She says this, my black diva, those words she said.
My vagina shrinks. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard and I disagree.
“I love other women.”
Words I haven’t said out-loud to myself enough times to understand. Instead, I write poems — formulas to ease understanding.
The first time a man touched me with his Brillo Pad fingers, I was five. The last time, I was 21. At 16, I asked a boy to hold my virginity. He held it in between his ring finger and thumb — it’s not new, he said.
I agreed. It has been stripped like onion layers at Burger King.
Catholics said god will give me a second one if I prayed. I needed a dozen at that point. God frowned not knowing I had Brillo Pad scars all across my clitoris and vaginal walls.
Women who love other women were abused.
I love individuals.
I love individuals because I have seen how men move in systems. From five, I have known that the love in my heart cannot belong to man alone. It belongs to the light inside the light in you — I see the light that shines for me. And so, I love individuals.
I love in human. I love that women are beautiful. I love that womyn are beautiful. I love that trans is beautiful. I love that the light inside the light of me can love right.
Early this week, someone who I care about disagreed with a decision I made creatively & asked me to rescind. After the discussion, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe how I felt other than small. I’m loud, I’m talkative, I say what’s on my mind, and I do what I want. Are there moments when those parts of my character have negative consequences, ABSOLUTELY. And I spend time overthinking how I can be better next time. When I make creative decisions, I allow myself to be free. I don’t think about other people, I think of myself and my artistic message. Do I think of the impact my creative decisions have, ABSOLUTELY. Do I think about how they will inspire others, ABSOLUTELY. But, ultimately, I make all of my creative decisions for me, because they allow me to breathe in this world.
It reads, “I’m just waking up on the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, the birthday of Nina Simone, and I feel small. I’m not comparing my life’s accomplishments to either of them. I’ve learned enough to stop making that mistake. But I still compare myself to who I think I should be by now and the vision is incomplete.”
Asking creatives to rescind what we produce, takes a bit away from “who [we] think [we] we should be,” it’s an unfair ask and in a lot of ways a selfish one. And like Kiese outlines, many of us already compare ourselves to people and visions that exist and some that we make up ourselves. We don’t need you to shrink us any smaller.
Whether you know me as a friend, colleague, partner, daughter, employee, niece, remember that your role in this world is not to form expectations of me and ask that I live up to them. Your role is to be present with me, in the same way, my role is to be present with you. Should you question me, ABSOLUTELY. Should you encourage me to make my way to a better self, ABSOLUTELY. But, it is never your job or your place to ask that I fit into a mold that benefits you. Do I know all of that bullshit about women who blah blah blah and don’t compromise will end up alone, sure… insert Eartha Kitt laugh.