22 March 2009

winter blues & spring dreams

So I've been under a rock - February flew past me and now we are deep into March ("where in the world is all the time") and I'm so ready for winter to be over... dreaming of spring... tired of the cold. I've been terribly busy with teaching and writing and everything in between. I have some exciting projects and events coming up (will post more on those later). Meanwhile, I've been hard at work on my writing, and I had a great reading on March 6th. I performed at Rivers of Honey (a cabaret featuring women, two spirit and trans artists of color the first Friday of every month at WOW Cafe in NYC). It is such a supportive and affirming space - I wanted to be present in the moment and bring my energy, spirit, & passion through in my reading. And I think I was successful :) The evening reminded me of why its good to work in multiple mediums and venues in our art; that we must find balance and be in spaces that nurture growth.

I went home for a short visit last week - for warmth and of course to visit with my peeps/friends/fam. Had a wonderful time - I enjoy home so much, but every time I visit I am reminded of all that keeps me away from home. I leave sad with this longing to move back, but then fear sets in and I wonder if I can ever really move back home. Reasons dash through my head - the pros and cons, the stuff I can't share, the stuff that is hard to talk about... hard to fully explain - it's not just one thing - it's religion, it's christian fundamentalism, it's family shit, it's hyper male dominance, it's sexuality, and it's about how do I do the work I want to do - in the space of home - a space that can be so constricting, suffocating, narrow, and yet so amazing.

The amazing things are easy to list and remember and love... it's the other stuff that is hard to hear and hard to take. Stuff like - young men getting acquitted from murder charges using the "gay defense"; stuff like - The Bahamas is now the highest per capita in the world for sexual crimes and domestic violence, but somehow (some) people (Bahamian men) feel as if Bahamian women don't need any more rights; stuff like - "gayness" is a disease that you can catch; stuff like - (some) people are so threatened by sexuality and feminism and women who speak intelligently, that our words are dismissed before they are spoken.

I write these winter blues of home, winter blues of a desire for change, winter blues of a snapshot of my experience hearing/watching the filming of a Bahamian tv show with two young Bahamian men "debating" sexuality and homosexuality. I wanted to scream, but they could not hear me. They would not hear my female voice, my queer voice, my Bahamian voice; and so I did not speak, I was silent - for the first time in a REALLY long time, I held my tongue. I sat and watched and listened. It was not my platform, I told myself. It was not my time to speak. It was in fact my friend who was being interviewed, and so I silently rooted for her and sent her positive wibes through the show. I know my strengths, and dealing with quotes from The Bible and damnation is not one of them. Honestly, I was amazed at how she dealt with them with patience and intelligence, even as they were dismissive, combative, and condescending. This experience made me really understand the battles I would have to face living at home on a daily basis - not only because of my sexuality, but also because I am critical of organized religion & fundamentalism, and on top of everything, I have radical views about tourism and development (that counter dominant perspectives - I do not believe it is our savior), and my deep investment in feminist movement that is anti-racist and class conscious.

Not that I don't have (these) battles where I live now, and will no doubt have battles wherever I live. Homophobia and sexism are alive and well everywhere. So I'm not saying that it's so much better here than there. But what I have come to accept is that there are battles I am willing to fight and others I can't - at least not on the ground, at least not right now. And while I want to be home, I know that I will continue to do the work I want to do from wherever I am. I have to believe that I can make a difference through my writing, through my poetry, through my community work. I have to believe that I can be a part of change at home, even as I live abroad - my spirit is always home. So my spring dream is that I can be and live at home at some point... soon... But in the mean time, I'm gunna keep writing and working and saying the stuff that is hard to say. I will not hold my tongue.

I have felt how dangerous it is to be (outspoken) female, queer, Black, and feminist in all the spaces I have lived. But I'm gunna keep it movin' anyway. In the words of Audre Lorde, "it is better to speak, knowing we were never meant to survive." And so even as we speak, we must sustain ourselves and spirits first in order to be in healthy in the struggle and in all the work we do.

5 comments:

rahawa said...

So say we all.

natrylmystic said...

you inspire me. remember that holding one's tongue can be a strategic move at times, and i truly believe in conserving one's energies so that they can be unleashed when the time is right.
m-

Kevin said...

KEEP IT MOVIN!!! I GOT YO BACK 4 LIFE!!!!

Erin said...

the theme for international women's day was sharing the responsibility of caregiving, including HIV/AIDS care...one of the most exciting discussions to arise in the women's community in the bahamas was how bahamian women tend to focus on caring for sick family members and focusing on their own health later or never...

and that despite the cry for support mechanisms for the emasculated man women do not have social, professional or religious mechanisms that promote positive development and the ones that do exist, i think, merely sustain bahamian women...

women are caring for everyone but themselves, they are not taking care of themselves and they are not taking care of each other...

we do not give each other permission to take care of ourselves (as if permission can be given for such a thing) to re-locate ourselves, in mind or in body...

marlon said...

I think that your revelations about safety and strategy are critically important. Still I want to encourage you to believe that even as the loudest voices are the resistant ones, there are receptive ears in the audience. Say your piece when you can and remember, like the old folks say, every shut eye aint sleep.