Heroes

All or Nothing, May 11 2017

"I'd heard the backstory about the founder. 
She had behavioral problems and she'd been kicked out of every group in town.
 
So she went off and founded this place. It helps thousands of people every month."


I went "fuck yes, this is my spirit animal."

They tried to tell this lady she belonged in the garbage.

It would have only been polite for her to go sit outside in the trash bin and wait to be hauled away so that they could all enjoy their stupid fucking meetings without her.

But she didn't do that. Her organization helps thousands of Los Angeles residents facing homelessness, or needing support with mental health or substance issues. There are a ton of non 12-step based support groups for everything: Grief, survivors of sexual assault, anger management, etc.

They use behavioral intervention techniques: No one is banned, punished, excluded, or turned away.

You get used to being compassionate towards people who might otherwise frighten you on the street.

I am so inspired by her.

For awhile, I used to keep an eye on people on court ordered community service at Share. It mostly consisted of showing them where the Windex and rags were kept or making sure they weren't fucking in one of the conference rooms, or hiding in some staircase texting while earning community servuce hours on their timesheet.

Faced with the same problems, I sat silent in meetings for years.

I didn't want to be "crazy" or annoy people.


 **************

I listened to this new Blood Orange CD on August 24, 2018.

It's a dope CD.

But the samples with Janet Mock blow my fucking mind.

I've changed my mind.

No matter how quiet you are, no matter how much you try to change your behavior, someone is always going to try to throw some shit in your face or speak ill of you.

Yes, people might be irritated or annoyed or think you're fucking crazy.

But some people might think you're hilarious and love you for who you are and never forget you too.

When you shrink yourself -- I love the way Janet put that -- you may protect yourself, but you might also prevent anyone from knowing you or loving you.

I used to consider myself race blind, and I tried to remember how we are all connected at the source, how we are all one, living in this illusion together, and how kids at the playground accept each other and play with each other fearlessly and without even understanding that they are boys or girls or different colors. These kids don't even understand that numbers or letters from the alphabet are different from one another yet for fucks sake.

I didn't like using the word "transgendered" before politics went crazy. If you told me you were a woman, I accepted you as a woman. If you didn't tell me and I wasn't sure, it was none of my god damned business. I felt as if a label like "transgender woman" was demeaning in some way, to say that they were less than a woman. 20 years ago I thought that this was forward for my time.

Then something slipped off its axis and I was no longer enough of an ally in the current political and social environment.

It makes me a little nervous and afraid to say that I have a hero who happens to be transgendered.

It makes me a little nervous and afraid to say that I have a hero who happens to be a woman.

It makes me a little nervous and afraid to say that I have a hero who happens to be black and proud.

I feel a polite, white, starbucks sipping little voice in me that's nagging me to edit myself or go back to the playground and just say that I have "a hero."

It's 2019 and I consider a transgendered person a fucking hero who has totally changed my life.

This is a role model I can (and do) look up to and say "This is who the fuck I want to be."

We could have started with the idea that "transgender" is not demeaning in any way and it doesn't make you any less of a woman. It means you've probably walked through hell and back and have incredible strength. I'd prefer to hold someone in my mind as a transgendered individual and honor that. I'd prefer to hold someone in my mind as a fierce fucking black woman and LOVE that.

Fuck that tepid "acceptance" shit from 1999.

When you get look at the pain that comes with our struggles with queer identity or our communities or our places in the world, our differences from one another and what appears to separate ourselves appears to be a lot different on the surface.
 I have shrunk myself for the sake of others, trying to not stand out or to blend in with the wallpaper in these last couple of years.

I might come out of my shell and snipe a group with something funny once in awhile.

I figured out that I wasn't any happier for this.

I figured out that I wasn't any less lonely for it.

Hero.

"This is who the fuck I want to be."

That album has some themes of queer, black, identity, and/or gender depression intertwined into it.

I have had so much of this shit rattling around in my head and my heart and it's as if Janet offered me a new pair of eyeglasses and said "Here, try looking again now."

If you're going to survive in the rooms then you need to read this.

So, like, my favorite images are the ones where
Someone who isn't supposed to be there
Who's like in a space, a space where
We were not ever welcomed in, where we were not invited
Yet we walk in and we show all the way up
People try to put us down by saying
"She's doing the most," or "He's way too much."
But, like, why would we want to do the least?

... My eternal resolution will be “to do too much.”

You asked me what family is
And I think of family as community
I think of the spaces where you don't have to shrink yourself
Where you don't have to pretend or to perform
You can fully show up and be vulnerable
And in silence, completely empty and
That's completely enough
You show up, as you are, without judgment, without ridicule
Without fear or violence, or policing, or containment
And you can be there and you're filled all the way up
We get to choose our families
We are not limited by biology
We get to make ourselves
And we get to make our family

— Janet Mock


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