Scarce Identity: The Purple Side

Scarce Identity: The Purple Side

d2ec576031cfa11b906fc4802eb54c13I wouldn’t say this is a Prince tribute, but between his continuation and reading Frank Ocean’s tribute post on Tumblr, it encouraged me reveal a few passing thoughts.  Since Prince unforeseen move, there is a plethora of articles, think-pieces, opinion post about his non-conforming identity as a black male.  Frank Ocean alluded to this throughout his entry,”He was a straight black male who played his first televised set with bikini bottoms and knee high heeled boots.” Prince even eased Franks own self awareness when he said, “He made me more comfortable with how I identify sexually.” Now, not to be all in the mix, but we know exactly how that went down when he pulled that New York style butch-queen stunt right before releasing his debut album. Thus, collecting his coin from the gays dashing away into the mysterious leaving his fans and the newly gay fans for dry. Hopefully, Prince didn’t teach him how to Forest Gump…I digress, though. Prince own morals permeated the lives of many in the idea of self expression. However in my coming of age when sexuality and masculinity becomes the point in question out of every pubescent’s mouth, my inner thoughts always asked how can they respect his expression and not mine?

The high heeled purple spirit in bell bottoms, hip hugging jump suits, and Halle Berry short cuts was not around when I had to prove my manhood. He was before my time musically. The only time I would see him would be flashbacks shown on MTV some random Saturday afternoon. In those moments when he is wearing one his iconic flamboyant attires, I am thirteen trying to put him in a category as many currently did to me. Is he gay? What is he? People are allowing him to do these things? Boys can wear heels, since when? What seems to be homophobic questions from a sassy kid himself, were nothing more than inquisitions trying alleviate the suppression I put on myself.  I had to be meticulous in the way that I speak, dress, and act. Picking the tone in my voice and the way my hands move about with my words was a process as delicate as plucking petals. I was poor at suppressing those categories, but in how I dress I had no control over and Prince’s tight assembles were in contrast to the standard black male uniform of oversize everything. I had no celebrity hero that was equally accepted into the straight community and LGBTQ+ community as flagrant as Prince. No safe haven for me to conceal behind or vicariously live through. Either way, people loved him for his mystery while in the same breath try to breakdown what they couldn’t understand in me and people alike, even my mother.

My dad thought he dressed a little too feminine for his taste, my mother loved his music, Daily News front cover is of him with his legs crossed in his legendary heeled boots calling him “Sexy” While I struggle to put on leg warmers in hopes that I won’t get menacing looks and sarcastic questions at the age of 23. Do you see where I’m going with this? What partitioned him from me, what made his being acceptable and praised and not the tone of my voice, or the fit of my clothes, my proper dialect,  the glide in my step, my interest in things feminine? Something as simple as going out with leg warmers on a brutally cold New York winter day was an audacious task. the alarming feeling of fear heating my chest, sitting in the back of my throat as I timidly decide if I should place my jeans over them or not. Would I get looks and sly comments? What would my coworkers think? Would my mom question my gender for the hundredth time as she did when I accidentally left foundation in the bathroom? Is it going to bring unwarranted attention? I went ahead and placed them over my knee after drilling to myself, “Don’t matter who says what to you, you bought it, you like it, it’s cold, wear it.” Then someone later asks, “What is that on your legs,” when clearly it is obvious. “Don’t girls wear that for dance?”  Although my sarcastic responses were so keenly sharp with shade, deep down I felt like I called it upon myself.

prince-08  In trying to decipher it all between him and I and others alike, I came up with the idea that Prince gave the straight community something to look past his gender fluidity: His music. As long as you give them something to look past you will be okay. Got to have that something else that will be big enough to water down their ignorance. You can’t just be a regular feminine black male. You need a superior talent. One can express freely as long as you can slay a weave, design their home, shady humor, make them best dressed at the Grammy’s, and write the best gossip column. Or in another case, sleep solely with women. That way the determining factor, who one lays down in bed with, will decide the likeliness of positive receptivity. A women can listen to Prince and wish to sleep with him, while a male can do the same and assume his lyrics are about females and feel comfortable singing them. There shouldn’t be a pass for Prince in heels and a guitar while men like E.J. Johnson; Magic Johnson son, is chastised. Along with  Miss Lawrence and Derek J being slandered because of  who they sleep with is the determining factor of acceptance.

This isn’t about Prince. This is me trying to understand my self identity through him and question why society accepted him and cannot accept  me and others alike. No, I’m not crying out to wear heels. However, like Prince, he was an unapologetic spirit. I need to be that. Part of me is still healing from the past wounds as it still plays a part in how fully self express today. Part of me needs approval. I am working on that, I know I don’t need it. I don’t need Kid Cudi and Will Smith to make it okay for me to wear a crop top or Jaden Smith to pick a shirt from the girls section. I don’t need a rapper to be dressed in all pink for me to wear pink. I don’t need a straight male or women to vogue in order for me feel comfortable voguing in public. I don’t need Tank making a video about his salad being tossed for me to toss mine with organic toppings. I don’t need an presumably straight male to approve my fluid expression, my feminine side of a young black man. It’s the unwavering confidence in my self expression I am perfecting. Thanks Prince!

 

Advertisements
Dear Someone

Dear Someone

Dear Someone,

I’m not sure why, but I am compelled to write a letter to you who ever you are. In this moment, I wish to lay in upon

Melanin

Melanin

the bosom of grace while the arms of love wraps its motherly hands around my head. I want to unconditionally express my blackness in the way I have never mentioned before. May I, stranger?

I am well aware of the strikes against me. I am aware of my history and its struggles with white supremacy, I am also aware of my Kings and Queen lineage prior. I am well aware my people aren’t and never was perfect in the ideals of fictitious human standards. I do believe if racism were to dwindle into timeless space, there will probably be crime among our people. As our self infliction is not entirely off the backs of whites pride and systematic oppression however it stems from our lack of connection to all that is and nature that surrounds us. That is a human problem, not just blacks.

Events after events, turmoil after turmoil, my people are just being relentlessly slaughtered. I tried feeling as if I am not a twenty three year young black man in 1960′s. I try to convince myself logically that we have came far. That I can cross country with no fear, go hiking in no fear, be educated without fear. While I try to obscure reality with positivism once, twice, maybe weekly, I am constantly cut by some news about the injustice my people suffer.

At first, I tried to cope by creating some distance between me and my people. I believed because I am not fully embedded in my Hip-hop culture I have a safe pass. That because I can act in the likeness of white appropriation easily I am safe from brutality. I don’t listen to rap music solely, I don’t sag my pants, not in a gang. I can speak proper and conduct myself respectfully. I listen to all types of music, can hold conversation about anything, New York City is not as racially oppressive. I thought these aspects would coat me like gravy. I felt this way after every brutality aired on the news  to block the fact that I am the “Villain,” the “thug,” that I am next…

……………..

It wasn’t until Sandra Bland. It wasn’t until I sat and watch a black women be killed before my eyes. It wasn’t until I understood how deep this issue goes. How inhumane these people are. Are they even humans? The editing of the dash cam, the mysterious death, the lies behind the mugshot. My people, My Sandra Bland did not come from a linage that raped the lands of the earth, that ethnic cleansed cultures, drop atomic bombs, serial kill innocent lives trying to reclaim their glory that was savagely taken from them 300 years ago. We did not destroy others history and brainwash them into ours. We did not ruthlessly kill for the fun of it promoting Christianity.  However, Sandra and the rest of my fallen people were treated as if we were the hands behind this.

To the someone that is reading this, I ask you why? Why are they doing this to my people, why are they doing this to me.  We historically did nothing, if in fact we gave white people everything. We gave them math, science, art, architecture, fashion , music. We gave them a foundation, civilization. I question as to why are whites so insecure within themselves that is so deeply ingrained within them they feel the need to pounce about the world and history books trying to fill a void.

Do they feel like they are weak? Were they jealous of other cultures advancements? Did they feel less then when they came our lands and saw Pyramids that exceeded their consciousness?
Do they feel as if there were not blessed enough, for they lived in caves while the rest of the world lived in riches, so they stole our religion and use it as a weapon against us?

They did once recognize how our melanin and curly hair gifted us in the ability to adapt in any weather condition and they cannot?
There has to be an internal reason they hate my color? There’s has to be reason they have to feel the need to pride around as if they are supreme unless they feel none of that already within.
Why are they passing this hate to their children that knew not of hate entering this world?

Understanding Sandra Bland made me realize were I came from. Understanding Sandra Bland made me know resilience.
Understanding Sandra Bland made me know they will lie their way into a justice system that is designed for them.
Understanding Sandra Bland made me understand my skin. She made me love my skin. Feel proud of my skin. My history. My riches.
Understanding her also made me understand I am next.

Sincerely, My People.

Namaste.

Within In Myself.

Within In Myself.

It’s really hard loving yourself wholeheartedly. As much as I want to, I wish it was so easier said then done. It’s not that easy to know wholesomely who I am when I am consistently changing. It’s rather difficult to identify yourself without the ego. Unless, there is no identity through the fall of the ego, which is the voice that keeps us attached to ideals, image, habits, people. As I read all the time, the fall of the ego brings the feeling of oneness. What I question is the process in which it happens, what do you feel in this transition?

The difficulty is trying to understand what is the ego in you to know what changes to make within. I  have some sense, some minuscule understanding of it. However, I am not sure when exactly my ego comes into play. I know when it’s off usually in times of advice giving, I can sound like the most level headed, open minded, Ghandi-loving therapist ever. But with me, I am a lot less straightforward. I barely listen to my own advice.

Maybe I need to relax. That’s why I am writing this now. Venting.

At times I feel like I love me, then at times I feel like I don’t. Okay, saying I don’t sounds so much more downgrading then in actuality. When I say I don’t, I mean I feel as if I don’t love myself in its fullest potential. We all fall short right? and that’s okay?

Where we are now, we are so obsessed with self identifying. Maybe from a mutual understanding that we all lack a true understanding of our self. You have to have some identity going on. One much define themselves through something. One must have an obsession with something, a favorite something. Becoming nothing more than walking brand, walking egos.

And the minute you want to dis-identify you feel the forces that makes you identify with something or someone.

I don’t know where I was going with this. I just feel conflicted.

I want to be me to the my fullest potential. I feel that I am not, because there are more “important” factors that needs to be worried about, making good income, getting a degree, anything and everything outside of me.

Damn you early 20s.

Mental Trauma

They argued with such vitriol that they didn’t notice the children standing between them, until the unforeseen happened.

When I think back that’s all I remember. Being a little boy deathly afraid of my father because that’s what he wanted. He spoke loudly on a daily bases to remind my brother and I we were inferior to his being. His size that stood 6’0  high and over 200 pounds, mostly muscle from his high school years of being a star football player.

His eyes were blank when him and my mother viciously argued. My mothers voice powerful for a black woman was unmatched to my fathers. Friday nights were not the glory days  adults and kids awaited for. While Fridays marked the day of freedom for others, Fridays marked the day of trauma and distraught, as it foreshadowed the hell stricken weekend. Paranoia was my best friend that manifested into a deep soulful hate that lived inside of me.

I had thoughts of killing my father for the drunk nights he would come on the weekends. I would stand only a little over 5 feet staring at him with my lips curled in, eyes pinched together, and little fist balled thinking of that steak knife. The enemy would lay passed out on the couch with his sliva peaking out from his lips while snoring.

He would wake me up and my brother up and speak to us from 11 at night till 3 in the morning about nothing. He forced us to stay up while he condemned us for being kids. He would tell us we don’t need any friends and we don’t need family. No one will care for us as his family never cared for him.

My brother and I both less then age of ten and three years apart never knew what a quiet home was between my mom and dad. Deplorable slurs of words clashed between the two giants  violently every weekend for all of my childhood.

 Nights of him sending us in our room crying behind a door while our ears were pressed against it was normal. Unbreakable nervousness rode the thick red water in our veins when he would threaten to break my mothers ankles. Tears of silent prayers ran on our cheeks.

I can’t seem to forget a history that was part of me as I remained isolated disabling the need to express my grief in what I went through at home. As it was “no ones business,” as my father would say, “what happens at home”.

So I developed the ability to compartmentalize the terror for weekends only. This was my only coping strategy although I was unaware at the time. I gained victory in my dreams as a kid when I would beat my father off my mother. Or when I do grave harm on to him falsely giving me courage I never had growing up.

For being so afraid to die in his arms.

Daily Prompt – For Posterity

The Past Discombobulated Months

The Past Discombobulated Months

The tragicomedies of my life still prevail! The last–I don’t know, six months has been marinated in molasses having me feel like I’m swimming in mud. I won’t even dare equate it too sweet like honey-dew. I would be lying like politicians. I had to subside on the blogging due to the daily clutter. Yes, I could have updated during the desolate work hours, however, half of my mind will constantly remind me how I should be doing school work instead. “You know all this energy you put in celebrated Mariah Carey’s song release, you could easily start your paper…and go to class on time,” my thoughts said undoubtedly. Did I listen to myself? Of course not, do I normally? Sometimes. On that particular day I just didn’t. Instead, I randomly posted an entry like a random boyfriend who unexpectedly vanished from home coming back to his relationship like, “Hey girl!” Clearly, my stats responded, “Bye Felicia!”

The precarious relationship between me and college worsen like an infectious wound. Leaving me in a deadly quandary, I had to meet with my academic advisory after being put into my last probation, “You know I’ve been trying to contact you last semester also, we were suppose to meet and speak about your grades.” I believed she lied. Although I may not always check my school email, because it’s very annoying to remember to do so, I don’t recall at all! I rolled my eyes in my mind at that statement. Whatever, anyways, she continued on about signing a promissory note that included my academic plan and what my GPA should be if I plan on to survive in that school. “Honestly, you got into this school by the skin of your teeth,” she said as I briefly explained my interminable struggles of college, including my dismissal from my last school. “Had you sent your college transcript from your last school, you wouldn’t got in.” Yeah, she is so right, but colleges want my money.

This lady probably in her late twenties, early thirties tried to reason with me through my explanation desperate to find something that will vindicate my poor grades. “So what happen that causes this?” she asked. I lifted my head up looking to the ceiling pantomiming my speechlessness with my hands and face. I couldn’t come up with a solid, plausible reason why. “Honestly, I just hate college. These loans make me question how much I really want my career. No one is forcing me other than myself and society making me feel as if college is the only way!” I ranted, “These classes are extremely uninteresting, you guys don’t offer much after radio, emotionally and mentally I feel stifled. I pay so much money to still walk into a radio station feeling inadequate.” I couldn’t be any more frank with her. The meeting went on to her concluding how internally inflicted I am, how I should really reconsider college, and so on and forth. With all things considered, I signed a few papers, promised I’ll do well and meet with her weekly for checks up. I assure you I did not attend those weekly meetings. In addition to, she wanted me to speak to my professors about my grades. I left that meeting trying to forget all that just happened to hear my heart like a siren.

Henceforth, the rest of the month followed by trying to take on too much on my plate like I tend to always do. I started a radio internship, while still doing another internship, which swallowed my Tuesdays up–my only open day. Luckily, my mom was able to drive me to Brooklyn in the mornings to my radio internship. It’s been low-key sweet; a nice one-on-one time with my mom. Also, I had the usual work and school added to the list. So, my schedule told me I had no days off. And I didn’t, for balancing school, two interns, work and some social life was emotionally draining. I started to think I was doing too much…maybe I was, though, I continued to persevere.

Meanwhile, I went through my typical emotional downpours which lead me to think I needed help. Reason being, when people asked how I was doing I felt like crying on the spot. I felt myself literally faking the smiling, saying “I’m okay.” My body in an exigency to express my truth. I wanted to say so badly when asked, “I am not okay, I feel horrible, stagnant, money-less, lost and so forth.” This has not happened to me before, mainly because when asked I don’t feel the issues at that giving time. However, in that bracket between November and March, it became really hard to compartmentalized my nerves. I started noticing people asking me if I am okay; I believe It was starting to be visible on my face, which, yet, again, is not usual. This will happen during the rare times I am not talking and my mind is bounded in tumultuous thoughts. I was a ticking time bomb or a dam collecting droplets from every upheaval, whether it be from missing my bus, some dramatic turmoil with my partner, or doing some paper, I was at the edge. I told myself plentiful I needed to speak to someone. With tiny bits, I expressed my ongoing issues with me and school with a few friends who been through therapy. I sought out for a counselor, but it never pulled through. Eventually, as I knew it would, I lifted myself out of the funk. I tried concluding the reason to be the warming weather. I tried so hard to pinpoint the downpour thinking it was just a multitude of unsatisfied areas.

Be that as it may be, I am glad this is all passing. I don’t believe my school is going to dismiss me, my interns are ending, school is ending, and I joined another radio program. Through speaking to a dear friend, I realized I am in a much better position than many people with a degree. Comparatively, with my job, radio internship, and program, I have skimmed my field closer than those whom graduated. She told me not to rush myself or be too hard as the process of adulthood molds me. Things will fall into place as they have been in the midst of my strife’s. Though, I am trying to transfer into the school that dismissed me while learning I have a 15,000 balance from my current school with no loans I can take out, due to my grades, I know things will work out.

I swear when I left high school, I was not expecting all of this.

In response to State Your Fear 

I Want To Be Understood.

I want to be understood. Like how one understand the calculation of the seasons, like how the Egyptians knew the precise location of Sirus A.

I want to be understood.

That “ah ha!” moment.

The feeling when someone says “I get what your saying.”

The moment when someone agrees with you. The moment you convinced someone who you are on an emotional level.

I want to be understood. Like how one understands to smile when they feel joy.  Like how you understand a child.

I want to be understood that I am a human.

I am Dontae.

I am who I am.

I am all that is.

But I have to really learn and not fight that idea everybody will understand me. I am not asking to agree. I am asking to hear me out.

Know why I do what I do.

Why I am they way I am.
Why I read certain things.
Why I give.
Why I expect.
Why I believe.

Why things interest me.
Why I am seeking.
Why I am joking.
Why I am hiding.

Why something may anger me.
Why I may pass judgement.
Why I have an opinion.
Why I am emotional

Why I am happy.
Why I am rebellious.
Why this scares me.
Why I have hope.

There is power in knowing why? Its what leads to discovery. The discovery of one another, the discovery of true understanding. Why is what pulls the layers of one apart reaching into the depths unexplored, unexplained, while bridging gaps that connects to everything. The conflict is accepting not everybody cares to know why? That the only thing that matters is the action inflicted not the understand the reason. I have to rid the feeling to convince people of who I am. I have to rid the feeling to be understood. How can one come form a place of compassion without understanding, without knowing why what is-is?

We may not like or agree with the unfair laws placed against us, but there’s a reason.
You may not like the high price in gas, but there’s a reason.
You may not like that you got cheated on, but there’s a reason.
A serial killer killed hundreds, but he has a reason.
She selling her body on the street, but she has a reason.
He stole him from his dad, but he has a reason.
Terrorist had reason.
Countries don’t like American, for a more than agreeable reasons.

You think the wise one knew what they were up against without knowing the reason?
You think Gandhi faced his battles without knowing why the oppressors are what they are?
You think MLK, Malcolm X and more,  didn’t know why they wanted to oppress Blacks?
You think terrorist have a reason?

I want to be understood.
I want to be looked at as all the parts of me in one.
Look at me holistically.
The merge of all reasoning.

The Prom Picture of 2010…Five Years Later

I sat in the living appreciating this rare moment in which I was in solitude. It’s a rare time when my young brother leaves for the day and my mom is out for work simultaneously.  I laid across the brown leather love seat closest to the window with my up legs against the arm of the chair and my head against the other. I placed my nook down after spending some time reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s such an inspirational work of art that causes me to reflect on my own much more, or much deeper I suppose. I resonated with another human taking about a brave task to center herself in the natural world, hiking through the snowy alps of her memories, with the attitude to keep on going. I stared out the window looking at the building adjacent absorbing the midday sun. It didn’t look like it was cold outside since I’m warm and the sun rays were at its peak for the day.  I got up still listening to the silence of the house accompanied by my thoughts. I made way to the brown wall unit that held the flat screen TV framed with pictures of the of me as a kid, awards, fancy ornaments given from friends that traveled, but one picture stood out the most. I was only looking at the wall unit to see my reflection. Me wearing my multicolored tights of red, yellow, orange, green, and blue. It sparked the sun light and the glass window on the furniture reflected it. I tried doing a dance move fixing the posture reminding myself again how my form and precision sucks. I needed to take professional dance classes immediately.

I glanced down and saw a picture of my prom of me and my distant friend Tammy, who lives back in her hometown in Canada. I studied my face shaking my head at the split image resemblance I had of my father. We both shared the same strikingly bright smile with deep dimples and naturally straight teeth. The gene that brought me many compliments and possible wooed people over. The gene that always cleared me at the dentist without typically brushing my teeth twice a day everyday and flossing. I smiled thinking I look older, but not much older. The date across the picture sealed in album says, “THS PROM 2010” I thought, “wow that was five years ago” and I wasn’t pleased with that thought. I bunched my lips to the side feeling a sense of pity for myself.  I kept thinking what the hell I did or accomplished this past five years and I couldn’t a finger on it. Although small accomplishments were made, I did feel like I should be at a better place where I am at now. Honestly, I am. I am just not satisfied. For when I look at between 2010 I saw many changes.

My rareness of my smile has now dampened. The left side of my face undergo facial weakness soon after that prom picture was taken, that at one point it completely took my smile away from me. It has yet full restored, I do believe it will in time, after I start a healthier eating lifestyle. The picture was taken on my left side profile and it occurred to me also I was able to hear out of both ears. That was taken away from me, as well,  after a major operation in 2013 which made me look like Vince Van Gogh for Halloween. Then I funneled into a negative thought spell even more.

What was I doing for the past five years? I couldn’t pinpoint an answer. Other than feeling like a totally failure or a stagnant being. Stuck in mud. Chained to a leash that illusion me of making progress and when I wasn’t. I felt like I did nothing but fail at college over and over. I already got kicked out from a community college for failed grades. I hated school and still do, but at the time I honestly wasn’t certain on what I wanted to do. However, I sure did sounded like it. “I want to be a weather man” I would say to other people to me sound like I had a solid direction like everyone around me. I gave me parents the safety belt while making me look good to other people. I claimed to what seemed probable to me. I had this long deep desire for tornadoes not understanding is not the broadcasting weather I want to do, it was just simply going to the great plains to chase a tornado. That specifically. I didn’t want to know the chemistry of weather. I joined my first relationship broken then every before at the same time in college. With that I thought that community college right in the garbage and did not care. I had no friends there, all my close friends were gone away to school, and I stopped doing my hobby to sustain my first job and college. When this relationship came along I had to be in the mindset that it will make everything better. That my life will give color again. The taste of freedom, love, and consistency will be given to me by once person to compensate the state I was in. So I grasped all of that while waving college I hated goodbye.

I put my time and energy into that creation for the next four years, switching to another school failing at that again for not wanting to be there, and getting fired from two jobs back to back, while trying to understand my wants and needs in the mist trying my hardest to fulfill the ramifications of another. Lets add also, trying to succeed in my hobby that challenges you emotionally, mentally, physically, and my wallet.  I looked back at my relationship and really think I failed miserably.

I don’t know if the feelings stated play apart in the long feeling of inertia the burdens my back and day-to-day activities, but when I look at that picture from 2010 I couldn’t help myself but to funnel in this pool of mess and low self-esteem. The unexplained lethargy have embodied my much more these past few months. As I trying to heighten my sense of self I do understand I have to come to terms with myself about many, many things.  It’s like opening wounds so they can heal properly, but being much more content with slapping band-aids when a reopening occurs. That’s mostly what I have been doing prior my self-awareness journey; point fingers, blame, forget, runaway.  I know how my thoughts gravely affects my mood. My thoughts influences my experiences, my thoughts can heal and destroy, manifest, I know I am an unlimited being connected to all.  I know, I believe, I witnessed. I know my power. It’s point in which you stop just knowing and start apply what I know to better myself. It’s that purgatory between knowing and doing.