question: am i the only one who's starting to feel like our healing as men and womyn may need to happen (at least in part) within safe, small, same-sex spaces? that it might be awhile before we truly come together again?
it occurred to me that, in communities of color, we've stuck together under stress and duress for generations. things had to look good to "the man", regardless of whatever personal hells we lived in. we became determined to show everyone that we were ok, that our families were intact--even when that was a lie.
however, when many of those stressors eased or went away, a vacuum was created--sometimes overnight--and the spaces were filled with dysfunction.
we have survived, and we are loving and flourishing "in spite of..." every single day. there are many cycles that have been broken, abuse stopped, and ways remembered. that deserves gratitude and praise.
however, being in survival mode for generations has led to a collective trauma that is, in some ways, just coming to the surface. we forgot how to truly live and breathe in our own skin. languages broken or lost, cultural rites covered and coded beyond comprehension, we kept coming together and sticking together, only stripped of the tools, communities, and spiritual/social safety nets that could facilitate our healing.
the houses full of womyn, the prison system...these phenomenon are starting to feel like a collective return to the adolescence rites of the ancestors; a separation deemed necessary in order to grow in the knowledge that will spark full fledged adulthood.
the problem is that it's happening long after adolescence, replete with bitterness, fatigue and insanity, ensconced in a culture that only truly pays attention when you fk up. and we're still uniting to create children--whether we're staying together to raise them or not.
it's wonderful when a brotha comes to a spiritual awakening while incarcerated, 'cause we certainly know that's not the system's goal. but, presuming he wasn't wrongfully convicted, what did he have to do to get there? if he becomes a changed man but is forever locked behind the walls (or, worse, killed by the state), what does the community lose?
similarly, a house full of grannies, aunties, mamas and babies can be a haven of wisdom, beauty and strength. but it can also be a stifling prison full of ghosts, secrets and bad memories. i've seen both, and the latter is not pretty.
now, i don't say this to infer or perpetuate any gender-bias stuff or compulsory heterosexuality. we must also remember that, for many african and indigenous cultures, homophobia and erosphobia came with the european and even then was ridiculously hypocritical*. my point is, how do we become more fully, vibrantly human as individuals while collectively learning and practicing how others should be treated, particularly in love/loving?
i don't know the answer to that, although i know what's worked for me. but, if we must endure this "separation", i hope we can still be filled with love, encouragement, life and bliss in the meantime. may our children and their children know better, do better and understand better because they have been raised to avoid our missteps.
maybe the next generation will truly model reconciliation.
*aside from "god said it", i wonder if the acceptance and/or nonchalant attitudes towards same-gender relationships made the colonizers fearful that reproduction could cease, thereby drying up their labor force. keep in mind that true missionaries often became disgusted and dismayed by the officials who sent them. they quickly learned it wasn't about saving souls, it was about money. some of the more sincere ones would even "go native" and fight the power (even if they did keep trying to convert folk...).
as for the hypocrisy, i'll be here all day if i start in on the hard-wired misogyny of western european culture. women and their needs were generally ignored, so i don't really know what was thought about lesbians and other queer women. but the infallibility of the old boy network--not to mention worship of the masculine mind/ethos--made love for one's fellow man just fine as long as the proper appearances were kept up. and if you were rich and talented enough, all sorts of "eccentricities" were ignored.