📷: June 1, 2020 – Self Portrait
A seam in the space-time continuum has burst, and we are in a new dimension.
My eyes are glazed and red from the tears. My face – puffy and pink from the crying. Our country is screaming out in pain, and this was my self-portrait for June 1, 2020.
Roses & Thorns
- Moved our mattress into the den for a Friday night sleepover
- Went on a beautiful long drive
- Watched Julio Torres Zoom Fundraiser “My Sun Aquarius”
- Watching a woman use her whiteness as a weapon on Christian Cooper
- Watching the life drain out of George Floyd
An hour before I took this self-portrait, I had done some breathwork. The exercise triggering an avalanche of pain and gratitude to pour out of me, my face soaked with tears. I cried over the victims of police violence. I cried over the hatred that people spew. I cried over the chosen ignorance of those who refuse to recognize the system of racism in our country. I was crying because I felt guilty and filled with shame for the times I participated in a system that has oppressed black people. My intentions were good, but I wasn’t practicing anti-racism in my life. I was failing the people I love because I had grown apathetic and convinced that I could never take down our countries system of abuse – I certainly couldn’t solve this problem.
The apathy translated into a complete ignorance of our local and state governments. A total unawareness of how city budgets get allocated to departments. Asleep at the wheel focused on the federal system, instead of paying closer attention to the dumpster fire in my own backyard. I would pay attention to the props in state elections, but not the weekly city council debates. Blind to my influence over the judges who decide how to sentence non-violent criminals; probation and rehabilitation or maximum sentencing because the person fit into the box of “societal nuisance.”
I wasn’t ready to write my May Snail Mail Letter until now. Twenty-days from when I snapped the self-portrait and twenty-seven days since the death of George Floyd.
It’s hard to think about how to write a recap of May when it feels like a completely different world. A seam in the space-time continuum has burst, and we are in a new dimension. One where people are brave enough to protest amidst a deadly pandemic. All walks of life coming together to risk their health and breath to make sure no black man gasps “I CAN’T BREATHE” on camera again. The chance at a new kind of society. A new approach to equality. An end to the allowances made for the generations before us.
In May, I felt I was finally gaining some creative momentum. I was posting regularly and sent out interviews to different creatives. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was starting to build something — in terms of creating content for the internet. I was developing a real sense of creative joy and happiness. And I was feeling a bit guilty. We’re in a global pandemic, but the existential dread I had been experiencing since puberty was finally melting away; that didn’t seem fair. Yet, I had gained this sense of self that was foreign to me.
I had reached out to my Dad to see if I could start being honest and sharing stories of our relationship on this blog. We had a good heart to heart, and he gave me his permission to share the messy, dirty lessons I’ve learned through my relationship with him. I was ready to practice radical honesty.
Then my truth, and my honesty, didn’t seem very important.
Others and myself were asked to take ten steps back, sit down, and listen.
And I listened. I paused. I’ve shifted my priorities, and the fight to end systemic racism and oppression of marginalized groups is actively on my list of things to do.
I know this change needs to become a lifestyle. This is not a personality trait or a quick fix diet. I am being asked to evolve and change the world while doing it. I need to tap back into that joy and momentum I had in May, so I can apply it to the new work as well. I can serve the movement better if I am mentally, physically, and spiritually strong and grounded. A part of achieving that strength and peace is through my creative expression and this little corner of the internet.
Don’t judge my self-care because it’s not a bubble bath and a face mask. Writing and publishing content on this blog, makes me feel more like me.
Eight weeks ago, I would have never guessed society would be where it is today, but I’m excited to be a part of what happens next.