Sometimes I wish I COULDN’T feel. It seems like the cruelest fucking trick in the world to have as much capacity to
feel shit as much as I do. Try as I might, attempting to turn it all off has been impossible. After years of having the
gnawing desire to put my emotions on ice altogether, I now typically view my emotional
capacity as both a blessing & a curse.
On a surface level, I know that being in touch with my emotions is one of my strengths. It’s what has
allowed me to move through life more full, more conscious and more aware of what’s REALLY going on.
But it also means moving about in this world feeling like an alien. There is a way that I’ve always been
very present and attuned to what’s going on around me. Being highly observant and sensitive -
I’ve learned firsthand from experience, can be a dangerous mix. While some of that has benefited
me in my artistic walk serving as “source material”, it’s also very difficult to turn off.
What that means is moving through life like a “human sponge”...absorbing everything,
which isn’t always good.
Over the years the best way to describe what my life has felt like is to say that I’ve been at war. For as long as
I can remember, I've been at odds with myself and all the parts of me that I’m still working and learning
how to accept and celebrate. Coming to grips with the grim reality of what awaits me at every turn of my
experience with the outside world as a Black man has been another war. Add to that list all of the fear, ignorance,
and hatred aimed at Black Queer people from other Black people. If that all weren’t enough...
the hardest part for me has always been feeling like I’m at war with my very own Black Gay brethren.
That highly observant trait I sometimes wish I didn’t possess has also served me well, and often in my walk as a Black Gay man. It’s been a tool I’ve learned to utilize while developing friendships, relationships and especially while navigating sexual experiences.
As much as I wish this weren’t the case, the “through line” with many of us that I’ve identified as a result of countless and varied
experiences is brokenness, which almost always manifests as sadness, anger, isolation, loneliness and to a larger extent, depression.
At this stage of my own personal development it’s become easier to acknowledge that the only reason
I’ve been so cognizant of all the aforementioned things in others, is because so much of that has lived within me for so long.
Living life as a Black Gay man has felt like a laundry list of experiences that could make even the strongest person alive
buckle and run for cover. Hurt feelings, disappearing acts, false starts, fatphobia, contraction and subsequent disclosure of HIV status, rejection, ridicule, mixed signals, hookups gone terribly wrong, betrayals from Black Gay men who I genuinely considered to be friends, exposure to STD’s (& having to disclose said exposure to previous partners), failed relationships, and being largely misunderstood altogether...just to list a handful of examples. It’s all been a lonely, uphill and challenging battle. But it has also been filled with opportunities to heal, to grow and as many times as I’ve wished I could close it off - to keep my heart open.
There are times when my life as a Black Gay man has felt like one great big wound. The truth is I still feel that way sometimes, especially within the context 2020 and all that has come with this year. The truth of the matter is, as much as the frenzied pace and activity of life (before COVID-19) allowed me to duck and dodge some of the uncomfortable, now I’m cornered and forced to
look at all of the heavy emotional shit that I’ve been carrying for far too long.
I don’t recall exactly when it “clicked” for me but somewhere along the way I was able to identify that for many years of my life, I walked with all of my trauma in tow. As painful as that has all been, it’s also been familiar which is what I truly believe enabled it all to have such a stronghold on me for so long. Just as much as there has been darkness in my life, there’s been even more light covering me each step of the way. Until about age 25, I moved through life operating at the lowest mental, emotional and spiritual vibration possible, simply because it’s all that I knew. I was wounded. So it makes sense to me now, twenty years later why things had to unfold the way they did and why I’m in a very different place now. The wounds may always remain. There’s no avoiding that fact. However, what’s now been applied to all of them is attention, love and affirmation. That’s what has allowed me to continue on a path of healing, as I now remember to move through life without needing to carry all the heavy weight of being at war with myself.