Changing my Facebook status from “single” to “In A Relationship” is the first step to a new love, in my opinion. I do this for a few reasons, one of them being that in an age of unprecedented instant gratification and access to anyone, anywhere, at any time, changing my status helps random men and women around the world know that I am not looking to “get to know” anyone new. The changing of the status inaugurates a statement that says “I’m building something right now, and would prefer to be admired, not bothered”.
(As an attractive, confident, intelligent woman living in a patriarchal society, these things are necessary. Yes, it sucks)
As matters of the heart typically go for me, I’m writing poetry again, finding new beauty in the sunshine, and hanging on his every text message and phone call. I feel lighter, happier, and more excited to be alive, even when every login to Facebook, every glance at what’s trending on Twitter, and every email news update from the New York Times brings more sadness, more death, and more violence to my consciousness.
It’s hard to be so connected, and instead of experiencing the beauty that well-seasoned travelers write about, finding the world to be full of varied and uncompromising violence. I read today that a Black transgender woman was stabbed 119 times by a United States Sailor – most of the stab wounds being to her face, and her throat slashed 3 times. On Twitter, I engaged with the discussion surrounding the attractive Kindergarten teacher who has recently become popular on the internet, defending her right to wear clothes that fit, and reminiscing about my journey to workplace body positivity. Daily I find myself engaged in these online debates, writing as both an exercise in knowing, but also a soul cleansing — I don’t want to walk around with the weight of my world on my shoulders.
But, for all of us sensitive people, it’s hard not to carry that weight. I’m very engaged with the political causes that affect me and my family — #BlackLivesMatter and its counterparts, anti-poverty work, and anti-gentrification work, as well as my own Black feminism and all the work that goes into that. I write and write and write, meet folks, discuss with friends and acquaintances, and am a 24/7 resource for my little sisters friends as they enter college and go off into the world.
I believe that’s what I’m here for — to help guide people along paths that I’ve already experienced and overcome. Is it tiring, and sometimes thankless work? Yes, absolutely! But, this is how I keep the world off my shoulders — I focus on affecting the parts of the world I can touch. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hopelessness that the world performs for us, to forget our own power as thinkers, hard-workers, and creators. We listen to folks who tell us “Why bother? It’s not going to change anything. Where are your solutions??”, instead of listening to ourselves…
The world changes when we all discover the gifts we have inside of us and do the best we can to be the best at those things.
Bae, he writes and produces his own music. Me? I write, sometimes perform poetry, but mostly run myself in circles thinking about the world around me.
But I wouldn’t have found Bae if I continued to drown in the sadness of the world. Love won’t uproot oppressive systems, won’t stop the bad news from coming through the airwaves, but it certainly can lift weights from our shoulders and make all of us involved with this work better Soldiers.