward, you don't have to do it alone.

(p.s. hello blog world, meet my best friend, treat her well)

Friday, July 07, 2006

To my Best Friend

This is a letter to my best friend, I've been trying to find the words to say to her, and I hope I can say this to her before she reads it but I just felt like sharing it with you all.

Dear Friend,
We joke and say that we're married but in reality we're like sisters. I am closer with you than with my entire family, I've told you things that I've never been able to say out loud before. When I am going through things you're the person I need to talk to work through whatever crisis I'm going through at the moment. That's how our relationship is, we lean on each other for support, I know I can trust you and you can trust me. With this said I hope that you can forgive me for keeping this secret from you, I wanted to tell you so many times but I couldn't find the words. It has not been an easy task to be going through such a huge a momentous change and not be able to talk to you about it, which is what I meant when I told you that you are hard to keep a secret from. You know me better than anyone so you know why realizing that I had more than friendship feelings for women has not been easy. For the past couple of months I've grappled with my feelings, I prayed everyday for them to go away, I prayed that the crazy religious right we're right and that this was a choice and I could chose another path, but I can't denying my feelings for women is denying me the chance to be a whole human being. I realized that I have always felt this way. That's why I've been journaling so much, and why I began this blog, I needed to get these feelings out someway; I needed them to be heard by someone other than myself. I thank God everyday for all of those who posted words of encouragement and shown me so much love, they have helped me come to the point where I feel like I can say I am a lesbian. As much as I know that you will be there to support me, I was still afraid that things would change, I was afraid that you'd begin to question everything I've ever said or done and wonder if I was trying to get with you, I just couldn't handle that. So now as my life is about to change forever, and I begin this journey to truly finding out who I really am, I need your support more than ever. This is me, this is who I am and I am nothing without my best friend.

Love always,
your sister/best friend/ roommate/ wife ; )

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Good Black Man

Throughout my childhood, I constantly heard of the greatness that would come my way once I found the mystical Good Black Man (GBM, as referred to in the movie Something New). This GBM would solve all my problems; he would be the Holy Grail. For me, success would mean finally gaining this GBM; he was an integral part of what my identity as a woman would be. All of our problems were seen as being a product of not having a GBM, and once we found one things would get better. Despite the greatness of the GBM, he would leave if you did not know how to treat him; you had to let him know that he was THE MAN! You had to be a lady in the streets and a freak in the bedroom; you were to stand with him come hell or high water. Nothing was to break you apart.
Growing up the importance of standing behind the Black man come hell or high water was drilled in to me. I was raised in a family full of beautiful single Black women, and many of their struggles were due to men, who promised them the world and instead gave them disease and heartache. They were left to raise the children, which the men claimed they loved so much. Despite it all they were still hopeful that their GBM would come along and help them with their struggles, they would give them companionship, support and they would also help them guide their children.
As a child I looked for my own GBM not because I necessarily wanted one, but because he would make my life easier, as well as uplift the community. When gathering around other black women the main topic of conversation was Black men. I recently went to a conference for black women, and there were comedians and performances and all reinforcing the importance of our relationship with black men. One speaker even spoke about how Black women’s not supporting our black men was leading to the destruction of our community. This is how as a black woman I relate to other black women I meet, we talk about our trials tribulations and struggles with and for Good black men. This past weekend at a family BBQ, I was asked several times when I was going to get married, did I have anyone special in my life. My relatives talked about the wonderful man that I would find to complete me. So now as I have come to the realization that I do not want a GBM or any man for that reason. This has caused me particular stress as I struggle with the feeling that I'm letting my community down, by being me, it's as backwards as it sounds. But so much of my identity as a woman has been built around gaining a black man and keeping him, whether I wanted to or not.
I don't know I'm writing this out of my frustration and anger at feeling that I am a traitor, that I will never be a complete black woman, that other women will feel inferior because they weren't good enough to snag a good black man.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads

My first attempt at poetry please bare with me

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads
Something so Simple would make things so complicated

My secret is revealed in 1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads

A rainbow colored keychain revealed my rainbow colored heart

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads
instilled fear of a life of exile from the ones I love

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads
reminded me that I would live a life filled with extreme love and hate

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads
meant the beginning of a time of confusion

1 key ring, 2 pieces of leather and rainbow beads
would mark the first time that I accepted the whole me and was at peace

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Your silence will not protect you

"Your Silence will not protect you.........And it is never without fear - of visability, of harsh light of scrutiny and perhaps judgement, of pain, of death. But we have lived through all of those already , in silence, except death.......If I were to be born mute or taken a vow of silence my whole life long for safety , I would still have suffered, and I would still die."


I just finished watching North Country and it really made me think of these quotes from Audre Lorde's The transformation of Silence in to language and action


“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