A storm rumbled belligerently in the distance as I stood on my porch. My partner urged me to go on despite my hesitation.
I knew I’d suffer the next day from lack of sleep. But everyday woes had begun to pile up on me. Listless, my mind wandering, wanting…
[Even now, the sense that I don’t quite belong to a community will sometimes affect my ability to communicate. I retreat, I read, write. And in general, grown folks blues.]
Determination won over any misgivings I had about fickle weather.
It cost me.
The storm unleashed as I was four blocks from the spot. Wind, rain and hail battered my already tired soul as I sought shelter under a weak awning at the transit station. I thought about giving up, giving in, going home to a hot bath and dry clothes. Snuggling my partner and our children. Enjoying delicious homemade Teryaki chicken.
Instead I braved the elements with a weak ass umbrella and a desire to mix it up with the local QTPOC community. Show my longtime friend B some much needed support. They are the only black member of the local LGBT community center. This was the first of hopefully many engagements where WE would feel safe.
And tentatively, possibly discuss how best to create a solid local network that can be used to initiate some change. Offer support for those struggling with depression, dysphoria. Organize viable means to secure the basic needs for our homeless family. Talk about possibly showing up in solidarity to the local, typically predominantly white Pride gathering on the Square…..
[I’ve reached a point my life where being honest with myself is so painfully refreshing. I have nothing left. And yet I am constantly changing, consistently being called out when I present that bullshit in my home. Remnants of internalized misogynoir. I’ve become disillusioned by everything said to work in my favor. Causes me to fear the power of my own wordsound….]
So when I rolled up the scene was already in play. The crowd was not large, yet full of love. I was soaking wet and no one judged. We ate and made small talk. The anxiety was in high gear. Then B set the stage, asked for a round the table intro. Too quickly it was my turn, but I found my voice.
“I’m Milton. I identify as black, pansexual and queer as fuck.”
I spoke these words in a room full of strangers, because I wanted, needed to speak it aloud. To see if my voice would crack, if I’d hesitate. It was easy saying it to my partner. Easy making aloof allusions in my blog. But not once, in the year that I admitted it to myself and my partner had I said it in a way that was straightforward, honest and with confidence.
It felt good. My tongue felt light, my limbs at ease. My spirit not at all agitated.
Later I said,
“I’m glad this is going down. I admitted to myself just last year that I’m queer. I’ve made the decision to incorporate my queerness through social media. My partner is transmasculine, nonbinary…..
My sexuality is fluid. I find myself shying away from the attention of cis-het women. I’m also radically nonmonogamous. I’ve stepped away from calling myself polyamorus or a relationship anarchist, as these terms in my opinion have become outdated and gentrified by cis-het folx. I feel we as marginalized people should be able to weaponize our love, build solid networks across state lines..”
and so forth.
Understanding. Some dragons were slain that night. When I walked home I cried some. I watched the sky, reveled in the aftermath vibrancy of the storm. Called my brother and talked about hood shit. Made it home and loved on my partner. Watched my children sleep.