News of death is everywhere today. And it has raised lots of seemingly conflicting points and hot takes. This happens whenever a ‘great’ man with a fucked up past dies. It’s okay to mourn abusers u loved. It is also okay for victims to decry that persons abuse as loudly as they want. Asking people to whisper their pain so you can hear your own grief is wrong. It is okay to point out to and tell nonblack people to stop contributing to the constant obsession with criminalizing black people and black men, but it is also okay for sexual assault victims of any race to not want to witness the adoration of a rapist in their respective virtual spaces. It is real and necessary to point out that nonblack sexual assault victims and their nonblack supporters still have anti-blackness in their hearts and minds that they have not unpacked therefore making them unable to clearly see the line between carceral thinking, disposability, and justice when it comes to our conversations regarding black people. Their feelings towards rape do not excuse antiblackness. It is crucial that nonblack people - irrespective of our own trauma - make space for any black people who have complicated attachments and feelings for one of their own. Hating a rapist and hating rape do not excuse or justify perpetuating white supremacist beliefs or antiblackness. But for the most part - none of us even know that man, he never gave us a hug or paid our bills, so to tell others to shut up and give u space to mourn him because you’re a fan is as entitled as u think decrying his raping is. As a fan u don’t have more of a claim than someone who is not a fan. And I promise you a man like him has more supporters than not. Critiques of him are not and should not be critiques of his daughter, and the denouncement of his life in his death should not be used as an excuse to disrespect the passing of his child or the other people on board. So many things can be truth at once. It’s as if we live in a society.
Yesterday was my Mami’s birthday and even though we live 2000 miles apart I am so grateful that I get to see more of her everyday. I see her in my hips and in my waist. I see her in the set of my jaw and in the corners of my mouth when I smile. I see her when I dance and when I water my plants. When I decide to wash the dishes now instead of later, or when I decide to fold my clothes and put them away instead of dumping them on my bed. I see her in all the little things I do or say and it warms my heart knowing that even when I refused to listen or argued as a teen, her wisdom and guidance managed to make its way through and lodge itself into my brain somehow. If I die being half the person my mom is, than I’ve already exceeded all expectations. Still, I want to be everything my mom is and everything she couldn’t be. I live my life as a thank you to her. I’m here to take up all the space, for her, for my sisters, for my nieces. I thank her for giving me coraje y fuerza.
Today I started bleeding. And I thought again about how fragile and precarious my mental health is. I have chronic depression that hit its lowest point 8 years ago. I worked my way back and had a couple good years after that, but this past year has been rough. And then all of a sudden these past two weeks I have seriously and whole-heartedly wanted to d*e every fucking day. Every day. I know I have been feeling really anxious and overwhelmed about finding a job, paying my rent/bills, and finding health insurance - on top of my ever constant immobilizing fear of the future and my fate. But this in combination with an oncoming menstrual cycle sent me over the edge. The first day I bleed is always the day the fog lifts enough for me to remember that what may be “normal” or “annoying” or “inconvenient” experiences for others can become destabilizing events that then become serious depressive episodes. My pms = suicidal ideation. And if I’m not careful, it inevitably triggers an even longer depressive episode that lasts for months. The last two cycles have not been good for me and really paved the way for this cycle to take me out. Also, the gloomy weather of the Pacific Northwest is now in full swing and the lack of sun and shorter days are definitely not helping. All of these factors compound my depression. It’s frustrating to feel so delicate, and as grateful as I am to have gotten to a place where I can identify my triggers, I hate feeling like I’ll never get anything done trying to keep my feelings in check. It feels like a full time job trying to work against my brain chemistry and it feels like if I even stop paying attention for a second it all falls apart. All those stupid articles like “why depressed people make better artists” or “why people with ADHD are more intelligent” don’t make this feel like a blessing in disguise. And the ones about how “systemic racism causes depression” and how “Poverty is a risk factor for suicidal behavior” don’t make me feel less guilty about being unable to write cover letters, get out of bed, or work on creative projects. Instead I just feel completely out of control and worthless. And I have cramps.
If I had a billion dollars it would be over for u hoes - and by “hoes” I mean actual sex workers and when I say “it” I mean some of ur struggles cause I would pay off ur debts and give u some money so u don’t have to worry as much no more in this over-censored, puritanical and hypocritical social climate 💖
A few weeks ago someone sent me a message asking me how I dealt with loneliness while studying at school and it took me a while before I could think of the answer. Especially since I was lonely at school almost all the time. When you’re black or brown the institution of academia is automatically a lonely experience. In addition, to learn is to be alone sometimes. One of the reasons why I’m grateful that I took time off from school is that I learned that there are some things I have to go through alone in order to truly understand the experience. All the shows and movies I watched about college said that you would meet your best friends for life there, that the connections you made in school would carry on into the rest of your adulthood. But that wasn’t the case for me and it’s usually not the case for a lot of other people. It’s important to question your own expectations and to determine whether or not you have set yourself up to feel despair by overestimating what college was supposed to be. Unfortunately, there’s no solution for loneliness because loneliness is a feeling that comes from deep inside and has nothing to do with how many people we surround ourselves with.
It is a fact that to be human is to search for connection and understanding amongst other beings - we were not meant to be isolated and countless studies show how detrimental it can be to the human psyche. But though loneliness and isolation can coincide, loneliness itself can be a powerful tool: it teaches us about ourselves and forces us to gain an understanding of ourselves that we wouldn’t have otherwise.Of course, there are some people who feel their best and do their best when they are alone, but I have often found that those people have expanded the meaning of connection to include those interactions that some of us might consider too casual and brief to matter. So to the girl who message me: I am so sorry you feel lonely and I wish that I could make you feel better. I hope that I helped a bit.
During my senior year I was nominated as one of 10 graduating students that represent what a “Reedie” is. I have a lot of feelings about college - specifically Reed College - and it’ll probably be a few more years before I can unpack what this experience meant to me, but still I’m grateful for the chance to share some of my truth regarding my time in the academy. I did this interview during the last month of working on my thesis, and I remember thinking that my answers were too honest to be published. Even though I was asked to rewrite my answers and change the tone of them, I still think that they capture all that I felt as my last year in college came to an end.