Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:44PM
Whatup peoples! Haven’t spoken to y’all since last year (literally), and thought I sincerely owed you guys an apology for that. It's great to see everyone’s been writing, reflecting, giving us tips on how to deal with our families during the holidays (THANK YOU!) and building themselves up for greatness! Clearly, a lot’s happened in between the summer and now for everyone, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis of why I fell off the face of the earth.
Last August, a reality check hit me that I may have to leave my home in Brooklyn. Simply put, Jimmy McMillan was right: rent IS too damn high. It stopped making sense to me to pay upwards of 70% of my income towards rent – after all, didn’t I come to New York to organize with low-income people to not do that? So, I made the conscious decision, packed up my things, and moved to Hadley, Massachusetts. For those unfamiliar with this place, it’s the town down the street from where I went to college (Hampshire), and surrounded by four others. It is quite…boring, unless you’re a farmer, or want to blow all your money at bars in Northampton. Not to mention one of the whitest places I’ve ever lived. But above all this, I moved back here with my girl and my homies because I knew it would provide me the peace and self-reflection I so desperately needed. The mountains, the Fall foliage, the smell of burning wood and trees galore meant the world to me. Simply put, this place is a retreat.
While here, I realized that the social, bubbly, rambunctious Unique that bklyn came to know and love had been nurtured too much. I wasn’t giving my inner self that same time or energy, and she needed that attention much more. When I think about it, the reason I felt like I needed to always be “ON” in New York fashion was to distract me from dealing with my inner doubts, fears, and just plain negative shit I’d grown up with. I was running away from a lot. But here, I continued chanting, reading, and writing, and began to open up to myself instead of running away from me. Those times I fled to the whiskey bottle so I didn’t have to deal with awkward situations didn’t feel so necessary. All that energy I’d put into wearing the flyest clothes, having the craziest hair color (it really was purple, y’all!) and even chasing down queers to hook up with just lost all meaning, because they weren’t coming from a true place for me. You may even say I felt like I was in competition with myself. I never felt like I was doing enough productive shit in New York, when all the while I was (and am) right where I needed to be in life.
Because of these revelations, and because of all of what I was reading (Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is BANANAS!), I took a long hiatus from the Internet as well. Sometimes, it’s just too damn much for me to deal with. I know, how could I say that, in a world now dominated by this medium? After a harsh look at just how disturbingly self-absorbed the internet has made us, given the likes of social networking, user comments, and the “like” (pun intended), I had to reassess my own ego, and how much worth I gave other people to critique what I put out into the world. That also included me writing and sharing on this blog. Was I writing for myself in honesty and vulnerability, or writing something that I knew everyone would latch onto and devour? Such is the artist’s conundrum.
Needless to say, my entire perspective of the world has changed, even down to the technologies we use (am I the only one who still doesn’t get the hype over the iPhone, iPad, iEVERYTHING?). I’m feeling a lot more like an analog queer in a digital sphere than ever. But with that, I feel a lot more at peace, a lot less on edge, and am armed with a lot more questions than answers about this world. We’re young, we’re not supposed to have it all figured out! But we should be comfortable in our own skin, above all, and a lot less hard on ourselves.
I understand that the intersection of queer + person of color + biologically female means we often grapple with many mental health issues that we keep underwraps, in fear no one will understand us. But this does not mean we have to hide them from ourselves, either. There’s both affirming and defeating voices within us, and we often give more power to the ones that came to defeat. Why? Is it more comfortable to believe in loss, in expecting the worst, in never feeling like we’re good enough? Just imagine what we’d be capable of if we listened to that affirming voice, and actively believed our own strength!
Of course, I’m not saying all of this to be self-righteous – do what you do, there’s a time and a place for everything. We are all on our paths for a reason. Just a word of where I been, and what I’ve been up to. After Hadley is California, to get my MFA in Poetry from San Fran State University or Mills College, whoever has the most money (lol). But as of now, I’m back in action, performing, working on my CrazySexyFOOL mixtape (for REAL this time), and prepared to share these bubbling thoughts with all y’all, even though I’m not actually in NYC anymore. I still come back to visit though, cuz this place is yaaaawntastic sometimes.
Wishing all of you love, peace, wisdom and nappiness this year…much love to ya!