Black Girl: As Is

Writer. Creator. Shapeshifter.

XXVI.

I’ve always loved Weeping Willows. They are an elegant blend of weary and woeful. They sag under the weight of their beauty, yet remain unbroken. They are reflections of everything I’ve come to know about the shape of womanhood.

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XXV.

I’m Black in America. I’m a Black woman in America. I’m a Queer, Black woman in America. I’m a fat, Black, Queer woman in America.

I’m Dondrie. Not to be confused with Diondrie or Dondre or Dondria. I’d love a license plate keychain or bamboo earrings, at least two pair, but, I’m Dondrie and I’d love it even more if you’d make the effort to SAY MY NAME.

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XXIV.

On Monday, I had a mini meltdown. I’d had a long and awkward day at work. This is one of those good on paper Academia gigs where you wear blazers and see billions of dollars being poured into everything but your pocket. One of those gigs where everyone constantly checks in to see if you have everything you need but you never get everything you need. I believe the young folks call it adulting. I used to think I was one of the young folks. The combined stress of being the new kid in school, sleeping in my thirteenth place in a little over a year and needing to add a fourteenth in less than a week had finally gotten to me. This is usually the part where I say how grateful I am for this job and this hospitality, but for the sake of my bedtime and your intelligence, I’m gonna assume you already know.

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XXIII.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the harvesters from Independence Day.  For the less nerdy among us, those are the aliens.  I’ve been thinking that they got a bum deal.  Sure they came to harvest and kill.  Sure they planned to pillage and destroy, but how is that different from the shit we do?  How is that different from who we are?   Didn’t we capture them and keep their ship and dissect them in the name of curiosity?  We can’t really say it was in the name of science because science belongs to all of us.  The gov’t wasn’t about to tell us shit and reddit hadn’t popped off yet.  They weren’t going to warn us.  They were cool with letting Brett and Becky go on the roof and get vaped. They were utterly fuck deficient.

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XXII.

Today I woke up to the sun.  I opened my eyes and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t draw pain in at first breath.  It was the first time my skin didn’t scream and pull at me.  I felt like me…and then the wave came and washed my homecoming away. 


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XX.

Yesterday, I closed my eyes.  I tried to take a deep breath.   I hoped it would course through me like a cold current.  I hoped it would scrub me clean.  I hoped.  But it lodged in the pit of my stomach and try as I might, I couldn't pull it through.  I couldn't take it in.  I couldn't.  I think that I've been holding my breath my entire life.  I've been caught with fear of release.  

Have you ever been afraid to breathe?  I sometimes wonder if that lump has broken apart and leaked into my bloodstream.  I wonder if it disguised itself as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, if it's disguised itself as Lupus. I wonder.  But, just as breath is vital, so is adaptability.  Fear never won any battles and no one ever moved forward while standing still.

 

Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.
— Paulo Coehlo - The Alchemist

 

This week on the Trumpland Fuckery show we're baby snatching, in the name of God.  Just like they used to snatch & sell slave babies, in the name of profit.  Just like they snatched my ancestors, in the name of domestication.  Just like they snatch my brothers and fathers, in the name of law and order.  Just like they snatch benefits and programs, in the name of invisible bootstraps.  Just like they snatch pussy, in the name manhood.

I watched as Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to take a deep breath. I watched as that breath caught in her throat.  I watched as she pushed down her humanity and locked her heart away. Some folks say that she doesn't have a heart.  But, I know enough people to know that we are all dark creatures.  Just check our closets and ask the skeletons.  I know us enough to know that we're self righteous about any base instincts that aren't our own.  On Tuesdays I'm a pot, by Friday I'm a kettle. But I remain, me. 

My relationship to God has never been particularly complicated.  I love him.  He loves me and occasionally we get into it.  Sometimes I call him The Universe.  Sometimes I call him The Creator.  Sometimes he's a she.  But no matter what I call him, he is always love.  The things that you do in the name of God, must be done in the name of love.  Quoting scripture you don't understand is like reading poetry in a language you don't speak. 

Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
— J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

If brown folks make you feel weird, you're racist.  If accents make you irrationally angry, you're racist.  If a child has to look like you to have value, you're racist. But the thing is, racism is simply a lump in your throat.  You can choose to breathe through it or you can let it choke you...but whatever you choose, call it by it's name.

XIX.

I love to observe people.  Sometimes I mimic their speech patterns or movements.  Often, I mimic their moods.  In order to walk in someone's shoes you must first put them on.  Sometimes they pinch and sometimes you must tiptoe to keep them on.  But, the answer is always inside.  It's why I love true crime and cult culture.  It's why I love eye contact and kissing and why I hate talking on the phone.  I'm much more interested in the why than the how.  

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XVIII.

I was talking about bending things to my will. I was giving you my Imposter Syndrome's origin story.  I fully intended to seduce you. I was going to paint you this beautiful portrait of a brown girl who always felt like she wasn't good enough.  I was going to tell you how I've always loved writing and how "I'm a Writer" still catches in my throat.  I was going to tell you that writing this, for you, is like locking eyes with love in a crowded room.  How it feels for the first time, in a long time, like I am here. Did I tell you guys about the time I came home and found The Lady reading my diary aloud to her friends?  The cackles still echo in my head. That day the ink dried.

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XVII.

I moved to Dallas midway through my freshman year.  I was fully embraced by beautiful, brilliant black girls, sweet, sensitive black boys and pasty passionate theatre nerds.  This was where theatre draped my shoulders and pulled me close.  This was where I learned that I didn't need to be rock solid.  I could be liquid and pour myself into many cups.  I could simply be.  I threw myself into the every extracurricular program I could.  I was going to take full advantage of them good White dollars.  I was going to be exceptional.  I was exceptional.  Enter the TAAS test.

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XVI.

I've always been a bit nomadic.  I was an AT&T brat, like the army, but without the clout.  I was in seventh grade when I first got the news that we'd be relocating to Memphis.  While I had no great affinity for my hometown, it was the only home I'd ever known.  This is where I learned to swallow fear and liberate love.  If you hold your hand over your heart, no one will touch your heart and no one will hold your hand.  If your heart is untouched and your hand is unheld, you are untouchable, you are free.

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XV.

So here's the thing.  Remember how I said I didn't hate men?  I stand by that.  However, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to take them seriously.  I'm sorry, guys.  It's just that I know too many capable women to ever defer to you.  It's just that I've seen too much of your soft, chewy center to let you fight my battles.  It's just that I've witnessed too many tantrums to ever think you're less emotional.  It's just that I've seen and smelled too much good pussy to think they require a makeover.  It's just that I've seen how unaware you are of your own aesthetics, to allow your opinion of mine to hold any weight. It's just....so many things.

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XIV.

I've always been fascinated by language.  When I was a little one, I used to tell everyone I was going to be a linguist when I grew up.  I wanted to work for the FBI.  Chile.  I don't know what I was going through. It might have been watching Feds.  But I was smitten, punch drunk with etymology and aphorisms.  With all the think pieces and general fuckery on display this week, my old interest is piqued.  We're told communication is the cornerstone of all relationships. But what happens when that bus breaks down?  You may be thinking of love languages and reasoning strategies.  Uh Uh.  I'm talking about actual words.  What are we really saying?

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XIII.

I was absent yesterday.  Did you guys miss me?  I missed you.  I carried you with me all day.  When I walked in last night at 11pm, I made a mad dash for the computer.  In order to keep my commitment, I considered fighting through my exhaustion and squeezing out something, anything so that you wouldn't be disappointed.  So that I wouldn't feel as though I had failed.  But then I thought, "What the fuck are you doing"?  The point of this exercise is self-care, self-reflection.  This is a journey of acceptance and love, not guilt and punishment.  I did my nails and passed out instead.  I consider that a win.

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XII.

“You hate men and I hate that”.  I was taken aback.   The Lady and I were walking our usual trail.  I had just commented on how annoying it is when men think that a dick is a requirement for turning on a faucet or lifting a heavy box. Do I find most men mildly annoying?  Sure.  Do I go out of my way to make misogynists kiss my ass?  Definitely.  But, I love men.  I’ve always loved men.  My father and grandfather were my first great loves.  Even now, I carry them in my heart and wear them close to my skin like gloves.  They were the first people with whom I could truly be myself. 

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XI.

As a chunky, nerdy, queer little black girl in backwoods Louisiana, I was always an anomaly.   I was performative and quirky.  I was sensitive and dramatic.  I was what the old folks called "funny". I "beared watchin".  My brother once told me that I was an adopted alien.  I wanted to clutch that lie and wear it like a badge.  It felt so right, so me.  But, I knew I couldn't keep it.  I opened my hand, pointed to the mendacity and demanded he explain why I was my father's spitting image. When he told me my father was adopted from the same planet, I pinned the pretense to my shirt and wore it proudly. I was only a visitor here.  I could get used to this.

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X.

Today's post will be a bit of a cheat.  I like to give 110% but today I'm at about a 2.  My time has been heisted.  Even now, I'm hiding like a thief in the night, trying to pretend like I'm researching things rather than spilling my guts.  Today I am needed.  My mind and body were auctioned while I slept or peed or checked my text messages.  So today I am frustrated.  Today I am annoyed.  Today I am hangry.  Anyone who knows me, knows that shit could pop off at any second.  Real shit. This is a powder keg.  

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VIIII.

I used to work at a dope Brooklyn restaurant.  Great food, good drinks, hot staff.  Anyone who's ever worked in the service industry will tell you, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.  Folks feel entitled to you when you work for tips.  It's silly really.  They will pay exorbitant amounts for well done steaks and iceberg lettuce but not you. You're there to earn your money and your respect.  You owe them jokes and smiles. You owe them your undivided attention.  You owe them a response when your name becomes "hot sauce" or "butter". You are their private dancer and you must do what they want you to do. 

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