Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coming Through the Fire

I was born to a time of fire!!! August Wilson

I’ve written about transitions before. Usually, I would list some bullet points on what to do on your transition journey. At the end, there would be a neat TO DO list.

But I’m a bit older now, and I’ve experienced that transitions are about coming through the fire, and fires burn, leave us scarred and depending on the degree, can be very painful. In talking about transitions, I use the personal is political as a frame of reference to talk about this.

In my own journey, and the journeys of those warriors I love and struggle with, we have come through the fire of forces often outside of our control. We constantly see the many faces these forces can take everywhere we go. The image above expresses this point so beautifully when saying, “systems that have broken our hearts.” We have also seen these abusive behaviors and patterns of domination repeated in our most intimate spaces, from our lovers, to our friends, to our mentors. In spaces where we attempt to build trust, “I love you” and subtle terrors often went hand in hand. These patterns of abuse were also meant to control and break us. Often in more damaging ways. We then also grapple with the pain of people, so close to us like our own breathing, who have broken our hearts. My biggest lesson on this journey, is to have my feet do what my mouth says. The honoring of truly loving (even loving those it can be difficult to love) and showing that in practice has been key to my understanding of what true love and radical commitment is and what it’s not. The personal is political. I have never had the luxury of separating the two.

We are certainly born to a time of fire walking this walk, and as Audre Lorde has said from her own experiences sometimes we can be left feeling, “tender in all the wrong places.” If there is anything our transitions teach us, when we are experiencing both the darkness and light of love and struggle, we see there is so much that has to change, from the way we treat to each other, to honestly assessing if we talk that talk and walk that walk, to defining our values that we never compromise, personal attitudes and what we need to let go (I know there is more that can be added on this list). Transitions truly are about figuring out how you want to walk in this type of world. I really do think there’s a sense of rebirth and awakening in seeing ourselves through this. My TO DO list has been thrown out the window, re-edited and sometimes burned alongside me as I try to hold it in the fire. It has also given me hope when I’ve needed some sort of testament to myself and my dreams. I’ve been looking at transitions as a commitment to dreaming, loving ourselves and finding the burst of light where we can.

Still breathing, still here…

When I dream, and see the Warrior Phoenix I am becoming I think of music. Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” and “I never dreamed you’d leave in summer,” uses the seasons to speak of change. So that’s where I’ll leave this post. Instead of the usual bullet pointed list of what we need TO DO, my question(s) is more of a reflection: in this place of light and heartache what fires have you come through? Where are the spaces you feel yourself tender and the spaces you find yourself feeling somewhat whole again? For me, I’m in a new place, and right now I feel very tender in my voice. My knees and voice shake when I attempt to speak truth to my fires, but then I feel the ache that used to sit in my heart become the thing that makes me love even harder. Transitions. We were born to a time of fire! I have two songs that I’ve been playing on repeat because it speaks to my personal “We’ve come through the fire,” Soundtrack and where I am at right now. Have you all heard of Laura Mvula? No? Yes?! She’s really dope, and I really like her. I leave you with two songs from her, Green Garden and She. Please listen when you have a chance, and I want to know the music your listening to for your own “We’ve come through the fire” soundtrack. Drop a line, share your thoughts! Sending lots of love.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

and the revolution was not...

and the revolution was not...
and the revolution was not cool
it did not come with an entourage
crowded around one

the Authority
the Chosen one
the Messiah
the God
the all knowing
seated at a throne
face on a poster
quoted at length
crown on heavy head
leader of that group
getting that job
at that conference
chosen as teacher’s pet
just a one way street

the dust of salty words
scraping against open sores  
stepped on bodies
shunned narratives
rejected spirits
denied knowledge
deemed “crazy” talk
the movement’s rubbish
laying pushed away

kicked to the side of the pavement
but i rise, resilient and brave
and the revolution was not meant to put me in a grave
i go

and I might be the face of those
anti-dagger, “how dare you challenge,” feelings
you so carefully veil

and I might be the face of those
anti-dagger, “how dare you challenge,” feelings
you so carefully veil
dark, female, queer, questioning
apologetically here
sometimes weary and afraid
i rise from the outskirts
resilient and brave
and the revolution was not meant to deem me as its mistake
and until you acknowledge my place
yes, i rise, resilient and brave
i go
i go

i go