That shit’s expensive

There are days
I can’t get out it bed
I can’t eat
I eat too much
Where I count the scratches on my skin

There are nights
I can’t sleep
I wake up gasping for air and my heart beating out of control
I claw my shoulders and arms in my sleep

There are places I can not go because I see it for what it is
There are people I can not fuck with because I see them for what they are

The worst was seeing myself.
How I contributed to and still contribute to the world poison.
There are a lot of people who think I and people like me don’t work but we do.
Personally,
You won’t see the results in my banking account
It’s in the muscles of those I’ve worked on
the amount of tears my skin has soaked up
burnt out novena candles smelling like hope, justice or a road opened on some child’s altar
somebody finally resting after a late night phone call
some ones expression of validation after reading words written in moments or rage or realization

You’ll see the consequences of this constant effort of confronting social injustice and the gaslighting inherent to maintaining the current status quo in an exhausted smile, glazed over eyes, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, disordered eating, disordered sleeping, trust issues, broken relationships, suvivor’s guilt and resistance to receiving self/community care.

I stay offering/doing work for the people who exchange stability and “sanity” for our collective liberation
I stay lying to myself and others by saying
I’m okay.

Still, I am aware that I am luckier than most. I have a home, I have access to food.
I see you
I see us

I see how we
Black and Brown and Femme in particular were taught that if we want something we have to be willing to die for it.

I want us to live to see “it”
This is dangerous work
Not just to the people who do it but all those who are close to them.
So if you’re reading this and there is somebody in your life doing the work start doing something for them.

Say I see you and thank you
Buy them a meal
Throw money in their PayPal or purse when they aren’t looking
Send them something sweet to remind them of the sweetness life has

But do something
Because they are literal dying for you to live.

The Medusa

The first time I saw Queerest of the Gods I was left undone. Here were stories of Deity that felt like accessible reflections.
Ten years later I had the honor of participating in the event that touched me so deeply.

I knew I did not want to represent something linked to the Greek/Roman pantheon. In the ten years since my first QotG I had found myself having adverse reactions to eurocentric representations of The Holy. The combination of an extreme lack of racial diversity in both aesthetics and practices with a cascade of casual dismissal from white people in leadership had done a fuck ton of damage to me.

As someone deeply invested in the transformational magic of seeing myself in the face of the Divine it was really fucking inconvenient when Medusa popped up like
Heeeeeeeeey bitch you ready?

I tried to turn my back.
Roll up on Oya.
Show up with purple flowers and sweet red wine to ask her to step out with me but Oya looked over my shoulder, laughed and walked away.

Medusa chased me for months until I surrendered.
Which was, as alway, dramatic and full of madness because I often don’t know when to stop.
She told me I was so very wrong in my assumptions
And after a night of marijuana, wine, naked dancing and crying on my balcony under a strong bright moon I received Her & Athena

and this.

This is for the survivors
This is for the war-weary women and femmes fighting for sovereignty of their own bodies
fighting for the sovereignty of their own sex, their own stories, their own land
You who have been slandered sullied and scarred
pass through me and be reborn

All you know of me is lies
A false narrative I had nothing to do with
A recorded demonization that served those in power and convinced others that they had none
Let the record burn

Athena: Heaven
Medusa: Myself
Music: 121 Recorriendo la Sabana de Nuevo / Black Panther Suite (Score) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6txUB4JPw8

Transcription

Medusa:They would have me hate you
Athena: These men that stole our story
Both: They dishonor us
Athena: Sister,Let the record finally be set right

I was born of Africa
My mother The Living Waters
My grandmother The Earth Herself
My sisters and I The Anatha
We the Triune Soul of the Triple Moon

How dare these fuckboys tell you I am not Immortal.

These men who invaded my land
These men who wanted my abundance
These men who sought to impose authority over me, tell me how it was going to be in my own damn home.


I resisted
Against those carried here with the protection of Poseidon himself
Against those trying to take from me that which belong to neither god nor man

I rallied
Summoning my Priestesses, the Matriarchal African Warrior Clans

I retaliated
Even as my blood flowed like rivers across the whole Libya and Egypt

I fought until they captured me
drug me by my hair across Poseidon’s lap to Greece
I was to be a spoil of their war
A sacrifice to their new gods
But I would not die


They shattered my triple soul, One part eaten, One part made to forget and still I would not die


So they raised their scalpels and reconstructed the story of my soul
they sucked the melanin from my skin, they raped me, turned me against myself, demonized me, isolated me, murdered me, perverted my corpse,  then bled it’s power dry

Because I had the audacity to say No
Because I am a Black Woman who had the audacity to say No More

Years turned to decades into centuries into millennia
I began to hear these lies cross the lips of my own children. I began to believe…that everything they said about me was true, that everything they did to me was deserved…

Athena:(walks toward Medusa and holds her)
I found you
Broken and bloodied
I loved you
Me loving you was me loving myself

Athena pressed her lips and teeth against the scarred skin of my back and her breath restored my wings

She passed her palms down every inch of my body, turning ravaged flesh to gilded armor and we remembered who we were

Medusa: Our fingers loced in my hair
Both:Our hair singing sweet songs our coiled serpents awaken
I am not dead
I am all that came before
I am all that survived after

I am monsteress because I am Wisdom in a Woman’s form

I am not the cursed but I can deliver one
for the survivors
for the war-weary women and femmes fighting for sovereignty of their own bodies
fighting for the sovereignty of their own sex, their own stories, their own land.

Call for me and I will raise my red mask and ride to your defense
Call for me and I will hold them in a mirrored gaze that will drive them mad with the truth of themselves

I am a viper whose poison will burn their flesh to stone
no mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers me for I am the hard earned Wisdom you should never had to learn

I am MotherDeath and Crone
Women, Femmes my beautiful TransDaughters
You who have been slandered sullied and scarred pass through me and be reborn

Call me by my name and I will come to you!
The name they stole from me when I would not lay down

Call me by my name!
The song on lips of my sistersselves Athena and Metris

Call me by my name!
I am Neith I am the Medusa
I am vengeance and I am coming.

cup of tea

Often,when it rains
my knee aches
It didn’t used to

I fell.

I came to work the next day limping, in a wrist brace with dark circles under my eyes
must have looked like I was punched in the face
one of the legal assistants leaned over my desk and whispered

what happened?

I said that my current boyfriend had pushed me down the stairs

Awful joke, I regretted instantly
Her eyes widened, she leaned forward even more
Concerned

No no I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I fell
She didn’t believe me

I did fall
I had been having a weird fever with chills every night but I seemed to be coping well enough during the day

I begged my ex to fix me a cup of tea because nightquil and exhaustion made the stairs difficult
He told me to get it myself
He was tired.

So I did and I fell
When I asked him the next night saying please help me I fell last night he responded the same

So I did and I fell
I fell in the same damn spot
I shattered the cup
I cut myself
I twisted my wrist and burned my stomach
I hurt my knee
I cried

Then I crawled up the stairs for towels, cleaned it and myself up then went back to bed

The next morning he scolded me for not asking for help in a way in which he could hear and understand it

Years later
After a show
I was sitting in the rain in San Francisco
eating crepes with a mutal aquaintaince
the steam rising up from every bite

He told me that my ex was getting married. It was something I already knew. When I asked how she was doing I was really asking if she had figured out what an asshole he was

He looked at me directly as if realizing something for the first time

You know what, he said. He really has a thing for broken women.

I rubbed my knee as I responded
He doesn’t have a thing for broken women.
He breaks them.

It’s raining now
As I write this
As I pause to rub my knee
Sometimes I still get sad in the rain which is inconvenient because I really really really love the rain

I often don’t remember why I get sad but today I do
Today I’m aware
So I’m taking a moment to speak directly to my heart from the knees up
Reminding these parts of me
I am no longer broken
I am loved
I will never again want for a cup of tea

How not to be a Social Worker

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the doctor. I was emotionally ready for a fight but it a surprising experience. My doctor was a Black woman who believed I knew my body best.

She ordered every test requested and made amazing suggestions. My weight was never a thing until I brought it up and even then she followed my lead on how I spoke about it. When she asked about mental health I was honest. She set me up with the on duty social worker right away.

I was so excited when I saw a person of color. I’ve been damaged by so many white therapists. I couldn’t wait to finally get some tools that applied when…

Social Worker: so what other things cause stress in your life?

Me: I’m a performer and as a fat person-

SW: Hold on a second can we use a new word?

Me: I’m an artist and as a fat person-

SW: No I mean another descriptive word.

Me: For what?

SW: I mean you shouldn’t call yourself…

Me: FAT!!! Then what am I?

SW: Let’s explore that. What does this mean to you?

Me: Okay so being fat is not synonymous with ugly, lazy, stupid.

SW: I know and you know that too so why use that word?

Me: Because it’s cute and easier than obese and shorter than over weight because what does that even mean and rotund is a mouthful and rubenesque in day to day conversation is just plain pretentious.

SW: Okay so explain to me what being fat(whispered)means to you. Maybe you’ll find a new word there

Me: Umm I’m like published in an academic textbook regarding fat and the politics of size and I’ve been invited to and spoken at Stanford, UC Berkeley and Mills College regarding Fat Identification…

SW: (horrified and eyes glazing over at the same time)

Me: So I think I’m okay with the word and I think I’m regarded as knowledgeable in the subject of how I talk about my own body.

SW: Yeah it’s just we hear these words and it’s like nails across the chalkboard.

Me: For you?

SW: It can be for you too.

Me: My blog until three months ago was called the ungratefulfatbitch!

SW: There’s words like BBW.

Me: 😂

SW: Just try it. Explain to me what being fat means.

Me: I have to go to a specialty store in order to buy clothing, that I won’t get diagnosed according to what’s actually ailing me, that I may not have access to healthcare at times, that have to be really good at what I’m doing to be taken half a seriously, that people think that I’m ugly, lazy and or stupid, that I’m easily dismissed and not seen as an expert in my field-

SW: But that’s how people treat you because of your size not what it means to you

Me: And this is why we’re here 🙃

This slender social worker nearly choked  himself to sleep with the death grip he had on his pearls.  He couldn’t hear me.  He refused to hear or see me.  And I’m so desperately in need of someone who can see me and help me cultivate the tools necessary for this delicious life I’ve got planned.

Comfort

I stay telling my clients that they don’t have to live in discomfort.

I’m so fucking #teamvirgo because I also stay being do as I say not as I do.

From 5 to 17 I lived in saddle oxfords and uniforms. By 18 I was buying my own clothing and shoes so that meant thrift stores, clothing shops and if I needed something new Payless. I knew I was uncomfortable but I knew that I could deal with it.

Today Wednesday gently lured me into a shop while I made soft wookie nosies under my breath to soothe my nerves.

They coaxed me into a pair of shoes that made me so comfortable that I literally took off running and jumping while the sales people laughed.

They then listened as I said I can’t afford, I have debt to pay, if I can’t buy it then I shouldn’t have it. I’m old enough to take care of myself and I got myself in the position of not being able to afford something I so obviously need so this is just something I live with until I can.

I’m in constant pain.
It ranges from a 2 to 7 with a daily median of 5. I was about a 5 in my current gear but when I put on those shoes it dropped to a 2, my posture changed, my hips allowed me a honest to god gait instead of a shuffle.

They held my hand and spoke to me in soft tones while I almost cried because I couldn’t get around myself.

They made a suggestion, a compromise, a way and so now I have shoes that fit, that can go into the garden and down a hill and into a dungeon too if I wanted.

And I have within my own body an understanding of what I so fiercely fight for other people to have on a daily basis.

I didn’t want to be comfortable because I didn’t want to maintain it. More to the point I didn’t want to lose it.

My existence has never been comfortable.
I told myself it could never be comfortable.
I keep getting shown that that is a lie.
A tape recorded so I wouldn’t push back or demand or dream or ask or hope or want.

So yeah
Okay
I’ll slip into these shoes and I’ll push back
I’ll demand
I’ll dream
I’ll ask
I’ll hope
I’ll want more.

Thank you Love.

Issa Trap!

Beloved,
Your humanity will cause you to look for the humanity in people who (aware or unaware) do not see you as human.

It’s a trap!

Through religion, mass media, weaponized desirability politics, the educational system, scarcity syndrome and the necessity of survival we were groomed.

Groomed to participate in perpetuating a system that profits from the labor of our creativity and magic but compensates or acknowledges us for none of it.

Groomed to consume prettily worded explainations and I’m sorry you’re hurt instead of full accountability in action.

Groomed to accept the least then give the most of our blood and spirit to mend something that was broken and never meant for us to begin with.

Because of this conditioning we have sympathized with their personal stories of struggles. We have compared them to our own without caculating the added taxes associated with being Black, being Brown, Being Trans, Being Queer.

We have given them allowances for things we wouldn’t even accept in ourselves.

It’s a hard cycle to break.

Your discomfort is natural.
Remember that you are severing chains that go back 400 years or more.

They will tell you that you are hardhearted that you want them to hurt because you hurt
that you ask too much of them too soon
that you have no compassion

Know that this is the language of addiction.

Know that there is a difference between compassion and enabling.

Beloved,
You are not a monster because you refuse to ease them into equality.

Beloved,
It’s okay to cry as you wield your sword against your oppressors and their systems.

Beloved,
Your humanity will cause you to look for the humanity in people who (aware or unaware) do not see you as human.
Treat them the same.
Walk with a compassion that centers you first.
Walk in compassion but take no shit.

A Dear John Letter

I’m watching the clock tick down

I’m feeling the passage of time as this current year rakes the last of her minutes down my spine.

She’s death

She’s all sweetness

She’s asking what I want to give her

She’s asking what I want her to take with her

Tonight I am giving her you.

You were all that I had ever known.  For years I looked to you for guidance.  You told me how to act, how to dress, how to be.  You gave me order and boundaries. You dictated both the flow and rhythm of my life.  

I didn’t know to hate you so by default I loved you.

I lifted you up

I fed you before I fed myself

I sought your validation

I sought my reflection in your eyes

I do not yet know who I am without you

But I know we can’t continue like this

You’re killing me

And I while I know it would be easier to let you kill me I resist!

My friends say that you are not as bad as I think you are.  My elders sometimes even forget that you are there. In a fight those who are close to me will take your side and I think maybe I’m crazy.

Feeling this certain, this entitled to my self possession is so foreign that I am mistaking being insane for finally being in sane.

Without you this world is so huge and vast and unknown and terrifying and I’m changing into something I never thought possible and that frightens me.

Having full possession of this mouth, these legs, this mind, my spirit.

Having full responsibility for it too.

You keep calling me.

You keep being all hotline bling

You tell me that you don’t know who I am anymore like it is a bad thing and sometimes in the past I believed you.

I’d go back to you and we would start all over again.

But this is the last time.

As this current year rakes the last of her minutes down my spine.

I speak to her as if She is Death

I speak to her with all the sweetness I have left

She  asks what I want to give her

She  asks what I want her to take with her

And I hand you over

I give her every lie you dared to tell me

I give her every grief you have given me

I loosen your hand from around my throat

I will lay down with you no more

I will feed you no more

I will fear you no more

You are broken from my foundation

Your direction is removed from the compass of my heart

I cast you out

You, whiteSupremacy have no more power here.

Mammy is dead

and I am all that is left