people of colour

5 Things From One Survivor To Others

Fam, to those of you out there who are survivors I am speaking only to you. As a survivor of rape and years of sexual assault in my home, I negotiate daily as well as in all of my relationships the effect these experiences have had on my body. I have had to negotiate my desire, expressing desire, receiving both wanted and unwanted desire. I have worried if these things have made me dirty, or unlovable. I have worked hard to be a 'good girl' with few sexual partners with hopes that somehow neutralizes the violation of my body. 

And as I connect with more folks who want to decolonize, and deconstruct shame and liberate us, I have learned new and important things that have been integral to my healing that I thought I might share:

1. It's okay if you want to be sexy. Sometimes the people who abused us might have said that we 'made them do it'. It isn't true, there are many different ways to respond to something that is sexy. I am sure you have many different ones. Your sexy is not the problem. The problem is that capitalism and sexism commodify our bodies and people are taught to derive power from desecrating us. 

2. It is ok if you enjoy 'rape fantasies', power play, S & M. It is okay if you enjoy even re-enacting your experience. You may find it feels liberating to have control over a situation that you didn't have control over. It might feel like going back in time and getting to have a 'do-over'. If you don't like or enjoy this or this feel scary, that is okay too. You deserve the sex that makes you feel affirmed. There is violence, and pain in sex that can be healthy if you consent to it. Violence isn't the problem, consent is. You are not dirty or bad if you like violence in your sex.

3. Racism, Ablesim, Transphobia, Classism - Some/all/other/none of these things may have been a part of your experience and your healing. There is a hierarchy that is applied in 'victimhood' (you may not identify with this term, that is okay too). Male or masculine of centre folks' experience can be met with disbelief, sex workers, Folks of Colour. These things can also affect the kind of help, support and responses you get from other people. Trust your gut and trust your struggle, if something someone says feels icky, go with it and remove yourself from that space physically, mentally, emotionally - disassociate if you have to. Disassociation can be a powerful tool that you have to take care of yourself.

4. This is real. It effects you, it doesn't define you, but it means things and it evokes feelings, strategies and responses which are all your bodies way of taking care of itself. That is really great. You don't have to force yourselves to watch movies with rape scenes, or cuddle if you don't want to, or hug a new friend or an old friend. It's okay to feel sad and get depressed about it cause it is hard and we often have to carry it by ourselves and never get to talk about it and the whole world just keeps going and expects us to do the same. That is fucked up and we didn't choose that. 

5. You are precious beyond measure.

Our Colonized Tongues

Ask someone what gender pronoun they go by, ask someone how they describe themselves and just like with someone's name - when you forget, ask again. Take time, have more conversation than less, write down things that you might need to remember. In any process of education, learning isn't immediate; it takes time and various different approaches to integrate it into our brains.

I want to remind us all that this process of unlearning language and culture that has been and is being used to limit, erase or violate each other and learning new terms that people have forged in direct response to the violence that they have experienced should be joyous. We are learning new ways to affirm and celebrate each other. We are creating more space for individuals to name themselves, we are creating bonds of solidarity, we are resisting a society that tells us our directives must come from 'above', from 'far away' or because that is what 'they' say, when in fact language and culture is created now, here and in our hands.

Done

I am tired of talking about 'whiteness', tired of responding to and negotiating it, being assaulted by it, being drained by it. Here's why, literally EVERYTHING that could be said about racism and white supremacy has already been said. People of colour have been prolific in naming it, resisting it and educating about it in ways that sacrifice our mental, emotional and spiritual health - even in our decisions to walk to the store just in our bodies can end in racial profiling, rape or death. We've written books, manifestos, made movies, films, art - if you can google and find the address of the nearest hipster hangout with wifi, I know you can learn in detail about the legacy and continuing effects of systemic racism. And then, WE STILL take the time to educate,  our friends, our colleagues, our lovers about the violence we are subjected to and we need to deal with defensiveness, derailing, name calling (too many of us have been called psychotic), tone policing - we are asked to say it softly or not at all, to ease up, while still having to negotiate the ubiquitous experience of racism - from which we get no break. To ask us to stop talking about it is exercising a privilege we don't have - the privilege to stop thinking/feeling/living racism. And because we do this, we don't get to talk about ourselves, don't get to talk about the dynamics between us as people of colour. I wanna talk about the connections/love/pain between Black communities and Latina communities, between East Asians and South Asians, between First Nations communities and Pacific Islanders - I want to talk about the ways we live those experiences as Afro-Latinas, as Indigienous Pacific Islanders - I want to talk and learn and build together as communities of colour. If you believe that Black Men are all violent offenders, that every womyn in a Hijab is oppressed and you don't understand why people of colour are so angry, I'm done. Read a book, use the Internet, look around, do some work.No more apologies, do something.If you make $250,000/yr, break it up into several people's salaries and hire some brilliant womyn of colour. Tell your old racist aunt who means well to stop talking. Stop mining diamonds, for the love of all life, stop wallowing in self pity and change the system that you benefit from every single day. Do it now. And do it daily.

We Are Life

I am so proud of us, proud our ancestry whose reverberations I feel now. Even if no one sees your actions, no one compensates you for your work, even if no one hears your voice and all the things you want to say (all things that we deserve), know that you are valuable regardless of whether anyone bears witness to you - to us.

Our energy and our spirits persist, the universe is grateful for your brilliant life force and this little brown queer, like a lot of others thank heavens for your presence and the life affirming solidarity that tells us that we are not alone.

I will keep resisting, we all will in our own way. We will fight even though we shouldn't have to, we will teach even though it is not our responsibility and we will be murdered even though there is more than enough to go around.

Why Reverse Isms Don't Exist

This is why reverse racism, sexism, heterophobia doesn't exist.

A member of a group with less power cannot affect a group with more power.

Similar parallels can be made with sexism, women as a whole do not have the ability to exercise power over men, but men do. Globally, men are in the most decision making positions.

In Praise Of The Vulnerable Femme: The Redux

My breasts sag.

They are small, soft,
Easily laying against my chest
Falling off to the sides
Across them light lines that weavestories like rivers flowing downward to the earth.
I have practiced exactly one thousandpositions, casually cupping them, shrouding them
Your eyes averted, kissing around them
You pretend my breasts don’t sag
I pretend my breasts don’t sag
We pretend our breasts don’t sag,pretend our bellies are flat, pretend our hearts do not hurt.
And I want to saythat there is power in our softness, in our vulnerability. When I see us inmirrors, biting lips and furrowing brows, I want to drop to my knees womyn andtell you that we are perfection. But we stand in this all together, carryingwith us the whispers and shouts of a glossy photoshopped world that tries towill us into non-existence with size 00's and I see you worry that my gazecomes with a judgement but I promise you it doesn't. (And to be clear no shadeto my slender sisters, I simply believe that you/we should all get a realnumber)

Dorothy Allison says “Femme girls dance on razors everyday of our lives, and some days it is only bravado that keeps us upright."And womyn I see you, I see you in your fierceness, your anger and yourinsecurity and I love you in all of it.

 

I love the many expression of femme-ness, love the subtly and directness in oursexuality, love the war paint, love us knee deep in the swamp and wide eyed inmy arms. I love it when you tell me what to do and love it equally when youhave no idea.
I want to shield us from the whole world beautifulbrokengorgeous as we are. Ithink that your round bellies are so sexy, the way you wrap your tightcurls/locks/braids/crown is artful and commanding and when you say something crass/brilliant/provocative/braveI.melt.every.single.time.

And I can't fit it all in here, nor will I try, but I promise to tell you allthat I love you more. Proudly declare it and treat you preciously. In this patriarchal, racist, mind fuckof a world we are both what is desired and defiled, vessels of power and ofshame. A world oftensurprised by our intelligence and dismayed by our independence.

But babes we are oh so hard on the world, can't help but turn heads and dropjaws. Can't help but free minds and steal hearts. We are scientists and sexworkers and when we find each other and find ourselves in each other, I know Iam watching god.

And it is oh so hard to love withoutconditions, to love with the urgency that we deserve, and in defiance of allthat opposes blackgirllove.
For the moments we forget, for themoments we can’t find the joy in our arms curve, the blessings in our fatthighs, the bliss in our sagging breasts.
For those moments,
I want to remind us that we are nevertoo much and always enough.
Explosions of stardust
Bodies of pure worship
Magnificent in our ugly
Eternal in our darkness