Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Importance of Dark Dorothy

In just a couple nights there will be a live performance, on NBC, of Motown’s The Wiz. If you’re not familiar with The Wiz, it’s Motown’s version of The Wizard of Oz. All different songs, same plot, all Black cast. The original came out in ’78 with Dorothy played by Diana Ross, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsy Russel as the Tin Man, Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion, Richard Pryor as the The Great And Powerful Wiz, Lena Horne as Glenda the Good Witch, and a few other stars! I grew up watching this movie at my grandparents’ house huddled around the giant wooden tv with my cousins. We sang the songs, tried imitating the dance moves, and felt at home in our brown skin as we watched other brown people be exemplar. This Thursday’s production has me overjoyed and anticipatory.



Again, and as it should be, the entire cast is Black. All the main characters are played by pretty famous people including Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige, Elijah Kelley, Uzo Aduba, and Amber Riley. The main character, Dorothy, is played by someone unknown, Shanice Williams. The fact that the cast is Black already checks a lot of boxes as far as representation goes. Films with an equal amount of POCs to White people are few and far between, but big productions with exclusively POCs are almost unheard of. Something one step down from this POC representation high is the actual skin tone of Dorothy. She’s dark. And not Hollywood’s version of dark in which the person is racially ambiguous with wavy brown hair and olive skin. By Black people’s standards, Shanice Williams is on the darker end of the spectrum.



Sadly European imperialism has effected the way POC’s (which is most of the world) have thought of skin color. Everywhere in the world and within every race colorism exists. Most of the time lighter skin is considered superior to darker skin, because it’s closer to that of the white invaders who overtook indigenous cultures. With that comes different levels of privilege. People with darker skin are often considered lower class, dirty, dumber, more fit for manual labor, ugly, more primitive than their fellow lighter skinned members of their race. In Hollywood, when a POC is playing a leading protagonist role, they are often lighter in skin color, and preferably with more european facial features. Shanice Williams, while quite beautiful, does not fit Hollywood’s ‘standards of beauty’; she has darker skin, excellent kinky hair, and a wide nose. She’s clearly Black, not ‘maybe she has a white parent’ Black.

So why does her skin tone matter? Because little dark skinned Black girls deserve to see someone who looks like them. It’s not enough for them to see light skinned performers and subliminally be told that they’ll never be beautiful because their skin is too dark. They need to know that their skin tone isn’t a hinderance, but an added beautiful feature they should be proud of. Having a dark skinned Dorothy teaches, reteaches, and reprograms that dark is lovely and talented and good and capable and worthy.


So the next time I talk to a little girl who says she doesn’t like her natural hair or her dark skin or her wide nose or her dark eyes I’ll remind her of Dorothy Gale.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Roles"

Same sex couples baffle people. Every type of people. Even those in the LGBTQIA community. My girlfriend’s close friend is a stud; quick lesson in lesbian lingo: a stud is a lesbian who has a lot of masculine energy, typically wears men’s clothing and is stereotypically supposed to be more dominant in their relationships with their partners. She, KiKi, is kinda obsessed with gender roles; she adheres to the strict guidelines (there are no strict guidelines) to the Stud-Lesbian Code of Conduct. She believes she should be the pursuer, the aggressor, the leader, the bread-winner, the head of the household. When KiKi first met LeAnna, she thought LeAnna was a stud. LeAnna is not a stud. For the past several months KiKi has constantly been challenged and confounded by LeAnna’s gender and sexuality expression. So LeAnna and my relationship confuses her. When we started dating, KiKi, once again, had questions; they ranged from “Coléa, you’re a girl, do you like this bag?” to very intrusive questions about LeAnna and I’s sex life.

But the truth about gender roles is that they’re not real, or at least they shouldn’t be. KiKi is trying to adhere to an antiquated system that cuckolds people into certain duties. The duties have nothing to do with who the person is, only what the person has in their pants. This isn’t fair. So when KiKi asks these questions, she’s asking them through the lens of a patriarchal heteronormative system. She’s putting herself into the role of ‘the man’ of a heteronormative relationship.

I have no problem with gender, just with the way society forces gender into a very strict binary system. When someone behaves in a manner that is outside of the box of that strict gender binary system they are often othered. It becomes: ‘that guy is weird because he enjoys doing domestic tasks and crafting’ or that ‘girl is odd because she doesn’t want to have kids and is into sports.’ This mentality is problematic because 1) it doesn’t allow for people to express themselves freely without fear of being treated differently and 2) it assumes everyone falls into one of two categories.

Gender, like temperature, is on a spectrum. As children we’re taught that something is either hot OR cold; but as we grow up we learn and experience temperatures that aren’t just hot OR cold. Sometimes something is warm or freezing or boiling or room-temperature or tepid or chilly, all of these temperatures are valid and real and changeable. Sometimes something is multiple temperatures at once, like when you heat up that frozen burrito, it is both searing and frozen. But it is still a burrito. And a person is still a person regardless of their gender identity; whether it be: agender, cis-gender, transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, genderfluid, etc, they are a still a person, a human, a life.


When someone asked me and LeAnna who was the man in the relationship, they were really asking who fulfills what gender roles. Who cooks and cleans? Who makes all the decisions? Who always drives? Who fixes stuff around the house? Who is the breadwinner? And to that we always answer: we are equally in the relationship, we do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.  I think that’s how every relationship and single-lifestyle should be. People should do what they’re good at and what they like and should ignore whether people think it odd that the dad stays at home with the kids and the mom provides the income. I believe everyone should have the freedom of a life in which we can openly express ourselves without having to be dutiful  to binary gender constructs. You should cook, ride motorcycles, cry, dance, play sports, read, create, BE because you want/need to, not because society tells you so. That’s the freedom we should all live in.

Also, here's the Genderbread Person

Also, also here's a great description of many gender identities:


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Young Love

“See that boy over there?! His name is Garrett Brooks and he’s cute and I like him.” Shari Tate confided; I anxiously nodded in agreement. It was my first full day of kindergarten and my first afternoon at after school. When Shari, a super cool first grader, picked me to be her best friend and protege she also introduced me to crushes, boys like girls like boys, and the dirty word ‘sex’, and to the male gaze. Garrett was also a big first grader with an expressive face, a whiny, scratchy voice, and round head with large ears. For the next couple years Shari and I would be best friends. We’d  join hips in the cafeteria after school and put our almost matching book bags together as we rehashed our days. She had a rectangular Beauty & The Beast book bag and I had the Little Mermaid one. We’d visit each others’ homes for playdates and when her dad died, I’d go to her dark house and play with her as her mom laid in her bedroom and cried. I was so proud to be her best friend. She chose me and I chose her and the after school staff couldn’t tell us apart.

Shari taught me the ancient art of having a crush on a boy. Scientific things like: yes, boys do have cooties, but not the ones you have a crush on. So Garrett was clean. Her jerk friend CJ was cootie free too, but we didn’t have a crush on him…because he’s white and fat and rude. She taught me that we should do things so the boys will notice us and like us back, but it’s not okay if a boy is mean to you, he doesn’t deserve our crush if he is. She taught me about making-out, which is also known as ‘sex’, and we practiced with these masks over our face at her house. I really enjoyed that. Shari taught me that being a black girl was actually pretty cool, this was contrary to what I had been conditioned to think during my preschool years. Shari taught me that’s it’s okay to be friends with your crush and to let him know you have a crush on him, but to not force the situation. He may not reciprocate the feelings, and that’s okay. She taught me to only have crushes on smart boys, dumb ones are a waste of time.


Shari taught me everything I knew about how to crush on boys, but she never once told me how it should feel on the inside. I wouldn’t learn that feeling until much later. Also, it was Shari I had the crush on.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Glimpse of fairness

Her and I are both anxious people. But when I'm around her, my anxiousness completely subsides; and when she's around me her anxiety dials down to a sensible realist level. Which is why a couple weeks ago, when I quietly asked if we could hold hands, she said 'no' and explained she felt anxious about it. I gently answered okay and we kept walking, unattached. Her hand-holding anxiety made sense, we were in Concord Mills Malls. It was once the largest outlet mall in the East, and as a former resident of Concord, I remember in great detail the guarantee of seeing at least two confederate flags per day when out and about. It turns out racism isn’t the only thing attached to that fucking flag.

It’s something we’re always mildly aware of, hand-holding and general public displays of affection. It’s also not something we talk about; it’s unspoken when we walk closely to one another, but never make contact while walking through the aisles at the store. We pass by male-female couples holdings hands, leaning on each other, stealing kisses and we walk on without looking each other in the eye. It isn’t fair.

She played for the VIP lounge for Charlotte PRIDE, and I was exceedingly proud of her, but the best part was holding her hand and clearly being a couple in public. And it being safe. She said she’s played and attended many PRIDES, but that this was the first one she’s ever been excited about actually going to, because of me. So for the weeks leading up to PRIDE we giddily gabbed about being our gay selves out in public and holding hands and showing affection and being the couple that we are without fear of strange looks or assault. How sad, how wonderful.

I’m walking towards her after she’s performed and I’ve gotten off work and she looks wonderful and doesn’t know I see her. As I wrap up the phone conversation with my daddy I bend over to kiss her on her perfect lips. In uptown, in the middle of a crowd, in broad daylight. What a rush. She takes my hand and leads me to the VIP lounge where we commence the business of getting drunk off cheap beer and wine that came with her complimentary VIP passes.

The rest of the night was an ethereal, drunken montage. Hand holding, crowds, PDAing, booze, friends, ex-friends, laughing, walking, queerness, groping. The elation peaked when watching Estelle perform. My girlfriend, who was pretty tipsy, sang along to every word and I, so very drunk, grinded on her underneath the pouring rain. It was a good time. After the performances, we called an Uber and headed home.


For just those moments, it was fair. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Friend faux paw

I was hanging with a friend the other day when I met a friend of her and her husband's. He apparently took a liking to me and offered to buy me a drink, he just "wanted to buy a drink for a pretty lady." I declined because I didn't want him to get the wrong idea/lead him on. She, my friend, then came over and asked why I didn't accept his invitation, I replied that I wasn't interested in his offer, although he seemed like a great guy. She then basically tried to convince me to try dating men again, as if now will yield different results from all those times before.

This is a close friend of mine who, although her mom is gay, sometimes says some ignorant stuff about the LGBTQIA community. Typically, I try to educate/correct her, but this time she was persistent. And I was made really uncomfortable and offended.

I'm not bisexual, although I did toy with the idea whenever I first realized my attraction to women was more than platonic. But all the soul-searching always leaves me with the same answer, I'm hella gay. I tried explaining to her the difference between aesthetic attraction (something I have for men and women) and having every other type of attraction (romantic, sexual, etc) for solely women. But she wouldn't listen. This pissed me off.

All that to say: when a friend who is different from you is trying to explain something about a part of who they are, you listen and learn. Don't be an asshole.

Mutuals

I had a necessary/awkward/good(?)/brief/deep conversation with someone, a friend, recently that has me feeling some type of way. Long story short:
I was going out with this woman, Pam (not her real name), and things were going great, then things started going less great, but I wanted to hang on because I really liked her and it's in my nature to allow people to repeatedly treat me like shit and still stay loyal to them. She broke it off with me and immediately dived into another relationship with Jan (another pretend name). Pam comes to my place one night to hang out and she reveals that she doesn't like Jan as much as she initially did and has cold feet about marrying Jan, and she doesn't really love her that way anymore; I try to give her advice, stuff like 'it's okay to have doubt as long as you're being honest with Jan about what's going on' and 'when you love someone you have to accept the stuff you don't like about them in addition to all the stuff you do.' We get super drunk and she cheats on Jan with me. Fast forward like a month down the line, Pam kicks Jan out and they have officially broken it off. Pam tries using me afterwards and now her and I don't talk, but Jan and I are cool.

When Jan and I talked in this aforementioned conversation, she mostly talked, but the biggest thing that hit me was how both our relationships with Pam were quite unhealthy. I hate admitting that, but it's true. When I was in the relationship I let so much slide, things that I now can clearly see were really shitty of her to do/say to me, but she had this power over me. I was deeply smitten. Even after she broke it off with me and then with Jan, I still remained my loyal-to-the-end self, always trying to depict Pam in her best light, always defending her. One day I snapped out of it and realized how much wholly healthier I am without her in my life.

Jan thanked me because that terrible situation ended their relationship before it went deeper into the abusive pattern. But really, I wanted to thank her for distracting Pam, because Pam ended it with me because of Jan, and that cut our terrible, tumultuous relationship short.

So I guess we can mutually thank each other.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is a blog post about being an ally

Recently someone asked me how to best be an ally to Black people; she didn't want to offend/step on any toes/misstep. I really appreciated her asking, but I also gave a convoluted answer. I thought instead of being redundant, I would share a great video that succinctly talks about how to be a good ally.



Franchesca brings up privilege, which can be something really hard for people to understand. I remember realizing a privilege I have when I was interacting with someone who has dwarfism, her and I were talking and walking, when she starts taking the ramp and I head for the stairs. It hadn't even occurred to me that the ramp was a viable option, but for her she always took the ramp because it makes her life easier. Here's another super video that's about intersectionality, but is a good illustration of privilege (white-female privilege).




Both of these videos are great, but there's a few other things I'd like to add on how to be (or what to know as) an ally:

1) Sometimes you won't learn anything. Of course members of the community you're an ally for are a great resource, but please do not reduce them to being just resources and not humans. There are times when I just want to rest in my blackness; this means I don't want to be your tour guide and explain everything to you. It is exhausting at times to always be held responsible for the education of others when it comes to something that you are (being black) and not just something you do (make smoothies all day). So if someone is kinda blowing you off, it might be because they don't feel like traveling down this road with you at the time.
2) Don't fetishize. There is a lightyear's difference between being an ally and fetishizing said group. When you turn the group into a spectacle for yourself or for other's, that's problematic. These marginalized people aren't here for you to be entertained by. An ally helps the community, some one fetishizes for their own self-intent.
3) Don't say how they should feel/what they should do. When something bad happens to the marginalized community you're an ally for, don't give advice. Whatever their reaction is, is the right one. Every marginalized people group (PoC, women, LGBTQIA, those with disabilities, lower class) have been told (and are still told) how they should act/feel/think/live. So they don't wanna hear your shit.
4) Do give space. Sometimes members of the community are feeling raw and just like you wouldn't poke a stick in an open wound, you (as an ally) don't wanna be that stick to their open wound. A few days ago when the Charleston church shooting had happened less than 24 hours before, I was feeling raw. I had called my little brother warning him to be careful existing so he wouldn't get shot, I cried randomly throughout the day, I yelled, I mourned, and I wanted to see/communicate with/think about ZERO white people. I understand that not all white people are raging, gun slinging, racists, but I also understand that no white person will ever experience living in an systematic, institutionalized society that's set up to keep them oppressed. That is white privilege. I do not know what it's like to live in a society built for the benefit of my gay-black-woman self. No matter how great of an ally you are, you have the privilege of not having to always think about XYZ people group, so please recognize that sometimes we don't want to see members of the privileged group because it brings awareness of our lack of privilege.
5) Stay in your lane. Franchesca touches on this when she says that 'ally' is a verb and you are the Michelle to Destiny's Child (meaning it is not about you so don't try to make it about you; it is always and only about Beyonce, all hail Queen Bey). Just like the 'A' in LGBTQIA doesn't stand for ally (it stands for asexual) and no amount of skin damage (aka tanning) and weave will make you black (*side eyes Rachel Dolezal*), please know that you are not an actual bonafide member of the community. This doesn't mean you can't come to the Pride Parade, this doesn't mean you can't go see a black comedian and most importantly it doesn't mean you can't fight for the de-marginalization, the rights of others. But recognize that you have a specific place in this relation to this community and don't go swerving trying to do the most.

Being an ally is great, being a conscious ally is even better. I hope this helps.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

you're doing it wrong

I mean, I’m a catch, right? I’m intelligent, attractive, compassionate, kinda fit, social, I could go on, but you get it. So why, a few years back, was it so hard for me to catch someone? This was the first time in years, possibly ever, that I had decided to actually try to not be single. I yoked myself to the online dating world and invested time in finding the right guy. In retrospect, I now realize why none of those potentials worked out.

I dated some eligible guys. There was the really handsome anesthesiologist tech who was a great conversationalist and shared my love for breakfast foods. There was the parks & rec employee with a brilliant smile and winning attitude whose one flaw was that he had a cat. And there were a couple of guys who just really weren’t for me. There was the guy who expressed that he was so great that he wanted to have kids so they could admire his greatness. There was the guy who wanted to jump right into a relationship with me and then got upset when I just wasn’t feeling it. And there was the guy who touched my ass two times “on accident” while trying to kiss me then asked me my five year plan. Those were some of the gems I met from online dating.

Now all those guys were actually not that bad, and some woman would be lucky to have them, but I am not that woman. In actuality, I didn’t really want to go on any of those dates, but my compulsory heterosexuality made me do it. It wasn’t until I realized that I was crushing on a girl that I understood what a crush should feel like. The feelings I had had for women up until that point, I had always just called a lady-crush…you know the kind where you wanna spend all your time with her, and have a slumber party with her, and you feel so close to her that you wanna hold her hand and maybe smell her hair while y’all spoon, you know, standard straight girl stuff, right?! Wait a minute, that’s pretty gay…as it turns out so am I.

So dating, I was doing it wrong. I struggled to figure out why I was attracted to zero of the guys, even the great ones, I dated; I mean I didn’t even like my first and only boyfriend. I struggled to understand why the crushes I did have on men, never felt fully legitimate, there was always some factor, some excuse, that kept my heart from falling head over heels, even when I felt love sick, there was something missing, some sort of apprehension present. But now I know what a crush is and why my heart would be broken when a friendship with a girl (who I liked) would crush me when it didn’t work out. 


I was doing it all wrong.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Genderally Speaking: A couple of musing on womanhood

A couple weeks ago I was in fitting rooms (trying on clothes I had no business buying) and I was taken aback, encouraged and thrilled, by the chatter I heard among the women in the space. As women, we’re taught that we should always be ashamed of at least one thing on our body. And that we should dress according to our physical insecurities instead of our tastes in clothing. So if she is self-conscious about her fat thighs, then she should only wear knee length skirts/dresses/shorts; and she’s brave if she wears otherwise. In the fitting rooms I heard women building up one another by compliments and best of all by correcting. When someone would say she didn’t look good in something, her friend corrected her and said that she looks great in whatever she feels comfortable in. If she likes yellow, then wear yellow and don’t worry about how others will perceive her; if she likes big prints then don’t think she can’t wear them because of her size. It made me smile and almost brought me to tears to hear women being so complimentary of each other.

Changing gears here:

A couple weeks ago I was talking to someone about our plans for the next evening and I mentioned that I was going to wear a short dress because I had just shaved my legs and I was feeling pretty damn good about them. She, a lesbian and feminist such as myself, called me a bad lesbian. She called me a bad lesbian because I shave my armpits and legs. It offended me at first, but mostly surprised me that a very vocal feminist would put down another woman for her choice to do what she wants with her body.

She doesn’t shave or wear bras and that is her choice and I respect her decision to do (or not do, rather) that with her body. She should have shown me the same respect because I choose to wear bras and shave. These things don’t make me less of a feminist or lesbian and they don’t make me more or less of a woman. Being all of those things looks different for each person.

From a young age girls are subliminally (or perhaps intentionally) taught that we should be doing everything in accordance with the male gaze. That means that every decision that I make about my appearance and outward mannerism should be presented and done to the liking and temperament of men, familiar and strange. Well that’s some bullshit and I refuse to live my outward life for anyone else besides me.

There’s a ‘new’ movement going on in which women, queer and otherwise, just don’t shave their body hair. Not only do they not shave it, but they also don’t try to hide it. So they wear sleeveless tops and dresses; some even dye their armpit hair! I think it’s wonderful that women are no longer feeling ashamed or dirty for having body hair. I mean, it does naturally occur on our bodies and men are allowed to be as hairy as they like without worrying about being thought of as being dirty or as making some political statement for not ‘taking care’ of it. I tried it, the whole not shaving thing and it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t like how it felt or how it made me feel, so I decided there was another way for me to fight the patriarchy. Notice how this decision has nothing to do with anyone else’s perceptions of me. My body, my decision. It’s called autonomy.

I am Woman. I am Feminist. I am Gay. I am Black. All of these intersect within me and there is no one correct way to embody this conglomeration of amazing elements! One of my favorite things in the world is to see and hear of women who have taken control of who they are and who they want to be by means of career, sex, love, and life, bonus points for them encouraging and aiding others to do the same.


Being a woman is amazing in any shape or form so fucking own it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

leg

You know that feeling
when you stand up from sitting on your leg wrong?
You know you're leg is there
but you can't feel it
yet it's heavy
and then the uncomfortable prickly feeling kicks in
so you try to carry on gingerly
because that leg can no longer be trusted?

That's you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Clocks

When I was a kid I had two clocks. One I got for my 9th birthday, it was a gold colored wind-up alarm clock; I had seen it on some tv show and asked for one for my birthday. My dad made a big schpeel and rhyme about it when he gave it to me before school. I loved it and had a very particular routine about keeping it wound up. The second was a bird clock; one of my great aunts sent it to me after she thought I asked her for it. Every hour, on the hour, a bird would call. There were 12 different birds, but I can only remember and recognize the sound of the mourning sparrow, its sadness and deep call at 7am and 7pm always reassured me.

At night I would lay in my bed and tune into the clocks. My gold clock moved in eighth notes: 1+2+3+4+; my bird clock, just quarter notes: 1 2 3 4 . Both clocks were at 60 beats per second, but they weren’t in sync themselves so the air was filled with ticking. The ticking seemed to take on musical textures and I would happily lay in bed under layers of them.


Happily I would compose beautiful symphonies and songs to the ticking. It kept me away from the boredom and more often times scariness that was my sleeping and dreaming. As an anxious kid who had more nightmares than pleasant dreams, I would try to position my brain so that when I did finally fall asleep I would simply continue the pleasant musical I had been directing in my mind. It didn’t work, but I always tried.

It wasn’t until probably last year that I learned other kids didn’t do this; they didn’t write music in their head to out of sync clocks’ ticking. Perhaps they did something else to not feel so alone and so anxious. Perhaps they had relaxation exercises to wind them down for bed, or maybe they just weren’t anxious.

Those clocks and their music were my haven. They distracted me from that figure in the corner that was probably a demon watching and waiting to possess me. They salved the wounds of the day from when that kid was mean to me. They stimulated my brain in a way that school, though I loved it, hadn’t found a way to do just yet. They helped me concretely know that whatever I do in life I want to be surrounded by music and to make art.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hit on: a dichotomy

This past week I was hit on three different times by three different men in three very different environments. The last one I won't talk about because it was nothing special and I essentially walked away while he was trying to get me to dance with him. But the first two will get all the attention. The first was a pleasant experience and the second was terrible. Here's what happened.

I like to read at Amelie's French Bakery; it's open 24/7 and has unlimited bread. These are a few of my favorite things. Monday night I was curled up on a couch in one little section reading The Great Cosmic Mother. I had gotten a lemonade and a croissant and was comfortably in my own little world. This guy walks up to me and comments that it's rare to see a woman reading by herself. (We're gonna ignore that reading by oneself is actually a pretty common thing.) I snapped out of my world and looked up at him. He asked about my white streak in my hair and said it was sexy. I knew where this was going. He then proceeded to ask if I had a boyfriend walking around to which I responded 'no'. Apparently blown away that a woman would be out living her life without a man attached, he told me to put his contact into my phone. I asked him 'for what?' and he said because he liked me (how?) and wanted to get to know me more. I then told him that I'm gay and he responded with a 'damn it' and cheerfully wished me a goodnight as he walked away.

Here's why it was a pleasant experience (that I wouldn't mind not happening again): 1) he opened with a really great/nonsexual compliment; he mentioned my book not my boobs/butt. I love to read so when people say stuff about my reading then I'm intrigued and complimented. 2) he asked questions about something he felt made me unique (my hair) and complimented it. 3) he gave me the option of contacting him (or not) by telling me to get his contact info instead of asking for mine, so now I have more control in this exchange. 4) he stopped when it was clear that this wasn't going to go anywhere. When he walked away I didn't feel annoyed that he interrupted my reading and didn't feel that the exchange, while it didn't yield much of anything, was a complete waste of my time.

Now for the second guy...

He walked in a couple minutes before close and sauntered directly to the bar counter where I was working. I greeted him cheerfully because that's my job and asked if he'd be dining in. He asked how much a glass of red wine is and I literally had no idea so I got him a drink/dessert menu and directed him to it. He loudly announced a few times that he does drink wine and then he changed the conversation. He introduced himself as Charles, which is my dad's name so it was weird, and asked for mine. We shook hands and I again asked if he'd be joining us for a glass of wine. It was clear that he didn't want to talk about our food or the wine, because he was too busy looking down my shirt! After verifying that I wasn't too young for him (although he was about 15 years my senior), he asked about where I'm from and shared that he's from Durham, but trying to find a better job down here. I'm being super nice and pretending to be interested. He asks me if I'm active on Facebook and expressed wanting to be Facebook friends to which I responded with not really interested in making new friends, but he persisted. I finally told him that I'm gay and he seemed offended, angry, and confused. He respects my 'preference and decision' but thinks that we could still work out. He mumbled a bunch of bullshit and told me that eventually I'll end up being attracted  to the opposite gender (men). He said it very authoritatively and I pretty much had full blown hate for this man at this point. I wearily nodded because I was too baffled and tired to argue with this creepy asshole and again tried to redirect to that glass of wine; then he proceeds to tell me that I'm attractive and intelligent so I'm kinda a waste since I won't be owned by a man and I loudly say that 'women think I'm attractive and intelligent too, Charles! You have a great night!' He sauntered out.

If it's not obvious, here's why that was a terrible experience: 1) he, essentially, cornered me; I was at work so I couldn't just walk out. 2) He smelled bad, if you're gonna hit on someone, you can't stink. 3)  He ignored what I said, I said 'no' and he persisted (you know who else does that? rapists). 4) He disrespected my sexual orientation; he basically said that it was a phase and that I hadn't found the right dick yet. 5) He thought it was completely appropriate to hit on someone who is several years younger that himself. 6) He literally looked down my shirt more than he looked at my face. 7) He was sooo creepy.

Here's the thing: getting hit on is something that happens and I deal with it when it does, but I hate walking away from it feeling insulted and violated and unsafe. That's how I felt after the second experience with Charles. The first guy was respectful and friendly, the second was the opposite. I was repulsed.

If you glean anything from this is let it be this: be respectful and when a 'no' is given move the fuck on.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hands...People Suck

A few weeks ago I performed for the first time at Charlotte StoryTeller's first ever StorySlam. The two pieces I performed were written by me.


Friday, April 24, 2015

(Don't be an) Apologist 101...(TW: Rape, Sexual Assault)

I started a new job this week at a raw-vegan restaurant and it's been great! I've had to get back into the swing of being on my feet for hours straight, but it's been a welcome adjustment. The people I work with are stellar; they're super helpful and upbeat which helps when things get crazy. Yesterday it was just me and this other guy working (at the bar) the evening/closing shift and he was (nicely) grilling me on my music taste. Every song that'd play he'd ask me what I thought about that musician. As the night was wrapping up he asked me my thoughts on his favorite director...Woody Allen.

"The rapist?" I asked.

He said they're still on trial about that and I said that doesn't make someone less of a rapist. He said there wasn't enough evidence, again not less of a rapist. He asked if I'm gonna judge someone's body of art based off of something they may or may not have done, I said if they're a rapist then yes. I was aggravated at this point and tired and annoyed and disgusted that this guy is fighting so hard for this rapist, then he said something that triggered me. He said 'they were in a relationship.' At this point I shut the conversation down, "I'm not talking to you about his anymore!" And then I called him a rape apologist.

Flashes of my history with sexual assault came before my eyes; my face felt flush, my heart beat faster. I wanted to escape.

Here's the thing I couldn't stammer out last night: most assaults are by someone known to the victim. People tend to think of sexual assailants as random guys jumping out the bushes, but for most that's not the case. Also, even within relationships there must always be consent. A 'no' is a 'no' in every context/stage of a relationship. An enthusiastic 'yes' must be present.

My coworker went from being just some guy I work with, to a rape apologist who's now unsafe to me.

People tend to have a very narrow idea about what constitutes as sexual assault; it's not just rape which means it's more common than realized. This guy thought/thinks that since they (Woody Allen and his victim) were dating/in a relationship that everything was permissible, that there were no boundaries, that consent was a given. Consent is never a given; both parties must be on board at the same time and consent can start and stop at any given point.

So here's how to not be that guy/gal:
1) Don't defend sexual assailants
2) Don't joke about sexual assault
3) Don't be a sexual assailant
4) ALWAYS get an enthusiastic 'yes' when being intimate with someone (if they say 'no' in the middle of something, then you fucking stop)
5) Don't call victims of sexual assault liars


Now go forth and don't be a fucking rapist.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adulthood=Bullshit

Yeeeeeaaaaa, I'm calling bullshit on adulthood. This is my tenth year as an adult and it just gets more absurd, even downright juvenile at times.

As a child I figured that by the time I was an adult I'll have figured out what to do (how to handle) in every situation. But that's impossible, there are plenty of instances, as an adult, that one can't possibly anticipate as a child. As a child, your people interactions are limited to school, family, and extracurriculars; but as an adult everything broadens thus broadening the types of interactions you have with people. And about these people: they don't know what the fuck they're doing. No one does. I have never been the age I am at this exact moment, so I don't know how to be this age. I'm just playing it all by ear. We're all just playing it all by ear as much as we'd like to protest that notion.

I love life and the experiences I have within it. I love life so much that I want to share it with other people. Doing life with people is my absolute favorite, but the thing that brings me so much joy also brings me so much confusion and heartache. I get it, we don't fucking know what we're doing as far as 'how to life', but sometimes (oftentimes) that messes up the flow of other people's life. While I'd like to believe that everyone is concerned and considerate of the impact they have on others' lives, that sentiment is constantly debunked. At least it is in my life. (I think I can be too naive with opening my heart and life to people. I'm often 'all in', so loyal, so sincere, so giving and that doesn't guarantee equal levels of reciprocity. That hurts.)

Some people use others for their enjoyment. Explicitly or inadvertently. Some people are really mean. Some people lack basic empathy. Some people are so focused on 'getting mine' they just couldn't give less shits about anyone else. Some people don't know how fucked up they are. Some are convinced that it's always someone else who's the problem and not them. Some people are just hot messes. Some people are just a cluster-fuck. 

Truth be told, we're all at least one of those above people once in our lives. So I try not to hold that against someone when they're being an asshole; I try to think 'they're going through the stage in life in which they give zero fucks about the way they treat other people, this time will pass and they will grow from it.' As I typed that, it felt stupid and ingenuous, but I like to think of it as optimistic. The problem is we don't know how long those above 'phases' last; a few weeks? a lifetime? That's the complicated part for me; do I say something or just ride it out?

I feel like I'm rambling so let me land this puppy: We're all fuck ups at one point. We will all hurt someone we care about. We will all be too selfish to even consider others. We will all...But within each of us is the capacity to love with the freedom and sincerity of a child. All we need to do is admit we don't know what we're doing and call bullshit on adulthood.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First 15

Today (technically yesterday) marks the 15th day of my turning 27. Normally, I don't care about that kind of thing and it's really not a big deal, but I was reflecting a lot today on the past two weeks. Really, nothing that I hoped would happen has happened and random shit that I would've never imagined happened (is that cryptic enough?).

>My actual birthday didn't go as originally planned, but it ended up being perfect. I spent the day with family and Mexican food and day drinking; and spent the evening with a group of people who gave (give) me so much joy. I probably had a giddy grin on my face the whole night. I woke up the next day and was pleasantly not hungover; I woke up feeling intensely satisfied and loved and accepted.

>I had hoped that I would soon hear back from this one particular job that I want really badly, but that hasn't happened (yet). The job hunt is disappointing and discouraging. I hate finding a job that you've been waiting for your whole life and casting your coin in the lottery hoping to hear from them. I hate that restaurants are all like "you don't have enough experience" when this skill is something I could just learn. I hate how I don't know what I want to do until I find this amazing job, then I have to just hope that they look my way, but they never do. I hate it. A friend of mine pointed out that many people would like to kinda have my life right now in which I can do what I want to do when I want and I get what she was saying, but I also need a freaking job.

>I'm reading this book called The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth. It's pretty much changing my life. In short, it goes through the history of the world, from the very beginning/creation, to modern times but with women. I had never really thought about how heavy handed the patriarchy tells the story of the world. It's always MALES were doing this and MALES thought this, but never are women really brought into the picture of how the world came to be. This book does that and proves how women have been much more integral in civilization than we are taught. (I'm not doing this book justice.) This book has me thinking of God (yes, even the Christian one) as a female. Honestly, it just makes more sense that way.


> Charlotte has been feeling really small to me lately. I'm from Charlotte and moved back to it after graduating from University which means I've seen Charlotte through the eyes of a child and adult. Recently I feel like every 'new' person I meet isn't really new because they know someone else I already have known. Last week, this guy walks into this weekly meeting I go to and I remember him  in the exact classes I took in middle and high school and even a pretty detailed story about him. Perhaps I'm feeling a little trapped or maybe Charlotte's shrinking.



> So I was doing fine, in fact I was really excited about this group of friends I was growing to be a part of. They are funny and talented and intelligent and eclectic and I felt/feel so happy and humbled to be welcomed into their circle. I felt like we were clicking, then I fucked up. Hopefully not for good. One stupid decision messed up the dynamics of things and I'm worried that I've lost these people forever. This makes me sad because I want them in my life, like I intentionally chose/choose these people to be in my life instead of them just being in it via circumstance/convenience. I've mentioned before how I don't have a lot of friends, I'm cool with that as long as the friends I do have are quality; currently I feel like I have less (like no friends at all). So now I'm awaiting the verdict of whether or not I will 'let back in'...the suspense is killing me.

Five nutshells.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Not my type"

I've heard this twice in the past week and I've angrily cringed each time. It's an expression I struggle to understand, yet always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The other night I was having dinner with someone; he said that he needed to get out more, he was feeling lonely. I suggested that he try a Charlotte Meet-Up group to meet some others who have similar interests to him. He said he was on Black People Meet, which is a dating site for, you guessed it, Black people. (This did not thrill me for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is that he claimed to want friends but he's looking for girlfriends, but that's another post for another day.) Then he expressed how disappointing the pickings/results were for him. He winced as he showed me the first page of a lady who'd contacted him, her profile picture/age/city/profile name. Nothing about who she was, just the precursors. She was appropriately aged, appeared to take pride in her appearance (she had cute hair), and seemed nice enough. I hated online dating so I give her mad props for putting herself out there and for making the first move. I asked him about her, what didn't he like about her. "She's not my type...look at her, does she seem like my type?" Full disclosure: I don't like his type. He hadn't looked past her pictures. He didn't know anything about her, just that he didn't feel any initial attraction to the way she looks. I have a problem with that.

I get that attraction is important in romantic companionship, but is there a polarity that people face when gauging someone's attractiveness? Attractive OR repulsive? Nothing in-between? And what about that minuscule thing called personality? Does that get any say in how attractive someone is? Am I weird for not having a physical type? Let me be clear: personality wise, I have a type (or types) and all you have have to do is say a few keys words/phrases and you'll quickly fall out of my graces (rhyme unintended). But looks wise, my tastes are scattered across the board. I've repeatedly thought nothing of someone's looks, but then they opened their mouth and suddenly I was obsessed. And it's happened the other way around: initial physical attraction (can't stop staring and drooling) and they open their mouth and I can't escape fast enough. 

So I'm curious: how much does personality factor in when it comes to initial attraction to someone? Do you have a physical type in which you rarely deviate from? Have you ever thought someone attractive until they opened their mouth? What about the other way around? Also, those other bolded questions above.

Not rhetorical.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pithy Mom and Daughter Story

I was the only child for the first 7 years of my life; so if one or both of my parents were around I believed it necessary to be the center of their attention. 

One day my dad came home early from work. My mom was clearly surprised and they were chatting behind my back, not paying me any mind. Well I wasn’t having that so I began histrionically laughing to draw their attention to me. The gusto I put into this display made me slip into the little, clear creek I was fishing in with a stick. The water was a bit chilled and only went to my ankles, but the worst part was that my shoes and socks were soaked. I panicked and began wailing once all the sensations were absorbed, I was drowning. I quickly realized I could just step back onto dry land, but it was my parents’ fault for not including me in their grown-up conversation so their punishment was me, their only begotten child, drowning and being swept away by the barely bubbling current. I was quickly rescued and taken inside. Shoes and socks at the door of our two bedroom apartment and me sitting on the edge of the tub with my feet in lukewarm water sobbing, my whole body in convulsions as I gasped for air. It was a scene. “Mommy, are there sharks in that water?” My 3 or 4 year old brain tried to wrap my head around the severity of this near death experience. She said no, that sharks live in salt water, which I knew about because Grandma Doris and Granddaddy Bunk live on the sound. Then she took a brief tangent to talk about freshwater sharks, but how they are still too big for the creek. 


Despite my annoying, childlike behavior, and affinity for drama she took care of me. She didn’t scold me for doing kid stuff, she put my feet in warm water and told me not to worry about my wet socks. How my momma handled that situation sticks out in my head because she didn't patronize me for all the staginess, she made me feel safe to be just me to react the way I knew how and to let my little brain process and learn the way it should.

(me, my mom, and my cousin; look at all my hair)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spare me

It's great that people are mindful of others' feelings because that means that they are at the very least a decent human being. But while it's important to be considerate of others' feelings it's also equally important to be honest and respectful of one's own feelings. A few weeks ago a friend of mine admitted that she didn't feel like she could be honest about herself and her feelings with me because she felt like she was responsible for my feelings. That could seem like a nice sentiment to some, but I didn't like it at all. I've spent a majority of my life doing that: trying to manage other people's feelings and stifling my own. It made me really unhappy and unhealthy and out of touch with myself and it made me feel like the people I called my friends didn't really know me because I didn't know myself/make myself known. I was always getting lost in others feelings, their world.

Now if I'm being honest, people do have a huge influence on my feelings, but so does the weather and my blood sugar. But I can only control one of those things. When it all boils down to it, my feelings are my feelings and they are my responsibility. No one else's. So when my friend said she felt responsible for my feelings and she'd step around certain things when having a conversation with me, it'd upset me. I want my friends to feel like they can speak openly and honestly with me, if it makes me feel some type of way, that's on me not them. I appreciate them trying to spare me emotional distress, but if not them, then someone or something else, so why not be honest with oneself and let me deal with my feelings and thoughts without you trying to censor them. That's much healthier for both parties involved. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

People suck. But...

Like that time when I watched my dad get all dressed and ready for his bachelor party and his friends never came, so he sat on the back patio and contemplated suicide for the umpteenth time.

People suck. But we crave them.

Like that time when I found out that my visa request had been denied and I was devastated and my best friend said I couldn’t call her because 10pm was too late, her and husband had to get up early.

People suck. But I need them.

Like that time in elementary school when some shitty little kid made fun of me because my ancestors were slaves, so he or she was better because their ancestors owned slaves.

People suck. But I trust they can change.

Like all those times when I was made fun of by teachers and peers for having kinky/curly/black people hair and I cried to my mom, begged my mom, to do something about the affliction.

People suck. But my hair is fucking on point.

Like all those times when I was reminded by that aunt that I don’t fit in with the rest of my family, but at least I’m skinny by her standards, so I’ve got that going for me.

People suck. But I’d still like to belong.

Like the time I was called ‘the help’ by a stay at home mom who I frequently nannied her ridiculous, dirty kids while she went out and pretended to run errands, but kept these Wednesday mornings secret from her husband.

People suck. But I will take their money and eat their food.

Like that time a super racist, creepy customer said that I was one of the smart ones and he was refreshed by my articulate nature and how he should be allowed to say ‘black folk’ because the  black President says ‘white folk’ in his book.

People suck. There’s no but to that one.

Like the time he said she wasn’t his type because he’s not into curvy girls and I took it to heart and was offended and put off by him.

People suck. But he’s not really my type either.

Like that time when my friend won’t pick up the phone or respond to my text messages since I came out to her, so I’m pretty sure she’s ignoring or avoiding me, or maybe she’s just really busy?

People suck. But I still wanna be friends with them.

Like those times when my boyfriend at the time decided that my consent wasn’t necessary and that he could do whatever he wanted to and with my body because he’s 10” taller than me and much stronger than me. Then 7 years later I finally put a name to it all: sexual assault.

People suck. But they won’t break me.

Like that time when a customer called me a ‘territorial bitch’ in front of his young child and wife because I politely asked him to not go behind the counter at the yogurt shop I worked. And I was appalled at his asshatery.

People suck. But fuck that guy.

Like that time when I decided to start standing up for myself and actually sharing my feelings and my thoughts and this small group of friends decided they didn’t like this side of Colea so they made me feel like I was unsafe in my own home, so now we don’t talk to each other, because they are always right and I will always be wrong.

People suck. But I will continue to grow.

Like all these times when people have inevitably hurt and disappointed me, purposefully or inadvertently, and I keep coming back, perhaps foolishly, only to experience more pain and more delight and more life.


People suck. But I love them and I want them and I am them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

In Orbit

I'm not an astronomer, but I do have basic knowledge about planets, how they orbit (I mostly just know that they orbit), and that they don't all orbit in a perfectly centered circle around the sun. Stay with me here on this metaphor: we're each our own solar system, so that would make each of us a sun. People are the different planets and moons in our solar system/life. There are times when the planets/people are closer to us and there are times when the planets retrograde from us. Some people are merely space trash, some people only stay in our gravitational pull for a designated amount of time, some people orbit in our lives forever. There's a beautiful synchronicity to this solar system, to each of our solar systems.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about who I want in my 'solar system'; the kind of people I want to be surrounded by and the kind of people I want to orbit around. I think to a certain extent you can choose who's in your system and sometimes you can't; some people sneak in (like the friend who I don't know how/when we met but we've been friends for years now) and stay, some people come bombarding in, tear up shit, and then leave. When I boil it all down, there are very few people who I actually want to have regular contact with my life. I've mentioned before how I don't have a lot of friends, but that doesn't bother me. It's the type and depth of friendships that I have with people that primarily concerns me.

I think it's important to regularly survey and maintain our solar systems, it is our life after all. We should take a good, hard look at who we want to have access to our lives, we should get rid of the obsolete satellites, we should accept the exiting of those who couldn't take our glorious heat (because we're the sun). But most importantly we should embrace the synchronicity and rhythm of our lives.

Monday, March 2, 2015

For Future Reference

For future reference, Colea, you don't have to do, or be, everything they say. And boy do they have a lot to say.
When they tell you what to eat, you unearth alternatives.
When they set out to make you feel inferior because you're not white, not skinny, you walk around naked in your blackness and curves.
When they reveal their lengthy list of only "do nots" for you female body, you wildly dance in the celebration that is autonomy.
When they box you into gender roles, you take your wrecking ball and smash the fucking patriarchy.
When they remind you that you are not a man and should therefore be subservient, you catapult fiery, feminist boulders at them.
When they tell you in whom and how to believe, you carefully piece together your own spirituality.
When they decide for you what to do with your life, you wander down every path that calls your name.
When they gaslight you, you dig your heels in deeper into every one of your emotions.
When they call you too loud, too opinionated, you get a megaphone.
When they limit you to a certain space, you let your colors bleed.
When they tell you who to love, you roll your eyes and lean in for the kiss.
When they belittle your cries for justice, you keep your hands up and engrave the victims' names on every surface.
When they hold you down under the waters of oppression, you fight, claw, and draw their blood.
When they tell you what to do, you do whatever the fuck you want.
For future reference, Colea, question everything, live everything, follow peace.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cheating

So when I was in university I had to take some english class as a gen-ed. I liked it enough, but the biggest take away was what the professor said about writing, about creating. She said that writing, creating something with words, was supposed to be messy. Yes it was a process, but it should be messy every step of the way. This was news to me, I had always been taught that writing of any sorts was cut and dry; there’s a process, a formula, you must follow when writing anything; there’s always a wrong and a right and this is how you avoid the wrong. Learning this and taking what this professor said to heart temporarily freed me and I expanded this concept to other art forms like music, my major, and to how I perceived art which is a reflection of life. I think life is art…I really do. And I’ve been cheating at it. I’ve been struggling to adhere to these rigid guidelines of what life should look like, and what it should feel like…and that’s cheating. That’s cheating myself of what actual living looks like and feels like. Life is messy and trying to live a life in which there is no mess, trying to skip the ugly/hard/confusing/complex is is trying to live a life void of LIFE. I was dating someone who really loves life and she taught me the importance and thrill of embracing every experience, unattractive and lovely, as part of a tapestry of my life. It’s cheating when one tries to weave their life tapestry without the hardships, their life will be incomplete, holey. And this holey life can’t stand on its own, so I want to stop cheating at life and fill my tapestry with as much life as possible. I want my artwork of a life to be able to stand on its own.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Still a Winner

About a week and a half ago the person I was dating broke it off with me officially; she had/has fallen for someone else and wanted to be with her exclusively. I had already been feeling the distance between us, I just didn't want to admit it because I liked her so much. The night she broke up with me I was distraught; I phoned friends and cried in their ear; I considered getting drunk, but was too tired; and finally I capped off the night by un-friending her on Facebook. I didn't do this out of spite or malice, I did it because I knew I would just spend way too much time on her profile wishing and hoping, and thus never getting over her. It's with that same reasoning that I deleted all of our text message history. Drastic for some, necessary for me.

The next few days I moped and cried and drank and processed and actively worked to get over her. My regimen worked and by week's end I felt actually really good. I didn't think "Good riddance" thoughts I just thought realistic "we honestly wouldn't have worked and been truly happy together" thoughts. Then I thought, I hoped, that we could still be friends. I really value her as a friend.

Monday (just shy of a week afterwards) I called her to follow-up and, amongst other things, we both agreed that we want to stay in each others' lives because we both like each other, as friends. I went over to her (and her girlfriend/roommate) house and hung out for a little that night. It was truly a beautiful experience seeing her interact with this woman she has deeply fallen for; it was great seeing them and the freeness and love flowing between them.

So why is this called 'Still a Winner'? Because even though I didn't 'get the girl' (forgive me for the patriarchal idiom), I still got to keep someone amazing in my life and gained another friend (her girlfriend). That's a big deal for me, I don't have a lot of friends, I've got plenty of acquaintances, but a small handful of people who I'd consider to be friends.

Also, I have no regrets, I'm grateful for the time we had together, before we dated and when we dated, and I happily anticipate our time/friendship after the dating. I might be getting the hang of this life business.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Cause for Loneliness?

A couple nights ago a friend called me. She was a little boozy and hanging out at someone's house she feels a deep connection with. She expressed feeling so lonely, and that it's lonely being unique.  I agree(d). This conversation got me thinking: are there specific things in our lives that cause this feeling of loneliness, and can one ever fully eradicate loneliness from one's life?

Loneliness is nothing new to me; I feel it each day in varying degrees and always have.  Even when I'm amongst friends, family, loved ones, it's there. All that to say, I don't know if it could ever truly be extinguished. But perhaps it could be tamed so that it only rears its head under certain circumstances. That'd be nice.

One thing I think causes loneliness are walls. Walls we put up explicitly or inadvertently for whatever reason are ultimately put up to keep others out, but mostly (at least in my experience) to keep something within ourselves safe from harm.  It can take very little time, even just one bad experience, to erect a wall within ourselves.  But the amount of time it takes to destroy a wall can take a lifetime. And the breaking down of this wall has to be intentional (or maybe not). Let's use me for illustrative purposes: 
Wall= not sharing my emotions and deeper thoughts with really anyone; passing off my surface thoughts as emotions 
Purpose= I'm a very sensitive person whose feelings get hurt way too easily and I take everything personally; I don't like when my feelings get hurt for obvious reasons, so I put up this wall as a means of self-preservation
Anti-wall action= with the person I'm dating, I work really hard (and often fail, and I'm definitely super awkward doing it) to be/stay present with them by realizing and sharing my feelings and thoughts even when I am embarrassed/feel so small or petty/am not entirely sure what the fuck I'm feeling/thinking; I work to operate without my typical facade...it's bleepin' hard
The truth about these walls is that you're likely the only one inside your walls...do you see how that'd be lonely?  Since we typically have multiple walls ranging in age, height, and depth, even if we have let people into some of those inner-circles of ourselves, there will always be another sealed wall, that is why I don't believe loneliness can ever be rid of. There's Loneliness lurking behind every wall.

Probably the only person on the planet who doesn't have insecurities is Kanye West (that was my feeble attempt at sounding witty and relevant), but the rest of us mortals have insecurities.  At least when we're being honest with and about ourselves. One big contributor to insecurity is a skewed perception of our surroundings. We look around and compare everyone else's facades to what's behind our own facade. That's an unfair comparison and it's the contrast that makes us squirm and shrivel. When we regard our insecurities as situational truth, it leads to shame; shame tells us we are undeserving and causes us to retract into ourselves and hide behind those walls. Where the loneliness is.

A friend of mine a while back had finally admitted to himself and his world that he's gay.  When he did that, he said that he just wouldn't act on it, that he wouldn't have romantic and sexual relationships with men.  He grew lonelier. There were people out there fully experiencing their sexuality and he was just sitting there twiddling his thumbs, observing but not touching, not breathing. Being in a place in which we either don't allow, or aren't allowed to experience our life (and all the stuff that comes with it) is the loneliest place to be. Isolation is inevitable and isolation is lonely.  Life is meant to be experienced for yourself and with others; when we stunt our and others' life experiences we are creating a position of me vs them (there goes that nasty comparison again). Our lives become a pretense in which we live these lives that aren't our own and were never intended to be.  Living someone else's life is lonely because it leaves your life unattended and suspended. Since then, my friend has allowed himself to love and be loved (by men, duh) and is in a less lonely and much happier state. He's experiencing his life and the life he should be living.

Loneliness sucks and I don't know that it'll ever just be wiped out, but it can be subsided when we choose to let people in, love ourselves, and love and live our experiences.