To the place where lullabies contain death-notes
Where our screams are songs
Bleeding wounds heal
And our nightmares are dreams
Image by Luis del Rio
All of it’s weird.
There isn’t a specific pinpoint for the peculiarity of this new stage in my life.
I could be poetic in my description, however, only one phrase best sums all the my emotions and sensations I feel inside of me.
And that is, “What the actual fuck?”
Extra, extra emphasis on the word “fuck”.
I moved out of the only home I ever really knew and took a one-way train ride to the one and only buckeye state. Most of the things in my possession are already destroyed by the trash compactor because I had to throw out almost everything I had. There were journals, books, clothes even, and it still had to be removed from my life. And in addtion to cleaning out my entire dorm room, setting up my new phone with service that I now pay for, booking an Air Bnb for a week while I figured out a longer-term housing situation, and filling out electronic paperwork for leaving my university permanently, everything was preparing me for leaving Delaware, my childhood home as well as prison, behind.
I spent most of my short twenty-one year life living from bedroom to bedroom. The one bedroom I spent the years of my early childhood to my late teen years is seared into my head like a hot iron emitting pulsing gas while stuck into cooling water. The four walls covered in paintings picked by my parents, banners with my deadname drawn in the style of Philadephia Zoo artists from when I was child posted above my bedroom door and ontop of my windows to the outside world. Back then, my neighborhood was the whole world to me. Walking around the many streets, with varying houses and townhouses, listening to birds who sung their hearts out in joy of their freedom, it was all I really knew. It took many years before I was allowed to walk outside, and then all over the neighborhood. It never made sense to me until I was older why I never received a key to the house, which was that my father never wanted me to have true autonomy over myself and my life. So for the time I was naive, I relished whatever little liberation I received. Those walks were little sneak peaks into a life I dreamt in secret of having, one where I went wherever I wanted without needing anyone’s permission, made new friends, experienced rad as hell adventures, and fell in love with wonderful people, hoping one of them was my soulmate. I was sincerely envisioning for a one-and-done type of deal. Whenever I came back to the house, the deepest parts of my subconscious knew I was officially back in the cage again, never knowing when I would taste the exhiliration of liberation once more.
That was my life for twenty years. And I thought it would stay like that for the rest of my life, a sanity-searing cycle of broken promises, violent codependence, and brief, rare moments of the freedom I so long craved. It was all my body knew how to live on. It was what I was conditioned to experience.
A nightmare will never be enought to describe it, but it was a nightmare, a nightmare I slowly began waking up from.
I wasn’t ready, no way in hell for sure. But it was happening, and I realized soon enough I needed to get ready.
It was time for me to break out of my own tower. The motivation?
The tower was crumbling ontop of me.
A penis, penetrating an assumed to be woman’s vagina.
The only thing I liked, was that it was sketched instead of colored.
It made me curious to look at the artists work on their main Instagram page. Most would probably view it as my sexually exploring typical cis-heteronormative content and not think much of it (until they realized I was a black woman doing it without permission). My old churches, I don’t want to even think of how they would have reacted, and my biological family is a complete non-starter. However, they probably would just say I am too obsessed with men and should be focused in school, their typical response. What was strange is that I didn’t really view all of that content out of curiosity, because I had an idea of what it looked like given the porn I’ve consumed, and erotic art explored in the past year of my being in university as a seasoned sophomore. However, the true reason why I was swiping up and down, left to right on those pictures was one that I am terrified to even write out, but here I go.
Everything in me wanted to force some sort of arousal out of my body. And the fact that there was nothing more than a neutral half-spark that died too quickly was honestly frustrating to the point of almost hating myself.
Was I supposed to have reacted a certain way? Shocked? Horny? Happy? Satisfied? Did there something not connect correctly in my brain that deals with my attraction, if any at all, to symbols universally known in the mature world of intimate interactions? Because, no matter how hard I tried looking at it from all angles, nothing in could understand the appeal of what graced my timeline. I felt shame in its most contradicting crossroads. Parts of me were soaked in the slut-shaming of my youth, originating from my parents, my extended family, and the kids at school who all expected me to be pious and sexually active all while sexualizing as well as preying on me constantly. Then there were other parts that screamed in disgust at me for not having an overexcited appetite for male gonads like some of the Black women I grew up gaining wisdom and love from, no matter how misguided or twisted it was. This is a snapshot of the thoughts swarming in my mind at the time and even now.
‘Why aren’t you horny?’
What the fuck is wrong with your body?’
It’s because of porn.’
‘Or because you’re fat and have stretch marks.’
‘Or because of your ugly brown skin and hair, which are probably reasons why you haven’t gotten laid by a dude ever.’
‘I mean, come on. You’re twenty and have only had one boyfriend, and he abandoned you after treating you like a prostitute that wouldn’t give the goods. What does that say about your sex life?’
‘Your trauma makes you a burden. The abuse you’ve been put through has made you too fucked to be fucked. I mean, if a man doesn’t want your body, to do nasty things to it, then what is your worth? Because Christian or not, you’re worthless. That’s why all of those people, even those who claimed to love you, destroyed then threw your worthless self away.’
I kept consuming this erotic content at maybe 11 in the morning or noon because that was where my mind was subconsciously taking me. Even though this is my writing out my innermost thoughts, these ideas and beliefs have been unconsciously guiding my actions since I was a little girl. Because of how adultification bias, sexual violence, and other types of micro and macro oppressional systems targeted and traumatized me as a black girl, along with the personal abuses suffered at school, home, and church, my body was always to be used for someone else’s purposes. To be shamed, to be gazed at like a bitch in heat, to be the subject of one’s pornographic, perverted fantasies, to be yelled at or beaten, the punching bag for everyone else’s high, uncontrolled rage or desire.
Being a black woman, or a femme-identifying black person, rage is never without the sexual, and the sexual is never without the rage.
Our bodies were claimed as property of others before we were born, and therefore everything we do is seen through the eyes of a perverse slave-master who wants to enact his demonic pleasures without judiciary consequence.
He grabs their waists with one hand with the whip in another. There are cracks of it slamming on our backs while he rips our clothes into shreds as he prepares to penetrate from behind. He forces his way in, and with every thrust and shove into our bodies our faces are streamed in tears, anxious sweat, and the burning need for it all to be over so that this monstrosity of an event can be pushed back into the corners of their minds. But as he ejaculates in satisfaction into the broken vessel of a dehumanized human being, the person doesn’t know time from stillness, day from night, and their body is never going to be a safe place for them again. Their humiliation is the slave master’s power, their pain is his pleasure, and their being bent over with no way out is his ultimate form of pornography.
I do not see this in history books. I see this is nearly one-hundred percent of porn videos made free online, prompting me to be too turned off to even find something enjoyable out of fear of them and resentment of my own black body. I hear it with comment from catcalling men when going out in short-shorts waiting to cross the street. I sensed it from all the black women who judged me for being myself, because being black and female means you are a whore, a liar, a thief, and criminal upon conception. I felt it from all the black men who have been voyeurs of me, five, ten, twenty, thirty, and even forty years older than me, because they want to be like the white man so badly they will sexually prey on little black girls, teen black girls, and young black women in college because they are so stuck in their quest to reclaim a manhood taken by our common oppressor that is cis-hetero male white supremacy. They modeled it from their dads or their moms, and believe that sex and relationships are built upon secrecy, perversion, pedophilia, incest, and misusing the good nature of a child to their advantage.
White people taught us the dance of deadly oppression, but we as the black community forced each other into a marathon of it, as if it were the only way of existing, living in subtle insanity that is.
I was consuming this content because of my wanting to have some control over my body. Because I was never given space to explore my sexuality like other kids, because of my being oppressed as a black girl, because of the language dealt to me based on how people viewed and identified me, with the major help of Judeo-Christian religion, my body was never safe. I had thought that my destroying and abusing my body was better than others doing that to me, given that I was in control. And the sad truth is that it took a pandemic for me to realize that I was never in control, not even my abusers.
It was my trauma that was keeping a tight restrain on my life.
Trauma kept me from living in the present. Trauma kept me reliving every moment of past torture, isolation, and violence. Trauma made me constantly remember the soothing words of my abusers. Trauma stilled me into submission of my dad, my family, ex-friends, my ex-boyfriend and anyone else who had contributed to the mountain of culminated abuse I still am reeling from today. Trauma is what stopped me from receiving love from the right people, from trusting healthy sources of healing, and reaching out to my support system when frozen in the darkness of my hidden madness. Trauma viciously guided me back to empty porn and erotica because it felt better to feel nothing in my mind, experience empty gyrations, barely buzzing stimulation on my clitoris squeezed between the folds of the vagina, hidden in fat of my thighs, then be intimate with deep pains of a youth snatched and torn apart before my eyes. Trauma was my slave master, and if it was not for my writing this now, I would be in bed, suicidal and believing all the lies it has been telling me for half of life. I do not write this for glory. I do not write this to be remembered as a hero, or a token of the any movement, be it for black people, womxn, queer or the working class. I do not write this for my biological family to accept me, and that is something I will long for no matter how secure I will ever become. And moreover, I do not write this to compete for likes and comments on social media, not even for friends or love interests to take notice of me.
I write this for one reason only, and that is to save my life. Once, and for all. Today, and everyday after today.
I write this to be free of the expectations of my old life. No longer being bound to a contract demanding that I am overly feminine, act like a white girl one moment and a sassy black woman the next, give pieces of my youth as payment for my existence, and have my sexuality be the food the oppressors taste daily as the disgusting systemic gluttons they have made themselves to be. I write this so that I may be the human who lives, not the human who merely survives, not the person who dies from suicide with unfinished essays and unlived lives within a life given up after so much fighting. I write so that I am a free womxn, a free being, a liberated entity of being, the goddess with an edge that I have come to realize that I am. And before I can live as that powerful deity, I must live in whole in my body, know she is sacred and that she deserved to be safe, complete, as well as protected with a fierceness that is proactive towards a better future, not reactionary based on past trauma. I write, so that I can, so that I may, so that I will, realize all these things. .
I live with mental health disorders, and my mind is not broken. I am a trauma, child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual violence survivor, and that means I have strength and resilience because I learned that early on as a child, conditioned into survival, but I am growing into a state of purposeful living, not a generational, reactionary state of instability. I have known what it means for a man, a woman, and people of any age to put their hands on me, and that does not mean my body is for sale, nor does it mean that I will not do my best to care for her like my own child because she simply is endowed with that basic right. Abusers and their actions do not erase the valid need for my basic human rights to be respected and paid in full. So that is why I am reconnecting with my inner child, listening to her needs, validate her presence, and stand by her the way she needed to be all these years. This is the reason why I dance on the turf near my building, to know that my body can be in balance, be safe, and breathe easy without fear ruling her. Why I placed boundaries with some of my relatives, even blocked them on social media for now, and left behind my old life as well as the old me. The past version of me was a performance under intense pressure, done so well because the real me would be met with violence and abandonment. She had to go, so that the person writing this can blossom the way she was always meant to be, and should have had their space to be her authentic self since being a child.
My past, what I have been through, and my mental health disorders, not to mention this pandemic, has caused me to feel suicidal on many occasions. And I still say today, that I will continue on, and in my darkest moments I will push through to the other side, with the will of my strength deep within me and the support of those who care for me and love me. Having written that terrifies me, and it also sets me free from any shame and stigma I deal with. When shame and stigma are not a priority, healing takes their place.
I do not need a picture of a penis penetrating a vagina to validate me as a womxn, mxn, as a black womxn, as a human period. Unless it truly is used for my unique pleasuring self-care, it is completely not of use to me, and that is more than okay. I mean I am questioning/queer, so this time is about figuring out what makes me feel good, be it sexual, sensual, or in general. At the moment, it seems that establishing healthy autonomy outside of the oppressive norms of this world, pleasure centered on womxn’s enjoyment, and respect for diverse bodies, sexualities, and genders as well as other intersecting communities, cuddling with stuffed animals for nurturing my inner child, a kind, cute guy, plus discovering new and forgotten things about myself outside of my trauma is what makes up my sexual orientation. Oh, and the spectacular world of sapphics, including studs, are an added bonus.
It is a lot I know, but I am my own universe unto myself, and all I am going to do is continue expanding. And I do this gladly without apology.
A young girl told she was bad
Her blackness conceived into evil perception
Conception of her being
Based on perverted sexualization
Of her shape
Of her curves
And the melanin-soaked skin
That people feared for all days
A father with many faces
And only she saw the fury
Only she felt the silence and violence
While the women saw his glory
A dead mother made into a martyr
But no one heard her pleads for a savior
A school that only remembered what she did wrong
Forgetting her many deeds of good
As they attacked her on all sides
A bad little black girl
Is to always be punished and unseen
Violated while she hopes
For relief from unfair grief
Insanity was born
Deaf to those closest to her
Everyone’s rage drowning out her voice
The men who preyed while she prayed
Licked their lips at the sight of her hips
The women who scowled in jealously
Because of her unreal innocence
The continuum of pain
The vacuum of suffering
With each punch
Blow to the face
That cut into her back
Each time a person
Then cursed her
Before abandoning the girl’s begging form
A tower of screams was built
Higher and higher
Into the unknown skies
Only to fall
With no one around
To hear and see
The jarring sound
Slash through the apathetic quiet
The world wrapped itself in
Like a blanket that kept it warm
From the silent genocides of its imaginations
Now is the era
For the change
Epic and earth-shattering
Heaven and hell
They both stand at attention
The girl would no longer keep the universe
Locked inside of her
When she took her first step
On her right foot
The second step on her left one
It all came out
Nothing held back
All colors and numbers
Will forever surround
The never-ending space
Is where screams are our songs
Lullabies contain death-notes
The blood of our wounds heal
And our nightmares are dreams