How do I choose what to share with the people in my life? What do I share with the person who I wake up with on a regular basis, sometimes still dreaming, sometimes hiding behind the veil of sleep while the nightmares fade or a vision of hope whispers quietly for me to let it go, let the nightmares go.
What do I share with the people who I sometimes think just magically tumbled into my world in a numbed out hazy whirlwind of fleeting vulnerability and who I hope won’t get blown like a sun bleached tumbleweed back out of my life.
Because I’m trying to get stable, de-stabilize the dysfunctional familiar and figure out what it means to be stable all at once. Stable. Like a rock. Like a homing device. Like a shiver. Stable like a traveler who is always packing, even when they are at home. Stable like an expert at good-byes who has learned how to say hello and let it sit there without anticipating the end. Stable like someone who can be still, rest, reflect. Like someone who can take stock in what gets upheld as the right way, which is often the white way and taking stock in this way means finding the skin under the skin. The soft underbelly that tenaciously contains everything I have come to know as me and the hard outer shell that reflects my socially constructed self like a pair of mirrored sunglasses pinching the skin on your nose.
What to share?
The wisps of steamed conversations with the people I bring in the closest and yet keep the furthest at bay. What boundaries, or lack of boundaries, do we share? What transgressions do we silently agree on? What’s an arms length when you’re wrapped around the center of someone? How do we trust people to love us, people who have been taught to abuse us but make the decision not to? How do you trust yourself to not to lash back anticipating an unimaginable but well-known pain that never comes? How do you trust the density of skin touching skin, a silent shiver of contentment that you resent sometimes because you know how it feels when it fades into the background absorbed by noisy, punchy, invasive thoughts crowding in like blackberry vines sucking onto every surface with thorny delight.
I am taking this opportunity to stand firm on the unstable ground of love. Be unshakeable yet shaken and stirred. A time to ask, how you deconstruct love as an anti-racist. How you fuck as a revolutionary? How do you bicker with those who climb under your skin, inside you, while sharing borders which while open, clearly designate where you both begin and end? What does it mean to hold your own ground and give yourself into history while looking forward? And fucking?
I know how it feels to cross borders of sexual guardedness—to fuck with your guard up and down—to be utterly vulnerable yet unreachable. Untouchable. Untraceable. Unarmed, but critically dangerous. These paths I know—I can trace and re-trace them in the outline of my feet, my steps always facing forward even when they have swerved from an unsteady nervousness or a drunken bravado. You can travel and talk in so many directions. You can back down or back up or back track or back someone else up. You do this when everyone around you backs up, rams forward, pitches into madness or tries on happiness for a while. And while dipping and swirling on my crisscrossing paths, it seems surprising, even alarming that the outlines of both my feet continue to face forward. Until now, when the shadows of my toes curl under to face east, west, north, south without picking a direction but taking in history from as many directions as possible.
Like a city metro map, these paths and borders decussate, intersect and merge--political, sexual, emotional, psychological, psychosomatic, imaginary, elementary and fundamental. Cityscapes of blue lines, red dashes, yellow highlighted points of interest.
Meanwhile back in my own head and bed the person I wake up with dress and re-dress ourselves in various layers of vulnerability in an attempt to touch ground for the first time in both of our lives.
How do you touch ground and be grounded in the uncertainty of what is right because we only seem to know “right” when what is wrong fucks us up.
How do you fuck while being present to your privilege and honor the thin skin you developed to let the things that shouldn’t stay inside you, out?
These self help books and tapes, videos and reality shows, talk shows and talking head productions, produce people productively prioritizing various pains into the “right” spaces, which is often cramming them into the “white spaces” that seem to share the same space as my forward facing feet.
Continental plates are drifting apart; borders are exchanging meaningful glances rearranging themselves in acts of self-defense, self-denial and self-aggrandizement.
History remains history, even when parts remain undocumented. And the undocumented will present us with a history that will not remain invisible to the cameras or the eyes of those who choose to listen.
How do you heal the wounds of invisibility? How do you learn to love intensely in such a mirage of stability rumbling beneath the flat-footed falseness of normalcy?
What do you choose to share with your lovers, past, present and future who may be able to whisper sweet social change into your ear with the hot breath of an anti-racist but can still fuck you over after fucking you well because the tools of survival leave you layered in contradictions.
How do you remain fluid while having a firm sense of self and clear boarders?
How do you decide what to share when you are not sure what is being recorded, documented, disposed of?
How do you hold onto to necessary secrets when your every move can telegraph parts of your story to anyone who dares to pay attention?
You share by being vulnerable,
and that’s hard.