“I feel like I’m finally not in crisis”
You never were.
After such a range of bullshit these past few months, it’s been easy to feel endlessly defeated. The experience of being a Black woman, a dark skinned one at that, is to be always gaslighted, abused, and disrespected…or so we are told. Having that consciousness and analysis of your oppression is not weakness or scapegoating. It’s a reality we are constantly reckoning with. I’ve been on the wavelength of centering my own influence over it all, because feeling like a victim of life, rather than a conscious decision maker is a miserable existence.
These past few months I have have experienced the most bullshit in my life when it comes to white people + white entities being beyond ridiculous. So much so, that I’ve accepted I was never meant to play the game of respectability and finesse the way our mostly middle class, conservative black counterparts have.
Only by talking about the discounted narrative people have put on me, have I found the language to describe my oppression. Everytime I contemplate selling even a tenth of my soul, I see how easily it is to lose myself, and I retreat to my core instead. A core produced by Baltimore, Maryland, an existence culminated by the legacy of Black women teachers who showed their students as much love as their children because the systems around them were not enough to ensure their survival or success. A legacy of the Black radical tradition via a Black Panther, as well as a union organizer. It’s too easy to forget my history sometimes.
But alas, Hesna Bee is not like everyone else. There’s no more real nigga masculinity to buck up about, only my truth in the face of bullshit I will not contribute or subscribe to. I have all the energy to fight, but focusing on those intent on misunderstanding you (Maryam Hasnaa), better yet itching to define you on their terms? Got me fucked up. And letting that go as allowed my power to truly shine through.
Nothing triggers me more than feeling like I cannot control the direction of my life. And through extreme self care measures + focusing on what I can control + the most loving friends + capricorn work ethic + aquarius adaptability + scorpio midheavan intentions, I have been able to do just that. Sitting in discomfort and taking the time to figure out not only exactly what I want, but what I want to attract, has likely been the strongest factor to the depletion of my anxiety. Reconciling the origins of whatever doubts I have about my future has been just as grounding as words of affirmation from my loved ones. Now, I physically feel the weight of powerlessness off of me. And to think this is how white people who have never stressed about anything more than guilt, fear, and hegemony exist is riveting.
I moved for a stronger support system, not only to be able to continue to do justice work, but for my own wellbeing. My school of thought is that liberation starts with self. And while many an organizer will tell you general self sacrifice is apart of the job, our actual training tells us that the liberation we envision has to be done while living, there is no glory in death. Also, that if we aren’t acting out the values necessary to sustain ourselves, our communities, we are no steps closer. Liberation is a buzz word, and I celebrate all Black people that find it for themselves [without communal harm]. Focusing on my liberation beyond money and career always has me aspiring for more despite material conditions. Without demanding more and dreaming for more, we plateau. I’m too young for that.
What I agitated on besides police accountability, local community led structures, and anarchist luv, was mental health and wellness. This sounds cute but not many are willing to hold themselves accountable beyond words, even those around them. Unfortunately for capitalism and white supremacy, I feel the will of my ancestors nearly everyday. I don’t have the analysis that liberatory thinking is a privilege, but it certainly must be intentionally cultivated. My analysis of how the empires of today were built off our exploitation, and continue to globally drive my rage alongside passion. All that to say, I’m not with the bullshit, and my battles connect to these larger narratives. Thus, I have no choice but to fight for my liberation and yours!!
That consciousness is power.
One of my favorite organizer lessons that has unknowingly forced me out of exploitation and bullshit, is the notion that growing up poor means that we have been trained to operate from a place of scarcity and powerlessness. I have put in too much tears, time, reflection, and love to discount my power or let anyone else do it. So 👏🏾 here 👏🏾 we 👏🏾 are 👏🏾 hoes 👏🏾. Time and time again, other organizers have validated that, but I’m not always conscious in the moments where I stand up for myself. And that white boy sense of entitlement & baseline belonging, is how I have carried myself and the fruits have came.
Now, real only recognizes real
Not because we have 2 new jobs perfectly aligned with my personal and career interests, but cause all that clarity we couldn’t embody is peaking in full force in all aspects of life. On one hand I have built myself up for a malleable career path within the nonprofit world, and on the other hand I’m following my dreams which have become more complex, but never ultimately changed. I’m doing what feels balanced, where I feel most empowered and can be my whole self. Where my many interests and skills come all together with value and drives the work, not only informing it-making it matter. Being a token means making the game work, that mostly comes from corporate nonprofits. In contrast, in justice work that means contradiction and conversation, acknowledging human egos and limits, in order to move forward. That’s an ideal that is not always a practice, and I’ve experienced all ranges between the two. I have not lost myself because I intentionally direct my desires to move forward and not dwell.
My only organizer agitation in this work has been about stepping into my power. Still a year later from the agitation am I fully recognizing the validation of what I already know. I belong here not as a passive participant, but a leading force. The difficult part is knowing the fight at all levels, within you, from friends and family, comrades, etc.
When I seek to embody the Knowles sisters, it’s because of their clarity on their purpose and values. Not because they happen to be visible influencers on US culture. When people describe Beyonce’s work, it’s about how she competes with herself and can’t see beyond that, because she knows her caliber. When it comes to Solange, it’s about her artistic depth and various ways of expression. I don’t think I’m an honorary Knowles, nor do I think I have that type of star quality. But what I do know is, ya girl is not a basic bitch meant to just pass by life. I have claimed my purpose. At my current state, focusing on the art and beauty around me, peoples passions and desires is grounding. Just because my intuition is on fleek.tm doesn’t mean I have to feed on what I perceive to be the faults of others, weaknesses, or hidden motives. The consciousness matters, but getting through the day to day is different.
So, I exhale exhale exhale
I identify what makes me anxious
I accept what I can and cannot control
I stay level headed and remember how far I’ve come
I celebrate myself and carry on.
Celebrating myself is a give and take process, I teeter between my fear of narcissism and actual humility. I don’t think a middle ground is simply celebrating yourself, but I’m going to focus on that because I know I deserve it. And lately, the disrespect has is forced me to reflect on my core, on what I already know. I am simply that bitch, and nothing in my life can discount or dictate that other than me.