Black Girl: As Is

Writer. Creator. Shapeshifter.


Sundays have always been special.  When I was a kid, I'd get dressed in my finest bib and tucker and we'd spend all day at church.  I loved church.  The music, the community and most of all God.  God is like a good glass of bourbon.  Smooth and all consuming.  When I was at church I felt close to myself, close to my divinity.  I felt larger than life.  There were other feelings.  Fear.  When folks would get hit by the Holy Spirit and start jiggin and flailin. Fear. When the men of the church would ask me to sit on their laps.  Shame.  When I was reprimanded for standing with my hands on my hips or sitting with my legs open.  Shame.  When I hit a wrong note in choir or asked a question that challenged my Sunday school teacher. Pride.  When our choirs harmonies cut through my soul.  Pride.  When God would whisper in my ear and tell me that I was love.

The Lady known as Mama would always cook a big Sunday dinner.  Fried pork chops or greens or shrimp etouffee, always accompanied by fresh lemonade. Soul Food. Sundays were also reserved for the soul.  After my father died, Sundays were never the same.  They were the cobblestone to my stilettos.    When I moved to New York, Sundays became melancholy.  I spent most of them in a haze of smoke and bodega sandwiches.  As soon as I could I started working every Sunday.  If it was a day like any other, surely the stabbing sadness would have to pack it's shit and find somewhere else to be.  Still, sadness sat under my desk and stitched itself into my smile.  So we became estranged and I got lost in the separation.   Throughout the years, I've tried to make amends.  I've visited various churches and even found a few temporary homes.

I've been moved and I've been shaken.  I was playing a round of "I'm going to be everything for you" with a man I was seeing.  To be fair, I was seeing him but I'm still not sure he was seeing me.  In any case, he brought me to his church and introduced me to everyone..  Now, had this been the South, that would have been the equivalent of a promise ring.  Not so in the land of BK.  I caught immediate feelings. I was IN LOVE with this church.  Pastor Bernard was intelligent and open.  He was a scholar.  He was a nerd.  He was corny.  He was everything I'd been looking for, until the day he preached a sermon comparing homosexuality to a birth defect.  "If your child were born with a genetic abnormality, you'd do everything to fix it.  You wouldn't just accept it."  The fuck.  I was aghast.  I was wounded.  I was confused.  If I was made in God's image and he made my gay ass, how am I defective?   Wasn't I already trying so hard to 'fix' all the other perceived imperfections.  Also, wouldn't God be like "Bitch, this is my work.  Move around."  No?  Ok.

I broke up with that church, that man broke up with me and Sundays faded into the horizon.  Since I've been in recovery I've been reflecting a lot and I'm attempting to reclaim this day.  I've spent Sundays cooking and meditating and coloring cool shit.   I've lit my Palo Santo and danced naked. I've gone for hikes and scream sang in kitchens.  Today me and The Lady had a good ole wake and bake.  We giggled and bickered and spoke of the future.  I went to the gym and I stared at myself the entire time.  I told myself I was beautiful and I marveled at my making.  I stomped all my anxiety to the beat of Move Bitch and I cooled down to Number One Stunna.  I even stretched my muscles and lie flat on my back as Muse's Blackout washed over me.

I took myself to the movies.   I took a long shower and sang loud enough for God to hear me.   I cooked myself a delicious summer soup that I made up on the fly.  I was social and kind and I made no compromises.  I looked into the big, blue sky and felt wonder and I came home to share it with you.