Vulnerability is the act being transparent about weakness or need. But how? In a world that is violently disinterested in the struggles and needs within our black and brown queer and trans communities, expecting to think of vulnerability and need in positive ways feels backwards.
WHAT DO YOU NEED RIGHT NOW?
In bklyn boihood, we ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of needy bois who are committed to showing up for each other. Like, no joke, that’s our entire thing. We love each other, we are family but more than that, we are really invested in trying to give what we can to one another. We are an ecology. At different points, members of the collective carry distinct resources, ideas, connections and we offer them generously.
There are layers upon layers of why it feels better sometimes to just eat the shit that is eating us and keep soldiering forward. Specifically for bois, the pressure to “man up” and pretend as if the things that we lack or that ail us are enemies on a battlefield rather than potentially cancerous seedlings inside of us makes it feel hard to be comfortable in our feelings. So many of us don’t make room to struggle. And when masculine-of-center folk struggle, often we default to some of the unhealthiest ways “masculinity” manifests: denial, ownership, machoism, violence-as-communication, and the need to pretend like whatever is fucking with our existence isn’t really shaking us. It’s just a thing. We ain’t phased. But we are phased. In some ways we’re all suffering. And to own that is to be vulnerable.
It’s not like these challenges are made up. Very often, when we do put ourselves out there and name/share a need, it doesn’t get met or we get clowned. Or someone tops our story on some oppression olympics shit and we just think, “forget it”. We get left assed out and are have to deal with the fallout of having to figure how to save face, temporarily patch up the hole and keep it moving. So much of this feels exhausting because it is a cycle that is impossible to sustain. But breaking cycles is some of the most important work that we can do in our lives. We don’t have the answers but there are always ways to be in resistance to the things that don’t serve us.
bklyn boihood has been thinking and talking about the importance of naming the things we need out loud. Abstract, concrete--whatever. The foundations of who we are come from a place of sharing and creating space together. Producing our annual calendars came out of the need to feel un-invisible and attractive. Our parties came out of a need to have space that allowed us to feel at home and safe and free. Headquarters and the infamous couch (and loveseat--omg our backs) that hosted so many of us through transitions and visits and revelations and cryfests was a need. Connecting ourselves to elders in our community who have been doing this work since before we were alive is and continues to be necessary.
Recently we’ve been thinking about how vulnerable need makes us feel. As individuals we’re each going through a lot right now. Transitions often happen to us all around the same time and this era is no different. Most of our lives is spent trying to offer what we have to the world. Right now, we’re asking for the world to listen, to hold our needs with gentle hands and to take some time to say your own out loud. Tell your family what you need from them. Tell your friends how you feel vulnerable. Talk to someone on the train about it. Keep it real with your partner about what’s missing. Be honest. Be as needy as you need to be. Say it. Ask for help.
Open yourself to it.
all pics by king texas.