10.25.2010

one of these things is not like the other....

ok, so, lately my "radical/conscious/spiritual"* brothas and sistas have been pissing me off working my nerves around certain issues, particularly involving women, gbltqi folks, etc.

the latest mess started after tyler perry appeared on oprah.  apparently, he's the new poster man for how/why homosexuality is a "problem" amongst our folk, how the white man messed us up, and so forth.

as calmly and clearly as i can, i'm gonna try to break down at least part of what i think is wrong with the pictures i see folks painting.

1. while i admire mr. perry's willingness to talk about his abuse, i fully resent his and others' juxtaposition of abuse and dysfunction with queerness. full stop. anyone who shares his experience has a lifetime of healing to do. that's ok. within the context of that healing journey, what he does (or doesn't do) in his intimate life will likely depend on where he is in his healing.  and that's ok.  but to try to equate that process with ALL gay folks? nah, son.

2. along that same line, there are plenty of bgltqi folks who were NEVER molested as children, and are, therefore, no more confused or conflicted about being themselves as other folks are about being straight.  i've seen no evidence outside of fundamentalist religious contexts that says the majority of people who identify as other-than-heterosexual have been abused or otherwise "warped". behavior is not orientation, and the effects of abuse vary across people and cultures. people are complicated, and so is human sexuality.
(2a.) plenty of hetero folks have been abused in this same fashion.

3.when are we going to deal with the fact that SEXUAL ABUSE is the problem, and stop lauding the "victory" that at least some/most folks emerge from it "straight"?

4. apparently we still need to shout this from the rooftops: pedophilia is a psychological dysfunction involving a sexual attraction to children. the majority of pedophiles--regardless of the gender of the child(ren) they target--identify as heterosexual in their adult relationships.
(4a.) most children are assaulted by people they know, as was the case with mr. perry. you probably need to expose that "dirty uncle" in your family before you start worrying about the lesbian couple down the street.

5. this "population control" panic is nonsense.  we're not going anywhere. just about everyone's birth rates are going down in the u.s., for various reasons.  however, people of color are still the majority in the world. you know who gets paranoid about cultural/physical annihilation? you guessed it! whitefolks.  and now they've got us up in arms about their fear.  who's still talking about losing fam to the military and prison industrial complexes, gang life, and HIV/AIDS?  where's the mobilization around government corruption, healthy food, or better education? 
(5a.) this stance makes a LOT of assumptions, including that gay/lesbian and other queer folks don't have biological children. they do.

and, again, if you don't know any queer folks in the "movement", it's because you've shut them out of your view.  several of the folks you love/quote ad nauseum self-identify as same gender loving or otherwise not-straight. don't believe me? look it up.

if you wanna toss out their contributions to our people's greatness, be my guest. i prefer to stay great.

i could be shouting at the walls on this one. i really don't care. but i would love to see folks stop spouting--verbatim--the same hyper-masculine b.s. we latched on to in the 60s and 70s.  there is necessary work there, and it carried us to a particular point.  but now we know better, and we can do better.  much better.
 

*all of these labels, imo, involve avoiding the same white supremacist traps that have been laid for us for centuries.  we cannot continue to allow our need for esteem and self-worth to eclipse good sense.  

being radically conscious is about radical inclusion and a broad understanding of the range of human experience, identity, and loving--yes, even within african culture.  radicals should seek to understand the intersections of oppression and desire to stamp out a variety of -isms / -archies: heterosexism, sexism, ableism, patriarchy, kyriarchy, etc.  

chancellor williams' the destruction of black civilization does a great job of de-romanticizing historical africa, and can be studied alongside diop's cultural unity of black africa for a better view of the ways in which african societies were both similar and markedly different.  

10.21.2010

gone too soon

{addendum: it's likely that the story that sparked this post is a hoax. but what i said still stands.}

i'm sick of this.

yes, i know kids get bullied all the time. for various reasons. but it really CAN be this isolating, distressing and hurtful.

i've been through it...and, to tell you the truth, i don't even really know why i was picked on. but i know it made me wanna stop living, too. luckily i had other influences that helped get me through.

but while i had to deal with folks' misguided sexual advances, i also had the privilege of being straight. these kids are vulnerable on so many levels.  they are invisible twice, sometimes three or four times over.

on the other hand, i have to wonder: where is this deep, dark loneliness coming from? don't the smart/weird/freaky kids band together any more, or is everybody going for self?

when i was in school, the "outcasts" stuck together.  even when they didn't like each other, if someone got harassed/beat up/talked about badly enough, there was some measure of support.  whatever happened to that?

for the rest of us...

watch how you speak of gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

speak up when your kids harass peers for being "different".

befriend a kid who seems lonely.

listen openly, without judgment. be willing to learn.

you might save a life.

10.19.2010

caring can make you sick

heard a story this morning about folks caring for aging/ill parents, which detailed how care giving can be "bad for your health".

but what wasn't talked about--and i automatically wondered--was how much of that has to with people's feelings of isolation in the absence of the communal/societal support necessary to care for elders and children (see: sandwich generation).

obviously, if you're worried about losing your job while trying to take care of a sick parent and raise your own babies--and this is in no way your professional training or spiritual calling--that's going to cause skyrocketing stress levels. 

i also supposed that this is what happens when a culture that centers extreme individualism, independence, and youth worship finds itself having to care for vulnerable elders.

hell, why this is a problem at all, considering the constant posturing around heteronormative, patriarchal "family values"?  folks trying to keep the good ol' nuclear family together ought to be getting a bonus check in the mail, right?

problem is, we fight to keep people alive or force them into being born without truly understanding or respecting the cycles of life, death, and rebirth--both personally and spiritually.  then we refuse to talk about universal health care while clicking our teeth and sighing at "those poor people" we see profiled in these stories.

when are we going to learn we can't have our cakes and eat them too?

losing your job around caring for a loved one should never be a concern. family medical leave is a start, but obviously it's not enough.

we should be identifying people who want to be caregivers, nurses, personal aides, and home care professionals, and uplifting those careers as viable options over a variety of educational levels. these workers deserve to be able to unionize and earn fair wages.  they should also be trained as models of healthy self-care practices.

i don't know how to change societal attitudes around life/death/rebirth except to say that many non-western european and pre-christian spiritual systems appear to do a much better job of dealing with it.  i encourage folks to research the practices of their ancestors to see what wisdom you can gain there.  take the science as far as it goes, then allow the spirit to do its work.

finally, we need universal health care. period. the piecemeal laws and "protections" aren't cutting it.  without full access to care from womb to tomb and a legion of skilled medical professionals, we're shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot.  we cannot compete with the rest of the world's productivity, creativity, intelligence and innovation in our current state.  our omnipresent stressors and distractions around our general well being are major parts of the problem.  that said, we must include "alternative", holistic health professionals in this vision, not just allopathic doctors.

i don't understand why this is so hard.

no. wait. of course i do.

what i'm not sure about is how to dismantle the system in ways that protect the people it hurts the most.

10.13.2010

love/thought bursts

i am stretching in ways i could not have anticipated; new superpowers emerge daily.

i did not explicitly ask for this (or maybe i did), but i'm remaining grateful for the journey.

interestingly, i used to be completely focused on working to open my heart, to heal and accept love/loving as it arrived in my life.  i refused to let the pain overtake me or steal my joy.

today, i'm constantly aware of how heavily fortified my heart is...not from hurt and shame, but because i gave my heart to someone who dropped it.  from a very high height.

all those years of opening led to another closing; an understanding that i can only make myself available to someone with much steadier hands. until he appears, the fort has to stay in place.

it isn't ideal, but it works.        

i know precisely what i'm dancing around; i am keeping time with the music and measuring my steps.

i know loving fully and deeply again will not be easy for me, but i will face the new openings and fears when they come.

the right partner, the right loving will give me the strength.   

10.05.2010

church.

i recently discovered the daily love through a sistafriend, and today's email was just...wow.
Love everyone as best you can, but only invest in people who invest in you.


Your heart and dreams are precious things, they should be in hands of people who will help to guide them, protect them and nurture them.


As you embark out into the unknown on the Journey of your Dreams choose wisely your traveling mates. Your team and who you surround yourself with is one of the most important decisions you can make and a great influence on whether you will complete the journey successfully.


Treasure your dreams, follow them with trust and surround yourself with only the best.


Don't think twice about dropping the rest.

coming to the place in life where you can see this, feel this, know this...and live it...that place is a wonderful, invaluable gift; one that can never be taken away unless you choose to close your eyes.

choosing to keep mine wide open is the best decision i've made.

is it easy? hell emphatically no.  but it's real, clear, and keeps me on the road to my destiny.   

this is what i'm grateful for today.

another hallelujah moment...

they just keep on coming...

10.01.2010

whole lot of foolishness goin on...

i'm glad the crunk feminist collective took this on, 'cause i don't have the wherewithal right now.

as for this mess? no. just...no. not never.

and i can't deal with this, either.

i'll be back when my sinuses decide they're ready to show some love.  right now, they're in the midst of a painful and highly inconvenient secession from the union.