the philosophactivist

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Words from the West

Saturday 10/19/13

In San Francisco I was called to read my pieces- 'The Master's Tools' and 'Visionaries don't need to dream'. I also read my poem Survivin' and my piece 'My Healing Story'. A friend recommended the last two and it was just what needed to happen, even though she wasn't there.

I needed to read about how we can't use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house, I needed to read about our internalized oppression and why we are not "progressing" as a people though the dominant culture wants us to believe that we are. I needed to read about what visionary organizing looks like and how our internalized oppression makes us turn on each other and not trust the radicals and visionaries that are here to co-heal with us and return us to our rightful place as the descendants of kings and queens, spiritual royalty.

I needed to talk about how we needed to heal. I also needed to read my story about being diagnosed with lupus and my battle to be heard and to find holistic care. I needed to get it out even though it was a little difficult baring my emotional and spiritual scars and being raw in front of folks I didn't know.

But...that's why I started reading my poetry out loud so many years ago, in the first place. It's kind of like that term "speak truth to power". I felt myself healing and regaining power over my story as I told it. In talking about my illness, I opened the storybook for all those who share it and I invited people to take a look at their chapters.




Los Angeles was a challenge. Emotionally. I'll explain more after I've processed. USC's QPOC group was so amazing. We were so tired after driving from AZ and their spirit breathed new life into us. We were recharged upon meeting them. As two tour members and I picked beautiful flowers around campus for the altar, I was truly happy to be there. I knew that we were appreciated and I wanted to honor this. I recruited the two tour members to read some monologues from Genderqueer Files and the audience liked it and thoroughly enjoyed everyone's pieces.


UCLA stood in stark contrast. We performed in a meeting space in the library and it was just more "official" feeling. There were less POC in the space. The vibe was different. I was happy to run into a good friend that I'd met years ago in NYC at an Audre Lorde Project community organizer training (Daring to Be Powerful- check it out if you're in the area). The organizers of the show booked it the same time as another POC event and to be in solidarity, some of the tour members walked over to the event with a few folks from our event. I'm not sure how effective that was least something was done, I guess. 

To be honest, my memories of LA are foggy because of breakdowns in communication, hostility, and just an overall feeling of discomfort as interpersonal conflict escalated on this particular part of the tour. I was fortunate to get a break from all this and to ground myself and drive up the coast on the 1 with someone I trust and respect. 

When we got to Oakland we went to queer qumbia and in the morning we had brunch with some of my fav people from when I lived briefly in the Bay. It really restored my faith in brown community. Sometimes the microcosm of the macrocosm- femmephobia, transphobia, internalized racism, colorism, anti-blackness, xenophobia,etc. can be even worst in our little brown bubbles where we seek asylum. Sometimes solidarity isn't so solid or solidifying. There are still tokens and problematic dynamics as we try very hard to "decolonize" and de-assimilate. As soon as I have time to process...I'll write more.

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