We’re now living in a post-LEMONADE world. Shortly after watching, I felt something that I don’t have the privilege of always feeling. I felt affirmed, visible and fully human. I was washed of burdens. It is not very often in these times that I come across a body of work that puts me at the center and refuses to compromise. It is unfortunately odd to see it, which is sad to say.
In time many will grapple with the visuals, the poetry and the songs Beyoncé presented as our medicine. I still want to let it marinate. I simply love that we have something in popular culture that we must sit on and that we can’t consume and dispose quickly of in our current instant gratification culture. Beyoncé’s genius transcends that. And I look forward to returning to LEMONADE over and over and finding the new meanings I possibly missed before.
LEMONADE has inspired me to share something from my vault of unseen writings. And so instead of a reaction, I come to add to the narrative Beyoncé has chosen to contribute greatly to. The ones started by Harriet, Maya and Toni. That was my biggest takeaway, which is, “Keep building and living in your truth Black women.” To continue with:
I see you sis.
You okay sis?
I got you sis.
And so here is my piece and I hope we get to a place where we can live out our truths freely. Until then, “What can mere mortals do to me?”
Written March 22, 2016:
Had I Brought These Things On Myself? (Heaviness)
Even the most happiest and healthiest glowing woman has a story of men who have dehumanized her in someway and it isn’t just men on the corner hollering at her. It’s often those stories of men she dated, her male friends, classmates, colleagues or bosses, the father of her children, husbands that get quietly swept under the rug of her heart in an effort to keep herself from seeming “bitter” or “bitchy” or trying to keep a black man down. The mask is real. Sometimes we hold those stories back because it’ll cause us too much trouble to unload those stories.
We feel guilty speaking of those ill things even though we are the individuals being hurt. There aren’t many safe spaces for our grievances. We spare the men’s ego and possible safety.
Being alone here I’m having many moments of self-realization and moments to grieve what I may not have grieved before. I cried at the thoughts of many things I had never once cried about.
From day-to-day, I don’t see myself as a victim in this lifetime by any means but I have been bit many times. I see it more clearly now that I’m older and understand consent and power constructs of sex in patriarchal society that I’ve expected to deal with some unfair situations. I’ve been brought down by men unaware that they make my life harder. And it gets me angry the more woke I become.
From unwanted touches and kisses, to guilt tripping me when I don’t want to deal with the bullshit, to following me into my dorm room and shutting the door when I object to him being there, to harassing me in my DMs, to making fun of my body type, to telling me how to dress or how to wear my hair or makeup, to telling me how to do XYZ when I know XYZ better than you, to talking over me, coming at me crazy at work when you wouldn’t come at a male colleague like that, to telling me not to let anyone steal my joy because a strange man wants to touch my ass, to asking me if I wanted to get drinks at a bar after I turned down your advance to head to your place during a date, to constantly having to party to popular and some “conscious” music that casually refers to me as hoe and bitch, to my place in history being pacified, to disrupting my gym flow by gawking at my ass 20 feet across the room, to expecting me to carry the burden of what you do not know about love and mold you and shape you as if I am God and I don’t got my own shaping of self to do, to you sexually violating me in a public space and me getting upset and you telling me to stop playing hard to get, to you expecting me to take you seriously when you’re inconsistent, to you still expecting me to show you love after you ghosted me, to those corny “where my hug at?” types, to lying about having sex with me to your friends because I guess that makes you look cool, to putting me in a place of discomfort many types and wondering if in any way, year after year, had I brought these things on myself?
Yeah I really don’t talk about it much. I don’t know what to do with these thoughts. There are many days I never even think about these things and I move through life as if they never happened. But just when I’m getting comfortably being the free woman I want to be, I often get reminded that I’m not as free as I would like and so it all comes rushing back. It may not even be something that happened to me, sometimes it can be something that has happened to the women in my life, both close to me and from a distance. The heaviness is real.
You see being happy as a woman, middle class woman of color, in this society is a revolutionary act. I’m not supposed to be happy. And I’m not supposed to feel protected. So if you see me glowing know it’s truly some miraculous act. Because Lord knows I don’t have the strength all my own. Know that when you see any woman, her waters run much deeper than what meets the eye.
And I don’t necessarily want an apology. I just want to see men do better. Why write this now? I don’t know. I suppose I just needed to get this off my chest. It’s my truth.
My outlook remains positive and my confidence remains high. My healing is always in order and I’m letting that process unfold as quickly or slowly as my soul sees fit. And I know there are many men who aren’t on this wave I speak on above. Which sucks because these things I carry, block connections with those who may mean well.
But I still hurt sometimes you know, for myself and other women and the things that could happen and if it did happen where would I go and would they believe me? But really, I know my worth and no matter what has happened before, I am still here.
Photo Credit: Beyoncé, “LEMONADE” via TIDAL
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