Greetings to all the people that are reading this post. First and foremost, thank you. I don’t know if my opinions are actually valid in the world but for the last few years, I have been lead to believe they are. I have been lead to believe that am talented and powerful and necessary in the world. For the last few years I believed that because I could cope through any trauma, that I was okay.
Then one day a friend that I often collaborate with artistically asked to speak with me. Lots of things were said. I walked out because my emotions were spiling over. I couldn’t resond because I was too busy reacting. In the process of reacting I wrote this facebook post . I attempted to articulate my reaction as an answer to one of the many questions asked in our brief talk. I didn’t think that I was speaking on them specifically because its an issue i’ve been thinking about in the sense of our larger community for a while now. How can independent artists help the community grow into it’s own industry outside of corporate sponsorship? Can indie artists truly become self sustainable corporation themselves? I don’t know… I’m not even sure if my questions make any type of sense. What I do know is the culture is changing society. That every single project and collective I have participated in over the last 8 years has had a monumental impact on me and my artistry.
I don’t think that many people realize how intentional my life is. Over time I’ve been making and sticking by choices to break away from capitalism as much as possible. A few years ago I narrowed down the fields I was willing to work in. and the universe provides me employent in those areas when i seek a job. I stopped shopping at big box and brand name stores/labes 8 years ago after the birth of my daughter. I do, however, accept hand-me-downs from friends and family. Most times, they happen to be people that do still shop designer over everything. So when you see me rocking some Chanel winter boots or a Dooney & Burke clutch, know I most likely didn’t buy it. If I did buy it, it certainly was at a thrift store.. Like that gorgeous pink silk Valentino suit I found at a thrift store in Clinton-Hills (for $45) on my 30th birthday. My point being, I choose what I buy and support consciously.
During this previous summer, I was illegally evicted from my home. All of my belongings were thrown out as if they were trash. All of my things, included but not limited to my clothing, laptops, suitcases, clothing, books, materials, jewelry inventory, upcoming visual exhibition, etc. So I took a pause in Virginia for a month and came back replenished and prepared to fight life for everything i Know I am meant to manifest. I got a job. For a few months it ws gravy till it wasn’t and i got fired. Then I got hired, And then fired. And then hired, and fired. and…. you get the idea for 4 more rounds of fun. One day I look up and it’s mid-October and I’m walking from the A train to visit with my dad for a moment. When I exit the elvator, his door is perched open. I walk in to find him hujnched over his comouter synthesizing a beat for his client. My presence derails his train of thought and he stops, staring at me intensely. Asks “how long will you be here today?”. I throw a random number at him and he finds something else to think about now that his concentration has been broken. I spend the next 4 hours beginning a piece of jewelry that tranforms into an epiphany: Why am I not doing more?
When I began pursuing art, I was everywhere, into everything. Now I’m noticing that with the passage of time and certain experiences, I have become lazy. I have slacked on doing all the work it takes for an independent artist to be a successful small business. I haven’t been doing enough since having a home base. I lost my apartmet because the universe recognized that I was losing touch with my ambition. The reality that if I’m serious about this #artlife then I need to get back on my hardbody hustle. So what if my laptop is goe, I gotta find a way to rewrite these book drafts. I gotta take whatever I earn busking and buy more materials to make more jewelry. I have to invest into adverstising. I need to finish setting up my patreon, artery, and gigsalad pages. I need to be sending out my EPK 15 times a day. I need to complete grant proposals. Continue applying for residencies. I need to return to seeking the resources that will allow me to advance in my career as an artist. I haven’t done it myself in a while because I was confident in my assistants, but they are not me. And they were always doing a million things at once. SO I’m doing it myself. I’m taking thise same 20 hours I would spend on a job everyday and using t to apply the knowledge I have to build Joilery and J TheGodIS brands into what I know they can be. And while I’m still sending out resumes, I’m not so pressed for work that I’m stressing not having a job. I’m also not letting others stress or pressure me to give up my pursuits in order to steal time from them.
That thought led me to another one: even artists don’t take art as a serious job. Perhaps we don’t realize that this thing we do is an actual business. That it takes hours of work outside of the hours of rehearsals, or hours of creating. This life, when taken seriously, doesn’t have to be a constant hustle where we are always struggling. This life can be cover girl; easy, breezy, and beautiful if and wen we put the proper energy into it. I’m not knocking any artist with a day job. By no means. I will say though, that if that day job ain’t in line with what you know is your true purpose, it’s probably making you miserable. I don’t have that poblem anymore. Because my job is serving my long term goals of creating a legacy for my children. showing them that a person, specifically black people like us, can exist outside of corporate hedgemony. We the community have the power when we redirect our dollars and energy into each other.
At this point it doesn’t matter what I have been doing or what i think because now all I got is myself and my art in this world. By no means do I hope you feel any sorrow or pity for me. I am just fine. I fully comprehending all the decisions I am making in pursuit of a larger goal. What i do hope you feel is inspired and excited to continue changing the world with me. I hope someone reads this and realizes that I BEEN #boutthislife . That everything I wanted to be is what we are. I am an artist, through and through, I learn from everything. I make mistakes, try to do better on the next go round. I’m constantly questioning and learning the world around me. Im always aware that what we do matters. So I’m taking it seriously and doing what I need to do to achieve the goal. I’m knowing that I made the right decision. And I’m hoping I can still worth with people instead of for people. Because together, I believe, we will change the world.
I call him Azucar, the Spanish word for sugar
The way his words sit on my spirit like honey, sweet and steady,
He entices me with a magic I can not explain..
Chance encounters, he said he has observed me from a far, chose me out theropod, although word on the street is that I’d be nothing more than a number to him, one in a million women he can/does get because “a fuck is least of his worries”; or so he says he’s looking for someone to trust without giving reason to have earned the same.
“Fuck me” i say every time I think about how he dicked me down epically… In a way I haven’t been handled since I submitted and gave my life to he who shall not named.
Now that I, single, independent, empowered, self-employed artist woman in charge of my own destiny, manifesting life like you breathe, has choice; bartering time for money… Taking on lovers as I see the fit my needs at that moment, knowing he ain’t trying to claim me; figured a hustler could respect those trying to pay me, knowing I save all the things that mean something for one I find worthy.
It unfortunate he wasn’t.
Proved that he’d waste my time [#2017] before respecting my intelligence and hustle. Ain’t nobody got time for that when it’s just me, myself, and I at the end of the day. Going “home” to a bed that mirrors my heart; empty.
I felt comfort laying in him as the sun came up. I live in the memory of his gaze, looked at me like I am beautiful. Everytime. Not just when I was naked. Makes me believe it. Believe I am more tha, pretty for a black girl. (The best I had heard till 20 or so)
Maybe it was the electricity that passed through our hands the first time they touched. Introduction as magic. When magic is manifestation. When it feels real but isn’t.
I let his kisses sit on my thighs and his words sit on my spirit like honey. For theyre sweetness. They are steady. They are a wish for a day that never comes. Tomorrow. He always says tomorrow. A sweet dream indeed.
I call him Azucar, the Spanish word for sugar. Sweet as his words that sit on my spirit like honey. Let them run through me, soothing the sting of my loneliness.
We [women] would tell ourselves it’s not that deep;
Except usually it is.
When a mans actions are nothing different than all others a woman encounters.
I call it “every other nigga syndrome” – when he think he special with his sweet words and empty promises of tomorrow, a day that never comes…
And we [women] abandon our better judgement for a moment of pleasure, multiple voicemails echo regret that. She ever let herself believe she would ever be more than just a body to a man.
We [women] be remind in every interaction that pussy will always drive men not employ an arsenal of tactics in their pursuit of it.
An we [women] I’m pursuit of what it feels like to be loved by someone other than ourselves, let our guard down… Give in to our illusions, satisfy our baser instincts, let lust wash over us like a tidal wave..
We [women] be the beach after a storm, same as we were yet somehow changed.
(you know who you are)
By now I am beginning to think you know who I am too.
I’m last certain that you had no idea that almost two years later we would still be at it like this.
Still be a tangle of brown bodies engaged in teaching pleasure to each other , like we ain’t never loved like this before. And make no mistake, this is indeed love.
Maybe not the cookie cutter, going steady, intentional kind. We ain’t got time for that type of love and I got no interest in breaking or birthing another heart [unintentionally].
This still be love. It be that messy, sweaty, sticks to your cheeks, nectar as lip balm and I still want to kiss you type of love. The lets switch positions without disconnecting from each other, and then fall asleep resembling tree roots and wake up still wrapped in the limbs of each other type of love. That type where I still see you clearly in the dark, let you hold, tie, restrain, choke, spank, blind, lick, touch, & tease the taste of me till I can’t wait to be swallowed whole by you.
This is indeed love. It’s that we don’t need to speak too many words when we’re together, just allow hands to always find a way to touch bodies, we don’t have to put shit out on social media for commentary, dontgivetwo fucks about the opinions of others,I’m still going to see you as often as I can anyway, even if it means I’m riding the train for an hour and a half because you stayed up to wait for me, greet me at sunrise with kisses at your door type of love.
Truth be told,if it weren’t for Mirena, this could be a wreck less, hell yes I’m keeping this baby and we gonna work it out type of love. Thank the gods for small favors and common sense, and experience and a jaded heart that you somehow cracked through without trying.
This poem isn’t trying to tell you anything, except that I love you in this same way that you love me. Pure, unintentional, passionate, accepting, fluidly, trusting, openly, honestly, when we both happen to have the time. So until next time,please accept my gratitude.
And things of such nature.
I’m only writing now because I won’t feel like writing later. And if I’m really committed to making myself proud, then procrastination must become an abandoned child. Its been an intense month. A rough ending to a mostly good year. I feel depression trailing two steps behind me, so it’s time to pick up the pace. Force myself to leave the comfort of home and reintegrate myself in the human world because otherwise, I just may cease to exist.
Even when it seems like a bad idea; What else can I really do? I can’t stay home holed up and away from the world I have been so boldly asserting myself into over the past 4 years. Some time ago I made myself a goal of improving my integrity. Being a woman of my word and not just wrapped up in my own world. Most times it has been good. Most days this year, I felt as if I was winning. Then December brought fake summer and everything went side ways. All my resolve crumbled as my life turns into a steaming pile of manure.
The pressure I can take. Being broke I can figure out. Conflict I can face. But I don’t deal well with trauma. I’m even worse with death. Just when I was beginning to heal, I lose two family members this month within a week of each other. A fact I haven’t shared with many people unless they really need to know. (I mean what is there really to say about death? Can anyone ever really be comforted?) While I know there are friends that are willing to share a shoulder, I usually keep the realest stuff to myself. I hate to cry, so when I must I keep to myself. Think about going out but never quite make it. I bask in the solitude of my mind and stay there hooked like an addict. Solitude be my favorite drug. The organized chaos of it all works for me when I need to bathe in quiet and comfort until I no longer feel pain. And then I get around people and again the world goes sideways. During these times I become a snow globe in a paint mixer. Unable to settle. Being an empath, people create confusion in my experience of moments when I’m in these states. What I’m actually feeling melds with perception of how I’m being perceived. I can’t tell the difference. I can’t seem to push myself out of my thoughts and exist in real time. I second guess everything I think to speak. I’m fidgety and flustered. I feel odd, eventually removing myself from people; which makes me weird. Or self preserving. I’m not quite sure which.
People that I call friends are always reminding me through advice and their actions that whatever I’m going through can be overcome. Lately, I’ve been watching the world with a heavy heart only attempting to interact with it. Fighting the stalker called depression at times feels like I’m only succeeding at destroying myself publicly. Feels like the effort it took for me to get dressed, be somewhere other than the stoop & talk to someone other than the bodega man is energy wasted. That maybe letting myself fall down the rabbit hole and fade into oblivion would be a better choice. But then I look around the room I’m in and realize nobody cares about me so little that they are judging me. I remember that it’s worth being a witness to life happening as long as I am still living it. That staying wrapped up in my blankets won’t change a damn thing. The world will continue to turn. So today I said fuck being depressed. Fuck running away from potential conflict. Fuck being the middle man to other folks drama. Fuck perception. Be who I am. Be where I am supposed to be. And do what I said I would do. Tomorrow is another day that will still come, whether I participate or not. Ain’t nobody got time to be depressed.
“Because of being lost in our own minds, we fail to recognize that the truth changes. When truth changes and we fail to recognize what has now become true, while holding on to the idea of what used to be true, we become liars committing suicide.” -Brad Blanton, “Radical Honesty”
I’ve been reading this book, Radical Honesty, that the above quote comes from. So far I’m half way through it. For a couple chapters, I was feeling good about myself because everything this book said, I already did. I live in honesty, never holding my tongue when I feel a way. Its what makes my art so well received. The fact that I am connected to the highest truth and able to say the things that others are afraid to speak.
Then I got to the chapters dealing with anger. I realized, with my anger, I am not honest. It is an emotion I still hide. Sure, I express my anger with the greater problems of the world: racism, sexism, oppression, the general fucked-up state of the world, etc. But when it comes to dealing with anger on a personal level, I shrink. I suppress it. I do not confront it. When and if I do confront it, its always after it has had time to build up, eventually exploding in a way that can be devastating. I’m recognizing that it’s unhealthy. It is possibly the most unhealthy habit I have carried into my adult life. And I don’t want to live like that anymore.
The book advises to talk to the person face to face. That speaking through the anger you have as it happens so it is released from your being. After releasing the anger, you express appreciations for the person, thus walking through and moving forward together. So, I have decided to write as much as possible about it. Some of these conversations I can’t have any more because those people are dead. Some of these people have simply been lost to me through time and distance. Some of these people, I have tried these conversations with and have shown they simply are not willing to listen nor participate in the process of working through whatever issues stand between us. Instead of chasing ghosts, talking to brick walls, or holding these things in; I am choosing to write them out.
Some of these writings, I will share here. Maybe they can help someone struggling with their own issues. Maybe they will be phenomenal pieces of writing that someone will enjoy reading. I’m not sure what they will be for anyone else. For me, they will be a cleansing. A purification of my spirit which has been clogged with anger for way too long. They will be things that no longer bind me. All I want is to be free.
There was an error retrieving images from Instagram. An attempt will be remade in a few minutes.