Interracial Relationships within the Black Community

It has always disturbed me how much vitriol is shown towards interracial relationships on both sides. It disturbs me because too much of it is based on assumption. Personally I don’t even believe that people should be assuming anything about anyone’s relationship because there are plenty of things that we do not witness from the outside that we do not know. We can only judge relationships from the outside.

I am fully aware of some of the many reasons people are against interracial marriage. Some of those reasons are logical and reasonable only if they are corresponding to the individuals who have malicious or insincere intentions.

One of the insincere intentions are getting into interracial relationships are dating someone of a lighter complexion or white background to elevate one’s social status. There are many “positive” stereotypes about white and lighter skinned women, that they are somehow better and more submissive than darker skinned women.

If I grew up witnessing man after man pining over lighter skinned and white women and rejecting me because I’m Black or not as fair, I would certainly have a bitter taste in my mouth. However my experience has been rejection from both sides and really I have experienced having a bitter taste in my mouth about men regardless of their color. I have encountered Black men who prefer and exclusively date non-Black women but many of them have insisted it’s not racist to do so.

I understand that we as human beings cannot help what physical features attract us. I myself am more attracted to women mainly because women tend to have curves and men generally are shaped squarely, straight up and down and flat. Even with my attraction to women, women who are skinny and shaped more flat do not generally attract me. Does that make me hateful and full of phobia of skinny girls? No. But I also wouldn’t go around saying I don’t date skinny girls.

I want to leave my heart open to people who many not fit my physical ideal and I say that because the heart doesn’t discriminate. For some people physical attraction is very important or is the most important. For me it’s not that important so it’s very hard for me to understand how it is a deal breaker for most people. Could I date Quasiamodo? Probably not, but I don’t need someone to be an Adonis or Aphrodite to be attracted. Average is fine for me or even a little bit below that.

What matters to me is how someone treats me and their swag so to say. Confidence is sexy and so is being treated like a Queen. Apart from that though I find myself attracted to people of various races, maybe some more that others but let me explain.

Once someone tried to trap me into saying that I had a “racial preference” for Latino men. For one thing Latino isn’t a race, it’s an ethnic group. There are White, Black, Asian Latinos that have mixed blood and mixed features. Therefore, saying I’m attracted to Latino men exclusively would be a dumb statement because that’s like saying the only soup I eat is gumbo. Gumbo is a mix of things and comes in various forms.

In my mind when I think of a Latino man that I am attracted to I think of a specific look: tan, dark haired, thick accent, shirt open, basically a telenovela star which fits into a stereotype. Would I be attracted to a fair skinned English only speaking one? Would I be attracted to a short indigenous looking one? Would I be attracted to an Afro Latino, who looks just like me and would rarely be identified as Latino other than when he spoke Spanish? All of those men are Latin men, yet there is no guarantee that just because they are I would automatically be attracted to them.

One man told me he was attracted to Asian women because they are small, skinny and petite. What if there was a fat Asian woman? If the answer is no, then it’s not the Asian-ness he’s attracted to, it’s the body type.

Different body types exists within races, however there are tendencies among races as well. I have been told by men of various races including my own that they like Black girls because of our curves and big bottoms. I’m not against being complimented on my figure but I am against solely being sought after for my physical features. People can be fetishized by people within and outside of their own races. I don’t want a Black man or White man or any other kind of POC dating me solely for my physical features and since men tend to be attracted to physical features first and most.

Colorism and racism do affect a lot of our perceptions of what kind of partners we ought to seek. It is sad because a lot of it is very subconscious. At the same time there are people seeking out Black and darker skinned POC as partners due to fetishes. Examples are Black men being chased for their “enlarged endowment” and Black women being chased for their “voluptuous bodies.” Both Black men and woman as well as darker POC are perceived to be more promiscuous while White and lighter people are perceived to be more “pure, demure and prudish.”

Interestingly enough in rap videos the perception is that White women are down to do anything. There are Black men who say they would date a White girl to have crazy sex with a girl who is willing to submit to someone she perceives as the “king and the boss.” Some Black girls know better and can see through the bullsh** and we’re not blindsighted by the false alluring aura of the “Black Kang” patriarchy. I do not want to be subservient to anyone and I am against doing it simply because someone wants to push upon my the idea that I am owned by Black men, that I owe Black men my body, my time and my love because society hurts them.

I stand up for my brothas. At the same time, it’s very difficult to do that when they don’t stand up from me and act on sexism and mysogynoir. How can I stand up for people of my own race when they don’t stand up for my womanhood? How can I stand up for women, the White women in feminism when too many don’t stand up for my race? How can I stand up for Black women, when they are so busy competing with one another they are ready to scratch each other’s eyes out?

Again these are not complete truths for everyone, but they are very real hurts. I don’t want to be loyal to groups of people that I don’t feel are reciprocating my time and love. Now my Christian upbringing would say to stand and help others anyway.

That is a hard thing to do because as a Black Woman I am used to getting shitted on by people or all races including my own. It may not be direct, it may be internet memes or statistics that say us and Asian men are the least likely to be dated and married which may not even be true. Common lies can still hurt.

It always drives me nuts too that Black Women get so much flack for dating outside their race again due to the concept that we are owned by Black men and we owe them our bodies and life entirely. I reject that completely. No one owns me, let alone a man.

Relationships are supposed to be partnerships that are equal with mutual respect. It’s not fair to White women to be treated like fetishes either by Black men. Same goes for the sexy Latina stereotype and the submissive Asian stereotype.

People who pursue interracial relationships for these reasons are insincere and are trying toe elevate their social status. Now I don’t know what it’s like to live underneath a deeply oppressive status. I have suffered some racism but due to colorism I have received some benefits as a lighter skinned person. Very often women of my complexion are celebrated in mainstream Black culture.

In Latin culture there is a phrase “mejorando la raza” which means bettering the race which refers to purposely dating lighter skinned, whiter Latinos or non-Latinos to “better the race” as a whole. That kind of mentality is due to colonialism and still exists today.

In Asian cultures darker skin is usually associated with working out in the rice fields where the sun would darken someone’s complexion. Being pale is associated with royalty because they are inside and avoid darkening. It is very common for women to wear umbrellas, bleach their skin and cover themselves to extreme measures to keep and attain a pale white complexion.

These messages are toxic and unhealthy. People of all complexions are beautiful and should be appreciated for more than just their outward appearance. Love is deeper than appearance and dark skin is just as attractive. There are those who would argue that darker complexions are even more attractive and are highly underrated. For me, it’s never really been much of a factor in my attraction to someone.

It’s hard for me to understand why interracial marriage, dating and relationships are such an issue considering my age. I haven’t grown up with the historical scars of Jim Crow or segregation. I have grown up in a reality and a family where race mixing has occurred and everything seemed fine. I say seemed fine because I don’t know who could have disapproved and said what to whomever.

There are many factors to the interracial debate and discussion and I will make future blogs that focus on different aspects on that.

The Influence of the Latino Student Association

There was a Latino Student Association that I joined when I entered into my HBCU, (Historically Black University or College.) It was the first organization that I joined. At my previous school, which was a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) there were organizations for many minority groups: there was NOIR for the Black Student Association. LSU, the Latino Student Union, was formed by a close friend of mine in the Spring Semester. ALANA was the multicultural organization for people of color. Hillel was Jewish organization, that one of my Jewish friends invited me to. There were many more clubs that I joined during my freshmen year that centered around supporting and empowering diverse groups on campus.

At my second college, when I transferred sophomore year, the first organization I was looking to join was a Latino one. There would obviously be no Black one considering the school was already predominantly Black. Because the school was predominantly Black and Latinos were one of our smallest minorities, even the Latino Student association was mostly African American. The group consisted of African Americans who had an interest in participating in, learning about and empowering our Latino brothers and sisters. This was very significant for me because I felt very alone in High school when I learned Spanish and began to embrace many aspects of Latino culture that I had an affinity for.

There was a profound disconnect that I had with people during that time. In my art I had become very outspoken about immigration issues and my stance on amnesty was met with hostility and disgust. I was called un-patriotic and anti-American. People could not understand why I was so gung-ho about being merciful towards immigrants, because in their eyes they were criminals who deserved punishment. I got heat from both sides about it because on the Black side, people had the viewpoint that Black people are in such dire straits that we ought to stand up for ourselves exclusively and dedicate all our activist energies to Black matters only. Latinos were seen as a growing threat to both White and Black people. At the end of the day, xenophobia in both communities united the races against Latinos because whether American or not, they were seen as foreign alien parasitic enemies of the United States.

I did not want to participate in this anti-Latino, anti-immigrant, anti-Spanish language divide. Somehow I was seen as a traitor and I was also treated differently. When I embraced and expressed an assertive defense for the Latino, immigrant and Spanish speaking communities, I began to be labeled as one of them. It was incredibly strange. People began to question my ethnicity, as if they had not already done so before. So many times in my life I have been “un-Blacked” by people. How did I go from being White to Latino? My race was changing all of the sudden based on my actions? It has been done so many times, it was hard to still believe that I belonged to the community anymore. Strange enough if I had ever recanted my Blackness, then a myriad of hatred would have come upon me from the very same people who rejected me in the first place. What hypocrisy!

I remember in college my freshman year when I was dating my ex-boyfriend at the time, that he interrogated me about why I was so vocal about Latino, immigrant and Spanish language issues but so quiet on Black issues. He even interrogated me about my race because I suppose to him, my affinity was so intense, that he truly couldn’t wrap his mind around a Black girl like me. He kept asking me if I was Latina and lying about it. This hurt for so many reasons. It hurt because no one can choose who they are born as, but we all naturally like what we like, and I have witnessed so many individuals betray what they authentically like because it doesn’t fit the narrow racial expectations of their “tribe.” I can truly attest to the fact that acceptable Black likes are very, very narrow.

It hurt because I felt like he was constantly confused by my existence, and there was nothing fake about me. I was incredibly authentic and I think most people cannot handle that level of transparency, especially when they have their own insecurities. It hurt because this was a person who I let into my heart and my life intimately, now berating me the same way the mean High school kids did. I was even called Mexican in a derogatory way by a few strangers because I was overheard speaking Spanish fluently. My pronunciation was so good that many people did not know I was not originally Spanish speaking. I remember people staring at me in public whenever I did it and my mother advising me not to speak Spanish in public because the atmosphere was dangerous.

I think I was a little naïve back then, because I had the attitude of trying to do whatever I wanted despite people’s attitudes, not realizing that, the anti-immigrant sentiment, and the profiling would land me too, in dangerous situations. That’s one of the big differences between me and a true Latina. A true Latina will feel those feelings on a deep, visceral level. They would probably take precautions and not do things to draw attention to themselves. I have met Latinos for whom I would speak Spanish too and they would insist on speaking English as to not bring attention to themselves in public. Me being naïve, I am thinking, ah just eff the haters, but that was because I was in a privileged position to be able to do so.

Some Black people say that Black people have no privilege but that is false. There is privilege in being fluent and having the native tongue of English, the dominant and most desired language spoken globally. It is the language of business, the one that gives access to wealth. There is privilege in having an American status and even if we are treated like second class citizens or even worse, completely inhuman, no African Americans have to fear deportation or linguistic isolation and fear.

The assumptions and perceptions that people made about me were so far from the truth sometimes, and it really irked me that there was nothing I could do about it. People just assumed I was always automatically #TeamLatino and that any Latino I met I would pursue and wanted to defend to the ends of the Earth. The same thing happened when I gained a bunch of Asian friends from China and South Korea. I’m #TeamHuman dammit! I befriend who I want. I befriend people because of how they treat me and honestly, over all, most of my best, deepest, and most meaningful friendships have been with non-Americans.

I have felt betrayed and rejected. I have felt out casted by my own kind many times in my life. Whether it was Americans, English speakers or citizens in general my interests were met with great hostility and I felt isolated in the things I liked in High school. Thank goodness that there was one girl who I met who I still consider a best friend today who was one of the two only Mexican American girls in the entire school. Finally I had found someone who I could play with and make jokes with and practice Spanish with and enjoy Latina things with.

I know there will be plenty of people who will never understand me or my points of view and I don’t blame them because they have not lived the extraordinary odd life that I have lived. Ten-year old me would not understand fifteen year old me, and fifteen year old me would not understand twenty five year old me. My life changed dramatically so many times. I changed dramatically, so many times. People don’t have to understand me, but I wish they wouldn’t crystallize me in their own twisted perceptions. People see what I do on the outside and they think that they know me, but they know so little.

I felt embraced by the Latino churches I attended and the people that I encountered. I felt embraced by the Latino Student Association for whom honored me so much, they suggested that I run for president of their organization. I declined for two reasons, one, because I felt that that space ought to be reserved for someone who has lived life and experienced it in a primary sense. I did not grow up Latino, I don’t personally suffer Latino struggles, and no matter how much I may love and have an affinity for aspects Latin culture I can never know in a primary sense what it feels like to be one. Secondly I was starting my own multicultural organization and I could not run two clubs at once.

I felt so touched that they felt to loved by me that they would allow me that sacred space to lead. They said that I cared so much and was so knowledgeable about Latino issues that I deserved to be there in that capacity. It still humbles me so much to know that my love meant that much to them. That kind of embrace is rare among racial and ethnic lines. Not only that but when we marched in the Hispanic Day Parade, I got to be Miss. Latina Student Association. The title was not required to go to Latinos only, it was done by votes, but the woman who was voted to do it got ill and they needed a quick replacement. I took her place.

I had the full permission and approval to do these things by the people who were in these groups, but I know that there are bitter, and confused individuals on the outside who were probably looking at me claiming that I was trying to be something I was not. I have grown up in a multicultural atmosphere with parents who constantly exposed me to multicultural things and so maybe that is why I feel such a disconnect with people. My mind just isn’t segregated like theirs is, but it makes it very difficult for me trying to maneuver through the world that clearly is very divided.

I do not want to live in a world where someone who is of a different group caring and advocating for another group is seen as strange or a betrayal to another group. If minorities united our numbers would outnumber our oppressors, but I can almost guarantee that it will never happen because we are too busy eating one another in this dog cage because we are accessible, our oppressors are not, and when people are hurt, someone, usually the ones nearby, must get hurt too. These realities make my soul ache. Latinos are my family, even if all of them may not see me as such, and so are Asians, and the Indigenous, and Whites too. I don’t need someone to love me for me to love them. Some people feel that this kumbayah hippie Christian attitude is detrimental to one’s survival and that most people are parasites, selfish and loyal to their own tribes. I just don’t operate that way, never have and hope to never do so.

Maybe that attitude is due to my bias, my experiences, of feeling rejected in so many spaces. I am loyal to those who are riding for me period. I find that there is more benefit to having a diverse crew, because that gives access to wider ranges of allies as well as resources and ideas of how to change things that one single group might not have thought of. Anyway, this was a personal reflection of mine, and it is a true story that is near and dear to my heart. Many of my Latino friends will say, “Tu eres Latina en tu Corazon.” “You are Latina in your heart.” To that I am honored, I am honored by their love, their embrace and their welcoming of me into their communities.

When I hung out with my international friends, they could not believe I was American because I was so open and they would affectionately call me an international in an “honorary” sense. I hung out with them so much that plenty of them just assumed I was an international student too. My Asian friends appreciated my attempts at speaking their languages and invited me to their apartments to eat their traditional foods and they were so elated to see me wearing some of their traditional clothes, participating in their cultural events and including them in events around campus that they otherwise would not have known about.

I just want to change the world dammit. I just want to change it for the better and I know that I will encounter people who will think I am a lunatic and a fool for those kinds of dreams, but it’s those kinds of dreams followed by actions that do impact the world and I will continue to fight, advocate, learn, educate and build relationships with those who are different from me.

 

No Longer Default

It has been quite a struggle in recent years coming to the realization that Christianity is no longer the “default” religion in the United States.

When I go to church, I usually go alone, in a congregation of many middle aged and older folk with little to no Christian youth. It feels isolating and it feels bad.

I wish that I had more Christian youth to mingle with but I require a certain type though. I have no desire to intermingle with fundamental, orthodox, traditionalists. I want liberal, leftist, Jesus “the hippie peace and love man” Christian friends.

It’s not that those are too far in between, I am just not in contact with many. Apart from that the 20’s age bracket is a bracket of great change and many are moving from place to place and usually are not staying at their home church anymore.

What I am trying to say is that, I find myself becoming incredibly lonely and isolated age wise in my faith. I remember when I grew up as a child and until about the age of ten I thought that every single solitary human being on the planet was Christian like me. Learning that there were people who did not believe in God or Jesus Christ was world shaking to me. It wasn’t world shaking because it made me question whether God was real, it was world shaking because at the time, it was like learning that there were people who didn’t like to breathe air.

It seems quite popular these days to condemn religion as completely harmful and wicked and I just don’t agree. I acknowledge that it has done harm and there have been wicked individuals but to say it has done no good I feel is a farce. Organized unity tied with compassionate action has moved mountains and changed lives. The good needs to be acknowledged too.

I make the mistake sometimes, of engaging with people who disagree in arguments. I do not like to argue, I hate conflict and I enjoy discussion. However, as a human being sometimes I fall into the trap and take the bait. Some people are out to prove that all Christians are absolute fools. I don’t have an agenda to prove that atheists are absolute fools. In fact I’d be lying if I said I don’t struggle many days with keeping my faith in tact.

It is important to me and I try to remember that there are people who have been hurt and there are people who have been raised in secular homes. All my life I have been raised around clergy members. I have a bias, everyone does and I acknowledge that. What saddens me is that for those who have never met a good loving pastor, and for those who refuse to ever take the chance to do so, they will never meet my father or grandfather. For those who refuse to ever meet a kind and loving nun or priest, they will never meet my great aunts or my cousin.

I think about all the wonderful memories that I have had in church, and how supportive my church families have been and how they rescued me from such turmoil and loss in my life. My experiences haven’t all been good. For crying out loud, I’m black, female and part of the LGBTQ community. I have had plenty of pains from the church, but I have also had plenty of good things too.

I resent being mis-represented by bad Christians who oppress, and force their religion on others. I don’t do that, I don’t believe in doing that, and neither did Jesus Christ who simply offers himself to people.

The argument basically ended with exhaustion and finally I was cut at a crossroads. I was told that religion is fear based, unnecessary and Christianity specifically is a “turn or burn” gospel with justification from the Bible.

It’s not my place to say who goes to Hell or Heaven because I’m not the judge of that. Hell as a Catholic I have been told by Protestants that I’m going to Hell. Other Christians have told other Christians they are going to Hell, whether they be from different denominations or what have you.

We are not united, and we are very different in our values and beliefs. I don’t like that Christians and Christianity is so often simply molded together as if it’s one singular group with singular beliefs. We have a core belief and that’s about it. We disagree on doctrine, how to carry out the Bible and so on.

Anyway, people don’t simply come out of fear alone. Sometimes people feel moved by something, something they cannot explain. They feel something outer worldly and they wonder if that feeling is God.

Whether God is real or not I certainly whole heartedly believe in a living force within the universe that binds us together as human beings. I believe in a beginning and a creation and a purpose for each and every one of us. I believe in the eternity of our spirits and the energy that vibrates between our souls.

I do believe in an after life whether that be heaven, hell or God forbid reincarnation which I hope isn’t real because I don’t want to be on Earth over and over and over again. Honestly if I am a reincarnation I probably wouldn’t be aware of it, but at the same time, unlike most people, I desire for life to end at some point. The world is quite tiresome and it exhausts me. I always feel like I’m swimming upstream with people who don’t understand me at all. I feel like a star child, and indigo person because I just never fit in anywhere and I really don’t belong here at all.

I think beyond what I see. I see beyond what I know. My head hurts sometimes because I think too much. I’m a mad genius of sorts and it creates a tortured soul. Sometimes I just don’t like being around people too much because they are too simple and too basic. What saddens me is that many people I believe could be so much more than what they are, they just simply choose to live on the default settings: like in Lego Movie.

Perhaps this confuses people because according to others, following Christianity is following the instructions and being a mindless drone. To me being  Christian is a rebellious act. Many of our teachings are the exact opposite of human nature and what the world would tell us to do to live a full life as a human being.

I am a rebel. I am a rebel and a thinker and a bleeding heart liberal. I care about people dammit. Unfortunately, I care a little too much, maybe, a lot too much because honestly, people who I care about, the majority, probably give less than a damn about me.

But that’s what happens when you love people. You get hurt. In Christianity we’re told not to love the world and not to put our faith in man. I am still working on that detachment. I love the world too much and I put my faith in people too much.

I pray that changes soon because I’m sick of getting hurt and let down.

Proud of my Artistic Progress

I did not start drawing anything political until high school. Before high school all I drew were comics, cartoons and superheroes. Even then there was still the issue of drawing a majority of White characters. I did happen to focus my artwork on female characters, but I had almost no male characters of color either. I remember my father questioning me often as to why I had so few characters who looked like me.

It didn’t seem like there was any particular reason, but to be honest, it would have been hard to do so because all of the superheroes in anime, manga, comics and cartoons that I saw were fair skinned Whites or Asians.

Now I draw a majority of Black characters in my artwork which makes me very proud because I never would have predicted that I would ever have made the switch.

It’s not an arbitrary switch, it’s a switch of pride and really it’s quite natural for a person to draw themselves. What is unfortunate for too many artists of color is that too many of us infrequently do draw our own selves. White people have a massive myriad of representation of many different types of Whiteness to choose from. They have their own role models and bada$$es and idols of beauty to choose from. People of color only have a few.

In the superhero industry this is why Black Panther means so much to the Black African-American and African communities.

As far as beginning to draw political things, the first issue that I became passionate about was immigration. I am strongly pro-amnesty when it comes to immigration issues. I have a huge empathy for immigrant families.

I felt very alone in my feelings about it because most of my peers at school were hatefully anti-immigrant, anti Mexican, anti Spanish, pro English only, pro American only (White American) and pro-citizen exclusively.

This brought forth a feeling of great silencing. I felt like I did not have a space vocally and that I wasn’t being listened to or acknowledged. I know that images speak louder than words and so I drew what I consider to be my greatest piece: “We Cannot See Alone/ No Podemos Ver Solos.”

This piece actually got me the attention of Enrique Morones: president of Border Angels. Border Angels is an organization that puts water out in the desert to help immigrants survive as they cross. Even though it is a controversial act, it has been said that immigrants will cross with or without water and subsequently many die on their way. It is a humanitarian act to assist them in my eyes because they are escaping a place that is extremely dangerous and economically and politically unfit to raise a family in.

I support Border Angels, and one day, at my first college, I got to meet Enrique Morones after his speech on immigrant struggles. I sent him and email of my work and accidentally sent it to the entire Google group of Border Angels. Everyone saw it. A school in California asked my permission to put it on their honor wall. A Chicana Indigenous professor in Colorado asked me to come and make a speech about it at her university the Metropolitan School of Denver Colorado for their Lalo Delgado Festival.

I felt so moved and so honored that they thought that much of me to ask me to come out and do that. I will return one day.

I think that moment confirmed that my art has an influence on people and can take me places. It is one of my favorite memories. At that time I was actually quite broken emotionally and I really needed the validation. I know in reality I cannot depend on recognition to fuel me to keep on, but I am only human and we crave those pats on the back by our peers. It is hard to make art that challenges societal norms. It is hard to live  a life unmasked. It is hard to swim upstream against the mainstream current but I do it because it must be done to change anything. It also inspires others to do the same.

So I am proud to say that I am finally branching out and drawing raw real things that I have wanted to depict for sometime. I am drawing my heart, my soul and the hearts and souls of others I have encountered who are too afraid to reveal themselves. I want humans to know, they do not have to hide their colors because we are all hue-mans and we have something beautiful to share with the world. That beauty should not be hidden. Not. Ever.

BLERDCON 2017

Blerdcon or otherwise known as “Black Nerd Con” took place in Virginia/DC area this past weekend. I made a vlog about it on my Trill La Trill Cosplay youtube channel. You can watch the link here:

 

 

I wanted to say how much Blerdcon meant for me, and how much it meant that people cared enough to make it. I didn’t know how long I would have to wait for a space to be made where we could simply relax and be ourselves and not have to hide or be ashamed of our race and ethnicity while cosplaying and being expressive of our nerdiness.
I myself have not personally experienced a lot of the major negativity that I have witnessed other cosplayers of color experience on the internet but it is very real and no one should have to endure that.

It also stuck out to me that there was finally a convention that was highlighting the reality of being doubly stigmatized. To be nerdy and queer and black and female and disabled and fat are a lot of things to deal with at once. Our own Black communities stigmatize nerdiness too, so it’s not simply about the heat we deal with from White people. For some reason Black people are expected to be cool and badass 24/7. Idk why but it’s a real thing and there’s a real pressure to be “hip, down, and full of swag” in everything that we do or else you’re failing as a Black person. Hence why I love Issa Rae’s series “Awkward Black Girl.”

My favorite moment was taking a picture with a little girl who ran up to me and held my hand. She seemed so enamored with me and she was full of wonder and pure joy. I know that representation matters and seeing me means the world to her. I wish that I had that growing up but I am glad I get to be that ebony super hero for her to see and admire and emulate. There are so few that she has to do so but hopefully in the future that will change. Hence why I am looking forward to Black Panther in 2018.

It was very cool to see people making cosplays their own like seeing Sailor Moon cosplays with locs, dreads, afro puffs and braids. There were so many melanated folk at this convention and I didn’t feel like I stuck out or didn’t belong. It felt normalized and I was among my own and visually I was the same. That was so significant to look around and see nerdy folk who looked just like me. People also creatively altered some of their outfits but changing some colors.

It was a really awesome time and I very much enjoyed myself. It was a chill event with family and kind people everywhere. I am so proud that I was a part of the first one and I plan to continue attending every year I can from now on!

Stop Invading Our Spaces

I went to a Jazz Festival recently, a very popular one in my state called the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival which is four days long. I went on Friday and despite these two incidents I did have a good time. I am not a fan of public drunkenness and a drunk guy fell on the side of me and dented and eventually broke my chair when I tried to fix the arm. The other incident that occurred I was quite taken aback by.

A white girl was going around dancing and coming up to other Black girls trying to twerk on them saying “hey girlfriend” and trying to be “hip and in with the Black people.” I don’t know if she was drunk of what but when she came up to me and did that I was highly offended.

  1. We are strangers. I have no issue with people of whatever race attending festivals that may have a cultural majority minority but I do take issue with someone thinking they can just come up and dance on anyone without consent. I don’t care that we’re both girls, I don’t want anyone, guy or girl, Black, White or otherwise, coming up to me out of no where and twerking on me. I don’t know if she was drunk or sober but I was definitely annoyed and felt that my space was invaded and disrespected.
  2. Why did she assume I was going to twerk along with her? I hate the stereotype that all Black girls twerk on command. I am not a performer nor am I here for anyone’s entertainment, let alone some drunk White girl’s. I did not appreciate it in the least. Would she have done that at a White party with White people? I don’t know, but for whatever reason she did it I didn’t like it one bit. There are Black people who don’t feel public twerking is appropriate and I am one of those people. I personally think that’s a trashy low-class thing to do and I am not alone in that.
  3. I don’t like when people try to act out of character to try to fit in minority spaces. True, I don’t know this girl. Maybe she authentically likes to twerk on random strangers and that’s just how she operates but personally I don’t think that’s an ok thing to do. Secondly she is a White girl doing this in a predominantly Black space. It’s not a good look. It’s like me going into a predominantly Latino space, screaming “Arriba!” at the top of my lungs and trying to salsa dance on people. I’m not saying I cannot participate in cultural dances, but there’s a difference between acting a fool with strangers vs. dancing with friends you already know or asking to dance with someone who may or may not want to dance.

It has just happened too often that I see some White attendees at festivals act this way. They take this opportunity to try to show how “stereotypically Black” they are by showing of dance moves that are in reality quite mediocre and invading people’s private spaces by acting as if they are close family member or best buddies. Even Black people don’t usually just run up on one another like that when we’re strangers. Even if it were Black person to Black person I would look at anyone funny trying to dance up on me that I don’t know talking about c’mon girlfriend! Ewe! No! Get away from me!

If I come off as stuck up or a stick in the mud I don’t care because everyone’s space and consent should be respected. I’m not a touchy feely person in the first place. I like to have a certain amount of space between me and people I don’t know. If I had a white bestie and I actually did do those kinds of dances then maybe I could and would dance that way with her because I would know her and know that she respected me.

So all I’m saying is PSA please don’t come to cultural festivals, get inebriated or soberly act a fool around minorities simply because you’re in their space and it’s a party doesn’t mean there is suddenly a pass to act like “you’re cool and hip and in with the Blacks and Latinos.” I just don’t like that attitude at all. Respect the space. There are boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. I’m not saying we can’t be friends. I’m not saying that cultural festivals cannot be attended or enjoyed by White people but what I am saying is don’t assume that everyone there is going to dance and don’t come up in someone’s space, touch on them and goad them to dance on command. I am not here for anyone’s exotic entertainment.

End Rant.

Reflections of a CaMethodist Teen

“You’re lookin’ mighty fine this morning Ms.Freeman.” I turned around because I didn’t want to look this man in the eye. I started to serve the next hungry person. The man behind me got louder. “I said, you’re lookin’ MIGHTY FINE this mornin’ Ms.Freeman. Why don’t you come over here and hand me another biscuit.” I didn’t want to look at him or hand him anything more. “We only give out one biscuit per person.” I mumbled reluctantly under my breath. “What was that sweetheart?” he called out to me. “Just one biscuit per person mista’, sorry, it’s the kitchen’s rules.” He huffed under his breath. He could tell I was trying to ignore him. “Well, if ya’ outta buscuits, you got any muffins back there, or betta’ yet, some nice, warm, chocolate cookies?” I had it. I couldn’t take this man’s disrespect any more. I turned around and I looked him square in the eyes.

“Listen here Mista’, say one more thing to me and I can have you removed.” He was appalled at my boldness. “Oh, I thought you was a sweet Christian gal, why you yellin’ at me so?” He and his buddies were smiling wickedly. I knew they were trying to get a rise out of me. “It’s too early in the morning for this mess. Get your act together and behave yourselves or I will have you removed from this place permanently.” I huffed off and I heard them snicker and whistle as I walked away. Here I was trying to do a good thing and serve these men, many of them, hungry and homeless. All they could see me for were my “warm biscuits and cookies.” It wasn’t every man that came in, only a few. There were the ones who were vocal and the ones who just creepily leered in silence. Both were uncomfortable.

My own father, the pastor was no help. He was so focused on his various ministries that he never seemed to have the time to consider my feelings about the situation. Sure, I was all about giving back and helping the community, but the characters that came through those doors every morning weren’t always the friendliest or most respectful. I get it. They are coming directly off the streets, some from jail, some addicted, some of them still presently high, I get it. Still, I would have appreciated some proper decorum considering the fact that I am serving them when I don’t have to. I get up extra early every morning, before the crack of dawn, to serve these people. Sometimes it’s with reluctance, because I got plenty of Christian friends who don’t even bother with the mundane routine of church going.

However, being the daughter of a father in clergy, it would have been impossible for me to refuse to attend. After all, they fed me and clothed me. Going to church and serving the community without a fuss was the least I could do right? After all, the breakfast ministry was only one event that was troublesome for me. There were so many others that I did thoroughly enjoy, such as choir practice. Some people would lethargically trudge through the hymns, but I very much enjoyed singing the songs of my ancestors. I was in love with gospel music, so much so that I would watch all the Sunday Best Gospel singing contests religiously.

It was time for bible study and I knew that I would have to see that idiot again. One boy in particular in our bible study was just full of himself. He had the most foolish tattoos and once grabbed my phone and put his photo as my front wallpaper screen. What the hell? Who does that? He reminded me of the Disney character Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. I found him to be quite irritating, arrogant and mediocre. I also knew however that none of the cute boys in bible study of which there were very few, would ever dare, come on to me. Being the pastor’s daughter had its perks and its downsides. The perks were that our family always got served first and we got the best food first too. The downsides as a pastor’s daughter, I would never be approached by any boys in the church because they feared the wrath of my father one step from the wrath of God.

I might as well have been a nun in my teen years because I never was allowed to date and no one dared to date me. I was asked out once at sixteen but it was by a boy I didn’t want and at the time I wanted to say yes only to gain the attention of the boy I did want who didn’t want me. I know it sounds too cruel and the typical drama of a teenage romance. However, romance was not something I had much of during those times, but rather, much heartbreak, unrequited love, infatuation and crippling loneliness. I pondered joining the convent several times in my life because quite honestly, I didn’t believe that anyone would ever have the guts to ask me out or pursue me. I was too holy, too nice, too much of a goody two shoes, too smart, too strong, too talented and too intimidating.

At first glance I seemed like a sheep. If anyone provoked me however they would soon realize that I was anything but. I was quite an aggressive girl in elementary school. I harassed the boys often and played pranks on them. They would retaliate but it would never stop me. One time I stole the one ball we had from them during recess. Every time I would do these things I would get a hot blooded rush of adrenaline at my victories. It was my mission to defeat and one up the boys in my class every chance I got. I was very vocal about my opinions and I truly believed that boys were dumber than girls. I could out run them, I could out smart them, I could out do them in almost anything except sports simply because I didn’t like sports. If I had liked sports and trained, I would have beat them at that too.

Subsequently many of them saw me as a threat. I was that one girl that would try it. One day I remember going down a recess slide and the boys trapping me at the top and the bottom. I was stuck in the middle and they grabbed my ankles and dragged me into the mulch while pushing me down. They all banded together against me. It only further encouraged me. Once I wrote a death threat to one of my enemies. At the time I didn’t realize how serious what I did was. Of course I wasn’t going to actually kill one of my classmates, but because of unstable assassins the teacher had to take it seriously. Nothing too terrible happened, but I got a stern talking to.

I would poke boys in the back with mechanical pencils, I would put tape inside of their jackets in the closet and I would be a hellish tormentor of sorts. Why did I do those things? I did it because I could and because I wanted to. I liked upsetting them and I was extremely thirsty for attention, even if it was the bad kind. I had a reputation that protected me. People usually pinned me as a goody two shoes and because of that I knew that anything bad I did wouldn’t be believed without concrete evidence. I always had an alibi. My best friend would even assist me in my crimes. Her mother worked as the secretary in the office so if I was ever sent to the principal, I knew she would bail me out. I was only sent once, and since I saw her first, she told me sternly to seize and desist and sent me on my way.

I was bad. I liked being bad. Being bad was fun. Being bad was especially fun when almost everyone thought that you were good. When I altar served during mass, there was this boy that I had the biggest crush on but it was a strange emotion because at the same time he was my rival and my enemy. I hated and loved him. We called each other names. We teased one another terribly. I wanted to tell him that I liked him so bad but I didn’t want him to know, tell everyone and be humiliated. I showed him through torment. Perhaps it wasn’t the best method. I honestly didn’t know how to deal with such strong emotions at a young age. From the beginning of birth I had always been full of passion, Passionate rage, passionate empathy, passionate yearning and passionate wrath.

That passion has been the bane of my existence my entire life. So many nights I have prayed to God to take my heart away. I wished for numbness, for indifference, for coldness, for apathy. I wished for these things because I was the type of child to see a commercial on television for the starving children in Africa and instantly begin to bawl my eyes out because just knowing how much people suffered from hunger abroad broke my heart. What broke my heart even more was knowing there was nothing that I could do to help them as a little Catholic city school girl.

I emulated Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Ghandi. To me they were who I aspired to be. I aspired to be a peace maker, end all war, suffering and pain and make it my life mission to heal all wounds and unite all peoples. I know that seems pretty ambitious for an elementary school girl but it was truly a dream that I hoped for and believed in wholeheartedly. At the same time, I wanted to kick butts on the recess yard, male butts. Interestingly enough, even though I had female enemies, I didn’t want to physically attack them, I wanted to be them. I wanted to have the popularity and attention they had. It seemed that because I was tomboy who watched wrestling with my dad and did martial arts twice a week; that the boys weren’t looking for a girl like that to date. Go figure.

I found other girls to be quite dull in their interests and activities. I grew up in a strict household that barred me from using makeup, playing with Barbies or watching channels like MTV and BET. My parents chose what music we could listen to which mostly comprised of seventies cds. I knew all about Funk and barely realized what era this music came from and that the present world was two decades ahead of what we were exposed to as children. When I say we, I must include the fact that I did indeed have a younger sister, one for whom I dearly loved but quarreled with frequently. We never seemed to see eye to eye until the time came that we both wanted something from mom and dad and we would band together to get it.

We built many forts and tents together. She was my play mate and my friend. We explored the world around us. We tried to dig our way to China once in the back gravel parking space my mother parked in. We had to stop because her tire kept sinking into the pothole we had created. Whoops! It took my father two whole weeks to teach me how to bike ride and I could not and would not accept that a bike with nothing holding up the right or left side could stand up and not fall. He kept trying to explain that in motion it would stand but logically and visually I couldn’t accept the concept. I was only allowed to ride to the end of the alley and no further. We were very protected and for the most part were only at school, home or church for most of our child and teenage hood. Some people may say that kind of sheltering is harmful, but on the other side of that, I have seen children and teenagers permanently damaged by parents who insisted on being cool mom and cool dad and trying to be their best friends or live a vicarious youth through them.

In truth I wasn’t missing anything by not dating then. None of the boys in school are serious then about any girl. I wasn’t missing anything by not wearing makeup that I didn’t need or have the money for. I had no one I needed to impress and even though I would sneak peeks at the magazines in the grocery store, the ones I wasn’t allowed to read, I found that I could never relate to the stories inside them. There would be stories about kids skipping school, cutting themselves, smoking or drinking for the first time, going farther in bed with a boy, being grounded, running away from home or shoplifting. None of these experiences I could relate to at all with which I do not regret but it did make me feel abnormal. I sat around hearing numerous conversations from peers that I knew I could not participate in because I had no idea what they were talking about.

Since I wasn’t allowed to read any magazines except Highlights or Christian Family friendly magazines, I was left out of the loop when it came to pop culture and celebrities. My first cd was NSYNC Pop and I received my first cd player on my eleventh birthday when I had my first sleepover. We watched a Sailor Moon film and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I never did have a sweet sixteen because honestly I saw no importance in turning sixteen. The only thing that changed at that age was that I was now old enough to wear high heels. Prior to that my feet were always firmly on the ground, unless I wore the black church buckle shoes and that was all the heel I got. To this day I still love Sailor Moon and I watch anime and am even part of the cosplay community. I plan to continue all these hobbies until I am in the grave.

Church is my second home, I make sure to tell everyone that because it’s true. At one time, I was attending church three times a week. I have participated in so many ministries, community service and volunteer opportunities I have lost count of all I have done. It feels good to help others, but if I’m being honest, burn out does set in, church people can pressure lay people into doing too much, especially if they do it well and I don’t always feel up to sacrificing my time for the service of others. Even now I struggle with spiritual maturity as most people do and I find it to be an almost impossible task because we are called to go beyond our flesh as human beings. How on Earth can I be more than what I am, more than what I was created to be?

Altar Girl and the Pastor’s Daughter

I became an altar girl and I remember not liking it because I had to go to a boring mass and hold a heavy book for the priest to read from. I wanted to do other things than spend my evenings on the altar. It didn’t matter. My mom told me that I was fortunate to have the opportunity she did not. She always wanted to be an altar girl, but at the time she was a little girl, being on the altar was reserved for boys only. She tried to live out her dreams vicariously through me. It’s not the sort of thing that I’m seething about, it was just moreso an annoyance. I was being forced to do something that meant nothing to me and something I didn’t like.

I also was born a pastor’s daughter. It isn’t something that I resent, I resent the target it made me. For some reason people would either attack me or try to corrupt me or interrogate me. It was also something that annoyed me very much to the point that I wanted to avoid telling people my father’s occupation because it came with so much weight. Me trying to live a “modest and chaste” lifestyle, seemed to intrigue people all the more to harass me sexually and I did not like it. I couldn’t understand why I was getting the negative attention I was getting because I covered up plenty but any opportunity boys had to sneak a touch or say a nasty comment they would.

One theory was that they liked pulling my chain and getting a rise out of me. I would either get terribly upset and offended or I would be left terribly confused because I was ignorant of what those things meant. One boy said, “I wanna flip you like a pancake.” Another boy said, “I wanna be your gynecologist.”

I went home and asked my parents what these things meant. When they told me I was horrified. You know Sandra Dee from Grease? That was totally me back then. I still have a little Sandra Dee left in me though.

It’s just so interesting stepping back and reflecting on my “past” life. It all seems so far away now. I just wish that I would have had the guts back then to shut down the nonsense that I dealt with.

I wish I had had the strength to say no. Even if I did however, I was just a child and there were certain things I was obligated to do. I’m not going to say that when I become a parent that I will do things different because I don’t desire to be one. Also I’m afraid just like most parents I’ll end up trying to live vicariously through my children, try to do opposites of my parents to the extreme and end up letting them grow too free and too wild since it opposes my strict upbringing.

It was strict in some ways and in others it wasn’t. One of the most liberal things my parents ever let me do as a teen was wear my colored braid extensions. I wore such alternative colors like electric green and blue. Other parents would ask why they let me do that. They just smiled. It meant a lot to me that they let me express myself artistically.

At the same time this was the same home that wouldn’t let me go out the house in skirts above my knee. They had to practically cover my knee to be honest. I couldn’t wear make up until I was a woman. I couldn’t be on social media till I was an adult. I couldn’t wear heels until I was sixteen. I couldn’t date until I was eighteen.

Do I regret these things? Some I do, some I don’t.

In the end we can’t dwell on the past. I am finding myself more and more each day and I am happy that I am making the efforts to find out who I am apart from my family culture. I believe that everyone ought to do the same for their own sake.

Black POC Jesus Reflections

Being born into the body I have been born into means that when I see certain images of people or entities I am supposed to emulate that I will have different perspectives than those who look exactly like them.

Even though I am aware the Jesus was not a White man, but was probably tan or brown and Middle eastern & African or some kind of POC mix the White images of Jesus are so prevalent that it is very hard to un-see and undo the frequent images that I have already been indoctrinated with. In fact, within my grandfathers home there are images of White Jesus or Colonizer Jesus as I would prefer to refer to him as on the walls.

Because it’s his house and I respect his right to decorate his home as he pleases I will not take any of those images down even though they are toxic.

I understand that some people won’t understand what the big deal is. For the longest time I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I personally did not care what color Jesus was, it didn’t matter to me. However I would note that whenever I spoke to my White friends about what Jesus could have looked like, whenever I proposed that Jesus could have been Black there was so much push back like “Oh hell no, there’s no way in hell that Jesus could have ever been a Black man!”

Even though I pointed out the fact of the geography and the major unlikelihood that anyone from those areas would have been blonde with blue eyes they were absolutely convinced that Jesus looked exactly like them.

I was so convinced by this constant denial that I started thinking to myself, maybe I just want Jesus to be Black so badly so that I won’t feel so isolated as a minority. Maybe I want the superhero savior that I worship to be just like me so I will know that he not only cares for me but understands what it is like to walk on Earth in a targeted Black body.

I resonated very much with crucifixion because society crucifies Black bodies daily. It’s tragic and unjust. Instead of resonating with something so awful, I desired to resonate with something powerful. I wanted to resonate with Protestant Resurrection Jesus, not Catholic suffering martyr Jesus.

The Protestant church is good for promising immense prosperity, to the point that they completely ignore the reality of suffering within a Christian life. In fact bringing up suffering is so stigmatized that people sometimes will insist that people are suffering because they aren’t simply praying enough, they have done something bad, or they aren’t believing hard enough and their doubts are causing their downfall.

The Catholic church however focuses on suffering. It focuses on sacrifice. In that aspect some people get in their minds the idea that they deserve to suffer. To minorities this means forgiving and not fighting back. However this is quite unrealistic to some of the fighting back that Jesus did. Jesus did fight back several times and so did God.

Actually there have been some very harsh backlashes in the Bible like when God took the first sons of the Egyptians when Pharaoh wouldn’t free the people. When I heard that story at first I thought, but that’s not fair to kill an innocent child. The Egyptian children were simply born into an evil Empire. At the same time it also wasn’t fair that he Hebrew sons were slaughtered. I know that God has vengeance, but even though it is forbidden for humans, if I’m being truly honest, I desire it too, very much so.

I thought to myself well, when is our Exodus going to happen? Where is the Moses of Black people? I want to witness a sea split in two. I want blood on the river. I want those magnificent things. In my mind I think, I know there are people who are reading this thinking, wow, what a religious fool. However, these are my feelings, my own exploration and my own perspective on what I have been taught. If I don’t take the time to critically analyze it I won’t grow. I don’t want to just up and leave. I want to consciously think things through first before making any concrete decisions.

So getting back, when I realized that my friends were wrong and that Jesus is not in fact a blonde haired, blue eyed European, I started to wonder why they were so opposed to the idea that Jesus could be and is POC? If they would insist that race didn’t matter, that I was somewhat racist for insisting that he was POC and that who cares if Jesus is purple?
(I hate those analogies by the way, purple isn’t even a human color nor a color of marginalization gtfo with that mess!)

There are still people who absolutely avow that Jesus is White, all over the world. I know why this was done. It was done so that White Supremacy would remain deep in the hearts and minds of Christians worshipping a White savior.

Since I am also aware that this is a false narrative, I figured, I will worship the Jesus that I know to be true, POC Jesus or Black Jesus.

So I searched for images of Black and POC Jesus and on top of that I incorporated African Adinkra symbols from Ghana of “GyeNyame” making Jesus cultural.

I much more enjoyed drawing and being surrounded by GyeNyame’s then crosses and crucifixes. In fact the crucifix is such a grim reminder of how Jesus suffered. I don’t like looking at crucifixes, it has always freaked me out, which, is very un-Catholic of me.

I was honestly frightened by the giant life size crucifix at mass I would see every other Sunday. It just looked so awful and I’d think to myself honestly, I know God loves us but I don’t think a flawed humanity is worth the sacrifice of his only son. Honestly I don’t think we are worth it. We don’t deserve it. I am disgusted with humanity most days.

I certainly wouldn’t have sacrificed my only child for humanity, hex naw!

Anyway I recall a friend of mine posting a question that rocked me to my core. He asked, “Does praying to Black Jesus make your prayers get answered any faster?”

For me prayer has worked sometimes, and I know that prayer isn’t magic, it’s not like wishing on a genie. However sometimes I feel like God takes too long to answer prayers if at all sometimes and it’s incredibly frustrating. Sure, I live a great life, but what about all of the other people who aren’t?

It’s hard to accept that we live in a broken world, and it is especially difficult to accept that it’s due to two human’s mistake? I mean I don’t get it, if you’d punish us for what Adam and Eve did so harshly but then sacrifice your only son to save us, do you love us or do you hate us?

I know there are people who hate, you know who, because honestly I can’t really even write that. Not out of fear but out of respect. I know there are those who think, how can you respect such a cruel, fickle God?

Because even though I don’t understand everything and never will, there were times in my life that God really came through for me. It wasn’t my own strength saving me and I know that.

I need to be honest about what I feel and tune out what others are trying to tell me, on both sides, the religious and non-religious. In the end, I want to know what I feel without those influences. One is in the right ear, one is in the left, but really I want to listen to what is in the center of my head and my chest.

And I will find truth, I will find love, and I will figure this out, no matter how much time it takes.

 

 

At a Spiritual Crossroads

I’m coming to a spiritual crossroads right now and yes it is very frightening but I am doing what I need to do to find myself. I am doing some deep soul searching and trying to figure out how I want to identify and what I truly believe.

I am exhausted fighting the church on social justice issues and it breaks my heart to become aware of just how many Christians are indifferent or in favor of others’ oppression. Even though I have had many wonderful experiences with people who were loving towards me who are Christian, how would I know if they would love me the same if I were to hypothetically not be Christian anymore?

I am afraid of being treated like non-Christians get treated. I am afraid of not belonging to a supportive network. I know that they are supposed to love me and support me the same but will they? I am afraid to find out.

I am afraid to be cut off and to be rejected yet again. I am already rejected by society in so many ways. I don’t care to be alone. I have loved all my friends, my atheist friends, my Christian friends, my agnostic friends and my spiritual friends.

For me I feel like I am on a journey. I currently identify as Christian but that might change. It might not change. What I truly want is to know that this is what I truly believe in not because people pressured me or because I have the bias default of my upbringing. Many people do not understand how hard it is when you cannot undo it. I don’t wish my Christian upbringing to have been undone.

What I do wish to know is this me or am I just reflecting what I have been taught? Do I really believe it myself, or am I just a mirror? I am about to turn twenty-seven years old. I am a grown woman and I don’t want to do anything simply because. I have never been one to follow the crowd just because. Sure there have been doubts I kept to myself but those doubts are coming to the surface now that I’m older and I need to face them to become my authentic self.

I have no doubts about God’s existence. I have doubts about the institution of religion and the church. That’s ok because church and religion are man-made structures. To be honest for awhile now I have been thinking that spiritual is something that I more so identify with. I believe in God, I get stuff out of church sometimes when I go sometimes but as far as being a devout bible thumping Christian? I am quite far from that.

I remember when I was about to leave for Guatemala and I was so conflicted. My Catholic mother handed me a rosary and said here take this. To me rosaries and Saints are like good luck charms. Do I really believe they will work? Maybe, but I figure hey I can use all the luck I can get, might as well. It’s more of a take it or leave it kind of thing. I don’t feel a need or urge to pray to saints or pray the rosary which is hella long ugh.

Mom gave me rosaries when I went to college. Stuff was done out of habit. I took what she gave me because I saw it as a sign that she cared for me deeply and wanted to to give me whatever she thought would protect me. Whether it really worked or was just a symbol didn’t matter. I knew that her intentions were benign and coming from the concern of a loving mother.

But I felt bad because this time, when I went away to Guatemala, I didn’t accept the rosary she offered me. We didn’t fight, it was casual, I simply said, no, I don’t need that. I got to thinking to myself, why did I not take it, even if I didn’t believe in it, if taking it would have made my mother’s feelings put to rest about my safety wasn’t it worth lying to her and accepting it?

This is one of the reasons I have so many tears in my paintings. I have a lot of internal conflict going on and a lot of things to think about in a spiritual sense. I know there are those that would say I ought to abandon all of it but that’s not what I want to do. At least, I certainly am not ready to do so yet. I would say at this point, that no I have little to no desire to be an athiest. I believe deeply in the presence of spirits and the supernatural. I feel auras and vibes and I am an empath. I cannot deny those truths because they are my truths whether someone else acknowledges them or not.

Whether it is God or some other entity or entities or forces in the universe, I do believe strongly in that. However, do I agree with most Christian dogma and doctrine? No, I do not. I agree with some, but certainly not all.

There are those who say, one cannot be a part time Christian, it’s either all or nothing. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a part time Christian ever. Every day I do what I can to better myself and to help other people’s lives for the better and I swear if that isn’t good enough for God than I most definitely could care less. That is the best that I can do. Be a good person and be good to others, to love and to give and that’s primarily what Jesus taught. I think even for non-Christians that Jesus is a good figure to emulate and to admire. There are some non-Christians who do.

Anyway I am on a journey. I ask myself deep questions. What will I do if I wake up one day and I don’t believe in anything or anyone? I don’t want to become jaded and empty. Some people see that as freedom, but that’s just not my stance. I am doing what is considered dangerous in most Christian communities. I am asking questions and wondering and thinking and exploring.

I think even though it’s scary in the end I simply don’t want to hurt anyone. I know it’s not my responsibility to sacrifice my well being for the pleasure of others but I come from a family fill of clergy. I honor what they do. I admire them for what they do. Even the two nuns who are my great aunts, at one point I considered becoming a nun because I thought it was so beautiful how much they loved God and people.

I know that in the end I will find my right path whether that involves leaving or staying or leaving and coming back. Everyone has their own journey to self discovery and at the end of the day all I request is that journey be respected. I know some people will reject me for ever moving, but I want to grow, and I want to know, what my heart believes, what my mind believes, what my body feels, what stirs my soul and what my spirit needs and everyone doesn’t have the same binary path.

I am on a journey. Respect my journey.