breaking skin: thoughts from mah diary about mah addiction

grounding:

i feel very alone and i feel very powerless.

i feel this way often even if i know that this ain’t truth.
i feel this way often even though i can feel small bits of power moving in me.
i feel this way because i am alone and powerless-

in part, at least.

and i feel this way because my mind has been stuck here and because that thinking makes mental realities into material trappings. i know that battling through and out of depression means challenging myself to see future colors, even when they are not as clear from where im at. and i know that i have to find myself, and value what is there so fiercely that it blinds any thought daring to be contrary.

i am piecing together what healing means to me and what it looks like for me. and i am so lost and have no real idea of what digging myself out of this hole looks like but i want to try. because i feel the need to-because “dying off ain’t so easy either.”, as a friend once told me in a garden.

and at core-that means truth.
even when no one wants to hear it: truth-because ultimately it is for you.
even when folks are uncomfortable-because ultimately it is for you.
even when you are uncomfortable-because ultimately it is for you.

in the process of trying to be healthy members of community we must first work within ourselves and thats why i say ” . . . because it is for you”. i believe we carry one another in spirit. so we can only be as loving with one another as we are with ourselves.

during the attempt to understand my drug addiction and depression i have/am writing. i want to start sharing some because i want to own what i am. i want to articulate where i am so that i have clarity and because i feel that i am alone and i want folk who are like me and who can maybe find this to find this.

this is an introduction and a warning for folk who may have feelings of discomfort reading about things about drug use, sex, rape, etc . . . feel free to communicate reflections and thoughts in the comments and to me through email but please do not place harmful words in the comments. if they are placed, they will be deleted immediately. i have no time for folk to find discouragement in this space.

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in my movings, i have found discouragement. i recognize the beauty in my heritage and myself, however it isn’t something that is always easy to access under the immense racism, homophobia, poverty and illness of this world. i have not held the strength to overcome and instead have sought to escape. loving Blackness ain’t easy when i can mostly remember poverty, homelessness, violence attached to it. loving my queer self ain’t too easy when no one is there with you feelin’ the same as you. this world has been made to destroy self worth because thats how Capitalism works- that is how you submit to working/breathing/and living for someone else. you do that by destroying the foundation of a being. and if you destroy enough folk then you create communities of trying hands not able to grasp the tools of their liberation because they don’t see the strength in their grasp.

when i was small i would run away from my house-sleep outside. didn’t hold friends close. hid inside myself. slept. ate. drew. was alone alot. and so on. i found every outlet i could to remove myself from the realities of homelessness, homophobia, racism, cancer, drugs, police violence, and neglect. when i graduated high school, i ran, across the country. i hoped that leaving the poverty and Blackness, that i had learned to hate, would bring about a new life. a better life. and i came to San Francisco, not knowing that moving doesn’t heal. being in a place so filled with the opposite of my earlier life took a toll. i became hateful-more so. angry and jealous of white folk for what was given to them through the systems of white privilege that exist. i saw myself more as worthless and as a fraud. i didn’t feel as though i belonged in a university because i was “poor”, a “nigger”, and a “faggot”. i was not “smart” to any of these people. and so i ran again. i didn’t commit to achieving any excellence. i committed to surviving what was to be in that school. at the same time, i felt worthless because i was undesirable in the “heart of gay men”. i was “fat”, and Black which meant a nice fuck toy or target of abuse for most men. eventually, i would be numb, let myself be that. i thought: if this is what i have, then i will be it-at least i can find some numbness in it. and through this it became so hard to see what was worth seeing: i had/have a supportive community of folk who love hard on me and believe in me, i was making it through a university while many weren’t, i was surviving — apart from family on another side of the country. my mind was/is socialized to go to the endless shades of blue instead of finding the blessings that are. i didn’t/couldn’t appreciate them. i was focused on wanting and desiring without recognizing the worth in my face. and in this negative space i was also casting a spell on myself. as allowed misfortunes to guide my sight, i began blocking out the good. becoming cynical and becoming jaded. and not speaking on it because i didn’t want to seem as pathetic as i believed i was. i wanted people to not invest deeply in my thoughts, as they rotted, because i was not permanently invested in any of this world and because i was did not want to worry anyone. i wanted to exist and then fade as quietly and as numb as possible. i recieved praise, love and acceptance in for an artist, being funny, and being “intelligent”. but i never completely saw those things in myself.

i assumed a character playing up those strengths in order to please folk and to gain another kind of high- one of ego. one built partially in a manipulation of reality because people only knew as much as i allowed them to. as much as i believed appropriate or “enough” for them to see. i took all those things which might make me “unattractive”, “unpopular”, or otherwise completely abandoned and repressed them. my saddness, my contradictions . . .
i desired to leave this world as a character i believed at the time would be “perfect”. what i was really doing was creating more walls of silence. more contradictions. more saddness.
and in arrogance, i often thought highly of myself. i felt as though i had found some intelligence and power in this reality through illusion.

i began using men for sex frequently because i wanted to not feel hurt by them. i wanted to feel power over them. i saw power in being “desired”. in reality i no longer view that as “power”-not the power i want to harvest. i don’t believe there is anything productive to be had in using and being used. this world of exploitation is built off of usage. my ancestors were used to create this nation. their lives were drained and used. their spirit energy almost completely smashed. and that continues-workers (those receiving wages and those who aren’t) are used to create profit/or personal wealth (which isn’t always monetary) for a small amount of manipulators. and in this, there is a way that “using” is normalized. in order to “succeed” (attain money, stability, notoriety) in this reality most paths require that you must use and or be used. pimping and allowing yourself to be pimped out is normal.

when i became HIV positive, i partially felt numb.

i felt it coming on-i helped to create the reality when i consciously stopped caring for myself. i did not know how to have safe sex, or speak in any way that was honest during sex because my goal was to get off a load and to leave with a false sense of power. i didn’t know how to speak to men because i was only taught to relate to other men either in aggression or sex. i was not a man. i was a “faggot” and so i never learned to have those friendships because i didn’t trust them and i never learned to feel at ease because the adult men i saw, throughout my childhood, were violent and damaging. they were hurting immensely and i turn hurting others.

and i said to myself again: “if this is what there is, then let me not feel it. not completely. it’s too much.”

when i began using meth it brought me into a more intimate place with white folk-white men. they were/are the majority of the folk with the access. for me this was/is dangerous because of the immense anger and guilt and jealousy and envy i harbored/harbor towards them-which in-turn meant that i also held/hold an immense amount of contempt and hatred for myself that is in the process working through. i wanted all of what i perceived as not having and i decided to do that through allowing myself to be used. each time more blatantly. each time i tore a new skin-i broke with this reality more and more. i began to not care because it seemed pointless. as i allowed this mantra to sink in, the drug took root in that. it grew power in that and played on that. i began to love my oppression more, and care about who i fucked/fucked over less. i began to love it because it meant that i could play in a world where i could be kept numb temporarily and so nothing mattered. i became/am someone who is unaccountable or trust worthy to myself and others. i am working towards finding again and rebuilding that. and it is hard but “dying off ain’t so easy either.” and nor is shying away from those who love and believe in you. because they can help you save yourself, if you allow them.

i was raped. i was very high and in the process of being raped. and i was so high and confused/scared and numb that i didn’t come to realize it till months later. initially, what was clear about what happened was the conclusion. a few of my friends hunted me down and found me-marched up to hell and demanded i be let out. and i was. that act of beauty and courage still astounds me.

memories still come back to me and i remember being told how to remember the event by the man who orchestrated it. and because i never saw some of of my attackers i could never clearly say what i assumed. and so i sat on assumptions and repressed them. the importance of seeing those memories now lies in their truths. they tell me where i was at/am mentally and what danger is. they tell me how to love myself and to forgive myself. they tell me how to take accountability for and how to treat my body better. and they give me lessons, that must be remembered, about trust and what evil is. and evil is hurt moving off of hurt. evil is hurt becoming sorrow and creating danger.

the point in this remembering and reflecting on parts of myself is for me. and you.

because i want to be with you (the world. the community. the family. myself)

and i cannot do that as i am. i can only be here if i choose to work to harvest the kind of power i need and want. which is the same power i see us all needing and wanting. and that is love. because that will be the basis for us trusting and moving and the building organizations, spaces, and relations with one another, that will end this Babylon system-this world of the normalcy of “use”. and that sounds mighty vague to many but it is true and simple. we cannot love or move outwardly if we are not doing so inwardly. in my understanding, part of that involves the owning of truths-the sharing of truths and the holding of truths. if i do not write or speak i will be crushed under the weight of silence. patriarchy teaches us silence, as a way of repression, so that exploitation may win. i am choosing in this moment not to use and to allow myself to be used. i wish to share what i can and hope that it can do what it will/must.

for me, i hope to continue to plant seeds of healing
and find new places to find flight.
another beautiful part of community and what i am coming to value more each day is in the love that is there and how it can save.

part of my quest to find worth in who i am and my existance here is rooted in the tremendous belief held in me. my folk will not let me fade away because they see in me a potential and value that i am trying to find for myself. that makes me want to believe and do work.

and because work needs to be done. and i cannot feel accomplished or rested as long as i know i am not contributing to that work. and love needs to be found, seen, and spread. i have seen villans and zombies. i have been them. and i know we can hold more in our lives. i have seen men cry to themselves without tears and fight when there aren’t words. and i know that ain’t inherently in us and that we can be better. and i know that the work of us being better is crucial to work of making the entirty of humanity better. and we have to do that amongst and for ourselves as male bodied folk who face particular oppressions, commit particular offense, and suffer from particular loneliness because of our hurt.

and i can’t do that work for everyone. . .

not anyone really- unless i am doing it for myself.

that makes me want to heal.

An Involuntary Recognition of Life

Some calm . . .

setting like sun done come upon me

as I find pieces of myself that were kept away for birthdays, family gatherings, and first dates.

They lie tucked under the bath house bed.

My palm, pressed to skin, feels like solace and I feel still

Laying transfixed, still. . .

My eyes find some man being fucked, violently

His head bent low.

and I saw you laying parallel.

Playing majorette with a couple of torn heart-strings.

Twirling about with some other man’s ruined symphony.

You blew smoke- thick like illusion – and sang of worlds where we weren’t prey for White men eager to waste salt on our endings.

Some part of me sat with you back when food was homemade and basons were bath tubs and we laughed at uncle Floyd’s missing teeth

and dirt roads that no one can drive on

and night’s out and even crack pipes

and we laughed.

And thought on how ghetto life seemed easy compared to this numb terror.

Still . . .

Barely understood thoughts: gold bands and dark skin

Sarah Bartman

melon patches

mule bone

Hurston and Hughes.

gin joints

spades tables

grandma’s hands

reconstruction

a month of Sundays

Loretta

pale skin and Betty Gene

South Carolina

insertion and pain

bleeding at the start

black balls

white dolls

and minstrel shows

money shots, towels and still . . .

we all lay under some White man’s gaze.

Cutting Words: Violence, Patriarchy, and Tracy Morgan

So Tracy Morgan hates gays and womyn, but I don’t want to demonize Tracy Morgan but I do want to have a dialogue.

Morgan recently joined the long and illustrious list of comedians, mostly men, who have decided to build their platform on hate. In a recent stand up act, Morgan went on what is being called a homophobic rant. An audience member reported the following:

“Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “Born this Way” is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake).

He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.  He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying.

He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it.  He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.”

http://unicornbooty.com/2011/06/tracy-morgan-threatens-to-kill-his-son-if-gay-during-homophobic-tirade-onstage/

What saddens me most about this is not that Tracy, as an individual, stated the following but that it is a sentiment shared by many people. In a culture dominated by the male principle and guarded identities around “manhood”, men loving men becomes an act of high treason to the gender. The violence, of Morgan’s language and imagery serves as a sensory sweep, destabilizing me to the core. We exist in a world of suffering, all of which is important to observe, and the plight of queer youth is not something to be made fun of.

Last summer we saw the media give greater attention to the gay youth suicides and for a moment we saw this narrative in an unbiased light. For many young people who discover and begin to express their queer identities life becomes nothing but running in the streets screaming to be heard, covering your face as fist fly, or learning that no matter how much blanket you put on cement it is still cement, not a bed. Gay teens are thrown out of their homes, met with violence, and often times become sex workers as a means of coping with their crumbling existence.

Morgan’s “joke” about stabbing his son if he found out he was gay is not far from the truth lest we forget boys like Jason Mattison, who was raped, and stabbed repeatedly by a family friend and found in his aunt’s closet. It is not far from the truth when we talk about Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado who was decapitated, dismembered and burned to death. It is not far from the truth nor is it funny. And for those who would claim that Morgan’s words reflect a personal bias and not a societal problem, which is sanctioned by the state, I’d like to bring The New Jersey 4 back into the picture. Queers and womyn who seek to take their power back and fight against the violence of the society are often met with more violence from the state. Anyone remember Duanna Johnson? The trans-womyn who was beat senseless by the police upon being brought in the station.

My point in bringing up this small list of people, who have never found the end of their rainbows, is to illustrate that the society hates queers, no matter how much we see them on TV or enter into the upper echelons of the state and Morgan brings that to the forefront. It is a violence that is centered in patriarchal thought and plays out again and again and again.

This is not merely an issue of sensitivity- my abundance of it and his lack of it – this is about putting this issue in proper context. In a culture that centers itself in male dominance, thoughts like this aren’t blips on the radar; they are the radio waves that make up the radar system. Morgan also went on to a sexist tangent, blaming womyn for many of societies problems.

I think this underscores the connection between homophobia and sexist violence against womyn. Patriarchy is a system and thought that hates anything gendered feminine -seeks to degrade and subordinate it. Patriarchy is a system and thought that, though gender socialization, creates semi formed people, unable to access the whole range of human emotion.

I have hope though. Revolutionary seeds are being sewn everyday in every part of life. The other day I sat in a park and watched some young boys play football. One boy was aggressively tackled and began to cry. In less time than it took to tackle the boy, the others surrounded and began to ostracize the fallen one. One of the male chaperones came over and, to my surprise, took up for the young man’s tears. He told the group about his time in jail and his life after that and how tears are something normal in the human experience and not a sign of weakness. The masterstroke of the mini-lecture came when the chaperone told them that if Black men cried more in public a lot of our problems would be easier to solve.

What does this mean? Does it mean Black men’s tears hold some kind of magic? No, not at all. Not literally anyway. He meant that the ways in which men, Black men in this situation, have been socialized are damaging to us as human beings because we are being raised with a huge dissonance between our social selves and our emotional selves. We are being raised as half formed human beings and as a result we see that repression manifest in unhealthy ways; domestic violence, sexism, stress, mental wellness issues, etc . . .

I think that a lot of work has yet to be done and that Morgan’s quotes illuminate that. But I also think that we are capable of doing it. Here’s to a future of organizing and love. May all of our coals turn to diamonds.

When My Brother Fell: A Letter To David Kato

David,

 

Like many, I never heard the power and beauty of your voice until it was amplified by death. I knew little of you, to me you appeared to be one of the many suffering Afro-Queers that line the globe, all dreaming of forever fields and life without ceilings.  I did know that earlier this year, your brave face was printed on the front page of a news paper with the words “hang them” sprawled out next to you and I was scared for you, just as I am for the other 99 queers who’s faces and addresses were given to the lions. My heart broke to hear of your passing, to hear of the brutality you suffered, to hear that you were still denied peace after death when they refused to bury you. I am sorry, David. Sorry that we come into a world that makes our existence, hell from the moment we are bold enough to articulate, to ourselves, that we are homosexuals.

After learning of your murder I have found myself paralyzed with grief. It is hard to hear this news because I know that many will be unmoved by it, in fact, many will applaud it. The fascists are numerous and our allies, often indifferent to our murders, more content with the sexier politics of revolution. And so this morning I woke up wiping the tears of my face with a resolve to pick up the weapons dropped to absorb this moment and allow it to motivate me.

In this world, we must look out for one another and while I cannot expand my embrace across the globe for all queers, I can stand up in the places I inhabit. I can organize in the places I inhabit. I can press truth to the earth I stand on until many more David Kato’s blossom. At the moment, queer persecution is often an after thought. Something that is thought about by professional activists and revolutionaries after the horns of revolution have sounded.  We know that this is incorrect, that any revolution on this wretched earth must be done so in the name of the liberation of the gender oppressed in conjunction with people of color and the working class.

I hear your voice in that last interview you gave and I hear your fear as the interviewer inquires about the newspaper printing your name. I see the worry in your eyes. I also see a courage and fire that has yet to go out and the words of Fred Hampton come to mind:

“You can kill a revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution.”

Your spirit lives on David. And your weapons will be picked up.

A LUTA CONTINUA!